Being the Ten Percent- Gracious Gratitude

Thanksgiving Post 2015 Living the 10 Percent

As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’”  And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all your possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”  But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.

(Mark 10:17-22, NASB)

Gratitude is not greedy for power, possessions, or prestige. Gratitude graciously bows out when it is time.

Perfect peace is found not in trying to achieve power, but in using the power and platform God has given you for such a time as this. 

Only a few men in history have set themselves apart for the power they graciously relinquished. They knew when to walk away in order that the greater good would be served in their absence. Consider:

Moses, relinquished the rights of an adopted grandson of the Pharaoh in order to remember the plight of his people. In so doing, he hastened his humble service to rescue God’s people from slavery and captivity.

(Moses) considering the reproach of  Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen.

(Hebrews 11:26-27, NASB)

Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, “a man who neither sought power nor held on to it when his duties had been fulfilled.” (The Cincinnatus Association) Cincinnatus, for whom the city in Ohio is named, was a Roman citizen who was offered endless power and, instead, returned to his farm after saving his country in battle.

George Washington, known as the American Cincinnatus, was not only America’s first president, the model for all who would hold the title after him to emulate, but a man who walked away from power twice so that the great American experiment would not falter under the unbearable weight of a king.

Who can imagine that the liberty of millions might depend on the character of one man? What was it that gave him the strength to do the right thing when the temptation to do something less noble must have been overwhelming?

More than two hundred years after Washington’s death, his willingness to relinquish power–twice–is the most remarkable thing that we remember about him. These refusals to seize power for himself were the greatest acts of one of history’s greatest men.

(7 Men and the Secret of Their Greatness, Eric Metaxas)

Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, left the honor and majesty of heaven to come to the squalor and filth of earth. He left His throne in heaven to be laid in a cradle, and later hung on a cross before conquering the enemy of death and sin once and for all. (See Philippians 2) It is to Jesus that we owe all gratitude and praise. If it were not for His modeled call to lay down our lives, His example as He resisted the urging of even His closest friends and disciples to siege power over people before the appointed time, then we would not one day receive the power to be joint errs and rulers with Jesus in Heaven.

Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.

(1 Timothy 6:17, NASB)

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;

(Philippians 2:3, NASB)

We, like the rich young ruler in the first passage above, may have choices in our future to posture ourselves in gracious gratitude and service to Christ, or to walk away with our possessions, power, or prestige in hand; heavy in heart and guilt. Being the gracious ten percent includes knowing when to walk away from the things of this earth in order to walk toward the person and mission of Christ. May we choose to follow Christ’s example.

 But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.” (James 4:6, NLT)

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A Little Help from Our Friends

 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. ~ Hebrews 13:15

Moses was admittedly weak of tongue and all-but refused the job that God set before him in a blaze of burning glory. He doubted his own strength and abilities to complete the assignment of bringing God’s people out of Egyptian slavery and into the promised land. Little did Moses realize that his greatest tribulations would not come from the hard-hearted Pharaoh of Egypt, but the ungrateful, complaining hearts of God’s chosen people. Time and time again the Israelites cried out to Moses with complaints to which Moses replied something to the effect: “Am I God? Cry out to God!”

IMG_0779

The lips of God’s own, newly-delivered people did not acknowledge His name; rather the embittered Israelites questioned the intentions of the one whom God sent. Why have you brought us here to die? It was better for us in Egypt. Did you bring us here for us to hunger and thirst to death?

But in each case, Moses produced fruit of lips that acknowledged God’s name. He petitioned the Father on the people’s behalf and interceded when as yet the Intercessor, Christ Jesus, was yet to come. Moses was a godly, gracious leader who lived continually in the practice of praising and petitioning God. Yes, his temper had the better part of him on a few occasions, but his example is primarily exemplary.

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.~Hebrews 13:16

Sometimes that which we are called to share is simply our strength.

Moses, shortly after exiting Egypt, appointed Joshua to gather men to fight with Amalek. Moses, with the staff the Lord had provided at the burning bush, went up to the top of a hill overlooking the battleground. He took his brother and spokesman, Aaron, and another man, Hur, with him. As the battle raged, Moses discovered that whenever he held up his hands, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed.

Moses needed his hands to be lifted high towards heaven in order for the battle to be won. A stance of surrender, a stance of awe and praise towards God. But oh how we grow tired and weary in battle!

But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. ~Exodus 17:12

Sun Set

Are you a Moses in your own time, or perhaps you know a fellow servant like Moses? Remember, Moses needed a rock on which to rest and friends to help him persevere in a surrendered posture until the setting of the sun.

Could it be that God has brought us into someone’s life for such a time as this? To stand alongside and declare, “I am here to serve you with the strength God has given me until the sun sets on your battle.”

May we find the practice of praise a midst our arsenal and the pursuit to serve one another in our creed. May we see each other to the sunset and our arms can rest in Him.

Do you ever wish you could keep all the people documented in the Bible straight in your head? For instance, “Who was Aaron? What was his relation to Moses?” Have you ever wondered how the pieces of the Bible weave together to form the story of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration? Well, my husband Ron and his ministry assistant have written a wonderful resource that I would like to introduce to you. The book is called, Connect the Dots Making Sense of the Bible: A 50 Day Journey Through the Bible. This resource documents in brief narratives 50 of the most well-known characters in the Bible along with 12 of the vilest characters in the Bible. Additionally, there is a fifty day reading plan to develop an overview of the Bible and a synopsis of the 66 books of the Bible entitled,Connect The Dots Making Sense of the Bible: Group Guide (Volume 2).

I would love for you to visit Amazon by clicking on the link below. You can purchase their book there along with a wonderful small group curriculum guide to help your small group make sense of the Bible. I hope you will join us on the journey to connecting the dots.  Ron and Deborah have done the heavy lifting like Aaron and Hur for Moses. Will you let them aid you in the strength to stand as an equipped ambassador of God? I hope so.


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Shared Strength

 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. ~ Hebrews 13:15

Moses was admittedly weak of tongue and all-but refused the job that God set before him in a blaze of burning glory. He doubted his own strength and abilities to complete the assignment of bringing God’s people out of Egyptian slavery and into the promised land. Little did Moses realize that his greatest tribulations would not come from the hard-hearted Pharaoh of Egypt, but the ungrateful, complaining hearts of God’s chosen people. Time and time again the Israelites cried out to Moses with complaints to which Moses replied something to the effect: “Am I God? Cry out to God!”

IMG_0779

The lips of God’s own, newly-delivered people did not acknowledge His name; rather the embittered Israelites questioned the intentions of the one whom God sent. Why have you brought us here to die? It was better for us in Egypt. Did you bring us here for us to hunger and thirst to death?

But in each case, Moses produced fruit of lips that acknowledged God’s name. He petitioned the Father on the people’s behalf and interceded when as yet the Intercessor, Christ Jesus, had come. Moses was a godly, gracious leader who lived continually in the practice of praising and petitioning God. Yes, his temper had the better part of him on a few occasions, but his example is primarily exemplary.

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.~Hebrews 13:16

Sometimes that which we are called to share is simply our strength.

Moses, shortly after exiting Egypt, appointed Joshua to gather men to fight with Amalek. Moses, with the staff the Lord had provided at the burning bush, went up to the top of a hill overlooking the battleground. He took his brother and spokesman, Aaron, and another man, Hur, with him. As the battle raged, Moses discovered that whenever he held up his hands, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed.

Moses needed his hands to be lifted high towards heaven in order for the battle to be won. A stance of surrender, a stance of awe and praise towards God. But oh how we grow tired and weary in battle!

But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. ~Exodus 17:12

Sun Set

Are you a Moses in your own time, or perhaps you know a fellow servant like Moses? Remember, Moses needed a rock on which to rest and friends to help him persevere in a surrendered posture until the setting of the sun.

Could it be that God has brought us into someone’s life for such a time as this to stand alongside and declare, “I am here to serve you with the strength God has given me until the sun sets on your battle.”

May we find the practice of praise amidst our arsenal and the pursuit to serve one another in our creed. May we see each other to the sunset and our arms can rest in Him.

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