Trusting in God means trusting in Him for the outcome of circumstances and events. If we can offer the best of what we can give, whether it is our time, our ideas, our attention or our money and we trust in God, He can take what we offer and do so much more than we can do on our own. In Matthew 14:13-21, the disciples gave Him all they had, five loaves of bread and two fish and with that over five thousand people were fed with plenty of leftovers. When we give our best and trust God for the outcome, amazing things can happen. May the peace of the Lord be with you. Amen.
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
(This photo was taken in June of 2013 at Garden of the Gods park near Colorado Springs, Colorado)
Give whatever you can, whenever you can, wherever you are. Giving and being generous is about so much more than money. We all have the ability to give…we can give of our time, we can give attention, we can give of ourselves physically to help out another, etc. We all have been given talents and gifts. Certain people are good at somethings while others are good at other things and when people are willing to give of their gifts good things occur for many people. If you are unsure what you can offer, ask God: How can I help? And pay attention for opportunities to give wherever you can. Amen.
“…remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ “
(This photo was taken in July of 2016 at the North Entrance of Yellowstone National Park)
The temperature has plummeted here in the upper Midwest…as I write this morning the temperature is -29 and the “feels like” temp is -50. Every day in every part of the world there are people in need…people who lack in some or all of the basics in life like food, shelter and water. No one person can help everyone, however, one person can help one other person. Don’t quit trying because the problem is too big…God loves every person in Creation…and every single person has something that can help at least one person, it is not all about possesions and things or stuff. Take inventory of your life and surroundings, give thanks for the blessings you have and seek wisdom to understand what God is asking you to share with those in need right where you are…you don’t want to miss being a person who can provide for the need of another. We are blessed to be a blessing. Amen.
“Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”
(This photo was taken in December of 2013 in northwestern Wisconsin…that is a picnic table on a deck)
To be generous is to be a giver, not just in terms of money. There are far more valuable things in life than money to give. A generous person has a certain mindset, an attitude and perspective about life and things. A generous person focuses very little time on what they receive or if they will receive, as that often takes care of itself because they are givers. Givers carry many of the characteristics related to the Fruits of the Spirit…they often exude kindness, goodness, gentleness, love, joy and patience. They are generous with their time and focus very little attention on what’s in it for me. To learn more about what it means to be generous, learn more about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ…you will find all you need to know in God’s Word. We are blessed to be a blessing. Amen.
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
(This photo was taken in July of 2016 in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming)
When we talk about giving and generosity, society and the world focuses on money and wealth alone. There is so much more to giving than money. To give of your time, your talents or your gifts. To give is about perspective, attitude and encouragement of the spirit. So give whatever it is you have to offer and give to those who are in need in your daily life and surroundings. Start by thanking God for whatever it is you have been blessed with and ask Him to guide you to how you can share it. I pray each one of us seeks a generous attitude with the gifts and blessings God has given us. Amen.
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 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 9:6-7
(This photo was taken in May of 2014 at a lake place in central Minnesota)
The messages we keep getting from all around us are “get more”, “take what is yours”, “protect it”, “mine”, “not yours” or “me first”…the world emphasizes selfish behaviors and attitudes and people wonder why there is so much conflict and suffering. This is not how we were made to be. When God created us out of His love He gave us free will because when we choose to give, it has such a deep impact compared to being forced to give and serve. Let’s talk about our pets as a simple example…if you have ever owned a dog or a cat you may have experience in the joy one feels when our pets give love and affection freely versus when they choose to do other things…and often times the pets receive better attention and affection when they are givers rather then when they are demanding to get! If you have never owned a pet I recommend watching the movie ‘Marley and Me’ to see this illustration. The point is when we make a choice to help, to serve and to give we are showing the love of God through our actions and we will have no need to worry about what we receive. May the peace and joy of the Lord be with you.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
(This photo was taken in August of 2016 in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington)
Guardianship…upkeep…safekeeping…managing…cherishing…protecting…preserving. We are asked to be good stewards in our lives. We come into the world with nothing and when we leave we can take nothing with us. All that we receive is from God. God owns everything and we receive so that we can be cared for and share with others. The sinful nature would have us go after gaining more to keep and store up this turns us away from faith. The world has been filled with more than enough resources to feed and clothe everyone, yet the human race has not distributed things properly so there is poverty everywhere. Do what you can wherever you are to help those who need it most. May God’s joy and peace be with you.
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each one should give what they have decided in their heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
2 Corinthians 9:6-7
(This photo was taken in July of 2018 on Lake Superior near the Apostle Islands)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
(This photo was taken in July 2016 at Beartooth Pass Summit in Montana)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”
(This photo was taken in October of 2014 while driving up the north coast of Maui)
“Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor. Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
(This photo was taken April of 2016 on a lake in central Minnesota)