VIDEO But We Can Be Generous

Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done. Proverbs 19:17, NIV

David Green, the founder of Hobby Lobby, remembers how his mother would crochet doilies to raise money for missions. “My parents were… some of the most generous people I’ve ever known,” he wrote. “Their spare living and meager income did not stop them from being generous in a thousand different ways. Mother may have had only three or four dresses in her closet, but if she heard of a woman who needed one, you could be sure Mother would soon arrive at the woman’s doorstep with a dress in hand.”[1]

The Bible tells us to be generous. That’s critical to our calling as believers. But no government can ensure that everyone has exactly the same amount of assets. Every attempt to create a level economy has pushed people into poverty with only its leaders living in luxury. Shared wealth does not bring unity. It creates envy and resentment, and ultimately causes socialism to fail.

We can’t control the governments of the world. That isn’t our job. But we can be generous!

I could have become president of the United States and [my mother] would have said the same thing: “What are you doing for the Lord?” David Green


20 Proverbs 17-19 – J Vernon McGee – Thru the Bible

Words that Endure

This word came to Jeremiah from the Lord. Jeremiah 36:1

In the early nineteenth century, Thomas Carlyle gave a manuscript to philosopher John Stuart Mill to review. Somehow, whether accidentally or intentionally, the manuscript got tossed into a fire. It was Carlyle’s only copy. Undaunted, he set to work rewriting the lost chapters. Mere flames couldn’t stop the story, which remained intact in his mind. Out of great loss, Carlyle produced his monumental work The French Revolution.

In the waning days of ancient Judah’s decadent kingdom, God told the prophet Jeremiah, “Take a scroll and write on it all the words I have spoken to you” (Jeremiah 36:2). The message revealed God’s tender heart, calling on His people to repent in order to avoid imminent invasion (v. 3).

Jeremiah did as he was told. The scroll soon found its way to Judah’s king, Jehoiakim, who methodically shredded it and threw it into the fire (vv. 23–25). The king’s act of arson only made matters worse. God told Jeremiah to write another scroll with the same message. He said, “[Jehoiakim] will have no one to sit on the throne of David; his body will be thrown out and exposed to the heat by day and the frost by night” (v. 30).

It’s possible to burn the words of God by tossing a book into a fire. Possible, but utterly futile. The Word behind the words endures forever.

By:  Tim Gustafson

Reflect & Pray

What has caused you or those you know to ignore the words of God? Why is it vital for you to submit to and obediently follow what He’s instructed?

Father, help me to take Your words to heart, even if they’re difficult to hear. Please give me a heart of repentance—not defiance.

The Nature of Conviction

John 16:7-15

No one enjoys sensing conviction about having done wrong, but that uncomfortable feeling is actually a demonstration of divine love. The Holy Spirit convicts people of their sin, their lack of righteousness, and the reality of coming judgment so they’ll turn to Christ and be saved. If wrongdoers never feel the guilt of their sin, they won’t see the need for a Savior. Every prick of the heart is intended to draw them to Christ.

And we should also be grateful that the Spirit’s convicting work doesn’t end once a person is saved. He continues to instruct and shape us after salvation and convicts us of disobedience to our heavenly Father. In other words, He makes us aware of specific sins and God’s attitude about such behavior. He also prompts us to confess our wrongs, repent, and turn back to the path of righteousness.

In addition to protecting and leading us in these ways, the Spirit does much more for us. He guides us into truth, discloses the meaning of Scripture, transforms our character, and empowers us to live a holy, obedient life characterized by love. So listen to His conviction and promptings. They are for your good and God’s glory.

Meditation in the Morning

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. (Psalm 5:3)

Bible study, meditation on the Word, and prayer are necessities for a healthy Christian life and are good to practice at any time of the day or night, according to the constraints of time and responsibilities of each individual. Other things being equal, however, the best time of all is in the early morning. A believer who awakens each morning to the voice of the Lord in His Word will, in turn, be ready to speak words of blessing to others through the day (Isaiah 50:4). And as we, in turn, look up to Him each morning in prayer, He will hear and direct our steps through the day.

This was the example set by the Lord Jesus Himself: “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed” (Mark 1:35). If even Jesus Christ needed such a quiet time early in the morning set aside to fellowship with His Father, we also would do well to follow.

Note the prayer of David: “Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee” (Psalm 143:8). We urgently need to know the way we should walk each day, for it is so easy to get turned aside into our own ways, and the obvious time to pray for guidance is at the very beginning of every day.

One should not make a legalistic ritual of prayer and Bible meditation, of course, for it should come from a heart of love whenever and wherever it can be done, whether morning or evening. However it may work for each person, may God help us to say with the psalmist: “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97). HMM

I Stand In Awe

Samek

I hate the double-minded, but I love Your instruction. You are my shelter and my shield; I hope in Your word. Depart from me, you evil ones, so that I may obey my God’s commands. Sustain me as You promised, and I will live; do not let me be ashamed of my hope. Sustain me so that I can be safe and be concerned with Your statutes continually. You reject all who stray from Your statutes, for their deceit is a lie. You remove all the wicked on earth as if they were dross; therefore, I love Your decrees. I shudder in awe of You; I fear Your judgments (Psalm 119 vv. 113—120).

Awesome! If I’ve heard that word once, I’ve heard it a thousand times. I’ve become convinced that this word is the cornerstone for the vocabulary of young America, They handle greatness with undue familiarity!

Still, awesome is a perfectly good word. It’s in the dictionary as well as in the Bible itself. The dictionary defines the word as “characterized by awe—an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, and fear produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful, or the like.” I could use this word to describe Brahm’s Fourth Symphony. And the psalmist certainly feels this kind of reverence for God’s laws.

This psalmist isn’t gullible enough to believe that he is immune to the seductive wiles of the wicked and prays earnestly for strength to stay true to God’s awesome decrees. He actually trembles in God’s presence!

I’m wondering if believers in this modern world don’t often try to be too cozy, too familiar with God. We sing superficial songs and engage in cliche- ridden, repetitive prayers. Many of us know the traditions but have never been moved by the truth.We’ve never felt our flesh quiver in awe—holy respect—as we behold the majesty of God’s eternal Word!

Personal Prayer

O Lord, when I open your Word, I’m standing on holy ground. Teach me to tremble in your presence!

We Need to Tell Him

In everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.—Philippians 4:6

One of the reasons Jesus taught us to pray “Give us today our daily bread” was because He wanted to build in us a barrier against ingratitude.

Do you pray daily for your physical needs? Do you ask God daily for things like food, shelter, and the other physical necessities of life? I must confess that when I asked myself this question before writing this page, I had to admit that I did not. Now I have made a decision to apply myself to this part of the Lord’s Prayer with greater sincerity.

Of course some people argue that because Jesus said: “Your Father knows the things you need before you ask Him” (Mt 6:8), then it is pointless to inform God of our physical needs because He knows them already. But the central value of prayer is that prayer is not something by which we inform God of our needs and thus influence Him to give things to us. Prayer is designed to influence us; it is we who are in need of this kind of prayer, not God. Of course God knows what we are in need of, but He also knows that unless we come face to face daily with the fact that we are creatures of need, then we can soon develop a spirit of independence and withdraw ourselves from close contact with Him.

Prayer, then, is something we need. God may not need to be told, but we need to tell Him. That’s the point. And unless we grasp it, we can miss one of the primary purposes of prayer.

Prayer

O Father, thank You for showing me that prayer is not begging for blessings. It is becoming a blessing—to myself. I pray, not to change Your attitude towards me, but to change my attitude towards You. Thank You, Father. Amen.

Further Study

Mt 6:19-34; Ps 37:5; 118:8; 125:1

What should be our attitude to worldly cares?

What should be our first priority?

Secular and Sacred

Romans 12:1

This call to present to God our bodies refers, primarily, to this body by means of which I have my being and earn my living—which is another way of saying that divine service is not limited to a particular hour on a Sunday, but covers all that takes place both in my work week as well as in my hours of leisure.

The purpose of the Christian faith is needlessly curtailed if its application is limited to special times and special areas of life. The redemptive purpose of God is as concerned with the way in which a man uses his time and spends his money as the way in which he says his prayers.

We all know that there is a plain difference between a place of worship and an industrial plant, though the balance of life requires our attendance at both. But to suppose that what goes on in the one—but not the other—is of interest to God, is to deprive man of his only hope of a salvation which can redeem the whole of his life.

The shoe repairer who helps to keep people’s feet dry, the shopkeeper who serves wholesome food over his counter, the garage mechanic whose repair job is utterly dependable—and all others like them—can present their bodies, that is to say, what they do, to God as their acceptable service.

In the second place, we are to present to God not only what the body does but what the body is. We would miss an important part of the meaning of this command if we limited it to our physical and mental activities.

For what is the body intended to be? “The temple of the Holy Spirit” is the Christian answer. The body is more than a structure of flesh and bones. In this sense the body means the whole personality. “Your very selves,” translates the New English Bible. This self or personality, presented to God, can be the temple or home of His Spirit, thus becoming yet another human instrument which God can use to accomplish His will on earth.

This is what holy living means—the dedication of as much as I possess to as much as I know of the will of God for me. And far from this total response cramping any man’s style, it ennobles him who makes it and glorifies the God whose service is always perfect freedom.

Frederick Coutts, Essentials of Christian Experience