When riches look tempting, don’t look

cast but a glance at riches and they are gone

Daily Spirit & Word: 810:

Don’t Even Look At The Glittering Gold.

Proverbs 23:5 (NIV)  Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

 

Good morning my friends, we had a wonderful PCC (Church Council) meeting last night. Among the many things we discussed was the prospect of having an Mobile Mast inside our roof structure. Some suggested it might not be a good thing because of access to the internet and all the horrible stuff that people can do with that. Others felt that it might be a good source of much needed income for the church. And that nearly everyone in the church had a mobile phone anyway. We know that in this part of London mobile phone reception is limited. It’s amazing that there are still black-spots even today. So in a small way we might be doing a service to those who live and work in our community.

What should we do?

Well, yesterday I was praying about what I should share from God’s Word before the meeting, and this verse was the first verse I turned to in the Bible: Proverbs 23:5 (NIV)  “Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.” But it was only at the end of the meeting, whilst praying, that I remembered the Word of the LORD.

It might be tempting to go with something because it carries a big pay-off. However, we should not let the REWARD influence our decision. We’ve reached the end of the year financially and we’re able to carry over a small surplus, and that’s without anything from the MOBILE MAST company.

However, it might also be an answer to prayer, because we’ve got some BIG ideas that we’ve laid before the LORD for our Mission and Buildings and we’ve asked that He provide the resources for that. It seems strange that just after we prayed, the approach was made by the Mobile Mast company. 🙂

So we’re left wondering:

  • Is it PROVISION from the LORD?
  • Or is it a TEST to see if we’ll look to riches? 

It would be so tempting to think only of the revenue we’d receive.

It must be then, that we PRAY and MEDITATE and seek the LORD’S guidance. We’ll ask for His will, for His confirmation and His leading in this matter.

I’ve known the Lord’s guidance in the past; He really does want us to know His will. So I know He’ll show us the way:

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
6  in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

But How Does the LORD Guide Us?

  • Through His Word,
  • Through Prayer,
  • Through Circumstantial Signs,
  • Through Words of Knowledge,
  • Through Dreams and Visions,
  • Through the Counsel of the Saints,

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, we’ve got a decision to make, we don’t want to just look at the reward, but it does seem like a timely approach. Please guide us as we deliberate, show us the way Father. You’ve shown us the way before, we ask that You will do it again, so that we are sure. Help us as we think about the future mission of our small part of Your body, the church. Through Your Son, The Lord Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

I’ve know a Pastor who was offered a staggering sum of money for his church, they really needed that money, but the LORD told him not to accept it. It was being offered as a gift, but he felt a bit uneasy. All he got was, “This money comes with strings attached”, those strings could pull them away from the LORD. So after he turned down the very tempting offer, it was weird, because more money came in from other sources.

Now I’m thinking about what Jesus said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer”…

Be blessed and stay close to the LORD today,

Don.

 

How To Avoid Being A Shrewd Steward

How to avoid shrewd stewardship

Daily Spirit & Word: 778: How to AVOID Being Shrewd Steward.

Don’t Let Money Be Your Master.

Luke 16:8 (NIV) “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light.”

Good morning my friends. You know the feeling you get when someone says something about you, behind your back, but somehow you get to hear about it? It feels horrible to think that people are thinking negatively about you. Well I had that a few years ago, and I didn’t realise that it had stuck with me. At the time I ignored it, but it got under my skin and into the core of my being. That’s the way RESENTMENTS build within us. What was it that someone said? They said, “Donald doesn’t understand money”… I can tell you now, honestly, that hurt. However, it’s not true. I do understand money, I just don’t want to be controlled by it. The LORD has set me FREE from care or worry about MONEY. Praise HIM for that. So I’m sure the LORD is right, the people of this world are more shrewd regarding worldly wealth than I am, but I don’t care, because the LORD owns the Universe and He’ll give me what I need, when I need it, right on time, every time. Trust the LORD with your finances and He’ll take care of the rest. Render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God. When you do, He’ll OPEN the floodgates of Heaven into your life.

In Luke 16:10 right in the middle of the parable of the Shrewd Steward (Manager of the household).

Luke 16:10 (NIV) “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”

As many of you know by now, I’m a bit of a wordsmith, I love looking into the meanings of words. Sometimes I’m surprised by my investigations, take the word ‘shrewd’ as an example. We probably all think we know what shrewd means, right? But when we think about it in light of this Parable in the Bible, we’ll see that being a ‘shrewd’ person is far from a praiseworthy accolade, because shrewdness is being totally self-serving rather than serving God or others.

Shrewd:  1. Marked by practical hardheaded intelligence. 2. Serving one’s own interests in an unemotional, analytical manner.

Other words that can be used (synonyms); astute, calculating, calculative, conniving, savvy, scheming, sharp, smart.

Shrewdness: Intelligence manifested by being astute (as in business dealings).

Here’s one I uncovered: perspicaciousness. Perspicacious: 1. Acutely insightful and wise. 2. Mentally acute or penetratingly discerning.

Shrewd Steward:

You’ll know the Parable and what Jesus said about the Steward (Manager of the Master’s Household).

Luke 16:8 (NIV) “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light.”

The Manager (Steward) was about to loose his job because he was not a good manager (Steward) of the Master’s household. Instead of working harder to serve the Master better, he began to serve himself (shrewdness), he made friends of the people who owed his master money by letting them off the hook and taking only a fraction of what they owed and giving it to the master. He cooked the books in order to feather a nest for himself when he eventually lost his job.

Each transaction amounted to very little, but when all calculated together, the Master would have a massive shortfall. However, the SHREWD STEWARD would be seen to be a ‘nice’ man in the eyes of those who’d been helped out of debt.

We also know that the STEWARDS Jesus was aiming this Parable at, like a bolt in a crossbow, were the Pharisees. They were the Stewards in charge of God’s Household (The Temple and the People of Israel), but they were NOT being good stewards. They valued wealth, riches, rich people were given preference, they showed favouritism to the rich, they were feathering their own nests, rather than leading all of the people back to God and to Godly ways of living. Jesus had very stern words for them at the end of this Parable.

Luke 16:13-15 (NIV)
13  “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
14  The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus.
15  He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.

The Pharisees were being very SHREWD: calculating, cunning and crafty in their dealings with men. However, they didn’t give the Master (God) a second of thought. So Jesus is warning them at this point, they are the SHREWD STEWARDS (Household Managers) who are about to loose their positions of trust.

My friends, money is not evil, but your money, what you own and possess is a TEST or a GAUGE of your FAITHFULNESS to God.

When I served on a submarine, we’d have gauges for all kinds of things, some to measure pressure, some to indicate levels in tanks. The water tanks and fuel tanks needed to be monitored and kept watch over at all times.  Just one glance at a gauge and you’d know the level of the liquid inside the tanks.

In your life God uses the wealth and MONEY He’s given to you to GAUGE your level of faithfulness, commitment or spirituality.

You might declare “I’m not interested in money” (So God can’t accuse me of being an unjust Steward or a Shrewd Manager).

Well here’s a shocker for you, God IS INTERESTED in how you use your money.

You cannot SERVE BOTH: God and Money.

Why? Because your are going to LOVE the one and hate the other.

  • If you love money, then it’s like hatred towards God.
  • If you love God, then it’s like hatred towards Money.

So your Heavenly Father God will use whatever MONEY you’ve been entrusted with as a GAUGE to monitor your faithfulness to HIM (The Master).

When God looks at how you’ve used your money, will He see a FULL or EMPTY indicator?

Remember you cannot serve BOTH… i.e. there’s no in-between measurement. It’s either FULL ON for God or Empty.

If your trusting in God with your finances, then you are going to LOVE God’s ways of dealing with money and you’ll hate the worlds ways. You’ll be set free from worry about money. You’ll use money to serve God’s purposes in your life and wait for it, God Himself has promised to OPEN up the floodgates of Heaven into your life. If you bring into His storehouse what belongs to Him.

What’s God asking for?

It all belongs to HIM anyway, but He’s trusting you with it all: 100% Trust. Now He asks for you to give back to Him a portion of what He’s given you. That’s the TRUST element. He asks for a starting proportion of only 10%, then He’ll also move you to give generously to others and bring even more gifts to offer to Him. This is KINGDOM FINANCES and when you trust God with all your money, He’s going to set your completely FREE from worry, fears, temptations etc.

So, my advice would be:

  • STOP trusting in MONEY,
  • START trusting in God.

You know when you begin to really trust in God financially, you are going to be so on fire with LOVE for Him and for all His Kingdom priorities and values. God reveals His secrets to those who love HIM. You finances are God’s GAUGE to measure how much you really love and trust Him.

Jesus said so much about money, He spoke much more about money than He did; Heaven, Healing or Hell. Why? Because Jesus knew how this world ticks over every single day. He knows you think you need money to survive, but He’s got all the resources you’ll ever need, much more than you can even imagine, if you’ll just trust in HIM.

When GIVING is Tough: Kingdom Freedom Finances.

Mark 12:41-44 (NIV)
41  Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts.
42  But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.
43  Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.
44  They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

If you are feeling strapped for cash at this moment in your life, believe me I’ve been there. It’s really, really hard to trust the LORD when you’ve got five kids to look after and you’ve just taken a pay cut from £25,000 a year to less than £12,000 and still try to give every week to God. For the first few years of ministry, serving the LORD, I struggled financially too. Then one day, through tears and crying out to the LORD a little miracle happened in my life. I’d started resenting the LORD, but He’s just so good, so kind, so generous and faithful. It took me to my knees to really cry out to Him.

If it looks bleak for you at this moment in time, financially, know this my friends, TRUST the LORD financially, keep giving to Him and He will suddenly open the floodgates into your life in ways you can’t imagine. Think about how much the poor widow really trusted the LORD with her finances, she put into the offering all she had to live on. ALL SHE HAD! That’s 100% giving to the LORD. That’s TRUST. However, the LORD isn’t asking for 100% from you to start with, not 50%, not 20%, but He’s only asking for just 10%… That’s awesome! That’s Kingdom Freedom Finances. All I can say is try it! You’ll see! He’ll set you free.

HOW TO GIVE TO THE LORD!

Bring in your 10% to start with into your local church to which you belong and you are a committed member. It’s not the church you are giving to, it’s God. Don’t give it to charity outside the church (this kind of charitable giving (offerings) is in addition to your Christian committed giving to the LORD’S family in the local church).

Some people say, “Oh I don’t give 10% to my church because I give to charities as well”… Well my friends, you are robbing God. You don’t get your shopping at ASDA and pay TESCO do you? You don’t go to Morrisons and pay in Sainsburry’s do you? No! You pay where you get your shopping. My friends, your local church is where the LORD feeds you with God’s Word, Worship, Fellowship, Teaching, Evangelism, Kingdom Family Friendships and Ministry: Bring in the whole TITHE into the storehouse of God’s Kingdom Family. You giving to your local church is a TEST (Gauge) of your trust and commitment to the LORD. How much do you love the LORD? It will be shown by how much you give to your church.

Malachi 3:6-12 (NIV) KINGDOM GIVING (Tithes and Offerings).
6  “I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.
7  Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty. “But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’
8  “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings.
9  You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me.
10  Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.
11  I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the LORD Almighty.
12  “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.

YOUR MONEY: From God, is His GAUGE of your LOVE, TRUST and FAITHFULNESS to HIM.

Don’t be a Shrewd Steward of what the LORD has trusted you with.

Are you feeling a bit dry ‘Spiritually’, then how’s your giving going? Are you holding back on God? Review your GIVING to the LORD today! Get on fire for Jesus.

Be one who LOVES and SERVES ONLY the LORD!

Jesus is the TRUTH: Know the Truth and the Truth will set you FREE.

Have an awesome week with Jesus,

Don.

 

How To Find Contentment

The Deceitfulness of Wealth

Daily Spirit & Word: 706: How To Find Contentment

Why Doesn’t God Just Make Every Christian Rich?

What was the outcome of The Chancellor’s Budget? George Osborne has achieved so much, but only because so many of the poor in our land have suffered and paid for the rich to become even richer and the poor to become even more poor. It’s the weakest and poorest who have suffered most from yesterday’s budget. Because Osborne’s promising to CUT Benefits AGAIN. What would happen if George Osborne gave everyone a bag of gold today?


BAG OF GOLD

Good morning my friends, Can you imagine what life would be like if everyone had more than enough? If you woke up in the morning, walked to the front door of your house and there on the doorstep was a huge bag of gold. In that bag there was more than enough gold for the day, too much for your own needs. What could you do with all that extra gold?

Why Doesn’t God Do That?

It’s simple really, after a while we’d be worshipping the Gold rather than the Giver of the gold. Gold would become our god.

I remember taking my son into the City Centre of Plymouth. I didn’t tell him, but I was going to get him the Newest Game Machine: I went straight into his favourite shop and bought him the latest Game Machine. He said, “Who’s that for dad?” I said, “It’s for you son” He was over the moon, he said, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll do whatever you want, I’ll be the best from now on”… After a few weeks I called up to him, “Joe can you do the dishes today?” No answer, I went upstairs and he was playing on his game machine, I repeated my request, he said, “Get Steph to do them, I did them last week”… He didn’t even take his eyes off the game machine… I walked over and turned it off, then I had his full attention… He was so angry… I said, “Do you remember what you promised when I got you that game?” He’d forgotten that the game was a gift, a gift without any strings, but a gift that made him PROMISE to do for me whatever I asked. It didn’t take very long for the gift to take over from his affection from me to his machine. He loved that machine and the joy that it gave him more than he loved doing what I wanted him to do.

He had fallen so in love with the gift that the gift-giver didn’t get a second thought anymore.

My friends, that’s what this whole earth is like, most people live their lives as if there isn’t even a giver of life.

He’s given us such a wonderful world to live in,

He’s given us food and shelter and employment,

He’s given us friends and family and people to love,

However, we live out our lives as if the Giver of Life doesn’t even exist.

There’s a very good reason God doesn’t leave bags of gold on your doorstep every day.

“We LIVE as though the GIVER of LIFE doesn’t even exist”.


Proverbs 30:7-9 (NIV)
7  “Two things I ask of you, O LORD; do not refuse me before I die:
8  Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.
9  Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonour the name of my God.


TWO THINGS: (Before He Died).

What TWO THINGS did the Wise Man ask for?

  • That He would be honest.
  • That He would have enough: Not too much & Not too little.

Why?

  • LIFE WITH NOT ENOUGH: Because He knew that if he had too little to live on, then he become dishonest and may need to steal.
  • LIFE WITH TOO MUCH: Most importantly, if he would have TOO MUCH, then he’d never recognise his need of God. He could be completely independent of God.

Give me neither:

  • Poverty: Too little that I might need to become dishonest.
  • Riches: Too much, that I might be tempted to think I don’t need God at all.

Sometimes we’re TEMPTED to want more than we need. Have you ever wished to win the lottery? Imagine untold Millions of £… £££££££££.

What would your life become if you had exceedingly great riches?

Sometimes we DREAM: Oh life would be so much better if I had ….. What do we DREAM life could become with Millions of £…£££££££££?

CONTENTMENT:

Listen as you READ God’s Word aloud now:

1 Timothy 6:3-10 (NIV)
3  If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4  he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5  and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
6  But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
8  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
9  People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.
10  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

GREAT FOR CHRISTIANS

What is GREAT for Followers of The Living Lord Jesus Christ today?

“Godliness with Contentment IS Great Gain”…

“The LOVE of Money is a root of all kinds of evil.”

If we are eager for money, if we love a bag of Gold on our doorstep every day, we’d wander from the faith, walk away from the Lord and be pierced with many different kinds of grief.

 

In other words, if God gave us too much, then we’d soon regret it.

However, the LORD promises, that when we’re ready to be TRUSTED, He will OPEN UP the Floodgates of Heaven.

How’s your giving going?

How’s your generosity towards the poor?

How’s your investing in God’s Kingdom going?

How’s your storing up treasures in Heaven?

With every EXTRA PENNY He entrusts us with, He expects us to INVEST IT in His Eternal Reward Scheme.

So many Christians are simply storing up the EXTRA for themselves.

Instead, Invest in Heaven my friends. Give it to the poor, then TRUST God to provide even more again. When you are trustworthy with the LITTLE He’s giving you, then He’ll give you even more.


THANKSGIVING & PRAISE

Be thankful for what the Lord has given you today.

Praise Him in Songs of Joy!

Say to Him, “Thank you so much Father”.

Say to Him, “Thank You Father for your provision of what I need”…

“If I have food and clothing, I will be content with that”

Will I really be content with so little?

Will I really be content with so much?

SATISFACTION: I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen how the rich people in this world never seem to find true contentment, because they are on a continual quest to have even more. There doesn’t seem to be a time in their life when enough is enough… The TRAP of riches is that it promises so much, but delivers so little. It will never bring true satisfaction in life, it’s empty, it’s like trying to drink out of an empty glass in the desert. When we desire riches we rob ourselves of our relationship with the Lord. He wants us to come to Him every single day. He longs for our friendship and to give us what we need.

God has promised to provide for our needs, not our greeds.

Proverbs 3:5-10 (NIV)
5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
6  in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
7  Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.
8  This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.
9  Honour the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;
10  then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.

Get rich Quick:

There are so many “Get Rich Quick” Schemes out there. They all PROMISE so much.

Christian DON’T BE FOOLED: The LOVE of Money is TRAP: Don’t fall into it.

Have an awesome day with Jesus.

Trust Him to provide for all your needs in life. One day at a time with Jesus. Invest in Eternity, then you will find Contentment.

Don.

SEE ALSO: “The Dangers of Wealth” What happens when we begin to desire to be rich?

More Links to CONTENTMENT IN GOD’S WORD.

 

Relax, Work Less, Enjoy Life to the Full.

Working Less, Overwork makes you dull

Daily Spirit & Word: 553: The Importance of Relaxation and Enjoyment of Life.

“Relax, Work Less, Enjoy Life to the Full.”

Good Saturday morning my friends. Growing up in the 1960s and 70s Saturday’s were always good times of family fun and relaxation. Saturday was family day; time to be fixing the car, riding bikes, going to the club and having a dance; well that’s what my parents did 🙂 When we had the time, we took our kids to the beach, woods, rivers, parks, picking blackberries, picking flowers and making swings over the rivers. Saturdays were for FUN and FAMILY.

It’s wise advice to have some FUN sometimes; You know the saying we had in the Royal Navy, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” Jack was a slang term for a Sailor (Jack-Tar). People need to work less and live more.

It is for FREEDOM:

Galatians 5:1 1  It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Overwork makes a man and woman miserable: Mother’s get all flustered and upset. Dad’s get tetchy; so take time OFF and enjoy and live the life that Jesus died to give you.

Remember Solomon’s Wisdom:

Proverbs 23:4-5 4  Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint.
5  Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

Worrying only about money will NOT make you happy.

Nobody is ever going to say when they reach retirement age (75) and say, “I wish I’d spent just a little more time at the office instead of playing with my kids and grandkids” NO! No! No!… We’ll be wishing we’d had a little more fun along the way. So often people work towards retirement, and exhaust their bodies so much that by the time ‘retirement’ comes along, they’re totally; knackered, worn-out, dog-tired, washed-out, spent, fatigued, fagged, run-down, sapped of energy, dried-up and depleted.

Now you KNOW that Jesus doesn’t want His followers to be like that, so take some time OFF your hard-pressed life, strive a little less, enjoy life, you only get one shot at life, enjoy the kids, play more, work less, have a few less things and enjoy the daisies. Watch the clouds, look at the stars, enjoy a BBQ with the neighbours, whatever……………………… (You fill in the blank).

John 10:10 10  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Don’t let OVER-WORK steal your life, your joy or your happiness: Work is NOT the be-all and end-all of life. LIFE is to be lived to the full with Jesus and family and friends.

Have an awesome Saturday.

NOW: Share your FAITH the way Jesus would:

Saturday’s ARE for FUN.

Stay Blessed and Strong In Jesus.

Don.

 

The Poor Widow’s Generosity

She gave all she had to live on

Daily Spirit & Word: 537: The Poor Widow’s Generosity.

A Measure Of Your Love

Good morning my friends. Have you ever come across someone who’s got a really generous heart? Someone who just loves to give? Someone who’s biggest thrill in life is to see other people happy?

It’s been my privilege in life to have met so many wonderful people like that, both Christians and non-Christians. Sometimes it’s the non-believers who put us to shame in the way they are just so giving. I’ve met people who don’t even know the Lord Jesus, but who’s hearts seem to have been touched by Heaven.

Mark 12:41-44 “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42  But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. 43  Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44  They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

“She Put In EVERYTHING; All She Had To Live On”

Jesus Is Watching:

My first thought from this passage is; Jesus was watching: He’s sitting down looking at the crowds of people and watching what they are doing with their money. Then the Bible tells us about the Rich and the Poor and the amount that they give and how much they give reveals the condition of their hearts. It’s like Jesus is sitting and observing, measuring the level of their love for the Lord.

Jesus is watching us too my friends, everything we do is noticed by our Lord Jesus is Heaven. Not only does Jesus notice what we do, but what it is that’s motivating us. Jesus sees the motivations of our hearts. He knows why we do what we do.

So who did Jesus take note of that day in Jerusalem at the Temple Treasury?

Jesus Noticed The Rich:

They Put In LARGE amounts of money: It’s always impressive when you hear in the News about some very wealthy person giving an enormous donation to charity or even being overly generous to an individual. It touches the heart to see how people like Bill Gates from Microsoft (One of the world’s richest people) gives so generously. I’ve heard rumours that he gives away as much as he can, most often he gives secretly. But what did Jesus notice about the rich in Jerusalem that day? He noted that they “gave out of their wealth”, i.e. they could easily afford what they were throwing in. It wasn’t a real sacrifice, it didn’t affect their life of comfort, the amount they gave had no real or lasting impact upon what they could buy for themselves.

Jesus Notices The Poor Widow:

This poor widow put in only two very small coins, a fraction of a penny. Do you remember when we had coins that were smaller than 1p (One Pence)? When I was a boy growing up in Edinburgh, we used the old currency; Pounds, Shillings and Pence. My pocket money on a Saturday was a thruppence = 3 pence. It was a thruppeny bit.

To help you understand OLD MONEY and How much the poor widow had put into the temple treasury.

  • 2 farthings = 1 halfpenny
    2 halfpence = 1 penny (1d)
    3 pence = 1 thruppence (3d)
    6 pence = 1 sixpence (a ‘tanner’) (6d)
    12 pence = 1 shilling (a bob) (1s)
    2 shillings = 1 florin ( a ‘two bob bit’) (2s)
    2 shillings and 6 pence = 1 half crown (2s 6d)
    5 shillings = 1 Crown (5s)

Jesus noticed that the widow woman put in two very small coins: probably the equivalent value of two farthings. We don’t have very small coins these days, coins below the value of 1p (One Pence). So the amount in monetary value was so small as to be insignificant, yet Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.”

WOWzer! What’s Jesus like? He sees the HEART. He knew that she had given ALL she had. Why? Why would someone put everything they had to live on into the Temple treasury? She was being generous towards the work of the Lord.

The Temple:

Was God’s Holy Place on Earth. To the Jewish people it was the beating-heart of their religion. It was the place they’d come to worship the LORD, but in those days women were not allowed into the Temple, they had to stay outside in the Court of the Women. But there were twelve offering trumpets where money could be deposited, they were called trumpets because of their shape and the noise they made when money was thrown into them. The money given was to maintain the Temple workers, the Priests: and the upkeep of the Temple. So being generous towards the on-going work of the Lord was considered something every good Jew would do.

William Barkley said about Giving in Generosity:

(i) Real giving must be sacrificial. The amount of the gift never matters so much as its cost to the giver, not the size of the gift, but the sacrifice. Real generosity gives until it hurts. For many of us it is a real question if ever our giving to God’s work is any sacrifice at all. Few people will do without their pleasures to give a little more to the work of God. It may well be a sign of the decadence of the church and the failure of our Christianity that gifts have to be coaxed out of church people, and that often they will not give at all unless they get something back in the way of entertainment or of goods. There can, be few of us who read this story without shame. Barclay’s Daily Study Bible (NT).

(ii) Real giving has a certain recklessness in it. The woman might have kept one coin. It would not have been much but it would have been something, yet she gave everything she had. There is a great symbolic truth here. It is our tragedy that there is so often some part of our lives, some part of our activities, some part of ourselves which we do not give to Christ. Somehow there is nearly always something we hold back. We rarely make the final sacrifice and the final surrender.

(iii) Heaven Regards The Small Things: It is a strange and lovely thing that the person whom the New Testament and Jesus hand down to history as a pattern of generosity was a person who gave a gift of half a farthing. We may feel that we have not much in the way of material gifts or personal gifts to give to Christ, but, if we put all that we have and are at his disposal, he can do things with it and with us that are beyond our imaginings.

Our Greatest Example of Generous Giving:

Is the Lord Jesus Christ: He didn’t hold back, He gave His ALL so that we could benefit from His death:

1 Peter 2:24 (NIV) “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Jesus is ideal and wonderful, but you Christians – you are not like him.”

Let us prove Mahatma Gandhi wrong today:

God’s WORD for us today:

Be Generous, Give to the work of the Lord through your local Church: 1) For the maintenance of the Ministers. 2) For the maintenance of the building. And 3) {most importantly} for the mission of the Church to reach out and save souls for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Give Sacrificially: It’s going to hurt you, the widow gave ALL she had to live upon. There was no welfare in those day, but she still gave all she had.

Give Willingly: Don’t leave it to the Minister of church leader to have to prize your offering out of your wallets.

How’s your heart towards the work of the Lord today?

Go on, surprise your church leaders this weekend and give so much to the work of the LORD that it will blow their socks off. That widow has gone down in history, think what the LORD will say about you in Heaven.

Generosity towards the Lord’s Work is a measure of our love for Him.

Every blessing for an AWESOME weekend my friends.

Don.

Notes:

He who sows sparingly:

Be Generous:

Generosity:

 

435 God LOVES a Cheerful Giver.

God Loves A Cheerful Giver
God Loves A Cheerful Giver

Daily Spirit & Word, 435: God LOVES A Cheerful Giver.

Getting Excited About Giving

God LOVES a Cheerful Giver.
Good morning Monday friends 🙂 Monday’s can be AWESOME with Jesus.
Did you know there is a very famous preacher buried in the graveyard right next to my Church, St Luke’s West Norwood, London? His name was Charles Haddon Spurgeon. He’s famous even a hundred years after his death, because he was faithful to the Lord’s call on his life. Christian tourists look for his grave every week. Here’s what he said once about our giving money to the Lord; “Earn all you can, save all you can, and then give all you can. Never try to save out of God’s cause; such money will canker the rest. Giving to God is no loss; it is putting your substance into the best bank.” Charles H. Spurgeon.
There are so many great passages in the Bible that address giving of our money to the Lord, but the one that speaks most to me, probably because it touches my own personality, is this;

Treasure In Heaven:

Matthew 6:19-24 19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
20  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22  “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.
23  But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.
If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
24  “No-one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other,
or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.
You cannot serve both God and Money.”
Verse 21 is the KEY for me: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
If we’re giving to God faithfully, then we know our TREASURE is SAFE for all eternity.
If we’re sowing sparingly and saving in our own banks here on earth, and if we’ve not been faithful in our giving to the LORD, but keeping some of the tithe back for ourselves, then it will ROT.
So I’m going to store my treasure in Heaven 🙂 Makes sense right?
There are other great passages concerned with giving too; for instance 2 Corinthians 8 and 9. But there is a little verse in 2 Corinthians 9 which sums it all up for me; God LOVES a Cheerful giver…
2 Corinthians 9:7 “You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”
We don’t give because the Preacher is Persuasive: We give because God’s LOVE is in our hearts and it’s a JOY to give back to HIM.
We don’t give reluctantly either, because we’re NOT being motivated by anything else, there is no ulterior motive for our joy filled, happy giving.
From 2 Corinthians 9:7 we can learn so much about giving:
Each one should give faithfully:
 The New King James Version says: “So let each one give.” We can take the words “each one” literally. Every Christian, I believe even children should be encouraged to give faithfully. Childhood is when we learn healthy patterns of living; and what’s healthier for a believer than to be giving? My own granddaughter says, “Caring is sharing”… Pocket money for a child is the chance for them to discover the blessings of giving. If every child in every Christian home learned that the first 10 pence of every Pound ‘£’ belonged to the Lord, then God’s work on earth would never be underfunded. And they’d learn the JOY of giving from a very young age.
Each one should give thoughtfully, as he has decided in his heart. It’s all right to give impulsively; but Christian stewardship involves planned, consistent, thoughtful patterns of giving. J. L. Kraft, who founded Kraft Foods, said, “The only investments I ever made which have paid constantly increasing dividends is the money I have given to the Lord.”
Each one should give freely, not out of regret or necessity. We don’t give because we’re compelled to; we’re excited about the privilege and blessings of it.
Each one Should Give cheerfully. This verse tells us God loves cheerful givers, which is a AWESOME phrase. I can’t think of another verse in the Bible when a similar phrase is given. We see lots of references to God’s love, but I can’t recall another attitude or activity in life that’s commended by the LORD in this way. “God LOVES a Cheerful Giver”
What an exciting thought for a Monday: “God LOVE me when I give to Him cheerfully” I know that God loves us anyway, but just think about it, because the Bible seems to be saying that God is getting excited about us when we are excited about giving. And that leads to the wonderful promise in the next verse: 2 Corinthians 9:8  “And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.”
We give, God gets excited by it and we’re given what we need with more than enough to share with others. Awesome!
Have a fantastic week, give generously and cheerfully to the work of the Lord.
Don.

P.S. Can also be read on St Luke’s Church Facebook Page.