August 1

1 Chronicles 29:14 (NIV) 14"But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.

This final prayer of David reminds us of the Lord's prayer. It begins by acknowledging the greatness of God and praising His attributes. Take time to read the whole prayer in 1 Chronicles 29:10-20. David had given tons of gold and silver and piles of wood. Then the leaders gave in great abundance. They were humbled by how much wealth the LORD had given them. It was only 40 years earlier when the Philistine army was defeating them and taking their lands. Only recently had they survived the coup of Absalom. God had granted them so many blessings that they willingly gave for a house for His name.

David asked in the prayer, "But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this?" Why is God so gracious? David was not perfect. He sinned greatly, but he repented and was humbled. A fallen and restored man can more quickly acknowledge his unworthiness. The piles of materials dedicated to the temple reminded them how much God had blessed them in spite of their unworthiness.

Do we realize that all we give back to God is only what He has blessed us with in the first place? Does it humble us and cause us to be in awe of His great goodness when we consider how much we can give? Sadly, it often has the opposite effect of causing us to be boastful. That just shows our ignorance. How can we boast when we are only giving back what has been given to us? David was a humbled man who was still after God's heart. That is why his attitude and response were in touch with reality.

Consider: Do you acknowledge that all you give came from God in the first place?

August 1

Acts 19:9-11 (NIV) 9But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord. 11God did extraordinary miracles through Paul,

At Ephesus Paul met a small band of disciples that had been baptized by John the Baptist. He preached Christ to them, and they were baptized in Jesus' name and filled with the Holy Spirit. Then Paul began to speak in the Synagogue. At that time, some referred to faith in Jesus as The Way. When people become abusive, it is often because they refuse to listen even when they know they are wrong. Because they cannot use reason, they turn to insults.

It seems that it was Paul's pattern to preach in the local Synagogue until they would hear him no more. Then he would teach those who had come to faith in a nearby home. Though he stayed in this one place for two years teaching, all of Asia heard the Word. The Word transformed those who received it and caused them to be a testimony wherever they went. God had given Paul such a gift of healing that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him brought healing to the sick. This was a sign to the spiritually hungry that Paul was teaching the truth about Jesus.

We often think of revival as something that comes suddenly. In this case it slowly built up over several years as Paul faithfully taught the Gospel. It is a work of God to bring revival or renewal. It is our job to faithfully proclaim the Gospel and live a life that is an example of it. Wherever you are, don't be discouraged if things are not happening quickly. Our work is to be faithful to the Holy Spirit. Not everywhere that Paul went experienced renewal like Ephesus. Remember, it was more common for him to be chased out of town.

Consider: Our job is to sow the seed. The results are up to the Lord.