Some of us are very blessed by our country of birth, the families we were born into, and the opportunities that we have had in life. We are blessed. We are blessed to be a blessing.
Even so, some people oppress the poor. Rather than answer the call to serve and assist the poor, there are steps taken that thwart any chance of the poor having opportunities for change. There are people who turn their eyes and look past those in need, while there are others who take advantage of those people who are already struggling. These people could use a hand up, but instead receive a push downward.
The Bible tells us that those who oppress the poor insult God. When we take steps to tear down rather than build up, this goes against God’s design. He created all people. He wants the best for all of us. Today, look for opportunities to help those in need. Do what you can to be the difference and shine the light.
“Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but helping the poor honors Him.” – Proverbs 14:31 [NLT]
My daughter went out to eat for her first sit down dinner with a group, where she was then required to take care of her own bill and tip accordingly. She was well prepared for the trip and was excited to have some time to spend with her friends dining out. When it was time to pay the bill, my daughter figured out the tip like I taught her using a simple math trick. She rounded up as well, something else I taught her. Hey, I like my kids to be equipped.
My daughter was ready to pay, but then a few people questioned the tip she was leaving. You aren’t leaving that amount are you?!? That’s too much. A few gasped at the thought. But she was determined to bless the person with a good tip like she saw in action so many times. Nonetheless, there were more gasps and some people telling her it was too much to give. Just an FYI, it was only $5 for a $15 meal; it wasn’t something outrageous. Even so, she didn’t give the tip she planned. She listened to her friends who told her it was too much, and followed their instructions to get change and leave precisely the exact percentage down to the penny as best she could get.
Often during tip time, people do what reminds me of doing a duty, giving what had to be given by society’s terms. Like paying union dues or a gas bill. My daughter felt bad that she caved in. I told her that for the next meal, she can say she wishes to bless the person and just give what is placed on her heart. This was the first time she was in this situation, and with her innocent eyes, she hasn’t witnessed people trying to tip the minimum. All she sees is an outpouring of generosity. Today, stand bold. Don’t allow the people around you to dictate your actions. God is generous, more generous than anyone. You will never out give God. Truth. If the Spirit leads you to bless someone, whether it be a nice tip, some cash, a gift card, some manual labor, etc., listen. We are blessed to be a blessing. And it’s such a blessing to be a blessing. This world is a dark place. We are called to be the light. Don’t hide it. Shine it. Be the difference. Show the love.
“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.” – 2 Corinthians 9:7 [NIV]
“And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” – Acts 20:35 [NLT]
There is a big difference from being told to give something compared to giving something from the heart. I am sure there were many times that I did not want to give someone something, but I was told to do so and obliged. It didn’t mean I wanted to actually do it. I cannot remember this, but I trust that it happened because I have seen the same thing with my children over the years.
When it comes to tithes and offerings, the same thing is true. There is a difference between someone giving because they are told to give, and someone actually wanting to give—actually delighting in the giving. Paul wrote, “You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. ‘For God loves a person who gives cheerfully’” (2 Corinthians 9:7 NLT). If the heart isn’t in the giving, the offering is made for the wrong reason.
Today, ask for the Spirit to reveal what is on your heart. Are you giving just to give? Are you giving because you desire to give? Are you giving so people see you giving? Are you moved to give? Is it a joy to give? Are you cheerfully giving? If you aren’t giving, ask why not? Thank God for His blessings and ask Him to reveal how He desires you to be a blessing.
“Tell the people of Israel to bring me their sacred offerings. Accept the contributions from all whose hearts are moved to offer them.” – Exodus 25:2 [NLT]
For about six years, my daughter has been growing her hair. Everyone always compliments her on her hair. They love the natural highlights, the curls, the red hair. Years ago, she found out that she could donate her hair to an organization who would give it to someone who lost their hair from cancer treatments. She set her mind to it and continued growing her hair to meet her goal.
Today was the big day. Her hair was finally long enough to make the cut for a donation. We went to the salon ready to make the next step. As she sat in the chair, we discussed this donation with the stylist. Surprisingly, there were many people sitting by with listening ears as they waited for their perms and colors to be finished. They started asking my daughter questions. How long did it take to grow your hair? Why are you donating your hair? I was so proud when my daughter responded that she has been blessed with hair everyone adores so she wanted to give her hair to someone else who could be blessed by it.
As we left the salon, with hair much shorter, and a plastic bag with the donation pony tail, we left with something else. We saw God moving in awesome ways at the salon. Someone who heard my daughter speaking decided to pay for her hair cut. We got to the register and the stylist said everything was covered. My daughter’s desire to bless was met with another person’s desire to bless. What a day of blessings! It all starts with God—He blesses us. We are blessed to be a blessing. Be a blessing today! Open your hands and watch how God moves!
“And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” – Genesis 12:2 [ESV]
“Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” – Proverbs 11:25 [ESV]
Whenever I get to the pet store, I like to get a special treat for both of the pups. Today I decided I would get both of the dogs a large bone that I previously got for Max in the past. I always hesitated getting one for Marci because she is so small. It turned out that when I got Max one, Marci would take it and drag it all over the living room enjoying some chew time.
I quickly found out that when there are two bones, the dynamics change. All the sudden Marci, who was blessed to have this large bone for the first time, became a bit greedy. When she saw Max move away to lay down in one of his favorite spots, she took his bone and pulled it over to her bone. In doing so, she left him know that the bones were now both hers. Oddly enough, Max is insecure and Marci often gets the best of him. We found ourselves having to give Max his bone back and tell Marci to mind her manners.
The Bible speaks often of the sin of greed. John the Baptist said if you have two shirts, give one away. If you have food, share with those who are hungry. Abraham was blessed to be a blessing and so are we. We have a choice. We can choose to follow the teaching of the world, which points us to building castles here on earth and practice habits of greed. We can choose to live a life of generosity. When we open our hands, ceasing the ever-so-tight grip on the possessions of this world, we find that our open hands receive greater blessings and it is a pure joy to share as the Spirit leads. Bless someone today!
“John replied, ‘If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.’” – Luke 3:11 [NLT]
In Ecclesiastes, we read about casting our bread on waters. In doing so, it will be found after many days. We are also advised to not stand around observing the wind instead of sowing the seed. If you haven’t figured it out yet, the Bible gives us great wisdom for handling money and making investments.
The bread that is cast on waters, is actually grain. Note that the word waters or seas—this is important. This means that it is not that you are casting your grain in one place, but that you are spreading things out. This means you don’t put all your apples in one basket. Practically living this out means you have a budget that includes not only your general life bills (housing, utilities, transportation, etc.), but room for giving and room for saving. It also means you shouldn’t simply save for one thing, but rather save in different ways. For me, I follow what Dave Ramsey teaches in his Financial Peace University, which is a biblically based teaching. There is emergency fund, vacation saving, car saving, etc. Giving is the same way. On top of the church tithe, we are blessed to be a blessing in other ways. This may include supporting other ministries, fundraisers, and even blessing someone you personally know who is in need.
Notice this passage speaks about tossing out this grain upon the waters (remember multiple areas) and not hold back waiting to see if there’s a sure thing. This doesn’t mean that you are carelessly tossing money in the air and watching it fly away. This means you are trusting God with your money, with all your investments. If you continue reading, note that the passage mentions the work of God who makes everything. Solomon proceeds to advise us to sow in the morning and evening, that we do not know what is going to prosper. We simply trust God. Today, cast your bread upon the waters. If you are not in control of your money, you won’t want to cast it. If that is the case, dig deeper into what God’s Word teaches about money. Check into more information about Dave Ramsey material. Remember, we aren’t meant to cling—we are to cast. Peace is available my friends.
“Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, for you know not what disaster may happen on earth. If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves on the earth, and if a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie. He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap. As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything. In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.” – Ecclesiastes 11:1-6 [ESV]
Abraham was blessed to be a blessing. Oftentimes I find myself remembering this truth. We too are blessed to be a blessing. When we realize that we have been blessed by God, and that nothing is ours, but rather everything is His, then naturally this blessing should flow through our fingers and bless others. This is not simply a nice idea—it is the way life was meant to be lived.
Jesus makes it clear that we are not to build our kingdom here on earth, because the earth is our temporary residence. Rather, our treasures are heavenly treasures. The world tells us otherwise—the world desires that we max out credit cards to compete with our neighbors for the newest of things, the biggest of houses, the fanciest of cars. The world tells us we should look out for ourselves and water our own flower bed. This verse tells us the “one who waters will himself be watered.”
When we open our hands to another person, we open up the doors for the blessing to be multiplied in a few ways. As we bless someone, this blessing may be paid forward. As we bless someone, this blessing will turn around and bless us. We feel joy when we give to others. We feel joy when we are able to act in lovingkindness. When we don’t cling tightly to the blessings God has bestowed upon us, He continues to rain down blessings so we are enriched, so we are well-watered. Who shall you water today?
“Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” – Proverbs 11:25 [ESV]
In Proverbs 3, we read that we are not to send our neighbor away when they are in need and we have the means to fulfill the need. The word neighbor actually is “rea,” which means friend or companion. When we have with us the solution, we should not tell the person to leave and return the following day. It seems like a very easy thing to do; however, it is not always seamless.
Why do we postpone helping when we can help? Many times it is because of greed, laziness, or disregard. We don’t like to admit it, but these reasons often are at the root of the denial. We don’t want to let go of something we worked hard to earn. We really do not feel like using the extra effort to lend a hand. At times we feel disregard for the person, and helping out is the last thing on the mind.
We always have to use good discernment when helping, so that our assistance is not enabling a person. However, we usually find ourselves in a situation when we can be the hands and feet of Christ, and it is a true need we can handle. We are blessed to be a blessing. Keep praying. Keep your hands and heart open. Don’t tell your friend to go away for a day when it is quite possible that you crossed paths this very moment to bless them and point them to Christ.
“Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it’—when you have it with you.” – Proverbs 3:28 [ESV]
You Have Lacked Nothing
Today’s verse speaks of a time when God’s people were wandering around in the wilderness. Even when they were not always walking with their eyes fixed on God, even when their hearts were easily swayed, God provided for them. During a time when they grumbled and complained again and again, God still made sure they had everything they needed. He provided them manna. He provided them fresh water. This verse speaks truth – they “lacked nothing.”
For those reading this right now, it is quite possible that you can boldly claim these same words – that you have lacked nothing, that God has indeed provided for everything you need. Oftentimes as we fix our eyes elsewhere, we might become forgetful of this truth. But we have lacked nothing. We have been fed. We have been clothed. We so often show little gratitude for the many things God provides us for daily.
Today let us remind ourselves that we have lacked nothing over the years. God has provided for us and He has provided in abundance. Let us not overlook this great blessing. Instead, I pray we are able to live a life of gratitude, a life that appreciates all of the blessings that He pours out upon us. We are blessed so very much. Thank you Jesus! Let us be blessed to be a blessing!
“For the LORD your God has blessed you in everything you have done. He has watched your every step through this great wilderness. During these forty years, the LORD your God has been with you, and you have lacked nothing.” – Deuteronomy 2:7 [NLT]