Expectant Prayers ®

Jennifer Jo Weiss

Back to Our Roots

No, this entry today isn't about my blond hair!  Sorry to disappoint!    It IS about getting back to the roots of our Christianity... specifically the fruit we bear showing that we're tapped into THE root.

I was thinking in my prayer and devotional time this morning on the aspect of giving.    I believe that in this day and time,  the very Biblical principle of giving is being forgotten.  It is not a new problem for the church however.  In Paul's letter to the Philippians, chapter 4 tells us that the Philippians were the only church to share with him in the matter of giving and receiving!

Why is giving such a problem?  First of all, I think that when anyone starts talking about giving, the initial thought people have run through their mind is money.  And a fool and his money don't easily part.  (I say that in jest- but there is truth to it!)  We need to understand that giving is much more than about the tithe or offerings.  It's about your time, your talents, your spiritual gifts, your emotional gifts, as well as meeting the needs of others.
Also, giving is an outflow of the fruit we bear when we are in Him.  That means giving becomes a problem for many because our relationship with the Lord isn't where it should be.
Yes, giving is also a choice... we can choose to give freely (or not). God shows us in His Word that we are to be givers.  Luke 6:38 tells us, "Give, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

Did you catch the last part of that verse?  "For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."  I'll talk about that in a moment.

Too many people are into the "receiving" end and more than happy to be there!  In fact, even when they do give it is motivated by self or other things.  I cringe at some of the wind of doctrine that blows through the church.  I have watched people "sow" money in order to receive whatever it is they want from God... like they're putting in an order with the Almighty.  (Eg.  God, I'm sowing $5,000 to you because I want (whatever).  
I get a comical mind picture of God with an invoice on a clipboard walking around the storehouse of heaven... "OK, Bob paid $5,000... now, where is that pony?"
It's wrong, folks, plain and simple.  We do not manipulate God by giving.

Also, back to the last part of the verse I pointed out... if you're trying to buy God or manipulate Him with whatever it is you are giving, the measure you are using is like using dishonest scales.  Is God pleased with that?  Not likely!  We all remember what Jesus did in the temple to the money changers!

Wow- on a side note- that brought back to my mind the awesome Michael W. Smith video "Secret Ambition".  Even my side track brings up a good point and an awesome reminder for us today.  The chorus says:

Nobody knew His secret ambition
Nobody knew His claim to fame
He broke the old rules steeped in tradition
He tore the Holy Veil away
Questioning those in powerful position
Running to those who called His name
(But) Nobody knew His secret ambition
Was to give His life away

His secret ambition was... to give His life away.  He was motivated by love for mankind... not asking anything in return.   Does that describe us?  Giving all that we can of ourselves and asking nothing in return?  For most of us, that's hardly the case!  Most people (yes, I'm talking about "Christians" here) won't do anything (give) unless there is a payoff...something in it for THEM.  Talk to any pastor you know and they'll tell you that it's hard to find workers in churches today.  Most churches run on 10% of the people doing 90% of the work!

So what about selfishness in giving to others as opposed to giving to God?  Well, a lot of people give to bribe or manipulate others.  Sometimes it's about control.  Again, our motivation in giving should not be anything else BUT LOVE. 

Receiving shouldn't be the goal, either.  God does tell us that when we give, He gives back, but that should not be our motivation.  If you ask me, it's not a horizontal problem (reaching out in the direction of others)... it's a vertical problem between us and God.  Somewhere our relationship with God has ceased to be ALL ABOUT HIM  and have become something else.  
 HE is the vine and we are the branches...we're just attached to Him.  His roots are healthy and strong and we need to tap into those roots to begin to bear fruit "on" our branches!

Here's another thought... the fruit isn't for the benefit of the branch!  It's not there to make the branch look pretty or feel important.  The fruit is there to be picked and used for others!   (Boy, I'm just all over the place today, huh?)  

What has He given you today that could be shared with others?  How are you really working to encourage others in the faith by your giving attitude?    Let me encourage you to pray about the aspect of giving today.  Ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate your heart and mind and give you revelation, understanding, and power to give as Christ would give.  Ask Him what it is you can and should be giving to your family, your church, your ministry, your community, etc.  He will show you.

Yesterday, I was invited to lead praise and worship at our church for the AM and PM services while our normal worship leader is away on a Missions Trip.   In speaking to the topic "Back to Our Roots", I can say that I have long growing roots in praise and worship and my heart is there.  (It's other places, too, but I love to glorify the Lord through worship).
I don't get to lead very often because of other responsibilities, but it was a real treat for me.  I did that full time for several years for main services and sometimes it's hard to believe that now I only lead occasionally.  Also, it's been 8 months since I've worked with the Kid's Church- where I lead their worship time every week.'s a lot like riding a bike.  Once you get back on... you pick it up again really fast. 

LOL- but sometimes I caught myself wanting to do hand motions like we used in Kid's Church!!!!!

I decided to lead from behind the pulpit (normally I use the hand-held microphone and stay mobile).  I thought I should have something to hold on to in case I got dizzy.  Remember, I'm in my 8th month of pregnancy?????  LOL    My husband was there to play bass and we rounded up a drummer; our normal organist switched to the piano and we had two backup singers.    I hope that we were a blessing... because I sure felt blessed after both worship services!

Finally today, I would like to wish a

Happy 1 Year Anniversary
to Brett and Rebecca!

Married one year ago yesterday!  Congratulations and enjoy your "paper" gifts!  LOL

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