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What Is the Cultural Significance of Sharing a Meal?

We see in the New Testament that Jesus held this tradition in high esteem and proceeded to place a high significance on sharing a meal throughout His ministry. We often find Him reclining at a table, fellowshipping with His people, and building authentic relationships.

10 Ways to Love Your Neighbor As Yourself

Several months ago, as we drove through our neighborhood, my daughter pointed out that the “mean lady's” house was for sale. This woman had done nothing to my child to evoke such a title. However, in her yard were no less than seven “No Trespassing” signs. Apparently, my daughter overheard a comment I made concerning the signs and thus, the title was born. I immediately felt convicted for my behavior.I never knew much about the woman who lived down the street except that her name was Mary, she was older, and she lived alone. I waved to her when I passed by, but I never stopped to introduce myself. This was partly because I was so consumed with my own agenda that I never opened my heart to a potential need. Another reason for this missed opportunity was I simply prejudged her as not having anything in common with myself.Popular culture often teaches to support others of similar viewpoints, interests, or beliefs. But Jesus' command challenges the cultural norm. In Luke 10, a lawyer asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus answered with the story of what we call, The Good Samaritan.Here are 10 things we can learn from this Samaritan man about loving our neighbors as ourselves.Photo Credit: iStock/Getty Images Plus/Daisy-Daisy

5 Ways God Blesses Us When We Live Generously

In this economic recession, it’s easy to believe we can’t afford to be generous with others.Whether we’re giving of our time or money, it seems there is barely enough of either for us to get by, let alone give to others.Yet, a true test of our faith is if we’re willing to believe God when He says He’ll be generous with us when we are generous with others.Under the New Covenant, Jesus instructed His followers to give generously in proportion to how we would like God to be generous toward us (Luke 6:38). God also wants us to give out of a grateful response to what we’ve been given.We’ve been given salvation, so haven’t we been given everything? In that regard, Jesus didn’t teach us to give just a tenth, as the Old Testament law mandated. He taught us, in some ways, to give our all. Giving our all to Jesus—of our time, talents and treasure—is evidence of not just our obedience, but our love for Him.It really doesn’t matter how much you have—or don’t have—when it comes to giving to the Lord’s people so He can bless others through you. It’s more a matter of trust. How much do you trust God to bless when you seek to bless others in His name?For nearly 30 years, my husband and I lived on a small church pastor’s salary—including a few years in which my husband took a much-needed (but unpaid) sabbatical and supported our family on a couple of minimum-wage paying jobs. I can honestly tell you that God has always provided everything we have needed and so much of what we’ve wanted. Even during those sparse times, we were still able to be generous with others. Based on three decades of seeing God come through for my family financially and otherwise, here are just five ways God blesses when we give to others:Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/lmtrochezz

3 Things Worth Giving Away to Love People Well

God doesn’t require that we give up everything we have to love others well. But there are few things he has given us that he asks us to hold with open hands, ready to generously give a portion of in order for the people in our lives to get a taste of the sacrificial love of Jesus. Wondering what those three things are? Read on…

The 7 Best Gift Ideas for Pastor Appreciation Month

During the month of October, many churches celebrate Pastor Appreciation Month, where they seek to bless their pastor and his family to show how much they love and appreciate them. From monetary gifts to taking the pastor out to lunch, church members come up with some unique and creative ways to demonstrate their gratitude. As a pastor’s wife, my family and I have been the recipients of some lovely gifts that blessed us in special ways. But what happens when you’ve run out of ideas? Here are seven unique ideas to bless your pastor during pastor appreciation month: Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Terry Vine

What Can We Expect When We Give to the Lord?

I once heard someone encourage giving to a charity say, “Remember, never give to receive; give to give.” That’s it? Give to give? Somehow that doesn’t motivate me much. To me, that sounds like, “Remember, never go to work and expect a paycheck. Just work to work.” Is this what God says about giving?

How Each “Love Language” Type Can Give Love to Others

When Gary Chapman published his first love languages book (The Five Love Languages) in 1992, he launched a communication revolution. By categorizing how people give and receive love, Chapman’s research showed us that people often don’t feel loved and affirmed, even when they are. Loving communication, when not expressed in the way someone prefers it, can be misunderstood or even diminished by the receiver.Since the strongest form of love is not a feeling but an act of sacrifice, it makes sense that if we want to make someone feel appreciated, we will learn how to communicate love more effectively. Our giving must come from a place of authenticity and compassion. We have to understand the value that another person places on particular actions, expressions, and attentions. And we must give with that understanding in mind.If you truly love someone, how can your language enrich another person’s life? How can you give them the gift of love?Here are the five love languages with suggestions and cautions about giving each one.Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Prostock-Studio

Is the Tithe for the New Testament Believers?

So what if you don't take issue with the concept of giving or even the concept of giving 10%? What if you, like many of the commentors, take issue with those you hand your money over to: the Church. Those who express this concern reveal two potential problems that need to be addressed.

How Did Jesus View Wealth and Poverty?

Jesus viewed wealth and poverty in a non-discriminatory manner. He warns those who are wealthy that they have an important responsibility to give to the poor and that if they are not careful, their riches can lead them into evil.

What Does the Bible Tell Us about How to Handle Money?

Dear Roger,I’ve been reading the New Testament and it surprises me how often Jesus referred to money.For example, in Luke 21:1-4, “He commended the widow who did not have much, but from what she did have, she gave it all to the Lord.”He criticized the Pharisees for giving the tithe while they were rejecting the more important parts of sacrifice (Matthew 23:23).Of course, in the parable of the talents, Jesus declared that those who invest well will receive more and those who don’t invest well will lose it all (Matthew 25:14-30).So, I was taken a little aback when I came to 1 Timothy 6 and read how harshly the apostle Paul dealt with Christians who are not managing their money well! Can you please draw for us some lessons from Paul’s teaching? How am I supposed to handle money?Sincerely, MarkDear Mark,I think that the best way to answer your question is by moving through 1 Timothy 6 verse by verse, gleaning Paul’s meaning. You’ll notice that each statement is a critical key to how God intended for us to handle money wisely and well.Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/HappyNati

God Loves Me When I Have Nothing to Give

Having nothing to give shows itself in many ways in our lives. It begins with questioning ourselves and our worth. As a result, we start to see ourselves and the world around us negatively. As we face our own lack, hopelessness creeps its way in and we allow distance to grow between ourselves and God, and even the people closest to us. More than ever, these are the times we need a spark of hope. This is when we need a reminder that God loves us no matter what, and that He will provide something in our hearts to give.


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