Money is a central heart issue in the Gospel. The rich young ruler mentioned in the book of Mark made a profession of faith, but his money did not follow. Promises of love and discipleship to Jesus are empty unless your possessions mean nothing compared to Him. The way a person uses money is always a reflection of what’s in his heart. If Jesus had occupied first place in the rich young ruler’s heart, it would have been evidenced in his attitude toward his money.
In Leviticus 25 the principle of the Sabbath year brought up an issue similar to the story of the rich young ruler. Simply stated, the people were told to give up something they wanted for God’s sake. God then promised that He would order a blessing so bountiful that it would produce a triple harvest for three years!
When will we ever learn that if we follow God’s laws of sacrifice and obedience, He is well able to speak to our circumstances with His blessing? Jesus promised, “I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return, a hundred times over, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property. . . .” (Mark 10:29-30).
Don’t resent sacrifice. See it as an opportunity to increase!
Can there be any doubt that the psalmist was referring to Jesus? The disciples were “filled with dread” (Mark 10:32) at the fearless, bold approach Jesus exhibited as He walked to Jerusalem, straight into the face of death. He had told them earlier exactly what would happen to Him, yet He did not flinch in leading the way to the city!
In Leviticus 26:1-39, the Lord promised peace and blessing to the Israelites for obedience, but certain destruction if they rebelled. Christ’s intense love for righteousness and hatred of wickedness gives Him a fearless boldness against sin (Psalm 45:7).
The ultimate act of Jesus’ hatred of sin will be demonstrated by His return to earth. He will “ride out to victory, defending truth, humility, and justice, [going] forth to perform awe-inspiring deeds!” (Psalm 45:4). His sharp arrows will pierce the hearts of our enemies, and the nations will fall beneath His feet (v. 5). At His side will be the Church, His Bride, who loves Him and also loves righteousness.
Be faithful and fearless, Bride—Your Mighty One is coming with His sword, and you will be at His side!
Our understanding must change if we are to see that the tithe already belongs to the Lord. When we return it to Him, we are not giving. In fact, if it already belongs to Him, we are actually robbing God if we use the tithe or spend it!
Not only does the tithe belong to Him, but also it is holy to the Lord. The tithe is holy money, set aside for His holy use. When Achan stole from Jericho something that had been set aside unto God, judgment fell upon Achan and his house (Joshua 7).
Another aspect of the tithe is that it belongs to the Lord as His advance provision. In Mark 11:3, the little donkey was there by God’s prophetic command (Zechariah 9:9), marked out centuries before as provision for what the King would need in that generation.
A final point regarding the tithe is that God will return your tithe to you with a blessing for your obedience. Weren’t the owners of the donkey told, “The Lord needs it and will return it soon” (Mark 11:3)? God is not robbing you of ten percent when you tithe—He is using it as an opportunity to bless you!
The tribe of Judah was privileged by God to lead Israel’s march through the wilderness. God had already showed His blessing upon that tribe by causing them to increase in number to the largest of all the tribes. Judah means “praise,” and this tribe was selected to raise the voice of praise as a battle cry for God’s people. As the vast camp set out each day with the blowing of the trumpets, God was displaying to the world that His great Church sets out with a shout of praise.
The psalmist said, “God has ascended with a mighty shout. The Lord has ascended with trumpets blaring. Sing praise to God, sing praises; sing praise to our King, sing praises!” (Psalm 47:5-6). The Church was created to praise the King. Clapping our hands and shouting with cries of joy are the most appropriate things we can do for the One who is the great King over all the earth!
Jehoshaphat taught God’s people to sing and shout as they went out into battle. He “appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor” (2 Chronicles 20:21). As a result, the Lord used their praise to defeat their enemies.
What problem are you facing today? Why not “send Judah first” and watch the Lord fight the battle for you!
God has given two great commandments, the first of which deals with devotion and service to God. Numbers 4:1-33 explains how the three divisions of Levites supervised such work: they were to care for the tabernacle, furniture, and courtyard with the utmost precision and dedication. Similarly, our service to God is not to be slipshod and haphazard, but precise, heartfelt, and fervent. Whatever our ministries, whether small or great, we must serve the Lord with passion. Having even the slightest responsibility for holy things is a privilege!
The second commandment, to love your neighbor as yourself, is illustrated in Numbers 5:6-7 through the law of restitution. With all our effort, we must make restitution with our neighbors, reconciling any differences with them and treating them with respect and honor, for God keeps account of our dealings with others. As Christians, we are compelled to go the extra mile to ensure our relationships are secured in love.
Let us build our lives on zealous love for both God and humanity. Such love is the Kingdom of God.
What folly it is to trust in our wealth and boast of our great riches! The psalmist described the futility of hoarding wealth, which has no power to redeem our lives from sin. Ultimately, all the wealth we amass will be left to others. The psalmist continued, saying that the rich will not be pampered forever on their estates. One day they will die, taking none of their worldly wealth with them. Like all men, their bodies will rot in their graves.
Someone once said, “You will be dead a lot longer than you will be alive!” We would be looked upon as foolish to think we could send treasures to heaven ahead of ourselves. Everyone knows that is impossible. The only way we can take any wealth into eternity is to give it to God here on earth and reap our eternal reward.
The story of the sacrificial widow clearly illustrates how God will reward us in eternity. It is not the amount given but the amount sacrificed that matters to God. The amount we give may be small, but if it represents great sacrifice, it is of more value to God than great riches. Just as each tabernacle offering was recorded in Numbers 7, so each of our offerings is recorded in God’s eternal record. We will find those treasures in heaven for all eternity!
These three little words—our God approaches—are the most certain fact in the universe. We may be going through terrible trials, tribulations, sufferings, and temptations, but we can be certain of one thing: our God is coming! One day Christ will return to earth. A fire will devour before Him (v. 3) as He returns to destroy the Antichrist and his armies. God Himself will be the Judge of His people (v. 6).
The concept of Jesus’ return took center stage as Christ taught His disciples about the end of time. “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows” (Mark 13:32). Since we cannot know the moment of His return, we must remain diligently on our guard, for His arrival could be “at evening, midnight, early dawn, or late daybreak” (v. 35).
As we battle the enemy, we should be constantly looking skyward for the imminent return of our Lord. Focusing on His coming will keep us on guard against sin, compromise, and slothfulness and will encourage us in battle. We must keep our lives equipped and our hearts ready, because there will be no time for preparation at His sudden return. To the sleeping, distracted, halfhearted Christian, Jesus gives one word that will keep him on track for life: “Watch!” (Mark 13:37).
The beautiful nature of God is one of sacrifice, the giving of something on behalf of another. The ugly nature of Satan is one of selfishness, the taking of that which belongs to another.
Never have the spirits of sacrifice and selfishness been so starkly contrasted as in the Mark 14:3-10 story of a generous woman and the self-serving Judas Iscariot. The woman was reckless in her sacrifice, pouring over Jesus’ head a perfume so expensive it was worth a whole year’s salary. However, her sacrifice seems insignificant when we consider that it was anointing His head for burial. This was the last act of love shown to Jesus before His death.
Since that time, millions have read and appreciated the memory of her act, even though her money, perfume, and possessions have all long since passed from the scene. In our lives, the unselfish, beautiful sacrifices we make for Jesus and His Body will live and return to us forever. By contrast, Judas’s hideously greedy act of fattening his purse with thirty pieces of blood money has gone down in infamy.
What is the final memory others will have of you? Will it be one of sacrifice or one of selfishness? Break open your “alabaster jar,” and pour it all out on the Lord and His people.
The plague of small thinking strikes again! Joshua was extremely concerned that someone other than Moses might be used of God to prophesy. Joshua did not comprehend that God can use whomever He wants in order to accomplish whatever He wants.
In Numbers 13 the ten spies had to make a decision regarding the grapes and the giants. Huge clusters of fruit should have captured the Israelites’ attention, faith, and excitement. Instead, their eyes were on the giants who stood guard over the abundance.
The devil always tries to get our attention focused more on his resistance than on God’s provision. A small, limited vision will make us feel “like grasshoppers” in comparison to the giants (Numbers 13:33), instead of feeling that “we can certainly conquer” (v. 30)!
Philip rehearsed to Jesus how impossible it was to feed five thousand men in the wilderness, but Andrew went and found five loaves and two fish. Small thinking involves meditating on negative, impossible thoughts that outweigh the truth of God’s Word. Although Moses had told the spies to go into the land with boldness and bring back a sampling of the crops (Numbers 13:20), the spies’ fearful thinking caused them to believe that they could never get to the grapes because the giants were too large.
Think large: Conquest . . . good report . . . well able!
Jesus stood before the high priest and boldly declared who He was. There stood Christ, unafraid of death, declaring before all men His identity and their judgment. His bold, resilient declaration ignited a storm like a match in a powder keg. Oh, what a difference the presence of the Holy Spirit makes as He gives us boldness to fearlessly declare our witness for God!
How opposite Jesus’ assertion was from Peter’s timid, fearful denial of who He was just six verses later. Peter shrank back, cursing, swearing, and denying that he had ever known Christ. If “fearing people is a dangerous trap” as Proverbs 29:25 declares, then Peter fell headlong into that trap. What a change we can observe in Peter’s life, however, when he stood up on the day of Pentecost, demanding repentance from the men who had crucified Christ!
Joshua and Caleb demonstrated the same boldness when facing a whole assembly that was about to stone them (Numbers 14:10). Never let the fear of man intimidate you in your greatest hour of destiny. Others may run, hide, and deny, but you must stand tall and be bold.
It is true that God will repay those who falsely accuse us, but how hard it is to remain silent and let God exact vengeance! Moses and Aaron knew this truth, as their attitudes remained perfect when faced with the strongest challenge to their authority in the wilderness. The “gainsaying of Core” (Jude 11 KJV) is marked as the most slanderous, dangerous illustration of rebellion in the Old Testament. Moses could have easily ordered the opposing leaders’ deaths or fought them in a fistfight. Instead, he “threw himself down with his face to the ground” (Numbers 16:4). He chose to let God execute His own justice.
Christ displayed a quiet, humble spirit before Pilate. In spite of wave upon wave of slanderous accusations, “Jesus said nothing, much to Pilate’s surprise” (Mark 15:5). The moment arrived when both Moses and Jesus were justified by God before all men—Moses when the ground swallowed Korah, and Jesus through the resurrection.
Be patient, humble, and quiet before your God. Proclaim with the psalmist, “But God is my helper. The Lord is the one who keeps me alive!” (Psalm 54:4).
One rod ended an entire insurrection. What a powerful rod this was to have amazed, confounded, and brought to repentance the powerful forces opposing Moses! The miracle of this rod was that it represented something impossible: a resurrection. How could a dead stick—separated from the tree trunk, polished and smoothed— suddenly sprout leaves, buds, and almonds? Only by the resurrection power of God!
Christianity is the only religion whose leader was dead for three days and then physically resurrected. While all other religions are as mere sticks with man-made claims to authority, Christianity is distinguished by the fact that Jesus’ rod has budded. This budding rod has persuaded millions that He is truly the Son of God. People of every nation stand in awe that someone beaten, crucified, and speared in the side could stand three days later and say, “All hail.”
His name has all authority over demons, disaster, and disease (Mark 16:17-18). We, as His disciples, can stand holding the rod of the resurrection in our hands. Let us preach the Gospel of the resurrected Christ to all creation and watch the Lord confirm His Word with signs following (Mark 16:20)!
Unbelief is dangerous, regardless of who you are. Zechariah, a member of the priestly tribe, was standing in the Holy Place offering incense before God when an angel of the Lord brought him a message. Because he refused to believe the message and questioned the power of God, Zechariah was struck dumb.
Another example of unbelief is found in Numbers 20:11-12, which tells how Moses’ and Aaron’s lack of trust in God led them to act rashly. They struck the rock twice instead of merely speaking to it as God had instructed. This simple act of unbelief disqualified them from their long-awaited entrance into the Promised Land.
God does not exempt His leaders from judgment if they fail to walk before Him in the purity of faith. He “doesn’t show partiality” (Acts 10:34) and equally dispenses judgment on all who refuse to believe. His judgment can be swift and stern, as when Uzzah was struck dead for steadying the ark of the covenant after the oxen stumbled (1 Chronicles 13:9-10). In another instance, “Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu put coals of fire in their incense burners and sprinkled incense over it” (Leviticus 10:1) and were immediately burned alive by the fire of God.
God is awesome in His holiness and will not be disregarded. Let’s serve Him with the proper respect and awe, “for our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29).
No better example of this scripture can be found than in the story of the little maiden named Mary. Though she was young and from a lowly town in Galilee called Nazareth, Mary believed God. Because of her belief, all generations have called her blessed.
The examples from the Bible are many of those whom God exalted. As a nation, Israel was blessed and exalted. When Balak tried to curse God’s people, God told him, “You are not to curse these people, for I have blessed them!” (Numbers 22:12). Yet another example of the exalting of the Lord is found in the life of David, who was taken from the field while tending a few sheep and exalted to be king of Israel. Joseph, who was languishing in an Egyptian prison, also witnessed the blessing of the Lord that brought him to Pharaoh’s right hand in exaltation.
We must value the blessing of the Lord upon our lives because it exalts us before the heathen and brings great glory to God. May the blessing bestowed upon a simple virgin of Nazareth remind us of one eternal truth: God’s “mighty arm does tremendous things! How he scatters the proud and haughty ones! He has taken princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly” (Luke 1:51-52).
Be blessed . . . then exalted!
The tongue is the center of sin in the body. In James 3:6 it is described as a “flame of fire,” capable of causing much wickedness. How important it is, therefore, that the tongue be used for the purposes of God!
In Numbers 22 we see an astounding miracle of speech rendered by God. Balaam’s donkey obviously could not speak, but it was given words to rebuke Balaam in his madness (v. 28). If God could open the mouth of a donkey, how much more can He open our mouths for His glory! Further along in the story, Balaam, being unable to curse Israel with his mouth, could only speak a blessing over the nation.
In the story of Elizabeth and Zechariah, God struck Zechariah dumb for nine months because he had used his tongue to voice unbelief. Then God healed him supernaturally and filled his mouth with a blessing for Israel (Luke 1:67). Zechariah absolutely overflowed with praise to the God of Israel who was showing them mercy, rescuing them from their enemies, and granting them salvation.
Before we met Christ, we used our mouths to curse, defile, and destroy others. Now that Christ lives in us, we can yield our speech to the Holy Spirit so we may instruct, correct, and encourage others. Offer your tongue to God as “the pen of a skillful poet” (Psalm 45:1). He will fill your mouth with praise and prophecy that will bring glory to God and bind the powers of darkness.
We call the leading character in a movie, a play, or an athletic event the star. God has a Star and desires that every eye be upon Him!
In his final prophecies, Balaam saw a vision of a star rising out of Jacob. In the distance beyond the camp of Israel, Balaam could see Israel’s supreme Leader who would crush Moab. When the devil looks out over the Church, he is blinded by the light of our Bright and Morning Star, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus rises above all our enemies in His glory.
The shepherds saw the Star of all history face-to-face the night He was born in a manger (Luke 2:16). Tradition says the star Balaam saw was the same one the wise men followed from the East to find Christ. Moved by the Spirit, Simeon entered the temple and held in his arms the “light to reveal God to the nations” (Luke 2:32).
May we never move our eyes away from the Centerpiece of God’s universe: Jesus, the Star of Jacob.
God is a God of victory. The Church is not on the defensive, but displays a banner of victory. We see this banner as David went into battle, for he reminded himself of God’s overwhelming strength against the enemy. We see this banner in Romans 8:31, where Paul wrote, “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”
The nations of the world do not belong to the devil, but to God. His Church is the means by which the nations will be conquered. The first part of Psalm 60:8 declares, “Moab will become my lowly servant,” meaning that the nations will serve the Church. The second part of that verse says, “Over Edom will I cast out my shoe” (KJV), indicating ownership. (In biblical times, ownership was marked by a person’s taking off his shoe and throwing it down upon his inheritance.)
How many nations are waiting to be claimed by the Body of Christ? Let’s “take our shoes off”and begin in prayer to “throw them down” upon our inheritance. Let’s lift high the banner of the cross of Christ, valiantly defying the claim of the enemy over our God-given heritage. May we never forget that “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37 KJV).
Your spiritual inheritance is the most important thing you possess. The daughters of Zelophehad knew that and thus demanded their inheritance (Numbers 27:4). They refused to let any factor stand in their way of possessing what their father had left to them, and consequently, God honored their faith.
Your spiritual inheritance may be the transfer of someone else’s anointing to you before that person’s death. Moses transferred his anointing to Joshua by the laying on of hands (Numbers 27:23). Jesus received His inheritance when He went into the Jordan and was baptized by John (Luke 3:21-22). Elisha appropriated his inheritance when he saw Elijah go up in a whirlwind and drop his mantle from the chariot (2 Kings 2:11-13).
God has given you a mantle of inheritance—some ministry, some mission, some calling—that belongs to you alone. Will you be like Esau who despised his inheritance and birthright and sold it all for a little bowl of soup? Never forfeit or throw your heritage away as though it were worthless. Instead, seize it, claim it, and believe that God will use it to glorify His name.
Faith is trust, and trust is faith. When a deposit is placed in a trust account, we can be confident that it is safe. Do we trust God like that? It is easy to trust Him when we are in control, but what about when the situation moves outside our control? Can we trust Him at all times? David went through perilous times, but in each situation he would pour out his heart to God (v. 8) as his chief Confidant and Refuge.
Everyone trusts someone or something, and with many, it is their money. “Don’t try to get rich by extortion or robbery. And if your wealth increases, don’t make it the center of your life” (Psalm 62:10). Paul told Timothy to “tell those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which will soon be gone. But their trust should be in the living God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17).
We must unplug our trust from anything in this world: our money, the promises of others, even ourselves. We must then transfer our total trust to God and relax, knowing that our deposit is safe!
Jesus spent His first forty days after baptism in the wilderness east of Jerusalem. Far from the distractions of life, He passed through the fires of temptation and learned total dependence upon God.
Moses said to Israel, “Anything made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, tin, or lead—that is, metals that do not burn—must be passed through fire in order to be made ceremonially pure” (Numbers 31:22-23). Nothing is acceptable to God unless it has been passed through the fire. Temptation proves the quality of your “metal.” Though Jesus was severely tempted three times by the devil, He came forth as purest gold.
While Jesus was passing through the temptation, a second dynamic was taking place in His life: He was drawing into close communion with the Father. His soul and His body, though fasting, were satisfied with “more than the richest of foods” (Psalm 63:5) as He learned to cling to God (v. 8) in close communion.
These two lessons are our greatest challenges: “Resist the Devil” and “draw close to God” (James 4:7-8). Are you ready for the lessons of the wilderness?
Israel realized that the gods of Egypt that had held them captive for so long were defeated through the ten plagues. For example, the “god of the Nile” was defeated when the mighty river was turned to blood (Exodus 7:20-21), and the “sun god” was defeated by the darkness that fell upon the land (Exodus 10:21-23). After the final plague concerning the firstborn, the Israelites were free to go. Triumphantly they left the land of their captivity. They did not slither out of town or run for their lives in the night. Instead, they “left defiantly, in full view of all the Egyptians” (Numbers 33:3).
As New Testament believers, we have the same privilege of boldness as did the Israelites. Jesus has conquered our enemies: “The time of judgment for the world has come, when the prince of this world will be cast out” (John 12:31). Therefore, we should exhibit the same boldness against the devil as did Jesus when He openly ordered the demon to “be silent” (Luke 4:35). Jesus saw sickness and demonic possession as an unfair encroachment of the enemy, and so should we.
Rise up today and boldly break free from Satan’s chains and bondage. The price has been paid for your freedom. Purpose to serve Pharaoh no more!
Forgiveness and mercy are the highest items on God’s agenda. The city of refuge was a designated place of grace where someone who had made a mistake could run for shelter and protection from revenge. When the high priest died, the person who had been spared from judgment was also restored to a normal life.
The man let down through the roof into Jesus’ presence heard Jesus tell him, “Son, your sins are forgiven” (Luke 5:20). That one statement encompassed both his forgiveness and his healing. When your sins are forgiven, healing is easy!
Jesus, our High Priest, died in our place. Now we are free to live as forgiven, restored sinners. When we were overcome by our sins, Jesus forgave our transgressions (Psalm 65:3). Though we cannot see sin, it is an overwhelming enemy. It afflicts us, crushes the life out of us, and can take us to hell forever.
Run to the city of refuge! Run to the mercy seat! You are forgiven through the blood of Christ, and now, like the paralytic, you can “stand up, take your mat, and go on home” (Luke 5:24).
Three powerful verses in Proverbs 11 remind us of the ageless principles of giving. First, you cannot outgive God. Proverbs 11:24 says, “It is possible to give freely and become more wealthy, but those who are stingy will lose everything.” Giving is the secret to abundance and increase.
Second, if you purpose in life to “refresh others” (Proverbs 11:25) and not just be concerned for yourself, God will be sure to supply your own needs as well. You must make it your goal in life to bring joy and happiness to others through generously giving to them. You will be personally refreshed from watching their joy, and God will make certain that someone comes along occasionally to refresh you!
Finally, if you hoard what you have been given instead of sharing it, you will be cursed instead of blessed (Proverbs 11:26). Because giving is so much a part of God’s nature, your gift brings you into His heavenly economy. Even though you may have a need, invest in others, and you will gain, prosper, and be crowned with blessing!
It is no accident that the word forgive comes from the word give. Jesus taught both principles in conjunction with each other. If you forgive, you will receive forgiveness. If you give, others will also give to you. The spirits of forgiveness and giving are opposite from the spirits of the devil.
People in the world lash out at anyone who mistreats or abuses them. Jesus said, however,“God blesses you who are hated and excluded and mocked and cursed because you are identified with me, the Son of Man. When that happens, rejoice! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. . ..” (Luke 6:22-23). He also encouraged His disciples to love, do good, and pray for those who mistreated them (vv. 27-28). In the same passage He continued, saying, “Give what you have to anyone who asks you for it; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back” (v. 30).
You are called to be God’s channel of mercy. He wants to use you to pour His grace and blessing upon the world. You must not block that flow through unforgiveness or stinginess. You must let forgiveness and giving flow. When you do, God will bless you, “full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over” (Luke 6:38). Give and forgive. “Then your reward from heaven will be very great….” (v. 35).
God is different from all other supposed gods in that He is invisible and His Word is His power. The idols of the earth are just senseless, speechless gods “that neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell” (v. 28). By contrast, our God is a “devouring fire, a jealous God” (v. 24). How important it is then for us to hear and heed His voice!
The centurion in the New Testament recognized the power of Jesus’ voice: “Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed” (Luke 7:7). Our faith, too, rests in the voice of our invisible God. When God speaks, it is with the voice of absolute authority. His Word contains the power of His ability!
Why do we look for tokens and trinkets of religion when we have His Word? Whether thundering and booming from Sinai or softly spoken from the pages of our Bible, His Word is the same. “The Lord announced the word, and great was the company of those who proclaimed it” (Psalm 68:11 NIV).
Loving the Lord your God with all your heart is the greatest commandment. It means you should love Him intimately—an action called worship. One who loves his beloved intimately is totally focused on that person, giving to him his heart, soul, and strength.
In heaven, the angels and saints spend eternity worshiping and loving God. Should it be odd for us to spend time with Him now, worshiping and loving the One who is the total focus of our lives?
The second great commandment says, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). We call this action ministry. Jesus modeled this commandment when He met the funeral procession coming out of Nain. Luke records, “When the Lord saw her, his heart overflowed with compassion. ‘Don’t cry!’ he said” (Luke 7:13).
This is true ministry: loving people and their problems with all your heart, soul, and strength. Learn to make your worship to God and your ministry to people the two focal points of your life. This is love and the path to eternal joy.
The women who traveled with Jesus and His disciples were “contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples”
(Luke 8:3). Joanna was the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household. She obviously was a person of great means, and God used her as a channel to supply the needs of the Son of God here on earth.
What a privilege it must have been to give one’s personal wealth for Jesus’ daily provision of food, clothing, and shelter! While Jesus presented the life-giving Word to the cities and villages in the area, these generous and loving women kept the supply lines open to the battlefront.
Wealth is given by God to finance His purposes in redeeming humanity (Deuteronomy 8:17-18). He blessed His people in Palestine, “a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking” (v. 9). He still blesses His people with wealth today, not so they can hoard it and become proud, but as a means for world evangelism.
Claim your abundance, and then pour it upon the feet of Jesus (Luke 7:37-38). You will not lose your wealth, for in eternity you will find it again.
A proud, resistant heart pays no attention to the Word of God. Israel was stubborn, self-willed, disobedient, and hardhearted. How often have we followed suit and lived in habits and patterns that were obviously contrary to the Word of God? However, a tender heart that receives the Word of God and submits to it is precious to the Lord.
Jesus encouraged His disciples to be those of a noble and good heart, who heard the Word, retained it, and by persevering would “steadily produce a huge harvest” (Luke 8:15). The more tender our hearts and the more attentive our ears, the more revelation God will give us (v. 18). Jesus’ own mother and brothers did not qualify as much as those who heard God’s Word and put it into practice (v. 21).
When you read something in God’s Word, receive it with a tender, honest heart. Give it first place, apply it, and let it change you. As you do, you will cultivate the ground of your heart for a harvest—thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold!
On the other side of the Sea of Galilee, Satan was holding a choice prisoner. This man, totally bound by Satan, was naked and homeless. When Jesus arrived on the scene, the demons in the man violently protested. We need not think that we will invade darkened lands, cultures, and strongholds without experiencing resistance. Someone said, “If you never run into the devil, you must be going the same way!”
Satan hates our mission. We are traveling into his territory, invading the kingdom of darkness. The storms we encounter are diversions to discourage us from reaching those whom Satan considers his trophies. When Jesus set out to confront the demoniac, Satan tried to stop him. A storm “came down” (v. 23 NIV), but Jesus “got up”
The psalmist was concerned that he not be forsaken until God declared His power to the next generation. Every generation must know firsthand the power of God. It is not enough to hear about how God visited the previous generation in great power, wonders, and miracles. Our generation must see that power manifested. Without a true manifestation of the power of God, each generation grows progressively dubious of God’s reality.
“One day Jesus called together his twelve apostles and gave them power and authority to cast out demons and to heal all diseases” (Luke 9:1). This action was more than simple religious protocol—it was a transferal of Jesus’ power to the next generation. What would have happened to the world if Christ had departed without giving anyone the same power He had to help people?
The same power that flowed from Christ’s robes to heal the woman with the issue of blood is available today. From generation to generation, God’s power has been passed on. Now it is our turn to rise up and show God’s power to the next generation.
How important it is to have your own knowledge of the Word of God! What your parents or grandparents knew and taught you about the Word of God should not be your only source of revelation. Your own eyes must see God’s Word, and then you must hide it inside your heart.
If Solomon had obeyed Moses’ command to produce a handwritten copy of the law (Deuteronomy 17:14-20), he would have known for himself some important things. For example, he would have known not to acquire horses from Egypt, take multiple wives, or accumulate large amounts of silver and gold (vv. 16-17). Obedience to these three simple commands would have kept him from all his troubles. In fact, however, these were the very sins he committed (1 Kings 10:26-11:13). What a tragedy! If only Solomon had hidden God’s Word in his heart, he might not have sinned against God (Psalm 119:11).
Your own personal, diligent, daily study of the Word will undoubtedly protect you from much deception and heartache. Moses passed down suitable guidelines for a king, instructing that he read them daily throughout his life. In the same way, if you read God’s Word every day and hide its truths in your heart, you will be equipped to live it.