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Saturday, November 17, 2018

More than Once a Year

November 17

(Psalm 147:1-20 NIV) “Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him! {2} The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel. {3} He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. {4} He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. {5} Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. {6} The Lord sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground. {7} Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp. {8} He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. {9} He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call. {10} His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of a man; {11} the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. {12} Extol the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise your God, O Zion, {13} for he strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your people within you. {14} He grants peace to your borders and satisfies you with the finest of wheat. {15} He sends his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. {16} He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes. {17} He hurls down his hail like pebbles. Who can withstand his icy blast? {18} He sends his word and melts them; he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow. {19} He has revealed his word to Jacob, his laws and decrees to Israel. {20} He has done this for no other nation; they do not know his laws. Praise the Lord.”

Sometimes we take the basic things of life for granted: our sight, our hearing, our health, our family, even life itself. Most often we do not thank God for the things we take for granted. Then we lose them… or we watch someone else suffer loss… and all of a sudden we realize how important they are. We realize what a gift they were. Most of us have more blessings than we can count. We are surrounded by affluence and have it pretty good. Even in periods of economic downturn, we have more than most of the world can ever dream of obtaining. We enjoy so much, but we express thanksgiving so little. Let’s break the habit of ingratitude and start a new habit of being thankful on a regular basis. Set a time and keep your thankfulness appointment daily. Thanksgiving really should come more than once a year. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, November 16, 2018

Commanded to be Thankful

November 16

(Psalm 100:4 NIV) "Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name."

(1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV) "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

God doesn’t suggest that we be thankful -- He commands it. Most of us don’t like being ordered around, but make no mistake about it: giving thanks is a command of God. Not many of us enjoy being thankful “in all circumstances.” In fact, most of us have a lot more experience at complaining about our circumstances. But in the end, it doesn’t matter if we like the commands of God. He speaks. We should obey. If we are going to say we believe God’s word, we had better get to work at showing gratitude. Whether we like being thankful or not has nothing to do with its importance to our lives and to our relationship with God. The command is to express gratitude for what we have, in spite of our losses, our diseases, or our disasters. And if we’re honest, we all have something to be thankful for, even in the worst of times. So let’s obey the Lord. Be thankful. Start today. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Firstfruits or Leftovers

November 15

(Exodus 23:19 NIV) “Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God.”

(Deuteronomy 12:6 NIV)  "…bring your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, what you have vowed to give and your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks."

(2 Chronicles 31:5 NIV)  "… the Israelites generously gave the firstfruits of their grain, new wine, oil and honey and all that the fields produced. They brought a great amount, a tithe of everything."

(Proverbs 3:9 NIV)  "Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;"

Giving to the Lord is a matter of faith. There is a direct connection between strong faith and generous giving. It took great faith for God’s people to give their firstfruits and their firstborn animals because they were not guaranteed more crops and more animals. They gave in faith that God would honor their tithe and provide what they needed. When Israel honored God they always seemed to have enough. When they put their full faith in God, He never let them down. Recent surveys show that less than 10% of Christians give a tithe of their firstfruits to the Lord. Instead, they give if they have anything left over. They take care of themselves first. Christian giving hovers around 3% of income while giving among non-Christians to charities of their choice runs at nearly the same level. Something is wrong with this picture. Let’s fix it. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Testing God

November 14

(Malachi 3:10-12 NIV)  "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. {11} I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the Lord Almighty. {12} "Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land," says the Lord Almighty."

Throughout Scripture God says it is unwise to presume upon him or to test him in matters of life and faith. But in the area of giving, God calls on His people to test Him. God said he would pour out blessings upon us. He said He would prevent pests from devouring the Israelite’s crops. Their vines would bear more fruit. In today’s world, God’s provision could come in the form of things being held together long after they should have fallen apart. God may save us money on repairs rather than giving us cash. His blessing can come in the form of healed relationships or in other answers to prayer. But in the end, God honors the trust and commitment we demonstrate in our giving to Him. Accept God’s offer. Take the test. You may never be wealthy, but bring generous offerings into God’s house. You’ll be glad you did. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day