An Incredible Promise

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” - Matthew 28:20 (NIV)

What a promise, right? It’s reassuring, comforting, and may even give you a warm, fuzzy feeling to think that no matter where our lives take us, we will never be alone; That God will be right there, watching and keeping us. 

But we have a tendency to cherry pick the Bible, just like we did with this verse.

You see, there’s more to this passage than just a nice promise. Let’s back up to verse 16:

“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” - Matthew 28:16-19 (NIV)

This is the other part of the story - the work required in exchange for that promise. Here we read about the disciples receiving the Great Commission from Jesus.

Imagine, for a moment, how important this promise was the the disciples. They were being asked to go out into a world that did not readily accept Christ, and share his gospel. They were facing torment, ridicule, and potentially even persecution. Although the disciples were dedicated to Jesus, they were still human and very well may have been worried or frightened at this prospect. 

This promise was more than just comforting words to them. It reassured them that whatever lay ahead of them, they would not face it alone, so long as they were carrying out the commission.

Jesus makes it clear that the commission and the promise are not separate things - that one comes with the other. 

This opportunity wasn’t exclusive to the disciples. That same promise is available for you and I, but the job is for you and I too. We are called to “go” and “make” and “baptize” and “teach” - to take action for Christ. And when we take on that journey, God goes with us every step of the way. 

Giving To God

If you think for a moment, I’m sure you can think of a time (maybe even today) that you’ve given something. We give all kinds of things like time, love, attention, and money… The list goes on and on.

As Christians, it’s easy to lose sight of the purpose behind our giving. We are taught almost from the moment we accept our Savior that giving is part of the Christian life. But do we really understand why that is? Let’s look together at what the Bible tells us about how and why we should give.

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”
– Matthew 6:1-4

There are plenty of Bible verses about giving, but this passage stands out to me. In just four verses, we are reminded of the most significant principle behind Christian giving.

  1. We are expected and required to give
    Reread the passage. Notice that Jesus said to His disciple “when you give” not “if you give.” Jesus is telling us that, as Christians, giving is a requirement. It is an expected part of our daily walk with God.

  2. Our motives for giving matter
    Immediately, Jesus warns against “practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them.” He later goes so far as to say that your giving should be done in secret. This means that we should not give for our own glory, recognition, or praise. Jesus states that those who do “have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.” As Christians, we give to honor God and bring glory to His kingdom.

  3. Ultimately, we are giving directly to God
    Of course, you aren’t literally placing your tithe or offering into God’s hands, but as mentioned previously, Christian giving is done to bring glory to God and His kingdom. When you give you are doing more than just padding the church’s budget – you are giving and offering directly to the Lord and He sees and rewards your gift.

The bottom line? When you give, do it for the right reasons – for God’s kingdom and glory.

A New Tradition: Celebrating God This Valentine's Day

It’s that time again…

Valentine’s Day is upon us. The gifts are bought, the flowers are sent, and the reservations are made. Today is the day that everything we see is red or pink and covered in hearts. This is tradition, right?

But what if we were to start a new tradition? What if, in addition to celebrating and loving the special people in our lives, we spend some time celebrating and reflecting our love for God?

This Valentine’s Day, let us have a heart like David’s. In Psalm 63, David writes about the love and satisfaction he finds in God:

“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you for sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.” – Psalm 63:1-2

A powerful testimony, isn't it? David w as devoted to being a man after God's own heart. An we are called to do the same. On a day dedicated to love, let's take a moment and remember our love for God and what that means.

To love God is…… to know Him, to worship Him, to praise Him, to put Him first, to desire Him, to obey Him.

Today, amidst the gifts and plans, I challenge you to set aside some quiet time to talk with God and reflect on your love for Him – your true Valentine.