Proverbs 11:25 "A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed."
Solomon shares with us that what we do shows where our priorities really lie. You see, “people will curse him who withholds grain…” (Proverbs 11:26). God’s desire is for us to faithfully and consistently build His kingdom through material and time. Both God and people will notice when we are not giving what we could to help where it is needed. When we withhold our “grain”—those blessings from God that we need to bless others with—we are living in disobedience. If we even committed a tenth of our time or resources to God, there would be no stopping His ministry.
Your church is in need of leaders, teachers, and servants to step up and commit to glorifying God. If you want to see God’s view of laziness in His word, then I challenge you to read the book of Malachi. There you will find that the servants of the Lord were distracted from God’s work. The kingdom wasn’t worth anything to them. And so God rebuked them for their behavior. For God does know and will remember our faithfulness. How much is God’s kingdom worth to you?
The worth of our salvation should be measured by our obedience to the mission of the cross (“…And he who wins souls is wise”, Pro. 11:30b).Father, thank you that you love a cheerful giver.
Father, remind my heart today that giving away as much as I can until it makes me joyful before you is the greatest aim. I thank you today that I have a sense of being loved deeply by your Son and it allows me to forgive someone who wrongs me because I can afford to be generous. Lord, help me also to welcome all brother and sisters that are in Christ without condemnation. May my heart be open to all in the body of Christ with generous affection. Lord, show me today what I can do to help my brother in need. I love you, Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Genesis 22:12 "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son."
We live in a culture that laughs about sin. Sin is promoted and is the center of the entertainment. It is the source of jokes, laughter, and all sorts of weird things. And it simply demonstrates how much we really don’t understand it.
What does this have to do with Abraham and Isaac? Well, have you ever read Isaiah 53:10?
It pleased God to crush His only Son. It doesn’t mean that the Father took joy in crushing His Son. But it means that the will of God would be completed by Christ dying under the wrath of His Father.
Someone had to bear our sin and die separated from God and close that gap. But this one also had to die under the wrath of God, to satisfy God’s justice, and appease His holy and just wrath.
Let me give you an example from Abraham and Isaac. Listen to the language that is used. God tells Abraham, “Take your SON, your only SON, and the SON whom you love up to the mountain and sacrifice him there.”
And you think to yourself now, “What a wonderful ending to the story!” It is not the ending; it is the intermission!
2,000 years later, God takes His Son, His only Son, the Son whom He loves, and He puts Him on a cross and He lays His hand on the brow of His son. God the Father, in a manner of speaking, takes the knife out of Abraham’s hand and slaughters His Son, His only Son, and the Son whom He loves.
This is the Gospel! Have you truly believed on Jesus alone by faith alone, trusting only in His grace alone for salvation?
Father, what a reminder today that I drink in sin like a fish in water. I don’t even know it is ever around me! Lord, thank you that the story of Abraham and Isaac isn’t just a quaint story. It is a rifle-focus prophecy fulfilled about the Gospel itself. What was pictured there is a picture of what Christ did for me in his person and work. Lord, I cannot thank you enough for saving me not just from sin but from your wrath due upon me for my sin. Hallelujah! Christ is Lord! Amen.
John 6:6 "He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do."
I believe one point to this story that is often overlooked is that the young boy said ""yes"" to a total stranger's request for his lunch. He was probably unaware of who Jesus was or why there were thousands of people on a hillside.
Still, this young boy willingly gave up his lunch. He could have said, ""No, I will not have anything to eat if you take my lunch!” Yet he trusted a total stranger enough to relinquish everything within his possession to help many others.
Is your back up against a wall today? Does it seem like you are in complete darkness, unable to come out of or solve a problem before you? Then surrender everything you are to the Lord. If He has pointed out a sin, a possession, a skill, a situation, a person, or something that you have never fully given over to Him, now is the time to let that go.
Until you are willing to say, ""Lord, my life is completely in Your hands. Please take control from now on,"" you will never be able to experience the blessing and wonder of God's will for your life.Never doubt what the Lord can do with an impossible situation. Instead, say in complete faith, ""Here, Lord, I surrender all I am to you.""
Father, I praise you today that when we think we know what we are doing, we really don't. My pride would have me believe that I know what to do for you at all times. Yet, Lord, like this young boy, often I just bring what I have to you, and I am grateful you multiply it for your glory. Father, my strength is weak today, as is my faith. Help me in my unbelief! Help me to see your hand! I don’t ask this to me a sign-grabber, Lord, but to be reassured of your presence. Thank you that you never leave me nor forsake me. I pray this all in the matchless name of Christ, fully trusting your provision. Amen.
Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood...
As Christians, we already have the best connection we need--Jesus Christ. He is ""the firstborn from the dead, the ruler of the kings of the earth,"" and ""the Alpha and the Omega, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty"" (Revelation 1:5, 8). No human can ever replace Him. No human authority can ever usurp His place and position in the universe. No scientist can ever unravel His eternal plans. And in the words of a famous president, ""The buck stops here"" with Jesus Christ. There is none like Him, nor will there ever be.
The fact is that when I look at myself, I don't find divine nature. I don't have that kind of connection! I find a sinner, a person who is constantly trying to make ends meet and live a holy life in a fallen world for his God. Yet I also find the indwelling power of the Lord who has cleansed me and continues to cleanse me from my sins.
Praise be to Jesus, I need no one or anything else but His divine, unchanging power and nature in my life to make it through my daily struggles!
Father, this life has beginnings and endings. Yet, with you, Lord, nothing is true on this level. Father, I thank you that your eternal Son, Jesus Christ, is all our faith rests on. He is our cornerstone. He is the one we worship and follow. He is the sum and substance of all we hold to in our theology and sing in our doxology. Thank you that where you are Alpha you will be Omega in our lives. Father, truly there is none like you. My heart, my mind, my strength, and my soul need reminded of this today. Thank you that you are enough for me and my family. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Colossians 3:16 "Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts."
Dear Christian, does the word of Christ dwell in you richly? Christ proclaimed that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34). Has the grace found in the cross of Christ so overwhelmed your life that you cannot help but speak of our gracious Lord in even the most menial of daily conversations?
To what extent do you recognize the Lordship of Christ in your life?
Does His Lordship affect the way you conduct yourself and speak in during a fun night of video or PC gaming?
During a break at work?
The way you ride a bus?
The speech and conduct of a believer should be permeated with the recognition of the Lordship of Christ.
Father, I recognize today that I am a rich person, perhaps not by the world’s standards, but in your Son. Nothing this world can afford me can ever compare to the surpassing riches of knowing Christ Jesus. Everything else is rubbish in this world, Lord. Allow the knowledge of your Son and who he is to permeate my life today. Let me be so overwhelmed with gratitude that I can’t help but worship you. Thank you or allowing a rebellious sinner like me in your presence through the work and person of your Son. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Psalm 34:17 "The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles."
Have you ever wondered how God can listen to so many prayers at the same time? I often ponder this very question as I go throughout the day. How could He possibly hear each request and yet keep the multitude of voices separate? And, what's more, how could He answer those prayers when one person asks for rain for crops and another for sunshine for a picnic--both on the same day?
These questions do not really trouble me so much as they do make me curious and interested to learn about God in His Word. Even though I still can't explain how God can respond to our prayers, I do know that He is all-knowing and omnipresent, and that His wisdom and power are beyond our understanding.
What a tragedy it is that so many of Christians go through the day without saying a single prayer to the One who takes pleasure in hearing their voices! Proverbs 15:8 says, ""He closely attends to the prayers of God-loyal people."" So remember to pray. God listens!
Father, I thank you today that you do listen to my prayer. I praise you that what comes out of my mouth, yes, even before I speak it, you are there to hear it. Father, I am also grateful that you don’t allow me to have every one of my prayers answered. Oh, Lord, how selfish and prideful and hateful I can be in prayers! Yet, in your great mercy and love, you have shown me steadfast guidance. Take my prayers today, Lord, and grant them only if they are pleasing to you and be your will for my life. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Proverbs 6:27 "Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?"
Perhaps one of the greatest lies of Satan is that Christians can never be tempted to sin. The evil one and his minions seek to impress this point at every turn as we walk with Jesus. If he can get us to believe we are unable to make mistakes throughout the day, then he has already succeeded. The result will be blinded words, actions, and prayers that are not centered on God’s will. Rather, our flesh, with all its flaws, will shine through instead of the light of Christ.
We cannot constantly put ourselves into temptation and not be affected. If we believe the tempting situation we are in is under our control, we are only diluting ourselves. This is why Solomon declares, ""Can a man scoop fire into his lap and not be burned? 28 Can he walk on hot coals and not blister his feet?"" (Proverbs 6:27-28). We will get ""burned"" if we believe that we can handle tempting situations ourselves.
Whatever your temptation is, do not think you can overcome it yourself. Rather, rely fully on God to overcome the temptation. That is a prayer you can't hesitate to make!
Father, the truth about temptation is, apart from your Spirit and grace, we can never win. Father, I am also reminded of other Scripture such as Mark 1 where your Spirit drove your Son out to the wilderness to be tempted. Lord, I also know from James 1 that you don’t tempt anyone, and from Job 1-2 that you grant permission to satan and his minions to tempt me. Yet, Lord, I know from 1 Cor. 10:31 that you won’t give me any temptation beyond that which you have allowed. Lord, in all these scriptures I take great delight because it proves, once again, that you are the sovereign, sufficient God. In my temptation, keep me from unbelief. Help me in my unbelief, Lord, and grant me victory for your glory over the sin before me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.