Learning To Give – 6-20-22

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Second Corinthians chapter 9 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Administering the Gift

Now concerning the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you; for I know your willingness, about which I boast of you to the Macedonians, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal has stirred up the majority. Yet I have sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this respect, that, as I said, you may be ready; lest if some Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we (not to mention you!) should be ashamed of this [a]confident boasting. Therefore I thought it necessary to [b]exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a [c]grudging obligation.

The Cheerful Giver

But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows [d]bountifully will also reap [e]bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of [f]necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written:

“He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.”

10 Now [g]may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, [h]supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, 13 while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, 14 and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

Footnotes

  1. 2 Corinthians 9:4 NU confidence.
  2. 2 Corinthians 9:5 encourage
  3. 2 Corinthians 9:5 Lit. covetousness
  4. 2 Corinthians 9:6 with blessings
  5. 2 Corinthians 9:6 with blessings
  6. 2 Corinthians 9:7 compulsion
  7. 2 Corinthians 9:10 NU omits may
  8. 2 Corinthians 9:10 NU will supply

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Acts 4:12-

“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Welcome back to 2 Corinthians. I hope your weekend was blessed and I hope you participated in our offering challenge – Giving out of obedience and love. We had studied chapter 8 and discussed offerings. Today’s reading is from chapter 9 and it is also on giving – because the one chapter did not cover all the nuances and elements of giving to God – Actually the Bible is FULL of lessons on it. Most preachers had been avoiding the subject, thanks to corrupted greedy preachers who preached it to make people give them money. The good thing that came from that is that preachers who did preach it focused on giving time, skills, resources, talents and the such to God (giving everything but money). Which is good, because if you are out of money and some are out of money in this world – You still have something you can give without feeling guilty that you cannot worship God with more. BUT Paul was speaking of actual money. SO we should not fail in also applying this to the giving of money.

It is very hard that this lesson on giving comes as the economy crashes globally – as many places have food shortages and inflation. It varies from areas to area as well as from home to home. When I am low or out of food, I fast. Actually, because the times are so much more perilous I am fasting with prayer quite regularly – ask God if you should too. It will get worse BUT if we know how to be in a relationship with God, God will take care of us – according to His will for us and for His glory.
On our Facebook and Instagram feed I am posting Psalm 91 and the Armor of God passages every other day. Get these passages into your heart to stand on. BUT if we are going to TRUST in the Lord blindly we must know His character and His principles.
His methods and principles are two different things. His methods change. His principles do not. I was touched by an anointed grace that transformed me in my living room. That does NOT mean we must bring everyone to my living room so God can touch them. It was just one of His ever changing methods. But His laws and principles do not change. Jesus died for our sins, because of the principle and sin requires a death. And today’s reading shows us the principles of giving. Friday it was a lesson of giving, because of worship, love and obedience – and today Paul shows us some of the reasons why – showing us the principle.
As the times gets worse, this principle shall be our provisions.

Lets jump in:

1 Now concerning the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you;”

Ministering to the saints – Saints means fellow brothers in sisters in Christ and not what it means in modern Catholicism. If you believed and had a relationship with God, like you and me, Paul called us saints. The word Christian caught on and became the word for us – but in the first century, there are many words the church made up and some stuck and some changed like this one.
Ministering to the Christians – this seems to be an area the church in Corinth was good at. I am sure they gave of their hospitality, goodness, skills, talents and things well. Paul includes more than just giving money in his message by inference – so it is not wrong to give of ourselves.
But make sure you understand that giving money is a ministry – it ministers to people. I would love to be in the ministry of giving money. What you want to travel the world preaching – sure, here is a few thousand dollars to fund the trip. That would be amazing. But those people need to hear strongly from God – because everyone will be asking for money. What a burden, unless God gives the ministry and leads it.

for I know your willingness, about which I boast of you to the Macedonians, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal has stirred up the majority.”

So the church at Corinth was ready and full of zeal to give to the special offering which Paul is discussing (read Friday’s post for more into on the historic reasons and events behind this special offering). We should be full of zeal to give – and if we are, others will also catch this zeal! Zeal, is more than eager, more than ready, more than excited. When you go to church and the offering plate is about to be passed, are you also full of zeal?!
Honestly, God is showing us details here that we should know and practice. It is right. We should minister with money and do it zealously!

Yet I have sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this respect, that, as I said, you may be ready; lest if some Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we (not to mention you!) should be ashamed of this confident boasting.”

Here is another interesting concept. And it took me a LONG time to learn this. It is wrong to be unprepared when it is offering time. I used to sit there and fill out my check in the sanctuary when it was time to pray for the offering. I wasn’t praying, I was writing.  Then as times changed, it was at the offering call that I took out my phone and gave through the app. We all know there is an offering call every Sunday. Saturday night while we get out our church clothes and get ready for bed, make more time to pray about what you should give and make out the check then, and be ready.
Moreover, it is Monday – you just gave yesterday, but what does God want you to do next Sunday?! You have a week to prepare, maybe shuffle funds, maybe loose something, maybe you need to transfer money or go to the bank. PLAN AHEAD FOR THE OFFERING!  Paul is telling them to be ready for when it is time to collect, we too should be ready for when it is collected.

Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation.”

We give to God because we love Him. And because he commands that we bring in the tithes and offerings. One of God’s love languages is gifts! He loves to receive ad to give. We are learning about God’s tender character. All too often when studying about offerings we are holding our bank accounts so tight we miss that it is about love. Some days a husband buys his wife a huge bouquet of flowers other days just one or two flowers, just because he loves her and knows she loves flowers.
It is the same with God – except it is not flowers – it is money. It is like going with change or going with large bouquets of money!!
“Prepare your generous gift beforehand” there it is, and it could not be more clear. Give yourself to God and ask Him what He wants you to give – then obey. The Church is NOT asking for your money!! GOD IS. and He has every right to! It is time to stop seeing it as a “grudging obligation”.

But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”

This is so important and I can write book on this very point alone – giving to God is like sowing seeds. Each seed produces a plant, with a few flowers or fruits which produce a BUNCH more seeds. If I have one piece of corn – I can put it on a hot pan with some oil and let it pop and eat it. OR I can drop it in the ground and reap a stalk with a few ears and many seeds on each. I could pop one ear and plant the rest, and next time I will have SO MUCH MORE!
What GOD is saying is that HE doesn’t want our money because He is greedy – nope! God wants to take it and multiply it – cause it to bear fruit and flowers and then MORE SEEDS so you can sow more! God cannot change your situation, your finances, your lack, until you sow it to Him in worship and let God do what He is famous for, transforming and multiplying!

So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”

But give in LOVE, with cheerfulness, zeal and thanksgiving. Because He has already never failed you is why you give generously in thanks. Not of necessity.
Giving out of necessity can mean giving because you feel it is necessary. But, if you are needy and you give ONLY because you know God will multiple and give back – that is wrong. Do not do it to make God perform for you. Even though, it works and you can give big and receive big – Do not give only to receive.
This is where all the prosperity preachers went wrong. God is concerned about our hearts and not our bank accounts. He will provide, so He isn’t worried. He wants our gifts because we love Him.
This is a prayerful work – one God has been working in me for a while. He wants me to prosper, yet I lack. I give, why am I not getting back? And all the while I am getting to know God more and better and falling more in love with Him and he is softening my heart to be more giving. And God is showing me in my lack, NOT just how to have faith and trust Him, because I already do – but more about how to love Him and others. Love. The other day I found a couple dollars in a pocket of a pair of pants that do not fit me anymore and I haven’t worn in years. The money looked rolled and washed. I praised the lord as I have a need for dish soap and I could now go buy it. I hurried to the store and I thought maybe I should put these couple of dollars into the gas tank. It wouldn’t even equal a gallon. And probably would burn as much gas to get me to the gas station and back as I had in change. I pass the gas station and arrive at the store. As I park, I pray God helps me and thank Him for it and I felt like, what If someone in front of me is short the money she needs for food and it Is exactly the amount I have would I put back my dish soap and give it to her? I thought of course I would. Then I thought what if God wants this, would I give it to him. So I sat there in the parking lot praying and telling God that those few dollars were his and I would do what He wanted with them. In the end, after surrendering to whatever may come to take the money – I walked inside, grabbed the soap and looked around, nothing weird was happening. Ok, so I took it to the checkout line. The man in front of me pulled out cash, more cash than he needed for his order. He had no need of my few dollars. Before it was my turn, I looked behind me at a lady who already had her card out to pay and was buying one item that was more than I had, so it looked like it was my turn to cash out. Nothing happened. I left the store holding my soap like it was the most important thing in the world – because I gave it all to God and he gave me back the soap that I need with a few cents to spare.
It seems silly in hindsight and I almost didn’t share – cause nothing happened…. BUT SOMETHING DID HAPPEN. God is changing me and my relationship with money. God is changing the way I give. I give because I love Him, Because he has been SO good, SOOOO GOOOOOOOD!

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written:“He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.”

God promises sufficiency in all things – there is that prosperity message, there is no getting around it. it is followed by “Abundance” and preceded by “Abound”. We aren’t sowing money and reaping spirit things. We aren’t sowing apple seeds and reaping wheat. We sow finances we also reap finances. But the process of sowing correctly reaps grace. And the love and obedience of doing it right reaps love and spiritual growth.
Here we also see that those blessings are for our provisions, but they come in abundance that we may give more. We are blessed to be a blessing!
Like I had extra after buying the soap, a few cents. I could buy a small candy – and reap my reward instantly in sweets. Or I can take that money and drop it in the offering plate, because I am blessed with the extra to be a blessing and reap eternal rewards. Yes, even with a few cents.

10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.”

Come on, are you getting this? So, you all know I have been broke lately. And I have been asking for seed to sow. I have been giving my products that I make in my business, as unto God. Whatever is in my hands, I have been practicing giving. So, God filled my need for soap, and I have extra seed to give. Now, why didn’t I wait for God to give me the soap and give the money in the offering? Well, I did wait a couple days, and the dishes are backed up over the counter. And God sent someone over, with a hamburger as a gift for me, we sat on the porch and talked and ate burgers, but no soap. And I prayed about the money and thought immediately I can get soap. And then God told me to put the change into the offering plate. I think I obeyed and did right. I try.
Why soap and not food? Well, God gives bread for food! Which is so funny because every week the food pantry gives so much bread! I do not eat a lot of bread – but God gives bread for food and now I have a freezer full of bread!
God is multiplying the seed. I had lessons to learn in my heart. And I had to go through a rough time so God could prune off all that was in His way. He is increasing the fruits of my righteousness.
Enriched in everything, say EVERYTHING! For all liberality, meaning freedom and openness! God blesses us to be free to thank Him. He gives us the seeds to be thanked for them. It is a multiplying cycle if we slide into it in worship of His awesomeness to have created a system for provisions and blessings.

12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, 13 while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, 14 and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”

And Paul breaks out in worship of God for His great and abundant returns on the offering. Because the people receiving the offering will be blessed and now have seed to sow and give to others. And the ones who first sowed the gift will rea for their sowing that that is how God takes a little and blesses the entire first century church scatted all over the Roman world and beyond.

Lord, we all gave an offering this week in love and worship, please take it and bless us for giving it because we are trying to practice what we red and we are trying to learn to be obedient in our gifts to you. Please give us abundant grace as we go through this process. Please meet our needs this week and give us extra seed to sow, so that as we prepare, even now, for next Sunday’s gift to you, you will provide the seed to be sown so that this next offering will be bigger than yesterday’s offering. In the name of Jesus I pray ~amen

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

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