Scripture reading for January 10th: Genesis 25-28, Matthew 8
Key Scriptures: Matthew 8:1-3 “When He came down from the mountain, great crowds followed Him. And behold, a leper came to Him and knelt before Him, saying: “Lord, if You will, You can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”
Matthew records an unclean leper coming to Jesus and asking for healing. This man knelt before Jesus in reverence and stated that he believed that Jesus could heal him. He was not sure if Jesus was willing to do it. Jesus, even though it was against the law of the Pharisees, reached out His hand and touched the man showing and telling him that God was willing and able to heal him! Faith “digs a well” and opens up the blessings of God in healing and multiplication!
Genesis 26:24-25 “And the Lord appeared to him (Isaac) the same night and said, “I am the God of Abraham your father. Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you and multiply your offspring for my servant Abraham’s sake. So he built an altar there and called on the Name of the Lord and pitched his tent there. And there Isaac’s servants dug a well.”
Prayer: Lord, thank you that you are willing to heal and provide when we come to you. Teach us dependence, humility and faith and deliver us from fear! Use us to bless others by allowing Your gifts to flow in us! In Jesus’ Name! Amen!
Scripture reading for July 27th: Song of Songs 6-8, Isaiah 1
Key Scriptures: Isaiah 1:18-20 “”Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Isaiah was called to prophesy to God’s people in Judah and Israel during a time of rebellion and apostasy. The Lord spoke through him to call the people of God back to a right relationship. They had a choice to make. They could willingly repent and return to God or they could continue to resist and rebel. They could eat the best of the land or be devoured by the sword. The choice looked simple to a reasonable person!
Thankful for washing: “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1st Corinthians 6:9-11
Scripture reading for April 24th:1st Chronicles 28-29, 2nd Chronicles 1-3
Key Scriptures: 1st Chronicles 29:16-18 “O Lord our God, as for all this abundance that we have provided for building You a temple for Your Holy Name, it comes from Your hand, and all of it belongs to You. I know, my God, that You test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly Your people who are here have given to You. O Lord, God of our Fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep this desire in the hearts of Your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to You.”
King David had set an example of giving before the people of God and they responded with great generosity and joyful giving. David recognized that all that they gave came from God, the giver of every good gift! He prayed that God would keep this attitude of willing giving and loyalty in the hearts of His people!
Rejoicing in cheerful giving: “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2nd Corinthians 9:7-8)
Scripture reading for January 31st: Exodus 35-40
I love to have fun! When I am visiting someone in the hospital and find a room full of people, I sometimes say, ” When I see this many people, the first thing I think of is taking an offering!” I’m sure this helps clear out the room–I’m usually left alone before long! Just kidding!
In our reading in Exodus today, Moses was responding to the Lord’s earlier instructions (Exodus 25:1-2). The Lord told Moses to have the Israelites bring Him an offering. He wanted those who were willing to give as their heart prompted them. His job was to receive the offering from the people and use it for God’s intended purpose.
Some people feel that when they give, they give to the pastor or to the church. They feel that money is not too spiritual and that giving is sort of worldly. Sometimes, they just don’t understand why the church needs money and find ways to justify not giving any themselves. God’s heart is that we become willing givers. He is the original giver and sets an example for us that is hard to beat. Everything we have has come from His hand! He sends rain for the earth and crops. His gracious giving is hard to understand, considering how unfaithful we sometimes can be and wasteful, too.
Jesus taught that our giving was a prerequisite for determining God’s measure back to us. “Give and it shall be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38) When we are stingy with our giving, we set limits on how much God can give back to us. We open God’s hand when we open our hand and pocketbook. These people in Exodus willingly gave a huge amount of gold, silver, bronze, oil and cloth. They also freely gave of their time and talents to make what was needed for God’s house! They gave so willingly and freely that Moses had to tell them to stop! (Exodus 36:6-7)
Wow! As a pastor, I would like to experience that kind of generosity! I would love to stand up on Sunday morning and beg the people to put away their offerings and not give that day! However, when we understand that God our Father is a great giver and that He is blessed when we give Him an offering, why would I as your pastor want to hinder God’s blessing and measure back to you by telling you to hold back? Giving is the one place in Scripture that God says you can test Him! Malachi 3:8-12 instructs us to bring the whole tithe into the storehouse (where you are fed), and God will open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing you cannot contain. May the Lord open the windows of heaven on you as you “bring him an offering”!
“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound to every good work.” 2nd Corinthains 9:7-8