“It Ain’t Easy; It’s an Experience”(DDP) – Day 10: 2019 Dietary Makeover


I Still Feel Good!

Changing the way I eat, at this stage in life, is not easy. The experiences are akin to climbing a mountain. My success so far gives me more insight regarding the difficulty. It was simple for me to consume unhealthy meals and/or snacks. However, once I became willing to invest in healthy choices, the SIMPLICITY vanished. A changed dietary lifestyle becomes a catalog of experiences – occasions to experience God more intimately and episodes designed to prepare me to help others who are struggling. My dietary makeover is a productive investment in me.

I became exhausted with living a sedentary lifestyle due to physical disability. My behaviors need to change in order to realize different results. This is especially true in the investment world. When you are in denial of or dishonest about unfavorable rates of return, you are likely to suffer great loss. Investments are either productive or non-productive. Concerning my dietary investments, my health and body have greatly suffered as my returns have consistently been unproductive regarding quality of life. The more honesty I practice the more willing I become to change my investments.

The Natural vs the Spiritual

It is easy to be driven by sinful unhealthy impulses in the flesh. It is an experience to spiritually die to the flesh daily and live the Conqueror Lifestyle spiritually. I was invested in using food impulses to make me feel better. History has shown my dietary lifestyle was an unproductive investment in self. If I thought about it, I ate it – my dietary lifestyle was that specific. Regular emotional eating of unhealthy fried foods, sugary and/or salty snacks, vegetables cooked with fatty meats and lots of salt and a bevy of favorite desserts was an easy way of being regularly detached from a healthy lifestyle. The fast food industry enabled me to double down on my poor investment.

A dietary makeover is NOT easy! Similarly climbing a mountain is difficult. Healthy dietary productivity becomes possible when you understand there will be opportunities to realize victory over fast-food cravings, late night eating and overall unhealthy food choices as a new way of eating is on the horizon. This is what I experience every time I engage the Facebook Community of “Clean and Lean” subscribers. I am empowered spiritually by the Conqueror Lifestyle and naturally every time I connect to Dr. Ian’s content.

The combination of “Clean and Lean,” the product I use (I will unveil it on Day 20) and daily connection to the 10 Spiritual Directives of LiveTCL, are investments I have chosen to redefine my diet and redesign my active lifestyle.

Now, I know the returns will not come quickly. This productive investment is a long-term endeavor. I am be grateful for all results while I continue to embrace the daily experiences. I will not be deceived by self-defeating ploys for instant gratification like I used to. My gratitude is primarily based in God’s grace, loving-kindness and power. I am more than a conqueror through Him that loved me!

Yesterday I Won Over a Struggle

Here’s my inspiration for this post. I was having a great dietary morning/afternoon. The struggle to eat unhealthy food came, once again, as the result of seeing a McDonald’s commercial. At first I wanted to eat pancakes. Then I started thinking about making an iced lemon pound cake. The final thought was for White Castle double cheeseburgers and fries. The struggle with unhealthy choices became real intense! In the progression, the idea that I was doing well on the makeover and DESERVED a treat surfaced. My response was to use urban language and have a honest conversation with myself about what I REALLY deserved. Without sharing the specific content of my discussion w/ self, here are some of the highlights:

  • “You are not even hungry”
  • “Those foods you are thinking of are killing you, INCLUDING MICKY DEES”
  • “You deserve a better quality of life than to be fat, unhealthy and sedentary”
  • “You deserve the freedom to choose healthy options”
  • “Jesus Christ is your gateway to the freedom you need”
  • “Stop letting your sinful thinking influence you”
  • “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (I Corinthians 10:13)
  • “Walk by faith; not by sight” (II Corinthians 5:7)
  • “Endure hardship (suffer trouble) like a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (II Timothy 2:3)

My new investment is in the POWER OF CHRIST in me! I can do ALL things through Him, not self. He made it possible to live in me, so why not be more willing to invest in me? He’s in me! I ended up having a good time with the Lord, enjoying the comforts of home and eating “Clean and Lean” to conclude Day 9. God is faithful to ALWAYS be there in moments of temptation, struggle and unhealthy options to keep us from falling. In Christ, we can remain steadfast, unmovable and determined to stay committed to the investments He has given us the opportunity to make.

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It’s Time for a Dietary Makeover


2010 at Family Circle CupBeing overweight was normal for me. There was a time when I was conscious of my food choices to the degree that White Castle was no longer a desire. Today I keep a six pack in my freezer. I used to be a regular fixture at the local gym – doing cardio, taking step classes, lifting weights, playing racquetball and regular pool activities – to keep my body lean, toned and pleasing to look at. Now the only exercise I get is walking from my house to the car, parking away from the entrance of the supermarket and occasional restaurant visits and taking a shower – by the way I avoid the bathroom mirror’s imagery of all the blubber as often as possible. It is time for a makeover.

The normalcy of being a fat, middle-aged graduate student perplexes me to the nth degree. Self-loathing is inconsequential as I do my best to keep up a positive outlook everywhere I go. Most of the time it is because I am living the Conqueror Lifestyle which keeps me Spiritually fit. But lately I am struggling with my lack of physical fitness which is apparent to everyone I come in contact with as well. Those I encounter are met with a dichotomous interaction with a sober, Spiritual core that is housed in a body that is diabolically unfit. My experience with “let your light so shine before men”(Matthew 5:16) is congruent with realizing that people are not inundated by my good works but rather the un-pleasingly plump persona present in the room.

Now I must admit I am hanging in some pretty “nice” circles because no one has said anything to me about being overweight. They appear to be accepting of who I am. Some are even complimentary about my appearance in the clothes I choose to wear. However, lately I am really feeling strange and, at times, invisible in some of the locations I visit. It is as if people don’t see me. I have honestly NEVER felt this before. Prayer with introspection became as regular as inhaling.

“Lord, what is this I am feeling?” is where my prayers began. Upon further self-examination I became tearfully aware of how miserable I am with all the weight I am carrying. Then afterwards, I proceeded to eat 2 hot dogs – mustard, sauerkraut, relish -, pork and beans seasoned to perfection, a plate of french fries and a steamed White Castle double-cheeseburger. I washed it all down with my signature flavored sparkling water and diet cherry-pomegranate mixed drink on ice. Late night snacking on a daily basis coupled with an overdose of fried foods was my flesh’s way of coping. All of my deceased, overweight family members began to come to mind. In my family, food is an emotional product capable of supplying instant gratification that kills! We willingly consume it and all it’s perilous derivatives – diabetes, heart disease, stroke, esophageal varices and obesity.

Eating is no longer satisfying to me. In fact, I am at the point where I’d rather not eat. The toxicity in my stomach and small intestines which compels me to put sugar, salt and empty calories in my body frightens me. I eat because I have to not because I want to. Upon further honest appraisal of my appetite, while in constant conversations with Jesus Christ my Savior, I began to explore alternatives I could afford. Being on disability does not afford me the luxury of many current weight loss outfits out there. Look for another article on how difficult it is to eat right on a fixed income another time with solutions the Lord gives me. By God’s grace I became willing to invest in my future by committing to using a product a friend introduced me to last month that I will share later on. In conjunction with this product, I am also a believer in Dr. Ian Smith’s “Clean and Lean” brand. It is a system I choose to implement as I re-establish my eating habits over the next 2 months.

I am not on a diet. Since I am a child of the 70’s & 80’s, I watched the diet industry develop into what it is today. I believe in the Oprah declaration “diets do NOT work!” Today is the 1st day of my dietary makeover. I have eaten one meal today and I awakened at 6:30 am. After seeing it in action with my roommates for years, I am now a regular at making smoothies. Yes I have a particular product I am using as a meal supplement twice a day to get my body healthy again. It is AMAZING! I have not felt hunger all day. I drink water, I eat almonds as snacks and I am “walking by faith; not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). I believe the Lord sent me the answer by way of the product I am using.

I now believe being overweight is NOT normal. For me it is sinful! Gluttony, greed and sloth have kept me in bondage to food for far too long! For the record I read “Clean and Lean” in 1 day last month. I joined the FB group and posted my trepidation on 2 occasions which were met with much encouragement and empathy. The food costs are high and I need to begin stockpiling “Clean and Lean” foods little by little. Here is where my budding smoothie lifestyle is the first phase of my dietary makeover. It is my hope that I will continue to add this content to ConquerorShots as it is further proof that #LiveTCL is an effective Christian lifestyle. “…The Lord is the strength of my life…”(Psalm 27:1) and in Him will I trust. I know this is another leg of my life’s journey He has me on and as long as I remain connected to His power “I am more than a conqueror through Him that loved me.” The joy is in the journey!

 

Willing to Help Others


There is always someone who is in need of help. Driving through Atlanta it is clear to me that people are struggling. The homeless need shelter, food, clothing while the drug addicts need a dose of self honesty to stop the downward cycle of self-destruction. Commuters encounter each other in the hustle and bustle of hard work, appointment making and networking often in need of help just to smile. Hell, I need help just to cope with the mental, emotional and physical demands of being me – a middle-aged man called by God to preach, teach and live to serve others as a vessel of Light. There is a solution!

Helping others is spiritual. It promotes selfless acts of love inspired by inwardly receiving the love of Christ ourselves. Jesus Christ is love. We would not know true love if it was not first demonstrated by Him towards us. “We love Him because He first loved us.”(1 John 4:19)  His loving kindness is so enduring it progressively proves the excellence that is God’s faithfulness towards us. No one else in this world is going to love us like Him. His love is spiritual and great enough to influence that which is natural and earthly. Through His love in us, we become willing to help others experience real love through giving, caring, sharing, laughing and releasing it into the lives of others.

Agape love is the love of Christ characterized in 1 Corinthians 13. I Corinthians 13 GraphicHere’s how it works for me:

  1. When I see my ex-wife happy in another relationship and/or my associates happy in their marriages and family lives, my selfishness can make me bitter, disinterested and aloof. Agape love is patient, kind and is not jealous. Through Christ I can be glad for their happiness and thankful for the happiness I have know in my former marriage and family. I can and do celebrate their lives unselfishly.
  2. – my adult children’s safety, their financial stability and life choices –  Here is where I become fixated on controlling tactics to influence outcomes in others that will make me feel better about myself. The fact is agape love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things and never fails. Through Christ I can experience the peace of God through His love effectually embracing me spiritually. It is so powerful it enables me to experience faith overriding my fear. In the moment of someone’s crisis, I can “be” a staple of love, kindness, wisdom, hope and willing to help others – loved ones, strangers, members of the Body of Christ, etc.

In myself (my flesh) I am unwilling to be of help (service) to anyone unless I am getting something out of the experience. Selfishness will even make me lose out on capitalizing moments. However, through my spiritual position “IN CHRIST” I am fortified to be a vessel through which His love is freely demonstrated towards others. You too can experience the powerful, strengthening love of Christ Jesus compelling you to live in the Spirit and stay willing to help others in any way possible. With God, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!

Rev. D

YOU’VE GOT TO WAIT


Did you know that everytime you wait it is an opportunity to strengthen your faith? God has sovereignly maintained the use of time to develop our faith muscles. Yet we do all we can to avoid the wait or keep ourselves occupied with outside influences which distract us from the boring, wearisome experience. It is the soul and body which objects to the seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years of waiting. All the while our spirits are starving for freedom which only the Spirit can provide. You’ve got to wait on the Lord in the midst of it all.

I am going to restart the Cyber Bible Study next week. It is a labor of love I started last year with my mom. Thankfully, it is an archived experience I will have to remind me of our Spiritual relationship now that she is no longer here. Every morning I am reminded of her loving care for me as her first born. She is the one who, with the help of the Holy Spirit, taught me the importance of waiting on the Lord. It is time well spent!

This morning I heard the Lord in my quiet time. He said, “Job waited on the LORD!” This was a phrase from a gospel song I used to sing in my youth now becoming a shining glimmer of Spiritual inspiration as I pondered the remaining lyric “tell me why can’t I…” I began to reflect on the intensity of his experience. Since 2011 I have realized how important the Book of Job is for me as I continue to recover from being divorced after 20 years of marriage. I have lost my strength, my career, my wife and family, home, cars, vacation properties, savings, security, social standing and youth. Through it all I have had to “endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist and fulfill my ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:3) The rewards are eternal! The waiting is so unnerving! His voice reminds me of  My mom who taught me these 2 verses as a child:

Job 13:15 NASB  “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him. Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him…”

Job 23:10 NASB  “But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold…”

The first verse compels me to share with you how, in spite of all my loss, I found the value of “this treasure (I have & you may too) in earthen vessels (our bodies) so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.” 2 Corinthians 4:7. God has strategically removed from me ALL the things I used to IDOLIZE so that I would learn to trust in, rely on, have faith in the excellency of the power of the Spirit of Christ, the risen Savior, in me. It is from this source of power that I wait patiently on the LORD with good courage and He strengthens me in ways I can’t even explain. I NEED HIS HELP DAILY!! And because of His steady supply of strength I will maintain my case that He is my waymaker, heart fixer and mind regulator in whom I trust in as I HAVE TO WAIT ON HIM FOR ALL MY HELP!!! (Hallelujah Praise is in my hands!)

The next verse was mom’s favorite! We will ALWAYS be affected physically, mentally and emotionally by the wait. From a human perspective we just don’t like it! It causes us to worry, doubt, fear or become anxious because of whatever it is we want right now. Whether it is waiting on our children to come home from an evening out, or a package coming in the mail or public transportation to get to a destination, the wait causes our bodies and souls to suffer. When we use the distractions of the ear buds, phones, empty conversations or to the extreme become irritable – even to the point of belligerence – we miss out on the lessons of faith during the wait. God uses hardships, difficult circumstances, uncertainty, distresses, anxieties and fears to manifest new growth in our faith muscles. Always remember He is the Chief Proprietor of time. The way He uses it for His glory makes the difficulties with waiting diminish exponentially.

Job said, though He causes me to experience loss, pain, disappointment, weariness through overwhelming circumstances, I know it is GOD who is allowing these circumstances for my good and His glory! He knows what He is producing as my flesh is devastated with the results of the wait. God’s loving response to the difficulty is “YOU’VE GOT TO WAIT!” My faith, my hope and my confidence in Him is going to produce GOLDEN results in eternity which I can’t even imagine!

In the meantime, the waiting is much more satisfying when you focus on His presence, His POWER and His peace which are revealed through His Word while you wait. Can you imagine how Heavenly the wait can be? You will have some of the best encounters with the risen Savior when you hang with Him during the wait! That is what He created us for in the first place. Stop allowing the world and its influences to detain you from your appointed time spent with the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth! Spend all the waiting time with Him, His Word and His Spirit in you! YOU’VE GOT TO WAIT for the experiences to prepare you, train you, teach you just how FAITHFUL AND POWERFUL HE IS!

The next time you are bothered by the wait, read CONQUERORSHOTS, the Psalms, Isaiah 40:28-31 ,Ephesians, Colossians or Hebrews 11 & 12 and realize when you wait on the Lord in the midst of the external opposition to the wait, He will reveal the faith growing exercise He planned just for you! It is the epitome of His love for you that makes the wait worthwhile. Sign up for the Cyber Bible Study for more.

 

 

 

 

 

Watching My Mom Transition & Being Inspired


I have not lost my mom to death even though I watched her breathe her last breath. The pain of knowing I can’t call her, visit her any longer is horrific. However, I know she is in Heaven where there is no more suffering to be had. I can only imagine how wonderful it is for her now. That brings me joy. I am thankful for all the years she labored teaching me God’s word rightly-divided. Here is a reflection I began in the hospital and completed today:

I am watching my mom transition into eternity. I can’t help but be reminded of all the years of service (50+) to others teaching God’s Word. My sister and I were her lifetime students. Through the years mom and I have cast an unknown number of seeds of faith in the gospel of the grace of God.

It is for this reason that I am sharing 1 Corinthians 3. Paul’s message in the text lines up with the intention of this writing. It makes no sense to argue, debate or even choose whose message is noteworthy. Gospel seed planting is a group effort with Christ being the LEADER of the group. It does not matter who plants the seeds or who waters the seed to facilitate growth. In fact no seed can thrive on one round of watering. It is necessary for regular hydration agriculturally and Spiritually. Most importantly, all lessons, sermons, publications, blog posts et al require God’s increase for Spiritually, effectual results. No man or woman has the power to cause one’s heart to yield to the authority of scripture. Therefore, we must avoid the temptation to expect or demand instant results when sharing the gospel.

Stop insisting the student/hearer must respond to the Word in the moment of delivery for spiritual validation. Also, avoid being bias to the teaching/preaching of one person. The text indicates that, under the Authority of Christ, God uses multiple vessels to deliver His Word. Be equipped to discern the Authority of Christ and His Word as it is delivered. Or be equipped to discern where man is attempting to deliver the word himself.

Mom taught me, while teaching Bible study throughout the Tri-State area when I was a boy, God is responsible for any and all results after we deliver the Word. All efforts to teach, preach, share or write the gospel should be seasoned with the Spirit. Then, the Holy Spirit adds the increase in accordance to the Father’s will. All the while it is the Son of God, Jesus Christ, sourcing His Word into His children. What a Mighty God we serve. I’ll see you in Glory mom!

The Sharp Accuracy of the Bible


I cut my hand this morning while preparing breakfast. The sharpness of the knife sliced more of my finger than the frozen meat needing cutting. My understanding of the cardiovascular system provided some quick thinking while my spirit became captivated with the LESSON GOD WAS PROVIDING ME IN THE EXPERIENCE.

Never allow the sudden entrance of painful experiences to distract you from the fact that GOD IS OMNISCIENT, OMNIPRESENT AND OMNIPOTENT.

FullSizeRender
The aftermath of nearly slicing off the top of my right finger!

While the blood poured out of my finger and the intense, sharp sting of the running water made me cringe with concern – so much so I had to let the finger bleed until the thought to use gravity kicked in – the Holy Spirit was QUICK to remind me of Christ’s nail-scarred hands as He hung on the Cross BLEEDING for me. Since He was PRESENT in the moment  I was at peace with the trauma of seeing me bleed. Some would rush to the hospital with the cut I sustained-which may be NECESSARY in those cases – but God’s ALL KNOWING POWER prepared me for such a time as this.

OK the bleeding slowed considerably as the use of gravity was maintained for 11 minutes without interruption. Obviously the cooking stopped but more importantly the PRAYING began. There are many posts here on ConquerorShots chronicling the slogan “Prayer Changes Things.”  (Use the search bar to see) It soothed my doubts and calmed my fears. Suddenly I remembered one of the points from yesterday’s Cyber Bible Study   lesson I taught on Jacob. (You can sign up to get in on this free Spirit-filled weekly experience)

In Genesis 32:24-29 we see that Jacob wrestled with the Angel of the Lord all night long. The Bible lesson for us today is that Jacob’s experience with God’s Word cut him so deep it soothed his fears and produced faith to trust in Him exclusively.  The text reveals that at this stage Jacob was a mature man, having persevered 20 years of toils prescribed by Laban. Jacob was a father of 12 with 2 wives who supported His Spiritual reliance on God. Jacob maintained an abundance of fear for he and his family’s lives were threatened due to the death sentence his brother Esau vowed years ago. 

Jacob wept bitterly with anguish and heartache having lived to realize that all his worldly treasures could not deliver him from the consequences of his sinful past having stolen Esau’s birthright and blessing. God’s Providence for Jacob is undeniable as is the EFFECTS HIS CONSISTENT WORD HAD ON JACOB. At the time of the text Jacob realizes DIVINE incentive to wrestle (pour out his heart’s pinned up anguish from adolescence, working for Laban, having to marry Leah and looking at her crooked eye as the mother of  7 children and all the years he had to wait for his love Rachel to birth Joseph) with the Second Person of the Godhead – Jesus Christ INCARNATE – to the point where God changed Jacob’s name to ISRAEL. The evidence of it being a physical battle was the onset of the hip joint injury Jacob sustained. C.B.S. classmates have learned the name change was OBVIOUSLY part of God’s Plan made before the world was formed. (Psalm 90:2) 

This name change is so significant it can’t be overlooked. The seed that was originally predicted in Genesis 3:15, promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was now set in motion to become a DIVINE, UNIMAGINABLE, LOVING, JUSTIFYING SACRIFICE FOR YOUR SINS AND MINE through the manifestation of the Nation of Israel. Jesus Christ – the Lamb of God, the way the truth and the life, the Word in the Beginning that was with God and was God which became flesh so that He could identify with His Creation and SAVE US FROM ETERNAL JUDGEMENT AND DAMNATION – IS THE SEED PROMISED TO THE PATRIARCHS. 

God confirmed Jacob’s anguish as He allowed me to nearly slice off my finger. THE WORD OF GOD CUT JACOB WITH SHARP ACCURACY over time whereas a physical knife can cut our flesh deeply and IMMEDIATELY. TODAY, children of God/members of the Body of Christ, experience God’s WORD with QUICKNESS, ACCURACY and POWERFUL LONG SUFFERING RESULTS. THESE RESULTS ARE POSSIBLE BECAUSE OF THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST NOW LIVING INSIDE US THROUGH OUR FAITH IN CPR² ON A DAILY BASIS.

Without FAITH it is IMPOSSIBLE to experience the life-changing experiences God’s Word can demonstrate in your life

Jacob wrestled with Him in the Old Testament. We wrestle with Him daily as He is revealed in the Pauline Epistles as the Head of the Body/Lord and Savior and our righteousness and peace.

THE PRAYER: “Thank you Lord for allowing me to see how your Word operates on my soul like a knife on my flesh. My sin-sick soul is pierced with the DOCTRINE, CORRECTION, INSTRUCTION AND REPROOF OF YOUR WORD AS IT LIVES IN ME LEADING ME INTO ALL TRUTH FOR YOUR NAME’S SAKE WITH SHARP ACCURACY WHILE I LIVE THE CONQUEROR LIFESTYLE – in Jesus name amen!”

 

What Shall I Render?


Do you struggle giving your first to the Lord?  Do you struggle with giving your last to the Lord? Are you a tither? Do you give church offerings sparingly or bountifully? Most of all, why do you give your offerings? If you do not practice this NECESSARY sacrifice, what prevents you from it?

The answers will undoubtedly cover a wide spectrum of opinionated responses that lack sound Biblical teaching. While Israel’s experiences provide a dominant viewpoint that is upheld throughout Christendom, I want to emphasize that long before God called out the Nation of Israel from the world through Abraham and his promised son Isaac, God has ALWAYS required a sacrificial offering from mankind. More specifically, whenever we are blessed by God OUR THANKSGIVING IS BEST ACKNOWLEDGED THROUGH OUR SACRIFICIAL GIVING.

Abel’s offering to God in Genesis 4 is the first example of sacrificial giving. His brother Cain’s response to God’s acceptance of Abel’s offering is still GREATLY felt throughout the USA. Men and women are still trying to defy God’s requirements for sacrificial giving by rationalizing their human works as a means to get God’s approval. Case and point: a professional legal secretary will bring his/her skills into the church and work on various auxiliaries where the skills are needed. They will give from a place of authority and certainty which is coupled with human merits. In doing so, they will naturally assume that God is pleased with their efforts. They give to the church body with their professional skills. But when the church offering is administered they will struggle with monetary giving because they rendered professional services that were NOT compensated.

God requires sacrificial giving! It literally means GIVING UP SOMETHING GOOD. Noah is the example that represents this best! In Genesis 7:2-3 God tells Noah to gather up every clean beast on the earth by 7’s, both male and female. For example, Noah was responsible for loading 7 male sheep and 7 female sheep. The Godly instruction gives rise to the DIVINE EXPECTATION FOR THE SACRIFICE. The breeding would be maintained by the 6 and the SACRIFICE IS THE 7TH! It is also a revealing appreciation for the PROVIDENTIAL WILL OF GOD CONCERNING MANKIND!

God gave Noah the instruction as He welcomed Noah and his family into the ARK. The UNIVERSAL DEATH OF THE EARTH AND ITS INHABITANTS ENSUED. In Genesis 8 the rain ceases and God gives the instruction to exit the ARK:

Genesis 8:15-21 KJV
15 And God spake unto Noah, saying,
16 Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee.
17 Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.
18 And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him:
19 Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.
20 And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

Noah did not build a house for his wife and family FIRST! HE BUILT AN ALTAR! His gratitude for SALVATION FROM THE UNIVERSAL DEATH compelled him to sacrifice one of every clean animal to God on the ALTAR. The altar of sacrifice has ALWAYS been a representation for the COMING OF JESUS CHRIST, HIS DEATH, BURIAL AND RESURRECTION. Genesis 8:21 once again infers God’s understanding of THE PLAN of REDEMPTION Christ would fulfill. Today God no longer requires blood sacrifice from animals BECAUSE OF OUR ONGOING FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST’S FINISHED WORK!

If you KNOW YOU ARE SAVED BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS, like Noah we are REQUIRED to give – “not grudgingly, not out of necessity. God loves a cheerful giver…”(2 Corinthians 9:7) Our cheer, willingness and sacrificial giving of our finances is an outward expression of the THANKSGIVING in our hearts and minds for SALVATION. Under the auspices of God’s grace PROVIDING the FREE GIFT OF SALVATION AND ETERNAL LIFE, we can NEVER give too much. At this stage of Christian development, financial giving, church service through ministry and talents and any other form of “giving” is acceptable and pleasing in His sight.