Reading 1 - Exo 34:20
"No one is to appear before me empty-handed" (Exo 34:20).
"When the Israelites went to appear before the LORD at their feast days, on the Sabbaths or at personal times of dedication, we are told that 'no one is to appear before me (the LORD) empty handed.' At any and all of these times they were to bring an offering to God.
"Sometimes we think that the Law doesn't apply to us anymore, but this is a principle we would be wise to follow. Just as the Israelites had to bring an offering to the LORD when they came before him, so we should also bring an offering when we meet with him. How often do we go to a Sunday Morning service completely unprepared? We go along, sit in our seats and expect to be fed, entertained or made to feel good. We haven't given any thought to what might be said, what we can do to make the service more effective, how we can encourage someone else, or even prayed a prayer of thanksgiving, praise or asked God to bless the meeting. Are we presuming to appear before the LORD empty-handed?
"Instead, let us make sure that when we meet with the LORD we bring our offering -- whatever it may be. It may be the sacrifice of praise, the incense of prayer, a gift of encouragement, the willingness to work or even just simply having prepared our minds. 'No one is to appear before the LORD empty-handed' " (Robert Prins).
Reading 2 - Psa 90:1
"Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations" (Psa 90:1).
"Moses from his babyhood knew no home of his own. His childhood and young manhood were spent in Pharaoh's court -- and the young Hebrew instructed by faithful Jochebed never recognised it as his home. When the crisis came that a decision had to be made, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter. The next forty years of his life were in exile in Midian, tending the flock of Jethro and preparing unconsciously for being a shepherd of God's people. The third forty years were spent in the wilderness, dwelling in tents, moving from place to place, bearing the burden of a murmuring people. The homeless man found his home in God. With him God spoke face to face: 'he warmed both hands at the fire of God.' 'Moses was faithful in all God's house' " (John Carter, "The Psalms of Moses", The Christadelphian 77:508).
Reading 3 - 1Co 3:10
"By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds" (1Co 3:10).
"Therefore, when we build, let us think that we build forever -- and let us think as we lay stone upon stone that a time will come when men will say, as they look upon the labor wrought, 'See, this our fathers did for us' " (J Ruskin).
"I saw a group of men in my home town,
A group of men tearing a building down.
With a heave and a ho and a mighty yell,
They swung a beam and the side wall fell.
I said to the foreman, 'Are these men skilled,
The kind you'd hire if you wanted to build?'
He laughed and said, 'Why, no indeed,
Common labor is all I need,
For I can tear down in a day or two
What it took a builder ten years to do.'
I thought to myself as I walked away:
Which of these roles am I going to play?"
"Anybody can find fault, criticize, or tear down. But it takes a rare individual to build something... because he has to do it day after day after day" (Lou Holtz).