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published12/01/16 12:00:00AM

Make this a Christmas of Giving


                                              Make this a Christmas of Giving

                     by Richard Cox,  Author of I, We, Us: A Journey of Personal Growth and Development

 

“Do not forget or neglect to do kindness and good, to be generous and distribute and contribute to the needy [of the church as embodiment and proof of fellowship], for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”  Hebrews 13:16(AMP)

 

     Christmas is a time when we celebrate the wonderful birth of Jesus Christ the Messiah.  God gave us His best gift, Jesus who was born to redeem us from our sins.  In John 3:16(AMP), it says “for God greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.”  In honor of God’s gift to the world, it’s only fitting that we as Christians make giving a focus as our gift back to God.  Our Christmas gifts of giving should be about giving more love, more joy, and more happiness in the lives of others in our homes and communities.  It is a way to imitate Jesus generosity to the world.

 

     When most of us think about Christmas we automatically associate a time of giving.  Our giving shows our generosity to our family, friends and community. It’s a means that we use to nourish our love in our personal and professional relationships in life.  Christmas is not about just giving material gifts only but reaching out to the needy during Christmas.  There are many homeless shelters, women shelters, and many more outreach organizations that need our help and contributions during this season of giving.  You can volunteer hours, and donate useful goods to worthy causes in your local areas.  Reach out this Christmas and give your love, time and money to help a needy family or a lonely senior citizen in your neighborhood and community.    You can also give supportive words of encouragement, and be a good listener to someone who’s feeling hurt and sad during this holiday season.  You’ll experience and witness fulfillment in your soul in the process of giving to others.

 

Reflect on some of these Biblical principles about giving:

 

1.  Give Yourself.  God wants us, not our money.  When we have surrendered ourselves to the lord, our giving with fall in line. In the Bible, 2 Corinthian 8:5 (AMP) says, “nor [was this gift of their merely the contribution] that we expected, but first they gave themselves to the Lord and to us [as His agents] by the will of God [entirely disregarding their personal interests, they gave as much as they possibly could, having put themselves at our disposal to be directed by the will of God].”   In giving we follow Jesus, who gave everything for us. So it is appropriate to give what we can.

 

2.  Remember Christ example.  He gave everything to enrich our lives.  The riches we have in Him are the true riches, not material wealth.  2 Corinthian 8:9 (NIV) states,  “for you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”  We find that giving is sharing.   It is meeting desperate needs so our brothers and sisters can live a more enriching life.

  

3.  Giving is like sowing.  Giving is an investment in our eternal future.  2 Corinthians 9:6 (NIV) it says, “remember this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”  The bigger the investment the greater the return.

 

     Remember to keep the right attitude as you give this Christmas.  You should not give for the wrong reasons to impress others or get notoriety for yourself.   By giving you’ll activate and release many forms of God’s blessing in your life to give even more in the future.

 

Here are some benefits you can receive from your giving:

*   Gain a deeper understanding of God’s grace and nature - In Ephesians 2:8 (AMP) it says, “for it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith.  And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is a gift of God.”   Grace is that unique gift given by God to man. It cannot be earned by anything a person might do.

 

*    Experience joy and purpose -  You’ll find in 2 Corinthians 9:11(AMP) where it says “thus you will be enriched in all things and in every way, as that you can be generous, and [your generosity as it is] administered by us will bring forth thanksgiving to God.” God is able to meet our needs and to provide much more, so we can give joyfully and without fear to bless others.

 

*    Reap eternal rewards -  Matthew 6:19-21(NIV) states, “do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  By having a personal relationship with God it will free you to value heavenly rather than earthly treasures, that really can transforms our values.

      As you give this Christmas season do it in love.  God gave us His best gift, Jesus Christ because He cared about redeeming mankind, He loved us and He still cares for us.   We cannot out give God.  We need not hold back but we can give generously. Since all we have is from God, He deserves our best. Christmas is really about giving from your heart with a personal touch to make a different in someone’s life. Your gift of giving could be that unexpected miracle someone has been waiting for this year.

          

 


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published11/26/16 12:00:00AM

Power of Gospel Songs


Power Of Gospel Songs


Emily McKendry

By EMILY MCKENDRY, Bible Instructor, Manitoba-Saskatchewan Conference

So closely associated with the work of creation and redemption is the melody of music, that we can hardly think of the one to the exclusion of the other. (See Job 38:4, 7; Rev. 15:3.) True gos­pel singing is preaching in a musical setting. It is a powerful instrument used by God in regener­ating human hearts. In evangelistic work gospel songs cannot be treated as of little consequence. Speaking of the wonderful power of song, Mrs. White says:

"It has power to subdue rude and uncultivated na­tures; power to quicken thought and to awaken sympa­thy, to promote harmony of action, and to banish the gloom and foreboding that destroy courage and weaken effort. It is one of the most effective means of impres: sing the heart with spiritual truth. . . . As a part of religious service, singing is as much an act of worship as isprayer."--Education, pp. 167, 168.

At the opening of the song service the song leader stands before men and women from all walks of life. They have come with diversified thoughts, and many with distracted minds. The leader with a happy countenance, a cheery word, and a song of hope and courage can usually get the attention of the people as a whole. He seeks to prepare the minds for the sermon that follows.

Familiar and simple gospel songs are enjoyed by the average person. Great truths are usually simply stated. They are so worded that anyone with average intelligence can understand them. A great blessing is received through the direct power of simple gospel songs.

Claudia Muzia once walked along a country road in the South and listened to two colored chil­dren sing "Count Your Blessings." She had sung before thousands and heard the world artists sing, but she had never been so impressed by any song as she was by this simple gospel song. She said, "I have been counting my blessings ever since." And so the song leader by the use of simple and familiar songs can create a worshipful atmosphere that will prepare hearts for the sermon.

Short chorus songs—just a few words with an easy time—are very effectual in public efforts. These little songs you will find buried away in the heart long after the evangelist has left his field. The gospel soloist who renders her songs through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit with a desire to win souls, will obtain fruitful results.

An evangelist can preach until he is hoarse, he can plead until he is weary, but his voice often falls on unresponsive ears. Then through the veil of sin which has enshrouded hearers filters a note of song. Like a wedge it opens heart doors and makes room for the gospel message. An appro­priate closing song will seal the message in the hearts of the people as nothing else can. The gospel song has the power to unlock hearts' doors to the Holy Spirit. It will help a man or woman when speech seems insufficient. Gospel songs may be made a medium of great blessing. They can supply something in the public worship of God that is otherwise lacking; for through them, praise and adoration may rise to the throne on high as a sweet-smelling incense.


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