39 You will need 75 pounds of pure gold for the lampstand and its accessories. – Exodus 25:39 NLT
Exodus 25:36-39 NLT
For those who think God has something against money, prosperity and being rich, here is something to think about. Seventy-five pounds of gold is 1200 ounces. On today’s market, gold is listed at $1203.00 per ounce. That means that in today’s world, the cost of the lampstand and all of its accessories would be $1,443,600.00 in US currency. Extravagant? If you own all the gold in the world, does extravagant even have a meaning? One could object that God took all this money from the poor, homeless Israelis. Why would He do that? But, we must remember when they were slaves in Egypt, they had nothing and when God called them out of Egypt, He caused the Egyptians to give the Israelis all of their jewelry and gold. He was the reason they had the gold in the first place, they were just carrying it for Him. The same is true of us today, anything that we have came from God and we are just carrying it for Him. The next time the offering plate is passed, we need to remember where our gold came from and give a goodly portion of it back. When we have an opportunity to share the bountiful gifts God has so freely given to us, let us share it with a joyful, thankful heart. Take a moment to remember and thank God for His extravagance in giving us His Son. We will never be able to give to God more than He has given to us. When we seriously think about it, God doesn’t really require much of us.
8 No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. — Micah 6:8 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. – 2 Cor. 2:15 NLT
In the first century, when a king or leader had conquered a new territory, he would bring the captives back to his country and parade them down “main street’. This was to show his subjects how powerful he was and to receive their worship and praise. It also reminded them of what could happen if they ever decided to be disloyal to the king. These were unwilling captives. Paul is giving thanks to God that we are led in this triumphal procession as willing captives. We are captives and bondservants because we have chosen Jesus as our Savior and King. Now, it is time for each of us “to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Him everywhere”. That Word will be good news to some because they will receive the Word with gladness of heart, accept Jesus and receive the gift of forgiveness and eternal life. It will be a stench in the nostrils of those who refuse to accept our God as the only true and living God and Jesus as their Savior and King. That rejection will lead to death and eternal punishment. Just as Paul felt inadequate to do that job, so should we. As he says, “who is equal to such a task?” None of us can do this work alone, It must be Spirit-led and Spirit-fed. As Paul also explains, “I can do all things through Jesus Christ”. And so can we do all things through Jesus. It is His plan, His purpose and it is accomplished by His power, not ours. We are to be faithful and follow His example.
1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. — Eph. 5:1 NIV
We are to offer our lives as a sacrifice and a fragrant offering to God. Just as bees are drawn to honey, others are drawn to Jesus by people who live sacrificial lives.
Do our lifestyles release a sweet smelling aroma of life or a stench of death?
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
22 But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. — 1 Samuel 15:22
When our plans go awry or when we are having a bad day, do we stop and consider that perhaps what we are doing in not pleasing to the Lord? Maybe our failures have more to do with our reasons for doing something than we want to believe. Saul was doing a “good” thing, but because he didn’t complete it as God had instructed, it was not a “God” thing. We start down the Godly path but then we see something that the flesh desires and we hang on to that instead of God. That “thing” or “person” becomes our “god” because we desired it or them more than we desired God. When this happens we are guilty of rebellion and stubbornness. Just as this led Saul to worship idols later in his life, so will our rebellion lead us into idol worship. We would deny that we have idols in our lives, but most every home is full of the signs and symbols of who our “gods” really are.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and praise the Lord’s name for saving me.
— Psalm 116:13 NLT
If God never did another thing for us after giving us the gift of salvation, it would be more than sufficient reason for us to praise Him forever. Yet, He just keeps on giving and giving. Every breath is a gift. “Every good and every perfect gift is from above”. Those gifts come from the Father in whom there is no variation. He has always been a giver, He is a giver now and He has no plans to change. He is the Solid Rock, whatever good there is comes from Him and that will not change. Every day is a day that He has made just for us. He doesn’t need day and night, they are a gift for frail humans whose minds are too small to grasp an eternity with no seams. He gives us “a time for all things”. He is never more than a thought away from us. He is our constant companion so that we are never alone. If we were in heaven with Jesus, we would be praising Him constantly. Yet, here on earth we live every day in His presence and spend little or no time praising Him and offering up thanks for all that He does. We should praise the Lord daily for saving us and tell the world about our salvation. Our tongues should be like the “pen of a ready writer” and tell the story over and over. “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. — Colossians 2:6 7 NIV
The most important thing to be thankful for is salvation. So, from the very moment we are saved, our hearts should begin to be filled with gratitude. From that point on, all the blessings that we receive daily should continue to fill our hearts with thanksgiving and praise for our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. To the extent that we follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit, our evil thoughts and desires are changing to good thoughts and desires. There has/will come a day when we should be overflowing with joy and gratitude because of the goodness and greatness of the God that we serve. Each day should bring less complaining and more reason to give God praise and thanksgiving. The praise and gratitude that fills our hearts will be reflected in the words that we speak.
45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. — Luke 6:45 NKJV
Every time we bring our petitions before the Lord, we need to remember to bring with them an offering of thanksgiving and praise!
4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
5 For the Lord is good;His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations. — Psalm 100:4, 5 NKJV
This is for now and all generations, not just the future when we enter into the gates of heaven and the courts of God. Every time, we speak His Name, we are entering into His gates and His courts. Let our hearts and our mouths overflow with praise for His goodness and mercy!
24 Then the Pharisees who had been sent 25 asked him, “If you aren’t the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet, what right do you have to baptize?” 26 John told them, “I baptize with water, but right here in the crowd is someone you do not recognize. 27 Though his ministry follows mine, I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandal.” 28 This encounter took place in Bethany, an area east of the Jordan River, where John was baptizing. 29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 He is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘A man is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’ 31 I did not recognize him as the Messiah, but I have been baptizing with water so that he might be revealed to Israel.”—John 1:24-31 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
While Elizabeth was pregnant with John and Mary was pregnant with Jesus, Mary visited Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s voice, Elizabeth’s baby leaped within her womb. Even before John was born, He already knew his purpose and recognized his Lord. John stayed faithful to that mission. He is a great example of humility and faithfulness for us. We should be aware that God had a plan for us before we were born. It is our responsibility to determine that plan and follow it faithfully and humbly. We should never presume to do anything for God that He has not called us to do. God does not see success as the world sees success. What God wants from us is obedience and faithfulness.
22 But Samuel replied,
“What is more pleasing to the Lord:
your burnt offerings and sacrifices
or your obedience to his voice?
Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice,
and submission is better than offering the fat of rams—1 Samuel 15:22 (NLT)