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Tuesday, November 29, 2022
"A Cheerful Giver"
Message summary: Today we consider the many ministries that have blessed us and a consideration of what the Bible says about giving. May God help and guide us all in regard to our stewardship of what He has entrusted to us.
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"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided (purposed) in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work" (2 Corinthians 9:6-8).
John Stonestreet and Kasey Leander write,
"Most Americans barely sit down to Thanksgiving dinner before Elvis, Santa, and Mariah Carey invade their lives. Then comes the corporate fever dream known as "Black Friday", followed by its digital sequel, "Cyber Monday" (did you get a lot of emails on this yesterday?) There was also "Small Business Saturday" this last Saturday!
In all that time, there is precious little room left to be thankful as citizens of the wealthiest nation, or consider how to give back in light of that reality. Another tradition, however, offers the opportunity to buck the trend. Falling on November 29 this year, Giving Tuesday is a chance to celebrate the abundance so many enjoy and pass it along to others.
Christians have an even deeper legacy of giving, and a more powerful motivation to give. God generously created the world, generously blesses it with His presence, and generously, in Christ, gave Himself for us."
Today we are thankful for the many ministries that have impacted our lives, some going back to our earliest days as Christ-followers.
Our daily text is an appeal from Paul.
We are to:
1) Give generously "Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously". He first gives a principle of giving drawing from nature. Giving works like planting! Sow sparingly, reap sparingly; sow generously, reap generously. Not only farmers know this but home gardeners as well. When a farmer sows seed in his field, it looks like he’s throwing it away. It seems to be lost, but it isn’t really gone. In due time he gets it back—with much more besides.
2) Give purposefully "Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion". Deciding which ministry to give your donations and deciding how much is a personal decision made within our hearts. Since we can't realistically support all ministries we need to seek God's guidance. It is not to be "reluctantly" (faulty obligation from within) or "under compulsion" (faulty obligation from without).
3) Give cheerfully "for God loves a cheerful giver". Likely the most familiar verse in the Bible is John 3:16 which gloriously declares "For God so loved the world". But this is the only verse in the Bible that specifies an act that "God loves". "God loves a cheerful giver!" The word cheerful denotes a happy, glad or cheerful state of mind.
God's promise: "And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work".
May God help and guide us all in regard to our stewardship of what He has entrusted to us and our giving.
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, Your biblical law is so encouraging to the believer, that if we sow generously we will also reap generously. We can never, ever out-give You who abundantly supplies all our needs and generously provides for our many wants as well. As we abound in giving may we also abound in every good work always giving glory to the One who makes it all possible. The truest form of worship we can offer is to give of our time, our heart, our energies, and our resources and our intercessory prayer for those who are in need. Help us to do it cheerfully and faithfully we pray. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"For God So Loved" Video Brian Free and Assurance
Discernment note: For many years Lancaster County, where we live, has had a county-wide day of giving that we have joyfully participated in previous years. It was an exciting day to see so many people giving and a huge amount was raised on a single day. Many organizations participated as recipients (over 500 in 2021 when nearly $16,000,000 was raised from nearly 31,000 donors).
On this day of giving recipients were both Christian and non-Christian organizations, including causes we would never support, such as LGBT+ causes and Planned Parenthood. But it never occurred to me to demand they be removed from the platform. I understood it was a community wide effort including all types of organizations. Donors were free to support whatever cause they chose.
This year LGBT+ activists made new demands on what constitutes "discrimination" that the day of giving organization caved to and now require. Many Christian organizations could not agree to this and maintain their long held Biblical-based convictions so they dropped out of the program which was a very weighty decision as they have come to rely upon this day of giving for a sometimes significant portion their annual budget. Due to these changes and attempts to force LGBT+ we could no longer in good conscience give through this day of giving.
This year both the amount raised and donors dropped significantly on this day of giving and we believe it to be in large part indicative of the loss of support among many Christians. It is our "purposeful" decision this year to give directly to organizations and ministries both local and world-wide that have stayed faithful to the Bible regarding sexual morality and we will be supporting them this "Giving Tuesday".
A word of caution to all: Be careful that legacy organizations such as your denomination, colleges and older ministries that you have supported have remained true to the Bible and the faith once for all entrusted to the saints (Jude 3). Many older mainline type Christian denominations which once held true to the Bible are now apostate. Harvard was at one time a Christian college holding Biblical standards! I noticed a previously Christian ministry (still has Christian in their name) has gone all in with the woke craziness. We are saddened to see so many denominations, colleges and legacy organizations lose their way in our own time, approving of and supporting what their founders and generations of supporters would have never approved or supported.
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Stephen & Brooksyne
Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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