Live Generously

While spending some time with my grandson, Elliot, the other day  I was reminded of something the Lord said to me several years ago.

“There is more where that came from.”

A friend and I were having dinner at a restaurant one evening and as we were finishing up she said to me the Lord was putting on her heart to bless a woman and her two daughters who were sitting several tables away from us. Being a single mom her attention was drawn to the woman and she had been watching them as they ate dinner together. I remembered I had some extra cash in my wallet and agreed to pray together about what we should do. As we prayed about how we should bless this woman and her girls and how we should share God’s love for them my mind went back to the amount of cash I had in my wallet and considered, “That’s all I have, should I give it all?” It was then that the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear, “There is more where that came from.”

With that I was convinced we should put our money together and bless them with it. Then we needed to come up with the words to say. How do you walk up to someone and give them money? I let my friend put some words together because she had been in a place of need herself and found words to speak encouragement and hope found in trusting Jesus for all our needs. Then we planned the delivery. Why can blessing someone feel so strange sometimes? We came up with a strategy and went for it. My friend shared some encouraging words, we handed her the money, and then went on our way.

I don’t know what the woman and her girls thought of it, but we were overjoyed! I had such joy in my heart it was all I could think about for a long time!

There is nothing like the joy found in giving!

This is what Elliot reminded me of the other day…

It was snack time so I put several veggie straws in a dish for him. He took one and ate it, then he held one up for me to eat. He continued to share his veggies straws and every time the dish was empty, I reached into the enormous bag of veggie straws and put more in it.

This was when the Lord spoke to me again and said, “Elliot can so easily share because he knows there will always be more.”

Elliot wasn’t responsible for the supply of veggie straws. He was only given the choice of what to do with the veggie straws that were in his dish. He enjoyed eating some himself and he found joy in sharing them with me.

God made me laugh as He told me He has an enormous bag of veggie straws available and all I need to do is trust that He will always fill my dish when I choose to share them with others!

When I know the truth that God has everything I need and will always supply my need it removes the fear that I won’t have enough and frees me to live generously!

“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

Lessons From Children

As a mother I have learned that God gives many lessons through the “mouths of babes.” While I may have thought I was the one teaching and training, I have come to realize that there has been many things my Heavenly Father taught me through my children. 

Such as a lesson about love…

As my first born, Brian was everything to me. All my time, energy, and purpose was wrapped up in caring for him and spending time with him. As my first baby I was wowed with his “firsts”! Every day he did something new and I was so caught up in watching him grow and spending time with him. So when I became pregnant again at first I was eager to have another little one to enjoy as I was enjoying Brian. But as the months progressed I began to wonder if I would be able to love another baby as I loved Brian. When Cliff was born, I learned the lesson that because God is love, love has no limits, it always abounds, and there is plenty for everyone! 

With each new baby I realized that not only does love abound, but because God creates each one uniquely, each child’s firsts were amazing! Just as I delighted in Brian’s firsts, I delighted in Cliff’s, Austin’s, and Kayla’s because each one’s firsts were unique to them. They each learned and responded differently according to their personality and I loved them for it. 

When they were a little older they would ask me who I loved most. Now maybe at the moment it did seem as though I loved one of them more than the others, but that question never received the answer they were looking for. So they would come up with their own answers based on how they perceived the ways I demonstrated my love. Who got the most things, who was allowed to do the most, who got away with the most…

I enjoy the simplicity and honesty of children. I think this is why God can teach us lessons through them.

I’m sure you have wondered if God really loved you and when you didn’t seem to get an answer, you began to ponder the evidence to prove whether He did or not?

How do you determine God’s love for you?

You are probably like my children and begin to look for evidence.

What is the evidence that proves you are loved?

This is an all important question you need to consider!

How you answer this question will determine whether or not you ever know whether you are truly loved. 

If you look for evidence of God’s love for you

in the things of this world…

in the people of this world…

in the successes of this world…

to determine whether God loves you or not you will always be uncertain, you will always be searching, you will never have enough evidence to know you are loved. 

My children have grown to realize that the amount of things they received, permission to do certain things, being allowed to get away with things doesn’t prove my love for them. Yes, these are expressions of my love, but my love is not to be measured by the amount of evidence, nor is my love conditional upon their performance, I love them simply because they are mine!

And this is what God says to you as well, 

“But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, And He who formed you, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.” Isaiah 43:1

This is God’s answer to your question as to whether or not you are loved. God’s love for you isn’t found in the things of this world, in the people of this world, nor in the successes of this world, it is found only in Him because God is Love!

“God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:15-16

Evidence of God’s love is written all throughout the Bible and is displayed all throughout His creation, but the climax of His Love was demonstrated on the cross as His Son, Jesus, died for the forgiveness of sin so you can personally know and experience the One who is love, God Himself!

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

So rather than searching for evidences of God’s love for you, search for God Himself, spend time with Him, get to know Him through His word, talk with Him throughout your day for God is love and the more you know Him the more you will experience His love!

 

 

Why have I called you…

I am reading through the book of Isaiah and I came across some verses that caught my attention…

“And why have I called you for this work? Why did I call you by name when you did not know me? I am the Lordthere is no other God. I have equipped you for battle, though you don’t even know me, so all the world from east to west will know there is no other God. I am the Lord, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:4-6


I grew up with the understanding there was different types of work. There were those who worked jobs around the community. They were considered secular jobs because they were among the people of the world. There were those who worked in the church and they were somewhat separate from those of the world. Then there were those who were really radical that went to other countries to be missionaries. They were willing to leave everything to tell others about God. 

I always admired missionaries. I considered their passion and selflessness something I longed for. To leave this culture of entitlement, to be free from the things of this world, and to lay up treasures in heaven by telling those who never heard about Jesus of His power and love! 

There was a separation in my thinking.

People here in America do secular jobs, missionaries do godly jobs.

I now see that this way of thinking goes against everything God says in His word. 

“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

I finally realize there is no difference in the work we do. If we belong to God we are called to leave this culture’s ways of thinking, be free from the desires of this world, and lay up treasures in heaven by telling others about the power and love of God found in Jesus!

As I spend my days behind a desk, answering the phone, and cleaning the office, I am learning to change my thinking about what I do.

Because the way I think about what I do greatly affects what I do and the impact it has on those around me. 

So when I read this verse in Isaiah, God whispered into my ear that He has called me to this work so that others all around me will know that He is God and that there is no other!

I’m finding it difficult to understand what that looks like. But I know in the depth of my heart that this is what God has for His people. He has placed His people all throughout this world so that we shine His light in all we say, and in all we do because we are surrounded by people who live in the darkness of not knowing Him. It isn’t only the people in far away countries that don’t know Jesus, but in every corner of this great world! 

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:14-17

 

 

An Open Door

Sometimes in life you find yourself in front of an open door. It is a door that leads to something you never considered before. It is a door that you would have walked right past if it hadn’t been opened a crack. But, there it is…just opened enough to get your attention. You’re not really sure what it looks like on the other side, but you begin to imagine what it might be like.

You go up to it with curiosity, but with your first peek you are convinced it isn’t a door you want to walk through. With a closer look you see the difficulties, the impossibilities, and decide it isn’t for you.

But then someone comes along and tells you that it is a door you should walk through. They say you are able to accomplish the difficulties, and can do the impossibilities. You appreciate hearing their confidence in you, but you find it hard to believe.

Now you stand there in front of that opened door with your own thoughts of insecurities and with the words of confidence from another; torn between the two.

How do you decide?

I’m sure if you asked others for advice about their open door experiences you would get many different answers. Some would have stories of success and fulfillment as they courageously walked through an open door. Others would have regrets of missed opportunities from being too afraid of the difficulties and impossibilities.

The experiences from others will give you knowledge, but it won’t give you the wisdom you need for your open door.

Your open door is unique and specific, intended just for you! 

It could be that facing the difficulties and impossibilities you first saw as you peeked through the door are the very things God intends to work together for your good.

Don’t allow your first peek through an open door to determine your response!

This is where the wisdom that comes from God is needed!

God alone knows what is best for you!

God is for you and always has your best interest in mind!

God knows you better than you know yourself and He has good intentions to use the situations in life to mature and perfect you!

So even if your first peek leads you to assume the open door isn’t right for you, know that when you ask God He will give you wisdom and courage to make the right choice.

What is so amazing about God is that when you begin to tell Him all the reasons why you don’t want to walk through the door He listens and understands, but He doesn’t discuss your emotions, fears, or insecurities with you.

Discussing them only keeps you convinced you can’t do it!

Instead, God takes your excuses and begins to show you a different way of looking at them!

Just like the open door Moses faced when God called him to set his people free. Moses kept telling God the reasons he couldn’t walk through that door. But God kept taking the focus off of Moses’ excuses, and reminded Moses who He was and what He was capable of. God told Moses that He would walk through the door with him and help him accomplish what Moses had decided he couldn’t do.

So, as you look at the open door in front of you, choose to take your thoughts, feelings, and emotions to God and ask Him to replace them with His truth and to give you wisdom to walk through the door with courage and confidence, not in your own strength or abilities, but knowing God will equip and enable you to accomplish all the difficulties and impossibilities!

And you can believe you will have no regrets!

 

 

 

“It is Not Good…”

God’s creative, powerful words brought forth all creation and after each He declared, “It is good!” Then God’s hands formed and shaped man in His own image and He breathed His very breath into his nostrils and Adam became the first human.

Then God brought all the animals to Adam so he could name them, but among the animals no suitable helper was found for Adam. Adam was alone; the first thing Adam heard God declare was not good.

God’s response: “It is not good that man should be alone;” 

This seems to a problem, but God doesn’t make mistakes!

God intended good to come from this first problem!

Adam realized that all the animals had a suitable helper, yet none of them were suitable for him. Perhaps God allowed Adam to experience the “not good” of loneliness, and incompleteness so he would fully appreciate the “very good” He had yet to provide. God created man for fellowship; God enjoys and longs for relationship! God and Adam had a good relationship as they walked and talked together in the garden.

It was beautiful and satisfying, but God intended something else “very good” for Adam!

God intended something else “very good” for Him!

God intended a suitable helper, also created in His image, that would fully complete Adam, and whom Adam would fully complete!

And together they would complete the plans and purposes of God here on earth!

“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it;” Genesis 1:27-28

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24

The problems we face in life aren’t intended to be seen as mistakes. When we have a relationship with God, and walk and talk with Him every day, the problems we face are intended to show us something else that is “very good!” They hold within them the “very good” God intends from them if we yield ourselves to Him and trust Him to do what He alone can do. As God brought forth Eve from Adam’s rib, we must submit to God and allow Him to miraculously create and completely provide what we could never accomplish on our own. When the “very good” becomes a reality in our lives and we embrace what God provided we will realize it was worth it! And it will strengthen our faith to face another problem down the road of life.

Job went through many problems when Satan asked to test his loyalty and love of God. Was Job loyal to God and love Him because was wealthy and healthy, or was it because of who God is?

Jesus faced some problems in the wilderness when Satan tempted Him three times, but each one was a test of Jesus’ loyalty and love for His Father.

Satan asked to sift Peter as wheat, and the problems he faced tested his loyalty and love for Jesus.

Each of these problems had different situations, yet they all had a similar purpose, to test loyalty and love of God.

And each was intended to increase faith and fulfill a greater destiny!

Whatever “not good” you may be facing today, may you choose to see it as an opportunity to prove your loyalty and love of God. Let it be what draws you near to God to know His truth, to see how awesome He is, and to repent of any ways you haven’t trusted or loved Him as you should. For in every “not good” situation, God has something “very good” intended to increase your faith and propel you into a greater destiny!

Job saw the incredible power and love of God in ways he had never seen before and bowed down in awe and repentance, and after praying for his friends God added to him double all that he had lost!

Jesus resisted temptation by using the true words of God, proving His loyalty to God, and afterwards the angels of God came and ministered to His needs. Then Jesus began His three years of powerful ministry.

Peter did deny Jesus, but afterwards Jesus revealed His power and love by filling his fishing nets to over flowing and gave Peter the chance to prove his loyalty and love for Him. Peter went on to become a powerful preacher and writer of the love and truth of the  Good News of the gospel!

The results of the “not good” situations in life are intended to increase your faith and propel you into greater ministry for the kingdom of God!