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Posts Tagged ‘plenty’

FAITH FOR FINANCES – #3AM Faith For Finances

We serve a great and a terrible God. What does that mean? He is very great, powerful and strong, and also He is not to be trifled with. We are utterly dependent on Him in every way. Men are proud when they think they can build a life without Him but suddenly when their health takes a setback they realise how powerless they truly are. Not even your next breath is guaranteed!

To become a Christian, we come at the very first place in our walk with God to His requirements of this amazing relationship with Him…

Exodus 20:3 (AMP) 3 “You shall have no other gods before Me. Or Deut 6:5 AMP, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and souls and all that is within you.”

God wants to be the first place in your life, after all He gave us Jesus, His only Son to die for us – it’s mutual, right? His first commandment to man is Love the Lord your God with all your heart, not just part of it. The commandments go on…

Exodus 20:4-6 (AMP)

4 “You shall not make for yourself any idol, or any likeness (form, manifestation) of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth [as an object to worship]. 5 You shall not worship them nor serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous (impassioned) God [demanding what is rightfully and uniquely mine], visiting (avenging) the iniquity (sin, guilt) of the fathers on the children [that is, calling the children to account for the sins of their fathers], to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing graciousness and steadfast lovingkindness to thousands [of generations] of those who love Me and keep My commandments.

In the New Testament Jesus affirms this first place of all our affections and purpose when He states:

Matthew 22:34-37 (AMP)

34 Now when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced (muzzled) the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 One of them, a lawyer [an expert in Mosaic Law], asked Jesus a question, to test Him: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 And Jesus replied to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

And again Jesus says, Matthew 6:33(AMP)

33 But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.

IS GOD FIRST IN YOUR LIFE?

Is He first in your time?

Is He first in your emotions?

Is He first in your money?

Imagine a wedding scene where the groom says in his vows, “I will love you almost as much as I love this other girl.” –  This is what we are saying when we love someone or something more than we love God.

The principle of “first” in the bible is a theme that illustrates God’s singlemindedness, His single focus of love toward us and His expectation of the same from us. Let’s look at some ways God uses the first to teach us something.

The firstborn

Exodus 13 (AMP)

13 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Sanctify to Me [that is, set apart for My purpose] every firstborn, the first offspring of every womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of animal; it is Mine.”

The first fruits.

Leviticus 23:10(AMP)

10 “Speak to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘When you enter the land which I am giving you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the [a]sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest.

This verse shows us the promise and outcome attached to the first fruits giving.

Proverbs 3:9-10 (AMP)

9 Honour the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your crops (income); 10 Then your barns will be abundantly filled And your vats will overflow with new wine.

The first City – Jericho is God’s not Israel’s.

Joshua 6:17-19 (AMP)

17 The city and everything that is in it shall be under the ban [that is, designated to be destroyed as a form of tribute] to the Lord; only Rahab the prostitute and all [the people] who are with her in her house shall [be allowed to] live, because she hid and protected the messengers (scouts) whom we sent. 18 But as for you, keep yourselves [away] from the things under the ban [which are to be destroyed], so that you do not covet them and take some of the things under the ban [for personal gain], and put the camp of Israel under the ban (doomed to destruction), and bring disaster upon it. 19 All the silver and gold and articles of bronze and iron are holy (consecrated) to the Lord; they shall go into the treasury of the Lord.”

The first tenth

How do we put God first in our money? By giving Him the first tenth of our gross income. If God is truly first in our lives, then we make the decision to honour God before we pay for our own needs, or anything else. Giving God what’s left over when have paid all our bills means we are putting Him last. Paying God when we feel “led to do it” isn’t putting God first, it’s making our commitment and dedication to Him a thing based on feelings. Does your partner want your first affections or your second or sixth affections? Can you imagine God being satisfied with your second best? How do you show God your best, your first love? Do you finances not have everything to do with your heart? The bible says so… Matthew 6:21(AMP)

21 for where your treasure is, there your heart [your wishes, your desires; that on which your life centres] will be also.

It’s hard to give for some people. Why? Because of a lack of faith. They wrongly assume, more for God (the church) means less for me. This completely ignores all of God’s promises to generously and abundantly meet your needs. (2 Cor 9:8; Phil 4:19, Rom 8:32)

God is looking at our hearts, and how can He tell if we have given our whole hearts to serve Him? He watches what we do. What has most value to us? What do we put most value on? Our life is displayed by how we spend our time, our emotions and our money.

Leviticus 27:30-33 (AMP)

30 ‘And all the tithe (tenth part) of the land, whether the seed of the land or the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord. 31 If a man wishes to redeem any part of his tithe, he shall add one-fifth to it. 32 For every tithe of the herd or flock, whatever passes under the [shepherd’s] staff, the tenth one shall be holy to the Lord. 33 The man is not to be concerned whether the animal is good or bad, nor shall he exchange it. But if he does exchange it, then both it and its substitute shall become holy; it shall not be redeemed.’”

The principle of the tithe is that the first releases the rest.

Putting God first releases the provision of God – Matthew 6:33(AMP)

33 But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.

Let’s talk motives.

Firstly thank you for being a giving and generous church. There are people who have been sacrificial givers and I know that they are like that because they are choosing to honour God. It is a matter of faith for them. If people are reluctant to give, I find that the main reason is worry that they will not have enough. So again faith is the issue. Trusting in God to provide for you is as much a part of salvation as trusting Him for your forgiveness of sins. (2 Cor 8:9 AMP)

My desire for you is that you are blessed, so I have no fears in asking you to be a tither and a giver of offerings. I have seen over the years people have experienced increase, promotions and favour from God when they put God first in their finances. You may think that you are struggling financially and cannot afford to give. In the USA today the average per head giving of Christians is currently 2.5%, yet during the great depression when food was hard to get and many had no work, the giving was 3.3% per head. It’s not our circumstances that regulate our giving, it is our faith. Don’t let fear, or wrong thinking rob you of a prosperous life. When we have faith and confidence in God we prosper. 3 John 2(AMP) 2 Beloved, I pray that in every way you may succeed and prosper and be in good health [physically], just as [I know] your soul prospers [spiritually].

You can be comfortable in giving to your local church because…

  1. We have a strong and Godly vision. When you give it makes a difference.
  2. We are accountable to you through our finance committee.
  3. The church finances are audited yearly by an external auditor and the report presented to the church AGM.
  4. My motive in promoting generous giving is for your blessing and also to enable the vision God has given us to reach people with the gospel.
  5. You have pastors who are long term mature ministries with a good record of leadership, financial integrity and personal sacrifice.

Faith for finances. Put your trust in the Lord that he will provide for you and look after you. Test Him in this giving, He asks you to – Malachi 3:8-10 (AMP)

8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings [you have withheld]. 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, this whole nation! 10 Bring all the tithes (the tenth) 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 [so great] a blessing until there is no more room to receive it.  

The storehouse (church) is the place for tithes, so that there’s meat in the storehouse, what meat is God referring to? The provision for the ministry so that the people will have access to God through the priesthood.

Have faith for finances, put God first in your finances. Trust that God will provide for you. Imagine the fruit of your giving in the future. Lives changed, people in heaven, communities impacted.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. What would be your motivation to give to the Lord?
  2. What would be the kind of things that stop you giving?
  3. Review all these ideas and decide which of them are impacted by faith.
  4. In a million years from now what will matter the most to you?
  5. Does your giving today make a difference in eternity?

 

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Giving – The true testgiving

Boot Camp #4 – January 27, 2013

Over the last four weeks – run a spiritual boot camp.

How did you go?

Have you gained some spiritual fitness?

Why do you need to?

Your journey in life is not just physical – it’s also spiritual. How you prosper is about how you understand your spiritual journey. If you’re unfit spiritually how will you cope when spiritual challenges come?

Say: Loved one betrays you?

Lose your job?

Sickness strikes your life?

A person with false doctrine comes by to persuade you of lies?

Your spiritual fitness has eternal repercussions!!

GIVING

The big test of your spiritual fitness is your giving.

If you want to really measure yourself clearly about where your heart is at then look at your giving and your attitude to giving.

Jesus said: Mat 6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

So there’s a big link between your money and your heart.

For most people, our money, our possessions and assets define us. “I am who my money says I am” Almost all covet and desire to be rich or to have possessions or to be “comfortable.” For nearly every person comfortable is the goal and it’s always more than what they have now. (Even though in Australia, we are all among the richest 1% of the earth’s population.)

But the goal is not be comfortable. The goal is to make a difference. Remember when you gave your LIFE to Jesus. Your whole life! Was the goal to be comfortable? Or was the goal to be a child of God. To be led by the spirit?

Jesus said: Mat 10:38 And unless you are willing to take up your cross and come with me, you are not fit to be my disciples.

Mat 10:39 If you try to save your life, you will lose it. But if you give it up for me, you will surely find it. (CEV)

HERE’S THE KEY

Luk 16:10 Anyone who can be trusted in little matters can also be trusted in important matters. But anyone who is dishonest in little matters will be dishonest in important matters.

Luk 16:11 If you cannot be trusted with this wicked wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? (CEV)

If you can get it right with money then you will really move forward with true wealth which is eternal and spiritual.

WHY?

Because it takes faith to give; and God wants you to have faith and to grow in faith. We all begin with a fixed pie mentality. More for God mean less for me. If you think this way you’re still in kindergarten spiritually. Jesus reminded the disciples, “hey when you’re with me, there always an abundance, Mat 16:8 But Jesus, aware of this, asked, Why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? O you [men, how little trust you have in Me, how] little faith!

Mat 16:9 Do you not yet discern (perceive and understand)? Do you not remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many [small hand] baskets you gathered?

Mat 16:10 Nor the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many [large provision] baskets you took up? (AMP)

When you get faith you will transition to see money as seed. The more you get rid of in the right place the more you will end up with.

2Co 9:10 And [God] Who provides seed for the sower and bread for eating will also provide and multiply your [resources for] sowing and increase the fruits of your righteousness [which manifests itself in active goodness, kindness, and charity]. [Isa. 55:10; Hos. 10:12.]

2Co 9:11 Thus you will be enriched in all things and in every way, so that you can be generous, and [your generosity as it is] administered by us will bring forth thanksgiving to God.

Some people are not able to hear this message. They will go away and be unaffected by the reality of God’s spiritual program in giving and receiving. They may have great possessions on earth but as they enter into heaven there will be nothing in their pockets, no rewards.

Mat 6:19 Do not gather and heap up and store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust and worm consume and destroy, and where thieves break through and steal.

Mat 6:20 But gather and heap up and store for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust nor worm consume and destroy, and where thieves do not break through and steal; (AMP)

My story.

In my first year – I gave $1000 to the church building program – Later when I got married we rented a house that everything in it down to the pegs, detergent and mower fuel. Later a gift of $3K helped buy our first house.

In 1994 we sold our home in Brisbane and gave $5K to the church building project.

(no profit) It wasn’t long before we purchased two properties.

In this church our first ever offering we gave the whole lot away, we became self sufficient in only six months.

The church one time really struggling financially – gave away our whole weeks offering at Christmas. No blessing appeared to come at first, but later when we bought the building it was a bargain price and we sold it after ten years and the church made a capital gain of $800K.

However, when you give, don’t look for the rewards, give because of the joy of giving.

We give because our hearts are moved.

Two stories about this.

Mat 26:7 A woman came up to Him with an alabaster flask of very precious perfume, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at table.

Mat 26:8 And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, For what purpose is all this waste?

Mat 26:9 For this perfume might have been sold for a large sum and the money given to the poor.

Mar 12:41 And He sat down opposite the treasury and saw how the crowd was casting money into the treasury. Many rich [people] were throwing in large sums.

Mar 12:42 And a widow who was poverty-stricken came and put in two copper mites [the smallest of coins], which together make half of a cent.

Mar 12:43 And He called His disciples [to Him] and said to them, Truly and surely I tell you, this widow, [she who is] poverty-stricken, has put in more than all those contributing to the treasury.

Mar 12:44 For they all threw in out of their abundance; but she, out of her deep poverty, has put in everything that she had–[even] all she had on which to live. (AMP)

We give because our hearts are grateful, we give because our hearts are moved, we give to Jesus, we give to His passion – the church. We love His church we love this house so we give. Ever since the year we were born again Chris and I have given between 10% – 20% of our gross income to the Lord. Whether we gain financially from it is never the issue, we are so thankful that He has saved us and given us a new life.

To be spiritually fit = TRUST

Php 4:19 And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (AMP)

We don’t give what we can afford – that is fixed pie mentality, we give as God moves our hearts.

We give because of the joy of giving. Of course there are rewards and I am amazed at what God has done for us. We are truly blessed with assets, marriage, family and health. Be a giver, and give from the heart.

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