Dudley (think about it)

September 30, 2015

balance

Continuing on in our Marriage improvement plan

  1. The husband’s love must be personal.

He must love her as his own body (Ephesians  5, verse. 28). Every day the husband brushes his teeth, combs his hair, and clothes himself. Every day he maintains his body. Sadly, husbands often go weeks without ministering to their wives. It is very easy to get so busy with life, work, and ministry that one inadvertently allows weeds to grow in his marriage. Love must be personal. He must love her like his own body. He must daily take time to cultivate a happy home.

When the world hears the phrase “male leadership,” it often has negative connotations, but it should not if properly understood. Consider what Christ taught his disciples about leadership in Luke 22:25-27.

Jesus said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.’

As described in Luke 22, male leadership primarily means greater service. Christ told his disciples that whoever wanted to be the greatest must be like “the youngest.” The Jewish culture was very hierarchical, meaning that the youngest would always serve the oldest. But, Jesus spoke to this hierarchical culture and said that true leadership is servant leadership. To lead means to be like the youngest—the servant of all. True leaders will forego their right of being served in order to serve others. That’s how husbands should be in marriage. They should be constantly humbling themselves in order to serve their wives.

Christ demonstrated this leadership in John 13, when he did the work of a slave by washing his disciples’ feet. There is nothing negative about this type of leadership. God always intended this type of loving leadership for the marriage relationship, and the husband must daily seek to cultivate it.

What other traits should characterize gender roles in marriage?

The Husband Must Submit to Christ’s Leadership

First Corinthians 11:3 says: “Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.”

In this verse, we see the divine prerogative: Christ submits to God, the man submits to Christ, and the woman submits to man. If the husband is going to lead his wife according to God’s design, he must first submit to Christ. It is for this reason that a wife must submit to her husband, for when she is following her husband, she is really submitting to Christ’s delegated authority.

This brings a grave responsibility to each husband to know Christ’s leading. He must truly be somebody who abides in God’s Word and prayer so that he can discern God’s voice. The man considering marriage should ask himself, “Am I pursuing the Lord in such a way that I can know his voice in order to lovingly lead a wife and a family?” It has commonly been said, “Only those who are near, hear.” The husband must be near Christ, his head, to hear his voice. Only the husband who is near Christ will be able to model Christ and lead properly.

This is also important for single women to hear and consider because not every man is spiritually fit for leadership. They should ask themselves about a potential husband, “Does this man love Christ? Is this man following Christ? Is he spiritually fit to lead?” One can be sure that if a single man is not faithful in following Christ, he will not be faithful when married. Scripture says that he who is unfaithful with little, will be unfaithful with much (Luke 16:10, paraphrase). Husbands must continually be submitting to the leadership of Christ in order to properly lead their homes.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Hey, all the feedback is great, I knew there would be the “but I know this one….”

The principles of God are timeless and eternal, it is our wicked mind, sinful desires and selfishness that prevents us from following God’s plan.

Remember our prayer list and God bless

ok, go with the flow

September 29, 2015

balance

Instead of using his leadership to control or dominate his wife, God calls the husband to use his leadership to love his wife. God planned this from the beginning. The husband would lead through loving his wife. What should this love look like? Paul teaches that the husband’s love should mirror Christ’s love for the church. In Ephesians 5:25-28, he says:

 

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

What can we learn about a husband’s love from Christ’s example?1

 

1. The husband’s love must be realistic.

 

The husband should have no fantasies about the woman he is marrying (v. 25). Christ loved the church, but he knew she was sinful and disobedient. Christ gave his life for the church while knowing her faults. His love was realistic.

 

In marriage, both mates must grasp this reality. In fact, much of pre-marital counseling is destroying the false expectations set up through romantic comedies and Hollywood. The husband must love realistically. This woman does not walk on water; she has been infected by sin just as he has. She must be reformed daily by God’s grace, and she must be loved through her faults. Scripture says, “Love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). Having a realistic love is important for both mates because if they don’t have it, they will become disillusioned. No doubt, one of the reasons for such a high number of divorces in the first year of marriage is because most love is not realistic.

 

2. The husband’s love must be sacrificial.

 

He is to love her as Christ loved the church and be willing to die for her (v. 25). It should be understood that if anybody feels like the wife’s role is unfair, they should give more thought to the man’s. It is much easier to submit to someone than to give one’s life for that person. This love that the husband is supposed to embody is impossible apart from the grace of God. To love sacrificially means the husband must often give up other things in order to serve and please his wife. He must sacrifice for her. He must sacrifice time, friendships, career, entertainment, hobbies, etc., in order to love his wife like Christ.

3. The husband’s love must be purposeful.

 

The purpose of Christ’s love is to make the church holy, cleansing her by washing with the Word (v. 26-27). Christ’s purpose is to make the church a perfect bride. Similarly, the husband must love his wife through teaching her Scripture, getting her involved in a Bible preaching church, and encouraging her to get involved with the ministries of the church.

 

He must seek to cultivate not only her character but also her calling, so she can fulfill God’s plans for her life. He must help her discern her gifts and talents and encourage her in the use of them for the glory of God. This purposeful love also means at times admonishing her to help her know Christ more. Every man should consider if he is ready and willing to love a woman in this way even before getting married. Is he ready to be a spiritual leader? Is he ready to be devoted to the spiritual development of his wife?

Okay, we are going to park right here, I want to keep this shorter than yesterday’s so you can read it and have time to really ponder where we are going with this. I would suggest printing these out and each spouse reading them and prayerfully talk about this with out blaming or making a person feel guilty. Repairing a marriage is the most difficult task in the world, hard, not impossible.

Pray for Charles who is having bronchial problems

Kim and her battle with cancer

Joseph and a career change

Pam and her back

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

I DON’T CARE

September 28, 2015

thinking over feeling

I DON’T CARE THAT IT’S NOT POPULAR, I DON’T CARE IF YOU HAVE A HORROR STORY ABOUT YOUR HUSBAND, I DON’T CARE IF YOU ARE A FEMINIST, THIS WILL BE ONE ON THE MOST UNPOPULAR POSTS I DO, I DON’T CARE IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT. IT IS A BIBLICAL PRINCIPLE THAT IS OFTEN NOT TAUGHT, TAUGHT INCORRECTLY AND MOST OFTEN ABUSED, NEGLECTED OR TWISTED. THE ORIGINAL PLAN, PURPOSE AND PLACE OF THE DESIGN IS STILL CORRECT, NOT OUTDATED OR HAS BEEN REPLACED.

God’s original intention was for the husband to lead the marriage, which can be clearly discerned from Scripture. In this lesson, we will establish the husband’s authority by looking at the creation narrative. We will consider the perversion of gender roles as a result of the Fall, and then we will consider God’s reestablishment of the husband’s and wife’s roles by looking at other key Scripture passages.

Let’s first start with a biblical foundation for male leadership. How do we see this established in the creation story?

God Created Adam Before Eve to Demonstrate His Authority.

In the creation story, God first made Adam and then Eve as his helper. Genesis 2:18 says, “The LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’”

In 1 Timothy 2, Paul used the creation order as evidence for men being the leaders/teachers in the church and not women. Look at what he said in 1 Timothy 2:12-13: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve.”

Some have tried to explain away Paul’s teaching on male leadership in the church as simply cultural and, therefore, not applicable to the church today. However, Paul’s argument for male leadership was not just a cultural argument. Paul used a creation argument for the establishment of male leadership, meaning that God established this order from the beginning. Certainly, in the ancient culture, birth order was very important. The first born child would often receive a double portion of the inheritance. Birth order showed one’s rank. Similarly, Paul said God’s creation of Adam first was not haphazard but by sovereign design. It was meant to show his leadership in relation to his wife.

God established the husband’s authority in the home from the beginning of creation, and Paul’s argument was that this authority should continue to be reflected in God’s church.

In what other ways do we see the husband’s authority reflected in the creation story?

Adam’s Naming of His Wife Demonstrated His Authority

Another evidence of God’s original design for male leadership in the home is demonstrated in the fact that Adam named his wife. We see Adam’s naming of his wife in two parts. First, in Genesis 2, God called for Adam to name all the animals. After naming them, God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep, and, from his body, God created Adam’s wife. Then Adam immediately named her. Genesis 2:23 says, “The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called “woman,” for she was taken out of man.’” As Adam originally named the animals, he then named his wife “woman.” Secondly, after the Fall, he then called her “Eve” because she would be the mother of all the living (Gen 3:20).

Similar to ancient times, naming in our culture still is a reflection of one’s authority. Parents name their children since they are the authority. God’s design for Adam to lead his wife can be clearly discerned from the creation story, both in the creation order and in the naming of his wife.

Gender Roles Were Perverted in the Fall

In the Fall, Satan tempted Eve to eat from the forbidden tree. Scripture actually says that Eve was deceived but not Adam. First Timothy 2:14 says, “Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.” Why does it say that Adam was not deceived but the woman was?

Remember, in the context of 1 Timothy 2, Paul is making the argument that women should not be the leaders/teachers in the church (cf. 2:12). He seems to be making the argument that the Fall happened because Adam willingly followed his wife instead of being the leader God had called him to be. Eve was deceived, and Adam followed even though he knew it was wrong. Satan’s temptation disrupted God’s original order.

With that said, let’s consider the effects of the Fall on gender roles in marriage. God said this about the effects, “To the woman he said, ‘I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you’” (Gen 3:16).

What did God mean when he said to the woman, “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you”? The meaning is ambiguous, but it is made clearer by considering the use of the Hebrew word “desire” in other texts

In Genesis 4:7, God used the same word to describe “sin” trying to dominate Cain and provoke him to anger over God’s acceptance of Abel’s offering. Listen to what God said to Cain:

Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.’

Here the word “desire” means to control, and thus, we can understand the effect of sin on the distinct roles of the husband and wife (or man and woman). The wife would try to control the husband, and the husband would try to dominate the wife. The battle of the sexes was one of the results of the Fall.

We have seen these effects throughout history in many ways. In some cultures, the husbands are apathetic, spiritually lazy, and sometimes absent, consequently the wife has to lead the home. In others, the husband tries to dominate by force and the woman has very few rights. The domination of the male has been seen in the fight for women’s rights throughout history. Many societies abuse women and treat them like a piece of property. This was never God’s original design. This came as a result of sin—the man would try to rule the woman by force.

We certainly see the effects of sin in the dating realm. It is displayed in the predatory male who wants to dominate and sleep with as many women as possible. It is also displayed in the predatory female who seeks to control men with her beauty and use them to attain all of her desires.

Most importantly, we see this battle in the home, where the husband and wife strive for power—marring God’s original design. God is a God of order; he understood that the institution of marriage could not function properly if it did not have clear leadership. This is true with any institution: the military, business, school, and even church. Therefore, God intended for the husband to be the leader in order to achieve his original purposes through marriage.

Obviously, this teaching is controversial. People seem to believe order and leadership in marriage means inequality. However, this is not true. A general and a private are equal in person but not equal in rank. Rank is needed to bring about good order and discipline in the military. Leadership is needed to accomplish the mission without discord. Similarly, God has a great mission for every marriage. It is the basic unit of all society, and when it is out of order, all of society is out of order. Therefore, he established clear leadership for this purpose.

Now, with that said, what should the husband’s leadership look like practically? What should the wife’s submission look like? The husband is not supposed to be a dominate tyrant and the wife is not called to be a doormat. In the beginning, God called Adam and Eve to rule and steward creation together. This loving and orderly partnership was meant to accomplish God’s mission on the earth.

What should the husband’s and wife’s roles look like in marriage? Personality and upbringing make each godly home different, but the basic roles and principles should be the same.

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

Pray for Pat who because of an unscrupulous financial planner has lost pretty much all her savings

For Karen and her back, insurance won’t cover physical therapy

For Wanda and her fight with mental illness, it shouldn’t be a fight there should be acceptance and stay with her medicine.

simple, short,

September 27, 2015

praying mom

The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One. Many ordinary treasures may be denied him, or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness. Or if he must see them go, one after one, he will scarcely feel a sense of loss, for having the Source of all things he has in One all satisfaction, all pleasure, all delight. Whatever he may lose, he has actually lost nothing, for he now has it all in One, and he has it purely, legitimately and forever.

 

O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.” Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this desert wasteland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Pray for Pat, she is experiencing severe back problems

Pray for Chris, a young father who had a serious motorcycle accident

Pray Kim and her battle with cancer

Pray for those that battle depression

Pray for our Country

Pray for marriages, if the family is destroyed so is the nation

Prayer requests, questions, comments, send to scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

someone cares

September 26, 2015

the strong lion

1 Peter 5:7

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.(kjv)

New International Version (NIV)

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

  1. Sidlow Baxter points out that there are two kinds of care here:

There is anxious care, in the words: “Casting all your care upon Him”; and there is affectionate care, in the words: “He careth for you.” Over against all our own anxious care is our Savior’s never-failing affectionate care.

Worry is unnecessary; there is no need for us to bear the burdens when He is willing and able to bear them for us. Worry is futile; it hasn’t solved a problem yet. Worry is sin. A preacher once said: “Worry is sin because it denies the wisdom of God; it says that He doesn’t know what He’s doing. It denies the love of God; it says He does not care. And it denies the power of God; it says that He isn’t able to deliver me from whatever is causing me to worry.” Something to think about!

Yet we are the greatest experts in this area.

Whatever is troubling you give it to God in prayer.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Rolfe, dying of cancer, weeks left

Pray for Richard H. in the last stage of dementia

Pray for Randy, needs to commit his heart to Jesus.

yesterday’s devotion was supposed to be one page, not 13 as some people have commented, I don’t know why some posts were different in length from others, that has never happened before.

pure gold

September 25, 2015

Treasure after

Everyone knows that rewards work. If you are going to train a dog to do tricks, you better have some doggie biscuits in your pocket. If you are trying to potty train a toddler, rewards are pretty handy also. The credit card industry has also gotten the hint and they compete for our credit business by offering rewards to use for free flights, discounts, cash back or some other form of return. And we as consumers figure that since we have to buy stuff anyhow, we might as well get something back. It’s our human nature to look for rewards or return.

 

As we have studied financial giving in God’s word, we hopefully felt the need to evaluate our giving. And we probably have wondered what would happen if we did begin to give what we think God wants us to give. Would anything change for me? Would I be better off financially? Would I simply be better off spiritually? What would happen?

 

Hebrews 11:6 says that God “rewards those who earnestly seek him.” God rewards. It’s just the way God is. God is not in anyone’s debt.

 

The rewards we discuss in this study are not a deal we can make with God. He is sovereign and we can’t make Him do anything. Our motive must remain rooted in simple thankfulness for His grace. But we can know that when the books of earth are closed someday in eternity, no one will ever say that they give more to God than He gave to them.

 

 

 

Rewards

 

Everyone knows that rewards work. If you are going to train a dog to do tricks, you better have some doggie biscuits in your pocket. If you are trying to potty train a toddler, rewards are pretty handy also. The credit card industry has also gotten the hint and they compete for our credit business by offering rewards to use for free flights, discounts, cash back or some other form of return. And we as consumers figure that since we have to buy stuff anyhow, we might as well get something back. It’s our human nature to look for rewards or return.

 

As we have studied financial giving in God’s word, we hopefully felt the need to evaluate our giving. And we probably have wondered what would happen if we did begin to give what we think God wants us to give. Would anything change for me? Would I be better off financially? Would I simply be better off spiritually? What would happen?

 

Hebrews 11:6 says that God “rewards those who earnestly seek him.” God rewards. It’s just the way God is. God is not in anyone’s debt.

 

The rewards we discuss in this study are not a deal we can make with God. He is sovereign and we can’t make Him do anything. Our motive must remain rooted in simple thankfulness for His grace. But we can know that when the books of earth are closed someday in eternity, no one will ever say that they give more to God than He gave to them.

A Generous Woman (2 Kings 4:8-37; 8:1-6)

 

Around 850 BC, a wealthy woman in Shunem, about 5 miles south of Nazareth, one day asked Elisha the traveling prophet to eat at her home (2 Kings 4:8-10). He did so and her house soon became a regular stop whenever Elisha came through the area.

 

Helping Elisha must have somehow been rewarding to the woman, because she began to think of ways that she might be able to bless him even more. She told her husband that she wanted to build a small addition onto the home to give Elisha his own furnished room when he came. Then he would be able to come and relax there. What a blessing! And that’s exactly what they did.

 

This Shunamite woman was much like several families I have known in our church and elsewhere who have space in their homes that they developed largely to offer it to house missionaries while they are at home in the United States. They have generously spent their money and give their hospitality in the spirit of this Shunamite woman.

 

Now this woman didn’t do this to “get” anything. She didn’t make a deal with God that if she built this room for Elisha, she expected certain things back from God. She seemingly just gave as God led her. But what happened? Elisha wondered aloud if there was a way that He could bless her and his servant Gehazi mentioned that she didn’t have a son (2 Kings 4:11-13). Evidently it was a real desire of her heart that so far had not been fulfilled. So Elisha the prophet promised her a son. And God came through as Elisha promised! This woman who had been childless had a bouncing baby boy! God is certainly a rewarder! The blessing of a child was a far greater blessing to her than she had even been to Elisha.

A Generous God

 

Now the story doesn’t end here. This child grew and as a boy one day working with his dad in the fields, he suddenly died. Of course the woman was heart broken – and even angry at God and Elisha. She laid the body of her only son on Elisha’s bed in his room and went to find Elisha. In her bitter grief she said, “Did I ask you for a son, my lord?” she said. “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t raise my hopes” (2 Kings 4:28)?

 

So Elisha went to her house, prayed and laid himself over the body of the boy and God gave her son life again. God gave her a son to begin with and the God raised him from the dead, giving him to her again.

 

God is a giver. But we learn that when we give to God, there is no guarantee that life will suddenly be wonderful and without pain. When we give, we will still be tested.

 

There was yet another time when this Shunamite woman was tested – this time financially (2 Kings 8:1-6). Elisha told this woman to leave the land of Israel because God had revealed to him that a seven year famine was coming.

 

Evidently the Shunamite woman’s husband who was older had died by then because now she was a widow. So she left the country of Israel to avoid the famine. But what evidently happened in those days is that if you left the country for an extended time, your abandoned land would become either the property of the king or perhaps of a relative. But whoever had it, evidently it was no sure thing that you would get it back.

 

So when the Shunamite woman came back to the land, she went before the king to beg to get her land back. This is where God’s rewarding character is again obvious. When this woman comes to King Joram, Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, just happened to be talking to the king. Imagine that! And the king has just at that moment had asked Gehazi to tell him about his master Elisha’s miracles.

 

(2 Kings 8:5-6) “Just as Gehazi was telling the king how Elisha had restored the dead to life, the woman whose son Elisha had brought back to life came to beg the king for her house and land. Gehazi said, “This is the woman, my lord the king, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” {6} The king asked the woman about it, and she told him. Then he assigned an official to her case and said to him, “Give back everything that belonged to her, including all the income from her land from the day she left the country until now.”

 

So how did this woman’s generosity work out in the long run? Her gifts to God were initially just meals for Elijah and then she built and furnished a small room for him. God’s gifts to her included the birth of a son, the resurrection of her son, advance warning of a 7-year famine and then God made sure she received her land back – plus seven years income!

 

God is an incredible rewarder to those who give to Him out of a grateful heart. But along with the principle we find in Old Testament scriptures the principle that those who refuse to give miss out on God’s blessings.

Robbing God of Tithes under the Old Covenant

 

In the time of Malachi the prophet (about 400 BC), there were serious spiritual problems in Israel. The book of Malachi addresses several of them. The Israelites were bringing God sacrifices consisting of their maimed animals (1:7-8). The priests had stopped teaching the word of God accurately (2:1-9). Furthermore, the Israelites had married unbelievers (2:11-16) and were divorcing their wives (2:13-16). They were even saying that evil people were good (2:17). Included in God’s rebuke through the prophet Malachi was proof that they had turned from God as shown by the fact that they stopped giving their tithes and offerings (Malachi 3:7-9).

 

At first they denied that they had turned from God (Malachi 3:7). They seems to have protested that they had done nothing wrong, What do you mean, return to God? I’m doing fine with God. I don’t need to change anything.

 

And then interestingly Malachi uses as their failure to give financially as evidence of their spiritual state. He tells them, You’ve robbed God. Now they are really sputtering. How do we rob God?

 

(Malachi 3:8-9) “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings. {9} You are under a curse–the whole nation of you–because you are robbing me.” The failure to bring their tithes and offerings is called robbing God.

 

Tithes are a largely misunderstood part of Bible teaching about giving. “Tithe” is a Bible term that means 1/10th. Tithing was an obligation under the covenant of the Old Testament law. The first 10% of their crops went to God. The following chart describe the basic tithing requirements under the Law.

 

Giving Forms in the Old Testament

 

1. Regular Tithes = 10% of crops (income) given each year to the Lord (Leviticus 27:30) OBLIGATION

 

a. Provided regular income for Levites and Priests serving at the temple in Jerusalem (Numbers 18:21-26)

 

b. Provided means for having three special feasts in Jerusalem each year (or if they lived too far away, they could bring money – Deuteronomy 14:22-26)

 

2. 2nd Tithe every 3rd year = 3.33% OBLIGATION

 

c. Used to support the local Levites and the needy (Deut. 14:27-29)

 

3. Personal Offerings – Any other gifts (2 Kings 12:4; Mark 12:41 – voluntary vows, gifts). VOLUNTARY

 

There is some scholarly discussion and disagreement on the details of the tithing laws. It is possible that the feasting tithe (1/a above) was actually a 2nd separate tithe and thus it would mean an additional 10% tithe was required. This would actually make the annual “tithe” a total of 23.3% of one’s yearly income. But we’ll assume for now that it was part of the 1st tithe. Even then, the basic Israelite farmer would be giving an average of 13.3% per year as an obligation. Then they could and should give offerings above the tithe as thanks or praise.

 

These additional personal offerings were personal worship decisions. An example of this would be the widow at temple we studied who gave her two small copper coins while the wealthy threw in large amounts (Mark 12:41). These gifts were over and above tithing. When Josiah collected money to restore the temple, that was all above the tithes (2 Kings 12:4). And these financial offerings still did not account for many of the sin offerings and other offerings that involved animals or produce of the field.

 

So under the giving system of the Law, an obedient Israelite would be giving 13% (or maybe 23%) that was their obligation, plus whatever God led them to give above that in personal offerings.

 

Malachi rebuked the Israelites of his day who for the most part were not giving their tithes and offerings. He said that they had thus robbed God. As it turns out, they were actually robbing themselves of God’s blessings. Notice the promise of God to the Israelites if they were to repent of their failure to give.

Blessings for Giving in the Old Testament

 

(Malachi 3:10-12) “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. {11} I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the LORD Almighty. {12} “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.”

 

God is promising Israel financial success as a reward for tithing. Now before we start planning on building a new home and buying that yacht because we are going to give, we need to remember several things. 1) God’s purpose in rewarding us is not so that we can become selfishly wealthy. 2) We do not have the promise about tithing repeated today in the New Testament. We live under the new covenant and we actually don’t have a tithing law in the New Testament. No one can tell you that you must give 10% or 13% plus other voluntary offerings. That was the Old Covenant.

 

But it would seem a bit strange that we would make it our goal in this age of grace to do less than what was required under the law. In His teaching Jesus often challenged people to live by a higher standard now under grace than what Moses had required under the law (e.g. Matthew 5:27, 28).

 

So although the law of tithing and the financial promises of tithing are not in force today, we find from the words of Jesus and from the epistles of the New Testament that the general principle of God’s promises to givers are still true.

Blessings for Givers according to Jesus

 

Jesus taught the basic principle that God rewards those who are generous not only financially, but generous in spirit. Listen to the words of Christ.

 

“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. What kind of reward? It doesn’t say – perhaps here, perhaps heaven. {36} Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. {37} “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:35-37)

 

People who do good to others generally find themselves blessed with the same kind of graciousness with which they treat others. God makes sure that happens somehow. Jesus says next that God gives back even more than a generous merchant.

 

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)”

 

A “good measure” meant that when you bought grain in the market, the merchant didn’t do to you what the potato chip people do to us. When we open the potato chip bag we often find it half empty when we think it’s going to be full. But a generous merchant would fill his measure to the brim and then press it down and shake it so it settles so he could get a little more in before giving it to you as the costumer.

 

Jesus says God is like that generous merchant – only more so! God will reward us in such abundance of blessings that they will be overflowing our basket and filling the robe in our lap. God is just that way! He will not be out-given.

 

What kind of giving is Jesus talking about? He could mean money, but He could also be referring to anything of ours that we give away – time, concern for others, encouragement, money or other material things. And what kind of return or blessing is Jesus promising? God may give back to us in many ways. In His miraculous way He can choose to bless us financially through finding us good deals, preventing high expenses or by providing raises or more hours and overtime. But it could be also be that God bless our “giving” by rewarding us with unexpected time to relax even though we had given away time to serve others. It could be that God miraculously bless our marriage, restores relationships or health or any number of good things.

 

At our church we need to replace our entire roof one fall. We hired a contractor who was willing to work with our volunteers. Many guys gave up their time in the evenings and Saturday to help on the project and the total cost was far below the estimate of having a contractor do it all. How did God reward those who volunteered to help? I don’t know all the ways, but I am confident that they were rewarded with joy, fellowship and even God’s provision of time that they needed for their own family and personal projects.

 

Those who give time regularly to serving others in their church, family and community are not shortchanged in the long run. Providentially, God takes care of the time needs of those who gave time, the financial needs of those who give financially and the encouragement needs of those who give encouragement.

 

From what we’ve seen from the Shunemmite woman and from the tithing promises of Malachi and Jesus’ words to us here, we can be sure that God will reward our financial giving. We may not get wealthy, but no one will get to heaven and think, Boy, I got the raw end of that giving stuff.

Blessings for givers in the church age

 

In the New Testament God’s promises to givers include a great variety of both spiritual and financial blessings. In 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 Paul urges the church at Corinth to give to an offering he is collecting for famine relief for believers in Jerusalem. At the end of his exhortation he lists some of the blessings they will experience if they do.

 

If God is working in our heart to produce a new attitude of giving based on stewardship, contentment, trust and worship, then what God wants us to know very clearly from the following passages is that we will never regret it.

 

The general principle is exactly what Jesus taught: God blesses givers; “Whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-14). Here are other blessings Paul describes that will come just from participating in this offering for needy believers in Jerusalem.

 

1. We will have enough to live on (8). “…having all that you need.”

 

2. Our ministry will multiply (8,11). “You will abound in every good work… [God] will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.

 

3. We will have enough to give more (10-11). “[God] will also supply and increase your store of seed … {11} You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion”

 

4. People will thank for supplying their needs (12) “… your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God … supplying the needs of God’s people…”

 

5. People will praise God for your obedience to God and generosity (13)… “Men will praise God for the obedience … and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.”

 

6. People will pray for you (14) “And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you.”

 

If we are privileged to live the kind of life described above, our life will be richly blessed indeed! As I look over this list of God’s rewards, I find that all six of these blessing describe God’s reward on the lives of my wife and I. It certainly does not mean that there are not many other struggles or trials in our lives, but as we have given to God financially as He has directed us concerning our local church and other ministries, He really has given us these rewards.

 

To appreciate God’s rewards, we have to adjust our expectations. Those who teach that it’s God’s will that Christians should be wealthy appeal to the selfishness of our hearts. They suppose that “godliness is a means to financial gain” (1 Timothy 6:5). The problem with that thinking is first of all that God never promises that in the New Testament and secondly, that if we give in order to live selfishly, we forfeit the real rewards God promised here.

 

If we struggle with a constant desire to be better off financially, we must note in the passage above what Paul promised the Corinthians. The reason why God will bless them financially is not so that they can spend it on upgrading their lifestyle, but so that they could give more. “[God] will also supply and increase your store of seed … {11} You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion” (2 Corinthians 9:10-11).

 

The principle is not that we should “Give to Get.” God’s word is saying that we should “Give to Get, to Give more.” God rewards that kind of an unselfish heart.

 

If you want to conduct a great experiment, try to out give God, the more you give away the more blessings seem to come into your life, notice I said blessings and not money.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Since we don’t accept offerings or gifts on this web site I hope everyone realizes the motives of a pure heart, well maybe not a pure heart, but a honest heart, well maybe…………

Pray for Karen, extreme back issues, pray for Paul k, that he would trust God especially in obedience.

 

 

to infinity and beyond

September 24, 2015

Enterprise_5_hr

The Church will come out of her doldrums when we find out that salvation is not a lightbulb only, that it is not an insurance policy against hell only, but that it is a gateway into God and that God is all that we would have and can desire.

 

Christianity is a gateway into God. And then when you get into God, “with Christ in God,” then you’re on a journey into infinity, into infinitude. There is no limit and no place to stop. There isn’t just one work of grace, or a second work or a third work, and then that’s it. There are numberless experiences and spiritual epochs and crises that can take place in your life while you are journeying out into the heart of God in Christ.

 

 

God is infinite! That’s the hardest thought I will ask you to grasp. You cannot understand what infinite means, but don’t let it bother you—I don’t understand it and I’m trying to explain it! “Infinite” means so much that nobody can grasp it, but reason nevertheless kneels and acknowledges that God is infinite. We mean by infinite that God knows no limits, no bounds and no end. What God is, He is without boundaries. All that God is, He is without bounds or limits.

 

God doesn’t extend into space; God contains space.

 

 

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

So many prayer requests today, the prayer team is on it.

 

Pray for Paul C, accountability

Paul K, acceptability, (you have to think about that one)

Paul J. his wife is praying for accessibility

Could be a sermon outline

 

Continue to pray for Olivia, Kim, and Karen, and Susan H. all need healing.

 

 

 

 

treasure

September 23, 2015

Treasure after

Stewardship is a matter of the heart

 

There’s an old story about a dad who gave his son two quarters as he heads for Sunday School. He told the boy that he should give one quarter in the offering and he could keep the other to get an ice cream cone. (I guess that price for an ice cream cone proves how old the story is). As the boy walked down the street he accidentally dropped one of the quarters which then rolled into a storm drain and disappeared. The boy looked for a moment down the drain and then slowly looked toward the sky, sighed and said, Well God, there goes your quarter.

 

The very idea of giving sets off an internal war in us. Whose money is it? In the last several studies, we have been seeking to understand financial stewardship from the Bible. It’s a very personal subject. And the biblical concept of stewardship is that God own everything – both quarters.

 

Stewardship means that as believers we are each assigned different amounts of material things to manage for God. And that really is a test from God. But because material things do have our name on them, it creates a tension. Who really determines where our money goes? Will I really use my financial and material things exactly how God wants me to?

 

What we see in this study and the next about giving won’t make any sense unless we understand that we are stewards managing God’s money. This study will focus on what the Bible often calls our “heart.” The heart, in Bible usage, is often a metaphor of our will. It’s where we make up our mind if we will do what God wants. We can only understand what God says about financial giving if we align our heart with his.

 

Jesus told us to store up treasures in heaven as an expression of a devoted heart. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. {20} But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. {21} For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

 

Jesus was greatly concerned about our heart. Our heart will naturally attach to physical things that moths destroy – speaking of valued cloth and clothes – or things that rust destroys or corrodes or anything valuable that thieves take.

 

Money sure gets away easily, doesn’t it? (Proverbs 23:5) “Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.” In contrast, Jesus urges us to store up treasures in heaven. Jesus is calling us to think differently about treasure. Attach your heart to things that last forever, Jesus says.

  

The real issue is that where our treasure is, our heart is. Period. This passage is not specifically talking about giving money to God or ministry, but it is teaching us something crucial about a decision we must make prior to any giving. Where is our heart? Which do we value – financial or eternal treasure?

 

Giving or tithing is going to be meaningless at best if we think like some who teach that giving is a way to have financial success, or a way to impress God, or impress people, or a way to feel good about ourselves. Then our goal – our heart – is still on ourselves and not on eternity.

 

Jesus’ main point was to ask us which we want. Which one do we value – earth’s treasure or heaven’s? We might pretend that we want a diversified portfolio – earthly and heavenly treasure. I want it all, we might say. But we can’t. Jesus makes sure we understand that.

 

Thanks’ for all the feedback on this series, not always the most popular topic.

 

 

Pray for Karen, who is having really bad back issues and an insurance company that is giving her fits.

 

Pray for Robert as he battles addiction

 

Jillian, and depression

 

Questions, comments and prayer requests to scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

trust issues

September 22, 2015

Treasure after

Giving establishes our humility before God.

 

What does the IRS call the money that we can deduct from our income because we gave it away? It’s called “charitable giving.” How is charitable giving defined by our world? It’s giving some of what we have to help out people who are needy or suffering. That’s a good thing to be sure, but in the world’s way of thinking, we are benefactors if we give. Those to whom we give are recipients. There is a certain superiority in that concept. Benefactors are put on the pedestal because they gave something away. Recipients feel small because they are in need of someone else’s generosity.

 

If that’s what giving is to us, it is not biblical giving. Giving does not make one superior at all. God of course is not in need of my gift. Giving is about me expressing to God that He is my superior. Giving is about me putting myself into a rightful humble relationship with God because He is the Owner and I am the steward. I am simply giving something to Him to express that I understand His ownership.

 

Deuteronomy 26:8-10 describes how giving expresses humble dependence, “So the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror and with miraculous signs and wonders. {9} He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey; {10} and now I bring the Firstfruits of the soil that you, O LORD, have given me.” Place the basket before the LORD your God and bow down before him.”

 

The steward who gives to God is not superior at all. He is to bow before God the recipient! Giving here is how Israel expressed their humble gratitude to God for what He let them enjoy. You gave it to me, Lord. You are really the owner, the benefactor. Biblical givers are not superior because they are stewards. Obviously owners are superior to stewards.

 

On a human level, giving doesn’t elevate us over others either. In fact giving is not a people thing at all; it’s always a “God and me” thing. That’s where the world’s view and the biblical view of giving are going in totally different directions. When we give we are recognizing our relationship to God as a manager of his money. It places us in our proper position under God.

 

If we give financially to other people with a smug attitude of superiority and condescension, we have tipped our hand that we are not really a steward of God at all. Or if we give to have our name in print or placed on a bronze plaque, we better enjoy it, because that’s all that we will ever get. Jesus said of people like that, They have their reward in full (Matthew 6:2).

 

What Moses was saying in Deuteronomy 26:8-10 is that God gave them their land and God gave them their blessings. His point is that our gifts are really just recognition of who God is. By giving, the Israelites were saying back to God, You have placed me in charge temporarily of this little bit of real estate. I am bringing my gift to you not because I’m big or wonderful, but because you are. That’s the attitude God is seeking in us.

2. Giving is worship

 

The computer program, Google Earth, allows you to zoom down from a picture of the globe to the level your house – via satellite photo. When I zoom down to a picture of our church property, I can see my car parked out front on the day the satellite took the picture. When I zoomed down to my house, I could even see my grill on the patio. But what strikes me as the computer is zooming down is how very, very, very tiny my place is – in the perspective of the earth. Even if I owned 10 square miles of land and houses, or owned the Taj Mahal, I would still own very little.

 

But God owns the earth (Ps. 24:1)! So what posture should a person have as they bring their gift? Bow down. Bow down! God is great. The Israelite had in his hand a tiny portion of a single crop, but it served to acknowledge the greatness of the God who made all the crops throughout the world in all ages. Our gift might be big to us because it’s a sacrifice, but to God it’s big only because it acknowledges His infinite ownership. This little bit I call “giving” is actually just my way of saying, You own it all.

 

Giving is literally worship. Proverbs 3:9 says, “Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops.”

 

The Hebrew word “honor” means to “glorify” or to acknowledge the importance of something. Its root meaning is that something is heavy or weighty and thus significant or important. When applied to God, honoring Him means that we ascribe to Him the significance that He deserves as God.

 

When we bring our “first fruits” – our gift to some ministry from our income – we should write that check to express how important God is. He is the “heavyweight” – the priority – in my life. The needs I meet are secondary. My primary need is to worship.

 

And when we give to acknowledge that God is the owner, and when we give to express our worship and honor, there will arise within us an expectation and confidence that God is so powerful and faithful that He will not only use our gifts for His larger eternal purposes, but also that God will meet our needs as well.

 

You see, financial giving trains our heart in another crucial part of our relationship with God. Do we really trust God – about everything?

 

3. Giving expresses our trust in God.

 

Do we trust what God is doing in our human relationships, our careers, and our health? Do we really trust God? How do we develop trust in God? Financial giving is actually one of God’s key training grounds to produce a trust connection between us and Him.

 

Giving is test. (Malachi 3:10) “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”

 

Giving really is about trusting God. giving means that we have less. It’s simple math. 10-1=9. I have less if I tithe.

 

There is nothing more relational than trust. If we trust our wife or our husband it means that we don’t have to check on them. If we trust your teammate, we know they’ll be there where we need them to be. If we trust our friend, we know they’ll keep their promise.

 

Trust is always based on a relationship. Once we have gotten to know someone’s character we can predict much of what they will do. But even in the times when we don’t know for sure what they will do, we don’t sweat it, because we know their character well enough to trust them to do what is in our best interest.

 

Do we know and trust God? Do we know His character? God wants us to know and trust Him so that even when we can’t see for sure what He is doing, we don’t doubt Him. Financial concerns seem to be an area that tests the trust of all people no matter what economic level they are. God wants to use this constant tangible area of life to draw us closer to Him. As we give back to God in sacrificial worship, we are telling God that we really do trust Him. As a result He is honored and we are come to know the peace of trusting God with our financial situation.

great strength

September 21, 2015

Treasure after

Two men were marooned on a tiny island. One man paced back and forth worried and dreadfully frightened, while the other man sat back, whistling and sunning himself. The first man said, “Aren’t you afraid we’re going to die here?” “Nope,” said the second man. “How can you be so sure?” the first man asked. “Well, you…” said the second man, “I make $100,000 a month and I tithe faithfully to my church… My Pastor will find me.”

 

This humorous story identifies one of the key reasons why many pastors and churches avoid saying very much about financial giving. There is a perception (and a reality in many cases) that pastors are motivated to preach on giving only because of their own selfish concern about the budget or a building program. For many years as a pastor myself, I ventured into the area of financial stewardship and especially giving quite rarely. As I would preach expositionally through a book of the Bible, I wouldn’t avoid the subject of giving, but I hesitated to approach the subject extensively as a topic, lest I appear to be focused too much on the bottom line of the church rather than spiritual discipleship. I assumed – and it was partly true – that if people are growing spiritually, they will learn to give.

 

However, there is no other area of spiritual growth where we make the assumption that believers will grow without reminder and exhortation. I have come to realize that we are not mature disciples if we have not embraced the reality that materially we are stewards instead of owners.

 

If churches and pastors they have communicated somehow that “stewardship” messages are primarily about fund-raising, then they are responsible to change that attitude internally. Stewardship is not fund-raising; it’s basic discipleship. But in a similar sense, each believer must come to understand that giving is not just about “doing their duty.” Giving is actually a deeply personal indicator of our spiritual maturity as well as our love for God. If we understand Jesus’ words that our “treasure” is an indication of our “heart,” how can churches and pastors avoid teaching on the important issue of giving?

Knowing God through Giving

 

Giving is a spiritual issue and in fact, a relational issue with God. In order to truly yield to God’s ownership of our possessions, we must evaluate carefully what may be the most telling evidence of our stewardship – the part we give. Just as we decide on what we spend on an appliance or how much we will put in a savings or retirement account, we must also have to decide how much money we will give. Even to give nothing is a decision. Stewards are accountable in each decision to please the owner.

 

Many see the responsibility of giving as a burden. How sad that is in light of Paul’s reminder that God loves a cheerful giver. Giving is actually a relational decision. In the process of making giving decisions we really establish our agreement with God about stewardship. As we continually decide to give, we constantly affirm how much we value our relationship to God as His children. And as God’s stewards, giving decisions are simply a matter of thinking through how He wants us to allocate His money.

 

An amazing benefit of giving as stewards is that it releases us from the real burden of our own financial needs. As we learn to trust God through giving, we can live confidently on what is left because we know that God is taking care of that. Giving is a freeing experience as it connects us more closely to God relationally. The ultimate outcome is that those who give as stewards experience a sense of intimacy with God that all followers of Christ long for. Giving becomes worship. Giving becomes a way of saying thanks to God for His grace and promised provision. Giving becomes a deep part of our personal connection to God.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Paul K, strength and encouragement

Rohani, immigration approval

Kimika, stay off the streets and grow in God

Robert L, pray for his wife and their first child, complications

Pray for America, we are to far gone to come back, so what does God have in store for us.