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365 Devotionals: Times of Restoration

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. James 1:22 AMP

The Seeds of Promise Devotional Series

A Cheerful Giver

4 And in any place where a survivor [of the Babylonian captivity of the Jews] sojourns, let the men of that place assist him with silver and gold, with goods and beasts, besides freewill offerings for the house of God in Jerusalem.

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Bible Basis

June Book Read From Read To Devotional
1st Ezra Chapter 1 Chapter 2 A Cheerful Giver

Memory Verse

Then rose up the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites, with all those whose spirits God had stirred up, to go up to rebuild the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. Ezra 1:4-5 AMP

Key people

Here is a list of key people found in today’s reading (in order of appearance) with bios from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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Today’s Devotional Reading: Ezra 1 – 2

Ezra 1 King James Version (KJV)

Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,

Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.

Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.

And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.

Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem.

And all they that were about them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with precious things, beside all that was willingly offered.

Also Cyrus the king brought forth the vessels of the house of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem, and had put them in the house of his gods;

Even those did Cyrus king of Persia bring forth by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and numbered them unto Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah.

And this is the number of them: thirty chargers of gold, a thousand chargers of silver, nine and twenty knives,

10 Thirty basons of gold, silver basons of a second sort four hundred and ten, and other vessels a thousand.

11 All the vessels of gold and of silver were five thousand and four hundred. All these did Sheshbazzar bring up with them of the captivity that were brought up from Babylon unto Jerusalem.

Ezra 2 King James Version (KJV)

Now these are the children of the province that went up out of the captivity, of those which had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away unto Babylon, and came again unto Jerusalem and Judah, every one unto his city;

Which came with Zerubbabel: Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mizpar, Bigvai, Rehum, Baanah. The number of the men of the people of Israel:

The children of Parosh, two thousand an hundred seventy and two.

The children of Shephatiah, three hundred seventy and two.

The children of Arah, seven hundred seventy and five.

The children of Pahathmoab, of the children of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred and twelve.

The children of Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four.

The children of Zattu, nine hundred forty and five.

The children of Zaccai, seven hundred and threescore.

10 The children of Bani, six hundred forty and two.

11 The children of Bebai, six hundred twenty and three.

12 The children of Azgad, a thousand two hundred twenty and two.

13 The children of Adonikam, six hundred sixty and six.

14 The children of Bigvai, two thousand fifty and six.

15 The children of Adin, four hundred fifty and four.

16 The children of Ater of Hezekiah, ninety and eight.

17 The children of Bezai, three hundred twenty and three.

18 The children of Jorah, an hundred and twelve.

19 The children of Hashum, two hundred twenty and three.

20 The children of Gibbar, ninety and five.

21 The children of Bethlehem, an hundred twenty and three.

22 The men of Netophah, fifty and six.

23 The men of Anathoth, an hundred twenty and eight.

24 The children of Azmaveth, forty and two.

25 The children of Kirjatharim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred and forty and three.

26 The children of Ramah and Gaba, six hundred twenty and one.

27 The men of Michmas, an hundred twenty and two.

28 The men of Bethel and Ai, two hundred twenty and three.

29 The children of Nebo, fifty and two.

30 The children of Magbish, an hundred fifty and six.

31 The children of the other Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four.

32 The children of Harim, three hundred and twenty.

33 The children of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred twenty and five.

34 The children of Jericho, three hundred forty and five.

35 The children of Senaah, three thousand and six hundred and thirty.

36 The priests: the children of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred seventy and three.

37 The children of Immer, a thousand fifty and two.

38 The children of Pashur, a thousand two hundred forty and seven.

39 The children of Harim, a thousand and seventeen.

40 The Levites: the children of Jeshua and Kadmiel, of the children of Hodaviah, seventy and four.

41 The singers: the children of Asaph, an hundred twenty and eight.

42 The children of the porters: the children of Shallum, the children of Ater, the children of Talmon, the children of Akkub, the children of Hatita, the children of Shobai, in all an hundred thirty and nine.

43 The Nethinims: the children of Ziha, the children of Hasupha, the children of Tabbaoth,

44 The children of Keros, the children of Siaha, the children of Padon,

45 The children of Lebanah, the children of Hagabah, the children of Akkub,

46 The children of Hagab, the children of Shalmai, the children of Hanan,

47 The children of Giddel, the children of Gahar, the children of Reaiah,

48 The children of Rezin, the children of Nekoda, the children of Gazzam,

49 The children of Uzza, the children of Paseah, the children of Besai,

50 The children of Asnah, the children of Mehunim, the children of Nephusim,

51 The children of Bakbuk, the children of Hakupha, the children of Harhur,

52 The children of Bazluth, the children of Mehida, the children of Harsha,

53 The children of Barkos, the children of Sisera, the children of Thamah,

54 The children of Neziah, the children of Hatipha.

55 The children of Solomon’s servants: the children of Sotai, the children of Sophereth, the children of Peruda,

56 The children of Jaalah, the children of Darkon, the children of Giddel,

57 The children of Shephatiah, the children of Hattil, the children of Pochereth of Zebaim, the children of Ami.

58 All the Nethinims, and the children of Solomon’s servants, were three hundred ninety and two.

59 And these were they which went up from Telmelah, Telharsa, Cherub, Addan, and Immer: but they could not shew their father’s house, and their seed, whether they were of Israel:

60 The children of Delaiah, the children of Tobiah, the children of Nekoda, six hundred fifty and two.

61 And of the children of the priests: the children of Habaiah, the children of Koz, the children of Barzillai; which took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called after their name:

62 These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood.

63 And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and with Thummim.

64 The whole congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore,

65 Beside their servants and their maids, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven: and there were among them two hundred singing men and singing women.

66 Their horses were seven hundred thirty and six; their mules, two hundred forty and five;

67 Their camels, four hundred thirty and five; their asses, six thousand seven hundred and twenty.

68 And some of the chief of the fathers, when they came to the house of the Lord which is at Jerusalem, offered freely for the house of God to set it up in his place:

69 They gave after their ability unto the treasure of the work threescore and one thousand drams of gold, and five thousand pound of silver, and one hundred priests’ garments.

70 So the priests, and the Levites, and some of the people, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, dwelt in their cities, and all Israel in their cities.

Reflection

we love to quote the words that God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). Yet and still when the time comes that God inclines us to give beyond our comfort zone, we make the sour lemonade face. You know the one – squinting eyes and mouth drawn in like there’s no jaw in your face.

The trouble with some people receiving an uncommon blessing is that they have become “entitled” in their our own minds to treasure beyond measure without charity. Even in God’s land of favor, we must retain humble hearts, to be grateful always for God’s blessing. Without gratefulness, we can become selfish. If we then find ourselves having lost anything, we become reluctant to esteem others more than ourselves – that’s code for, the cheer gets gone out of giving.

Have you not read about the woman who was ready to eat her last meal with her son and then die the death of starvation – but Elijah told her to feed him first – then she would have plenty.?

Some people would starve first – saying, “What? You want me to take my last meal and give it to somebody else? You want to me lose everything and take a chance on actually perishing so someone else can be comfortable – while I am starving here with my own son?” No. God does not want you to perish. He wants you to increase your faith. He has already commanded Elijah to meet you, after you give up your own possession.

God’s servant Elijah was sent to that woman and her son in God’s anointed principle of divine place and time (that’s what I call a “set up” – when God “arranges” the situation for you to walk into it and be blessed – like you made no reservations, but the meal is already waiting for you!). What happened?

8 And the word of the LORD came unto him [Elijah], saying, 9 Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. 11 And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. 12 And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. 13 And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. 14 For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth. 15 And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. 16 And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah.

You have to get your mind right in order to walk in this kind of anointing. Some people would not have been able to receive this cake (which was just a preliminary event – which foreshadowed the bread of life (the body of Christ – which when we eat of it, we have no more hunger!)), since they would never have gone to Zarepath (especially not after having the previous “land of plenty” dry up). They would have instead missed their “appointment” with the woman since they would have been delayed in getting there by spending three days (or more) COMPLAINING about the situation before they got moving.

Listen, sometimes holiness or hell hurts. But HOLD ON! There is a promise for the faithful! You will reap if you faint not.

Don’t faint. Can you have enough faith to partner with God for a miracle?

Don’t faint. Can you have enough charity (love) in your heart, to look beyond your own needs?

Don’t faint. Sow an uncommon seed – above and beyond the expectation of those who know you; over and above the expectation of your parents, your friends and your reputation. Maybe you are known for being a liberal giver, so now you have become the “icon” – and you want everyone to know how your bank is flowing, not so you can set an example of giving, but so you can be sure your name will be called in the congregation; but you have lost the joy of it for the Lord’s sake and now it is just, obligation – because that’s what people expect from you.

God wants a cheerful giver. You have to be cheerful even when it’s a thankless job.

Some people disagree with tithing since we are no longer under the law. But we are under THE PRINCIPLE OF THE GRATEFUL HARVEST. And whatever you truly appreciate God for, he will multiply in your experience.

And the tithe is a way to sustain the Lord’s house and his servants who deny themselves to build and keep that house. So you don’t want to tithe since you don’t have to. No problem. You don’t have to – you can just make the bold statement that you are  not thankful for the Lord’s workmanship. You are not grateful for God’s servant, who watches for your soul. You can’t have a cheerful heart in giving because you don’t really know what it means.

Yes, you who are redeemed are under the law of liberty. And yet we do those things we don’t have to do, which were commanded under the law, THOUGH WE BE FREE, because we understand God’s principles of sowing and reaping. These apply to character and possession (that includes money).

When you sow humility (the poor spirit Matthew 5:3), you reap the kingdom of heaven. We know that a humble heart is on the path to salvation, for we must first acknowledge our sinful origin and need for God’s intervention to redeem our worth before Him (which is accomplished fully through Christ). And what is the kingdom of heaven expressed in the lives of men and women, but honor; and favor (with God and people); and anointing; and every good and perfect gift; and the very desires of your heart. For we have the power to bring heavenly experience to earth (by whatsoever we loose (Mathew 18:18)).

When you sow tears of a broken and contrite heart (Matthew 5:4), you reap the blessing of the divine Comforter which is the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 4:17; I Peter 5:10). You will be called a child of God because you will resemble your Heavenly Father (Matthew 5:6) – who draws you by loving-kindness (Jeremiah 31:3), and not by the sword.

When you sow passion (focused seeking) and zeal for God’s will; and do His commandments; and seek earnestly His purpose for your life; and desire His Spirit more than to please your natural body, you reap the full manifestation of Him; that is, His glory SHALL BE REVEALED (Matthew 5:6).

When you sow pardon and forgiveness (of debt owed to you, of wrong done to you, of  words said about you; and of usurp; when you have compassion rather then to “get what you deserve,” you reap mercy (Matthew 5:7) (- and may not get when you deserve – since if we all got what we DESERVEd, some of us would have to pay the ultimate price).

When you sow purity of heart (no bad intentions – not just “saying” you mean well), you reap the presence of God  (Matthew 5:8) . Yes, we can not look upon the glorified face of God in our flesh, but He promised to send Himself to walk among us, and if can make a donkey speak (2 Peter 2:16), do not think He is unable to impart Himself to whom or whatsoever He will.

When you sow peace, you reap peace (Matthew 5:8) – and it is only by communions of peace (like a growing network of peace making) that the earth is inherited (an inheritance is GIVEN freely; this peace is not the same as the result of war). When you sow compassion, you reap the favor of God and of people (Matthew 5:9). And if the world has the audacity to persecute you though you walk before God, then stand in the audacity of faith and let God have the last word. He promised you the kingdom (Matthew 5:10).

Beloved, ye are the SALT of the earth and the LIGHT of the world. If you do not give cheerfully, the world will grow bland and dark. For as the unjust steward’s talents were taken, if ye hide your light and dilute your salt, you will lose them (Luke 16:2). And we know that in putting our hand to the plow, we must remain in the field if we are to be counted worthy. (Luke 9:62)

13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 2 Timothy 2:10

Praise should not always be a sacrifice. Sometimes, you ought to be able to PRAISE GOD BECAUSE YOU LOVE HIM; BECAUSE HE FIRST LOVED YOU; OR JUST BECAUSE.


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