The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it. Proverbs 10:22
Theologians debate about the central theme of the Bible—like redemption, the Kingdom of God, and love. Another good candidate is stewardship—what scholar N. T. Wright calls “the covenant of vocation,” which God entered into with man in the beginning. God gave us creation as a gift; our vocation was to oversee it for His glory and to reflect His glory throughout the earth.
When it comes to stewardship, our thoughts usually turn to money. Financial management is certainly a part of stewardship. Regardless of how much money we have, it is by the blessing of God that we have any at all. Therefore, we are to use it in ways that glorify Him. But King David of Israel recognized that “all things come from [God]” (1 Chronicles 29:14)—not just our money, but our health, our gifts and abilities, our families and relationships, and more. So, stewardship is not just about managing money; it is about managing all that we are and have in ways that glorify God.
Think of all you have and all you are today. Consider how you can spend your life today so that it brings glory to God.
Stewardship is what a man does after he says, “I believe.” W. H. Greaves
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. Psalm 94:19
As I waited at the train station for my weekly commute, negative thoughts crowded my mind like commuters lining up to board a train—stress over debt, unkind remarks said to me, helplessness in the face of a recent injustice done to a family member. By the time the train arrived, I was in a terrible mood.
On the train, another thought came to mind: write a note to God, giving Him my lament. Soon after I finished pouring out my complaints in my journal, I pulled out my phone and listened to the praise songs in my library. Before I knew it, my bad mood had completely changed.
Little did I know that I was following a pattern set by the writer of Psalm 94. The psalmist first poured out his complaints: “Rise up, Judge of the earth; pay back to the proud what they deserve. . . . Who will rise up for me against the wicked? Who will take a stand for me against evildoers?” (Psalm 94:2, 16.) He didn’t hold anything back as he talked to God about injustice done to widows and orphans. Once he’d made his lament to God, the psalm transitioned into praise: “But the Lord has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge” (v. 22).
God invites us to take our laments to Him. He can turn our fear, sadness, and helplessness into praise.
Lord, I pour out my heart to You. Take my hurts and my anger, and grant me Your peace.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
God’s grace is amazing. It not only takes care of our sin problem through the cross but also strengthens and sustains us every day of our life. The Lord never wavers in His good purpose for us, nor is He ever thwarted. His sustaining grace is the answer to our …
Difficult circumstances. Being a Christian does not exempt us from painful trials or unpleasant situations. The apostle Paul knew this firsthand. When he presented the good news of the gospel, some believed but many opposed him. In 2 Corinthians 11:23-27, he wrote that he had been in danger everywhere he went. He experienced rejection, beatings, and arrest but did not give up. God’s grace continually upheld and strengthened him.
Personal suffering. Paul also spoke about the thorn in his flesh, which caused him great torment. Three times he asked God to remove it, but the Lord did not. Why? Because divine grace was sufficient. It would cover Paul’s needs. Grace had already taken the apostle from condemned to forgiven and from outsider to beloved child. Because he experienced the undeserved love of God, this zealous persecutor of the early church became a missionary spreading the good news about Jesus.
The apostle declared that he was content with weaknesses, insults, distresses, and persecutions because he had experienced the Lord’s all-sufficient grace. He knew that God would continue to help him in every situation, and that regardless of his circumstances, living in the favor and love of God was enough. Is that true for you
“Whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.” (Ecclesiastes 3:14)
God is both omniscient and omnipotent. He has the wisdom to know what is best to do and the power to do it. Thus, He makes no mistakes and never needs to go back and revise or redirect something He started. What He does is forever!
This fundamental principle has many profound implications. It anticipates the basic scientific law of conservation, the most important and universal law of science. The basic physical entities which comprise and organize all natural processes—energy, mass, momentum, electric charge—are all “conserved” throughout nature, being neither created nor destroyed in the present natural order of things.
The same applies to the basic kinds of plants and animals— evolutionists to the contrary notwithstanding. “After its kind” is the universal law of reproduction, and there is not the slightest evidence in the real data of biology that this law has ever been violated, or even could be violated.
And it also applies to the created cosmos, as a whole. Many Scriptures (e.g., Psalm 148:1-6) assure us that the sun, moon, and stars, as well as the renewed earth, will continue to function through all the endless ages to come. Nothing can defeat God’s primeval purposes in creating them.
Most of all, it applies to our great salvation: “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish” (John 10:28). “The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him” (Psalm 103:17). “His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away” (Daniel 7:14). “My salvation shall be for ever” (Isaiah 51:6). “The word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8). The remarkable principle of universal conservation is given “that men should fear before him.” HMM
I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me. I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame.
The important thing about a man is not where he goes when he is compelled to go, but where he goes when he is free to go where he will….
A man is absent from church Sunday morning. Where is he? If he is in a hospital having his appendix removed his absence tells us nothing about him except that he is ill; but if he is out on the golf course, that tells us a lot. To go to the hospital is compulsory; to go to the golf course, voluntary. The man is free to choose and he chooses to play instead of to pray. His choice reveals what kind of man he is. Choices always do….
I think it might be well for us to check our spiritual condition occasionally by the simple test of compatibility. When we are free to go, where do we go? In what company do we feel most at home? Where do our thoughts turn when they are free to turn where they will? When the pressure of work or business or school has temporarily lifted and we are able to think of what we will instead of what we must, what do we think of then?
The answer to these questions may tell us more about ourselves than we can comfortably accept. But we had better face up to things. We haven’t too much time at the most. MDP158-161
Lord, help me to make choices today that are pleasing to You. Amen.
In Thine hand is power and might; and in Thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.—1 Chronicles 29:12.
When I have nothing in my hand
Wherewith to serve my King,
When Thy commandment finds me weak
And wanting everything,
My soul, upon Thy greatness cast,
Shall rise divinely free;
Then will I serve with what Thou hast,
And gird myself with Thee.
Anna L. Waring.
How are we to approach such blessed strength? First of all, through a steadfast will to refuse nothing that God requires of us, and to do nothing deliberately, which can displease Him. Next, we must learn to take our faults humbly, as proofs of our weakness, and use them to increase our trust in God, and our mistrust of self. Neither must we be discouraged at our own wretchedness, or give way to the thought that we cannot do or bear any special thing; our duty is, while confessing that of ourselves it is impossible, to remember that God is all-powerful, and that through Him we can do whatever He may require of us. We must learn to say with St. Augustine, “Give me what Thou commandest, and command what Thou wilt.”
Jean Nicolas Grou.
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Rev. 21:4
Yes, we shall come to this if we are believers. Sorrow shall cease, and tears shall be wiped away. This is the world of weeping, but it passes away. There shall be a new Heaven, and a new earth, so says the first verse of this chapter; and therefore there will be nothing to weep over concerning the fall and its consequent miseries. Read the second verse, and note how it speaks of the bride and her marriage. The Lamb’s wedding is a time for boundless pleasure, and tears would be out of place. The third verse says that God Himself will dwell among men; and surely at His right hand there are pleasures for evermore, and tears can no longer flow.
What will our state be when there will be no more sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain? This will be more glorious than we can as yet imagine. O eyes that are red with weeping, cease your scalding flow, for in a little while ye shall know no more tears! None can wipe tears away like the God of love, but He is coming to do it. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Come, Lord, and tarry not; for now both men and women must weep!