Girlfriends in God - Dec. 21, 2009

December 21, 2009 

Who do you trust? 

Mary Southerland

Today's Truth 
1 Timothy 6:17 "Tell those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which will soon be gone. But their trust should be in the living God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment."

Friend To Friend 
The subject of giving always seems to make some people a little nervous - especially in church - and certainly during the month of December. My husband is the Lead Teaching Pastor at Westside Family Church in Lenexa, Kansas and, in my totally objective opinion, a truly gifted Bible teacher. Dan teaches on the subject of tithing and giving only when it comes up in Scripture. It came up this week. "You can give without loving, but you can't love without giving" he said. I totally agree.

The Old Testament clearly teaches the principle of tithing, of giving back 10% of what we earn and have to God, while the New Testament takes giving a step further and encourages us to give sacrificially - beyond our tithe. Dan also said, "You can't be a serious Christ follower without being a serious giver." I had to think about that statement for a minute. When I held it up against God's Word, it stood firm. Then why do so few people who proclaim to be serious Christ followers get excited about sacrificial giving?

I have to start with my own heart and realize that greed certainly plays a part in my attitude toward giving but I also think we don't want to give because we are afraid - afraid that God won't come through but that money will.  I know it sounds ridiculous when put into words, but it is true. We are afraid to trust God - who is unseen - because it seems much easier and more logical to trust money - which is seen. In other words, many of us have come to view and trust money as our Provider. After all, when you hand someone money, you usually get something you need or want in return - clothes, food, a car, electricity or the opportunity to live in a house. Fear then asks the question, "But what would you do without money?"

We live in a "stuff" driven world where it doesn't matter what we have - it is never enough. We are told that the more things we have, the more successful we are and the happier we will be.

Howard Hendricks is a great Bible teacher. He and his wife were having dinner with a very wealthy but humble man from a prestigious family. Dr. Hendricks asked the young man, "How did you grow up in such wealth and not be consumed by materialism?" The man replied, "My parents taught us that money is either an idol or a tool. It depends on how we use it and the place we give it in our lives."

Steve Brown, author and Bible teacher writes: "The secret of a happy life is not to get what you want but to live with what you've got. Most of us spend our lives concentrating on what we don't have instead of thanking God for what we do have. Then we wake up, our life is over and we missed the beauty of the present."

Let me challenge you this Christmas season to trust God and give sacrificially. Step through your fear and beyond what you can see - into simple faith, choosing to believe that God is your Provider and will meet every need of your life even though you can't see how. He will not only meet your needs but He will pour out His blessings on your life because you gave. The more you choose to give, the more you will receive.

Luke 6:38 "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."

While it is true that we cannot "out-give" God, it is just as true that we can find a lot of joy in trying.   

Let's Pray 
Father, forgive me for the greed in my heart. I confess that greed as sin and choose against it. Help me to focus on giving, Lord. Teach me what sacrificial giving is all about and then help me practice sacrificial giving this Christmas and every day of 2010. May every gift I give honor and please You, Lord.

In Jesus' name, 

Now It's Your Turn 
Read Hebrews 13:5 "Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be satisfied with what you have. God has said, "I will never leave you; I will never forget you." Examine your level of contentment in light of this verse.

Are you willing to give a sacrificial gift to someone in need? Are you willing to give it secretly? Make a plan to do so this week.

Ask and honestly answer the question, "Who or what do I see as my Provider?"

What change(s) do you need to make in order to be a serious follower of God in 2010?

More From The Girlfriends 
Christmas Day is just a few days away. Have you decided what you are giving Jesus this year?  All He wants is you, girlfriend. I love this poem by Christian Rossetti.

My Gift 

What can I give Him, 

Poor as I am? 

If I were a shepherd 

I would give Him a lamb. 

If I were a wise man, 

I would do my part. 

But what can I give Him? 

I will give Him my heart.

I pray that this week is a time of preparation in your heart to receive Jesus Christ as a baby who came to earth, our Savior on the cross, Victor over death and our coming King! Merry Christmas!

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Matthews, NC 28106

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Originally published Monday, 21 December 2009.