Devotion for December 23, 2023

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)

Did you know that studies have shown that giving is a health benefit when it comes to your heart? Giving with gratitude can lower blood pressure, increase HDL while lowering LDL levels of cholesterol, and can help to reduce the risk of heart attack.

This shouldn’t surprise us. God created us holistically: Heart, body, mind, and spirit. All are interconnected and work together, or sometimes don’t.

Notice that connection here in this scripture. Deciding happens in the mind but it is not to be absent from the heart. Once the heart and mind are together it involves the body to execute the decision.

And of course, here is where we need help in our spirit. The Holy Spirit’s work of renewal is working throughout each part of our lives as we are restored to being the beloved creatures God has designed and made us to be. One of those “natural” and healthy traits is to give from what we receive.

This truth is echoed throughout scripture but perhaps most clearly in this verse in Romans 12:6-8: We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

It is no wonder then that a giving heart is a healthy heart! When we give out of what we have received we are “Free to Be”, living the life which the Lord created in us.

Cheerful giving is a sign of a healthy heart. Proverbs 17:22 emphasizes such heart health: A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Prayer

Lord, let me reach out to others who need help, and let me do it in Your love and grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Stay encouraged!

Pastor Mike

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