GIVE. Additional copies can be downloaded from our website at

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1 LIVE GIVE 10 REFLECTIONS ON GENEROSITY Additional copies can be downloaded from our website at Belrose Uniting Church On the corner Forest Way and Morgan Road Belrose NSW 2085

2 Generosity in an undeserved gift Day 1 Generosity in forgiving Day 2 John 3:16-17 (NIV): "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. These few words bring the whole gospel into focus. God's amazing love is not just for some. It is a free gift offered to all who believe. What are we to believe? Simply this that God will do what he has promised he will do through Jesus. God's love is not inactive or self-seeking. It is a generous outreaching love that draws others in. God s actions identify the true nature of love and set the basis for all loving relationships. Lord, I thank you for the generosity you have shown in your undeserved gift to me. May I reflect your generosity in the way I live my life and my treatment of others. Amen. s John 15:12-13 (NIV): My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 5:39-40 (NIV): You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. We may not have to lay down our life for someone but we can exercise sacrificial love in many ways by listening, helping, encouraging and giving. Some people are difficult to love but still, we are commanded to act lovingly towards others in the same way that God acts towards us. We do not earn life by studying the Scriptures but through the Scriptures we can meet the source of life, Jesus Christ. The most significant aspect of the Bible lies in its testimony about Jesus and of the love and forgiveness God offers. When we come to Jesus, he accepts and forgives us. Thank you, loving God, for caring for me. Thank you for your love and forgiveness and for the direction you give through the Scriptures. Amen.

3 The will to be generous Day 3 My personal development Day 4 Luke 15:3-7 (NIV): Then Jesus told them this parable: Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninetynine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbours together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninetynine righteous persons who do not need to repent. The Bible is full of gladness when lost valuables are found: the Prodigal Son, the lost coin and here, a lost sheep. It may not be too difficult to understand God s generosity in forgiving those who come to him for mercy. However, God does not just wait for the lost to come to him. He searches for the lost and then joyfully forgives them. This is an extraordinarily generous love. Picture yourself in both roles. As the lost sheep, you need a Shepherd/Saviour to bring you home. As a shepherd, you have a job to do and all heaven rejoices when you help find a lost person, just as heaven did when you were found. The term generous describes one who freely gives to others; one who is willing to share. By its very nature, generosity excludes the expectation of reward. We would all like to be viewed as generous. Thank you, Lord, for your extraordinarily generous love and for seeking me even before I sought you. Help me to reflect your extraordinary generosity in my relationships with others and may I be a shepherd helping you. Amen. Romans 12:9-18 (NIV): Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honour one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Most people know how to speak kindly, avoid hurting the feelings of others and appear to take an interest in them. We may even be moved when we hear of the needs of others or become indignant when we learn of injustice. However, God calls us to real and sincere love that goes far beyond just politeness. Sincere love requires focus and effort. It means reaching out to people and helping them. It demands our time, money and personal involvement. As individuals, our capacity is limited but as the body of Christ in our community, our capacity is far greater. Look for people who need your love and look for ways you and your fellow believers can show Christian love. Lord, help my congregation and me in particular, to grow in the ability to reach out in sincere Christian love and generosity to those in the church and in the community. Amen.

4 In the likeness of Jesus Day 5 Offering God s love to others Day 6 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (NIV): Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. "If anyone is in Christ, that person is a new creation." Not only are believers changed from within but a whole new order has begun with Jesus. There is a new perspective and a new body, the church. Our old ways are replaced with new ways the ways of Jesus. This is not a shallow change that will become outmoded. It requires us to view all people in a new way through the eyes of Jesus. Does your life reflect this new perspective? Lord, I want to be a new creation, reflecting your likeness. Remove all un- Christlike behaviour and attitudes from me and may others see Jesus in the way I live. Amen. 1 John 3:16-17 (NIV): This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Sometimes we can struggle with how to best share God s love with others. Jesus "laid down his life for us" and this is the ultimate example of love. We are called to do the same for others. What does it mean to lay down your life for another? It means setting aside your rights and seeking the best for others even when it costs you deeply. Real love is an action, not a feeling. It produces selfless, sacrificial giving. The greatest act of love is the giving of oneself with no thought of receiving anything in return. In what way could you lay down your life for someone you know? Lord, help me to be alert to the needs of others and to be active in selfless giving. Amen.

5 Caring for others Day 7 Making a difference Day 8 Matthew 25:34-36 (NIV): Then the King will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. This list of caring acts is not exhaustive. It represents all types of loving gestures we can perform every day. They do not depend on wealth, ability, or intelligence. No special talents are needed. We do not teaching salvation by good deeds but our care for others is evidence of our salvation. Lord, thank you for your generosity and patience with me. Help me to live in caring ways that evidence my salvation. Amen. John 12:25-26 (NIV): The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honour the one who serves me. In this passage, Jesus calls us to give our lives away. We do this through service to others in the same way Jesus served others. One of the verses in Graham Kendrick s song, The Servant King, contains these words, So let us learn how to serve and in our lives enthrone him; each other's needs to prefer, for it is Christ we're serving. God calls us to give and to serve. In so doing, we can make a difference in the lives of others. Lord, help me to give of myself and my possessions and in so doing, serve you as I serve others. Help me to make a difference. Amen.

6 Priorities Day 9 The pleasure of giving Day 10 Luke 16:13-15 (NIV): "No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight. We live in a materialistic society where many people serve money. The desire for money and what it can buy can outweigh our commitment to God and spiritual matters. Whatever we store up, we will spend much of our time and energy thinking about. Ask yourself, Have I allowed things other than Jesus to take priority and become the master in my life? Lord, help me to honestly examine my priorities. How do I spend my time and money? Help me to channel those gifts you have given me into your priorities. Amen. s Psalm 19:1-4 (NIV): The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. 1 John 4:13, 19 (NIV): We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us We love because he first loved us. We are the body of Christ; his hands, his feet, his primary means for working in the world. There is no greater motivation than being loved. Those who realise how much they are loved are usually the ones who are able to love much. God has declared his love in what he has done. Be assured, you are loved and valued beyond measure. Praise God for his generosity. Each member of our congregation has something to give and often we have much more to give than we might at first realise. Loving and generous Lord, transform me each day more into your likeness. Help me to live in loving and generous ways that are pleasing to you. Amen.

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