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.
People in the world are quick to attribute success to good luck.In the same manner, they will attribute failure to bad luck.Good luck is not in the Lord’s repertoire.Luck is NOT associated with any of His characteristics.The Lord is Great in ALL He does.
“Every good and perfect thing is from above and comes down from the Father of lights…” is how James 1:17 makes the point in our title. All God does is good. The book of Job reveals that any evil in our lives is allowed by God. God allows evil in the lives of His children to build our faith in His Power to prevail over the evil. We are on display for the angels and all the evil spirits in the heavens to see God’s powerful goodness revealed in and through us. 2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
God uses His children to maintain His Sovereignty over evil.Therefore, good luck is in no way associated with God’s goodness, grace, mercy, compassion and love for us.Luck and Jesus do NOT add up.
Those who are content to base their experiences on luck – whether good or bad – are living in darkness.They are awake naturally but ASLEEP Spiritually! This begs the questions, are you walking in your blessed life awakened to God’s goodness? Do you associate everything thing that is good in your life with good luck? Do you equate your luck with God’s wrath? Are you believing that bad luck indicates God’s wrath? If so, be deceived no more.
Jesus is Light and in Him there is no darkness.David declares in Psalm 8:9 “How EXCELLENT IS Thy Name” as he concludes the 8th chapter.He starts the chapter declaring the same phrase.Loosely translated, the quote means The Name of the LORD is the most wonderful name in all the earth.His name initiates praise throughout the heavens‼️
David references Jehovah in the Old Testament where over 40 characteristics define His name.Here’s a few:
•Jehovah Jireh (The Lord Will Provide)
•Jehovah Shalom (The Lord Is Peace)
•Jehovah Nissi (The Lord My Banner)
•Jehovah-Raah (The Lord My Shepherd)
•Jehovah Rapha (The Lord That Heals)
•Jehovah Shammah (The Lord Is There)
•Jehovah Tsidkenu (The Lord Our Righteousness)
•Jehovah Mekoddishkem (The Lord Who Sanctifies You)
David considered all the wondrous works He has done.He looked up to the sky & marveled at His Divine handiwork of the sun, the blue sky, clouds, moon & stars.Then David looked at mankind, God’s handiwork.He marveled at how precious human beings are in His sight.David was convinced of God’s sovereignty!
Every aspect of our humanity demonstrates God’s excellence.Consider the nervous, pulmonary and cardiac systems & how they draw from each other.
The human body is a model of the Body of Christ solely exposed in the Pauline epistles. The Apostle Paul was given the commission to preach the gospel of the grace of God to the Gentiles after the Jews rejected it.(See Acts 13) Jesus told Paul to preach the gospel – Christ died on the cross for our sins, that He was buried and rose again from the grave on the 3rd day according to the Scriptures (1 Cor.15:1-4)
This is the Divine purpose of Paul’s ministry:
Act 26:18 “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”
What more does God need to do to prove to you How excellent is His name?
It is a travesty & shame how humans – men, women, boys & girls- both then & now have gone from reverencing God as Creator to reverencing themselves as gods.
You see it in every arena:
•In the homes
•In the churches
•In the communities around the country
•In the world
People are worshiping each other & themselves more than God
Their blatant disregard for the fact that God is the source of their life-giving air for respiration and blood flow – PROVES why Jesus had to equip Paul with the gospel of the grace of God REVEALED in Jesus Christ’s death, burial & resurrection
The Power of this revelation revealed to Saul changed everything about his life
•his name changed
•his belief changed
•his message changed
God Empowered him to preach, teach and live the gospel of the grace of God
Every detail surrounding his changes were not due to luck – good/bad
IT WAS DIVINE PROVIDENCE!
SALVATION IS A DIVINE OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU TO RECEIVE & BENEFIT FROM Spiritually
•You will go through hardships
•You will go through disappointments, uncertainty, and yes CHANGES
But DON’T LOOSE YOUR FAITH
GOD IS GREAT & GREATLY TO BE PRAISED NO MATTER WHAT THE SITUATION OR CIRCUMSTANCE IS.
GOD NEVER FAILS & THERE IS NO FAILURE IN TRUSTING JESUS AS Lord & Savior.
WHEN YOU PUT ALL YOUR TRUST IN Jesus Christ, LUCK is not a part of your experience as a child of God & member of the Body of Christ.
DIVINE PROVIDENCE IS ALWAYS THE CASE‼️
Included in Paul’s ministry is our final point concerning the title “Jesus is Lord and Savior; NOT a good luck charm.”
As Savior He saves us in 3 ways:
He is our source for salvation from our past & present sins. We must have faith in the blood of Jesus.
He also SAVES us from the principalities, powers, rulers of darkness in this world and spiritual wickedness in high places on a daily basis. We must have faith in the Power of the resurrection of Christ.
He will save us from the penalty of sin which is eternal separation from God. We are saved from the judgement the world & the Devil are guaranteed‼️ We must have faith in the gift of eternal life.
As Lord He is the Head of the body which is all those saints who, BY FAITH, believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is 1 Body and Jesus Christ Lords over it as the “brains” of the operation. Faith in Jesus Christ maintains His power to Lord (be Master)over every aspect of your life from day to day.
In salvation you are baptized by the Spirit making you adopted into the family of God where you are complete in Christ. His baptism can never be undone‼️ God the Father becomes your Heavenly Father who is watching over you both day & night.Every name David rejoiced in is maintained in Jesus Christ. He has placed His Spirit in Us. This is what makes us “more than conquerors through Him that loved us.”
Jesus makes EVERYTHING happen – the good times, the bad times, the easy times & the hard times – HE MAKES ALL TIMES GOOD AND PERFECT‼️
And luck has NOTHING to do with the outcomes because He is Sovereign
Human beings love in various ways. The variants stem from the origins of physical and emotional love which spring up in the flesh. In addition, spiritual love shows up in multiple manifestations as it is produced exclusively in a regenerated spirit. Therefore, when we hear someone say “I love you” it is necessary to discern whether their love originates in the flesh, spirit
Love is a powerful emotion stimulating our beings from the annals of our soul and spirit. Physical manifestations, whether overt or covert, can cause a man or woman to act out their character to the point where their behavior is almost animal like. This is extreme but true. The same scenario applies when emotional love creates all kinds of unwarranted, unrealistic expectations and demands on “loved-ones” absent of any rationality. This example is best realized when we love someone emotionally to the degree that “I don’t want them to be in pain – physical, mental, emotional – and suffer” is a driving expectation absent of any acceptance of God’s Sovereignty. Physical and emotional love originate in our souls where the seat of our intellect and emotions are.
The soul is the part of a human being that God gave life to when He “breathed the breath of life into him and man became a living soul.”
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Every human being’s flesh is controlled by the soul. The soul is realized in our thoughts, desires and feelings. It is a spiritual mistake to connect soulish tendencies with spirituality. Every human being is capable of love whether they are saved by grace or not. What is most important to understand is the soul is where sin originates in us all. It is Satan who uses our souls to manifest sin in us. He uses our thoughts, desires and feelings to draw us away from God. Our mistake is when we trust our thoughts, desires and feelings to be Godly leadership when it is actually Satanic. See what James says:
James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away (from God) of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.
Physical love and emotional love aka eros and phileo respectively, are natural tendencies. Unregenerate souls produce them. But when a human being hears the gospel of Jesus Christ -He came to save sinners from the penalty of sin which is eternal spiritual death by shedding his blood and being crucified, dying and resurrecting from the grave – and faith in the gospel originates, his/her spirit awakens from a deadened state because of the sin of our flesh.
Ephesians 2:1-10 confirms this:And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the]mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and]that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
We all need a daily infusion of the LOVE of Jesus Christ in our spirits. His blood that was shed has the POWER to cleanse us, save us and renew the spirit within us. Adam had this spiritual connection with God before the human race was infected with sin. From then to now man’s spirit is dead and in need of revival. Man’s spiritual renewal is through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Christ which raised Him from the grave – in our revived spirits making it alive and occupied with God’s Sovereignty that produces an unlimited supply of AGAPE LOVE. The epitome of Godly spirituality is the regular experience of agape love.
Agape love is spiritual love as it can only come from God – man can NOT manufacture AGAPE love without a revived spirit. A revived spirit, makes the mind renewed (i.e. the soul is now under the control of the spirit now indwelt by the Spirit. A renewed mind manifests new life that is lived in our human bodies as a result of new spiritual life being infused in us daily. Ultimately, we can know, feel, receive and give spiritual love that overrides human love. Spiritual love never fails. WE ALL NEED HIS LOVE!