Are You Content Today?

For many people it is hard to be content with where God has placed them or what God has given them. They can’t be content with their jobs, their churches, their spouses, their positions, or their possessions. It seems like no matter what they have, they want more things and better circumstances.

Have you ever wondered how Paul could be content with his terrible circumstances. He had been beaten, imprisoned, and physically afflicted…yet he wrote in Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Paul’s Sufferings Listed in 2 Corinthians 11:21-30

2 Corinthians 11:21 I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also. I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak.

2 Corinthians 11:22 Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.

2 Corinthians 11:23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.

2 Corinthians 11:24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.

2 Corinthians 11:25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;

2 Corinthians 11:26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;

2 Corinthians 11:27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

2 Corinthians 11:28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

2 Corinthians 11:29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?

2 Corinthians 11:30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.

Paul learned to be content whether he was rich…whether he was poor…whether he was healthy…whether he was in prison or out of prison. No doubt Paul had his ups and downs throughout his life, but he stressed to us through his writings that we shouldn’t allow things or circumstances to control us. He discovered that his contentment wasn’t in people, things, or circumstances but in Christ.

Are you are struggling with being discontent today? Do you find yourself complaining about your house, your church, your job, or your spouse?

We’ve all been guilty of saying, “If only I had a better car, a more understanding mate, a better house, more money.” The list could go on indefinitely. If you find yourself being discontent today, turn your eyes back to Jesus and focus on His faithfulness and His promises.

Read the following poem. What great insight this 14 year old young man had when he wrote this poem.

    I Never Got What I Wanted

    It was spring, But it was summer I wanted,
    The warm days, And the great outdoors.
    It was summer, But it was fall I wanted,
    The colorful leaves, And the cool, dry air.
    It was fall, But it was winter I wanted,
    The beautiful snow, And the joy of the holiday season.
    It was winter, But it was spring I wanted,
    The warmth, And the blossoming of nature.
    I was a child, But it was adulthood I wanted,
    The freedom, And the respect.
    I was 20, But it was 30 I wanted,
    To be mature, And sophisticated.
    I was middle-aged, But it was 20 I wanted,
    The youth, And the free spirit.
    I was retired, But it was middle age I wanted,
    The presence of mind, Without limitations.
    My life was over.
    But I never got what I wanted.

    Written by Jason Lehman Read the rest of this entry

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Are You Feeling Unproductive?

Is your self-talk telling you that you are just not being productive? Over the course of our years, our energy levels change. Sometimes it is because of our age, our sleep patterns, our caffeine intake, our health, our diet, or our comparisons. (we look at others as being more productive than we are)

There will always be periods in our lives when we might not feel productive as we once did. If you begin having thoughts of being unproductive, here are few suggestions:

• Get eight hours of sleep
• Try to exercise
• Eat a healthy breakfast
• Overwhelmed…eliminate or delegate some activities
• Look at your time wasting activities: TV, your cell phone, trivial triggers…
• Avoid your self-talk, “I’m no good…nobody thinks I’m not valuable…Nothing I do is right” Studies have shown that upwards of 80% of your self-talk is negative. That number goes up as you put pressure on yourself to get more done.
• Lessen you workload
• Set time limits on your projects
• Change your scenery. If you have a flexible schedule, go to a coffee shop or work from home.
• Disconnect from the Internet…according to research, half of time spent on Internet is procrastinating
• Reward yourself after a period of time working….a cup of coffee, 15 minutes on Facebook
• Don’t distain unproductivity…“not feeling productive” is a great sign that you should step back from your work to recharge and be unproductive for a while. A break will help you recharge and reduce your negative self-talk.

Taking a break from being productive every once in a while will help you become much more productive.

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Take Time to Encourage That Rude Person

George Truett was a very effective pastor for many years in Texas. One day while hunting with his best friend, this pastor accidentally killed his friend.

Several years after that accident, his daughter said, “I never heard dad laugh again after that day.”

Pastor Truett had a radio program. He always closed the broadcast with the these words:

Be good to everybody, because everybody is having a tough time.

Why would he close the broadcast with these words? He understood personally what burdens other people might be carrying. This tragic incident encouraged him to have compassion toward other people.

Every day we run into people who seem rude and harsh. Because of their behavior we find it difficult to like them…yet many times, there is a reason for their behavior. What a heavy heart and horrible situation in their lives might they be hiding that cause their rudeness.

Since God offers His presence to us during our darkest moments, shouldn’t we in turn offer others our compassion to those who are hurting around us.

Father, grant us the candor to admit to each other that sometimes life overwhelms us.
And grant us the courage to help others find help—and to seek it when we need it.

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Article taken from Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
(May 12, 2017)

It’s your secret. One that you’ve vowed you won’t share with anybody. Nobody talks about that sort of thing anyway. But inside, the memory of your abortion pierces your heart. And Mother’s Day only serves as a crushing reminder of what could have been. Would you believe God not only sees you in your pain, but He loves you? He does. And He is waiting, ready to forgive your sin and heal your heart.

We pray you will draw encouragement from the following Biblical truths, shared by Sandy Day from Caleb Ministries. Abortion is part of her story, but so is healing. Through the years, she has learned to lean on the power of God’s healing love as she walked through the aftermath of her decision and then a subsequent miscarriage. It hasn’t been an easy road, but it’s one that God continues to use as she ministers to other women in similar situations.

“When I look at Mother’s Day now, it’s a joyful time to say, ‘Thank you, Lord, that I’ve worked through these things,’” Sandy said. “Now in years past, it wasn’t quite that way.”

Four powerful truths for the woman who has experienced abortion:

1. God forgives your sin, and the guilt of your sin. Sandy knows firsthand the guilt and shame associated with having an abortion. She was 19 and a new Christian when she said she bought into the lies that it was her only option.

“Even though I was a very young Christian, I knew that day I had disobeyed God,” Sandy said. “Even though I believed all the lies, that this is tissue, I’m too young, I’d embarrass my parents, all of those lies. After it was over with, I thought, ‘I have made a terrible, sinful decision, and it’s going to last my whole life.’”

She was committed to keeping her secret to her grave, but she continued deepening her walk with God, and by her early 30s, she felt the tug to release everything to Him. It’s not easy, but she points to Psalm 32:5 and Romans 8:11 as Scriptures that offer encouragement and strength.

After that, Mother’s Day was a different day for me because I knew the forgiveness of God, and I understood the forgiveness of God, and I could truly live there.”

2. God can use this painful experience to bring about good. Consider Romans 8:28. “God never says it’s good, but He causes it to work together for good,” Sandy said, noting God uses pain, affliction and even death to draw us into a closer relationship with Him. From that relationship, healing and then serving in His name is possible.

3. The hole in your heart will heal. But God has to do the healing. Psalm 18:6 declares, “In my distress, I called to the Lord, and cried out to my God. He heard my voice from His temple.” Cry out to Him openly, honestly. The Bible says He hears you.

Referring to Psalm 138, Sandy points out that He is not a far-off God. “He is ever so present in the midst of our suffering,” she said.

Be patient with yourself, Sandy also advises. “[Your heart] will mend. But this is the key: It won’t mend in the way that we think it will because God is doing His work in your heart and life.”

4. God’s loving grace is abundant for you, too. Sandy encourages women to live as a product of the finished work of the cross rather than a product of their past. It takes time, but after turning her life over to Jesus, Sandy can’t imagine any other way today. “It’s just so freeing to understand not only what Christ did, but that we can truly live and walk in it.”

And try not to get sucked into the advertising mania surrounding Mother’s Day. That can turn your thoughts inward. Instead, lift your eyes higher. Of course, that doesn’t mean your emotions are invalid and should be ignored, but don’t let them dominate your thought life. Focus on the Lord instead.

“When we think about Mother’s Day, I think that we need to think about the Lord and His plan and His purpose for me, and not the fact of this is what happened,” Sandy said. “[Ask God], ‘How are You using this in my life, and how can I use it to help somebody else?’”

Draw near to the Lord this Mother’s Day!

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Is This Really God’s Will for My Life?

Knowing and Doing God’s Will

There are many misunderstandings about knowing and doing God’s will. Many people leave churches and make major moves to other cities without really knowing if it’s God’s will.

God’s will might take me where I don’t want to go. Some people think, “If I surrender to God’s will, I might have to go to Africa and be a missionary. God doesn’t want to make your life miserable…He wants your heart. Just like Abraham’s willingness to offer his son. God made an escape for Abraham because He saw Abraham’s heart. Genesis 22:12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

God makes His will only clear to certain people. God has a will for every Christian… whether you’re a missionary or a secretary — a pastor or a plumber. God has a will for everyone. Psalm 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.

It must be God’s will if other Christians agree or disagree with me. Just because other Christians agree with you on something, does not necessarily mean that God is leading. It can be misleading to seek God’s approval for man’s choices or decisions. Think of the church voting on Matthias to replace Judas. We never hear another word about Matthias. God had a plan to replace Judas with Paul. Acts 1:26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

It must be God’s will for me to move because I would be more suitable and more useful in this new situation. When the Lord called Moses, he insisted he wouldn’t be suited for the job because he had no speaking ability. Some Christians can be useful no matter where God puts them. He doesn’t necessarily put us where we will be the most useful, He puts us in a place where we can best glorify Him. Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

It must be God’s will for me to move so that I can be more successful and have a greater chance for advancement. Think about it…the Lord called Ezekiel to do a special job. He told him that his efforts would be in vain and that he would look like a failure. God’s will may require you to make financial and personal sacrifices to accomplish His will. Remember God focuses His will on His purpose.

If I were in God’s will, people would love me and appreciate me. When you’re in God’s will, people’s love, hate or indifference has nothing to do with your going or staying. Luke 6:32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.

God’s will is taking me to a place where there is a greater need. God’s leading has nothing to do with a supposed need. God told Philip to leave the crowds of Samaria and go minister to one individual on an isolated road between Jerusalem and Gaza.

How Can I Know if God Is Leading?

God’s will may not always be clear from start to finish. Usually it’s one step at a time. Maybe that is the reason God tells us to walk by faith and not by sight.

God’s will may require you to replace another Christian who gets out of His will. We do not go looking for God’s will; it comes looking for us. We do not find God’s will; we find ourselves in it; it’s a way of life; it’s being consistently led by the Spirit. Hudson Taylor said, “Our best decisions are when they are left up to God.”

Paul encouraged the Christians at Galatia to walk in the Spirit. There is a big difference between self-leading, Satan leading, and God’s leading.

(1) Self- leading: If you’re leading yourself, you decide by your emotions. Your urges are not consistent, and they fluctuate. One day, you think it’s God’s will…the next day it’s not God’s will.

(2) Satan’s leading: If Satan is leading, he will always make you think it’s urgent. No time to think. No time to pray. It’s now or never. If you delay, it will be too late.

(3) God’s leading: When the Lord is leading, He will give you time. It’s not urgent, but the impression is there… it never goes away. The Lord is patient. He gives you space. There’s time to think, talk, and even disagree with it. He hopes you will go along with His will, but you have the choice to say no. God’s leading is not complicated or confusing. He doesn’t want to make it difficult for you. He always has your best interests in mind.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

We must trust the Lord wholeheartedly and not depend on our own intellect or emotions!

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Points for a Pastor’s Wife

A Pastor’s Wife Should…

1. Be able to think quickly. The pastor’s wife must learn to think through various situations in a moment. She has to realize that the reputation of her husband and future of the church is always at stake.

Special Note: If you’re a pastor’s wife and attend church business meetings, remain silent. Many pastors’ wives have destroyed their testimonies by speaking out in anger during business meetings.

2. Be able to remain strong during difficult times. The pastor’s wife must learn to stay strong when it looks like everyone else is running away from problems. During controversies and trials, she needs to stay calm. In the church, finances might be low one year and high the next. Her husband and the women of the church look to her for stability.

3. Be able to keep confidences. The pastor’s wife usually knows things that aren’t yet ready to be released or talked about publicly. She must learn to answer questions and address issues of importance to people without giving out confidential information.

4. Be able to release control and delegate. The pastor’s wife usually wears many hats. Some pastors want their wives to oversee many different areas of the ministry…office, nursery, children’s classes, ladies’ ministries, or if she has small children, he may want her to stay home and raise their children. If she is going to be a good leader, she must be able to delegate. In order to see other ministries grow, the pastor’s wife must trust other women and take risks with them.

5. Be able to see the spiritual gifts in women and help them find places to serve in the church. The pastor’s wife can’t always just focus on her own agenda of ministry. She must balance all the needs of the church. Since the church is built with many gifted people, she should look for opportunities to use them.

Review the following gifts and look for women in your churches who might be gifted in particular areas to serve:

• Gift of Prophecy-she is someone who is able to boldly proclaim God’s Word.
• Gift of Serving-she is someone who sees jobs in the church not getting done, and she uses available resources to get those jobs done.
• Gift of Teaching-she is someone who has the ability to communicate God’s Word so that women understand His precepts and begin to grow spiritually.
• Gift of Exhorting-she is someone who is a real encourager. She is able to comfort and help others be all that God wants them to be.
• Gift of Ruling and Leading-she is someone who stands before other women by motivating them to get involved in serving.
• Gift of Giving-she is someone who shares liberally and cheerfully the resources God has given her…whether it’s her time or money.
• Gift of Mercy-she is one who is sensitive toward those who are suffering…physically, mentally, or emotionally. She is able to feel genuine sympathy with their misery.

6. Be able to make unpopular decisions. The pastor will undoubtedly make decisions that are unpopular. When these decisions are made, some members take it out on the pastor’s wife, causing her to experience feelings of loneliness.

7. Be able to handle conflicts in the church. The pastor’s wife can’t hide under the bed and wish that all the problems would go away. Sometimes conflicts are healthy and bring about spiritual changes in the lives of their members.

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Devotion for Ladies Luncheon

Reflections of the Savior
Ladies, here is the devotion I gave at our Ladies Luncheon May 12, 2018

No matter where we are or what we do, our lives must mirror our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Scripture tells us 2 Cor. 3 that we are epistles of the living God. That Scripture is telling us that we are actual letters that the world is reading…they are watching the way we live our lives…how we treat others…how we talk to them.

2 Corinthians 3:18 describes God’s purpose for us as Christians: “We all… are [being] changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

God’s purpose is fulfilled in us only when we are becoming more like Him. Christ-likeness isn’t about what I do for the Lord, but about how I’m being transformed into His likeness.”

Reflecting His likeness means that I should be unlearning all my old ways of thinking and doing, and begin learning new ways by allowing Him to reflect His characteristics through me.

God doesn’t just want us to have a revelation of Christ, but He wants us to be a reflection of Him. The question is: How can I be a reflection of Christ?

1. We mirror the image of Christ when we are genuine. When others see that we are genuine, they will see Christ’s real love through us. Nothing turns people away quicker than being a phony or a hypocrite.

Think about the women who have made the greatest impact on you. For me, it was women who I felt comfortable around…women I could pour my heart out to, and women I knew that they had genuine care and concern for me.

2. We mirror the image of Christ when we are unselfish. Mark 10:45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. Many times we are guilty of setting our own agendas and schedules, and we fail to make room for our sisters who are hurting or just need some encouragement. If we are to mirror the character of Christ, we must be willing to be unselfish with our time and our resources.

3. We mirror the image of Christ when we are sensitive and full of sympathy. Sensitivity is the ability to get beneath the surface and understand what a person is really saying or thinking.

2 Corinthians 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

4. We mirror the image of Christ when we are satisfied with who we are. Each one of us is created in His image. He has given us each of us a different personality. No one can walk the path that has been chosen for you. We are not to compare ourselves with each other. God shapes and molds each of us into what He desires for us to look and be like.

Psalm 139:13-14 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

We must view each other from a biblical perspective. Women, we will never be satisfied with who we are if we place our satisfaction in our possessions, performance, and appearance.

Possessions- The world programs us to think that we will be satisfied in things. Matthew 6:19 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. If I just had a better house, car, clothes, ….

Performance-The world tells us we will be satisfied if we perform better than others. If we are productive and have an important position…this will satisfy us.

Appearance-The world conditions us that if we stay beautiful and youthful…this will satisfy us. Think about this…if a beautiful woman receives praise all her life for her beauty, she will be devastated when she begins to age and her wrinkles come…when she loses the praise of others, she loses her satisfaction with herself.

God’s Word has the power to transform our mind and bring to light any darkness that is in our hearts. By reading and meditating on His Word, it develops our faith and personal holiness and helps us learn to see where Satan has placed lies in our minds.

5. We mirror the image of Christ in how we handle our trials. We all face different issues, struggle with sin, and past hurts of varying degrees. Satan wants to use these things to hinder our ability to live the life God desires for us. The world is watching us.

God tells us not to think it strange when we experience trials. He will allow these trials in our lives to conform us to His image. Why:
• To prepare us so that we may be able to comfort others.
• To prepare us for future service…Joseph Genesis 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
• To give us a bigger view of God. Job 42:5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.
• To build our faith. My faith continues to grow as I look back at the ways God has answered my prayers and how He has worked in the life of our family.
• To purify our walk. There are times that you get so burdened down with daily duties that you begin to serve the Lord out of routine and not a true love for Him. It’s usually during those times that God has to send something into our lives to help purify our walk with Him. He helps us to refocus on Him and His purpose for our lives. Psalm 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.
• To remove any pride or boasting. I think there is a tendency in all of us at times to think too highly of ourselves. Human nature sometimes causes us to assume the worst in others and the best in ourselves. God has to send things into our lives to help remove pride or boasting so that we may be more useful to Him. II Corin. 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
• To prove our real love for the Lord to Satan. I don’t really understand it, but Satan has access to heaven and the very throne of God. (Job 1:7) Satan reminds God about all of our failures. He says, “Look at Your saints; see what hypocrites they are. Judge them!” But Praise the Lord, Jesus stands at the Father’s right hand to intercede for us.” Ps. 17:3 Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.

The Reflection in This Mirror

The reflection in this mirror…is that really me?
Or is it an image of what I want you to see?
The reflection in this mirror…shows me as a wife and a mother…
But there have been some days…I would just like to be another.
The reflection in this mirror…at times leaves my image distorted.
Have my failures and successes really been accurately reported?
The reflection in this mirror…is that really me?
In the chamber of my heart…what do I really want to see?
The reflection in this mirror…this is what I want it to be…
Growing and changing into an image that is acceptable to Thee. Read the rest of this entry

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Reading the Bible

Unknown Riches
Many years ago an old man living in New Jersey discovered about $5,000 in a family Bible. The bank notes were scattered throughout the Book. In 1874, the aunt of this man died, and one clause of her will was as follows:

“To my beloved nephew, Steven Marsh, I bequeath my family Bible, and all it contain, with the residue of my estate after my funeral expenses and just and lawful debts are paid.”

The estate amounted to a few hundred dollars, which he soon spent. Because this nephew’s only support was a small pension from the Government, he lived in poverty for the next 35 years. That precious Bible with thousands of dollars in it, was always within his reach. He would pass it by and look at it, but not once did he pick it up to read it.

At the end of his life, while packing his trunk to move in with his son, he discovered the unknown riches. What thoughts of regret must have come to his mind. If he had only opened the Bible years ago, he then might have used the money to great advantage. Instead the treasure lay idle for 35 years.

Although this is a sad story, there is something sadder than this man’s experience. It is the neglect of reading the Bible by God’s people. Our God has given His people a costly treasure of His own Words. In the Bible, we find the riches of God’s Wisdom and Knowledge for life…yet these riches are unknown and unused by many.

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It Depends on How You Look at Your Circumstances

A man pulled into a gas station on the outskirts of town. As he filled his tank, he remarked to the attendant, “I’ve just accepted a job in town. I’ve never been in this part of the country. What are the people like?”

“What are the people like where you came from?” the attendant asked.

“Not so nice…in fact, they can be quite rude,” the man replied.
The attendant shook his head. “Well, I’m afraid you’ll find the people in this town the same way.”

Just then another car pulled into the station. “Excuse me,” the driver called out. “I’m just moving to this area. Is it nice here?”
“Was it nice where you came from?” the attendant inquired.

“Oh, yes! I came from a great place. The people were friendly, and I hated to leave.”

“Well, you’ll find the same to be true of this town.”

“Thanks!” yelled the driver as he pulled away.

“So what is this town really like?” asked the first man, now irritated with the attendant’s conflicting reports.

The attendant just shrugged his shoulders. “It’s all a matter of perception. You’ll find things to be just the way you think they are.”

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Why People Don’t Give to Missions?

Ladies, I will speaking at a Faith Promise Conference next week. Here’s a devotion I have prepared. I hope it is a blessing for you, and you might be able to use it in your church.

Fifty two years ago my husband and I began tithing. We learned that tithing meant giving the first ten percent of our gross resources back to God. We understood that according to the Bible, our first fruits, the tithe (ten percent), was the amount that we gave directly to the Lord to acknowledge His ownership and stewardship over our lives.

Through the years, as we listened to pastors and teachers teach principles of good stewardship, we began to understand that everything we own belongs to God, and we are to be faithful stewards of everything He gives us.

A few years after we were saved, we attended our first Faith Promise Conference. As baby Christians, we made our first Faith Promise commitment of $5.00 a week. We understood that our Faith Promise Offering was not part of our tithe, but this was to be an amount above our tithes. Every year since that first conference, we have increased our Faith Promise commitments. Several years ago, we struggled with the amount that we should be giving to missions. We both prayed about it, and the Lord gave us peace about giving a designated amount for each year that we have been saved.

Many Christians fail to see God miraculously provide for them because they have never been taught the spiritual disciplines of living by faith and being good stewards of all their resources.

Today one of the great sins of American Christians is consumerism. While others around the world are dying without Christ, Americans are buying things they want, but they do not need. People will cut corners in order to get the best house, the biggest toy or the fullest bank account. Christians who joyfully tithe and give sacrificial offerings are very rare today.

Isaiah had some convicting things for me to hear. Although the following scripture is directed specifically at the women of Israel, it can also apply to us today.

Isaiah 3:16-26 Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet: Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts. In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon, The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers, The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings, The rings, and nose jewels, The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails. And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty. Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war. And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground.

These women were more concerned about their…earrings, bracelets, veils, tiaras, head dresses, anklets, sashes, shawls, perfume bottles, charms, signet rings, nose rings, fine robes, capes, cloaks, purses, mirrors, and linen garments…than about their God.

God told them, “Because you are concerned about these things, I will send diseases as punishment for your pride and lewdness”.

Could He be telling us, “I am sending poverty and distress to you because you care more about your clothes, your shoes, your purses, and your jewelry than you care about Me?”

There are many reasons that people don’t give to missions today. If you look at statistics, people spend more money on fast food, tobacco products, candy, pets, toys, games, entertainment, cable bills, movies, movie rental, and cell phones than they do giving to missions.

What are some of the reasons Christian fail to give to Missions?

1. They don’t realize how important it is to their faithfulness in Christian walk.
2. They don’t realize that it’s a blessing to give and delivers them from selfishness.
3. They don’t realize how essential it is to their happiness and holiness.
4. They believe that all they have belongs to themselves. They earned it. They worked hard, studied hard in school and applied themselves in order to prosper. What they fail to realize is that God gave them the power to make wealth, the brains to learn, the training and motivation to work hard. (Duet 8:17-18)
5. They have a lack of faith and think they can’t afford to give.
6. They really don’t love the Lord! You can tell how much someone is loved by how much someone else is willing to spend on them.

Of course, we should never give out of guilt, but we should give by grace. Giving hearts start when we comprehend how much Jesus loved us. He traded heaven and its glorious perfection for this earth, confined to a human body to experience a painful crucifixion. Only when we fully understand this fact will our hearts be changed into giving hearts. Truly grace will motivate our giving.

When the Macedonians Christians heard about a need, their thinking was so saturated with the thought of Christ becoming poor for them that they desperately pleaded for the privilege to give.

God has implanted in every believer a desire to give. Some respond and some don’t. Some are afraid to give because they are afraid they won’t have enough…afraid they will have to give up something that they enjoy.

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