Ignore the Roar

Ignore the Roar

I Peter 5:6-9 (ESV) Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.

There is an adversary prowling the earth seeking someone to devour. The word “devour” means to consume destructively, recklessly or wantonly. It is to engulf or swallow up. To absorb or engross wholly. The enemy of our soul seeks someone to devour. How does one resist the devourer? Those who remain subject to God and His Word that humble themselves under His Mighty Hand will be lifted up…at the proper time. Does it seem like you never have enough time? Or do you live from paycheck to paycheck? What are you lacking? We are people who are predestined to live in abundance. Jesus Christ came to give us a rich and satisfying life. The Lord promises to do exceedingly abundantly more we ask or think…according to His Power at work in us.

The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. We have a good Shepherd who carefully watches the flock called the righteous. I am called righteous in right standing with God based on the salvation of Jesus Christ who opened a gate for me. To enter the Presence of God and live in peaceful surrender to the Living God. Humility is essential to the righteous remaining in the shelter and refuge of God. The roar of the lion is loud. When I was a teenager, I went to Africa on a missionary venture. Lying in bed at night, an occasional roar of a lion could be heard in the darkness. At first it was a bit frightening, however; I was safe in a compound with whitewashed walls and members of the Maasai tribe patrolled the perimeter to keep those inside safe. The lions roar was just a reminder of the dangers lurking outside the walls of the camp. Lord, help us to see that the roar of the lion that produces fear, anxiety and stress is but a veiled threat to those who live in the sanctuary of trust and peace that you provide.

Malachi 3:10-12 (ESV) Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.

“And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them.” (Matthew 13) The Lord gives seed to the sower. You are a sower. You plant in your life every day. You decide the productivity of your life based on the quality and quantity of your investment. The potential in us is based on the Kingdom as we have been given eternity in our heart. A promise that EVERYTHING will be made beautiful in its own time. A gift of faith that is the beginning of great fruitfulness in our life. There is a thief who wants to steal, kill and destroy the hope that is given to us in the productivity of our seed. Jesus came to grow it in us and for us.

The seed of God’s Word must be pressed deep into a soft and fertile heart to grow into anything of worth in our life. Malachi 3 talks about the tithe. The tithe of our life is our time, talent and treasure. All should be considered in our giving to God. Our covenant relationship with the Father gives us the opportunity to reap Kingdom benefits and blessings in all three areas according to our level of faith and trust in Him. To partner with the Lord requires an investment. We must give to receive these things. Our position in life must be Presence. Our posture must be humility. It is under the Mighty Hand of God that we find the prosperity longed for. This is an act of submission and surrender to the Lord that gives our time, talent and treasure to Him – we must decide that God deserves our first fruits of each not what is remaining.

The promise of partnership with God is that He will rebuke the devourer. To rebuke means express sharp, stern disapproval. It also means to reprove or reprimand. The original meaning of rebuke means to beat back or hack down. The Lord will call off the devourer by His Word. We have God’s Word that He will deal with the devourer if we choose to trust Him more. When we move our life and all its resources from doubt and fear to live in full dependence on the Lord and trusting Him – the enemy can roar but he cannot move within the borders of faith and trust. He can only hurl lies and threats over the fence but they are quickly rebuked by God’s Word now active in our heart and mind. When Jesus was in the wilderness, the enemy came to him. Jesus did not argue with the devil or complain about the situation. His answer to every temptation was simple. He told the enemy what God said. The Word is Jesus and He lives in us now. His Word is the potential for our life. Do you know what God says about you? Do you know what the blessings and benefits of the Kingdom are for you? Do you believe it? When we decide to trust the Lord fully with our time, talent and treasure enough to give Him the most choice portion, the devourer must move back as he is beaten down by God’s Word. Jesus makes intercession for us with the Father and defends us by the Word.

Proverbs 21:20-21 (ESV) Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it. Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.

Remember the widow who cried to Elisha, her husband was dead. (2 Kings 4) He was a man of God and servant of the Lord. The woman feared the creditor was coming to take her sons. Elisha asked her, “Tell me; what have you in the house?” Her response, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” Oil represents anointing. Christ lives in us. The Anointed One has chosen to inhabit our heart. With faith, nothing is impossible. Faith cannot stay in our heart but must be sown in trust. What if you already have what is needed to prosper and live in the abundance of God but it is just hidden in your “house”? You have the Word of God and the faith that moves mountains but cower in fear over simple provisions of life. You have the Peace of God that passes understanding but remain in fear, worry and anxiety over the roar of the lion. The woman changed her situation when she became a vessel. Her abundance of oil in the small flask did not run out until she stopped providing a place for it to flow.

Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness and honor. Ignore the roar! Give no credence to the lion today. Jesus has rebuked the devourer. Do not let him in. He cannot touch anything resting inside the Shelter and Refuge of God’s Presence. When we plant all our expectation in Jesus Christ by faith it will be fruitful in its proper time. The Lord has promised that there is a season for EVERYTHING. He tells us that EVERYTHING will be made beautiful in its time. No seed planted today bears fruit tomorrow. There is a process and most certainly a wait time. But in the meantime, the Lord promises to the rebuke the devourer in all things given to Him.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

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Honoring God

Honoring God

Proverbs 3:9-10 (ESV) Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.

Honor the Lord with the firstfruits of all you produce. Love is not an emotion it is an action. It is a noun demonstrated by a verb not an adjective. Love has an extensive definition according to I Corinthians 13. Just a few verses that challenge the entire concept according to the context of worldly like and lust put in its place. One of the attributes of love is found in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this that someone lay down his life for his friends.” The example of Jesus Christ to all mankind. It’s funny how the word “tithing” sends a jolt through people. Bristling at the thought of giving up a tenth of the income makes way for many excuses. So before you decide this message is not for you today, I am not after your money and neither is the Lord. In fact, according to Psalm 50:8-15, God is well-supplied with an abundance and needs nothing from us. Acts 17:24-25 describes it this way – “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.” Before you get your knickers in a twist, please understand tithing is not a requirement of salvation. Obedience is the opportunity to experience the richness and prosperity of Heaven. The work of Jesus Christ that provides us with grace is more than enough. We are made right with God by the sacrificial offering of Jesus when He laid down His Life for us and by fully accepting Him as our Savior. Yet, there is more. There is an abundance for those who decide to make Jesus Lord of their life. To honor Him and live in allegiance to His Kingdom.

Honor the Lord with… Honor simply put is to worship. To hold in high honor and treat with respect. It also means to accept as valid and conform to the request. The Lord puts it simple and straightforward through the writer of Proverbs. Honor the Lord with your wealth and the firstfruits of all your produce…THEN your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will be bursting with wine. There are three resources from which I can give to the Lord. My time. My talent. My treasure. Time is the most valuable. Talent will result in obedience. To give my treasure or the tangible blessings in my life will produce abundance. Increasing the equity in my life. How? The seed produces like kind fruit. Sow your time. You will harvest time. Sow your talent. You will harvest talent. Sow your treasure. You will harvest treasure. What you are willing to sacrifice will be your reward.

Sowing and reaping are not Biblical principles altogether. When God instituted the principle, it was for all mankind not just His People. Therefore if a farmer sows a seed, it will grow because that is what it is commanded to do by God naturally. However, when we make the choice to obey the Lord and return a tenth of the firstfruits to Him, suddenly the same seed is blessed. Faith makes all things possible but faith is not demonstrated by what we see but by trusting the Lord with what is unseen. We give God our time. The most precious commodity of our life. We give Him certain talents. However, when it is time to sow the tangible things in life – most people choose not to. I believe God wants to bless your life today. I know He wants to bless me.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24) To honor the Lord in whatever you do…work heartily as for the Lord and not men. People tend to live two separate lives. A natural life and spiritual life cannot coexist. There can be only one master. You can only serve one at a time. Therefore, if you want a supernatural life it comes at the price of pride and human productivity. A spiritual life is one that is surrendered and submitted to Jesus Christ allowing His Spirit to produce a godly life working inside and making His Way out of you. To be called a Christian is to take up our cross daily not just on Sunday and Wednesdays. The Light of His Love is to shine through us always. It illuminates our homes, workplaces and every other place that is frequented. The work of our hands will produce something but until our soul prospers it is limited. When faith is the foundation of our life and the Word of God sown in a fertile heart, it produces obedience. Obedience is a form of worship that says, “Lord, I believe in You and trust You with my life.” Only the part or portion of our life sold out and surrendered to the Lord as an act of worship will be blessed. Faith only works where it is applied. God is expanding the boundaries personally set in our heart and mind to live in His Abundance and have a rich and satisfying life. What are you withholding today that is limiting your increase?

Malachi 3:8-10 (ESV) Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

Thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts. God invites us to test Him. The God of the Universe who does not need us but desires us offers us the opportunity to test Him. What is the tithe of your life? What is your contribution to God? He promises that if we tithe our life to Him that He will open the windows of heaven over our life and pour out a blessing until there is no more need. You will be satisfied. You will be fulfilled. You will live in abundance of time, talent and treasure. Not because you did anything other than put good seed of faith in God’s Soil called trust and He did exactly what He said that He would do. It’s not the lottery. It is the Word working and doing exactly what God said. This is not just about your money. It is about every area of your natural life. However, if you do not participate in tithing then there really is no reason to think God will increase your life. Why? There is no seed for the Sower.

Matthew 23:23-24 (ESV) “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!”

Tithing the firstfruits of our life is evidence of faith in God. It was instituted by Abraham in Genesis 14:20 when he gave a tenth of all he had to Melchizedek the High Priest. In Leviticus 27:30-32, the tithe is called holy. Deuteronomy 14:22 – it is a command. Deuteronomy 26:1-2 tells us the tithe is an invitation for God to dwell with us, live in our land, and be our source. In Nehemiah 10:35, it is described as perpetual. We are to give the best of our firstfruits (Exodus 23:19) not what is leftover but first pick of the best things in our life. Are you giving the Lord the best parts of your life today? Or just the broken pieces and leftovers? It is seed in the ground of your life sown in trust. The portion of our life given to God is the productivity of our faith. It only takes a mustard seed of faith to produce abundance and do the impossible. If your life is not marked by miracles and supernatural increase, it would be best to consider the seed of faith being sown.

What are you given to God to use for His Glory? What are you honoring Him with today? Is He getting the best part of you or just what’s left after the world takes what it wants? We would rather give an offering that sow a sacrifice of self. Fear of lack or loss will hinder the possibilities of faithful sowing in our life. It will stop up the windows of Heaven. It will bar increase from entering in. It will stifle abundance because there is nothing for it to come from. To have the rich and satisfying life promised to us by Jesus means giving up this less than enough life that we live. All of it. Withholding nothing from the sowing and reaping of God’s Kingdom but giving Him our absolute best and most valuable parts.

Luke 18:10-14 (ESV) “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

John 15:4 (ESV) Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 

John 15:7-8 (ESV) If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

The Lord invites us to partner with Him now and forever. In this life, there is the challenge of integrating our spiritual and natural life into a godly one. We must abide in Christ to prosper. When I got married, my husband and I combined bank accounts. His income was greater than mine but when I looked at the bank statement it didn’t say this belonged to him and this was mine. It was our financial statement. The years that I stayed home with our children. He didn’t come to me and require a contribution to the account. He trusted me to take care of our household and nurture our children. Tithing our life is a contribution to the partnership and union offered to us by Jesus Christ. We have time to give. We have talent to give. We have treasures to give. Tithes and firstfruits that are seeds to the fruitful abundance offered in our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Vine. I am a branch. From the beginning of our marriage, we have tithed in regard to our finances. It is evident not necessarily in the bottom line but the fact that God has incrementally increased us over time. He has kept us in during tough financial times. We have experienced God’s Favor in so many ways that I cannot begin to list them all for you now. But if the only area of our life partnered with God is our finances, then our finances would be the only thing thriving. It is important to continually examine our heart and hands to see what there is to honor the Lord with. Our worship is not in our words but demonstrated in faith and trust. To continually invest more and more of our life into God’s Kingdom. Sowing seeds of faith, love and trust beyond any tangible giving until our entire existence is partnered with Jesus and His Kingdom.

Mathematically the tithe is one-tenth. Do you give one-tenth of your waking hours to the Lord? If we sleep six hours leaving eighteen hours in a day, it would mean dedicating and offering God just under two hours of our day. Seems like a lot, until you consider what He can do in us with those two hours. The fundamental test of tithing is trust. Do you trust the Lord at His Word? Do you believe that He is faithful? Find something. Anything. A portion of your life that you are willing to give to the Lord and sow into His Kingdom. No excuses. Just do it.

I leave you with this story. I worked part-time as a church secretary many years ago. A woman and her young child came to the office one day. She shared that her husband would not allow her to give to the church. He would not allow her to tithe or even give an offering. So she loaded her car with supplies and came to offer to clean the church. Now there was a cleaning service who maintained the building so there really wasn’t anything to clean at that time. She seemed discouraged and went out the door. The next thing I know she is cleaning the windows on a hot summer day. The smile on her face shining brighter than the sun as she gave her offering to the Lord with gladness. She has been a living testimony to me ever since. Such a humble example for us all. What can you give today? What are you willing to offer? God is open and ready to receive us as we honor Him and wants to bless us for it.

Proverbs 22:4 (ESV) The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.

Just Look Around – A Devotion

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Luke 6:28-31 (NLT)

Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do to others as you would like them to do to you.

 

With my new motto glaring at me from the other side of the room, I am reminded today that “there is always, always, always something to be grateful for.” I consider myself a “thankful” person who tends to be optimistic about things most of the time but for some reason Christmas has always been a struggle for me. I am not sure why but will confess that for most of my life I have fought depression over the holidays for no real reason. God has finally broken me of that but at a very high price. It took three years of spending Thanksgiving and Christmas visiting doctor’s appointments, accompanying our son to his infusion treatments, or escorting him to radiation that finally broke me of my holiday funk. I refuse to be overtaken by anything but joy this Christmas as I think about what the Lord has done in our life. Yes there have been many struggles. There has absolutely been a great deal of pain. But just as promised, the Lord has brought us through them all. Our son is currently cancer-free, just finished school and will soon be home to eat all our food. Our daughter is spending her first Christmas with her new husband. Our wanderer/adventurer/soldier son will cruise in soon. Thankfully we still have two “not-so-little” girls at home to celebrate the season with us. We are making new traditions. We are doing things a little differently mixing it up if you will. No longer will we rush past the holidays to get to the New Year but enjoy our family and life that we have been given.

Rah, Rah, Rah! My elation is also tempered by the realization that there are many who are still struggling this year. One particular family whose daughter is fighting the same cancer our son has been battling is in a hospital room as we speak. The family has been through many traumatic events over the last year some health-related and others not related to their health at all. I keep up with their journey on Facebook and check in with mom off and on. She is overwhelmed and rightfully so. It is hard enough to focus on one child who is gravely ill but quite another to manage your family with it. My heart and mind think about those who are not able to provide a nice meal for their family this Christmas while I pour over Pinterest for ideas. I think of the parents who are struggling to give their kids gifts when ours have more than enough. I have been there before. As a single parent of three small children with no assistance, my grandparents would send money for me to provide for them. I would use it to make them dinner and provide gifts for them squirreling some away for the next month’s deficit. I was so very thankful when the discount toy store opened in the mall with all of last year’s gifts at a fraction of the cost. Those days are long gone but as they flash through my mind, the Spirit presses my heart to remember. My greatest calling in this life is to be a blessing. Bless those who curse me. Pray for those who hurt me. Offer others more than they demand. When others take, let them have it. Do to others as I would like them to do to me now and back then when I was struggling. It’s time to take a look around.

Luke 6:36 (NLT) You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.

 

I must be compassionate. Compassion is not part of human nature although some people are giving by nature, we do not want to give beyond our personal comfort. God is love. He has called us to love one another. Jesus commanded us to do so. To give our life to Christ requires that we give our life to others just as He asked. What better time to try than Christmas? The media tells us to give until it hurts. Buy, buy, buy. Overload, overload, overload. It begins with helping those around us. Smiling at the mom holding up the line with three squirming, squealing children. Holding the door for the person who is in such a hurry or struggling to get by. Allowing others to go ahead of you in line. Letting the crazy driver have the parking space opting to walk just a little farther to preserve the peace. Our sinful nature tells us that we are entitled to fairness but the Spirit of God inclines us to give up our way to have His Way. His Way is love and compassion for all people. His Grace says they get it whether they deserve it or not just like me. His Mercy is new every morning so mine should be, too. I must see to the needs of others in order to prove that I trust the Lord to meet all my needs. There is always someone who is praying for what you already have and take for granted. Maybe it has been given to you to meet their need. Perhaps we would see them if we choose to take a look around.

Luke 6:37-39 (NLT)

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

 

When we decide not to give to someone in need, when we have the means to do so – it is an act of judgment. Did I really just write those words? God is speaking to me directly today. I condemn others when I decide what they need and don’t need based on my personal assumptions rather than listening to their cry for help. Who am I? Faith says, “Give and you will receive!” I used to take so many things for granted. I really did. When the health of my child became my greatest desire and deepest need, everything changed because my perspective did. No longer looking at what the world thinks makes us successful and important, I began to see the importance of the Fruit of God’s Spirit. When money could not heal our child, Jesus did. When money could not meet our need or give us the desire of our heart, Jesus did not once but five times so far. Now I see that time is our greatest commodity, so this Christmas rather than worrying so much out perfection I have changed my perception. Time is the only thing that I have that cannot be replaced. I should share it with those who are important to me. I should tithe it because it is valuable giving some of it away. There is a promised attached to our giving. “Your gift will be returned to you in full-pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap.” There is no mixed words or hidden implications for “the amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” Before you stroke a healthy check for the offering or dig into your pockets for a few dollars for the homeless guy by Walmart, this is not a bad thing but is it what you really want back. Is money enough? I don’t think it is what God is after – He is calling us to give compassion this Christmas in the form of time, talent and treasure. We are His Hands and Feet. We are His Body. Money is not the answer but the Love of God is. Again, you still should give if your heart is led to do so but make sure that you are being led by your heart.

Luke 6:43-45 (NLT)

 “A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thorn bushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.”

 

The next time you are sitting by the tree, drinking a cup of your favorite hot coffee, looking at your Christmas list, why not inspect the fruit on your tree. What fruit is your life producing? I am doing the same with mine. I want new traditions this year. No more depression, worry or stress, but a season of joy, peace and love. I will not get it if I do not give it. I don’t just want to be a good person. I want to be God’s Girl this Christmas. It’s time to take a look around.

 

Luke 6:46-49 (NLT)

“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”

 

Our life is built on a foundation of faith. We are called and conditioned to prosper in this life. Everything God does has meaning and purpose whether we can see it now or not – we know it as a condition of His Great Love for us. We must become compassionate. We must love others and treat them as we want the Lord to treat us. We are called to love one another. It is the only commandment that Jesus Christ gave us to do. You get to decide what you will give. Faith demands it. Confident hope cultivates it. Opportunities surround us. We must just look around!

John 13:34-35 (NLT)

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

I Will Give – A Devotion

Psalm 112:1-9 (NKJV)

Praise the Lord! How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands. Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed. They themselves will be wealthy, and their good deeds will last forever. Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous. Good comes to those who lend money generously and conduct their business fairly.  Such people will not be overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered. They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly. They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor.

 

What have you given to the Lord lately? More importantly, what have you given to God without a single expectation in return? We live in a culture of reciprocation. People have developed a sense of entitlement and selfishness that the “world” owes them something. Such a mentality is quite oppressive because it creates desperation driven by a fear of lack, so they refuse to give becoming hoarders. To fear the Lord and “delight” in obeying his commandments means to be a generation of generous and joyous givers. Psalm 112 describes such people as generous, compassionate and righteous. Obedience means dedicating your life to God generously which produces joy, success, blessing, wealth, good, confidence and eternal influence in the life of the faithful. There is confidence for those who give generously with no expectation from people because their faith is in the Lord. When money, time and everything else associated with this life begins to outweigh the treasure stored in our heart which is Jesus Christ it becomes an idol. Tithing is one of the most unpopular pulpit topics that cause silence and squirming when God asks for faithfulness in “returning” just one tenth of what He has provided. People look away uncomfortably as the Spirit gently prods for just a moment of time to help another. We long for Jesus to be our everything yet refuse to give our all to God! The perverse economy in which we live is failing. Babylon is falling. To receive a generous outpouring from the Lord that will satisfy our heart, soul and mind, one must become a generous giver beginning with the obvious and moving into righteousness. Jesus Christ will never satisfy a soul that longs for the things of this world. There is no contentment for those who dwell in the society driven by consumerism and supply-and-demand materialism. There will always be want. God longs to satisfy your soul. Jesus will bring contentment where greed once eroded your heart. What are you willing to give to God for such influence and honor as living in the Peace of God through Jesus Christ?

 

Job 41:11 (NLT)

Who has given me anything that I need to pay back? Everything under heaven is mine.

 

Straight from the mouth of God to His People, “who has given me anything that I need to give back”? Everything under heaven belongs to God. Therefore He has the right to grant you the freedom of choice which God does. There is nothing in service to the Lord that requires the Lord to bless you. His Promises are a gift. You cannot earn them only make room for them in your life. When we give to God or to others in obedience to Him, we make room for the Lord to bless us and activate the cycle of sowing and reaping in our life. However, as in life, we try to work the system getting something for nothing. God does not need anything from you. However, that does not exempt you from your end of salvation. Obedience cultivated in love and appreciation for the Lord will promote giving in our life. But we must empty our life of the idols standing in the way. Many people draw a line between God and their finances and natural means. They will use verses such as this twisting them for their own purpose to some way validate their lack of faith in God and excuse profound disobedience. Make no mistake God wants all of you beginning with your heart.

 

Deuteronomy 26:17-18 (NLT)

You have declared today that the Lord is your God. And you have promised to walk in his ways, and to obey his decrees, commands, and regulations, and to do everything he tells you. The Lord has declared today that you are his people, his own special treasure, just as he promised, and that you must obey all his commands.

 

Have you confessed that Jesus is your Savior and the Lord is your God! Excellent beginning! By doing so, you have promised to walk in His Ways, obey His Regulations and do EVERYTHING He tells you. Omission is a lie. You cannot claim ignorance as an excuse for disobedience. God has carefully and meticulously laid before you a life plan in His Word that is very easy to discern and follow with the assistance of the Holy Spirit who lives inside of you. The Lord has called you His Own Special Treasure. Jesus has declared you His Prized Possession. (James1:18) What is the Lord to you? Most people have spent little if no time digging in the Word of God looking for ways to serve and obey the Lord living in “blissful” ignorance that is actually deadly. (Hosea 4:6) You have a responsibility to establish residency in Heaven and live according to the Word of God just as when traveling to another state or country you are bound by the authoritative guidelines of each district. What do you know about God’s Word and His Law? It is your responsibility to know and obey? By cultivating your love relationship with the God, not only will you be His Treasure, but He will be yours. Jesus will be your most prized possession and worldly wealth and ways will become nothing to you making it easy to give it all to the Lord.

 

Matthew 6:19-21 (NLT)

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”

 

The desires of your heart will reveal your treasure. Treasure that is found on the earth will not satisfy your heart and soul but rather temporarily sustain it until it loses its shine or something bigger and better comes out. The things once thought to be “treasure” once attained we find it to be just another thing or stuff cluttering our life. Continuously dissatisfied, people blame God for not blessing them like He promised. However, when our treasure is of the earth it cannot be preserved. Only treasure in Heaven is eternal. It is the only prize safe from depreciation and worthy of His Glory. The desires of your heart must be aligned with the Kingdom of God to ever find satisfaction and many times it requires giving it all away to make room for the Lord’s Treasure.

 

Deuteronomy 14:22-23 (NLT)

“You must set aside a tithe of your crops—one-tenth of all the crops you harvest each year. Bring this tithe to the designated place of worship—the place the Lord your God chooses for his name to be honored—and eat it there in his presence. This applies to your tithes of grain, new wine, olive oil, and the firstborn males of your flocks and herds. Doing this will teach you always to fear the Lord your God.”

 

Not being one to ignore the pink elephant in the room, it would seem that tithing is how most people recognize giving. One-tenth of all you harvest in a year belongs to God. Each year you live on this earth produces many harvests in your life. Primary for most is income. The monetary exchange in your life consists of ninety percent of what you actually earn in a year. The other ten percent is God’s whether you choose to give it to the Lord or not. If the Word of God is completely true from Genesis to Revelation, then one cannot exclude tithing. One of the first things that my husband and I decided to do early in our marriage and return to the Lord was to tithe. It was an easy plan to follow with nothing to discern. You give God ten-percent of every single dollar you earn. So we tried it. At first, it was scary. We had very little income and many mouths to feed but we did it anyway and have continued nonstop. God has provided every single need in our life without question. He has opened the windows of Heaven and blessed us. Tithing has become easy it is just what we do. The testimonies are endless and too lengthy for this but I will share you the most recent one. About a month ago, I sat down to conquer the bills from our son’s cancer treatment. Thank you Jesus for health insurance! But when you begin to see tallies of $65,000 for this surgery and $85,000 for that treatment, co-pays begin to add up. I calculated the total sum of his treatment and calculated what we owed and the numbers seemed off. After doing the math three times, I discovered that although our insurance pays 90% after the deductible is met that somehow it had paid over 98% of his bills. Glory to God in the highest! It may be more as I also found several bills that were never actually billed to the insurance company further reducing the obligation. But you see it didn’t matter what it cost because God healed our son! Now I share this not to loosen your wallet, but to tempt you to trust the Lord. I did not look at those bills while our boy was sick because it really didn’t matter to me as long as he was healed. God healed him and that’s all we asked, but then He paid the bills, too. God has a way of softening our heart as we empty it of stuff. Salvation is a matter of life or death. By choosing Jesus, we choose life. For such a gift, no price is too high. You will have eternal life because of the sacrifice Jesus made. By realizing the full potential of life and the real implication of death, it should change our heart to be generous now that there is nothing to lose. Our heart can turn to the Lord and experience all of His Goodness because stuff becomes unimportant. Instead of worshiping with our mouth, God is calling us to worship with our heart. Can you give God your heart? He must have dominion in your life to do so.

 

 

 

 

But tithing is not only pertaining to dollars because truthfully you harvest more than that. Each year yields 31,536,000 seconds in a year. One-tenth of your day equates to 2.4 hours that belongs to God. Is He getting His Fair Share? When the average person prays three minutes a day before falling asleep, it is probably a sure bet that not many people yield to God what He requires much less generously which would mean above and beyond what is expected. When we read God’s Word concerning the tithe and giving, each time God reveals that it is not what we give but what He gives back that is important. For example in this verse, God says, “Doing this will teach you.” Giving opens our life to receiving from the Lord, but it is not always a monetary return. The Word of God says that wisdom is more precious than silver or gold. (Proverbs 16:16)  Remember we are changing from the world’s economy to God’s abundance in giving. It starts with money because that is the treasure most recognized and coveted by humanity yielding power and influence in this world. If you cannot bear to part with your money in obedience to God’s Word, how will you ever give Jesus your heart and life? Faith begins in giving because it creates dependency on God. Trust is evident in dependency. Do you trust God? Those who do choose to give the Lord what He requires of their resources not because they have it but because God requires it.

 

Joel 2:12-13 (NLT)

That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts.
Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.

 

When beginning to trust the Lord in your everyday transactions, your heart will be inclined to trust the Lord with more important things. His Blessings are found in obedience. What will you give to God today? Your heart is His Desire. A heart turned to the Lord will see His Merciful, Compassionate and Unfailing Love. No longer do you have to divide your life between the world and God but the Lord is worthy of your heart and all of its contents. How far will you go in giving to God? There are various comfort levels in life that can become like the Church of Laodicea or the place of complacency. Don’t tear your clothing…the things you can touch…but tear your heart before God. If God looked in your heart today what would He see? How much trust would he find? Is there enough faith to give God your stuff? How about your time? Well, now that you have servanthood, service and giving working in your life? What about the ones you love? Do you trust God with them? Abraham walked up the side of a mountain not knowing whether he would come down the other side with Isaac or not, but He knew God was faithful. Obedience carried Abraham up that hill. God’s faithfulness would bring him dancing and rejoicing with Isaac down the other side. A heart given to God will trust Him with the lives of those contained in their heart no matter what the outcome. Such a heart has decided that God is worthy of giving their whole heart and all that remains inside to the One who loves them most. Clear away the clutter of this world until only one thing remains. Love should be all that is in a heart worthy of God. Now give that generously, too. To everyone you meet. Patience will be required which is giving up your wants and ambition. Forgiveness is giving you up for others. Compassion reveals a god-filled inclination that puts others in front of us. Knead your heart until all that remains is love.

 

Matthew 16:24-26 (NLT)

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?Is anything worth more than your soul?”

 

The only thing of worth to God is your soul. Nothing else will make the transition. What if we tithed our time, energy and resources to become a true follower of Jesus Christ? Giving everything away beginning with the natural will open your life, heart and soul to Jesus Christ. It begins with one thing shown faithful and God will bless it. Then you can try something else, soon you will begin to look for parts of your life to “give generously” for the Lord. His Blessing will bring peace and joy to your life no matter what you have or do not have. There will be relief in the release from financial and material bondage. Most often, you will look around to find that you have more than you realized when it is not your treasure. You are God’s Treasure. He will love, protect and preserve that which is precious to Him. That is you! You can never take care of yourself as well as the Lord cares for you so stop trying. Say today, “I will give _____ to the Lord today.” You fill in the blank and let God fill that part of your life with His Blessing and Favor. When you have overcome fear with this then move on and fill in the blank with something else and so on and so on. Piece by piece relocate from this world into the Kingdom of God and live in the supernatural blessings of God all because you chose to give your life away! You have nothing to lose because outside of Jesus Christ there really isn’t much to it anyway. It is a win-win situation for those who are saved by Grace!

 

Luke 6:37-38 (NLT)

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

 

Only you can decide what to give God today or it would not be a gift. What can you afford to sacrifice to God? What do you need? It is usually the best place to start. Don’t worry about what others think but give what your heart is holding the tightest to lest it becomes an idol standing between you and God. When you think of giving what do you fear most? Give it. Then you will receive God’s Answer that conquers all fear. You are not emptying your life as a sacrifice because Jesus did that. You are simply making room for the Blessing of God to fill your life to overflowing with His Abundance reserved just for you! Say with me, “I will give ________ today!” In no time, you will change your tune from “What Have You Done for Me Lately” to “Look What the Lord Has Done!”