Highlights In Today's Reading:
Today's reading makes you think! We're told to choose between conforming to God's Word and enjoying His blessing or conforming to worldly standards and expecting God's curse. Don't miss out (12:28).
The tithes of the produce from the ground and from the herds were brought in recognition that God was the source of all mercies and all blessings of life. Ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes . . . and your freewill offerings (12:6). God claimed the tithes and gifts as an essential part of worship and as a safeguard against Israel's turning to idolatry. Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty (Proverbs 3:9-10).
Christ rules in love as Lord of His people. Therefore, He appeals to willing hearts to express His love. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Luke 12:34). When you neglect the privilege of supporting the Lord's Church, you are depriving yourself of the joy of sharing and the satisfaction of being a profitable servant of our Master. Everyone can pray for the pastor and his leaders, the sick as well as so many friends who need to be in a closer relationship with Chirst.
The self-centered, self-pleasing person who lives only to get, to have, to hold, and to keep, discovers too late that life becomes less satisfying with the passing of every year.
The morning after Jacob dreamed of the ladder that reached from earth to heaven, he awoke feeling that the place he had chosen to sleep was — the house of God, and . . . the gate of heaven (Genesis 28:17). God promised to bless and protect him wherever he went.
We all need to be more like Jacob who declared: If God will be with me, and will keep me . . . then . . . I will (be able to) surely give the tenth unto Thee (28:20-22). When we think about God's goodness, we realize that our obligation is far greater than our ability to repay. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver (II Corinthians 9:7).
The test of our love is not only what we do with our abilities and possessions but how much do we really love God and desire to do His will? What is it that dominates our lives — even our thoughts? Our personal activities show our love for the Lord even now: Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. . . . not seeking . . . profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved (I Corinthians 10:31,33).
Thought for Today:
For a true Christian, everything, including himself, belongs to our Creator God, not just a tenth or just attending church on Sunday. Present your bodies a living sacrifice . . . which is your reasonable service (Romans 12:1).
Through the burnt offerings which were totally consumed. These typified Christ's total offering of Himself to death (Deuteronomy 12:6; see Heb. 10:5-7). The bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the Sanctuary (Holy Place) by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify (make holy) the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate (13:11-12).
11:14 first . . . latter rain =b> autumn/winter (October through January) . . . later spring (March/April) rain; 11:21 fathers =b> ancestors beginning with Abraham; 11:24 uttermost sea =b> Mediterranean Sea; 11:30 champaign over against Gilgal =b> Arabah, the flat, open country opposite Gilgal; 12:15 gates =b> towns.
Pray for Staff: Barbara Bivens • Government Officials: Rep. Tim Holden (PA) and Rep. Todd Platts (PA) • Country: Ethiopia (60 million) in eastern Africa • Major languages: Amharic and Tigrinya • Unsettled after overthrow of communist regime • 41% Eastern Orthodox; 35% Muslim; 10% Protestant; 10% animist; .7% Roman Catholic • Prayer Suggestion: Confess wrongs you have committed to the Lord and to those whom you have hurt; ask for forgiveness (Matthew 5:23-24).
Optional Reading: Luke 20
Memory Verse for the Week: I Peter 1:14