|May 2012 Daily Devotion Archive|
Going through Fire! (Part 5 of 5)
In Daniel 3:28-29, King Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this."
God used the fire to show His greatness in saving them, that with faith in God you can do all things! Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego made God their refuge, and trusted in His plan. When you face trials and temptations God will send help, He will be there with you.
Are You With Jesus or Against Him?
"He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters." - Luke 11:23
The question seems simple enough. Are you with Jesus, or are you against Him? But before you answer, take a moment to consider how you live your life. Do you shine the light of Jesus into the dark world around you? Do you live a lifestyle that honors Jesus Christ? Do your friends or co-workers know that you are a Christian, or would they be surprised if they found out? Do you spend time in the Bible and in prayer on a regular basis, or do you just show up for church on Sundays if you don't have anyplace else you'd rather go? Do you proclaim the truth of Jesus, no matter what? Consider these questions (and anything else that God may place into your mind or on your heart) as you answer the question posed in the title of this devotional. Jesus wants people who are fully committed to Him and to doing the will of the Father. Are you one of those people?
Question to Ponder: Are you with Jesus or against Him?
The Inside Matters Most
And as He spoke, a certain Pharisee asked Him to dine with him. So He went in and sat down to eat. When the Pharisee saw it, he marveled that He had not first washed before dinner. Then the Lord said to him, "Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness. Foolish ones! Did not He who made the outside make the inside also? But rather give alms of such things as you have; then indeed all things are clean to you. ... Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like graves which are not seen, and the men who walk over them are not aware of them." - Luke 11:37-41, 43-44
In modern times, this story might be compared to the person who dresses very nicely and goes to church every Sunday, but lacks a true relationship with Jesus. If that describes you, then you need to get right with the Lord! The outer appearance doesn't matter, no matter how much the world tries to send the opposite message. What really matters is what's on the inside.
Question to Ponder: Are you a "Christian" on the outside only, or are you a true follower of Jesus on the inside?
If God Has Blessed You Financially
Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. - 1 Timothy 6:17-19
Our last two devotions from Timothy dealt with the evil that comes from greed. However, it is a fact that God has chosen to give some people more financial blessings than others. (As a side note, Jesus promises that everyone who follows Him as Lord and Savior will receive blessings, but sometimes they come in other forms.) If you have been blessed financially, remember that everything you have ultimately belongs to God, and remember that He gave it to you; it isn't a result of your own efforts. If you do have a lot of money, Satan will try to convince you that you earned it all on your own in order to pull you away from God. Don't let him! If you do not have as much money, don't be jealous of others; instead, think about the other ways in which God has blessed you.
Question to Ponder: Can you think of at least 5 specific ways in which God has blessed you (and your family)?
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. - 2 Timothy 2:7
I think we are all afraid of something. For example, I am kind of afraid of bees. Perhaps you have a similar fear. That kind of fear is not a big deal, and can even be healthy if you have a fear that keeps you from doing something dangerous. But do you have a significant fear, something that is so intense that it can control your life? That "spirit of fear," as Paul calls it, does not come from God but from Satan. God is light and love, and fear cannot come from Him. (Yes, we are told to fear God, but that has a different meaning: "Fear" in that sense means to show respect and to honor Him.) If you have a big fear in your life, the best way to conquer it is by trusting God. For some, that is easier said than done. But if you can give up your control and place your complete and total trust in Him and in His plan for your life, He will take your fears away and replace them with joy and peace.
Question to Ponder: If you have a big fear, how can you better entrust it to God?
Lord, my heart is not haughty,
Nor my eyes lofty.
Neither do I concern myself with great matters,
Nor with things too profound for me.
Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul,
Like a weaned child with his mother;
Like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord
From this time forth and forever.
- Psalm 131:1-3
God Is Bigger
Then they told him, and said: "We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan." Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, "Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it." But the men who had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we." - Numbers 13:27-31
If God is on your side, no one can be stronger! That's what some of the Israelites apparently forgot here. We sometimes forget that, too. But no matter how big your enemy seems to be (and that enemy could be a person, a big task or assignment, an addiction, etc.), God is always bigger! He can get you through anything if you will just rely on Him and trust in Him.
Question to Ponder: Is there some "big thing" in your life that you need to turn over to God?
Salt of the Earth
"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men." - Matthew 5:13
What is Sodium? It is an active element always linking to another element.
What is Chlorine? It has an offensive odor, and is toxic by itself.
TOGETHER it makes SALT
FAITH is active like sodium.
TRUTH is like chlorine, it is sometimes offensive.
TOGETHER: Salt of the earth.
Matthew 5:13,16 says, you are the salt of the earth, if you lose your saltiness, how can you become salty again? You are good for nothing, except to be tossed out and trampled by others. Is the same way, let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and praise God the Father.
So, have you attached yourself to someone lately with the goal to win their soul?
Where is Your Treasure?
And He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses." ... "So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." "Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." - Luke 12:15, 21, 32-34
Many people are easily distracted by the material things of this world. But you have to remember what truly matters, and it isn't anything that you can buy in a store! Your relationship with Jesus, and the work that you do for His Kingdom, have eternal value. Nothing in this world does. As Jesus clearly tells us, "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Where is your heart? Don't waste time accumulating possessions; put your efforts into serving the Lord!
Question to Ponder: Is your treasure on earth or in heaven?
Do Not Worry
Then He said to His disciples, "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith? And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you." - Luke 12:22-31
Question to Ponder: How can you worry less and trust Jesus more?
We are in a Spiritual Battle
You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. - 2 Timothy 2:3-9
Paul is not speaking figuratively. There is a very real spiritual battle going on between good and evil. If you want to be on God's side, you have to commit yourself to Him. Paul advises us to not get entangled with the affairs of this life, which causes so many people to stumble and turn their focus away from Jesus. The work isn't easy and we may endure hardships, but when you stop to think about what Jesus did for us when He suffered and died on that cross, isn't it worth it?
Question to Ponder: What are some worldly things that pull your focus away from Jesus?
Things to Avoid
Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. - 2 Timothy 2:22-26
In this portion of his letter to Timothy, Paul tells him (along with the rest of us) some things that should be avoided. First of all, we must avoid youthful lusts, which can destroy people and relationships. If you want to lust after other people, our society makes it easy for you to do that--but by choosing to lust, you harm yourself and your spouse or significant other. He also advises us to avoid foolish arguments, which only serve to tear people apart and do not accomplish anything good.
Question to Ponder: Do you take the issue of lust seriously? Do you get into unnecessary arguments with other people?
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the God of gods!
For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords!
For His mercy endures forever:
To Him who alone does great wonders,
For His mercy endures forever;
To Him who by wisdom made the heavens,
For His mercy endures forever;
To Him who laid out the earth above the waters,
For His mercy endures forever;
To Him who made great lights,
For His mercy endures forever--
The sun to rule by day,
For His mercy endures forever;
The moon and stars to rule by night,
For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven!
For His mercy endures forever.
- Psalm 136:1-9, 26
God Can Use Anyone
Gideon said to Him, "O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites." Then the Lord turned to him and said, "Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?" So he said to Him, "O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house." And the Lord said to him, "Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man." - Judges 6:13-16
Do you ever think that you are too weak, too small, too young, or too old to do anything useful for God? That simply isn't true! God uses all of His children. We each have different gifts and talents, and you may not be able to do the same things as someone else, but God can and does use each one of us. And if you are physically unable to do anything else, you can always pray!
Question to Ponder: How does God want to use you? If you are unsure, spend some time in prayer to find out the answer.
The Potter and the Clay: Flaws and All and God's Purpose (Part 1 of 5: The Potter)
In the world we live in there are so many things people place before God: work, children, a spouse, internet, ipods, cell phones...just to name a few. Lets go back to the day of Jeremiah. Judah turned away from God and began to worship idols. This was the reason for Jeremiah's ministry of proclaiming God's Judgment against the people of Judah: their idolatry, unfaithfulness, and their disobedience of God's Will.
The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: "Arise and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause you to hear My words." Then I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. - Jeremiah 18:1-4
The flaw is in the clay, not in the skill of the potter.
But now, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand. - Isaiah 64:8
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. - Romans 8:28
God is the Divine Potter; He wants to form us into the likeness of His son, Christ. The potter has a purpose for his clay. God has a purpose for our lives. He uses circumstances to shape us.
No Peace On Earth
"I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished! Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law." - Luke 12:49-53
Jesus never claimed that He was bringing peace to the earth. In fact, He makes it clear that He is bringing just the opposite. He knows how stubborn and self-centered people can be, and how many of them will respond in a negative way when they hear His truth. But we know we can depend on Jesus because He tells us what we can expect. He never gives us false hopes or makes unrealistic promises. His Word is completely true and real, and we can always trust Him!
Question to Ponder: How strong is your trust in Jesus and in God's Word?
The Pharisee and the Tax Collector
Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank You that I am not like other men-extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess. And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, God, be merciful to me a sinner! I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." - Luke 18:9-14
Be humble, both before God and before other people. Humility lets people see Jesus through you, while self-centered pride just lets other people see what you have done, leaving God out of the picture. We should follow the example of this tax collector, a man who knew he was a sinner and was unworthy of God's forgiveness.
Question to Ponder: Which man is more like you?
The Last Days
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. - 2 Timothy 3:1-7
Does this sound familiar? To me, it sounds just like the world we live in. Now, none of us knows when Jesus will return, but until He does, we need to avoid the worldly things that Paul writes about in this passage. Don't be greedy and selfish. Focus instead on others and on the things of God that have eternal value. We desperately need to be the light in this dark world and share the Good News of Jesus with those around us!
Question to Ponder: This passage mentions 19 specific things that are sinful. Which of these things do you struggle with?
Don't Fear Persecution
Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. ... But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them. - 2 Timothy 3:12, 14
Christians all around the world suffer from persecution. In some places, that can even mean being injured or killed. We are blessed to live in the United States where the persecution doesn't even compare to what it is in those places, but in less extreme ways, we are still persecuted for our beliefs. We don't have as much freedom to express our beliefs as we once did (although I think we still have more freedom in that area than many people realize). The truth is, many people are just afraid to express their beliefs in our society because it isn't the "popular" or the "cool" thing to do, and many people are afraid of what others might think. Don't be afraid to stand up for what you believe in! This world is in desperate need of Christians who will do just that. And if you ever get discouraged while spreading God's Word, remember that Jesus is with you, and He has already overcome the world (John 16:33)!
Question to Ponder: Are you afraid of what other people may think of your faith? Does that fear hinder your witness?
O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
- Psalm 139:1-8
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.
- Psalm 139: 14-18, 23-24
The Potter and the Clay: Flaws and All and God's Purpose (Part 2 of 5: The Clay)
And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?" says the Lord. "Look, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!" - Jeremiah 18:4-6
The potter's vessel is marred, and unusable for its intended purpose. The potter remolded the clay into an acceptable and unblemished work symbolizing God's actions toward the people of Israel. The people has become marred and defiled and had to be reformed into a vessel fit to be identified with the Lord. We are like this clay; flawed by our sins, but God wants to make us like a new pot, shaping you as seems best to Him. Clay is of little value unless it is molded by the hands of a skilled potter. Like Israel, you too are of little value, unless molded by the hands of the Divine Potter. When a potter is working with clay, they will temper it; meaning to add some new elements to soften the clay. God tempers you by trials, struggles and experiences in life so that you will yield to the hands of your Potter.
Keep God's House Holy
Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, "It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves." - Matthew 21:12-13
The church was meant to be a holy place, a place to come and worship our perfectly holy God. We need to be very careful not to turn the church into anything other than that. The world around us is in a very sad state of moral decay, but the church should continue to be a shelter where we can freely worship God apart from the things of the world. Worldly things, including cell phones (which, at least in my opinion, is a very disturbing trend), do not belong in church. Neither do worldly forms of attire; you should always dress modestly and appropriately to honor God, and that is especially important when going to church. Don't bring the world into church with you; instead, come to church to get away from the world!
Question to Ponder: What can you do to keep God's house a holy place?
But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." - Matthew 22:34-40
If we truly love God and truly show the love of Christ to others, then we should be in God's will! God is love, and everything He does is based in that love (yes, even when He allows bad things to happen). He even loves us enough to punish us when we sin so that we learn from it and are able to draw closer to Him. If we could only show Jesus' love to other people, this world would be a much better place! Unfortunately, we want to do things our own way, and then conflicts start to arise. Jesus loves us unconditionally, and He expects us to treat others the same way, even when it is difficult.
Question to Ponder: How can you better show the love of Christ to other people?
The Bible is God-Breathed
... and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. - 2 Timothy 3:15-17
I usually stick with the New King James Version, but I really like to use the wording of the New International Version for a portion of this passage. Instead of saying that, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God," it says, "All Scripture is God-breathed." The Bible is the Living Word of God, and I believe quite literally, He breathed it into existence. He chose to work through human hands to write the words in the Bible, but make no mistake about it: Those words are from God Himself. We are to use the Bible to guide us, to help us know what is right and what is wrong, and to correct and teach others who may fall away from the faith walk.
Question to Ponder: Do you believe that the Bible is the true, inerrant (without error) Word of God?
Too Good to Be True
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. - 2 Timothy 4:2-4
Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) in order to deceive us, because he will do anything he possibly can in order to pull us away from serving the one true God. There are many false teachers in this world. Some of them are obvious, while others appear to be Christians but aren't actually preaching the Word of God. As the old saying goes, "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." True Christianity doesn't sound too good to be true. In the Bible, we get the good along with the bad, and Jesus Himself makes it clear that we will experience struggles and suffering in this life! Anyone who tries to claim that you will always experience happiness and prosperity as a Christian is being deceitful. Be careful what you believe!
Question to Ponder: The best way to avoid being deceived is to stay in the Word. How often do you read your Bible?
Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth;
Keep watch over the door of my lips.
Do not incline my heart to any evil thing,
To practice wicked works
With men who work iniquity;
And do not let me eat of their delicacies.
Let the righteous strike me;
It shall be a kindness.
And let him rebuke me;
It shall be as excellent oil;
Let my head not refuse it.
For still my prayer is against the deeds of the wicked.
But my eyes are upon You, O God the Lord;
In You I take refuge;
Do not leave my soul destitute.
Keep me from the snares they have laid for me,
And from the traps of the workers of iniquity.
Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
While I escape safely.
- Psalm 141:3-5, 8-10
Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You.
Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies;
In You I take shelter.
Teach me to do Your will,
For You are my God;
Your Spirit is good.
Lead me in the land of uprightness.
Revive me, O Lord, for Your name's sake!
For Your righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble.
In Your mercy cut off my enemies,
And destroy all those who afflict my soul;
For I am Your servant.
- Psalm 143:8-12
The Potter and the Clay: Flaws and All and God's Purpose (Part 3 of 5: The Wheel)
"Then I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something at the wheel." - Jeremiah 18:3
Judah needed to realize that when the Potter is spinning the wheel, He has all the control. God wants to use situations in our life to mold us too! To summarize chapter 18: The potter's clay was moist/pliable, making it possible to reshape and rework the clay.
"The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it." - Jeremiah 18:7-10
It looks like they have two choices (as do you):
1. To repent, and God will do the good intended for them (us).
2. Or not obey and God will allow disaster.
*The outcome of your life is determined by the choices you make.*
If you let God change you, and use you, God first and foremost wants the best for you.
"Now therefore, speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, 'Thus says the Lord: "Behold, I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you. Return now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good." ' " - Jeremiah 18:11
God is warning them to change and let Him mold them in to a new person--He wants the same for us today!
Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood." - Mark 12:41-44
It's not about how much you give; it's about doing what God asks you to do. Some people can give hundreds or thousands of dollars, and if you are in that position and God asks you to give that much to His Kingdom, then He expects you to do it! After all, He has blessed you with that money. Other people are only able to give much smaller amounts, but as long as you give as God leads you, then He will bless you for it. God can do a lot with what seems like a little, so never underestimate the impact even a small amount of money may have! Whether you are rich or poor, give as God asks you to give.
Question to Ponder: Do you give as God leads, or do you hold back?
The Only Way
Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him." - John 14:5-7
Jesus is the only way; there is no way to God and to heaven except through Him! The world will try to tell you that you are narrow-minded for believing that, but that is because so many people in this world have been deceived by Satan. Whether or not other people like it, it is the truth. Believe it, stand firm in it, and spread the truth to the world! We are sinners, and God could have just let us die--but He loves us so much that He made a way for us to come to Him, and all we have to do is accept His Son as our Savior and Lord.
Question to Ponder: Do you firmly believe that there is only one way to heaven--through Jesus Christ?