Daily Devotion Thursday, June 6th

Thursday, June 6, 2013 – Psalm 147:12-20; Deuteronomy 16:18-20, 17:14-20; 2 Corinthians 8:1-16 and Luke 18:1-8

2 Corinthians 8:1-16 –1 We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that has been granted to the churches of Macedonia; 2 for during a severe ordeal of affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3 For, as I can testify, they voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means, 4 begging us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in this ministry to the saints5 and this, not merely as we expected; they gave themselves first to the Lord and, by the will of God, to us, 6 so that we might urge Titus that, as he had already made a beginning, so he should also complete this generous undertaking among you. 7 Now as you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you – so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking.

8 I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. 9 For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. 10 And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something – 11 now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means. 12 For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has – not according to what one does not have. 13 I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between 14 your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. 15 As it is written, “The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little.”

16 But thanks be to God who put in the heart of Titus the same eagerness for you that I myself have.

This is a great text on the spiritual discipline of generosity. I underlined a couple verses that really stood out to me.

In reading this text I end up asking myself; “Do I give to fulfill a law – the tithe? Or do I give out of the abundance that God has given unto me?” God has so blessed us, it seems only appropriate to pass on some of these blessings for the building up of God’s kingdom on earth. Those in Macedonia seemed to have been acting on this very spiritual fact.

In attending conferences on stewardship, one of the main focuses has been developing generous hearts. The point is not to make us feel guilty for all we have and give out of guilt, but to help God’s people sense the abundance they have and how our response to this abundance is to give generously unto the building of God’s kingdom.

I found this website this morning on “5 Tips for Becoming More Generous” I found them helpful.

http://gregqualls.com/2009/10/22/spiritual-discipline-generosity-five-tips-for-becoming-more-generous/

Tip #1 – Make it (giving/sharing) a priority.

Tip #2 – Have a budget? (side note; live within your budget and budget in the sharing of God’s blessings with others.)

Tip #3 – Give first; give off the top.

Tip #4 – Have a separate checking account (or set aside the money in cash to be shared with others.) Phyllis and I have a separate category in our checking account for our extra gifts to organizations with which we want to give gifts.)

Tip #5 – Give fist and ask the question later. The question, “Why should I be generous with my time and money?”

I strive to be generous because of how generous God has been unto me. Something I’ve learned over the years is that I can’t out give God. God is simply too generous for me to even come close to equaling what he has and does give unto me.

As I said; today I’ll be asking myself. “Do I give to fulfill a law – the tithe? Or do I give out of the abundance that God has given unto me?”

O God, I give thanks today for all you have given unto me; this day, my salvation, my relationship with your Son Jesus Christ, my family, my talents and abilities, my house, my car. The list could go on and on and on. May I give something back unto you; all that I have and a generous heart. Thanks for giving unto me and giving me opportunities to share with others your good gifts. Amen.

Psalm 147:12-20 – 12  Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem!
Praise your God, O Zion!
13  For he strengthens the bars of your gates;
he blesses your children within you.

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