Today's Devotions

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Showcase:Celebrating Discipline

  • Spiritual Disciplines, Valerie E Hess +

    This daily devotional contains brief (no more than one page) readable passages on the spiritual disciplines. Each reading begins with Read More
  • Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster +

    The Path to Spiritual Growth The book on spiritual disciplines. Read More
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Don  Carson;psalm+71

2 Samuel 16; 2 Corinthians 9; Ezekiel 23; Psalms 70–71

SECOND CORINTHIANS 9 IS THE second of two consecutive chapters that Paul devotes to the subject of giving.

(1) He resumes with a lovely delicacy (2 Cor. 9:1–5). On the one hand, he assures the Corinthians that they do not really need reminders; on the other, he gently reminds them, so that neither he nor they will be embarrassed. After all, just as he used the Macedonians' example of giving even in the midst of severe trial as an example to the Corinthians (2 Cor. 8:1–3), so he has been using the Corinthians' generosity and enthusiasm as an example to the Macedonians! He does not want them to be caught short.

(2) A principle that every farmer knows has a bearing on this matter of giving: "Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously" (2 Cor. 9:6). Some argue that this promises a tit-for-tat reciprocity between financial giving and material prosperity. You give three hundred dollars to my ministry, and God will give you at least five hundred (or a thousand, or whatever). Of course, the preachers who say this sort of thing either do not believe it, or do not believe it applies to them, for otherwise they would be rapidly giving away all of their money. But the focus in Paul's presentation turns on two other points:

(a) The amount we give is measured less in absolute terms of currency than in the cheerfulness and heart-generosity with which we give (2 Cor. 9:7).

(b) The return is more comprehensive than mere material prosperity, and far more beneficial: God is able to make us abound in every good work (2 Cor. 9:8), and he will supply and increase our store of seed (continuing the agricultural metaphor) and will enlarge "the harvest of [our] righteousness" (2 Cor. 9:10). God will make us "rich in every way" so that we can be all the more "generous on every occasion" (2 Cor. 9:11). One should reflect on the fact that the "you" to whom such promises are given are the people of God collectively. It does not necessarily follow that each individual in the church is thereby promised to become "rich in every way" and not, say, die early of cancer.

(3) Paul's focus, finally, is not on the givers at all. Paul sees in the gifts not only a service that supplies the needs of God's people but one that overflows "in many expressions of thanks to God" (2 Cor. 9:12), as believers praise him for the obedience of the Corinthians and intercede for them because they recognize in them the "surpassing grace" of God (2 Cor. 9:13–14). For in the final analysis, we are all debtors to God's "indescribable gift" (2 Cor. 9:15).

2 Samuel 16; 2 Corinthians 9; Ezekiel 23; Psalms 70–71

Reflections to Consider

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Audio & Video

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  • Eugene Peterson was one of America’s most beloved preachers. Let’s not miss his last sermon. +

    Eugene Peterson, the internationally best-selling Christian author who passed into the great unknown this week, Read More
  • Eugene Peterson: 2009 Book of Faith Jubilee +

    Peterson discussed a wide range of topics with Diane Jacobson, Read More
  • Eugene Peterson: Journey with Jonah: Part 1 +

    This is part 1 of a 3 part series of lectures Eugene Peterson Read More
  • Eugene Peterson: Journey with Jonah: Part 2 +

    This is part 2 of Eugene Peterson's 1991 Simpson lecture Read More
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Hidden Blessings

  • God's Healing Touch by Sylvia Gunter +

    Listen to God's word for you in Isaiah 42:3. "A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick Read More
  • The Healing Day by Bill Fay +

    It will be okay on the healing dayno more coldest placeon the healing day Read More
  • Inner Healing by Judith MacNutt +

    The following is a clip from a teaching at the MacNutt's Level I School. While brief, it provides a good Read More
  • Healing Ministry & Spiritual Warfare by Judith MacNutt +

    Judith MacNutt on the relationship between spiritual warfare and healing ministry. Read More
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