Blessings, Generosity

Better TO GIVE Than TO RECEIVE

Besides the lessons on surrendering to Him, God has been also teaching me about giving and receiving.  In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35 ESV) 

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I got the first part down (or so I thought) but I didn’t pay attention to the latter part, “than to receive.”  If He said it is better to give than receive, then obviously we also have to do some receiving.  Hmmm.  Well, I genuinely love to give without wanting anything in return and I rather give than receive.  It even frustrates me when I am unable to give.  Often times, I would refuse what others were blessing me with and sometimes I would force someone to take what I was giving them.  Then God showed me that even though giving is one of my spiritual gifts there were times when I gave without His direction, I gave under compulsion and I gave to make myself feel good.  So therefore, my motives were all wrong behind my giving and I was not giving cheerfully.  Oh, I had my bubble busted and felt disappointed in myself.

Now as far as the receiving goes, sometimes, my pride would not let me receive.  Sometimes I felt like I would be a burden or would be subject to that person (some people have given to me only to want something in return or to manipulate me so this built fear in me). So I would refuse what someone was giving me.  Now lately I have learned from others and people who have blessed me that giving is also out of obedience to God, God is blessing them so they want to bless me, they are sowing into me, and I am supposed to receive too.

Someone told me years ago when she blessed me with a bus pass, “I don’t know why I am doing this, but I just want to bless you.”  Others have blessed me with clothes, money, their time, their shoulders when I needed to have a good cry and I have blessed others with the same.  This week, a family friend blessed my family with a surprise dinner twice.  With work, a lot on your plate, and no car, dinner cooked and already prepared for you blesses you tremendously.  You ladies know how tired you are sometimes when you get home from work and then you have to cook and sometimes have to contemplate on what to cook.

I thought about how people sacrifice and bless others and began to evaluate my giving and receiving.  I want to renew my way of giving and receiving.  I want to be a cheerful giver at all times.  I want to sow into others, especially my brothers and sisters in Christ.  I want to give with the direction of the Holy Spirit.  I want to also receive what God is pouring back into me without fear or pride.  I want to believe that if I am concerned about God’s kingdom, He will be concerned about my needs and my concerns.  I want to expect that if I tithe and help others in need that He will in turn bless me.  Last but not least, I want to cheerfully give all of me to God, who loves me so much and first loved me.  For God so loved the world, He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 KJV)  That is why we cannot beat His giving, ever.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for the lesson on giving and receiving.  Thank You for showing me how to truly give and that it is better to give than receive.  Thank You for also showing that I am to also receive because You want to pour into my life too.  Thank You for giving me an abundant life.  I thank You that You are the source of all I need and that You will provide for me.  Help me to trust You daily and help me to give cheerfully with the leading of the Holy Spirit.  Help me to receive the things You have for me—even when they do not look exactly like I thought they would—but to also reject the things the devil offers me.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to assess your giving and receiving.  Are you trying to be only the giver?  Are your motives behind your giving right?  Is your failure to receive out of fear and pride?  Remember, every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17 NIV) Lastly, remember that we are to give to our faithful Father, who is abounding in love.  Give Him ALL you got, it belongs to Him anyway.

As you assess your giving and receiving, reflect on what you bestow upon God every day.

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Ms. Tannika Moore loves the Lord and loves to write! Besides writing poetry or editing written work for family and friends, she currently works for NEIU Educational Talent Search program. She helps assist Chicago Public School students with their reading, writing, etc. as well as helps them consider and prepare for college. God, the Creator and Great Father has also created her to be a compassionate person and encourager  so she loves to encourage people according to God’s Word and help them to see, think and become better through her support, actions and writing. Her favorite scripture comes from Philippians 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you shall perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Finances, Generosity, Gratefulness

The Blessing In Giving

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In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35 New International Version).

I need a blessing, a financial one preferably.  In this day and age, who doesn’t need one?  Sometimes I fantasize about meeting a long-lost, super rich relative who would want nothing more than to shower me with money and gifts.  I have high hopes of winning the lottery one day.  However, I have not bought a lottery ticket.  My fantasies clash with reality and God’s plans for me, and frustration and prideful thoughts come in.  For example, why do I have to get up at 4:30 in the morning for work when no one else in the house is working or why am I wrecking my brain trying to figure out a grocery budget for a family of six when I don’t have a husband or children.  I ask why me, but perhaps the question should be why not me.  After all, two of my relatives (uncle and sister) are physically and or mentally disabled with a third (my brother) showing signs of a mental disability also.  My mom has to be the care taker of my uncle and sister and leaving them alone is not a good option.

If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family; he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1Timothy 5:8 NIV).

While I am waiting for a blessing to fall out of the sky, I am missing my blessing and the opportunity to give God honor and praise.  At one point, I wasn’t working and I was depressed and ashamed because I wasn’t helping out around the house.  Now that I have a job why should I complain?  Recently, I decided to stop complaining about being the only one in the house that everyone depends on.  Instead, I believe God has blessed me with a job to help the household.  So, I pray he gives me the knowledge and wisdom to be a good steward over what he has entrusted me with.  Being grateful and accepting of God’s plan has helped me give more in a humble and joyful matter.

Dear Daddy, 

All praises, glory, and honor are unto You.  I pray that You help me to give in a way that strengthens, not weakens my family, and in a way that glorifies You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies I EMPOWER you to give.  I am able to provide because I have a job; however, the gift doesn’t have to be money. It could be time, knowledge, wisdom, your testimony, your joy or to sum it all up—love, the same love God has showed his children when he sacrificed his only Son.   Each time the opportunity arises to help someone it is a blessing from God.

If you haven’t done so already, please VOTE for us in the Black Weblog Awards, Best Faith-based Blog category!

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Saneatra Polk resides on the south side of Chicago and works as a quality technician for a food manufacturer. She attends The Moody Church and her favorite Bible verse is: “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6 NIV)

Assignment, Generosity, Growth/Maturity, Kindness, Love, Obedience, Servitude

Maybe I’ll Say Yes…

“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others…”(Philippians 2:4 NIV)

I’m pretty sure that many would agree that 2012 is passing by at a quick speed.  Not only is time passing by so quickly, but life is full.  It’s very easy to be too busy with life, family, work, church, and other responsibilities.  Almost every person I know—young, old, male, female, married, or single—complains about how busy he/she is.  When one is busy, which seems to be always lately, there is not enough time to fit in every responsibility and others too.

How does one find time for anything anymore?  The safe thing to do is say ‘no’ to anything extra, especially those unplanned and spontaneous opportunities that pop up.  We couldn’t possibly say yes right?  We have to go to work, clean the house, pay some bills, or we are just plain ol’ tired.  Well here is a wise and friendly reminder courtesy of the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes those things that spontaneously show up are opportunities for the Kingdom of God to advance!

The things you will be rewarded for in heaven are not the houses, cars, clothes, bank accounts, or careers that you attain here.  The things that will matter most are the things you have done for others because of Him.  Calling that elderly person who has no family and talking to them for a while, inviting your child to lay in the bed with you while you watch a movie and share laughs, giving a single mom who needs a break a twenty-five dollar pedicure, or writing an EmpowerMoment for a friend who didn’t have enough time to write one are those things that matter most.  Taking every chance to walk in love and express love to others is one thing that can surely move my Father’s heart!  Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart. (1 Peter 1:22 NIV)

This EmpowerMoment was given by the Holy Spirit at an unplanned and spontaneous time.  I was on my way to sleep when I received an email from one of my team members.  She was so honest and genuine in her request for help and although I was tired, the Lord said otherwise.  I must agree that a time like this is when you get the best testimony and juiciest experience.  I’m glad that when my sister called and asked for my help, I paused before I spoke the word ‘no’ and replaced it with a ‘yes’ so that this reminder could get to you.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your unfailing love!  I thank You for giving me the wisdom to know when I need to proceed and say yes.  I thank You for giving me the heart to love and express love towards others.  I pray I continue to trust You and follow Your lead each day as You bless me with more opportunities to give You glory and express Your love.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, the next time something pops up unplanned and not on your agenda, I EMPOWER you to do the following: Pause and Pray.  Ask the Holy Spirit for discernment and instruction of what the Father desires for you to do. He may give you the go ahead of saying ‘no’ or maybe He will make you replace it with a ‘yes’.  Try it and see what happens!

Are you finding time to have these kinds of experiences?

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Mrs. Lisa M. Purnell-Marshall is happily married to the wonderful and inspiring Antoine L. Marshall. She is the proud mother of two gorgeous girls. Her voice is one of the leading and authentic voices for breast-feeding, especially for the African-American community and Generation Y. She currently works inside of her home and plans to become a professional licensed lactation consultant in 2014. She and her family are members at Spirit of Liberty Church located in Markham, IL. Embracing the love that God has for her, Lisa labors to live an acceptable and pure life through the leading and keeping of the Holy Spirit so that her attitude, words, and actions attract the glory of God. In her free time she loves receiving manis and pedis. Her favorite promises that she find comfort and reassurance in are: Psalm34:19: “A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all” and 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.”