Tithing

When your churches offering plate is passed, do you enthusiastically support God’s work.

For many believers the tithe has been seen as the standard for giving. This goes back all the way in the old testament. Tithing which was God’s requirement for his people, it was almost like the country tax. In fact, the nation had 3 tithes, one for support of the ministers, another for the temple feast and one given every couple years for the poor. Today this would be equivalent to our offerings the pay the pastors and staff. Even for the maintenance of the church and help others in financial need. What’s significant is the giving is voluntary, modeled after Jesus himself. This is all motivated by a desire to give and base on what one has.

As you give yourself fully to the Lord, generosity will overflow.

What is Evil

What is Evil

I think one of the reasons we don’t “see” evil is because we find it so difficult to believe that evil individuals actually exist. We can’t imagine someone deceiving us with no conscience, hurting others with no remorse, spinning outrageous fabrications to ruin someone’s reputation, or pretending he or she is spiritually committed yet has no fear of God before his or her eyes.

The Bible clearly tells us that among God’s people there are wolves that wear sheep’s clothing.  It’s true that every human heart is inclined toward sin, and that includes evil. We all miss God’s mark of moral perfection. However, most ordinary sinners do not happily indulge evil urges, nor do we feel good about having them. We feel ashamed and guilty, rightly so.  These things are not true of the evil heart.

Here are a few indicators that you may be dealing with an evil heart rather than an ordinary sinful heart. If so, it requires a radically different treatment approach.

Evil hearts are experts at creating confusion and contention.

They twist the facts, mislead, lie, avoid taking responsibility, deny reality, make up stories, and withhold information.

Evil hearts are experts at fooling others with their smooth speech and flattering words. But if you look at the fruit of their lives or the follow through of their words, you will find no real evidence of godly growth or change. It’s all smoke and mirrors.

Evil hearts crave demand and control, and their highest authority is their own self-reverence.

They reject feedback, real accountability, and make up their own rules to live by. They use Scripture to their own advantage but ignore and reject passages that might require self-correction and repentance. 

Evil hearts play on the sympathies of good-willed people, often trumping the grace card. They demand mercy but give none themselves. They demand warmth, forgiveness, and intimacy from those they have harmed with no empathy for the pain they have caused and no real intention of making amends or working hard to rebuild broken trust. (1 Peter 2:16; Jude 1:4).

 Evil hearts have no conscience, no remorse.

They do not struggle against sin or evil they delight in it all the while masquerading as someone of noble character. 

Do you know someone like this?

They want you to believe that:

Their horrible actions should have no serious or painful consequences.

They believe grace means they are immediately granted immunity from the relational fallout of their serious sin. They believe forgiveness entitles them to full reconciliation and will pressure you and their victim to comply. The Bible warns us saying, when grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and do not regard the majesty of the Lord.

The Bible tells us that talking doesn’t wake up evil people, but painful consequences might. Jesus didn’t wake up the Pharisee’s with his talk nor did God’s counsel impact Cain (Genesis 4). In addition, the Bible shows us that when someone is truly sorry for the pain they have caused, he or she is eager to make amends to those they have harmed by their sin.

The evil person will also try to get you to believe.

 That if I talk like a gospel-believing Christian I am one, even if my actions don’t line up with my talk.

Remember, Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13–15). He knows more true doctrine than you or I will ever know, but his heart is wicked. Why? Because although he knows the truth, he does not believe it or live it. The Bible has some strong words for those whose actions do not match their talk (1 John 3:17,18). John the Baptist said it best when he admonished the religious leaders, prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God (Luke 3:8). If week after week you hear the talk but there is no change in the walk, you have every reason to question someone’s relationship with God.

Can an evil person really change?

Part of our maturity as spiritual leaders is that we have been trained to discern between good and evil. Why is that so important? It’s important because evil usually pretends to be good, and without discernment we can be easily fooled (Hebrews 5:14).

When you confront evil, chances are good that the evil heart will stop having around with you because the darkness hates the light (John 3:20) and the foolish and evil heart reject correction (Proverbs 9:7,8). But that outcome is far better than allowing the evil heart to believe you are on his or her side, or that “he’s not that bad” or “that he’s really sorry” or “that he’s changing” when, in fact, he is not.

 Daniel says, the wicked will continue to be wicked.  (Daniel 12:10) 

Which begs the question, do you think an evil person can really change?

Remember this!

  1. Recognize your true value. There is a difference between a big ego and understanding how much God values you.
  2. Put a stop to harmful thought patterns.
  3. Identify positive people in your life and spend more time with them.
  4. Begin new thought patterns. Replace each negative thought by reminding yourself how much God cares about you.
  5. Study and memorize God’s Word. Remember what Christ did for you out of His love.

How to lose your Blessing

Today I had the pleasure of listening to an excellent worship service at our church.

Pastor Chet Thomas does a wonderful job all the time but this one I know made many think outside the box just a little.

The sermon was on how to lose your blessing.

First point was: Always trying to fit in with the crowd.

How many of us do this most of the time?  Afraid people will look at us different, or even think we are the weird one. When it comes to receiving blessings from God, our actions matter.  Our salvation depends solely on God’s grace, but if we desire to see his blessings in our lives, our actions do make a difference. This is true on two levels.  One is that if we want to find true blessing, we need to do things God’s way and not our own. So many people struggle in their other relationships because instead of doing things God’s way, they do things their own or follow the crowd. Second, when we insist on a life of sin, God will refuse to associate himself with us, and in so doing, he takes his hand of blessing off of us God is holy, and he will not associate with or bless people who willfully and unrepentantly holds on to sin in their lives.

So trying to fit in with the crowd just because it popular is not the answer, make sure the crowd is heading in the right direction.

Second point was: Doing what is easy instead of what is right…

What’s lost in our culture is character. Few have it and fewer than that have it in the offices of those who run our nations. Character means you’re going to do what’s right even if it goes against what’s popular. You’ll do what’s right even if it doesn’t bring you the money you want or the fame you crave or the stuff that you think will make you happy.

Be persistent in your decisions, unflinching in their direction, always pointing them in the direction of what’s right and what’s good even if that righteousness won’t be felt in the short term. We too often opt for the easy route today. We see the ends, what we want in the future, the money, the popularity, the stuff, and we do whatever it takes to get that stuff, compromising our character all along the way until we wake up and we have no stance, we honor nothing, we are weak beyond repair and our value is worthless to those who once depended on us. Martin Luther King said, ‘On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, Is it safe? Expediency asks the question, Is it politic? And Vanity comes along and asks the question, Is it popular? But Conscience asks the question, is it right?

In today’s New Testament, Paul writes to the Thessalonians, Never tire of doing what is right (2 Thessalonians 3:13). Jesus did not go for the easy or popular solution, but he always did the right thing. This is an important principle that runs throughout the entire Bible.

Lord, give me wisdom so that I may always do the right thing. Direct my heart by your love and Christ’s perseverance. May the Lord of peace give me peace at all times. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all

Last point: Allowing what is good to get in the way of God.

Our pastor pointed out how commercial Christmas has gotten. This was a great example. It’s not even Halloween and the Christmas decorations are already out in the stores to remind us about it sooner. To take the birth of Christ (to completely work around that, and sell it as a fun time buying gifts and Christmas decorations more important. It’s getting to the point that many charge their Christmas so they can buy everyone a gift (this makes them feel good about themselves) and pay on it till next Christmas and start all over again. What are we forgetting here?  Oh, the birth of Christ.

What we consider good for us might not fall into Gods plan for us. We get into trouble when we think we know what’s best, but our good intentions are no good if they get in the way of God’s plans. Instead, we must strive to know God’s best. When we spend time with Him, seeking to know Him and his ways, we can truly follow Him in faith, trusting He knows exactly when and how to act.

Remember, While our intentions are often good, we may be unknowingly hindering God’s work.

Did you know?

The Bible explicitly states that the suffering of the apostles was exceptional, but explicitly states that the power of the apostles was universal. Although we may also suffer for the gospel, the apostles endured a degree of suffering that was exceptional. On the other hand, the apostles enjoyed a degree of power that was universal. In fact, some Christians who were not apostles enjoyed at least equal if not greater miraculous powers and experiences than the apostles. Philip and Stephen were two examples (Acts 8:39, 7:55-56).

How can the Lord be good if He lets some people spend eternity in hell?

God is love (1 John 4:8), and He doesn’t want anyone to live without Him (1 Timothy 2:4). According to His plan, every person can turn from sin and receive the Savior, enjoying His presence both now and throughout eternity. Some, however, reject Jesus Christ and live apart from Him all their days. Unless they change that tragic decision, their separation from divine love will continue eternally.

Salvation

Salvation is simple enough for a child to understand, but it’s also so profound that we can’t totally understand its depths. One thing we can know for certain is that it’s a work of God, whereby He regenerates a spiritually dead sinner into a new creation filled with the life of Christ.
As God’s own children, we never have to fear the loss of our salvation, because our almighty Father keeps us in Christ. And we also have the guarantee of a future bodily resurrection when Jesus returns.
In trying or painful times, we need a hope that reaches beyond our circumstances—which is exactly what we have in Jesus Christ. From beginning to end, in life and death, we are held safely by God.

Christian's Commentary

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