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Posts Tagged ‘giving’

He who gives to the poor shall not lack. . .

proverbs 28:27

Day #5 Reflection

The end of the workweek was a welcomed day, especially since it ended my seasonal session for after school programming and provides me with a bit of a respite for a few week. I will probably get some running and golf in when and where I can during the next two weeks. I have already been tuning up at the driving range, so I think I am ready to hit the course again.

Focus on Faith

I pondered on Proverbs 28:27 for a moment as I prepared to support a shoe drive today. I do not have much to give, but I am giving up a few pairs of running shoes that rarely ever get any action. In the text, the focus is on the act of giving and not on the amount that is given. I had to recognize that. Then, I also had to realize that part of my responsibility includes giving a portion of what I would have spent on snacks and junk if I wasn’t doing this detox challenge right now. Based on some of what was shared in All Things Charity, I will calculate what I normally would spent on unhealthy snacking and donate either the food or the funds to fight food insecurity.

Focus on Fuel

Today I plan on keeping an eye on my portions and spacing out my meals and snacks. No work and plenty of free time makes for a dangerous point in the midst of this challenge. In my preparation, I accounted for my workdays more than I considered my days off. I have to retain my focus on the plan and the purpose to keep going strong through the day and the weekend, especially as I seek to add more physical activity.

Focus on Fitness

Like I said, with no work, I have plenty of time to fill my day with physical activity. After my livestream focused on GYNECOLOGIC CANCER AWARENESS and my guest Mz. Sharifah a cancer survivor and cancer patient advocate, I will drop off my donation for the shoe drive and perhaps stop at the driving range. I might end my daylight hours with a short walk around the block to match my morning routine, but I know that I will definitely get in some deep stretching touching in the hopes of doing a long run tomorrow.

An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.

henry david thoreau

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I had the pleasure of presenting our Fall 2020 campaign Giving Thanks by Giving Back yesterday. The livestream was an opportunity for me to present and pray over the project with an open and earnest heart for the work ahead. As always with our Life Path Multimedia livestreams, the recording remains available via YouTube. A copy of the presentation is available for download online.

Good works are part of our calling as believers. StopAndPrayTV speaks on being fruitful in our good works, every single one of them. The reference to Colossians 1:10 centers the post and makes for a compelling read. I truly love how Kim Petitt lays it out there and explains good works. Naturally, Being Benedictine would reference Saint Benedict as it explores the topic of good works. I guess part of my take on it is aligned with the combined stances and approaches to good works, summing up my views by quoting NT verses from Titus 3:14 to Ephesians 2:8-10. I believe good works are the fruit of our faith, not the root of our faith. (One of my preacher friend’s will steal that and use it, and it’s okay.)

Part of Giving Thanks by Giving Back was covered in the previous post, but yesterday’s training session allowed for me to delve into finer elements of the campaign. This post gives you some of the highlights from yesterday’s session.

Our Latest Inbox Inspirations promo tweet

The Campaign Includes Guidance

What we presented is designed to serves as a guide for generating ideas and stimulating conversations around how to give thanks by giving back within your local congregation and community. It is by no means designed to serve as the only source material or resource for doing good works or charitable service. Every congregation and community is unique, so it would behoove anyone seeking to do something with this campaign to identify local issues and priorities that fit with the theme of the campaign as they plan and strategize any kind of project or event.

You Have to Keep COVID-19 in Consideration

The numbers don’t lie. There is a major upswing in COVID-19 deaths and case throughout the United States. In California, we have many counties shifting into the most restrictive tier due to the rise in COVID-19 cases. It is difficult to plan and organize any project or event without considering the implications of COVID-19 on those plans.

Some advice on how to handle COVID-19 restrictions and precautions comes from the CDC. As many of us have learned over these past months, be sure to check with your local public health officials for restrictions and guidance related to large gatherings and events. Some of the most basic precautions such as face coverings, social distancing, and hand washing have been touted to help limit the spread. Always check and keep updated and abreast of the latest restrictions and precautions as you plan and organize.

Develop Connections within Your Community

Whether it is working with the local food bank or another church in its efforts to distribute turkeys, make connections that provide a win-win for your group or church as well as whoever you might partner with to make things happen. Do not neglect the idea of serving as resource to your congregation and community by providing updated information for clothing drives, food distributions, turkey giveaways, and special events happening within and around your community. Make connections that help make a difference and make an impact.

I like how another blog puts it out there with Psalm 100 and “Daily Service: Give Thanks.” It ought to become more natural for us to serve and give thanks. It should become part of our Christian DNA. Similarly, another blogger references Simon Sinek when speaking on a lifetime of service. No matter how you see it, giving back a way that we can show our gratitude and our own way of giving thanks that touches someone else’s life.

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I am grateful for what I am and have, my thanksgiving is perpetual.

– Henry David Thoreau

Perpetual Thanksgiving

Perpetual is defined as “never ending or changing; occurring repeatedly; so frequent as to seem endless and uninterrupted.” Let that sink in for a moment. Meanwhile, the dictionary defines thanksgiving as “the expression of gratitude.” Now put that together and you would have a never ending or changing expression of gratitude. Imagine that as part of your daily life.

To make your thanksgiving perpetual, you are grateful continually and do not limit your expression of gratitude to one Thursday in November. Imagine if your daily attitude expressed your daily gratitude.

I looked in my inbox this week and I got just what I needed from the Simple Preacher. I am oftentimes intrigued by self-inflicted limits many Christians in ministry or Bible teaching place on themselves in the realm of faith teaching, a limitless and boundless space when you consider that our God, Elohim, has no limitations and offers us so much. Yet, I received a post related to Obadiah, an obscure book of prophecy from the Old Testament Scriptures and thanked God that there are at least a few kindred spirits like the Simple Preacher and Georgetta Head in the struggle for God’s people to know the entirety of God’s Word. Thanks and praise be to God for the encouragement found in His Word daily as we seek Him through devotion and Bible study.

2020: Make a Difference, Make an Impact

I have attempted this before and I will continue to try to make this a regular annual campaign through the Life Path Mobile Ministries. Giving Thanks by Giving Back is back again. With your help, we can make this a reality despite the limitations and requirements due to COVID-19.

During November 22-29, Life Path Ministries & Services will actively push and promote Giving Thanks by Giving Back: A Week of Works.  Through our Holiday Outreach Service Team (H.O.S.T.) and the Saved2Serve Volunteer Network, this campaign works with Faith Impact Training (F.I.T.) to support any other ministries, parachurches, and local churches as well as individuals seeking to do good works and give back during this time..

This year’s theme is simply stated as: Make a Difference, Make an Impact. That is support by the NT Bible verse: And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful (Titus 3:14, NKJV).

So, what will be different this year than in the past? Think about the pandemic and its restrictions and guidelines from the CDC and your local health officials. The health guidance on contact tracing and small groups for your area will drastically impact how we will launch our work this year. In response to the limited contact, we will host a brief presentation and a walkthrough of the campaign and its components along with some tips and technical assistance for implementation on November 14th at 12:30 PM PST via livestream on YouTube.

https://bit.ly/2U5vWW7

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If you want to give, your gift will be accepted.
It will be judged by what you have, not by what you do not have.
– 2 Corinthians 8:12 (NCV)

Usually, back when I was starting out in church, I would always hear the deacon say a prayer for the offering that somehow included the Lord’s love for a “cheerful giver.”  That always seemed to hit home in its own way.  The Lord, as shared by Paul to the believers at Corinth, does indeed love cheerful givers.  Yet, we may miss the mark if we fail to see the principles that Paul shared within the context of his message in 2 Corinthians.

Giving is noble.  The Christian is expected to give to worthy causes and unmet needs.  However, we should not be left feeling guilty when we hear someone else quote Malachi as if we are in the midst of robbing God.  We may have it in hearts to give, but we may not have it in possession to give like we desire.  In essence, Paul clarifies the matter by stating: It will be judged by what you have, not by what you do not have.  That means that you cannot worry about what you do not have to give.  Your concern should be about what you have to give and your willingness to give it.  Jesus shared so when He pointed out the faith of the widow who gave two mites.  It was not the quantity of her gift that was impressive.  It was the depths to which she dug into what she did have in possession that caught Jesus’ attention and caused Him to call attention to her act of willingness.

God wants us willing to give.  We may have big hearts with small budgets.  God can bless us beyond where we are today.  We are not looking for the blessing out of giving since we are already blessed with “true riches” (Luke 16:11).  We have to be willing to give of what we have without seeking to gain what we desire.  We should give with no strings attached.  We should give to God’s glory, not seeking approval or kudos from others.  When we give according to the right principles, God is pleased and we can be assured that our gifts are accepted by Him.

Give with a willing heart.  Give out of what you have.  Give that God may be glorified through your gifts.

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And Israel said to Joseph, “I had not thought to see your face; but in fact, God has also shown me your offspring!”- Genesis 48:11 (NKJV)

The father who had shown Joseph favoritism was old and sick.  That was the report that had reached Joseph.  Joseph gathered up his two sons and took them to Grandpa Israel (Papa Jacob).  The words in verse 11 are Joseph’s father’s words to his son.

Keep in mind that Joseph had been presumed dead for years.  Al of his time in Potiphar’s house, prison and even the palace, Joseph was presumed dead by his father.  Upon coming to Egypt, Jacob reunited with his son. 

Joy must have captivated his heart.  He must have be overjoyed to some degree.  Not only was Joseph alive but he was doing quite well for himself as he worked under the king of Egypt.  Jacob must have been both happy and proud of his son.  However, Jacob blesses both of Joseph’s sons after Joseph gets the news of his father’s illness.

There are just somethings that we have to face in life, but when we can regain some other things it gives us our unique purpose. The are some defining moments that come about in our lives. They stick out in our memories.  We cling to them for one reason or another.  These are the very moments that serve as reminders to us all of how precious life is to each and every one of us.  How much did that moment of those two boys being blessed help Joseph recall how much he loved and missed his father?

Most probably, you have reflected on some moments that stood out for you in life and with your family and friends.  Live on and make more memories.  Live on and enjoy it.  Make memories as you go along.  Everyone will not be here forever, so make as many memories as you can now and be at peace among each other.  God bless.

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And Joseph situated his father and his brothers, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. Then Joseph provided his father, his brothers, and all his father’s household with bread, according to the number in their families. – Genesis 47:11-12 (NKJV)

The Prince of EgyptJoseph assisted his family.  He advised his family on what to say when they entered into the presence of Pharaoh.  He approached Pharaoh with news of his family’s arrival in Egypt.  He advocated for his family.  He made allowances for his family to survive by giving them bread.

In the land of Rameses, Joseph’s family was better off for the time being than they had been in the land of Canaan.  Based upon how God had favored Joseph, his family was able to benefit.  They were blessed based upon Joseph’s favor and blessing.

Grace: Gods Unmerited FavorThink on that for a moment.  Joseph’s blessing allowed Joseph to provide for his father, his brothers, and all his father’s household.  Joseph’s favor helped his father and his family. Picture that happening today.  What if you used your blessing to bless others? What if you used your favor to grant others favor? Imagine how much of a blessing that would be for others.

We need to see Joseph’s character coming alive right here.  Joseph, the same dreamer that his family had despised and questioned, was now living the dream.  However, Joseph’s dream did not just benefit and bless Joseph.  The Bible makes it obvious that Joseph did not simply sit in a position of power and prestigeHis heart allowed him to forgive and give to those who had even sold him into slavery

Forgive to Live Devotional:: 8 Weeks of Daily Readings on Forgiveness That Could Change Your LifeJoseph depicts the epitome of forgiveness and favor in a man.  He obviously could have let his family live without any contact or consideration, still being okay with it as many Christians do so daily.  He could forgive and never allow himself to forget how they wronged him and set him up for failure.  No, that is not the path that Joseph took.  He did not allow it to harden him.  He did not allow it to turn him sour.  He forgave.  He gave to his father and his family.

How to Forgive...When You Don't Feel Like ItDo you need to forgive someone? Have you made the first move beyond saying so? How have you shown that person that you have truly forgiven them?

Praying the PsalmsLook at Joseph.  The Bible doesn’t say he had to fast for 40 days to get ready to forgive.  It doesn’t say that he needed to meditate on verses in Psalms to prepare to forgive.  He showed his forgiveness.  He said it.  He demonstrated it.  He did it.

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 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. – Acts 4:32 (NIV)

Running short on your street mission and shelter funding or praying that the bank doesn’t shut down your community youth center? There may be some simple solutions right at your fingertips and within your reach. You can get some contributions coming in to support the ministry that you have going on within the community.

Share What You Do

You have to tell what you do and make it known to every one you interact with on any given day. Become your biggest spokesperson. People will gladly help you when they know that what you do is almost part of your natural DNA.

Build on the Business Buzz

Truly, even with a recession like this one, you can create some unique “selling” opportunities. Identify some organizations or corporations who have found themselves in hot water lately. Imagine if you had gotten to BP right after the oil spill in the Gulf. What better way to make up for a mess than to change the public’s perception of you as a public servant, corporate leader, or a marketplace mover and shaker. Get with the Better Business Bureau or local chamber of commerce in your community to see who may be prime candidates in a position to give and get press. You may have to be prepared for a media event like a press conference or ribbon cutting for the new wing of beds donated in the name of who knows who, but the dog and pony show come with the territory. That’s the decision you need to make in analyzing who you approach for help.

Create Giving Opportunities

The ability to host gala events of $50-plate roasts and special events that sizzle with the pizzazz of all of the bells and whistles may not be something within the range of your budget or even scope at this point. Create a special event and add the things that will attract niche audiences. Attach a trendy theme to the event. Don’t rent that hotel ballroom. Go for the art gallery or the contemporary art museum, even the historical landmark site. Make the place special and off the beaten path. Use everything that sets your event apart to attract the “new” rich, i.e. techies, skaters, environmentalists, vegans, and others.

Hometown Heroes

Get your local hometown heroes to help out with your fund-raising efforts. Where is that high school phenom who went pro? Whatever became of that cute girl from around the way who went to the Olympics when they were in Atlanta? Wasn’t there a pop music artist who grew up near here? Make your hometown heroes advocates and spokespeople for your cause.

Attach to a movement that’s bigger than your ministry. Create your own opportunities. Develop a plan. Explore and exercise your options. There is a way that you can get more money flowing into your ministry so that you can do more work. It can be done.

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Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 
Malachi 3:8 (KJV)
 
 
Recently, I took some serious devotional and Bible study time to read Malachi. That’s a major undertaking when you consider what the Lord has to say through Malachi and to whom He is directing His words. The primary points of the biblical book are an accusation and warning to God’s people to act like people of God. Whew! That’s heavy stuff, even for seminary students, Sunday school teachers and simple, set apart and sanctified saints.
 
 
Old school Baptists sum up the prophetic book with quasi-biblical phrases such as: robbing God, opening up the windows of heaven, and bring all of the tithes into the storehouse.  These are certainly not verbatim and definitely not theologically sound when used in convenient contextual arenas.  Tithers hold fast to Malachi chapter 3, primarily verses 8-10, but this has nothing to do with introducing or ordaining the tithe.  It is about trusting God and upholding the practice of tithing as means of seeing that God is true to His promises
 
 
People have been utilizing such passages of the Bible to bully and beat up those who do not tithe for years.  Unfortunately, this is due to a failure to maintain a contextual view of the biblical passage and explore an expository and exhaustive explanation of the text in light of audience, intent and culture and history.  Some things may be lost in translation, but one has to keep in mind what type of Bible or study tools one uses.  A paraphrase will not give you an accurate translation since its main goal is to translate thought for thought, while a literal translation seeks to translate and interpret word for word. 
 
 
I would also like to add a warning about commentaries, especially when one is seeking a clear understanding of the text and its surrounding passages.  Understand what type of tool you have and how to use it.  The root word of commentary is comment.  When you read Matthew Henry’s commentary, it is just a comment by Matthew Henry on that book of the Bible or the entire Bible itself.  What you get is an insight into that particular person’s views on it.  If i use Matthew Henry, I am limited to the depths of Matthew Henry and the prevailing theology of his time.  Ever hear about the Dead Sea Scrolls? Were they discovered before or after Mathew Henry’s commentary? How about Martin Luther’s? Commentary usage requires careful steps to avoid slippery slopes.
 
 
Clearly, once one reads Malachi as an entire study, it becomes as glaring as Jeremiah or Isaiah, even Hosea.  The message is about God’s relationship with His people.  God desires a restored relationship with His people, but if they keep going the way that they have been going there’s no redemption or reconciliation.  God has to stop the nonsense and put the challenge before the people about testing and trying Him to see if He is faithful in delivering His promises.

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Serve the LORD with gladness… – Psalm 100:2 (KJV)

We are called to serve the Lord with gladness.  The New International Version says for us to: “Worship the Lord with gladness.” So are we to serve or worship? We are to do both with equal amounts of enthusiasm.  Yes, we are to work.  Yes, we are to worship.  Why not worship while you work? The two can go together.  They can both lead to God getting the glory.

It’s not just about what we do, though.  We also need to look at how we do it.  We are to do such things with gladness.  We are to serve with gladness.  We are to worship with gladness.  service and worship are what we are to do.  Doing such things with gladness is about how we are to do it.  The Bible speaks about the Lord loving a “cheerful giver.” The Sermon on the Mount talks about those who are blessed.  When we work and worship with should have an attitude that expresses are joy in giving God our best that we have to offer.

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  Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.- Luke 6:38, NKJV

Giving should come out of the heart.  We are to give, as the Lord states, a “good measure” because by that same measure we will also be measured.  When you give a little, you can expect a little back.  When you give abundantly, you can expect an abundance in return.  Giving is measured proportionally.

Giving, whether it is time, talent or treasure, should be an offering of our best to the Lord.  Many have questions about the Lord accepting one’s offering and not the other’s.  Was there more to it than what Cain and Abel brought? Look at Ananias and his wife in Acts 5.  It was their own land and their own money.  What was the big deal? Peter speaks to lying to God,not man, when we do such a thing.  It is like when you feel compelled to sign up for a special offering campaign and pledge a certain amount, and then when you are questioned about it, you go into how things have been hard and you need people to get off your back, especially at church.  Or, it could be like when you give your contribution to the church and you equate every leaky toilet and creaking stairs to what your offering should have paid for, along with the pastor’s salary.  You gave it, but you never really let it go.  You are still keeping tabs on what you technically gave to someone else.  That’s pretty much how it is when it comes to what we give God in the form of money.  Did we truly and freely give without any hang-ups and holdouts?

Our attitude is just as important as our gift.  If we carry the wrong attitude, then we bring our offering in vain.  Paul shared that we should begrudge giving or do so out of necessity.  We should come as “cheerful” givers.  In doing so, our giving is measured according to what we bring and how we bring it.

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