Lauren Gaskill is the author of Into the Deep: Diving Into a Life of Courageous Faith, a national speaker and the founder of She Found Joy. Lauren is passionate about encouraging others to fight for faith, keep hope alive and live in the joy and healing of the Lord. When she’s not writing, Lauren loves to cook, bake and go on hikes with her husband and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, who is affectionately named Reese after Lauren’s favorite candy, peanut butter cups.
March 20, 2021
Beale Memorial Baptist Women’s Conference
With: Sharon Jaynes
April 9-11, 2021
Girlfriends In God Conference
With: Mary Southerland, Sharon Jaynes, Gwen Smith
April 14, 2021
First Presbyterian Church of Midland
With: Sharon Jaynes
17 hours ago
I grew up in a family whose finances were, let’s say, “slim.” On occasion, our church congregation would unexpectedly leave a box of much needed groceries at our front door or step in and pay our mortgage in times when we fell behind.
When I was four years old, my father was involved in a near-death auto accident which totaled our family’s only vehicle. I remember the day when Mr. Mitchell, one of the beloved elders of our church, came by to visit after my dad had healed. He handed my father the keys to one of his own cars. My father was extremely reluctant to accept such a generous gift. Sensing this, Mr. Mitchell said, “Joe, do you have a dollar?”
“A dollar, I have,” my dad replied.
Mr. Mitchell held out his hand with a broad smile on his face and said that was the exact price of the car!
What I didn’t realize back then as a child, but now recognize full well, is that I was being taught—first hand—the grace of giving that the Apostle Paul speaks of in Today’s Truth.
“But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving” (2 Corinthians 8:7, NIV).
Paul was imploring the people of God to sow their riches generously into the lives of their more needy brothers and sisters—for both parties’ benefit! In chapter nine of the same letter, Paul further encourages the Corinthian church goers with this passage:
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 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. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever.”
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” (2 Corinthians 9:6-11, NIV).
The benefits of the grace of giving really do flow in both directions. Please let me be clear; what Paul is NOT teaching is some kind of prosperity gospel (sow some $ and you’ll reap more $). Rather, when Paul says of the giver: “You will be enriched in every way so that you can “in every way.”
What might these earthly riches (seeds to sow) look like? I believe they include the sharable riches of one’s peace, joy, time, talents, giftings, physical helps, wisdom, emotional strength, encouragement, and, of course, tangible and monetary gifts.
We have all been on the receiving end of the grace-filled giving when Jesus gave His perfect life in exchange for our sin-riddled soul. He graciously gave us the gift of salvation which none of us deserve or ever earn.
My dad drove that car for many years, but Mr. Mitchell’s example of what grace-filled giving will last a lifetime.
How might you be the reason someone offers thanksgiving to God today?
22 hours ago
Oh, Gracious Giver, forgive me for the times I had something to offer and held back. Going forward, help me seek creative and abundant ways to sow the seeds of the sharable riches You’ve given me into others’ lives.
In Jesus’ Name,
2 days ago
Five-year-old Brooke was sitting in the backseat of the minivan while her mom and I ran errands. “Mommy,” she asked, “Is it worse to pick a scab or pick a mosquito bite?”
“You shouldn’t pick either one,” her mom replied.
I glanced back at Brooke as she tried to wipe away the bloody evidence that she had done both.
Little girls aren’t the only ones who pick at scabs. We big girls do it, too. Maybe we don’t pick at the brown crusty scabs that form over flesh wounds, but we do pick at bitter rusty scabs that form over soul wounds. Either way, picking at scabs keeps wounds from healing, and keeps us stuck from moving forward.
One day Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast. While he was there, He stopped by what was called The Sheep Gate Pool or Pool of Bethesda. The pool was surrounded by five covered colonnades or verandas where a great number of physically compromised people used to gather—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. They believed that from time to time an angel would come down from heaven and stir the waters. The first one in the water after such a stirring would be healed. So, there they sat, day-after-day, waiting for the mysterious rippling.
A man who had been lame for thirty-eight years caught Jesus’ eye. He walked over asked him, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6)
That is a strange question; or it is?
Sometimes we can grow comfortable being stuck in a bad story. Sure, there are heartaches and heartbreaks, disappointment and disillusionment, fear and fragile emotions, but at least we know what to expect out of life. Wounds can become like old friends that we wear as a badge of honor in some strange way. Sometimes it’s easier to cling to a bad story than embrace the redemption of a new one because the old one fits like a well-worn shoe. I’ve worn that old shoe with the floppy sole myself.
For the lame man by the pool, healing would mean a drastic lifestyle change. He would have to get a job and become a responsible part of the community. He would have to stand on his own two feet literally and figuratively. Begging is all he’d ever known. Do I want to get well? Hmmm. I’m not sure. At least I know what to expect in this condition. Let me think about that.
The first step to healing from past trauma, no matter how we received it, is to decide that we want to get well and move past it—that we want a better story. We may not have deserved or caused the wound, but that’s what we got. It may not be fair, but those are the facts.
James wrote, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-4).
That looks good on paper, but it’s the “let perseverance finish its work” that trips me up. We will never move to mature, complete, lacking nothing if we stay stuck in the pain rather than move forward in the process of healing.
Even though the man never did answer Jesus’ question, Jesus stepped over his excuses and said, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk” (John 5:8). And he did.
Jesus had a knack for telling people to do what they didn’t think they could.
Stretch out the fingers of your withered hand.
Stand up straight and unbend your back.
Roll the stone away and let the dead man out.
Open your blind eyes and tell me what you see.
We all have some kind of condition. Maybe it’s not as visible as the lame man by the pool, but we have something in our stories we’d like to change. And Jesus asks the question…do you really want to live differently than you are right now. It’s paralyzing to live in the past. Jesus provides the way to move forward—to pick up our emotional mats and walk. 2020 has been a rough year, but this could be the year to leave the past in the past, to take up our mat of a hurtful past, and walk! Let’s do it together.
GIRLFRIENDS IN GOD Encouraging and equipping women in the love and truth of Christ. CLICK HERE to learn about the RISE UP Conf in Asheville, NC:
"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8