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March 23

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“The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself” (Proverbs 11:25 NKJV).

From: March 23, 2020

THE RICH AND GENEROUS LIFE OF THE OPEN HAND

God’s Word promises that the one who is generous will be made rich. The promise is further illustrated by the phrase, “he who waters will also be watered himself.” Perhaps Solomon was sitting near the Jordan River when he wrote this proverb. As the snow melted from atop Mount Hermon, he would’ve seen Jordan’s waters swell, filling the Sea of Galilee and finally flowing into the Dead Sea.
 
The Sea of Galilee is filled with life as the water flows in from the North and out from the South. But the Dead Sea only has water flowing into it. It has no outlet. As a result it forms one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water, ten times as salty as the ocean. Its harsh environment makes it nearly impossible for plants and animals to flourish, thus its name, the Dead Sea. Both seas need water to flow into them in order to exist, yet only the one with an outlet where the water flows out, provides an environment where life may prosper.
 
If we want to experience the abundant life, we must learn from this proverb. We must extend one hand open to God to receive His blessings, recognizing that all that we have comes from Him. And extend one hand open to others, so that we share God’s blessings with others. If we close our fists to God, we shut ourselves off from His blessing. If we close our hands towards others, we become like the Dead Sea.
 
If we want to live the rich and generous life, we must live the life of the open hand–– one hand open to God and one hand open to others. In this way, we become like a river of God’s blessings. Our needs are met and so are the needs of others.
 
PRAYER: Dear Father, we want to live the life of the open hand, one hand open to You, thankfully receiving, and one hand open to others, generously sharing. Make us flow like a river with Your blessings, O Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.

OYB Devotion March 23

Posted by Gary Combs on Monday, March 23, 2020

“Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything” (Proverbs 11:24 NLT).

From: March 23, 2019

GIVERS ARE GLAD, BUT MISERS ARE MISERABLE

Generosity is a blessing both to the recipient and to the giver. But misers are miserable. This is a spiritual principle that reverberates in the physical world, although its effect is often slow to see. The wealth of the generous is paid in dividends that include more than money. For the giver experiences the joy of the Lord. They trust in God to supply their need. But the stingy live in a world of limited resources where fear and hoarding reside. They have possessions, but can’t enjoy them. And eventually, even what they have is lost. For those who invest in this world, lose everything.
 
Generosity is the antidote to greed. It breaks the grip of materialism and sets the believer free to trust God for all things. As the apostle Paul reasoned, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32).
 
PRAYER: Dear Father, we thank you for you have given us all things in Christ Jesus. We therefore ask that you supply our need, so that we may give freely as you have given to us freely. Make us a channel of blessing. In Jesus’ name, amen.

‘And Jesus added, “The Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath.”’ (Luke 6:5 NLT).

From: March 23, 2018

JESUS CHRIST IS OUR SABBATH REST
When Jesus’ disciples picked heads of grain while walking through a wheat field on the Sabbath, some Pharisees accused them of breaking the law. They were referring to the fourth commandment of the Decalogue which states, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Ex. 20:8). It was a simply worded law without much detail. Yet, the Pharisees had added layer upon layer of application to it.
 
I have witnessed the expansion of this law myself on visits to modern Israel. I was surprised to get on an elevator in an Israeli hotel on the Sabbath and find that it stopped on every floor. The reason? Pressing the button is considered work.
 
The Sabbath law is clearly connected to God’s creation week and His resting on the seventh day. Certainly, that God rested was not due to fatigue. He is omnipotent and tireless. He does not “slumber nor sleep” (Psa. 121:4). God rested from creating, but not from sustaining. For He created the world through His Son and “He sustains the universe by the word of his power” (Heb. 1:2-3). So, Jesus rightly said that He is the Lord of the Sabbath.
 
As the Lord of the Sabbath, Jesus has authority over how it is applied. Even more significant, He is its fulfillment. For as the Israelites in the wilderness were given bread from heaven enough to sustain them on the seventh day, so Jesus, the “Bread of Heaven” (John 6:48-50), is our eternal life. Jesus invites, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). Jesus is our Sabbath rest (Heb.4).

“I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Luke 5:32 NKJV).

From: March 23, 2017

This was Christ’s response to those who questioned why he associated with sinners, even eating and drinking with them. He had come to call sinners to repentance. Those who thought themselves righteous, as the Pharisees did, would not answer the call. Only those who admitted their sin would hear and obey his call.
 
This is still Christ’s ministry. As the Father sent him, he sends us (John 20:21). Having repented of our sins and believed in Jesus, we are sent to call sinners to repentance too.

“But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins” (Luke 5:38 ESV)

From: March 23, 2016

The Pharisees challenged Jesus’ choice of disciples. Unlike the followers of Pharisaic rabbis, or even the disciples of John the Baptist, the disciples of Jesus were considered uneducated and uncouth. They didn’t even fast. But Jesus defended his followers. First, he explained that fasting and wedding parties didn’t go together. His disciples were with the Bridegroom now, they would fast later when he was not with them. Then, he used a parable to illustrate the thinking behind his choice of disciples. He had called them because they were flexible enough to be teachable. Christ’s teaching was the “new wine,” and his disciples were the “new wineskins.” He didn’t have to overcome all of the Pharisaic teachings and additions to the Mosaic law with them. Every word he taught wasn’t challenged, but freely received by his disciples. Christ chose his disciples because they recognized him as having authority and were willing to believe and follow him. The Pharisees were like “old wineskins” that wouldn’t accept Christ’s authority, nor his teaching. The Pharisees were prideful, self-righteous and judgmental of others. Christ’s disciples were humble, self-confessed sinners who were amazed that Jesus would even consider calling them. What kind of “wineskin” are you?

“These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel on this side of the Jordan in the wilderness” (Deuteronomy 1:1 NKJV)

From: March 23, 2015

The book of Deuteronomy is a recap of the Israelites’ wilderness journey. It is the fifth and final book of the Torah (“Torah” – Hebrew for “law.” Also referred to as the Books of Moses or the Pentateuch). It’s title comes from the Greek translation, the Septuagint, and literally means “Second Law” (“deutero” – two or second; “nomos” – law). The Hebrews call the book “Devarim,” which means “words,” taken from the opening verse, “These are the words…” Deuteronomy is made up of three sermons that Moses gave to the Israelites to prepare them to finally enter the Promised Land. In these sermons, he reminded them of all that they had learned together in their wilderness wanderings, of God’s laws and God’s promises. For the modern reader, Deuteronomy is a helpful “Cliff’s Notes” version of the previous three books. It also gives insight into how Moses viewed the events recorded previously.

“These are the words that Moses spoke to all the people of Israel while they were in the wilderness east of the Jordan River” (Deuteronomy 1:1 NLT)

From: March 23, 2014

So begins the 5th book of the “Torah” (Hebrew: Law). The name Deuteronomy (From the Greek Septuagint: deutero “second” + nomos “law”) means “second law” because it’s a re-telling of the 40 days in the wilderness by Moses. For those who are reading the Bible for the first time, it is a bit confusing because the story starts over again after the book of Numbers. It is helpful to see Deuteronomy as the record of three speeches that Moses made to the Israelites reminding them of everything that had happened, and of all that God commanded, before they finally enter the Promised Land.

“Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered” (Proverbs 11:25 ESV)

From: March 23, 2013

The one who opens one hand to the Lord, and the other hand to those in need, finds that God’s blessing flows both to and through them. When God finds a giver, He entrusts them with a surplus knowing that they are trustworthy to keep on giving. But a miser never has enough. Misers are miserable, while givers are full of grace and joy.

We started reading from Deuteronomy today. If it looks familiar, it’s because it is. The title literally means “second” (deutero)

From: March 23, 2012

“law” (nomos). In other words, it’s a summary or “second” reading of the law. Moses wrote this to remind them of what God had taught them before going in to the promised land.

“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25)

From: March 23, 2011

Live the life of the open hand. One hand lifted and open to God, one hand extended and open to others. Let God’s grace flow to and through you to others. Become a conduit of grace and be refreshed.