Oh let me count all the ways I absolutely LOVE South Africa! Around this time last year, our ministry, Beholding His Beauty, began talks with leaders of a local church in Johannesburg of going into South Africa for a time of speaking, teaching, worship and conference (for Daughters of Zion). After months of planning, prepping and praying, come May of 2017, we were off to travel across the globe into the blessed country of South Africa. We spent nearly two weeks there and the majority of our time geared towards speaking to women who came near and far for a Ladies High Tea, training the church’s worship team, speaking and leading worship at a well-attended annual conference hosted by DOZ via Christian Hope Center Church. I can’t belive I’m just posting memories of this beloved trip! But in retrospect, I can honestly say it was one of the most gratifying and humbling experiences of my life! I saw the hand of God move like NEVER before. People were hungry for His presence; and we were filled. The friendships we made and the impact God allowed is long-lasting and was life-changing. Grateful to God for such an amazing experience!
24- There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but tendeth to poverty.
25- The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.
26- He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it.
I have a small confession. I can be a serious pack rat and hold on to things for decades. I probably still have school notebooks and clothes stored away from middle school. Maybe once a year, I’d get an urge to clean my closet and give away bags of clothes or shoes to friends or to Goodwill. Then at times when I had extra coins in my glove compartment, I’d give change (sometimes out of guilt) to the homeless person or sign-holder on the street corner. I never had an issue with tithing or giving presents to others, for that is a part of my love language. But I used to think I consistently gave straight from the heart. I really meant well. However, after God pricked my heart about giving according to His way, He led me to this scripture in Proverbs. My mindset and perspective on giving has never been the same sense.
It was evident in my receipts and bank transaction history where my treasure was (food and shopping!) and I asked God why financial doors were not swinging open as I’d hoped in certain seasons of my life. God graciously led me to understand my “scattering” was limited and inconsistent in my heart, so therefore my return was as well.
When reading Proverbs 11:24-26, we see how these versus are very clear on the practical and spiritual result of sharing, generosity, and giving. A liberal soul is a person of blessing. A person who gives freely through his fingers and not hoarding what he has is one who understands the principle of victorious living through giving. The person who identifies those in need and provides for them scatters blessings through gracious and generous hands. When we withhold and do not partake of opportunities to be a blessing to others, we are doing a disservice to ourselves and in turn pushing ourselves into poverty.
Poverty means the state of not having enough money to take care of basic needs such as food, clothing, and housing; a deficiency or lack of something. And as I was studying this scripture, and preparing these thoughts, Holy Spirit took me further to say that poverty is a mindset of a person that lacks the heart or desire to give. The result of poverty outwardly often stems from the root of sin, particularly the sin of fear (of not having enough or you will not have enough if you give), deception and greed. One can be called rich or wealthy yet squander their wealth and be in poverty.
To scatter is to throw in various random directions. And this word in Hebrew is pazar, which means to disperse (scatter). And think about it. Disbursement doesn’t always mean money. But it can mean other things for you to freely give and spread abroad.
For example, your time to converse and communicate with others. When someone wants to speak with us that we may honestly not have the time for, do we often run the other way and ignore them? Or do we freely give of our time to others. I remember one day when I stopped by a local antique store (I was shopping again!) to briefly check if they had a certain world map I was searching for. Because I was in a hurry I didn’t expect to peruse the store or have casual conversations with any one there. But during my inquiry of this map, a very nice older man bringing furniture into his booth stuck up a conversation and began to share half his life story. Initially feeling a bit awkward because I needed to skedaddle, I just felt the nudging of Holy Spirit to stop, listen and engage in conversation with this kind older man. After about five minutes of chatting, out of the blue he reached into his booth and pulled out a map tucked away and gave it to me – no charge! I was stunned! It wasn’t the exact one I’d been looking for, yet with some rearranging, it would work beautifully! I didn’t give this retailer any money for this exchange, but I did give him my time, conversation and interest toward another human being; something we so often overlook and race past.
Another example is when we give our testimonies and share our stories through council and knowledge to others. How often do we see someone needing help, advice or guidance and we’re “too busy” to stop and offer council and encouragement. In a world that moves so fast, we must be careful not to get caught up in our own agendas and overlook an opportunity to share our personal story that will inspire someone and bring glory to God. I love mentoring young ladies, however, my schedule doesn’t permit me to do it as often as I’d like. I’ve found that often times the best gift to give them isn’t money or tangible things. It is wisdom. The value of scattering seeds of Godly council, wisdom and love in the lives of others and watching them grow is simply priceless.
Many scriptures in the bible deal with giving; i.e., Proverbs 3:27, 2 Corinthians 9:7, Luke 6:30 and one of my favorites: Proverbs 18:6 “A man’s gift maketh room for him and bringeth him before great men. The NIV version says, “A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.”
This last scripture is one that is often taken out of context pertaining to the word gift. Many suggest it means a talent, purposeful calling in life or spiritual gifts. But the word gift here is literally defined as a present. The Hebrew word is MATTAN and is a name for many males that derives from the word gift, and literally means giving. It is part title of the Jewish holiday Shavuot– the time of the giving of the Torah. This principle is very real, and I’ve personally experienced a tremendous blessing as a result of giving a tangible gift to a person who was of greater influence, and in turn God rewarded by opening an even larger door through that relationship stemming from one simple gesture – giving! And I’m sure you remember when the wise men brought gifts to baby Jesus. They were bestowing gifts upon the greatest King that ever lived, Jesus Messiah. Such humility in giving from the heart and beyond when it’s convenient. Giving is such a gift in itself.
So today, I want to encourage you to let go of those things you’re clinging to that are holding you hostage from giving freely from the heart. Are any of your possessions hindering you from freely worshiping God from your heart through the act of giving? Are your receipts signifying your treasure is placed on worldly affections rather than building God’s kingdom first? Do you tend to hoard material objects or give out of guilt? Has money become an object of idolatry, or do you fear you’ll lose what you have if you give even a portion of it away? Do you feel you’re constantly battling an ongoing cycle of lack, having a deficit, and a poverty mindset? Try this. Try opening your hands right now. Open your palms wide and face them upward. Take a moment and ask God to reveal any area of your life where your giving has been challenged due to sin or unawareness. Whatever He is bringing to your heart right now, see it in your hands as letting it go – without hesitation – withholding nothing anymore! Open hands equate to an open heart, plus it’s quite difficult to receive anything with your hands closed. Ask God, our great provider, to help you scatter wherever you go, that you may increase according to His will and be a blessing to others. Whether money, time, encouragement, love, ask the Lord to help you be more of a free and cheerful giver. None of what we temporarily posses is really ours anyways. We are just stewards for the next generation to come. I pray this is a blessing to you as it proved to be for me. Withholding will bring poverty, but giving freely leads to a life of victorious living.
Today, many of you will be visiting my blog for the first time. So welcome! Thank you from my heart for stopping by and subscribing. I hope you feel the love and the joy God gives daily through His grace. You know, this year has been equally exciting and daring all at once. I’ve had to make some major adjustments and trust God in ways that were uncomfortable and unfamiliar. I’ve had to let go of my own desires and yield my heart and hands to His. I’ve had to repeatedly pray, “God do what YOU want to do with my life. Have your way.” Living in the “what if” or in the “almost” was no longer acceptable. And I know this might sound simple or cliché-ish, but by completely surrendering (and I do mean completely), I took a huge plunge into this vast blue sea where true freedom is found. Freedom to be ALL He’s created me to be. Freedom to give and not hold on to anything. Freedom to love like I’ve never loved before. The journey into this deeper freedom has not been easy. But nothing compares to the sweet peace one can have trusting God that whatever happens next, the depths of His grace will meet you; the strength of His grace is there to pull you through. Ahhh!
Have you ever stopped to notice your shadow? Remember as children when we’d play around with different lights and scare others and even ourselves with our own shadow? It’s quite interesting that as we become adults, our shadows become less apparent and amusing, yet they still follow us around, sometimes to the point of even getting in our way.
The other day I was in the middle of washing my hair and desperately needed to use my favorite Kerestase’ product. But because I’ve been in the process of moving, I remembered my hair care was packed away in a plastic box on the floor. I bent down toward the box and began scrambling through it, only to become frazzled because I couldn’t find my little peach hair pump. I knew it was there, but the light directly above me suddenly grew too dim for me to see what was right before my eyes. My scope became limited and affected my ability to see, sadly because of my very own shadow. I stopped, took a deep breath, readjusted myself and leaned back over in a new position so I could better detect where it was in the box.
God immediately showed me how often we can block our own view and limit our perspectives because we’ve gotten in our own way. You see, He is the light helping us to see past the darkness to find what we need and even desire. But just like me, so many of us accidentally end up standing our own way and ultimately, His way.
When we find ourselves struggling in our own strength and not clearly seeing the light, sometimes we must stop, adjust our position in God and allow His Spirit to guide us in our darkest hour to a place of safety in His will. He knows how to remove hovering shadows of fear, guilt, doubt or false burdens we may carry that blind us from the truth of His love and rob us from the joy in His freedom.
That day I may have found my favorite Kerestase product, but I discovered a much deeper revelation that illuminated my heart: to step aside and let Jesus light up life’s way; to relinquish my strength for His; to dismantle my shadows of sin and get robed up in his righteousness. This day, I pray you find what you are looking for, but in His way and through His light.
When you think of shallow versus deep waters, you typically don’t think of all the physics involved like water wavelengths, water depths, its orbital diameter or any ratios. You simply think of what’s safer to get in without causing any harm or without getting hurt. Shallow waters certainly suggest a more secure environment to wallow, but wouldn’t it be amazing to discover what’s hidden in the deep? Especially if we knew there was something special waiting on us. Such deep treasures can only be found with an even deeper trust. For many of us, God is calling us to follow Him into the deep deep waters; into a place of the unknown and of complete freedom, intimacy and obedience. If God calls us to come, then His grace will carry us there. In this blog, you will see much of my journey with God into deeper areas of my life. As a creative artist and a worshiper of Yeshua, I want to be transparent. I want to be real. I want to be compassionate. I want to be free. I want to glorify God. And I want to invite you to do the same. Let’s get to that place, where we find His Grace in the Deep!