God Hears the Prayers of the Righteous, so Rest in Him!
I am not a politician! Neither I nor my companion are politicians and do not aspire to serve in any political office. We are Christians who do our best to follow the teachings of Jesus in the Bible about loving God, loving people, and serving both.
We do have biblically sound convictions about how this nation is governed! I want to encourage you right now to keep the faith and let go of your doubts. We asked for the will of God to be done. He hears the prayers of the righteous, so rest in Him!
Remember, God knows the end from the beginning. And I am convicted that He works all things together for our good.
Should we tithe during the pandemic?
Tithing was introduced by God at the beginning of his relationship with mankind. We find in Leviticus 27 the rules for offerings and tithes set up by God himself.
Lev 27:30,31 ERV “A tenth of all crops belongs to the LORD. This means the crops from fields and the fruit from trees—a tenth belongs to the LORD. So if you want to get back your tenth, you must add one-fifth to its price and then buy it back. ”
In these passages we find a tenth of all our increase is to be given to the priests in our case, the local church we are members of. If for some reason the person had to take the offering back, he owed 5% interest over the tithe when it came time to pay it back.
Gen 26:1 -5 ERV Now there was a famine. This was like the famine that happened during Abraham’s life. So Isaac went to the town of Gerar, to King Abimelech of the Philistines. The LORD spoke to Isaac and said, “Don’t go down to Egypt. Live in the land that I commanded you to live in. Stay in this land, and I will be with you. I will bless you. I will give you and your family all these lands. I will do what I promised to Abraham your father. I will make your family as many as the stars of heaven, and I will give all these lands to your family. Through your descendants, every nation on earth will be blessed. I will do this because your father Abraham obeyed my words and did what I said. He obeyed my commands, my laws, and my rules.”
Gen 26:12-14 ERV Isaac planted fields in that place, and that year he gathered a great harvest. The LORD blessed him very much. : Isaac became rich. He gathered more and more wealth until he became a very rich man. He had many flocks and herds of animals. He also had many slaves. All the Philistines were jealous of him.
We see in the above passage that Isaac was living in a time of famine, tolerated by the Philistines, yet he planted fields anyway. He sowed what seed he had, and the Lord brought the increase.
Many say that was for the Old Testament only, not for the New Testament. Let’s look at some New Testament verses.
Matthew 22:15-21 we see Jesus being tempted by the Pharisees. They ask him if it is right to pay taxes to Caesar or not, being that they were Jews, not Romans. He asked for a coin and then asked whose picture was on the coin. He told them to give to Caesar what was due to him and to God what belonged to Him. It was obvious that tithing was still being done by the Jews as they did not argue about that.
Luke 6:38 ERV “Give to others, and you will receive. You will be given much. It will be poured into your hands—more than you can hold. You will be given so much that it will spill into your lap. The way you give to others is the way God will give to you.”
Luke 18:12 I fast twice a week, and I give a tenth of everything I get!’ (they were tithing)
Paul admonished the churches to give from their heart, not as a religious act. It is our choice to give from our hearts or to hoard the money.
2Corinthians 9:6-12 TPT Here’s my point. A stingy sower will reap a meager harvest, but the one who sows from a generous spirit will reap an abundant harvest. Let giving flow from your heart, not from a sense of religious duty. Let it spring up freely from the joy of giving—all because God loves hilarious generosity! Yes, God is more than ready to overwhelm you with every form of grace, so that you will have more than enough of everything—every moment and in every way. He will make you overflow with abundance in every good thing you do. Just as the Scriptures say about the one who trusts in him: Because he has sown extravagantly and given to the poor, his kindness and generous deeds will never be forgotten. This generous God who supplies abundant seed for the farmer, which becomes bread for our meals, is even more extravagant toward you. First, he supplies every need, plus more. Then he multiplies the seed as you sow it so that the harvest of your generosity will grow. You will be abundantly enriched in every way as you give generously on every occasion, for when we take your gifts to those in need, it causes many to give thanks to God. The priestly ministry you are providing through your offering not only supplies what is lacking for God’s people, it inspires an outpouring of praises and thanksgiving to God himself. ”
Paul also got to the root of our giving life, it is one of our own conscience.
Galatians 6:5-10 TPT Every believer is ultimately responsible for his or her own conscience. And those who are taught the Word must share all good things with their teacher; a sharing of wealth takes place between them. Make no mistake about it, God will never be mocked! For what you plant will always be the very thing you harvest. The harvest you reap reveals the seed that was planted. If you plant the corrupt seeds of self – life into this natural realm, you can expect to experience a harvest of corruption. If you plant the good seeds of Spirit-life you will reap the beautiful fruits that grow from the everlasting life of the Spirit. And don’t allow yourselves to be weary or disheartened in planting good seeds, for the season of reaping the wonderful harvest you’ve planted is coming! Take advantage of every opportunity to be a blessing to others, especially to our brothers and sisters in the family of faith!
In answer to the question, yes we should still tithe
Most of us have been affected in some way during 2020. Some with loss of jobs, health, homes, even loss of life in our families. It has been hard for all of us. Businesses closing, no usual normality of life has caused great stress on all of us. Yet, the Lord has not changed. He always responds to our giving. When Isaac was placed in a land of famine, he sowed anyway, from what he had. God blessed him and actually made him rich! Does that happen to all of us? No, only to those who consistently give to God and others. Increase is born out of a giving heart. Our giving opens doors for harvest to meet our own needs.
Now to the practical. God knows what we have in our bank accounts. He knows what our responsibilities are to other people and what bills we have to pay. He is not asking us to neglect our responsibilities. He is asking us to give what we can. If we have no extra money, we can still give our time to help others. Maybe we can help around the church building to save them money on cleaning or repairs. We can pray for our brothers and sisters in our church. We can help the members when possible.
There are many churches that will have to close their doors if we don’t continue to tithe. Even if it is less than usual, we can still give our best to the local church to keep them going. We are family, and families should always stick together and help each other. Those of us who can afford gasoline can offer rides to those who are not able to even afford that convenience. Let’s challenge ourselves to be the best givers we can be.
Father God, we ask that you bless our tithes and offerings. As you did with Isaac, do for us. We give freely, out of a heart filled with thanksgiving to You for our provisions. We know you will bless us as that is who You are. In Jesus’ Name, we pray, Amen.
Meditation for March 24, 2020
“If God seems far away, who moved?”
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:8 NKJV)
It is a good time now (as it is always) to seek after the Lord through reading the Bible and praying to Him in the Name of His Son, Jesus Christ! Drawing close, and staying close to God provides overcoming strength to keep on “keeping on!”
As a young man, my developmental years were spent in a church with my family that was a “country church”. There were a lot of good people in the church body and more good people in the community where I lived. Many of those people, in addition to my family, spoke into my life and helped me grow in my personal faith. One such person was a man by the name of John Tharp. Brother Tharp was not a typical “worshipper” in the church where I grew up, but, he was a very profound thinker. I do not know who originated the statement, “If God seems far away, who moved”, but, it was Brother John Tharp that impressed it upon me. A dear sister from my church created a poster with that message on it and the poster was placed in a shadow box. As far as I know – over 50 years later – it is still there to remind worshippers of the need to seek after God in order to stay close to Him.
Some messages are enduring for a reason. As Christian believers, our faith is the most precious treasure we have on this earth. If God seems far away from you today, you can find Him in the Scriptures. Faith comes from reading and obeying the Word of God. Faith encourages us to pray, engaging the journey of faith for the glory of the Name of our God and of his Son, Jesus Christ.
It is my hope that a voice from my past – that of Brother John Tharp – will give you newfound inspiration and courage to face your day with God. Most importantly, I want God to come near to you today. I believe He will as you read His Word given to all of us, and as you pray to Him about your needs in the Name of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Productive people are planted people
We all want to be productive in some area of life. Whether as a father or mother, a business person, in a ministry or even in relationships. There is a standard in which we can achieve this successfully. The main way is by being planted in relationship with God. With His guidance by the Bible and the wonderful Teacher, the Holy Spirit, we can grow in faith in Jesus, our Lord.
If we plant ourselves in the river of His love and allow ourselves to be fed by His Word, the Bible, we can see growth and strength. Peace will rule our hearts and consciences. Our hearts will grow to love people rather than things. Our motives will become more pure and less selfish and we will want to please God more than other people. In living a lifestyle like that, we will succeed more and more each day. Our outflow of living will be productive and bear fruit in every direction of life.
When we love, we won’t fight as much for position. When we care more for people than things, our need to accumulate things will grown less and less. Our need for attention will diminish as we think of others first. And our hearts will be full of love by seeing the results of our life laid out before us.
Growing takes time
It is not an “overnight success” story. It is a daily laying our lives at the feet of Jesus and allowing His love to change us from the inside out. I love the Scripture in Romans 5:5, “ Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” It is the love of God-his own understanding, emotions, selflessness that is poured into our hearts to be able to learn to love others.
May we start and continue this journey of being planted by God’s own river and allowing Him to changes us into His kind of people.
Isaiah 40:1-11 (TPT)
“1 Your God says to you: “Comfort, comfort my people with gentle, compassionate words.2 Speak tenderly from the heart to revive those in Jerusalem, and proclaim that their warfare is over. Her debt of sin is paid for, and she will not be treated as guilty. Prophesy to her that she has received from the hand of Yahweh twice as many blessings as all her sins.”3 A thunderous voice cries out in the wilderness: “Prepare the way for Yahweh’s arrival!
Make a highway straight through the desert for our God!
4 Every valley will be raised up, every mountain brought low.
The rugged terrain will become level ground
and the rough places a plain.
5 Then Yahweh’s radiant glory will be unveiled,
and all humanity will experience it together.
Believe it, for Yahweh has spoken his decree!”
6 A voice says, “Cry out!”
And I ask, “What should I say?”
“All people are as frail as grass,
and their elegance is like a wilting wildflower.
7 The grass withers, the flower fades
when the breath of Yahweh blows upon it;
the people are just like grass!
8 But even though grass withers and the flower fades,
the word of our God stands strong forever!”
Proclaim Good News
9 Go up on a high mountain, you joyful messengers of Zion,
and lift up your voices with power.
You who proclaim joyous news to Jerusalem,
shout it out and don’t be afraid.
Say to the cities of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
10 Look! Here comes Lord Yahweh as a victorious warrior;
he triumphs with his awesome power.
Watch as he brings with him his reward
and the spoils of victory to give to his people.
11 He will care for you as a shepherd tends his flock,
gathering the weak lambs and taking them in his arms.
He carries them close to his heart
and gently leads those that have young.”
Doing our part for God
Each of us Christians, as part of the Body of Christ, have assignments from the Lord God. We are called to proclaim who He is and what He is doing today. The only way we will be able to follow through on these assignments is to have a personal relationship with Him. His son, Jesus was born of a virgin (Mary-Luke 1:26-38). He lived a sinless life before God and man (2 Corinthians 5:21). He died on the cross of Calvary to save us from our sins (Galatians 6:14). He arose from the dead (Romans 4:13-24). And He is coming back to earth again (1 Corinthians 15).
When we receive Jesus as our Savior and Lord, our whole life changes. We now have a relationship with God, the Father, Jesus our Redeemer and Holy Spirit our teacher. That relationship is developed by our time spent in the Bible, in prayer and in worship. There are so many Scriptures that talk about relationship all through the Bible, that there is not time to expound on them here. Nevertheless, we can be sure if we spend time in the Word of God, we will develop a relationship with Him. We will begin to know who He is and what His plans are for mankind.
He is working all the time to interact with His creations, man and beast. He loves all He created and wants relationship with them. The depth of relationship is totally a choice of the creation. God is always reaching out to us. We are the ones who continually ignore or rebel against Him.
Now is the time to choose surrender to the love of God found in Christ Jesus. In that surrender we find peace and a depth of living that can be found no other way. All the promises in the Bible are released by faith in God and His Son. We activate everything that is set aside for us, by believing He is, and that He rewards those who seek Him.
Hebrews 11:1-6 (KJV)
“1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
We must seek His will for this season so that we can do our part. What is the Lord asking you to do-to believe for? How can you bless His people? What gifts and talents are you hiding instead of sharing with the world? Each of us has born in us something the world needs to see. Our personalities are created by God to be used for His grace. Pray about how you can join in this great season we are entering into. God grant you the courage to surrender to His call for your life.
Psalm 1 (TPT) The Tree of Life
“1 What delight comes to the one who follows God’s ways!
He won’t walk in step with the wicked,
nor share the sinner’s way,
nor be found sitting in the scorner’s seat.
2 His pleasure and passion is remaining true to the Word of “I Am,”
meditating day and night in the true revelation of light.
3 He will be standing firm like a flourishing tree
planted by God’s design,
deeply rooted by the brooks of bliss,
bearing fruit in every season of his life.
He is never dry, never fainting,
ever blessed, ever prosperous.
4 But how different are the wicked.
All they are is dust in the wind—
driven away to destruction!
5 The wicked will not endure the day of judgment,
for God will not defend them.
Nothing they do will succeed or endure for long,
for they have no part with those who walk in truth.
6 But how different it is for the righteous!
The Lord embraces their paths as they move forward
while the way of the wicked leads only to doom.”
The choices we make in life, even from a young age, cause our paths before us. When we choose goodness over evil, we reap a goodly reward. When we choose to do evil over goodness, we reap an evil person’s reward. It really is that simple. I realize we are sometimes victims of other people’s choices, yet how we react to that treatment, determines how we will be treated in the future.
Galatians 6:7-10 TPT
“7 Make no mistake about it, God will never be mocked! For what you plant will always be the very thing you harvest. 8 The harvest you reap reveals the seed that was planted. If you plant the corrupt seeds of self – life into this natural realm, you can expect to experience a harvest of corruption. If you plant the good seeds of Spirit-life you will reap the beautiful fruits that grow from the everlasting life of the Spirit.
9 And don’t allow yourselves to be weary or disheartened in planting good seeds, for the season of reaping the wonderful harvest you’ve planted is coming! 10 Take advantage of every opportunity to be a blessing to others,especially to our brothers and sisters in the family of faith!”
Every time we choose the good over the evil, our ground produces good. The more we overcome the natural tendencies to retaliate and seek revenge, the more our ground starts producing good crops for us to eat.
May we all choose to be like God, our Father, who loves all men, and rains on both the “just and the unjust”.
James 4:8 (TPT)
Move your heart closer and closer to God, and he will come even closer to you. But make sure you cleanse your life, you sinners, and keep your heart pure and stop doubting.
We see by these words from the Bible, the choice is always ours to draw to God or to receive His drawing call in our lives. God’s heart is always open to us. It is we, ourselves who draw back in shame or rebellion. Take a chance today and open your heart to receive His great love for you.
6 For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
In our Wednesday night adult class, we have been studying Abram. He became Abraham as a part of the covenant God made with him. Though he received a promise from God to bless him abundantly with children, it didn’t happen as quickly as he and Sarai thought it should.
They like most of us who are waiting on God’s provision, tried to help God out. They went around the promise and produced their own “child”. He was not the child of promise and their actions caused all kinds of problems for them. The same is true today when we chose to produce our “child of promise” instead of waiting on God.
How many of us have prayed for a car, house, job or other such thing, then because it did not instantly happen, chose to fix it ourselves. We borrowed money at too high a rate, picked the first car, house or job that seemed to look good, then spent years of regrets for not waiting. Also one big issue of not waiting, is when the promise is ready to be fulfilled, we are stuck in the self-made provision and sometimes cannot accept the promise as we are in debt to our ears or stuck in a dead-end job that requires two weeks notice. OUCH! Lots of us are Abram and Sarai at times.
Thank God for his mercy and grace extended to us. He will forgive us and provide for us when we place our faith on His provision. If we can learn to do so quickly and keep our own fingers out of it, the promise can come quicker. God proved himself to Abram and Sarai in providing the son of promise and in the covenant He made with them changed their names to Abraham-father of nations and Sarah-princess. He showed them one of his Names-El Shaddai; “The God who is more than enough” or “The All-Sufficient One”. He is still revealing himself by that name to all who are walking in faith for His provision.