Check Yourself



Check Yourself

II Corinthians 13:5 NKJV
5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.

Paul challenges them to check themselves. Other translations read “examine yourselves,” or “test yourselves.”

Paul was saying that you need to prove to yourself whether or not Jesus Christ lives in you.

If you fail the test, the examination, you disqualify yourself from truly being a believer in the faith.

You will never truly be able to check yourself without being a student of the word of God.

This verse has extremely serious implications. Paul is saying you must know if Jesus Christ is truly in your life.

Matthew 7:21 NKJV
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

It is not the ones who call themselves Christians or even the ones who may utter a prayer of “Lord, Lord” who will enter the Kingdom of God. Jesus said it takes doing the will of His father in heaven.

James 2:20 NKJV
20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?

Faith without doing the will of the Father is dead faith.

Micah 6:8 NKJV
8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?


Do justly—acting with conformity to what is right, impartial, fair, blameless, righteous

We are to show mercy even to those who don’t deserve it. I should have already learned this lesson of continually showing mercy.

Humble—not proud or haughty; not thinking more highly of yourself than you should; to prefer others before yourself; meek; modest

Romans 13:12 NKJV
12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.


Ephesians 2:10 NKJV
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.


If being a true believer means that we obey God and do what he says, then we should look at the last thing that Christ told us to do:

Acts 1:4-5 NKJV
4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Acts 1:8 NKJV
8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Acts 2:4 NKJV
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

There are scriptural benefits to speaking in tongues. Let’s look at six of those benefits:

1. Speaking in tongues is an initial evidence, or sign, of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

2. Speaking in tongues in our individual prayer life is a means of spiritual edification, or building up.

I Corinthians 14:4 NKJV
4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.


I Corinthians 14:14 NKJV
14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.


Notice he said, “My spirit prays…”

When you pray in tongues, your spirit is in direct contact with God, who is a Spirit. When you speak in tongues, you are talking to Him by divine, supernatural means.

3. Speaking in tongues keeps us continually aware of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling Presence.

4. Speaking in tongues eliminates the possibility of selfishness entering our prayer life.

Romans 8:26 NKJV
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.


Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Paul didn’t say we didn’t know how to pray.

Just because we know how to pray doesn’t mean that we know what to pray for as we ought.

The Holy Spirit is not going to do our praying for us. He is sent to help us pray. Speaking with other tongues is praying as the Spirit gives utterance. It is Spirit-directed prayer.

5. Speaking in tongues helps us (as believers) learn to trust God more fully. It builds one’s faith to speak in tongues.

Jude 1:20 NKJV
20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,


6. Speaking in tongues tames the tongue.

James 3:8 NKJV
8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.



Meaningful Memorial Days 


Meaningful Memorial Days 

Cornelius stared at him in fear. ‘What is it, Lord?’ he asked. The angel answered, ‘Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God’.  Acts 10:4

Meaningful Memorial Days are meant to remember someone or something we hold in high esteem. We pause to reflect and honor their value to our lives and to our country. It is the memory of sacrifice, suffering, industriousness, and integrity that instills a humbling heritage. Men and women gave their lives in battle that we might gain our lives of freedom. Blood-soaked, foreign fields protected liberty at home—a grateful memory.

Memorial Days are the most meaningful when we take time to pause and pray. We thank God in sincere supplication for His favor in our engagement with the enemy, past and present. On our knees we acknowledge almighty God as the genesis for our great country. He led His people here to establish a nation founded on faith in Christ. If we fail to memorialize our Founding Fathers as figures of faith, then we fail as Christian citizens.

Moreover, your gifts to the poor and to all people are a memorial offering before God. Every gift is to be given in the name of Jesus. You give for the cause of Christ because of the great gift of salvation He has given you. Gifts given as a memorial to God gain His glory. You honor the Lord when you give on His behalf.

Lastly, His abundant grace is reason enough for righteous reflection. Is your salvation in Jesus still sweet and savory to your soul? Do you recount often the Lord’s tender mercy toward you and your family? Remember how ecstatic you felt when Sovereign God engaged your soul with faith and forgiveness? Keep fresh your conversion experience.

Your testimony of trust in Jesus Christ—now and at your conversion—is a memorial to your Master’s faithfulness. The death of Jesus for our soul’s freedom and the death of men and women for our nation’s soul are the most meaningful Memorial Days. Honor Him and honor them by promoting our liberties as a gift from almighty God and our faithful soldiers.

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

Prayer: Thank you Lord for those who have given their life, so I might enjoy my life of freedom and faith in Jesus, in His name I pray.

Application: How can I make Memorial Days meaningful?  Do I pray and give as a memorial to Jesus?

Related Readings: Exodus 20:8; Leviticus 2:9; Psalm 77:11; John 15:20–27 

Serve Others Without Expecting to Be Served

Serve Others Without Expecting to Be Served

For even the Son of Man did not come expecting to be served by everyone, but to serve everyone. Matthew 20:28

Joy comes when we join Jesus in giving away our life without expecting anything in return. Young moms do this everyday—they serve those who can’t (and sometimes won’t) serve them. A mother wipes bottoms, wipes runny noses, wipes food encrusted faces—not necessarily in that order, ha!—all out of love and devotion to their little gifts from God. Barbara Bush rocked the

cradle of a President of the United States—perhaps she prayed for her son George W. prior to his days in the White House, when as a young man he battled with alcohol:

Dear Lord, bring my boy back to You. I have done everything humanly possible to selflessly love and serve him. He is Your child, Your creation, so I trust You to do whatever it takes to awaken him out of his sinful slumber and draw Him by Your Spirit to see himself as you see him: forgiven, loved and precious in Your sight. Thank you Father, in Jesus’ name, amen.


Her prayers were answered, her son was able to complete his God given assignment to become the leader of the free world. Sometimes our best service is to pray for someone and trust the Lord to do a work of grace in their hearts. Prayer serves the Lord’s greater purposes in His timing for His glory!

What Does it Mean to Lead by Serving, Not Expecting Anything in Return?

Servant leadership is service to others. It is not jockeying for position, nor is it politicking for power. Instead, it is posturing for the opportunity to serve. This does not bode well for the insecure soul in need of abundant attention. Servant leaders avoid the limelight and serve in ways that often go unnoticed. It is the little things that make a servant leader. It may be taking out the trash at home, or making the coffee at work.

No task is too menial for the servant leader, but there is something bigger than behavior that distinguishes a servant leader. It is attitude—an attitude of how to make others successful. He or she knows if those around them are successful then there is a good chance they will experience success. They are wise to want what’s best for others.

Self-service on the other hand builds a culture of mediocrity. It is all about taking care of my little world, not giving any thought to the needs of other team members. It is every man for himself – survival of the fittest. This self-service contributes to a scarcity mentality. If I serve you then you may look better than me—you may get all the credit.  This fear of not being noticed facilitates competition instead of cooperation.

Humble Leaders Share the Credit for Success

Servant leadership on the other hand is not caught up with getting the credit. The servant leader has put to death the need for self-recognition. The attention and credit can easily flow to others. This is the place where it belongs, as our humility cannot handle the attention. Like a lily-white body in a tanning booth, our humility burns up. Servant leadership resists this temptation to linger in the limelight. Instead, the servant leader may give away opportunities that come his or her way. Seek to serve and let status find you.

Jesus served quietly on most occasions and boldly as needed.  No sincere seeker was neglected. His motive was to serve for the glory of God. His ultimate service was laying down his life for the human race. Consequently, followers of Christ can become a better servant leader because Jesus seeks to serve through you. You can’t, but He can.

Submit to Him and watch Him use you to serve. Die to getting attention and credit while celebrating the success of others. Quietly volunteer for the next lowly task. Set up others to succeed. Give away your life and you will find it. This is the way of Christ. This is the way to serve and lead. Submit to God, serve people—and others will follow!

“If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me” (Matthew 10:39, The Message).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the example of Jesus who came to serve and not be served, in His name I pray, amen.

Application: Who can I serve without expecting to be served by them?

Related Readings: Exodus 18:26; Zephaniah 3:9; Ephesians 6:9; 1 Peter 4:10

Love Avoids Rude Words


Love Avoids Rude Words

Love is not rude.    1 Corinthians 13:5

I remember the hurt and shame of being called a slang name in middle school; the Vietnam war was winding down, but two classmates found entertainment by labeling me with a certain Asian slur. Not even knowing what the three word description meant, I knew their words were not meant as a compliment. I stuffed my feelings of inferiority and anger—and later vented my sense of condemnation through the organized violence on a football field. Sarcasm strips another of dignity and paints the perpetrator as ignorant, insecure and unkind. All unhealthy outcomes!

Love rejects rudeness because rudeness is reserved for the insensitive and the insecure. Rudeness is impolite and disrespectful. Indeed, a rude reply stands ready on the lips of an unlovely life. Rude people use coarse words that rub their listeners the wrong way. They pride themselves in being without airs, but they are insensitive in the timing and the tone of their conversations. They hurt feelings at the drop of a hat and seem to alienate people on purpose. Love is the light that leads rudeness out of darkness.

“You are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark” (Romans 2:19).

A rude person is a rascal to work alongside because you never know when they are going to offend you or someone else. You lose confidence in rude people because of their volatile nature. You don’t want to be embarrassed around one of their outbursts or social indiscretions, so you shun their presence. Rude people become loners by default. Over time, no one can tolerate a barrage of irreverence and sarcasm. Even the most accepting and forgiving saints grow weary of rudeness. Rudeness has no place in a caring culture.

Love expunges rudeness like a healthy body does a virus. It uses tough love to escort rudeness out the door of relationship. Because you love them and those they influence, you need to be very direct and matter-of-fact in your communication with a rude person. Direct conversation is the only way they begin to “get it.” Love takes the time to be very candid and clear with rude people who run roughshod over others. However, be careful not to be rude in dealing with the rude. Do not lower your standards to theirs. Be prayed up and filled up with the Spirit before you encounter the rude with truth.

“I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit” (Romans 9:1).

Without patronizing, love is able to find at least one thing they admire in someone else. Even if a person is full of himself, there lies dormant within him or her, some redeeming quality. Love is able to pull out the potential for good that lies deep within a selfish soul; the way Barnabas saw possibilities in Saul (Acts 9:27). Love looks beyond the hard, crusty exterior of someone’s character and understands that fear may have locked his or her love into solitary confinement. They feel lost, lonely, and afraid. Nonetheless, love is able to get past this rude roadblock and inject faith. Faith in God, faith in oneself, and faith in others frees one from rudeness.

The Almighty’s rude awakening transforms an impolite heart into one full of kindness and grace. When love has its way, rudeness runs away. Love the rude, and watch what God can do. Their sarcasm is a smoke screen that hides a lonely, loveless, and hurt heart. Rude people are reaching out but they don’t know how.

Stay committed to your rude roommate, relative, parent, child, or colleague. Love them to Jesus, and your unconditional love will melt away their iceberg-like insecurities. Pray they will see themselves as Christ sees them, and pray they will love and be loved. Love loves the rude and is not rude. Be persistent by staying engaged in unconditional love. Watch the rude walls come down as you bombard them with consistent acts of love.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, measure my words by what builds up my friends, family and other followers of Jesus, in His name I pray, amen.

Application: To whom have I spoken rudely and need to apologize and ask for forgiveness?

Related Readings: Psalm 40:10; Proverbs 22:11; Ezekiel 33:31; 1 Corinthians 13:1

How to Love and Respect Those in Their Golden Years 

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How to Love and Respect Those in Their Golden Years 

Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.  Leviticus 19:32

We are in the final preparations of celebrating my in-laws’ 60th wedding anniversary and stunningly, all four of our children, their spouses and children can attend—15 total! I am so grateful to God all of us made it a priority to honor James and Jean with our presence at their momentous milestone. Their steadfast love can be felt and seen in the DNA of those they have loved so well all these years. Now we have the privilege to lavishly love them on their lifetime achievement. Love and respect for those in their golden years is golden in the sight of God.

Advanced years can bring improvement in decision making, perspective, understanding of people, and our intimacy with God and those closest to us. The elderly represent a plethora of wisdom waiting to be tapped. They tell stories of real-life events that challenge, educate, and entertain. Those approaching their twilight years who love Jesus have an eternal perspective that is infectious. They see God for who He is.

Yet with all of these potential, positive traits, we stutter at spending time with the aged, even those who are own flesh and blood. Why is this so? Yes, some are hard to get along with; others reek of body staleness (having been trapped indoors), and others are very high maintenance. This is hard; yet it is temporary, and before you know it they will be gone. How many more days do you have with a parent, grandparent, or mentor?

“Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance” (Titus 2:2).

As the sand is rushing toward the bottom of the hourglass, what are some ways you can demonstrate respect toward the elderly? One way is to spend time with them. Perhaps it is a regular visit to the nursing home or retirement center. Love them by showing up with flowers and by reading an uplifting portion of Scripture. Listen to their hopes, dreams, and regrets. Throughout your conversation with the elderly, capture in your memory the nuggets of wisdom, thoughts, ideas, and places that resonate with how you do or do not want to live your life. Look for those life snapshots that you can emulate and pass down to your children and your children’s children.

Respect for your elders may express itself with them visiting you rather than you visiting them. They may need to move in with you so you can love them twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Yes, this is a huge commitment. It is harder to “raise” your parents than it is to raise your children. Their needs are more complicated, and they certainly do not want to be told what to do, but you love them anyway.

You respect them even when they are not respectable. Seize this time. Do not let it slip by in the abyss of busyness. It is an opportunity for your kids to experience how you would like for them to treat you one day. Your respect for the elderly is a reflection of your reverence for God. Love, serve, and respect them as if you were doing the same for Christ.

“Now Elihu had waited before speaking to Job because they were older than he” (Job 32:4).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me a caring heart for those in my life who are older, who desire and deserve my love and respect, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: How can I schedule regular time to learn from and love the elderly?

Related Readings: Job 32:4–6; Proverbs 16:31; Romans 13:7; 1Timothy 5:1–2

A Mother’s Work 

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A Mother’s Work 

She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.  Proverbs 31:27–28

A mother’s work is never done. There is always another meal to prepare, a face to wipe, clothes to wash, an errand to run, a room to clean, and a dollar to manage. She serves unselfishly like Jesus. “After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him” (John 13:5). A mother’s work makes those around her look good. She is God’s chosen one in the home.

The law of love and kindness is written on her heart, but some days it is hard to have the right attitude. The work can become laborious, monotonous, and taken for granted. It is at this point of feeling unappreciated that a wise mom reminds herself of heaven’s applause. She is really serving for an audience of one, her loving Lord. Her Savior Jesus smiles at her service, and that is enough. The reward of doing right encourages her heart to do right.

“Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God” (Titus 2:4–5).

In addition, there are the rewards of a child’s smile and warm embrace and of hearing, “Thank you, mommy, for being my mommy.” Or there are the rewards of a loving husband who genuinely thanks his wife and serves her by listening, serving, and giving praise. She takes pride in her work because she recognizes everything she has is a gift from God. Her home and family are a reflection of her and her heavenly Father. She manages the home for her Master’s glory.

Lastly, your work is a model for your children to follow. Your actions become a teacher that prepares them for adulthood. Chores done well create children who work well. Assign them responsibilities so they learn thoroughness, cleanliness, and organization. Allow your domestic duties to bring calm into your home in the same manner the Lord quiets your soul.

“But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me” (Psalm 131:2).

Prayer: Lord, lead me to be content serving my family for Christ’s sake.

Application: What are some ways for me to rest in the Lord and not worry over matters out of my control?

Related Readings: Proverbs 4:3; Proverbs 31:10–31; 1Timothy 5:14

Compassion for Mothers-in-Law 


Compassion for Mothers-in-Law 

When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.  Matthew 8:14-15

Do you see your mother-in-law with compassion, or do you see her as competition? Your mother-in-law is meant to compliment your marriage, not compete with it. Peter did a smart thing as a son-in-law: he invited Jesus into his home and into their relationship. As a result, Jesus healed his mother-in-law so she was free to serve Him and others.

It is out of an attitude of compassion that you are able to illustrate to your mother-in-law the love of Jesus. If you resist her interest in your family, reject her suggestions, or deny her access to your home, you dishonor her in the process. We all have our quirks, but the Lord works these out with levity, love, and long-suffering. Compassion compensates.

As the leader of your home, make sure you are reaching out to your mother-in-law on a regular basis. Perhaps you invite her over for her grandchildren’s birthdays, school events, or sporting activities. How are you intentionally engaging your in-laws so they are able to do life with your little ones? It is out of a multi-generational community that your offspring gain perspective from their grandparents. Honor them as models for your children, who one day will honor their own in-laws. Ruth lived this out in uncomfortable circumstances.

“Boaz replied, ‘I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before’” (Ruth 2:11).

You may be concerned that your mother-in-law does not know the Lord. This is a reasonable fear. But it’s also an opportunity for you to be a righteous representative of your Savior. When she sees Jesus in your attitude and actions, she will be drawn by the Holy Spirit to know Him as you know Him. A fractured family is an opportunity for faith to flourish.

Help facilitate faith and healing in your family dynamic by keeping Christ at the center. Ask how you can serve your mother-in-law in ways she wants to be served. Do you invite her on family outings, extended trips, or over the weekend to stay with your children? Pray your mother-in-law becomes like your mother, and you like her child.

“Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too” (Romans 16:13).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, grow my heart of love to love insecure and hurting family members, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: How can I best show compassion to my mother-in-law with my attitude and actions?

Related Readings: Ruth 3:16; Micah 7:6; Luke 12:53; Ephesians 5:31

Worship in Spirit & Truth

Worship in Spirit & Truth

“Hallelujah” – Hebrew word that means “praise to Jehovah”

A word used today to denote pious joy and exaltation

Hosanna is a Greek word, which means “save now.” It eventually became a proclamation of praise.

Psalms 150:6 NKJV
6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord . Praise the Lord !

ithing opens the window in heaven of God’s blessing. Praise opens the door in heaven for your spiritual victory and the defeat of the enemy of our soul.

What person has hurt you that you need to praise God for? What situation do you face that you need to praise your way to victory?

Genesis 22:5 NKJV
5 And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”

Genesis 22:8 NKJV
8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.

As you fix your eyes on God, He becomes bigger and your problems become smaller. Like Abraham, you confess that God is going to solve your problems.

God did not tell Abraham to go worship. He told him to go sacrifice his son. Abraham knew that he could not obey God without getting the strength from God to obey.

When we worship, we trade our weakness for His strength.

Matthew 4:9-10 NKJV
9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”

Revelation 4:8 NKJV
8 The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!”

Praise is the antidote to depression.

Isaiah 61:3 NKJV
3 To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord , that He may be glorified.”

“I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever and with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness.”

The challenge today is for all of us to not only worship in this house, but live a life of praise and worship.

Start praising God for everything good and bad in your life. Praise Him that He’s going to change those bad things.

Start praising Him before you get the miracle—not just after you get the miracle.

Here are a few songs for you to worship our God.

House Rules

House Rules
In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:3-4 (NIV)

Every family has house rules. Sometimes these are explicit, such as “take your shoes off inside the house” or “be home by midnight”. Other times, they are more subtle yet no less real. For example, a family culture of kindness and mutual respect may not always be explicitly spelled out, yet it is protected and preserved just as strongly as any other house rule.

In the family of God, just like any family, there are house rules to live by. Some of the rules are explicit, which the Bible calls “laws” or “commands”, and some of them can only be learned by being around the family. Yet all of them exist, not to be a burden or to make you feel like you can’t live up to the standard, but to preserve a particular way of life that is meant to keep us in places of relational safety and security.

God’s commands are given as a gift and means by which we live the victorious Christian life. As John says, they are not meant to be burdensome but are given to teach us how to live peacefully within the family of God. And within this family, we are taught what it means to be made like Jesus and find our hope and identity in him, overcoming the world as we do.

In the family of God we enter into a place where this new way of life can be learned and lived out. Like any family, it is messy and complicated at times! But it is God’s best for us. It is where we can take off our masks and learn to live together as his daughters and sons.

If you find yourself struggling with the law of God and what it means to live by his commands, perhaps it is helpful today to reimagine them as house rules meant to protect and promote a particular way of life. They come from the loving heart of a parent who knows what is best for their child and wants to see you flourish. Trust today in the goodness of God and give thanks for the victory and freedom that comes from keeping his commands!

“And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love” (2 John 1:6).

Prayer: Father, thank you that you love us enough to create safe places for us to learn what it means to be your sons and daughters. Help us to show our love by faithfully keeping your commands, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Application: Has a distorted view of God’s law kept you from receiving his commands with joyful obedience?

The 10 Best Reasons to Give Generously

The 10 Best Reasons to Give Generously

Someone once told his pastor, “Give, give, give! That’s all I ever hear from you!” The preacher smiled and said, “Thank you for the best three-word description of the Christian life ever!”

Scripture does not simply command us to give. It does that, of course, but over and over God’s Word gives us great reasons for being generous to everyone around us, contributing to the needy and poor and generously supporting the work of the Lord.

I imagine there are 500 reasons for giving. But here are 10 of the best!

1. When we give, the Lord takes it personally. We are handing it to Him.

“He who gives to the poor lends to the Lord”(Proverbs 19:17).

“Inasmuch as you did it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you did it unto me” (Matthew 25:40).

“When you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed since they are not able to repay you; and you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous” (Luke 14:14).

And my all-time favorite: “God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love that you have shown to His Name in having ministered to the saints, and in still ministering” (Hebrews 6:10).

2. We give because we have received so freely.

If you’ve received nothing, you are exempt from giving!

“What do you have that you have not received?” (1 Corinthians 4:7) Answer: Nothing at all. We have been the recipients of ten thousand blessings from the Father. “Daily, He loadeth us with benefits!” (Psalm 68:19).

Our Lord said, “Freely you have received; freely give” (Matthew 10:8). When the Lord stops giving to you, then you may quit being generous with others. But not until then.

The pond outside our back deck receives water from the heavens in the form of rain and runoff. On sunny mornings, you can see the fine mist rising off the surface of the pond, as it gives back to the skies the same water that it received a day or two earlier. Imagine the pond complaining, “Oh no! I can’t give this small amount! I need it.” It is in giving that the pond receives.

3. We give because the Lord makes it a condition for His giving us further blessings.

“Test me on this,” the Lord says, “and see if I will not open for you the windows of Heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows!” (Malachi 3:10)

“Give and it shall be given unto you…” (Luke 6:38).

Think of a pipeline between you and Heaven. While greed and covetousness clog it up, generosity keeps it open and the blessings flowing.

4. We give to increase our love for the things of God.

“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21).

That little insight is profound. Now, personally, I would have thought it was the other way around: Wherever your heart is, you will put your treasure. But, our Lord said wherever you put your treasure, your heart will follows. That’s incentive aplenty for pastors to keep urging their people to be givers (in all of life, not just the offering plate!).

When your kid went away to college, all of a sudden you found yourself interested in the news from that town and that campus. Your treasure is there and so your heart followed.

5. We give to increase our reward in Heaven.

“Whoever in the name of a disciples gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water, truly I say to you he shall not lose his reward”(Matthew 10:42).

What could be a smaller gift than a cup of water? So, when I give to support a worker in the kingdom–even if it’s only a cup of water!–I share in the reward God will give him for his work.

“Lay up treasures in Heaven where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves cannot break through and steal” (Matthew 6:20).

We can’t take it with us, the old saying goes, but we can send it on ahead.

6. We give because of what Jesus said.

Our Lord commended the widow who gave–even when she needed what she had, when others were giving far greater amounts (and thus her gift was practically meaningless), and when the temple was under the control of a den of thieves!

Jesus approved her giving. He honored her for bringing her small gift.

Friend, you and I have no excuse for not giving! (I can hear it now: “I’m sorry, Lord! I need this money to pay off my new car!” New boat. Vacation.)

Mark 12:41-44 contains the definitive story on this. I love the story and enjoy preaching it. Every pastor has known of people who quit giving because they didn’t agree with the preacher, didn’t like a decision made by the church, or could not support the deacons. But our Lord commends the widow for bringing her offering even when the temple was under the control of a bunch of crooks!

7. We give to support the saints in their work of the Lord.

“… that there might be bread (provisions) in my house” (Malachi 3:10).

“… they begged us with much entreaty for the favor of participation in the support of the saints…” (2 Corinthians 8:4). “… your abundance being a supply for their want… as it is written, ‘He who gathered much did not have too much and he who gathered little had no lack’” (8:14-15).

Paul said to the church at Philippi, “After I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone. For even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs” (Philippians 4:15-16).

8. We give because money is an earthly possession with a temporary value.

Eventually, we will lose it. (The only thing any of us will ever keep is what we give!)

“Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of people ought you to be in all holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning… Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found in Him in peace, spotless and blameless…” ( 2 Peter 3:11-12)

9. We give as a rebuke to our self-centeredness.

“He who is generous shall be blessed” (Proverbs 22:9).

I’ve been reading a book by a former director of the FBI. He talks about the time Martha Stewart broke the law on insider trading in order to save $50,000 on a stock sale. This woman, whose empire was worth perhaps half a billion dollars, risked jail time in order to save what was for her pocket change. (And she went to jail!) Why, we ask, did she do that? Answer: Greed. The money we have is never enough.

“How much money is enough?” they asked a tycoon. He answered, “Just a little more.”

Only by consistently, constantly setting a pattern of giving can we break the stranglehold of greed.

10. Giving is fun.

“The Lord loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Once you get past the initial barrier to becoming a consistent giver, you find yourself enjoying writing that check to a ministry, buying a suit for a preacher in private (without him ever knowing the source), and leaving a generous tip for the server. Soon, you surprise yourself in the realization that giving money is far more fun than getting it. The next step up is to find the joy in giving to people who do not deserve or appreciate your gifts. Our Lord said, “If you give to those whom you expect to pay you back, what credit is that to you? Lost people do that! But love your enemies, and do good and lend to them, expecting nothing in return.”

And when that happens, Jesus said, you will be like the Heavenly Father. “For He Himself is kind to evil and ungrateful men!” (Luke 6:35).

Be a giver, friend. Not just on Sunday when the offering plate is passed–yes, there too!–but every day, in every relationship. Look for ways to bless people.

Do not keep count of what you have given. Just spread the joy. The Father will keep better records than you anyway!