Sunday, September 18, 2022

What's in a name? God's will to heal revealed in His name

 for I am the Lord that healeth thee. Exodus 15:26b KJV

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. 3 John 2 KJV

 We've been in an ongoing study examining the question of God's willingness to heal. Many Christians believe God is able to heal the sick and afflicted. Many believe He has the power to heal. The real question concerns His willingness to actually heal someone when they ask for healing.

  In answering this question, this study series offers five proofs of God's all-the-time willingness to heal. Recall five is the number of Grace. These are Graceful proofs of His provision of healing. The first proof we saw is the Lord's mercy and compassion.

 God is a merciful Father. Jesus is the express image of Father God. Jesus displayed His Father's Love and compassion throughout His ministry. Wherein cold, dead religious traditions of man declare Jesus only healed to prove He was Messiah Yeshua, Jesus Himself revealed He healed because He was moved with compassion. Jesus demonstrated mercy, lovingkindness, and compassion by relieving the afflicted, healing the sick and raising the dead. 

  Today, we want to examine another proof of His all the time Goodness and willingness to heal. God has proven His will to heal by revealing to man His character, His Love, His Goodness in His redemptive names. He revealed Himself to men of that He is Jehovah Rapha, the Lord that heals you.

 In Exodus 15:26 He declared to the children of Israel that He was the God who heals them. This is one of the foundation texts of this study. In revealing who He was in the redemptive name of Jehovah Rapha, He let His people know He was healer. 

 If He is the healer, then He is not the afflictor. Understand, just as Jesus declared, a house divided against itself cannot stand. If God is afflicting people with disease and then also healing them, then His house is divided against itself and will not stand or last. 

 God gave these name to the patriarchs of old to reveals Himself to mankind. In essence, He was providing Abraham, Moses, David, the prophets and children of Israel His "ID card." When a local gov't institution, or business establishment asks for your ID card, it's what proves and confirms who you are. Well God has ID, it's found in His redemptive names.

 Imagine if you will though, if you went to renew your driver's license and you handed the clerk your current ID card and they stated to you, "no that's not you." You surely would show the clerk your ID again, show them the picture and address. You would be confirming that you are who you say you are. Your legal current ID card doesn't lie. The clerk would be mistaken, not you.

 Now with that mental image, think of how religious tradition, the world, the enemy and men's own experience question God's ID. What could I possibly mean? Well, He has revealed His identity through His redemptive name of Jehovah Rapha, the Lord who heals, but men and the enemy declare no that's not who you are. You may have the ID card of Jehovah Rapha, but that's not who you are. 

 Men say God has ceased His healing miracles today. The enemy accuses God in the minds of men declaring He is not Faithful and true to His Word. Some say I asked God to heal me and He didn't, so He isn't who He says He is.

 In all this maligning of God's character, I notice that men have no problem accepting God's other character traits revealed in His redemptive names. In Jeremiah, the Lord reveals who He is to us, the Lord our Righteousness. So why have we not seen religious leaders question this aspect of God?

 Why no questions asked, and concerns raised when God declares He is our Righteousness? God revealed that He is Jehovah Tsidkenu, the Lord our Righteousness. We readily accept this aspect of God's character and nature and revealing of who He is without objection. Yet when this same Jehovah declared He is Jehovah Rapha, religious tradition and man's experience quickly protest. 

 Somehow, those of us who accepted God at His Word, and revealed identity, and God Himself, are actually mistaken. God isn't the Lord who heals. He is either the God who used to heal, or the God who sometimes does and sometimes doesn't. You can never know for certain.  

 When did God reserve the right to dishoner His own Word? When did God declare it's ok to deny my own nature, character and revealed name? God Himself has revealed Himself as Jehovah Rapha, the Lord who heals. He was healer then, when He introduced Himself as healer, and He is healer still today, He is the existing one, the unchanging One, the One who was, and is, and is to come. 

 This name doesn't prove He wants to heal me, some would cry out. That is untrue. He declared He is the Lord who heals. He didn't add a clause or stipulation in this declaration. He said He is healer. If He heals one, He heals all, there is no respect of persons. Again, why is this same objection not lobbed at the revelation of The Lord our Righteousness, and the Lord our Peace? 

 In summation, God has revealed to man who He is through His name. His name is highly exalted. He is who He says He is. Let's take Him at His Word.  


Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Monday, September 5, 2022

Good News of the Gospel: Healing is always God's will!

  for I am the Lord that healeth thee. Exodus 15:26b KJV

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. 3 John 2 KJV


  

The Gospel of Jesus is Good News. It reveals God's great Love and Grace for you and me, and to whosoever may come and freely receive. What's so unique about the Gospel is that it doesn't just deal with forgiving sins and giving us eternal life. The Gospel includes divine healing and health.

 Anytime healing is mentioned inevitably some believers express concerns, and bring up questions. Sadly some even state their objections to healing. The biggest concerns and questions and objections all center around what God's will is.

 Ascertaining and discerning the will of God has been such a mystery to so many believers. Many elevate and exalt the will of God as being something mysterious, unknowable, and concealed from our understanding. They see God as blinding our eyes to His ways, His plans, and His purposes. This is not the nature of a Good Father.

 John's Epistle sheds some important light on this subject for us;

 14 This is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 So if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have whatever we asked of Him. 1 John 5:14-15 MEV 

 Here John reveals a wonderful truth. If we petition God or ask something of Him that is His will then we will have that petition. So how do many believers ascertain the will of God? 

 Many will simply ask God for something, again mistakenly believing the will of God is a mystery that they can never know, and wish they get a response of yes. They don't receive what they ask? must not have been God's will. That is a fatalistic and truly ignorant way to discern God's will.

 When John reveals this precious promise about answered petition prayer, he gave us insight into the will of God. If God says we must ask according to His will, then that means God has obligated Himself to His children to make His will known to them. How has He done this?

 He revealed to us His will by giving us His Word. God's Word is His will! It's His will revealed to us. Paul confirms this, in his Epistle.

making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself, Ephesians 1:9 MEV

 We are His and He is ours. He is our Good Father and He has revealed His will to us. Everything that pertains to life and Godliness is found in God's Word. 

 For the sake of this study series, we are focusing on healing. Is healing always God's will? Yes! Absolutely, there are five proofs of His all-the-time willingness to heal. 

The Mercy and compassion of the Lord

 The first proof we can see revealed to us is God's mercy and compassion;

 They shall abundantly declare the fame of Your great goodness and shall sing of Your righteousness. The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger, and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and His compassion is over all His works. Psalm 145:7-9 MEV

 God is Love. His lovingkindness and tender mercies include divine healing and health. The cold, ritualistic, religious tradition of men, sees God's miracles and healings, as mere mechanical works simply to confirm His identity as the Messiah. Yet when Jesus healed the multitude, often we see the miracles prefaced with the phrase He was moved with compassion. Is He any less compassionate today? 

 God sees sickness and disease as the evil byproduct of sin and the fallen creation. His loving hands only hold healing and health. There is no disease, disability, or debilitating diagnosis in His hands. His hands only bring life, blessings, health, and goodness, never sickness, pain, or poverty. 

 See the mercy of God. Look closely at the Father and His tender mercies and compassion to all. This compassionate Father only wants you well, not suffering sickness and disease. Faith grows exceedingly when we see and understand His great Love for us. Faith works by love, not our love, but His love for us. 

 In summation, we can know God's will. God's will is not a hidden mystery concealed from us. He made known the mystery of His will to usward who believe. We can see His compassion and see His willingness to heal and make us whole. He is a Good Father, and we can trust Him. 



Image by Christine Schmidt from Pixabay

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Is it God's will to Heal everyone, including You?

                 

 for I am the Lord that healeth thee. Exodus 15:26b KJV

“But you—you serve your God and he’ll bless your food and your water. I’ll get rid of the sickness among you; there won’t be any miscarriages nor barren women in your land. I’ll make sure you live full and complete lives. Exodus 23:25 MSG 

 

 

God is a Good God, He is a Good Father. God is the author of life, He's not the author of death. God is the healer, He isn't the creator of sickness and disease. In God dwells no darkness or deeds of evil. He is our Good Father. This is the foundation for Grace, Faith, and trusting Him alone for eternal life. 

 This should be a sure foundation, but sadly it is not even an established truth in the minds of many religious leaders in the Body of Christ. Honestly, it's even considered controversial in some religious traditional circles of the Christian Faith. Some would even dare say it's a heretical point of view.

 I recently witnessed a panel discussion among some religious leaders. They were sounding alarms and red flags concerning  Charismatic ministries in the Church today. One of their greatest concerns was the notion that believers could dare to believe that their Faith in God would cause healing to manifest in the body of the sick and afflicted. 

 In essence, how could mere man have the gall to believe God would actually heal when we ask Him in Faith? Who are we, the created, to dare ask of our creator anything? Don't you know that we are mere worms in the dust, we have no right to ask anything. He is God, the Sovereign One. Just sit still, silent, and satisfied with whatever comes your way in this life. Yours is not to question, just be glad you exist at all. Be thankful He sovereignly chose to even allow you to be saved.

 This mindset is the obstacle that we as Christians must overcome in order to see God as Good. To know Him, as our Father. To trust that He has our good and well-being at heart. 

 These tradition-minded believers, much like the Pharisees and Sadducees of old, think they are "protecting" God and His Word from error. Therefore they view themselves as some form of watchmen. In reality, they are deceived into a subtle form of self-righteousness. 

 They see themselves as watchers on the wall holding back any contrary words to the traditional view they were taught. This deceptive, subtle self-righteousness makes them see themselves as virtuous. They also in their self-righteousness, are unwittingly saying they are more loving than God. 

 These religious leaders would never want their own children to suffer debilitating disease, lingering sickness, and suffering pain and anguish. Had they the power, they would never afflict their children with impoverished conditions, disease, and sickness. Yet, they believe God our Father willingly afflicts His own kids. In essence, they then are more caring, compassionate, and loving than God is.

 This is the twisted theology of religious tradition. They would do anything to help alleviate the suffering of their own children and loved ones, but they don't believe God would do that for His own children. The question then is it really God's will to heal, or is religious tradition right?

Healing is God's will, all the time, in every situation

 God in His infinite wisdom and Love has made a way for us to know His will concerning anything that pertains to life and godliness. Faith begins where the will of God is known. Look at John's promise of answered prayer. According to the standard of the Word, asking according to His will means God obligates Himself to reveal to us His will. 

 He has done just that. He has given us His Word and the life of Jesus to reveal His will to us. God has not left us in the dark concerning His perfect and best for us His children. 

 Faith, trust, and belief can only exist where the will of God is known. If there is any uncertainty or doubt concerning God's will to save you, to totally forgive you, to make you Righteous, to fill you with His Spirit and bestow His Gifts, to secure your salvation, to heal you and make you whole, to protect and deliver you, to increase and prosper you, Faith cannot exist. You will never be fully persuaded wherever there is an if involved in anything you're trusting God for. 

 God can be trusted. He is a Good Father. How can I say with such boldness that it is God's will for you to be healed?

...and He healed them all. Matthew 12:15b NKJV

 And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all. Luke 6:19 NKJV

 God was willing for all to be healed then and He's willing today. He hasn't changed. God wants you well.

 In upcoming studies, I want to give you five proofs of God's all-the-time willingness to heal you. Five is the number of Grace. God in His Grace has made a way for your healing. 

 We will also uncover the root reason many deny it's God's will to heal. If you have concerns or questions about God's will to heal you won't want to miss these studies. 


Image by Stefan Schweihofer from Pixabay

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Undone: Can a Finished Work be undone?

 

When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished.” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. John 19:30 MEV

 One of the extraordinary revelations of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is the truth of the once for all sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. When He hung on the tree for all mankind that meant no other sacrifice for sin will ever be needed. Jesus' substitutionary work was enough.

 The basic foundation of Christianity is that Jesus' work of redemption is a Finished Work. The total price of redemption was paid in full by the Lord Jesus Christ. It is done. Finished.

 This should ring loud from the rooftops. From every mountaintop, this great truth should be heralded. The work is finished. The price was paid in full. 

   With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever. Hebrews 9:12 NLT

 The Word confirms it. Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection proved it. The Work is finished. Redemption is a done deal!  

 In spite of this overwhelming evidence, why does it seem when hearing the sermons of many preachers, reading their books, and attending their services, that somehow this finished work can become undone? The work seems to be complete yet so many in their communication of the gospel make it seem salvation and fellowship with God are on an unstable, and unsteady foundation. That what's been done once for all time can become undone for us personally.

 I've listened to messages where the pastor has told the whole congregation that 3/4ths of them needed to come to the altar and make sure they were even saved! This wasn't a small church, this service had thousands in attendance. This is the work of religion and not Grace. 

Religion vs Redemption

Religion wants to strip the full assurance of redemption from the believer. Religion points out the flaws, foul-ups, and failures of the believer to attempt to prove they've somehow undone the Finished Work. Religion says Redemption is a flimsy work, not a finished work. Religion says Redemption is not a once for all work but a downpayment. That the remainder of the price is to be paid by the currency of the believers' performance, good deeds, faithfulness, and abstinence from sinful thoughts, words, and actions. 

 Religion says our works can undo a finished work. Jesus has a proverbial rescue line tied firmly to us. Religion says our doings, our actions, and our unfaithfulness can undo and untie that line. 

 Redemption reveals that He who began the work will complete it in you. Jesus is the author and finisher of our Faith. If He is the author and finisher how then can we undo it? 

 Redemption is a completed work. It is finished. It is done. There is no more sacrifice for sin. There is nothing we can do to complete the work. We can't add to "finished." If a building has been completed there is no brick, no cement, no nail, no wood, that you could add to the building. It's finished. It's done. 

 If we can't add to our redemption, then we can't undo it. How can we undo what we had no part in its beginning, no part in its working, and no part in its completion? It's Jesus from start to finish. 

 This is Good News! This means we can't add to or undo our salvation. We can't undo or add to our Redemption. We were redeemed from the curse. Therefore we can't undo our redemption from poverty and lack. We can't undo our redemption from sickness and disease. We can't undo our redemption from spiritual death.

 In summation, we who have believed are redeemed. It's a Finished Work. It is a completed work. It cannot be undone. Rejoice in His Faithfulness. We are redeemed eternally. It is forever settled. We are His forever, we can't undo it, it's all because of Jesus. 

 


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

What does it means to be Holy?

But you are not like that, for you have been chosen by God himself—you are priests of the King, you are holy and pure, you are God’s very own—all this so that you may show to others how God called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9 TLB

 Have you ever had someone look at you with contempt or bewilderment, and tell you that you are different? At one time or another, all of us may have a similar experience. Maybe we just didn't fit in with a certain group, with co-workers, or perhaps someone we knew and over time we realized we were two different people with differing likes and interests. 

 As we continue in our study we are going to see being different can really be positive. Today, it seemed good to look at holiness and examine it in light of the Gospel of Grace. Some tend to think holiness and Grace are contrary to one another. That is an untruth.

 Grace gives us the power and desire to walk out our true identity in Christ. Grace is what actually made us holy. The challenge with holiness is that tradition and religion have defined holiness as some somber joyless life where keeping all the rules and even finding new ones to observe is what holiness looks like.

 The other challenge with holiness is that the Church still believes holiness is something we aren't and is something we must obtain. Some teach Righteousness is what He did but holiness is what we do. We can't walk out holiness in our life if we don't even know what it is.

 Hebrews reveals the Grace that already made us holy. Hebrews 10 details this Finished Work of Grace. Hebrews tells us those who believe are already made holy.

For by one offering He has forever perfected those who are sanctified. Hebrews 10:14 MEV

 We are perfected and sanctified already because of Jesus. We are in Him. 

let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse them from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:22 MEV

 We are already cleansed by the Blood. We are redeemed. We are His. We are set apart. This was done at the Cross. This was realized and received when we partook of His free gift of Grace by Faith.

 So why do we still sin? Why do we still miss it? Why do we still have bad habits and make poor choices? These aren't deep questions that take much pondering, extended times of fasting, and isolation in prayer to search for an answer. 

 We blow it sometimes, we miss it, and we still deal with bad habits. Does this mean we aren't holy? Some would say yes. However, that contradicts what the Word proclaimed. We still make mistakes, but that isn't a reflection of our identity in Christ.

 Why do we miss it? One thing we must continually do is renew our minds. Right believing is the key to right living. We miss it when our mind isn't renewed in various areas of our life. We miss it when we forget our true identity. We miss it when we allow legitimate needs to become perverted, and/or try to get legitimate needs met apart from God and His Grace.

 The problem with religion is they consider the Christian life as an easy bake oven. That the proverbial cake should be done in an hour. As soon as one is saved they should cease all the stuff they are involved in. That's not God's way.

 Our Father paid a high price for us. He recreated and reformed and refashioned us from within. We are brand new in Him. We are made Righteous, we are forgiven and sanctified or set apart for Him when we believed. We are progressively maturing into who He already made us. The focus is on our own growth and no one else's. Relax and enjoy the ride.

 Now, what does this look like in daily life? How do you know you are maturing? Recall how I mentioned being different. This is the real holiness of God. What do I mean?

 Where religion only focuses on rule-keeping God sees our whole life as growth in holiness. I want to encourage you and show that you're more holy than you realize. Holiness means we aren't common, we are uncommon.

 Holiness practically realized is that we are uncommon people. We are different! Though we may still be overcoming in differing areas of our life, I want to show you how you are progressing. 

 When others are out golfing, or day sailing, or sleeping in, usually on Sundays you're found in the house of God fellowshipping with other saints, exalting God corporately. That's being different. When others are spending money on new gadgets, or the latest and greatest new thing, you're sending money to support missions. You're sending money to help feed and clothe orphans. You're funding ministries and Bible schools. That's being different!

 When the doctor's report is of a negative nature, your response is one of trusting in God and not one of fear, panic, and giving up. Whereas others are feeling hopeless, you know where your trust resides. You speak the Word of Faith where others are speaking fear and dread. That is different!

 Are you walking in holiness? Take a second look at your life. Examine it in light of Grace and the Finished Work. You're going to see how different you are in comparison to those without Christ. That is walking in holiness. 

 God is not looking for dutiful servants who mind all the rules. He's not looking for slaves, He's looking for sons and daughters. God's Love for us is overwhelming and unconditional. We speak of the first love, the amazing truth is that we are God's first love. He has a fire burning in His heart for you and me. His heart beats out of his chest when He thinks of you and me. He is Holy and He is Love. 

 In summation, be glad we are different. Being different is a good thing. It reveals our minds are being renewed and "updated" if you will. It serves to remind us we are the Righteous and the ones made holy because of the Blood, the Grace of God, and His Finished Work. Be different, because He is different! This is Good News! 




Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Judgment and Wrath: Is God presently sending disasters and plagues and destruction upon earth to punish mankind's sins?

 

For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Thessalonians 5:9 MEV

We live in a fallen and fractured creation. When Adam bowed the knee to the enemy's deception, committing high treason against God, he turned over creation to the knowledge of cursing and calamity. That is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, or blessing and calamity. Man has chosen to operate out of this tree and the enemy is more than happy to accommodate him.

 Jesus is the tree of life. We in Christ should desire to operate from this tree, not the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The tree of life brings fullness of joy, Righteousness, and peace. Feed on this tree and not on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The tree of life is resurrection power, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil only supplies fear, anxiety, shame, guilt, and condemnation. 

 When addressing this issue of judgment and wrath and the Goodness and Love of God it is essential to understand what tree you're feeding on. The tree of life offers hope and a solution, the Lord Jesus Christ. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil only reveals problems and gives one the knowledge of the good and the bad. It only sees the wickedness and evil of man and how far they have fallen. It causes one to go on "crusades" to "right wrongs and injustices."    

 The truth is the only hope for true justice is found in receiving eternal life in Christ Jesus. To partake of the tree of life, to partake of Jesus and the Love and life and hope only He can supply. Christian leaders, ministers, and believers feeding primarily on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil can only see the evil conditions upon the earth. They see the sin and wickedness of man. They see the rampant immorality and the hearts sold out to satan and fleshly pleasures. 

 As a result, they look for "good." That is the opposite of evil. That is judgment and wrath upon the perpetrators of darkness, depravity, deviance, and degradation. They rejoice at the destruction of wickedness. 

 Now understand, that evil is still evil and God doesn't delight in wickedness. He is against sin. He is against depravity and immorality. Not because He is a joyless grump who doesn't like people having "fun". Sin and wickedness aren't fun. He is against these things because He knows the heavy toll they take and the heavy burden they bring. Sin is not really fun because it corrupts, robs, it steals, and it keeps people in depressing darkness. 

 Our Father hates sin so much that He actually did something about it. He sent His Son to die as the substitutionary sacrifice for sin and the sins of all mankind. God has dealt with the sin problem once and for all. Jesus became the Lamb of God. He bore all the judgment, the penalty, the punishment, and wrath in His body on that tree. The amazingly Good News is that the Work is Finished and God has fully accepted this work once and for all time.

 With this foundation laid, let's ask the question, is God presently, sending wrathful judgment upon earth to punish the rebellious, the wicked, the depraved, the disobedient? Is God sending disasters to punish man's sins? Is God executing harsh judgment on mankind? The answer is clear in the Word;

  And their sins and their Lawless deeds I will no longer remember. Now where there is forgiveness of these things, an offering for sin is no longer required. Hebrews 10:17-18 NASB

 The clear and uncompromised answer is no, God is not sending disasters on mankind to punish them. If God sends any plague or pestilence on earth to punish sins then that means God is not pleased with the sacrifice of Christ. For God to send tsunamis, tragedy and turbulent times on man as a result of their present sins then that is a statement that Jesus' work was incomplete, insufficient and inadequate in paying the complete price for all mankind's sin and wrongdoing. 

 We know from the Word, the victorious and triumphant resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and His present moving among the Body of Christ in signs wonders and manifestations that Jesus is Lord. That He has won. That He perfectly procured our salvation and paid the price in full.

 Look, in a fallen and fractured creation, sadly catastrophes, cataclysm and calamity occur. Famine, floods, and fire can ravage lands and destroy homes and businesses. Don't become despaired or depressed at this realization. Jesus has not forgotten us. He can intervene, He can help restore, and He comforts in loss. Now He didn't ordain or cause the destruction but He can turn it for our good.

 In summation, God is a Good Father. He is satisfied with Jesus' once for all sacrifice. He is not sending doom and despair on man for their sins. He is also not speaking forth from the mouth of self proclaimed prophets that He is sending disasters because of sins in a particular country. 

 God is pleased with Jesus and He is pleased with you His Church. God is also reconciled the world through Christ. In other words, He isn't mad at them. He wants them to know the price has been paid and wants them to freely receive new life, a new nature, and eternity with Him. Let's share the Good News with a lost and dying world. 



Image by Felix-Mittermeier.de from Pixabay 

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

The Truth about giving under Grace

 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]. 2 Corinthians 9:7 AMPC

 Over our last few articles, we've been looking at the practices of tithing and giving in the New Covenant. This study somewhat responds to the uproar and outrage of traditional churches and ministries because an international megachurch pastor spoke the truth concerning tithing under Grace. It seemed good to continue examining our giving in light of Grace. 

 Over the many years that the Church has thrived in America, and throughout the earth, one constant is always prevalent. That is the act of giving financial donations. Just as with any practice, man has perverted it, corrupted it, misused and abused it. This is why God allows men of God with international platforms to address controversial issues to help us get back to the center, to the basics once again, in essence, to bring Jesus back into the focus. 

 When we see Jesus again as the focus, as the center of it all, our motives and our actions become Christ-centered. We are engaging in Christian practices because we are honoring our risen Savior. We pray, we read and study the Word, and we volunteer our time and talents to help others, we are a blessing to our local church, and yes we give financial donations. All these are sincere responses to Jesus and His Grace and Goodness in our life.

 We aren't acting under compulsion, pressure, or spiritual obligation. We aren't bowing to the crippling commands of the religious taskmaster. We aren't dutiful to the demands of traditional religion. We are responding to the Love of a loving Savior who took our place, bore our shame, and received our due punishment gladly.  

 This is what God intended. This is Grace in action. This is how life in Christ flows so freely. No demands, no obligations, and zero pressure. Just simply abiding in Him. Just basking in His Goodness and Grace. 

 My times in prayer, devotion, and detailed study of the Word are not "forced" or chores I must finish before I can enjoy my day. Religion turns relationship into tasks that must be completed. Instead of I get to spend time with my Father, I get to invest in His work, and I get to help that work come to pass through my talents, religion twists it into, I better spend time with God or He won't hear or help me later. I better give or I am cursed, or won't prosper in life, I better volunteer or I will never be rewarded. 

 The truth is God so loved this world and sent His Son so He could offer life everlasting to whosoever will freely receive it. He gave His Son, so He could have more sons and daughters. His Grace and Goodness are what motivated God our Father to do this. That's the point of it all. His Love. His Grace. His Goodness. 

 This is what draws the love response from His people, His family, His kids. God's Love for you, God's Love for me, that's what strengthens and encourages us to follow this Savior, to lay our plans down and embrace His. This is what moves us to know Him more and more. This is what moves us to invest our time and talents and our finances so others can see and know this beautiful Savior!

 What is not of God, what is the works of tradition, of man, is this obligatory concept concerning our walk with God. Use all the mental gymnastics you want to convince yourself and others, but when one says we must give a certain percentage, and/or teaches our giving or our doing is the source of blessings and prosperity then it's no longer about Grace but the works and performance of man.

 Want to be blessed and protected financially? Then you better give ten percent! Well, what about the people who've tithed faithfully for years and went bankrupt? Must have been in sin, is the only response they have.

 Want to be blessed and prospered? Give and keep giving above ten percent. Give right and you'll receive the hundredfold return! I have given above the ten percent consistently for years and never even saw thirty times, or sixty times. Let alone one hundred times my giving returned to me. Their response? You didn't give in Faith!

 Wait, let's analyze that comment. Faith is of the heart. Real Faith, Bible Faith is a persuasion, a fully persuaded heart that moves one to act on what is heard from God. Those of us who heard the teaching about giving to receive were persuaded in our hearts and minds. We, therefore, gave our finances. The fact we gave means we gave in Faith. 

 The disconnect is God never promised any believer if you give money you're going to get more money. So in reality, we were giving in "faith" to man's misuse and misinterpretation, and manipulation of the Father's Words. Keeping it about Jesus, and being transparent, giving and then getting more money in return, is not about giving to increase the work of God, but giving to increase the bank account, and fatten the wallet or purses of men and women. There is no Grace in this!

 Look at Jesus alone! Look to Jesus alone! Jesus is our Savior. Jesus is the source of life, healing, hope, protection, and prosperity. Our behavior isn't our Savior, Jesus alone is! 

 In summation, look again at Jesus Christ. The Author and Finisher of our Faith. The only One who can satisfy. The Lord of all, who died for all, so that whosoever will may come and abide with Him forever. 

 Look at this Savior, The Lord of Heaven and earth. This loving Savior, who gave all so He could be with me and you. Put Him back in the center of it all. When Christ is the focus, when He is the exalted One, our performance, our doings, our works, and disciplines, fade away in comparison. Live your life loved by this Savior. Live life with Him as the center of it all, the exalted One, and see how dead works fall by the wayside, and genuine worship and responses to the Love of God flow from you without strenuous effort. 


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Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Merchandising, manipulation, or ministry?

 

Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith. Galatians 6:10 NLT

 The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is the Good News of new life and total salvation for anyone who will simply believe. The Gospel is the Grace revealed in all Christ did for us. This love message must be proclaimed so people can hear it. In order to proclaim this Grace message through all means available, it takes time, talent, and funding. 

 In my last post, we discussed the great misunderstanding about giving. We looked at this issue of tithing for the New Covenant Christian. We want to continue this study examining our giving, and going deeper into this issue of tithing.

 When addressing this topic, some will be quick to accuse others that they don't want to tithe because they don't want to give. Those who say tithing isn't a New Covenant practice are just stingy Christians who are rebellious. Is this a fair assessment? 

 In truth, no matter what is taught about tithing, people who don't want to give will not give. In fact, for all this tithe talk, only 5% of Christians in America actually claim to tithe in the first place. So the issue is not that some teach tithing isn't for today but rather teaching the "why" we give in the first place. 

 We give because we want this Gospel proclaimed. We give because we love the family of God. We give because we want the kingdom to advance. We give because we want to be a blessing to those who minister the Word to us. 

 However, this tithing burden being put on believers actually hinders gifts being given. What I mean is, if the "tenth" is the only offering God accepts or demands as some proclaim, then people who can't afford this amount just won't give. When we proclaim the New Covenant truth that Grace is the giving standard then saints will give that 1%, 2 %, that 7% with joy and be a blessing, and this Gospel will be funded!

Merchandising and manipulation

 If we stay with the New Covenant we will see gifts given and the Gospel proclaimed and the Kingdom advancing. However, when we stick with the works of men, tradition, and demands put on people all we see are negative fruits. We open the door to all these manipulative gimmick offerings. 

 Many proclaim that if we give ten percent we will be financially blessed. This sounds appealing but this sentiment is manipulative and merchandising the Gospel. It also places fear, pressure, and condemnation on believers. 

 Fear concerning finances comes because the believer begins to look at their own situation and sees where it could be better. They begin to worry if their lack of giving 10% is causing their finances to not be blessed. They fear if they don't give how much worse could it get? 

 Pressure comes because believers now must do all they can to ensure they can give ten percent. Giving is not from a heart of love but from an obligation that must be met. They are giving not to bless but to meet a requirement, no matter how palatable you make the appeal to tithe sound.

 Condemnation abounds with tithe teachings. What about these believers who suffer loss, or go through major attacks by the enemy? How can they be expected to give a full ten percent when they have medical bills amassing? What about the sudden widow who was a stay-at-home mom? All they've heard is how they can't afford not to tithe.

 The concept that God blesses those who tithe means God has exclusive blessing reserved for only a segment of His children. What about the single mom who had a terrible past who just got saved? Does God look upon her in disgust because she hasn't given Him ten percent?

 I recently witnessed a minister who in response to the teaching that we aren't under the tithe command today, attempt to prove how we are cursed if we don't tithe. He tried to make it seem as if he was preaching good news by saying this. He also rebuked ministers who say the tithe isn't for today. 

 What I also noted was this same minister had no issue with the financial manipulation of his followers. He had no issue with the gimmick offerings claiming "God said there are ten people who are supposed to give $10,000 tonight."  Sadly, some only teach tithing so that their own bank accounts will be overflowing. 

 Many want to point to Abraham as the reason tithing is still for today. Look again at Abraham's tithe again. Abraham didn't tithe in order to be blessed financially or materially. He was already blessed before he gave anything away. His giving didn't create his wealth. Abraham didn't tithe from his income or his possessions, he only tithed the spoil of war, and only did it once.

 Why do so many claim tithing makes them blessed? They cite the Old Covenant passage Malachi 10. Malachi is speaking of food for the Levitical priests, not money. Also, some who give become more frugal with their money and their budget, still others have high-paying jobs due to their experience and/or education. 

 Yet for most, the experience isn't that positive. I know of countless others who have tithed faithfully for years and they've suffered bankruptcy, loss of business, and some have even been laid off from work. Contrary to how it's marketed, tithing is not a rabbit's foot, Linus' blanket, or lucky charm that ensures you're never going to have a problem.

 As New Covenant believers reject these gimmick-giving pressure tactics. Don't succumb to pressure-induced giving ploys. Don't look to your own works, your own doings, including your own giving, as a source of blessing. Look only to Jesus. Jesus became a curse on the Cross to redeem us from the curse. He exchanged our poverty and lack with His abundance and provision. 

 In summation, give in response to His Love. Give to further the kingdom. Giving is an expression of love. Give to support the proclamation of the Gospel of Grace. Trust in His Love to provide for you and give as He supplies and how He leads you.

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]. 2 Corinthians 9:7 AMPC



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Monday, July 4, 2022

The Great Misunderstanding

10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting a yoke on the necks of the disciples, such as neither our forefathers nor we [ourselves] were able to endure? 11 But we believe that we are saved through the grace (the undeserved favor and mercy) of the Lord Jesus, just as they [are]. Acts 15:10-11 AMPC  

 The Gospel has been revealed more and more to this generation than ever before. It has become more apparent and more evident that this Gospel is truly about the Lord Jesus Christ. A true move of God has filled all the earth.

 Believers from all quarters of the Body of Christ are receiving this move of God. Believers from traditional, mainline denominational backgrounds to believers from Pentecostal, and Charismatic Word of Faith camps are all embracing this powerful move of God. This move is the restoration of the truth of what the Gospel is. The Gospel is the Grace of God proclaimed and manifested in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

 Grace has turned the world upside down again. People are seeing it's about Jesus, not our pledges, promises, or performance. It's not about our promises to do better, to behave better, to do more for Him. It's not about our pledges of loyalties, or how well we perform in our daily lives. It's about Grace. It's about what Jesus has done, fully accomplished, and how the Father has received and accepted this Finished Work once for all time.

 Grace has overturned the proverbial tables of tradition and man-made works and idols of man. Believers are seeing things that have been taught for generations through the lens of Grace. Ministers and believers alike are seeing things from a new perspective, a Grace perspective. In this process, let's not throw away truth but examine truth with Grace, and let's not get into strife with other believers who may not see it the way we do.

 I am not speaking of end-time teachings, for there is no set end-time teaching that is hand stamped as the Grace view. Even among the differing views of end times, I see Grace being shared with those who disagree and all coming to common ground. Jesus is coming again we can all rejoice with that. 

 I am speaking of the truths of the Gospel that many are now seeing being opened up. The eternal security of the believer, the truth that it is Jesus who started the work and Jesus alone who will complete it. The other is concerning this issue of our giving. The subject of the tithe.

 A Word of Faith minister with a major platform has come forth with the Gospel light of Grace concerning our giving. This minister from the Atlanta, GA area, whom this site links to, has made headlines concerning the teaching of tithing. I believe along with this minister that tithing and giving have been a source of great misunderstanding in the Body of Christ.

 This Grace resource site has written extensively on the subject of tithing wherein all the Scriptures concerning tithing and the objections for and against it are expounded on in depth. You can see them and study them for yourself, New Covenant tithing, redeemed, under Grace, tithing for today, giving or tithing, Tithe to be blessed, all these will help you go deeper in the Word concerning our giving.

 I affirm and agree with this Pastor that tithing is not a command for the New Covenant believer in Christ. I agree with what Paul declared in 2 Corinthians 9. 

 each one, according as he doth purpose in heart, not out of sorrow or out of necessity, for a cheerful giver doth God love, 2 Corinthians 9:7 YLT

 The word necessity is crucial in discussing this topic. Look at the Greek definition here;

ἀνάγκη (anankē)

Strong: G318

GK: G340

necessity, Mt. 18:7; constraint, compulsion, 2 Cor. 9:7; obligation of duty, moral or spiritual necessity, 

See that the definition of the word is constraint or compulsion. That's addressing the manipulative gimmick tactics employed sadly by some ministries in order to get one to give. For purpose of this study, we want to focus on the latter definition. 

 Obligation and spiritual necessity are the antithesis of Grace. A gift is not obligatory. Those are two counter concepts. Some warn against preaching against the tithe, why? 

 If tithing is under Grace, that is ten percent of all you earn, then that means you are under obligation to bring this amount of financial resource to a ministry. If tithing is under Grace then that means something is required of you. That means your giving is of necessity. 

 You can't do enough mental gymnastics to make 2 Corinthians 9 equate tithing as grace giving. Secondly, before we continue let's make a really vital point. Those who preach Grace and claim tithing is still required, don't fully define what it means to tithe. 

 To tithe means you bring ten percent of your increase. That means you are required to tithe on gross, not net income. Some would argue no that's tithing under Law. Abraham tithed before Law. True, but he only did that one time. He didn't tithe from his income either, he tithed from the spoils of war. He didn't keep anything for himself. How is this a model for us to give then? He didn't give anything from his own income. Read it again in Genesis 14

 Some would say what about Jacob? That's great you mentioned him. His giving meets Paul's words. Jacob on his own, without compulsion or necessity, chose to offer God a tenth of what He gave him. 

 Back to the word necessity. If as it's taught that tithing causes a financial blessing, then in order to be blessed it would therefore be necessary to give ten percent. Hence, that would be the definition of spiritual necessity. So in essence the Cross forgives, makes new, and heals our bodies, but our ten percent, not Christ Finished Work, is the source of our blessing materially.

 What about the widows, and single mothers in the inner cities in America? What about the destitute and downtrodden in third-world nations? They literally do not have enough income to give away ten percent. What? Is God beholding them with arms folded in stern disappointment speaking over them, stop being poor, give me ten percent and I'll help you? 

 How is this the Gospel of Grace?! Fear of bucking tradition, fear of disagreeing with a leader, and ignorance of what the Bible actually says is why people fight this revelation. 

  I love and highly honor the Grace pastors who have brought forth Gospel truths that have changed my life. I love them and again honor them, however, they're not my Savior, Jesus is. It's ok to disagree with the particular light they have on a topic. 

 Is tithing the source of blessing? I say no it is not. Jesus and the Finished Work is our source. Abraham gave a tenth not to get blessed, he was already blessed. We don't give to get blessed. We give because we are already blessed. We give in response to how we've been blessed already.

 There is no condemnation or judgment for not giving ten percent. God only asks we give in response to His Love and Goodness poured out upon us. Give cheerfully, not out of some spiritual necessity. Give not in fear, or concern that you won't be blessed if you don't. 

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]. 2 Corinthians 9:7 

 In summation, let's be clear and faithful to actual Scripture. Tithing isn't a command for believers, isn't an expected practice today, isn't an expression of Grace giving. Tithing is an Old Covenant requirement. Christ is our source of blessing, not our donations. God's not mad at you! Give knowing that.   



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