Joyful Generosity

daily devotional free onlineEach of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
2 Corinthians 9:7-8

Christmas is over; those shoe boxes full of toys and school supplies for needy children got sent out months ago. The receipts for your tithing at church, and the donations you made to the local charity have been filed. The season of giving has finally come to an end.

Or has it?

The Apostle Paul challenged the first century Church to give financially as they felt led to give, and his words challenge the Church today as well.

Do you struggle with giving?

God does not want you to give as if you were simply following a rule book, or checking something off of a list. God desires that you give as an act of worship, responding to receiving the grace that he has given you through his son, Jesus Christ.

Do you feel led to give?

Give generously, as you feel led! Whether you have an abundance or are living paycheck to paycheck, you can give joyfully and generously. And Paul’s words are an assurance that God can provide for all of your needs, as you continue to do the works he calls you to do.

Most importantly, remember that Jesus gave up his glory and “became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). As you give of your finances, remember what Jesus gave up for you. Rejoice that God can use your giving to help others come to know Jesus as their savior as well.

Father, thank you for providing us with all that we have. Thank you for sending your son, Jesus Christ, to be our savior. Help us to have generous hearts; and help us to trust that you will provide for our needs as we give of our finances. Amen.

Thought: Where is your heart when you think about giving of your finances? If you struggle to give of your money, confess this to the Lord, and ask him to give you a generous, giving heart. Pray that God will give you an opportunity to give, and that he will give you joy as you give to him.

By Caran Jantzen

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How Will You be Remembered?

devotions onlineA good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.” - Proverbs 22:1

One morning in April of 1888 Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, woke up to read his own obituary. His brother, Ludvig, had died. But a newspaper reporter mistakenly thought it was Alfred and carelessly reported the death of the wrong brother! Anyone would be disturbed under those circumstances to read their own obituary. However, the headline was even more disconcerting to Nobel. It read: “The Merchant of Death is Dead.”

The article called him “The Dynamite King” and stated: “Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.” Alfred Nobel was horrified and overwhelmed. For the first time this great inventor and industrialist who amassed an immense fortune from explosives saw himself as the world saw him: “The Dynamite King.” Nobel did not want to be remembered as the merchant of death, so he resolved to do something about it.

On November 27, 1895, Alfred Nobel signed his final will and testament at the Swedish-Norwegian Club in Paris. When Nobel died on December 10, 1896, it was discovered that according to his will, his vast wealth was to be used for five annual prizes: physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace. The first prizes were awarded 113 years ago on December 10, 1901.

The prize for peace was to be awarded to the person who “shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding of peace congresses.” Just before his death, he confided in a friend, “I want to be remembered for peace, not destruction.”

When Alfred Nobel actually died he held 355 patents, had built companies and laboratories in over 20 countries and left a nine million dollar endowment fund to award the prizes. Nobel literally changed his legacy. Today we remember him for the Nobel peace prize.

While most of us will not leave behind inventions, worldwide success or a 9 million dollars endowment, we are leaving a legacy.

How will you be remembered? What kind of reputation are you building? What legacy are you leaving? Alfred Nobel said,  “Every man ought to have the chance to correct his eulogy in midstream and write a new one.” How will your eulogy read?

By John Grant
John Grant is a former Florida State Senator and is a practicing attorney

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