Weekly Devotion: Exodus 22:29

“Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors: the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me.”

The Lord desires that His people give their first and best. He wants us to take of the first fruits of what He’s blessed us with and give it back to Him. He wants us to do it without delay.

Lord, You have blessed me and my family with so much. I want to take the firstfruits of those blessings and offer them to You. Help me to honor You and thank You for all that You’ve blessed me with. You are a good God.

From Dan Even to Beersheba: A Survey of China Part 1

China is a vast country with a vast spectrum of culture, and while there are various ways to examine those differences – rural/urban, rich/poor, and east/west, I’d like to take a few weeks and hone in on one in particular — north/south. Many other nations can be seen through the same lens – Israel from Dan to Beersheba, marking the boundaries for census-taking, and the U.S. with its Mason-Dixon line, marking the boundary for sweet tea sipping — and China is no different.

To start things off, let’s consider the obvious – climate.

I distinctly recall my wife and I moving to Atlanta from China back in 2016. She had spent her whole life up until that point living in Longyan, Fujian. I had spent the first 22 years of my life in Mobile, Alabama, and another five in Longyan.

One day at church, we made the comment that Atlanta is cold. I know, I know. I see you Ohioans that read my blog snickering over there in the corner.

No sooner than did we say that than did one of the church members say, “Well it’s certainly not as cold as China!”

I have to say that when I heard him say it I was legitimately confused for a half second.

Not as cold as China?!

Then it hit me. The church has missionaries in Northeast China, and everytime anyone from the church has gone to China, it has been to see them – in Northeast China. Northeast China is at about the same latitude as New England. 

Aha!

I then proceeded to explain that Longyan, Fujian, is on virtually the same latitude as Havana, Cuba!

During my five years in China (not to mention my wife’s over two decades) we had never once considered China “cold”. Our new church friends, however, couldn’t imagine the sweltering heat of South China.

You might now believe me if I told you that these extreme differences in climate tend to affect quite a lot when it comes to lifestyle and dress. But would you believe me if I told you it also affects diet and even speech? Stay tuned…

 

Weekly Devotion: Matthew 18:21-22

“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”

Peter comes to Jesus wanting to show of his compassion. He tells Jesus he is willing to forgive a person seven times. Jesus shows him that that is still not compassionate enough. He then tells a parable (v23-35) that illustrates the absurdity of one forgiven of God only forgiving others little. God, in Jesus Christ, has shown ultimate compassion and mercy toward us. Who are we to not in turn show that same compassion toward others?

Lord, You have forgiven me an enormous sin debt, one that I could never repay. Thank You for Your mercy and compassion toward me. Help me to be compassionate toward those around me, imitating Your forgiveness and pointing them to Jesus Christ. Thank You, Lord!