A Prayer 0

“Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little, when we arrive safely because we have sailed too close to the shore. Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess, we have lost our thirst for the waters of life; having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity; and in our efforts to build a new earth, we have allowed our vision of the new Heaven to dim. Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas where storms will show your mastery; where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars. We ask you to push back the horizons of our hopes; and to push into the future in strength, courage, hope, and love.” Sir Frances Drake:

 

Tithing: Empowerment 2

Gideon had three hundred men to take into battle against an army so big that it looked as if the valley floor was covered in locusts. If fact, the Bible says that just the camels alone could not be counted because they were so many. Yet God spoke directly to Gideon and told him that the victory would be his. Are you seeing this picture, three hundred men facing an army so big that they could not be counted?

God spoke to Gideon and gave him all the knowledge he needed to defeat the enemy. Gideon went to the three hundred and told them, “Get up! The Lord has given the enemy into your hands.” Gideon divided the men into three groups of one hundred each and gave them very specific instructions on what to do. They would surround the enemies camp, blow a trumpet, shout “for the Lord and for Gideon,” and break a jar which had a torch in it. The men followed the instructions of Gideon and the enemy turned on themselves in the confusion and killed each other. Gideon and his men won the battle with the help of God!

When it comes to giving, God calls us all to be cheerful givers. God will never call you to do something that He will not also empower you to complete. Pastor, does this mean if we tithe we will never have to sacrifice financially? No, in fact it may cause us to sacrifice greatly to fulfill what He is asking us to do. However, it is good for us to deny self every once in a while in order for the Kingdom to be built. Remember, what God designs He also empowers.

When I say that God empowers us, it doesn’t mean that money will begin to grow on trees in our front yards the moment we begin to tithe. Listen carefully my friends, we don’t give to get! According to Malachi, 10% is our reasonable service not our show of gratitude for what God has done for us. God’s empowerment is Him providing, strengthening, equipping, disciplining, and training us to be spiritually successful in this life!

There was a knock on the door of the hut occupied by a missionary in Africa. Answering, the missionary found one of the native boys holding a large fish in his hands. The boy said, “Reverend, you taught us what tithing is, so here-I’ve brought you my tithe.” As the missionary gratefully took the fish, he questioned the young lad. “If this is your tithe, where are the other nine fish?” At this, the boy beamed and said, “Oh, they’re still back in the river. I’m going back to catch them now.”

“God Promises His Blessings”
“Blessings Require Action”
“Actions are Designed by God”
“What God Designs He also Empowers”

Draw Near to God 0

A few years ago we had this home that had a gas log fireplace. The fireplace had a remote control for turning it on and off. We had so much difficulty with this fireplace. We would be sitting in our living room when all of a sudden the fireplace would just come on all by itself. Or we would have the fireplace on and it would suddenly just turn itself off.

Over the years we had several different companies look at this fireplace to see if they could repair it. One company came out and declared that a switch was bad and would need to be replaced. So they ordered the part and come out a few days later to replace the switch. The fellow that replaced the switch worked on that fireplace all day and could not get the fireplace to come on. He was very frustrated.

The next day his boss came out to work on the fireplace. After a few minutes I heard laughter coming from the living room. I came into the living room and there the boss was holding a 9 volt battery. He told me, “Come here and look at this battery.” I walked over and looked at the battery and it looked normal at first, but as I looked closer I noticed the battery was covered in a clear plastic that was put around it to keep it from damaging the switch during transportation. The boss took the plastic covering off the battery and pushed the button and the fire place came right on.

I think that often we are just like that battery. We cover ourselves with a façade to hide what is really going on in our lives and it robs us of the power to overcome our difficulties. Instead of insulating ourselves with pride and self-centeredness; Lord help us be a people who will humbly come before You and declare, ‘Not our will, but Thy Will be done in our lives. Forgive us Lord of our rebellion.” There is nothing more liberating than to come before the Lord confessing our sins and asking for forgiveness. Victory, Victory shall be mine!

James 4:7-10
7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
NKJV