Get Blessed

Exodus 22: 29             NIV

Do not hold back offerings from your granaries or your vats.

I have a couple of questions for you today. First, why did Father God command us to tithe? Second, why do we hate hearing messages about tithing? What about offerings? You see, I think those questions demonstrate how little we understand about Kingdom dynamics and Kingdom finances. There are preachers all over this country who are afraid to teach on tithing because their congregations eat them alive when they talk about giving. However, when you understand about giving to God, you realize that those preachers are almost stealing from their parishioners by not teaching tithing and offerings. So, let’s look at this and see if we can resolve some questions. Why tithe and why did Father command it here?

Do you see this verse as a command? I do. It doesn’t strike fear in our hearts as if an angry God is berating us, but it does sound like an imperative. Therefore, for me, it is enough that God said do it, but why do you think God told us to give? It’s not that He needs our money, right? I mean, after all, His streets are paved with gold. I mean, he walks on gold pavers. He doesn’t worship it like people do, so why does He want us to give? Actually, He doesn’t want us to give, He requires us to give, so let’s take a look at this.

First, is this God speaking to us, because it is important to figure out if it is God or man who gives this directive. When you are sitting in church, you might not be clear on this. Does the preacher just want to get in your pocket or is God speaking? Let’s look at the leading scripture on tithing, Malachi 3: 10, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and put Me to the test now in this,” says the Lord of armies, “if I do not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.” How do people not love this verse? I love it. Some, I guess, hear that they have to give away their money. I hear, God is blessing me until it overflows. And, what a deal, I only have to give Him back 10% of what He gave me in the first place. That is a financially sound deal. Not only that, but He actually gives me the seed to sow. I could teach on this for days, but can’t you see right here that the reason God requires the tithe is twofold? First, it is our duty to pay for the ministers. Don’t you see that? Tithing is meant to provide bread for God’s servants.

Second, God devised this means of getting the blessing to us. Essentially, He tells us that if we will provide for His ministers, He will pour out His treasury for us. Paul taught this too. He said, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 4: 19). Why did he use the conjunction “and” here? Because of what went before, “Now that Epaphroditus has brought me your gifts, you have filled my needs,” (Philippians 4: 18 GW). You see, this is just scriptural. You provide for the ministers and God provides for you. This is how Kingdom Finances works.

Tithes and offerings are part of our covenant with God. We ask Him for a lot, and He wants us to, but we have some obligations too. The tithe is 10% of your gross income and it is to be given to the church for the support of the church and the ministers. It is not for the Humane Society or even the MS Foundation, which I support. Those are called charitable gifts and are to be encouraged. They do not, however, qualify as part of your tithe. The entire 10% of gross income goes to the church. If you are a member of a congregation, then you would sow your tithe there. Offerings, then, are a good opportunity to support the other ministries which feed you. Ministers provide a lot of content for free, but it’s not free to them. It costs much and your offerings are the means by which you honor what you feed on from them (us). It is how they feed their families and it is how you support the work of the gospel. If you are not a member of a local congregation, then you should give the 10% to the ministries which are supporting you.

We are so tight fisted and selfish that we rob ourselves. It’s crazy, but when we begin to understand God’s benevolence and how He created His Kingdom to operate, then we can live in unlimited blessing all the time. Then you won’t have to squabble with God about giving 10%. You will have more than enough for yourself, your tithe, offerings, charitable gifts and a full life. It is all in the Kingdom, just waiting for you. Open your hand. Tight fists cannot receive. Just sayin’.

Calling All Believers!

Matthew 9: 28, 21: 22

And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this? If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

Yesterday I sent you an unusual Word of the Day, unusual because I have never before asked you to give to this ministry. That wasn’t easy for me but there was a specific reason I made that suggestion and request. First, if you are being fed by this ministry, you should support it, but that is not why I wrote you as I did yesterday. I wrote to you trying to get you blessed.

Why am I anointed to teach the gospel? And for whom? Why did God give me that anointing of increase Sunday? All the anointing that is on me was given for you. I don’t benefit from the anointing on me. I benefit from the anointing that is on Jesse. However, no matter what gifts God sends, it up to each one of us to receive them. So, I want to tell you another story.

A couple of years ago, I decided to test God on this finances thing. You see, we all have trouble believing. As you can see from today’s verse, Jesus couldn’t always get around people’s doubt. Anyway, I took one dollar and sowed it. I prayed over it, I declared, and I put God on notice that I was going to see what He would do. Well, very shortly thereafter I received a check for fifty dollars. Okay, I was expecting one hundred but, where else do you get that kind of return on your money. So, being quite serious about sowing, I sowed the entire fifty dollars. Guess what ministry I sent it to. Jesse Duplantis Ministries. I sent that fifty dollars as soon as I got it. I was working on something. So, then I sat and waited. I was expecting the hundredfold return. And I waited and waited. I began to tell Father, “Hey, you owe me some money here.” Still nothing. Then one day I heard the Father’s voice say to me, “I will make it up to you on your truck.” Well, the thing there was that I wanted a new Tahoe, but I couldn’t afford it. So, I waited some more. Then I reminded Father, “You owe me money!” Again, I heard Him say, “I will make it up to you on your truck.” Okay, fine, but didn’t He understand that I couldn’t afford a Tahoe? How was He going to make it up to me? This went on and I held on though I couldn’t see anything coming in. Some days I was despondent. Other days I was full of faith. Through it all, though, He gave me the strength and tenacity to hold on. Now you see why I titled yesterday’s Word of the Day as I did. I understand. Anyway, time went on and I could see no way I would be able to afford a new Tahoe, but that is the vehicle my heart was set on. Well, long story short . . . you would like the looks of my pretty new Tahoe. I got it in December, and I still don’t know how it happened. What’s more, I got a new stationary bike for indoor training and sold my old Tahoe for the amount that I was going to donate it for. All of this happened within a week and it was purely the blessing of the Lord. Dad isn’t a liar!

Now, what are you going to do? “Do you believe that I (Jesus) am able to do this?” “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” So, who are my believers? Do you believe God is able to do something for you? Some of you sowed yesterday as soon as you read the Word of the Day. God bless you! I am going to pray a prayer over those donations that will rock the walls of hell. Some of you didn’t sow a gift to Ivey Ministries. Why? Why didn’t you? Do you not believe that Jesus is able to bless you? Are you having a battle with doubt? What do you think? You are not the only one to doubt. If you read Monday’s Word of the Day you know that the Lord said to each of us, “Those speculations, wonderings, worries, all those mental gymnastics, must be brought to kneel at Jesus’ feet.” See, all that matters is what Jesus says.

But here is the hard part. Do you believe him? I mean really believe him? Are you willing to risk something on his word? Are you willing to put your money where your mouth is,” as the saying goes. Don’t think I don’t know how hard it is to do, but sooner or later we have to decide where we are going to stand. Are you a believer or are you not? Are you going to let Jesus bless you with this special blessing he has for you? Who wins in your heart faith or doubt?

God is able to make all grace abound to you, but you’ve got to get in the game. You have to choose to be a part of this. I am screaming with my outdoor voice that God is doing something here. Let Him include you. Be a part of the blessing. Do you believe?

Be a blessing & Be blessed

Proverb 10: 22

It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich , and He adds no sorrow to it.

I wrote yesterday that the fastest way to bless yourself is to pray for those in leadership positions above you. Frankly, you ought to be praying for those people in the organization who are below you too but that topic is for another day.

Do you know it is okay to be blessed? Even financially? Well, think about it. Who should be the most blessed, the kids of the King or the heathen unbelievers? There are a lot of components to being rich but it would be pure foolishness for me to suggest that financial wealth isn’t one of them. Dad wants you blessed in every area of your life. that, truly, is the only way you can be rich. You gotta have health, money, a great relationship with your heavenly father, and good friends. You are not, however, going to have these things if you don’t believe the father wants you to have them. If you think any part of the blessing is prohibited then you are going to choke off the flow. Believe it!

There is a reason Solomon wrote this verse. He conveyed two messages in it. First, wealth comes from the Father. Period. There are no qualifiers here. God is the Lord of the blessing. He is the one who sends the blessing to you. Secondly, Yahweh means for you to have the blessing and to be rich without guilt. He is the one who blesses you. What reason would you have to feel guilt over what the Father is doing?

Here is the point I want to get to though. As we saw in yesterday’s devotion, the way to be blessed is to bless. If you will hold up your leaders to the Lord, praying for them and refraining from speaking negatively, then good will come. Now, here is the rest of the secret. The remainder of the blessing comes on the same highway. Father God is the Lord of provision. No doubt about that. He has warehouses full of provision with your name on it. The easiest and the best way to requisition what He has already laid up for you is to give to someone else? Be a blessing and be blessed. That’s how this thing works. “That’s crazy!” you say. Yep! It is. The Kingdom of God does not work the way the world does and that actually makes sense too. The world has been perverted, which means it has been twisted where it just doesn’t work any longer the way it was designed to work. So, knowing that, you really wouldn’t expect the world and the Kingdom to work the same way. The secret is in knowing how the Kingdom works and applying those procedures. That is why I am telling you this, so that you can apply the Kingdom principles and get yourself blessed. Doesn’t that sound great?

Bottom line? If you want to be blessed, be a blessing. Kinda weird, very cool, but most importantly, it works.

Economic Reality

Philippians 4: 19


And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
This verse is just two verses after yesterday’s verse about the gifts of the Philippians accruing to their own account. Here Paul delivers the punch line. Because they, the Philippians, met the needs of the ministry, God was obligated to meet all of their needs. We really need to learn that God moves resources all over the world according to this principle. He multiplies seed sown. This is the principle we all need to adopt in our finances. This is the way God set up the earth to work. We have turned it on its head and operated our economy according to all we can get. That is just the opposite of the economic principles God established in the earth in the beginning. One can see the righteousness in God’s way and the greed in the other way. It is no wonder our economy has collapsed around our ears. It was never meant to work that way. God is your source and your provider and he wants to see you well cared for. He does that by multiplying your seed so for goodness sake, sow some good seed today.

A Full Life

3 John 2

Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.
This passage of scripture portrays the image of a victorious Christian. This is the picture of who we are all destined to be because of the life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. First of all, our souls are to prosper. That encompasses our emotional life, social life, and our intellectual life. It is the transformation of the human soul through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps this is best thought of as the intangibles. It is all of the things that make a life full. It is part of what Jesus meant when he said that he came into the world to give us abundant life (John 10: 10).

As we allow the Holy Spirit to work within our spirits, setting us free from every sort of bondage, we are supposed to also evidence physical well-being and financial prosperity. You see, to God and to Jesus, it is a package deal. We are supposed to have it all, not just one little portion. You are supposed to be well in your body and well in your finances. Your soul is supposed to be healed from any emotional scars and you are to be free. Jesus said that he was anointed to set the captives free (Luke 4: 18). So, his ministry and his word do free us from our former bondage so that we might live in abundance of every sort and pass that blessing on to others. 

It starts in your spirit and manifests in every part of your life. Do not let the devil steal any part of it from you because Jesus came to set you free.

Go With God

Psalm 37: 19

They will not be ashamed in the time of evil; and in the days of famine they will have abundance.

Now this verse you can take to the bank and I am not just making a pun. Here is your promise that in the economic downturn you will be running to the bank to make deposits. 

Many of us watch the stock market and other economic indicators. That’s fine. It’s even kinda fun. The key for Christians is don’t make those indicators your Bible. They do not, in fact, indicate your economic prosperity. Your indicators are in the verse above and others like it. God wants to get out there first and tell you not to rely on Wall Street predictions. He already has an economic plan for you and it is a plan for your well-being (Jeremiah 29: 11).

I have watched Christians work with God on economics. I have seen some listen to whatever they heard on the morning economic news and invest their belief in what they heard. I watched them fail. I watched them go nearly into bankruptcy. Yet others listened to the Word of God and even in the time of famine fared quite well. Some people even grew financially during some of the worst financial times. 

I guess it all goes back to the little train who believed he could. If you believe God, you will succeed according to God’s good promises. If you don’t believe, God, if you believe what you hear on the television, then, well . . . good luck. You either align your finances with God and reap along with Him or you align your finances with the world and go however the world goes. Go with the guy who can bring you abundance even during a famine. Go with God!

Fulfilled

2 Corinthians 9: 8         Amplified Bible

And God is able to make all grace [every favor and earthly blessing] come in abundance to you, so that you may always [under all circumstances, regardless of the need] have complete sufficiency in everything [being completely self-sufficient in Him], and have an abundance for every good work and act of charity.

In Luke 6: 38 we see Jesus importuning us to give. We have briefly pondered the question of why Jesus wants us to give.  I gave you a Biblical Principle that you can hang your hat on. Specifically, everything Jesus tells us to do is for our own good (see devotion from Wednesday, January 27, 2016). If you will always begin with this premise, you will arrive at right conclusions. Let me suggest some other reasons why Jesus encourages us to give.  

The first one is so simple and so obvious that it has almost become invisible. Jesus tells us to become habitual givers because he loves us. We have all heard people saying that the preacher on wants to get something from them. I don’t doubt there are preachers who put pressure on us to give for that reason but I innocently believe they are in the minority. Jesus pushes us to teach on giving not because he wants to get something from you. He is trying to bless you. He is trying to give to you but he needs your seed so that he can multiply it. Just look at Jesus’ life on earth. He was always giving away. He continuously blessed the people. He hasn’t changed. He still is trying to bless everyone.

In today’s text, the Apostle Paul provides two additional reasons for why Jesus teaches us to be givers. Those reasons are so that we will always have sufficient resources to meet our needs and so that, from our abundance, we will be able to help meet the needs of others.  

If you look closely, if you peer inside these ideas, you will see the Kingdom of God financial laws at work. Through our giving, we increase. With our increase, we increase others, who then contribute to meeting the needs of others, and on and on. God is in the business of growing. With the obedience of just a few people, He can start a garden growing which truly can spread across the entire earth. Let me just say this plainly – there is power in giving. Do not underestimate this primary tool of the Kingdom. Give and it shall be given unto you, then give again. Your crop will overflow so that you will have an abundance for every good work.