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’.

Challenged

Philippians 4: 19                    God’s Word

My God will richly fill your every need in a glorious way through Christ Jesus.

Do you believe this verse? I mean do you really, really believe it? Today’s Word of the Day is not, surprisingly, about God meeting your needs. It is about believing. It is about challenging our beliefs. The truth is, most of us don’t really believe the Bible. We believe a version of the Bible. As we read the Bible we need to learn to challenge our belief system asking whether it agrees with the Bible.

Here is another verse, “By His stripes we are healed,” (Isaiah 53: 5) or its New Testament partner, 1 Peter 2: 24By His wounds you were healed.” Do you believe you were and, therefore, are healed? That is what it means to challenge your belief system.

We encounter verses frequently which are just over the top lavish. Here is another one for you, “Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes,” (Ephesians 3: 20 TLB). How much can we believe that our God really wants to and is going to bless us? How many caveats do we have for each of these verses?

Our belief system is built one verse at a time. You encounter verses like these and you have to spend time with them before you can really believe they are true. How about the verses that tell us to not to fear? How do you get those into your structure? Most people, including Christians, that I hear, talk about fear. They have more belief in fear than in faith. Why? We simply have not integrated God’s Word and our lives. We don’t stop and evaluate our lives in light of the Word. Everyday day when you read the Word of the Day you should look at the verse and ask how fully you believe it and how thoroughly you have slotted into your life paradigm. Do you live that verse? Does it affect who you are? If the words of the Bible aren’t changing your life then you are not allowing the Word of God to do its work. We have to run headlong into these verses and challenge ourselves to believe.

It is an ongoing practice and I doubt anyone has fully integrated every single verse in the Bible but that is our goal. Each week, we ought to become a little more Bible infused. We ought to think more and more like God and less and less as the world does. So, as you read the Bible, stop and ask yourself if you really believe what you just read. Did your mind simply acknowledge the words without affecting your beliefs? The Bible should challenge you. You won’t always like what it says, at least until you let the Holy Spirit teach you about it, but engage it, work with it and let it change your life.

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.

No Need

Philippians 4: 19                   Index Card 12

And my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

This is a familiar passage of scripture and you likely hear it quoted frequently. It was written by the Apostle Paul. There is a caveat to this scripture before you begin using it freely though. Paul wrote it to the Philippians saying to them that God would meet their needs because they had met Paul’s needs. So, this powerful promise is specifically for those who are meeting the needs of the clergy. Don’t be discouraged. Be a sower. Avail yourself of the might of this passage. And, if you already are a consistent giver to the church, then celebrate. Paul speaks blessing over you.

There is more and I wish for you to receive the fullness of Paul’s message. Let’s read Philippians 4: 18, “But I have received everything in full, and have an abundance; I am amply supplied.” I really see two sides of this coin. First, Paul declares that his needs are abundantly met. So, the church has clearly done a good job of looking after him. Secondly, I read this passage with the view that when I look to the needs of the church and specifically its ministers then God meets my need so that I receive everything in full, abundantly, and fully supplied.

This is an insight into God’s economics. When you sow, you reap. When you take care of the needs of the church, God takes care of your needs. Paul wanted the church he established in Philippi to be filled. He was thrilled to declare blessing over them. Every minister wants her flock to overflow with blessing and Paul was overjoyed knowing that through the generosity of the Philippians not only were his needs taken care of but the blessing was going to flow back and flood them. Yahoo!

Seeking

Psalm 34: 10

But they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.

Matthew 6: 33 says, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.” Christians do not have to run around seeking after “things,” even things they need. In Philippians 4: 19 God promises us he will provide for our needs. Our role and function in this relationship we have with Him is to seek Him. It is His responsibility to provide for our needs as well as everything else. The above verse says we will not lack any good thing.

I do not say this is always an easy thing to do though. The cares of the world come and choke out the Word that was planted in our hearts (Matthew 13: 22). But take a care. Put your effort and energy into reviving that Word in you and sow the Word of the living God into your heart and He will be able to move on your behalf to meet your needs and your desires. Seek Him! Seek Him and don’t worry about the things of this world. You will choke on the cares of this world. And there is no point when it is His good pleasure to give you those things you want. Seek the Lord. Seek His face continually. Let your energy go into seeking him. “I will be found by you” says the Lord as written in Jeremiah 29: 14. Seek him and you will find him and every good thing will be added to you in His name.

Working Toward Blessing

Ephesians 4: 22

Let him who steals steal no longer; but rather let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have something to share with him who has need.

Likely most of us think our labor is meant to meet our own needs. That is not, however, what God thinks. We need to make a radical departure from our thought process and get in agreement with the Lord, our God.

We have been trained by the world to think that it is our job to work and meet our own needs. If you can read today’s verse with fresh eyes you will see that our labor is meant to meet the needs of others. Our paychecks are seeds which we so into the Kingdom of God by sharing with those who have need. Our needs are met by God through our giving. “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4: 19).

In order to understand Philippians 4: 19 you have to read the passages surrounding it. Verse 19 is Paul’s response for the gifts which had been bestowed upon him. He was conveying to those who sent the gifts that because they had given to him, God would give to them. They met Paul’s needs so God was going to abundantly meet their needs. So our met needs are in our seeds. Our giving determines what we receive. 

When we consume all of our paycheck week to week, it is like we are stealing. God said to labor so that we might have something to share. We have to ask ourselves, “What are we sharing?” A farmer who reaps his harvest and eats all of the crop will not farm long. A portion of that crop is seed for next year’s harvest.

Look at your labor in a new way today. Get a new perspective on your job. God has riches stored in Christ Jesus that He longs to pour out on each one of us. It is literally a harvest of abundance. Now you know where to get the seed.

Prayers for the Needy

Philippians 4: 19

And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Paul wrote to the Philippians assuring them that because they were meeting his needs God would take care of their needs. That is a good perspective from which to view our needs and our prayers. God meets our needs when we meet the needs of others. Still I suspect most of us spend a good bit of time praying about our needs. I noticed in the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus gave “needs” one line; “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6: 11). When Jesus went up on the mountain to pray, what do you suppose he prayed about? I suspect he didn’t spend much time praying about the things he needed. I imagine he prayed for people and for his calling.

I think what God is showing me is that we need spend very little time praying about our physical needs. In fact, I am beginning to think we need not spend much time at all praying about any of our perceived needs for two reasons. First, Jesus said, “Ask and it shall be given to you” (Matthew 7: 7). So ask and be done.

Secondly, I don’t think we really know what we need. Sometimes we pray (ask) for something that we want but don’t need. In fact, sometimes the thing we are praying for would destroy us if we received it. Take for example the Israelites who prayed and prayed for a king. God told them, “No” at first time saying that He would be their king. He told them that their desire would only lead them to ruin. They kept on and on until finally he relented (read this story in 1 Samuel 8). And if you know the story of Saul, the first ever king of Israel, you know that God spoke to them truthfully.

I think our prayer time is better spent asking God what we need. In other words, I think we should pray about ourselves rather than for ourselves. We need God’s revelation on what we need and it may well be something that He wants to do in our hearts. At least that is what I am finding. If we back up a little bit from Matthew 7: 7 where Jesus said, “Ask and it shall be given to you,” and go to the end of Chapter 6 we find something interesting. Bear in mind that this is all one teaching. When Jesus spoke this it wasn’t divided into chapters so just a few moments before He said, “Ask and receive” he said, “Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6: 33).

I believe this is what was happening in Philippi. The people had finally turned their hearts from seeking after their own needs and desires to seeking the kingdom. When they got back into a spiritual state, reconnected with the Holy Spirit within them they sent a gift to Paul for his support and maintenance. Then Paul said that their gift to Him would insure that their needs were met. You see, the Holy Spirit will speak to us about what we need in our lives. He will even lead our prayers. He will also direct our actions so that what we need will be provided for us. The Philippians didn’t send their gift to Paul in order to get their needs met, they were just connecting with God in their hearts. They were seeking the kingdom and the Holy Spirit led them to send a gift to Paul. In that act, their needs were met, as well as Paul’s. So, we need to seek God in our hearts and allow the Holy Spirit to lead our actions. When we do we will not need to pray unceasingly for our needs and wants. They will become a by-product of what God is doing in our spirits. It seems then that the key to the kingdom is what we have all been told time and time again. Seek the Lord, our God and He will take care of everything else.