Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God


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Pandemic Perspective – Part 121 Bountiful Blessing – Part 2

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 

6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

After teaching us about the Almighty’s ability Paul tells us about His: 

  • Abundance

The result of receiving God’s gift of grace is that the giver will always have all sufficiency to help in every good work. God has the ability to not only supply us so that we can serve but to do so abundantly. The result of His exuberant and extravagant outpouring of grace is not only to fill our reservoirs but to fill them to overflowing. God is able to enrich you so that you will have in every respect at all times, all kinds of sufficiency. So often we get stingy in our serving because we fear we will run dry, that we will give until it’s all gone. But God will give more than enough good gifts so that we can participate in every good work. It’s the story of the widow woman and her finite supply of food, when she lived by faith and not fear God kept filling up her flour and oil jars. 1 Kings 17:10-16: “10 So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.” 12 “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.” 13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’” 15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.” God kept adding to her flour so that she could feed not only herself but others.  Success didn’t come from saving her flour but sharing it. Her resources were not dictated by the famine but divinely given by the Father. When we focus on the famine we will withhold our flour but when we focus on the Father we will not only be fed but we will be free to feed others. Many of us have resigned ourselves to just surviving when God has called us to a life of thriving. Instead of living by faith we are living in fear, holding back and hiding instead of living in hope and helping. Why don’t we see the great things God can do, because we are living life according to what we can do, relying on our resources instead of His riches. Are you living a limited life based on what you can do or the abundant life based on God’s ability? Instead of living the blessed life we have let fear back us into a corner, we have surrendered to a mediocre life instead of a meaningful one. Are you scraping the last leftovers from the bowl of self or taking a heaping helping from God’s bottomless bowl? Are you living on the backside of life or the blessed side? The idea is that Christians will be both content in their heart and competent in their helping as they step out to meet the challenges of caring for others. Through Jesus we have the adequacy and abundance to meet the demands of life. What Paul wants to make plain is that the good gifts of divine grace will always be proportioned according to our willingness to walk by faith. We will not want while we exercise cheerful faithful stewardship. Before our resources run dry they will be replenished by God’s divine grace, because of our generous giving. You can’t out give God. This replenishment gives the cheerful giver a complete competence, and contentment, as they live to please God in obedience to His promises. Not only is He able to abundantly supply but His abundance can cause us to:

  • Abound 

God’s goal is not for us to get by but to abound in every good work. The reason every grace abounds is so that believers can abound in every good work. In reality we can only dispense what we have received, whether it be material, Acts 14:17: “but he never left them without evidence of himself and his goodness. For instance, he sends you rain and good crops and gives you food and joyful hearts.” or spiritual, Romans 5:17: “For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.” As we let God’s abundance flow through our life and into the lives of others God keeps pouring into us, but when we selfishly stop serving God shuts of the spigot of blessing. He doesn’t just give so that we can be enriched but so that we can abound in enriching others through our good works. He pours into us so that we can pass on the blessing. He soaks us with grace so that we can serve not so that we can sit and be selfish. Today we have limited God’s gifts to physical prosperity, money and material things, but God cares more about character and conduct than coins. The reason God gives us His grace which results in good works is because good works develop our character and conduct. As the grace of God enriches us morally and spiritually we grow in Christian character and conduct. As we are filled with the fullness of Christ we are free to faithfully serve. In our character and conduct we are called to copy God in the grace of giving, and as we do the inexhaustible resources of God’s grace will fill us to overflowing, as 1 Corinthians 15:58 says: “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” God’s grace is always abundant; it always leads to increase not decrease, even when it involves parting with our precious possessions. Do you believe God is able? Will you allow the fountain of God’s grace not only to flow in you but to flow freely through you? God wants to touch the world through you, to bless you not only to be a grace bearer but a grace giver. Will you become a receptacle, a reservoir so that God can do what His grace so desires to do in you and through you? 


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Pandemic Perspective – Part 120 Bountiful Blessing – Part 1

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 

6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Paul reminds us that God not only longs to bless His kids but He loves it when givers delight in the giving. We are blessed to be a blessing. Our problem when it comes to desiring God’s blessings is our purpose behind the blessing. Many of us want to be blessed not to bless us but so that we can benefit. But the goal is not getting but giving. What about you, are you making it about giving or greed? While Paul is appealing to the Corinthian Christians for financial help the truth of the text applies to more than just money matters. The principles found in this passage deal more with character than cash. The focus is not on money but on ministry, and whether we will sow sparingly or sacrificially. Grace giving leads to a life of liberation, freeing us from things and circumstances. Instead of things possessing you, you start to possess them. Instead of money managing and moving your life it becomes a means for ministry. Instead of cash controlling you, and dictating your attitude and actions, you begin to control it. Financial freedom doesn’t come through getting more it comes through giving back. Today we are being taught that financial freedom comes from acquiring and amassing, that the more we have the freer we will be. Yet often more money means more managing, more possessions means more time polishing and protecting. Instead of being freed to enjoy life we become chained to our cash and slaves to the stuff. Today there are many who play the power ball hoping to become wealth because they believe that financial security will bring freedom, but statistics suggest that those who win often end up far from freed. Money becomes their master, and many end up miserable instead of merry. Money has many of the attributed of a god, power, the ability to fix problems, and provide but unlike God riches don’t provide a real relationship. The real craving of our hearts is not more but meaning, we want meaningful relationships not riches. But when we chase after the cash we end up worshipping wealth, our focus become finance not God the Father. But true satisfaction is found in God not gain. Not only does God’s grace lead to a life of liberation but it also enables us to have all-sufficiency so we can abound in giving. God is able to give us complete sufficiency so that we serve, and service is the secret to satisfaction. Today we are trying to find satisfaction in security instead of in service. As a result instead of helping out we tend to hoard. But Paul reminds us of where our resources really come from as he reminds us of the:  

  • Ability of the Almighty

One way God’s approval of the grateful giver finds expression is in the provision of both physical and spiritual prosperity. Do you give cheerfully or out of compulsion, are you a grateful giver or a grumpy giver? When we are stingy we start serving sparingly. Maybe it was the uncertainty of life in the ancient world that caused the Corinthians to become concern about their cash. But God doesn’t want the uncertainties of life to be a reason to withhold our resources. The Almighty is able to provide everything that we need and when we lose sight of this truth we will turn to trusting in self instead of the Savior.  “God is able” is the consistent promise of Scripture: Romans 16:25 “Now all glory to God, who is able to make you strong.” Ephesians 3:20 “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Jude 24 “Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.” He is able is a promise that we need to pay attention to so that we will place our confidence in Him. As disciples we are dependent on the promise that God is able and we especially need to remember this because we are called to walk by faith not by sight. Are you trusting in your provision or in God’s power, providence and promises? The might and power of God is capable of taking care of you. God is able to give “all grace, all-sufficiency, for all things, for every good work.” Yet even with these staggering statements we don’t get the full picture of God’s provision without the word abounds. Abounds knows no limits, it describes God’s jam-packed overflowing fountain of provision and both the greatness and the goodness of His grace. The King James says “God is able to make all grace abound toward you.”Grace here is used to sum up the bigness of God’s blessings which come to us through Christ. The primary use of Grace in the New Testament reveals the unconditioned, undeserved, providing, pardoning love of God. All grace comes from one act of grace that comes through Christs work on the cross. Grace is like a diamond which has many facets, so that as you turn it more of its beauty and blessing is revealed. Grace is also like the gift of life which produces many results. Life gives shine in the eyes, color in the cheeks, strength to the arm, and swiftness to the feet.  There are many sides to Grace, many manifested blessings but its source is Jesus Christ. The manifestation of grace giving is no different; being a blessing can be revealed in a variety of ways. The point is God’s gift of grace should change our lives from consumers to contributors. God not only gives all grace but gives it abundantly, He does not give it sparingly. God opens His whole hand not just His little finger. But notice that it says, God is able to make, not God will make. The responsibility for the overflowing is placed personally upon us, there are conditions we must meet. Although we have access to the full fountain of His blessing it will not pour on us unless we position our lives according to His promise. Unless we walk according to His Will we will not access God’s ability to give. So what opens the hand of God to bestow blessing? When we seek to sow, as we graciously give God opens the doors of heaven, if you want to be blessed don’t begrudge, sow with a smile not a scowl. The possibilities and provisions of God’s grace are up to individual Churches and Christians to receive. God is not stating that He will make every giving Christian wealthy in material things but it does mean that the Christian who practices “grace giving” will always have more than they needs when they needs it. Are you going to distribute God’s blessings or try to dam them up?