How Giving Lightens Our Load

January 3, 2011 § 8 Comments

My sweet girl, not quite eight, was sitting in church with me. She held tight to her treasure – a few coins she intended to offer to the Lord, placed in a special bag. As the offering plate passed by, she plopped her coins in the plate – a loud clinking sound. Then she turned to me and whispered, “Mommy my bag was heavy like a burden when I came in, but now it is light. You know like the burden from that book.”

“Pilgrim’s Progress?” I whisper, incredulous.

“Yes,” she nods.

My heart began to burn and I felt as if God whispered this to me:

“That is how it happens. That is how you become a cheerful giver. Your possessions, your treasures are burdens to you when you have only this world in mind. They weigh you down and wear you out. Only by offering them to Me, can you lighten your load.”

I am still processing this gift from God, but it changes the way I look at the things God has given me.

My house: a blessing from God and the work it takes to clean it is a way of honoring God for the gift He gave me.
My van: a gift from God, the chipped paint, tornado-like appearance are signs of my children. Things to be thankful for and opportunities to train my children to learn to be responsible.
My money: our manna from heaven to provide for our family and their future. Oh and a wonderful chance to give for God’s glory and honor. That we may never aim for more money, but aim to honor God with what He provides.

Looking at our possessions, treasures, and finances this way takes the burdens out of the treasures. It lightens our load because our things our not ours, but God’s. When we give to Him and change our mindset to heavenly thinking, our treasures are no longer burdens. Instead we offer them back to Him to use as He sees fit. So our treasures can no longer weigh us down.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19-20

Father God, help us to view our treasures, finances, and possessions with You in mind. May we offer them all back to You, for they come from You in the first place. As we lay our things down to Your purpose and glory, please lighten our load. Fill us with faith to trust You for all we need and with strength to do what You ask us to do cheerfully. For Your glory and honor. We ask these things in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Have you experienced lightening of your load through giving? If do you need to offer something to God today? Please Share your thoughts. I can’t wait to hear from you.

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Submission: It’s Not for Sissies

October 1, 2010 § 4 Comments

“Submit woman,” booms a joking, but attempting an authoritative voice. Then laughter quickly follows. We all snicker at the idea of submission, especially in our culture of individual rights. Who would ever lay down their own rights and their own desires for someone else?

The problem is that we have submission and oppression confused. Oppression is “prolonged, cruel or unjust treatment or control.” We see it in domestic violence cases or in countries ruled by ruthless dictators. Submission however is “the action of yielding to the will or authority of another person.” In other words the one who submits must choose to submit and cannot be forced to submit. Just as you can force a child to sit down, you cannot force a child to willingly submit to y

Icon of Jesus Christ

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our authority. They are sitting on the outside, but on the inside they are still standing.

So it is with us whether we “submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21), “submit to the LORD” (2 Chronicles

30:8), or “submit to the authorities” (Romans 13:5). We are not made to submit, but we are to choose to submit. The very idea rubs us wrong. We have rights and we do not want to lay down our rights for anything. There is the rub. As Christ followers, we are  to trust God and submit.

When we submit to authorities in our lives, we are not necessarily trusting in that authority to do right by us. Instead when we submit, we are trusting God. Here is where I typically knit my brow, put my hand on my hip, and say while I shake my finger, “It feels like I am trusting the one I am submitting to, not God. How is that possible?”

Romans 31:1 says, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

Does this mean I submit to disobeying God’s law because an authority tells me to? No. Check out Daniel chapter one and see how four young men kept themselves pure before God, while submitting to Babylonian authority. What it does mean, is that we need to be like Christ Jesus, willing to lay down our rights for others.

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!”               Philipians 2:3-8

This kind of submission looks more like victory, this kind of submission takes guts.

Father God, thank You for loving me. Please give me the strength to lay down my rights, my way, and submit it You and thus submit to authorities in my life. Forgive me for my lack of submission. Thank You for Jesus, my example. In His Name I pray, Amen.

So are you a sissy?

Faithfulness

September 15, 2010 § 2 Comments

“The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 (NASB)

I like to think that I am faithful. I do not cheat, I do not steal, I mostly do what I say I will do. I am patient, at least most of the time. I do get a bit cranky at times…Oh, but I have never cheated on my husband. I never cheated at school…Well, I did that one time in grade school and got the cheating bug knocked out of me for good! Not literally, just a well-remembered lesson. I am not faithful about getting up in the morning. I will milk that snooze button for all I can get out of it. I am also not so faithful with working-out. I start of doing great and then something comes up and wham, I end up not doing anything for weeks on end. I am not so faithful with the things I promise my children. I intend to do those things. I really really mean to get them done, but I forget or get busy or something else urgent gets in my way.

The most amazing thing is that the God of the universe, who created everything and everyone, and who keeps the planets moving and gravity working; He is interested in being faithful. He is faithful to make sure the Earth rotates so that in 24 hours we get approximately 12 hours of sun and 12 hours of night (excluding places like Alaska who get darkness for the winter and sunshine for the summer). He makes sure that the oxygen content of the air is perfect for us to breathe, there is really no room for error there. That same God, is faithful to His promises. If He says He will do it, it will be done. Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not a man that He should lie; nor the son of man that He should repent; does He say and will He not do it? Or does He speak and will He not make it good?” God doesn’t say, “Sorry I got busy, the sun rise was an hour late. I truly apologize.” No He does what He promises He will do. He is faithful.

So why do I worry about God not fulfilling His promises? Why do act as if I serve a God who doesn’t care? Do you do it too? Sure God is “faithful,” but the moment a difficult time comes I doubt. Will He do it? He may not do what I want, but yes He will keep His promises. How do I know? I woke up this  morning, the sun is rising, and I have air to breathe. Not only that, but I have His Word and my life experiences that point to His faithfulness.

Father, forgive me for being unfaithful while You are incredibly faithful. Help me to rest in Your arms of faith. Help me to cling to You despite circumstances, because I know You are faithful. May my life change from one of anxiety to on of humble reliance on You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

In what do you need to trust God’s faithfulness in your life? I can’t wait to hear. I’ll start…Check out the comments.

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