Gleaning and Giving Brings Glory To God

Gleaning and Giving Brings Glory To God

Are you in the practice of “gleaning?” Have you ever thought about the meaning of this question?

In Leviticus 19:10, the Jewish people were instructed not to glean their vineyards but to leave some for the poor and strangers. To glean was to “take everything” in the vineyard and leave no extra. God wanted them to leave the extras. They were also instructed to leave stalks of corn in the corners of the field for the poor, the widows and fatherless. So, here’s the principle. Look around at all the ways God is blessing you and providing for you. Start being aware of all the extra things God has allowed you to accumulate. Rather than hoard the extras, look for those in need around you and allow them to glean from the extra blessings God has given you. We often accumulate more than we need. Consider generously and strategically blessing others. Trust me; God will refill your supply the more you give.

And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the LORD your God. Leviticus 19:10

Don’t think your generosity is a waste of resources. God says when you share your extra resources, even with a stranger, He will bless the work of your hands with more abundance. God mentions sharing your “olives and grapes” not just bread and water with those in need. He wants you to realize how much a little generosity, even of finer things, gives hope to those in need. Don’t think you always have to know all the details about how your giving is used for it to count. He specifically says that sometimes you leave something for a stranger and trust Him to bless you abundantly.

When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow.

When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not glean it afterward; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. Deuteronomy 24:19-21

Have you ever been in a difficult place, low on resources, and not sure where to turn for help? Ruth was there. Yet, God directed her to the field of a man named Boaz. Not only did he allow her to glean in his field, but he also went further than that. He was kind, he was inclusive, told her she didn’t need to go elsewhere, was committed, instructed his other servants to be kind to her, and he addressed all her needs in a spirit of compassion. When God speaks to you and directs you to be giving toward others, don’t give and look down on the person in need, but give and lift up that person.

Then Boaz said to Ruth, “You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women. Ruth 2:8

When choosing to give, it’s important to do it from a heart of generosity, not grudgingly, but with a spirit of joy. When you are helping someone you know, the best investment you can make is to equip them to be industrious. There’s a difference between “empowering and enabling.” You empower someone when you give them help coupled with encouragement, advice, and support in their own journey to bounce back. Boaz allowed Ruth to glean in his field and among his sheaves. He encouraged her to keep gleaning. She had to get up and glean, and every time she did, she experienced progress.

And when she rose up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. Ruth 2:15

Generosity can be and should be, an act of worship. It may seem that acts of giving are to bless others and to change lives, but there is more to it than that. I think God wants us to be generous because He knows how much it will change OUR own life. As a matter of fact, as we listen to God and respond in faith-filled giving, from a heart of worship to God, our heart will be transformed. Pray and ask God how you can become more generous and take action in the next few days to see how God works.
And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me. Matthew 25:40

But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. I John 3:17-18

Ken Turner

Five Ways To Live A Surrendered Life

Five Ways To Live A Surrendered Life

1. Life is full of daily choices. Choose to lean into the voice of God and walk away from the temptations of the flesh.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

2. Follow the example of Jesus in choosing to do your Father’s will and not live according to your own plans.

He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” Mark 14:35-36

3. Throughout scripture, there are warnings of pride and humility. Forsake pride, embrace humility… this is the key to God’s blessings.

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. James 4:10

4. Don’t just guard your heart, give your heart to God and choose to regularly seek HIs ways through the reading and study of His word.

My son, give me your heart, And let your eyes observe my ways. Proverbs 23:26

5. Glorify God, not only in spirit and words but also in how you use your body. Don’t let your physical body be in charge. Glorify Him with your mind, eyes, ears, lips, heart, hands, and feet.

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Ken Turner

5 Decisions Every Christian Should Make

5 Decisions Every Christian Should Make

Remember these 5 critical decisions and move ahead with clarity and purpose in your life with Christ.

If you have been walking with God for a long time, you are not immune to the tempation to give up. What if you are in a crisis of life where your questions seem bigger than the answers. Don’t give up! This is not new, you are not the first Christ follower who has felt this way. Remember these 5 critical decisions and move ahead with clarity and purpose in your life with Christ.

The Decision To Endure In The Midst of Suffering

It’s not the person who suffers that is blessed; it’s the person who endures. Not all suffering is miserable — many times suffering leads to an unexpected reward.

Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. – James 1:12

The Decision To Never Abandon the Faith

Throughout the Christian walk, as in all other areas of life, we make critical decisions. It’s dangerous to be “unaware” of the strategy of the enemy to try to pull us away from God. Where are you today in your spiritual walk? How deep is your love and commitment to Christ? Was there a time you were closer to Him than you are right now? What changed? Have you experienced the world pulling at you to put your faith aside? All believers experience moments when the enemy tries his hardest to get us to abandon our faith. Read carefully 2 John 2:7-9 and renew your commitment to Christ! It is worth it.

For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. 2 John 1:7-9

The Decision To Not Give Up On The Bible

Have you ever struggled to understand the Bible? I mean, you know it’s God’s word and you know that the scripture is much more valuable than just any other writing, but you struggle with it. Sound familiar? Do you feel guilty about it? Don’t. So many Christians who lived way before you and I have struggled too. Satan also knows that it can be a struggle so the world embraces a cynicism toward the Bible. That devaluation of scripture can eventually influence even the most sincere Christian to give up on their own spiritual growth by reading and understanding God’s word. Let me encourage you today to get back on track! Start reading the Bible again, study it, get into a Bible study with a friend and commit to the decision to grow.

You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. – 2 Peter 3:17-18

The Decision to Continue In Your Commitment

If you live a Godly life you will experience some suffering. But wait, didn’t Jesus say He would give what He called “the blessed life” to those who choose to follow Him? Yes, He said that and He doesn’t break His promises. But the world we live in can be a wicked place, filled with wicked people and because of this wicked world, there will be sin and suffering.

But here’s some really good news. Notice in the verses in 2 Timothy 3, how those who choose evil will continue to experience a life that gets worse and worse. Those who choose to continue in their commitment to Christ and follow the teachings they have learned of Him from childhood will continue to grow wiser, more faith-filled, more complete, more mature, and more equipped for life.

So, there may be some trials along the way, but the commitment to continue with God, growing and learning His word and His ways, will lead to a life that is better and better.

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. – 2 Timothy 3:12
But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. – 2 Timothy 3:13
But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, – 2 Timothy 3:14
and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. – 2 Timothy 3:15
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, – 2 Timothy 3:16
that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:17

The Decision To Deal With Your Blind Spots

Do you know anyone who has “blind spots?” I’ll bet you do! Before you let your mind start thinking about all the examples of people you know who do things that you think are weird, annoying or immature, think about this. You and I have both strengths and weaknesses. Our life journey with Christ is an ongoing process of maturity. Today’s scripture reminds us of this powerful truth. Count it all joy when trials come because these hardships will produce maturity, strengthen our weaknesses, reveal our blind spots, and help us to be more complete and more mature in our spiritual walk.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, – James 1:2
knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. – James 1:3
But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. – James 1:4
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. – James 1:5

Ken Turner

Discernment: Improving Your Spiritual Insight

Discernment: Improving Your Spiritual Insight

Are you a discerning person? Do you have the ability to match what you see with what you feel, think, hear and believe?

Discernment, spiritual insight, and Biblical wisdom are essential in the Christian life.

If you have accepted Christ as your Savior, you have a relationship with Him. The relationship grows stronger by walking with Him, fellowshipping with Him, prayer, and study of His Word, the Bible.

As you walk with Christ and develop your spiritual life, you become more discerning because you filter your life experiences through His teaching and His wisdom.

The apostle Paul was warning the Colossians in today’s scripture about a philosophical war among them. The Jews of the day were struggling to hold on to the Jewish traditions that were intended to “lead people to the Messiah,” and they were continuing to insert this philosophy as a requirement for spirituality.

The gentiles of the day were mixing their “philosophies of life” with the teachings of Christ. Both of these approaches were creating a head-on collision with the pure teachings and truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. By holding on to the world’s philosophy and then adding the teachings of Jesus to it, you create a life that competes with your commitment to the teachings of Jesus. The result is a diluted version of the true gospel.

Do you have discernment and spiritual insight? 

Are you looking at life through the lens of scripture or are you making excuses with yourself about the choices you make based on a mixed philosophy of the current culture and the teachings of Christ?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to test your discernment and spiritual insight (and your genuine commitment to Christ).

1. Are you basing your relationship with Christ on a solid commitment to Him as your personal Savior? Could you give someone a “when, where, and how” you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? Or are you just trusting in someone else’s spirituality to get you into good standing with Jesus, like a parent, grandparent, or spiritual influencer? You don’t want to leave your eternal destiny to chance. If you are unsure, please get this figured out. Talk to a pastor, a godly friend, or family member and solidify your understanding of whether you are a true believer or not.

2. Are you pursuing a path toward spiritual maturity, with a desire and commitment to grow, to become deeply rooted and established in Christ? Are you regularly reading the Bible, spending time in prayer, and choosing to spend time with friends and mentors who are mature, discerning Christians?

3. Are you living according to God’s truth and committed to obedience to Him? Be honest with yourself here. Do you ever lie or are you committed to always telling the truth? Do you love God more than money, power, status, pleasure, and praise of people? Are you committed to God’s standard of moral purity? Just because the culture says something is okay, that does not reflect the teachings of Christ in areas of morality and moral purity. Have you committed to remain sexually pure and save yourself for the marriage relationship, as God established? Are you committed to a life of hearing God’s voice, submission to His will, and surrender to His plans?

4. Are you committed to turning to God and His word as the standard, the only measure, for answers to questions about how life should be lived here on this earth, how you should think, act and believe?

Jesus isn’t only interested in handing out “free tickets to heaven” even though many people view their relationship with Christ as just that. They want to pray a prayer, get their ticket and go on to live their own way. Jesus is calling us to a life of full commitment to Him, not a diluted version of faith. Don’t let the world, culture, and philosophies of friends and influencers cheat you out of the incredible life plan God has for you. Commit today to clarify your commitment to Christ, commit to obeying His Word, and turn to His word as the standard for all decisions that direct your thinking, actions, and purpose.

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8

Jesus transforms! Don’t just accept His gift, commit yourself to the spiritual journey He offers. Develop discernment and spiritual insight by following Him and the teaching of His Word.

Ken Turner

7 Habits of Growing Christians

7 Habits of Growing Christians

Growing Christians aren’t advancing in their spiritual walk by accident.

Spiritual maturity comes to those who understand the concept of a “Christian walk.” Just the word picture itself tells you it takes steps, deliberate steps, to move forward in victory and spiritual growth. Just like a healthy person needs water, food, and air, a healthy spiritual life comes to those who understand what you need to be spiritually healthy. Think about the following “spiritual needs” list and see what is going well and what may be missing in your walk to spiritual maturity.

You Need To Connect With God’s Mission Field

Throughout scripture you see God identifying three key people groups, and it’s clear He wants His children to pay close attention to them as well. They are the fatherless, the widows, and the poor. When you think about your “ministry involvement” remember that anything you are doing for the Lord is important, but don’t ignore “the least of these” He has placed around you. Your connection to God’s mission field will do wonders for accelerating your own heart for God.

When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. – Matthew 9:12
Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. – James 1:27

You Need To Practice Repentance

Being a good Christian is not about achieving perfection. As much as you or I may desire to do everything right, we just can’t. There are days we will blow it. A mature, growing Christian learns to seek God’s forgiveness regularly. Be careful not to fall into the trap of trying to prove to God and others that you are always right. Be humble enough to acknowledge sins and quickly ask for forgiveness. Admitting you are wrong, you have sinned, or that you made a mistake doesn’t make you a weaker Christian… it makes you a stronger one.

I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. – Psalm 32:5
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. – Psalm 51:2
He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. – Proverbs 28:13

You Need To Be a Giver, Not a Taker

The Apostle Paul had the hands of a leatherman! He pointed this out in his message to his converts in Ephesus. He was giving his final piece of “spiritual advice” after spending three years with them, deeply investing in their spiritual development day and night. So what was the comment about his hands? What was the point?

Many people who came to Christ in Ephesus were people of means. They had nice things, very nice things! They wore fancy clothes, they had lots of money, and looked great in public. Paul was a tentmaker. He said, “I have coveted no one’s gold or apparel, these hands have provided for my necessities.” Paul was reinforcing a powerful truth. God has provided everything we have. Some people experience a wealth of resources, Paul neither condemned nor coveted other Christian’s material success. He was very comfortable with people who had much and people who had little.

Imagine this scene. Paul reminded them of this final truth. Our inheritance is coming in eternity. It is so much more blessed to give than to receive. He prayed with them. They walked him to his ship. Everyone cried. They knew they would likely never see him again and their heart was filled with this reality, “I’m going to miss this man’s teaching, I’m going to miss his influence and friendship.”

“Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn every one night and day with tears. “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. Then they all wept freely, and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spoke, that they would see his face no more. And they accompanied him to the ship. – Acts 20:31-38

You Need Fellowship and Community

The culture of true friendship is in danger of collapsing. Everyone sees it, everyone feels it, but so many ignore the obvious solution. The revival of true friendship could be the beginning of a spiritual revival among us. People are hurting, lonely and feel disconnected. Where do people look for the example of genuine friendship?

They look to the Christian community. We are the ones who experienced the unconditional love of God through His Son Jesus Christ. We are those who genuinely are commissioned to love those around us. It starts with loving our family well and it spills over into all our friendships.

Be generous with your words, actions, and even your resources toward others. Notice the last phrase of today’s passage. Be especially supportive “to the necessity of the saints.” Many among us have needs, but those who have sacrificed for their service to God in ministry are mentioned here as the ones who are often forgotten. Be a dear friend to them, care for them and be a partner in the calling of God in their life.

Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
Romans 12:9-13

You Need Compassion

It may be hard to wrap your mind around this, but have you ever considered that God is happy that some of His children are blessed with an abundance of wealth and resources, and He is also pleased that some of His children are poor? Why would God be okay with this “inequity?” In God’s sovereign plan, He knows what He is doing. One of the most powerful and spiritual acts of humanity is compassion. Having extra places you in a position to be compassionate, and when you are compassionate, your heart is aligned with God’s heart.

Those who live without an abundance of material resources learn to trust God in a unique way and model this trust to those who have more than they need. Each of God’s children, whatever their status by the world’s measure, encourages the other to abide in Him.

But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? I John 3:17

You Need To Trust the Bible Fully

The Bible isn’t just any other book. It is God’s word to us and it has the power to transform your heart, your mind, and soul. Don’t fall into the trap of ignoring this spiritual resource God has given you. Turn to it regularly as your source of truth, wisdom, and guidance.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Colossians 3:16

You Need To Love God More Than Material Things

Sometimes people think God is against material possessions. He’s not. It’s okay to have nice things. God blesses ingenuity, innovation, and hard work. Take whatever level of success God has given you and use it in ways that would please Him. Don’t love things, love God and love people instead. All the possessions you have are going to fade away, but your investment in your relationship with God and your impact on others will be rewarded for all eternity.

Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Rev 3:17-19

5 Benefits of Seeking God’s Wisdom

5 Benefits of Seeking God’s Wisdom

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. – James 1:5

When Life Doesn’t Make Sense, Ask God For Wisdom

Did you know that God gives wisdom and He will gladly give you all the wisdom you need under one condition? What is that one condition? You have to ask for it. It is that simple. In James chapter one, Christians were experiencing all kinds of trials, but those trials were producing the benefit of patience and maturity. It’s God’s nature to bring good results amid bad experiences.

If you are going through tough times right now, chances are, you are very confused at times. In your confusion, you need wisdom and clarity. God promises that if you ask Him for wisdom, He will give it to you liberally. And He will give it to you without reproach. You don’t have to “deserve wisdom” or have it all together to get His wisdom. You just need to ask for it, and it really is that simple. It’s a promise from God with no strings attached.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. – James 1:5

When You Rely on God’s Wisdom Your Life Is Filled With Peace

The pure wisdom God offers leads to peace. It leads to a peace that passes all understanding. The wisdom God provides is first and foremost pure wisdom. It is free from a mixture of impure motives, selfish agendas or lies. God gives true wisdom born within His heart of unconditional love for you. His wisdom is rooted in ultimate truth, and if you ask Him for it, He will give you unlimited access to His wisdom. That kind of wisdom living will flood your life with peace. Peace in your family, peace at work, and peace in your spiritual life.

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. – James 3:17

When You Find God’s Wisdom, You Have Found His Treasure Chest For Living

How would you like to wake up one day with all the resources you will ever need for the rest of your life?

Several years ago I met a guy in his early 4o’s living in Indiana. He was working on a Bible study project, and I met with him to learn more about it. While explaining the magnitude of the project, he also shared how he got started on it. He was working for a company, where he had been in his “cubicle” for years, and one day a manager stopped by his desk in October and said, “Since you own shares in the company I think you should know that the company was sold. So, you can continue to work until the end of December, or you can go home today. Whichever you choose, you now have enough money from the sale that you will never have to work another day for the rest of your life.”

He went on to explain to me that the next twelve months were the most difficult days he’d ever experienced in life. His loss of purpose, loss of focus, and confusion about life hit an all-time high. It took a lot of work to get back to feeling “normal and happy.”

God promises when you find wisdom, God’s wisdom, it’s like you have just discovered a treasure chest for life. You will be happy; you will have understanding, your five talents will become ten, your days will be better, your paths will be more pleasant, and more peaceful.

Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding; For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, And her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. Length of days is in her right hand, In her left hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, And all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, And happy are all who retain her. – Proverbs 3:13-18

When You Choose Wisdom You Are Buying Opportunity

The choice is not as complicated as it may sound, either walk circumspectly (accurately, exactly) or carelessly. To walk circumspectly is to embrace the guidelines and the directions our heavenly Father has given us. It’s a commitment to use caution, to crosscheck our move before we commit so that we know we are not carelessly going the wrong way.

Walking circumspectly redeems the time. It is literally as if you are buying an opportunity. If you want to make the most of this one life God has given you, stop, think, pray and ask God for wisdom along each step of your journey.

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. – Ephesians 5:15-17

When You Have Reverence For God, You Gain Knowledge For Life

The fear of the Lord is a healthy, reverence for Him. If you want to attain all the knowledge, He has to offer you, start with the foundation of reverence for God. When you elevate your view of God, valuing and respecting all that He is, you will be rewarded with wisdom for all areas of life.

The alternative is not great. Fools despise wisdom and instruction. A foolish person ignores God, doesn’t value His word, and has no regard for His voice in their life. Wisdom will not come to this person and life will continue to be hard.

Make Him central in your life. Value His word. Listen to His voice.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction. – Proverbs 1:7