IN CHRIST AND HUMBLY DEPENDENT

 

 

               One of the surest ways to destroy the flow of the blessing of God on our lives is to become proud. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble James 4:6. He resists proud men, women, boys, and girls.  He resists proud husbands, proud wives, proud, employers, and proud employees. He resists proud politicians, proud businessman, and proud preachers. He gives grace (heaven’s, help, strength, and enabling power) to the humble.

 

The Apostle Paul definitely knew who he was in Christ and made bold statements about what he could do like “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me Philippians 4:13.” He also understood the balance of that and his dependency upon the Lord revealed in statements like, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves: but our sufficiency is of God 2 Corinthians 4:5.” All the positive truths of who we are in Christ should not make us arrogantly independent but rather humbly dependent. All of the positive affirmations of faith we make about what we can do in Christ presupposes that we realize that “without Him we can do nothing John 5:19.”

 

The Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15: 10 who he was by the grace of God, “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” Did you ever notice what he said before that in (v.9)?  He said, “For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God 1 Corinthians 15:9.” He acknowledged who he was in Christ but he also recognized who he was in himself, or in the natural. He realized he had all the treasures of God but that he was still in an earthen vessel that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us 2 Corinthians 4:7.

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Posted in #Abundant Life, #Dependent, #Grace, #Grace/Faith

CALLED TO BELONG NOT JUST BELIEVE

 

 called to belong not just believe

Matthew 16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art THOU, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

 

A person becomes a Christian by believing that Jesus Christ is Lord, the One Who died for their sins and was raised from the dead (Romans 10:9, 10). Those who are saved have answered the call to salvation but we are called to more than to believe but also to belong. Jesus revealed He came to build more than a personal relationship with individuals when He said, “…I will build my church…,” Matthew 16:18. Jesus mission was not just to establish individuals in a personal relationship to Him (like Peter had a revelation of) but also build them together into a relationship with each other (the church). The meaning of the word church shows more than an individual with a relationship to Jesus. The Greek word is “ekklesia” (“ek”- out from and “klesia”- from “kaleo” to call and the assembly); so the called out assembly or the ones called out to assemble. Originally the ones called out had reference to the legislative body of citizens of the Greek republic called out from their homes to convene, discuss matters of authority, and serve their community. Jesus chose this word to describe what He came to build.

 

The Church is also called the Body of Christ. Paul calls the church His Body Ephesians 1:22, 23. The Body is not one member but many (1 Corinthians 12:12, 14, 20, and 27) and yet we being many are one Body in Christ (Romans 12:4, 5). How can a person say I have a relationship to Jesus (the Head of a Body called the Church) but do not need the Church (Ephesians 1:22, 23)? That would require decapitation of the Head from the Body, a very bloody event To refuse to want to be a part of the Body is to say we do not want to follow God’s plan and that we have our own plan. Can you see the arrogance in this thinking?

 

All of the metaphors (figures of speech using a term, phrase, or symbol to represent or resemble something else) used to describe different aspects of the church imply something beyond an individual relationship with Jesus and being a part of something bigger than oneself: Body of Christ; Family; Temple; Tabernacle; House of God; Flock of God; Spiritual stones; Spiritual House; Holy nation; Citizens of a kingdom; Bride of Christ; Royal Priesthood; Mt. Zion (city of the Living God); The New Jerusalem.

 

In our American culture we stress the individual and our individuality. This can keep us from grasping what Jesus came to build which is the Church, which is not one individual member but many. We are born again to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. We are called to belong not just believe.

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GRACE CAN BRING FINANCIAL SUFFICIENCY

ABOUNDING GRACE

 

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation]. AMPLIFIED

 

Grace can bring us to a place of financial sufficiency (having enough of what is needed to do what is required) and give us the ability to financially abound to every good work 2 Corinthians 9:8. Some would immediately reject the connection of grace in the context of money and turn their minds off to the suggestion but if they’d renew their minds they’d realize it is Biblical as well as practical.

 

Grace is God abounding to us (Ephesians 1:8) and His grace gives us the ability to be like Him which is abounding. This is the true Bible message of prosperity which is having for giving and God abounding to us so we can abound to every good work not merely consuming. True prosperity produces generosity not merely more money. It is grace because God gives us seed to sow and a seed has the capacity to multiply and become more (2 Corinthians 9:10) and God multiplies our seed sown.  As we purpose in our hearts to give the seed we have with the right attitude, we can start a cycle of increase for our lives, for the needs of others, and the preaching of the Gospel (2 Corinthians 9:7-13). Our seed is the least it will ever be when it is in our hands but it will multiply when we sow it and put it in God’s hands.

 

It is grace because it is available to all and everyone can participate in it even the poor (2 Corinthians 8:1-8).  It is grace because it originates with God (His abounding to us) that enables us to be abounding in our giving. It is not an attitude of every time God fills us up “We got to give” but “We get to give” and every time we empty ourselves He keeps filling us up again.

Posted in #Abundant Life, #Bible Truth, #Christian, #Experience God, #Faith, #Finances, #Grace, #Grace/Faith, Sufficiency, Uncategorized

THE BIBLE JESUS MAY BE DIFFERENT THAN YOUR JESUS

THE BIBLE JESUS MAY BE DIFFERENT THAN YOUR JESUS

 

Mark 12:41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. 42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. 3 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: 44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

 

The Bible Jesus is often much different than people’s religious ideas about Jesus. The Bible Jesus is the One you can get a view of from the illumination from Scripture itself not men’s opinions, ideas, or traditions.  Here in Mark’s Gospel we see three things about Jesus you may not be aware of:

 

  1. OUR MASTER’S POSITION V. 41

 

He positioned Himself where the money came into the treasury. He wants to observe what is going on with regard to people’s money. Money is important to God because it represents a part of our life. It took a part of our life to attain it and the giving of our money is the giving of our life; conversely, the withholding of our money represents the withholding of our life from God. God sees our heart in our giving of money.

 

  1. OUR MASTER’S PERCEPTION VV. 41. 42

 

He is observing how people gave their money. Many that were rich cast in much or large amounts. A poor widow cast in a very small amount but Jesus said she cast more in than all those who have cast into the treasury. Jesus measured by Heaven’s arithmetic: not by the amount given but the amount given in proportion to what was kept. I thought we were not supposed to know what people give and that we were not to let the left hand know what the right hand did? That was in giving alms or giving to the poor Matthew 6:3 but that is not a hard and fast rule over all giving. Jesus, the Lord Himself, is observing people’s giving and the amounts that they give.

 

  1. OUR MASTER’S PRAISE VV. 43, 44

 

He praises the poor widow’s giving as being more generous, not of just one other person, but giving more in than ALL they that cast into the treasury. He has to be calculating as He is observing to be able to say that. The others who gave did so out of their abundance but the widow gave out of her want and out of her substance for living. She gave sacrificially and was commended or praised by the Master. Giving out of our abundance is acceptable but not the only kind of giving. In sacrificial giving our lifestyle is changed, our priorities are re-arranged, and we give up something we value for something we value more.

 

Never let the size of your offering belittle your giving heart. Generous giving isn’t based on the size or amount of your offering but in proportion to what you have and what is kept.

 

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POTENTIAL FOR INCREASE

potential for increase

 

Every Christian has a potential for increase in the area of their finances because of Jesus. Potential means what can, but has not yet, come into being. It means to be possible, able to be, and capable of happening. Jesus’ redemptive work on the Cross made provision for every area of our being, spirit, soul, and body as well as every area of life. Yes, we need to learn contentment in whatever state we are in (Philippians 4:12), realizing all we acquire is the same “all” that we leave at death (1Timothy 6:6‑8).  Yes, we need to know God is against self‑centered covetous life styles (Luke 12:15), and that we can always be assured of God’s presence even as we go through difficult times financially (Hebrews 13:5, 6).  None of that changes the fact that there is still a potential for increase. Study all of God’s covenants and you will find that increase was a part of every covenant. We have a better covenant established on better promises.

 

Our hope for increase needs tied to the fact that we have a covenant with God based on exceeding great and precious promises. Along with those promises there are principles that also still work that can bring increase to our lives.

 

  1. God Is Still the God of Increase 1 Corinthians 3:6, 7

 

The God that gives the increase is still the God of the universe and is our God. He changes not Malachi 3:6. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof (Psalm 24:1). God made Jesus wisdom unto us (1 Corinthians 1:30) and wisdom is the key to the material realm of the Earth (Proverb 8:17-32).

 

  1. We have a covenant with God that He will bless us and make us a blessing Genesis 12:3.

 

The Blessing God originally gave Adam that was lost was restored through the covenant God made with Abraham. Since we are Christ’s we are Abraham’s seed and heirs to the promises of the covenant Galatians 3:29. God blessed Abraham in all things (Genesis 24:1).

 

 

  1. Work is a blessing and means to gather what God has provided Genesis 2:15.

 

What God gives, we gather Psalm 104:27, 28 and work, whether it is on a job, in a business, or investing, is one of the means to get wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18). We have wealth getting power.

 

 

  1. Jesus became a curse for us to take the limiting curse of poverty out of the way Galatians 3:13, 14.

 

Poverty is a curse (Deuteronomy 28:16-20, 23, 24, 29-31, 38-44). Poverty is to be in lack or want, implying a lack of resources and to be deficient in the necessities of life. Having prosperity or poverty won’t make one closer or farther from God. We do need a proper attitude whether rich or poor because we can miss God’s purpose in either condition (Proverb 30:8, 9).  God, though, has also given us His Word to renew our mind and prosper our soul to change our mindset to think like He thinks (Romans 12:2; 3 John 2).

 

  1. We have a High Priest Administrator of the Blessing of God Who is commanded to receive tithes and bless Genesis 14:18-20; Hebrews 3:1; 5:6, 10; 7:1-8.

 

We are partakers of His Heavenly calling as a High Priest forever after the order of Melchisedec, as we tithe.

 

  1. God ministers or supplies seed to the sower, bread for our food, and multiplies our seed sown 2 Corinthians 9:10.

 

Seed time and harvest is still a law of the Earth and way of increase (Genesis 8:22; 2 Corinthians 9:6). Seed is the source, origin, or beginning of anything. Anything we can call seed, can become more. Second Corinthians 9:6-8 calls “money” seed. He is able to make all grace (financial grace) abound toward us so that we can be in an abounding condition and abound to every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8).

Posted in #Abundant Life, #All Powerful, #Believing God, #Bible Truth, #Biblical Stewardship, #Creator, #Faith, #Finances, #Increase, #Money, Covenant

THE EFFECTS OF AN ENCOUNTER WITH GOD

Effects of an encounter with God

 

Matthew 6:21 Where your treasure is there will your heart be also.

 

God has a financial plan for His people, His church, and His work.  That plan requires His people to give money in the form of tithes, offerings (sowing) and alms (giving to the poor). Jesus said in Matthew 6:21, “Where your treasure is there will your heart be also.”  We invest in what we feel is of value to us.  If something is no longer of value to us, we stop supporting it.  What we value and what we give always goes together.  Much can be learned about our heart commitment to God by our money. When God has our heart He has our money and conversely when God has our money He has our heart. Money is never the problem, a willing heart is.  When you have money, giving money is always a heart issue (I’ve known people who didn’t have money to give but still had giving hearts and gave what they had). An unwilling heart will make a thousand excuses, but a willing heart will find a thousand ways.

 

Money represents a part of our life.  It took a part of our life to get it.  When we give our money to God, we are giving something which represents our life.  The laying down of our lives includes the laying down of our money.  When we withhold our money from the Lord, we are holding back our life.  That’s the reason why one of the first signs of backsliding or a declining spiritual condition is a decline in giving.  Malachi was written at a time of spiritual decline in the nation and their decline in giving is pointed out.

 

Take a moment and examine the example of the Patriarchs of faith Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Reading these passages you will see the effects of their encounter with God caused them to give:

 

  1. Abraham – Genesis 14:18‑20. Verse 20: “And he gave him tithes of all.”

 

  1. Isaac – Genesis 26:1‑14. Verse 21: “Then Isaac sowed in that land.”

 

  1. Jacob – Genesis 28:12‑22. Verse 22: “I will surely give the tenth unto thee.”

 

The common element in each of their experiences and their giving response was that they had and encounter with God. Sometimes what God’s people need to consistently give is a heart‑to‑heart encounter with God. His Presence and His grace is sufficient today to move our hearts to respond.

 

 

Posted in #Abundant Life, #Believing, #Believing God, #Belonging, #Bible Truth, #Encounter, #Experience God, #God, #God is for us, #God's Love, #Presence

HOW DOES GOD VIEW MONEY?

 

How God Views Money

Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

 

 

All of life and life’s issues, for the Christian fall under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Jesus is Lord isn’t just a title or cliché but a reality that demands our full submission and obedience in all areas of life including money. Isaiah 55:8, 9 tells us that God’s thoughts and ways are not our thoughts and ways but are higher. He has sent us His Word (Isaiah 55:10, 11) to know His thoughts and ways and to make a change in our thoughts and ways. How, then, does He view money? There are many thoughts I could share but I’ll limit it to three we rarely hear about. Money is:

 

TEMPORARY

1 Timothy 6:7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

 

Do you know how much money and wealth the great industrialists who built America like Cornelius Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, and John D. Rockefeller left when they died? All of it! None of the money and wealth they accumulated ever left this planet. It was only temporarily in their possession.  Solomon of the Old Testament who was the wisest of all men found that regardless of man’s station in life, a man accumulates nothing (Ecclesiastes 5:19, 20). Each man’s wealth and money amounts to nothing they can bring with him into eternity. It must have a higher purpose for use on Earth.

 

TOOL

2 Corinthians 9:10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)

 

God applies the concept of sowing and reaping to money in 2 Corinthians 9:6 and so money can also be a seed. He ministers (provides or furnishes) seed (money) to sow with and for bread. You could say God furnishes  resources for sowing and resources for consumption, or resources for giving and resources for living. That money we sow in the form of tithes, offerings, and ministering to the poor (alms) is a tool to finance the work of the ministry and function of the Kingdom of God. It is a tool to finance the preaching of the Gospel in all the world and making disciples of all nations.

 

TEST

Luke 16:9 And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations. 10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. 1 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?

 

We are stewards of the resources we have been entrusted with. A steward is not an owner but manages the resources of another and one day will give account of one’s stewardship. We are to use mammon to effect eternal relationships that when we die those who made it to Heaven by our faithful use of money will one day receive us in our eternal habitation.

 

It takes work or labor to attain the money we have. Most work 40 hours a week and get paid wages or a salary for it. It actually takes the giving of one’s life in labor on the job, business, or investing to receive money back so we can say money represents the “giving of one’s life.” That is why to God the giving of our money is a big deal because it represents the giving of our life.  God views not withholding as your respect, reverence, and fear of the Lord like He viewed Abraham not withholding offering up his son Isaac (Genesis 22:12). On the negative side and correspondingly, God views the withholding of our money as representing the withholding of our life. W e need to think like God thinks about money.

 

Posted in #Abundant Life, #Attitude, #Bible Truth, #Biblical Stewardship, #Generosity, #Money, #Prosperity
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