the Winepress

One Who Scatters

Until this year I’ve not been a fan of having my Bible reading structured by daily notes or other plans. I’ve gone through a “Bible in a Year” plan a couple of times – the two together probably took a good five years in total – but at the beginning of January this year I felt the Holy Spirit impress on me to follow my “Bible in a Year” again, only this time to do it properly and stick to the plan. Also at the beginning of this year a friend and I (also a work colleague, so I see him every day) decided to renew a weekly morning prayer time that we used to have, but which lapsed about three years ago.

I told Bernard that I had started doing the Bible in a Year. His eyes widened and he said, “Well, that’s interesting. So have I!” The fact that God had spoken to both of us about disciplining ourselves to read through the whole Bible this year, shortly before we renewed our weekly prayer times, seemed significant. Of course we didn’t know the difficulties that we would soon be facing, but the Lord did, and He wanted to make sure that our lives are built this year on the sure foundation of His word.

What I’ve been amazed at is the number of occasions when the stream of God’s Word on a particular day has flowed right through the circumstances that I have found myself in at that specific time. In some miraculous way I find again and again that something I read, in a plan that someone else put together years ago, speaks into something real that is happening today. If you aren’t following a reading plan – whether it’s a Bible in a year (Mine is the New Living Translation, which I find really good for the narrative passages in the Old Testament; Nicky Gumble has done an online one as well which is supposed to be really good, and there is also an Every Day with Jesus Bible), or a series like UCB or Daily Bread or the Every Day with Jesus notes- I strongly recommend you do so. This year more than ever, we need to find our truth in the Word of God, not the words of the newspapers or the BBC.

But I want to close this with a specific example of how God’s word poured into the specifics of life three days ago. I had been thinking about our financial circumstances, which have been suddenly straitened because our business, like many others, has been adversely affected by coronavirus, and in particular whether the reduced income of our business should affect the level of our giving; and I had also been thinking about the panic-buying and hoarding of provisions that has been going on lately.

The date was the 24rd March. The New Testament passage was from Luke 6. I read v. 38: “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Straitened finances? What do I believe – the word of God on how to increase, or our sales reports that are going through the floor?

As if that weren’t enough I realised that I hadn’t read the passage from Proverbs from the previous day, so I turned to it. This is what I found:
“There is one who scatters, yet increases more;
And there is one who withholds more than is right,
But it leads to poverty.
The generous soul will be made rich,
And he who waters will also be watered himself.
The people will curse him who withholds grain,
But blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.” (Proverbs 11: 24-26)

If we are worried about our finances withstanding the storm, this is the rock God wants us to build them on. These aren’t Bible verses that I looked up because I thought they were relevant; these are verses that, literally, “rocked” up in my life because God knows that they are relevant. In these times of financial uncertainly, the Lord wants us to learn how to draw on our heavenly bank accounts, where moth and rust do not corrupt, and thieves do not break in and steal (Matt. 6: 19-20). We need to be asking the Holy Spirit to show us how He wants to build on these words, because when we do what He says, it’s actually God that’s building our houses, not us. He’s the One with the plan. And we wouldn’t want anything else, because “except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.” (Psalm 127:1)

The quest for the Presence of God

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