Seek to know Him

Jesus tells His disciples to “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” but what exactly does that mean? Considering the subject which He was teaching them about at the time was “worry”, this particular passage was in reference to God’s willingness to provide for our needs, and their needs at the time. Worrying about life or food or clothing does nothing except cause more stress in your life which none of us truly needs today!

In the world that we live in, life is stressful enough without worrying about what you will eat or wear or if you can pay the mortgage this month. God knows you have needs along these lines and He will give you the ability to pay for them or acquire them in time for your needs to be met. Notice that I said “needs” not wants! God doesn’t provide luxury until you are rewarded in Heaven for your service to Him in this life. You may be able to acquire luxury items in this life but you would be wise to pay your debts as soon as possible.

All of us have debts of one kind or another. Some have a mortgage which is still being paid or a car/truck loan which is still due. Some of us have credit card debt which means we are spending money that we don’t even have yet. All of these make us slaves to the loans which we have to pay in one way or another. God advises us to pay your debts as soon as possible and this advice can be found in Proverbs.

HumbleGod does give us the ability to get wealth but we should not use it as a way of making others jealous of it. We should use whatever wealth we have as a way to bless others and in turn, we will be blessed by God. As it is said, “God loves a cheerful giver“. As you are blessed, be a blessing to others. Being humble and giving of your blessings to others will bless you in ways that you don’t know about until you are in Heaven.

We are blessed

Blessings from God

We are the recipients of many blessings from our Lord and the Father, God. Yet, many don’t recognize them as such. We are blessed by having the strength to get up and praise Him with our lives each day. We are blessed with our family and our friends, whether they are saved by Jesus or not. We are blessed to live where we are and in the area that we live because God has a purpose for each of us here and now. Those who have suffered the loss of family or friends due to cancer or other disease are blessed because of God’s will in their lives to be here to carry on the work that He has given each of us to do.

11 For I know the thoughts that I think of you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find me when ye shall search for me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13

This was given to the prophet Jeremiah for the Israelites but the promise it also for us today. We, who are Christians, have been grafted into the family of God. We did not replace Israel as His chosen people, but we have been set apart to do His works on this Earth and in our place until He calls each of us home, whether by death or by taking us up with His church before the Tribulation.

Are we blessed by God? Yes, we are in many ways! By having the Bible, by being chosen as Christians and by being His witnesses in this fallen and angry world which doesn’t want to accept God’s truth.

Philippians 4:19
19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

These and many other verses were written by Holy Spirit inspired prophets and apostles which the Lord raised up in their day to tell people who God loved them despite the situation that they found themselves in. God doesn’t forget those He has called into His family, regardless of how you or I may feel at the time. Each of us goes through suffering and trials each day, yet we are given the strength by God to endure, our family is given the strength to endure to the end and that strength comes from God.

It is not our own will or our strength or money which gives us the blessings which we is given to us by God to show Him to others around us. In our family, at our jobs, at any place where we eat or attend a play or the establishment, we  frequent to enjoy a meal. This is not a new message but it is one which God wants each of us to hear today and every day that we have in this life.

The blessings of God are given to us for His pleasure and for our good and they are given to us in ways that we may not recognize as a blessing at the time, but the blessing will reveal itself by some miracle which we can recognize because it is given by God and not by a physician but maybe through a physician’s hand or treatment in our lives.

Seek Him out in your life, today, because this is the day that you are given. God gives us each one more day to accomplish His will in our lives and through the words which we say or our actions in trials because by living our lives as a testimony to His grace and mercy, others may see Him in us and may come to a saving knowledge of Jesus our Lord.

As it was said by a servant of our Lord in World War 2, “Let me save just one more, Lord”; shouldn’t we be as bold in the days which we live in today? If by our words or actions we can cause someone to be saved by Jesus by seeing Him in our lives, just one more person will be welcomed into God’s family and be celebrated in Heaven by the angels and welcomed by our Lord when that time comes.

This is the sermon that I am preaching this morning. I pray that whoever reads this will seek out the Lord and find Him so that one more might be saved. Amen

2.5%? Really?

I am not speaking of the Social Security increase that our government is graciously giving to us out of our own money, which will supposedly come next year. I am speaking of a report which said that Christians in America tithe at the rate of 2.5% of their income! I know that jobs are hard to come by and it is hard to make ends meet from paycheck to paycheck, but 2.5%!!

The prophet Malachi wrote to the nation of Israel over two thousand years ago because of something similar happening at the time, here is what God said to write and tell the people:

8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. 12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.  Malachi 3:8-12

If you are paid say $500 per week, before taxes and all the other stuff, 2.5% of your check would equal $12.50. That barely pays for one meal at a fast food place that serves decent hamburgers!

RaiseyourstandardofGivingI am a pastor and my wife and I try to tithe our ten percent, even if it is more than we can afford at times. It is true that sometimes we don’t tithe that much because of surprises which come up like doctor visits or other things which just happen. Even in the Great Depression people gave to the church at 3.3%! Not great, but better than we are doing today and they had far less that we have!

This article, which I put a link to above, breaks my heart. So much could be done, yet we still hold onto our money…tightly. Could we give more? Sure. Should we give more? Yes, but will we? It is a question which haunts my own soul and it isn’t easy to answer. Even though Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, your heart will be also“.

So, what should we do? Pray about your giving and your tithe, if you are a Christian, if you aren’t then give or don’t or just follow your heart. We could fix so many problems in the world IF we would give ten percent of our income and them make sure it was used in ways to help those who have little and need so much. How  could we do this? I don’t know. I am not a politician nor would I even know how to get the funds to the right people in the countries and the states which truly NEED it.

We need to repent of this tragedy. I need to repent of my own act of robbing God and robbing those who could be helped by this. Prayer and repentance and giving out of our heart is the answer for Puerto Rico and the poor in the rest of America as well as many countries in Africa and Asia, followed by feet taking the fruits of our giving to those who are in need. That is the only way to show Jesus to millions of people who will not see His love if we do not.

So much, yet so little…

godsblessingMaking a paycheck in today’s economy is not a small thing, its a necessary thing that people need. So, what do you do with it? Most of us pay bills with it first, then if there is any left we give a tiny portion of that to God when we go to church. That is not how God structured His economy though and each of us pays for that in the long run. An illustration that we could truly understand would go something like this:

A man or woman brings home a paycheck that they have cashed on the way home. Lets say they got $400 this week. Not a great paycheck but not too bad. On the way home, they filled the gas tank which took about ten percent of the check, $40. They also got a drink while they were at the quick stop, another $2. Now they have $358. The next morning is Saturday so they go shopping for groceries and spend about $100, now they are down to $258, so they deposit the rest in the bank, which won’t be available until next week. If they keep some out for themselves, maybe $25, now they are down to $233 which actually went into the bank. On Sunday morning, they give the church five dollars and they think they are doing pretty good because they gave that much.

Sound about right? Not to God!

God doesn’t need your money, but the church does and He has based your blessing upon the amount that you give and out of which portion that it comes. All of the blessings in the Bible came from the first-fruits of harvest or wealth, not the dregs after everything else is taken care of! Abraham gave ten percent of the first fruits and every other person who was blessed by God did the same thing. It doesn’t matter if you made one hundred dollars or ten thousand this week, before you pay anyone…you should set aside at least ten percent of it for God’s house. I am just as guilty of doing this as everyone else, so I am not standing on a pedestal preaching. I have suffered loss from doing so as well, but the point is that if you give it cheerfully to the Lord, then it will be blessed and given back into your hands.

God loves us and wants to bless us in many ways, whether it is through our health or our paycheck or our family doesn’t really matter, the point is the attitude which we exhibit when we give. If it is given grudgingly, then it wasn’t given in the right spirit and we will not see much, if any, blessing from it! God knows your heart and your thoughts, so you can’t hide from Him nor can you cheat Him because HE can see into your heart and the result of this can be good or bad but it depends upon you and your attitude.