Tag Archives: blessings

Malachi 3, 4; Revelation 22

 “I am God—yes, I Am. I haven’t changed…Return to me so I can return to you,” says God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

 “You ask, ‘But how do we return?’

 “Begin by being honest. Do honest people rob God? But you rob me day after day.

 “You ask, ‘How have we robbed you?’

 “The tithe and the offering—that’s how! And now you’re under a curse—the whole lot of you—because you’re robbing me. Bring your full tithe to the Temple treasury so there will be ample provisions in my Temple. Test me in this and see if I don’t open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams. For my part, I will defend you against marauders, protect your wheat fields and vegetable gardens against plunderers.” The Message of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

 “You’ll be voted ‘Happiest Nation.’ You’ll experience what it’s like to be a country of grace.” God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so. Malachi 3:6-12 MSG

Whenever pastors give their exhortation on tithing I almost always get on edge. I am not sure if it is because it sometimes has the feel of stereotypical tele-evangelist trying to convince me I am going to hell if I don’t help them pay for their Mercedes or if it is a reminder that I haven’t always been faithful and diligent with giving back to God. I think sometimes it seems like what I can give isn’t enough and that makes me feel like a failure even though the Bible tells me otherwise (Mark 12:41-44 MSG)

Some pastors pass the plates and don’t say a word. Some just have a box in the sanctuary and trust people to do their duty. Some take time out of every service to guilt people into giving.

And then, there are those pastors who help me remember that giving to God willingly and joyfully is an act of worship no different than singing a beautiful praise song or dancing before the Lord with all my might. They reveal the blessings of obedience in giving. They share about being a pipeline for God.

At first, I was a little leery, but I began putting it into practice, this marvelous concept of trying to out-give God, of giving from a heart of love. I made it my goal to not let an opportunity to give pass me by.

GOD-of the Angel-Armies said, “They’re mine, all mine. They’ll get special treatment when I go into action. I treat them with the same consideration and kindness that parents give the child who honors them. Once more you’ll see the difference it makes between being a person who does the right thing and one who doesn’t, between serving God and not serving him.” Malachi 3:17-18 MSG

Amazing things began happening in my life. Just like those brilliant pastors said…blessing began flowing into my life. Gratitude. Joy. Financial gifts. Debt forgiveness.

I began giving whatever I could give. Sometimes it came from the tenth of the money I had earned. And sometimes, when I didn’t have anything but a bit of loose change, I would give it all wrapped within a Bible verse and tied with a prayer of abundance.

I continued giving by being obedient to what I felt like God was asking me to give. My marked-up, earmarked Bible to a hurting, homeless man who I found out later had been praying earnestly for one. A hug to a woman who was blind and now could see except through the tears that were clouding her eyes. A pair of flip flops to a man who could barely walk for the wounds of leprosy that plagued his feet. A prayer and a way out to a teen who had been fending off her uncle’s advances for months. Cooking a celebration meal for the widows in our church to remind them that they are loved and wanted.

When I got into the habit of giving it became an easy thing to do and yet at the beginning it was so difficult. I had this bucket mentality – when my bucket was full then I would give from the overflow. Only whenever I had an overflow, my bucket just got bigger and I still rarely gave.

I found that when I started intentionally giving to God and to others regularly it changed my attitude. I wanted to give more than ever before. I began looking for different ways to give. And it has come to the point where I would even be willing to give the shirt off my back if I was lead to give it.

It is the last day to give in this year. Some people will give today with the hopes of helping their taxes. Some will give because they are inspired. Some will give from their abundance. And some will give from their lack.

Regardless of where you are, consider reaching out. Give from your heart to someone in need. Meet them where they are with a hug, a gift, an act, a word, or a bit of your time. Share Christ’s sacrifice of love to a stranger. Hold the door for someone struggling with her grocery bags. Pay the toll for the car behind you. Visit with someone at a retirement home or hospice. Offer a meal to a homeless man. Give a donation to your church or an organization that shares your vision.

Be generous today and see where it leads in the new year.

The grace of the Master Jesus be with all of you. Oh, Yes! [today and in the year to come!] Revelation 22:21 MSG

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Malachi, New Testament, Old Testament, Revelation

2 Chronicles 17, 2 Chronicles 18, 2 Corinthians 6

Jehoshaphat…sought God…and walked in His commandments. Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand. 2 Chronicles 18:4-5

 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 2 Corinthians 6:15

 “Come out from among them …And I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:17-18

 Read athttp://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2Chron17,18;%202Cor6&version=NKJV

2 Chronicles 17        Jehoshaphat…strengthened himself against Israel…he did not seek the Baals, but sought the God…and walked in His commandments and not according to the acts of Israel.

            At this time Israel was not following the Lord God but worshipping false gods.

            Talk about taking a stand! Jehoshaphat didn’t ignore Israel, give platitudes, agreements, or compromises saying ‘your truth works for you, my truth works for me’. – No, Jehoshaphat “strengthened himself against Israel”! Boldly Not being ‘politically correct’!  

            Jehoshaphat was a man of conviction and action! Not only was Jehoshaphat against Israel, but he was against the false gods in his own land AND he taught everyone about the Lord God!! “moreover he removed the high places and wooden images from Judah. So they…had the Book of the Law of the Lord with them; they went throughout all the cities of Judah and taught the people.”

             Why would Jehoshaphat do this? Because “his heart took delight in the ways of the Lord”. Jehoshaphat’s heart couldn’t be happier because he ‘heard’ the Lord and walked in His Ways. He didn’t need any one else’s approval or relationship. Jehoshaphat’s HEART DELIGHTED in the LORD. The center of Jehoshaphat’s core had delight, joy, peace and the Presence of the Lord God! It is what motivated him to do all he did! 1 

             Aren’t I supposed to be this way too? Of course! Especially since I have tangible blessings from the Lord God: The full Bible. The knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ by His Word. The God’s promises for the end of His story. The revelation of  Who my Atonement is. The indwelling 24/7/365 Presence of the Holy Spirit within me.  Yet I rejoice in Jehoshaphat! What a man for God! May I be at least as much as he is!!  2 

             And what was God’s response?

Faithfulness, loyalty and fruitfulness to Jehoshaphat and his realm of influence.

The Lord established the kingdom in his hand

The Book of the Law of the Lord was taught to all the people.

The fear of the Lord fell on all the kingdoms of the lands that were around Judah, so that they did not make war against Jehoshaphat.

Some kingdoms brought Jehoshaphat presents, tribute, and more

Jehoshaphat became increasingly powerful,

Jehoshaphat had much property and mighty men of valor

2 Chronicles 18                   By marriage Jehoshaphat allied himself with Ahab.  After some years he went down to visit Ahab in Samaria;  

             What happened to this valiant man of God? God’s Word tells us, “Jehoshaphat had riches and honor in abundance.” Trading righteousness for pleasure and pride, Jehoshaphat unwittingly subverted his own resolve against Israel “by marriage he allied himself with Ahab”, the king of Israel.

             The effect is heard: Jehoshaphat answered Ahab, “I am as you are, and my people as your people; we will be with you in the war.”  What? How did this happen? Some years before Jehoshaphat was delighting in God and independent of the powers around him, standing valiant against sin patterns. Now Jehoshaphat has fallen so far that he views himself and his people as being like Israel! 3

             The Lord’s gifts became the source of Jehoshaphat’s joy instead of his heart continually delighting in the Lord God. When I let my physical senses distract me from Fear of the Lord, it causes spiritual blindness, misplaced trust and unholy alliances. 4

2 Corinthians 6            Lord God Almighty, may I never misconstrue blessings to be for my own gratification. You alone are my very Great Reward. You command me: I am blessed to be a blessing. I am to work together with Jesus Christ to plead for others “not to receive the grace of God in vain. Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” I will accomplish this through many types of pain, discomfort, by God’s truth, power and more, and within every possible circumstance. 5

            Lord Jesus, You have shown me the deep pain of eternal souls who live for Very temporary pleasures. Hell is for real, just as Heaven is. I take Your advice to heart: You are restricted by your own affections…Do not be unequally yoked…For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. 

            Lord Jesus thank You for calling me to grow more intimate with You daily and go far away from surface pleasure and pride. I desire to Live, exist and have my being in Your Word and Holy Spirit, abiding in Your Love. Lord, have my eyes open to the walking dead around me, my ears attentive to Your Voice of Truth and wisdom, and my heart submitted to Your compassion so You will move through me for Your great work to be done, now and always for Your delight and glory! Amen 6

Dear Reader, God pleads with you and me today:

Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.”“I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.” 

1-  Psalm 37:4, 2 Chronicles 17:4, Nehemiah 8:10, Psalm 1, Psalm 119:16

2-  Romans 3:21-26; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:1-2; 1 John 4:9-10; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Isaiah 6:8

3 – 1 Kings 18

4- Romans 1; Revelation 2:4; Genesis 15:1; Psalm 37:4; Philippians 2:12

5- 2 Corinthians 6:4-10; Genesis 15:1; Genesis 12:2; Romans 1:16

6-   1 Peter 2:9; Acts 17:28; John 15:1-17

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

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Filed under 2 Chronicles, 2 Corinthians, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Uncategorized

Genesis 49-50, Matthew 23:23-29

 “I look for your deliverance, LORD. Genesis 49:18 

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. Matthew 23:23

Death and legacy. Who am I really? Who do I want people to remember when I am gone?

Jacob blessed each of his sons before he died. Most of what he said had to do with who they were as grown men. Their legacies had already been determined by the things they had already done.

Jesus warned the Pharisees that their preoccupation with their public personas was not scoring any points in heaven or on earth. While they were trying to be so “holy”, they were just making people around them miserable.

Many Christians do the same thing. I remember hearing that my niece said to my daughter that nobody could live in my  “perfect world”. I was trying so hard to bring them up right that I was stressing out everyone around me, including myself. I hate the thought that I am viewed as a perfectionist rather than a loving and forgiving person. I don’t want that to be my legacy.

But the good news is that among those verses is a prophesy regarding a Messiah, Jesus, the Lion of Judah, who will deliver us from this body of death.

Praise God. My future is not determined by my sins, but by the One who has saved me by his blood.

Thank you Jesus. Help me not to be a pharisaical blind guide. May my words lead others to You, to hope and not into despair. I pray these things in the precious name of Jesus. Amen

yicareggie

 

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1 Chronicles 18, James 5, Jonah 2, Luke 7

When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the LORD.’” Jonah 2:7-9

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. James 5:1-5

King David dedicated these articles to the LORD, as he had done with the silver and gold he had taken from all these nations: Edom and Moab, the Ammonites and the Philistines, and Amalek. 1 Chronicles 18:11

But say the word, and my servant will be healed. Luke 7:7b

Over the last six months, I have cultivated the habit of shopping at Goodwill. I pay good money to take home what other people have decided is not worth keeping. I spend additional money to have my precious finds dry cleaned. I decorate my home with my discoveries. Some treasures I simply stockpile in my closet for future use. I feel a sense of pride when someone complements me on my recycled handbag or my shiny brass candlesticks.

As I peruse the interior of my house searching for more closet space, I realize that I’ve become like that guy in the bible who tears his barn down to make room for more grain. Today will my very life be demanded of me? I suddenly realized I only needed one word from God to experience his healing power -The Word made flesh that dwelt among us, Jesus, in whose Name I pray.

Please, Lord, forgive me for forgetting to thank You, from whom all blessings flow. May I not make these worthless things into idols.  Show me every opportunity where I can share with others. Help me to be more like your servant David in dedicating all the gifts with which you bless me to your holy purpose. In Jesus Name, I pray. Amen

One day a friend that I was visiting admired a turquoise suede jacket I was wearing. I took it off and hung it on the back of the chair in her kitchen before I left. She called me later and said she was grateful for the gift and glad she hadn’t admired my pants. I was thankful that God gave me a chance to pass the blessings on.

yicareggie

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Filed under Luke

1Kings 4,5; Ephesians 2; Ezekiel 35; Psalm 85

The theme bursting forth in today’s reading is Grace.  It comes in multiple and even surprising ways.

Grace through blessing:

 You, LORD, showed favor to your land;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
You forgave the iniquity of your people
and covered all their sins.
You set aside all your wrath
and turned from your fierce anger.

Psalm 85:1-3

Psalm 85 begins by recalling a time when God poured out His grace upon His chosen people, providing them with His favor, restoration, forgiveness, a covering for their sins, and protection from His wrath and anger.  All of these were unearned by the Israelites, yet God freely provided them.

Grace through judgment:

 ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, Mount Seir, and I will stretch out my hand against you and make you a desolate waste. I will turn your towns into ruins and you will be desolate. Then you will know that I am the LORD.   “‘Because you harbored an ancient hostility and delivered the Israelites over to the sword at the time of their calamity, the time their punishment reached its climax, therefore as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I will give you over to bloodshed and it will pursue you. Since you did not hate bloodshed, bloodshed will pursue you.      Ezekiel 35:3-6

  It isn’t as obvious, but God’s grace toward Edom is revealed here in His promise of impending judgment.  The Lord lists multiple transgressions Edom had committed against His chosen people, and reveals how He will respond.  I note that all the transgressions are sins which have already been committed.  Edom has already earned God’s judgment, and He had every right and reason to deliver it immediately.  Yet, He delayed.  He gave them time to turn from their hatred of Israel.  He warned them of exactly what was coming.   Most illuminating of all, God reveals in verse 4 that His judgment will result in them knowing that He is the Lord.  That is grace.

Grace through adoption into God’s family:

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.    Ephesians 2:1-10

What a passage…  any comment I add would only detract from it.

Dear Heavenly Father, You pour out grace in every word and every action.  Without it I could not exist.  With it, we are invited to be nothing less than Children of God.  I can never repay Your grace, though help me to pass it on in everything I say and in everything I do to everyone I meet.  Amen.

Michael  (mmattix)

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Filed under 66 Books, Ephesians, Ezekiel, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms