Tithing? What’s that? Who does Tithing? Why should we tithe? Is that really in the Bible?
Malachi 3:10 ‘The Lord All-Powerful says, “Try this test. Bring one-tenth of your things to me. Put them in the treasury. Bring food to my house. Test me! If you do these things, I will surely bless you. Good things will come to you like rain falling from the sky. You will have more than enough of everything.”’ (ERV)
The Bible tells the story of Jesus’ birth in different gospels. Matthew 1:18-25 and 2:1-18. Luke 1:26-38 and 2:1-21. For this devotional, I am using only Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 1:26-38 and these verses are found below. These verses tell stories from Mary’s and Joseph’s perspective. I found four, amazing similarities between their stories:
- Both Mary and Joseph are visited by angels. An angel appears to Mary. An angel came to Joseph in a dream. Communication with angels was extremely rare.
- Both Mary and Joseph were told by the angels, “Do not be afraid.” They were to be married and found out that Mary was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. These were unusual circumstances to say the least.
- Both Mary and Joseph accepted what the angel had told them. What faith!
- Both were told to name the baby Jesus. He will save his people from their sins.
Matthew 1:21. “She will give birth to a son, You will name him Jesus. Give him that name because He will save his people from their sins.” (ERV)
Jesus is our hope. Named by angels, He was born for us, for you, for me. We can come to know Jesus as our Savior. Jesus comes into our hearts and saves us from our sins. We do not have to be afraid. God is with us. Amen. Continue reading
I was wondering how Thanksgiving in America got started and when it became a Holiday. Just a Brief history lesson!
Thanksgiving began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. In 1621 the Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony set aside a day of Thanksgiving to God. It was a harvest festival.
Thanksgiving proclamations were made mostly by church leaders up until 1682, and then by church and state leaders until the American Revolution, according to Wikipedia. Thus Thanksgiving has historical roots in both religious and cultural traditions.
Through the years after the Revolution, Presidents from George Washington to Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving proclamations with Lincoln, in 1864, turning it into a Federal holiday on the last Thursday of November. Finally, Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday to the fourth Thursday of November to make more time for Christmas shopping. Continue reading
When I was living at home, I would help my Mom with different things. Housework was kind of expected. Doing dishes, (NO dishwasher!), doing laundry and cleaning, etc. As my mother got older she needed some help with personal hygiene. If she needed me to brush her hair, I was okay with that. Sometimes she needed some help getting in and out of the bathtub, or washing her back, I was okay with that too. I’d help her as I could. One of the things she needed some help with was with clipping her toe nails. That kind of made me cringe, a little bit. But I would go ahead and help her though. After awhile I realized that she as a Mother would do those things when I was a kid. So I’d try not to squirm so much and would meekly cut her toe nails for her. Continue reading
Ephesians 3:18 “May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;” (KJV)
This verse shows the amazing scope of God’s love. We will look at God’s creation and His creativity. What a wonderful world He made! He helps us to understand His Love.
How High? Mount Everest in Asia rises to 29,029 feet above sea level. Geologists may argue about an island mountain in Hawaii, Mauna Kea, that starts below sea level and rises above sea level as being “taller” than Mount Everest. For most of us, Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world. I doubt if I will ever get to Mount Everest. I have been on top of some of the Smoky Mountains. I even climbed a part of one with my husband and my brother to the top. Whew. When you get to the top of the mountain, it is so beautiful! You can see forever. Makes you feel how much God loves you to be there.
How Deep? Mariana Trench, Challenger Deep, at 36,070 feet below sea level is in the Western Pacific Ocean, East of the Philippines. Whew! Again, I will never get there. But I have been to the Atlantic Ocean, and the Pacific Ocean. The ocean is so big, and it goes to the horizon! When you walk into the ocean, and jump the waves, it feels so wonderful with the water washing over you. You begin to understand how truly deep God’s love is for you.
How Long? Florida has the longest coastline in continental United States at 1350 miles. Alaska is the longest at 6640 miles. I think most everyone has taken a long road trip! Some of you drove to Key West. A beautiful drive along the keys. John and I saw different parts of the country. Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and of course, Florida! We have also flown to California, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Texas. We live in an awesome country. We also visited foreign countries such as the Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Grand Cayman Island, Jamaica, Mexico, Spain, Italy, Malta, Corsica, France, Monaco, and Tunis, Africa. We are thankful we saw these places, and each place is beautiful. God made it all and it was good. Going on long trips. Why? To see family and friends you have not seen for awhile. When you see them again, it’s like you continue where you left off. It is so wonderful to spend time together with family and friends. This gives us a feel of God’s love and how much He does love us. But so much more.
How Wide? There isn’t anything that is “broader” or the “widest.” But, going East or West is different. If you go East, you are always going East. If you get back to where you started, you are still going East. But, if you turn around 180 degrees, you are facing West and can go West. If you go North or South, you do have boundaries in the North pole and South pole. You can go far enough North to go South without turning around. But East and West have no boundaries. In either direction you can go forever without end.
It is not possible to measure God’s love. We can’t climb above it. We can’t dive below it. We can’t drive beyond it. We can’t go anywhere beyond God’s love. There is no end. All we have to do is look at the cross. God shows how much He loves each one of us by dying on the cross for us. Jesus stretched out his arms wide on the cross, and showed us how much He loves us. Jesus died on the cross for you. Amen.
When we read the story of doubting Thomas, we may ask why did Thomas doubt the other Disciples? From John 20:25-27 we read:
’25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord. But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” 26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”’ (ESV)
If we are honest with ourselves, aren’t we all like Thomas, and have some doubts? No, I don’t mean, all the time, just sometimes, or a flicker of doubt. When things get tough and we aren’t sure of what will happen.
After much prayer, my husband and I moved from Pennsylvania to Florida. It was hard to leave behind friends, family, and church. We lived in our Pennsylvania home for over 30 years. We let go of stuff we collected over the years. We donated or sold much of what we owned. We also decided where in Florida to move. We felt led to it for its Deaf ministry. Then we started to become doubtful. Was this truly God’s will? We believed He led us to there, but like Thomas we were doubtful.
We were on our way to Florida for our settlement to buy our home when disaster struck! We got email from our bank, telling us the money wire transfer did not go through! The day after settlement, a truck with our furniture arrives. We needed the money to pay for our settlement! The bank said we made a mistake and must return to Pennsylvania to do another wire transfer with correct information. But, if we returned to Pennsylvania, we would miss our settlement, and not have a home for our furniture. Panic! We stopped for the night in South Carolina and prayed a fervent prayer for help to our Lord!
Then the miracle came. My husband’s brother, who’s hearing, was able to help us. He phoned our bank to go over information they had and the bank realized they made the mistake! We did not have to turn around and go back to Pennsylvania! PTL! Talk about God making a point! It was a hard time in our lives, but we had become doubtful.
God wanted us to know He loves us. He is always faithful. He wants us to know He understands our needs. He also wants us to trust and believe in Him. To know God, not just in our mind, but also in our hearts. In all things, He takes care of us. We can step out on faith and trust Him, and not to doubt Him.
We then can say as Thomas did in verse 28 “Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (ESV)
He is our Lord and our God and our Savior. We can trust Him.