October 23, 2023

Two Minute Adventures in… Expansiveness: Be Generous!
Day 16: For God so loved the world that God gave…
Generosity is at the heart of God. God’s grace and giving are two sides of the same coin. Giving is the essence of God’s character, reflected in God’s greatest gift to you, Jesus.
Take 60 seconds and write down at least five responses to this statement:
God so loves me that God gives me…

Day 17: The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.  (Proverbs 11:24—The Message)
Think Ebenezer Scrooge. How small his world was. How small a man he was. The more he hoarded his money, the smaller his world. The smaller his life.
But then he caught a glimpse of generosity. And his entire world opened up. He saw life. He saw people. He saw joy. He saw it all in living color. He even saw the tough stuff and how his generosity could be a part of the solution. Giving expanded his universe.
The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.  (Proverbs 11:25—NLT)
Today, skip that cup of coffee or desert and expand your world by giving that money to someone in need.

Day 18: King David felt compelled to build the God of Israel a home—a temple—worthy of God’s greatness. While David didn’t live to see it built, he did oversee its funding. When invited to participate, the people of Israel responded with overwhelming, lavish generosity.
Humbled by God’s generous love for Israel, and Israel’s response of generous love, David prayed:
But me—who am I, and who are these my people, that we should presume to be giving something to you? Everything comes from you; all we’re doing is giving back what we’ve been given from your generous hand. (1 Chronicles 29:14)
That’s the dynamic key to life: to live life rooted in generosity—the ongoing response to God’s grace, care, and love.

Day 19: I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. (Psalm 9:1)
Studies done on the power of gratitude:
…found that when people who are generally more grateful gave more money to a cause, they showed greater neural sensitivity in the medial prefrontal cortex, a brain area associated with learning and decision making. This suggests that people who are more grateful are also more attentive to how they express gratitude.
…While not conclusive, this finding suggests that practicing gratitude may help train the brain to be more sensitive to the experience of gratitude down the line, and this could contribute to improved mental health over time. 
So do something healthy today. Give thanks! Thankfulness is the foundation of unapologetic generosity.
Use the following acrostic to help you:
God, I’m thankful for 

Day 20: … You’ll not likely go wrong here if you keep remembering that our Master said, ‘You’re far happier giving than getting.’” (Acts 20:35—The Message)
Research backs Jesus up. According to trustbridgeglobal.com:
Generosity makes people happier and reduces stress Acts of generosity raise levels of happiness and emotional well-being, giving charitable people a pleasant feeling known, in behavioral economics, as a “warm glow.” When researchers measured the brain activity of people who donated, they found that donating to a cause showed diminished brain activity in the amygdala, the part of the brain that processes emotions.
Many of the physical benefits of altruism are likely related to reducing stress, which is a catalyst for many health issues.
Generosity counters depression Scientific evidence shows that humans secrete “feel good” chemicals in their brains when engaging in philanthropy, such as serotonin (a mood-mediating chemical), dopamine (a feel-good chemical), and oxytocin, which is associated with tranquility, serenity, or inner peace.
Generosity can help you live longer The benefits derived from contributing do more than simply make people feel good. While scientists don’t know why generosity can decrease mortality… one study found that helping others reduced the risk of early death, most likely by buffering the effects of stress.
In the words of that once famous commercial: Try it. You’ll like it.

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