Tag Archives: offerings

2 Chronicles 33; Revelation 19; Malachi 1; John 18

Manasseh built altars across the land to worship false gods. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. His reigning years peak at likely his lowest point: 10 The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they ignored all his warnings. 11 So the Lord sent the commanders of the Assyrian armies, and they took Manasseh prisoner. They put a ring through his nose, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon (2 Chronicles 33:10-11, NLT).

A ring through his nose. Bound in chains. A prisoner.

12 But while in deep distress, Manasseh sought the Lord his God and sincerely humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. 13 And when he prayed, the Lord listened to him and was moved by his request. So the Lord brought Manasseh back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh finally realized that the Lord alone is God (2 Chronicles 33:12-13, NLT)!

Offerings. Honor. Obedience. These are the words that repeat through the four readings. I take note and quiet myself before the Lord. At a year’s end, I look back and reflect on losses, responses and responsibilities. This heart of mine still sorts through thoughts of legacy and life.

Offerings. Honor. Obedience. A look back framed by those words. A look ahead to a new year, and I pray (oh, I pray Lord!) that my offerings to You would be generous and cheerfully given of time, talent, treasure. That my thoughts and actions would honor You. And that even in the difficulties, I would choose obedience.

Lord, “My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face!’ Your face, Lord, I will seek.” Thank you, Jesus, for bending low to hear me, for answering prayers, for guiding my steps and leading me through this year’s very rough waters. I quiet myself at your feet to listen and learn. Help me to live a life that honors you.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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2 Chronicles 7; 2 John 1; Habakkuk 2; Luke 21

This contrast of offerings. One to the Lord, overflowing. Joyful.

Solomon consecrated the middle part of the courtyard in front of the temple of the Lord, and there he offered burnt offerings and the fat of the fellowship offerings, because the bronze altar he had made could not hold the burnt offerings, the grain offerings and the fat portions. (2 Chronicles 7:7, NLT, emphasis added)

Another, selfish gain.

“See, the enemy is puffed up;
    his desires are not upright—
    but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness—
indeed, wine betrays him;
    he is arrogant and never at rest.
Because he is as greedy as the grave
    and like death is never satisfied,
he gathers to himself all the nations
    and takes captive all the peoples.

“Will not all of them taunt him with ridicule and scorn, saying,

“‘Woe to him who piles up stolen goods
    and makes himself wealthy by extortion!
    How long must this go on?’
Will not your creditors suddenly arise?
    Will they not wake up and make you tremble?
    Then you will become their prey.
Because you have plundered many nations,
    the peoples who are left will plunder you.
For you have shed human blood;
    you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.

“Woe to him who builds his house by unjust gain,
    setting his nest on high
    to escape the clutches of ruin!
10 You have plotted the ruin of many peoples,
    shaming your own house and forfeiting your life.
11 The stones of the wall will cry out,
    and the beams of the woodwork will echo it. (Habakkuk 2:4-11, NLT, emphasis added)

Offerings.

As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1-4, NLT)

This year I felt that time was not my own. I have felt pulled by responsibilities, and often physically and emotionally depleted. It is December, and I wonder where the time went. Oh, but this:

37 Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, 38 and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple. (Luke 21:37-38, NLT)

Each day, He still teaches. In the early mornings, I want to be right at his feet. He frames my purpose and gives direction and I am reminded–it is all His anyway: time, talent, treasure. If I feel depleted, will He not fill me again? If I abide in Him, will this branch be fruitless and wither?

I laugh to think that time was mine to keep.

Could my offerings (of time, talent, treasure) ever be so large that the altar I made couldn’t hold them?

Lord, may my offerings to you be given in joy. You are sovereign.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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1 Kings 9; 2 Chronicles 8; 1 Timothy 5

He was a king who made history, known for wisdom and wealth. He had a royal palace built for himself. He built the Lord’s Temple.

25 Three times each year Solomon presented burnt offerings and peace offerings on the altar he had built for the Lord. He also burned incense to the Lord. And so he finished the work of building the Temple. (1 Kings 9:25, NLT)

He rebuilt towns and fortified others.

He also rebuilt Baalath and other supply centers and constructed towns where his chariots and horses could be stationed. He built everything he desired in Jerusalem and Lebanon and throughout his entire realm. (2 Chronicles 8:6, NLT)

When once she was known as wife–and perhaps mother, grandmother, aunt–her title was transformed to widow in an instant. Her days had been full of caring for others and tending her home; now she finds herself in need of care and tending.

A widow who is put on the list for support must be a woman who is at least sixty years old and was faithful to her husband. 10 She must be well respected by everyone because of the good she has done. Has she brought up her children well? Has she been kind to strangers and served other believers humbly? Has she helped those who are in trouble? Has she always been ready to do good? (1 Timothy 5:9-10, NLT)

Solomon’s achievements and name are still inked into time’s pages, leafed through by living hands today. The widows, the women, the others of us–known and treasured for only a time in the hearts of strangers for an act of kindness.

All of it for God’s glory.

I used to compare myself to the inexhaustible extroverts who lived loud and large–or placed value (or lack thereof) on whether actions received acknowledgment. Sometimes my contribution felt insignificant and invisible–was it worthless? Oh, the doubt and disappointment in my efforts. An enemy will whisper words of failure; sometimes speaks them outright from mouths of the very ones we serve; and other times it’s our own comparison that devalues our offerings.

24 Remember, the sins of some people are obvious, leading them to certain judgment. But there are others whose sins will not be revealed until later. 25 In the same way, the good deeds of some people are obvious. And the good deeds done in secret will someday come to light. (1 Timothy 5:24-25, NLT)

Lord, help me to see my offerings as an outpouring of my delight in you. Help me to block out the critics that tell me (it’s) not enough or not even good enough. It is not about my glory, but yours. You have chosen these things in advance for me–big or small. You will equip me for the task.

Courtney (66books365)

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Ezekiel 46-48; John 16

Offerings. Boundaries. Understanding.

Reading of a prince’s offering, the best of grain and animal. I think about offerings and the “best of” what I have. Who and what get my best? Where does God fit in all this? Some days, I feel really spent and have little to offer. God has been teaching me a lot about offerings and boundaries this year. And in this, I’m learning how I can offer my best and not feel exhausted or unbalanced. (This has nothing to do with over-achieving, showy super-stardom. My 8-yr-old gave me a simple example of the best of yesterday–leaving co-op, I passed through the lunchroom and wanted to say goodbye to her. She gave me the best of her in a squeezer of a hug and telling me, wide-eyed, of the important things that happened to her that morning. She gave me kisses and spoke love to me.)

Boundaries. It was no wonder that I had little to offer when I felt overbooked and overwhelmed. Old Testament reading of actual land boundaries–but that word is key to my lesson this year. Boundaries in what’s asked of me. Boundaries to protect my family time. Boundaries in relationships, especially those unhealthy ones that want to sabotage other areas of my life.

Understanding. Jesus tells the disciples that (in a little while) he’s going to leave, but that the Advocate will come.

12 “There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. 14 He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’ John 16:12-15, NLT.

Lord, my mind will make up all kinds of scenarios as I try to sort things out and fill in the blanks. I want to focus on what is true. I want to be mindful of the land you’ve given me–a home, family, tasks, relationships. I want to offer what you think is the best of me, and not someone else’s definition of best. Lord, please guide my steps.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Samuel 24; Galatians 4; Ezekiel 31; Psalm 79

How many times do I offer God that which costs me nothing?

the scanty leftovers of my time…

the skimpiest sum I can manage to fumble  inconspicuously out of my pocket…

a begrudging, grumbling obedience…

service IF it is convenient, promisingly fruitful, or is particularly of a nature that others might well see…

O God, You don’t force us to serve you, much less love You…
But now that we have come to know You, or rather to be known by You, through Your Son… We are no longer under law.  How much more then ought our offerings be worth since we are now conscious of grace; grace that’s free and yet so very very costly.

HELP US O GOD of our salvation,
for the glory of Your name;
deliver us, atone for our sins,
for your name’s sake.
Psalm 79:9

God, it hurts to be exposed.
To realize how seldom I realize how great You are.

How many good things I try to keep to myself…
Forgive me.

You are worthy, for You have given extravagantly

Give me a heart ready to be poured out before you.
To spend myself lavishly to bring You all the glory.

Help me God, to be resolute.
Choosing not the easy route.
Fearing not that I might suffer,
To say with David, “I will not offer
burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”
That you might be my everything.

amy in peru

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