VIDEO Rich and Poor

These women were helping to support them out of their own means…. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. Luke 8:3 and 21:2, NIV

Have you ever wondered how Jesus’ ministry was financed in the Gospels? He had left His carpenter’s work, and His twelve disciples had left their fishing careers and other jobs. They had families to feed and the expenses that come with life and ministry on the road. But God raised up some wealthy women—Mary Magdalene; Joanna, who was the wife of a high political official; Susanna; and many others. Luke points to them as the financial underwriters of the Lord’s ministry (Luke 8:1-3). God blesses some people with enough wealth to underwrite great causes and become sponsors of major ministry initiatives.

But it’s not only the well-to-do who have the gift of giving. Luke also noticed how Jesus commended the poor widow who put her two copper coins into the offering (Luke 21:1-4). Her gift was a greater sacrifice than the others in the temple that day.

One of the disciplines of godliness is giving. Whether we are wealthy, poor, or somewhere in the middle, we’re responsible to be methodical, steady, cheerful givers to the Lord’s work.

Tithing is not the last word in generosity; it’s the first word. John Ortberg


Luke 8:1-3 – In Depth – Pastor Chuck Smith – Bible Studies


Abusing the Poor (Luke 21:1-4)

Strengthening Weak Knees

Today's Devotional

 

Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way. Isaiah 35:3

 

When I was a kid, I thought the song title “He Looked Beyond My Fault and Saw My Need,” written by Dottie Rambo in 1967, was “He Looked Beyond My Faults and Saw My Knees.” Employing the logic of a child, I wondered why God would look at knees. Was it because they were weak? I knew that weak-kneed meant “afraid.” I later discovered that Dottie had written the song about God’s unconditional love in response to her brother Eddie’s belief that he was unlovable because of the wrong things he’d done. Dottie assured him that God saw his weakness but loved him anyway.

God’s unconditional love is apparent throughout the many weak-kneed moments of the people of Israel and Judah. He sent prophets like Isaiah with messages for His wayward people. In Isaiah 35, the prophet shares the hope of God’s restoration. The encouragement that would come as a result of embracing hope would “strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way” (v. 3). Through the encouragement they received, God’s people would in turn be able to encourage others. This is why Isaiah instructs in verse 4, “Say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear.’ ”

Feeling weak-kneed? Talk to your heavenly Father. He strengthens weak knees through the truth of the Scriptures and the power of His presence. You’ll then be able to encourage others.

By: Linda Washington

Reflect & Pray

What are some of the ways you’ve been encouraged recently? How will you encourage someone who’s facing hard times?

Father, I need Your strength and Your grace today

God’s Warning About Relationships

Ephesians 5:1-10

You and I should be intentional about how we relate to non-Christians. With different beliefs and values, they may lead us astray whether they mean to or not.

Paul wrote about this dilemma. He asked the Corinthians to consider what the following have in common: righteousness and wickedness; light and darkness; Christ and Satan (2 Corinthians 6:14-15). The answer is: Nothing. His point is that believers and unbelievers value different things, and this can be tricky to navigate, especially when it comes to…

Marriage. 1 Corinthians 7:13 instructs that the believer is to remain married and be a sweet fragrance of Christ in the home.

Business. There’s no guarantee a partnership between a Christian and non-Christian will go sour. But with different priorities and perspectives, disagreements can be anticipated. Regardless, the believer should be Christlike in everything.

Organizations. Be skeptical if an association opposes Christ’s name or if a church fails to see the need for a personal relationship with Jesus.

God designed relationships for our support and encouragement, so it’s critical for the people we associate with most closely to value Him above all else.

Ya’ All

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy.” (Philippians 1:3-4)

One would suspect from his frequent use of the phrase “you all” that the apostle Paul had come from Alabama or Georgia! But in his writings, “you all” is not a southern idiom but a warm expression of Christian fellowship. His heart was burdened, not just for a few close friends and loved ones (as in most of our own prayers), but for “all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:2).

He assured the Philippian church that he was, in every one of his prayers, praying for “you all.” He told them of his confidence in their continued growth in Christ, that it was altogether fitting for him to believe this of “you all,” thankful that “in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace” (Philippians 1:7).

He wrote in a similar vein to the Thessalonians at the start of his (chronologically) first epistle: “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers” (1 Thessalonians 1:2). Paul had a long prayer list.

To the Roman Christians he wrote: “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world” (Romans 1:8). Then he wrote his benediction: “Now the God of peace be with you all” (Romans 15:33). He concluded his message to the Christians at Corinth: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14).

Peter and John used the same expression in their writings, for they also were large of heart and concern. Finally, these are the very last words of the Bible: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen” (Revelation 22:21). HMM

Stay Accountable to God

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.

—Hebrews 9:27

 

It was the belief in the accountability of man to his maker that made America a great nation. Among those earlier leaders was Daniel Webster whose blazing eyes and fiery oratory often held the Senate spellbound. In those days the Congress was composed of strong, noble statesmen who carried the weight of the nation in their hearts and minds.

Someone asked: “Mr. Webster, what do you consider the most serious thought that has ever entered your mind?”

“The most solemn thought that has ever entered my mind is my accountability to my Maker,” he replied.

Men like that cannot be corrupted and bought. They do not have to worry if someone listens to their telephone calls. What they are in character and in deportment results from their belief that they will finally be accountable to God.   EFE130

Lord, help me to live my life today in such a way that, should You call me tonight to stand before You and give account, I would have nothing of which I would need to be ashamed. Amen.

 

A Living History

Ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ…written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God.

—2 Corinthians 3:3

 

 

In our world there is still the holy witness of the Spirit, who in all things speaks for this Man who sits on the throne….

The Holy Spirit is here now to convince the world, and however we treat the warning of the Holy Spirit is exactly how we treat Jesus Christ Himself.

If faith must depend upon a man knowing enough of the historical evidences to arrive at a scholarly belief in the deity of Jesus, then there could only be a relatively few people saved.

But I do not have to be a scholar, a logician or a lawyer to arrive at belief in the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, for the Holy Spirit has taken the deity of Christ out of the hands of the scholars and put it in the consciences of men.

The Spirit of God came to lift it out of the history books and write it on the fleshy tablets of the human heart. EFE030-031

The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Christ…because He brings to us the presence of Jesus and enables us to realize our oneness with Him. WS107

 

My Bible

Psalm 119:11

Josef Korbel endured 10 harsh years in a communist prison camp, where despite severe punishment and constant threats of death, the Brigadier continued his Christian witness.

My poor fellow prisoners all over the forced labor camps and in the prison cells were often downhearted and even desperate, ready to commit suicide. It often happened that a verse from the Word of God, which I quoted to them from memory, was a source of help and encouragement. Then I had an idea, and much later in a forced labor camp I was able to realize it.

At that time we were working on buildings and so it was easy to get brown paper from cement sacks. Taking a clean part from such a sack, I made a little notebook, using a piece of thin wire to pin it together.

Although it was against the rules of the camp to possess a pencil, I had a little stump hidden in my jacket. With this I wrote many beautiful Bible verses I knew by heart. Soon my notebook was full and I started to lend it to fellow prisoners, who were sad and downhearted.

After a while my “Bible” was in such demand, that men had to wait for days until it was their turn to get it. Shabby, mended and worn out from hiding it under ragged jackets, this “Bible” was a source of much blessing.

“Joe, is your Bible back?” they would ask. “Remember it is my turn now to get it.” I was so glad to see the eagerness in their eyes.

Once we got a hint that there would be a search of the camp. On such days the guards inspected every corner of the cells, including the ceiling and the floor boards, looking for knives, pencils, needles, notebooks, family photos and like articles that were strictly forbidden.

What should I do with my Bible? I wondered. At last I took it with me to the working place, hoping that we would have no personal inspection. I managed to get it safely there, and rolling it up I inserted it in one of the hollow bricks which were piled up.

“I shall take it out again tomorrow,” I thought. However the next day the pile of bricks was not there any more. The night shift used them and so my “Bible” was somewhere in the wall of a newly built house and lost. I never had the opportunity of making another one, but the Lord’s Word was kept hidden safely in my heart (Ps. 119:11).

Josef Korbel, When the Gates Were Opened