Sunday, December 29, 2013

DAY 589 - God Blesses A Cheerful Giver (請按此處收聼廣東話Cantonese podcast click here)

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                               Today's Reading: 2 Corinthians 9:6-15

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Please click this link to read 2 Corinthians 9:6-15

Bible Study

     This is the concluding passage of the whole section about giving from chapter 8 to chapter 9. Paul quotes three important passages from the Old Testament to give the Corinthians and us the most important purpose of giving.  

Bishop N.T. Wright says ( ) :
      The first passage he quotes is from a verse in Proverbs which occurs in the Greek translation of Proverbs 22.8: 'God blesses a cheerful giver.'  Paul and his churches would have normally read the Bible in Greek, and the passage he quotes would have been part of that Bible, even though it isn't in the Hebrew texts, and in consequence isn't in the English and other translations we know today…
      The second passage he quotes from is Psalm 112.9, speaking again of the person who scatters blessing to the poor.  Such a person, says the Psalm, has a 'righteousness'  which lasts for ever…In the Psalms and elsewhere in the Old Testament, it regularly refers on the one hand to God's own faithfulness to the promises he made to his people, and on the other to the behaviour by which God's people demonstrate their gratitude to God for this faithfulness…
     But the real climax comes in the third passage.  God, says Paul, provides 'seed for the sower and  bread to eat', quoting Isaiah 55.10. Isaiah 55 is the glorious invitation to all and sundry to come and feast on God's rich bounty, because God is making a new creation in which everything will be renewed…
    What Paul is urging them to do is to think of themselves, as it were, this way round, and to discover that, if they realize they are characters in the great drama which is going forward, then the generosity he is urging will come naturally…
    Grace, generosity and gratitude: these are not optional extras of Christian living, but are the very heart of it all. 

N.T. Wright. Paul for Everyone:2 Corinthians. Louisville,KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004, p.102-103.
     So, have you got the purpose for you to give after these few days of teaching, reflection and listening? 

Let's have a time to be still and give the Holy Spirit space to speak through the passage of scripture we have just read. Offer this time up to Jesus as you listen to him, while listening to "Gabriel's Oboe":

Spiritual Journal

    What I heard from Jesus today is: God blesses a cheerful giver

    What I got from Jesus today is an urge for us to be a cheerful giver so that we are being blessed by God and He can work through our generosity to bless more people. 

    Bishop N.T. Wright's finding of the Greek word 'blesses" instead of all the translations "loves" makes quite a difference. Although "blesses" and "loves" is nearly the same because when God loves us and He will surely bless us. Still, when we say "God blesses a cheerful giver", it brings out a different tone and weigh.

Dear Lord Jesus, 
Help us to be a cheerful giver so that we are being blessed by you and you can work through us to bless more people. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

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