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AUDIO Couldn’t God Have Done Something?

UNSPECIFIED – CIRCA 1754: Samson pulling down the Temple of Dagon, god of the Philistines. Bible: Judges XVI. Mid-19th century chromolithograph (Photo by Universal History Archive/Getty Images)

By Rev Bill Woods

2 Corinthians 12:7-10
7  even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.
8  Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.
9  Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
10  That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Have you ever been in a hard situation and asked God, “Can’t You do something to help me?”………

I wonder if we understand God’s purpose in our lives.

    – Why do we think God’s obligated to protect us from everything?

God has one purpose in our lives now and only one goal for us in the future.

    – His objective is that Christ be glorified in us.

      – There’s no other purpose for the present.

Christ prayed before He went to the cross that He’d be glorified in that little group of men.

    – That’s still what He wants in the lives of Christians today.

God’s future goal for us is to be glorified in Him.

    – THINK OF IT! Someday we’ll be like Jesus who is now at the right hand of the Father!……

See what the Bible says about God’s objectives for us.

1 Peter 1:6-7
6  So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.
7  These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

Hebrew 12:10-11
10  For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness.
11  No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening — it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

Why does God discipline us? – So we’ll have a part in His Holiness.

To be honest, I’d rather forget the discipline part and just have the peaceful harvest of right living.                                                  .   – But it doesn’t work that way!

We’d all prefer “sainthood” before we go through the refining furnace.

We forget nothing happens in our lives that God’s hasn’t allowed.                     

– God wants to mold our lives into something beautiful and useful to His Glory.

Apostle Paul gained wonderful insight.                                                                                     – He’d been going through a trial and felt defeated (“thorn in his flesh”)

2 Corinthians 12:7
7  even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.

   – We want to skip those “thorns in the flesh.”

    – We question God’s love and wisdom when they come.

2 Corinthians 12:8-9
8  Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.
9  Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

Have you been there?

    – Do you know the victory of glorying in your infirmities?

    – It’s not that we like infirmities — that’s not what Paul is saying.

We may never care for the infirmities or the reproaches.

    – What we want is the Power of Christ to rest upon us — WE WANT THAT POWER!

We want to work for the Lord, but we don’t want to endure a “thorn in the flesh.”

We’d like to serve God efficiently and in full health and no opposition.

We want the Power of Christ showing in us, but not through some bodily ailment.

    – That’s not how we really want it!

But that’s how Paul came to accept it.

2 Corinthians 12:10
10  That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

If we want God’s Strength in our weakness, it may take a “thorn in the flesh.”

    – It’s nice to have God’s Strength supporting us, but we don’t want what usually brings this  experience.

WE WANT THE ROSES WITHOUT THE THORNS!

I’ve heard so many people say, “I shouldn’t have to go through rough places, or give up things I want because GOD WANTS ME TO BE HAPPY!” 

Years ago I knew a pastor who gave up his church, left his wife and kids and moved in with another woman saying he had a right to do this because his wife nagged him and he was unhappy and “God wanted him to be happy!”                                                                                                                         

Let me tell you something: GOD IS MORE INTERESTED IN YOUR OBEDIENCE THAN HE   IS IN YOUR BEING HAPPY!  (Besides, a right relationship with God will bring joy to your life and that is far superior to just happiness, but I think you’ll find greater happiness too.)

The only way our Christian growth is going to happen is through the thorns.

Jesus never promised an easy life!  He said, “Take up your cross and follow Me.”

Crosses aren’t usually easy, but they are fulfilling and make us stronger.

Remember:  God could’ve kept Daniel out of the lions’ den — instead He kept him in the lions’ den — That was a far more wonderful thing!

Anybody can avoid being bitten by a lion if there are no lions around to bite you……….

What an experience Daniel had that I’ve missed!                                                               – How wonderful to testify about being in a lion’s den with those big shaggy cats wanting to tear him limb from limb, but they couldn’t open their mouths!…….

DANIEL COULDN’T HAVE HAD THAT EXPERIENCE EXCEPT IN THE LIONS’ DEN!

We want to feel God’s nearness — to realize God’s Power — but not it in the lions’ den — MAYBE THAT’S WHY WE DON’T SENSE A NEARNESS TO GOD.

God could’ve kept the 3 Hebrews out of the fiery furnace — instead He let them be in there with it heated 7 times hotter than usual.

But what happened in the furnace?

The fire burned off their fetters!

Do you want your fetters to go?                                                                                           

  – “Oh, yes!  But not inside a fiery furnace!”

“Lord, let my fetters be burned off outside the furnace!  Maybe a little bonfire that’ll burn them off, but not a fiery furnace!”  – “Lord, I don’t want victory that much!”

The Lord came down and walked in the furnace with them and the heathen King, Nebuchadnezzar, saw there was a 4th man in the furnace……………..

WHAT A MIGHTY AND WONDERFUL GOD WE SERVE!

Do you want to know Him better? – Would you like to have an experience like that with God?

THAT EXPERIENCE HAPPENED INSIDE A FIERY FURNACE! WE CAN’T GET IT OUTSIDE OF THE FURNACE!                                                                                                                .  

– That’s why we don’t have more wonderful times with God.

We want to sit in our easy chairs and get to know God better………………..

The only way we’re going to get a message that will help others in their fiery furnaces is to be in there ourselves and come out without having our hair singed…………..

We can have victory in the fiery furnace where we are.  

– Too many of us miss it because we want to feel sorry for ourselves……………

GOD COULD’VE KEPT PAUL AND SILAS OUT OF PRISON.                                                      .  

God could’ve kept them from being beaten and having their feet fastened by stocks.

They couldn’t sleep in that prison, but they could pray, sing and praise God……..                                                             .  

– Describe the miracle when they sang.

Do we want to win souls?  “Yes, Lord, but don’t make us have a prison experience in order to be able to win one!  We don’t want it that way!”

So not many souls are won to Christ because we can’t take the prison experience.

Never ask, “Why?” but, “What?”

Lady from Spokane going to Laymen’s Retreat — had a heart attack and ended in the hospital. – She didn’t say, “Why me?”  She said, “Okay, God, Why am I here and what do you want me to do for You?”

It’s not a matter of “why”, but “what” in whatever circumstance you find yourself.

Sometimes we’re disappointed because things didn’t go as we planned, but again, God knows what He’s doing — our job is to Trust and Obey.

When our girls were little, we were supposed to go to a District Pastors’ Retreat on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands.  – Marty and I both looked forward to that ride on the ferry, and the beauty of the islands.                                                                                                                                                      

– We both began to feel apprehensive about going, but we wanted to go!

Finally, we decided that we didn’t understand why, but we’d better stay home this time.

What a disappointment!

As it turned out, the people that were to babysit our daughters had some emergency and completely forgot about them.                                                                                                                   .  

– Our little girls would’ve been alone with nobody to care for them!                                                          .  

– Thank God we listened to Him!

God’s there in every circumstance.

He listens to our prayers and guides us through every situation.

Modern Christians don’t know the power of prayer!

A small town had historically been “dry.”  A local businessman decided to build a tavern.

A group of Christians from a local church were concerned and had an all-night prayer meeting to ask God to intervene.

Not long after they prayed, lightning struck the bar and it burned to the ground.

The owner of the bar sued the church, claiming the prayers of the congregation were responsible, but the church hired a lawyer to argue in court that they weren’t responsible.

The judge, after his initial review of the case, said that “no matter how this case comes out, one thing’s clear. The tavern owner believes in prayer and the Christians don’t.”

Christians grow through chastening, and when we’re exercised or disciplined, through suffering.

Romans 8:35-37
35  Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?
36  (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”)
37  No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

It’s easy to show an attitude of victory after we’re out of a difficult place.

After it’s over we claim to be “more than conquerors,” but what about while we’re in it?

Do we trust God then?  Or do we whimper and whine and destroy our witness?

We have to trust God while we’re in the trial or we’re not ever going to become strong in the Lord………

We’ll never be “more than conquerors” until we’re “more than conquerors” in that difficult circumstance.

The goal for our future is to be like Jesus.

Paul said, Romans 8:29
29  For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

Romans 8:17-19  
17  And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.
18  Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.
19  For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18  
17  For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!
18  So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

Do you see the contrast here?

– God speaks of “light affliction” now and the “Eternal weight of Glory” then.

The pain, the trouble, the sorrows and temptations we face now are for a moment compared to the Glory we’ll have for all Eternity.

Dr. Helen Roseveare, missionary to Zaire, told this story. “A mother at our mission station died after giving birth to a premature baby. We tried to improvise an incubator to keep the infant alive, but the only hot water bottle we had was beyond repair. So we asked the children to pray for the baby and for her sister.

One of the girls responded, ‘Dear God, please send a hot water bottle today. Tomorrow will be too late because by then the baby will be dead. And dear Lord, send a doll for the sister so she won’t feel so lonely.’ 

That afternoon a large package arrived from England.

The children watched eagerly as we opened it. Much to their surprise, under some clothing was a hot water bottle! Immediately the girl who had prayed so earnestly started to dig deeper, exclaiming, ‘If God sent that, I’m sure He also sent a doll!’

She was right! Our heavenly Father knew in advance that child’s sincere requests, and 5 months earlier He’d led a ladies’ group to include both of those specific articles.” 

During our times of discouragement, God knows exactly how He’s going to answer our need.

 He can see the future and knows the check is in the mail, the answer’s already been given for that particular need.

And here we are worrying and sweating it out wondering, COULDN’T GOD HAVE DONE SOMETHING?”

God wants us to pray, and depend on Him, but since He wants us to learn to trust Him, it must be all He can do not to intervene immediately. – But only in His waiting can we grow.

The truth is, God’s already doing something!

Are you seeing only +]your difficult circumstances today?

 It’s only as you keep your eyes on God that you’ll be able to see your afflictions as God sees them, and have victory!


PODCAST COULDN’T GOD HAVE DONE SOMETHING?

https://www.buzzsprout.com/824359/8086355


God’s Redemption Plan for Africa

 / MULYALE MUTISYA

‘Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance’Isaiah 19:25

In the Bible, Egypt was known for her wealth, agricultural prowess, mighty army, and abundance. It was a powerful empire known worldwide, not only in Africa. When nations faced any trouble, they turned to Egypt not knowing that ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength’ (Jeremiah 17:5). Nonetheless, everyone wanted to be associated with her and none wanted to be an enemy. In fact, God knew Egypt’s ulterior motive and says, ‘Egypt rises like the Nile, like rivers of surging waters. She says, ‘I will rise and cover the earth: I will destroy cities and their people’ (45:v8). They were even considered as gods themselves but God reminds, ‘But the Egyptians are men and not God, their horses are flesh and not spirit’ (Isaiah 31:3).

Egypt was also recognized for its notoriety in idol worship, having many gods, full of superstitions and divination. They consulted ‘idols and the spirits of the dead, the mediums and the spiritists’ (19:v3). But God says, ‘Do not learn the ways of the heathen or be terrified by signs of heaven for the heathen are terrified by them. For the customs of the peoples are worthless’ (Jeremiah 10:2-3). Still, many nations were fascinated with Egypt which was described as ‘a beautiful heifer’ (46:v20).

Only God knew that the beautiful heifer wanted more power and control. Egypt wanted to impose her rule and religion throughout the world in some kind of a One World system. They wanted to be god. But the Lord Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth thwarted her plans. God says, ‘I am about to bring punishment on Amon god of Thebes, on Pharaoh, on Egypt and her gods and her kings, and on those who rely on Pharaoh’ (v25). Even after God had showed His undisputed power through plagues, parting of the Red Sea and overthrowing Egypt’s best chariots in order to bring ‘judgement on all the gods of Egypt’ (Exodus 12:12), Egypt still did not revere God. Decades later, God says ‘I am against you Pharaoh king of Egypt, you great monster lying among your streams. 

You say, “The Nile is mine; I made it for myself.” But I will put hooks in your jaws and make the fish of your streams stick to your scales. I will pull you out from among your streams with all the fish sticking to your scales’ (Ezekiel 29:3-4). Not only judgement was decreed on Egypt, but all her allies, ‘Cush and Put, Lydia and all Arabia, Libya and the people of the covenant land’ (Israel) will fall by the sword’ (30:v5). Egypt and her neighbours were descendants of Ham (Psalm 78:51). The people living in Cush located in the upper Nile region, were described as ‘a people tall and smooth-skinned . . . a people feared far and wide . . . an aggressive nation of strange speech whose land is divided by rivers’ (Isaiah 18:2,7).

A judgement was decreed for Egypt and the surrounding African nations, as well as its allies. Egypt’s and Africa’s judgement was, ‘I will dry up the streams of the Nile and sell the land to evil men; by the hand of foreigners I will lay waste the land and everything in it . . . I will destroy the idols and put an end to the images in Memphis. No longer will there be a Prince in Egypt, and I will spread fear throughout the land’ (Ezekiel 29:12,13).

During that time, ‘Dark will be the day at Tahpanhes when I break the yoke of Egypt’ (v18). God says to Pharaoh whom He describes ‘like a lion among the nations’ (32:v2); ‘I will darken over you; I will bring darkness over your land’ (v8). In this darkness, Egypt would ‘be the lowliest of kingdoms and will never again exalt itself above the other nations. I will make it so weak that it will never again rule over the nations’ (29:v15). In addition, God says ‘I will disperse the Egyptians among the nations and scatter them through the countries. Then they will know that I am the Lord’ (30:v26).

Isaiah describes in detail when he prophesies, that ‘Egyptian captives and Cushite exiles, young and old’ (Isaiah 20:4) will be led captive ‘with buttocks bared- to Egypt’s shame’ (v4). True to the prophecy, Africa has many deserts, was colonised by brutal men and foreigners plundered her wealth, some of her people were scattered in diverse nations through captivity and slavery, monarchies are scarce, and we are considered Third World in the Global map. In fact, we were referred to as the ‘Dark Continent’. All this was so that the African people as God says, may know that I am the Lord.

Keenly looking through the establishment of God’s initial nation, Israel, Africa was also featured. Not only was Egypt mentioned as a source of refuge during times of famine for Abraham and Jacob’s family, but a place of prosperity for some Israelites such as Joseph. In fact, alliances were formed by Israelites with Egyptians, bringing the African heritage into Israel’s bloodline. This happened when Joseph was in Egypt, ‘Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Phaneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Photiphera, Priest of On, to be his wife’ (Genesis 41:45).

Joseph and his Egyptian wife had two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh who composed of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Jacob say to his son Joseph regarding Ephraim and Manasseh, ‘they will be reckoned under the names of their brothers’ (48:v6). God also says, ‘Manasseh is mine; Ephraim also is the strength of my head’ (Psalm 60:7). Moses also had a Cushite wife and ‘Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite’ (Numbers 12:1). God did not take this lightly and ‘The anger of the Lord burned against them’ (v9), and Miriam became ‘leprous, like snow’ (v10) for seven days. Also, King ‘Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt and married his daughter. He brought her to the City of David until he finished building his palace and the temple of the Lord, and the wall around Jerusalem’ (1 Kings 3:1).

Long before the plagues, destruction, and captivity, God had already set a plan to redeem His people, Egypt. He reveals this plan through the Prophets, especially Prophet Isaiah when He says, ‘In that day five Cities in Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the Lord Almighty. One of them will be called the City of the Sun’ (Isaiah 19:18). God continues to say, ‘In that day, there will be an altar to the Lord in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the Lord at its border. It will be a sign and witness to the Lord Almighty in the land of Egypt’ (v19-20). Currently, the heart of Africa is Christianity, which makes up 49% of the Continent’s population. ‘So the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the Lord . . . They will turn to the Lord, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them . . . ‘ (v21,22).

In fulfilment of the Prophecy, the Light of Christ started penetrating through the ‘Dark Continent’, as in the rest of the world. The first evidence of this is recorded when God sent one of the Apostles, Phillip, to meet with ‘an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his Chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. Then the Spirit told Phillip, ‘Go to that Chariot and stay near it’ (Acts 8:27-29). ‘Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus’ (v35). Since then, the good news about Jesus has caught fire in Africa and is continuing to spread, all to the glory and plan of God.

‘In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth’ ~ Isaiah 19:24

https://carolynemutisya7.wordpress.com/2020/12/04/gods-redemption-plan-for-africa/

Beauty from ashes: How Christians can honor God in 2021

The events of 2020, while unprecedented to us, are not altogether unique. Humans have undergone similar and much worse trials throughout history, and we are blessed to have reliable evidence of some of these events in the Bible. Perhaps one of the most poignant scriptural similarities of undergoing a collective calamity we have is when the Israelites were fleeing Egypt. In examining their plight and drawing parallels to how we are responding to this current pandemic, it brings up the question, do we want to be like the Israelites, who grumbled and complained during difficulty instead of focusing on God’s plan for them, or will we be different?

Will we allow God to make beauty from our ashes and trust His character no matter what tomorrow brings?

The Israelites may have not been up against the coronavirus, but they perhaps faced even more fear and uncertainty than we are right now. They were terrified at the Red Sea when Pharaoh’s armies were approaching. They were scared they would not have food or water. They were afraid of the giants that roamed the Promised Land. And when they rebelled in their fear and made an idol to worship, plagues were brought down, which could be considered mini pandemics in themselves.

2020 has been one of the most turbulent years not only because of the pandemic but because of all the political and racial tension that has swept the nation. Likewise, in the Old Testament, we see examples of political unrest with Korah’s rebellion as the Israelites challenged Moses’ and Aarons’ God-ordained leadership. Aaron and Marian contested an election when they both challenged Moses as the leader, and unlike now, where recounts and lawsuits settle the challenges, they had to bring the staff before God to reaffirm who He chose.

All of these occasions gave them opportunities to either trust God or turn away from Him out of fear and rebellion. Throughout those trials and tribulations, it was not the Israelites feeling sad, hungry or worn out that angered the Lord. God was angriest with them when they retaliated and tried to displace Him as their leader, even after He delivered them from tyranny and promised that He would remain faithful to the end.

Looking at those stories from the lens of 2020, as Christians, we may be quick to cast judgment on the Israelites for their short term memory loss. How could they so easily distrust God after the myriad miracles He worked for them? But just as many of us have wrung our hands in despair, turned to substance abuse for distraction or become more caught up in fighting people on politics than praying on our knees in spiritual warfare, we are susceptible to the same sin of forgetting God’s goodness and finding something else to idolize.

As 2021 approaches, it is easy to think back on life before the pandemic and wish we could throw this year away and time travel back into what we view as better times. For many of us, myself included, viewing the years through a worldly lens, life did feel better before the pandemic. Yet, our faith is in Him and His promises, not on “better” times of past years. He tells us that if we humble ourselves and turn to Him, He will heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:15). We can choose to cling to His promises and goodness as our hope and firm foundation.

Trusting God, especially as we navigate a strange holiday season without our usual gatherings and traditions, can be easier said than done. So I encourage you to make the following practices a priority to have the right spiritual mindset as we brace for a new year:

  1. Thank God every day for the provisions He has provided for you.
  2. Praise Him for what He has done for our country and throughout the world during this time and also throughout history.
  3. Set an appointment with yourself and take time multiple times each day to praise Him.
  4. Be intentional with what you breathe in and out; are you complaining more often than praising? Are the people you are spending time with bringing you closer to the Lord?
  5. Go for a walk every day, and talk with God. Let Him know how you feel, and ask Him to reveal Himself to you during this time.

Our pride, in thinking we have control, is the biggest stumbling block we have before us. How much better is it to release control and not have to carry the weight of the future on our shoulders anymore?

While we cannot reverse 2020, we can respond in a way that pleases Him. Unlike the Israelites who tried to take over when things didn’t go as planned, we can give up control and trust that He will never leave us or forsake us and heal our land. By doing so, we will begin to see God’s goodness and His unwavering faithfulness, which is worthy of all our praise.

Peter Demos is the author of “Afraid to Trust,” restaurateur, president and CEO of Demos’ Brands and Demos Family Kitchen and leadership source expert.

https://www.christianpost.com/voices/beauty-from-ashes-how-christians-can-honor-god-in-2021.html

VIDEO God and Our Money

April 26, 2019

 

When you consider your finances, what comes to mind? What you have or don’t have? Whom you owe or what to buy? Do you feel stress, or are you at peace? God’s Word offers much wisdom for our financial decisions. In this message, Dr. Stanley covers common concerns, discussing what God thinks, says, and promises regarding personal finances—and what we can expect if we are obedient to His principles. Discover the path to generosity and provision as you learn how to trust Him with this important area of life.

KEY PASSAGE: Proverbs 3:5-10Luke 6:38

SUPPORTING SCRIPTURES: 1 Chronicles 29:12 | Psalm 50:12 | Haggai 1:5-6 | Malachi 3:8-12 | Luke 12:16-21 | Luke 18:28-29 | 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 | James 1:17

SUMMARY

When you consider your finances, do you feel emotional turmoil and stress, or are you at peace? What thoughts come to mind?

Do you focus on how much you don’t have, how much you’d like to have, what you could do to increase your income, or what you would do with more money? These are common concerns for all of us, but there’s another spiritual aspect we should consider when we think about our finances—what does God have to say about it, and what would He have us give away?

SERMON POINTS

When it comes to our personal finances, it’s important to understand that we must follow God’s principles and not human advice or reasoning. We need to know what God thinks, says, and promises regarding financial decisions and what we can expect if we are obedient to His principles.

  • Proverbs 3:5-10 provides divine guidance that applies to financial matters as well as every other area of life. We are told to trust God and not rely on our own understanding. This means we honor Him with our wealth by giving Him the first part of what we receive. If we follow this advice, the Lord promises to supply our needs.

The Basic Teaching of Scripture

• God owns it all. “For the world is Mine, and all it contains” (Ps. 50:12). This is a difficult truth for many people to accept because from a human perspective, we’ve worked to earn all that we have. However, we are not the owners of anything but the caretakers, managers, or stewards of whatever God has entrusted to us. He is the source and giver of our money and possessions.

To illustrate what happens when we forget this truth, Jesus told a parable about a rich man whose land was so productive that he had to build larger barns to store it all (Luke 12:16-21). He foolishly said to himself, “You have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry” (v. 19). But God rebuked him, saying, “You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?” (v. 20). Then Jesus concluded the story by saying, “So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (v. 21).

We are all only one heartbeat away from losing all our earthly goods. Then we must stand before the Lord to hear His evaluation of our lives. The time to live wisely according to God’s instruction is now.

• God wants us to give. Malachi 3:8-12 shows us God’s perspective on tithing. The Lord equated the people’s withholding of tithes and offerings with robbing Him. Then He told them, “‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows’” (v. 10). Although this was spoken to the nation of Israel, the reasons for generosity still apply to us today.

  1. To provide for the Lord’s work.
  2. To provide for the needs of others.
  3. To prove to us that God is faithful.

• God wants us to give cheerfully. “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7). Our heart attitude is very important to the Lord. He wants us to give voluntarily and happily out of love and gratitude.

• God warns about disobedience in giving. Since we are commanded by the Lord to give Him a portion of what He’s entrusted to us, there are consequences if we choose to disobey Him. In Haggai 1:6, the Lord reprimanded the people of Judah for their disobedience saying, “You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes.”

Giving to God is not just a demonstration of appreciation, thoughtfulness, and generosity; it’s an act of obedience. He has provided us with every good gift, but if we neglect Him, everything we earn or acquire will not give genuine satisfaction. That only comes with obedience.

God’s Plan for Our Giving to Him

  • His Motivation. God loves us and wants us to understand that He is the one who enables us to prosper financially. “Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone” (1 Chron. 29:12).
  • His Promise. “Your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine” (Prov. 3:10). The Lord blesses those who trust Him enough to give as He desires.
  • His Protection. “Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it may not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes” (Mal. 3:11). When we follow God’s guidelines for our finances, we don’t have to fear deprivation because He leads us to make wise financial decisions according to His will.
  • His Generosity. “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return” (Luke 6:38). The Lord gives us more than we expect or deserve.
  • His Sufficiency. “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed” (2 Cor. 9:8).

Our willingness to follow God’s financial principles is a matter of trust in His Word. If we are confident that He will do what He has said, we’ll be generous, knowing that He will be faithful to supply our needs when we give Him a portion of all He’s provided for us.

RESPONSE

  • Is it difficult for you to trust God with your finances? If so, what are you afraid will happen if you begin to give a portion of your income to Him?
  • What attributes of God reassure you that He can be trusted to supply your needs if you will obey Him in the matter of giving?

https://www.intouch.org/watch/god-and-our-money

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