Why Do I Do It?

Why do I”do things for God?” Do I expect to get something out of it? Do I do it for His glory? Do I do it to make myself look good?

Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.–Matthew 6:1

Alms are something done or given freely to relieve the poor. So charity would be a good word for it. The topic stated here concerns our motives for acting righteously. If believers, do good for the admiration of others or for selfish reasons, they will lose their reward and praise from God. Instead they will be exposed as hypocrites who, under the guise of giving glory to God are really seeking glory for themselves.

Jesus speaks of alms in three areas: giving, prayer, and fasting. His condemnation of doing acts of righteousness to be seen by others challenges much of contemporary Christian activity, including competing for bigness, advertising one’s success, performing and entertaining in the church, and wanting to be first.

Many times we get in a competition with others to be “more spiritual” or doing more for God. We see all the time that churches boast about their attendance. Attendance should be looked at as only having the opportunity to help more get closer to Christ or to bring them to Christ. My opinion is that we will have to answer for what opportunities we had to help further the Gospel. That means, and again this is my opinion, if we’re part of a large church we have more opportunity and will have more to answer for.

We look at certain roles in the church as having more prestige. We look at that from a human perspective though, and not through God’s perspective. Our whole function here on Earth is to help bring others to Christ. God sees everyone that is doing His will as just that, doing what they are supposed to. Some plant, some water, and some harvest. What we see as a mundane task, I think God will reward way more than what we see as the prime task.

We should always remember why we are doing something. It’s not to be rewarded here on Earth. I mean, if you look at it like a job, do we expect our boss to reward us for doing our job all the time? Our job here on Earth is to further His kingdom. So if we’re are doing what we are supposed to be doing, why do we expect to be rewarded here on Earth. Our paycheck, in a way, is Heaven. That paycheck will be far bigger than what we deserve.

It’s easy to get caught up in our pride and competitiveness wanting more, to be the center of attention. But we should be doing our alms because we want to be more like Christ and do His will. He see’s what we do and that’s all that matters. He’ll reward us when we’re in Heaven.

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Thirsty Soul Part 2: Praising God

In Part 1 on the Thirsty Soul series, I discussed how we need to be longing or thirsting after God, just as we thirst after water when we are extremely thirsty. Today we will discuss praising God.

Praising God

Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.–Psalm 63:3-4

It’s easy to praise God when times are good. We thank him for our health, our house, our food, our money/job, our junk; and at the end say we praise him for how good he is to us. What about when our health is failing, paying the mortgage becomes hard, our money is tight, and we’re having to sell some of our possessions? Do we praise Him then?

The simple answer is probably not. I personally end up whining like a little child, because I don’t want to be uncomfortable, I don’t want to put my fate in God’s hands, but do life on my own.

Reality is, even if our life seems to be falling apart, we are still blessed. If you’re reading this, you have either a computer, phone, or tablet. That’s far better than many in this world. Most of us have the ability to use all of our limbs, we have access to healthcare facilities, and although we may not like what is in the refrigerator we still have food to eat. In just those items, we are extremely blessed and should be praising God for his blessings.

We should praise him for sending His son to die on the cross for us, so that we do not have to spend eternity in hell. No matter what else goes wrong in our life, even if everything in our life goes wrong; the fact that we do not have to spend eternity in hell is reason enough for us to praise God.

As mentioned, it’s easy to praise God in the good times, but we need to be mindful to praise Him during the bad times. Many times our bad times are being used to either strengthen us or shape us to be more like him.

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Seeing Your Surroundings For What They Are

This weekend it was so nice to get out after a very snowy winter. The wife and I went out for a hike. It hasn’t started to green up much except for the moss as you can see in the picture below. There is something about hiking that calms the nerves and relaxes me. Being out in nature also make me thankful to God for his creation. Psalm 105:2 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.

For me hiking gives me the opportunity to see the creation of our creator and thank him for it. Even after the dead of winter, there is still beauty in his creation. Something to still give thanks to. What I realized is that when I get out in the outdoors, my mindset changes, I start thinking of how great God’s creation is. Then my mindset on problems in life, either with people, stress at work or home, or aches and pains of life don’t seem so bad. When our mindset changes and we start setting our focus on God, our problems start to seem more manageable, an easier burden to carry. Have you ever noticed that, when you’re dealing with an issue and you pray, nothing at that moment has changed, but you see the problem differently? It seems like how to deal with it or fix it is more clear.

It’s good for men to get out in nature. We were created to be the hunters and gathers to feed our family. It’s natural for us to be outside. Hiking is also a great way to get a good workout. It gives you working muscle and can be good cardio. Also, if your wife likes to hike, it’s a cheap date (which we all know us men are up for lol). It’s also a great way to get away from the business of life where the two of you can be together. On the other hand it’s a great way to be by yourself, to get your thoughts together and just think.

The next time you’re out in nature, see it for what it really is, it’s a gift that our Creator has given us to enjoy and to praise him for. Are we being thankful for the little things? Are we giving him thanks and talking of his wondrous works or are we taking them for granted?