okay my people :) since the solitary comment was from my IRL friend Christina, she gets a copy of Crazy Love!!!! next time it could be you!!
it's been on my mind a lot as of late. i guess not so much charity or giving time & stuff, because we give money and stuff all the time, but i've been praying and pondering about living sacrifically so that i have more to give... how can i live out "Love your neighbor as yourself" in order to more fully "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your mind and strength." is this making sense to anyone?
i love praying for divine appointments for God to use me to tell someone about Christ's love for them, to stop and buy someone some food, give them a ride when it's cold or raining. i am always more than willing to take the shoes right off my feet (or my kids and yes i have offered to do that) and give them to a person in need because i know i have been over-the-top blessed by God (in so many more ways than simply monetarily) and i can stop at a shop on the way home and pick up another pair. it makes me so bubbly and excited to pack up my kids gently used (or sometimes never used) toys & clothes and deliver them in cute little brown bags to the local shelter for deserving children and parents.....
but it's not enough....
i want to give more money each month towards our Missions faith-promise because there are families living in 6x8 houses in Haiti that not only don't have food or a change of clothes, but they haven't ever heard the life-giving message of Jesus and how He loves them with all abandon! i want to give more money to the sweet babes in Africa that live in slums, whose floors of their homes are trash & waste, with gangs prostituting children around each corner, so that they might get one real meal each week and hear about Christ's plan for a future for them and His desire to richly bless them! i want to have more food to give the families in my town that don't have anything for dinner each night, and if i can help fill the gap, they might see Jesus' love and provision for them.
i want to live sacrifically so that those near to me and halfway around the world might be fed and cared for in this life, but more importantly for the eternity after this life!
i am so crazy about Jesus!! but real all-consuming, sacrifical love doesn't mean just giving my leftovers to Him: my leftover time to work in a few Bible verses, my leftover moments before sleep to say a few prayers, my leftover energy for worship & praise, my leftover & hand-me down clothes that didn't sell at the garage sale for the needy, the leftover granola bar in my truck for the homeless on the street corner............ NO!! He is the Creator of the Universe, my Savior, the Lord of ALL Lords!! i want to give my best!
i'm not perfect, but my heart and mind have been spinning like a top for several months now on how to love God more, how to surrender more, how to be transformed by Him for Him more... see a pattern developing? more, more, More, mORE, MORE!!
i have been making that time each day (okay there have been a day here and there i didn't keep my Jesus appointment, but i'm a work in progress, getting better day by day thanks to His grace) for God's word, meditating on it, fasting, spending time on my knees (literally) at Jesus' feet just praising and thanking, asking and pleading, believing and trusting... and not that these acts of obedience to be in the Word or prayer time are new to my schedule but the more i have felt the Lord's leading to serve & give & intercede more for the lost, the needy, the broken, my husband, my children, my family, my church, my friends, well the more time i have spent in His presence, because i know that He has such amazing plans for me, ways He wants to use me, to break my heart for what breaks His... well i felt like my inner God-light has simply gotten brighter and brighter...
the Lord is revealing Himself to me more, igniting my passion for loving others more!! and so i want to give my very best!!
it is so cool how our little family is positioned for more right now... with God granting such an amazing gift with me being at home full-time, downsizing our house, downsizing our stuff, extra career opportunities for me from home, assisting some other families with childcare needs and such, we are primed for having more time and money to give!! God is so awesome like that!!
it sounds odd to say "well i have left my out-of-home career & salary, and so now i have more money to give"... doesn't make sense in this world but God's economy is different. and while our tithe might be less since our salaries are less, we will have a much smaller house payment and no other debt (God willing) when the house sells....... but more importantly what has been changing even more over the last few months is our hearts & mindset. having "stuff" isn't all that important, and i really never felt like it was, but our life shows differently when i truly look hard:
we drive new cars, have name-brand clothes, have the cool toys & game systems, bought whatever new & nicest stuff to decorate my house, go out to eat whenever we feel like it, take some long-weekend vacations here & there, and put dollars away in stocks & such... and none of these things are inheritly wrong or bad, i'm not saying that buying that pair of ridculously expensive heels is a sin (i own several of those... incriminating myself) but can i buy a nice pair at a chain store and send that extra $50 or even $100 to a child 18 hours away or around the corner, and give them a chance at knowing real love?! i digress... we have been giving the Lord's tithe (of course... God is awesome at somehow blessing the 90% & making it go farther than 100% of our money..wow) and some for missions & for our church building campaign but nothing that truly stretched us (in my opinion), nothing that made me sit back and go "wow!! that was a lot"
(geez!! that was a llllooonnnnggg paragraph!! are your eyes bleeding?! :) )
i am not capable of giving tens of thousands of dollars, but God is!! if he is laying a dollar amount on my heart to give each month for missions or to children in need, He will provide it; by faith, i believe and know that!! but i do want to sacrifice more to give more... i am so ready to live in a smaller & less expensive home, have fewer bills so that i can give more, save more, give more, save more... you get the drift
it is something that flows from our hearts, a leading from God, that tugging on our soul, that as the Lord's children we are to take care of the widows and orphans, clothe the needy, feed the hungry...
it's a choice:
to obey Christ and follow His footsteps, we can show Him how much we love Him by trusting Him to work in us and through us and experience great joy and connection with our Father... or... we can continue to live as though it is all about us, giving when we can but not making it a priority and not know what true blessing is.
my purpose in writing this was mostly for myself, i'll admit, i have been making notes and writing in my journal furiously... but as i wrote this my inner fire is even bigger & brighter :) and it excites me so much to see what God can do with my softened & ready heart... this is not to brag or say "see what we're doing!!!", not in the least... but i pray you see where we are, where we've been and part of where we are going (God willing!! cause we don't know exactly where God is taking us) and that your soul is inspired, ignited, renewed by a love for God.
part of my journey has also been in reading a fabulous book, Crazy Love by Francis Chan, who has so brilliantly written his heart and spelled out for us again what God's word says!! and since i want you to know and love God with all abandon :) i would love to give a copy away to one of you lovely people!!
please leave a comment, any comment and i'll randomly pick one of you to receive this great book!! you'll love it!!
be blessed today, thanks for letting me share my heart with you... i'll close the comments sunday night and chose the winner!!
(if you don't know how to leave a comment, simply chose the anonymous option under comment as)