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Friday, April 29, 2016

reasons to stay positive



Yesterday I was granted several blessings that stirred my faith and built on my story of what God is doing.  This is good stuff.

We have been helping some people who were involved in a fire at their apartment complex.  This week we have been able to help provide furniture and other items through donations and partnerships with others.  The attitudes of these people, their grateful words and smiles, made my heart swell with joy.  Another piece that I didn’t expect was from a conversation with a local man who is incarcerated.  He shared with me what God put in his heart and how God showed up after he prayed.  This was big stuff.  One last blessing came from a local pastor as I listened to him tell his story at an awards banquet.  He talked about the power from God with great perspective.

These points and more help me stay positive, and there is more to come.  The least several weeks we have talked about things that will flow through us and secure even more positive things in us and around us.

Romans 8:1-2  NIV
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

Psalm 103:2-5  NLT
Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

Romans 1:10-12 NLT
One of the things I always pray for is the opportunity, God willing, to come at last to see you. 11 For I long to visit you so I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord. 12 When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.

Some of the most positive pieces of life and faith are in those verses.  We have the truth of Christ that helps us be optimistic.  We have so much to be thankful for, and the work of God highlights so many of those for us.  Lots of things encourage me, but the biggest encouragement comes from the people I get to be around.

May God open more ways and more places and more people who feed us to live life making a difference and being positive!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

be generous


Yes, there are people who seem more generous, yet God calls His kids to be givers.  This is not just about money.  We can and should be generous with all the resources that God has blessed us with

He who has a generous eye will be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor.

Some of you have an eye for talent, others have an eye for art, you might have an eye for food and some have an eye for generosity.  What did the Bible say about the person who is generous?  They will be blessed.  You and I will be blessed when we are generous with what we have.

In the first week we talked about a verse that Jesus said big things about giving.  Here it is…

Our spiritual enemy cannot stop the blessings of God.  But Satan can try to DISTORT our relationship with God and our understanding of God’s blessings.  Think about our responses to what God has given us especially in how these truths can get twisted in wrong ways.

When we misunderstand our blessings, when we don’t honor or recognize that our blessings come from Him, we have a major problem.  This is an issue that God spoke to His people about.

Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,

Forgetting the source our blessings often lead to pride or guilt.  If we don’t deal with these negative attitudes, our view of blessings gives us a distorted of many things in our lives.  The warning God gave those people was to buy things that last.  Go back to what Jesus said in Matthew and make sure what you treasure is what will last.  We can use what we have for the right or the wrong reason and that includes how we look at and use what we have.

God blessed us with a purpose.  Everything God does has a purpose, and we see what God is doing when we take the focus off of us and put it on God. 

Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.

He will make us rich in EVERY WAY, not just money, so we can be generous to others on every occasion.  Being generous leads others to be thankful that God blessed you

Maybe you are like many other American Christians that are trying to increase their standard of living by getting a nicer car, a bigger house, or a higher paying job.  How about instead of increase your standard of living, increase your standard of giving?

The best way to increase your standard of giving is to recognize it is not all for us.  Life is all about God.  When we are generous, we are allowing God to work through our lives to bless others.  That will give us a new view of being generous and make us more like God than ever before.

NOTE: this was first shared in March of 2012 and remains true now.  This coming Sunday at The Community Fellowship is week 4 of our series STAY POSITIVE and will deal with generosity!