Generous God, Generous People

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Generous God, Generous People

Transcript Of Generous God, Generous People

Generous God, Generous People
A series of daily Bible readings on the theme of Christian giving

Scripture, unless otherwise indicated, taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION® NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™. Used by permission of
Biblica, Inc.™. All rights reserved worldwide. “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent
and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by
permission. All rights reserved.
Material copyright St Edmundsbury & Ipswich Diocesan Board of Finance 2015.

DINATYR1O: ADMUACZTIINOGN LOVE
This is a five week set of Bible readings for your personal devotions. The theme is ‘generous God, generous people’, or more simply, our calling as stewards of all that God has given us.
Each week tackles one aspect of the overall theme. Each day follows the same simple format of a reading, the main verse, a brief reflection followed by a response to consider, a passage for further study and a simple prayer. You might want to have a notebook with you to record your own reflections and responses to the questions and actions.
The fives themes are: Generous God Generous people Generous giving Generosity towards others Principles for generous people to live by
At the end of each week you might want to spend a little time reflecting on what you have learned.
• Which themes or issues made a special impact on you? • What challenged you and perhaps made you uncomfortable? • What excited you? • What will you do as a result of this? • How does this affect your attitude to your faith, the church, those
around you?
This is a brief introduction to get us thinking about how we can be responsible and faithful disciples in a challenging world.
Enjoy your reading and prayer and may God richly bless you.
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CONTENTS

WEEK 1: GENEROUS GOD

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John 3:11-21 Amazing love

2

Romans 8:31-39 Nothing can separate us from the love of God

3

Deuteronomy 8:5-20 Obedient children

4

Matthew 6:25-34 God the provider

5

1 Chronicles 29:10-20 All things come from God

6

Psalm 34:1-22 Nothing shall I lack

7

Isaiah 55:6-11 A right way up world

WEEK 2: GENEROUS PEOPLE

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Romans 11:33-12:8 Offer yourselves to God

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Haggai 1:1-11 The purse with holes

10 Proverbs 11:24-28 God’s economics

11 Matthew 6:19-24 What are you saving for?

12 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 God loves a cheerful giver

13 1 Timothy 6:6-10, 17-19 The love of money

14 Mark 12:41-44 One person’s small gift is everything they have

WEEK 3: GENEROUS GIVING
15 Proverbs 3:5-12 Trust God 16 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 Regular and proportional giving 17 Deuteronomy 14:22-29 Set apart for God 18 Matthew 23:1-23 What is important? 19 2 Corinthians 8:1-15 Rich generosity 20 Malachi 3:8-10 Robbing God 21 Psalm 24:1-10 Stewards of the environment

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WEEK 4: GENEROSITY TOWARDS OTHERS 22 Deuteronomy 24:10-22 Rights and responsibilities 23 1 John 3:11-23 Love one another 24 James 1:19-27 Pure and undefiled religion 25 Deuteronomy 15:7-11 Do not be hard-hearted 26 Amos 5:6-15 The results of injustice 27 Matthew 25:14-30 Invest wisely 28 Matthew 25:31-46 Caring for all
WEEK 5: PRINCIPLES FOR GENEROUS PEOPLE TO LIVE BY
29 Luke 16:1-14 How shall I earn my money? 30 Luke 12:16-21 Spending priorities 31 Matthew 22:15-22 Citizens of heaven and earth 32 Acts 4:32-37 Generous giving 33 Proverbs 21:1-8 Saving for the future 34 Hebrews 13:5-6, 15-16 A godly life 35 1 Peter 4:7-11 Good stewards
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WEEK 1: GENEROUS GOD It’s obvious when you think about it. We love God because He first loved us and we give because God first gave to us. Our whole lives are a response to a loving, generous God. So we start our five weeks of study on the theme of giving with the character of God. It is only as we immerse ourselves in the character of God that we realise that all we are and all we have comes from the generous God who is our provider and sustainer. During the week we will look at the amazing love of God revealed in Jesus, God’s generous daily provision such that we lack nothing and the values that God sets for the world.
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DAY 1: AMAZING LOVE
Reading: John 3:11-21 ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son’ v16
Where else could we start? As Christians we worship a loving and generous God, whose nature is to give, freely and without measure, to the whole world. Jesus is His love gift to the world. If we measure the value of God’s love by the value of the gift then it could not be greater. He could not have loved more. So the familiar verses from John’s gospel come to us as a reminder that while we might try to reach God through our efforts, it is God who reaches out to us through His Son. He gave Jesus to the world that through him we might have eternal life and to have eternal life is to know God in a way that without Jesus it would not be possible. So, as we meditate on who God is and on His character, the call to be like our heavenly Father challenges us to emulate his generosity. Such love knows no boundaries and will challenge us as much as it will challenge and bless those around us.
For further study: Psalm 103 - the love of God. Response: As you set out on the course of Bible study what do you hope to gain from it? Prayer: Almighty God, whose generous love transforms all people, create in me a heart to seek your will, that formed in the image of your Son I may give myself and my possessions in response to your call. Amen.
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DAY 2:

NOTHING CAN SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF GOD

Reading: Romans 8:31-39 ‘He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all’ v32

Returning to our theme from yesterday, we reflect on the loving God who did not withhold his own Son. Our starting point is to reflect on our relationship with God. As children of God we are in a family relationship with our loving, heavenly Father who did not spare anything so that a saving relationship could be established. Therefore as Paul says ‘will he not give us everything else?’ Our generous God will open the heavens to bless us. It is not a case of giving because we are compelled to; rather we give because we love God.
The context is our relationship with God and how He will bless us with every spiritual blessing (see Ephesians 1). In the earlier part of the chapter, Paul reminds us that we may find ourselves in exceptionally testing situations, but even so, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Indeed the deeper the testing, the closer we could be drawn to God.

For further study: Isaiah 54:4-10 - God's unshakeable love, even when we face difficulties.
Response: What testing times have you experienced? How did you respond? When you emerged from that time how did it change your relationship with God?
Prayer: Loving God, nothing can separate me from your love. Help me to respond each day to the prompting of the Holy Spirit that in all things I may exercise a generous spirit to all. Amen.
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DAY 3: OBEDIENT CHILDREN
Reading: Deuteronomy 8:5-20 ‘walking in obedience to him and revering him.’ v6
As the children of Israel approached the promised land, they were reminded that they had to walk obediently with God. Yes, there was a wonderful land for them but it came with conditional promises. They were not to forget the Lord their God, what He had done or His commandments. Neither were they to sit in fine houses and think that they could do anything by their own strength. There will be times when we stray from God’s chosen path and He will discipline us, just as a parent disciplines a child. It is on those occasions that we are reminded by the words in this passage to remember God and not to forget His ways. The experience of the wilderness was that God provided at all times. The pattern follows for us today. It is the Lord who provides for us and all that we have is God’s. So our calling as Christians is to live as responsible stewards of all that God has given us. The more that we are blessed materially, the more we can use ‘our’ possessions for the work of God, recognising that all that we have is not ours anyway, it belongs to God.
For further study: Hebrews 12:1-11 - God's love in discipline. Response: What does it mean to walk obediently before the Lord your God? Prayer: Lord God, all that I am and all that I have comes from you; help me to hold less closely the things of this world, that I may trust in your generous provision. Amen.
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DAY 4: GOD THE PROVIDER
Reading: Matthew 6:25-34 ‘your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.’ v32 (NRSV)
We live in a materialistic world where, at every turn, we are encouraged to buy things whether we need them or not. Indeed for many of us, our lives are so cluttered with ‘stuff’ that we now have to hire storage pods to cope with the overflow. We may look around and contemplate all the things we think we need. There is a difference between what we want and what we need and God knows the difference! So in this passage we are encouraged to set out our priorities and put God first.
To make the point that God is our provider, Jesus reminded his hearers of the birds of the field and how God looked after them. It is easy to say ‘don’t worry about food’ when we have a full cupboard, but we are encouraged to recognise that it is God who is providing for us. This does require faith on our part, to be able to trust with ‘simple, childlike faith’ that our heavenly father really does know what is needed. Worrying won’t get us anywhere. Rather than being anxious about these things, we could be resting in the love and provision of God.
This is one of the most challenging things that we, as Christians, face. We can trust God for the unseen ‘spiritual things’. However, to trust God for our daily requirements is much more tangible. It really is a test of our faith.
For further study: Hebrews 10:32-39 – the confidence the writer of Hebrews had in God's provision.
Response: What purchases are you expecting to make over the next month? How many are essential? What impression are you giving to other people by your recent purchases?
Prayer: Father God, help me to rest in you and know that you are my provider. Help me to resist the temptations of the adverts and to think carefully about how I use the money that you have provided. Amen.
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