inheritance

The “Someday” Mentality of Our Inheritance

THE BELIEVER’S INHERITANCE:

knowing-receiving-your-inheritance-by-andre-roebert

 

One of my favorite, all time HYMNS is “When We All Get To Heaven” by Eliza F. Hewitt and Emily D. Wilson.  The hymn was inspired by a verse in 1 Thessalonians (1 Thess. 4:17):

Chorus:  When we all get to heaven what a day of rejoicing that will be!

When we all see Jesus,  We’ll sing and shout the victory!

What a glorious day that will be for those in Christ.  It’s an INHERITANCE to look forward to!  

And there are several New Testament verses confirming our spiritual inheritance, giving us continued HOPE in a confusing world.

Ephesians 1:11-14:

11  In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will,  12  in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory.  13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,  14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our INHERITANCE UNTIL the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of His glory (New International Version).

Titus 3:7:

So that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life  (NIV).

Too Many of God’s People Have Settled Into a Someday Mentality–

Joshua 18:2-3 (Amplified Bible):

2  And there remained among the Israelites seven tribes who had not yet divided their inheritance.  3 Joshua asked the Israelites,  “How long will you be slack to go in and possess the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you?”

“SLACK”:  fail, (be) faint, (wax) feeble, forsake, idle, leave, let alone (go down), (be) slack, stay, be still, be slothful.

“In order that you may not grow disinterested and become [spiritual] sluggards, but imitators, behaving as do those who through faith (by their leaning of the entire personality on God in Christ in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) and by practice of patient endurance and waiting are [now] inheriting the promises”  (Hebrews 6:12 AMP).

Joshua’s Rebuke –

Joshua’s scolding of the people tells us that it was not a weakness or a failure on God’s part that they had not taken possession of their inheritance, but a slackness and slothfulness on their part.

Ephesians 6:13-17

Ephesians 6:13-17

Paul the Apostle put a great emphasis on the whole armor of God (Why put on the armor if there’s not a battle to be fought?).

It is to POSSESS that which has been promised to us, to take possession of our INHERITANCE!

“POSSESS”:  to seize, to rob, also to expel, to ruin–cast out, to impoverish, consume, destroy, disinherit, dispossess, drive out, (take) possession, seize upon.

Why do I say this should be our focus as Christians?  Because until we are in possession of our inheritance, we cannot help anyone else to receive theirs.

The Spirit of the Tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the Half Tribe of Manasseh:

The spirit that God is looking for in this day and hour…they took their INHERITANCE on this side of the Jordan (Numbers 32:32).

The reason the three tribes were able to go ahead and fight for their brethren was, they had received their inheritance already.

MOSES and JOSHUA didn’t give the people of Israel their inheritance, God did!  Moses and Joshua were only instruments God used to bring them into their inheritance.

“JORDAN” = death.

Many Christians today have determined they have to cross Jordan–die before they can receive their inheritance.

7 Tribes = representative of the church.

They had not received their inheritance.  Not because is was not theirs, but because they were SLACK to go in and POSSESS it.

Too many of God’s people have settled into a “someday inheritance.”  But FAITH is always now.  Like these 7 Tribes, they’re waiting to cross over Jordan to possess their inheritance.

Somehow, we’ve come to believe, we have to die (or, be “raptured”–caught up) before we receive our inheritance.

Since when does the BENEFICIARY of the Last Will and Testament have to die to receive what the Will entitles him or her to?

It’s when the writer of the Will dies that entitlement occurs; to take possession of the contents of the Will.

You don’t have to die to get your inheritance…you just need to show up at the reading of the Will in finding out what belongs to you.

JESUS Was the Express Will of God for Us!

All of the riches of Heaven are contained in JESUS:

Hebrews 9:15-17 (NIV)

15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance–now that He has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.  16 In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it,  17 because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living.

JESUS DIED to bring us into possession of our inheritance; to bring the kingdom of God to us (thy kingdom come, thy will be done).

Someday, Somewhere, Somehow…

Many of us were raised in the church [I wasn’t] with this idea, from our parents, from our pastor, through the songs and hymns when we remember:  “When we all get to heaven…” THEN…!

A SALVATION that told us everything was just on the other side of the river in glory; where the soul never dies, and one of these days we’ll die and fly and eat our pie in the sky in the sweet bye and bye.

While I definitely believe in what’s available in heaven and I definitely believe there’s more to come, this someday mindset is a total contradiction to everything the Bible teaches.

The Bible doesn’t tell me I have to WAIT to have power until I die.  It says “you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8).

Galatians 3:29 English Standard Version (ESV):

“And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”

That means the COVENANT BLESSING that He pronounced on Abraham is mine NOW!

Deuteronomy 28:1-13 New International Version (NIV):

1  IF YOU fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all His commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2  All these BLESSINGS will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God:

3  You will be BLESSED in the city and BLESSED in the country.

4  The fruit of your womb will be BLESSED, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock–the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.

5  Your basket and your kneading trough will be BLESSED.

6  You will be BLESSED when you come in and BLESSED when you go out.

7  The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you.  They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.

8  The LORD will send a BLESSING on your barns and on everything you put your hand to.  The LORD your God will bless you in the land He is giving you.

9  The LORD will establish you as His holy people, as He promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the LORD your God and walk in His ways.  10 Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will fear you.  11 The LORD will grant you abundant prosperity–in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground–in the land He swore to your forefathers to give you.

12  The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse on His bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands.  You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.  13 The LORD will make you the head, not the tail.  If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.

No where in those verses do I read that MY BLESSING is waiting for me, on the other side of Jordan.

Tell your neighbor:

I love you and I don’t want to offend you, and if you want to wait till we all get to heaven to get BLESSED that’s up to you.  But don’t get mad at me, if I take mine now!

THE PROMISE LAND

Somebody has said, the Promise Land in the Old Testament is a type of “heaven.”

That can’t be true, because there are no giants in heaven.

I’ve come to the biblical understanding the Promise Land in the Old Testament is a type of THE BLESSING of God, belonging to us, which symbolizes our spiritual inheritance in Christ.

JESUS is the PROMISE LAND of the believer:

For as many as are the PROMISES of God, they all find their Yes

in Him [Christ].  For this reason we also utter the Amen to God through Him [in His Person and by His agency] to the glory of God  (2 Corinthians 1:20).

How long are we going to be SLACK to POSSESS the land which the LORD has already given to us?

I believe I’ll take my INHERITANCE now!

inheritance


CREDITS and RESOURCES:

Photo Credits:  Google Search – Images

Word Definitions:  Online Dictionary, Expository Dictionary of Bible Words.

Bible Translations:  Amplified Bible, except where noted.

 

pic DAVID CRUMP.NEWS XMAS SPECIAL WORDS STEVE WRIGHT. CITY OF LONDON POLICE NEWLY DISCOVERED ARCHIVED PICTURES ON TRAINING TO APPREHEND BURGLARS ROBBERS PIC TAKEN OVER A 100 YEARS AGO 1907.

It’s Time For A Good Old Neck Stomping!

Bible Text: Joshua 10:24-25 (NLT)

24  Joshua told the captains of his army, “Come and put your feet on the kings’ necks.”  And they did as they were told.  25  “Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged,” Joshua told his men.  “Be strong and courageous, for the LORD is going to do this to all of your enemies.”

pic DAVID CRUMP.NEWS XMAS SPECIAL WORDS STEVE WRIGHT. CITY OF LONDON POLICE NEWLY DISCOVERED ARCHIVED PICTURES ON TRAINING TO APPREHEND BURGLARS ROBBERS PIC TAKEN OVER A 100 YEARS AGO 1907.

pic DAVID CRUMP.NEWS XMAS SPECIAL WORDS STEVE WRIGHT. CITY OF LONDON POLICE NEWLY DISCOVERED ARCHIVED PICTURES ON TRAINING TO APPREHEND BURGLARS ROBBERS PIC TAKEN OVER A 100 YEARS AGO 1907.

God says, it’s time for us to put our foot on it…

Someone who has been feeling down, somebody who has been feeling distressed, or disappointed, and confused needs to hear this message.  Somebody who has felt something so heavy in circumstance that it felt as though a foot is on one’s neck trying to choke the living daylight out of you; not killing you, but cutting off your breath, making it hard to breathe, taking the JOY out of your life.  We’ve all felt this way at one time or another in life.  Maybe right now.

But now is the time to change!  Hopefully, after reading this blog-study and reading the words in Joshua.

You will begin changing positions –

You are going from being under the circumstances to being on top of the circumstances.

From being under pressure, to being the one applying the pressure.  You are going to put your foot on it!

When you put your foot on it– it means you are in charge.  It means that you are on top of it, it means you are in control, it means that whatever it is you are facing right now… has lost its power to affect you, it means that you have won!

The FIVE KINGS in Joshua –

The FIVE KINGS mentioned in Joshua 10, can represent anything–

Represent financial problems, or marital problems, or physical problems, or spiritual problems.  It can represent debt, or sickness or even some personal problems like addictions–drugs, alcohol, pornography, etc.

Whatever it is, it’s time to put your foot down.

“And the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) be with you”  (Romans 16:20).

AMEN!

Satan has already been defeated, and Jesus has stripped him of his authority and power.

“[God]  disarmed the principalities and powers that were ranged against us and made a bold display and public example of them, in triumphing over them in Him and in it [the cross]”  (Colossians 2:15).

The devil has NO POWER over my will…

NO POWER over my mind…

NO POWER over my spirit.

It doesn’t matter what the devil does, he cannot take me out of God’s hand!  That said…

Don’t make the tragic mistake–

To believe that the devil has no power; that Satan is weak and helpless, that is a tragic mistake.

The devil is defeated from a God perspective, but he is not dead.

While he cannot affect my standing with God, he can definitely mess with my circumstances, my emotions, and he can manipulate people and things.

He can attack through people, through sickness, through financial problems, through attacks on people I love.

It’s one thing to know JESUS defeated Satan and it’s another thing to see that manifested victory in my own personal experience.

I want more than just a revelation of how JESUS defeated the devil (I want that devil under my feet).

JOSHUA’S Message to His Captains:

Come near and put your foot on their necks.

Why the command for a ‘neck stomping’?  I believe it was to demonstrate that the victory was real.  It was personal, that the enemy was under their feet.  That domination over the enemy was being displayed.

Joshua said to those men, this day is your day.  Instead of running from it, crying about it and even praying about it.

Today, you’re going to put your foot on it.  (And when you do, you’re going to choke the life out of it!).

Waiting for God to Move In and Do Something?

Many times we find ourselves waiting on God; to move in some great supernatural way, and with one swipe, wipe out all our enemies.

But the truth is, to a large degree, God has done everything He is going to do until we do something.

SPIRIT GUT CHECK:  He has given us,  (His Word), (His name), (His Spirit), (the power of Praise), (the Armor of God).

2 Corinthians 10:3-5:

3  For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according in the flesh and using mere human weapons.  4  For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood],  but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds [nourished thoughts: The Word Detective’s insert].  5  [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

NOTICE that Joshua himself did not put his foot upon the necks of the enemy kings, but rather let his captains do tt.

This was to represent the fact this VICTORY belonged to every single Israelite; that every single one of them had defeated their enemies that day.

That means that you and I…

We have the AUTHORITY,

We have the POWER,

We have the WEAPONS (Ephesians 6:11-17).

Quit complaining about it and instead…PUT YOUR FOOT ON IT!  TAKE YOUR GOD-GIVEN AUTHORITY!

Luke 10:19:  [Note: Insert your own name when you see the word “you”]

Behold!  I have given you [Mel] authority and power to trample upon serpents and [physical and mental] strength and ability over ALL THE POWER that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you [Mel].

Bringing the Enemy Out of Their Caves

We see Joshua and his men bringing out the FIVE KINGS from their hiding places (Joshua 10:3).

Before you get the VICTORY over that which has burdened you, robbed you, oppressed you, bring it out of hiding.

You have to admit it and identify it.  You have to quit pretending it doesn’t exist, or it isn’t that big of a deal, or that you can handle it yourself, keeping it hidden in a cave.

THINGS THAT CAN GROW IN THE DARK

Fungus growing into mushrooms in a cave

Fungus growing into mushrooms in a cave

The fact is:  Whatever you keep in the dark, grows, and intensifies and multiplies eventually bringing you into slavery–bondage–and if not dealt with–it will DESTROY your life.

Before you can put your foot down and stomp on it, you have to identify it.  Recognize it for what it is.  Expose it.  Get honest with God about it.  And HATE IT, and want to be rid of it.  I don’t want a “fungus” growing in my house, do you?

For twenty years I smoked a pack of cigarettes per day.  I told myself that I couldn’t quit! (No, I didn’t want to quit, because I loved it.)

I hid the evidence from my family; I wouldn’t smoke at home.  And yes, even lied about my tobacco addiction to my wife:  “It’s all the smoke from the office on my clothes and hair that you smell.”

And then one day, I put my foot on the neck of my addiction.  Literally.  I spoke out loud to that pack of cigarettes in 1983,  “I HATE YOU!”  Then I threw the nasty habit on the floor and stomped on it!  The desire was gone…forever.

You Will Never Quit anything If You LOVE IT!

—  You will never quit drinking if you love it.

—  You will never quit lusting if you love it.

—  You will never quit overeating if you love it.

—  You will never quit over spending if you love it.

—  You will never quit quarreling and arguing if you love it.

—  You will never quit holding grudges if you love it.

HOLY HATRED – Psalm 139:21-22:

21 Do I not hate them, O Lord, who hate You?  And am I not grieved and do I not loathe those who rise up against You?  22 I hate them with perfect hatred; they have become my enemies.

In other words, David here was speaking of a hatred born out of love, his love for God was so strong, it made him hate the things opposed to God.

Your love for God must prove you to HATE the things that adversely affect your relationship with Him.  My FLESH may want to learn from a particular direction that it desires, but if it is harmful to my relationship with God, then my spirit man HATES that.

Before You Can STOMP ON IT, You Have to HATE IT!

You can’t tolerate it and conquer it!

You can’t stroke it and conquer it!

You can’t cover it and conquer it!

You can’t deny it and conquer it!

You have to HATE IT…Holy hatred and when you do…go after it to destroy it.

When you passionately hate it, not only will you want VICTORY over it, but you’ll want everyone to have victory over it (a “reformed smoker”);  You’ll want to destroy it!

I don’t know what’s in your life right now that you are fighting.

I don’t know how big it is, or small it is.  But IT’S TIME!  Time for you to put your foot on the enemy’s neck.

When you do, something supernatural is going to happen.  God almighty is going to FIGHT with you.

JOSHUA said to these men:  If you will just turn and fight your enemies, then God is going to fight with you and not one of your enemies will stand against you.

After putting their foot on the enemies’ necks…(Joshua 10:26)

JOSHUA took those FIVE KINGS and killed them on FIVE TREES till the evening so everyone could witness the VICTORY over the defeated foe.

‘If He did it for me, He will do it for you.  Here they are but they are dead now, they have no influence, no power, and no authority over my life.’ 

It is Time to Put your foot down on it –

It might be something like being STUBBORN (believe it or not, stubbornness is not a spiritual gift); it is an offense to the spirit of Christ.

Or, it may be something like being SARCASTIC.  The Bible says that our speech is supposed to be kind and gentle–suppose to minister GRACE to the hearers.

You may say:  Well I’m just telling the truth; I’m telling it like it is.  (Yes, but when you speak sarcastically, you’ve made the “truth” offensive and you become an instrument of offense instead of grace).

I have been guilty of this very thing.  When younger, even while teaching God’s word, I found myself in the cave of SARCASM.

I thought of it as a strength, not as a weakness in my character.  I’ve had to deal with it in my life by admitting it, exposing it, and then hating it.

God can help me conquer that area of PRIDE–self-centerness that raises its head occasionally…if, I put my foot down and stomp on it.

Achieving the Victory –

I don’t presume to know what (“it”) is in your life, but it’s time for you to get victory over it.

It’s time for you to have a good old neck stomping on whatever (“IT”) is.

 

VICTORY WON!

VICTORY WON!


CREDITS:

Exerts from “Put Your Foot Down” by Shelley Wilburn.org

Bible Translations used:  Amplified Bible, except where noted.

Photos:  Google Search (Images); Photo Pin

 

 

rahab

Are We Living Our Lives In A Wall?

When God Tells the Story.

When God tells the story of setting aside a special nation, preparing the way for His Son in the Old Testament, He doesn’t hide the truth; the details are displayed openly for all to read and see.

The Family Tree.

God includes the LIAR, the COWARDS, the CHEATERS, the MESS-UPS, and the street-walker.  Character flaws are never a deterrent to God’s greater plan.

*[See Matthew 1:5 for Rahab’s inclusion]

stock-photo-chiangmai-thailand-march-reading-the-new-international-version-of-the-holy-bible-on-the-262562102

Living In Ancient Cities…

Often cities of ancient times are surrounded by thick, solid walls for protection against invading armies.  And as Christians, we sometimes build walls around our own spiritual lives for the same reasons.  We don’t want to get hurt or criticized by the outside world.  If we stay huddled together, never venturing outside the walls, except for well planned evangelism raids to the surrounding countryside; then bringing the assembled captives back behind closed gates in celebration of our own efforts.  “Oh Lord, it’s so hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way.”

God’s Church was never intended to be a walled in community of believers; living inside a wall while peering out of a self-righteous window at the lost sinners; eagerly waiting for the next well planned raid into the outside world by our well-meaning church leaders.

Living In A Wall.

In ancient times, the heavy expense plus the consuming time to build solid walls for protection, led to an alternative city wall design we call a CASEMATE.

A CASEMATE

A CASEMATE

A casemate consisted of two thinner walls; parallel walls with an empty space between them.  It was faster and cheaper to build, and afforded the inhabitants extra living space.

In times of war, the space could be quickly filled with dirt and stones creating a thicker, solid defensive wall.

We too, have a tendency to use our church building as the “inner wall,” and our homes as the “outer wall.”  And in between?

A lot of dirt and stones in between to separate us from criticism, hypocrisy and self-condemnation.

The Conquest of Jericho (Text: Joshua 2:1-24): 

The reading in Joshua 2 suggest that a woman, by the name of RAHAB, was known as a prostitute and occupied her home on the outside wall.

“…for her [Rahab’s] house was built into the city wall, so that she lived in the wall”  (Joshua 2:15 b. ESV).

The house of Rahab in the Old Testament is PICTURE

The familiar story in Joshua 2 brings to my mind a picture of a FULL CHURCH.  Can you imagine the great transformation that took place in-house of two spies, who brought her into a personal relationship with the God of Israel.

Her inn of iniquity became a house of prayer and worship and when the walls of Jericho fell, only her house remained on the wall; everyone within the house experienced salvation and her house was full!

How did this happen?  Could this happen to us in our own churches?  Are the principles laid down in this Old Testament Book be applied today, so we too, could have a full house at the coming of the Lord?

A Genuine Born Again Experience –

The Blood of Christ…

We have this pictured in this story by the SCARLET THREAD placed outside the window rahabof Rahab’s home in the wall (Joshua 2:18):

“Behold, when we come into the land, you shall bind this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and you shall bring your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household into your house.”

All of the children of Israel had been told of the courage and faith of Rahab.  So in their daily march around the city (Joshua Chapter 6), must have taken note of the scarlet thread on the outside wall.

Rahab_PassoverI’m sure this was likened to the days of THE PASSOVER; this was a type of BLOOD on the door post.

There is POWER IN THE BLOOD!

There was enough power in this scarlet cord that two grown men hold on to its safety as they escaped from a sure death.

There was enough power in this scarlet thread to keep the walls of Jericho from falling on this house.

Rahab the harlot had a genuine born again experience.  No longer did she trust in the idolatrous gods of Jericho.  She had placed her new-found faith and trust in the God of Israel.

Is the church of today preaching, relying on, trusting in the POWER of the Blood of Jesus, or are the leaders of the congregation trusting in man devised programs and false doctrine?

A Life Lived In Holiness!

The day that Rahab TRUSTED the God of Israel would be her last day of harlotry.

The red rope [cord, thread]…

The red cord that might have stood for the house of sin, now, became a symbol of the CROSS.  Rehab’s everyday, ongoing business became God’s business.  Right in the midst of living in a wall, she had become a new creation in Christ Jesus, Saint Rehab.

Could churches today…hang a red rope outside the building, symbolizing the power that can happen by simply people grabbing hold?  How would the lost know of God’s saving grace by a simple, uncomplicated, red thread?

THERE’S POWER IN THE BLOOD!

A Passion for Souls!

Rehab’s heart passion was that of her family and friends.  One by one she compelled them to enter in.

It’s not enough that my church preach with the right doctrine.  That alone will not bring souls into the kingdom.

It’s not enough that church members live lives of holiness.  That will not fill up the church seats on Sunday.

THE FIELDS ARE WHITE

THE FIELDS ARE WHITE

The people of God’s Church must have a PASSION to win the lost!  The fields are white unto the harvest.  Where are the reapers?

A Plan of Hope!

The king of Jericho had no plan.  The doomed people within the city hung their heads over the wall while they looked sadly at their coming fate.  Their hearts were trembling from fear of the coming judgment.

Only Rahab had a plan!

Only Rahab had been given the promise of SALVATION.  Her house alone would be the ARK of safety.

As a Church, we have been commissioned by Christ Jesus to SHARE the good news of SALVATION with the lost.  We have a message of hope.  We, the church, know (or should know) the truth of Christ.

RAHAB’S HOUSE IN THE WALL

Rahab’s house is a perfect example of a perfect church.

When we, the Church, become as convinced of coming judgment, and as compassionate as Rahab was of the lost members of her family, we too will have a full church.

I’m disheartened, disappointed in hearing people in the body of Christ say, “Oh, I just love a smaller church!  It’s so much more friendly than a large church.”  Really? More friendly to who?

Can the Old Testament Church RENEW a challenge within our church walls to become the Church of God’s plan?

Remember again the cry of the Father:

So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full’  (Luke 14:23, N.L.T.).

 


Credits:

Bible History Daily – Rahab the Harlot Robin Ngd – 9/23/2013;  The Jericho Scenario – The Open Scroll;  The Sermon Notebook – Tearing Down the Walls; Bible Archaeology, Travel with Luke Chandler.

Bible Translations used: 

Amplified Bible, English Standard Version, New Living Translation.

Images used:

Photo Pin; Google Images

 

 

 

AN OASIS

Palm Trees In A Dry And Thirsty Land

A STUDY IN THE PSALMS–Psalm 92:12-15

The [uncompromisingly] righteous shall flourish like the PALM TREE…(verse 12).

In preparation for this blog, if I were going to address how it is to “flourish like the palm tree,” researching the PALM TREE’S characteristics was important to the study.

ATTRIBUTES:

There are over 300 species of Palm trees, growing from 3 to 100 feet tall.  The DATE PALM produces over 300 pounds of dates annually.  That’s a lot of fruit.

Fruit of the PALM TREE

Fruit of the PALM TREE

When growing up in Southern California, there was always the presence of palms–along side beaches, front yards, landscapes, everywhere.  In fact, there are towns and cities named for the abundance of PALM TREES.

My wife and I went on our honeymoon to PALM SPRINGS California.  There’s even a town in the desert called 29 Palms.  An OASIS in the desert.

welcome-to-twentynine

HISTORICALLY, the Palm Tree has been called the REPRESENTATIVE TREE of Palestine, where it has stood through the years as a symbol of the land of our LORD.

At the triumphal entry of Jesus as He made His entry to Jerusalem before His death, people broke off palm branches and waved them in front of Him.

Looking at a picture given to us of the victorious Children of God, given to us by John in Revelation 7:9, he says among other things, that they were “clothed with white robes and PALMS in their hands.”

The Bible says in Psalm 92:12, the PALM TREE has several characteristics that gives us pictures in the life of the Christian.

#1.  THE PALM TREE BREAKS THE BANDS –

Unlike other trees, as the tree grows, it breaks the band surrounding the trunk.

In most other trees, bands placed around the wood when young, dig into the trunk.  I’ve seen pictures of an old clothesline wire wrapped around the tree when young, sunk deep into the wood as it appears to be strangling the life out of the tree as it grew.

While in Hawaii, wide bands are placed around the Coconut Palm Trees to prevent rodents from attacking the fruit; the “bands” are broken by the growth of the tree and periodically must be replaced in the groves.

The true CHILD OF GOD can claim victory through Christ–

We don’t have to continue in sin…

Romans 6:1-2, 6, 11-14;

1 Corinthians 15:57;

Romans 8:37.

#2.  THE PALM TREE WILL BEND–BUT NOT BREAK!

3374071855_baa6da995a

Even in HURRICANE FORCE WINDS, the palm tree is able to withstand the storm.

And as the storms of life approaches, it causes many disasters for those not serving God.

But the child of God, like the PALM TREE will bend, but doesn’t break in the storms that will come our way.

#3.  THE PALM TREE IS A SURVIVOR–

Still Standing in the Storm

Still Standing in the Storm

Not only does the PALM TREE grow in the desert, it flourishes!

The roots go deep below the burning sands, finding moisture down deep below the surface, anchoring its stability in the bedrock.

“…and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that ROCK WAS CHRIST”  (1 Corinthians 10:4 NIV).

Although the HURRICANES we are familiar with come ashore to large populations and not deserts, the principles still apply–DEEP ROOTS.

As a child of God, we must go DEEP with God if we’re to flourish.

Without a deep tap-root, and only surface feeding roots…fibrous roots, it will do nothing but cause unstableness to the tree in the storms of life.

To go deep, we must live the Christ-like life:

“I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me”  (Galatians 2:20 King James Version).

To go really deep…we must fervently PRAY.  

1 Thessalonians 5:17 says,  “Be unceasing in prayer–praying perseveringly” (Amplified Bible).

So it is NOT theology, NOT psychology, but “kneeology” that encourages our deep rooting.

MANY CHRISTIANS today are not flourishing…

BECAUSE, they’re seeking nourishment on the surface only–running their ROOTS of life out laterally.

Shallow rooted believers look to the world for refreshment and come away still thirsty.

True Believers send their TAP ROOT deep in into the Word of God and prayer.

#4.  PALM TREES GATHER TOGETHER IN THE WILDERNESS–

One tree standing alone will never produce much shade in the wilderness’ hot sun.

AN OASIS

An OASIS in the Sun

 

But a group of PALM TREES gathered together, forms an OASIS–stay together and stand as BELIEVERS.

Orange and lemon trees can be found growing in the desert beneath the SHADE of the PALM TREES grouped together.

When we group together, as the church gathers together, we can provide shade for those who are spiritually weaker than ourselves.  That’s why HEBREWS 10:25 is so important in a dry and thirsty land:

“Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching”  (Amplified Bible).

Since “we are the church,” whether gathered together in a large building, or a private home, or in an underground meeting place in China, we are to gather together as an OASIS.

#5.  THE HEART OF THE PALM TREE IS ALIVE!

The life of the palm tree is on the inside.  Outward abuse doesn’t affect the life or quality of the tree.

Because the child of God has a life deep within the HEART (soul and spirit)–they are free from a sin nature.

Romans 6:17-18 NIV Bible:

“But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted.  You have been set free from sin and have become saves to righteousness.” 

Our lives as God’s children is seeded within us (2 Corinthians 4:16).

#6.  THE OLDER THE PALM TREE–

The Encyclopedia Britannica says this about DATE PALMS longevity:  “Palms are known to live as long as 150 years. Though their fruit production declines, with scared trunks visible, the fruit produced in the later years is often sweeter!

Though I don’t want to live to the age of a palm tree, I do hope and pray as I grow older, my FRUIT will still be as SWEET.

** [Biblical verses pertaining to FRUIT: Matthew 12:33; Luke 8:14-15; John 15:1-8; Galatians 5:22-26.]

As Christians grow older, our fruit should grow sweeter.

The SCARS OF LIFE produce the fruit of holiness and the TRIALS OF LIFE conform us, prunes us into the image of Christ (Romans 8:28-29).

#7.  THE PALM TREE CAN’T BE GRAFTED–

I remember my father-in-law telling me about his small avocado ranch in Vista, California. “Root Rot” destroyed many groves one season, forcing him to make a difficult but necessary decision:  Sell the farm, or…he took the “or”.

He cleared the diseased avocado trees, planted lemon trees in their place.  But after a few years, lemon prices dropped below market cost, and another decision was undertaken.

He GRAFTED limes on to the lemon rootstock because limes were more valuable wholesale and citrus trees are compatible to graft.

HORTICULTURALISTS say, to GRAFT a palm tree is to kill it.  

THE PALM TREE, unlike the lemon and lime trees, is distinctive and unusual.  That’s why grafting kills it.

To GRAFT A CHRISTIAN into the world, kills one’s testimony and influence.  

As a true believer, the Christian is to be unique and easily distinguished from the world.

“I APPEAL to you therefore, brethren…”  (Romans 12:1-2).

#8.  THE PALM TREE IS AN EVERGREEN–

“They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green”  (Psalm 92:14 NIV).

I have lived in the Evergreen State (Washington State) now for over 35 years.  Coming from Southern California originally, I have come to enjoy the evergreen trees that are in abundance and part of the landscape; seen from every home and automobile window.

EVERGREEN is a symbol of immortality.

The child of God will never die spiritually, having an everlasting life (John 3:16, 18, 36).

When I awake every morning, I give THANKS to my God and Savior that I am “planted in the house of the Lord”; that like the PALM TREE, my fruit is growing sweeter every day by the renewing of my mind daily (Romans 12:2), in Christ Jesus; that the Word of God will keep me fresh and green as the PALM TREE.

It is good to praise the Lord…to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night…How great are your works, O Lord, how profound are your thoughts!  The righteous will flourish like a PALM TREE, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon…  [Selected verses from Psalm 92]

I hope an pray that this blog has given you encouragement in whatever you are going through in life and a testimony to others around you.


CREDITS:

DATE PALM FACTS: Wikipedia the Date Palm; Encyclopedia Britannica.

PHOTOS:  Photo Pin, Google Search.

 

 

 

black-and-white-shake-hands

Why Do We Do the Things We Do During Church Services?

WHAT MAKES OUR WORSHIP SERVICES GENUINE?

black-and-white-shake-hands

I was saved, became a true believer in Christ Jesus in 1972.  Almost 43 years ago this August.  My knowledge of church doctrine began and grew, increasing over the years.

And then, in 2006, my spiritual life took a 180 degree turn. [See my blog: My Spiritual “Rabbit Hole” and Taking the “Redpill” https://theworddetective.wordpress.com/2011/05/06/my-spiritual-r…ng-the-redpill/]

Our Freedom of Worship and Praise Can Pose Perils–

WORSHIP must truly be worship!

TRUE WORSHIP isn’t religious excitement, nor appeals to the flesh.  Our worship services may take undesirable directions–there may be formality with lack of spiritual liberty, or there may be lack of scriptural order and control.

Spiritual leaders are responsible in bringing people into God’s presence and making them realize “God is spirit, and His worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth”  (John 4:24 NIV).  But formality can develop in the ritual of the informal church.

Meaningless HABITS can be hard to break–

Neither Pentecostal routine nor ecclesiastical liturgy is TRUE WORSHIP.  When we in the Pentecostal churches, or any Christian church throughout the world, follow an order of service that degenerates into meaningless habit, they have nothing more than ritual.

The apostle Paul outlined a beautiful WORSHIP PATTERN for the church:  “When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church”  (1 Corinthians 14:26 NIV).  

Notice TWO important words in Paul’s instructions: “everyone” and “all”.  

Furthermore, he said:  “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16 NIV).  

Yes, while sitting, or standing in church during church services, we too can be the “spiritual leaders”.

We are told to EXHORT, urge one another, and not to forsake “giving together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching”  (Hebrews 10:25)

CONGREGATIONAL WORSHIP DESCRIBED:

Our church services then, should all be based on scriptural instruction; that all members of the whole body of Christ should SHARE in worship as the Holy Spirit indwells them, and then yielding to Him.  Then people who fill the church pews are no longer spectators, wondering how they will be entertained.  They become “spiritual leaders.”

QUESTION:  So why then, do we do what we do on Sunday mornings?

Assessing Praise & Worship On Sunday Mornings at Church –

Have we become so self-serving that a fellowship time, or lack of it, is a make or break thing for people in going to church?

What about where we put the offering, if we include it at the end of the service, as some would suggest, should I be so offended that I don’t go back to THAT church?

Her is another issue to think about.  I know a good number of people who HATE to sing, so should we do away with singing because so many people cannot carry a tune and they are afraid someone might hear them?

I once had a pastor who said he was tempted to put up tables in the foyer of the church.  A TABLE with hearing aids, for those who couldn’t hear; cotton balls, for those who said the music was too loud; binoculars, for those who couldn’t see, etc.  In other words, “no excuse tables”– for people who needed an excuse for not attending the praise and worship services.

Excuses are always present…

I think any excuse could be made for not going back to church: the PREACHING is too long…or too short; the MUSIC is too loud or too soft; there are too many gray hairs…or young people…oh, and I cannot deal with perfume, I wish people would quit wearing  it.

Even JESUS didn’t have everyone stay…He laid out the cost, and many left…so, a more important question to ask ourselves is,

WHAT MAKES OUR WORSHIP GENUINE?

“Worship is not dependant upon environment and circumstance but most people are not oblivious to environment.”  ~ G. Raymond Carlson

Real, Genuine, Heartfelt, and Relevant Worship at Church Services –

“MEET & GREET” Purpose, or is there a specific purpose?

In a recent Twitter poll (not scientific), asking first-time church quests, what factors made them decide not to return.  The surprise factor was the number one issue–Don’t like the time spent of stand and greet one another. *[See all 7 Answers to Twitter Poll–by Thom S. Rainer @ Christian Post Contributor]  

According to the Twitter responses and comments, many quests really don’t like it, so much so that they will not return.

So what is it about this “stand and greet” time that many guests don’t like?  

#7 Answer: Not only do some guests dread the stand, meet, and greet time, so do some members –

“I visited the church and went through the ritual of standing and greeting, but many of the church members looked just as uncomfortable as I was. We were all doing a required activity that none of us like.” 

My views are mixed about the practice.  Would I not attend church because of the practice? No! But I do have issue with the timing, the placement in the order of the service, the interruption in my spirit after praise, more than the actual practice.

So I decided to ask my pastor for his views, his desires, within church services, why we do what we do on Sunday mornings

[PASTOR KYLE HOPKINS – Lead Pastor at Valley Church, located in Nooksack, Washington.]

I believe that everything has a practical purpose, but also a deeper spiritual purpose. i.e. the Meet & Greet:  It practically serves a purpose, causing people to get to know each other, meet someone new, say “hello”, etc…  It spiritually is an opportunity for us to speak into someone’s life, give a word of encouragement and share a message of knowledge/discernment; to briefly connect with someone who the Spirit would lay on our heart to meet up with them, pray for them, etc…  The order is usually where does the Spirit want to lead us and practically, what makes sense to get us there. Like a piece of music, there should be a rhythm, a flow.  I think it’s good for every service gathering to have a crescendo, building to a place that God desires to lead us during that time.

2 Timothy 3:5 (KJV)

“…having the appearance of godliness…”

ENTER HIS COURTS WITH PRAISE – Psalm 95 – “O COME,…”

The first thing I consider when driving to church on Sundays, listening to PRAISE MUSIC on the car’s CD player is, “whom is it I coming to see?”

We are supposed to be coming into the presence of the living God, the Author and Creator and Sustainer of the whole universe; the God who was, and is and always will be.

We are coming into the presence of the God about whom the songwriter said,

“Before the hills in order stood or earth received her fame,

from everlasting thou art God

and to endless years the same.”

THE FIRST THING to consider about being in our church services,  in whose presence are we standing?  Why are we even here for one hour or so?  If we are attending church weekly, just to fill up a hour or so once a week… then leave and continue living in a godless world, forgetting who we are in Christ...then are we missing the point?

Let’s go over the Church Bulletin!

There are other aspects in the order of church services that vary from church to church.  But let me throw one more element of ‘why we do what we do’ and the religious placement where it’s found.

The Tithes and Offerings…

Psalm 96:6-8 NIV Bible:

[6] Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and glory are in His sanctuary.

[7]  Ascribe to the Lord, O families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

[8]  Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; …

Now see the flow, the “rhythm” of the elements place in order.  No interruptions that I can see.

“…bring an offering and come into His courts”  (verse 8 b.).

The OFFERING was given after the glory was given to His name–the BLESSING then the GLORY.

The Placement of “things we do” is Important on Sunday’s –

Although our singing can and should be the beginning to PRAISE–but it will not produce WORSHIP.  And isn’t that what we are to suppose to be here for?  The MESSAGE is important, but is it the point of our attendance?

John MacArthur gives this helpful clarification (on qty.org. “Messiah: The Living Water,” part 2):

“Worship, by the way is not music.  Worship is loving God…Worship is honoring God…Worship is to know God for who He is, adoring Him, obeying Him, proclaiming Him as a way of life.  Music is one way we can express that adoration.”

After all that is said concerning the answers to the question, “Why Do We Do the Things We Do…?”, I had to ask a follow-up question…“How much cultural freedom has been substituted for TRUE WORSHIP in our church services?”

Almost every Sunday morning after singing praises to my God, there is a sense of infilling of the Holy Spirit, a continuance of PRAISE so that I can fully WORSHIP HIM.

This is probably a poor analogy, but it is like God’s Spirit has inflated [“infilled”] my spirit with His breath, like the filling up of a balloon.

Balloon-blowup

And then, STAND, MEET & GREET time begins, and afterwards…I feel like a deflated piece of latex.

deflated-balloon-628x363-628x330

Is what we do, when we do it, a PRIORITY on Sunday mornings? The more important question becomes, “Is what we’re doing, worshipping in spirit and truth?

If your answer is “yes,” then forget all that I’ve said.  If your answer is “no,” then it’s time perhaps, to change the order, the placement of traditions on Sunday mornings, or whenever you are in WORSHIP & PRAISE.


 PHOTO CREDITS:

Hand shake–Christian Post photo insert by Thom Rainer.

Other Photos by Google Search Images [Balloon images].

BIBLE CREDITS:

As noted– New International Version (NIV), King James version (KJV).

lazy-guy

Our Eating Habits Are Killing Us!

For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold,  And will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions.            (2 Timothy 4:3-4 Amplified Bible)

lazy-guy

 Too Much is too much!

We are living in a day in which we’re continually being made aware of what we eat.  Going to the doctor’s office and sitting in the waiting room, you can’t help from picking up a Health Magazine and thumbing through the pages.  There are articles and ads reminding us as we wait to hear our name called, eat wisely, avoid junk food, and be sure to read labels on cans and boxes before we buy them.  All to confirm that the contents will be HEALTHY for us.  By the time the doctor finally enters the scene, asking the peruvial question–“So how have you been feeling since the last time I saw you?”  After spending 15 minutes reading every magazine available, I’m tempted to answer: “Evidently, LOUSY!”

But how many of us are as concerned about our SPIRITUAL DIETS as we are about are natural ones?  Are we using discernment in choosing the material we read, the Christian programs we watch, or the preachers we listen to?

Are we able to distinguish between the MEAT and the MIXTURE?  The HOLY and the PROFANE?

Many people today are so used to mixture, they’ve lost a taste for what is pure.  Lavish presentations, displays and methods to get our attention to the given message.  They often become more important than what is being served and the servers more important than what they serve–sitting down at the spiritual “table of reason”:  “If it looks good and multitudes are eating it, then it must be OK.”

EXEGESIS: A Healthy Diet Plan, Rich in Protein needed for a spiritual health awakening –

Rich in Meat

Rich in Meat

The definition of Exegesis: An “exposition or explanation.”  [*Footnote [i] ]

BIBLICAL EXEGESIS involves the examination of a particular text of Scripture in order to properly interpret it.  Good biblical exegesis is actually commands us in to do so in 2 Timothy 2:15:

Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth” (Amplified Bible).

Exegesis has many principles, as most diet plans do.  But in this blog, I want to put the emphasis on the Literal Principle to help in being faithful to the plan– [Note: See Footnote [ii] for the other principles of “exegesis’.) 

QUESTION:  “Can/Should we interpret the Bible as literal?”

Not only can we take the bible literally, we must take the bible literally.  

It is the only way to determine what God really is trying to communicate to us.  When we read any piece of literature, especially the Bible, you must determine what the author intended to communicate.

Over the years in my Christian life, I’ve listened to many sermon messages.  I’ve heard many well-meaning pastors, who will read a verse or passage of Scripture, then give their own definition to the words, phrases, or paragraphs, ignoring the context and the authors intent.

“JUNK FOOD” Preachers serve up a diet of unhealthy, fast food, but little else–real“meat” is never on the “reason table.” 

But this isn’t what God intended, which is why God tells us to correctly handle the Word of Truth (discernment)–the “meat”–the “spiritual food” according to 2 Timothy 2:15.

One Good Reason to take the Bible literally?

Because JESUS took it literally; He had no appetite for “junk food.”.  Whenever Jesus quoted from the Old Testament, it was always clear that He believed in its literal interpretation.

As an example, when Jesus was tempted by Satan in LUKE 4, He answered by quoting the Old Testament–word for word.  If God’s commands in Deuteronomy 8:3; 6:23, and 6:16 were not literal… then Jesus would not have used them and been powerless to stop Satan’s mouth, which by the way, certainly did!

The disciples also took the commands of Christ (which are a part of the Bible) literally.

Jesus commanded the disciples to GO–make more disciples (Matthew 28:19-20).

And in Acts 2, we find that the disciples took Jesus’ command literally and went through the known world of that time preaching the Gospel of Christ, telling them to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be SAVED” (Acts 16:13).

Just as the disciples took Jesus’ words literally, so must we.  How else can we be sure of our salvation if we don’t believe Him when He says “He came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10); to pay the penalty for our sin (Matthew 26:28) and, provide eternal life” (John 6:54)?

A Side Note of EXEGESIS:  FIGURES OF SPEECH PRINCIPLE –

Although we should take the Bible literally, there are still figures of speech within the pages.  An example of a figure of speech would be if someone said, “it’s raining cats and dogs outside,” you would know they didn’t really mean cats and dogs were falling from the sky.  They would mean it’s raining really hard.

There are figures of speech in the Bible NOT to be taken literally, but those are obvious (See Psalm 17:8 for example).

“Junk Food” OR “Meat” on the table–It’s our CHOICE:

Some of what we are eating in these last days, is frighteningly unhealthy.  Let me give you some examples of the types of spiritual “junk food” (“wrong thinking”) being served, along with the “meat” (“solid food” – 1 Cor. 3:2) we should be eating instead.

FOOD CHOICES –

JUNK FOOD:  Times and conditions in our society have changed in defining gender roles in the church today.  Women can and should be designated Pastors; having authority over everyone in the body of Christ.  The principles instilled in the early church by the Apostle Paul were purely cultured, therefore inapplicable to believers in the church of the 21st Century.

MEAT:  “In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself (John 1:1); “O Timothy, guard and keep the deposit entrusted [to you]! Turn away from irreverent babble and godless chatter, with the vain and empty and worldly phrases, and the subtleties and the contradictions in what is falsely called knowledge and spiritual illumination” (1 Timothy 6:20); “Let a woman learn in quietness, in entire submissiveness. Allow no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to remain in quietness and keep silence [in religious assemblies]. For Adam was first formed, then Eve”  (1 Timothy 2:11-13).

There are many roles today for a woman to serve in ministry along side of men–still adhering to the literal understanding of the Word of God.  Remember, God spoke through the Apostle Paul.

JUNK FOOD:  Because God “so loved the world,” we must accept all religions in the name of love without insisting the followers repent of sin and accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

MEAT:  “For God did not send His Son into the word to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.  Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.  This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil”  (John 3:17-19 NIV).

JUNK FOOD:  Apostles, prophets, and pastors have absolute authority. “Because I am your appointed leader, you are to respect and obey me without question no matter how I live or what I do.”

MEAT:  “Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame–who set their mind on earthly things”  (Philippians 3:17-19 NKJV).

JUNK FOOD:  It’s not necessary to deal with your sin; just think positive thoughts about yourself and others.  Don’t worry, be happy!

MEAT:  “If we say we have no sin [refusing to admit that we are sinners], we delude and lead ourselves astray, and the Truth [which the Gospel presents] is not in us [does not dwell in our hearts].  If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformance to His will in purpose, thought and action]”  (1 John 1:8-9)

JUNK FOOD:  “Michelle and I join our fellow Americans and others around the world in commemorating the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia tomorrow, May 17–2015.”  [the President of the United States quote: Constitution Rising.com].

MEAT:  “So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification],  Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give thanks. But instead they became futile and godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened.  Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves].  For this reason God gave them over and abandoned them to vile affections and degrading passions…”  (Romans 1:20 b., 21, 23, 26 a). 

THE RESULTS OF OUR EATING POORLY:

In a spiritual sense, the result are numerous.  

— We forget our WITNESS in favor of majority thinking.

— Popularity overrules purity.

— Fear of man replaces the fear of God–“to RESPECT and HONOR God in our lives with the audacity to obey His Word.”

Acceptance of JUNK FOOD translates into allowance… and love loses its power because of our fear of being judgmental.

FINALLY, when we make ourselves as the final UMPIRE–of which parts of the Bible are to be interpreted LITERALLY, we elevate ourselves above God.

Who is to say then, one persons interpretation of a biblical event or truth, is more valid than another’s?  Confusion and distortions would inevitably result from such a system that it would render the Scriptures null and void.

THE BIBLE IS GOD’S WORD to us and He meant it to be believed–literally and completely.  Are you ready to get started on the healthiest diet plan available?  It starts with Genesis and finishes with the Revelation to John.


 Footnotes & Credits for this post:

Footnote [i] and [ii] – What is good biblical exegesis? Got Questions.org

Credit to,  Ministry Today, Iverna Tompkins Learn to Discern Spiritual Junk Food.

Photo Credits:  Google Images and Photo Pin (Shutterstock).

Bible Credits:  Amplified Bible translation, except where noted in text.

 

 

 

 

 

 

download

“This Isn’t Another MESSAGE On ‘GIVING’ Is It?”

1 Chronicles 29:9 (KJV):

“Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD; and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.”

download

ONE MOTHER’S TEACHING ON GIVING–

It was officially Mother’s Day on May 10th, 2015 and I thought, what better way of starting the conversation, but from a story regarding a mother’s teaching on GIVING:

A mother wanted to teach her daughter a moral lesson.  She gave the little girl a quarter and a dollar for church.

“Put whichever one you want in the offering basket and keep the other yourself,” she told the little girl.

When leaving thee church that morning, the mother asked her daughter which amount she had given.

“Well,” said the little girl, “I was going to give the dollar, but just before the offering, the mn in the pulpit said, we should all be cheerful givers.  I knew I’d be a lot more cheerful if I gave the quarter…so I did.”

The mother may not have agreed with her daughter’s reasoning, but at the heart of the matter is the fact–the daughter gave in the way she believed.

True of all Christians–we give as we believe. 

In 1 Chronicles 29, DAVID led the people to BELIEVE in what they are given to.

David believed God deserved a TEMPLE.  At first, God would not let him build it because as 1 Chronicles 28:2-3 tells us,

DAVID wasn’t the type of man God wanted to have building the Temple.  BUT DAVID still believed the Temple for God needed building.

And so, in 1 Chronicles 29:2, David dedicated his own wealth to the project.

DAVID’S VISION IS INFECTIOUS (verse 6):

The leaders of the assembly dedicated money for the Temple.  And then (vs. 9), “the people rejoiced because these had given willingly, for with a whole and blameless heart they had offered freely to the Lord.  King David also rejoiced greatly.”

“the people REJOICED because”…

The Hebrew word here for “rejoice” or “rejoiced” is ‘samach’ [Strong’s Concordance #8055]: “Samach usually refers to a spontaneous emotion or extreme happiness which is expressed in some visible and/or external manner. It does not normally represent an abiding state of well-being or feeling.”  (See Footnote [i] ).

WOW! Rejoicing after giving.  What a concept and one that I surely need to give more attention to.  Remember, the people giving their offerings in 1 Chronicles 29 are giving willingly with a “whole and blameless heart.”

And they gave and they built because they believed in a VISION.

 The “What’s Happening Now Church?”

Flip Wilson was a popular comedian several years ago and one of his characters was a Preacher.  Flip did a skit once that I watched on television, where he told about this preacher.  He’d shout out:

“IF THIS CHURCH IS GOING TO SERVE GO IT’S GOT TO GET DOWN ON IT’S KNEES AND CRAWL!!!

And the audience yelled back,  “Make it crawl preacher, male it crawl!”

“AND ONCE THIS CHURCH HAS LEARNED TO CRAWL, IT’S GOT TO GET UP ON IT’S FEET AND WALK!!!”

“Make it walk preacher, make it walk,”  the audience moaned.

“AND ONCE THIS CHURCH HAS LEARNED TO WALK, ITS GOT TO BEGIN TO LEARN TO RUN!!!”

“Make it run, preacher, make it run!”

“AND IN ORDER TO RUN, ITS GOT YO REACH DOWN INTO POCKETS AND LEARN TO GIVE!!!”

(pause)  “Make it crawl preacher, make it crawl.”

A CHURCH CAN’T GROW IF IT DOESN’T GIVE.

And if our churches don’t give…it’ll crawl.

Inspiring People to Give–

Now when DAVID wanted to inspire people in their giving–he set the example.  He said–this is what I’m giving.  Then the leaders in the congregation stood up and set the EXAMPLE, the pattern for GIVING.

“TITHING” versus “FREE WILL OFFERING”:

In setting up the scene in 1 Chronicles 29, overlooking the “free will offering” principles would be detrimental to the whole MESSAGE on stewardship today.

Is there a difference between TITHING and OFFERINGS?

TITHING is giving GOD the first tenth of ALL your increase.  

In the Old Testament, most tithes were given from produce or herd.  But in modern times we tithe with MONEY since most of our increase is financial.

In the O.T. there were different types of tithes and different types of offerings.  TITHES were required giving according to the Mosaic Law, where OFFERINGS were voluntary.

Here in 1 Chronicles 29, the free will offerings given didn’t replace their tithes.  Their giving was above and beyond the Law of “10%”.

God trusted us with what is His in the first place:

He trusts us with an INCREASE–lets us have 90% of it–but places a 10%–the “sacred portion” aside (Deuteronomy 26:13; Numbers 18:28) which we are to tithe back to Him.  

This “sacred portion” is entrusted to us and we return it to Him.

TITHING TEACHES US Redemption–

The TITHE is the first tenth, the FIRST FRUIT of our increase.

Christ was God’s FIRST FRUIT.

When God gave to us His only Son to die on the cross for our sin, He REDEEMED us from the curse of the Law.  And when we give our TITHE, we are worshipping God by recognizing His REDEMPTION.

So then, we should recognize that through JESUS, we are redeemed and in turn God redeems and blesses the 90% that is our portion.

I remember after my wife and I were saved, our preacher gave a sermon on TITHING as many preachers try to fit in once a year, at least.  Afterwords, we both admitted to one another that “tithing” was out of the question.  We were overwhelmed at the time with debt and other obligations of a young family; we could tithe 10%!  But then, the Spiritual Light Bulb came on! God’s Word had penetrated our spirit, and we decided to be faithful and to trust God for the results.  We’ve been BLESSED ever since.

Is today’s Church suppose to adhere to the “giving principles” of the Old Testament?

Many people believe that today’s church should not follow the practice of TITHING–it was in the Old Testament–not mentioned in the New Testament except for reference.

But I say the LAW was given to help us see our need for redemption every time we tithe in honor and recognize our need for God and the amazing way He has blessed us and provided for us.

I think that many use the Gospel of Grace to free themselves from OBEDIENCE instead of discovering the GRACE OF GOD enables us to follow Him more passionately.

SO WHAT IS AN “OFFERING”, or generous giving?

1 Chronicles 29:6-8 (NASB):

[6] Then the rulers of the fathers’ households, and the princes of the tribes of Israel, and the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, with the overseers over the king’s work, offered willingly;

[7] and for the service for the house of God they gave 5,000 talents and 10,000 darics of gold, and 10,000 talents of silver, and 18,000 talents of brass, and 100,000 talents of iron.

[8] And whoever possessed precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the Lord, in care of Jehiel the Gershonite.

[9] Then the people rejoiced because they had offered so willingly, for they made their offering to the LORD with a whole heart, and King David also rejoiced greatly.

OFFERINGS are something that you search your heart for (not your wallet), deciding to give beyond the tithe BUT NOT IN PLACE OF THE TITHE.

TITHES go to the local church but offerings are free for you to decide what to do with.  

Many people give OFFERINGS to their place of fellowship because they’re excited about what God is doing there and they know there’s a need.

Others use their OFFERINGS to support missions, a favorite radio or television preacher, maybe a local Christian para-church ministry.  ALL are great options as an OFFERING or GENEROUS GIVING.

Christian Maturity–

Christians mature (grow spiritually) as their FAITH grows in fiscal responsibility; in giving more and more generously to God’s kingdom through offerings that are over and above the TITHE.

Looking at a great verse where the Apostle Paul talks about offerings in his second letter to the church in Corinth:

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (AMP):

[6]  [Remember] this:  he who sows sparingly and grudgingly will also reap sparingly and grudgingly, and he who sows generously  [that blessings may come to someone]  will also reap generously and with blessings.

[7]  Let each one [give] as he has made up his own mind and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion, for God loves (He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, “prompt to do it”) giver [whose heart is in his giving].

[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].

“GIVING” FOR A REASON:

Now hopefully, we don’t give to the “building project,” and we don’t give to the Pastor.  And as we see in 1 Chronicles 29, the people gave to God, to GLORIFY HIM, to build up His Kingdom.

If the attitude out there is “Yeah, sure we do”, then reread 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 one more time, or as many times as it takes, to give with a “blameless heart.”

Hopefully, you can give with a VISION; that God is going to do something special with your offerings because of your faithfulness.

It’s about BELIEF…

In 1 Chronicles 29, David says something about our believing (vss. 10-17).

IN DAVID’S PRAYER…HE PRAYED acknowledging that they were giving to the building of the Temple because… the believed God would supply.  The funds all came from God’s hands in the first place.  They were only using His bounty to build a place of worship for Him.

Other passages of the Bible speaks of this kind of BELIEF (1 Corinthians 9:6-11; Malachi 3:10-11).  

This is all in agreement with the powerful message given to us in Hebrews 11:6:  

“But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] BELIEVE that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].”

And so FAITH is important in all aspects of our Christian walk in Christ Jesus.  Especially in our giving.

TITHES & OFFERINGS:

Both our tithes and offerings (generous giving) should be a part of our lives as Believers–Christians. SO…

–GIVE “JOYFULLY” (1 CHRONICLES 29:9),

–GIVE THANKFULLY (1 CHRONICLES 29:10),

–AND EXCEL IN THE GRACE OF GIVING,

BUT NEVER FEEL PRESSURED TO GIVE!

It is NEVER about the amount you give, but about the JOY in your heart to give.

A song that almost every parent with small children have heard a million times and know the words by heart, is from the Disney movie, FROZEN – “LET IT GO”

Let me give you the words in the music lyrics that I thought might fit in perfectly to the message in our giving of tithes and offerings:

It’s time to see what I can do

To test the limits and break through

No right, no wrong, no rules for me

I’m free

[TO GIVE]

set-it-free

 

 


 

Footnotes, Credits, and Commentaries:

Footnote [i]:  Vines Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words.

Photos:

Google Search in 1 Chronicles 29 Images.

Bible References:

Amplified Bible except where Noted.

Commentaries:

ABC’s of Giving by Jeff Strite

Tithes vs Offerings by Patrick McCue