September 25 Ezra 2,3; Luke 8

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Freewill Offering | Michelle Myers

S~ When they arrived at the house of the LORD in Jerusalem, some of the heads of the families gave freewill offerings toward the rebuilding of the house of God on its site. Ezra 2:68 (NIV)

O~ According to the on-line dictionary free means…

(adjective form) not under the control or in the power of another; able to act or be done as one wishes; not physically restrained, obstructed, or fixed; unimpeded

(adverb form) without cost or payment

(verb) release from captivity, confinement, or slavery

According to the on-line dictionary will means….

(noun form as it pertains to this) the faculty by which a person decides on and initiates action; control deliberately exerted to do something or to restrain one’s own impulses; a deliberate or fixed desire or intention; the thing that one desires or ordains

According to the on-line dictionary offering means, a thing offered, especially as a gift or contribution; a thing produced for entertainment or sale; a contribution, especially of money, to a church

A~ I often have to look up the definitions of words, examine my heart and actions in regards to their meaning, and then stand in YOUR truth.  When the enemy attacks my thinking, and tells me that I don’t freely offer enough, with a good heart, I have to examine my actions, how I am using the materialistic or monetary resources You have given to me, and what I am doing with my time.

Most of the time, I do freely give what extra money, time, and resources we have.  It may not always be dropped in the church collection plate, but it is used to do Your work in the form of feeding extra kids, that I am using our van for to take to youth group later in the evening.  It is giving up my time to drive friend’s children to school or help my daughter watch them, so they can go to work and school.  It is purchasing diapers, wipes, etc. when, in their busy schedules, they forget to put them in the bag; and I don’t expect or ask for repayment.

I am definitely not perfect in this area.  There are times, especially with my children, that I remind them of what I sacrificed that day or that week for them.  This is true especially when their stinky, teenage attitudes start to come out.  That is not exactly a freewill offering.  Yet, there was a time when I pretty much just lived for me.  I have made progress, and as my blessings and resources increase, so does my freewill offerings, in whatever shape or form they take.  That, along with my heart attitude, is what You are looking for….not perfection, not giving until I having nothing left, not trying to muster up the strength and resources to give what I honestly don’t have.

P~ Thank you God for your clarity on this.  Help guide me towards what You want me to do with the resources You have provided.  Please help me remember that You don’t expect me to give what You have not given to me.  Please help me remember that I am really giving to You and Your kingdom.

Truly Family | Kim Chipman

S~ He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.” Luke 8:21 (NIV)

O~ The heading of this section in my Bible is “Jesus describes His true family”. Jesus’ true family are those who hear and obey His words.

Luke 11:28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

John 14:24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

Romans 2:13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

James 1:23-25 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

A~ One of my small groups had a discussion last week about salvation. We talked about the difference between believing God exists and really being a follower. Even satan believes Jesus is God, but he isn’t “saved”.

These verses articulate the heart difference. I am part of Your family because I hear Your Word and put it into practice. I follow where You are leading. I’m far from perfect, but my heart truly wants to obey You and look more and more like Jesus every day. My heart is reverent toward You. I am convinced that You alone are God and worthy of all praise! I am convinced that Your way is best and I work to follow in Your footsteps. I am FAR from perfect, but I am in the family.

P~ Lord, help me to reflect You and have a heart continually transformed so You will be glorified through my life. I love You!

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