New Hope Notes
Thanks - Giving
Pastor Elwin Ahu
In the season of Thanksgiving, we take time and think about things that we are thankful for. It is important that we do take the time to count our blessings. If we don’t, we end up falling into the thinking pattern where we always expect to receive blessings. When we have expectations, those expectations then turn into entitlements. Then what happens is we end up becoming complacent, which forms ungiving hearts within us. So in the season of Thanksgiving, we not only want to look at what we are thankful for, but to also have the heart of giving.
The first gift that we can give others is Mercy.
BEST GIFT: MERCY- AN EXPRESSION OF LOVE IN ACTION
Mercy is more than an attitude or feeling of sympathy. It is an expression of love in action, doing or acting on things out of a loving heart. One great example of mercy is the Mercy Ships doing mission work in Africa. They are hospital ships that provide medical care to the less fortunate worldwide. They bring medical aid to all people.
As the Bible says, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” ( Matt 5:7) and “ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons, Free you received, freely give.” ( Matt. 10:8)
We will be blessed with mercy, when we give mercy. God has given us mercy and grace in our lives. Since he has given mercy to us, the Lord asks that we freely give mercy to others.
HOW DO WE GIVE MERCY TO OTHERS
1. I am merciful: When I show patience to those who are peculiar.
Naturally it is hard for us accept and show compassion for people who are peculiar. This means the people who do not fit our mold of what we consider normal, the type of people that seem obnoxious, odd, or rub you the wrong way. God requires us to be patient with them for it is written, "And we urge you, brothers and sisters...encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone." (1 Thess. 5:14 NIV)
Paul places this emphasis because the flesh is not naturally patient with those that are different from us. To be patient and merciful with those that we find peculiar, we must try to take a step back and look at the person beneath the surface and try to understand where they are coming from. We should take the time to see them as Jesus sees them. Accordingly, Bible says, "Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory." (Rom. 15:7 NLT)
We all have our own peculiarities. Christ accepts us just the way we are and we should accept people just the way they are. Instead of setting our standard of how a person should live, we should look at the person and understand where they come from. We should look at how far they have come along, instead of seeing how much farther they need to go. We should take joy that they are being shaped and molded into God’s image and let God do the work on them.
2. I am merciful: When I forgive willingly.
As the Bible says, "Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." (Col. 3:13 NIV)
When someone makes a mistake are you more apt to rub it in or rub it out? People will continually make mistakes, disappoint, and fail you. Are you prone to putting them down or lifting them up? The lord has forgiven us, so we are called to forgive others. God knows people will struggle with forgiveness. He reminds us that to forgive each other because he forgave us. In the end holding on to grudges and not forgiving only ruins you.
3. I am merciful: When I help the hurting.
Accordingly, "If someone who is supposed to be a Christian has enough money to live on and sees a brother in need but won't help him, how can God's love be in him? Let's stop just saying we love people, let's show it by our actions." (1 John 3:17-18 LB)
At times we may struggle with this because we question the motives and intentions of a person when they ask for help. For example, we may be hesitant to give money because we may question if the person will use the money for drugs or alcohol. But when God prompts the heart, we are called to be obedient and give to our brothers and sisters that are in need. If he trusts you with the little stuff, he will trust you with a lot more. Its not about the results, it’s about being obedient to God.
I am merciful: When I love my enemies.
So it is written, "Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for He is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked." (Luke 6:35 NLT)
Take notice that to love your enemies is a command. Again, naturally this is against our nature. When we are slighted or hurt we tend to fight back but the Bible reminds us, “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:8-9)
Give blessings to all, even through wrongs and persecution, just continue to bless them. The battle is not against flesh and blood, but it is a spiritual battle. The battle is not with the person, the person is not your enemy. We are children of God, created by God. The enemy is the Devil, who tricks us in to being enemies with one another. Recognize the true enemy. When something bad happens to us all we see is the person that did us harm and the offense. We need to put our eyes on the LORD. God says, “Love the Lord God with all your heart, then one another.” We will not be able to love one another until we are full of God’s love. We need to fix our eyes on God. The love for one another flows from God to us. It overflows in us then to other people. When we see a person as the enemy, look to God and ask God to fill us with His love and Holy Spirit, so that you are so full of God, your love for your enemy will just be a natural flow. Then you begin to give mercy, and then you become merciful just as God asks us to be.
Because he gave
"Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." (Luke 6:36)
Where would we be today if God did not show mercy? God has blessed us with mercy and we should follow Him and be merciful to others. Another reason for giving is …
Because it refuels my soul
Accordingly, the Bible tells us, "Your own soul is nourished when you are kind; it is destroyed when you are cruel." (Prov. 11:17 LB)
It is for your own good. When you are kind, it is spiritual nourishment. Holding on to grudges and resentment breaks you down, rather then builds you up. The act of mercy refreshes the soul, takes the focus off the self and it helps others. Give away the gift of mercy. My prayer for New Hope as a church is for us to be mercy givers, because we are a church of peculiar, imperfect, hurting people. Let’s give the best gift of all, mercy to each other.
1. In what ways has God shown mercy in your life?
2. Are there any people in your life that God prompts you to help?
3. How do you show mercy to others?
4. When it is hard to show mercy to others, what is the best way to have that heart of mercy?