April 8

Deuteronomy 15:1, 7-8 (NIV) 1At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts.

7If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. 8Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs.

The Jewish faith was intensely practical. Anyone may fall on hard times and need assistance. This was to be a nation where they generously helped one another. The Kingdom of God is such a place. If you have extra, it is to share with those who have a need so that you both will be blessed. If he can't repay after a period of time, forgive the debt. Don't hold it against him.

Is it more blessed to give than receive? It is, only if you can do it with a generous spirit thanking the Lord. The Law put them under compulsion to do this, and at many times in Israel's history they disregarded the Law. The Spirit puts us under compulsion too, but asks us to have a willing heart. All we need to do is yield to the Spirit and He will give us that kind of a generous heart that is the heart of our Lord.

Is there a person in your fellowship with a need? Lend freely in an openhanded way. Our New Testament faith should be very practical also. The world should see a testimony of how we care for one another. If you've done it to your brother, you have done it to Christ.

Pray: Lord, give me a generous spirit like yours. Help me desire treasures in heaven more than treasure upon the earth.

April 8

Matthew 28:5-7 (NIV) 5The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."

The morning after the Sabbath, the women came to the tomb where Jesus was laid to anoint His body with perfumes. An angel had rolled the stone away from the entrance of the tomb. He did not roll it away to let Jesus out, but so that they could go in and see that Jesus was not there. He greeted them with the common angelic greeting, "Do not be afraid". When we encounter the supernatural forces of God, they almost always give this salutation for our sake. Jesus will say the same thing again when He greets the women shortly after this.

Then the declaration of the ages was made. "He is not here; He has risen, just as He said." The women were invited in to see for themselves, as if the word of the angel was not sufficient. The grave could not hold Jesus. Death could not hold Him. His sacrifice for our sins was accepted by the Father, and He defeated death itself. The saying has been fulfilled, "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction?" Hosea 13:14a (NIV)

Jesus is the Firstfruits from among the dead. He rose and ascended to God as a sign that we will do the same. He did not conquer death for Himself alone, but for all who will believe in Him. The resurrection has been scrutinized and attacked more than any other Bible doctrine, because it makes or breaks Christianity. If Jesus is not raised, we are still in our sins and our faith is in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:17) But if it is true, our eternity hinges upon our relationship with the Victor. Is your eternity secure?

Consider: Are you sure you will be a part of the great harvest? If not, place your faith and hope in Him right now! If you are sure, then thank Him for this victory that He won for you, and live your life in the light of it.