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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Precursor To Unreserved Giving


The Holy Bible

    They gave offerings of whatever they could—far more than they could afford!—pleading for the privilege of helping out in the relief of poor Christians. This was totally spontaneous, entirely their own idea, and caught us completely off guard. What explains it was that they had first given themselves unreservedly to God and to us. The other giving simply flowed out of the purposes of God working in their lives.
(Bible Translation and Location: The Message – 2 Corinthians 8:3-5)

Thoughts:

During the recession we are just now coming out of, we saw many banks fail and we saw many churches close their doors, but the reasons for failure may be different for each of these. For banks I believe that greed and lack of proper management got them in trouble. Fortunately in the US there was a big brother (FDIC) looking over the shoulders of financial institutions, with financial support to avoid loss to their depositors. In the case of the churches, I'm afraid that through lack of commitment, lack of continued outreach into the community, and subsequent lack of financial support by their members, they had insufficient resources to continue operation, so they died. Throughout my years of growing up in the church, and even as an adult, I remember the church always begging members to give more so that the church could be the church in local communities and throughout the world. I believe Paul's explanation on what enabled the church in Macedonia to give so generously, might have a lot to do with failing vs successful churches today. The church ministered to by Paul gave generously from their hearts because they had first given themselves unreservedly to God. Now, for churches that are still failing today, could you see the correlation in their members vs what Paul witnessed in the Macedonian church? There may very well be a strong need for our members today to first give themselves unreservedly to God before we could once again see vibrant outreach, missions, teaching, making a difference in our communities, attendance and commitment from all age groups in the church, before we could see members getting their eyes off self and their worldly worth, and instead focus on the needs of the world to know Christ in a very personal and committed way. Friends, in God's Word we are commanded to give generously from the heart (a heart committed to God and His work here on earth), and a guideline of at least 10% of our gross income is given to us. In these verses nothing is directed of the church leaders to use the funds in a way pleasing to you, so please don't use that as an excuse not to give as commanded. Our church leaders are held accountable by God to use His resources wisely for the ongoing work of the church. Let's answer to God in response to what is demanded of us, and let our church leaders be accountable to God for their responsibilities. Satan is the chief of all sinners and of all lies. He will temp you with every reason not to be obedient to God and His precious Word. Plant your faith firmly in God friend, listen to His voice and His commands through His Word, and allow these things to guide you in your living and in your giving. Just as God has dealt in your life to give, He will also deal in the lives of those with the fiduciary right to use those funds in a way pleasing to God. They are accountable to God, just like you are, so don't let Satan prompt you into not giving as God commanded you to do. First of all, give yourself unreservedly to God, all else will fall into place after that!


Prayer:

Lord Jesus, please touch the hearts of Your children today, for we have allowed Satan free reign in our lives that are supposedly given wholeheartedly to You. Please help us to realize our sinfulness, and to seek Your face and Your perfect will for our lives. Please teach us about commitment, because I believe that as we commit ourselves unreservedly to You, not only will we see our giving realigned to Your perfect will, but also our lives will become an open book reflecting You before our lost family and friends. Please work on us daily so that we never lose ground in our faith, our beliefs, and most of all in our unreserved commitment to You. Lord, You are worthy, and deserving of all of us. May we constantly strive to have all of You in our lives so that all of You will naturally flow from us in words and actions. Thank You Jesus! I am asking all of this in Your wonderful and powerful name, AMEN!

 

FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day's devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL!

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