Archive for the ‘Possessions’ Category


A man asked God how long a million years was to Him. God replied, “It’s just like a single second of your time, my child.” So the man asked, “And what about a million dollars?” The Lord replied, “To me, it’s just like a single penny.” So the man gathered himself up and said, “Well, Lord, could I have one of your pennies?” And God said, “Certainly, my child, just a second.”

Joshua How Long a SLackerWe Americans are known for being impatient. From the very first time your child says “How Long Before We Get there?” – To your husband asking “how long will your mother be staying” we are always occupied with time and how long something takes. By the way if your mother in law is Jewish, you can ask her: kama z’man tish’hu kan? כַּמָּה זְמַן תִּשְׁהוּ כָּאן? (How long will you be staying?)

Everything about America is hurry hurry hurry. We have more time saving gadgets, we even have the internet on our phones so we can be instantly in contact with each other. Still everyone always seems tobe in a hurry, and everyone complains of not having enough time.

However, there is a counter-culture at work in America. It’s called the Slacker Movement. FYI: Slacker: One who shirks work or responsibility.Slacker Movement

The thinking goes that slacking allows more of your creative energy to flow out. You take more time to enjoy life, have fun. You take the easy way out in anything you do. There was even a movie that presented this philosophy. The real you comes out, and you spontaneously express yourself in whatever you see and do and feel. You are more relaxed, you feel great so you make the world a better place to be.

When a slacker lies happily on his couch thinking about what will make him and the rest of the world successful and happy, the world is immediately a happier place. His happiness radiates out like ripples in a pond, creating a happier, successful world. Supposedly, there is actually “Good Slacking”:

Slacking has evolved into an approach towards society, projects, and perhaps even life for those fully absorbed into the slacker movement. Slacking is now about harnessing the simple approach to complex situations. Instead of “reinventing the wheel,” the modern slacker presented with a complex situation will oftentimes examine what is already available,  assemble the provided basic components, and arrive at a solution – usually delivering a viable answer with increased efficiency, minimal fuss, less aggravation, and sometimes even decreased cost.

But Most Slacking is Just Laziness

Join Slacker MovementAnyone anxious to join the Slacker Movement? Lots of Cool Parties and Conventions where all you do is drink. Comes with a really cool T Shirt. You say no thanks? Are you Sure? What if we find out there is a bit of slacker in all of us? As we continue our journey with Joshua, we find that the book is getting boring. In fact, when you start reading in Chapter 15, you start skipping ahead, and you say “How Long” does this go on? What is happening is the division of Canaan to the Hebrew Families.Joshua Down to Business

Chapter 15 details the Tribe of Judah

Joshua 15:1 (KJV) This then was the lot of the tribe of the children of Judah by their families; even to the border of Edom the wilderness of Zin southward was the uttermost part of the south coast.

Joshua 15:13-14 (KJV) And unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh he gave a part among the children of Judah, according to the commandment of the LORD to Joshua, even the city of Arba the father of Anak, which city is Hebron. And Caleb drove thence the three sons of Anak, Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai, the children of Anak.

Chapter 16 details Joseph’s Children, esp Ephraim

Joshua 16:1 (KJV) And the lot of the children of Joseph fell from Jordan by Jericho, unto the water of Jericho on the east, to the wilderness that goeth up from Jericho throughout mount Bethel,

Chapter 17 details the Tribe of Manasseh

Joshua 17:1 (KJV) There was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh; for he was the firstborn of Joseph; to wit, for Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead: because he was a man of war, therefore he had Gilead and Bashan.

Chapter 18 details the remaining tribes

Joshua 18:1 (KJV) And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, and set up the tabernacle of the congregation there. And the land was subdued before them.

There the allotment of the territory could be most conveniently made, north, south, east, and west, to the different tribes. But “the tabernacle of the congregation was also set up there,” and its removal therefore must have been made or sanctioned by divine intimation (De 12:11). It remained in Shiloh for more than three hundred years (1Sa 4:1-11).—JFB

Joshua 18_3 He is PerturbedAll of a Sudden We find Joshua sounding pretty PERTURBED!

Joshua 18:2-3 (KJV) And there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes, which had not yet received their inheritance. And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the LORD God of your fathers hath given you?

Why Did Joshua Talk to them this way?

Reuben, Gad, Manasseh, Ephraiam, and Judah had made their requests. They had been given their land by choice or by lot. But the remaining seven tribes-Benjamin, Zebulin, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, Simeon, and Dan–were being a little too slow.

The language of Joshua is quite harsh and implies that they are openly dishonoring God’s commands.

Joshua is clearly perturbed that they seem to have settled down near Shiloh and are making no overt attempt to continue the conflict and subdue their own land.

Sure there could be simple explanations for the delays, moving to Shiloh, caring for wounded, harvest, livestock, but Joshua being in tune with the Holy Spirit (as he represents the Believer filled with the Holy Spirit)

Joshua is a Picture of the Holy Spirit

Why Do I say Joshua is an example of a believer filled with the Spirit? Because at the beginning Joshua united himself with the Captain of the Hosts of God. He demonstrates that the battle for our inheritance is not by our strength or power, but by the power of God’s Spirit. Joshua is acting as the Holy Spirit does in our lives. He gets busy in the life of God’s Children, and He starts moving us along.

Now what probably happened is this:

Joshua got busy preparing to move and set up the Tabernacle in Shiloh. Everyone got busy, plus they had been on a frenetic pace for at seven years.

One day he heard about Caleb’s great victory over the three sons of Anak, and in the midst of rejoicing he looked out and everybody was just having a big ol cook out, relaxing and playing frisbee and volleyball. Then it hit him, these people are getting comfortable here. They are starting to IGNORE God.

But Joshua was too much alive to the duty laid on him by the Lord to let matters continue in that state; and accordingly, since a general conquest of the land had been made, he resolved to proceed immediately with the lot, believing that when each tribe should receive its inheritance, a new motive would arise to lead them to exert themselves in securing the full possession. God never wants us to get too content in this world. He always wants us focused on the battle, upon His Glory and Purpose.

The churches of America fell asleep in the 50’s and 60’s. Life was good. The WW was over, economic prosperity was going great, tithes were rolling in, big churches were being built, but the old devil was working overtime. All of a sudden, prayer and Bible reading were out, sex and drug education were in, and abortion was government funded. Our great Nation was set on a course that we are living in today. We got slack!

That is what Joshua was reacting too, a slackness in spirit in the people, a contentment with the status quo. But their inaction was in direct violation of God’s Goals and Instructions.

Why do we need to go to church? Why do we read our Bible? Because we are all slackers at heart! We usually don’t want to do anything that involves conflict, confrontation, obedience to the difficult commands of Christ.

But Jesus said: “Why do you call me Lord Lord, and do not the things that I say?

Being a Christian is a RELATIONSHIP and NOT a RELIGION!

It’s very much like a marriage relationship…

Relationship Not a ReligionI can tell my wife I love her. O honey I love you so much. You are the cutest little thing! Oh you just make me all tingly inside! But if I just lay around and don’t help with chires, just lay around and don’t go to work, or worse yet, just leave and don’t tell her where I’m going, stay out all night carousing… Does it make it ok if I come home at four in the morning and go: “Oh honey, I just missed you so much! I love you so much!”

NO. In fact, I would be lucky if my wife even tolerated that behavior for a week.

You can use the same analogy about your conduct at work, at school, with friends. Words and smiles and high fives only get you so far. Pretty soon you have to back up your words with actions!

That is our God! That is our Savior! He did not sacrifice His perfect Blood so you could say I love you so much, come into my heart, be my Savior, and then just go out and do whatever you want, whenever you want, with who ever you want! No, You have been redeemed, bought out of the slave market so that you can be HIS Treasured Possession, His workmanship!, before ordained for good works! (Eph 2:8-10)

How Lons od ScriptureIn Order to Understand the Importance of Not Being A Slacker when it comes to God, we must understand the way God Works. To do that we must analyze and understand the  “How Long’s” in Scripture:

The “How Longs” in God’s Word take three different forms:

  1. Man talking to Man

  2. Man talking to God

  3. God talking to Man

Now understand this word that Joshua uses-rāp̱āh: it means to become slack, to relax, cease, to become discouraged, weak, feeble, disheartened, let go, forsake, abandon. It can also be used to imply laziness or complacency.

  • The Pharaoh used this word to justify his mean treatment of the Jewish slaves (Exodus 5:8,17)

  • Proverbs 18:9 (KJV) He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.

  • Understand that Slackers are brothers to the destroyer, the corrupter!

Man to Man

  • Job 8:2, ‘How long will you speak these words?’
  • Job 19:2 ‘How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words? ‘
  • Psalm 63:3, ‘How long will you imagine mischief against a man?’
  • Proverbs 6:9 ‘How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?’

Face it, we get weary of trouble makers, people who cause problems, people who never seem to get their life on track. We complain about the wicked,we complain about people not doing work when we are doing all the work. How many times have you become weary of all the horrible things that people do to good people, even their children, even their family? We live in a very messed up world.

This prompts us to ask “HOW LONG?” to God.

Man to God

  • Psalms 6:3 (KJV) My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long?
  • Psalms 13:1 (KJV) How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?
  • Psalms 35:17 (KJV) Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions.
  • Psalms 79:5 (KJV) How long, LORD? wilt thou be angry for ever? shall thy jealousy burn like fire?
  • Psalms 89:46 (KJV) How long, LORD? wilt thou hide thyself for ever? shall thy wrath burn like fire?
  • Psalms 94:3 (KJV) LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph?
  • Revelation 6:9-10 (KJV) And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

Cry Out HOW LONG GODWe take our complaints to God, we think He is leaving us in our problem far too long. We think he is letting the lions chew on us a little too long. We think He is hiding himself from us, not listening to our prayers. We think He is letting the suffering of the righteous go on too long. There is too much suffering in this world.

God means our complaints to cause us to look at Him, to see Him at His throne. He wants us to submit our petitions before the throne, to plead our case.


UNDERSTAND GOD”S PRAYER PROTOCOL

Prayer Protocol with GodThe truth is, we must each learn that God is Sovereign. God is King. He has a well ordered throne. There is a protocol involved when we pray before the throne.

Pray through the Blood of Jesus Christ.

  • Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; Hebrews 10:19-20

Pray in Confidence in His Righteousness

  • And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) Hebrews 10:21-23
  • Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Pray in the Power of the Name of Jesus

  • Ephesians 5:20 (KJV) Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
  • Phil 2:10 At the Name of Jesus every KNEE Shall Bow.
  • Acts 4:12 No other Name under heaven whereby men may be saved

But does that mean you don’t plead with God? NO. Sometimes We Must plead…

Luke 18:3-8 (KJV) And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

Expectation: Faith hears the voice of the Beloved, and says, ‘Make haste;’ it hears His ‘Behold, I come quickly!’ and it says, ‘Even so, come, Lord Jesus!’ We ‘look for and hasten (unto) the coming of the day of God’ (2 Peter 3:12).

  • REMEMBER GOD PROMISES TO BE WITH US (Joshua 1:5) “There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee”

BUT REMEMBER THAT GOD HAS EXPECTATIONS FOR OUR LIFE TOO!

Gods ExpectationsWe must always remember that our Relationship With God Comes With Certain Expectations… God looks at your relationship with Him and asks… HOW LONG?


God to man.

  • God to Pharoah- Exodus 10:3, 16:28, How long will you refuse to humble yourself?’
  • Numbers 14:11 (KJV) And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?
  • Numbers 14:27 (KJV) How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me.
  • 1 Kings 18:21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
  • Proverbs 1:22 How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?
  • Proverbs 6:9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?
  • Jeremiah 4:14 O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?
  • Jeremiah 12:4 How long shall the land mourn, and the herbs of every field wither, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein? the beasts are consumed, and the birds; because they said, He shall not see our last end.
  • Matthew 17:17 (KJV) Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.

God is:

  1. Long-suffering. ‘not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.’
  2. He is the infinitely patient God, as such most unwilling to smite. He speaks in pity to the sinner, ‘how long will you not be saved?’—like Jesus weeping over Jerusalem.
  3. Pleading, but Never Forces Your Obedience.Loving. It is not at random that God says, ‘How long?’ His are not mere words of course. ‘It grieves Him at His heart.’ Every moment’s continuance in unbelief is vexing and grieving the Spirit.
  4. Warning. As He warned the judges and princes in Israel, so does He warn us. How long will you deal unjustly? He said to them. How long will you persist in your unrighteousness and unbelief? He says to us. The day of grace is ending. The day of wrath is coming. Be warned. Flee from the wrath to come!
  5. MOST OF ALL God is NO PUSH OVER!

I have often heard somone who is back-slidden, or living in sin ask me, “why doesn’t God just send me a sign… why doesn’t He send a lightning bolt to wake me up and get me to do right?” But it is not up to God to Force us to Obey. God is after your heart, after your devotion, he is not building robots.

Sometime He brings us Goodness:

  • Romans 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

Sometimes He uses Fear:

  • Jude 1:21-23 (KJV) Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
  • 1 Corinthians 3:15 (KJV) If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

But through it all, God asks each of us, “How Long are you going to slack off from Your Relationship With ME?

  • How long are you going to slack off making a decision to put off coming to Jesus Christ?
  • How long are you going to slack off from putting God first in your life.

How to Claim InheritanceSure, you have tons of excuses. The demands of your job, demands of your family, demands for yourself. Fear of this fear of that. But God calls it what it is-laziness, slothfulness, lack of concern for His Word, apathy toward the eternity of your loved ones, lack of love for your loved ones. What kind of relationship does God require with us?

Jesus said there are really only 2 commandments you need to follow:

  • Mark 12:30-31 (KJV) And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

HOW CAN WE CLAIM OUR INHERITANCE, OUR ABUNDANT LIFE IN CHRIST? HOW DO WE HAVE A MARK 12:30 RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD?

Sigmund Freud’s favorite story was about the sailor shipwrecked on one of the South Sea islands. He was seized by the natives, hoisted to their shoulders, carried to the village, and set on a rude throne. Little by little, he learned that it was their custom once each year to make some man a king, king for a year. He liked it until he began to wonder what happened to all the former kings. Soon he discovered that every year when his kingship was ended, the king was banished to an island, where he starved to death. The sailor did not like that, but he was smart and he was king, king for a year. So he put his carpenters to work making boats, his farmers to work transplanting fruit trees to the island, farmers growing crops, masons building houses. So when his kingship was over, he was banished, not to a barren island, but to an island of abundance. It is a good parable of life: We’re all kings here, kings for a little while, able to choose what we shall do with the stuff of life.—Illustrations Unlimited

Priorities & Focus:

  • “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matt. 6:19-20).
  • And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.” Colossians 3:23-25

1. God’s Inspired Word is the Final Authority for my Life

Bible is Final AuthorityLike Joshua led the Hebrews to do at Shechem, Mt Ebal Mt Gerizim , to embrace the blessings and the cursings of God’s Word. The were setting forth God’s Word as the Final Authority for their life. They were embracing the Blessing Power of God’s Word, but at the same time they were acknowledging the power to curse, to wall them up in the way.

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. Psalms 19:7-11

This means you are going to commit daily to reading the Word. You are going to make being in God’s Word your number one priority each day.

2. SURVEY YOUR LIFE


Joshua 18:4-6 (KJV) Give out from among you three men for each tribe: and I will send them, and they shall rise, and go through the land, and describe it according to the inheritance of them; and they shall come again to me. And they shall divide it into seven parts: Judah shall abide in their coast on the south, and the house of Joseph shall abide in their coasts on the north. Ye shall therefore describe the land into seven parts, and bring the description hither to me, that I may cast lots for you here before the LORD our God.

Survey Your LifeMake a list of your needs, the needs of your wife, the needs of your children. Learn to think in character qualities. List your assets, list your debts, list your concerns list your fears, list your health problems. List those loved one in your life that you don’t know where they will spend eternity

3. COMMIT IT ALL TOTALLY TO GOD

that I may cast lots for you here before the LORD our God.”

commit all totally to GodTake your list, commit it all to God. Give Him all your expectations. Don’t be envious of what you don’t have. Understand God has different expectations for each of us. Count on Him to bring His will to pass

  • We are a Living Sacrifice – Rom 12:1,2
  • My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah. Psalms 62:5-8

4.By Faith to Go Forth in the Power of His SPIRIT

Power of the SpiritThen he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. Zechariah 4:6

  • The Inheritance is conquered by God, because we can claim none of the glory before Him. Romans 11:36 – of Him, through Him and unto Him are all things, to whom be glory forever.

  • He will show us our life, and only that which we have allowed Him to accomplish will last for eternity. He alone is our silver and gold!

  • Are YOU READY TO STOP SLACKING FOR GOD? ARE YOU READY TO COMMIT TO HIM TODAY!

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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?