BCNE and NEBC
Last Friday and Saturday, Cindy and I attended our 20th annual Baptist Convention of New England. Ben and two of our students attended with us. It was thrilling. We talked with old friends and met new ones. We listened to reports and sermons. We participated in worship and business sessions. I also gave the annual NEBC report. One thought predominated my mind throughout the Convention. We have so much to be thankful for; God is at work!
The Lord is doing great things across New England as well as at Northeastern Baptist College. Answered prayers are evident. People are being saved and baptized. Christians are growing in the Lord and engaging in His work. New churches are being planted. Existing churches are being strengthened. God is raising up a new generation of young people willing to serve Him sacrificially. It is an exciting time to join God in His work here in New England. Indeed, we are thankful!
Our emphasis on gratitude throughout November is appropriate. God’s Word calls us to “give thanks” (1 Thess 5:18), and not just in November. It is a continual command; always give thanks. It is also a comprehensive command: “In everything give thanks.” Be thankful in good times and bad, “for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Are you asking, “Lord, what am I supposed to do? Show me your will?” His answer: give thanks—all the time—in every situation. As you obey, He will be pleased and you will be blessed.
ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
Gratitude must be expressed. There are several ways to say thanks. We can express our thanks to the Lord:
- In prayer.
- Singing praise and thanksgiving songs.
- Serving Him with gladness.
- Giving generously.
Gratitude and giving go together. Old Testament evidence is abundant. Abel and Noah sacrificed thanksgiving offerings to the Lord. Abraham gave a thanksgiving tithe to Melchizedek because God enabled him to rescue Lot, his nephew. King David purchased the future Temple’s building site. The owner offered to give the property, but David said, “I will not give the Lord a gift that cost me nothing.”
The connection between gratitude and giving continues in the New Testament. When the first church was born, the new believers’ generous gifts met one another’s needs (Acts 2:45). Barnabas sold some land and gave all the proceeds to the Lord’s work (4:36-37). Paul taught the Corinthian believers, “Generous giving expresses your great gratitude for Jesus’s generous gifts” (2 Cor 8-9).
SPIRIT OF GENEROSITY
An attitude of gratitude leads to a spirit of generosity. The more we focus on all God is doing for, in, and through us, the more we desire to give. The more we give, the more for which we have to give thanks. This is not new. Jesus said, “Give, and it shall be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38)
A friend often told me, “Mark, you can’t out-give God!” I’ve found it to be true. What an amazing God we serve!
As you join me in lifting our prayer requests before the Lord this week, ask the Father to help us, and all His children, to have an attitude of gratitude and to express our thanks through giving generously.
|Praise the Lord for Who He is.||Ask the Father to lead 100 people to give $100 above their normal gifts.||Ask the Father to impress 10 people to give $1,000 above their normal gifts.||Ask the Father to call 4 people to give $10,000 above their normal gifts.||Ask the Father to direct 2 people to give $50,000 above their normal gifts.||Ask the Father to motivate 2 people to give $250,000 above their normal gifts.||Ask the Father to inspire 1 person to give $1,000,000 above his or her normal gifts.|
|Praise the Lord for All He has done, and All He is going to do.||Ask the Father to call 20 people to give $500 above their normal gifts.||Ask the Father to motivate 6 people to give $5,000 above their normal gifts.||Ask the Father to impress 4 people who will give $25,000 above their normal gifts.||Ask the Father to lead 2 people to give $100,000 above their normal gifts.||Ask the Father to enable 1 person to give $500,000 above his or her normal gifts.||Ask the Father to direct 1 obedient, able person to give $2,500,000 above his or her normal gifts.|
With Great Anticipation,
Mark H. Ballard