The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.
Luke 21:1-4 Jesus[a] looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box,2 and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins.[b]3 And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them.4 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
From this passage I hear God asking me: Are you rich or poor?
Do you give “out of your abundance” or “out of your poverty”?
Have you ever used your “poverty” as an excuse not to give?
Can you even imagine giving all you have to live on?
Why would you think that sounds foolhardy?
Don’t you know me?
Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Unfortunately, though, personality tests can go very wrong in one simple way:
Your personality test is not a license to be a jerk.
We might tend to think it does. After all, we might reason, God has made me this way. Yes, I know my personality is a bit abrasive, but that’s because I’m this color or that animal or this combination of letters.
And yet if you’re a Christian, knowing your personality is not your end game….
This is because holiness is our goal. Self-knowledge is not.
Often the excuses for not giving are based on a misunderstanding of Scripture or a misunderstanding of their church…
If you are not giving to your local church, take some time and consider how God talks about generosity in the Bible. Talk to your pastor about it. And get involved.
Don’t miss out on financially participating in your local church. Financial health doesn’t end with generosity, it starts with generosity.
The Cross vs Nostalgia –Samuel James To make the Passion an object of our nostalgia—to see in it only the value of our grandfather’s generation, the benefit of a “Christian nation”—is to spit upon the cross itself. It is said that in the United States are millions of “Easter and Christmas” churchgoers, those who make time in their secular existence for two hours of hymnody a year. Oh, if only these Americans could see in their holidays the blood and the gore and the evil! If only they could see the gospel in its visceral reality, and not in its Thomas Kinkadian counterfeit.
If they could–if we could–we would not look at Good Friday with nostalgia. But we would look at it, and, if God is merciful, we might never look away.
An ethical question from the near future…
Will Editing Your Baby’s Genes Be Mandatory?
–Conor Friedersdorf Designing a baby, or editing the genes of an unborn child, strikes many as risky, unseemly, unnatural, unethical, or likely to lead to a dystopian future of one sort or another. Still, I predict that within my lifetime, the United States will arrest, try, and convict some parents for refusing to edit the genes of their child before he or she is born…
…it seems likely that gene editors will gain the ability to safely prevent some awful diseases, and that the holdouts who fear or morally object to their methods will dwindle more and more with every passing year.
Once they’re no more numerous or influential than, say, today’s Christian Scientists, the relevant politics will be quite changed. Holdouts who fear that gene editing is putting humanity on a slippery slope to disaster or who have religious objections…will conceive a child. If he or she is healthy all will be fine. But some holdouts will give birth to a child with a painful or fatal condition that could have been prevented.
People will get angry at those parents and seek to punish them.
Generosity Isn’t Just About Money –Matt Rogers I used to think of generosity primarily in terms of money. I was generous when I saw a need around me and provided the resources to help. Or, I might see generosity as a gift of time—I was generous when I gave time to meet a need. But, I’m not sure this is the full extent of the generosity God calls me to. In many ways this level of generosity is reactive in nature—I see a need around me and seek to do something to address it.
Generosity can also be proactive. In Philippians 2, Paul challenges the church to count others as more significant than yourself by not merely look to one’s own interests but also to the interests of others (2:3–4). Looking out for the interests of others extends far beyond giving money or time to someone in need.
It means that I consciously ask myself, “What could I do to promote the interest of someone else?”, “How can I make them better?”, “How can I serve as a conduit of God’s grace?”, “How can I give them an opportunity they might not otherwise have?” These questions demonstrate a truly generous heart.
Planning a vacation to Hopkinsville, Kentucky?
Better book early…
The Tiny Kentucky Town That Eclipse Fans Are Obsessing Over –Robbie Clark You could say the stars have aligned for Hopkinsville. Or, more precisely, the Earth, sun and moon will be perfected aligned. Next summer will be the first time a total solar eclipse—when the moon completely blocks out the sun—can be witnessed in the continental United States since 1979. (Viewers could view a total solar eclipse in Hawaii in 1991.) And in a cosmic twist of fate, on August 21, 2017, Hopkinsville will be the star around which the astronomical world orbits. As the moon crosses the United States at about 2,000 miles per hour, casting its shadow from Portland, Oregon, to Charleston, South Carolina, Hopkinsville (population 33,000) has been identified as the “greatest eclipse” location.
Do It Again –Jim Tune The hardest part of life, one preacher said, is that it’s so daily. Every day the bed needs to be made. Breakfast needs to be cooked. Dishes, dusting, work, and sleep demand our attention every single day.
The same with ministry…
We get tired, though. The thousandth time a husband wakes up beside his wife, he may start taking things for granted. The hundredth time a children’s ministry volunteer teaches rambunctious four-year-old boys, she may wonder if it’s worth it.