Are you a giver or a taker? In tough economic times, we tend to be selfish with our resources. Dr. Stanley shares with us the truth behind the principle Jesus showed us here on earth, “God blesses us so that we might bless others.” Jesus stressed that caring for the needs of others was more important than storing wealth for our own use. Will you freely share the blessings God has given you, trusting Him to provide for all of your needs?
start your day off, right with the free in touch, devotional subscribe today In touch with Dr. Charles Stanley celebrating 45 years of God’s faithfulness and sharing the gospel worldwide. Next on in touch, passing on God’s blessings in these economic times. It’s easy for us to get a little bit selfish and a little bit self centered. And the reason is because we always have needs at some point in our life and we also have responsibilities. And so the question is, how should we, as followers of jesus respond in these times? What the question I have to ask is this, what about in jesus day, what did he say? What did he do? How did he act? What did he admonish them to do? How did he tell them to relate to each other? It’s all in the word of God. And when you read the scripture and you begin to understand what Jesus was saying in the apostle paul also and others. Then you begin to understand what he taught them not only worked for their day, but what he taught them works for our day also. And when you read the scripture and you begin to understand exactly what he’s saying, the truth is we’re to live out our life today, just like he told them to live it out in that day. So what I wanted to talk about is this, I want to talk about one of the life principles which is God blesses us in order to have us be a blessing to other people. That’s the reason he blesses us to be a blessing to someone else. And I want you to turn to two short scriptures, one of them being in Ephesians chapter four. And here paul is talking about the christian life and how we should live in things we should avoid in their life. And he comes down to this 25th verse and he says, therefore laying aside falsehood. Speak truth, each one of you with his neighbor for we are members of one body. Speaking of the church, be angry and yet do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger. And then he says, listen to this and do not give the devil an opportunity. He who steals must steal no longer, but rather he must labor must work performing with his own hands. What is good so that he will have something to share with one who has need. Now, if you turn over to the sixth chapter first timothy. And here again paul is uh referring to the same issue. And if you notice what he says in the sixth chapter and the 17th verse, he says instruct those who are rich in this present world, not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God who richly supplies us all with good things to enjoy. Then he says instruct them to do good to be rich in good works to be generous and ready to share. He says, you don’t steal, but you work in order to share. And if you’re wealthy you don’t keep it all to yourself because God wants us to share that also. So in thinking about that, I want us to think about this whole idea that God has blessed every single one of us. One of the things he had in mind when he blessed us is that you and I would be a blessing to someone else. Well, let’s talk about what a blessing is. If I ask God to bless you. Here’s what I’m asking. I’m asking God to intervene in your life in some fashion for your good, maybe your happiness, your joy in your life or to meet some particular need in your life. That is I’m asking him to intervene in your life for something in your behalf. Because the truth is that’s what God wants us to do. He wants us to bless one another. And both of those verses that we read, he said were to share were to work and labor whatever we have. And we’re to share with other people who don’t have as much as we do. Now when you think about the life of christ and the way he saw himself, we see him as the Lord and the master and and the king and all the rest. When he came here is what he said, he said, I didn’t come to be served though he deserved it. I didn’t come to be served. I came to serve and to give my life a ransom for many, which was an expression of the way he served, Expression of his goodness and love and mercy taught us. Then on another occasion, look, the 22nd chapter he says that I am among you as one who serves. That’s the way Jesus saw himself. So let’s think about some things that jesus did. That certainly were expressions of of a servant when he saw a need he was willing to meet that need. Does that mean that he healed everybody that was sick? No. Does that mean that he met every single solitary presence needs? No, but it’s amazing because you see he, the bible says that he knew the heart of every person. But if you look at his life, his life is 13-year period of giving, giving, giving, giving, sharing, sharing, sharing himself. Now I want you to listen to what he says in the word of God because it applies to every single one of us and so and and like listen, what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna give you I’m gonna give you a word of of of what he’s what he’s done for us, how he served us. And then I want you to read the verse that follows that in the moment of how I’m to respond on the basis of what he’s done. So let’s start with the fact that he saved us. And look at this, he saved us from our sins. And he said to us Now, it’s my responsibility yours to go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creatures. Now, that doesn’t mean that you have to go to china or Russia tomorrow. But it means listen, where you live. You and I are responsible for sharing the truth of the Gospel with it. Watch this with the people listen who in our circle now some circles are way out yonder and some are up close. Some have a few friends, you have people you work with and and then on and on it goes, it doesn’t make a difference, whatever. And wherever we live, we have a responsibility to be sharing the Gospel. Because that’s what he gave us. A second thing is you think about this, that he loves us. He loves us supremely. And so looking first peter. Chapter four verse eight above all, keep fervent in your loved one that is keep your love alive because love covers a multitude of sins. Be fervent in their love. Their words just how you’re doing. I like you. But fervent love means it’s love that’s in action, fervent. Love expresses itself. It expresses itself not only in words, but expresses itself in deeds. So he’s not asking us to do any more than he’s done for us. He says, I saved you. I want you to be the I want you to be the conduit. Somebody else gets saved. I love you and I love you with a fervent love. I love you enough to have given my life for you. And I want you to fervently. That is genuinely love. Other people. Give yourself away to them in such a fashion. They experienced that love. Then, of course he forgives us of our sins. Look at this Ephesians 4:32. Be kind to one another. Tender hearted, forgiving each other just as God and christ also has forgiven you. How does jesus forgive us? He freely forgives us. We don’t have to beg and plead for God to forgive us. And there’s not a single one of us, no matter who you are, who can say I asked the Lord to forgive me of my sins. But he didn’t do it. I asked him two or 3 times, but he didn’t do it. If you ask him sincerely as one of his Children. Yes, he did. You may not feel it. You may not see anything going on around you. That’s different. You ask him to forgive you? He says. If we confess our sins, he is faithful, you can trust him and just he has a right to forgive you. If you’re not a believer. Where does it begin? It begins with your confessing your sins, asking him to forgive you of your sins and accepting his son jesus as your personal savior. And that acceptance is based on the fact that he paid your sin debt in full. Not that you’re good enough to be saved by simply asking. And so our forgiveness is from him. He says, we have to forgive others. Even listen even as God through his son, jesus christ has forgiven us, He has forgiven every single one of us of many, many things, many, many times. And not only that he’s forgiven us of the same thing many times, I have to forgive, no matter what, no matter when, no matter how and no matter who, there is no limit to forgiveness, you say, well, it hurts me so bad. That’s not the issue. How many times has jesus forgiven you? Well, if I’m gonna be one of his followers and that’s part of it, then of course he teaches us the truth. That’s why we know it. Look at this the one who has taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him or teaches her that is you have learned many things from the word of God. You have the responsibility of teaching someone else you said. But now wait a minute. I am not a teacher. Well, how do you define a teacher? Someone who has a college education and a degree in teacher. No, watch this. If you know something, I don’t know and you’re willing to tell me what that means and how I can apply to my life. You just taught me something and our Lord has given us the Holy Spirit that makes us capable of teaching other people the many people you can teach the truth of God’s word then, of course, think about this. He comforts us and listen to what he says. In second Corinthians, he says, blessed be the God and father of our Lord, Jesus, christ the father of all mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all affliction so that we’ll be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort of which we ourselves are comforted by God. You and our comforters. Usually I don’t know what to say. Yes, you do. You say Well what am I? How am I going to comfort someone? You see them hurting. Here’s what you say to them. I just want you to know that I’m really praying for you. I don’t fully understand everything that you’re going through, but I want you to know. You can count on me. You see, the truth is all of us can do exactly what jesus is doing for us. And here’s the command. The truth is I don’t have a choice if I’m gonna be a follower of jesus. He comforted others. He says, I’m the comfort of us an encourager. For example, he encourages us. That’s one of the reasons you and I pray. We pray because sometimes we get a little discouraged. Are we facing something? We just say God. I need you listen to what he says. Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to christ, jesus. Everybody needs one or more encourages. Somebody sent me an email that I just found it last night and I thought Lord, I hope I can have a moment. Just a moment if I could today to say thank you very much for sending me that. It was a very encouraging message to me. I wonder when’s the last time you decided I’m going? I’m going to send someone to an email right I’m a lot of color and I just want to say a word of encouragement to them. You don’t have to say that I have called you to encourage you know that’s not what I’m talking about. You just do it. And you know what? Sometimes a pat on the shoulder or a handshake with both hands is a very encouraging thing to some people. But you see if I’m always thinking about me myself and I I’m gonna let a wonderful opportunity go by many times a day to be an encourager. If I’m not careful then of course he has accepted us. Thank God he has, he has accepted us. Listen to this. Therefore accept one another. Justice. Christ also has accepted us to the glory of God. If I accept someone that means that I take them for who they are. I may not like what they do. I may not like the way they act, but I can accept them as persons who may be persons in need and maybe a person’s selfish and maybe persons are greedy and maybe persons for happiness and joy. And remember this, every single one of us has been accepted by God through his son, jesus christ. That has nothing to do with deserving it. It’s just because that’s who he is. He loves us. Then of course he’s been very patient with us. Look at this with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, Patients with one another. Every parent has to be patient. We have to be patient each other and patient says, you know what? I can wait until you learn this, I can wait until you forgive me. I can wait till you change. I can wait till you pay me and I can wait. God has been patient with every single one of us. We had to be patient with one another. And then of course, kindness. The same verse we read a few moments ago, Be kind to one another. Tender hearted, forgiving each other. Kindness says, I’m thinking about you. You’d be surprised how you can express kindnesses to people that don’t expect it, but may need it or it gives them joy or happiness or whatever it might be thinking about when is the last time you purpose and decided now I’m gonna do something really good for him or her, I’m gonna show I’m gonna show her that I really do care for her. It’s not that you do it to get anything. Remember we said we’re not talking about getting, we’re talking about giving and then of course this whole idea of stimulating one another, look at this verse hebrews 10 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds to stimulate means to motivate them to stir them up. In other words, how do how do we motivate other people? You want to motivate your Children to be obedient? You want to motivate them to express love, you want to motivate them to be kind. What what about ourselves? And what about stimulating each other? And you see browbeating people and talking negative to them and always criticizing And some people just born in a negative case, they don’t seem to know how to say anything positive. But listen what what motivates you, What stimulates you not criticism were stimulated by what? By kindness by words of acceptance and bye bye compliments that are meaningful and we and when we see good characteristics in people and we and we say that we stimulate them to do better. This is why you hear me saying I said there are staff, look your best, do your best be your best. I want to stimulate them to rise up and don’t be average do your best, look your best be your best because your representatives of jesus christ stimulate one another. That is so work in their life and so speak to them that something inside of them just rises up to do their best whoever they are. And then of course shares with us. And the very 1st, 1st we talked about in this fourth chapter divisions and this 28 verse when he says here, he who steals must steal no longer because lots of slaves in those days were doing that. But rather he says he must labor performing with his own hands. What’s good so that we’ll have something to share with one another who has needs. Let me ask you a question as you look at your own life and the way you live. Would you say you are a gather or I give her Do you spend most of your time thinking about what you’re gonna get or do you think about most of your time? How can I give? What can I give? What can I share? Now make one last statement, you must never forget. Are you listening say amen when you stand before the Lord and you get to heaven, listen carefully. You will not be rewarded for what you get. You’ll only be rewarded of what you give. So I’d like to give you something, I would like to give you at this moment the opportunity of changing the direction of your life, the eternal destiny of your life and the condition of your life and here’s how you can do that. You can recognize honestly that you’re a sinner, that you’ve sinned against God and that you don’t deserve anything. Because when you look at your works, your works are pitiful. When you think about the fact that you have rejected jesus christ as your personal savior. So the invitation is this to ask the Lord, jesus christ to forgive you of your sins and acknowledge that you’ve never trusted him as your savior. You’ve tried to do good. But the bible states that that doesn’t work, he says by works of righteousness, which you’ve done. No person has ever been saved. I want to invite you to invite jesus christ into your life, asking him to forgive you of your sins, surrendering yourself to him personally and saying Lord, I want you in my life, I want you to live your life in and through me. I need the forgiveness of my sins. I do want to go to heaven when I die. But I want my life to count now and most of all, I want jesus christ as my Lord and my savior. If you’re willing to ask him to forgive you of your sin and say to him, I am receiving you jesus as my personal savior here and now in that moment your sins are forgiven, you become a child of God father, how grateful we are for your love for us and all the wonderful ways you express it. And I pray that every person who hears this message will realize how absolutely totally indebted we are to you, but not some things but everything but life itself, breath itself and everything that comes with it. I pray that every person who hears it would be wise enough to surrender their life to you, father through jesus, christ your son, and I pray this in his wonderful name.