Advent: Give Big

Day Two: All I Need

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8, NIV)

Do you ever repeat yourself? As a wife, mom, and grandmother, I repeat myself a lot. I’m not sure it’s always the most effect method of getting my message across—but that hasn’t stopped me.

I love passages in the Bible where words are repeated. Today’s is one of my most favorite. 

Repeating the word “all” over and over in this verse emphasizes the completeness of God’s blessings in our lives. We have everything that we need. This is a true established from long ago (see Psalm 23:1–we have everything we need). 

But God’s blessings are not to merely flow into our lives: we are blessed to be a blessing. We are given so we can give. We will not only do good things. We will ABOUND in them.

TO PONDER: Having recently come through the season of Thanksgiving, you may have your blessings fresh in your mind, but take some time to count your blessings again. Consider some things or occurrences that didn’t seem like blessings at the time, but worked out for the good.

TO DISCUSS: Talk with a friend or family member, write a letter, or send an email thanking someone for the blessing they have been in your life.

PRAYER: God, you are so abundantly generous. Sometimes we take your blessings for granted, or we hoard them unto ourselves. Show us how the completeness of our blessings, of your provisions, equips us to bless—and how we can abound in working for you.

Advent: Give Big—God Did!

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Day One: Giving Cheerfully

“Each of you must make up your own mind about how much to give. But don’t feel sorry that you must give and don’t feel you are forced to give. God loves people who love to give (2 Corinthians 9:8, CEV).”

It was two weeks until Christmas. I stood in the doorway of the playroom looking at the toys laying scattered all over the floor. I was not looking forward to convincing the girls that we needed to go through their hoard and decide what toys it was time to let go of. I knew the job had to be done or there would be no room for the toys that were about to come. 

After their afternoon nap, I took them to the playroom and began to describe what we needed to do and why. I was pleasantly surprised that they were so willing. Perhaps it had more to do with framing the task with making room for new more than sharing with others, but either way, they went to work gleefully setting the toys they were done with. 

We put the outgrown toys in a box, and then I invited them to pray for the girls and boys who would be receiving their toys and thanking God in advance for what they would be receiving.

Christmas held new meaning for them…and for me.

As I walked through the days up to Christmas Eve, I was more aware of how blessed I was and what a joy it was to give to others.

TO PONDER: Have you discovered the joy of giving? What have you held onto that you could release into the lives of others to bless them? 

TO DISCUSS: When I think of becoming a cheerful giver, I am always reminded of the process Ebenezer Scrooge went through, changing from his miserly ways to the joy of blessing others. The spiritual implications of this story make it worth taking the time to read the story or watch the movie…or just talk about it with a friend or family member. How can you become a happier giver

of you must make up your own mind about how much to give. But don’t feel sorry that you must give and don’t feel you are forced to give. God loves people who love to give (2 Corinthians 9:8, CEV).”

It was two weeks until Christmas. I stood in the doorway of the playroom looking at the toys laying scattered all over the floor. I was not looking forward to convincing the girls that we needed to go through their hoard and decide what toys it was time to let go of. I knew the job had to be done or there would be no room for the toys that were about to come. 

After their afternoon nap, I took them to the playroom and began to describe what we needed to do and why. I was pleasantly surprised that they were so willing. Perhaps it had more to do with framing the task with making room for new more than sharing with others, but either way, they went to work gleefully setting the toys they were done with. 

We put the outgrown toys in a box, and then I invited them to pray for the girls and boys who would be receiving their toys and thanking God in advance for what they would be receiving.

Christmas held new meaning for them…and for me.

As I walked through the days up to Christmas Eve, I was more aware of how blessed I was and what a joy it was to give to others.

TO PONDER: Have you discovered the joy of giving? What have you held onto that you could release into the lives of others to bless them? 

TO DISCUSS: When I think of becoming a cheerful giver, I am always reminded of the process Ebenezer Scrooge went through, changing from his miserly ways to the joy of blessing others. The spiritual implications of this story make it worth taking the time to read the story or watch the movie…or just talk about it with a friend or family member. How can you become a happier giver?

Hopefully Devoted: Dream Small

But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!” they answered (Matthew 14:17, NLT).”

The chorus I learned as a child said, “Little is much when God is in it.” The updated version is this:

I’ve been having conversations at my church about this transition in thinking. We can chase after big and think that only doing big things matters—but there is such a special blessing in doing small and simple things in big ways…with a big heart.

Will you share a smile, hold a door, send a card, or phone a friend? Will take a coffee to a friend who can’t get out, or a bouquet of flowers to widow? Will you pull the weeds in someone’s flowerbed who recently had surgery? These things cost very little if anything, but can make a huge difference.

So what will you do today to bless others that won’t necessarily make a big splash, but plant a small seed which can potentially grow their faith in a huge kind of way?

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8, NIV).