VIDEO There’s Plenty More

Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase. Proverbs 3:9

We occasionally hear this idiom: “There’s plenty more where that came from.” It can be used in a negative, combative sense or in a positive, generous sense. In both cases, the meaning is the same: There is a reservoir just waiting to be tapped if needed.

Jesus commended a poor widow who gave all she had to the Lord (Mark 12:41-44). In her case, there was nothing more “where that came from”—as opposed to those who gave to the treasury out of their wealth. Paul likewise commended the Macedonian churches who gave out of their poverty (2 Corinthians 8:1-2). The expression also applies to the principle of giving to God the firstfruits of one’s wealth. The reason we should have no fear of giving the first to God is because “there’s plenty more where that came from.” In other words, giving firstfruits to God is an act of faith that He will continue to bless those who honor Him.

Don’t be afraid to give God the first of your increase. In doing so, you express your faith that His resources and provisions are never ending.

Are you giving to God what is right, or what is left? James Merritt


Studies in Proverbs: Lesson 46 (Prov. 3:9-10) | Paul Washer

Not Holding Grudges

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:18

During a promotional event in 2011, two seventy-three-year-old former Canadian Football League players got into a fistfight on stage. They had a “beef” (a grudge or feud) dating back to a controversial championship football game in 1963. After one man knocked the other off the stage, the crowd called out to him to “let it go!” They were telling him to “squash the beef.”

The Bible contains many examples of people “beefing.” Cain held a grudge against his brother Abel because God accepted Abel’s offering over his (Genesis 4:4–5). This grudge was so severe that it eventually led to murder as “Cain attacked his brother . . . and killed him” (v. 8). “Esau held a grudge against Jacob” because Jacob stole the birthright that was rightfully his (27:41). This grudge was so intense that it caused Jacob to run for his life in fear.

Not only does the Bible give us several examples of people who held grudges, but it also instructs us on how to “squash the beef”—how to seek forgiveness and reconciliation. God calls us to love others (Leviticus 19:18), pray for and forgive those who insult and injure us (Matthew 5:43–47), live peaceably with all people, leave revenge to God, and overcome evil with good (Romans 12:18–21). By His power, may we “squash the beef” today.

By:  Marvin Williams

Reflect & Pray

Why is it vital for us to not hold grudges? How will you work to restore a broken or damaged relationship this week? 

Jesus, thank You that I can forgive others because You’ve forgiven me.

Why Do Believers Still Sin?

Though we are saved eternally, the flesh has potential to sin until our lifelong sanctification is complete

Romans 7:14-25

Once we’re saved, it doesn’t take long to discover that we still sin. This can be confusing because 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, this person is a new creation; the old things passed away.” If that verse is true, why do we have the same old sin problem we had before following Christ?

In today’s passage, the apostle Paul describes this struggle in his own life and at one point says, “If I do the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin that dwells in me” (Rom. 7:20). 

Although we truly have been made new in our spirit, we continue to live in a fallen world and have a disposition toward sin. What we must understand is that our redemption, which began at salvation, will not be completed until Jesus returns and transforms these sinful bodies to be glorious like His own. (Phil. 3:20-21). 

At our conversion, we were set free from the penalty of sin, through justification. Now, through sanctification, we are being progressively delivered from the power of sin. But only when we are glorified will we be free from the presence of sin forever.  

Rest Only in Christ

“But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.” (Genesis 8:9)

Unlike the raven, which Noah had sent out first, the dove could not live on the carrion floating on the floodwaters. After nine months cooped up in the Ark, she had reveled in her freedom when Noah first released her from the window of the Ark. Unaware of the outside perils while safe with Noah, she flew gaily off into the open spaces beyond, just like many a professing Christian, eager to cast off the constraints of his or her parental religion. “And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness” (Psalm 55:6-7).

But the dove could find no rest away from Noah, whose very name means “rest”! His father, Lamech, by prophetic inspiration, had called his name Noah, saying, “This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed” (Genesis 5:29). So, she finally returned, finding rest once again in Noah’s outstretched hands.

Just so, the Lord Jesus, in His greater ark of secure salvation, is waiting at its open window with arms outstretched, inviting all those weary of the doomed world outside to return to Him. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Christ’s message to the weary wanderer is: “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions,…return unto me; for I have redeemed thee” (Isaiah 44:22). HMM

Song of the Suffering Servant

First Movement: The Eloquence of Darkness—Part 2

Many bulls surround me; strong ones of Bashan encircle me. They open their mouths against me—lions, mauling and roaring (Psalm 22 vv. 12—13).

Continuing the theme of suffering, David portrayed a fifth scene of darkness: Christ’s intense suffering on the cross. He pictured the mocking crowd as a menagerie of wild animals. They were like ravenous wolves closing in on their prey. Murder, sin, and hate filled their wild eyes.

Verses 16-18 describe in uncanny detail the Roman execution—piercing the hands and feet, counting the bones, people staring and gloating, soldiers dividing the garments and casting lots for them.

David pleads for immediate help (vv. 19-21). He prays intensely for God to come close and deliver him from these wild, murderous, unclean predators.

What a model for me to follow when I am called to suffer. Romans 8:17-18 says it all: “And if children, also heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ— seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.”

It is easy to live under the mistaken notion that if I do the will of God, my life will be a paragon of perfection, free from anxiety and trauma. But I need to recognize that I may suffer because I am doing the will of God. This happened to David, and it happened to Christ in Gethsemane and on the cross.

My goal in life should be holiness, not happiness. But grabbing hold of this concept in our affluent society is difficult at best. The fullest, most richly textured life is the holy life. Only the refiner’s fire produces pure gold. The holy life yields the richest, most enduring rewards.

Personal Prayer

Lord, though I live in a pagan, materialistic culture, may I commit my life to the higher value of holiness over happiness. Let me experience a deep wellspring of joy, no matter what happens.

A Gospel Chorus Lyric

Eternity’s Values in View

With eternity’s values in view, Lord,

With eternity’s values in view;

May I do each day’s work for Jesus,

With eternity’s values in view.

Words and music by Alfred B.

Smith © 1941. Renewed 1969.

Stirred, But Not Shaken

Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.—Psalm 16:8

Whenever I have the opportunity to address Christian counselors, I try to urge them to put the glory of God before their client’s well-being. A good deal of “Christian counseling” today follows the client-centered approach, where the person is all-important. Thus more attention is paid to how the person has been hurt by others than how he or she may be hurting God by being unwilling to trust Him. This is a very sensitive issue, and I tell counselors in training that it must never be brought up until other issues have been explored and understood. But ultimately, however, this is the issue we must all face, whether we are in counseling or not.

Ask yourself this question now: Do I allow myself to be more overwhelmed by the wrong which people have done to me than the wrong I might have done (and may still be doing) to God by my unwillingness to trust Him? Putting the glory of God before our well-being does not go down well with some modern-day Christians brought up in the “me” generation. It means that we have to break away from the idea that life revolves around our desires, our ambitions, our self-image, our personal comfort, our hurts, and our problems, and embrace the fact that it revolves instead around the glory and the will of God. When we learn to apply the great text before us today to our lives, we will find, as did the psalmist, that when we set the Lord always before us, then no matter what happens, we will be stirred but not shaken.

Prayer

Father, thank You for reminding me that I cannot avoid my soul’s being “stirred” by life’s problems, but when I have set You ever before me, then I can avoid being “shaken.” Drive this truth deep into my being this very day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

1Sm 4:1-22; Ex 33:12-18; Ps 29:1-2

Is there a parallel between this account and today’s church?

What was Moses’ request?

The Spirit-Filled Life

Galatians 5:22

What is a normal Christian? What picture comes to your mind? Perhaps you picture a person who attends church, gives to charity every now and again, lives a respectable life, and goes about his business no different from the average man in the street. Sad to say, our society equates the nominal Christian with a normal Christian. But in fact, the nominal Christian lives a sub-normal Christian life.

What then is a normal Christian? A normal Christian is one who is filled with the Holy Spirit. The normal Christian, the Spirit-filled Christian, is one in whom the Spirit takes complete control.

At Pentecost, when the disciples received an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, they gave vent to this power in them. Onlookers were amazed and mistakenly thought the disciples were drunk. Peter had to repudiate that charge, saying they were exuberant because they were filled with the Spirit.

The Spirit-filled life overflows with joy. It characterized the early disciples; it was a hallmark of the early-day Salvationists. The Spirit of God enables us to have joy and give thanks always and in all circumstances.

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22). This ninefold fruit of the Spirit expresses the Spirit-filled life. These qualities are found in the life of our Lord, so to be Spirit-filled is to live the life of Christ. A Spirit-filled person is a reproduction of, or a manifestation of, the life of Christ.

We value the fellowship with believers in the place of worship, but if our faith is to mean anything at all it has to be expressed in life’s relationships outside the church as well. The effects of the Spirit-filled life are felt in our homes and in the society in which we live. It has its effects on the relationships of husband and wife, parent and children. Spirit-filled Christians apply Christian principles in the home, the office, the school, at work, in society.

For the Spirit to fill us, there first needs to be a self-emptying of self, sin and pride. Fullness comes at the point of full surrender. The Spirit of God, when He takes full control, revolutionizes us and the society in which we live.

Ah Ang Lim, The Salvationist Pulpit