Building People. Spreading Hope.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Giving God Our First

“Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce” (Proverbs 3:9 NLT).

I’ve never met anyone who is intentionally planning to fail in life, yet we all know many who are dissatisfied with the status quo that they face year after year. One thing is clear, influential people live an intentional life.
God’s Word is life’s compass. It gives us the instructions to achieve all God has planned for us. One such success recipe is the first-fruit principle.
Most preachers, churches, and ministers like to use this time of the year to remind their constituents about following the first-fruit principle in their financial giving. That is good but this success-principle is much more than giving financially. Today, let me share three different categories of giving God your first.
1. Give God your time. How we spend our first five minutes, first hour of the day, or the first week sets the precedence for the rest of the hour, day, and month. Often, we do not have a long spiritual conversation with God, especially if you have a family or a job.

So what does it mean to give God our first time? Like everything else, Jesus is our model. The Bible makes references of Jesus getting up early in the morning or staying up late at night to connect with God. Personally, I like to connect with God throughout the day – when I’m driving, taking a walk, or having a dedicated time in the morning to worship and acknowledge God’s goodness in my life. Whatever your preference is, the key is to connect with God on a regular basis — throughout the day if you can. Here’s the key. Whatever part of your life you involve God with will prosper.
2. Share your talent. Not everything of value has to be monetary. In fact, serving God with your gift can be a huge boost to others. Often we’re encouraged to use our spare time to serve God. Today I’m challenging you to use your talent to serve God first and watch how He’ll bless the rest of our time.
We can certainly serve God in our churches but don’t be limited to an organization or a church building. I have a friend who facilitates young families coming out of debt and staying fiscally fit. Another friend who is an industrialist meets with me regularly on the top of his business hours to give me advice and counsel on developing our international ministry. You can certainly serve as a volunteer in the business chamber, church, or with your favorite charity. One word of caution! Don’t get burnt out. If you’re always made to feel that you’re not doing enough, or unappreciated for sharing your talent, it’s probably healthy for you to find another place to serve.
3. Give God your treasure. God doesn’t need our money. However, what we do with our money reveals a lot about our heart. Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Matthew 6:21). We live in such a material society that money often becomes the driving force in our lives. Even churches and mission organizations spend a bulk of their time and efforts trying to get people to give more. I believe that if we focus on ministering to people, the money we need will take care of itself.
Most Christians are coerced into giving 10% of their income to church. It will benefit us all if we teach people to be generous rather than to nag them. How radical it will be to give away 20, 30, or even 80% of your income! Oh the miracles you’ll see if only you commit yourself to be generous! Give where there are fruits. Share your treasure with the poor and widows for that is the pure religion. Give joyfully and not out of obligation. Give where there is accountability.
By the way, you don’t need to give God anything to be blessed. God has already blessed you. You don’t need another person to stand in for you. Jesus did that! You are blessed because you belong to His family. This year, give God the best of your time, talent, and treasure and watch your life going to another level you’ve never dreamed before.
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2016: Year of Fulfilment

“You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance” (Psalm 65:11 NIV).
It’s hard to believe but another new year has rolled in and most of us are full of eager anticipation. While some talk of uncertainty, most of us are ready to grab life by the horns and run with it. I believe and declare that 2016 will be a year of fulfilment. So dream BIG!
I’ve found that it is as easy to have a hopeful attitude as it is to be negative. Either way, it affects the outcome of our lives. Some people freeze to death in winter while others go skiing. When we’re purposeful and enthusiastic about life, we make history and change the world.
In 1952, a Kiwi mountain climber attempted to scale Mt. Everest at 29,000 feet but he was unsuccessful. Shortly after his experience, he was invited to give a speech in front of a packed audience.
In spite of his heroic attempt to top Mt. Everest, Hillary considered himself a failure. He stepped away from the microphone and walked to the edge of the platform. Clenching his fist at a picture of the summit, he shouted, “Mount Everest, you beat me the first time, but I’ll beat you the next time because you’ve grown all you’re going to grow…but I’m still growing!”
Soon after that, on May 29, 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary conquered Mount Everest. Since that day, thousands of climbers have achieved the same feat as the Kiwi.
Like Hillary, you may not have seen all of your success yet. You’ve labored hard and seen little fruit. Your business still hasn’t taken off. The sickness has lingered on and the wayward child has no sign of getting on the right path. If you’re feeling a little lost and uncomfortable, take courage from Sir Edmund Hillary. Greatness didn’t come to him in one attempt but he had to grow into it. You, too, are growing and this year will be the fulfilment of your dreams.
Friend, just because it hasn’t happened doesn’t mean it’s never going to happen. God is working. If you stick with it and stay in faith it will happen!
High achievers are those who are intentional about their purpose. Don’t just accept the status quo and go with the flow. Inside each one of us is a sleeping giant. When we get intentional about our goals, dreams, and purpose, we will wake up the giant and conquer the world.
In Mark chapter 5, the Scripture records a story of a woman suffering with a condition of hemorrhaging for twelve years! She had come to meet Jesus but He was surrounded by people. Looking at her circumstances, this woman could have easily given up on her dream and gone home. She could have made dozens of excuses but she had her mind set. She thought to herself, “If I can put a finger on his robe, I can be healed.” Through sheer determination, faith, and iron-feast resolution, this poor woman touched the hem of Jesus and immediately, she was made whole. Jesus looked at her and said, “Daughter, you took a risk of faith and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed!”
I believe God is telling us the same thing, “Live well, live blessed!” Let’s take some risk of faith. If we become intentional and trust God with our health, finances, and the salvation of our loved ones, God will do great miracles. Just like Sir Edmund never stopped growing and succumbed to a temporary setback, we should go forward and confront our fears head on. The woman with the issue of blood looked past her limitations and got her miracle. You have everything in you to succeed as well. Don’t die with the dream still in you. If you believe and keep a good attitude then you’ll experience mighty breakthroughs.
Keep growing. Be intentional. Be on the lookout for God’s goodness. He is going to open miraculous doors for you. He will shower you with favor. Good breaks are in your immediate future. He will give you the desires of your heart. Get excited and anticipate because I believe and declare 2016 will be your year of fulfilment. I love you and I’m praying for you!
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