Digging in Deeper: 2 Corinthians 9:7

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

What is it that makes a cheerful giver so much better than otherwise?  Well, who wants a begrudging gift?  I sure don’t.  When someone gives something under compulsion, it tends to take all the joy out of receiving for the recipient.

What’s more, when someone is giving to God under compulsion, that person is treating giving like a religious exercise.  You do a religious exercise not because you want to or because it’s the right thing to do, but because if you don’t, you will incur the wrath of the deity you are trying to appease.  No one wants to do that.  God makes abundantly clear in the Scriptures that He has absolutely no interest in that kind of thing.  He’d rather people not even bothering trying if all they’re going to give Him is a half-hearted religiosity.  He wants our hearts, not our wallets. Read the rest…

Morning Musings: 2 Corinthians 6:14

“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.  For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness?  Or what fellowship has light with darkness?”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

This is a tough verse.  It’s tough mostly because of its implications.  I don’t think Paul’s point here is that we need to cloister ourselves off from the world.  Rather, we should not attach ourselves to the world in such a way that we are depending on it for the things for which we should primarily depend on the Lord. Read the Rest…

Digging in Deeper: 2 Corinthians 8:12-15

“For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.  For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness.  As it is written, ‘Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.'”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

Tithing is a big issue in most churches.  While our power and sustaining comes from God, His provision most often comes via the money our members give.  Sometimes that giving is generous.  Sometimes it isn’t.  (And the amount of the giving has little to do with the level of generosity it reflects.)

What all this means, is that churches need money to make ministry happen.  That doesn’t sound terribly holy, but it’s no less true for that.  That’s the nature of the world we live in, and while God isn’t limited to that, He tends to work within it more often than not.  What this means further is that talking about giving is something all churches have to do on occasion. Read the rest…

Morning Musings: Isaiah 1:16-17

“Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

This is a powerful call to righteousness and justice in its own right, but its context makes it even more powerful.  Take a minute to read again what comes just before this.  God essentially tells the people to stop worshiping Him.  Well, not exactly that, but close enough as far as they were concerned.

For the people of Israel, the worship of God was found in the rituals.  Having rituals be a part of our worship isn’t a bad thing.  In fact, where those rituals help focus our hearts and minds on the God to whom we are directing our attention they can be a very good thing.  But, it is easy to begin thinking that the rituals are valuable in and of themselves.  As a point of fact, they’re not. Read the rest…

Love Flows Out

Yesterday morning in our journey through 1 John we finally got to the point of defining love.  What is love and what are the five implications for getting it right in our lives that John outlines?  Keep reading to find out.


Love Flows Out

Near the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus looked at the crowd gathered around Him and said this: “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.  And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Read the rest…