Matthew 25:32-46 and Isaiah 58 are pretty sobering passages. One talks about how we miss Opportunities to minister to Christ when we ignore the poor and suffering. The passage in Isaiah 58 talks about bad fasts and good fasts. More so about our intentions and actions during a fast. We can pray and fast for the wrong reasons. What we do in life should be to help others live better not so we can live better. Our focus in devotion should be to focus on what God is concerned about and not what concerns us. We should live to make other people’s lives better not our lives. God takes care of us as we take care of others. If you want to be blessed by the Lord then you find ways to be a blessing to the poor and hurting. When we ignore others and hoard the resources God has put in our lives, one day we will be judged for our lack of response to His needs through the poor. It is not the wealth we possess that concerns God. It is the blindness of others who are in need that concerns Him when we have the resources and the opportunity to be a blessing. Being a blessing is more important than wanting a blessing. When we are a blessing we will never need a blessing.
Isaiah 58:7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house;when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
We had a family in Kentucky a few years ago who one day a week would eat rice for their dinner and give the equivalent cost of a meal for five to missions. Doing that helped them to give an additional $15.00 to $30.00 a week to missions. So at $30.00 a week they would be able to give $1560.00 a year to missions. Not a lot you might say. But if the three million AG people who attend our churches did that it would explode our missions receipts from $200,000,000.00 to $936,000,000.00. That would be dividing our 3,000,000,000 people in families of five or 600,000 giving units. That would be a 436 percent increase.
I bought a coffee today for $2.65 which I do two or three times a day. If each of the three million attendees of AG churches gave the equivalent of a cup of coffee a day to missions we would explode missions giving and impact on the world. That would be a mere $7,950,000.00 by giving the cup of coffee a day. That would be a four hundred percent increase of what we do as a Fellowship.
The truth is a few give sacrificially to reach the Unreached with the Gospel. The facts are that the average attendee in our Fellowship gives nineteen cents (.19) a day to world missions to help them reach the lost. If we had to save $.19 a day to get a cup of coffee it would take us two weeks to have $2.65 for that cup of Joe. We don’t miss the $2.65 and never really think about the price. I wish we felt the same about the Unreached of our world and would be intentional in our giving that it became as unintentional and natural to give it as to ignore it.
Every time I leave for a road trip I have this Feeling of anticipation and dread. I always enjoy the adventures of the road, new people and new experiences. But I always dread leaving the family behind. Have I secured the home so that they are safe? Have I prepared everything so they do not have to work too hard? Have I prepared them for my absence?
Truth is every man one day is going to leave this earth. When you leave be sure you have lived your life so that your presence secures your absence. Be sure that your achievements were worth the effort. Be sure that your pursuits were significant enough to be relished and not regretted. Be sure your life will be missed and not misunderstood. Be sure your family go forward because you were not thinking in reverse. Be sure the financial load you leave is not liabilities but assets.
I don’t have to leave for my next journey. I have a choice to leave or stay. On the last journey of life I have no choice. The only choice that I have is am I ready for the next place and have I prepared my family for my absence?
The US Missions Ministries have approved Tim and Marci Jones to travel and train children’s workers in churches. They can help your church establish Children’s ministries in your church and develop outreaches for your community. They are developing school Assemblies for the local churches as well. These folks have been doing this for over thirty years. I have known them for at least that long and know them to be incredible people and servants. Yes they are raising their support and need churches and pastors to partner with them. But if you are in the Southeast I would take advantage of them and see what can happen in your Church and community.
Tim and Marci Jones
The last wishes of Alexander the Great:On his death bed, Alexander summoned his generals and told them his three ultimate wishes:
1. The best doctors should carry his coffin
2. The wealth he has accumulated (money, gold, precious stones)should be scattered along the procession to the cemetery, and
3. His hands should be let loose, hanging outside the coffin for all to see.
One of his generals who was surprised by these unusual requests asked Alexander to explain.
Here is what Alexander the Great had to say:
1. I want the best doctors to carry my coffin to demonstrate that, in the face of death, even the best doctors in the world have no power to heal
2. I want the road to be covered with my treasure so that everybody sees that material wealth acquired on earth, stays on earth
3. I want my hands to swing in the wind, so that people understand that we come to this world empty handed and we leave this world empty handed after the most precious treasure of all is exhausted,
and that is TIME.
TIME is our most precious treasure because it is LIMITED. We can produce more wealth, but we cannot produce more time. When we give someone our time, we actually give a portion of our life that we will never take back. Our time is our life.
Copied, author unknown
When a ministry is faced with ceilings and crossroads it is not a time to panic but pray. It is too easy to choose other opportunities where the sky is the limit and to change highways instead of making a choice at a crossroad. It in those moments that your mission is reinvestigated. Who are you? What are you about? What makes you feel alive when you are doing it? Where do you want to end up at when it is time to hang up the hat? What do you want to see when you look back to your yesterday’s?
The ceiling and the crossroads of ministry are really new opportunities to soar to a new level. The moment when you face them it is easy to feel it is over rather than it is just beginning. Follow your heart but be sure your heart has great information to follow. Never follow money let money follow your dreams and visions.
I like all the posts about what people are thankful for at this season. One of the worst things a person can do is to receive the blessings of God without remembering the gift. But let me add a little different perspective. The blessings we are given are not for our pleasure and benefit only. If we are the end result of God’s blessings we fail to understand the heart of God in His gifts. He gives to us so that we can replicate in the lives of others His care and love. He gives to us more to give through us than to us. If your blessings are consumed on you and your family alone you really don’t get it and may cause detrimental damage to your future blessings.
It is somewhat like the farmer who receives his harvest after his planting. If he makes the harvest and does not save seed for the future then his harvest will become his consumption and also his bankruptcy. God never runs out of seed but He will not invest in you if you see yourself as consumer and not distributer.
The enemy uses your blessing to be your curse if you are selfish and materialistic. The enemy wants you to be a consumer because that keeps God’s blessings from others who will not have reason to give praise to God for His blessings. They will not know that God blessed them because you consumed what was meant for them on yourself.
So how can you remember and distribute the blessings of God without becoming a consumer only.
1. Acknowledge that your blessings do come from God with testimony.
2. Look at the blessing He puts in your hand and ask if it is for your need or someone else need. Is God helping me or is He wanting me to help someone else?
3. Is my blessing my spouse and have I looked around at someone who has lost a spouse and need to encourage them in their sorrow?
4. Is the blessing my children and I need to focus on helping someone else who’s children are in trouble?
5. Is the blessing my job, my home, my clothes, my friends, my vehicles, my whatever and do I need to help anybody in my circle who is in lack?
6. Who can I call or send a note to so that they do not feel alone or lost in a season of loss and pain?
7. Who is it that was very public at one time but now they are private and may need a call for you to restate how much they meant to you in your life?
8. Who is it that needs a kind word when everything looks like they are deserving of ill treatment?
9. Who is it that needs forgiveness that you are withholding because they failed you? You and I do not have the right to withhold forgiveness.
10. Can I do any and all of this without becoming prideful of my kindness because I realize it is God though me blessing others and not me blessing them? In others words can I bless others without feeling like I am God?
Some days all you can do is to serve in quietness. There will be no pats on the back or warm smiles to recognize your service. Nobody will notice that you are even in the house while you work. While you serve you will wonder if it was enough, was it done correctly. You will have no gauge, no guide to measure your work only your heart. In those moments of silence and absence of thankfulness the crude and course actions and words of people will be loud. Your insecurities will be attacked and vulnerable. Don’t yield to what you feel in those moments. Continue to serve in quietness and faithfulness to Christ. Let your actions be invested into the Lord who served us and gave to us. Be satisfied to know that He sees, He hears and He cares for you and accepts your quiet service as worship to Him.
Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
I love it when insults are sent your way and you act like you did not get it and watch the expressions on their faces. Also when you know that you are disliked by some and when they smile at you and hug your neck because the crowd around them would judge them harshly for their childishness. Never take the bait and you will not be the victim.
Transition as we just saw with our presidents is an example to all of us. In every way the two men were in disagreement over policy and strategy for our country. What they did agree on was the constitution and our country. They put this in the forefront of their actions. It is admirable and a example for us all.
In our organizations and churches there is a lot to be said about longevity in office. But more to be said about those who will know when to transition. Congregations and organizations should respect and honor their leaders and pastors. But is incumbent on all of us to know when it is time to step aside and let the next generation lead. In the church we leave that up to the leader and should never try to destroy or damage their leadership because we need change. We should pray for them that they will love their constituents, people and organizations enough to transition. Our responsibility is to serve and show honor and the leaders responsibility is to lead and know when they leave. It is always best for people to be sad at the transition rather than glad to see it.