giving

Called to Be a Blessing to Others

“For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action.” – 2 Corinthians 9:2 Today I want to share a lesson from the city of Caesarea Philippi, which is shared in the gospels of Matthew and Mark. Jesus was trying to teach His disciples that as believers, we are called for a purpose, and we’re called to be a blessing to others. When Hannah and I visited the Dead Sea, I remember reading a comparison between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. The Sea of Galilee is fresh and full of life, and that’s because the water flows in and the water flows out. It’s a symbol of the soul, which receives teaching; we also receive gifts from

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Love or Greed

“Someone in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’ Jesus replied, ‘Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?’ Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.’” – Luke 12:13-15 Well, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, which has been called “The Day of Love.” For a holiday that’s all about celebrating such an amazing, intangible virtue, it’s interesting that it has become, to many, a day of stuff. A consumerist world has taught us that expressing love is about spending lots of money on gifts, flowers, and expensive meals more than it is simply being present with those we care about. Unfortunately, greed has gained a foothold in our culture, and if we are not careful, our expectation of material things can ruin

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The Gift of Generosity

“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” – Proverbs 11:25 We discussed the importance of secrecy and reward yesterday, and we concluded that it’s acceptable to be motivated by Heavenly blessing and reward when we choose to relate to Jesus privately, without the attention or confirmation of others. Today, I want to go a step further and suggest that public giving and ministry are not entirely without blessings. I get up and pray in front of the crowd several times in my church, and this isn’t a bad thing. Jesus’ ministry had a highly public face, and He was always teaching and praying for people. This was a major blessing, but He also made sure to set aside specific times to talk to His Father since that was the ultimate reward; He needed those energizing moments to keep moving forward in His mission. Individuals have given

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Provide for Your Neighbor

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – Luke 6:38 We’ve talked a lot about how to become a person of Kingdom generosity, especially when it comes to tithing, or giving the first 10% of our income to God’s cause. Today, I’d want to offer some specifics on how this manifests itself in our lives, particularly during this holiday season, which is so focused on giving. When you tithe, I believe you make your church your default. This means that if you’re not sure what to give to, you give the entire 10% to your home fellowship. It’s fine to give to something else if the Lord puts something else on your heart or places someone in your path who has

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Discomfort Can be Good

“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” – 2 Corinthians 9:6 Do you know what a Chinese finger trap is? It’s the woven tube thing where you put two fingers, usually one from each hand, and they become trapped when you try to pull them out. It’s essentially a kinetic mystery, and it’s frequently one of the first things children encounter. The trap is interesting in that the harder you try to get your fingers out, the tighter it becomes; the only way out is to press in! The tube loosens and you are free when you push both fingers toward the middle. A seatbelt in a car works in the same way: the stronger you pull, the tighter it becomes. The lesson to be learned from these examples is that you must lean into certain types of suffering to

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There is Power in Generosity

“You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” – 2 Corinthians 9:11 I recently had the pleasure of spending time with David Green, the founder of the Hobby Lobby company and a devoted believer as well as a very nice man. I was speaking with him, and he told me an incredible anecdote. He was working at a small craft store in Oklahoma City in the 1970s when he decided he wanted to start his own business. He took out a $600 loan and opened a small craft shop in his garage. His network now has over 800 locations, and his net worth is close to $8 billion; he is a Forbes 500 member. I never want to miss an opportunity to learn the secret to someone’s success when I sit

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Testing and Tithing

“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” – Malachi 3:8-10 Yesterday, we talked about how money is the king of the earth and how, even when we are in the Kingdom of God, it plays an important role in our lives. This is why the Lord gives us a set of truths in His Word that equip us to handle wealth His way because He is the giver of all of it. Today,

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Generosity Equals Gratitude

“Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” –  2 Corinthians 9:10,11 Today, I’d like to share some thoughts on generosity and giving with you. My parents instilled in me the value of tithing or giving the first ten percent of my income to God’s work, as I grew up. I am a firm believer in it, and while I don’t believe the percentage is as important as the amount you sacrifice, I have seen Jesus respond to generosity on numerous occasions. We can and will see Him expand our territory and open the floodgates of blessing as we move from the

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A Magnet For Miracles

“I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Corinthians 1:14 Years ago, I wrote a book in which I said, “A grateful heart is a magnet for miracles.” And now, having lived even longer, I’m more convinced of this truth than ever! When we give someone a gift — perhaps we go to a store to invest a good amount of time picking out just the right item — and our efforts are met with an enthusiastic response, it stokes our desire to keep giving. In fact, knowing that blessing another person brings them joy, we’re inspired to do more of the same. And if this is true for us, how much truer is it for the Lord? He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and every resource is at His disposal. When we live from a place of

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A Tribute to God

“In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering — fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.” – Genesis 4:3-5 Many of us are familiar with the story of Cain and Abel, but even so, it can be a bit confusing. After all, if Cain was a farmer and brought fruit and crops to the Lord as an offering, why was his gift rejected? To shed light on this happening, I think it’s important to understand that the term translated offering here could more accurately be translated tribute. The Hebrew word is minchah, and it denotes a present

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