Forgiveness & Consequences

 

Time to Move On Clock Acceptance Concede to ChangeI believe forgiveness is a most powerful experience – whether you’re receiving forgiveness or giving forgiveness – It’s release; It’s remission; It’s pardon. Forgiveness is a gift to both the giver and receiver of it.  The Lord demonstrated this first throughout The Word. Giving and forgiveness are closely linked.  Giving is part of the root word. I have experienced first-hand the power of forgiveness. It releases anger, resentment, bitterness, hate and a ton of other emotions that we harbor. Forgiveness means freedom to both the giver and receiver of it.

There are consequences to sin even though there is forgiveness. I know of people who have made some disastrous choices and are forgiven, but still must pay huge consequences. I believe there are some godly and forgiven people in prison for crimes that were horrifying, but the consequences may possibly be a life sentence in prison. Check this out…

Lord our God,
    you answered them;
you were to Israel a forgiving God,
    though you punished their misdeeds.
Exalt the Lord our God
    and worship at his holy mountain,
    for the Lord our God is holy. (Psalm 99:8-9 NIV)

Both the offender and the offended need forgiveness. I’ve encouraged people to give forgiveness in their heart long before they ever have an opportunity to verbalize. It is so cool to see people who have held grudges and hurt for years’ release that and move on. In forgiveness, there is a new start even with the consequences looming. I’ve seen so many lives destroyed by bitterness and hate and the harm done to them was long gone. Holding on to hurt can lead to bitterness. Bitterness leads to literal death or certainly death of all sorts of relationships. I believe when I make a dumb choice or stupid decision, I should own it; make amends, accept the consequences and move on.

I’m no longer a slave to my dumb decisions and profound mistakes – I may have consequences to face because of them but I now know the amazing forgiveness of God. I’m not afraid of what is to come because I’m a child of the Most High God!

No Longer Slaves

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Measure

 

tape measureI have learned the value of measuring things prior to building them. I have several tape measures in my possession because I seemed to have lost the good ones. The cheap tape measures work pretty decent, but the nice 25’ Stanley tape measure is tough to beat. Over the years in my limited wood working ability and building things, I’ve learned to “measure twice and cut once”!

Solomon was in the process of building the furnishings of the temple. He was determined that there would be all new furnishings for the house of God when it was completed. Check this out…

All the objects that Huram-Abi made for King Solomon for the temple of the Lord were of polished bronze. 17 The king had them cast in clay molds in the plain of the Jordan between Sukkoth and Zarethan. 18 All these things that Solomon made amounted to so much that the weight of the bronze could not be calculated. (2 Chronicles 4:16b-18 NIV)

Solomon obviously didn’t have a budget – he was simply building extravagantly without thought on how much it cost. He was also extremely wealthy. I’m definitely impressed with what he did in the temple and how profoundly committed he was to following God. As wise as Solomon was, this seemed pretty crazy to me.

My giving to the Lord is measurable. My church provides me a “giving statement”. I can also give to other causes such as the American Cancer Society and charities that are like them. My giving can certainly be extravagant, but also measured. The Lord knows my heart in my giving and having my heart in a good place is actually probably more important than my gift. The Lord doesn’t need my money to do ministry – He does need my heart.

I don’t think you can put a price tag on giving – I do think it’s wise to be methodical, measureable with a little spontaneity thrown in!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Giving Expense

Give 3d Words Background Generosity and ContributionThe Lord loves a giver. I believe that I’m most like God when I give. I also believe that giving does something deep inside my heart. I have learned that giving is expensive, but oh so worth it.

I was taught growing up that I should give. I remember my Dad writing a check from his checkbook each week to give at church. I learned by taking money that my parents gave me to Sunday School and putting it in the offering bucket. As I grew older, I learned the value of earning money by working for others. One of my first jobs was in the hayfield loading hay to take it to the barn. I don’t remember how much I got paid, but I remember my parents teaching me to give a tithe (10%) on the money I earned.

King David had just done something pretty stupid and offensive to God. I’m not sure why this was so wrong, but evidently everyone knew it was wrong. It appears that David wanted to count the number of people in Israel and the number of fighting men. There is a part of me that thinks this was actually logical. The Lord called him out regarding this and David repented. The Lord gave David three options for punishment: 3 years of famine in the lane, 3 months of being swept away by your enemies or 3 days of plague upon the land. David surrendered himself to God because he knew of God’s mercy. The Lord punished Israel for David’s sin, but the Lord did relent. Check this out…

18 Then the angel of the Lord ordered Gad to tell David to go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. 19 So David went up in obedience to the word that Gad had spoken in the name of the Lord.

20 While Araunah was threshing wheat, he turned and saw the angel; his four sons who were with him hid themselves. 21 Then David approached, and when Araunah looked and saw him, he left the threshing floor and bowed down before David with his face to the ground.

22 David said to him, “Let me have the site of your threshing floor so I can build an altar to the Lord, that the plague on the people may be stopped. Sell it to me at the full price.”

23 Araunah said to David, “Take it! Let my lord the king do whatever pleases him. Look, I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, the threshing sledges for the wood, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give all this.”

24 But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.” (1 Chronicles 21:18-24 NIV)

A couple of important principles jumped out at me as I read this passage. First David went in obedience to build an altar before God. I don’t think David questioned the command one bit. The other thing that jumped out at me when the owner of the threshing floor offer to give David the property, the wood, the sacrifices – everything for the offering free of charge. David made a very insightful statement that sticks with me. I should give to the Lord something that cost me nothing – that’s not really my gift.

I want to learn more and more about giving. The giving I’m already involved in is really fun. I want to become more like God – He is such a GIVER. Giving is expensive, but for sure worth it. I think it’s way more expensive to be selfish than to be a giver.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Genuine Giving

 

Multi-Ethnic Group Of People's Arms Raised Holding Letters ThatI grew up in a home where giving was practiced regularly. We didn’t have much in material things, but my parents always displayed a healthy attitude of giving to help others. I remember watching my Dad write out his tithe check to the church every pay period. I also learned first hand just how much the Lord loves a giver. We are never more like God than when we give – “He gave His only Son…”

Elisha meets the woman and her husband who are generous toward him. They make quite an impression upon him. Check this out…

8 One day Elisha went to Shunem. And a well-to-do woman was there, who urged him to stay for a meal. So whenever he passed by, he stopped there to eat. 9 She said to her husband, ‘I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. 10 Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.’

11 One day when Elisha came, he went up to his room and lay down there. 12 He said to his servant Gehazi, ‘Call the Shunammite.’ So he called her, and she stood before him. 13 Elisha said to him, ‘Tell her, “You have gone to all this trouble for us. Now what can be done for you? Can we speak on your behalf to the king or the commander of the army?”’

She replied, ‘I have a home among my own people.’ (2 Kings 4:8-13 NIV)

They built a small room out so that Elisha could have his privacy and know that he always had a place to stay when he came that way. The part that jumped out to me is that this lady didn’t expect anything in return for her giving. She was thinking of Elisha and his comfort as he traveled so much.

I was reminded this morning that all I have belongs to the Lord. I’m simply a steward of all that He has given to me. I can always take my giving to a higher level. I want to be a giver like God is a giver. I want to think ahead like this Shunammite woman. I want to give without expecting reciprocation. God loves a generous giver. Giving reveals what is really going on inside my heart. Check out what Jesus says about this….

19 ‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21 NIV)

I want to invest into eternity by being a generous giver. I want to seek the Lord’s direction in giving. I want to be a giver like Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Free Giving

 

Hand giving moneyI’m still learning to be a giver. I’ve definitely learned that I can’t out-give The Lord. He is the Ultimate Giver. He gave His One and Only Son so that I could have my relationship with Him restored. I have hope through His Giving. I believe that my giving often blesses me as much as the recipient of my gift. I’m thankful that the Giver of Life is teaching me how to give.

King David understood the value of giving. He made an egregious mistake and disobeyed the Lord. The Lord gave him three options for punishment and they were all pretty hard. David fell on the mercy of God and asked for mercy. He was told to go to a certain threshing floor to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. So he went and the guy who owned the threshing floor was honored to have the king there. He tried to gift all that was needed for the sacrifice, but David responded with words I needed to hear. Check this out…

24 But the king replied to Araunah, ‘No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.’

So David bought the threshing-floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them. 25 David built an altar to the Lord there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the Lord answered his prayer on behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped. (2 Samuel 24:24-25 NIV)

I am never more like God than when I give.

I want to give generously to the Lord. He owns it all. He simply makes me the manager of all that He’s blessed me with. I can’t possibly out give the Giver of all good things. I can honor Him with my giving. I believe giving starts deep inside my heart and works it’s way out to my hands and feet. I trust the Lord to help direct my giving. I must fight the urge to be self-centered and cling tightly to the things the Lord has blessed me with. I have to be very discerning about where the Lord wants me to give. I believe that my giving begins with the church and my tithing. I can work from there. When the Lord’s resources connect with a heart devoted to Him, great work can happen as a result of determined giving. My giving costs me something – I must surrender it all to Him, I will still be blessed for sure.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Generosity

 

The Power of Sharing Billboard Message Donate Give Help OthersI learned about this word as a young child. My parents were relatively poor in that we had a house and old vehicles. We had food on the table, and clothes on our backs but there were 5 kids and my parents both worked and made a modest living. As a parent, I’ve looked back many times and wondered how they made it work. I remember my Dad being faithful to write his tithe check out each time he got paid. I learned to be generous from my parents. I also learned that the Lord loves a generous heart, because He has one too. He instructed His people to live and give generously to their fellow brothers. He wanted them to care for one another and not take advantage of a poor brother or sister. Check this out…

7 If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted towards them. 8 Rather, be open-handed and freely lend them whatever they need.

10 Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. 11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be open-handed towards your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land. (Deuteronomy 15:7-8;10-11 NIV)

I see passages like this revealing the generous heart of God. He has been generous toward me and He expects me to be generous toward others. It’s easier to be generous toward my fellow brother or sister when I think back what it’s like to be in need. I do believe that I also have a responsibility to take good care of the blessing and provision from the Lord so that I can position my self to be generous on His behalf. I don’t want to be generous because it makes Dwayne look good – I want to be generous to make The Lord look good.

I’m so thankful for the Lord’s provision in my life. I’m humbled that He’s used me to be a blessing to others. I end up being more blessed than some of the folks that I set out to bless. The Apostle Paul spoke in the New Testament about the blessing of giving. Check this out…

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”’ (Acts 20:35 NIV)

Pressing On!

Dwayne