The following illustration was given by a very well known pastor in the Dallas area: Two men were walking through the countryside on their way to a nearby village. As they walked, they spied an old woman sitting at the edge of a river. She was upset because there was no bridge, and she could not get across on her own. The first man kindly offered, “We will carry you across if you would like.” “Thank you,” she said gratefully, accepting their help. So the two men joined hands, lifted her between them and carried her across the river. When they got to the other side, they set her down, and she went on her way. After they had walked another mile or so, one of them began to complain. “Look at my clothes,” he said. “They are filthy from carrying that woman across the river. And my back still hurts from lifting her. I can feel it getting stiff.” His friend just smiled and nodded his head. A few more miles up the road, the same man griped again, “My back is hurting me so badly, and it is all because we had to carry that silly woman across the river! I cannot go any farther because of the pain.” The other man looked down at his partner, now lying on the ground, moaning. Have you wondered why I am not complaining?” he asked. “Your back hurts because you are still carrying the woman. But I set her down five miles ago.”
Many people are like that complaining man. They are re-living a hard or unhappy experience of the past. The more they dwell on it, the more upset they get, They reach the point where they are of no help to themselves or to others. By experience, many of you have learned that the most productive members of a team or workforce are those who have good attitudes. In fact, in this illustration, it is obvious that the complaining man had a bad attitude from the start and did not do his good deed willingly. Most things that begin badly will end badly. He was like the men-pleasers Paul wrote about in his letter to the Colossians, those who do just enough to comply with their obligations but not with a sincere heart. That is why Paul added: “Whatever you do, do it as for the Lord and not for people.” (Col. 3:23) It seems to me that the complaining man in the illustration only helped carry the woman across just to keep his friend quiet, not with a willing heart.
Like the man in the illustration, are you still re-living a bad experience from the past ?Have you let it rob you of the joy and peace God wants you to have? If you are, let it go! Don’t be like this man. Don’t keep carrying this awfully heavy burden any longer. Give it to Jesus! Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Take His invitation today!
God’s promise for today: (Psalm 55:22) “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”
Have you ever been fortunate enough to get box seats or see a game in a luxury suite? I've never been inside a luxury suite and I honestly can’t remember the last time I sat in a box seat or front row to any public or sporting event. I do remember the many times we have sat in the “nosebleed” section. In fact, my head was practically touching the ceiling on more than one occasion. For the most part, only the rich and famous get the best seats in public events or in airlines. My wife and I have flown many times but almost always on “stand by”, never in “first class.” To be honest, I don’t even know what “first class” looks like on an airplane in the first place. I can honestly say I don’t bemoan that fact and the truth is that I’ve turned down free tickets many times. I’ve reached the point in my life, where I now prefer watching games or events in the comfort of our living room. Nevertheless, I can understand how it would be a life’s dream to many, to be able to see a game or special event in a luxury suite or a box seat.
I thought about all this recently as I was reading in the 2nd Chapter of Ephesians, in particular this verse: “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:6) Can you imagine that? Those of us who never got preferred seating at special places or events in this world, will one day be seated next to Jesus in Heaven. Talk about First Class, and then some! In Heaven, there will be no class distinctions. Everyone will be equal. We will all have the same benefits and much better than those enjoyed in this life. Now, that’s something to look forward to.
God’s promise for today: (I Corinthians 2:9) “But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
Psalm 127 begins with this established truth: “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.” Bible scholars disagree regarding the writer of this psalm. Some believe Solomon wrote it, others believe David wrote it as an instruction for his son. If the psalm was referring to Solomon’s temple, here’s what we know: David had wanted to build it but the Lord did not permit it, choosing Solomon instead. But whether the author of the psalm was David or Solomon, it is obvious both knew that if God was not in the project, their work would come to naught.
The four thousand miles long Great Wall of China, built over two hundred years before the birth of Christ, was set up to keep out invaders from the north but in 1644 the Manchus broke through and overran China. Did they make a breach in the wall? No, they bribed a general of the Ming dynasty to open the gates. Although the wall was, and still is, a bonafide marvel of construction, it did not fulfill it’s purpose. Bottom line: God was not in it.
Please don’t think I’m trying to be political but there is just so much talk and discussion these days about the safety of our homes, community, even our entire country. If and whatever course we decide to take to ensure the safety of our family, and whatever steps are taken by our leaders at all levels, we must not forget this eternal truth: If God is not in it, it matters little what action is taken. Even as God’s children, we all think differently about many issues. Take the safety of our family, for example. Some may buy guns or home protection services, others may do nothing, being totally convinced that if God can’t take care of them, entire armies wouldn’t be able to do it. Regardless of the course of action we take, we must all put our trust in God. It is only in Him, where we can be totally safe and secure,
God’s promise for today: (Proverbs 18:10) “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe.”
We all know some people who are not happy with who they are. They will try everything they know in order to appear to be something or someone else. Many years ago, while sharing the gospel and the love of God with a co-worker, he replied: “Well, if God loves me so much why did he make me a (ethnic group) and you a (my ethnic group)?” On the other hand, there are those who are “proud” of who or what they are. Just the other day, I saw a license plate that read: “I’m Irish and proud of it.” Whether Irish, Mexican, German, Jewish, Italian, or any other race, how can anyone be proud of being something they had nothing to do with? Then, there are those whose own parents will make it known to all the world that they did not plan on having them, making some of them go through life believing they are “mistakes.” In the first place, it is God who decides who is born, not people. Secondly, He decided who and what we would be and just like all the rest of His creation, when He made us, He said that it was good. If you are a master craftsman, everything you make is good, and God is the Master Craftsman.
David knew that truth. That is why He wrote: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14) No, no, a thousand times no; none of us is a “mistake.” From time to time, we will hear others say they saw or met up with someone who looks exactly like us, a “dead ringer” if you will. Similar, perhaps, but exactly like us, never. Even so-called identical twins are not exactly alike.
There is no one in the world exactly like you or exactly like me. We are all unique and we were all made with a specific purpose. God loves us because He made us and because He is God He has never, He will never, make anything that is inferior. Because God made you, you are a somebody and you are special. Forget proud, we should be thrilled and happy that God made us just the way we are.
God’s word for today: (Psalm 100:3 KJV) “Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.”
You don’t have to raise your hand, but how many of you have gone ahead and done something you were not sure God would approve? Here’s another scenario: You ask a friend or your spouse something like “do you think this shirt looks dirty?” Whether they say yes or no, the very fact that you asked the question in the first place shows that you yourself weren't sure. If you take some time to think about you will probably conclude that it’s not that big a deal to wash the shirt or just wear something else. If these are silly thoughts, its because I was just reading James 4:17, which reads: “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” In the 14th Chapter of Romans, though particularly referring to things believers in his day were eating, Paul wrote: “But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.”
No, I’m not suggesting you should start worrying about every single decision you make or every action you take. I am only referring to those occasions when doubt or uncertainty enters the picture. If we are led by the Spirit of God, we already know the things we are doing are okay. In fact, many of the decisions or actions we take, we planned in advance. In many sports, baseball in particular, any smart player is aware of the situation and already knows what play he will make if the ball should come his way. You see this in many baseball games, particularly among children or new players: When the ball comes to themy, they hold in up high for a few seconds, unsure of where they need to throw it.
Ephesians 5:15 reads: “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise.” The King James Version refers to it as “walking circumspectly” which means “to be aware of everything situation we find ourselves in.” To make this less complicated, it is just a reminder to us to stay in close and constant fellowship with the Lord. The following verse (16) tells us why: “because the days are evil.” God knew in advance, that those who would be reading this Word today, would be living in difficult and uncertain times. Nevertheless, our status as children of God is secure. He is still in control and watches over us every day.
God’s promise for today: (Proverbs 3:24) “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.”
How many times have you heard some elderly couple, when asked for the secret to their long marriage, reply that they never go to bed angry? Whether they know it or not, that word of advice first came from the bible. Paul wrote: “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” (Ephesians 4:26) I bet some of you know people whose marriage or relationships have been destroyed because they had an anger management problem. In fact, I would not be surprised if more than one or two of you will readily admit that you have that problem too.
I generally look for ways to encourage and uplift our readers by way of these blogs. Today, however, upon researching what the bible says about anger and saw that God has some blunt and unflattering things to say about it, I felt led to share some of it with you anyway. His intent is not to hurt you but to show you the ugliness of it so that you can trust Him and do something about it. Here are just two: “Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.” (Ecclesiastes 7:9) and “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that rules his spirit than he that takes a city.” (Proverbs 16:32) Ouch! According to God, therefore, we are fools and have a weak character when we let anger get the better of us .
Another sad feature about the anger issue, and many other character flaws, is that those who have it will just accept it, assuming they will never change. Not so! That can’t be true, not if the bible says in Philippians 4:13 that we “can do all things through Christ who gives us the strength.” Whatever the issue or character weakness, many have broken free because they believed God’s truth over the devil’s lies. They learned firsthand what Jesus meant when he said: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) You do the same today! You don’t have to carry your character issue all the way to the grave. Bring it to God; lay it before Him. Remember that Jesus Himself said: “If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36)
God’s promise for today: (2 Corinthians 10:4) “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”
Since I thought of this biblical account for a good portion of the night and into the morning, I was pretty sure I was going to write about it today. The story is found in the 7th Chapter of Luke and it features Jesus as an invited guest at the house of a Pharisee by the name of Simon and also an assumed ex-woman of the street who came in and washed Jesus’ feet. She washed them with ointment mingled with her tears and dried them with her hair. The contrast in the story is that although both the Pharisee and the woman did good things for Jesus, only one of them, the woman, did it out of love. How do we know she did it because of love? Jesus clearly implied it with these words: “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” (vs. 47) And how did He know? Being God, He knows the heart. I trust you will read the story for yourself at your earliest opportunity.
Perhaps, I was thinking of this story because another Valentines Day is upon us. Tomorrow many will be giving the love of their life chocolates, roses, teddy bears, etc. Many will do it because of a genuine or sincere love for the person and I suppose that more than a few will do so because everyone else does it, or because it is the right thing to do, or will do it out respect, appreciation, or obligation. Because, as humans, we can’t possibly know the motives of the heart, the gesture will be greatly appreciated in most cases anyway. Too often, we are overly impressed by the zeal, dedication, or devotion that is displayed by many professing Christians, even by those who are in a false religion or sect. We must not overlook this fact: Not everyone who openly displays and practices his or her faith does it out of love. In false religions, most people serve out of fear. They are afraid of suffering the consequences if they don’t.
By all means, always make an effort to demonstrate your love to others, and especially to God. Like the woman in the story, I pray we will all serve the Lord because of what He has done for us. When it is a genuine love, there is no pressure. When we do things for the Lord, we do them because we want to, not because we have to. Again, like the woman in the story, the only reason we love Him in the first place is because He loved us first.
God’s word for today: (Psalm 5:11) “But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.”
In the late 60’s, another of the Beatles hits, had these words “I’ll get by with a little help from my friends.” Though, never too much of a Beatles fan, I was thinking about the message of these words recently which contain some truth. It was a reminder to me that, because we are human, we all need a little bit of help from our friends from time to time. Whether it is pride, shame, or something else, we all know people who obviously could use the help of others but insist on going it alone.
As children of God, we all know that He is our main source. The writer of Psalm 121 voiced this truth with these words: “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 46:1 says it this way: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” That really can’t be said of anyone other than the Lord. He is the only One we really can’t do with out. Even so, we also need a little bit of help from human beings from time to time. Please note that I said “little.” In comparison to God’s, all human help, though desired, encouraged, and necessary, is “little.” A man was asked once: “Don’t you ever get a little bit of help from your friends?” He replied: “Yes, very little.”
I am reminded of the account in the 18th chapter of Exodus where Moses was wearing himself out by trying to judge God’s people all by himself. Very often he did that from sunrise to sunset. Following his father-in-law’s sound advice one day, he chose proven and able men from all Israel to help him Only the cases that were too hard for these judges, were brought to Moses. That plan worked out well and helped Moses very much, as well as the people. It is not a sin to seek the help of friends when we need them. If you need it, I pray you will let others help you. It will be good for you, as well as for them.
God’s word for today: (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10) “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”
As a pastor some of us know has been known to do before his sermons in church, let me start off today’s blog with this corny little joke: I hope you don’t mind. Do you know what a pea cup is? Answer: A Mexican man’s truck. Okay, with that out of the way, what do you think of when you hear the phrase “pick-up?” Does an energy boost come to mind, or a medium sized truck, or an impromptu basketball game among friends, or something else? Since I see them all throughout the day, I know what the phrase almost always reminds me of. In fact, we’ve got more than a few around our house and I bet some of you do too. I am referring to the stray dog(s) or cat(s) we took in some time back, those we “picked up.” In most cases, these were abandoned, forgotten, or rejected little critters which were left behind to tend for themselves. They were lost, cold, alone and hungry in the world, that is, until someone like you or me took them in, picked them up, if you will.
We’ve had many “pick-ups” through the years and they all have their own little story. One of them, which is still around today, came to us this way a few years ago when my wife was still working: She noticed this sleek, little black shivering dog which was constantly looking for scraps among the dumpsters by the back loading dock. Of course, my wife felt sorry for this poor critter and we brought her home with us. I immediately named her Yodie because with her flappy, lifted up big ears, she resembled Yoda from the Star Wars movie. Well, Yodie was very pregnant when we brought her home and soon gave birth to a litter where only one puppy survived. Her puppy was white and shaggy haired with black spots, quite the opposite of her mother. Her name is Chappie and, unlike her mom, lives with us today. And Yodie? Well, she’s just a stone’s throw away from our house. Here’s what happened: My neighbor saw me one day in the back yard when I was carrying and caressing her. He immediately liked what he saw and asked if I would be willing to give her to him. Since we have a few other “pick-ups”, I let him have her. Today, Yodie is well fed and healthy, lives the life of a queen and sleeps in bed every night with my neighbor and his wife. That’s quite a change from the hard life she knew before, don’t you think?
I’ve told you all this because, whether you see it this way or not, many of us have had a Yodie experience. Without Christ, we were really nothing in the world. Until we came to Him, none of us can truthfully say we were under the care of Someone who really loved us. That’s all changed now and we’ve really gone from rags to riches. I am reminded of this verse which Samuel’s mother, Hanna, wrote: “He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; He seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.” (1 Samuel 2:8) Our “pick-ups” are loved today like never before. So are we, because, as the song says: “No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus.” How great it is to be really loved and cared for!
God’s word for today: (1 John 4:19) “We love Him because He first loved us.”
I spoke on this subject this past Sunday in church in our Spanish service. The previous Wednesday, in our monthly Men’s Bible Class, Pastor Leo, upon reading Proverbs 3:5-6, asked this question: “What does it mean to acknowledge God?” Well, that question immediately grabbed my attention and lingered in my heart and mind for the duration of the class, prompting me to meditate on it. You know, the Word of God has that effect in our hearts from time to time, as it well should. Psalm 1 says that those who “delight in the law of the Lord, and meditate on His law day and night” (vs. 2) will not only be blessed but will prosper in whatever they do.
Upon researching for the answer, I got a more complete understanding of what it means to really acknowledge God. My first thought, which I posed to those present, was this: “Have you ever found yourself in a public or social event where you spot someone you consider a close friend and upon nearing him or her, they ignore you by walking away or right by you without saying a word. It stings a bit, doesn’t it? What did they just do? They failed to acknowledge you. It is a form of disdain and lack of respect. It is their way of saying that you don’t matter. The verse in question, Proverbs 3:6, says: “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, (God) and He shall direct thy paths.” It is the same whenever we fail to acknowledge God in any affair of our lives. Without realizing it perhaps, we are indicating He does not matter to us.
Here are simple examples of what it means to acknowledge Him: When you give Him the credit and praise for every success in your life, you’re acknowledging Him. When you seek His guidance, blessing, approval, and direction in all your affairs, you are acknowledging Him. When you take the position that many do in this life by telling others that you are a self-made person and you have what you have with no one else’s help, you are not acknowledging Him, or anyone else for that matter. If I, as a servant of God, get caught up in a wave of emotion saying things like “I put the devil on the run” or “Satan doesn’t know who he’s dealing with”, I’m not acknowledging God, I’m acknowledging myself. And if I was able to make others think that I’m really something, then I also robbed God of His glory. Unfortunately, a lot of that is happening in many churches around the world today, where men have managed to rob God of His glory and tried to take it for themselves. The bottom line is that without God, we are nothing, we have nothing. And if we have any success in life, it is not because we are special but rather because God had mercy on us. Let’s make a sincere effort to acknowledge the Lord in every thing. He deserves it.
God’s word for today: (Isaiah 42:8) “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols.”
Pastor Mike gave a great message in church yesterday about the many heartbreaking experiences Joseph suffered in his life and how in the end, he realized it was all just part of God’s plan for his life to accomplish the Lord’s greater purpose. We all go through trials, sorrows, and experiences in our lives which leave us scratching our heads or even progress to the point where we think the Lord has forgotten us. Sometimes we think that no one has gone through worse things than ourselves and may even think that most people would not be able to handle what we just did. I’m sure Joseph entertained those thoughts. Yet, this is what the bible says about out trials and temptations: “No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13, the New English Translation NET) This eternal truth eventually played out in the life of Joseph and it will happen in ours too. Despite how bleak things may look, because we are God’s children, our end will be victorious.
This truth has been a blessing and a source of comfort to me as I’m sure it has to many of you as well. When consulted by some of God’s children who are going through difficult trials, I cannot explain to you the joy and comfort I get by being able to tell them “It’ll be alright” knowing that I’m not giving them false hopes. My promise is their promise.
Perhaps one or two of you are going through a rough stretch right now. Like Joseph and so many others, you may be thinking that God has forgotten, is angry with you, or is just flat out ignoring you. No, no, a thousand times, no! It’s all part of God’s plan for your life, a better way of bringing you to the place where He wants you. We don’t always understand what God is doing in our lives, but praise His name, we don’t have to. We just have to trust Him. Don’t despair! Even while you’re going through your trial, God’s hand will be upon your life whether or not you can believe that now. Wait upon Him and trust Him. It’ll be alright!
God’s promise for today: (Romans 8:28) “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
Not every Christian may want to admit it but there are certain bible verses which can trouble us or at least make us feel more than slightly uncomfortable. Although it no longer does it, here is one that used to have that effect on me: Jesus said in His Sermon on the Mount, “Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt. 5:48) The reason those words bothered me a bit was that, like many other bible readers, “perfect” to me meant sinless. Mostly, the original Greek word used meant “completion” or coming to a complete state. The word was also used to describe an adult or mature person.
Additionally, in it’s entire context, Jesus was speaking about loving our enemies. (vss. 43-48) If we go back a few more verses in this same discourse, (vss. 38-42) we saw where Jesus reminded His listeners of the false interpretation many of them had heard previously by the teachers of the law, which was basically an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. That false teaching would give us an excuse to go with our basic human tendency which is to pay back our enemies in kind. Jesus, on the other hand, was reminding His listeners that God’s love in our hearts should easily prevail over our old nature, because with God all things are possible.
Concerning our being perfect, the great 19th Century bible commentator, Adam Clarke, wrote: “"But who can bring a clean out of an unclean thing?" God Almighty - and, however inveterate the disease of sin may be, the grace of the Lord Jesus can fully cure it.” Let me add this: Jesus also said on many occasions: “sin no more.” Do you really think that He did not know that we were still going to sin after hearing these words? In fact, because He did, He made provision for it, beginning at the cross of Calvary. Does this mean that God now gives us a license to sin and that we should no longer try to be perfect? By no means. What our opening text means to me is that the Lord wants us to always try to be more like Him and not like we used to be before Jesus came into our lives. We may never really be perfect on this side of Heaven, but if we really love and want to honor the One who loves us the most, shouldn’t we at least make a sincere effort?
God’s promise for today: (Psalm 119:2) “Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and that seek Him with the whole heart.”
Last night in our scheduled prayer night, the praise team very appropriately chose for our congregational singing, a favorite classic hymn of many believers, me included, “In The Garden.” It was written in 1912 by C. Austin Miles, who wrote many other hymns. Among them are two other favorites of mine, the equally beautiful “If Jesus Goes With Me” (I’ll go anywhere) and the more lively, “A New Name In Glory.” If you are a Christian music enthusiast, I recommend you check them out on the web. I’m sure you will find them all on you tube.
According to the biography, Miles wrote “In The Garden” as he was searching for an inspiration to write a hymn. Soon after, he had a vision of a garden scene. In it, He saw Mary as she came back to Jesus’ tomb right after His crucifixion. Miles said that, in his vision, he saw himself with them and wrote what he sensed were Mary’s own words. That is why it’s first stanza says: “ I come to the garden alone / While the dew is still on the roses, / And the voice I hear falling on my ear, / The son of God discloses.” I can relate to Miles’ way of thinking because I very often imagine myself in the middle of a biblical account. I also encourage others to try to do the same when delivering certain messages from the pulpit. The chorus is surely the best known part of the hymn and it and has this well known refrain: “And He walks with me, and he talks with me /And He tells me I am His own, / And the joy we share as we tarry there / none other has ever known.” On a lighter note, every time I hear this hymn, I am reminded of the story of the little boy who thought God’s name was Andy. When asked why, he said that his mom was always singing, “Andy, walks with me, Andy talks with me…”
If there was ever a hymn that is perfect when having a quiet, personal time with the Lord, this is it. Perhaps you may want to learn it and sing it to the Lord one of these days. I believe, that in time, you too will feel closer to your Lord and Master than ever before.
God’s promise for today: (Revelation 3:20) “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear My voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.”
I feel led of God today to write about a subject that is controversial and strikes a nerve every now and then even among church folks. I am referring to the matter of giving. I could bombard you today with many bible verses that relate to giving but I choose instead to expand a little bit on this bible verse only, and give it a brief analysis: “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7) This verse is virtually impossible to misunderstand no matter which version of the bible you are reading.
Whenever I preach or teach in church, I try to remember who my audience is and what the purpose is or the goal I am trying to reach. If this was a class of bible students I would be mindful of including many scripture references, history, illustrations, biblical examples, commentary by several bible scholars on the subject, etc. This is not to imply that, in church, many members would not want to hear and learn these things, its just that on Sunday or mid-week services, there are visitors who do not know too much bible or have not yet heard or understood the simple message of the gospel. In these blogs, on the other hand, my main objective is to encourage and remind our readers of things they know already about God’s Word and to maintain some sort of fellowship with them.
Back to the verse: After knowing what we know about giving, each of us should determine and decide what we can or will give. This is a matter between God and ourselves and as the verse simply points out, it is a matter of the heart. We may be willing to tell others why we give what we give or don’t give, but God will always know our heart. If we are going to give grudgingly or because we are pressured into it, it won’t be pleasing to God. There are other reasons people give. It could be we are expecting something in return or are trying to impress others. Whatever the reason, if we do not give with a cheerful heart, we will not be honoring God. This means we give gladly, sincerely, or even gratefully, and because the verse says that God loves the cheerful giver, please don’t thing for one moment, that he doesn’t love those who don’t. God loves all of His creation, and especially His children. To me, and because I know the character of God, and because I am a simple minded man, this is another way of saying the last part of the verse: “God loves it when His children give with a cheerful heart.” Now, who wouldn’t want to please the One who loves us the most?
God’s word for today: (Luke 6:35) “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.”