Motivated Giving

 

Give 3d Words Background Generosity and ContributionA few years back in the rear view mirror my giving to the church had “fallen off”. I realize that it was a direct result of my income shrinking during the recession. As my income increased, my giving increase. I was taught as a kid to give 10% of my income. It’s easier to give when the income is small. I look at it as a principal that I’ve grown into. I now see giving as an act of worship. Thanks to technology, I can give from my phone after the deposit in my account has been made.

Giving is about way more than money. I believe giving is also about my time and resources. I can serve others with my time and energy by investing in them. Paul’s teaching to the church in Corinth was very strong and I the principle he’s speaking of is the truth. Check this out…

The point is this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously. Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not reluctantly or out of compulsion, since God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:6-8 CSB)

My giving has become a huge blessing to me. This is not intended to be a boast, because I’m not sharing amounts of giving, but I do want it to be an inspirational testimony – giving has blessed me deep within my heart. The physician, Luke, who penned the gospel Luke and the book of Acts gives a quote from Jesus that is very strong. Check this out…

In every way I’ve shown you that it is necessary to help the weak by laboring like this and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, because he said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35 CSB)

I been getting lots of counsel about growing my income and building a financial fortress. The same people who are counseling me have also shown me by example that they are givers. They are wise and discerning in their giving, but they believe in the principle of the harvest. I remember hearing a pastor say, if you can’t give on a margin of 10%, then start with 5% or 3% – start somewhere. I believe that giving should be the first thing I do with my money when I receive it. If I give the Lord the “left-overs”, I don’t feel the blessing. I like giving to Him first and then watch what He does with the balance that I have.

I work to provide for my family first and foremost.  I also work so that I can give of my time, talent and resources. I’m still growing in my giving and the Lord is still directing my generosity. I could never “out-give” God. He gave first. He loved me first. He saved me. He is the reason I give and He is the reason I live. I’m a highly motivated giver because God gave first.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Ask

 

Young pretty woman with question marksThis is a short verb that carries a lot with it. It almost involves a question. I’ve been told “Don’t Ask”, sarcastically when I really will not want to know the answer. Asking is implying that I don’t know. Asking can be a teachable moment. This three-letter word can change the entire direction of a journey.

Nehemiah was cupbearer to the king of Persia. He was responsible for making sure the wine that was given to the king and queen was not poisoned. He was thoroughly trusted by the king and this position was actually a pretty high-ranking position. He had heard about Jerusalem and the exiles that were sent there by King Darius with Ezra had gotten “bogged down” with the work. His concern evidently showed on his face. The King asked him about his sad countenance. Nehemiah shared with him what was going on (rather what was not going on) back in his homeland. He then asked the king for the opportunity to go do the work. He also asked for some resources and protection so the king sent him with letters that would provide for the rebuilding. Nehemiah heads to Jerusalem and starts surveying what all needs to be done. He then assembles the leaders and people who are living in the abandoned city. Check this out…

17 Then I said to them, ‘You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.’ 18 I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me.

They replied, ‘Let us start rebuilding.’ So they began this good work. (Nehemiah 2:17-18 NIV)

Nehemiah asked the Lord for help and courage. Nehemiah then had the courage to ask the king if he come back to his homeland to rebuild. He also had the courage to ask the king for resources (money and materials) to accomplish the work.

Asking can be hard work.

Asking can be humiliating.

Asking can be very helpful.

Asking can be very insightful.

I’ve asked for a lot of help over the years and I’m thankful that others responded enthusiastically to come to my aid. I’ve also been asked to help others over the years and I’m thankful to have been able to be part of helping them.

I want to grow in this area. I want to ask The Lord about everything. I want to be humble enough to ask for help from others when I need help. This little three-letter word can be the difference between success and failure.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Leadership Resource

 

Leadership Tools Skill Management Experience TrainingThere are leaders everywhere in just about every area of life. Some leaders are really good and honorable. Other leaders are a bit shifty and deceitful. I respect leaders who are honest, forthright and trust worthy. I understand that leaders are human beings too. There are leaders at every level of our culture. There are homeless leaders who are leaders of a small homeless group. There are leaders in school from the kids to the principals to the superintendent. There are leaders at work and at play. There are strong leaders running for our highest elected leadership office in our country. Every leader has a leadership source. I would say that one library that leader has access to is their own personal experience. The most powerful leadership force is to seek the Lord’s wisdom. Check this out…

13 Once more the Philistines raided the valley; 14 so David inquired of God again, and God answered him, “Do not go directly after them, but circle around them and attack them in front of the poplar trees. 15 As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the poplar trees, move out to battle, because that will mean God has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.” 16 So David did as God commanded him, and they struck down the Philistine army, all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.

17 So David’s fame spread throughout every land, and the Lord made all the nations fear him.(1Chronicles 14:13-17 NIV)

When David and his people are threatened, he inquires of God. The Lord gave him many victories and as a result of that, he became famous. I love the statement that the Lord makes in v. 15… “God has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.” I believe that this can happen whenever I trust the Lord to go before me.

The Lord not only provides wisdom and discernment for leaders who seek Him as a resource, He also works on behalf of those same leaders. King David operated under the Lord’s leadership and he was favored and feared by people everywhere.

I believe that the Lord is the Greatest Leadership Resource. I’ve noticed that there is a drastic difference in leaders who are led by the Lord versus leaders who are self serving. When I seek the Lord’s leadership resources, I’m admitting that I can’t lead without Him. That’s exactly where I need to be.

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

Protection & Provision

 

ProtectedI am constantly thankful for the Lord’s protection and provision. I can see His hand at work in my life and in the life of my family and friends. These two character traits of the Lord go hand in hand.

The setting is that Pharaoh, the King of Egypt is feeling threatened by the size of the Israelite group living in his country. He decides to curb the population growth by killing all the male babies. He gives the order and carries it out. I can only imagine the desperation of the parents as their baby would be born and he’s male. I’m sure each family used desperate measures to protect and provide for their family. Check this out…

1 Now a man of the tribe of Levi married a Levite woman, 2 and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. 3 But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. 4 His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.

5 Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. 6 She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. ‘This is one of the Hebrew babies,’ she said.

7 Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, ‘Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?’

8 ‘Yes, go,’ she answered. So the girl went and got the baby’s mother. 9 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.’ So the woman took the baby and nursed him. 10 When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, ‘I drew him out of the water.’ (Exodus 2:1-10 NIV)

This is definitely a God-Story. The mother was desperate to protect her son and she hid him for 90 days. I can hardly imagine the desperation of hiding a baby for even a week knowing that if he’s found, he’ll be killed. I imagine that there were soldiers who came through the village every day or so looking for baby boys. As she’s preparing the basket boat, I imagine that she is desperately praying for God to protect her son. The mother was also providing an extra set of eyes, her older daughter, to watch over the basket as she put in among the reeds. The king’s daughter becomes a part of the protection and provision of God. It’s hard to grasp how all of this went down because the mom was able to nurse and nurture him until he was older, but then she gave him up to the king’s daughter. The king’s daughter even named the boy Moses. I wonder if the mom had called him by a different name. Her son was alive though and that really mattered.

God’s protection and provision is sometimes incredibly creative. He has resources beyond what we think about or know. I am learning to trust Him and constantly be grateful to Him for His protection and provision over me and my family.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Prayers – Asked & Answered

worship in prayerI’ve prayed for many things over the years. I’ve asked God to give me a mini bike (when I was a kid), I’ve prayed to be rich and I’ve asked for other stuff from God. I must admit that I wanted what I wanted and I wasn’t the least bit embarrassed to ask Him. I do believe that the Lord hears every prayer I pray. When I look back at just how self-centered I have been, I’m often embarrassed at my

I have prayed prayers that are very desperate. When my son was battling cancer – I prayed with serious intensity. I remember praying with intensity through some very trying financial struggles. Prayer calls on God to change things. Prayer also changes my because I’m dependent upon

I noticed the prayer life of Daniel early on in the book of Daniel. The king of Babylon had a dream and he demanded that his wise men tell him the dream as well as interpret it. It’s one thing to be able to interpret a dream, but to describe another person’s dream – that is beyond any human. It is not beyond the Lord’s power to reveal to others what I dreamed the other night. Daniel was about to be killed along with the other “wise” men who could not tell the king his dream as well as the

17 Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 18 He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven 20 and said:

‘Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;

    wisdom and power are his.

21 He changes times and seasons;

    he deposes kings and raises up others.

He gives wisdom to the wise

    and knowledge to the discerning.

22 He reveals deep and hidden things;

    he knows what lies in darkness,

    and light dwells with him.

23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:

    you have given me wisdom and power,

you have made known to me what we asked of you,

    you have made known to us the dream of the king.’ (Daniel 2:17-23 NIV)

 

I’m still learning that I should pray about EVERYTHING and worry about NOTHING! I should talk to the Lord throughout my day to ask for wisdom and direction from Him. I love Daniels prayer acknowledging God as the One in control of all that I see and know. There is POWER in prayer because prayer is calling on all the resources of The Lord and He has unlimited everything! Prayer is a power-filled tool that teams me up with the Lord. I’m so thankful. I gain such perspective when I pray about everything.

Pressing On!

Dwayne