Archive for March, 2009


james_west2James West, publisher of the Midas Letter wrote today in Global Meltdown, Part III:Midas Letter

“The upcoming G20 meeting in London, England will likely result in the failure of all nations to agree on anything on a unified basis, which will trigger major market declines in the weeks to follow.

Investors should get out of equities and bonds and into precious metals or cash (not U.S.!) exclusively.

This next wave of financial mayhem will also catalyze elevated levels of civil unrest where unemployment is highest and where food shortages will soon begin to underscore how serious the crumbling global infrastructure really is.

Governments throughout the G20 will likely react by protecting domestic supplies of energy and food as public pressure to solve the problems forces governments to act according to popular sentiment.

Organized crime groups such as drug cartels and bankers will take advantage of the growing chaos to perpetrate their own interests to the detriment of (mostly) urban centers.

We are progressing solidly toward a situation where lawlessness emanates from the top down, and leadership by example is the most to blame. The U.S. government is being implicated more and more in duplicitous acts that appear to provide cover and escape for high net worth bankers who have supported the election of governments with billions in ill-gotten gains for the last twenty years.”

The Lawless One Will Be Revealed

Nearly 2000 years ago God wrote through the Apostle Paul:

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12 (NKJV)

lawless-oneGod will use the lawlessness that is simmering to set the stage for the lawless one to be revealed. He will come forth to bring peace to a world in financial and political chaos. He will offer the solution that will result in renewed financial stability and prosperity, but only on his terms and with his control. He will have his roots in the Babylon whore spoken of in Revelation. But we know her end.

“The kings of the earth who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning, standing at a distance for fear of her torment, saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’ And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore: merchandise of gold and silver, precious stones and pearls, fine linen and purple, silk and scarlet, every kind of citron wood, every kind of object of ivory, every kind of object of most precious wood, bronze, iron, and marble; and cinnamon and incense, fragrant oil and frankincense, wine and oil, fine flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and bodies and souls of men. The fruit that your soul longed for has gone from you, and all the things which are rich and splendid have gone from you, and you shall find them no more at all. babylon-has-fallenThe merchants of these things, who became rich by her, will stand at a distance for fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city that was clothed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls! For in one hour such great riches came to nothing.’ Every shipmaster, all who travel by ship, sailors, and as many as trade on the sea, stood at a distance and cried out when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What is like this great city?’ They threw dust on their heads and cried out, weeping and wailing, and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth! For in one hour she is made desolate.’ Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her!”Revelation 18:9-20 (NKJV)

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congressiona-medal-of-honorThe Congressional Medal of Honor was conceived in 1861 The Medal of Honor is awarded in the name of Congress to a person who, while a member of the Armed Services, distinguishes himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against any enemy of The United States. The deed performed must have been one of personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his comrades and must have involved risk of life.

  • The Congressional Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States.
  • Presented by the President “for gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty”.
  • President Truman: “I would rather have the blue band of the Medal of Honor around my neck than be President!”
  • Recipients are always saluted, regardless of rank.
  • Since 1862 only 3,465 medals have been awarded to 3,446 men.

Honor is very important to our God. Learning to Value what He considers important is the key to seeing His Blessings upon your life, to seeing His Pathway, His Will for your Life.

We have examined the role of Honor in understanding and learning the Ways of God.

  • If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.” Exodus 33:13 (NIV)
  • Teach me Your way, O Lord, And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies. Psalms 27:11 (NKJV)
  • Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Psalms 25:4 (NKJV)
  • Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. (Ps 86:11)

You have to make a decision who you want to follow. You can follow God, or you can follow anything that is left. Following God involves Honoring who and what He says to Honor. That Honor brings rewards. Those rewards involve the presence and power of God in your life. What you do, who you follow determines whether you will enjoy God’s full reward or not.

Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. 2 John 1:8

Finally I would like us to consider the Ultimate Honor. That thing or person we should value so much, it will open up God’s Pathway of Blessing in our lives.

What is the Ultimate Honor, as Far as God is Concerned?

ultimate-honorNow remember, honor means value, weight. When it comes to God and His creation, what is most important? I contend that the Ultimate Honor we can give God is to See the Value God Places Upon our Life. When We See the Value of our Life, and all that God gas done to give us Life, we will have an entirely new and radical focus on LIFE. The Ultimate Honor does not involve a religion, a set of rules to obey, it involves the Value we place on that which Gives us LIFE. I’m not talking about your momma and your daddy. For I don’t care how much you think you are alive, you are dead unless you see the realize the importance of this Ultimate Honor. To understand, realize the problem that Jesus had with the religious authorities of his day.

You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. I do not receive honor from men. But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God? Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you–Moses, in whom you trust. John 5:39-45 (NKJV)

pharisees do not honor JesusThe Pharisees and other religious leaders thought they were giving the proper Honor to God. They were honoring one another. But Jesus said they were not seeking the Honor that comes from only GOD. Jesus went so far as to call them HYPOCRITES:

Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ” Matthew 15:6-9 (NKJV)

You can honor people, authorities, even God, but if you do not do that which brings the ultimate Honor, you are wasting your breath. For the Ultimate Honor we can partake of is the Honor God bestows upon us! Jesus said:

Jesus answered, “If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God. John 8:54 (NKJV)

What can I do that would make God want to honor me?

“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.” Psalms 91:14-16 (NKJV)

“That all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” John 5:23 (NKJV)

God Honors Us

The greatest Honor in the world is when we are crowned with God’s Honor. The only way to receive this Ultimate Honor is to Honor His Son, Jesus Christ. When we Honor His Son, We are crowned with Glory and Honor, because Jesus was crowned with glory and Honor.

crown-with-gloryGod is calling us to Honor His Son, and when we do, we receive the ultimate Honor. Jesus is the Word. He is God’s revelation of Love and Wisdom. He is the source of Proverbs. He is in every page of this Bible.

Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; Love her, and she will keep you. Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she will promote you; She will bring you honor, when you embrace her. She will place on your head an ornament of grace; A crown of glory she will deliver to you.” Proverbs 4:5-9 (NKJV)

Each one of us has a choice. Each choice determines whether we will live lives crowned with Honor from the Lord, or crowned with shame. Whether our lives will have impact and influence for eternity, or whether we will just be a grave marker. Who will you choose to honor? What or Who are you going to consider the most important thing in your life. If you seek after God and His Son, He will crown you with Honor. That will give Him Honor!

CONSIDER ELI:

Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?’ 1 Samuel 2:29 (NKJV)

consider-eliBut now the Lord says: ‘Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed. 31 Behold, the days are coming that I will cut off your arm and the arm of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house. 32 And you will see an enemy in My dwelling place, despite all the good which God does for Israel. Then I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. (1 Samuel 2:30-33)

God wanted a Priest who would obey Him over pleasing himself or people. That is why God chose to replace Eli with Samuel.

CONSIDER ABRAHAM:

consider-abrahamAbraham finally had Isaac at the age of 100. He had waited 25 years for this promised son. He loved him more than anything in the world. Sometime later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called. “Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.” “Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.” The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son, Isaac. Then he chopped wood for a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had told him about. Genesis 22:1-3 (NLT)

“Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.” Genesis 22:12 (NLT). God honored Abraham becasue he chose to honor God above even his only son.

CONSIDER MOSES:

And it came to pass on the way, at the encampment, that the Lord met him and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it at Moses’ feet, and said, “Surely you are a husband of blood to me!” So He (God) let him go. Then she said, “You are a husband of blood!”–because of the circumcision. Exodus 4:24-26 (NKJV)

consider-mosesNow a lot is left out from this account, and most people ignore these verses because they make no sense. Why would God try to kill Moses after He had just sent Him to Egypt to lead His people home? I think we can fill in the blanks. Imagine this scene:

Moses goes into the kitchen and tells his honey Zipporah that they have to pack the bags and move to Egypt. God has a special job for him. Zipporah, being the loving wife she is, says great, I’ll start packing. Moses says, God reviewed His covenant with Abraham with me, and told me I must circumcise our two boys….Wll, iprah says, lets start with Gershom, he’s the oldest. Ziprah watches as Moses performs the circumcision. She watches as Gershom screams out in agony, and then writes in agonizing pain on the ground. It hoorifies her. What kind of God would demand something so bloody and cruel? So Mom steps in and refuses to let four year old Eliezer be circumcised. She gathers him in her arms and says over her dead body will you circumcise Eliezer. A terrible fight erupts. It may have gone on for hours, but finally Moses gives up, after all he has an important job to do. He gives in and says, let’s go. On the way to Egypt, God comes into the camp to kill Moses because Moses honored his wife above honoring what God told him to do.

Zipporah realizes Moses is about to be killed and so she races to circumcise Eliezer and then casts the bloody foreskin at Moses.

Now why didn’t God try to kill Zipporah? Because Moses had been told to do something by God, and Moses was responsible to carry it out. Moses compromised and honored his wife above God. Moses nevermade that mistake again.

HONOR GOD ABOVE ALL

Who are you choosing to Honor in your life?

  • When you lay your head on your pillow, what occupies your thoughts?
  • When you awake in the morning, what occupies your thoughts?

Those are the things you honor more than God. We are to Honor God above all. In seeking to honor Him first, we bring honor upon our lives. That in turn honors God.

How Does Honoring God bring Honor upon our Lives?

covenant-with-abrahamWhen Abraham was 99 years old, God appeared to Abraham. Turn to Genesis 15, verse one. Abraham had honored God rather than riches when he refused the spoil from the King of Sodom. He had honored God with a tithe of all he possessed. He may have had doubts about continuing to honor God, because God had not given Him a son, as God had promised. When God repeated again that He was going to reward Abraham for honoring Him as his God, Abraham said how can I know this?

God gave him a grocery list, and said to cut the animals in half. He had to look at them for a few hours, and wonder what it meant. He even had to keep the buzzards away. Finally it grew dark, and Abraham fell into a deep sleep. This was not a peaceful sleep. He was filled with horror and deep dark blackness. I don’t know how long it lasted. It appears to have been into the next day. I believe God was speaking to his subconscious. When we encounter Holy God, it reveals the horribleness of our heart. God spoke to Abraham, and revealed His covenant with him. As God told Abraham of the future, all of a sudden a smoking oven and a burning torch passed between the pieces. And God pronounced His covenant with Abraham and his descendants.

What were the smoking oven and burning torch? They were symbols of God Himself.

God was passing between the bloody pieces. God could only swear by Himself that He would accomplish this covenant. In effect He was saying that if he did not accomplish His word, then may he be as these bloody animals, cut apart!

The one passing between the bodies is always the one responsible for keeping the covenant.

Now why should we Honor God? And how does that bring honor to us?

covenant-of-life-and-peaceBecause God has made a covenant with each one of us. God wants each one of us to fall into a deep sleep, dead from the influence and concerns of this world. He wants us to see how horrible our sins are to Him, how horrible the judgment of Hell that is upon us will be. Then He wants us to wake and look up and see His Son hanging upon the cross, His body broken and bloody, for He has become the Assurance of God’s Covenant of Honor with us. Jesus Christ has appeared suspended between hell and heaven, Satan and God, Unholy Man and Holy God. Jesus body was pierced by the sword, symbolizing the sacrifice cut in two. His blood was shed because God’s Covenants are ALWAYS BLOODY covenants, for God has said that LIFE is in the blood. If we are to have LIFE as God intends it, we must enter into this bloody covenant with God. It has been secured by Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son. God has honored us with His Son. The Ultimate Honor is having Peace & Life through His Son.

COVENANT OF PEACE and LIFE

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21 (KJV)

God made a Covenant with us so that we would Honor Him and walk with Reverence before His Name. In return, we have His Peace, His Life, and His Honor! We can live in Honor before a Righteous Holy God!

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. Ephesians 2:13-16 (NKJV)

My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. Malachi 2:5 (KJV)

To refuse to Honor God with our lives is to spit upon God’s Love, to slap the Son of God and say with clinched fist “I DON’T NEED YOU”. I don’t need Peace with God! If you refuse to Honor Jesus Christ with your life, you refuse to Honor Holy God. You refuse to Honor the Covenant of Peace which God has offered each one of us.

Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. For “He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 1 Peter 3:8-12 (NKJV)

When we take communion we are renewing our covenant with God through His Son Jesus Christ. We are also renewing our covenant to Love one another, to love those who are our brothers and sisters.

Are You Kicking at the Cross?

God asked ELI: Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me?

Some of you may be kicking at God, some of you may be kicking at Jesus, some of you may be kicking at fellow Christians, some of you may be kicking at parents, in-laws.YOU ARE kicking-at-the-crossBRINGING SHAME ON YOUR LIFE AND YOU ARE BRINGING SHAME ON THIS BODY AND ON JESUS CHRIST. YOU ARE NOT SEEKING WISDOM. YOU ARE NOT SEEKING TO HONOR THE LIFE THAT GOD GIVES YOU IN JESUS CHRIST.

YOU ARE MAD AT A FAMILY MEMBER. YOU ARE MAD AT AN IN-LAW. YOU ARE UNFORGIVING OF A CHRISTIAN BROTHER OR SISTER. YOU ARE TALKING BAD ABOUT THEM.

SOME OF US ARE KICKING AT FALLEN BROTHERS. HOW? BY IGNORING THE SITUATION, OR TALKING BAD ABOUT IT. EVEN TALKING BAD ABOUT EACH OTHER. YOU MAY THINK YOU ARE RIGHT, BUT I ASSURE YOU SUCH DOES NOT HONOR GOD, IT DOES NOT HONOR HIS WORD IT DOES NOT BRING HONOR TO YOUR LIFE.

Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness–indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God. Romans 2:1-11 (NKJV)

We are not to Kick anyone when they are down:

Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; Hebrews 12:11-15 (NKJV)

kneeling-at-the-crossI want our church to be a place where people can experience the Covenant of Life and Peace that God made with us through His Son. I want us to be a church that honors God by honoring the downtrodden, those that are broken. I want our church to experience the ultimate Honor, being Honored by God because we seek to Honor the Life of Jesus Christ living in us by Faith.

My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. Malachi 2:5 (KJV)


God’s Power Shows Through the Cracks

1973spiritboostersWhen I was in Bible College I thought Christians were supposed to be happy all the time. I thought we should always be filled with joy, after all, we are indwelt with the Holy Spirit. My concept of true Christians was that they smile 24/7. If they cry or frown they are not living a victorious life in Christ. They should never worry or fear, for these are emotions that signal a lack of trust in Jesus Christ.

Tompkins Clan circa 1985Bible College gave way to real life, real problems, real babies (6), real sickness, real struggles. I discovered the Real Christian walk is actually very different. It is a display of power in weakness, joy amid pain, faith in the presence of doubt. I discovered that when I thought I was strong in the Lord, I was very conscious of my inabilities and inadequacies. When troubles came thundering upon me I was on the one hand confident of God’s purpose and power but on the other filled with fear and doubt. Even those moments of joy came with a realization that stress and worry were lurking behind the door. I have since learned to rejoice and even praise God for my weaknesses. God brought the power of 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 to bear on my life.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed– always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 (NKJV)

hunk-of-mudI now realize that Christians are just hunks of mud blessed with the indwelling of the most amazing Treasure. We are filled with God Himself. God can only reveal His EXCELLENT Power through the cracks and broken pieces of my life. When I am weak He is strong. Every day my Christian walk is a quest to discover and experience the “exceeding greatness of HIS POWER! (Eph 1:19)

It is OK to cry, to feel stressed, to worry, to get down, but only as long as it reveals less of me and more of God. God wants me to realize how powerful He is, and how weak I really am.we-are-hunks-of-mud-in-gods-hands

Prayer: Father, thank you for breaking me and showing me how weak I really am. May You reveal Your Power through my life. Keep me very aware that I am just a hunk of mud being shaped by Your masterful and loving hands.

From PathwayofBlessing


pathway-of-blessing-honor-with-your-possessionsOne Sunday a pastor told his congregation that the church needed some extra money for a special mission project. He asked the people to consider putting a little extra in the offering plate. He added that whoever gave the most that day would be able to pick three hymns in the worship service. When the offering plates were brought forward the pastor glanced down and noticed that someone had written a check for $1000. Excited, he immediately shared this news with the congregation and said he would like to thank personally the person who gave such a large gift. He asked who the donor was. A shy, elderly woman sitting in the back slowly raised her hand. The pastor asked her to come to the front of the church. She stood there nervously as the pastor praised her and then he asked her to pick out three hymns. Her eyes brightened as she looked over the congregation. Pointing to the three best looking men in the building, she said, “I’ll take him and him and him!”

This morning I’m going to talk about that dreaded five letter word…TITHE. Before you close your ears, I want you to consider a different way of looking at the tithe. Our outlook is so important…

Imagine you’re up on the 70th floor of the Empire State Building. Suddenly a man opens the window and says he’s going to jump. You call out, “Stop. Don’t do it.” “Try to stop me and I’ll take you with me.”

Noting that the guy is 6-foot-5, you say, “No problem. Have a safe trip. Any last messages?” He says, “Let me tell you my troubles. My wife left me, my kids won’t talk to me, I lost my job and my pet turtle died.” After an hour of stories like this, you’re so depressed you’re ready to jump with him. Finally he turns to you and says, “Tell me – why should I go on living?”

What do you say? Suddenly you get a flash of inspiration. “Sir, close your eyes for a minute. Now I want you to imagine that you are blind. No colors, no sights of children playing, no fields of flowers, no sunset … Now imagine that suddenly there’s a miracle. You open your eyes and you can see. Are you going to jump … or will you stick around a week to look around?” “I’d stick around for a week to see.” “What happened to all the troubles?” “Ah, I guess they’re not so bad. I can see.”

I want us to close our eyes and then open them with a new outlook on tithing.

Proverbs 3:9 tells us to Honor the Lord with our substance. Now we usually think money, but substance means much more. It refers to everything we own, everything we have under our control. I am hoping you will put a fresh perspective on a subject that usually causes people to squirm in their seats, and avoid eye contact with the preacher. In order to do so, let’s read Acts 27 beginning with verse 9:

Now when much time had been spent, and sailing was now dangerous because the Fast was already over, Paul advised them, saying, “Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives.” Nevertheless the centurion was more persuaded by the helmsman and the owner of the ship than by the things spoken by Paul. And because the harbor was not suitable to winter in, the majority advised to set sail from there also, if by any means they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete opening toward the southwest and northwest, and winter there. When the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their desire, putting out to sea, they sailed close by Crete. But not long after, a tempestuous head wind arose, called Euroclydon. So when the ship was caught, and could not head into the wind, we let her drive. And running under the shelter of an island called Clauda, we secured the skiff with difficulty. When they had taken it on board, they used cables to undergird the ship; and fearing lest they should run aground on the Syrtis Sands, they struck sail and so were driven. And because we were exceedingly tempest-tossed, the next day they lightened the ship. On the third day we threw the ship’s tackle overboard with our own hands. Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up. But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss. And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. However, we must run aground on a certain island.” Acts 27:9-26 (NKJV)

If we are to understand what it means to honor God with our substance, we must understand what Paul meant when he said “God, whose I am, whom also I serve.”

Apostle Paul is shipwreckedI think that most Christians don’t really understand what it means to really be God’s. To see yourself as belonging totally to God, you have to put yourself in the place of those seamen. You need to feel the salt spray on your cheek. You need to feel the ship rising and falling. You need to hear the thunder of the waves against the bow. You need to see the flash of the lightning, feel the wind blowing against you, so hard that you can lean 45 degrees into it and not fall over. You are totally helpless. You have given up hope of ever seeing home again, of ever hugging your wife, hugging your children, your grandchildren. You are going to die. Every possession you have, everything you hold dear, you would be willing to throw over the side of the ship if you could only feel dry ground under your feet again.

Nothing is as important as life at that moment. When you stare death in its face, everything of value fades away except life.

Paul knew this. He knew that everything he was and ever would be was totally tied up with Jesus Christ. He owed his very life to Jesus. In fact, Jesus was his LIFE.

Do you see that as well? Until you do, you will have a hard time when the preacher talks about money.

We tithe for a multitude of reasons.

  1. Emotional appeal
    A little church was having a homecoming service to which ex-members, who had moved away, were invited. One of the former members had become a millionaire. When asked to speak, the wealthy man recounted his childhood experience. He had earned his first silver dollar which he had decided to keep forever. “But when a visiting missionary preached about the urgent need for funds in his mission work, and the offering basket was passed, a great struggle took place within me. As a result,” the wealthy man said, “I put my treasured silver dollar in the basket. I am convinced that the reason God has blessed me richly is that when I was a boy I gave God everything I possessed.” The congregation was spellbound by the multi-millionaire’s tremendous statement until an elderly little man seated in the front row rose and said, “Brother, I dare you to do it again.”
  2. Guilt
  3. Fear of God
  4. Respect of Man
  5. Gratefulness for something God has done.
  6. Love of the pastor
  7. Love of the church
  8. Love of God

These are all good reasons, but as such, they are subject to the winds of change.

  1. We lose our tenderness to emotional appeals
  2. We become hard-hearted so guilt doesn’t faze us.
  3. We lose our fear of God
  4. Man doesn’t appreciate us
  5. God stops doing great things for us
  6. Pastor does something we don’t like
  7. Church does something we don’t like
  8. God does something we don’t like.

Our giving suddenly changes. Maybe we even stop giving.

David Russell, a pastor in Union City, Tennessee tells about Nathan, a precocious three-year-old in his church. Nathan’s parents were trying to introduce him to what it means to be in church. One Sunday they gave him a one-dollar bill that Nathan was to place in the offering plate. When the plate moved down Nathan’s pew, his parents held it infront of him and told him to place the dollar in the plate. Nathan balked. Finally his mother gently took the dollar from him. She placed it in the plate, and it was passed on down the pew. Suddenly the stillness of the offertory was shattered by a voice demanding, “I want my dollar back! I want my dollar back!” Nathan had been robbed and he wanted everyone to know it. His parents tried in vain to quiet their son, but he was insistent, “I want my dollar back!” Everyone in the congregation was fighting a losing battle against laughter. Throughout the remaining strains of the organist’s meditative tune, the only thing most worshippers heard was, “I want my dollar back!” Eventually, his parents gave Nathan another dollar to hold and he was content enough so that the congregation could make it through the Doxology.

Pastor Russell says that as he stepped into the pulpit, he knew he needed to talk about what had happened. Looking out at the smiling faces he said, “We shouldn’t laugh. It may be that Nathan is only voicing the feelings that some of us have after having given to God. We do so, not joyously but out of a sense of obligation. We do so unwillingly. We may not say it, but some of us think it, “I want my dollar back!”

God sees our tithing as an indicator of how much we value our Life in Christ.

Larry Burkett knew a pastor who did something interesting one Sunday – he took up the offering himself. And he didn’t just take it up, but watched what each person put in. If they put in a sealed envelope, he opened it up to see what was inside. A murmur rose up in the congregation and many of the members were furious. The next Sunday the pastor spoke from the pulpit: “Many of you were upset that your pastor looked in the offering envelopes last week. Has it ever occurred to you to consider what GOD thinks when he looks in there??”

Leighton Farrell was the minister of Highland Park Church in Dallas for many years. He tells of a man in the church who once made a covenant with a former pastor to tithe ten percent of their income every year. They were both young and neither of them had much money. But things changed. The layman tithed one thousand dollars the year he earned ten thousand, ten thousand dollars the year he earned one hundred thousand, and one hundred thousand dollars the year he earned one million. But the year he earned six million dollars he just could not bring himself to write out that check for six hundred thousand dollars to the Church.

He telephoned the minister, long since having moved to another church, and asked to see him. Walking into the pastor’s office the man begged to be let out of the covenant, saying, “This tithing business has to stop. It was fine when my tithe was one thousand dollars, but I just cannot afford six hundred thousand dollars. You’ve got to do something, Reverend!”

pray_03The pastor knelt on the floor and prayed silently for a long time. Eventually the man said, “What are you doing? Are you praying that God will let me out of the covenant to tithe?”

“No,” said the minister. “I am praying for God to reduce your income back to the level where one thousand dollars will be your tithe!”

Here is the way we need to view our privilege of tithing. Consider Paul and the Foundational Truth of His Life:

  • He was God’s
  • He served God

All of the stuff we have around our lives suddenly doesn’t seem too important when we are staring death in the face. When we consider that we owe our very life to Jesus Christ. Look what Jesus was willing to sacrifice for us. Now think about all your stuff, and how important it is to you. Do you LIVE Proverbs 3:9? Do you realize that you owe your Life to Jesus? Do you realize you are to serve Jesus because He has given you LIFE?jesus-i-will-come-again-melton

(Pro 3:9) Honor the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:

Do you Honor God with your possessions. Or do you use them to honor yourself?

A pastor told me of a very interesting thing that he did in his congregation one Sunday morning. He said that when the ushers had taken up the offering one Sunday and brought the plates down to the alter rail, he took the plates and held them up in the air and he gave a prayer: “Lord, regardless of what we say about you, this is really what we say about you, this is really what we feel about you. Amen.”

Now most people say that all our possessions belong to the Lord. And that is most certainly true. But God doesn’t need all your possessions unless you are putting them before Him. Then he has a problem; for God said I will have no other God’s before me. I believe God is dealing with America in such a way as to shake us from having Money as our God. God will bring us to the point where our trust will be in Him, and not in money.

So how do we Honor God with our Possessions?

The Pharisees used the Herodians to try to trick Jesus. They asked Him if it was lawful to pay taxes. Jesus asked them to bring a denarii to him.jesus-said-bring-me-a-denar

Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the tax money.” So they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Matthew 22:17-21 (NKJV)

Jesus said you need to pay taxes, but he also said something else. Give to God that which is God’s.

jesus-fulfilled-the-law1Now many people say that the concept of tithe is Old Testament. It doesn’t apply to today. But Jesus came to fulfill the Law, not cast it aside. In fact He said that not one jot or tittle of the Law would be done away with until it is fulfilled (Matt 5:18)

How do you honor the Lord with your substance? What things belong to God? God’s Law provides the answer to what is God’s…

(Lev 27:30) And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’s: it is holy unto the LORD.

(Lev 27:32) And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD.

God says that one tenth of all you own is His! So when Jesus says to give God that which is His, we consider a tenth of all we make and own as set apart unto Him! Now how important is it to honor God with our substance that belongs to Him?

The Importance of Honor with our Possessions

Malachi is the last word that God gave His people for four hundred years, until the ministry of John the Baptist. He was really irritated at His people, and one of the reasons is their refusal to Honor Him.

“A son honors his father, And a servant his master. If then I am the Father, Where is My honor? And if I am a Master, Where is My reverence? Says the Lord of hosts To you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’ Malachi 1:6 (NKJV)

Stop Robbing GodHe listed a number of other faults, and then He gave them some advice that we should pay close attention to. He said if you want to return to God you must do something. You must stop robbing from God.

Yet from the days of your fathers You have gone away from My ordinances And have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” Says the Lord of hosts. “But you said, ‘In what way shall we return?’ “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try 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 such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the Lord of hosts; Malachi 3:7-11 (NKJV)

Honoring God with our substance is critical if we are to return to Him. It is that Honor that comes with direct reward. Protection from the devourer, and material blessing.

I want you to consider taking the Jacob pledge:

“and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.” Genesis 28:22 (ESV)

ebenezerI’m not going to stand here and promise you that if you tithe you will be wealthy beyond imagination. Even though some very successful men claim that is why God has blessed them.

All I will tell you is that if you name Jesus Christ as your Savior, your sins are forgiven and God’s grace and mercy is open by the bucketfuls to you. If you love God, you love His Son, if your life is all about honoring them, because you belong to God, then you will want to Honor God with your substance.

  • He promises to reward you when you honor Him with your substance.
  • He promises to rebuke the devourer.
  • He promises fruit for your life.

Perhaps you need to return to God and confess your dishonor for Him in your life. You have laid a selfish claim to that which is Holy unto the Lord. You owe God your life. Your Life is what matters. So Honor God with with your substance.

The story of soap-maker William Colgate:

His family was poor and at the age of 16 he left home to seek his fortune. The only thing he knew was how to make soap and candles. He met an old canal-boat captain who gave him this advice: “Be a good man, give your heart to Christ, pay the Lord all that belongs to Him, make an honest soap, and I’m certain you’ll be a prosperous and rich man.”william-colgate-soap

William arrived in New York and got a job in a soap factory. The first dollar he earned, he gave 10% to God. Soon he became a partner. Later he became the owner. The business grew, so he gave a double tithe, 20%. Then a triple tithe, a four-fold one, half his income – finally he was giving all his income to the Lord. He was faithful to God, and his name is with us today on every tube of Crest toothpaste – Colgate-Palmolive.

Wesley’s guidelines on money:

1. Gain all you can.

Money can be used for good. But do not thereby damage yourself, others, or the environment.

2. Save all you can.

Two reasons were not to waste money, and not to increase desires.

3. Give all you can. Giving begins, but does not end, with the tithe.the-tithe-is-holy-to-the-lord

Now imagine that you are on that ship in the Mediterranean. You can hear it breaking up under the force of the wind and the waves. You have been throwing up for hours. You are weak from not eating. You are dehydrated. You know you don’t have very long to live.

What does all your money mean at that moment. What good are all those possessions. Would you give everything to save your life? Jesus gave everything to save your life. He died on the cross for your sins. He bore the price of your disobedience, your dishonor of the God of the universe. If you have accepted His love for you and asked Him to be your personal Savior, you owe Him everything. How hard is it to honor Him with one tenth of what you make, of one tenth of your substance?


broken-clay-potI am really struggling with how Jesus Christ REALLY impacts the everyday life of normal Christians. It seems to me that most Christians see Jesus as just the doorway to God. Sunday is the day we go to meet with this God whom we met by asking Jesus into our life. That seemed to be the case yesterday. I went to a really BIG church yesterday in Houston. Over 20,000 people attend at five different locations. The choir and special singers at the location I was at sang beautiful songs to a God who seemed awesome to them. They sang about how this God can get them through tough times. Then a preacher appeared on an overhead video screen. I guess he was preaching somewhere, just not there.overcome He was preaching on Job and how he overcame tough times. He was able to job-covered-with-soresovercome because he kept on hanging on to this God. The preacher took a clay pot and just threw it down, breaking it all over the stage. He said that’s what this God did to Job. He smashed his life to pieces, and then this God bet Satan that Job would hang on to Him! That seemed a bit wierd to me, but I could see the point of the preacher. In fact, most people could get the point. After all, we all get dealt a few lemons from time to time. Some more than others. We can let the lemon sour us or we can learn to make lemonade. Right? The message was very simple, compassionate, and made sense. BUT DID IT BRING LIFE?

Jesus Christ said that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is MY Way, MY Truth and MY Life. He also said that I could never come to this awesome God unless I come through HIM.

i-want-to-see-jesusI understood the message about holding on to God, about letting Him make sense out of all the broken pieces, but I did not see Jesus. I want to see LIFE! And Jesus told me I must see Him to see LIFE. I want to do more than just hold on to God. I want to do more than get advice for how to handle problems. I want to have Life! I want to have His Life! I want to know His way, His truth, His Life. That only happens as I discover and embrace the Life of Jesus in the mundane, every-day events of life.

Jesus told Mary & Martha “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11) He wanted them to know Him, but they only cared about what He could do for them. In verse 32 they said, “If you had been here Lazarus would not have died”. So Jesus wept (vs. 33), because they did not understand it is not what Jesus does for us that impacts our lives, it is WHO HE IS! He is our LIFE! We can have no life apart from Him. He is not just someone to introduce us to God. He is not just someone we casually mention at the end of an opening and closing prayer. Jesus is our LIFE. We can not pretend to know Him on Sunday and NOT EXPERIENCE His Life on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday… Jesus is our LIFE, and His Life is meant to be as effortless as breathing.

hold-on-to-godSure, anyone can get through the tough times simply by holding on to God. But NEVER limit yourself to a survivor mentality. That is not Jesus Christ! Jesus is so much more! He is not a Survivor, He is a THRIVER! Jesus is our resurrection as well as our life! His resurrection means we can REIGN with Him. We are reigning over our problems and difficulties. We are reigning even while simply driving to work! Instead of simply trying to hold on to life, Reign with His Life living through you! Jesus is the Lord of every situation, from success to failure, from health to disease. The only way to encounter His Life and allow His Life to be Our Life is to LET GO! Let go of what you think you need to do to survive. See Jesus as your life. Allow Him to reign over every situation in your life. Jesus is Life, and we must allow Him to be our life. The power of His resurrection will flourish in our hearts. Regardless of the pain and suffering and difficulties we encounter.job19_25

Job himself realized this as he wrote in Job 19:25,26 – “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God.”

Even in the midst of his sorrows Job did much more than simply “hang on”. He thrived because his Life was totally tied up in the life of his Redeemer!

jesus-the-way-the-truth-the-lifeDon’t survive, THRIVE! Jesus is LIFE! His Life can be your life. Anyone can find the strength to hang on. How many of us have the strength to let go and trust Him? Let go of your situation and let Jesus be your life. He says “I am Your Way, I am Your Truth, I am Your Way!” If you want to overcome the difficulties of this life, let go and let ME be your life!