I hope I’m not the only one who falls so easily into the trap of grumbling and complaining. After all, it seems like such a little thing! And, let’s face it, there are plenty of things to gripe about. Yet, in reality, we’re not just complaining about our circumstances or other people, but against our Sovereign God. We’re called to shine the light into a dark world, but it’s hard to be shining when you’re whining! Continue reading →
Do you ever feel like you have so little to give to God? So little in the way of talent or time or resources? What kind of giving does God desire and what does the heart of the giver have to do with it?
Jesus and His disciples are observing those giving in the temple:
“Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, …So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood'” (vv. 42-44).
The New Living Translation says she gave “all that she had to live on.” Bible dictionaries say these coins were worth less than a penny a piece. This poor widow humbly and quietly gave all that she had.
In Matthew 6.2 Jesus warned against following the example of some who, while the gifts may have been large, made a show of their giving:
“So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full (NASB).
They wanted to be seen and heard by men, but this poor widow’s giving was seen and heard in heaven. God is not looking at the size of the gift, but at the heart of the giver!
How is your heart when you give? Do you give begrudgingly? Cheerfully? Sacrificially? This is not about earning God’s love. He already loves each of us enough to die for us. It’s not about looking good to others like religious people of Jesus’ time.
Even though God works through the giving of His people, He doesn’t need our money (Ps. 24.1, 50.10). He wants our hearts!
In chapter 21 God had blessed the Nation of Israel with military success. He continued to feed them supernaturally, protect them and rule over them. Yet they continued to grumble, complain and turn against Moses. As a result God sent poisonous snakes into the camp. These snakes had a bite that caused a fiery inflammation.
But even then God made a provision for them to be saved from the consequences of their sin. He instructed Moses to put an image of the snake, the result of their sin, on a pole and anyone who looked at it, was saved from death.
John 3.14-15 says, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
As a result of our sin, Jesus allowed Himself to be hung or lifted up on a cross so that whoever looks to Him will also be saved, not from physical death, but from eternal spiritual death!
According to A.W. Tozer in his book The Pursuit of God, looking and believing are synonymous. While Israel looked with their physical eyes, we look on or believe in with the heart.
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance.”
Like the nation of Israel, our nation has been blessed by God in so many ways: militarily, financially, with an abundance of food, protection, unheard of freedoms, and yet, we’ve turned to gods of our own making. The only answer is turning back to the One true God. That begins with us. We must surrender fully to Him in our own hearts, minds and lives, and pray for a great revival in our nation.
Whether or not our nation as a whole will turn back to God, we don’t know, but just as God protected individuals in the nation of Israel from what was going on around them, Continue reading →