Generous Hearts (Dec 24)

From Open Up Your Heart by Jeff Syverson

December 24

Generous Hearts 

Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 145:14-21 | Zechariah 6:1-7:14 | Revelation 15:1-8 | Proverbs 30:24-28

Today’s Scripture Focus: Zechariah 6-7

“Was it really for me that you fasted?” “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other” (Zechariah 7:5b, 9-10 NIV).

The people of Bethel went to the priests and prophets asking, “Should I mourn and fast in the fifth month as I have done for so many years?” The hypocrisy of the hearts of the questioners was immediately revealed by the words given by God to Zechariah. “Was it really for me that you fasted? And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves?”

While fasting is a powerful spiritual discipline when used rightly, it is no substitute to obedience or the right heart attitudes. What God especially wanted to see in his people was a heart filled with justice, mercy and generosity; a heart that looked to the poor and the less fortunate with a willingness to help.

Whether fasting or feasting, we dare not forget those less fortunate. We are the hands and feet that respond to God’s compassionate heart for the poor and needy. “Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another, do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.” God cares for the needy and our hearts should be a reflection of his; an important reminder in this time of feasting.

This Christmas season is a powerful reminder of the generous heart of our God who gave his one and only son for us. Let your heart be a reflection of his.

Father, thank you for your generous heart toward your people. Help me to reflect your heart to those in need. Give me a heart that is justice, mercy and generosity. Amen.

About pastorjeffsneighborhood

Born and raised in Minnesota, I have served in churches in Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon and California. I am a graduate of Crown College (MN) and George Fox Evangelical Seminary (OR). I have also done additional graduate studies in New Testament Studies at the Center for Advanced Theological Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary (CA). I am also a graduate of the College of Prayer. Having served as the Academic Dean and Program Director at Horizon Institute of Los Angeles for several years, I have returned to the pastorate and serve as Pastor of Big Trees Community Bible Church in Arnold, CA.
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