Give

Have you ever needed something?  I’m not talking about “need” like many today do.  We really don’t need the updated latest greatest cell phone.  We want that.  No, I’m referring to those basic needs of life:  food, clothing, shelter, security.   Has there been a point that you felt in a bind for those basic necessities?  If you have been through lean times, you can relate to those in need.  We all have needs which go beyond the basics.   In our culture, many add to the basics things such as sanitation, education, touch, etc.

Wherever you draw the line, as God’s children, we are called to give to others.  Solomon in writing his book of wisdom wrote often of this.  Proverbs 22:9 says (ESV) “Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.”  Jesus said, “give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38 ESV.  Notice that in both in the Old and New Testaments, the principle of generosity is same.  Give and you will be blessed.  God expects His children to be giving people.

Please don’t misunderstand me.  The purpose in giving is not so that God will give back to us.  Giving is not a get rich quick scheme!  Giving in love is the aim.  It is good for us to give.  It is the method God established to take care of those in need.  He even included it in the national laws of Israel recorded by Moses.  However, when we live life God’s way, we are blessed.  Those blessings may not always be financial, but blessings of God will flow.

Living a godly life includes giving to others.  Let us look for needs and meet them as we go through our lives.

Amazing change

I have always loved the show, “My Fair Lady”. An uneducated and unsophisticated girl who earns her living selling flowers on the street is turned into a case study. The professor begins teaching her proper English and manners. All of this is for a bet that he can pass her off as royalty at the ball. The transformation which occurs is amazing!

Jesus often encountered people and transformed them. Mark 5 records one of the most dramatic encounters when Jesus delivers a man from being possessed by a legion of demons. After the change, we find the following conclusion of the story:

Mark 5:17-20 “Then they began to beg Him to leave the region. As He was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed kept begging Him to be with Him. But He would not let him; instead, He told him, ‘Go back home to your own people, and report to them how much the Lord has done for you and how He has had mercy on you.'”

Jesus here set out a vital principle in conversion. The demon possessed man wanted to follow Jesus, a noble goal. However, the Master’s plan was for him to stay and be a witness in the very area he had once terrorized. People would see the changed life and believe even more. The transformation would be his greatest tool in sharing Christ with his neighbors.

Jesus still transforms us and leaves us in our communities to be a witness wherever the Lord has us. As we go through life, our behavior, words, attitudes, etc should point people to Jesus. We have the same mission. As we live for Him, we can make a change in our community. As v. 20 says, “they were all amazed.”

May God use us to amaze our neighbors and win more to the faith.

Dangerous division

John MacArthur, the expositor and preacher, has said this about strife in the local church, ‘Strife brings fractured fellowship into the church of Jesus Christ, which robs Christians of joy and effectiveness. It robs God of glory, and it robs the world of the true testimony of the gospel – a high price for an ego trip’.

Jesus spoke of a divided kingdom in Mark 3:24-25 “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rebels against himself and is divide, he cannot stand but is finished.”

Division can destroy anything. Whether discussing a business, church, or a family, having division undercuts its effectiveness and will cause destruction. Jesus here makes that point to explain how He couldn’t be casting out demons through Satan’s power, otherwise, Satan’s kingdom would be divided. Jesus desires us to be unified with each other around Him. He is the great uniter. He tore down the walls of separation which mankind and built. He brings together all types of people in His church.

We must work to keep His church united. We must work in our families to cling to each other in unity. We must all walk in God’s ways as reveled in His word. This keeps us on the same path working for the same goals. That eliminates the opportunity to be selfish and to ignore each other’s needs.