Monday, November 28, 2011

why we find it hard to be generous- GREED

Do you find it hard to give?  I know I can be selfish when "the situation calls for it". For example, I sometimes feel that I don't or won't have enough.  I guess this is why I was so blessed with the message on generosity last Sunday service in Victory Malate.    

The "10 percent crew" brought the house down with a special number during the tithes and offering

We're asked to give our 10 percent in tithes. What is this compared to God's 100 percent?
I felt privileged to attend two services and hear the message delivered by Pastors Rev Araneta and Nixon Ng. This was the last installment in the 4-part series entitled "Abraham's School of Finance". 

Pastor Rev 

I won't be able to recreate the humor of Pastor Nixon or the strong conviction of Pastor Rev, but I hope this summary will minister to you. You can listen to the podcasts on Generosity yourself when they're uploaded.  This message was so timely for me, and I'm sure you'll be able to relate to this too.


Sometimes, it's hard to give because we want more.  It is not wrong to desire something, but what is wrong is when our desires are not led by God. Sample case is Lot.

Genesis 13:10-13
Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. 13 Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD.

In Genesis 13, Lot looked up (Hebrew word is nasa, meaning to take up, carry, lift up) and saw the land.  This is parallel to Eve who looked up and saw the fruit from the tree of good and evil.  Lot craved for (or was carried away by) the land in as much as Eve craved for the forbidden fruit. Lot craved for this land even though it was near a wicked city and was beyond God's promised land.

In contrast, Abram's eyes were lifted by God and he saw the promised land prepared by God. This is why he was blessed by God.

Lot was willing to go beyond what God wants. Abraham's desires were God's desires.

Our source determines our course.  Abraham's source was God.  Lot's source was the land.   Lot decided to live near wickedness, because he craved for the land more than he craved for God.  Lot's course was towards wickedness. Lot's greed separated him from God.  At this point, I was asking myself, what is my land? What things are taking my eyes away from God?

For Abraham, God was more important than the land. Because Abraham knew that His source was a covenant-keeping God, he was able to gain God's promises.  God told Abraham:

“Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.”

Isn't God generous?  Most of the time, we compromise God and become greedy because we feel that God will not provide.  For example, some of us may want to marry established, handsome/beautiful, and "nice guys" or "nice girls" even though these guys/girls aren't Christians. We argue with God and insist on our own way because of our misguided desires.   But just because something looks good does not mean that it is God's best for you. God does not want to make us poor in any way! He wants to bless us!  Isn't this amazing?

Sometimes we may feel that we are being punished by God. But are we?  Or is our  poverty a result of our own bad decisions, a giving in to temptation?

 The good news is that we can repent.  God wants us back.  God wants you back.  God wants to bless you.
God's blessings will also allow us to be generous to others.  As God promised Abraham in Genesis 12:2:

"I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing."  

Be blessed!

Monday, November 21, 2011

While Waiting, a poem

There is a silence that stalls  --
clear rain water on narrow leafy veins;
dripping settling liquid space,
dreaming an empty craving that is you.

now my spirit is pregnant with sky.
it walks on water, is wide-eyed staring --
smelling touching laughing heaven;
breathlessly claimed into a wind that is You.

 The past days, I have been tempted to compromise God for my own worldly desires.  The last line of this poem was supposed to read, "breathless running into a wind that is You". But I didn't run into the Wind.  I was relentlessly pursued, wooed, won over, reined in, and reminded of  who I am.