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 May 10, 2018

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year

Text: 1 Chronicles 28 – 2 Chronicles 1
Audio: 1 Chronicles 28 – 2 Chronicles 1

You can use the audio Bible as a guide to help “set the pace” as you read along.

Memory Verse of the Week

“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret,
whereas worldly grief produces death. ”
(2 Corinthians 7:10 ESV)

2 Corinthians 9 (ESV)

Now it is superfluous for me to write to you about the ministry for the saints,for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year. And your zeal has stirred up most of them. But I am sending the brothers so that our boasting about you may not prove empty in this matter, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be. Otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated—to say nothing of you—for being so confident. So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction.

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written,

“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;
    his righteousness endures forever.”

10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13 By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

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This Post Has 4 Comments
  1.  Even those who are faithful in ministry need encouragement

    1 Corinthians 9:1-3 Paul concludes this section of the letter continuing his encouragement for their participation in helping the poor believers in Jerusalem.

    Paul spends considerable time addressing giving, financial responsibility. We see this in the following passages

    • 1 Corinthians 16:1-4;
    • 2 Corinthians 8:1-9:15 (the largest single passage)
    • Romans 15:14-32

    This ministry and message is so important, that according to Romans 15:30-31, he is willing to face hostility, and as we have read in Acts 24:17, he was arrested in Jerusalem, even though he had been warned by godly believers to avoid Jerusalem.

    Here in Acts 9, note that Paul indicates his confidence in the believers.

    • "I know your readiness"
    • "I boast about you" (2 Corinthians 8:24)
    • Achaia has been ready since last year – indicating significant commitment to the cause (2 Corinthians 8:10)
    • Their "zeal has stirred up" other believers to help contribute

    Even though Paul expresses his confidence in the Corinthian believers commitment to this ministry, he still is compelled to spur them on to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24).

    Faithful commitment to ministry is infectious, and can be encouraging to others. It is encouraging to me to hear the testimonies of others, even in the middle of pain and suffering, that they continue to praise God. I am encouraged by the boldness of our Pastor and Michelle to share their faith. I am encouraged by those who bring items to share on Sunday morning, by those who send cards of encouragement and such. This commitment to ministry, to the cause of Christ is beautiful.

    I was just thinking, negotiating this type of giving must have involved quite a bit of effort and planning. Today we just write a check or do an electronic transfer, or we use paper bills. But money of that day would have been coins, and if the contribution is large, there had to be planning to transport the money and keep it safe along the journey.

  2. God Loves the Cheerful Giver

    Paul uses a farming analogy of sowing and reaping.

    The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. (2Co 9:6 ESV)

    Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2Co 9:7 ESV)

    And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2Co 9:8 ESV)

    As it is written, "He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever." (2Co 9:9 ESV) Quoted from Psalm 112:9

    As firm as Paul has been in encouraging the believers to keep their promise to help contribute to the poor in Jerusalem, he reminds them of the heart attitude for giving. Giving is something borne out of genuine love and compassion, not out of compulsion or greed.

    • Prov 11:24-25 One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. 25 Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.
    • Prov 22:9 Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.
    • Gal 6:7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
    • Gal 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up
    • Mal 3:10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.
    • Luke 6:38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.

    Paul in 2 Corinthians 9:10 may be thinking of Hosea 10:12 "Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you."

    2 Corinthians 9:12-15 When we help others, think of the thankfulness and praises given to God by the recipient. Does this always happen, not always, but I can think of those who have helped us over the years and how grateful we have been, giving thanks to God for their generosity. I today continue to pray for those people, that God would abundantly bless them and provide for their needs.

    I cannot help but think of a letter I received in an email recently concerning Operating Christmas Child. Many of us are familiar with this ministry of filling shoeboxes with gifts for poor children. Below is an excerpt from the email

    —————————————————————————————————–

     

    We had a box opened in Ukraine that had a glue stick, pencil, and very small stuffed animal. The young man who received it had looked sad throughout the presentation. After opening his box, he closed it and continued to look sad. We did not offer hope or love in this instance. It seemed we only added to his pain. 

    I too would hope that at the PC's we can provide more quality fillers and more quantity. However, in the meantime, the issue originates with the packer, and our job appears to be that of educating people. 

    Somehow in a genuine attempt to create more gospel opportunities for all of the right reasons, at times we have replaced quantity with quality sometimes. 

    The child that opens that box had feelings, and when the children all around him receive so much better gifts, the natural inclination of a living breathing person is that of comparison. And his box fell short. It was, simply put, a dud. Sadly so. 

    I have seen posts of shoeboxes made up with BK crowns, some pages from a coloring book, a few crayons and perhaps another item with packers saying they were able to do this box for under $2 etc. 

    It is our job to encourage folks to pack boxes that are better than that. I know most of us can pack an excellent box with bargain shopping for $10. Perhaps we encourage folks who feel like they cannot afford to pack a box to find a friend and pack together? Or we hope that the local drop off can have supplemental tubs of items, or that the PC is able to fix this box. But the origin of this problem is still the root issue. We must educate our packers to pack quality boxes. Even if that means a couple fewer boxes. 

    Because these precious children deserve to feel loved and valued when they open their box. Jesus does not and did not love any of us half-way or in a low quality fashion. If we desire 

    these children, in places of need, to believe that Jesus loves them BIG, then somehow, our shoeboxes must become a reflection of Gods amazing love and quality and goodness poured out to us daily. 

    ————————————————————————————————

    The scenario above of the young boy who opened his box – he did not see a cheerful giver. I imagine he did not feel the love. I think this story illustrates what Paul is trying to avoid because this is not only embarrassing to the presenter of the gift, but the receiver, and reflects badly on the cause of Christ.

  3. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15

    Inexpressible Gift

    Paul ends this chapter with the greatest, "inexpressible gift" by God the Father in giving us Jesus Christ. And what a gift we receive because of Him – salvation and reconciliation with God the Father. Wow!

    Paul writes in Romans 8:32, "He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?"

    Jesus said in John 15:13,"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."

    When we give up our lives for the sake of others, it's an expression of Christ's kindness towards us and a true representation of love. 

    And what a harvest when believers live like this. 

    Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 9:37-38, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."

    This is not a calling on a few but for all disciples. This is the Great Commission in action where Jesus said to, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20). 

    Let's pray to the Lord of the harvest to send us into His harvest!

  4. Most Americans have been taught that if we have more money and things, we will be happy! We will even choose the bondage of debt so we will have more ‘happiness.’ But God asks us to GIVE rather than pursue, accumulate, squander, or spend our wealth on ourselves. In every teaching about financial or material wealth, Jesus said man cannot serve two masters. ‘You will love the one and hate the other.’ Learning to trust God in our giving — and to be generous! — requires faith in HIM to supply all our needs as we exchange our devotion to self for devotion to Jesus Christ. Do I believe God? Do I love Him with all my heart, mind, soul and strength? Do I love my neighbor as myself? How I have managed resources tells the story. Today I can repent and begin anew in faith…faith in the Provider, not in the provision.

    Paul says, “[God] who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.” 2 Corinthians‬ ‭9:10-11‬ ‭

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