Monday, April 16, 2018

Gender Surrender?


Related post: Transgendered? No U-Turn for LaVern
http://coryhcollins.blogspot.com/2016/05/transgendered-no-u-turn-for-lavern.html

Does anyone remember the old TV sitcom, “Father Knows Best?” It reflected a time in which our culture respected the role of the father as the leader of the home, protecting and caring for each member, and resolving issues – all in just 30 minutes per episode!
How rapidly and dangerously has our society moved from that view. Today it seems that, when it comes to gender, anything goes.
It’s vital that we address cultural issues, and our culture is changing fast.
For example, Toys R Us, once one of the nation’s largest and oldest toy retailers, is closing all 800 of its stores. Do we all understand why?
From BreakPoint:
In its annual filing, the company pointed to online competition like Amazon, as well as traditional retailers like Walmart and Target, as the major reasons for its bankruptcy. But Toys R Us (which also runs Babies R Us) cited another and much more troubling reason for its collapse: sagging birth rates.
“Most of our end-customers are newborns and children,” writes the toy chain’s management. “Our revenue [is] dependent on the birthrates in countries where we operate. In recent years, many countries’ birthrates have dropped or stagnated as their population ages.”
It’s so obvious, most people don’t even consider it. But a toy chain’s business model is dependent on, well, children. One of the reasons toy retailers are dying is because their base of small customers has become…well…too small.
The U.S. fertility rate is now at an all-time low. Some experts estimate it could be nearing 1.77 children per woman, which is well below what’s known as the “replacement rate”—or that number of babies each couple must have on average in order to keep the population from shrinking. Needs to be 2.11.
Little wonder, since according to a recent Pew Research poll, young Americans today are less likely to be married than any prior generation. In 1965, nearly 80 percent of those between 21 and 36 years old were married. Today, just 37 percent of Millennials that same age are married.
As a result, the non-immigrant population isn’t just shrinking. It’s also graying—and fast. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that by 2035, senior citizens will outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history.
One of the factors affecting marriage and childbearing – gender confusion.
“Men are like waffles. Woman are like spaghetti.”
In the beginning God made “man” – male and female – in His image. He created not only the biological differences between the two, but also the psychological differences. He defined specific roles for men and women, in the family and in the church. These roles do not compete with each other; they complete each other. Regarding gender, we must not surrender!
God Made Us Different!
Biologically, psychologically, emotionally.
Brains, temperament, problem-solving, strengths.
Each needs what only the other can give.
Complementary – to complete, not compete.
Rooted in creation and the Fall. Gen 1-3
Reflected in marriage. Eph 5:22-33
Reaffirmed in the church. 1 Tim 2-3
Equal in Value, Different in Role
Similar to all of life – work, school, traffic, sports, politics, travel, construction, farming.
Every person’s role is limited.
Every person’s role is needed.
Every person’s role is dependent.
Every person’s role is subject.
Christ / Son, God / Father: 1 Co 11:3; 15:25-28.
Gender: Not a Social Construct!
If anything goes in marriage, then why not …?
Gender is inborn, not created by society.
Gender is given by God, not chosen by me.
A person “trapped in a fe/male body” is fe/male!
And that person is not trapped, but blessed!
Scripture, science, society, history, and nature all converge and have always agreed. Until recently.
Transgender Affirmation Therapy
New $5.7 million study just commissioned by the National Institutes of Health.
Will be used to support chemically and surgically altering the bodies of children.
The conclusion has already been reached.
This study is to search for a basis for it.
BreakPoint: Sacrificing Children to Trans Ideology
Free Speech?
University campuses; Title IX funding control.
Some want to remove these “dangerous” words: man, woman, male, female, he, she, lady, etc.
Former Google engineer James Damore was fired. His memo: “Men and women are different.”
CEO Sundar Pichai called it “offensive and not OK.” He “advanced harmful gender stereotypes.”
The Diversity Dilemma
“Let’s acknowledge and promote diversity.”
“Let’s fire and silence people that discuss it.”
Back to Biblical Basics
Mt 19:4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’”?
We affirm, honor, and celebrate God’s creation!
Possible hymns:
I Sing the Mighty Power of God
All Creatures Great and Small
All Things Praise Thee
Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee
This is My Father’s World
All Creatures of Our God and King

Keys to the Kingdom – The Sermon on the Mount - 09 PRAYER


Oh how desperately we need to pray! Nothing is more crucial, more central, or more necessary. However, what if we claim to address God but fail to seek only His attention and approval? One who prays to be seen by men, no matter how long, fluently or eloquently he prays, is a hypocrite. Jesus starts with the “why” of prayer, and then He moves to the “where” and the “how.”
Reading: Matt 6:5-15
“Pray So Grandma Can Hear”
Not as the Hypocrites
“They love to pray.” Anything wrong with that?
Outwardly, officially, and ostensibly to God, but …
Inwardly, really, to get man’s attention and praise.
Hypo (under) + krites (mask) = Gk. play actors.
They pray to prey! To promote and publicize self.
The reward they seek is the only reward they get.
Not as the Hypocrites
Mk 12:38 In His teaching He was saying: “Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes, and like respectful greetings in the market places, 39 and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, 40 who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers; these will receive greater condemnation.”
Not as the Hypocrites
Mt 23:5-12 Woe!
Mt 23:5 “But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments.”
Phylacteries
Small square leather boxes or cases. Each held four strips of parchment inscribed with quotations from the books of the Law. Worn by every male Israelite above 13 years of age during morning prayer, except on Sabbaths and holidays.
Ex 13:1–10; 13:11–16; Dt 6:4–9; 11:13–21
“… bind them on your hand, on your forehead …”
Not as the Gentiles
Praying by rote, routine, ritual, and repetition.
Multiplying vain, empty, meaningless words.
Expecting to be heard due to their prayers’ length.
Instead –
Pray sincerely. Not for show.
Pray secretly. In your closet.
Pray simply. No words to impress.
Pray spiritually. To God and for God.
1. Intimacy
“Our Father …”
Why not Creator, King, Master, Judge?
Accessible. Wise. Powerful. Protective. Nurturing.
Authoritative. Instructive. Role model. Head.
Rom 8:14-17, esp. 8:15; Gal 4:6-7. “Abba.”
“Because You are my Father I …”
2. Reverence
“… in heaven, hallowed be Your name.”
Balance: near as Father, yet above and set apart.
Worthy of awe, wonder, adoration, amazement.
We bow. We tremble. We obey. We surrender.
God’s name = His identity, character, person.
“I revere You because -” “Because I revere You -”
3. Submission
“… Your kingdom come, Your will be done …”
Parallel phrases. The second interprets the first.
God’s Kingdom = God’s rule. His will = His desire.
Domain and dominion. Realm and reign.
Church: the people God rules. Matt 16:16-18
“Father, rule my heart, marriage, work, money …”
4. Petition
“Give us each day our daily bread.”
Requests follow intimacy, reverence, submission.
Nothing is too small or trivial.
Possible reference to manna, given daily.
Pray for God to give you what you work to gain.
“Father God, just for today …” Strength, joy, etc.
5. Contrition
“And forgive us our debts …”
Obligations resulting from our misdeeds.
We hear: “Prisoner paid his debt to society.”
Sin costs. We owe. We confess. God pardons.
Dismiss, let go, send away, remit. Ac 2:38
“I beg You, cancel the valid charges against me.”
6. Condition
“… as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
“As” = in like manner, to the same extent.
If you have not forgiven, God will not forgive you.
You and I cannot afford not to forgive!
The unforgiver is unforgiven. Mt 18:21-35
“Father, I have forgiven ______ for _________.”
7. Dependence
“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Parallel phrases. The second interprets the first.
“Do not take us where we would be tempted.”
“That is, keep us away, protect us from evil.”
“Father, steer me clear of ________.”
8. Security
“For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” (Not in all Gk. manuscripts.)
Yours is the kingdom. Reign in me!
Yours is the power. Work in me!
Yours is the glory. Shine in me!
In His Own Words
Lk 22:40 When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, 42 saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”
Intimacy. Submission. Petition. Dependence.
Possible hymns:
Hear Me When I Call
Purer in Heart, O God
Listen to Our Hearts
Did You Think to Pray?
Father, Hear Thy Children’s Call
Sweet Hour of Prayer

Friday, April 13, 2018

Researching Life – 10 Questions from a University Girl


One of our young ladies in a Christian university asked for responses to ten questions she was researching for a paper at school. I have posted her questions and my responses below. See how you might answer these, and how you might discuss these questions with your own children. They need you to share your experience and guidance with them.
1. What are some of the most important lessons you have learned in your life?
Pr 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
Keep sowing good seed, regardless of circumstances or the behavior of others.
Life is not what happens to you. Life is what you do with what happens to you.
Don’t take yourself or others too seriously.
If you can’t do what you love, learn to love what you do.
See every person and situation as you think God would, and respond to each in a way that glorifies Him.
Keep learning, stretching, and growing.
Keep reading books on leadership and working with people.
2. What advice do you have on getting or staying married or remaining single?
Prepare yourself by studying Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Commit yourself to every part of its teaching. Do not marry until you find someone with a similar passion to follow Jesus Christ in every way, all the way.
Set your standard high. Respect yourself. Don’t cheapen yourself or settle for less. It’s better to be single than to be unhappily married.
To stay married, determine every day: “When this day is over my spouse will be glad he or she chose me instead of anyone else in the whole world.”
Be more concerned about filling your spouse’s bucket than you are about your spouse filling your bucket.
Read the Bible together. Pray together. Be present for every service and Bible study with the church. Choose a ministry project together. Go on missions together. Teach World Bible School students or a children’s class together.
3. What advice do you have about raising children or contributing to others raising children?
Make your marriage, not your children, your primary focus.
Be the person that you want your child to become.
Balance tender love and tough love.
Keep reading Christian books on raising children.
Plan what you want your children to have learned or accomplished at each stage of life.
Give your children an anchor, a rudder, and a sail.
4. What advice can you share about finding fulfilling work and how to succeed in a career?
Col 3:23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.
5. Difficult or stressful experiences can yield important lessons. Is that true for you? Can you give me examples of what you have learned from experience?
I have dealt with some difficult people and situations. I learned that:
People always have their own reasons for what they do.
People do not always think or act as I do or as I might expect.
I can be difficult, too. At times I was stubborn, impatient, etc.
I must forgive others and ask them to forgive me.
6. Can you see any turning points (key events or experiences) that changed the course of your life?
Marrying my precious wife and moving to New York to share the gospel opened my eyes and raised my horizons. The opportunity to teach English and Bible in One World Trade Center in Manhattan was incredibly life-changing for me.
I once resigned from working with a church because of a divided leadership and some changes in that church that violated my convictions. It was hard at the time, and my family and I suffered. However, God has blessed me because of my convictions. My resignation led to a chain of events that brought me to where I am today. I am very thankful for the providence of God!
7. What would you say you know now about living a happy and successful life that you did not know when you were in your early 20’s?
It’s not about you. The less you focus on yourself, the better.
Make and treasure all the friends you can. You will appreciate and need each other more and more as life goes on.
Admit your faults, and ask others to help and pray for you.
Don’t stress yourself out too much about money. God will provide.
8. What would you say are the major values or principles that you live by?
Mk 12:28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 “The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 
9. Have you learned any lessons regarding your health that you would have liked to know about when you were younger?
Protect your hearing from loud music and machinery.
Protect your skin from too much sun.
Exercise regularly. Control your diet and your weight.
10. What advice would you give to people about growing older?
Today you are closer to seeing God’s face than you have ever been before.
Make the most of every day. Dwell on what you can do, not what you can’t.
2 Co 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Shepherds and Sheep – Helping New Members “Buy Into” the Local Church


The following is a possible outline of a discussion that elders might have with those who are new to the congregation that they serve and lead. It is intended to help explain the roles of shepherds and sheep and to help newcomers understand what it means biblically to be part of a congregation. It aims to communicate love, interest, and commitment at the "front door," as new people come to the congregation. As a result we will be better able to eliminate from the start many of the reasons people have for later going out the "back door," leaving the congregation.
From the Elders: Welcome!
We are so thankful that you are interested in working and worshiping with us in the ________ church of Christ! As elders of this local congregation, we want to provide everything we possibly can so that you may walk faithfully with the Lord. We also want to note the part that you are to play as you serve God with us.
On our part:
As elders we are told:
Ac 20:28 “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
Heb 13:17 says that church leaders keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account.”
We take this responsibility very seriously.
So we commit ourselves as shepherds to:
Be available to assist you in your Christian life, as shepherds would sheep.
Keep watch over your soul, so that we may give an account.
Provide faithful, biblical preaching and teaching in our sermons and Bible classes.
Provide a spiritual, encouraging environment that nurtures Christ-like growth.

Help you find your role and develop friendships in the church.
Are there specific needs you have with which we may be of help? What are they?
__________________________________________
On your part:
Scripture tells us regarding the members of a local church:
Ac 2:42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
We know that you want to take your responsibility seriously as well. Please consider the four matters to which the Christians in the New Testament church were continually devoted.
The apostles’ teaching – regular attendance in the Bible classes and assemblies of the church. We encourage you to be present every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday nights, as well as other gatherings as you are able.
Fellowship – becoming connected with each other, sharing our lives together, and meeting each other’s physical and spiritual needs. We encourage you to become part of one of our small-group Encouragement Teams that meet monthly, usually after our Sunday evening worship. Members of the local church also give on the first day of each week, in part to meet the needs of brothers and sisters in the church.
The breaking of bread – Members of the local church meet on the first day of each week to participate in the Lord’s Supper.
Prayer – Members of the local church make it a point to pray together regularly for each other, for the spread of the gospel, and for the growth of God’s Kingdom.
In addition we see that each local church member is to be a working part of the church body.
Ro 12:4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
1 Pe 4:10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
Every member of the body – human body or church body – is to have a particular function, a job to do, that benefits the body as a whole. Each part needs the body. The body needs each part. Each part needs every other part.
We encourage you – and we will help you – to find at least one specific ministry in which you can be involved.
What are some specific areas of ministry in which you have served previously and/or would like to serve with us here?
__________________________________________
We also note these instructions to members of the local church:
Heb 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
In order for us to do what we are to do – keep watch over members’ souls and prepare to give an account to God – you are called to obey and submit to your leaders. In this way, we all obey and submit to God, with joy and not grief.
As we work together:
Scripture puts it all this way:
Eph 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
We as leaders are to equip the saints – members of the local church – to work and serve in specific ministries that will build up the church.
All members of the local church are to have specific roles, as “every joint” in the human body has a function in the body. The body of Christ grows “according to the working of each individual part.”
Together we mature in Christ, and the body builds itself up in love. And all the glory goes to the head of the church, Christ Himself.
Again, welcome!
We look forward to having you work and worship with God’s people here! Let's get you started!

Monday, April 09, 2018

Keys to the Kingdom – The Sermon on the Mount - 08 GENEROSITY


In this series we have chosen 15 essential factors for followers of Jesus, taken from the Sermon on the Mount. We call the series, “Keys to the Kingdom.”
Here they are:
Previous keys:
Attitude - 5:1-12
Influence - 5:13-16
Self-Control - 5:17-30
Faithfulness - 5:31-37
Response-Ability - 5:38-42
Love - 5:43-48
Today’s key: Generosity - 6:1-4
Remaining keys:
Prayer - 6:5-15
Self-Denial - 6:16-18
Investment - 6:19-24
Preoccupation - 6:25-34
Discernment - 7:1-12
Direction - 7:13-14
Obedience - 7:15-23
Action - 7:24-27
So today we are talking about generosity.
Let’s start with a proverb. You may want to write it down, because it’s not in the Bible. It does, however, describe the way we may be tempted to live. Ready? Here it is.
“Blessed is the man who tooteth his own horn, for yea, verily, verily, I say unto thee, he that tooteth not his own horn, verily it shall not be tooted.”
Here’s another. “I’ll toot your horn, and you toot mine. We can think of it as biblical – an I for an I and a toot for a toot!”
We may get kind of tired waiting for our horn to be tooted, so we go ahead and toot it. That’s exactly what Jesus described and prohibited in the Sermon on the Mount.
Reading: Matt 6:1-4
Mt 6:1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. 2 “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. 3 “But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
What could ruin a righteous act like giving, praying, or fasting? Would God not always reward such deeds? According to Jesus, if the “why” is not right, the “what” does not count. If the aim is promoting self rather than glorifying God, one receives only the applause of men. Selfless generosity – giving when no one is looking – catches God’s eye and receives His blessing.
One Principle - 3 Applications
Principle:
Mt 6:1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
3 Applications:
Giving - 6:1-5     Praying - 6:5-15                    Fasting - 6:16-18
In each case He knew and assumed that His disciples would do these things. He said “When,” not “If.” Jesus does not raise the question whether his followers will engage in these things but, assuming that they will, teaches them why and how to do so.
For others: give. To God: pray. For self: fast.
Jesus moves behind the “what” to the “why” and the “for whom.”
Stott: The three paragraphs follow an identical pattern. In vivid and deliberately humorous imagery Jesus paints a picture of the hypocrite’s way of being religious. It is the way of ostentation. Such receive the reward they want, the applause of men. With this he contrasts the Christian way, which is secret, and the only reward which Christians want, the blessing of God who is their heavenly Father and who sees in secret.
The What, the Why (Not), the How
Read and discuss each of these texts.
Mt 5:16 Let them see your good works and glorify your Father.
Mt 5:16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
In Mt 5:16 He confronts our cowardice. “Don’t hide your light. Let it shine.” Here He confronts our vanity. “Don’t seek the praise and applause of men.”
Stott: A. B. Bruce sums it up well when he writes that we are to ‘show when tempted to hide’ and ‘hide when tempted to show’.1 Our good works must be public so that our light shines; our religious devotions must be secret lest we boast about them.
What we tell about ourselves we lose, good or bad.
What we keep to ourselves we hold, good or bad.
Pr 27:2 Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips.
Lk 18:11 “The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 ‘I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’
Mt 12:15-21 Jesus withdrew – and warned …
Mt 12:15 But Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. Many followed Him, and He healed them all, 16 and warned them not to tell who He was.
People often ask, “Why did Jesus prohibit others from telling who He was?” Here is one reason.
17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: 18 “Behold, My Servant whom I have chosen; My Beloved in whom My soul is well-pleased; I will put My Spirit upon Him, And He shall proclaim justice to the Gentiles. 19 “He will not quarrel, nor cry out; Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. 20 “A battered reed He will not break off, And a smoldering wick He will not put out, Until He leads justice to victory. 21 “And in His name the Gentiles will hope.”
Jesus “went about doing good” for the single purpose of bringing glory to the Father. Not to be noticed, appreciated, or rewarded by anyone here. That’s why the “social mirror” – how He looked to others – did not matter to Him.
1 Co 13:1-8 Deeds – love = nothing. Love does not brag, is not arrogant, does not seek its own …
1 Co 13:1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.
1 Co 1:14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one would say you were baptized in my name. 16 Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any other.
Jn 5:44 Receive glory, but do not seek His glory.
Jn 12:42 Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.
Gal 1:10 Seeking favor of men, or of God?
Challenge:
See how long you can go without using the word “I.”
The Self, Social, or Spirit Mirror?
We often do what we do because of how we think it will appear to ourselves (self mirror), or to others (social mirror). What if we reject both of those and focus instead only on how God looks at us (Spirit mirror)?
Fill in the blank. Whoever or whatever you put there will determine everything – everything – in your life.
“How will it look to _______ if I buy this, wear that, go there, try that, don’t do that, drive that, date him, marry her, get a job there … ?”
Generosity Ignored by God
Why would God not honor our acts of charity?
“When you give.” Not “if,” but “how” and “why.”
Lit., “do mercy.” Cf. Ac 3:3; 10:2, 4
“The trumpet.” Fig?. Lit?. A vain publicity stunt.
The reward you seek is the only reward you get.
Not told how much is given.
Not even told to whom.
Generosity Rewarded by God
Even your other hand does not see or know!
Do not publicize to others or dwell on it yourself.
From self-congratulation to self-righteousness.
This leaves God as the only intended witness.
The reward? Knowing we have pleased Him.
The joy of anonymity.
What if others must know?
We Give According to Our …
Income and Ability
Faith, Hope, Love                 
Concern for Others’ Needs
Desire to Glorify God
Likeness To Christ
Gratitude for Grace
Planning, Spiritual Maturity
As these grow, our giving grows … naturally.
Here is a thought-provoking piece that so well describes the matter of quiet, secret service.
I Wonder – Ruth Harms Calkin
You know, Lord, how I serve You - With great emotional fervor - in the limelight.
You know how eagerly I speak for You - at a women’s club.
You know how I shine when I promote - a fellowship group.
You know my genuine enthusiasm - at a Bible study.
But how would I react, I wonder, If You pointed to a basin of water
And asked me to wash the calloused feet - Of a bent and wrinkled old woman,
Day after day, Month after month, In a room where nobody saw
And nobody knew.
Reflecting our Savior’s Generosity
Of course, all that we give reflects the generosity of the Savior who gave it all for us.
2 Co 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.
Here’s an old hymn that notes the connection between His generosity and ours:
I Gave My Life for Thee | Frances R. Havergal
I gave My life for thee,
My precious blood I shed,
That thou might ransomed be,
And raised up from the dead;
I gave, I gave My life for thee,
What hast thou giv’n for Me?
I gave, I gave My life for thee,
What hast thou giv’n for Me?
My Father’s house of light,
My glory-circled throne
I left for earthly night,
For wand’rings sad and lone;
I left, I left it all for thee,
Hast thou left aught for Me?
I left, I left it all for thee,
Hast thou left aught for Me?
I suffered much for thee,
More than thy tongue can tell,
Of bitt’rest agony,
To rescue thee from hell;
I’ve borne, I’ve borne it all for thee,
What hast thou borne for Me?
I’ve borne, I’ve borne it all for thee,
What hast thou borne for Me?
And I have brought to thee,
Down from My home above,
Salvation full and free,
My pardon and My love;
I bring, I bring rich gifts to thee,
What hast thou brought to Me?
I bring, I bring rich gifts to thee,
What hast thou brought to Me?
Possible hymns:
I Gave My Life for Thee
Take My Life, and Let it Be
The Way that He Loves
Living for Jesus
Into the Heart of Jesus