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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Matters of Giving

March 26      

(Matthew 6:24 NIV) "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."

(Matthew 19:21 NIV) "Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.""

(Ecclesiastes 5:10 NIV) "Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless."

Giving to God is a matter of Lordship. Our Lord said that it is impossible to “serve both God and Money.” Many people think He was speaking only to wealthy people with these words, but that is not the case. The amount of money that we possess is irrelevant to whether or not we love it more than God. Some who are poor have stingy and greedy hearts that dishonor God. Giving is a matter of attitude. God loves the one who gives with a cheerful heart.  With Jesus, attitude is more important than amount. Godly giving is a matter of priorities. It's amazing what ends up on our “necessary” list. If we believe all of our spending goes toward necessities, we are delusional. Sacrificial giving is really a matter of faith. It always boils down to trusting God. It’s easy to say that we have faith. It’s harder to live out that faith in the way we give… harder, but not impossible. Become a generous giver. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Firstfruits or Crippled Sacrifice

March 25

(Proverbs 3:9 NIV)  "Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;"

(Exodus 23:19a NIV) "Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God."

(Malachi 1:8 NIV) "When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?" says the Lord Almighty."

(Malachi 1:13-14 NIV) "And you say, 'What a burden!' and you sniff at it contemptuously," says the Lord Almighty. "When you bring injured, crippled or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?" says the Lord. {14} "Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king," says the Lord Almighty, "and my name is to be feared among the nations."

The "principle of firstfruits" calls for us to give our best to God. His people were to bring the firstfruits of their crops and the firstborn of their flocks as an offering. They had to trust that God would provide for their families with the crops and livestock that came later. But some brought their blind, diseased, and crippled animals to God. They brought their leftovers and culls, keeping the best for themselves. God rejected this “crippled sacrifice”. The principle of firstfruits is more about growing faith than about meeting God's needs. God has no needs. Our faith is strengthened when we give our firstfruits to God. Many today seem more committed to the principle of leftovers (if anything is leftover after we’ve met our needs, we might give a little of it to God). That’s “crippled sacrifice.” God offered us His first and best. How can we do any less? -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, March 24, 2017

A Tithe of Faith

March 24

(Genesis 14:18-20 NIV) "Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, {19} and he blessed Abram, saying, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. {20} And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand." Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything."

(Genesis 28:20-22 NIV) "Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear {21} so that I return safely to my father's house, then the LORD will be my God {22} and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God's house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.""

(Matthew 23:23 NIV) "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former."

Abraham is well known in Christian circles as “the father of faith”. Not as many know that he was also the father of tithing. The word “tithe” simply means ten percent. Abraham gave the Christ-type priest Melchizedek ten percent of everything he had. Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, continued the practice by giving God “a tenth of everything”. Although tithing was later written into the Law, it preceded the Law. So tithing is more about faith than the Law. For the Christian, tithing is like the training wheels on our first bike. Those little wheels were a beginning point, but they were not the end. They were a way to get started, but eventually we gained the confidence to take them off. Then we could ride faster and further. Maybe it’s time to take the training wheels off of your giving. Move beyond the tithe, and grow into generous faith giving. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Stewardship or Ownership

March 23

(Psalm 24:1 NIV) "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;"

(Haggai 2:8 NIV) "'The silver is mine and the gold is mine,' declares the Lord Almighty."

(Job 41:11 NIV) "Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me."

If God had a "Top Ten” list of important things to do as a believer, generous giving would be near the top. The Bible contains over two thousand verses about money and possessions. Either we need extra teaching in this area, or it’s very important to God. Perhaps it’s both. To be the kind of giver God desires, we must recognize that we are stewards, not owners. Stewards take care of stuff that belongs to someone else, and God makes it clear in Scripture that he owns everything. That makes us all stewards. We don’t really have a choice about being stewards. The only choice we have is what kind of stewards we will be. Is Jesus Lord of all things in your life, or just some things? Only you can answer that question, and your answer will be lived out in the way you give. Give as a steward, not an owner. It will change the way you live, and it will change the way you give. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day