VIDEO Even the Moon Praises Him

The heavens declare the glory of God … and night unto night declares knowledge. — Psalm 19:1-2

We all look at the moon, admire the moon, sing about the moon—the moon in June. It brings out tunes and all of that, but what does the moon really mean to us?  Let me say this: If there were no moon, there would be no you. For example, the moon is God’s cleaning-maid for the earth. It cleans up the oceans with its tides. Without those tides and without the moon, all of our shores and all of our bays would be filled with billions of tons of garbage, stench, and debris. The highest priced landscape would be as far from the seashore as you could get, especially on the leeward side.

Furthermore, the moon’s gravitational pull mixes the atmosphere. Just as it works on the sea, it works on the atmosphere and mixes oxygen with the water in the waves breaking on the shore. When you watch waves breaking on the shore, you are watching the ocean’s lifeline in progress. Oxygenated water is required by plankton, which is the foundation of the whole marine food chain without which all marine creatures would die. The moon, which just “accidentally” happens to be there, just “accidentally” happens to be the right size in the right place and the right distance away from the earth to exert the proper gravitational force on tides and the atmosphere.

Day by day, night by night, God’s creation itself brings Him glory for those who will but listen.

Question to ponder: What aspects of creation fill you with awe about God?


God’s Own Defense of Scripture, Part 1 (Psalm 19)

Giving Out of Love

Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:4

Every day, Glen purchases his morning coffee at a nearby drive-through. And every day he also pays for the order of the person in the car behind him, asking the cashier to wish that person a good day. Glen has no connection to them. He’s not aware of their reactions; he simply believes this small gesture is “the least he can do.” On one occasion, however, he learned of the impact of his actions when he read an anonymous letter to the editor of his local newspaper. He discovered that the kindness of his gift on July 18, 2017, caused the person in the car behind him to reconsider their plans to take their own life later that day.

Glen gives daily to the people in the car behind him without receiving credit for it. Only on this single occasion did he get a glimpse of the impact of his small gift. When Jesus says we should “not let [our] left hand know what [our] right hand is doing” (Matthew 6:3), He’s urging us to give—as Glen does—without need for recognition.

When we give out of our love for God, without concern for receiving the praise of others, we can trust that our gifts—large or small—will be used by Him to help meet the needs of those receiving them.

By:  Kirsten Holmberg

Reflect & Pray

How have you benefited from someone’s anonymous giving? How can you give more “in secret”?

Father, thank You for using me to meet the needs of others and for meeting my needs through them. Help me not to seek credit when I give but to do so in a way that gives You the glory. 

Develop a Long-Term Focus

Keeping an eternal perspective aligns our actions with God’s plan

Genesis 25:19-34

Today’s Scripture reading tells the story of two brothers, one of whom was willing to sell his birthright (a double share of his father’s inheritance) for a bowl of stew. Why would Esau relinquish such a valuable asset for a temporary need? According to Hebrews, his foolish decision sprang from a godless heart (Hebrews 12:16). Esau didn’t value what God had given him but was concerned only about his immediate needs.

The problem with this mindset is that it leaves no room for things of eternal value—in other words, things of God. Of course, we all like to think we have enough common sense and intelligence to make good decisions. But as followers of Christ, we must rely upon the Lord’s wisdom instead of our own.

If you’re constantly preoccupied with immediate needs and desires, ask the Lord to help you understand what He wants for your future. Read His Word and ask for guidance to a path that brings Him everlasting glory. As was true of Esau, certain decisions you make will have long-term consequences. So trust the Lord, and carefully consider the eternal outcome before you make a commitment.

The Furtherance of the Gospel

“But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.” (Philippians 1:12)

The infrequently used word “furtherance” (meaning simply “advancement”) occurs elsewhere only in Philippians 1:25, where Paul speaks of the “furtherance and joy of faith,” which he hoped to see in the Christians at Philippi, and in 1 Timothy 4:15, where it is translated “profiting.” There, Paul urged young Timothy to continue studying the things of God “that thy profiting may appear to all.”

Paul wrote this epistle while he was unjustly imprisoned in a Roman jail, and no doubt he remembered the time when he had first met many of his Philippian Christian friends as a result of being imprisoned and beaten in a Philippian jail (Acts 16:12-40). In fact, he had often been imprisoned (2 Corinthians 11:23) and had suffered severely in many other ways for “the furtherance of the gospel.”

Indeed, during the two years or more he was a prisoner in Rome, he not only taught God’s Word to many who visited him there (Acts 28:30-31) but also wrote at least four of his inspired epistles (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon—possibly even Hebrews). And these have been of untold blessing to millions down through the years. In ways that Paul could never have imagined, it was true indeed that these things that had happened to him had “fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.”

The apostle Paul had the spiritual insight to realize that what seemed like great problems and difficulties could be used by God to the “advancement” of the gospel. Rather than complaining or even quitting when the Christian life gets hard, we must remember that God can make even “the wrath of man” to bring praise to Him (Psalm 76:10). HMM

My Attitude to the Cross

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.Galatians 6:14

I find a deep, compelling message in the words of an old hymn no longer sung. And I am concerned for the spiritual desire now seemingly lost with the hymn:

Oh, for that flame of living fire

Which shone so bright in saints of old,

Which bade their souls to heaven aspire,

Calm in distress, in danger bold.

Where is that Spirit, Lord, which dwelt

In Abram’s breast and sealed him Thine,

Which made Paul’s heart with sorrow melt

And glow with energy divine?

That Spirit which from age to age

Proclaimed Thy love and taught Thy ways,

Brightened Isaiah’s vivid page

And breathed in David’s hallowed lays.

… “Where is that Spirit, Lord?” Why must we cry in pathetic and plaintive manner, “Where is Thy Spirit, Lord?” I think it is because we differ from the saints of old in our relation to the cross—our attitude toward the cross. JAF081-082

[T]he cross on the hill must become the cross in our hearts. JAF083

Completing the Framework

Wisdom resides in the heart of the discerning; she is known even among fools.Proverbs 14:33

It is important to build a biblical framework for generosity. First, give at least a tithe of your earnings to the Lord’s work. The giving of a tithe is seen by many as legalistic, but the tithe is really a symbol of acknowledgment that the nine-tenths belongs to God. The Hebrews waved the firstfruits of the harvest before the Lord as an acknowledgment that the coming harvest belonged to Him. Some will be able to give far more than a tithe, but the tithe is a good place to begin.

Next, make your will under God’s direction and maintain a balance between responsibility for your family and the continuing work of God. Make sure your relatives don’t waste what God has given you to invest in His kingdom. You might need advice here from a wise Christian.

Also, remember that the principle of generosity applies not only to your treasure but also to your talents and your time. Each day ask God to show you ways of using your talents and time for Him. John Wesley’s advice is worth repeating: “Make all you can; save all you can; give all you can.”

Finally, accept the smallest opportunity to be generous as a proving ground for faithfulness. “You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things” (Mt 25:21). Don’t wait for the big opportunities to be generous but start with the next opportunity that comes your way—no matter how small it may be. Get ready for the bigger by doing the little well. Why does the Bible make much of generosity? Because the truly generous are the truly wise.

Prayer

Father, just like Simon Peter, who gave Your Son his boat from which to preach, I give You my treasure, my talents, and my time for You to use as Your pulpit—today and every day. In Christ’s name. Amen.

Further Study

Gn 14:20; Lv 27:30; 2Ch 31:5; Mt 3:1-10

What principle did Abram follow?

What is your response to the biblical principle expressed by the tithe?

Friends of God

“No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.”—John 15:15

You do not choose to be a friend of God. That is by invitation only. Only two people in the Old Testament were specifically described as “friends of God.” Abraham walked with the Lord so closely that God referred to him as His friend (Isa. 41:8). Moses spoke to God face to face as a man speaks with his friend (Exod. 33:11).

By His very nature God is a friend to us. He loves us with a perfect love and reaches out to us with salvation when we can offer Him nothing in return. It is quite another thing when someone has a heart so devoted to Him that God initiates a special friendship. David’s heart was totally devoted to God (1 Kings 11:4). Although David was not sinless, he loved God. David hated sin (Ps. 103:3); he loved to worship God (Ps. 122:1); he took genuine delight in God’s presence (2 Sam. 6:14); he loved to speak about God (Ps. 34:1); he was keenly aware of his transgressions (Ps. 51:3–4); and he delighted in offering gifts of song, thanksgiving, and praise, asking for nothing in return (Ps. 100). So closely did David walk with God that his words were on Jesus’ mind as He hung upon the cross (Matt. 27:46).

Jesus called His disciples friends. He said He would disclose to them things that the Father had shared with Him, because they were His friends. There developed such an intimate friendship between them that He would share what was on His heart with His friends.

If you cannot describe yourself as a friend of God, commit yourself to seek after God with all your heart.