Money & Church

money-church1Should we give offerings to support the Church and Pastors?
Yes we should… preaching the Gospel is their work and calling, but financial gain and making a comfortable living from the work should never be any workers objective. The work of ministry should not be a windfall financial boon and blessings of the minister… but the blessing to those they are entrusted to serve.

Many Pastors do the work of advancing the Kingdom in the capacity of their calling beyond Sunday Mornings and periodic weekday services. Many are in their offices working 60 hour PLUS work weeks, availing themselves to the Church. (I’m not talking about being on call).
So yes we should support them according to what God has put on our hearts to do, but not according to what they have decided that we should be charged. It is God’s work and He will provide for it. If we are having constant fundraisers, selling tickets, holding raffles etc… and guilt-tripping the Body of Christ into monetary support of our life-style… we should find another career.

It is God who will lay on each one’s heart how to give. Yet none the less He will provide without ministers having to coax, threaten or guilt trip a believer. If we are giving what God has apportioned us to give to His people …He will supply the need. 

“give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, MEN will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.”) Luke 6:38

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God. ~2 Corinthians 2:14-17

*My thoughts on the subject*

SPIRIT OF UNITY …Yes?

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Galatians 5:22-26 …But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Okay; let me come down off of my little church-lady soapbox.
Certainly we all are God’s work in progress, but not because we lack anything. The FULLNESS of Christ is in us, if we are TRULY Christians. It is practicing and learning to use this GREAT Treasure in these earthen jars, so when we do come together for services we are in one place on ONE accord. Great and MIRACULOUS things will take place then, When we get busy loving we will have no time to judge or continue with divisive behaviors.

The DNA Results

2d05b490d26c25027865d576437c1ca0Hebrews 4:2: For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.

All of us I am sure are familiar with the science of Human DNA, it is in our blood… when a sample is taken of our blood DNA it reveals so much about a person and believe it or not most humans share close to 99.2% of the same genetics… AMAZING.  DNA can expose hidden revelations concerning our level of health or even potential health risk, it can stand up as evidence in court cases to prove guilt and innocence and it reveals our heritage, lineage and ancestry.

As Christians we should be curious as well as aware of our Spiritual DNA… Who are we in Christ? What does the Word of God report as our Spiritual DNA? First of all as with human DNA we must realize that our Spiritual DNA is a matter ALSO of BLOOD. The Blood of Christ. Our Spiritual nature MUST supersede our natural character. When we become one with Christ we are the Spiritual children of God our Father.

We MUST know who we are in Christ if we will ever walk in the benefits of His Great sacrifice for us. So many of us find it difficult to obtain the fruition of what is ours in Him. We feel that we do all that is required without seeing the fruit of our efforts. Many spend hours quoting and learning Scripture BUT this is only of benefit if we get to know Him INTIMATELY. Jesus Himself said:
Take My yoke upon you and LEARN OF ME, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matt 11:29

I often talk about the promises of Christ being in the here and now and not in the great by and by, because I want you to know what is available to us NOW. The Cross opened doors HERE AND NOW. To keep us until the day of the Lord’s coming, equip us for Kingdom employment and Kingdom living… HERE AND NOW.

Jesus said: Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!

Then why are we not doing greater things what are we lacking… I believe the great keys to moving into that deeper more intimate space with God starts with these 3 things FAITH/HOPE, OBEDIENCE AND LOVE.

According to the Apostle Paul in Hebrews 4:2: For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.

To live an effective Christian life it is imperative to KNOW and BELIEVE who we are in Christ. Understanding our identity in Christ is crucial to living life as God intended. The best way to renew our mind and experience inner transformation is by knowing, living, thinking and speaking out loud who we are in Christ and spending quiet moments in prayer and meditation  with God our Father in Heaven. Then we must GET OUT INTO THIS WORLD AND LIVE CHRIST.

God’s promises are not just some future reward that we receive….
My Grandmother sang:
By and by, when the morning comes, 
when the saints of God are all gathered home,
we’ll tell the story how we’ve overcome,
for we’ll understand it better by and by.

I SING… All of God’s Promises to us is HERE & NOW!
2 Corinthians 1:20-21 says: For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was proclaimed among you by me and Silvanus and Timothy, was not “Yes” and “No,” but in Him it has always been “Yes.” For all the promises of God are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him, our “Amen” is spoken to the glory of God ~

Your day of Salvation is HERE & NOW!
2 Corinthians 2:6 says: For He says, “In the time of My favor I heard you, and in the day of Salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of Salvation.

Your healing is Today HERE & NOW!
1 Peter 2:24 says: “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

This is our Spiritual DNA report in PART:
Hebrews 4:2 For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.

1 John 1:7 – “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

Ephesians 1:7 – “In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”

Revelation 12:11 – “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony and they loved not their lives unto the death.”

Our lineage has been established in and by the Blood of Jesus who is the Anointed Christ of God. This is the outcome of our Spiritual DNA report: As a believer you have God’s DNA in your spirit!

 

Saved by Works or Saved by Grace?

Hebrews 11:5-7

(5) By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. (6) But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (7) By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
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The objection people have regarding Hebrews 11:5-7 is that the mention of works and reward in the same breath suggests legalism and working for salvation. Is that so, or is it a misconception on their part? The latter. They misunderstand the salvation process because they do not allow the Bible to interpret itself.

God says in Genesis 15:1, “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” His encouragement applies to us as well as to him. God Himself is the reward of those who seek Him. “Those who seek Him” is limited to those God invites to approach Him and who believe enough to take advantage of the opportunity and thus stir themselves up to draw near. The invitation itself is an aspect of God’s grace.

Romans 4:4 makes it clear that earning access to God is impossible because it would put God in man’s debt. No, access to Him is the result of freely given grace. The pairing of grace and reward is no more inconsistent than God’s almighty sovereignty and man’s responsibility being linked, or Jesus being both our Lord and our Servant. There would be no reward if God did not first give grace.

Another pairing we need to consider is found in Colossians 3:23-24: “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Is not salvation a free gift? Yes, but as servants of Christ, we work, and our reward is eternal entrance into God’s Kingdom. Add to this the idea found in Isaiah 55:1, that we are to “buy . . . without money.” Salvation, then, is both a gift and a reward.

It should be clear that, in terms of salvation, gifts and works are nothing more than opposite sides of the same coin. Both are involved in the same process—salvation—but they are seen from different perspectives.

One thing is certain: There will be no lazy, neglectful people in the  (Matthew 25:26-30). Why? Because God is preparing us for living with Him eternally, so we must be created in the character image of Him and His Son, or we absolutely will not fit in. We would live in absolute, eternal misery. Jesus stresses that diligent work is part of His character when He says in John 5:17, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” Creators work!

Luke 13:24 adds strength to this point: “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” The Greek word translated “strive” is actually the source of the English word “agonize.” In addition, Jesus urges us in John 6:27 to labor “for the food which endures to everlasting life.” God chooses to reward such strenuous efforts, not because they earn us a place in His presence, but because He deems it fitting to recognize and bless them. The Bible shows salvation as a reward, not because people earn it, but because God wants to emphasize the character of those who will be in His Kingdom and encourage others to be like them. The citizens of that Kingdom are workers like the Father and Son.

A second reason why reward and salvation are linked is because salvation, like payment for a person’s labor, comes after the job is finished. Among the apostles, nobody worked harder for God than Paul did. At the end of his life, he writes:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. (II Timothy 4:7-8)

Just as wages for work performed are paid after a job is done, God’s major blessings are not given completely until our course is finished.

— John W. Ritenbaugh

Post from the Berean

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Romans 10:1-3

(1) Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. (2) For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. (3) For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.

Paul accurately records that the Israelites had a zeal, “but not according to knowledge.” They were confused. The apostle Paul before his conversion is probably the prime example of such misdirected zeal. What did his zeal do to him? It so preoccupied his mind that it forced him to perceive Christ and Christians as enemies of the faith of his fathers. He was responsible for throwing many of them into prison, and some were even put to death as a result of his zeal. His mind could not tolerate anybody who thought a little bit differently from the way he did. God had to strike him down on the road to Damascus.

Even today, the Israelitish nations are dotted with church buildings, and the vast majority of the people are truly sincere, even zealous. However, true knowledge is still lacking. However, there is a difference between the Israelitish zeal of today and the zeal of Paul’s time. The zeal in Paul’s time reflects the Jewish belief that a person is capable of justifying himself before God on the basis of merit. In other words, as long as a person did what was considered “good works,” he was earning “points,” and God was obligated to mark this to his account and, therefore, owed him something.

Today’s Israelites have gone all the way to the other end of the pendulum’s swing, largely having thrown out responsibility to law and substituted a specious faith. Justification is by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8), but that faith includes obedience to law, as Paul clearly shows (Romans 2:13; 7:7-12). If the law has been done away, then there is no such thing as sin—but sin certainly exists! James explains that the faith that is “living” obeys the royal law (James 2:8-12, 18-26). Thus, the faith that justifies—or is the basis by which God will justify—is an obedient faith. Most of Protestantism does not believe that way, holding to a “just-as-I-am” faith.

— John W. Ritenbaugh

**To Truly Get Up …We Must Know That We Are Looking Down!**

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Sometimes we have those days when we awaken almost dragging and hoping that the day will sail by quickly so that we can finish up and be done with it. The only problem is when we find ourselves in such a rut we will have to awaken again to the next day. Certainly this is not what our Savior was speaking of when He said; “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” -John 10:10 Truly we are human and we do live in a world that can sometimes be chaotic and even overwhelming. At times we look up when we are feeling at our lowest and we cry out… “Father I am only human”!
In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the HOLY SPIRIT within us, and by our SINCERE LOVE. We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense. We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything. – 2 Corinthians 6:4-10
Paul illustrates in these verses that there will be hardships and that there will be trials. In reading the verses above one must ask how could he transcend these thing with such joy? James wrote: “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” – James 1:2-3

The Truth in the understanding is FAITH. When our faith in the Lord is unwavering, we will endure everything that we encounter as an opportunity to increase our faith. Yet it is not by our own efforts that we can accomplish this. Paul clearly says we do this by the Holy Spirit working in us and we must abide in sincere love through all things.

Therefore now in Christ we have the power to seize each day no matter what it brings. Yes… even as we say, “Lord I am only human!”; we thank Him because He knows what we are made of: For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. ~ Psalm 103:14. We thank Him because we know that it is not us who endure these things alone but it is The God of Peace who ….equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. – Hebrews 13:20

My Lovely friend Jessica said to me last week… when troubles arise I no longer “look up”, but I look down because God raised me up with Christ and seated me with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus ~ Ephesians 2:6 I thought to myself; what a lovely perspective.

FEAR IS A LIE

1Don’t Give in to Your Fears
God is watching over you, so don’t listen to your fears. This is a choice. Trust God, and don’t give in to your fears.

2 Corinthians 1:10 says, “From such terrible dangers of death he saved us, and will save us; and we have placed our hope in him that he will save us again”

God’s promise to believers is that, no matter what happens to us, he is working for our good — if we love him and follow him. If you’re a believer, the Bible says all things are working together for good — not that all things are good but that they are working together for good.

That means we can stop listening to our fears. There is no difficulty, dilemma, defeat, or disaster in the life of a believer that God can’t ultimately get some good out of. There is no need to fear the future.

Your fears reveal where you do not trust God. Today, make a list of your fears, and ask God to help you identify why you have fear in those areas. Then, ask him to help you replace your fears with trust.

Now, this next step is important: Expect God to start helping you learn to trust him with each fear. Then, watch to see how he helps you.