Monday, August 28, 2017

Blessings from Sharing and Giving

Sharing is something that doesn’t come naturally for many people. As children, we start out early in childhood claiming and holding on tightly to our toys and our belongings. Humans seem to naturally not want to share what they consider to be their own, leading most children into using the word “mine” early in childhood.  Because sharing does not seem to come naturally, most children have to be taught by their parents to share.

Sometimes the parental teaching about the importance of sharing takes and is understood by a child, that is to a certain degree, while at other times the worldly selfishness within a particular child or an individual keeps them from learning about the blessings that can be received from simply sharing with another person. Sadly, that selfish individual’s heart is still focused on themselves. However, once that naturally selfish individual turns to Christ and repents of their sins, they become a born-again Christian receiving a new heart with the attainment of Salvation. For the love of God infuses their heart from the moment that they received forgiveness of their sins and from the moment that they asked Christ to enter into their life. True born-again Christians receive a new heart that has within it a desire to not only share with others, but a desire to use the gifts and talents that they have been given by God to help others. One of the greatest desires of a new Christian is to share with their friends the Gospel message. Moreover, with their new Christian love infusing their heart, there is a constant desire to help others any way that they can.

"Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is within your power to act." -- (Proverbs 3: 27. NIV).

Unfortunately, Christians still live in a fallen world, so even true Christians sometimes have to overcome the selfishness of this world in which they live, while overcoming their own busy timetables and their own internal desire to do and live for themselves. Sometimes this results in an internal conflict between the selfishness of their old ways or the ways of the world and the generosity of what their new heart in Christ wants them to do. This, then, is where a whole scenario of personal excuses can come into play to dissuade them from sharing and giving. The excuses range the gambit from “I am too busy to help that person right now”, to “I can help give some time to that person later on when I get a few more things done that I need to get accomplished”, as well as the most often expressed personal excuse of “I need to take care of my own needs before I help someone else”. The excuses, though, don’t stop with just those few. In fact, there are many other excuses that keep Christians from sharing and helping others when there is an opportunity to do so. I am sure you can think of several that you may have used over the years.

People Who Decide to Share

But for those authentic Christians who decide to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit in their heart and soul, the sharing of gifts, talents, time, and knowledge, etc. with others when given the opportunity is a daily experience. In fact, I have met some wonderful Christians who truly listen daily to the Holy Spirit’s promptings and know just when and with whom they need to share or when they can help others in need. One such authentic Christian is a good friend of mine who just this last week-end gave up her family time and her down-time to help me at my book signings in Osage Beach, Mo. My wonderful husband was there to do the heavy lifting and the giving of support that I needed. But my friend, Vicki, offered to help too and gave up her own personal time to be there with us to tell others of her own personal experience from reading my recently published book entitled: The Three-strand Cord of Active Relational Christian Mentoring.

Vicki is a very busy personal trainer who not only finds the time to work with others every day but also finds the time to take care of her family. She is a true born-again Christian who uses every opportunity to share the Gospel message while helping people who may need her help. For Vicki is constantly on the look-out for people in need that she can personally help in any way. Only God knows how she fits in all her helping of other people and her sharing of the Good News on daily basis between all her other responsibilities, but somehow, she is there for Christians and non-Christians alike when someone needs her help. This wonderful Christian woman is doing exactly what Christ has asked all Christians to do. For within the Bible, Christians are told to “… not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”  -- (Hebrews 13: 16. NASB).

Active Relational Christian Mentoring (ARCM) is a great way to focus our lives on sharing, serving, and helping other people. ARCM is a service for the Lord that doesn’t have to take a great deal of time, but can also develop into wonderful Christian mentoring relationships that can benefit both the mentor and the mentee. Actually, ARCM is an easy way to shepherd and disciple those who are struggling in some particular area of life. In fact, the Apostle Peter told Christian leaders and pastors to “Shepherd God’s flock, for whom you are responsible. Watch over them because you want to, not because you are forced. That is how God wants it. Do it because you are happy to serve.”  -- (I Peter 5: 2. NCV). But this verse is not just for pastors. It is really for all Christians who are expected to participate in the sincere service of loving one another as they love themselves. For, we are to share with others because we are happy to serve!

Did you know that God delights in our willing service to Him and for others? In fact, we are told that in heaven we will receive crowns for disciplining and shepherding people while we are here on earth. For “when the Chief Shepherd (Jesus Christ) appears you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”  -- (I Peter 5: 4. NASB). On the other hand, God knows our hearts, and He is often saddened by our grudging compliance to help, serve, disciple, and to be there for others. For, when we grudging comply with His instructions we are not living up to God’s admonition to “love others as we love ourselves”, nor are we showing God that we love Him. A heart that is in love with God obeys His commands eagerly and wants to reach out to help others in any way that the Holy Spirit suggests or when the Holy Spirit places opportunities in front of us.

Remaining Humble in Serving and Sharing

Of course, we are to always remain humble in serving others. God does not approve of the proud. In fact, the Apostle Peter wrote: “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.– (I Peter 5: 5. NASB). So, it doesn’t matter whether you are a CEO of a large company, teach a class, become a missionary, minister to shut-in, or work as outdoor parking attendant as long as you are willing to do whatever you have been called to do for the Lord and for other Christians around you.

We must remember, too, that non-Christians are constantly watching what Christians are doing, and they will be exposed to either Christians’ kindness or to Christians’ uncaring attitudes. Non-Christians will naturally zero in on a particular Christian who projects pride in all they do and achieve. This turns the non-Christian off from even listening to the truth of the Gospel. In fact, no one wants to listen to or be around the proud. So, remaining humble in all our services for the Lord and for others is important. Indeed, humility is important in helping others and in spreading the Gospel message. Will you step up to serve others with a humble and caring attitude no matter how menial the job that God has given you to do?

Sharing Our Giftings with Others

This next paragraph is a wonderful excerpt from a devotional type of book that has blessed me throughout the years. I hope that this excerpt will touch your heart too.
We live in a fast-paced, competitive world where it is easy to say, ‘Me first.’ But God instructs us to do otherwise. In God’s kingdom, those who proclaim, ‘Me first’ are last. God loves a cheerful, selfless giver. If we seek greatness in God’s eyes, we must look our neighbors squarely in the eye and say, ‘You first.’ When we do, we will lead our families in the footsteps of the humble servant who died for our sins: Jesus Christ.– Anonymous

Each one of us has been given a special gift or gifting that will enable us to be a benefit to the kingdom of God. We are to employ our gift “… in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” – (I Peter 4: 10. NASB). For it is by serving others that we serve God. Sometimes though, we think of serving God and serving others as a big commitment such as the commitment of becoming a missionary or taking it upon ourselves to do some important job within the church. However, serving God and others is as simple as sharing our time, our information, our knowledge about God, or sharing the many varied giftings that God has bestowed upon us individually to help another. Wherever we are in life, we can also share the Gospel message, but above all we need to be there to simply listen to someone else’s sorrows or problems, so we can have the opportunity to tell them how much Christ can help them. Moreover, when we share our time even to just listen to the needs of others, God will show us ways in which we can help them even if it is to just be there for them.

Even though we have each been given special gifts and talents, we are not to sit upon them or use them only for our own benefit, but rather we are expected to use those gifts and talents for the glory of God. The Apostle Paul encouraged the Roman Christians with these words: “Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.– (Romans 12: 1-2. NIV).

 God in His mercy sent His only Son into the world so that you and I could receive Salvation and enter into eternity upon our physical death. This act was God’s mercy given to all those who would believe on His Son, Jesus Christ. Otherwise without God’s mercy we would all not only die a physical death, but enter into a spiritual eternal death as well. But with God’s mercy, those who believe on Christ as the living Son of God who died and arose from the grave for our sins, will have eternal life with Christ in Heaven. With that glorious gift of mercy and grace comes a responsibility to offer our bodies “as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.”  Those sacrifices come in the form of sharing our time and our giftings and talents with others and in helping others to come to know Christ as well.

Part of our responsibility toward other women means that we are use our gifts and talents to help others grow their relationship with Christ as well as to help those who do not know Christ come to know Christ as their Savior. We can only do this by sharing with other women what God has given us to share.  In the process of sharing we will then be blessed beyond anything that we could have expected. In fact, I have been blessed so many times by simply being there for another woman who just needed a friend to listen to her. Although, the mentoring or sharing on my part may not take place immediately, the sharing of my time to listen always seems to mean a great deal to the woman who just needed to talk or just needed someone to listen to her. The result is that not only is the other woman blessed with someone who is willing to listen, but I the listener have been blessed as well. The greater result is usually the development of mentoring relationship that empowers the other woman. Invariably, I also learn from her as well. That is why ARCM can be a wonderful service to engage in for the Lord and for others.

The Blessings from Sharing our Lives

John Bunyan wrote: “Christians are like the flowers in a garden; they have upon them the dew of heaven, which being shaken by the wind, they let fall at each other’s’ roots, whereby they are jointly nourished.

True joy in this life can only be found in sharing with my family, friends, and acquaintances what God has blessed me with, i.e. the sharing of my knowledge, information, wisdom, giftings and talents. In fact, there is no delight in keeping God’s blessings to myself. Indeed, it is only when I share those blessings with others that I can then become the humble, loving, caring, person that God created me to be. For, if I keep everything, i.e., all knowledge, wisdom, talents, etc, that God has bestowed upon me to myself, I will ultimately become an ungrateful, thoughtless, and selfish Christian who looks only to her own salvation and forgets about the millions of others who so desperately need Christ as their Savior too.

Authentic Christians cannot read the Bible and live for Jesus without sharing what God’s asks them to share. Remember that Jesus told us to share and care for others who have less or have needs that we can fill. For Jesus said, “He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.– (Luke 3: 11. KJV). But, it isn’t just food and clothing that Christ was talking about sharing. We are to also share the Word of God with others. We are to share our wisdom and knowledge with others. Indeed, sometimes, the things that we have learned and can then share with another person can be that answer to someone else’s problem. It is then through this sharing that we truly learn from the words of Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.– (Acts 20: 25. NIV). Moreover, when it comes to sharing the word of God, the blessings are innumerable.

What kind of blessings am I talking about? Well for starters, when we share with others we are blessed with new friends and acquaintances. Some of these people will become life-long friends who constantly touch our lives in some positive way. Friends are a blessing indeed! But God’s blessings encompass all aspects of our lives. Besides the blessings of friends, family, and acquaintances, God blesses us with His protection, His peace, His comfort, and His provision in our lives. In fact, we cannot possibly enumerate all the blessings that we receive from God on a daily basis nor can we enumerate all the blessings that we receive for obedience and sharing with others. “May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favor and give you His peace.– (Numbers 6: 24-26. NLT). The Lord loves to bless His obedient children in so many different ways, yet the greatest blessing of all is to bless us with His presence.

Those that have accepted Christ as their Savior are God’s children. As God’s children, we are blessed in enumerable ways, but sometimes as busy women with many demands on our time, we fail to count our gifts from the Lord. Worse still, we fail to say thank you to the Lord and praise Him. But did you know that the gifts and blessings that we receive from God are multiplied when we share them with others? “For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.” – (Psalm 5: 12. NIV).

We should be praying to the Lord and giving thanks for the many blessings that God has bestowed upon us. But we should also pray that we always share our gifts with others just as God shared His gifts with us. For, again in the book of Ezekiel God says, “I will bless them and the places surrounding My hill. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessings.” – (Ezekiel 34: 26. NIV).

The greatest feeling in the world, is to bless someone else that needed your help in some way or another. Whether it is sharing through some aspect of Active Relational Christian Mentoring, or it is sharing your time to help out a friend as Vicki did when she supported me at my book signing, the sharing of you time, knowledge, talents, gifts, wisdom, etc. empowers the other woman to be more than she ever thought that she could be. We can be a blessing for that woman in ways that we cannot fathom, and God in turn will bless us in ways that we cannot fathom. Step forward and give of your heart and time to bless another person. You will be surprised at what you can accomplish as well as what blessings you will receive for doing so.

Among the blessings that we receive from God is inner strength. We receive inner strength from the Lord when we reach out to bless other people with our time and giftings. In fact, the Apostle Paul told the Ephesians, “I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will give you mighty inner strength through His Holy Spirit.” – (Ephesians 3: 15. NIV). When we stay connected to other believers through our time and service, we receive even more of God’s blessings. So, whether you are engaging in Christian mentoring, leading a Sunday school class, sharing the Gospel message with another woman, or simply befriending a Christian woman, you will receive the blessing of inner strength from the Lord. There will also be crowns given in heaven to those who tell others about the Gospel message. That is just one reason that we can’t forget to tell others about the gift of salvation waiting for them through Jesus Christ. But, we do not have to wait until we get to heaven to be blessed for the work that we do for Christ, for blessings in sharing the God’s Word abound here on earth for those who reach out to others to share the Gospel message.

Do You Know Christ as Your Savior?

For those who have not asked Christ into their heart, it is very simple to do so.

You just have to realize that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  -- (Romans 3: 23).

And understand that “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  -- (Romans 6: 23).

But so that you would not have to pay the wages of sin, which is eternal death and separation from God and all love, God sent His Only Son into the world to save you and all of those who would believe on Him. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” – (John 3: 16).

In fact, God loves us so much that “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” – (Romans 5: 8).

“… and He (Christ) died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.– (II Corinthians 5:15).

Repent of your sins!

But unless you repent of your sins and acknowledge that Christ is the risen Son of God who died and arose for you in order to take on all your sins so that you would not have to pay the wages of death, and unless you believe in your heart that He is the Savior, you cannot be saved and enter into the Kingdom of God. Indeed, one must be born-again in order to be Saved. For, “Jesus answered and said to him (Nicodemus), ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God.– (John 3: 3).

For, it is only through Jesus Christ that one can become a child of God and enter into the Kingdom of God. Indeed, “Jesus said to him (Nicodemus), ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me’”. – (John 14: 6).

But it is easy to be saved. Just acknowledge Christ as the Living Son of God. For the Bible says “That if you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus as Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in Salvation.”  -- (Romans 10: 9-10).

Don’t wait too long, though, because once you die it is too late to make a decision for Christ. Each person has been given many opportunities to repent of their sins and acknowledge Christ, as the Holy Spirit has been touching their heart throughout their life asking them to make a decision for Christ, and Jesus has been knocking on their, i.e. your heart to let Him in. For Jesus said, “Behold I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.– (Revelation 3: 20).

Finally, please understand that “Whoever will call upon the Name of the Lord will be Saved.”  -- Romans 10: 13.  

If you need more of an explanation about Salvation, please contact a faith based church in your neighborhood or ask a Christian friend to help you understand. I pray that you, too, come to the foot of the cross repenting of your sins and accepting Christ as your Savior!

Telling Others about Christ and the Gospel Message

Christian Women have many opportunities to mentor other women, some of whom have not yet made a decision for Christ. Mentoring is easy to do and doesn’t have to be frightening. The book, The Three-Strand Cord of Active Relational Christian Mentoring: Women Mentoring Women with Christ at the Center, explains not only the importance of Christian mentoring, but shows how simple and easy Active Relational Christian Mentoring (ARCM) can be. It contains many examples of mentoring and enumerates the different mentoring styles and categories for easy understanding. If you want to know more about ARCM and this type of service for God, then read this book.

May God bless you in all your mentoring and sharing endeavors!

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