Give To Him Who Asks

At times, I have been confronted by people asking for money, begging really. Sometimes it is at gas stations and sometimes it is by the side of the road. Sometimes I help to honor the Lord, sometimes I feel it is too unsafe to try to help, and sometimes I try to pretend not to see them. I have not been able to lock down a specific firm position on this. Sometimes I feel led by the Spirit to give and sometimes I am just nervous by the circumstances around the person asking. Sometimes I just believe it is a fraud. I have prayed from time to time for the Lord to help guide me on this type of issue.

I still believe the situation matters. Unfortunately, we can’t trust everyone who is asking for help, not because they may waste our $10, but because they may be trying to car jack you or kidnap you. You do risk injury. We must use our best discernment of the situation and ask in advance the Spirit to guide us in these circumstances. As quickly as these situations arise, it seems as if there is not time to pray once the situation is upon you.

I believe the Spirit has nudged me more to a position where I will look to help through the scripture below. It will be most effective if I prepare ahead of time, perhaps having small denomination cash of $5, $10, or $20 readily available which I can grab easily without taking my eyes off the person asking. (This is not the time to be opening your wallet full of credit cards or sifting through a purse.) More than that I want to prepare something to hand out with the money to point them to Christ and to more resources about Christ should they wish to pursue Him.

Recognize too, that Matthew 5 speaks about much broader situations than the one I frame above. Some situations will call for a higher level of giving. Perhaps someone will come to you with a need to help enroll someone in a drug or alcohol rehab program or something similar. Some of these situations may require prayer as the financial impact may seem great to you at the time. For me, I realize that the great many of the situations that arise in my life truly are not threatening my financial security. They really can be easy decisions made with intent to honor the Lord and point others to Him. We provide the best witness when we help others joyfully, even if it is a “big ask” from them.

However, note from the scripture below, the examples that Jesus refers to are not typically going to bankrupt the one giving… extra work, a coat, allowing yourself to be taken advantage of a little. I am not trying to trivialize these things, as for some they are significant, but this type of giving often represents relatively small investments for the kingdom of heaven. Most frequently the worst I may risk is being “taken advantage of” or “fooled” into giving to someone who is a fraud. Honestly, we honor the Lord all the same and may actually have an impact on them anyway as they receive an example of God’s love from someone. If some end up “laughing” at us who give, how much does that really matter?

As a cautionary note, I point out that this scripture is not to be taken out of context to say give all you have to the first person who asks. This is not at all what I see in the text. As with everything, seek help from the Lord.

Matthew 5:38-48

      38“You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’ 39“But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40“If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. 41“Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42“Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.

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Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way and use it for His glory rather than your own. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .

 

Should I Worry About My Finances?

It is easy and natural to worry. We can worry about our family, our jobs, our children’s performance in school or extra-curricular activities. We can worry about our favorite sports teams winning or losing. We can worry about what we will be doing next week. Many people worry about their finances. There are lots of reasons for which we can allow ourselves to worry.

But what does God have to say about worry? Actually, He has a lot to say. One such verse to explore is short and to the point.

Philippians 4:4-9

      4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

      8Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

I do want to make a point that there is a difference between “worry” about something and taking action to address a situation that needs you to do something. I need not “worry” about my future finances when I walk with Jehovah, but He expects me to plan wisely, consistent with His word, and to exercise self control and manage my affairs well. Let us be careful to avoid the mistake of saying “not to worry” means we ignore the situation. This would be wrong and lead to many troubles.

Let us not overlook, however, that the scripture does not just say “don’t worry”. It also combines that with direction to let our requests be made known to God by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving. We should take our worries to our loving Father in prayer and supplication and with a thankful heart. We can trust Him. Whether He answers “yes” or “no” to any specific request, He knows what is good for us. He is our provider.

“Rejoicing always” sounds tough for most of us… but just because it is different than what we expect, does not mean that it is wrong. Often, what we have become accustomed to is wrong and we need to seek God’s way in the Bible and change our ways. Paul was more than just talk on “rejoice always”. He rejoiced even under persecution such as when he was beaten and put in prison. He rejoiced in the sovereignty and love of the Lord Jesus!

Be thankful for what we have in Christ and what He has already provided us even as we come before Yahweh to ask for our needs or requests. Seek contentment rather than coveting what others have.

When we focus on what is good, honorable, right, pure, lovely… we can truly learn, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to be anxious for nothing.

I leave you with a common expression you may have heard before for consideration and reflection.

“And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?”

Do you know who said this first? It was Jesus, as documented in Matthew 6:27.

May the grace and peace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, be with you.

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Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way and use it for His glory rather than your own. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .

When God Moves His People, There Is Plenty

How glorious it is to see God work through His people to accomplish His goals. He moved the people so much in preparing for and building the Tabernacle that they actually continued to bring so much that it was more than what was needed. Moses actually had to restrain the people from continuing to bring more!

Exodus 36:1-7

The Tabernacle Underwritten

      1“Now Bezalel and Oholiab, and every skillful person in whom the LORD has put skill and understanding to know how to perform all the work in the construction of the sanctuary, shall perform in accordance with all that the LORD has commanded.”

      2Then Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every skillful person in whom the LORD had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him, to come to the work to perform it. 3They received from Moses all the contributions which the sons of Israel had brought to perform the work in the construction of the sanctuary. And they still continued bringing to him freewill offerings every morning. 4And all the skillful men who were performing all the work of the sanctuary came, each from the work which he was performing, 5and they said to Moses, “The people are bringing much more than enough for the construction work which the LORD commanded us to perform.” 6So Moses issued a command, and a proclamation was circulated throughout the camp, saying, “Let no man or woman any longer perform work for the contributions of the sanctuary.” Thus the people were restrained from bringing any more. 7For the material they had was sufficient and more than enough for all the work, to perform it.

There are a few things to notice in the passage. The obvious one is that when God moves His people to work together to a common goal, His goal, they will succeed in accomplishing much. There was so much that the people had more than they needed in materials and skilled labor.

The second part that really stands out to me is that Moses stopped the people from bringing more. The need was met. He did not need to collect a bunch of extra stuff from the people in order to stuff the treasury with extra valuables. He knew he could count on Yahweh to provide what they needed in the future as well and recognized it was most honest to tell the people that the need had been met.

Pray for the Holy Spirit to show you where He wants you to give of time, talent, and treasure. Check it against the truth of scripture to be sure it is from Jehovah and not your own desires. Then give joyfully and generously. If you are the one receiving and coordinating the funds for a project or mission, be honest. Collect only what you need and do not continue taking from the people in excess of the need. Trust in our Father to provide in the future for His next project!

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Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way and use it for His glory rather than your own. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .

Wise Are Those Who Follow God’s Instruction

Are you looking for some “get rich quick” schemes and gimmicks? or are you looking for wisdom and advice that has stood the test of time. I find all of the wisdom in Proverbs to be applicable to our lives and situations today. Human nature has not changed and neither has God’s wisdom for how we should manage our relationships with other people and manage our own decisions for how to live our life and manage our finances.

Read Proverbs 10 with the belief that God can speak to you through it about specific things you should keep doing or change regarding your life decisions. Pray He would give you insight into applying the wisdom specifically for your life.

Proverbs 10

  1The proverbs of Solomon.
A wise son makes a father glad,
But a foolish son is a grief to his mother.

      2Ill-gotten gains do not profit,
But righteousness delivers from death.

      3The LORD will not allow the righteous to hunger,
But He will reject the craving of the wicked.

      4Poor is he who works with a negligent hand,
But the hand of the diligent makes rich.

      5He who gathers in summer is a son who acts wisely,
But he who sleeps in harvest is a son who acts shamefully.

      6Blessings are on the head of the righteous,
But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.

      7The memory of the righteous is blessed,
But the name of the wicked will rot.

      8The wise of heart will receive commands,
But a babbling fool will be ruined.

      9He who walks in integrity walks securely,
But he who perverts his ways will be found out.

      10He who winks the eye causes trouble,
And a babbling fool will be ruined.

      11The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,
But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.

      12Hatred stirs up strife,
But love covers all transgressions.

      13On the lips of the discerning, wisdom is found,
But a rod is for the back of him who lacks understanding.

      14Wise men store up knowledge,
But with the mouth of the foolish, ruin is at hand.

      15The rich man’s wealth is his fortress,
The ruin of the poor is their poverty.

      16The wages of the righteous is life,
The income of the wicked, punishment.

      17He is on the path of life who heeds instruction,
But he who ignores reproof goes astray.

      18He who conceals hatred has lying lips,
And he who spreads slander is a fool.

      19When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable,
But he who restrains his lips is wise.

      20The tongue of the righteous is as choice silver,
The heart of the wicked is worth little.

      21The lips of the righteous feed many,
But fools die for lack of understanding.

      22It is the blessing of the LORD that makes rich,
And He adds no sorrow to it.

      23Doing wickedness is like sport to a fool,
And so is wisdom to a man of understanding.

      24What the wicked fears will come upon him,
But the desire of the righteous will be granted.

      25When the whirlwind passes, the wicked is no more,
But the righteous has an everlasting foundation.

      26Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes,
So is the lazy one to those who send him.

      27The fear of the LORD prolongs life,
But the years of the wicked will be shortened.

      28The hope of the righteous is gladness,
But the expectation of the wicked perishes.

      29The way of the LORD is a stronghold to the upright,
But ruin to the workers of iniquity.

      30The righteous will never be shaken,
But the wicked will not dwell in the land.

      31The mouth of the righteous flows with wisdom,
But the perverted tongue will be cut out.

      32The lips of the righteous bring forth what is acceptable,
But the mouth of the wicked what is perverted.

Notice how God’s word integrates how we deal with our money into a broader context of righteousness or wickedness. How we manage our money is absolutely a function of our relationship with God and the condition of our heart in submission to Him. One can not be fully righteous without learning how to deal properly with finances according to God’s word. Conversely, one who becomes increasingly righteous will understand much about managing finances.

God provides clear warning about the dangers of the love of money. Money must never be our master, but rather a tool or servant to help us serve God while we are here on this earth.

Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

What behaviors or attitudes do you need to change in your life? Pray for God’s help in dealing with money.

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Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .

Spend Like You Did Not Get a Raise; Budget Like There Is No Inflation

I am sure many of you can identify with the following example from my own life. I lived for many years without a mobile phone. I did not “need” it. I was used to living without it. Once I got one though, I found I got so accustomed to the convenience that it would be hard to give it up. I found a similar experience with the speed of my home internet. Dial-up and then DSL speed were fine, in fact wonderful breakthroughs in technology for their time, until I got used to something faster and then I could not go back. The bottom line… it is easier to avoid increasing our spending then it is to reduce our spending once we get used to having what it buys.  So, if you want to control spending, a good way to start is to avoid increasing your “standard of living” when you get more income. This could be income due to a raise, or income due to reduced tax burden. Either way, you have more money and you do not have to spend it frivolously.

No matter how rough you think you have it right now, most of you reading this on the internet have enough to get by with what are truly essentials of food, clothing, and shelter. We are not talking about fine dining, name brand clothing, and mansions… just the basics. Most people throughout the world would be glad to have what we in the USA refer to as a “poverty” standard of living. We have developed high expectations and a sense of judging our happiness and success by comparing the things we have to what others have. This is not God’s standard, but rather one based on coveting what others have instead of appreciating what God has already provided for us.

Too often people get excited to spend every increase in income they receive immediately for short term gratification to have fancier clothes, nicer house, more expensive food. Thus, even as they increase their income, they still remain in debt and lack any substantial savings. They just increase spending to match increases in income, or worse… with anticipation of continual rise in income they start getting deeper in debt, sure that they can pay it off sometime in the future.

If want to improve your financial situation over the long term, try this instead. Next time you get extra income from overtime, annual bonus, or a raise… pretend you didn’t. Keep your spending flat. Instead, put the increase to paying down debt or to savings, which will lead eventually to having money to invest when you are ready. If this is too hard to set aside the full amount of the raise for this purpose, then dedicate as much of the increase as you can. Maybe you can at least put aside 50% dedicated to paying down debt or saving. Maybe 75%.

One of the most effective ways to do this with today’s technology is to automate part of your paycheck routinely going to a separate account from the one you use for monthly spending. Then the extra amount never even shows up in your checking account for example. You keep spending like you did not get a raise, and all of a sudden you start paying down debt and creating a long-term stream of savings which will lead to money to invest.

Pray for God to help you be content with what you have rather than chasing what others have and trying to “keep up with the Jones'”. Identify a clear goal that the money is going toward such as working out of debt or building an emergency fund or starting an investment fund. Share your goals with a family member or trusted friend and celebrate milestones as you make progress!

Although it may be hard, this can apply also to inflation. If you can, try to keep your spending budget steady, even if prices are rising. It means you will have to cut back on what you are buying in order to “absorb” inflation. In some cases, you may have to pivot to lower cost options or brands for some items. In other cases, you can buy some things less frequently or in lower volume. If you can hold your spending budget flat in the face of inflation, then you protect any money you have budgeted for savings, paying down debt, or creating an investing fund. Short term pain helps create long term gain.

As always, seek wisdom and encouragement from God along the way and from any trusted mentor you may have. Just make sure you pick a mentor that models the behaviors and outcome you want to achieve. Not every friend is a good financial mentor.

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Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .

Working Together for His Kingdom

God calls His people to come together willingly to give of their possessions and abilities to further the kingdom of God. He does not force us to give. It is amazing what we can accomplish to help one another and glorify Him when we each bring what we have to offer and work toward a common goal. Of course, it glorifies and honors God most when we come together to work toward a common goal that is consistent with His instruction and guidance.

Exodus 35:20-35

Gifts Received

      20Then all the congregation of the sons of Israel departed from Moses’ presence. 21Everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit moved him came and brought the LORD’S contribution for the work of the tent of meeting and for all its service and for the holy garments. 22Then all whose hearts moved them, both men and women, came and brought brooches and earrings and signet rings and bracelets, all articles of gold; so did every man who presented an offering of gold to the LORD. 23Every man, who had in his possession blue and purple and scarlet material and fine linen and goats’ hair and rams’ skins dyed red and porpoise skins, brought them. 24Everyone who could make a contribution of silver and bronze brought the LORD’S contribution; and every man who had in his possession acacia wood for any work of the service brought it. 25All the skilled women spun with their hands, and brought what they had spun, in blue and purple and scarlet material and in fine linen. 26All the women whose heart stirred with a skill spun the goats’ hair. 27The rulers brought the onyx stones and the stones for setting for the ephod and for the breastpiece; 28and the spice and the oil for the light and for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense. 29The Israelites, all the men and women, whose heart moved them to bring material for all the work, which the LORD had commanded through Moses to be done, brought a freewill offering to the LORD.

      30Then Moses said to the sons of Israel, “See, the LORD has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 31“And He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding and in knowledge and in all craftsmanship; 32to make designs for working in gold and in silver and in bronze, 33and in the cutting of stones for settings and in the carving of wood, so as to perform in every inventive work. 34“He also has put in his heart to teach, both he and Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. 35“He has filled them with skill to perform every work of an engraver and of a designer and of an embroiderer, in blue and in purple and in scarlet material, and in fine linen, and of a weaver, as performers of every work and makers of designs.

Prayerfully reflect how you are working with other believers to glorify God’s kingdom. Are you offering your possessions or money or time and talent? Are you working together or just content to remain alone? Are you working toward what our Creator and Father calls us to do, or toward your own goals and interests?

Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in responding to this message and any changes you may need to make in your life to live more fully in obedience to Him and in fellowship and cooperation with fellow believers.

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Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way and use it for His glory rather than your own. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .

Why Did God Grant Jabez Prosperity?

Quite some time ago, someone wrote a book about “the prayer of Jabez” and people got almost in a craze about it. The problem is that many focused on only his prayer. They wanted to turn it into some formula whereby if anyone repeats the words, they force God to bless them also. However, this is not how a relationship with the Lord works. We don’t control Him. We don’t get His power by rehearsing specific words like some sort of spell.

So why did the LORD grant Jabez’s request for prosperity?

1 Chronicles:9-10

9Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez saying, “Because I bore him with pain.” 10Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!” And God granted him what he requested.

Scripture highlights that he “was more honorable than his brothers”. He was someone who lived according to God’s ways in relationship with God. His prayer was a reasonable prayer.  He asked for God’s blessing and asked for God’s protection from harm. These are good things to pray for. Let us also take care not to overlook that he also asked for God’s hand to be with him, and he was honorable in his life. Jabez was not simply asking for more land and less pain, but also for a relationship with God and living his life in accordance with what God directed.

Let us take note that we should not simply take the words of Jabez and expect we pray them and somehow control God to bless us.

Matthew 6:7-8

     7“And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 8“So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

The path to living with the peace and joy of the Lord is one of submitting to Him and building relationship with Him. You cannot and should not try to skip the relationship with God in pursuit of controlling Him to give you the outcomes you want. That said, we ultimately must trust Him whether He tells us “yes” or “no” for the requests we bring before Him. As you build relationship with Him, you will also discover that the relationship is the real treasure… that His hand would be with us.

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Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way and use it for His glory rather than your own. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .

Give to Caesar What Is Caesar’s; and to God What Is God’s

If we gathered together with 100 people in an auditorium and asked for a show of hands for who is looking forward to paying their federal taxes this year… not many hands would go up. If we further asked who thought the tax money was managed responsibly and spent efficiently… even fewer hands would go up. If we were so bold as to ask who was planning to pay extra because they felt the U.S. federal government was such a good steward of their money… probably not even one hand would remain up. Very few in the U.S.A. actually believe they money they pay is being spent wisely. There is good reason for that… mostly because they are right. The U.S.A. federal government is wasteful and actually downright immoral with the expenditure of much of our hard-earned money. They collect money from people in the states and then threaten not to give it back to the states if they don’t go along with what the federal government wants… whether it is over controlling education or building roads or many other spending programs.

Now… should we do something about it? Yes. Get involved in politics and elections. Vote for smaller federal government and vote against those whose policies and behaviors are offensive to God.

Should we pay our taxes according to the law? Yes. Why? Because Jesus said so. Yes, He actually did comment on paying taxes.

Matthew 22:15-22

      15Then the Pharisees went and plotted together how they might trap Him in what He said. 16And they sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any. 17“Tell us then, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?” 18But Jesus perceived their malice, and said, “Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites? 19“Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax.” And they brought Him a denarius. 20And He said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 21They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” 22And hearing this, they were amazed, and leaving Him, they went away.

While the question was not intended to be a genuine question about taxes, it was intended to be a trap, Jesus still provides insight into paying taxes.  The answer still applies today. Much of what Rome was doing was evil in the sight of the Lord, but Jesus pointed out that the money in question comes from Rome and thus can be used to pay lawful taxes to Rome as the civil governing authority.

Paul also wrote about taxes in Romans 13:1-7.

  1Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. 3For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. 5Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. 6For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. 7Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

Let us not be confused… there are many or perhaps most governments which are not serving God. Many or most are in fact dishonoring God. None the less, there is a certain authority which we are to give to the civil government so long as they do not cause us to disobey God’s commands. God’s authority is always the highest. We can, however, respect and pay taxes to a civil governing authority to the extent they do not require us to disobey or dishonor God.

7Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

Pay your taxes, but only what is due. There is no requirement to like paying taxes or to pay extra… so do your taxes well and avoid giving more than is due. Then go out to vote for someone who will reduce your tax bill in the future! Even if you want to give money away to help those in need, you can do so in a much smarter way than giving to the inefficient federal government. And when you give to help someone directly, you can give glory and honor to God for the blessing!

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Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way and use it for His glory rather than your own. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .

Give Joyfully to the Lord with Thanksgiving and Praise

Many talk about the giving money to God as if it were a tax they had to pay the government, knowing the government will waste it or at best use it inefficiently. Some pay out of a feeling of obligation, some give out of pride to show off to others, and some just rationalize that they can not afford to give anything at all… neither money nor time. Blessed are those who give joyfully and generously of their money and/or their time to serve God.

One such example of a joyful giver is Jacob. After receiving God’s blessing from Isaac, Jacob had to leave his family because of the deception he used against his brother Esau. As he travels, God appears to him in a dream in Genesis 28:10-22.

      10Then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11He came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place. 12He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. 14“Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” 16Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”

      18So Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on its top. 19He called the name of that place Bethel; however, previously the name of the city had been Luz. 20Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, 21and I return to my father’s house in safety, then the LORD will be my God. 22“This stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”

Jacob clearly understood that he could achieve nothing of what God promised on his own. He knew what it was to live without God, and it had brought him to a place where he had to leave home and family because of his selfish greed and deceitful scheming. God did not ask Jacob for ten percent… Jacob committed joyfully to giving that amount.  There was no one else there that Jacob was trying to impress. It was just God and Jacob. He wanted to give money to God as part of showing his thankfulness toward God. He committed to giving money to God before he earned it or even experienced any success that would show him how he could earn it.

Also take note that he was not simply “writing God a check”. He set up a pillar, anointed it with oil and made a personal commitment or covenant with God that “… the Lord will be my God.” This commitment went far beyond money. Jacob was genuinely and wholeheartedly committing himself to God after experiencing a powerful message from God in a dream.

If you have not already done so, or perhaps even if you have, take a few moments and pray to our Creator that He would reveal Himself to you and help you to have a heart to commit to and submit to Him. Turn you life over to God and seek to follow Him and proclaim Him wholeheartedly. Do not give out of obligation, but out of thankfulness and praise to God for all He has done and continues to do in your life.

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Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way and use it for His glory rather than your own. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .

Whoever Is of a Willing Heart

Yahweh does call His people to contribute both things of financial value as well as their time, effort, and skill to the glory of His kingdom and support of His people. He calls us to give “of a willing heart” rather than out of obligation.  He does not “need” any of us but wants us to joyfully be a part of His people and His kingdom on earth. When we obey Him and give of our time, effort, skill, and money we can accomplish a lot together as a body of believers!

Exodus 35:4-19

    4Moses spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, saying, “This is the thing which the LORD has commanded, saying, 5‘Take from among you a contribution to the LORD; whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as the LORD’S contribution: gold, silver, and bronze, 6and blue, purple and scarlet material, fine linen, goats’ hair, 7and rams’ skins dyed red, and porpoise skins, and acacia wood, 8and oil for lighting, and spices for the anointing oil, and for the fragrant incense, 9and onyx stones and setting stones for the ephod and for the breastpiece.

Tabernacle Workmen

      10‘Let every skillful man among you come, and make all that the LORD has commanded: 11the tabernacle, its tent and its covering, its hooks and its boards, its bars, its pillars, and its sockets; 12the ark and its poles, the mercy seat, and the curtain of the screen; 13the table and its poles, and all its utensils, and the bread of the Presence; 14the lampstand also for the light and its utensils and its lamps and the oil for the light; 15and the altar of incense and its poles, and the anointing oil and the fragrant incense, and the screen for the doorway at the entrance of the tabernacle; 16the altar of burnt offering with its bronze grating, its poles, and all its utensils, the basin and its stand; 17the hangings of the court, its pillars and its sockets, and the screen for the gate of the court; 18the pegs of the tabernacle and the pegs of the court and their cords; 19the woven garments for ministering in the holy place, the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, to minister as priests.’”

Do not get hung up on comparing your gifts to others as if we are in competition with one another. Instead, do an honest assessment of the gifts God has given you and use them joyfully to further His kingdom working with other believers. Some have more money than others and that is helpful. Others have specific skills that can be used and that is helpful. Let us pull together joyfully as God’s people to work together and bring glory to His kingdom as we share the good news of Jesus our Messiah with the world!

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

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