VIDEO Give to the Giver

But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, and of Your own we have given You. 1 Chronicles 29:14

When great resources were needed to build the temple, King David set the example by giving of his personal wealth, followed by all the leaders of Israel. David explained why: “The work is great, because the temple is not for man but for the Lord God” (1 Chronicles 29:1). He then said to God that they could only give because He had first given to them (verse 14).

That is the premise that underlies all giving and service in God’s Kingdom. We give and serve because He has first given to us and served us. As the apostle John later wrote, “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Whatever God has given us in terms of time, talent, or treasure, we owe it all to Him. From the breath of our life to the work of our hands, we give it to glorify the One who first gave to us.

Consider afresh today what God has given you. Offer thanks to Him and consider how you might use His gifts for His glory.

We make…His glory the goal for which we live. Jerry Bridges


Giving to God, 1 Chronicles 29:5-14 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study

Love’s Greatest Gift

We all, like sheep, have gone astray. Isaiah 53:6

My son Geoff was leaving a store when he saw an abandoned walking frame (a mobility aid) on the ground. I hope there isn’t a person back there who needs help, he thought. He glanced behind the building and found a homeless man unconscious on the pavement.

Geoff roused him and asked if he was okay. “I’m trying to drink myself to death,” he responded. “My tent broke in a storm, and I lost everything. I don’t want to live.”

Geoff called a Christian rehabilitation ministry, and while they waited for help, he ran home briefly and brought the man his own camping tent. “What’s your name?” Geoff asked. “Geoffrey,” the homeless man answered, “with a G.” Geoff hadn’t mentioned his own name or its uncommon spelling. “Dad,” he told me later, “that could have been me.”

Geoff once struggled with substance abuse himself, and he helped the man because of the kindness he’d received from God. Isaiah the prophet used these words to anticipate God’s mercy to us in Jesus: “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

Christ, our Savior, didn’t leave us lost, alone, and hopeless in despair. He chose to identify with us and lift us in love, so that we may be set free to live anew in Him. There’s no greater gift.

By:  James Banks

Reflect & Pray

Where would you be without Jesus? How can you be His hands and feet for someone in need?

Thank You, Jesus, for coming to rescue me. Help me to join in Your search-and-rescue mission and to share Your love with someone who needs You today.

Read Remade in the Image of Jesus .

Relying on Christ

Instead of focusing on our self-esteem, let’s rely on Jesus in our inadequacy

1 Corinthians 2:1-5

Our world emphatically proclaims the importance of self-esteem, which is a favorable impression of oneself. It’s not unusual to hear that an individual who values himself will accomplish much. Yet Scripture warns us not to think too highly of ourselves (Rom. 12:3). We should have far greater confidence in Christ than in ourselves.

Despite his impressive credentials (Phil. 3:4-5), Paul knew he was inadequate to complete the ministry God gave him. In fact, today’s passage says that when preaching the gospel to the Corinthians, he came in fear and trembling (1 Cor. 2:3). His message wasn’t delivered with self-confidence but in complete reliance upon the Spirit. And that’s exactly how we should live as well. 

When we rely on God’s power instead of our own abilities, He produces supernatural boldness in us. Even in the midst of difficulty, we can live with confidence because the indwelling Spirit of the living God enables us to follow Him. He directs and strengthens us in every situation as we humble ourselves in dependence upon Him.

Are you facing situations that make you feel inadequate? Instead of shrinking back, consider them as opportunities to put your confidence in the Lord. You can trust the One who is your Creator, Redeemer, and Friend. 

Isaac’s Life of Contrast

“And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.” (Genesis 25:27-28)

Isaac’s early life became the biblical picture of Christ (Genesis 22:7-9). Not only did Isaac lay down his life voluntarily, but he continued to show great evidence of God’s presence and promise. He had personal instruction in faith from Abraham (Genesis 18:19) and had been given direct evidence of God’s sovereignty in his life (Genesis 24:67).

Even before the birth of his sons when he was 60 years old, Isaac interceded for Rebecca and the children (Genesis 25:21). It is certain that he had firsthand knowledge of God’s plan for the boys (Genesis 26:2-53; 28:1-4), yet in spite of his knowledge, Isaac “loved Esau” (our text).

He knew that God had chosen the younger child to rule (Genesis 25:23). He knew that Esau was an ungodly man (Genesis 27:46), and he knew that Esau had married pagan wives (Genesis 26:34) in spite of God’s command to the contrary. But Isaac was determined to give the birthright to Esau. The single reason Scripture cites for Isaac’s irrational behavior was that he loved Esau and the savory meat Esau brought in from hunting (Genesis 27:1-4).

Isaac finally gave the blessing to Jacob, but he would have blessed Esau; he would have gone against God’s command, and he “trembled exceedingly” when he knew that he had been overruled by God (Genesis 27:30-33). Ultimately, Isaac submitted to God and instructed Jacob in righteousness (Genesis 28:1-5). The pain in Jacob’s life, the agony of Rebecca’s separation from her son, and the torn testimony of Isaac were all caused by an incorrect “love.” HMM III

Discord of Depravity

The fool says in his heart, “God does not exist.” They are corrupt; their actions are revolting. There is no one who does good. All have

turned away; they have all become corrupt. There is no one who does good, not even one (Psalm 14 vv. 1, 3; also see Rom. 1).

The mood of this piece is arrogant. The theme is total depravity—leaving God out of life. The motifs are materialism, secularism, exploitation, and corruption. The essence of living in the flesh is to live as if God doesn’t exist. I know of a former prominent evangelist who arrogantly decided to no longer call God his Father.

What happens when we leave God out of our lives? Psalm 14 graphically and poetically answers the question.

Denying God begins a downward progression. Suppressing the truth leads to idolatry, self-destructiveness, and gross immorality. Error replaces truth, behavior becomes totally depraved, and people are oppressed.

Apostates think they are wise, but they are fools. When we choose the foolish route of denying God, we end up in rebellion against God, in alienation from others, and in personal corruption because we have killed off the source of all love and meaning for our lives.

This psalm is discordant and dissonant until the last verse, when David returns to the theme of salvation. The Lord will restore the fortunes of his people and make them glad. We don’t need to be mannequins—lifeless and stripped of all love and meaning.

Personal Prayer

Heavenly Father, make me fully aware that it is your existence alone that fills my life with love and gives it meaning.

The Language of Music

Discord

A musical dynamic characterized by dissonance and unpleasantness.

The opposite of discord is “concord” which emphasizes consonance and pleasantness. Our Lord encourages harmony and unity (John 17:23). Like darkness and light, however, discord and concord would lack definition without their opposites.

“What Is Your Name?”

Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.—Genesis 32:24

The way in which God helped Jacob to be rid of his spirit of demandingness is revealing—”a man wrestled with him until daybreak.” Like the hound of heaven, the love of God pursued him down the years, awaiting the hour when he would be ready to admit that he was beaten.

This man (probably an angelic representative) wrestled with him until Jacob’s strength was diminished, at which point he asked him: “What is your name?” To us it seems a simple question, but in those days one’s name was the expression of one’s character; if the character changed, the name was changed. So Jacob, after a tremendous struggle, made the crucial confession: “My name is Jacob—the supplanter,” he sobbed. The depths were uncovered. Jacob’s heart was naked before God. The real problem was identified.

If you have not reached this place in your spiritual experience, I suggest you stop everything and tell God your name. You might have to confess: “My name is Demandingness; I insist on having my own way in everything.” This may be hard to say, but get it out no matter what the cost, for there will be no new name until you say the old name.

The saying of the old name is a confession, a catharsis. When Jacob said his name, the angel said: “Your name will no longer be Jacob … It will be Israel” (v. 28)—a striver with God. The new nation of Israel would be named for this crooked man made straight. Jacob was buried; Israel was alive forevermore.

Prayer

God, help me to tell You my name—my real name. Help me to dodge no longer; the game is up. Take out of me the spirit of demandingness. Change my name and change my character. Save me from myself. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Further Study

1Jn 1:1-9; Ezr 10:11; 2Sm 12:13

What are we to do with our sin?

How did Nathan respond to David?

On a Wing and a Prayer

Job 5:9

Ian Knop for many years had his home in Perth, Australia. There he had a part in starting a new Christian congregation, and just as a hobby he kept half a dozen white ducks behind a wire netting fence in his backyard.

One day his wife warned him that he needed to clip the wings of the ducks, as some of them seemed to be trying to get over the fence. He said that he would do the job on Saturday when he was home from work. However, late on Friday afternoon as Ian was watching from his veranda, one of the ducks which happened to be a bit lame stretched its wings, flew over the netting and disappeared behind the house.

Somewhat surprised, Ian ran into the street, but the duck was nowhere to be seen. He went to the next street, but again there was no sign of the bird. Although he inquired of almost everyone he met no one had seen the rather improbable suburban sight of a white duck flying or walking about. Time went by and the mystery of the missing duck remained unsolved.

Almost a year later the truth came out, and what had happened to the lame duck became known. Ian had attended a Sunday night service when the theme had been on answers to prayer. As the weather was rough he offered a ride home to a woman in the congregation who lived four streets from where he lived himself and who had experienced a hard life with a drunken husband and their five children.

As they drove along, the woman kept up a stream of comments on this and that and then remarked on the lovely meeting they had shared thinking about answers to prayer. She said: “I know God answers prayer. Believe it or not, about a year ago on a Friday night I was standing on my veranda praying to God because I had little money with which to buy meat or other food for the family over the weekend.”

“Suddenly, a white duck came out of the sky and landed just in front of me. It had a little bit of a limp but otherwise it was a lovely bird, and a real answer to prayer. In no time I had killed it and had it ready for the pot and we had all the meat we needed. Wasn’t that wonderful!”

Ian resisted the temptation to reveal that it was his loss that had been her gain! God’s servant of old reminds us, “He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted” (Job 5:9).

Wesley Harris, Truth Stranger than Fiction