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Posts Tagged ‘acts of righteousness’

“You don’t know what you are asking for”

That is a weird answer to prayer, but that was my answer back in May when I was praying about the upcoming semester.

Let me tell you about it.

Each new school year there are struggles unique to that semester, I hope the beginning of this school year will truly be unique.

Fountain Steps Sharpened

The Eboard from left to Right: Nick, Charles, Sarah, Simone, Steph, and Zack

 

The semester was starting and our new executive leadership team (the eboard) was hitting on all cylinders.  Two days before classes started, we had fliers around the campus and emails from new students on our phones.

This is a good start!

The day before school started, things took a slight turn.  Every student group was removed from the student group website.  In itself, not unusual.  The day before classes while freshman are looking for things to do?  Unusual.

When we went to register, three things hit, one after the other:

One of our eboard members needs to step down from official leadership
As a non-registered group, we cannot hang fliers, represent the school, or get meeting rooms
We need to raise over $800 before we have access to a budget and register the group

Tough start.

It seems God teaches us through our lives.  Our first two weeks of lessons during our Wednesday night fellowship meetings on the UAlbany campus were about trusting God, believing that when He says He will provide, He will provide.  How?  I don’t know, but that shouldn’t be my concern, it is His.

We talked Sabbath.  Can we rest one day a week to keep a reminder that our efforts aren’t what changes things, but our partnership with God does, because He is moving.

Sabbath: Can we stop production one day a week to trust that God has given everything we need?  Can we trust Him?

Tough lessons when you need money to go forward.

On the 14th day of class, I get a call from Jeff.

(pleasantries)

Jeff: “Have you been support raising for this $800 yet?”

Me: “No”

Jeff: “Have you spoken with ———- ?”  (Alumni’s name redacted by request!)

Me: “I have sent some emails over the summer”

Jeff:  “Are you waiting on a gift?”

Me: “No”

Jeff: “They gave $5,503.49 this morning”

Me: *Silence*

This is a swing in momentum!

The next day a dedicated member of Impact joined the Eboard.

The next week, we were registered once again as a group.

As of today, we have a meeting being set up for our budget.

“You don’t know what you are asking for”

If God would have revealed to me that we’d be deregistered, need to raise $800, get a new eboard member, and we wouldn’t have meeting rooms, I wouldn’t have believed it.  If He went on to say don’t worry, I will provide for each need and more, I wouldn’t think I was hearing right.  How much?  Really?  That’s crazy talk!

In our times of strife, may we continue to turn to God knowing that He provided in Genesis 1 and continues providing today, in Acts 29.

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Grace and peace,

Today we are going over Matthew 6.

Here is a link to it on biblegateway.com

Reading through Matthew this time has opened it up in a new way for me.  I am seeing connections between chapters that I have never noticed before and in reading and studying the chapters, instead of seeing a chapter as multiple sections, reinforced by some editor putting in headings, I am seeing one theme explained in multiple ways.

Jesus in v1 says

Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

This is kind of the running theme for chapter 6.  Jesus wants me to look at the reasons behind what I am doing.

Do I give to the poor so people see and think I’m a good Christian?

Do I pray around people so that they think I have an awesome prayer life and a close connection to God?

If I were to enter a time of fasting, do I tell people or just do it to show my reliance on God to Him?

I’ve always read this chapter as “Don’t give so people see, don’t pray so people hear, don’t fast so people think you are pious.”  I’ve now see it as not 3 rules but 1 that is given through multiple examples.

Whatever you are doing, if you are not doing it for God, you are doing it for the wrong reasons.

This is much more applicable than just 3 rules that seem pretty clear cut.

This idea can be applied to something like dressing up for church among a host of other things.  Am I dressing up because I am entering a sanctuary of the Most High God or because that’s what you do when you go to church?

Why is it I do what I do? My hope is that I always do something because that is the example of Jesus I want to present.  I hope I do something out of my love for God and my desire to share His love with people around me and be His light in this dark place.

So what did I learn from this chapter?

I am going to be looking at why I do what I do; what motivates me to do good, God or people?  It is my hope that the God column will have more checks.

I hope that you will examine your life in the same way.

What is God telling you through the reading of His Word?

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