For the Love of Money

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I’m going to assume most of know how the song goes. For the love of money people will steal from their brother. The Bible says the love of money is the root of many kinds of evils. I had a friend ask a question about selling the gospel to make a fortune. Do you think it is okay to make money off of the Gospel?

What a loaded question. If it were evil to make money off of the gospel no pastor would be able to receive a paycheck. I do believe there is another section of Scripture that says the worker is worthy of his wage. I think it depends on the context of how money is being made off the Gospel. Meaning that is it coming from an honest stream of income that seeks to glorify the Lord, or is it something that just seeks to build up that singular person?

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks about seeking first the kingdom of God and everything will be added to you. Meaning that if you make the gospel a priority the things you need for life will be taken care of. Why do we allow money to get such a hold on our hearts? What is it about money that entangles us so easily?

It seems to be the promises it makes but cannot fulfill. Promises to make you happy, to make you enjoy life, to meet all of your needs and expectations. Yet we fall victim to it every time it comes around flaunting itself in the newest form. Some of us (myself included) are in debt and my never see the light of day. By choosing to be a student and better myself I have brought this upon myself.

We do have something that will meet those promises, or should I say someone. Jesus Christ will fulfill our deepest needs and desires, by taking the selfish ones we once had and replacing them with new ones. Ones based on Him, HIs kingdom and glory.

I’d much rather be serving God with a little bit than living an exhorbant lifestyle displeasing to Him. The reason being is he has changed my heart. I no longer long to live solely for myself, I live for him (or at least try to) and want to see his kingdom expanded. We have a choice to be made in lives. We can either choose to live and build our kingdom. Or we can live lives centered on building His kingdom and in the process reap due rewards.

Question: Who’s kingdom are you going to work on building today?

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Are You a Generous Person?

For some people generosity comes naturally, while for others it can be like pulling teeth. I am part of the first group. I enjoy giving and doing for other people. There is just something intrinsic about giving for me. I am not sure if it is one of those things concerning nature verses nurture.


What I do know is that not everyone likes to give. I’m not just talking about money, it can be time or talents. For me it is hard to understand what makes it so difficult to give.


I have heard it said that the poorest people often give the most. I have seen this principle in my own life. However I have seen some people of mean be rather generous as well. What is shocking is that some of the stingiest people I have ever met were supposed “Christians.”


In 2 Corinthians 8, Paul speaks about the generosity of the churches in Macedonia. And how they gave out of their lack because that is what they were lead to do. We should take our lead from them and give even when we cannot afford to do it easily. When we give to others and it costs us something we are showing how important that person is. Paul was trying to tell the Corinthians they needed to follow the example set before them.


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Generosity is something we can learn. We learn it by doing. The more we do it the more we look for chances to do it. The Lord was the penultimate example of generosity. He made the choice to leave the perfect presence of the father to take the form he created in man, to join us. He even chose to love us while we were unloveable.


Why can’t I be more generous? What keeps me from giving of myself to those around me? Pride and selfishness are  the culprits and I bet they are the same things that keep you from doing what you know you should do. I am a selfish person (sometimes), especially when I am having a bad day pain wise. I don’t like to give of myself to my family or my friends. It is easier to hold back pieces of myself than to give. Then there are the times pride keeps me from giving because I think I’m better than someone else. I don’t know why I feel that way and it doesn’t happen often, but it still happens.


Like anything else the first way to combat something is to admit you need help. This is me telling the world I need to be more generous. One way I can is by being around other people who are generous. It tends to rub off. At least I hope so. Another way is to love my family well despite myself and my circumstances. It may mean reading an extra chapter to my son, or listening about Pokemon for the millionth time.


To show you one way I’m trying to be generous I’m giving away my free devotional The Long and the Short of It when you sign up for my email newsletter.


How can you be more generous?

Don’t Despise the Small Things!

   

The title of todays post comes from what was  gleaned from a church service on 12-14-14. That was the biggest take-away I got. Don’t despise the small things, because they can turn into great things. One thing that comes to mind are two of the biggest computer companies in the world, Microsoft and Apple. They both started out small, but with a vision. And they didn’t let anything get in the way of that vision. Because they new the potential that their product had. This is a lesson I am begging to learn. While I do not have a huge following right now, I believe I will one day as long as I continue to produce material people can use. 

     My hope for this post is to encourage you, maybe even challenge you! What do you have inside of you that you are about to let die because you are upset with your meager beginnings? When I first started this blog I was happy when I had 10 visitors a day. Now I am averaging around 140 a day. Which for me is great. Do I think we can do more yes, I DO! But, I know it depends on the plans the Lord has for me and this ministry of writing he has given me. Another reason not to despise small beginnings is because that is exactly how our Lord and Savior started out. He was not born in some fancy mansion in Jerusalem no he was born in a manger  in Bethlehem. He would go on to live a normal life until the time his ministry started. He was not drawing big crowds at first either. It wasn’t’ until people started to take notice of what he was able to do that he grew a following. The biggest problem with Jesus following is they were always in it with the whats in it for me category. Which is okay some of the time, we have to be willing to give back. Sometimes it is the smallest gestures that make the largest impact. Looking ahead there are things we learn from Christ interactions with the disciples. 
     Christ tells the disciples a parable about the mustard seed being the smallest of seeds, yet when it is planted becomes the largest of all garden plants.(Mark 4:30-32) While Jesus was referencing the kingdom of God in this parable we can take a lot away from it.  There is another reference to a mustard seed I like for our context just a little bit more. Jesus is speaking to the disciples and tells them that if they have faith the size of a mustard seed  they can move mountains.(Matt 17:20) It lets me know that I can start out small in anything and still have potential to become more. I don’t know about you but I long to do big things for the kingdom of God. While my faith may be small, God says its all I need. It will grow over time as I exercise it.So for my faithful readers I am VERY appreciative of you and say THANK YOU for all of your support. If you have been blessed by this or another post would leave me a comment letting me know. It is just one small gesture to help me to continue trying to be a blessing to you all. 
Life is hard, but God is good!
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What are you exercising faith in to see it grow? What is your small thing?

Gratefulness

     What comes to mind when you hear the word gratefulness? There are several different things that jump out at me when hearing that word, they are more concepts than things. I think of humility. I also think of generosity. Both of those things seem to play a role some way or another in gratefulness. It takes humility to receive something with a grateful attitude, while it takes some one being generous to give making it possible to be grateful. 
     The best picture we have of this combination comes from God to us. God is gracious enough to come down to this world in the form of a man to take on a burden that is rightfully ours. That is generously giving of ones’ self. This gift requires humility on our part because a proud person will not accept what has been shown to him in his need of forgiveness. (1 Cor 1:18).  I know for me I thought all Christians were crazy hypocrites. It wasn’t until I came to know Christ personally that my view changed. It takes a change of heart to begin to  understand the riches that are found in the kingdom of God.
     We can learn great lessons from our relationship with Jesus on how to be grateful. While Jesus walked this world he often appreciated all that was done for him, such as the women who took care of him. One instance that comes to mind is when a woman anointed His feet with nard, washed his feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. (Luke 7:36-50).  This section of Scripture show that both Jesus and the woman were appreciative of the actions the other took. There are many people in the world who need some assistance and will be eternally grateful. 
Q: What are somethings you are grateful for from this last year?