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The Power of Giving
April 9, 2007
Dear Friend of Mary Craig Ministries,
Are you in this life for what you can get? Or are you in this life for what you can give? How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.
Poverty is a mindset. You can be dissatisfied, always wanting more, thinking "what's in it for me," unthankful, envious of others, angry at God, and focus on lack, what you don't have. Or, you can be grateful, choose to be happy, think about what you have, be satisfied with all that God has for you in Christ, and focus on what you can give...to God, to others, to God's creation.
Riches. We have riches in Christ. We have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus. We have been blessed to be a blessing. Here's a little acrostic on riches.
Identity in Christ
Christ Himself, King of kings and Lord of lords
Salvation in all its fullness in Christ
"All battles are won first in the internal dialogue of the mind." (Paul Wylie, U.S. Olympic figure skater, Harvard Class of 1991) I keep this quote on my desk to remember that the battleground is my mind. What I think about, what I focus on, what I feed, tend, and nurture, grows! Negative thoughts, "poor me" and "I am poor" talk, "gimme, gimme" hands, and prowling to get over on others (or on God) feed poverty.
Why? For starters, you have what you say. You become what you behold. You are what you think. You attract what you like.
God is a giver who gives us the power to give (didomi) and the power (dunamis) to be conformed to the image of Christ. The answer is not to invest yourself in the attitude of the devil who is out to kill, steal, and destroy and to blame the devil for your poverty while demanding God give you the kingdom so as to take the kingdom by force. The answer is to war against the fleshly desires of lust, pride, and greed and to come in humility and gratitude before the King of the kingdom thanking Him that He knows your needs, cares for you, and supplies all of your needs according to the abundance of His riches in Christ Jesus.
Those who focus on the temporal and temporary things of this world and who make demands upon the Almighty miss the fact that it is God's good pleasure (Jesus said) to give us the kingdom. We don't need to take it by force. The violent do that. All we need to do is ask, seek, and knock. Humility, gratitude, trust in the truth and promises of a gracious God, giving graciously, generously, gladly, and as God guides-these emote joy, peace, and love while following hard after the heart of God.
Yes, God is a giver. That doesn't mean we are to use and abuse God's grace and love toward us, taking from Him and robbing Him, exploiting His kingdom, and abusing our position as children of God. It means we are to be givers as He is a Giver. It means we are to give, bless, expend our lives in life and spend our days wisely as we lay up treasure in heaven. Jesus gave His life, Himself. The Father gave Him everything.
Wealth is also a mindset. It comes from seeing yourself blessed, loved by God, an inheritor of the Promise, a joint-heir with Christ, as able to give because God has given you so much, as able to return thanks to Him in countless little ways because you see that every day He loads you with benefits.
To whom much is given, of such much is required. Does that prompt you to say you are poor so you don't have to deal with responsibilities? Another quote I like comes from Charles Spurgeon. He said, "Tend not to the honor, but tend to the responsibility." So many of us, though, want the honor of the position we have as children of God, but we don't want the responsibility to give, care, share, love, and "tend the garden."
What we focus on, we magnify. During our Friday night Bible study, I illustrated this point by getting up close and personal with a blue door. The blue door was part of a water color painted by a child in Mozambique. It hangs on a wall at Craighouse. As I focused on that blue door, I lost sight of everyone and everything else in the room, not to mention the rest of the world. The blue door loomed larger and larger the more I focused on it. But if I would turn that focus to God and His kingdom and His creation, then what? You get my point!
A few years back when we were in southern India, some children asked me why Americans were so blessed. (We are, you know, compared to the rest of the world.) I started to tell them that it was because Americans give. Large portions of our tax dollars go to foreign aid. We reach out to disaster victims. We help. As I began to tell these children that God would also bless them if they would share with one another, I was silenced. "Don't tell them that! You are here to give to us!" Okay, so MCM will be blessed and all who give to MCM will be blessed, but will these children learn how they, too, can be blessed?
37 million people in the USA (2005 statistic) live in poverty, many in the South. Our Barnabas Project focuses on forgotten people and forgotten places in the region of South Florida. Our next Barnabas distribution will be in the Belle Glade region. We target such areas for blessing in a demonstration of God's grace and love! Please read the brochure and article from David Patten, our Barnabas Project Director and consider being a Barnabas by giving donations designated "Barnabas Project."
Givers know that true wealth comes as we receive the rewards of giving.
Magnifying the Lord,
P.S. Go to www.marycraig.org for more. Order from our Catalog Section using PayPal. Worship with us 4:30 p.m. Sundays. Grow and flourish in small group ministry at Craighouse®, located in the Pompano Plaza at 114 E. McNab Road, Pompano Beach, FL 33060. Log on to www.craighouse.org for a map and more events and Bible studies. Reach MCM at 954-491-7270. Send in your prayer requests. Mary Craig Ministries, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Federal ID 65-0429517.
He which sows sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and
He which sows bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
Every man according as he purposes in his heart, so let him give;
Not grudgingly, or of 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
Abound to every good work…
Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness,
Which causes through us thanksgiving to God. 2 Corinthians 9.6-11
Mary Craig Ministries is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.
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