VIDEO The First and the Best – Honor God with Your Wealth

 

Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.  Proverbs 3:9-10, NIV

It’s a tradition on every occasion where cake is served—birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and especially weddings—the honoree(s) is given the first slice of the cake. It’s a small reminder of who is being honored. Serving the honoree(s) with the last of the cake would reveal misplaced priorities.

In the covenant community of Israel, everyone was to honor God with the first of their harvest. Firstborn sons were set apart as special to the Lord, and only the purest and best of the flock were to be offered as sacrifices. It was an act of recognition, a way of saying to God, “You are the source of all we have; You are the Honoree in the midst of our harvest.” While God’s New Covenant with the Church is not bound by such ceremonial traditions, we are to give ourselves as “living sacrifices” to God by giving to Him our whole life—time, talent, and treasure (Romans 12:1).

Whatever you do today, “do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

The end of our election is, that we may show forth the glory of God in every possible way. John Calvin


How to Honor God with Your Wealth | Proverbs 3:9-10 | Pastor Matt Broadway

A Hundred Years from Now

I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. Job 19:25

“I just want people to remember me a hundred years from now,” said screenwriter Rod Serling in 1975. Creator of the TV series The Twilight Zone, Serling wanted people to say of him, “He was a writer.” Most of us can identify with Serling’s desire to leave a legacy—something to give our lives a sense of meaning and permanence.

The story of Job shows us a man struggling with meaning amid life’s fleeting days. In a moment, not just his possessions but those most precious to him, his children, were taken. Then his friends accused him of deserving this fate. Job cried out: “Oh, that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll, that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead, or engraved in rock forever!” (Job 19:23–24).

Job’s words have been “engraved in rock forever.” We have them in the Bible. Yet Job needed even more meaning in his life than the legacy he’d leave behind. He discovered it in the character of God. “I know that my redeemer lives,” Job declared, “and that in the end he will stand on the earth” (19:25). This knowledge gave him the right longing. “I myself will see him,” Job said. “How my heart yearns within me!” (v. 27).

In the end, Job didn’t find what he expected. He found much more—the Source of all meaning and permanence (42:1–6).

By: Tim Gustafson

Reflect & Pray

Why do you think Job wanted his words preserved forever? How do you want people to remember you one hundred years from now?

God, everything is fleeting except for You. We praise You for Your unshakable character. Show us what is truly important.

Responding to Life’s Storms

Psalm 107:23-32

How do you react in a thunderstorm? Do you tremble under the covers in fear? Or do you recall the words of Psalm 29: “The God of glory thunders … The voice of the Lord is majestic” (Psalm 29:3-4)? Just as our responses to bad weather vary according to our perspective, so do our reactions to trials.

Life’s storms can either stunt or accelerate our spiritual growth. The determining factor is our reaction. Some people humbly cry out to the Lord, while others get angry or frustrated with Him. Still others ignore Him and try to figure things out on their own, seeking solutions in every place except God’s Word.

Turning away from the Lord results in a hardened heart for an unbeliever and discipline for a believer. God wants us to be surrendered to His will, because if we are proud or self-
reliant, then we aren’t useful for His glory. That’s why He brings storms across our path—to teach us to rely on Him.

When the Lord allows adversity in your life, do you accept it as something designed for your good? Or do you try to bend God to your will? As difficult as they may be, storms are meant to produce godly character in us.

The Holy Spirit’s Ministry: Helping Us in Our Weakness

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26)

When the Holy Spirit said He “helpeth our infirmities,” He caused Paul to coin the Greek word sunantilambanomai (translated “helpeth”). This very unusual and complicated term is only used twice in Scripture, once in our text and the other when Martha requested that Jesus tell Mary to “help” her wait on guests during a dinner at their home (Luke 10:40). This strong term insists on working together in the same task with the same enthusiasm.

We have astheneia (infirmities) and are unable to articulate the correct request. But the Holy Spirit makes huperentugchano (intercession) for us; again, a completely unusual word, adding the Greek preposition huper (above) to the basic word for “intercession” (used in Romans 8:27, 34; 11:2; Hebrews 7:25).

Then, the Holy Spirit uses stenagmos (groaning) that cannot be alaletos (stated), using two words unique to this very specific application. What seems to be in view by Paul is that the Holy Spirit makes a “sigh” in a way that only God Himself can understand, because the thought is “too deep” for words.

Whenever we find these words used in other Greek literature, they usually describe a sound that is emitted under either pain or ecstasy. How marvelous! HMM III

People Follow Real Leaders

Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

—1 Corinthians 11:1

The history of Israel and Judah points up a truth taught clearly enough by all history, viz., that the masses are or soon will be what their leaders are. The kings set the moral pace for the people….

Whatever sort of man the king turned out to be, the people were soon following his leadership. They followed David in the worship of Jehovah, Solomon in the building of the Temple, Jeroboam in the making of a calf and Hezekiah in the restoration of the temple worship.

It is not complimentary to the masses that they are so easily led, but we are not interested in praising or blaming; we are concerned for truth, and the truth is that for better or for worse religious people follow leaders. A good man may change the moral complexion of a whole nation; or a corrupt and worldly clergy may lead a nation into bondage….

Today Christianity in the Western world is what its leaders were in the recent past and is becoming what its present leaders are. The local church soon becomes like its pastor.   GTM059-060

Strengthen us in the power of Your Holy Spirit, that we might be leaders worth following. Amen.

 

Two Shall Become One

A new heart also I will give you, and a new spirit will I put within you…and I will give you an heart of flesh.

—Ezekiel 36:26

How can one personality enter another? The candid reply would be simply that we do not know, but a near approach to an understanding may be made by a simple analogy borrowed from the old devotional writers of several hundred years ago.

We place a piece of iron in a fire and blow up the coals. At first we have two distinct substances, iron and fire. When we insert the iron in the fire we achieve the penetration of the iron and we have not only the iron in the fire but the fire in the iron as well….Two distinct substances…have co-mingled and interpenetrated to a point where the two have become one.

In some such manner does the Holy Spirit penetrate our spirits. In the whole experience we remain our very selves. There is no destruction of substance. Each remains a separate being as before; the difference is that now the Spirit penetrates and fills our personalities and we are experientially one with God. POM066

The Christian…is in correspondence with God. He walks “in newness of life.”…Indeed, the deeper walk of the Holy Spirit in sanctification quickens every spiritual sense. CDL167

 

A Holistic Gospel

Micah 6:8

In our era, the road to holiness necessarily passes through the world of action,” wrote Dag Hammarskjøld in his book Markings. Indeed, we have a whole gospel that is Christ-centered, holiness-summoned and justice-oriented.

The Christian’s cross consists of two beams: the vertical beam of our relationship to God in His infinite love and forgiveness, and the horizontal beam of our relationship to others in the world. The two cannot be separated. They always intersect on the Christian’s cross.

Holiness without social concern is a soul without a body; social concern without holiness is a body without a soul. One is a ghost, the other a corpse. Only when they are wedded together do we have a living organism.

Suffering and tragedy stalk our world every day. News media bring to our living rooms poignant scenes of the carnage of the innocent, the anguish of refugees, the sad spectacle of the millions who are hungry, homeless and hurting. The brokenness of our world constantly impinges upon us.

The evils of pornography and sexploitation relentlessly invade the mainstream of our culture. The traditional family may soon be added to the endangered species list from the infection of increased divorce rates, acceptance of same-sex marriages and the rise of dysfunctional families. Violence and murder now stalk our schools and churches as well as our streets. Terrorism fuels the fears of people worldwide. The silent holocaust of abortion claims 1.5 million lives each year in the United States and over 50 million worldwide. Our world is neck-deep in trouble.

Our nation was founded upon righteousness and reverence for God. The founders of this nation legislated for each session of Congress to open with prayer and inscribed upon our coins “In God We Trust.” But we have strayed from those principles. We have outlawed prayer in our schools, made legal the killing of innocent unborn children and spawned a generation victimized by drugs, AIDS and the specter of nuclear holocaust.

The Christian faith is not an escape from the realities and problems of the world. The cross was the most eloquent demonstration of caring the world has ever known. Christ calls His followers to the costly implications of the cross, to the biblical authority of a vulnerable discipleship. Where the world is at its worst, there the Christian church ought to be at its best.

Henry Gariepy, Reflecting God NIV Study Bible