GEAR UP: TITHING

It’s Sunday night! Time to gear up for a new week. As always, the best way to do that is to PUT ON THE ARMOR OF GOD (Ephesians 6:10-18) but we also will focus on ONE area to strengthen our walk with the Lord. Just one focus to help us grow a faith that cannot fade with the demands of life and the pressures of this world. This week we will focus on TITHING!

Tithing can be a tricky sermon for preachers. They are inevitably met with accusations of only caring about money. But the subject of tithing can’t be ignored because God was very specific about it:

Malachi 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

There’s a blessing that goes with tithing.

Leviticus 27:30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’s: it is holy unto the LORD.

It belongs to Him to begin with. Is God the Person you really want to be stealing from?

1 Corinthians 16:1-2 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

Just in case you think tithing went out with the Old Testament, here’s a New Testament commandment!

There is a difference between tithes and offerings as well.

Tithing is 10% of your income. It should be given to your local storehouse aka your home church if you have one.

Offerings are given however you deem fit- an individual, a ministry, an evangelist. It is up to you how much and to whom.

What you shouldn’t do is deduct the offering amount from the tithe. Or decide to help a family in need instead of tithing.

The Lord has placed pastors over churches with the wisdom to use the resources to grow the fellowship and the ministry to others. Your church should be transparent about its finances, but you should also trust its leadership.

Months that have more days than money always end up having enough when you tithe first than when you wait to see if you have enough money left. Just like the widow woman and her son. God honors the cheerful giver.

The main reason, though, that you should tithe is so that your money doesn’t mean more to you than your obedience to God.

 

GEAR UP: WISDOM

In 2020, we are going to continue our Sunday night Gear Up posts for 29 more weeks. On July 26 we will have our FINAL Gear Up on Surrender and at that point, we will have 52 weeks of Gear Ups to turn into a book that can be used year after year.

I hope you are getting something out of these weekly gear-ups; feel free to offer your advice or comments on this particular column to make it more meaningful!

This week, we are focusing on WISDOM.

Wisdom, to put simply, comes from Above. We can store mounds and mounds of information in our heads- that’s knowledge. Wisdom is knowing what to do with that information.

Wisdom is knowing when to be bold and speak up, and when to stay silent. Wisdom is facing a trial for the tenth time and realizing change will come only if you respond differently this time. Wisdom is walking away from something you want because you know it’s not good for you.

The Lord has a lot to say about wisdom:

For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

Proverbs 2:6 | KJV |

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Ephesians 5:15-16 | KJV |

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

James 1:5 | KJV |

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

James 3:17 | KJV |

How much better is it to get wisdom than gold!

and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!

Proverbs 16:16 | KJV |

Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Colossians 4:5-6 | KJV |

He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul:

he that keepeth understanding shall find good.

Proverbs 19:8 | KJV |

Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.

1 Corinthians 3:18 | KJV |

Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.

James 3:13 | KJV |

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock.

Matthew 7:24 | KJV |

So teach us to number our days,

that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

Psalm 90:12 | KJV |

When pride cometh, then cometh shame:

but with the lowly is wisdom.

Proverbs 11:2 | KJV |

The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom;

and before honour is humility.

Proverbs 15:33 | KJV |

Choose one of the verses above that speak to you and memorize it this week. Pray for the Lord to increase your wisdom.

GEAR UP: NEW BEGINNINGS

It’s Sunday night! Time to gear up for a new week. As always, the best way to do that is to PUT ON THE ARMOR OF GOD (Ephesians 6:10-18) but we also will focus on ONE area to strengthen our walk with the Lord. Just one focus to help us grow a faith that cannot fade with the demands of life and the pressures of this world. This week we will focus on NEW BEGINNINGS!

I’m not opposed to making New Year’s resolutions. It’s a good time to look forward and make changes in your life.

But the fact is, most people break these resolutions within two weeks.

So, I always advise making a commitment to the Lord. (Somehow they seem a little harder to break!)

The Bible says, Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof (Matthew 6:34) so I try not to focus too far into the future. There’s just no point in worrying about tomorrow.

But I think, at the beginning of a new year, that it’s okay to look ahead for just a moment and set some goals for your life.

Short-term goals (I’m going to finally clean out that guest room closet by the end of January) to longer goals (I’m going to commit to reading a devotional every day in 2020) to even longer-term goals (In 10 years I want to start a family). Assessing where we are and where we are headed helps keep us on track.

However, make sure you include the Lord in your goal-setting. You don’t want to wake up ten years from now to find that you’re on the wrong track all because you focused on what YOU wanted out of life, not what God wanted for you. (His ways are not our ways and they infinitely better.)

Happy New Year!