The Blessing of Giving: Where’s your treasure?

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For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Matthew 6:21
Can’t find the heart? Look for the treasure. Why would we need to look for our heart? Because we need to give it to Jesus!
When a young man came to Jesus and asked, ‘Teacher, what must I do to get eternal life?’ Jesus told him to obey the commandments. ‘All these I have kept,’ the young man said. ‘What do I still lack?’ Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me.’
The man went away sad because he had great wealth. The young man had to give up his heart to Christ for eternal life. If your heart is set on earthly things, there your treasure is also. Obeying the commandments is an expression of our faith, not a point system with God, as the young man had hoped. He failed to realise that storing his treasure in heaven is far greater than accumulating wealth on earth. It may seem obvious to us, yet the one thing Christ wants, we find extremely difficult to give. Christ knows what treasure we have – money, possessions, jobs, personal achievements. These are not bad in and of themselves, but our hearts do not belong there!
In order to live in God’s will each day, I must remember my treasure must be in heaven for my heart to belong to Christ. As a church, our success in God’s will can only result from putting our treasure chest in heaven.

The Blessing of Giving: A rising light

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…and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. – Isaiah 58:10-11
Who are the oppressed and hungry? All too often, we think of far away people in faraway places. If this is all the involvement we have with the hungry and oppressed, we are missing the point. Isaiah teaches us to ‘spend yourself on the hungry’ and ‘satisfy the needs of the oppressed’. We’re told to get involved in a way that goes beyond just giving money. If we are to meet people’s needs in a way that consumes us, then we need to get involved on a personal basis. We need to meet people where they need us most—to pour ourselves into meeting their needs physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Where are the hungry and oppressed? Sitting next to us in church, at our children’s football practice, in our backyard – anywhere there are people. It’s amazing that God uses the act of us pouring ourselves out for the needy as an avenue for blessing us. He promises light for our darkness, guidance when we feel lost, strength when we feel weak, and water for our parched lips.

The Blessing of Giving: Rich in every way

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You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. – 2 Corinthians 9:11-14
Paul is writing to a maturing church to offer love, guidance and exhortation. One of the issues he writes about is generosity. Verses 11 and 12 relate to the scope of our giving. In verse 11, Paul says, ‘You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion.’ What a powerful promise! I am assured God will equip me so that whatever situation I find myself in, I will be able to give generously. Whether giving involves helping others with material items such as food, clothes, and money or simply donating my time to someone, God will provide me with the resources to serve others.
Verse 12 broadens our view of giving by stating that giving is a direct way to thank God personally for His blessings. Not only are we satisfying the needs of others with our gifts, but we are also praising God through our giving.
Verses 13-15 describe the results of giving. First, the recipients of each gift are blessed directly as a result of receiving each gift. Then these people pour out blessings to God through their praise for His generosity and grace. Finally, the giver is blessed through the prayers of the recipients and through God’s promises for faithfulness.
A healthy view of God includes a broad scope for giving as well as a true belief in the blessings that result from giving. If I maintain these two things, it is easy for me to echo Paul in verse 15, ‘Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!’

A HUGE THANK YOU!

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A HUGE THANK YOU to the awesome ‘Bible Bash It’ Group who managed to raise a MASSIVE £75 for the ’30k in 30 ways, 30 hours in 30 days’ challenge. Thank you for being so willing to do jobs for your parents that you got money for some and did others for free as random acts of kindness. We appreciate you, we really do! 🙂

30K in 30 Days Are You Up For It

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The Blessing of Giving: Wise investments

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Remember this. Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. – 2 Corinthians 9:6
Although many of the Bible’s teachings are not practiced in the business world today, this principle is adopted regularly. Many business investors use the motto: Invest a little, make a little…invest a lot, make a lot! Although this principle has worked for some people, it has been a catastrophe for others who invested in the wrong thing. Investing can be risky if you don’t understand what you are investing in. The beauty of giving to Kingdom work is that you’re investing in an unchanging God who freely gives eternal life for those who seek Him.
God calls us not only to give, but to give generously and for the right reasons. King Solomon expressed the principle of generosity in Proverbs 11:25, Be generous to others and you’ll grow prosperous; refresh others, and you’ll be refreshed. God does not want us to give with a selfish intent. Galatians 6:7-8 warns, Don’t make a mistake: you can’t fool God. Whatever you sow, you’ll reap. If you sow to please your own flesh, you will from your flesh reap destruction. 2 Corinthians 9:12-15 also warns us not to expect to be wealthy through our giving. Instead, our gifts will praise God and help others who receive our gifts. When we bless others, we also will be blessed, not necessarily with earthly gifts, but with spiritual rewards.

The Blessing of Giving: Devotional giving

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He and his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, ‘Cornelius!’ Cornelius stared at him in fear. ‘What is it, Lord?’ he asked. The angel answered, ‘Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. – Acts 10:2-4
In the Old Testament, the sacred gifts expressed devotion to God – an aroma pleasing to the Lord. Generous and God-fearing people obey God by generously giving to those in need and ask to be in a daily relationship with God.
We need to be more aware of what we give — not only in money, but also in our time and talents. Our attitude should be to trust and obey out of gratitude to God for the gift of Jesus Christ. The self-serving manner in which many of us in the United Kingdom live isn’t glorifying to God. At our church, we need to refocus on what God would have us do rather than ‘buying’ what our society is doing.
A practical application of this passage would be to allow our comfort zones to be pushed to the uncomfortable. Seek God through prayer and His Word. Ask yourself, what can I do to be more effective in our church community? Participate. Commit to more than just walking in and out of the church doors like a consumer does in the world. What is on this earth will pass away. What God has given us in Jesus is eternal.
Being a generous people involves more than lip service; it involves action. Action motivated not by worldly standards, but by what we profess will last eternally—transferring our trust to Christ alone. And when we respond as Cornelius did, our gift, too, will be a ‘memorial offering before God’.

The Blessing of Giving: Abundant returns

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Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. – Luke 6:38
God gave us His Word as an instruction manual for our good. In this text, we see that what we measure out to others will be measured back to us. If we give, it will be given to us. Conversely, if we don’t give, it won’t be given to us either.
This goes against many of the popular opinions of the secular world where we are to do everything we can to get. These opinions do not acknowledge God as the source of all good things. Nor does it acknowledge God as a righteous judge who will punish evil.
All good things come from God. This loving God, who owns everything, knows that through our own generosity, we will be blessed beyond our ability to contain the blessing.
Satan has masterfully used the love and competition for money. To many, the church is just another in the long line exhorting, ‘me too!’
When the church gives the perception that it is always asking for money, it is often met with apathy and indifference — to the delight of the evil one. Please pray for God to guide you in the biblical promise relating to giving and reveal to you where your generosity may best be used in His service and to build His Kingdom.

The Blessing of Giving: Honour the Lord

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Honour the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. – Proverbs 3:9
In Proverbs, a book of advice and wisdom, we are told to honour the Lord with our firstfruits. Not many of us, however, have olive trees, grain fields, and vineyards. So how do we apply this nugget of wisdom to our lives? In Revelation 14:4, it says that believers …were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. We are ourselves an offering! The Lord wants for us to willingly give ourselves to Him. We are to give of our time and money because we want to, and not because it is required. God wants us to give to Him first, not with what is left over.
We also have a promise that your barns will be filled to overflowing and your vats will brim over with new wine. Is God promising to make us rich? Yes! We will be abundantly rich in blessings from the Lord — too numerous to count. He gives to us and we give back to Him and He gives back to us again what is His. We cannot out give the Lord!
This is especially true in the realm of our spiritual lives. Paul tells us in Ephesians 1 that we have been blessed by Christ with ‘every spiritual blessing’. He has lavished His gifts upon us. We have been given all that we need in Christ.
And now He calls us to present ourselves as a living sacrifice, an offering back to Him. May we respond out of grateful hearts.

Just A Reminder!

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Just a quick reminder to all you young people that there is NO X:TALK FRIDAY TOMORROW due to a minibus full of you going to The Gathering. Woop! Woop! Also, NO X:TALK NEXT WEEK due to half term! Have a brilliant holiday off school and we shall, hopefully, see you all on Tuesday 4th November, 7:30pm at Hope Central when we return after the short break! See ya! Don’t wanna be ya lol! 😉

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The Blessing of Giving: Regarding the weak

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Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the Lord delivers him in times of trouble. The Lord will protect him and preserve his life; he will bless him in the land and not surrender him to the desire of his foes. – Psalm 41:1-2
This passage deals with where our hearts are for the many needs among God’s people, and the blessings in store for those who use their time, talents, or gifts to minister to those in need. John 13:35 says, By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. We are the disciples of today.
Paul echoes the comments of the Psalmist when in Galatians 6:9-10 he calls, Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Christ calls us to give ourselves away in ministry to others — this is a mark of a healthy Christ-follower.
There are many instances in Scripture where Jesus dropped what He was doing to restore someone. In this manner, we should be striving to be more like Jesus and to live and work as parts of the Body of Christ.

May we respond to His call and example?
More like the Master I would ever be,
More of His meekness, more humility;
More zeal to labour, more courage to be true,
More consecration for work He bids me do. – Charles H. Gabriel

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