MEDIEVAL BUSINESSES AND THE POOR…(The Bible’s Impact on Trade and Taxes [June 6])


How do you feel when you see people on the side of the road asking for help? How do you respond when you see people with signs asking for help? How do you respond if they are just themselves? How do you respond if their sign says they are a single mom? How do you respond if it is a dad and it says he lost his job? How do you respond if they are sitting by buildings with a dog? How do you respond if there are a group in sleeping bags early in the morning?

Do you help organizations who are setup to help those in need get off the streets? Do you help organizations who help people get back on their feet? Do you help organizations that help people get reconnected to friends and family? Do you help organizations who feed the poor?

Do you feel there is a difference between a handout and a hand up? Are you doing it to help or to make yourself feel better? Are you doing it to help or support them? What is your motive?

Today’s reading comes from Deuteronomy 8

Remember the Lord Your God

1″The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the Lord swore to give to your fathers. 2And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. 3And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. 5Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you. 6So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him. 7For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, 8a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, 9a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. 10And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.
11″Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, 12lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, 13and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, 14then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, 15who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, 16who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. 17Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ 18You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. 19And if you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. 20Like the nations that the Lordmakes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God.

from Deuteronomy 8

Today’s reading from The Global Impact Bible on the subject of the Bible’s impact on Trade and Taxes brings us to the topic of “Medieval Businesses and The Poor” and points to two verses Deuteronomy 8:9, 11

‘a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. ‘

from Deuteronomy 8:9

which points back to how in the late 1200s as our devotional tells us (p.246) Italian business owners often applied this biblical principle for using capital and profiles to benefit the poor. Some would integrate the needs of the poor into their annual budgets. Sapori writes:

Each time they drew up or revised a budget, a fund for the poor was created with some of the capital of the company. These funds were entered in the books in the name of “our Good Lord God” as representing the poor, who in this day were made partners in the company. When dividends were paid, a proportional part went to the poor.

It speaks to using capital to produce ongoing social benefits. It was businesses choosing to do it rather than government forcing the situation. It speaks to how the capital produced is a gift from God. It speaks to being good stewards and managers of the resources be it for work, investment, or conservation.

The second verses was Deuteronomy 8:11

‘”Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, ‘

–from Deuteronomy 8:11

We aren’t to live compartmentalized lives. We aren’t to separate our economic affairs and how we do business from God’s laws against greed, usury, and the worship or love of money. The love of money is the root of all evil! We learn through today’s devotional how we are to use the capital in ways that will benefit society.

So do you work somewhere that is living by the principles of using capital for both profit and charity? Do they do some type of matching so it can go to a charity of your choice or choosing? Do they offer opportunity to pour into the community and fill in the gaps? Do you realize the volume this speaks to the importance of life to the recipients? So be a good steward! Be generous!

Do you realize this goes all the way back to the Bible? So how will that change how you live out today?


Heavenly Father,
You know the plans You have for me and I know they are for good and not for evil. I know Lord that You are love!  You are light and there is no darkness in you! We have all received the gift of freewill so that we can have a real relationship with you rather than a robotic on. Help me Lord to choose good. Help me Lord to choose well. Help me Lord to choose right. Help me Lord to choose love. Help me Lord to produce the fruit of the Spirit so that when people see the  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control, they will rejoice and give You all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Help me Lord to resist the temptations that would cause me to become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Lord help me I pray to walk in the Spirit and be sensitive to the still quiet voice so that I will walk in obedience to Your Word and Your will for my life. I give this all up into Your hands in that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

Holy, Holy, Holy…(The Bible’s Impact on Music [May 29])


Will you be ready on that day? Will you be expectant until that day? Will you be obedient until that day? Will you be faithful and faith filled until that day? Will you be a living sacrifice till that day? Will you be humble? Will you be willing? Will you be seeking?

Jesus is coming back! So we need to be prepared for His return unlike the story of the bridesmaid who weren’t – didn’t bring enough oil and missed out – let’s be filled with the Holy Spirit and be expectant until the day of His return! Let’s be expectant! Let’s be loving and caring! Let’s be sharing the love and hope of Jesus with the world around us that they too will get to experience His return and spend eternity in heaven. Let’s worship God by doing all that we do as worship and sacrifice up to Him, not working as unto man but as unto the Lord! Let’s be worshiping Him in Spirit and in Truth!

The reason for the name of this blog is that back in 2005 my readings was from the book of Revelation. And now you know where the name from 2005 to eternity comes from.

Today’s reading comes from Revelation 4

The Throne in Heaven

1After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. 3And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. 4Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. 5From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, 6and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.
And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: 7the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. 8And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,
 
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”
9And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.”

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible speaks to the impact of the Bible on music. It pulls from Revelation 4:8 which says

‘And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”‘ — Revelation 4:8

It points us to the hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy” composed by Reginald Heber. “Holy, Holy, Holy” is his best known composition and as we can see was inspired by Revelation 4:8 as it speaks to the power of God. This hymn has been included in movies such as Titanic and The Fastest Gun Alive. Even with the song being sung through churches around the world, we see how it has been recorded by contemporary artists like Keith Green, Marcos Witt, Amy Grant, Sufjan Stevens, Ronnie Milsap, and Jimmy Needham.

So will you live out your life worshipping God in and through everything you do? Will you allow each day to help you be more prepared for His return from the clouds just as when He left the disciples? Let’s worship the creator rather than the created! Let’s worship the healer rather than the healing! Let’s live out our lives to the full that one day we may get to hear “Well done my good and faithful servant“.

Have you started your relationship with God yet? If not, is today your day? Let’s pray together…

Sample Sinners Prayer

I am celebrating with all of heaven for those who choose to start your relationship with Jesus. I am celebrating with all of heaven for those who choose to return to having a relationship with Jesus. We can never stray too far away and so I pray that everyone will turn back and be reunited with their heavenly Father who is waiting for your return.


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything in it. I ask Lord for Your hand to be over me and guiding me through this day. Grant me eyes to see and ears to hear so that You Lord will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in and through all of my life. Help me to be the person You have created me to be and to pursue Your purposes and Your plans so that in Jesus’ name You will be exalted even as our reading from Revelation says “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God almighty, who was and is and is to come” for I know Jesus is coming back and Lord help me to be prepared and to finish the work You have given me to do and to be a good steward of all that You have given me. I ask all this Lord so that You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

What is the standard you choose to live by? …(The Bible’s Impact on Acts of Mercy [Apr 19])


Do you have a standard? Do you have a bar? Do you have a level? Are you using something that is constant? Are you using something that changes? How do you know how you are doing? If you don’t have something to measure up to how will you know if you are growing? How will you know if you are developing? How will you know if you are being a good steward? How will you know if you are prepared? How will you know if you are doing what you should be? How will you know if you are ready? Is the Bible the standard you use? Is the Bible the standard for knowing right from wrong? You do want to hear “well done, good and faithful servant” right?

Today’s reading comes from Matthew 25…

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

The Parable of the Talents

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

The Final Judgment

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

–from Matthew 25

We need something to live by or we won’t know how we are doing or where we are going or even where we will end up. Comparing ourselves against one another is like comparing against the ways that are always moving. We need a standard that is unchanging to be able to measure ourselves against. We need a standard that is firm and specific to be able to know when we are doing what is right or wrong. We need a standard that will help us know how to be good stewards of what God has given us. We need a standard that will guide us to know how to be prepared. God’s Word is that standard. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and so we need to receive Him and follow after Him. We need to receive the Holy Spirit into our lives as our comforter and our guide who can in the moment lead us with wisdom and discernment into how we should proceed.

Today’s devotion from The Global Impact Bible on the topic of Acts of Mercy speaks to The Amistad case and uses Matthew 25:23 as its biblical reference. We hear about what took place and how John Quincy Adams argued on behalf of the Africans and won the case.

I found the following background online to share with you here:

In February of 1839, Portuguese slave hunters abducted a large group of Africans from Sierra Leone and shipped them to Havana, Cuba, a center for the slave trade. This abduction violated all of the treaties then in existence. Fifty-three Africans were purchased by two Spanish planters and put aboard the Cuban schooner Amistad for shipment to a Caribbean plantation. On July 1, 1839, the Africans seized the ship, killed the captain and the cook, and ordered the planters to sail to Africa. On August 24, 1839, the Amistad was seized off Long Island, NY, by the U.S. brig Washington. The planters were freed and the Africans were imprisoned in New Haven, CT, on charges of murder. Although the murder charges were dismissed, the Africans continued to be held in confinement as the focus of the case turned to salvage claims and property rights. President Van Buren was in favor of extraditing the Africans to Cuba. However, abolitionists in the North opposed extradition and raised money to defend the Africans. Claims to the Africans by the planters, the government of Spain, and the captain of the brig led the case to trial in the Federal District Court in Connecticut. The court ruled that the case fell within Federal jurisdiction and that the claims to the Africans as property were not legitimate because they were illegally held as slaves. The case went to the Supreme Court in January 1841, and former President John Quincy Adams argued the defendants’ case. Adams defended the right of the accused to fight to regain their freedom. The Supreme Court decided in favor of the Africans, and 35 of them were returned to their homeland. The others died at sea or in prison while awaiting trial.

–from https://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/amistad

In calling the jurists to act according to the high standard of justice by which all people would eventually be judged. In his close he quotes Matthew 5:23 which says:

His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

–from Matthew 25:23

This stories impact even extended to the movie produced by Steven Spielberg called Amistad in 1997. With it being a historical film some of the historical facts or portrayals in the movie were challenged.

So where are you at today? If today were your last day would you be ready? If today were your last day would you hear “well done, good and faithful servant“?


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that You have done in and through my life. I lift up this day to You and ask Lord for Your Spirit to grant me wisdom and discernment in things to do, to not do, to start, to finish, to prepare, to complete, and boldness and courage to follow through. Help me Lord to keep Your Word as my standard as a lamp unto my feet and alight unto my path. Help me to get out of my comfort zone and be salt and light to the world around me. Help me Lord to speak truth and life in love to the people You bring into my life. Help me Lord to glorify You in what I say and what I do so that in all things at all time, You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Help me Lord to live up to Your standards and to be a good and faithful servant. I ask all this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Know it all…

Start/Finish

He was there in the beginning! He will be there in the in end! He knows everything about us and loves us! His love is so great that knowing the end He intervened by sending Jesus to be the one to help reconcile us back to Him! He knows the beginning and the end! He is the alpha(Alpha) and the omega(Image result for upper case omega symbol)!

God know the beginning and the end! God shares with us through His Word the how and the who! It gives us insight into Jesus’ return! It is not for us to know the time but it is for us to be prepared! We don’t want to be like the 10 bridesmaids or virgins as they are referenced in Matthew 25 in different translations, we want to be prepared…

Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids

25 “Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

“At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’

“All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’

“But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’

10 “But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. 11 Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’

12 “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’

13 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.

–from Matthew 25

We don’t want to be like the person who were given responsibility and wasn’t a good steward…

Parable of the Three Servants

14 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. 15 He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.

16 “The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. 17 The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. 18 But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.

19 “After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. 20 The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’

21 “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

22 “The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’

23 “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

24 “Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. 25 I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’

26 “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate,27 why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’

28 “Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. 29 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. 30 Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

–from Matthew 25

Let’s be prepared! Let’s be good stewards of the gifts God has given us! He is coming back! We need to be prepared and we need to be investing and pouring out our lives into the world around us as we overflow from all that God pours into us!

The Final Judgment

31 “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32 All the nationswill be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

41 “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. 42 For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’

45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’

46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”

–from Matthew 25

To be considered righteous we need to receive Jesus! We are told in the Bible that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and that no one comes to the Father except thru Him! So we need to turn back to God and receive the give of Jesus Christ into our lives and then to prepare and pursue Him being a good steward of every good and perfect gift that comes from God so that on that day when He does return that we will be prepared and finish the race of our life strong hearing, well done my good and faithful servant! So accept Jesus today into your heart as your Lord and Savior! Start the transformation of being born again! And pursue after Him each day for the rest of your life!


The Beginning and the End — Day 365: Bible In One Year 2018

  1. Begin and end with worship … Psalm 150
    • Today’s reading shows us this pattern. Did you realize that the Lord’s prayer does too? We start by praising God and lifting Him up! We close lifting up Him and His power and His kingdom while giving Him the glory!
    • The Lord's Prayer

    • So let’s worship God – living out our lives as living sacrifices …
      • The book of Psalms ends with ‘Hallelujah’, translated here ‘Praise the Lord’ (Psalm 150:6b). Psalm 150 itself begins and ends with ‘Hallelujah’ (‘Praise the Lord’, vv.1,6). All of us are called to worship: ‘Let every living, breathing creature praise God!’ (v.6, MSG).

        Worship everywhere

        The worship of God should fill the universe: ‘Praise God in his holy house of worship, praise him under the open skies’ (v.1b, MSG).

        Worship him for everything

        Praise God for who he is (‘his surpassing greatness’) and what he has done (‘his acts of power’, v.2).

        Worship in every way

        Praise God with everything you have, including every type of music and dancing (vv.3–5).

        –from Day 365: Bible In One Year 2018

  2. Begin and end with Jesus … Revelation 22
    • Jesus will be there in the end and He was there in the beginning!
    • It will be all about Jesus in the end!
    • The Bible is a love letter from God! It’s an invitation to Jesus! Will you receive it? Will you accept it? Will you participate in it? The choice is yours!
  3. Begin and end with love … Nehemiah 13
    • The Bible being a love letter from God begins and ends with love! As does today’s reading from Nehemiah.
    • So let’s receive it! Let’s overflow with it! Let’s share it with the world around us!

Revelation 22: Take hold of the closing from God’s Word…

1Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.
3No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. 4And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. 5And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.
6Then the angel said to me, “Everything you have heard and seen is trustworthy and true. The Lord God, who inspires his prophets, has sent his angel to tell his servants what will happen soon.”

Jesus Is Coming

7“Look, I am coming soon! Blessed are those who obey the words of prophecy written in this book.”

8I, John, am the one who heard and saw all these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me. 9But he said, “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers the prophets, as well as all who obey what is written in this book. Worship only God!”
10Then he instructed me, “Do not seal up the prophetic words in this book, for the time is near. 11Let the one who is doing harm continue to do harm; let the one who is vile continue to be vile; let the one who is righteous continue to live righteously; let the one who is holy continue to be holy.”

12“Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. 13I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

14Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life. 15Outside the city are the dogs—the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie.

16“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this message for the churches. I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne.”

17The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life. 18And I solemnly declare to everyone who hears the words of prophecy written in this book: If anyone adds anything to what is written here, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book. 19And if anyone removes any of the words from this book of prophecy, God will remove that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book.
20He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!”
Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!
21May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people.

–Revelation 22

Money isn’t bad. The love of money is the root of all evil!

Good Steward - Multiplication

So do you know how to handle money? Do you know how to be a good steward? Do you think you own it? Do you consider it God’s money and try to be a good steward of it? Has God provided you with money so that you are able to be a funding source for His good works? How do you decide how much to save? to spend? to give? Do you always take away from consideration the tithe and give that 10% to God and then work within the 90%?

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

–from Timothy 6

Ever considered how many people who win the lottery end up back where they started or worth? If you don’t know how to handle money when you have a little will it change if you win a lot? If you don’t have the right perspective on money and your role as a steward then you won’t handle a large amount any better than a small amount. After asking the first question in this paragraph figured I would do a search and the first link called out that 70% of the people who win the lottery end up bankrupt. Ever realized how many people can’t handle the wealth and end up dying? Imagine the stress… Imagine the trust issues… Imagine the pressure of everyone who may start knocking on your door… Imagine your own desires and how responding to them could impact you… Some think that money will make them happy but the reality is we need to be able to be content in every situation! You’ve heard the song, Money can’t buy you love right? Money won’t buy you salvation because Jesus already paid it all! Without the wisdom to know how best to handle money and how to prioritize your management of it money will come and go and you won’t know where it went.

Why not take time now in whatever state you are in to learn how to be a good steward of your money in order to use ir properly? Why not turn to God’s Word and consider how you are doing when it comes to honoring Him and being obedient to Him? Obedience is better than offering! And it isn’t about the size of the offering but the heart behind it! Are you giving out of your excess or out of your need? Consider the widow’s mites and how it was valued higher than others!

So let’s turn to God to learn how we handle our money! God’s Word is filled with incredible wisdom! Jesus even speaks about money and finances! So why not go to the one who is the answer to everything else and give it up and hear from Him how to handle our money?


How to Handle Money — Day 360: Bible In One Year

Today’s devotional starts in proverbs on the topic of Prioritise relationships above money (Proverbs 31:10-20):

10Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
She is more precious than rubies.
11Her husband can trust her,
and she will greatly enrich his life.
12She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.

13She finds wool and flax
and busily spins it.
14She is like a merchant’s ship,
bringing her food from afar.
15She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household
and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.

16She goes to inspect a field and buys it;
with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17She is energetic and strong,
a hard worker.
18She makes sure her dealings are profitable;
her lamp burns late into the night.

19Her hands are busy spinning thread,
her fingers twisting fiber.
20She extends a helping hand to the poor
and opens her arms to the needy.

–from Proverbs 31

With the 3 key points from our devotional:

As John Wesley said, ‘Earn all you can. Save all you can. Give all you can.’

‘Earn all you can’

She is hardworking and diligent in earning a living: ‘She gets up early and provides food for her family’ (vv.12–15a). She is a good steward. She invests her money wisely. She trades profitably (vv.16–18a).

‘Save all you can’

She enjoys her work and the good things of life (v.13). She saves some of her earnings. She puts money aside (v.16, MSG).

‘Give all you can’

She is generous. ‘She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy’ (v.20). Generous giving is the appropriate response to God’s generosity and to the needs of others. It is the way to break materialism.

–from Day 360: Bible In One Year 2018

Continues into Do not put your trust in money (Revelation 18:1-17)

1After all this I saw another angel come down from heaven with great authority, and the earth grew bright with his splendor. 2He gave a mighty shout:

“Babylon is fallen—that great city is fallen!
She has become a home for demons.
She is a hideout for every foul18:2a Greek unclean; also in each of the two following phrases. spirit,
a hideout for every foul vulture
and every foul and dreadful animal.18:2b Some manuscripts condense the last two lines to read a hideout for every foul [unclean] and dreadful vulture.
3For all the nations have fallen18:3 Some manuscripts read have drunk.
because of the wine of her passionate immorality.
The kings of the world
have committed adultery with her.
Because of her desires for extravagant luxury,
the merchants of the world have grown rich.”

4Then I heard another voice calling from heaven,

“Come away from her, my people.
Do not take part in her sins,
or you will be punished with her.
5For her sins are piled as high as heaven,
and God remembers her evil deeds.
6Do to her as she has done to others.
Double her penalty
She brewed a cup of terror for others,
so brew twice as much
7She glorified herself and lived in luxury,
so match it now with torment and sorrow.
She boasted in her heart,
‘I am queen on my throne.
I am no helpless widow,
and I have no reason to mourn.’
8Therefore, these plagues will overtake her in a single day—
death and mourning and famine.
She will be completely consumed by fire,
for the Lord God who judges her is mighty.”

9And the kings of the world who committed adultery with her and enjoyed her great luxury will mourn for her as they see the smoke rising from her charred remains. 10They will stand at a distance, terrified by her great torment. They will cry out,

“How terrible, how terrible for you,
O Babylon, you great city!
In a single moment
God’s judgment came on you.”

11The merchants of the world will weep and mourn for her, for there is no one left to buy their goods. 12She bought great quantities of gold, silver, jewels, and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk, and scarlet cloth; things made of fragrant thyine wood, ivory goods, and objects made of expensive wood; and bronze, iron, and marble. 13She also bought cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, olive oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle, sheep, horses, wagons, and bodies—that is, human slaves.

14“The fancy things you loved so much
are gone,” they cry.
“All your luxuries and splendor
are gone forever,
never to be yours again.”

15The merchants who became wealthy by selling her these things will stand at a distance, terrified by her great torment. They will weep and cry out,

16“How terrible, how terrible for that great city!
She was clothed in finest purple and scarlet linens,
decked out with gold and precious stones and pearls!
17In a single moment
all the wealth of the city is gone!”

–from Revelation 18

Take a look around at the world around us and what is taking place in it! Today’s devotional speaks to the truth of money this way…

In the Bible, there is no ban on making money, saving it and enjoying the good things of life. What is warned against is selfish accumulation, an unhealthy obsession with money, or putting your trust in riches. This leads to perpetual insecurity and takes you away from God.

Money is not a neutral, impersonal medium of exchange. Jesus said you cannot serve both God and mammon (Matthew 6:24). ‘Mammon’ was the god of wealth in Carthage. Money has all the characteristics of a god. It seems to offer security, freedom, power, influence, status and prestige. It is capable of inspiring devotion and single-minded preoccupation. Yet, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it, ‘Our hearts have room only for one all-embracing devotion, and we can only cleave to one Lord.’

In this passage, John is given a vision of an event that must have seemed inconceivable to his readers – the fall of ‘Babylon the Great’ (Revelation 18:2). In the immediate context, this is a prophecy of an event that will not take place for another 320 years – the overthrow of the Roman Empire in AD 410.

When John was writing, the empire seemed invulnerable. It was at the height of its power. It was enjoying peace and security. Yet, John sees that the characteristics of the city were the seeds of its own downfall.

‘Babylon’ here also represents any power that sets itself up apart from God. John highlights a series of fatal weaknesses that lie behind any society’s downfall:

Rampant evil

‘She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit’ (v.2).

Endemic promiscuity

‘All the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her’ (v.3a).

Excessive luxuries

‘The merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries’ (v.3b, see also v.7 and v.9). It is probably her great riches that led to arrogance (v.7b).

Human trafficking

‘And slaves – their terrible traffic in human lives’ (v.13, MSG). John appears to be pointing out that slaves are not mere carcasses to be bought and sold as property, but are human beings. In this emphatic position at the end of the list (vv.11–13), this is more than just a comment on the slave trade. It is a comment on the whole list of cargoes. It suggests the inhuman brutality, the contempt for human life, on which the whole empire’s prosperity and luxury rested. Today, the resurgence of slavery (it is estimated that there are about 30 million slaves in the world today) and human trafficking points to something desperately wrong with our society.

Riches, splendour and luxury are transient. They come and they go. John warns the people of God not to be contaminated by the sins of Babylon: ‘Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins’ (v.4). The glories of ancient Rome may have long passed, but this challenge and message are as relevant to us today as they were then.

–from Day 360: Bible In One Year 2018

We need to realize that others are looking at us and to us to see how we handle money. As our devotional today puts it, we need to  Set an example in handling money (Nehemiah 5:1-7:3).

Nehemiah Defends the Oppressed

1About this time some of the men and their wives raised a cry of protest against their fellow Jews. 2They were saying, “We have such large families. We need more food to survive.”
3Others said, “We have mortgaged our fields, vineyards, and homes to get food during the famine.”
4And others said, “We have had to borrow money on our fields and vineyards to pay our taxes. 5We belong to the same family as those who are wealthy, and our children are just like theirs. Yet we must sell our children into slavery just to get enough money to live. We have already sold some of our daughters, and we are helpless to do anything about it, for our fields and vineyards are already mortgaged to others.”
6When I heard their complaints, I was very angry. 7After thinking it over, I spoke out against these nobles and officials. I told them, “You are hurting your own relatives by charging interest when they borrow money!” Then I called a public meeting to deal with the problem.
8At the meeting I said to them, “We are doing all we can to redeem our Jewish relatives who have had to sell themselves to pagan foreigners, but you are selling them back into slavery again. How often must we redeem them?” And they had nothing to say in their defense.
9Then I pressed further, “What you are doing is not right! Should you not walk in the fear of our God in order to avoid being mocked by enemy nations? 10I myself, as well as my brothers and my workers, have been lending the people money and grain, but now let us stop this business of charging interest. 11You must restore their fields, vineyards, olive groves, and homes to them this very day. And repay the interest you charged when you lent them money, grain, new wine, and olive oil.”
12They replied, “We will give back everything and demand nothing more from the people. We will do as you say.” Then I called the priests and made the nobles and officials swear to do what they had promised.
13I shook out the folds of my robe and said, “If you fail to keep your promise, may God shake you like this from your homes and from your property!”
The whole assembly responded, “Amen,” and they praised the Lord. And the people did as they had promised.
14For the entire twelve years that I was governor of Judah—from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of the reign of King Artaxerxes—neither I nor my officials drew on our official food allowance. 15The former governors, in contrast, had laid heavy burdens on the people, demanding a daily ration of food and wine, besides forty pieces of silver. Even their assistants took advantage of the people. But because I feared God, I did not act that way.
16I also devoted myself to working on the wall and refused to acquire any land. And I required all my servants to spend time working on the wall. 17I asked for nothing, even though I regularly fed 150 Jewish officials at my table, besides all the visitors from other lands! 18The provisions I paid for each day included one ox, six choice sheep or goats, and a large number of poultry. And every ten days we needed a large supply of all kinds of wine. Yet I refused to claim the governor’s food allowance because the people already carried a heavy burden.

19Remember, O my God, all that I have done for these people, and bless me for it.

–from Nehemiah 5

Continued Opposition to Rebuilding

1Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies found out that I had finished rebuilding the wall and that no gaps remained—though we had not yet set up the doors in the gates. 2So Sanballat and Geshem sent a message asking me to meet them at one of the villages in the plain of Ono.
But I realized they were plotting to harm me, 3so I replied by sending this message to them: “I am engaged in a great work, so I can’t come. Why should I stop working to come and meet with you?”
4Four times they sent the same message, and each time I gave the same reply. 5The fifth time, Sanballat’s servant came with an open letter in his hand, 6and this is what it said:

“There is a rumor among the surrounding nations, and Geshem tells me it is true, that you and the Jews are planning to rebel and that is why you are building the wall. According to his reports, you plan to be their king. 7He also reports that you have appointed prophets in Jerusalem to proclaim about you, ‘Look! There is a king in Judah!’
“You can be very sure that this report will get back to the king, so I suggest that you come and talk it over with me.”

8I replied, “There is no truth in any part of your story. You are making up the whole thing.”
9They were just trying to intimidate us, imagining that they could discourage us and stop the work. So I continued the work with even greater determination.
10Later I went to visit Shemaiah son of Delaiah and grandson of Mehetabel, who was confined to his home. He said, “Let us meet together inside the Temple of God and bolt the doors shut. Your enemies are coming to kill you tonight.”
11But I replied, “Should someone in my position run from danger? Should someone in my position enter the Temple to save his life? No, I won’t do it!” 12I realized that God had not spoken to him, but that he had uttered this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13They were hoping to intimidate me and make me sin. Then they would be able to accuse and discredit me.

14Remember, O my God, all the evil things that Tobiah and Sanballat have done. And remember Noadiah the prophet and all the prophets like her who have tried to intimidate me.

The Builders Complete the Wall

15So on October 2 the wall was finished—just fifty-two days after we had begun. 16When our enemies and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of our God.
17During those fifty-two days, many letters went back and forth between Tobiah and the nobles of Judah. 18For many in Judah had sworn allegiance to him because his father-in-law was Shecaniah son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan was married to the daughter of Meshullam son of Berekiah. 19They kept telling me about Tobiah’s good deeds, and then they told him everything I said. And Tobiah kept sending threatening letters to intimidate me.

–from Nehemiah 6

1After the wall was finished and I had set up the doors in the gates, the gatekeepers, singers, and Levites were appointed. 2I gave the responsibility of governing Jerusalem to my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah, the commander of the fortress, for he was a faithful man who feared God more than most. 3I said to them, “Do not leave the gates open during the hottest part of the day. And even while the gatekeepers are on duty, have them shut and bar the doors. Appoint the residents of Jerusalem to act as guards, everyone on a regular watch. Some will serve at sentry posts and some in front of their own homes.”

–from Nehemiah 7

And the devotional calls out these key points…

Nehemiah was a leader who set a superb example in handling money. Sooner or later, most of us will go through times of financial difficulty and lack of resources, either in our personal lives or in our churches. What do you do in these situations?

Nehemiah was facing such a situation. Some of the people did not have enough food to stay alive (5:2). Others had to mortgage their fields and homes (v.3). Still others had to borrow money to pay their taxes (v.4). What can we learn from Nehemiah’s example?

First, he thought about it very carefully: ‘I pondered… in my mind’ (v.7a). When facing a financial crisis, it is not wise to rush into hasty solutions. It needs careful thought.

Second, he called a meeting (v.7b). Some meetings are at best a waste of time, and at worst counter-productive. However, some meetings are important and necessary. Nehemiah had the wisdom to know the difference between these two kinds of meetings. In chapter 6 he refused to meet with his opponents, despite being asked five times.

However, here Nehemiah calls a meeting. He tells the people that what they are doing is not right. They should not be charging interest. ‘Let the exacting of usury stop!’ (v.10). He orders them to give back the ‘fields, vineyards, olive groves and houses, and also the usury you are charging them’ (v.11).

The meeting was successful. ‘“We will give it back,” they said. “And we will not demand anything more from them. We will do as you say”’ (v.12). The people did as they promised (v.13).

Third, and most important, he set an example in his own life:

Personal integrity

Out of his reverence for God, Nehemiah did not act like the earlier governors who had placed heavy burdens of taxation on the people and allowed their assistants to lord it over them (v.15).

Modest lifestyle

‘Neither I nor my brothers ate the food allotted to the governor’ (v.14).

No personal gain

‘All my men were assembled there for the work; we did not acquire any land… I never demanded the food allotted to the governor, because the demands were heavy on these people’ (vv.16,18).

Generosity to others

‘Furthermore, a hundred and fifty Jews and officials ate at my table, as well as those who came to us from the surrounding nations’ (vv.17–18).

Single-minded hard work

‘I devoted myself to the work on this wall’ (v.16a). He refused to be put off by the threats of his opponents who were trying to frighten him. Instead he prayed, ‘Now strengthen my hands’ (6:9).

Nehemiah finished what he had started (v.15). Many people know how to start things. But often they lack what Pippa’s father used to call ‘carry-through’. Nehemiah had the stickability to complete what he had begun.

The success of the project was the perfect answer to the critics: ‘So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realised that this work had been done with the help of our God’ (vv.15–16).

–from Day 360: Bible In One Year 2018