Category Archives: Generosity

How far back can you go to better understand your family tree?


Would you consider the 3 day challenge in order to be ready to accomplish the plans of God who put you right here and right now for such a day and such a time as this? What if it meant giving up something for those 3 days? What if it meant you had to give them up starting tomorrow? Would it have to be significant for you to even consider it? Would it have to be person for you to do it?

Day 5: 2020 Hindsight
The 49-Week ChallengeDay 5

Hindsight is 2020

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 5 link above or want to join link here to join me and sign up.

Let’s share our takeaways from today’s reading! Did you catch and promises to trust? Did you catch any commands to obey? Did you catch any truths to embrace? Did you catch any warnings to heed? Did you catch any encouragement to rest in? What did you learn about God? What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about the world? What verse stood out most to you today?

If you are interested in getting together or sharing the information together, please let me know through the comment section below, through email, or even through text messages.


Today’s reading from God’s Word – the Bible comes to us from: (I have chosen to use NIV translation, but feel free to choose whichever version you feel more comfortable with)


My Notes:

  • How well do you know your family? How well do you know or understand the dysfunction of your family? How well do you know how God was able to work in and through your family?
  • What if there was a story of God’s promises?
  • What if there was a story of God’s provision?
  • What if there was a story of God’s salvation?
  • What if there was a story of someone who would deprive someone of their rights?
  • What if there was a story of betrayal and deception?
  • What if there was a pattern? What if there were a fix number of generations between major events?
  • What if there is a story of someone being wicked in God’s sight and required him be put to death?
  • What if there is a story of duty and disobedience to God’s command?
  • What if there is a story of deception and lying?
  • What if there is a story of dress up or disguise and justice?
  • What if there was a story of how something done in secret was brought into the light and revealed?
  • What if there is a story of even as a child about to be born, the child reached out in order to become the first born even though he came out second?
  • What if there is a story of visions and encounters with God?
  • What if there is a story of promises from God?
  • What if there is a story of God’s preparation for His people?
  • What if there was a story about what man had planned for evil that got turned around and used for good by God?
  • What if there was a story of reunion between father and son, who had believed to be dead but was alive?
  • Will you consecrate your things to God?
  • Will you take from what God has given you to give back to Him as an offering? The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it! Will you give out of reverence to the Lord?

Questions to consider:

  • What do you learn about God, about yourself, or about the world?
  • Is there one verse or thought that stands out to you today?

As day 5 of 2020 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision this early into 2020 and the blessing to get to live out the rest of 2020 in that power and that truth and that hope.

If you would like to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, why not join me in this prayer?

Did you pray with me? Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision? Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Today’s devotional comes from Life.Church. For more information, please visit www.life.church — Thank you Life.Church for sharing this reading plan through Bible.com

Do you have a heart to give? What motivates you to give?


Are you a giver or a taker? Are you giving out of your abundance or giving out of your need? Are you giving out of love or out of compulsion? Are you giving out of love or out of guilt? Are you giving of your time? Are you giving of your resources? Is your giving purposeful? Is your giving generous? Is your giving to bless? Is your giving to get? Are you a giver? Why do you give what you give?

God so loves us that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever would believe on Him would not perish but would have everlasting life. God gave because He is love. Giving is the one thing God asks us to test Him with.


Today’s reading gets us started with Deuteronomy 26:

‘“When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you as a special possession and you have conquered it and settled there, put some of the first produce from each crop you harvest into a basket and bring it to the designated place of worship—the place the Lord your God chooses for his name to be honored. Go to the priest in charge at that time and say to him, ‘With this gift I acknowledge to the Lord your God that I have entered the land he swore to our ancestors he would give us.’ The priest will then take the basket from your hand and set it before the altar of the Lord your God. “You must then say in the presence of the Lord your God, ‘My ancestor Jacob was a wandering Aramean who went to live as a foreigner in Egypt. His family arrived few in number, but in Egypt they became a large and mighty nation. When the Egyptians oppressed and humiliated us by making us their slaves, we cried out to the Lord , the God of our ancestors. He heard our cries and saw our hardship, toil, and oppression. So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand and powerful arm, with overwhelming terror, and with miraculous signs and wonders. He brought us to this place and gave us this land flowing with milk and honey! And now, O Lord , I have brought you the first portion of the harvest you have given me from the ground.’ Then place the produce before the Lord your God, and bow to the ground in worship before him. Afterward you may go and celebrate because of all the good things the Lord your God has given to you and your household. Remember to include the Levites and the foreigners living among you in the celebration. “Every third year you must offer a special tithe of your crops. In this year of the special tithe you must give your tithes to the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows, so that they will have enough to eat in your towns. Then you must declare in the presence of the Lord your God, ‘I have taken the sacred gift from my house and have given it to the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows, just as you commanded me. I have not violated or forgotten any of your commands. I have not eaten any of it while in mourning; I have not handled it while I was ceremonially unclean; and I have not offered any of it to the dead. I have obeyed the Lord my God and have done everything you commanded me. Now look down from your holy dwelling place in heaven and bless your people Israel and the land you swore to our ancestors to give us—a land flowing with milk and honey.’

“Today the Lord your God has commanded you to obey all these decrees and regulations. So be careful to obey them wholeheartedly. You have declared today that the Lord is your God. And you have promised to walk in his ways, and to obey his decrees, commands, and regulations, and to do everything he tells you. The Lord has declared today that you are his people, his own special treasure, just as he promised, and that you must obey all his commands. And if you do, he will set you high above all the other nations he has made. Then you will receive praise, honor, and renown. You will be a nation that is holy to the Lord your God, just as he promised.”’

Deuteronomy 26

Today’s reading then brings us into Isaiah 24:

‘Look! The Lord is about to destroy the earth and make it a vast wasteland. He devastates the surface of the earth and scatters the people. Priests and laypeople, servants and masters, maids and mistresses, buyers and sellers, lenders and borrowers, bankers and debtors—none will be spared. The earth will be completely emptied and looted. The Lord has spoken! The earth mourns and dries up, and the land wastes away and withers. Even the greatest people on earth waste away. The earth suffers for the sins of its people, for they have twisted God’s instructions, violated his laws, and broken his everlasting covenant. Therefore, a curse consumes the earth. Its people must pay the price for their sin. They are destroyed by fire, and only a few are left alive. The grapevines waste away, and there is no new wine. All the merrymakers sigh and mourn. The cheerful sound of tambourines is stilled; the happy cries of celebration are heard no more. The melodious chords of the harp are silent. Gone are the joys of wine and song; alcoholic drink turns bitter in the mouth. The city writhes in chaos; every home is locked to keep out intruders. Mobs gather in the streets, crying out for wine. Joy has turned to gloom. Gladness has been banished from the land. The city is left in ruins, its gates battered down. Throughout the earth the story is the same— only a remnant is left, like the stray olives left on the tree or the few grapes left on the vine after harvest. But all who are left shout and sing for joy. Those in the west praise the Lord ’s majesty. In eastern lands, give glory to the Lord . In the lands beyond the sea, praise the name of the Lord , the God of Israel. We hear songs of praise from the ends of the earth, songs that give glory to the Righteous One! But my heart is heavy with grief. Weep for me, for I wither away. Deceit still prevails, and treachery is everywhere. Terror and traps and snares will be your lot, you people of the earth. Those who flee in terror will fall into a trap, and those who escape the trap will be caught in a snare. Destruction falls like rain from the heavens; the foundations of the earth shake. The earth has broken up. It has utterly collapsed; it is violently shaken. The earth staggers like a drunk. It trembles like a tent in a storm. It falls and will not rise again, for the guilt of its rebellion is very heavy. In that day the Lord will punish the gods in the heavens and the proud rulers of the nations on earth. They will be rounded up and put in prison. They will be shut up in prison and will finally be punished. Then the glory of the moon will wane, and the brightness of the sun will fade, for the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will rule on Mount Zion. He will rule in great glory in Jerusalem, in the sight of all the leaders of his people.’

Isaiah 24

and continues with Isaiah 25:

‘O Lord , I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them. You turn mighty cities into heaps of ruins. Cities with strong walls are turned to rubble. Beautiful palaces in distant lands disappear and will never be rebuilt. Therefore, strong nations will declare your glory; ruthless nations will fear you. But you are a tower of refuge to the poor, O Lord , a tower of refuge to the needy in distress. You are a refuge from the storm and a shelter from the heat. For the oppressive acts of ruthless people are like a storm beating against a wall, or like the relentless heat of the desert. But you silence the roar of foreign nations. As the shade of a cloud cools relentless heat, so the boastful songs of ruthless people are stilled. In Jerusalem, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will spread a wonderful feast for all the people of the world. It will be a delicious banquet with clear, well-aged wine and choice meat. There he will remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs over the earth. He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign Lord will wipe away all tears. He will remove forever all insults and mockery against his land and people. The Lord has spoken! In that day the people will proclaim, “This is our God! We trusted in him, and he saved us! This is the Lord , in whom we trusted. Let us rejoice in the salvation he brings!” For the Lord ’s hand of blessing will rest on Jerusalem. But Moab will be crushed. It will be like straw trampled down and left to rot. God will push down Moab’s people as a swimmer pushes down water with his hands. He will end their pride and all their evil works. The high walls of Moab will be demolished. They will be brought down to the ground, down into the dust.’

Isaiah 25

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament starting in Matthew 21:

‘In the morning, as Jesus was returning to Jerusalem, he was hungry, and he noticed a fig tree beside the road. He went over to see if there were any figs, but there were only leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” And immediately the fig tree withered up. The disciples were amazed when they saw this and asked, “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.”

When Jesus returned to the Temple and began teaching, the leading priests and elders came up to him. They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right?” “I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replied. “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human?” They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask us why we didn’t believe John. But if we say it was merely human, we’ll be mobbed because the people believe John was a prophet.” So they finally replied, “We don’t know.” And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.

“But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway. Then the father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.’ But he didn’t go. “Which of the two obeyed his father?” They replied, “The first.” Then Jesus explained his meaning: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do. For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live, but you didn’t believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to believe him and repent of your sins.’

Matthew 21:18-32

Today’s reading continues into Ephesians 3:

‘When I think of all this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you Gentiles . . . assuming, by the way, that you know God gave me the special responsibility of extending his grace to you Gentiles. As I briefly wrote earlier, God himself revealed his mysterious plan to me. As you read what I have written, you will understand my insight into this plan regarding Christ. God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now by his Spirit he has revealed it to his holy apostles and prophets. And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus. By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News. Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ. I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning. God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord. Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. So please don’t lose heart because of my trials here. I am suffering for you, so you should feel honored.’

Ephesians 3:1-13

So where are you at today? Are you feeling generous? Are you feeling joyous? Are you feeling hilarious? Do you have time? Do you have energy? Do you have money? How will you be a giver today? What will be your attitude towards it?


Today’s reading closes with Psalms 140:

‘O Lord , rescue me from evil people. Protect me from those who are violent, those who plot evil in their hearts and stir up trouble all day long. Their tongues sting like a snake; the venom of a viper drips from their lips. Interlude O Lord , keep me out of the hands of the wicked. Protect me from those who are violent, for they are plotting against me. The proud have set a trap to catch me; they have stretched out a net; they have placed traps all along the way. Interlude I said to the Lord , “You are my God!” Listen, O Lord , to my cries for mercy! O Sovereign Lord , the strong one who rescued me, you protected me on the day of battle. Lord , do not let evil people have their way. Do not let their evil schemes succeed, or they will become proud. Interlude Let my enemies be destroyed by the very evil they have planned for me. Let burning coals fall down on their heads. Let them be thrown into the fire or into watery pits from which they can’t escape. Don’t let liars prosper here in our land. Cause great disasters to fall on the violent. But I know the Lord will help those they persecute; he will give justice to the poor. Surely righteous people are praising your name; the godly will live in your presence.’

Psalms 140

What does generosity look like to you?


Is it about being kind to others? Is it about giving to others? Is it about time? Is it about money? Is it going over the top rather than doing the bare minimum or what is necessary?

Are you generous at home? Are you generous at work (or school if you are still in school)? Are you generous out on the streets? Are you generous at church?

Are you generous because it makes you happy or out of guilt or compulsion? Are you giving because you are always looking to give and make a difference? Ever read how God loves a hilarious giver? You may find it says cheerful but when you look up the original words in the Greek, you find hilaron which is the root for hilarious:

God
Θεός (Theos)
Noun – Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong’s Greek 2316: A deity, especially the supreme Divinity; figuratively, a magistrate; by Hebraism, very.

loves
ἀγαπᾷ (agapa)
Verb – Present Indicative Active – 3rd Person Singular
Strong’s Greek 25: To love, wish well to, take pleasure in, long for; denotes the love of reason, esteem. Perhaps from agan; to love.

a cheerful
ἱλαρὸν (hilaron)
Adjective – Accusative Masculine Singular
Strong’s Greek 2431: Joyous, cheerful, not grudging. From the same as hileos; propitious or merry, i.e. Prompt or willing.

giver.
δότην (dotēn)
Noun – Accusative Masculine Singular
Strong’s Greek 1395: A giver. From the base of didomi; a giver.

2 Corinthians 9:7

It’s not about how much or what we give, it is always a matter of the heart for God desires that we have a heart that is cheerful, joyous, prompt, ready to do anything.

So where are you at today? Are you living out life generously? Where is your heart at? Have you started a relationship with Jesus and had your heart transformed? Do you want to leave a comment and discuss this more? Why not get started in God’s Word and hear what He has to say? Why not look for a Bible believing, Bible preaching church to get fed by? Why not look for a place to serve others? What not start today?


Today’s reading starts in Numbers 15.

‘Then the Lord told Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. “When you finally settle in the land I am giving you, you will offer special gifts as a pleasing aroma to the Lord . These gifts may take the form of a burnt offering, a sacrifice to fulfill a vow, a voluntary offering, or an offering at any of your annual festivals, and they may be taken from your herds of cattle or your flocks of sheep and goats. When you present these offerings, you must also give the Lord a grain offering of two quarts of choice flour mixed with one quart of olive oil. For each lamb offered as a burnt offering or a special sacrifice, you must also present one quart of wine as a liquid offering. “If the sacrifice is a ram, give a grain offering of four quarts of choice flour mixed with a third of a gallon of olive oil, and give a third of a gallon of wine as a liquid offering. This will be a pleasing aroma to the Lord . “When you present a young bull as a burnt offering or as a sacrifice to fulfill a vow or as a peace offering to the Lord , you must also give a grain offering of six quarts of choice flour mixed with two quarts of olive oil, and give two quarts of wine as a liquid offering. This will be a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord . “Each sacrifice of a bull, ram, lamb, or young goat should be prepared in this way. Follow these instructions with each offering you present. All of you native-born Israelites must follow these instructions when you offer a special gift as a pleasing aroma to the Lord . And if any foreigners visit you or live among you and want to present a special gift as a pleasing aroma to the Lord , they must follow these same procedures. Native-born Israelites and foreigners are equal before the Lord and are subject to the same decrees. This is a permanent law for you, to be observed from generation to generation. The same instructions and regulations will apply both to you and to the foreigners living among you.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. “When you arrive in the land where I am taking you, and you eat the crops that grow there, you must set some aside as a sacred offering to the Lord . Present a cake from the first of the flour you grind, and set it aside as a sacred offering, as you do with the first grain from the threshing floor. Throughout the generations to come, you are to present a sacred offering to the Lord each year from the first of your ground flour. “But suppose you unintentionally fail to carry out all these commands that the Lord has given you through Moses. And suppose your descendants in the future fail to do everything the Lord has commanded through Moses. If the mistake was made unintentionally, and the community was unaware of it, the whole community must present a young bull for a burnt offering as a pleasing aroma to the Lord . It must be offered along with its prescribed grain offering and liquid offering and with one male goat for a sin offering. With it the priest will purify the whole community of Israel, making them right with the Lord , and they will be forgiven. For it was an unintentional sin, and they have corrected it with their offerings to the Lord —the special gift and the sin offering. The whole community of Israel will be forgiven, including the foreigners living among you, for all the people were involved in the sin. “If one individual commits an unintentional sin, the guilty person must bring a one-year-old female goat for a sin offering. The priest will sacrifice it to purify the guilty person before the Lord , and that person will be forgiven. These same instructions apply both to native-born Israelites and to the foreigners living among you. “But those who brazenly violate the Lord ’s will, whether native-born Israelites or foreigners, have blasphemed the Lord , and they must be cut off from the community. Since they have treated the Lord ’s word with contempt and deliberately disobeyed his command, they must be completely cut off and suffer the punishment for their guilt.” One day while the people of Israel were in the wilderness, they discovered a man gathering wood on the Sabbath day. The people who found him doing this took him before Moses, Aaron, and the rest of the community. They held him in custody because they did not know what to do with him. Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man must be put to death! The whole community must stone him outside the camp.” So the whole community took the man outside the camp and stoned him to death, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: Throughout the generations to come you must make tassels for the hems of your clothing and attach them with a blue cord. When you see the tassels, you will remember and obey all the commands of the Lord instead of following your own desires and defiling yourselves, as you are prone to do. The tassels will help you remember that you must obey all my commands and be holy to your God. I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt that I might be your God. I am the Lord your God!”’

Numbers 15

Today’s reading continues into Solomon’s Song of Songs in Song of Songs 4

‘You are beautiful, my darling, beautiful beyond words. Your eyes are like doves behind your veil. Your hair falls in waves, like a flock of goats winding down the slopes of Gilead. Your teeth are as white as sheep, recently shorn and freshly washed. Your smile is flawless, each tooth matched with its twin. Your lips are like scarlet ribbon; your mouth is inviting. Your cheeks are like rosy pomegranates behind your veil. Your neck is as beautiful as the tower of David, jeweled with the shields of a thousand heroes. Your breasts are like two fawns, twin fawns of a gazelle grazing among the lilies. Before the dawn breezes blow and the night shadows flee, I will hurry to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of frankincense. You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way. Come with me from Lebanon, my bride, come with me from Lebanon. Come down from Mount Amana, from the peaks of Senir and Hermon, where the lions have their dens and leopards live among the hills. You have captured my heart, my treasure, my bride. You hold it hostage with one glance of your eyes, with a single jewel of your necklace. Your love delights me, my treasure, my bride. Your love is better than wine, your perfume more fragrant than spices. Your lips are as sweet as nectar, my bride. Honey and milk are under your tongue. Your clothes are scented like the cedars of Lebanon. You are my private garden, my treasure, my bride, a secluded spring, a hidden fountain. Your thighs shelter a paradise of pomegranates with rare spices— henna with nard, nard and saffron, fragrant calamus and cinnamon, with all the trees of frankincense, myrrh, and aloes, and every other lovely spice. You are a garden fountain, a well of fresh water streaming down from Lebanon’s mountains.

Awake, north wind! Rise up, south wind! Blow on my garden and spread its fragrance all around. Come into your garden, my love; taste its finest fruits.’

Song of Songs 4

and concluding in Song of Songs 5

‘I have entered my garden, my treasure, my bride! I gather myrrh with my spices and eat honeycomb with my honey. I drink wine with my milk. Oh, lover and beloved, eat and drink! Yes, drink deeply of your love!

I slept, but my heart was awake, when I heard my lover knocking and calling: “Open to me, my treasure, my darling, my dove, my perfect one. My head is drenched with dew, my hair with the dampness of the night.” But I responded, “I have taken off my robe. Should I get dressed again? I have washed my feet. Should I get them soiled?” My lover tried to unlatch the door, and my heart thrilled within me. I jumped up to open the door for my love, and my hands dripped with perfume. My fingers dripped with lovely myrrh as I pulled back the bolt. I opened to my lover, but he was gone! My heart sank. I searched for him but could not find him anywhere. I called to him, but there was no reply. The night watchmen found me as they made their rounds. They beat and bruised me and stripped off my veil, those watchmen on the walls. Make this promise, O women of Jerusalem— If you find my lover, tell him I am weak with love.

Why is your lover better than all others, O woman of rare beauty? What makes your lover so special that we must promise this?’

Song of Songs 5:1-9

Today’s reading next brings us into the New Testament starting with Matthew 4

‘When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he left Judea and returned to Galilee. He went first to Nazareth, then left there and moved to Capernaum, beside the Sea of Galilee, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. This fulfilled what God said through the prophet Isaiah: “In the land of Zebulun and of Naphtali, beside the sea, beyond the Jordan River, in Galilee where so many Gentiles live, the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined.” From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”

One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him. A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too. They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.

Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. News about him spread as far as Syria, and people soon began bringing to him all who were sick. And whatever their sickness or disease, or if they were demon possessed or epileptic or paralyzed—he healed them all. Large crowds followed him wherever he went—people from Galilee, the Ten Towns, Jerusalem, from all over Judea, and from east of the Jordan River.’

Matthew 4:12+25

and continuing into Romans 2

‘You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things. Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things? Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will judge everyone according to what they have done. He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness. There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.’

Romans 2:1-11

As we meditate on where we are at in our hearts and our minds and we consider how generous God has been to us and how His grace is more than enough, let’s pause and pray.


Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 106

‘Praise the Lord ! Give thanks to the Lord , for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Who can list the glorious miracles of the Lord ? Who can ever praise him enough? There is joy for those who deal justly with others and always do what is right. Remember me, Lord , when you show favor to your people; come near and rescue me. Let me share in the prosperity of your chosen ones. Let me rejoice in the joy of your people; let me praise you with those who are your heritage. Like our ancestors, we have sinned. We have done wrong! We have acted wickedly! Our ancestors in Egypt were not impressed by the Lord ’s miraculous deeds. They soon forgot his many acts of kindness to them. Instead, they rebelled against him at the Red Sea. Even so, he saved them— to defend the honor of his name and to demonstrate his mighty power. He commanded the Red Sea to dry up. He led Israel across the sea as if it were a desert. So he rescued them from their enemies and redeemed them from their foes. Then the water returned and covered their enemies; not one of them survived. Then his people believed his promises. Then they sang his praise. Yet how quickly they forgot what he had done! They wouldn’t wait for his counsel! In the wilderness their desires ran wild, testing God’s patience in that dry wasteland. So he gave them what they asked for, but he sent a plague along with it. The people in the camp were jealous of Moses and envious of Aaron, the Lord ’s holy priest. Because of this, the earth opened up; it swallowed Dathan and buried Abiram and the other rebels. Fire fell upon their followers; a flame consumed the wicked. The people made a calf at Mount Sinai ; they bowed before an image made of gold. They traded their glorious God for a statue of a grass-eating bull. They forgot God, their savior, who had done such great things in Egypt— such wonderful things in the land of Ham, such awesome deeds at the Red Sea. So he declared he would destroy them. But Moses, his chosen one, stepped between the Lord and the people. He begged him to turn from his anger and not destroy them. The people refused to enter the pleasant land, for they wouldn’t believe his promise to care for them. Instead, they grumbled in their tents and refused to obey the Lord . Therefore, he solemnly swore that he would kill them in the wilderness, that he would scatter their descendants among the nations, exiling them to distant lands. Then our ancestors joined in the worship of Baal at Peor; they even ate sacrifices offered to the dead! They angered the Lord with all these things, so a plague broke out among them. But Phinehas had the courage to intervene, and the plague was stopped. So he has been regarded as a righteous man ever since that time. At Meribah, too, they angered the Lord , causing Moses serious trouble. They made Moses angry, and he spoke foolishly. Israel failed to destroy the nations in the land, as the Lord had commanded them. Instead, they mingled among the pagans and adopted their evil customs. They worshiped their idols, which led to their downfall. They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons. They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters. By sacrificing them to the idols of Canaan, they polluted the land with murder. They defiled themselves by their evil deeds, and their love of idols was adultery in the Lord ’s sight. That is why the Lord ’s anger burned against his people, and he abhorred his own special possession. He handed them over to pagan nations, and they were ruled by those who hated them. Their enemies crushed them and brought them under their cruel power. Again and again he rescued them, but they chose to rebel against him, and they were finally destroyed by their sin. Even so, he pitied them in their distress and listened to their cries. He remembered his covenant with them and relented because of his unfailing love. He even caused their captors to treat them with kindness. Save us, O Lord our God! Gather us back from among the nations, so we can thank your holy name and rejoice and praise you. Praise the Lord , the God of Israel, who lives from everlasting to everlasting! Let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the Lord !’

Psalms 106

What will last? FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE!


Ever considered what is most important? Ever considered what can’t be destroyed? Ever considered what matters most?

We know from the bible that faith, hope, and love will remain, will last and that the greatest of these things is love!

God is love and there is no darkness in Him! So the best thing we can do in and with and through our lives is to imitate God and live a life of love towards others! What does that mean, what should we do?

1Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. –from Ephesians 5

Do you see people in need? Will you step out of your comfort zone and serve them in Jesus’ name?

Do you see people who are hungry? Will you give from what you have that they would be fed in Jesus’ name?

Do you see people who are thirsty? Will you give them a drink in Jesus’ name?

What other needs do you see around you? How can you help them in Jesus’ name?

Do they need clothe? Will you give them clothe in Jesus’ name?

Do you see people who are downcast or sad or depressed? Will you be someone who will come alongside them to comfort them in Jesus’ name?

Consider right where you are at today! Consider the needs around you, and there are needs! Do you realize the problems people are having relationally? Do you realize the stress and burdens they are carrying? Do you realize that just because they are pretending to be ok on the outside that if you were sincere and authentic with them you may learn of a need that you would have or could have missed? Will you help others through love as Jesus taught us in Matthew 7? Do you remember when Jesus was asked what the most important commandment was and He said “Love God” and “Love people”? Imagine if everyone lived out their lives to glorify God! Imagine a world where everyone lived their lives loving other people as much as they loved themselves! Imagine a world where things moved from selfish to selfless! What a different world it would be! Imagine with a country! Imagine across country borders! Imagine around the world! Consider the conflicts taking place today and it would be different if everyone took hold of the “golden rule” (Matthew 7:12Luke 6:31) and the impact it would have between people from different countries, backgrounds, heritages and how it would stop polarizing things and causing people to be drawn together!

So, will you go out today to make a difference, leading with LOVE!


Six Keys to Good Relationships

Day 268: Bible In One Year 2017

  • Be filled with the Holy Spirit … Psalm 112:1-10
  • Be transformed into the likeness of Jesus … Ephesians 4:17-5:7
  • Become like the compassionate father … Isaiah 63:1-65:16

Keys:

  1. Authenticity
  2. Passion
  3. Work and generosity
  4. Encouragement
  5. Grace
  6. Purity

Checkout the devotional that dives into these keys.

Today’s reading from God’s Word

Will you live generously?


Do you feel and believe that it is better to give than receive? Do you believe it is good to give even when you don’t know them? Do you believe it is good to give even in your need? Do you believe generosity is a way of living? Do you believe that generosity is just another thing that goes with grace and thanksgiving?

So how will you be generous today?

Do you have to wait for a need to fill it? Will you go out looking to be a blessing to others?

God gives us bread to eat and seeds to sow, so make sure you don’t eat the seeds!

Sow the seeds God has given you that it may produce good fruit. Sow the seeds and pray that God will help you to make the soil good ground where it can take root and grow. Sow the seeds and pray that God will give you wisdom to be able to break the hard ground, pull up the weeds and thorns, so that the hearts of the people will be ready to hear the good news.

Sow seeds


Ten Reasons to Give Generously

Day 250: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Thank God for grace by your worship … Psalm 106:1-15
  2. Thank God for grace by your giving … 2 Corinthians 9:6-15
    • In this passage Paul gives us at least ten reasons to give generously:

      Giving is the best investment you can make

      Like the harvest, giving is planting seed. The farmer will reap far more than what was sown (v.6): ‘A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop’ (v.6, MSG).

      This applies to everything in life. What you give to the Lord he multiplies – your time, gifts, ambitions and money.

      Giving should be fun

      Giving should never be forced or grudging, but rather voluntary and cheerful ‘for God loves a cheerful giver’ (v.7). The Greek word for cheerful is hilaros. We always quip at HTB that our giving should be hilarious! It should be fun to give.

      Giving takes away the burden of financial worry

      Paul writes, ‘and God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work’ (v.8). Giving does not mean handing over financial responsibility to God – but it does mean handing over the worry and the burden of it.

      Giving ‘enriches’ you

      When God invites you to give, he is pleading not just to your emotions but also to your reason: ‘Thus you will be enriched in all things and in every way so that you can be generous’ (v.11, AMP). Materially, you will have enough to give away generously (v.11). Your characters will be enriched (v.10). God will be praised (v.11).

      Giving transforms your character

      Paul speaks of ‘the harvest of your righteousness’ (v.10b). Giving purges the character from the constricting grip of materialism that destroys lives.

      Giving inspires others

      ‘Your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. Because of the service of which you approved yourselves, people will praise God’ (vv.11b–13a).

      Giving meets people’s needs

      Generous giving blesses other people and supplies the needs of God’s people – ‘helping meet the bare needs of poor Christians’ (v.12, MSG).

      Giving is evidence of real faith

      Generous giving is an act of obedience, which should accompany ‘your confession of the gospel of Christ’ (v.13). Giving is an act of trust – in doing it you are saying that it is God, not yourself or anyone else, who ultimately provides for your needs.

      Giving makes you a stakeholder in the church

      Paul speaks of ‘your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else’ (v.13b). In the same way as when you share a flat or apartment you share in the bills, as you share in the needs of the community you reap the benefits of that community. For example, every time someone comes to know Christ through the community you share in the blessing.

      Giving is a response to God’s gift to you

      God so loved you that he gave his one and only Son so that you might have eternal life (John 3:16). Our giving is a response to God’s amazing grace. His ‘indescribable gift’ (2 Corinthians 9:15) is the gift of his Son. ‘Thank God for this gift, his gift. No language can praise it enough!’ (v.15, MSG).

      –from Day 250: Bible In One Year 2017

  3. Thank God for his grace in your lives … Isaiah 14:1-16:14

Today’s Reading from God’s Word:

Are you willing to sacrifice? Are you willing to go the extra mile?


Take a look around and see what is taking place. Are you willing to take a stand for what you believe in? Are you willing to stand up against evil? Are you willing to step out and do something that brings people together in unity through love rather than try to divide them with hate? Will you stand up against what is wrong? Will you stand up for what is right? Will you speak out against racism?

I remember back in middle school when we did an exchange trip where we went to a city for a week and then later in the year they came to ours. I got the opportunity to be with a family who had moved from South Africa and learned a lot about apartheid and it made me so angry. I was ready to go out and protest what was going on and the racism that was taking place. I learned how they escaped. I learned about Nelson Mandela and how he was imprisoned. I have always felt we should be one people and it frustrated me when I saw people from different cultures would be treated differently in such a bitter and hateful manner. We are all created by God! We are all His children! So we need to come together in unity against the lies of the devil who is trying to divide us and break us apart! We need to stand up against any such attack against our brothers and sisters so that it can’t and won’t run lose. Over history there have been so many battles and wars that have taken place and unless we learn from the past, we are going to be doomed to repeat it! So let’s come together and fight off the hateful and embrace one another in love! Let’s be willing to step up and step out for what is right! Let’s pray that God will help bring unity! That the light of our love will shine so bright that the darkness of their hate will have to flee!

Racism is not ok!

Today’s devotional comes to us on the topic of sacrifices that please God, so are you ready?


Consider the sacrifices that have taken place to get you where you are today.

What are you willing to sacrifice to make the world around you a better place?

  • What is coming out of your mouth?
  • How are you living your life?
  • Are you being generous?
  • Are you loving?

Let’s sacrifice by speaking up and speaking out in sacrifice for those who are not able to speak for themselves! Let’s sacrifice by living lives sacrificially – giving every part of it daily up to God for His plans and His purposes so that His love will be made known in the world around you! Let’s sacrifice by being generous! The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it! He has been generous in giving us the air we breath, the relationships we have, the resources we need, so let’s be generous and share His love with the world around us that they too may come to realize the blessings of God and start a relationship with Him! Let’s sacrifice by loving everyone God brings into our lives! Let’s show them the unconditional love God is pouring out on us so that they will feel the love of God and realize there is hope and there is a way even when there doesn’t seem to be a way!

Let’s take hold of what Romans 12 has for us to grasp and turn what the devil planned for evil around and use it to the glory of God!

A Living Sacrifice to God

12 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

3 Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. 4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.

6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,

“I will take revenge;
I will pay them back,”
says the Lord.

20 Instead,

“If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap
burning coals of shame on their heads.”

21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

–from Romans 12 (NLT)

Did you catch the conclusion of Romans 12? Did you see what we are supposed to do? Let’s take a hold of that today and allow Jesus to work in and through us into the world around us that Jesus will be made known and God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in His name!

First let’s start with:

  • Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. (Romans 12:18)
  • Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. (Romans 12:9)
  • When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. (Romans 12:13)
  • Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good. (Romans 12:21)

Four Sacrifices That Please God

Day 210: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Psalms 89:30-37, Romans 11:33-36, Romans 12, 1 Chronicles 6

https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/3420-bible-in-one-year-2017/day/210

  • Thank God for the sacrifice of Jesus … Psalm 89:30-37
  • Make sacrifices that please God … Romans 11:33-12:21
    • In this passage, we see four sacrifices that you can make in response to Jesus’ sacrifice for you:

      1. Sacrifice of your lips

      The writer of Hebrews says, ‘Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess his name… for with such sacrifices God is pleased’ (Hebrews 13:15–16).
      Much of the first eleven chapters of Romans are about the sacrifice of Jesus for us. Paul, having set out all that God has done for us, responds with a sacrifice of praise (Romans 11:33–36).

      2. Sacrifice of your life

      Paul writes, ‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy [because of all that Jesus has done for us through the sacrifice of himself on the cross], to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship’ (12:1, AMP).
      God wants you to offer all of yourself and all of your lives – your time, ambitions, possessions, ears, mouths and sexuality – as well as your mind, emotions and attitudes. Paul’s description of a living sacrifice also reminds us that you have to go on offering your life as a sacrifice to God, offering the whole of your life for the whole of your life.
      As Eugene Peterson translates it in The Message, ‘Take your every day, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering’ (v.1, MSG).
      In Old Testament times, ‘living sacrifice’ would be a contradiction in terms. The whole point of the sacrifice was that it was killed. Jago Wynne writes, ‘Our act of worship is no longer to bring a sacrifice, but to be one ourselves. We remain living. It is all of us that is being offered. Worship is about what I say with my tongue. It’s about what I watch… what I think… where I go with my feet.’

      3. The sacrifice of your ‘loot’

      Generous giving is another New Testament sacrifice. Paul encourages the sacrifice of generosity in contributing to the needs of others (v.8). We are to ‘share with God’s people who are in need’ (v.13). This is another sacrifice the writer of Hebrews says pleases God: ‘to share with others’ (Hebrews 13:16).
      We are even to give generously to our enemies: ‘Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness’ (Romans 12:20, MSG).

      4. Sacrifice of your love

      In this passage Paul gives many examples of the sacrifice of loving service (vv.9–21).

      The writer of Hebrews says, ‘do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased’ (Hebrews 13:16).

      ‘Doing good’ means giving up things that are not good. ‘Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould’ (Romans 12:2, J.B. Phillips). Although God only asks us to give up the bad stuff in our lives, it can feel costly to do so because that stuff is superficially attractive. Repentance is a very positive word, but at the time it may seem sacrificial.

      Sacrificial love involves allowing God to transform us by a complete change. Our love must be sincere (v.9). The Greek word for ‘sincere’ means ‘without hypocrisy’ or literally ‘without play acting’ or ‘without a mask’.

      Often relationships in the world are quite superficial. We all put up fronts or masks to protect ourselves. When we see governments doing this, we call it ‘spin’. When we do it ourselves, we call it ‘image’; we are projecting something. In effect we’re saying, ‘I don’t really like what I am inside, so I will pretend I am somebody different.’ I certainly did this in a major way before I was a Christian (and it carries on to some extent afterwards – though it shouldn’t).

      If other people are doing the same then there are two ‘fronts’ or ‘masks’ meeting. The sad result is that the two real people never meet. This is the opposite of ‘sincere love’. Sincere love means taking off your mask and daring to reveal who you are. When you know that God loves you as you are, you are set free to take off your mask. This means that there is a completely new depth and authenticity in your relationships.

      Paul urges Christians to live in harmony with one another and to be generous (v.13), hospitable (v.13), forgiving (v.14), empathetic (v.15) and to live at peace with everyone (v.18). It is a glorious picture of the Christian family into which God calls us, beckoning us into an atmosphere of love, joy, patience, faithfulness, generosity, hospitality, blessing, rejoicing, harmony, humility and peace; where good is not overcome by evil, but evil is overcome by good (vv.9–21).

      –from Day 210: Bible In One Year 2017

  • Understand the sacrifices in the Old Testament … 1 Chronicles 6:1-81

Do not be overcomed by evil but overcome evil with good

Reality Check Ahead

Do you know what is good for you?


Do you know what food is good for the body? Do you know things are good for the mind? Do you know what things are good for the soul? Do you realize that it is what comes out of you that makes you unclean? What are you putting into your heart? From the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks! So don’t allow bitterness to stick in your heart! Allow forgiveness to have its way so that both you and others will be in a healthy state. Don’t wait and allow bitterness to drag you down into the pit, but rather forgive and allow your heart to be free from the sadness, the pain, the sorrow, the anger, and worse. Let’s ask God to soften our hearts! Let’s ask God to clean out our hearts! Let’s invite Jesus into our hearts to create a new pure heart in us! That we may be generous! That we may be ambassadors for God that others may come to know Him and hear Him and start a relationship with Him! Let’s be givers! Let’s be ambassadors of peace! Let’s share the love of God with others! And when you aren’t sure what to do, cry out to God! Ask Jesus for help! Allow the Holy Spirit to speak into your life the wisdom, the direction, the correction, the instruction you need! Stop and cry out to Him! Ask Him! Seek Him! Knock that He may open! Don’t lose hope but rather cry out to God and chase after Him! Don’t allow the enemy of your soul to create fear and and doubt but rather put your hope and trust in God! Let’s build others up! Let’s tear down strongholds that are holding us and them down or back! Let’s come humbly! Let’s come confidently! Let’s come lovingly! Our battle isn’t against flesh and blood but rather against dark powers and principalities of this world! Let’s be spreading the knowledge of God rather than allow those who would try to block it or come against it to be victorious. Let’s be confident of what Jesus has done! Let’s be confident of what Jesus is doing in and through us! Let’s share the good news! Everyone is looking to get some good news, there is so much bad news everywhere you turn. Don’t hoard the good news, but share it with those God brings into your life! Speak a word of encouragement for you may be that breath of wind into someone else’s sail to allow them to keep going! Let’s live lives that will bless and honor God that in the end we will get to hear those precious words – “well done my good and faithful servant”.


Today’s reading speaks into this topics through the following scripture…

Clean Foods for a Holy People

1“You are the children of Adonai your God. You are not to cut yourselves or shave your forehead for the dead. 2For you are a holy people to Adonai your God—from all the peoples on the face of the earth, Adonai has chosen you to be His treasured people. 3You are not to eat any detestable thing. 4These are the animals you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat, 5the deer, the gazelle, the roebuck, the wild goat, the ibex, the antelope, and the mountain sheep. 6Among the animals, you may eat any animal that splits the hoof—the hoof completely split in two—and chews the cud. 7Yet of those that chew the cud or have a split hoof, you are not to eat the camel, the hare, and the rabbit—because they chew the cud but do not split the hoof, they are unclean to you. 8The pig, because it splits the hoof but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you—you are not to eat their meat or touch their carcasses. 9Of all that are in the waters, these you may eat: whatever has fins and scales you may eat, 10but whatever does not have fins and scales you are not to eat—it is unclean to you. 11You may eat all clean birds, 12but these are the ones you are not to eat: the eagle, the vulture, the buzzard, 13the red kite, the black kite, and any bird of prey of that kind, 14every raven of any kind, 15the ostrich, the owl, the seagull, a hawk of any kind, 16the little owl, the great owl, the white owl, 17the pelican, the Egyptian vulture, the cormorant, 18the stork, a heron of any kind, the hoopoe, and the bat. 19All winged insects are unclean to you—they are not to be eaten. 20You may eat any clean bird. 21You are not to eat anything that dies of itself. You may give it to the outsider within your gates so that he may eat it or you may sell it to a foreigner. For you are a holy people to Adonai your God. You are not to boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.

Tithe and Remember the Levite

22“You will surely set aside a tenth of all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year. 23You are to eat the tithe of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, before Adonai your God in the place He chooses to make His Name dwell, so that you may learn to fear Adonai your God always. 24Now suppose the way is too long for you, for you cannot carry the tithe because the place Adonai your God chooses to set His Name is too far from you. When Adonai your God blesses you, 25then you are to exchange the tithe for silver, bind up the silver in your hand, and go to the place that Adonai your God chooses. 26You may spend the money for whatever your soul desires—cattle, sheep, wine, strong drink, or whatever your soul asks of you. Then you will eat there before Adonai your God and rejoice—you and your household. 27But you are not to neglect the Levite within your gates, for he has no portion or inheritance with you. 28At the end of every three years, you are to bring out all the tithe of your produce in that year and store it within your gates. 29Then the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, along with the outsider, the orphan and the widow within your gates, will come and eat and be satisfied, so that Adonai your God may bless you in all the work of your hand that you do.

–from Deuteronomy 14

 

Shmittah: Cancellation of Debts

1“At the end of every seven years you are to cancel debts. 2This is how you are to cancel debts: every creditor is to release what he has loaned to his neighbor. He must not force his neighbor or his brother to repay, for Adonai’s debt cancellation has been proclaimed. 3A foreigner you may force, but your hand is to release whatever your brother owes you. 4“However, there should be no poor among you, for Adonai will surely bless you in the land Adonai your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess. 5If only you would carefully listen to the voice of Adonai your God, being careful to do all these mitzvah that I am commanding you today! 6For Adonai your God will bless you as He promised you. So you will lend to many nations, but not borrow; you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you. 7“If there is a poor man among you—any of your brothers within any of your gates in your land that Adonai your God is giving you—you are not to harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother. 8Rather, you must surely open your hand to him and you must surely lend him enough for his need—whatever he is lacking. 9Watch yourself, so there is no unworthy thing in your heart saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of cancelling debts, is near,’ and your eye is evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing. Then he may call out to Adonai against you, and it will be a sin upon you. 10You must surely give to him, and your heart is not to be grieved when you give to him—for because of this thing Adonai your God will bless you in all your work and in every undertaking of your hand. 11“For there will never cease to be poor people in the land. Therefore I am commanding you, saying, ‘You must surely open your hand to your brother—to your needy and poor in your land.’ 12“If your fellow Hebrew—a man or woman—is sold to you and serves you six years, then in the seventh year you are to set him free. 13When you set him free, you are not to send him away empty-handed. 14You are to surely provide for him from your flock and threshing floor and winepress. As Adonai your God has blessed you, you are to give to him. 15You will remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and Adonai your God redeemed you; therefore I am commanding you this thing today. 16“Now if he tells you, ‘I will not go away from you’—because he loves you and your household since he is well off with you— 17then you are to take an awl and put it through his ear to the door, and he will be your servant forever. And to your female slave you are to do the same. 18It should not seem hard to you when you set him free from you, for he has served you six years—double the value of a hired worker. So Adonai your God will bless you in all that you do. 19“All the firstborn males that are born in your herd and your flock you are to consecrate to Adonai your God. You are to do no work with the firstborn of your herd or shear the firstborn of your flock. 20You are to eat it before Adonai your God year after year in the place Adonai chooses—you and your household. 21But if it has any blemish—if it is lame or blind or has any serious blemish—you are not to sacrifice it to Adonai your God. 22You are to eat it within your gates, the unclean and the clean together, just as they eat the gazelle or deer. 23Only its blood you are not to eat—you must pour it out on the ground like water.

–from Deuternomy 15

 

Cry of Desperation

1A song, a psalm of the sons of Korah, for the music director, for singing Mahalath, a contemplative song of Heman the Ezrahite. 2Adonai, God of my salvation, day and night I cried out before You. 3Let my prayer come before You. Turn Your ear to my cry. 4For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol. 5I am counted with those who go down into the Pit. I have become as one with no strength— 6abandoned among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom You remember no more— cut off from Your hand. 7You have laid me in the lowest places, in dark places, in the depths. 8Your wrath lies heavily on me. You afflicted me with all Your waves. Selah
9You have put my companions far from me. You have made me repulsive to them. I am shut in and I cannot go out. 10My eye fails from affliction. I call upon You every day, Adonai. I spread out my hands to You. 11Will You work wonders for the dead? Or will the departed spirits rise up praising You? Selah
12Will Your love be declared in the grave? Or Your faithfulness in the place of ruin? 13Will Your wonders be known in the darkness? Your righteousness in the land of oblivion? 14But I—I cried out to You, Adonai, and in the morning my prayer meets You. 15Adonai, why do You spurn me? Why do You hide Your face from me? 16From my youth I have been afflicted and close to death. I suffer Your terrors—I am desperate! 17Your fury has swept over me. Your terrors have cut me off. 18Like water they surge around me all day. They close in on me together. 19Friend and loved one You took far from me. Darkness has become my companion.

–from Psalms 88

 

Tearing Down Strongholds

1Now I, Paul, appeal myself to you by the meekness and gentleness of Messiah—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when far away. 2I beg of you that when I am present I won’t need to be bold with the courage I consider showing against some who judge us as walking in the flesh. 3For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh. 4For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly but powerful through God for the tearing down of strongholds. We are tearing down false arguments 5and every high-minded thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. We are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Messiah— 6ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. 7Look at what is before your eyes. If anyone is confident in himself that he belongs to Messiah, let him reconsider that just as he belongs to Messiah, so also do we. 8For even if I boast a little more about our authority—which the Lord gave for building you up and not for tearing you down—I will not be put to shame. 9Not that I would try to terrify you by my letters— 10for they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his presence in person is weak and his speech of no account.” 11Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word through letters when we are absent, we also are in action when we are present. 12For we do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves. But when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they have no understanding. 13But we will not boast beyond limits, but within the limits of the area that God has assigned to us—to reach even as far as you. 14We are not extending ourselves too far, as if we did not reach you—for we did come even as far as to you with the Good News of Messiah. 15Neither are we boasting beyond limits based on the labors of others, but we have hope while your faith is growing for our area among you to be greatly enlarged— 16so that we may proclaim the Good News even to regions beyond you, not boasting about what has been accomplished in another’s area. 17But “let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” 18For it Is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.

–from 2 Corinthians 10

Don’t lose what you have been given!


Do you realize what you have? Do you realize what you have seen? Do you realize what you have experienced? Do you realize what you have been given? Don’t forget!

Will you live out your life in love and obedience? Will you pass on as a legacy the good news you have received? Will you live each day with the importance and the urgency that it has?

Today’s reading begins with a reminder from Moses…

Love and Obey with All Your Heart

1“Therefore you are to love Adonai your God and keep His charge, His statutes, His ordinances and His mitzvot at all times. 2And you should know this day that it was not your children who knew or saw the discipline of Adonai your God—His greatness, His mighty hand and His outstretched arm; 3His signs and the deeds He did in the midst of Egypt to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to all his land; 4and what He did to the army of Egypt, to its horses and chariots when He made the waters of the Sea of Reeds flow over them as they chased after you, and how Adonai has destroyed them to this day; 5what He did for you in the wilderness until you came to this place; 6 and what He did to Dathan and Abiram sons of Eliab son of Reuben—how the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, along with their households and tents and every living thing that followed them, in the midst of all Israel— 7Rather, it is your own eyes that have seen every mighty deed that Adonai has done. 8“Therefore you are to keep the whole mitzvah that I am commanding you today, so that you may be strong and go in and possess the land that you are crossing over to possess, 9and so that you may prolong your days on the land that Adonai swore to give to your fathers and to their descendants—a land flowing with milk and honey. 10“For the land you are going in to possess is not like the land of Egypt from which you came. There you planted your seed and watered it by foot, like a vegetable garden. 11But the land you are crossing over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, drinking from the rain of the heavens it drinks in water. 12It is a land that Adonai your God cares for—the eyes of Adonai your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year up to the end of the year. 13“Now if you listen obediently to My mitzvot that I am commanding you today—to love Adonai your God and to serve Him with all your heart and soul— 14then I will give rain for your land in its season—the early rain and the late rain —so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil. 15I will give grass in your field for your livestock, and you will eat and be satisfied. 16Watch yourselves, so your heart is not deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them. 17Then the anger of Adonai will be kindled against you, so He will shut up the sky so that there will be no rain and the soil will not yield its produce. Then you will perish quickly from the good land Adonai is giving you. 18“Therefore you are to set these words of Mine in your heart and in your soul. You are to bind them as a sign on your hand, and as frontlets between your eyes. 19You are to teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up. 20You are to write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21so that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied on the land Adonai swore to give to your fathers, as long as the heavens are above the earth. 22“For if you will diligently keep all this ­mitzvah that I am commanding you to do—to love Adonai your God, to walk in all His ways and to cling to Him— 23then Adonai will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourselves. 24Every place where the sole of your foot treads will be yours—from the wilderness to the Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, as far as the western sea will be your border. 25No one will be able to stand against you—Adonai your God will put the fear and dread of you upon all the land where you tread, just as He has promised you.

Blessing or Curse Set Before You

26“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse— 27the blessing, if you listen to the mitzvot of Adonai your God that I am commanding you today, 28but the curse, if you do not listen to the mitzvot of Adonai your God, but turn from the way I am commanding you today, to go after other gods you have not known. 29Now when Adonai your God brings you into the land you are going in to possess, you are to set the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. 30Are they not across the Jordan toward the west, in the land of the Canaanites who dwell in the Arabah—opposite Gilgal, beside the oaks of Moreh? 31For you are about to cross over the Jordan to go in to possess the land Adonai your God is giving you—you will possess it and dwell in it, 32and you will take care to do all the statutes and ordinances that I am setting before you today.

–from Deuteronomy 11

Will you go the way you are supposed to go and reap the benefits? Will you share this wisdom and knowledge that there will be a legacy after you? How will you make a difference in and through the life you lead and live? There is a reason and a purpose in everything He asks of you, it’s part of His greater plan!

The Place He Chooses

1“These are the statutes and ordinances that you are to make sure to do in the land that Adonai, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess—all the days that you live on the earth. 2You must utterly destroy all the places where the nations that you will dispossess served their gods—on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. 3You are to tear down their altars, smash their pillars, burn their Asherah poles in the fire and cut down the carved images of their gods, and you are to obliterate their name from that place. 4“You are not to act like this toward Adonai your God. 5Rather you are to seek only the place Adonai your God chooses from all your tribes to put His Name to dwell—there you will come. 6There you are to bring your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes, the offering of your hand, your vow and freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock. 7There you and your households will eat before Adonai your God and rejoice in every undertaking of your hand, as Adonai your God has blessed you. 8You will not do all the things as we are doing here today—everyone doing what is right in his own eyes. 9For you have not yet come to the resting place and the inheritance that Adonai your God is giving you. 10But when you cross over the Jordan and settle in the land that Adonai your God enables you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies around you, you will dwell in safety. 11“Then the place Adonai your God chooses to make His Name dwell, there you are to bring all that I command you—your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes, the offering of your hand, and all your finest vow offerings that you vow to Adonai. 12Then you will rejoice before Adonai your God—you and your sons and daughters, your slaves and maids, and the Levite in your towns, for he has no portion or inheritance among you. 13Be careful that you do not offer your burnt offerings in any place you see. 14Rather do so only in the place Adonai chooses in one of your tribes—there you are to offer your burnt offerings, and there you are to do all I am commanding you. 15“However, you may slaughter and eat meat within all your gates—whatever your soul’s desire, according to the blessing Adonai your God has given you. Either the unclean or clean may eat of it, as they would a gazelle and or deer. 16But you are not to eat the blood—you are to pour it out on the ground like water. 17You may not eat within your gates the tithe of your grain or new wine or oil, or the firstborn of your herd or of your flock, or any of your vow offerings that you vow, or your freewill offerings, or the offering of your hand. 18Rather you are to eat them before Adonai your God in the place Adonai your God chooses—you, your son and daughter, your slave and maid, and the Levite within your gates—and you will rejoice before Adonai your God in every undertaking of your hand. 19Be careful that you do not neglect the Levite as long as you live on the earth. 20“When Adonai your God enlarges your territory as He has promised you, and you say, ‘I want to eat meat,’ because your soul craves meat, then you may eat meat—all your soul’s desire. 21If the place Adonai your God chooses to put His Name is too far from you, then you may slaughter any of your herd and flock that Adonai has given you—as I have commanded you—and you may eat within your gates, all your soul’s desire. 22Just as the gazelle or hart is eaten, so you may eat it—the unclean and clean alike may eat it. 23Only be sure that you do not eat the blood—for the blood is the life, and you are not to eat the life with the meat. 24You are not to eat it—you are to pour it out on the ground like water. 25You are not to eat it, so that it may go well with you and your children after you, when you do what is right in Adonai’s eyes. 26“Only the holy things and vow offerings that are yours are you to take and go to the place that Adonai chooses. 27You are to offer your burnt offerings—the flesh and the blood—on the altar of Adonai your God. The blood of your sacrifices is to be poured out on the altar of Adonai your God, but the meat you are to eat. 28Take care and listen to all these words that I am commanding you, so that it may go well with you and your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the eyes of Adonai your God. 29“When Adonai your God cuts off before you the nations that you are going in to dispossess, when you have dispossessed them and settled in their land, 30be careful not to be trapped into imitating them after they have been destroyed before you. Do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods? I will do the same.’ 31You are not to act like this toward Adonai your God! For every abomination of Adonai, which He hates, they have done to their gods—they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.

–from Deuteronomy 12

He is trying to guide you. He is trying to protect you. He is trying to set boundaries in order to save you and keep you from falling for lies and deception. The truth sets us free but there are some who will try to twist it and trip you up.

Beware of False Prophets

1“Whatever I command you, you must take care to do—you are not to add to it or take away from it. 2“Suppose a prophet or a dreamer of dreams rises up among you and gives you a sign or wonder, 3and the sign or wonder he spoke to you comes true, while saying, ‘Let’s follow other gods’—that you have not known, and—‘Let’s serve them!’ 4You must not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams—for Adonai your God is testing you, to find out whether you love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 5Adonai your God you will follow and Him you will fear. His mitzvot you will keep, to His voice you will listen, Him you will serve and to Him you will cling. 6That prophet or dreamer of dreams must be put to death! For he has spoken falsehood against Adonai your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to entice you from the way Adonai your God commanded you to walk. So you will purge the evil from your midst. 7“Suppose your brother—your mother’s son—or your son or daughter, or the wife of your bosom, or your best friend of your own soul misleads you secretly, saying, ‘Let’s go and serve other gods’—that you and your fathers have not known, 8from among the gods of the peoples around you, near you or far off from you, from one end of the earth to the other. 9You are not to give in or listen to him, your eye is not to pity him, and you are not to spare or conceal him. 10Instead, you will surely put him to death. Your hand should be the first against him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. 11You are to stone him with stones to death because he tried to entice you away from Adonai your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery. 12Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and never again will they do such an evil thing as this in your midst. 13“Suppose you hear it said in one of your cities, which Adonai your God is giving you to dwell in, 14that worthless fellows have gone out from among you and enticed the inhabitants of their city, saying, ‘Let’s go and serve other gods’—that you have not known. 15Then you are to investigate, search out and inquire thoroughly. If indeed it is true and the matter certain that this abomination has been done in your midst, 16you will surely strike down the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying it and all that is in it and its livestock with the sword. 17You are to gather all its plunder into the middle of the street, and you are to burn with fire the city and all its plunder—all of it to Adonai your God. It will be a ruin forever—it shall never be built again. 18Nothing from the ban should cling to your hand, so that Adonai may turn from the fierceness of His anger and show you mercy, and have compassion on you and multiply you, just as He swore to your fathers— 19when you listen to the voice of Adonai your God, keeping all His mitzvot that I am commanding you today, doing what is right in the eyes of Adonai your God.

–from Deuteronomy 13

So turn to God! Go to the source of truth! Turn to the one who is true love! And follow after Him and His ways! Let’s be planting generosity! Let’s be planting a heart of cheerful giving! Let’s be people who joyfully give so that others may come to know the reality of Jesus in their lives! Let’s live lives that will bring God all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name.

1Now about this service to the kedoshim, it is indeed unnecessary for me to write to you— 2for I know your eagerness. I boast about it to the Macedonians, that Achaia has been preparing for a year already; and your zeal has stirred up most of them. 3But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you may not be in vain in this case, so that you may be prepared, just as I kept saying. 4Otherwise, if any Macedonians were to come and find you unprepared, we—not to mention you—would be put to shame in this undertaking. 5So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on to you and arrange ahead of time your generous gift that had been promised beforehand, so that it would be ready as a gift and not as an extortion.

Sowing and Reaping Generosity

6The point is this: whoever sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully. 7Let each one give as he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion—for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace overflow to you, so that by always having enough of everything, you may overflow in every good work. 9As it is written, “He scattered widely, He gave to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.” 10Now the One who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be enriched in everything for all generosity, which through us brings about thanksgiving to God. 12For this service of giving is not only supplying the needs of the kedoshim, but is also overflowing with many thanksgivings to God. 13Because of the evidence of this service, they praise God for the obedience of your affirmation of the Good News of Messiah and for the generosity of your contribution to them and to everyone. 14And in their prayer for you, they long for you because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

–from 2 Corinthians 9

Darkness

Ever been in a situation where you could just feel that darkness?


Ever been in a situation where everything that was taking place seemed like it was from another world? That there was so much darkness and evil brewing that it felt wrong and out of place? Ever been in a situation you knew what was going down was being done in a way that felt and looked and smelt wrong? Did you do anything about it? Did you say anything about it? How did it impact you? How did it affect you?

In today’s reading we start out in just such a situation…let’s watch it play out…

The Arrest of Jesus

(Matthew 26.47-56; Mark 14.43-50; John 18.3-11)
47Jesus was still speaking when a crowd arrived, led by Judas, one of the twelve disciples. He came up to Jesus to kiss him. 48But Jesus said, “Judas, is it with a kiss that you betray the Son of Man?” 49When the disciples who were with Jesus saw what was going to happen, they asked, “Shall we use our swords, Lord?” 50And one of them struck the High Priest’s slave and cut off his right ear. 51But Jesus said, “Enough of this!” He touched the man’s ear and healed him. 52Then Jesus said to the chief priests and the officers of the Temple guard and the elders who had come there to get him, “Did you have to come with swords and clubs, as though I were an outlaw? 53 I was with you in the Temple every day, and you did not try to arrest me. But this is your hour to act, when the power of darkness rules.” –from Luke 22

We need to know and understand the time we are in. We need to know our role and responsibility. We need God’s wisdom through the Holy Spirit so that we act in a way that will be appropriate and glorify God! Jesus is the name above all names. He is able to exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine. We need to respond appropriately for the situation we are in and in accordance with God’s will. We can’t just respond out of an emotional outbreak. We need to be able to respond the way God wants us to. He has a plan and a purpose. He can use what the devil plans for evil and turn it around for good. It may look like Jesus being taken away was the end of it to many who were trying to shut Him down, but God had other plans. Jesus was going to pay the ultimate price in order to reconcile us back to God! He knew we couldn’t do it in our own power and took it into His own hands. And then as usual He conquered the grave and rose on the third day. He is now sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for all those who have received Him as their Lord and Savior. You and me. (Hoping you have already received Him, but if you haven’t today could be your day! The day to ask Jesus to forgive you and to come into your heart.)

Some will act in the light where it can be seen by all. Some will act in the darkness to hide it from the eyes of others.

Ever been in a situation where you could just feel that darkness?


Today’s reading continues into the fact of who Jesus was in addition to being the son of God for us, He is also our priest for in what He has done, He bridged the gap and allows us access to the throne of God so that we can have a living relationship with God! (if you continue reading in Hebrews it goes into that, today’s reading is as follows)

The Priest Melchizedek

1  This Melchizedek was king of Salem and a priest of the Most High God. As Abraham was coming back from the battle in which he defeated the four kings, Melchizedek met him and blessed him, 2and Abraham gave him one tenth of all he had taken. (The first meaning of Melchizedek’s name is “King of Righteousness”; and because he was king of Salem, his name also means “King of Peace.”) 3There is no record of Melchizedek’s father or mother or of any of his ancestors; no record of his birth or of his death. He is like the Son of God; he remains a priest forever. 4You see, then, how great he was. Abraham, our famous ancestor, gave him one tenth of all he got in the battle. 5 And those descendants of Levi who are priests are commanded by the Law to collect one tenth from the people of Israel, that is, from their own people, even though they are also descendants of Abraham. 6Melchizedek was not descended from Levi, but he collected one tenth from Abraham and blessed him, the man who received God’s promises. 7There is no doubt that the one who blesses is greater than the one who is blessed. 8In the case of the priests the tenth is collected by men who die; but as for Melchizedek the tenth was collected by one who lives, as the scripture says. 9And, so to speak, when Abraham paid the tenth, Levi (whose descendants collect the tenth) also paid it. 10For Levi had not yet been born, but was, so to speak, in the body of his ancestor Abraham when Melchizedek met him. 11It was on the basis of the levitical priesthood that the Law was given to the people of Israel. Now, if the work of the levitical priests had been perfect, there would have been no need for a different kind of priest to appear, one who is in the priestly order of Melchizedek, not of Aaron. 12For when the priesthood is changed, there also has to be a change in the law. 13And our Lord, of whom these things are said, belonged to a different tribe, and no member of his tribe ever served as a priest. 14It is well known that he was born a member of the tribe of Judah; and Moses did not mention this tribe when he spoke of priests. –from Hebrews 7

We are to be a generous people. Giving wasn’t something that came up in the law, but it was something that started even before the law of Moses. Abraham started it which was before Moses gave the law. So let’s be a generous people. Let’s not hold back from doing good! Let’s be honoring to God in the way that we live our lives daily!

Not sure what to day? Turn to God’s Word for Wisdom! Turn to God for direction! Let’s follow-up in Proverbs to close today with 15-18 of the 30 wise sayings…

-15-
19Listen, my child, be wise and give serious thought to the way you live. 20Don’t associate with people who drink too much wine or stuff themselves with food. 21Drunkards and gluttons will be reduced to poverty. If all you do is eat and sleep, you will soon be wearing rags.
-16-
22Listen to your father; without him you would not exist. When your mother is old, show her your appreciation. 23Truth, wisdom, learning, and good sense—these are worth paying for, but too valuable for you to sell. 24A righteous person’s parents have good reason to be happy. You can take pride in a wise child. 25Let your father and mother be proud of you; give your mother that happiness.
-17-
26Pay close attention, son, and let my life be your example. 27Prostitutes and immoral women are a deadly trap. 28They wait for you like robbers and cause many men to be unfaithful.
-18-
29-30Show me people who drink too much, who have to try out fancy drinks, and I will show you people who are miserable and sorry for themselves, always causing trouble and always complaining. Their eyes are bloodshot, and they have bruises that could have been avoided. 31Don’t let wine tempt you, even though it is rich red, and it sparkles in the cup, and it goes down smoothly. 32The next morning you will feel as if you had been bitten by a poisonous snake. 33Weird sights will appear before your eyes, and you will not be able to think or speak clearly. 34You will feel as if you were out on the ocean, seasick, swinging high up in the rigging of a tossing ship. 35“I must have been hit,” you will say; “I must have been beaten up, but I don’t remember it. Why can’t I wake up? I need another drink.” –from Proverbs 23

It’s not the size, it’s a matter of the heart!


Some give out of the excess, but others give out of their need!

Some give to make a show, others give privately!

When you give to make a show, you have gotten all the reward that you are going to get!

We need to not only give, we need to love!

It’s not a matter of size, it’s a matter of the intent of the heart!

This came to mind from this morning’s reading where we hear from Jesus…

The Question about the Messiah

(Matthew 22.41-46; Luke 20.41-44)
35As Jesus was teaching in the Temple, he asked the question, “How can the teachers of the Law say that the Messiah will be the descendant of David? 36The Holy Spirit inspired David to say:
‘The Lord said to my Lord:
Sit here at my right side
until I put your enemies under your feet.’
37David himself called him ‘Lord’; so how can the Messiah be David’s descendant?”

Jesus Warns against the Teachers of the Law

(Matthew 23.1-36; Luke 20.45-47)
A large crowd was listening to Jesus gladly. 38As he taught them, he said, “Watch out for the teachers of the Law, who like to walk around in their long robes and be greeted with respect in the marketplace, 39who choose the reserved seats in the synagogues and the best places at feasts. 40They take advantage of widows and rob them of their homes, and then make a show of saying long prayers. Their punishment will be all the worse!”

The Widow’s Offering

(Luke 21.1-4)
41As Jesus sat near the Temple treasury, he watched the people as they dropped in their money. Many rich men dropped in a lot of money; 42then a poor widow came along and dropped in two little copper coins, worth about a penny. 43He called his disciples together and said to them, “I tell you that this poor widow put more in the offering box than all the others. 44For the others put in what they had to spare of their riches; but she, poor as she is, put in all she had—she gave all she had to live on.”
— from Mark 12:35-44

It’s a matter of the heart! Are you expressing your attitude of gratitude for God? Are you giving out of a joyful heart? Are you giving from your excess or the little you have? Do you realize what you have been given? Check your heart, don’t give out of compulsion, but give willing what God’s Spirit puts in your heart!

Ever seen someone missing a smile? Do you give them yours?

Ever seen someone needing a hug? Do you give them yours?

Do you realize you don’t lose by giving? Do you realize it is a multiplication factor?

Do you realize that it’s not what we think about ourselves that matters, but what God thinks about us?

Today’s reading continues with Paul defending his ministry…The powerful weapons used to destroy strongholds, to destroy false arguments, to pull down proud obstacles. Taking every thought captive in order to make it obedient to Christ. Being loyal!

1I, Paul, make a personal appeal to you—I who am said to be meek and mild when I am with you, but harsh with you when I am away. By the gentleness and kindness of Christ 2I beg you not to force me to be harsh when I come; for I am sure I can deal harshly with those who say that we act from worldly motives. 3It is true that we live in the world, but we do not fight from worldly motives. 4The weapons we use in our fight are not the world’s weapons but God’s powerful weapons, which we use to destroy strongholds. We destroy false arguments; 5we pull down every proud obstacle that is raised against the knowledge of God; we take every thought captive and make it obey Christ. 6And after you have proved your complete loyalty, we will be ready to punish any act of disloyalty.

7You are looking at the outward appearance of things. Are there some there who reckon themselves to belong to Christ? Well, let them think again about themselves, because we belong to Christ just as much as they do. 8For I am not ashamed, even if I have boasted somewhat too much about the authority that the Lord has given us—authority to build you up, not to tear you down. 9I do not want it to appear that I am trying to frighten you with my letters. 10Someone will say, “Paul’s letters are severe and strong, but when he is with us in person, he is weak, and his words are nothing!” 11Such a person must understand that there is no difference between what we write in our letters when we are away and what we will do when we are there with you.
12Of course we would not dare classify ourselves or compare ourselves with those who rate themselves so highly. How stupid they are! They make up their own standards to measure themselves by, and they judge themselves by their own standards! 13As for us, however, our boasting will not go beyond certain limits; it will stay within the limits of the work which God has set for us, and this includes our work among you. 14And since you are within those limits, we were not going beyond them when we came to you, bringing the Good News about Christ. 15So we do not boast about the work that others have done beyond the limits God set for us. Instead, we hope that your faith may grow and that we may be able to do a much greater work among you, always within the limits that God has set. 16Then we can preach the Good News in other countries beyond you and shall not have to boast about work already done in someone else’s field.
17But as the scripture says, “Whoever wants to boast must boast about what the Lord has done.” 18For it is when the Lord thinks well of us that we are really approved, and not when we think well of ourselves.

So today, let’s come together! Let’s walk in unity with Christ and one another! Let’s allow the hope that is within us to glorify God!

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good…Remember all He has done for you! Testify of His great love and work in and through your life!

God and His People

(1 Chronicles 16.8-22)
1Give thanks to the Lord,
proclaim his greatness;
tell the nations what he has done.
2Sing praise to the Lord;
tell the wonderful things he has done.
3Be glad that we belong to him;
let all who worship him rejoice.
4Go to the Lord for help;
and worship him continually.
5-6You descendants of Abraham, his servant;
you descendants of Jacob, the man he chose:
remember the miracles that God performed
and the judgments that he gave.
7The Lord is our God;
his commands are for all the world.
8He will keep his covenant forever,
his promises for a thousand generations.
9He will keep the agreement he made with Abraham
and his promise to Isaac.
10The Lord made a covenant with Jacob,
one that will last forever.
11“I will give you the land of Canaan,” he said.
“It will be your own possession.”
12God’s people were few in number,
strangers in the land of Canaan.
13They wandered from country to country,
from one kingdom to another.
14But God let no one oppress them;
to protect them, he warned the kings:
15“Don’t harm my chosen servants;
do not touch my prophets.”
16The Lord sent famine to their country
and took away all their food.
17But he sent a man ahead of them,
Joseph, who had been sold as a slave.
18His feet were kept in chains,
and an iron collar was around his neck,
19until what he had predicted came true.
The word of the Lord proved him right.
20Then the king of Egypt had him released;
the ruler of nations set him free.
21He put him in charge of his government
and made him ruler over all the land,
22with power over the king’s officials
and authority to instruct his advisers.
23Then Jacob went to Egypt
and settled in that country.
24The Lord gave many children to his people
and made them stronger than their enemies.
25He made the Egyptians hate his people
and treat his servants with deceit.
26Then he sent his servant Moses,
and Aaron, whom he had chosen.
27They did God’s mighty acts
and performed miracles in Egypt.
28God sent darkness on the country,
but the Egyptians did not obey his command.
29He turned their rivers into blood
and killed all their fish.
30Their country was overrun with frogs;
even the palace was filled with them.
31God commanded, and flies and gnats
swarmed throughout the whole country.
32He sent hail and lightning on their land
instead of rain;
33he destroyed their grapevines and fig trees
and broke down all the trees.
34He commanded, and the locusts came,
countless millions of them;
35they ate all the plants in the land;
they ate all the crops.
36He killed the first-born sons
of all the families of Egypt.
37Then he led the Israelites out;
they carried silver and gold,
and all of them were healthy and strong.
38The Egyptians were afraid of them
and were glad when they left.
39God put a cloud over his people
and a fire at night to give them light.
40They asked, and he sent quails;
he gave them food from heaven to satisfy them.
41He opened a rock, and water gushed out,
flowing through the desert like a river.
42He remembered his sacred promise
to Abraham his servant.
43So he led his chosen people out,
and they sang and shouted for joy.
44He gave them the lands of other peoples
and let them take over their fields,
45so that his people would obey his laws
and keep all his commands.
Praise the Lord!

Even the little you can give can make a big difference when used for the right reason.


Ever been in a situation where someone asks for something? Ever been in a situation where someone was in need of something? Ever had the thought, I don’t really have much to offer? Ever felt like I wish I had more to give? Imagine this… 5000 men and their wives and kids all in need of food and all you can find it 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. People come around asking if anyone has food to share. How would you respond? How would you feel? Would you give up your lunch? or dinner? to the people? What would be the intentions of your heart? What would keep you from doing? What would make you do it? Is it a spirit of generosity? Is it a spirit of selflessness? Is it because you believe God is able to provide for all your needs? Is it because you believe God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more that we could ever ask or imagine? Is it because you have the assurance of God?

Imaging being the boy…Imagine being the disciples…Imagine being the crowd…

Consider where you are at today. You may not have a lot to offer. You may have debt. You may have little. Are you willing to take that little and give it into God’s hands and allow Him to multiply it to make a difference around the world?

Consider this…

Jesus Feeds Five Thousand

(Mark 6.30-44; Luke 9.10-17; John 6.1-14)

13When Jesus heard the news about John, he left there in a boat and went to a lonely place by himself. The people heard about it, and so they left their towns and followed him by land. 14Jesus got out of the boat, and when he saw the large crowd, his heart was filled with pity for them, and he healed their sick. 15That evening his disciples came to him and said, “It is already very late, and this is a lonely place. Send the people away and let them go to the villages to buy food for themselves.” 16“They don’t have to leave,” answered Jesus. “You yourselves give them something to eat!” 17“All we have here are five loaves and two fish,” they replied. 18“Then bring them here to me,” Jesus said. 19He ordered the people to sit down on the grass; then he took the five loaves and the two fish, looked up to heaven, and gave thanks to God. He broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20Everyone ate and had enough. Then the disciples took up twelve baskets full of what was left over. 21The number of men who ate was about five thousand, not counting the women and children.

— from Matthew 14 (GNT)

Remember the poor lady? (Check this out…)

Some don’t give out of fear, others give out of faith! It’s not a competition! It’s not a comparison with what others can give!

It’s a matter of the heart. What does your heart tell you to do? God prefers a cheerful giver!

Today’s reading bring me back to a day of decision. A day when I had to choose if I would step out in faith and trust God that He would bring me to the His next/new calling. It was the day I had to decide to get out of the boat! It was an amazing journey that God helped me to be set free from where I was at and be able to step out in faith and walk where I had never walked before that I may glorify Him!

Nothing is impossible with God! All things are possible for those who believe!

Let’s step today in alignment with the Holy Spirit that we may go where He wants us to go and we stay where He wants us to stay. Let’s live lives that will glorify God and allow the hope and the truth of Jesus Christ to bring salvation to the world around us.