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Malachi 3 contains a wonderful promise of abundant blessing for those who "bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house." (Malachi 3:10, NKJV.) Israel (in context) and the church of God (by extension) are promised that the windows of heaven will open and there will not be enough room to contain the blessing God gives us economically. I know this to be true, and have seen God bless me personally as He has changed me from tightwad to tither! (You can read some of my financial testimonies here.)
Yet with many Scriptures, the Holy Spirit often reveals deeper layers of meaning to us as we grow. His job is to break us out of the "boxes" we put ourselves - and God - into. One of the things He is revealing now is that we must move beyond the "financial blessing" box described here and see that God is looking for our hearts, not just our wallets. Giving is secondary; all giving flows first from the heart. Tithing is not just financial, but also personal.
Continue Reading: Tithe Your Time!
Prayer is necessary because it energizes our heart, it releases God's blessing, and it results in real change on the earth. But we have been too polite with God. I do not mean we should be irreverent; I am saying the Lord's Prayer is not a weak, pleading prayer. There is a time to plead with God, but what Jesus gave was prophetic. There is not a “please” in it. Indeed, it’s the Father's pleasure to give us His kingdom (Lk 12:32). Thus, Jesus is not instructing us to beg for it, but to align our lives with it and then announce it. He is commanding us to call for God's kingdom to rule on earth, in our lives, churches and cities. This is a prayer of authority. Do we see this? Maybe our prayers should sound more like this:
"...Hearing the report, they lifted their voices in a wonderful harmony in prayer: “Strong God, you made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them. By the Holy Spirit you spoke through the mouth of your servant and our father, David: Why the big noise, nations?
Why the mean plots, peoples? Earth’s leaders push for position, Potentates meet for summit talks, The God-deniers, the Messiah-defiers! For in fact they did meet—Herod and Pontius Pilate with nations and peoples, even Israel itself!—met in this very city to plot against your holy Son Jesus, the One you made Messiah, to carry out the plans you long ago set in motion.
And now they’re at it again! Take care of their threats and give your servants fearless confidence in preaching your Message, as you stretch out your hand to us in healings and miracles and wonders done in the name of your holy servant Jesus. While they were praying, the place where they were meeting trembled and shook. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak God’s Word with fearless confidence."
Give us fearless confidence to speak your word!
JOIN IN HERE DAILY: #31 DAYS OF PRAYER
But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked....(1 John 2:5-6)
Oh Most Holy and Heavenly Father, I think You that Your Word, Oh God, is written in the Heavens. I thank You that Your Word is Truth. I thank You that Your Words will never fade or pass away and therefore, because You keep Your Word, I pledge to do my part and keep Your Word hidden in my heart and shown through my actions and deeds, that Christ lives within me.
Lord, may Your Holy Spirit, the Spirit of all Truth, Wisdom and Understand Who keeps me permanently connected to the Eternal, fortify my will to keep Your Word of Truth firmly embedded, to keep it from shame and slander, to keep it from dishonor and degradation and to keep and guard it as jealously as You guard Your Holy Name. Your Love commands, compels and gives me confidence in Your Word to remain faithful to it, to obey it and dwell on it as our Savior did. Your Word says in Hebrews 5:7 that our Savior's prayers, cries and petitions were heard because of His piety, obedience and submission to Your Will and Yours alone.
Let us now walk in that Truth, in the Path of Persistent Obedience where He, the Lord Jesus, walked that we may too be found in Him, to the praise and glory of His Name. By this Truth we know we are His, in Him, in His Will and walking in His Ways. Lord we long to be like Jesus, and to live, walk, talk and rest in You as He did and may ALL our worship be Yours and His, throughout our lives, in the Strong and Mighty Name of King Jesus I pray, amen.
In the beginnings of a year we often make plans for what we will do and where we wish to go in a year or a lifetime. But our own plans will not do. We need God’s plans. He alone knows the way of significance for your life. Last week I wrote to you about listening to God. This week I want to talk to you about obeying what God has told you.
It is foolish to ask God to reveal His plans to you, when you are showing yourself to be a poor manager of what He has already shown you. When you need a personal word from God, ask Him to remind you of what He has already told you. You may need God to change your heart or give you the courage and ability to obey what He has already shown you.
A lot of things have great power and potential, for either good or bad results. We've discussed before that people are that way. But today we are looking at the power of the spoken word. I'm sure most of us know what it means to wish we could "eat our words," or at least take them back. Once out however, their effect is neither revocable nor negotiable. Hurtful words can last so very much longer than we would like them to. Sticks and stones not only break bones and make even the marrow hurt, but so do our words at times. But do you realize that a simple word of comfort, caring, empathy, understanding, or even sympathetic silence can be just as powerful as hurtful words. Such words can build trust, relieve suffering and loneliness, and build new levels of intimacy and openness not otherwise possible. Our words can soothe, validate, make and deepen friendships, and break down walls of isolation, situational depression, and self-pity. But that kind of helpful speaking takes practice and tongue control. Who do you know that would not wish to improve their ability to control their tongue better, e.g. to hurt others less, and to edify them more?
For a 1-minute inspiring video on the power of words try https://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=Hzgzim5m7oU&vq=medium
The Bible says the tongue is every bit as powerful as a rudder on a large ship that turns it powerfully to the left or the right. Ironically no person can truly control their tongue all the time, nevertheless we are known by what comes out of our mouth. If this sounds harsh to you, let me ask if you always think over alternatives before you put your tongue in gear? Or when opposed, attacked, angered, or threatened, do you take a "Thomas Jefferson count" before responding so you have your tongue under control first? Most of us are honest enough to realize the truth of the other Bible claim that one little spark from our tongue can easily create a devastating forest fire that burns a long time.
But what a contrast when God speaks. His Word is truth that transforms our lives when we are receptive. When God speaks (and especially when we listen) things change (for the better). He spoke every original thing in our universe into existence. And we know that it's original state was much better than it is today, since man has chosen to succumb to inner and outer polution.
Who do you enjoy listening to and why? I am sure it is someone that speaks straight with you, but that also builds you up to reach your full potential. God's Word is alive, powerful, and very active as it:
- Generates life
- Creates faith
- Produces change
- Causes miracles
- Heals hurts
- Builds character
- Transforms circumstances
- Imparts joy
- Overcomes adversity
- Defeats temptation
- Infuses hope
- Releases power
- Cleanses our minds
- Brings things into being, and
- Guarantees our future forever!
Are you in need of a cure for spiritual anorexia? Then you need healthy meals of abiding in God's Word. How is that done?
- Accept its authority and use it as the compass for your life, realizing that our false, arbitrary, and unreliable authorities of culture, tradition, reason, and emotion are flawed by man turning his back on God in subtle disbelief and mistrust.
- Incorporate its truth into our working memory where we can reflect on it (like a cow chewing her cud) through study, meditating, and understanding how it applies to the daily circumstances of our life.
- Apply its principles by depending on God's promises rather than our own feelings and "wisdom."
Let's join David in his Psalm 19 prayer, "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight Oh Lord, my strength and my redeemer!"
I love word clouds. These computer-generated word assortments depict the frequency, size, or relative importance of the words on a website or print document.
The main thing I love about word clouds is that they don’t lie. You may think the theme of your website or document is one thing, but the word cloud will tell you what your REAL message is.
If you do a word cloud of the Gospel of Matthew, for example, it should be no surprise that the name Jesus is very BIG. The other key words are God and Kingdom.
In contrast, the word “church” is only used in two passages of Matthew (16:18 & 18:17), and these are the only times it is mentioned in the four Gospels. Think about this for a moment. Is it possible we’ve sometimes been guilty of magnifying the church as even bigger than the kingdom—or even bigger than Jesus Himself?
The beauty of word clouds is not only the words that turn out to be BIG and bold, but also the ones that are SMALL and faint. What a wonderful illustration of life’s priorities.
So, what if someone created a word cloud of your life—your words, thoughts, motives, and actions? What words would be BIG, and which ones would be SMALL? Would JESUS and KINGDOM be big or small? Would you be encouraged by your life’s word cloud, or embarrassed? Would you be willing to have the words projected on a screen for all to see?
The good news is that there’s still time to improve your life’s word cloud. Of course, this won’t be an easy process. You will have to deny yourself daily, take up your cross, and follow Jesus (Luke 9:23).
But changing your word cloud will be worth it. Just think of the beautiful new picture God will create as Jesus increases and you decrease (John 3:30).
Jesus said that we are made clean by the Word. "You are already clean because ofthe word I have spoken to you" (John 15:3). Speaking of the church, He said that He would "make herholy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word" (Ephesians5:26-27). He prayed, "Sanctify them in the truth. Your word is truth"(John 17:
The first way that Jesus begins to clean us out inside is by speaking His Word inHis present-tense, living voice.When you read the Scripture, when you meditate on the Scripture, and memorizethe Scripture, hear His voice speaking to you. It washes your brain clean.
Soaking in the Scripture lets its living power penetrate into the marrow of yourpersonality, changing every part of you. As the Word pours into you, the truthconfronts lies you didn't even know you believed. It takes lies head on andoverpowers them.
Do you remember the very first video games? There was one called PacMan. I can'tremember what the object of the game was, but I remember a big round head witha mouth overtook little dots and swallowed them up. That's all I remember.Chomp, chomp, chomp. Little dots disappearing into the giant head never to beseen again. That 's my picture of how the living Word works on the inside. Itovertakes and chomps down lies.
The same voice that created the universe in the beginning is speaking to you now.The same Spirit who hovered over the chaos in the beginning and called orderinto being is living in you now. "By the word of the Lord were the heavensmade, their starry host by the breath of his mouth" (Psalm 33:6). He stilldoes His work by His word.
Take the Word in and let it do its work. Expose yourself to all the Word of God youcan, and trust that He will make it effective in your life.
From Life Unhindered! by Jennifer Kennedy Dean
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