Wednesday, November 19, 2014

the truth about our giving

Our current series at The Community Fellowship is called GIVE IT ALL AWAY.  IT can mean and does mean many things.  Sunday we talked about money, but the stuff we can and must give away runs the gamut from tangible to intangible.  Grace is intangible but can be seen.  It is not contained in a bank account.

But there are things we can put in a bank account.  The fact is that when you look at your money, or when someone else looks at how you use your money and possessions, speaks volumes about your relationship with God.

“Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me! “But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?’ “You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! 11 Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease. Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 12 “Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

There is a promise for those who take from God.  There is also a promise for those who are generous. 

This passage begins with a challenge to turn to God.  Look at the verses just before those I shared above.  God is God.  His grace and forgiveness and love are so very real.  We have experienced His truth personally.

Yet we read verses like what Paul shares in Romans 7, and we cannot understand why we continually fail or fall or choose sin.  It happens to all of us, but we can turn back to God as He constantly calls us.

In this passage God speaks about money.  The reason why he speaks about money is that He is illustrating a point.  In an early verse He said that the people couldn't understand that they turned away from God.  They thought they were close to Him all the time.  So the prophet says that the way we use our money illustrates our connection to God.

That is when BOOM, God says we have cheated or robbed Him in the way we give or don't give our money.

What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.

Even though we have taken from God He calls us back to Himself.  It is hypocritical to say we follow God and not honor Him with the way we use and give our money.  Too many Christians give God the left overs when He asks for the first part.  We must acknowledge that it all belongs to Him in the first place.

I have heard something like this and believe it --- God can do more with the 90% after we give Him the 10% than we can do with 100%.  Hope that makes sense.  So, where do we start?  We return to Him!

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.

We rob God when we stop honoring Him with what we have.  He says to bring the tithe and offerings into the storehouse.  If we give, we are promised a blessing.  If we don’t give, we will miss the blessings of God.

God says to test Him on this one.  There are many promises tied to our giving our money and being generous.  This is just one of them.  But it comes with a promise. 

When we give, God says He will protect us.  When we give, God says He will bring more increase.  When we give, God says He will honor us because we have honored Him.  Realize this is not a threat from God.  This is a promise of His blessing.

It is our choice to open the door to blessings or to miss out on what God has for each of us.  Blessings come when we do what God says, and I want those blessings.  God honors the results of obedience

Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.” 10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.

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happy birthday, Julie

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