Truthful Tuesday: Purpose in Provision

Be-careful-what-you-sow

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

By sowing what we have been given, we demonstrate that we trust that God will give again.

Scripture of the Day:

2 Corinthians 9:6

“My point is this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each one of you should give just as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, because God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace overflow to you so that because you have enough of everything in every way at all times, you will overflow in every good work. 9 Just as it is written, “He has scattered widely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness remains forever.” 10  Now God who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your supply of seed and will cause the harvest of your righteousness to grow. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you may be generous on every occasion, which is producing through us thanksgiving to God,” 12 because the service of this ministry is not only providing for the needs of the saints but is also overflowing with many thanks to God. 13 Through the evidence of this service they will glorify God because of your obedience to your confession in the gospel of Christ and the generosity of your sharing with them and with everyone.”

Everything we have is given so we may be generous to others, but our giving also is for us. Sowing what is not ours in the first place bears fruit for eternity, and causes us to grow to be more like Christ.

By sowing what we have been given, we demonstrate that we trust that God will give again.

When others look into our lives and see God’s blessing and our obedience to share that blessing, it serves to point them to God and brings Him glory.

All too often, though, we can look at what we don’t have or focus on all of the abundant needs there are around us instead of seeing how much God has truly blessed us with. The fact is, there will always be needs, but those needs point us to the One Who gives us the greatest riches of all – Himself.

When we have Christ, we can sow more than just physical needs – but also seeds of the Gospel into the hearts of others, giving them true wealth. He gives us all we need for this life. He is the vine and living water Who quenches the thirst of all who come to Him.

Just like we should not withhold material blessings when we can give them, the gift of salvation is one we should share liberally, as well.

Lord, may You be glorified in all that You give us and may we be faithful to bless others with the gifts You have given, including our salvation.

 

 

Thoughtful Thursday: True Prosperity

True Propserity

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Reconciliation with the Almighty God of this universe is the greatest wealth we can have.

Scripture:

Job 22:21-28

21 “Reconcile yourself with God, and be at peace with him; in this way your prosperity will be good. 22 Accept instruction from his mouth and store up his words in your heart. 23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be built up; if you remove wicked behavior far from your tent, 24 and throw your gold in the dust–your gold of Ophir among the rocks in the ravines– 25 then the Almighty himself will be your gold, and the choicest silver for you. 26 Surely then you will delight yourself in the Almighty, and will lift up your face toward God. 27 You will pray to him and he will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows to him. 28 Whatever you decide on a matter, it will be established for you, and light will shine on your ways.” 

I’ve heard of people longing to win the lottery – even going to great lengths on strategies to hopefully help them land the winning number – and end their woes.  Thing is, the people who do win often end up destroying their lives.  What happened?  Wasn’t prosperity the solution to all of their troubles?

Some preachers have taught that world wealth is a given for those who are in Christ. People who are poor by the world’s standards must just not have enough faith to obtain the wealth God planned for them.  I don’t buy it and I have never played the lottery, either.

Like Paul, I have known what it is to be in need and to have an abundance.  In both times, I praised God.  I did not want to forget God when He blessed us, nor did I want to blame Him when we were unemployed and sued into financial woe.  God was faithful through it all. Both circumstances were not easy.

In times of prosperity, materialism, comfort and apathy threatened to woo us into a backslidden, religious state.  In times of financial hardship, we had to adapt and go without. We cried out to God and gained things of value that wealth could never give us.  A deeper walk with Him, a deeper trust in Him as He provided in creative ways, and learning contentment – precious treasure earned in challenging financial ordeals.

My children and I look fondly on the times when we craved food that we could not purchase due to a limited budget, then the LORD impressed on other people’s hearts to bring us that very food.  It was very specific and amazing to see God’s faithfulness in even the smallest of things.

The greatest riches we can ever achieve were given freely to us and can never be lost. Eternal treasures purchased for us by the blood of Christ, the cost for our reconciliation to God.  Nothing compares to this prosperity.

Lord, thank You for giving us Yourself, the most precious gift ever.  Please help us to be a grateful people and to share what You have given to us with the world.

Mundane Monday: Something in the Blood

Photo Credits: marccortez.com

Photo Credits: marccortez.com

Leviticus 17:11-14

11 “For the life of every living thing is in the blood.   So I myself have assigned it to you on the altar to make atonement for your lives, for the blood makes atonement by means of the life.  12 Therefore, I have said to the Israelites: No person among you is to eat blood, and no resident foreigner who lives among you is to eat blood.  13“‘Any man from the Israelites or from the foreigners who reside in their midst who hunts a wild animal or a bird that may be eaten must pour out its blood and cover it with soil, 14 for the life of all flesh is its blood.  So I have said to the Israelites: You must not eat the blood of any living thing because the life of every living thing is its blood – all who eat it will be cut off.’” 

Zechariah 9:11

“Moreover, as for you, because of our covenant relationship secured with blood, I will release your prisoners from the waterless pit.”

Hebrews 13:20

“Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep.”

1 Peter 1:18-20 (NLT)

18 “For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom He paid was not mere gold or silver. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. 20 God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but He has now revealed him to you in these last days.”

Hebrews 9:22 (NLT)

22 “In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.”

I know – the picture kind of grosses you out, right?  it does me.  The sight of blood is enough to make some people pass out, strike still others with fear or disgust.  There is power in the blood, but it is not because of man’s perceptions.  What is it about blood?

Blood is life.  Without blood we cannot live and according to God’s word, without the shedding of blood we cannot live.  Our lives are costly and therefore the payment for our sins, which destroys our lives, is costly.  Spilled blood makes us aware of the value of the life lost.  Innately we know life is precious.

To sophisticated man, all this talk of blood is barbarian.  We would rather not hear or know about it.  It remind us that we are but dust and finite beings.  To need blood as our ransom is humbling.  We would rather be independent and provide for our own needs.  But alas, we cannot.

The offerings in the Old Testament were necessary before a holy God.  They might be hard for us to understand in our current culture, but God’s standard of a life for a life is borne out by the provision of blood covering our sins.

Today we remember His sacrifice in communion but can easily forget the symbolism of the cup of blood we drink.  His blood was spilled for our transgressions and should not lightly be accepted.  While we could not stand in the presence of God, the substitutionary death of His Son, Jesus, Who gave His life for our own, enables us to not just be forgiven of sins, but to have a relationship with a Holy God.

I had the privilege of attending a Bethel worship concert last week.  During that time, one of the worship leaders, Steffany Gretzinger, shared an insight into the power of God’s blood that has stuck with me.  She spoke of the dilemma many are in because of coming from a bloodline marred in sin, but then spoke of the hope we have in Christ’s bloodline, which trumps every bloodline on earth.

Sweet victory is ours!  Whatever our past, whatever sins were passed down or we ourselves committed, they have all been trumped by the King of kings and Lord of lords, Who set the standard for the wages of our sin then fulfilled them Himself – with His own blood.

How costly blood is, and how much more so from God Himself!  This amazing gift of salvation is not casually accepted; no, it is part of a covenantal relationship which holds us accountable.  We cannot continue in sin when such a cost was paid.  He Who set us free is worthy of our lives, as well.

Lord, how amazing You are – to know our need for Your covering before we ever were.  Thank You for Your sacrifice.  May we never take for granted this gift of Your life for ours.