Empty Kettles, Full Lives

Every day, The Salvation Army in locations all around the world, and in your local community, send out bGive Til It Helpsell ringers, red kettles, and shiny bells out into the world in the hopes that the general public would be generous. Each day these empty buckets go out empty. The plan is for them to come back full.

The empty kettles mean full lives.

The Red Kettle campaign originated in San Francisco, CA many years ago as a way for The Salvation Army to feed people a holiday meal. Today, it still provides meals. It also helps provide toys, clothing, utility assistance, prescription assistance, emergency sheltering, weeks at camp, disaster assistance, and many other life-changing services. The Red Kettle campaign also allows the Army to reach the people with the Good News of Jesus Christ as we celebrate His birth.

Every evening I see these full kettles come back. The money gets taken out of them. The empty kettles mean full lives. I try not to see the kettles. I try to see the kid who will go to camp this summer. I try to see the family that can stay in their homes because the electricity is still on. I try to see the man who is down on his luck that does not have to sleep on the street tonight. Empty kettles mean full lives.

Throughout this kettle season, as I have traveled around, people have greeted me and shared that they put something into a kettle. One of the familiar phrases that is often repeated is that “I wish it could be more.” Believe me when I tell you that every little bit helps! Every little bit is counted! Every little bit changes lives! Empty kettles mean full lives.

To all of you who have donated to a kettle this year, thank you! To all of you that meant to donate to a kettle, thank you! To all of you who wanted to donate to a kettle, thank you! Because of you, the kettles get full and every evening they become empty again. Empty kettles mean full lives.

Merry Christmas! Soli Deo Gloria!

The First 10%

Be sure to give to the Lord the best portions of the gifts given to you. (Numbers 18:29 NLT)

I find myself thinking during the day, “Am I doing my best?”. With that last project, “did I give it my best effort?” With the last email I wrote, “was I polite enough, thorough enough?”

In Numbers, God directs Moses to tell the people that the first 10% of everything they do or have belongs to Him.

“However, you may not redeem the firstborn of cattle, sheep, or goats. They are holy and have been set apart for the Lord. Sprinkle their blood on the altar, and burn their fat as a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord.” (Numbers 18:17 NLT)

What is interesting is that God tells them to not even count that possession, they do not have to redeem it. It never belonged to them. It was never theirs in the first place, it belonged to God.

How many times do we grumble when we “have to” give to the Lord a portion of our “hard-earned money”? How many times do we complain about spending time in service to others from our “busy” schedule?

We forget that they were “gifts given” to us, and that they never belonged to us in the first place. They were the firstborn, the first 10%! I know I appreciate being able to keep the other 90%!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Walking in His "Majestic" Presence: Week 4

Note to reader: This is a single part of a multi-sectioned devotional series surrounding the transMission album, “Majestic.”  All of the devotionals will be filed under the category marked “Walking in His ‘Majestic’ Presence.”

Gift from Heaven

Play track 4 of “Majestic” entitled “Melody of Love.”  You can stream it live here.

“I have a song that Jesus gave me”

I have heard people say that they prefer to give gifts than to receive them.  I hear stories about the looks on people’s faces and the joy that it brings them.  I may be the only person to admit this but I like getting presents.  I like the look in my own eyes and I like the joy it brings me!  Don’t get me wrong!  I enjoy giving gifts, but I like getting them as well.  What I don’t like doing is telling people what I want!  It makes me feel weird.  This puts me in a difficult position.  I like getting presents, but I do not like telling people what I want.  So, guess what I want already!  My wife says that I am difficult to buy things for.  She is probably right.

If I can be honest with you, one of the reasons that I cannot tell people what I want is because I usually do not know myself!  I do not have a list of things I want or need running through my head.  I am horrible when I go shopping!  I look at something and if I need it I’ll get it.  If I don’t, I sometimes get it just in case I might need it.  You could almost say that I do not know what I need or what is best for me.

1 Corinthians 12:7  – A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.

Scripture tells us that God has given everyone a gift(s).  He decides what gifts he gives to what people.  The important thing to remember is that our gifts were given to help each other.

And with my life I sing Your melody

Our lives should “sing out” with our gifts.  When our gifts are used together, we hear “Heaven’s harmony” that was “sent from above”. Since we are given a specific gift, we are meant to depend on each other, to work with each other.  Let’s face it!  The world would be a very boring place if everyone was like me.  It would be a very good-looking place, but boring nonetheless.  Soloists are great, but give me a choir any day.  Everyone loves a hero, but what the world needs is a team, the body of Christ supporting each other with their gifts for the benefit of all!

So, my thought is this…

The true gift from God is not the gifts that He has given us, as great as they are.  The true gift from God is our ability to work together to further His kingdom.

So, with your life, will you join me in singing the melody of love?

Walking in His “Majestic” Presence: Week 4

Note to reader: This is a single part of a multi-sectioned devotional series surrounding the transMission album, “Majestic.”  All of the devotionals will be filed under the category marked “Walking in His ‘Majestic’ Presence.”

Gift from Heaven

Play track 4 of “Majestic” entitled “Melody of Love.”  You can stream it live here.

“I have a song that Jesus gave me”

I have heard people say that they prefer to give gifts than to receive them.  I hear stories about the looks on people’s faces and the joy that it brings them.  I may be the only person to admit this but I like getting presents.  I like the look in my own eyes and I like the joy it brings me!  Don’t get me wrong!  I enjoy giving gifts, but I like getting them as well.  What I don’t like doing is telling people what I want!  It makes me feel weird.  This puts me in a difficult position.  I like getting presents, but I do not like telling people what I want.  So, guess what I want already!  My wife says that I am difficult to buy things for.  She is probably right.

If I can be honest with you, one of the reasons that I cannot tell people what I want is because I usually do not know myself!  I do not have a list of things I want or need running through my head.  I am horrible when I go shopping!  I look at something and if I need it I’ll get it.  If I don’t, I sometimes get it just in case I might need it.  You could almost say that I do not know what I need or what is best for me.

1 Corinthians 12:7  – A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.

Scripture tells us that God has given everyone a gift(s).  He decides what gifts he gives to what people.  The important thing to remember is that our gifts were given to help each other.

And with my life I sing Your melody

Our lives should “sing out” with our gifts.  When our gifts are used together, we hear “Heaven’s harmony” that was “sent from above”. Since we are given a specific gift, we are meant to depend on each other, to work with each other.  Let’s face it!  The world would be a very boring place if everyone was like me.  It would be a very good-looking place, but boring nonetheless.  Soloists are great, but give me a choir any day.  Everyone loves a hero, but what the world needs is a team, the body of Christ supporting each other with their gifts for the benefit of all!

So, my thought is this…

The true gift from God is not the gifts that He has given us, as great as they are.  The true gift from God is our ability to work together to further His kingdom.

So, with your life, will you join me in singing the melody of love?