Friday, June 24, 2011

What Kind of Giver Are You?


Dear Friends,

For they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood. ~ Mark 12:44

“Americans are so gullible,” a rescue mission supervisor told me.  “Did you hear about the man who went out and raised two hundred dollars in half an hour from people on the street by telling them he was collecting for ‘The Unknown Soldier’s Widow’?”  I confessed I hadn’t heard about it, but I wondered if it were true.

I thought about the money that I gave away to charity.  Gullible giving is not God’s way.  Guidelines have been given to us.  Tithes first - 10 percent of all our income.  This is His.  We touch it not, lest we be guilty of thievery - robbing divinity is a heinous crime!  Offerings next.  “Nor will I not offer…to the Lord My God with that which costs me nothing” (2 Sam. 24:24), said David.  What say you?  Think of the widow.  She only had two mites.  She could have thought that two mites were too little to give.  But Jesus didn’t think so.  He knew that casting in all your livelihood makes you rich with much more valuable coinage than can come from any earthly mint.

Spastic generosity, triggered by nerves, touched off by impassioned pleas of poverty, or doled out to starving unfortunates pictured in scraggy photographs, is not the best help we can give.  Careful accounting of our budget - as if we were handling someone else’s funds - is the way to go.  After all, we are merely stewards, and as the Good Book reminds us, “It is required in stewards that one be found faithful” (1 Cor. 4:2).

Blessings,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Jesus is Your Ultimate Burden-Bearer


Dear Friends,

Bear one another’s burdens. ~ Galatians 6:2

There is a time for everything, a season for this and a season for that.  There is a time to bear a care in solitude, and a time to share a prayer with a friend.  We need the wisdom to know when to shoulder responsibility, when to delegate, and when to cast it all upon Jesus - our incomparable Burden Bearer.

Sometimes I have to have a cry, then wash my face and get on with it!  I know I must bear the thing alone.  Another day, when I was burdened beyond belief after watching a loved one suffer, a friend came to me and touched my hurt with tenderness, mending the raw edges of my helplessness.  Such love brought a blessed buoyancy that helped more that I could tell.  Someone cared enough to help make my burden bearable.  Yes, there is a season for sorrow, a time to bear another’s burdens.

But there comes a time when only God’s shoulders are broad enough to carry the weight of my worry.  Then crushing burdens become carried burdens.  Yoked to Him, I can plow my lonely furrow, walk a straight path, cope with the intolerable, and figure out the impossible.  Then, having been carried, I am sent on my way strengthened to help carry another.  I need to pray:

Show me when to share, Lord-
Commission me to carry, Lord.

And teach me not to burden one of your special children, if I must bear my burden alone!

Blessings,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hope When Your Hands Are Tied

Dear Friends,


“Woman, behold your son!”  Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!”
~ John 19:26-27

Take courage!  Jesus did more with His hands tied than anyone else on earth!  When Pilate sent Jesus to Herod, Herod’s soldiers tied His hands behind His back so they could better buffet Him.  Then they sent Him back to Pilate.  “That very day Pilate and Herod became friends with each other, for before that they had been at enmity” (Luke 23:12).  Jesus had an amazing effect on people, even when they hated Him.  He even helped people get over their quarrels when His hands were tied!

The centurion untied Jesus’ hands, only to nail them firmly in place upon the cross!  But think what Jesus did when His hands were nailed into place-the centurion came to Christ!  When Jesus’ hands were tied, He never stopped helping people!  Seeing His mother standing at the foot of the cross watching Him die, and seeing His best earthly friend supporting her, He gave His mother into John’s hands.  He could no longer take care of Mary; His hands were tied.  But He still had a mind alert enough to plan for those He loved, and even through His desperate thirst, He could still speak words of encouragement.  Jesus, choosing to die, could not do much for Mary and John, but He did what He could-and it was enough.

Are your hands tied?  Are you imagining yourself helplessly restricted?  Think about Jesus.  Ask Him for a way around the dilemma.  He’ll show you!  He’ll tell you, “It’s amazing what you can do when your hands are tied!”

Blessings,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Beauty Secrets


And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us. ~ Psalm 90:17

Dear Friends,

What is beauty?  There is a beauty of form and figure that catches the breath by its sheer symmetry.  Then there is the beautiful supple strength of the athlete.  But we are thinking “outward.”  What about the “inward,” the beauty of a right mind, for instance?  The queen in Proverbs 31 warned her son, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (v.30).

The most radiant beauty of all is spiritual beauty, that inner tranquility that comes from a meek and submissive spirit resting at the Saviour’s feet.  Moses prayed that the beauty of the Lord would be upon his people.  When David had placed the ark of God inside the tent that he had pitched for it, he offered burnt offerings and told the people to “worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (1 Chron. 16:29).

Romans 10:15 tells us that the feet that take the gospel to the lost are beautiful.  But how perfectly beautiful is our Saviour Jesus!  Beautiful in love, holiness, forgiveness, and grace!  If we will only pray the prayer of Moses as we worship Him, the Lord will think us beautiful too.  We will hear our Saviour whisper, “You are fair, my love!  Behold, you are fair!”  (Song 4:1).


Blessings,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor