“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6.1-4, NIV)
While God is a proponent of giving to those in need, he also wants us to give in an appropriate manner. While receiving accolades for our giving may be self-satisfying, it’s not why we give.
Why do you think it is so easy for people to want to give in such a way as to receive some sort of credit or accolade for their giving?
What is the reward Jesus understands you will receive when you give to those in need (in contrast to public recognition)?
Try to give someone something this week in such a way as so they will never find out who gave the gift to them.
1 I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.
4 One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
6 They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
and I will declare your greatness.
7 They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
(Psalm 145.1-7, NIV)
God has done great things! Do we think to pass that along to the next generation?
As you think about passing on to the next generation what God has done, what things do you want to tell that generation?
How have you seen God’s steadfast love in your life?
Have you praised the Lord today?
The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:
To know wisdom and instruction,
to understand words of insight,
to receive instruction in wise dealing,
in righteousness, justice, and equity;
to give prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the youth—
Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance,
to understand a proverb and a saying,
the words of the wise and their riddles.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.
(Proverbs 1.1-7, NIV)
“When we ask: “How does a person follow God?”, the Proverbs are a good place to start!”
What has been the best advice you have ever received on how to live a Christian life?
What are some practical, hands-on ways in which individuals can learn “wisdom?”
In what ways have you seen the “fear of the Lord” be the “beginning of knowledge”?
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4.6-8, NIV)
“God’s got us no matter what, so there’s no reason to fear or be worried about anything. He’s working for our good.”
What things are you anxious about on a regular basis? Do you think Paul really means for you to be not anxious about these things? Does Paul have exceptions?
Describe a time when you felt peace, even when you were undergoing times of anxiety or struggles. To what do you credit as the cause of such peace?
Spend time today praying specifically for those things which cause you the most anxiety.
1 Corinthians 12.12-31
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. (1 Corinthians 12.12-31, NIV)
Each of us makes up a part of a larger whole and each one of us is important.
Why is it easy for people to think someone else’s gift or ability is better than our own? What factors into your evaluating someone else as better?
In what ways do you see yourself as a part of the body of Christ? Of the body at meets together here on this earth?
How do you use your gifts to support and encourage others?
Then Moses went out and spoke these words to all Israel: 2 “I am now a hundred and twenty years old and I am no longer able to lead you. The Lord has said to me, ‘You shall not cross the Jordan.’ 3 The Lord your God himself will cross over ahead of you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you will take possession of their land. Joshua also will cross over ahead of you, as the Lord said. 4 And the Lord will do to them what he did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, whom he destroyed along with their land. 5 The Lord will deliver them to you, and you must do to them all that I have commanded you. 6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
7 Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. 8 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31.1-8, NIV)
“Moses empowers Joshua as he takes over to help lead the Israelites, and reminds him that God is always with him.”
How do you live your life differently knowing that “God goes before you?” What are some specific ways that impacts your decision making and thoughts?
What are you afraid of? How might Moses’ instructions here relieve you of that fear? Why are we afraid if God is with us?
In what ways can you be strong and courageous today as you go about your day?
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29.11, NIV)
“It was my dad’s favorite and he would tell me and my sister this verse a lot. It means a ton to me to this day.”
When the future looks uncertain to you, how important is it to know that God knows you and what is to come for you?
Why do you think some people hold a view that God is simply waiting for you to do something wrong so that he can punish you … that he really doesn’t want what’s best for you or even enjoys bringing calamity upon you? How can you show others a better picture of God, that he loves and wants good for us?
How can we be faithful to the future God has for us, even when it may be different from the one we might plan for ourselves?