Tag Archives: Faithfulness

True Substance

Proverbs 3:9-10

“Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.”

It is great that the King James Version says “Honour the LORD with thy substance,” because most other translations say wealth. It is also great that it says “with the firstfruits of all thine increase,” because most other translations say crops or produce.

It is great, because these words say so much more.

Giving it all

Allow me to paraphrase: “Give God everything of who you are and let God use you and what you have, and give God the first part of anything you get above what you have.”

This is not a prosperity gospel message, but if you honor God with what you have He will give you more. If you continue giving back when you get more, you will find your barns (or bank account or pantry or whatever) full and more than you can handle.

But it is because you are thinking about God and others, not yourself and how comfortable you are. It is because you are focused on pleasing God, not growing your portfolio or your bank account.

Jesus mentioned it, too

In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus discusses that those who show they are good stewards of what they are given are given more. Those who sit on, hide, or squander what they are given will have it taken away. (But we must also remember that in all things “the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD,” (Job 1:21) must be true. Even good stewards may see everything taken away if it is for the good of the Church and glorifies God.)

The true increase and blessing is the joy of our Heavenly Father in our faithfulness and commitment to Him. We honor God because He deserves it and we love Him. We give because He gives and we love Him.

If we give simply because we expect something in return, then we should expect nothing. We are not honoring God; we are honoring ourselves.

Gracious God, Thank You for Your love and Your grace. Increase Your love in us. Give us giving hearts and a will to seek after You alone, that You may be glorified in us.

Advertisements

Resolving Resolutions (10:8)

While going through and organizing things on the site to make it easier for all to find thoughts, Anthony noticed we may have missed a verse!

The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall. -Proverbs 10:8, KJV

If you have been reading our site for any extended amount of time, you know that I greatly enjoy digging into the deeper truths and how Christ can be found in each verse.

Today, however, I will not be focusing on how the wise find Christ in the Bible while others claim other wisdom or how foolish this idea is. (There it is!)

Instead, this is going out on New Year’s Eve, and this verse is applicable today.

How many of us say each year “I am resolving to do this or that thing”? How many of us, year after year of promises, find ourselves failing mere weeks or even days into the new year?

This is not to say that making resolutions is necessarily bad. (Some people actually follow through on their resolutions!)

Rather, instead of constantly saying (prating on, if you will, like a resounding gong) how such and such will be done in the future, the wise look to the Bible and the Church to find how to change their lives, seek God’s help to make changes, and rely on His people to be held accountable through encouragement. (See 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and Hebrews 10:23-25)


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 3rd Week of Advent – Day 5

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. – John 19:25, KJV

cross jesus summit cross

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What was the whole reason Jesus made His first coming to the Earth?

To die as a propitiation for our sins on the cross.

And of all of the thousands who followed Him during His ministry, the 120 disciples who remained the most faithful, the remaining 11 Apostles, and His family, who remained nearby at His death?

The Apostle John and a few women, including His mother, Mary. She may not have understood everything Jesus did or taught, but she stayed near Him even at His supposed end.

And there is our example: like Jesus’ mother, we do not always understand how God is moving, how what is happening can work out for good, or how His Kingdom will come to full fruition; but we do know He has promised to return to fully redeem us and banish all evil pain and suffering, though we may not understand the whole plan.

And we, too, shall remain faithful until the end, by the power of blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. (Revelation 12:11)

Our great God, strengthen our faith, because You are faithful, and grant us peace, patience, and wisdom as we wait for Your return.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 3rd Week of Advent

Welcome to the third week of Advent!

Tradition holds that the third week of Advent is about the joy and peace we find in the Messiah, with Mary, the mother of Jesus, being our example. We finally begin to see the the connection from seeing our need for a Savior to discovering and sharing the news of that Savior to beginning to see some of the rewards of following the Savior.

assorted color gift boxes

Photo by George Dolgikh on Pexels.com

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. -Luke 1:38

But those rewards rest on our response to what God has done.

(This is not to claim that we can do anything to earn salvation. This is also not the place to have a major soteriological debate [hash out matters and merits of salvation, i.e. over Calvinism, Arminianism, and the like]. Please enjoy the thoughts today, and head over to the Proverbial Thought Extra Facebook page if you want to dialogue with us, or you can leave a respectful comment.)

Contrary to what many teach today, God will give us more than we can handle. It encourages us to rest in Him, trust that He knows what He is doing, and let His power flow through us by the Holy Spirit.

Case in point, young Mary – who is yet to be married to Joseph at this juncture in the story of Christ – is told she is to carry the Son of God and give birth to Him.

Think about it: a young female, not yet married, in a society that limits what women can do with a religion that shuns the sexually impure, being told she is about to be pregnant. She is risking being ostracized by family and friends, thought a liar and a slut, and severely limiting her prospects for the future.

And how does she respond to this news?

“I am the Lord’s servant.”

How willing are we to be willing to the call of God?

We do not have to carry the baby Jesus to term, but we are tasked with carrying His Gospel to a fallen world.

We do not have to risk being labeled liars, but we risk being ridiculed for believing a man is God in the flesh, was killed, and came back to life.

We may not have to risk family and friends thinking we are crazy and abandoning us …

Actually, yes, we do.

Such is the cost of believing in and following Jesus. It may even cost us our lives.

If we want to find the joy and peace that comes with following Jesus, we first must be willing to actually follow Jesus. With all that it may cost us.

Emmanuel, thank You for coming to save us. Give us the resolve to pursue you throughout the world, or even to our literal neighbors and family.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 2nd Week of Advent – Day 4

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. -Matthew 3:7-9, KJV

It is not enough to come from a Christian (or Jewish) home.

With Jesus’ first Advent, it was mostly the religious leaders who refused to change, because they “knew it all” about faith.

As we await Jesus’ second Advent, it is not enough to have grown up in church or attend church regularly. It takes repentance and a willingness to actually listen to the teachings and commands of Jesus, to show love and compassion to others and commitment to God’s truth.

Do not trust in your ancestry or upbringing. Do not rely on the faith of your parents, siblings, or friends. Turn to Jesus for yourself, and believe.

Saving God, do not let me rely on my own knowledge, skills, or history. Give me a passion for You, Your Word, and Your Church.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 2nd Week of Advent – Day 3

Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. -Matthew 3:5-6

angelic architecture art baptism

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

With repentance comes confession. Even in the time of Advent, when we look forward to the coming Messiah, we must remember the importance of confession:

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. -Romans 10:9

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. -James 5:16, KJV

As we prepare for the Messiah, it has to include the preparation of our hearts, as we confess our sins to God and to others and are baptized.

God in Heaven, we have sinned against You. As we confess, we thank You that You are faithful to forgive.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 1st Week of Advent – Day 4

But thou, Beth–lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. –Micah 5:2, KJV

bake baking bread breakfast

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Did you know that there is only one reference in the entire Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) that mentions where the coming Messiah would be born?

Yet it reminds us that God takes care of all of the details, even to the smallest piece.

Micah reminds us that, though we are often faithless and destitute, out of the House of Bread (Bethlehem) would come the faithful Bread of Life (Jesus – John 6:48) who will be lifted to the highest place in the highest heaven.

Micah longed for His coming, as we long for His return.

Faithful Father, fill us with the life of Your Son, the faithful One who redeems and satisfies.