Giving with A Smile and A Joyful Heart

Daily Devotion | Day 291

“So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

God loves those whose heart is like His. That shouldn’t surprise us. Love attracts love. If you have followed this Devotional for a while, you probably have noticed a recurring theme, i.e. the likeness of character that should exist between us and our heavenly Father. Everything flows from this relationship. It is an indispensable framework for understanding our calling as Christians. The instructions in the Bible are given with the purpose of making us like our Father. God loves it when He sees His trait in us. And, we should be equally excited about the ability to demonstrate the character of our good Father.

Giving is one area where you have an opportunity to be like your Father in heaven.

Paul mobilized churches to support other churches that were in need, especially the church in Jerusalem. The church in Corinth was one of those churches that had committed to giving. In today’s opening passage, Paul is reminding them to make their offering ready. In doing so, Paul took the opportunity to briefly explain the spirit (and the blessings) behind Christian giving. Let’s look at two related points which Paul addressed in the passage.

Firstly, he says, “let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity.” God wants you to give. But He doesn’t want you to give grudgingly or out of pressure. If you feel ‘pressured,’ keep your money or donation. If your heart is not fully in the giving, again, keep your goods to yourself.

God cares about the attitude of your heart when you give. Whenever you’re asked to give or you’re giving, God looks at your heart. He knows if you’re grumbling or if you’re giving out of pressure. He wants you to give because you want to give. He wants you to freely determine in your heart how generously you want to give.

If you give grudgingly, especially in the Church, it’s offensive to Christ.

Therefore, when you give, it’s important that your heart is completely in your gift. Giving is a basic Christian virtue. If you know the God you’re serving and you understand why you’re a Christian, no one needs to convince you about the importance of giving generously from your heart. If you need convincing, your heart isn’t for Christ yet.

Secondly, Paul writes, “God loves a cheerful giver.” This point flows naturally from the previous point. Notice Paul’s choice of words. He didn’t say, “God loves a giver.” He said, “God loves a cheerful giver.” Merely giving doesn’t do you any good. In fact, there are instances where giving can even get you in trouble. Recall the story of Cain (Genesis 4:3-7) or Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11). In both stories, the people involved all gave. Yet, God rejected their giving. Don’t be like them.

If you give, don’t grumble. If you grumble, don’t give.

God is thrilled when you give cheerfully. A cheerful giver gives with a smiling face and a joyful heart. God doesn’t want you to give and be worrying about how your giving is impacting your taxes or your bills. If you’re unable or are not ready to give, that’s fine. But when you choose to give, it must be God’s way: cheerful giving.

Your Father in heaven is a cheerful giver. Imitate Him.

Blessing: May the Lord remember your generous giving and increase you beyond your expectations. In Jesus Name. Amen.

For further study: Deuteronomy 15:7-11; John 3:16, and Acts 2:41-47; 4:33-37; 5:1-11

3 Reasons You Should Not Worry

Daily Devotion|Day 259

“Then He said to His disciples, ‘Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on’” (Luke 12:22, NKJV).

 Different circumstances in life can trigger anxiety. Whatever the reason for worrying, God – throughout the Bible – exhorts His people to not worry. God is not interested in the reasons we are worried. Rather, He is interested in the reasons why we should not worry. Today, let’s look at three reasons you should not worry. 

1. Worrying adds nothing of value to your life: If you are going to worry, at least it should improve your life. But we all know that it doesn’t. The only thing worrying accomplishes is, it takes away from what you already have. Worrying is a high consumer of your energy. It takes from you; but it doesn’t give back. It depletes your emotional and intellectual resources without replenishing you. Whether you are dealing with a difficult situation or not, you need all the energy you can get.

Logically, the last thing you want is to worry. Jesus applied this logic when He said, “And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” (Luke 12:25). Worrying does not make you more beautiful. If anything, it will probably make you age faster. Worrying doesn’t pay the bills, it doesn’t make you more healthy. Worry doesn’t solve problems; it adds to them. Therefore, no matter what you’re going through, don’t add worry to it. Worrying is like adding fuel to fire. What you need is a sound mind and a merry heart (see Proverbs 17:22; 2 Timothy 1:7).

2. When you worry, you forget God is in control: When you worry, you are trying to be in control; when, in fact, what you need is to realize that God is in control. Worrying gets in the way of God and makes it harder for Him to help you. But, God moves powerfully when you are still, calm and trusting. Don’t try to control outcomes. Just do your part that is required. And leave God to bless you with the best outcomes. You have God on your side. Take a deep breath, step back, and let Him be God. In Psalm 46:10, He tells us, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Let God be God.

3. When you worry, you are refusing God’s helpWhen you worry, you are choosing to carry a burden you are not supposed to carry. The fact that you have a burden doesn’t mean you have to carry it. God has offered to help you when you have any cares in life. The Bible says, cast “all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). God has offered to carry your burden for you. Cast all your cares upon Him. He doesn’t want you to carry your cares. By faith, cast each one of your burdens upon Him, and He will give you rest. You will be amazed how joyful and peaceful you will be even if the most trying circumstances.

Dear friend, turn to God, and discover reasons to be joyful.

Blessing: May the peace of God which surpasses understanding, guard your heart and mind. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further studyMatthew 11:28-30 and Philippians 4:6-7.

Reap the Benefits of a Joyful Heart

Daily Devotional: Day 223 |By Stephen Bilson-Ogoe

A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones” (Proverbs 17:22, NKJV).

A healthy heart makes for a healthy life. Taking care of the heart is, therefore, a necessary duty.  The Bible has much to say about that. Naturally, you know a lot of things about yourself. However, there’s still more you don’t know. No one knows us better than our Maker. He who created us knows everything about us and the things which are good for us. God is speaking to us today about the blessings of a joyful heart.

 Before we continue, let’s note that when the Bible talks about “the heart,” it often means something deeper than just the physical organ (heart) located in our chest. It often refers to our inner, invisible self. However, what occurs in our inner self has implications for our physical body. Consequently, wellness begins with a sound inner self.

Joy is precious. It is a catalyst of wellness. Joy supports and sustains well-being.  Therefore, everyone needs, not a little, but abundance of it. A joyful heart does good like medicine, says the Bible. This means a joyful heart is therapeutic; it promotes a healthy life. Joy creates a spiritual environment for your whole being to thrive. However, a broken spirit (a sad heart) is detrimental to our well-being. If, for any reason, you experience sorrow, it is important that you don’t let it linger and take control of your life.

A healthy life shouldn’t always mean swallowing toxic-laden pills with all their adverse side effects. When God’s Word says that a merry heart does good like medicine, let’s believe it. God created us. He knows every detail of every fiber of our being. When He says something is good for us, He means it.

The good news is, you don’t need a trip to the pharmacy to get a dose of joy. Why? The joy of the Lord is inside you. Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). Jesus’ own joy has been given to you. You can, as a result, choose to live joyfully in the Lord for the rest of your life.

Let not your joy be based on fleeting pleasures. You don’t want your joy to fluctuate. You want it stable, grounded on the Word of God and the everlasting love of your Father. No one can stop the joy of the Lord from flowing in you. Rejoice in the Lord, your God, and keep the devil confused.

I want to leave you with the following blessing:

 “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 2). Amen.

For further study: Proverbs 15:13 and 1 Peter 1:1-9