Make room for the fresh

At the border of Israel is one of the strangest ‘lakes’ in the world – the Dead Sea. It is a mineral-laden lake surrounded by barren desert. When Bev and I toured there, we watched other tourists enter the water and float effortlessly because of the concentration of salts.  Around 50 miles north of that lake there is another body of water, the Sea of Galilee, which teems with life, sparkling with fresh water from the mountains to the north of it. These two lakes are connected by the Jordan River. So what makes the fresh water of Galilee that flows down the Jordan into the  brackish water of the Dead Sea?  It has no outlet, no overflow. The inflow only escapes by evaporation leaving so much mineral accumulation that all life was choked from the water eons ago.

There is a life-lesson there. If we want to remain ‘fresh’ and life-giving we cannot just consume, we must give! Do you measure your happiness by what flows into your life or what flows out of it?  A person who is not generous risks becoming toxic with deadly selfishness. 

I watched a fascinating documentary about the way that humans regard “capital,” the wealth that makes productivity possible. A few see it as a tool to improve the lives of people. Most try to build ever greater reserves of it. 200 years ago, capital was controlled by a tiny group of elites. People were very rich or very poor. All of that wealth flowing into the hands of just a few persons brought corruption and eventually revolutions in most of Europe and the Americas. 

The 20th century brought new ideas about redistribution of wealth through regulation and social programs but as that century ended with the spectacular failure and collapse of Communism, Western governments began to trust free markets and removed many of those regulations that redistributed capital. The concentration of wealth is re-occurring with more capital controlled by fewer people in 2020. It is not a positive indicator for social health and stability in years ahead.

Are you holding tightly to your time, your status, your privilege?
Are you generous with others, not just with money but with acceptance, forgiveness, and love? 
A generous spirit is the key to remaining fresh and alive!

We can be people of generosity in every way because of this fact:  our Father promises to care for our needs `according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.’ (Phil. 4.19)  Why are Christians who are given ALL things by the Father so selfish, so protective of their stuff, their lives?  If we grow fearful of the future, fearful of others, we will shut ourselves off from the world in which we live. Knowing God, trusting Him radically, will enlarge our capacity to love. Remember that “we love because He loved us first.”

Look at this wisdom: “It is possible to give freely and become more wealthy, but those who are stingy will lose everything. The generous prosper and are satisfied; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:24-25 NLT)  That principle is about much more than our money. It is about choosing to invest in the joys and sorrows of the people around us,  developing a life that overflows with gentle forgiveness,  one that liberally recognizes the individual contribution that others make to the well-being of the whole.

Paul, as he was leaving for Jerusalem where he would face arrest and long imprisonment, reminded the Ephesian Believers: “You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: `It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ “ (Acts 20:35 NLT)  Early in his life, he was a man focused on self-improvement, on protecting his own traditions, on gaining power.  Then, he got knocked off his high horse in an encounter with the Living Lord. Grace flowed into his life and Paul opened the spigot to let it flow back out. He gave up everything – comfort, treasure, time, reputation – to take the good news of God’s acceptance to the wide world.

He lived what he taught about generosity. “Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop. I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving. God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it, He throws caution to the winds, giving to the needy in reckless abandon. His right-living, right-giving ways never run out, never wear out.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-9, The Message)

Get connected to your Source, in prayer, in faith. Pray that He will enlarge your heart, then give yourself away.

Do it in the smallest of ways… letting someone go before you in the checkout line, slowing down for the driver who wants to get into your lane of traffic.  Turn criticism into praise, condemning thoughts into prayers for blessings.

Do it in a bigger way… when someone you know falls down, reach out to help them up. When a `juicy tale’ falls into your hands, bury it and never repeat it no matter how much fun it might be to share! Write a check to someone in need or better, put some cash in an envelope and give it to them without disclosing the source.  Do

it in the biggest way… pray for God’s blessings to rest on your worst enemy. Pray for them to experience the LOVE of the Father! (and mean it!)

Here’s a word from the Word. It’s familiar. Read it slowly and prayerfully, asking that the Spirit will bring the full truth to fruitfulness in your life today.
“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?” (Luke 9:24-25, NLT)

Don’t turn yourself into a ‘Dead Sea.’  Let your life overflow and God will ‘pour on the blessings in astonishing ways.’


Great Is Thy Faithfulness

(Believe it!)

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning
New mercies I see
All I have needed
Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness
Lord unto me

Great is Thy faithfulness
O God my Father
There is no shadow
Of turning with Thee
Thou changest not
Thy compassions they fail not
As Thou hast been
Thou forever wilt be

Summer and winter
And springtime and harvest
Sun moon and stars
In their courses above
Join with all nature
In manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness
Mercy and love

Pardon for sin
And a peace that endureth
Thy own dear presence
To cheer and to guide
Strength for today
And bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine
With ten thousand beside

Thomas Obediah Chisholm | William Marion Runyan © Words: Public Domain

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