Today's Bible Readings
     Exodus 20
     Job 38
     Luke 23
     II Corinthians 8
''For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich''; ''Therefore show to them, and before the churches the proof of your love and of our boasting on your behalf." (II Corinthians 8:9 & 24)
            II Corinthians 8 is, without question, the classic chapter of the Bible on Christian giving. Verse 9 reveals to us the greatest example of giving in all of history. It is also our supreme motivation for giving. We are taught in this classic passage that the essence of Christian giving involves far more than our material possessions. Paul's idea of service was the same as our Lord's. He did not care how high the cost was to himself - he would gladly pay it. This was a joyful thing to Paul. Natural human love expects something in return. The kind of love Jesus demonstrated, however, is a willingness to be poverty stricken that others may be rich. It is this level of Christian discipleship and giving that our Father desires for all His children.
            The modem church's views of servant-hood are far different from the Lord's standard. His idea is that we serve Him by being the servants of others. Jesus said that in His kingdom the greatest one would be the servant of all. (Matthew 23:11)
            The real test of a saint in his attitude toward giving. That means that he is not only willing to preach the Gospel, but he is willing to wash the disciple's feet. So the question today is not how much will you give to the church next Sunday; the question is, ''How deep is your commitment to be totally obedient to the Lord?''
            When you hear the voice of God calling you to a specific task, do you stop to ponder your personal and financial concern? ''What if God wants me to go over there?'' ''And what about my salary?''  ''What is the climate like there?'' ''Who will take care of me?'' All these questions indicate we have reservations about serving God. The Apostle Paul had no conditions or reservations. He focused his service and his giving on the supreme example of the Lord himself.
            Paul saw himself as a libation, broken and poured out wine in the hands of Jesus Christ for the sake of others.  Are you willing to be totally consumed for the sake of our Lord?  Are you willing to be poured out and used up for His Glory? Has His riches to rags story become your rags to riches testimony?  Such is the proof of your love!
            Pray today for a little-known country that, in French, is the Cote d'Ivoire.  We know it as the Ivory Coast. This African nation has approximately 16 million souls, and is growing rapidly at approximately two percent per year. The official language is French, and is used by a high proportion of the population. Jula is a trade language in the north and in Abidjan. There are 75 languages total. Only 4 of these languages  have a complete Bible translation, and only 21 have even a New Testament.
            God has answered prayer for the Ivory Coast, and there has been rapid growth taking place in the evangelical churches, and denominations are beginning to work together more than at any other time.
            Roman Catholicism has made a deep impact through an extensive education system. As a result of this, most Ivory Coast residents are only nominally Catholic. Pray for the Gospel to overcome the darkness.
''If I had a thousand heads, I would rather have them all cut off than to revoke." Luther -at the Diet of Worms