Saturday, March 22, 2014

Tithing

Just the other day we were told that we are under a curse (Malachi was quoted) if we don't tithe. But God gave me peace about this Old Testament practice when I went to Him in prayer about it and He led me to several verses in the New Testament. Peace is not what I had while giving under compulsion and I certainly was not a cheerful giver these last few months. I did give cheerfully before that, but due to circumstances we cannot give as much as we used to, so we are giving with a heavy heart, suffering actually.

So now we will be giving what we decided in our hearts to give and not 10% under compulsion or begrudgingly. Jesus said His yoke is easy and His burden is light. 10% is a heavy burden when you don't have it to give! Then to tell us we are under a curse! Jesus became a curse in my place on that cross, NO MAN will drag me back under a curse or Old Testament law! JESUS set me FREE!! Hallelujah! God is good and merciful! Bless His Holy Name!

Trust NO MAN! Preachers are not God, don't put them on a pedestal. Don't believe every word that comes out of their mouth. PRAY and search the scriptures! God WILL answer you through His Word that is Holy Spirit breathed!

Please read the quoted article below for your edification and may God open your eyes and bless you in doing so.

"If you go to the New Testament to develop a biblical basis for Christian giving, you could never come up with what is commonly taught and practiced in the majority of churches today. Having spent eight years in Bible college and seminary, I can tell you I did not take one class or even hear one lesson on the theology of giving. So, like most pastors, my theology of giving carried over from what I had been taught in my church and I accepted it without question – a 10% tithe goes to the church.

It wasn’t until recent years when I decided to do an exhaustive, comprehensive study to support the doctrine of New Testament tithing that I realized from a biblical standpoint, I didn’t have a theological leg to stand on. So, allow me to share with you a very brief overview of what the Bible actually teaches on tithing and giving. I suspect you might be as surprised by what I learned as I was.

Tithing in the New Testament
First, it is important to know that nowhere in the New Testament is their even one verse stating that Christians are to tithe – not one verse. The word tithing is only mentioned on three occasions in the entire New Testament and all three are merely historical references to the practice.

(1) First, Jesus tells the Pharisees that they should be tithing (Matthew 23:23). Still being under the Old Testament Law and citizens of Israel, the Pharisees should have been doing so.
(2) The second reference is when the Pharisee is arrogantly bragging in his prayer about how he has kept all the law, including tithing (Luke 18:9-14).
(3) The third reference is an historical note that Abraham paid a tithe to Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:5-10) from his spoils of war. Many try to claim that believers are obligated to tithe because the concept of tithing preceded the law based on Abraham’s tithe. But keep in mind Abraham’s tithe was a one-time “payment,” made of his own freewill from excess booty gained in war (Genesis 14:20). We have no indication that he ever did it again nor that his gift was intended to be normative for others, much less repeated on a weekly basis.

Keep in mind that almost all the New Testament was written by practicing Jews (Matthew, Mark, John, Paul, Peter and James) who certainly knew well the Old Covenant law on tithing, but none of them ever mentions tithing as a basis for Christian giving even when they were talking expressly about giving. Could we not rightly assume that if the Old Testament tithes were intended to be applied to us today, the New Testament authors would have said so at least once in all their writing to us about giving?

Tithing in the Old Testament
Old Testament tithing, simply stated, was a tax that the Jews had to pay to underwrite their theocratic nation whose King was God. There were three taxes/tithes they were required to pay.

Tax #1: Every year Jews were required to pay 10% of all their crops, livestock and whatever else they had (Leviticus 27:30-33, Deuteronomy 14:22-29) – what was called the Levites’ Tithe. Because Israel was a theocracy, the Levites and priests were the government officials that needed to be supported by the citizens of Israel. If you remember, the tribe of Levi received no land as an inheritance. They were only given cities in all the other tribes. The tribes as such were required to support them through this first 10% tax.
Tax #2: This second tax was collected to underwrite the cost of all the festivals and religious ceremonies that were required by Jewish law for Israel to observe (Deuteronomy 14:22-27). This helped underwrite all the national events that Israel celebrated.
Tax #3: This third tax was payable every third year to provide a welfare safety net for the poor in Israel (Deuteronomy 14:28-29).
The Jewish tax system was a flat tax of 23.33%. However, there were still other “taxes” due, like the temple tax (Matthew 17:24). The Jews were also not permitted to harvest their fields to the edges, leaving the corners unharvested as an additional welfare tax to help feed the poor (Leviticus 19:9). The annualized tax a Jew would be required to pay might total about 25%.
So, the Old Testament tithes were the taxation system used to underwrite Israel’s national expenses.

Giving in the New Testament
Let me say again, these Jewish taxes were never once applied to non-Jewish believers in the New Testament – never once.
In the early church, as you may recall, the Jews were trying to insist that the new Gentile converts needed to also obey the Jewish laws in order to become Christians? The Jerusalem Council determined that the Gentile Christians were only obligated to obey the following:
“…for it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no greater burden on you than these few requirements. You must abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. If you do this, you will do well” (Acts 15:28-29).
Here the Jewish Christians had their chance to impose on the Gentile Christians the Jewish tax law, but it was not included in the list to the Gentile believers.

So, if tithing isn’t the basis for our Christian giving, what is it? You may be surprised to know that it is the same for us today as it was for the Old Testament Israelite – freewill offerings. The Jews had taxes to pay and we have taxes to pay. The Jews made freewill offerings and we make freewill offerings. Freewill offerings, contrary to taxes, have always been voluntary and in whatever amount the giver chooses. Freewill offerings are motivated out of grace and love. Taxes are motivated out of law and duty.

A major section of New Testament teaching on giving is found in II Corinthians 8-9 where Paul gives us a compelling example and crystal clear teaching on what New Testament giving should look like. He first shares about the giving of the Macedonian church that is currently in the midst of an incredible economic crisis:

And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will.
We must not miss the one striking fact in this passage. Paul tells us how all this out-of-control giving happened – they gave themselves first to the Lord. Once they gave themselves first to the Lord, giving away everything left in their almost empty moneybags was easy.

Paul goes on to set the giving basis for believers in II Corinthians 9:7. He directs us, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Do you notice what is missing in Paul’s giving directive? There is no formula or percentage for how much we ought to give. The amount of our giving is decided upon after carefully searching our hearts. Giving is a matter of the heart, not a matter of the wallet. If God gets our hearts, He will get our wallets. (Read Matthew 6:21.) Our giving decisions are to be internally motivated, not externally motivated.

I recently heard a pastor state quite emphatically that according to Malachi 3:8-10, if you are not tithing, you are living under a curse. How awful! Is this the kind of teaching on giving that creates a culture of open-handed, generous giving like we see in the Macedonian church? Are we saved by grace, but still required to give by law? I would suggest that this idea is completely dismissed by what Paul says about our giving – not grudgingly or under compulsion. Giving to avoid a curse might generate a relieved giver, but not a cheerful one.
 
Conclusion

Let me be perfectly clear here. Freedom from the law of Old Testament taxation is not freedom to give less. It is freedom to give in the ways and the amounts that properly reflect our deep, abiding love and gratitude for our Father and His Kingdom. It should reflect our desire to give to Him with the same sacrificial abandon that He gave to us when He sent His son to rescue us from Hell. We are now free to make sacrificial, love offerings to Him, not just pay a bill we are told we owe Him.

So, go and be free from the law and let the law of love direct you in the size and amount of your freewill offerings to your Father. And in so doing both God and you will love watching you turn into a truly cheerful giver!"



Saturday, February 22, 2014

AFM Regional Sisters Opening Service ~ Cape Town City Hall


 Apostolic Faith Mission
Regional Sisters Opening Service
Cape Town City Hall!! 
They were dancing to "We speak to nations".




Hear the sound
The sound of the nations calling
Hear the sound
The sound of the fatherless crying
Who will go for us
Who will shout to the corners of the earth
That Christ is King

We speak to nations, be open
We speak to nations, fall on your knees
We speak to nations
The kingdom is coming near to you

We speak to strongholds, be broken
Powers of darkness, you have to flee
We speak to nations
The kingdom is coming near to you
We speak to you
Be free, be free

Hear the sound
The sound of the nations worshipping
Hear the sound
Of sons and daughters singing
We will go for you
We will shout to the corners of the earth
That Christ is King


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Give to God with a cheerful heart

Let us be happy to give to God. Let us bring an offering to Him with a joyful heart, because the Lord loves a cheerful giver! And He will bless you with more than you need!...not only for yourself, but for every good cause, so that you will be a blessing to others by what you give them and they will thank GOD and HE will get the glory that HE alone deserves.


I know that you test everyone's heart and are pleased with people of integrity. In honesty and sincerity I have willingly given all this to you, and I have seen how your people who are gathered here have been happy to bring offerings to you. Lord God of our ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, keep such devotion forever strong in your people's hearts and keep them always faithful to you.
~1 Chronicles 29:17-18 GNT

You should each give, then, as you have decided, not with regret or out of a sense of duty; for God loves the one who gives gladly. And God is able to give you more than you need, so that you will always have all you need for yourselves and more than enough for every good cause. As the scripture says, “He gives generously to the needy; his kindness lasts forever.” And God, who supplies seed for the sower and bread to eat, will also supply you with all the seed you need and will make it grow and produce a rich harvest from your generosity. He will always make you rich enough to be generous at all times, so that many will thank God for your gifts which they receive from us. For this service you perform not only meets the needs of God's people, but also produces an outpouring of gratitude to God. And because of the proof which this service of yours brings, many will give glory to God for your loyalty to the gospel of Christ, which you profess, and for your generosity in sharing with them and everyone else. And so with deep affection they will pray for you because of the extraordinary grace God has shown you. Let us thank God for his priceless gift!
~2 Corinthians 9:7-15 GNT




Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Armies of Angels

Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?~ Matthew 26:53

If you ask God to place His angels around you and your family and loved ones, He will do it!!  :)

Talk to God in prayer, ask Him what you need, but you have to love this God, you have to pray to Him, talk to Him, praise Him, worship Him!  After all He is the God of the universe!  He created YOU.  He has a purpose for your life.  You were not just born for no reason.  God has a plan for your life.  Do not let the devil tell you otherwise!  The devil is a liar.  Jesus says he is the father of lies!  The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy.  The devil hates you, he hates me, he hates all of God's creation!  He wants to destroy us, but our God, our Abba Father in Heaven, LOVES you and has only good things planned for you.  Sometimes He allows bad things to happen to shape you, to mould you, to help you grow spiritually stronger and sometimes to test your faith.  Never forget though that God truly loves you.  No one can ever love you more than He does.  He is always there by your side.  So when you go through difficult times and trials, know that Jesus is there by your side.  He is 'in it' with you!!  Remember the disciples in the storm...Jesus was with them in the boat!  He never left them. :)

Now get into prayer with God and ask Him for His angels around you and He will be faithful to do just that because He LOVES you!  He is waiting for you to come talk to Him, He created you for that purpose to commune with Him.  He is your friend, eternal Father, Immanuel (God with us).
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. ~ Isaiah 9:6

Oh I love Jesus so much!  Who am I that He should care for me?  I am nothing, yet He loves ME!  I don't care if no one on this earth loves me or cares for me, I know JESUS loves me!  He died for me (and you)!  He rose from the dead for me!  He sends His angels to protect me when I ask Him.  And that's enough for me. :) ♥
 



Friday, October 04, 2013

What's done in the dark

Last night someone tried to break into our garage.  We were home, but didn't hear anything.  Only this afternoon did we see the thing the bolt lock slides into, halfway bent off.  They must have been interrupted.

Now this is the thing....I always pray and ask God to protect our lives and property, His Holy Fire and heavenly angels as a hedge of protection around us and our property and of course the blood of Jesus and He came through for us!  They didn't get in! :D  God is GOOD!  True and faithful, that's my God!

Thank you Jesus!!  You are awesome my King!

But you know the devil is so hateful, he comes at you when you are a child of God.  He hates it when you pray for people, for your enemies, yes that's what I do, I pray for those criminals, that God will save their souls.  That He will grab them from that broad road they are on, heading towards hell and place them on the straight and narrow towards heaven.

But do I look scared of that lying serpent??  Ha!  Greater is He (God) who is in me than he (devil) who is in the world!

Hallelujah!!  There is power in the Name of JESUS!!  There is power in the Blood of JESUS!!  Jesus conquered death for us all, to give us LIFE!

How about making Him the King of your heart and your life today. :)

God bless you.






Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Christ is all that matters

http://bible.us/116/COL3.5.NLT So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. Bible.com/app

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Christ, the only worthy blood sacrifice for our sins

http://bible.us/116/HEB10.5.NLT That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings. But you have given me a body to offer. You were not pleased with burnt offerings or other offerings for sin. Then I said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God— as is written about me in the Scriptures.’” First, Christ said, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings or burnt offerings or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them” (though they are required by the law of Moses). Then he said, “Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect. For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time. Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet. For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy. And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says, “This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the L ord : I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Then he says, “I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.” And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices. Bible.com/app

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