Daily Devotional

FRIDAY – “A Vision of Generosity”

Isaiah 32:8 (ESV)
“But generous people plan to do what is generous, and they stand firm in their generosity.”

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” -Jim Elliot

Gospel Response
Jesus Christ, who owns all things outright, in his great, tender compassion graced us with every spiritual blessing by creating us, living and dying for us, rising for us, and interceding for us. He lavished the riches of his grace upon us so that we might be united to him. Because of his sort of generosity, so also, may we open our hearts to all to unite them with Christ for all eternity.

A Vision of Generosity

•  God is a giver; we are his image-bearers.

•  Grace-based generosity is an outward sign of inward transformation: rebirth by the power of the Holy Spirit.

•  Giving for (unrighteous) gain: It’s quite possible to give a lot of money without a generous heart. Motives = guilt and/or pride.

•  There is something good to be gained by generosity: treasure in heaven (including God himself).

•  Random act of generosity, such as:

•  Include enough margin in your budget to respond when the Holy Spirit presents opportunities to bless and help people.

•  Buy dinner for the couple next to you at a restaurant, or the car behind you in the drive-thru

•  Bring your wife a surprise gift card

•  Take your kids out for ice cream

•  Buy doughnuts for your co-workers

•  If you’re dining in the city, box up an extra meal and give it to a homeless person

•  Mow your neighbor’s lawn

•  Read the newspaper for stories about local needs you could help meet

•  Offer free babysitting to families in your community group

Source: [Jamie Munson, Money: God or Gift, p. 63, 109]

Giving Generosity to the Next Generation is intentional

•  Teach your kids about Jesus and their need for his grace.

•  Invite your kids into the conversation.

•  Teach your kids to divide their money into three categories: give, save, spend.

•  Don’t stifle innovation; allow failure.

•  Engage your kids and teach them discernment.

•  Model generosity.

Source: [Jamie Munson, Money: God or Gift, p. 111]

Missional Analysis

People of no faith… live and die to love, trust, and obey their stuff. It gives them a sense of individual accomplishment and personal freedom. They’re either the haves or the have-nots. Their philanthropy is really a form of selfishness in order to promote their own name.

People of damaged faith… work and strive to love, trust, and obey their stuff to demonstrate a perceived sense of individual accomplishment and personal freedom. The haves condescend the have-nots, and the have-nots despise the haves. Their philanthropy serves selfish ends, too, so that society accepts them.

People of active faith… work, live and die to love, trust, and obey God, the giver of all good things. They identify themselves as children of the Creator of all things. None of them are have-nots because they all possess the rich grace of Jesus Christ and his inheritance. Their philanthropy is an intentional practice of sacrifice and joyous sharing with others.

Action Steps

Diagnose and plan your Legacy of Generosity to the next generation.

•  Walk with Jesus – Who will be impacted by my walk with Jesus? A particular age group, culture, neighbor, family member?

•  Giving – How much will I give between today and my last day? Have I given generously throughout my life, and will I continue to do so through my estate?

•  Family – What will my family look like? How many children? Where will we live?

•  Friendships – Who will my friends be? To whom will I have been a friend?

•  Mission – What will I have done in obedience to Jesus’ commandment to “make disciples of all nations” and fulfill the Great Commission?

•  Career – What will I have spent my life working on or working for?

•  Housing – Will I pass on real estate as part of my legacy?

•  Finances – What will I leave behind financially and to whom? Where will the money God has entrusted to be me have the greatest impact for the gospel?

Source: [Jamie Munson, Money: God or Gift, p. 111-112]

Daily Devotional

THURSDAY – Bad theology of money”

Luke 12:4-7 (ESV)

4 “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. 5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.

What happens to us – when we can have nothing, get something, and then want everything?

Fallen Condition Focus
Since we are sinful individuals storing up personal treasure in the fallen world of the haves and have-nots, we tend to think, act and live as the tight-fisted, money-grubbin’ terrible twos all of us once were.

Bad theology of money

  • Fear
    • “Fear and worry reveal us; they reveal the things that we love and value.” -Ed Welch
    • “In turn, the things that we love and value are the things that we worship. For example, children, money and friendships become idols when we fear death, insecurity, and rejection. Our happiness gets tied up in the well-being of our kids, the size of our bank balance, or the health of our relationships-all of which will eventually falter and fail.” -Jamie Munson
    • “Everybody is afraid… And so we pour out our resources, our energy, and our days in an attempt to protect what we love from whatever threatens it… We waste life by worrying about things we can’t control and fearing things we can’t avoid.” -Jamie Munson  Source: [Jamie Munson, Money: God or Gift, p. 12]
  • Greed
    • An attitude of grumbling (Philippians 2:15)
    • A perspective of entitlement: “I am a good person who deserves heaven – plus a comfortable, pain-free existence in the meantime.”
    • Desire says that Jesus is not enough. I want wealth/ fame/ comfort/ power as well.
    • I earn. Therefore my money is mine, and I use it however I please.
    • Covetous: I never have enough.
    • As a church, it’s all about being served as a consumer.
    • Work begrudgingly for the man, becoming bitter and jealous against others (James 3:16)
    • Family is a burden to escape.
    • The future is temporal: pessimistic/ anxious
    • Worship is time, energy, and resources going to me.
    • My identity is based upon my abilities and achievements.
    • Giving is often guilt- or gain-motivated (or non-existent).
    • Source: [Jamie Munson, Money: God or Gift, p. 20-21]
  • Misconceptions and Financial Failure
    • “Money is a private matter.”
    • “I’m ashamed of my debt and poor management.”
    • “I need to save money before I can give any.”
    • “Churches are all about money.”
    • “I don’t trust the church.”
    • “I give to other organizations, ministries, charities – the ‘church’ at large.”
    • “The Bible says to give in secret. We shouldn’t talk about giving habits.”
    • “I can’t give – I’m a poor college student.”
    • “I can’t give – I don’t have anything.”
    • “I want to give, but I just keep forgetting.”
    • Common financial sins: idolatry, pride, unnecessary debt, envy and covetousness, no fear of the Lord, laziness, lack of planning, greed, false doctrine, not giving or tithing, selfishness, hope in wealth, seeking satisfaction in wealth, freeloading, worry lack of vision, entitlement.  Source: [Jamie Munson, Money: God or Gift, p. 110]

Action Steps

Breaking the hold of a “bad theology of money” in our lives takes a definitive decision, a line drawn in the sand that we will change our way of thinking and behaving. When we make this decision the generational hold is further broken by an act of obedience or a step of bold action.

Take these steps today; 1) declare a change in your theology specifically in the area where you may struggle in the area of generosity [see the list above], 2) pray and ask God how he would have you give, 3) obey and take the step to give whatever the Lord puts on your heart to give, immediately.

Daily Devotional

WEDNESDAY – “Leaving a Legacy of Generosity”

Proverbs 13:22
Good people leave an inheritance to their grandchildren”

Each generation leaves a legacy of generosity for their children and their children’s children. Generosity is ALWAYS passed down and we all leave an inheritance either good or bad. Let’s look at a few generational inheritances left throughout history:

Silent Generation (born 1925-1945) – lived through the great depression, passed down traditional values and hard work ethics. Moralism and modernity. Building character. “In Generations, William Strauss and Neil Howe define this generation as an Artist/Adaptive generation. An Artist (or Adaptive) generation is born during a Crisis, spends its rising adult years in a new High, spends midlife in an Awakening, and spends old age in an Unraveling.”

Baby-boomers (born: 1946 – 1964) – lived through the 60s, pass down anti-tradition and anti-establishment values. Very reactionary. Sexual revolution and loosely held moral values. Freedom.

Generation X (born: ~1961 – 1981) – seen as the “slacker” generation, they passed down a cultural cynicism fed by the Vietnam War, Cold War, the Oil and Energy crisis, and high divorce rates. They also passed down a sense of variety, as it was the most heterogeneous, and apathy towards those in power.

Generation Y (born: ~1982 – 2000) – largely culturally liberal, reflecting the anti-traditional view of their baby-boomer parents. This generation is also known for delaying their passage into adulthood, marrying and becoming parents much later.

Biblical Metaphors for Generosity
God hands over creation to Adam and Eve to tend and cultivate
God promises the land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants
The Israelites receive their “inheritance” – the land of Canaan

Action Steps
Take some time today and think about the legacy of generosity you are leaving to your children, your children’s children and to the next generation. Even if all of these are far off into the future.

Ask yourself:
How will my attitude towards generosity be remembered in the next generation?
What have I taught the next generation about generosity through my actions?
How do I want to be remembered in regards to my generosity today? Tomorrow? To future generations?

Daily Devotional

1 John 4:11-21 (ESV)

Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

13 And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. 14 Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. 16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other because he loved us first.

20 If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.

Action Step
As the New Year approaches; spend some time this week thinking on love. Let the above scriptures transform your thinking about love. God loves you that much, to send his greatest expression of love Jesus Christ for you long before you ever knew you needed him. That expression continues on through you as you love others. Think about this: God intended Jesus love shown to you, to continue on through you as you love others. God’s love is that powerful!

Daily Devotional

MONDAY – “God is love, and love is on your side”

Ephesians 3:18-19 (ESV)
And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.

Fallen Condition Focus
Since we are fallen creatures living in a sin-stained world, we view ourselves as unlovely, unlovable runaway orphans. We throw our love around on anything that gets our attention and really only seek to love ourselves.

Gospel Response
God is love and so much so in sending his Son, Jesus Christ, to die on a cross to bring death to our self-love and to rise from the grave to bring life and love to us, his adopted children. Christ has made us loveable, and in him, we are lovely. Because he first loved us, we may now love him back and love others with the love of Christ.

Missional Analysis

People of no faith… are self-loathing, and all they know to do is focus all their efforts to love themselves in every way they can imagine. Everyone around them is an object to be used, a stepping stone to the success of their very own self-love. Deep down, they really don’t believe in love because they don’t really know love.

People of damaged faith… are self-justifying because they make up rules and regulations for degrees, measures and refusals to love God and others. They love based upon how well they think they’ve been loved. They believe in a false love because they don’t know the all-justifying love of Jesus’ sacrifice.

People of active faith… are lovers of God and others, and they forsake the thought of self-love because they possess all the love of the eternal God of the universe. They love God and others based upon the love of Jesus Christ within themselves. They believe in an eternal, boundless love because they know their identity as image-bearers, children of God, and heirs with Christ in the Kingdom.

Today’s Action Step

Leaving a Legacy of Love – has to do with intentionality, in knowing God’s love yourself, in experiencing his love, and in showing his love to others.

  1. Remember the love with which he first loved you and your neighbor before the foundation of the world. He sent his Son…
  2. Remember Jesus Christ… His life and work has declared you and your neighbor lovely and loveable.
  3. Remember that the glory of God and the love of Christ is in you for the sake of others.
  4. Pray for yourself and others to believe in the gospel of God – God is love.
  5. Pray for unity among believers like that between the Father and the Son – an eternal love.
  6. Pray and work so that others may join the journey towards the eternal home Jesus has prepared for us who believe.
  7. Always be making known Christ to yourself, to your family and to your neighbor.