For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will – 2 Corinthians 8:3
When it comes to spending and budgeting the vast majority of people in the western world go beyond their means. They use their credit card, store card or buy that car or house which they know that they can not really afford. However, when it comes to ones spiritual life this mentality is soon forgotten.
For the believers at the church at Macedonia they realized that a life devoted onto Jesus Christ was a life where they would have to give more than they would be ever able to afford. It didn’t mean a life where they were writing checks which they knew were going to bounce, it didn’t mean racking up an out of control balance on their credit card, but it did mean giving of their life to the point that they couldn’t give anymore. In fact it meant just as Jesus said that anyone who wants to follow Him, they must first take up their cross, these Macedonian believers got it. They realized that they would have to give and keep giving unto God because their life was not their own. They realized that through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ they had been bought with a price, this meant they would give what was expected, and then give more in gratitude and thanksgiving unto God.
This world has it so wrong! We overspend on ourselves what we can’t afford and under give to God what we can afford. Instead, God is looking for people who will over give even though it will cost them what they can’t afford and under spend on themselves out of what they can afford. Copy the Macedonians and don’t withhold from giving unto the Lord.
For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end – 1 Peter 1:23
Jesus said you must be born again! For the ones listening to this instruction it was almost comical! How can anyone be born again? Are we expected to go back into our mothers womb they joked. Yet for the one who has put their trust and hope in a life devoted to Jesus Christ, you know exactly what Jesus meant.
For to be born again is to have your spiritual life regenerated! If you have ever lost power in your house you know what it means to have power generated back to your house. You know how much your life depends on having power wired into your home. Without power light switches do not work, power outlets do not work or air conditioning units do not work. Yet when power is restored it generates life back into those switches, outlets and units.
Just like a house needs powers, so too your soul need a new birth to be generated so you can come back to life. When you allow Jesus Christ into your life what happens is that your spiritual life is born again, or power is restored so you can function as you were designed to function.
This physical life is one that will come and go. In fact the bible tells us we are like grass, we will wither away quickly. However, the life that is born again, our spiritual life is one that will not wither. The writer of 1st Peter tells us that this spiritual life will live forever, because it is powered by one who is eternal.
So today, are you spending your time, energy and resources on your physical life, or devoting them to your spiritual life? Don’t spend the majority of your time cultivating something that will wither away like grass, but use your days helping shape something that will last for eternity.
When they heard the report, all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God – Acts 4:24
Anyone who calls themselves a follower of Jesus Christ knows the importance of prayer. It’s through prayer that we come to faith in Jesus Christ. It is through prayer that we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is through prayer that people are healed, restored and find the courage to intercede for their loved ones. Prayer is central for the believer, it is our lifeline and connection to our savior King.
We all know prayer is so important, yet so often the pressures and busyness of life take priority over prayer. For the early church a day could not pass without prayer being a focal point. In fact the very first church didn’t just keep prayer for their closets or for their morning commute, but prayer meant a gathering. They gathered together because while individual prayer was powerful and important, prayer as a community was what caused the breakthrough!
This church prayed when others were persecuted. Their leaders had been put in jail, and so they came together and prayed. When their leaders were freed from jail, they came together and prayed. Prayer was not an option but a firm fixture. The result? Nations reached with the pure gospel of Jesus Christ.
Prayer is not a one dimensional act of you just talking with God. Prayer is not just a two-dimensional act of communication between you and God, but in fact prayer is a multi-dimensional act of believers gathering together to communicate with their savior.
When the people of God gather together and make prayer a priority families, communities, regions and nations are impacted by the pure gospel of Jesus Christ!