“…for God has been gracious to me
and I have all I need.”
Genesis 33:11 (NIV)
One of the world’s wealthiest men was being interviewed some time ago. The person doing the interview reflected on how exceptionally rich the man was and asked him the question in the title of our devotional today. “How much is enough?” Tragically the remarkably wealthy man responded, “Just a little more.”
It had been estimated that because of the rate of income for this particular person he would never run out of money suppose he spent a million dollars a day for the rest of his life. His businesses supplied such a substantial revenue that he could not spend himself into poverty if he tried.
The man we quoted in our verse today was named Jacob. He is speaking to his brother Esau. Jacob had cheated Esau out of his inheritance years earlier and had to flee for his life. Now after a very long time the two brothers were reunited and Jacob had offered a peace offering to the offended Esau. Esau at first graciously refused the gift but then Jacob insisted and said that he had enough and to spare, thus the gift would not bankrupt him if Esau accepted.
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“For me to live is Christ and to die is gain”
Philippians 1:21 (NIV)
There is an old saying that is still used occasionally and it goes like this: “He is too heavenly minded to be any earthly good”. The statement sounds interesting to the uninformed person. However, a brief look at the history of the church contradicts the idea that people who are “heavenly minded” cannot have much to contribute to this life.
Those who have read the history of England will tell you of many evangelical Christians who did so much to transform their society.
John Howard, who lived in the 1700’s was a wealthy man who spent much of his fortune to give relief to the suffering of prisoners. He spoke to the British Parliament about the abominable conditions in the prisons and was honoured for his tireless labours.
An international society was formed some years after Howard’s death to help prisoners. The society still is working in many countries today.
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“…he saw a man blind from birth.”
John 9:1 (NIV)
One of the most hilarious characters in the Bible is the man whose story is told in the Gospel of John chapter 9. His early life as a child and young adult was pitiful because he lived in a world of darkness. That did not stop him from being a highly intelligent, very honest, and witty individual.
The story relates how Jesus came to the place where this man was. The disciples questioned Jesus about the cause of the man’s affliction. In Jesus’ time darkness was the sign of a curse from God and so the disciples decided that the darkness the blind man lived in had to be a curse from God for sin on his part or his parents. They wanted to know who caused the sin.
Jesus’ response was to take the attention away from the cause of the medical problem to have the disciples consider what purpose could be served by the affliction. The reason Jesus gave for this man spending so many years in darkness was so that “…the work of God might be displayed in his life.” Jesus here points out that any one of us may be left in a sad situation for some time, so that when it pleases God the burden would be lifted.
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“…they will…flog you…When you are persecuted
in one place, flee to another.”
Matthew 10:17-23 (NIV)
The photos were all very graphic and when I saw them it disturbed me greatly. The photographer had visited a Communist country and was able to take photos of bodily evidence of the government’s torture of Christians. The scars left by the tormentors was revolting.
I found it difficult to imagine how one human being could do such horrible things to a fellow human. We need to confess that there is a dark side to all of us, call it what you want. Scripture calls it iniquity. Iniquity refers to the inner twist of nature that pushes people into sin. In Psalm 51:5 we read the words, “…I was shapen in iniquity.”
What Jesus is trying to say to His followers in our verses today is that if you will follow Jesus you will find yourself persecuted in various ways. Those who wish to believe in Jesus and follow Him need to sit down and realise that our Lord never said that any of His followers would find the way of truth easy to follow. In fact Jesus said the opposite.
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“He did not spare his own Son,
but gave him up for us all…”
Romans 8:32 (NIV)
When my children were young I always told each one as they left for school, “Work hard and cheerfully.”
I had a great desire that they would put their best effort into whatever they did. I also wished them to get satisfaction out of their day’s work. I am happy that all five of my adult children have a good work ethic.
They all try to do a good job for their employer, for their marriage partner, etc., and they have learned the pleasure that comes from a job well done.
Today’s devotional extends the thought from yesterday’s verse. The apostle Paul is seeking to strengthen the faith of the readers of his letter and he is here describing the effort our Maker has put into our salvation.
A series of questions are listed by Paul following his statement that everything ultimately works for the good of God’s children.
Today I sat with a widow whose husband left for heaven a little over a year ago. We discussed the pain of separation by death and how it turns our world upside down. As young adults when we say the marriage vows that include the words “…until death parts us.”
We never give a serious thought that if Jesus does not come first one of us will die and leave the other alone.
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