Tuesday, December 3, 2013

2 Corinthians 5-8

Paul talks more about the struggles we have as Christians in 2 Corinthians 5-8.  In Christ, we find reconciliation with God.  Christ is our direct connection to God.  Living in Christ, means having faith, relying and depending and believing in things we cannot see.  Paul talks about sorrow as something that can be Godly and good when it brings us to repentance.  He also encourages giving in response to God's grace in our lives.

Graceful giving is where I want to zoom in today.  It seems appropriate to get this whole giving thing right in light of the Christmas season that is upon us.  
Paul says,

But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you[a]—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

In other words, as we learn and grow in our faith, we can't forget about acting in faith by what we give to God (and others).  

What do you think Paul means by "the grace of giving," and how do we "excel" in it?  What does that mean for your life?

I think, for me, it means the gifts I give need to be a reflection of my deep love for Christ.  Giving to God, means giving to others.  Paul goes on to say,

11 Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. 12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.

Another way to say this is, God blesses me so I can bless others.  He wants me to give gifts of grace because of His grace that is at work in me.  I don't think it has to be about money, although sometimes my gifts may require money.  But I think, the grace of giving is mainly about giving myself to God so He can use me and all that I have for His good and His love.

What can I give this Christmas season so that others might come to know and experience Christ's love through me?

Those are the kinds of gifts that mean the most and last for eternity.

A prayer for today-

Dear God,

Thank you for your love and grace.  Thank you for blessing me so that I can be a blessing to others.  Guide me and help me to "excel in the grace of giving" this holiday season.  Show me how to use all that you have given me for your glory.  I pray others will experience Christ's love through me and my family.

In the name of Jesus I pray,

Grace and peace,

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