Friday, February 25, 2011

A Measure for Giving

“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly,

and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give

what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion,

for God loves a cheerful giver.”

2 Corinthians 9:6-7 NIV

God looks down on His children and smiles when they give aid and assistance to those who need help. A family friend owns her own business, a hair salon. She recently expanded its services. During an open house she arranged with a local charity to collect older hair appliances from clients to supply the charity with those devices to help the charity’s focus group to have a better self image.

Our friend’s sister-in-law works for a dentist. That dentist donated small toothbrushes and toothpaste to the charity. Oh, just so you know, the dentist and the hair salon are located in different parts of our county.

The nonprofit ministry I work in has sponsors for half of the children in their focus group. Each sponsor is asked to provide school supplies and a Christmas present to their sponsored child.

Several churches in our town have food pantries, most stocked by donations from their congregations. A north-side church near us sends me their newsletter. That church collects canned goods for a smaller church on the west side of town.

A few years ago, one of our relatives had a fire in her home. They lost everything. My sister-in-law called me to see if I could help gather items for them. Not long before this, our school system adopted a school uniform code. I made one phone call and received school uniforms for the daughter. These came from a lady at our church who had a girl just a bit older than the girl in need. The founder of the ministry I work with brought me book bags with school supplies for the younger two children. This lady was settling her late uncle’s estate and also brought me dishes and pots and pans for our extended family members.

One of the elderly women of the church handed me some money. We were going down to see our friends in the southern part of the state. There is an outlet mall in that county. I took the donation and added to it and purchased kitchen towels and potholders and oven mitts for the mother.

The scripture tells us God loves a cheerful giver. In each of the stories I have shared, God has blessed each of those who have extended mercy to those who were hurting and in need.

I’m certain each one of you can recall others who have reached out to comfort ones who have benefited from mercy at a time in their lives when they were hurting.

Monday, February 21, 2011

God’s Love Seen in Us

“We know we have come to know him if we obey his commands. . . .

if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him.

This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as

Jesus did.” 1 John 2:3, 5-6 (NIV)

John tells us our knowing God is a result of our obedience to His commands and if we live like He tells us to.

How can we do these things in the 21st Century? We can study the scriptures to learn what God desires for our lives. Our prayer life can focus on what He has for us each day.

As we study God’s word, we should apply His messages to our lives. We should also turn over what we learn to Him in prayer, giving thanks for what he has taught us and seeking His guidance for what we need to incorporate into our lives in order to become more like Him.

A dear friend of mine used to say, “Jesus Christ makes a difference in our lives.” She continued with this thought, “That difference should be evident to those around us.” We are to let Christ’s love permeate our hearts and minds, letting that love fill us and be apparent to those we meet.

One of the nicest things a child of God can hear from someone he or she meets is to be asked, “You’re a Christian, aren’t you?”

We should all strive to display signs in our actions that would cause an observer to ask that question of us. We can display God to others only if we have His love in our hearts.

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...