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“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver.” II Corinthians 9:7

Have you ever wondered to yourself thoughts similar to these:  “I give my tithe to the Lord’s work, and yet I seem to be short of funds all the time.”  “God promises abundant blessings, but it just isn’t working for me.”  “I give to God, but the devourer still takes away.”

Perhaps your practice of giving needs a little adjustment from God’s Word.  Check your attitude in giving as you review these principles:

1)  Give yourself.  (II Corinthians 8:5)
2)  Give with contemplation beforehand.  (II Cor. 9:7a)
3)  Give ungrudgingly.  (II Corinthians 9:7b)
4)  Give cheerfully.  (II Corinthians 9:7c)
5)  Give without reluctance.  (II Corinthians 9:7, Amp.)
6)  Give without feeling pressure.  (II Cor. 9:7, Amp.)
7)  Give in faith, expecting a harvest.  (Luke 6:38)

Only as you give according to God’s plan can He open the windows of heaven and pour out His blessing as He has promised.  Do it God’s way . . . you will like the returns!

Pray:
“Generous Father, there really is much to learn about giving and sharing in Your kingdom.  Help me to understand where I fall short of Your plan.  Help me to line up with Your word both in attitude and practice.  Let my giving be pleasing to You.  In Jesus’ Name, I pray.  Amen.”

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” Malachi 3:10

Why is tithing so important to the Christian?

1) GOOD STEWARDSHIP – Psalm 24:1-2 states clearly,  “The earth is the Lord’s”…everything and everyone in it.”  God, as the Creator, has a right to ALL that you have, especially after you have accepted His salvation.  Now you “are bought with a price’ and ‘are not your own.” (See I Corinthians 6:19-20)

2)  OBEDIENCE – Tithing is commanded in the Old Testament through the verse quoted from Malachi.  In the New Testament, it was continued and affirmed by Jesus.  Read Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42.

3) WORSHIP – Money is a medium of exchange.  You labor to receive it and therefore it represents your time, energy… your LIFE.  When you withhold the Lord’s tithe, you hold back your LIFE.  You spend money on what you value or need.  Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart be also,”(Matthew 6:21) Giving to God is an act of worship.  “Worship” actually means “worth-ship.” Give to God because He is worthy.  Your giving shows that you value God.  Be sure to return the first ten percent to Him

Pray:
Father, I reaffirm my commitment to You by giving my tithe this week.  May it be a fresh start in my obedience so that the door is open to receive Your blessings.  I pray in Jesus’ precious Name. Amen.”

“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”  I Peter 3:9 (NIV)

Consider your shadow…it follows you everywhere…its motions are your motions… it is caused by the LIGHT… late-day shadows are long.  Spiritually speaking, your influence lingers as you pass by people and places.  Read about Peter’s shadow in Acts 5:15.

You are to bless your children.  This Hebrew practice, followed by generation after generation, has resulted in eighty percent of Nobel peace prizes being awarded to Jews.  They have been blessed, and their works have blessed all nations.  Every blessing must be:

1) Spoken.  “Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.” (Proverbs 3:27) Read about the spoken word in James 23:3-13, also.

2) Delivered in faith.  “By faith Isaac blessed…” (See Hebrews 11:20.)  By nature of the curse, the tendency is to focus on what is going wrong rather than on what is going right.

3) With meaningful touch.  Read Genesis 27:22.  It is said that humans need eight to ten hugs daily to maintain emotional health.  Hugs may help hypertension patients as well.

4) Accompanied by action.  Read James 2:14

Pray: “Father, I know blessing people, even the unlovely, is Your will and command.  Help me to do it today and focus on what is going right.  In Jesus’ Name, amen.”

“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place,  with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” Isaiah 57:15

The psalmist cried out, “Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee? Shew us thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us thy salvation.” (Psalm 85:6-7) The heart of man by sinful nature weakens day by day without the Lord’s reviving strength, but you must follow a certain path to partake of that strength.

1) Pray and fast more than “play and feast” so that you can build spiritual sensitivity and be able to recognize God’s visitation when it comes.  Consider Anna, the prophetess, in Luke 2:36-38.  Also, praying and fasting actually brings (births) God’s presence.  (Read Daniel 9 and Isaiah 66:5-14.)

2) Forget your past…sins, as well as victories…or you will miss what God wants to do TODAY.  Do not be satisfied to live on past blessings.  (See Isaiah 43:18-19.)

3) Let your heart become broken and contrite before God. Do not expect things to happen in a certain way or the way it used to happen.  There is a whole new anointing today, and revival will not come through hoopla of emotionalism.

4) Break ground for the future. (See Hosea 10:12.)

Pray: “God of mercy and grace, I rejoice in Your great salvation today.  Revive me again and again.  Breathe on me, Breath of God, I pray.  In Jesus’ Name, amen.”

“Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house.” II Chronicles 7:1

The prayer of consecration, or dedication, of Solomon’s magnificent temple is recorded in II Chronicles 6.

The act of dedication is “to set apart” something for a specific use.  Solomon knew the great importance God placed on this temple, which was to house the Ark of the Covenant that contained the symbols of God’s promises and the necessary requirements of sanctified (set-apart) living which the Israelites needed to exhibit in order to claim these promises.

In this dedicatory prayer, God appeared, and His glory so filled the temple that the priests could not enter!

NOW, in these days of grace, our BODY is the “temple” wherein God, in the form of His Holy Spirit, wishes to dwell.  Your parents may have “dedicated” you to the Lord when you were a baby, but, when you came of age, you made your own decision to be sanctified wholly unto God.  Let His glory fill YOUR temple! “You are not you own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body.” (See I Corinthians 6:19-20, NIV.)

Pray: “Holy One of Israel, I bow down before You and consecrate myself wholly to You today.  Fill this ‘temple’ with all the attributes of Your glory.  In Jesus’ Name, amen.”

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…” Galatians 5:22-23a

“For to one is given…wisdom; to another…knowledge…faith…gifts of healing…working of miracles…prophecy…But all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” I Corinthians 12:8-11

Are you growing the fruit of good Christian character in your life?  Are you earnestly desiring the gifts of the Spirit of God to operate freely in your life? Note the difference between FRUIT and GIFTS.

“Fruit” requires a season of growth.  “Gifts” are given by the Holy Spirit as He wills.  “Fruit” takes time to develop “in [its] season.” (See Psalm 1:3.) “Gifts” on the other hand, are to be exercised in the body of Christ for everyone’s benefit and edification by unction and direction of the Holy Spirit.

Review the nine fruit of the Spirit located in the verse above and purpose to cultivate and fertilize the soil of your heart today, that your life may yield good fruit.  Be desirous of receiving every good and perfect gift that comes from above.  (See James 1:17.)  God wants you healthy and productive in His kingdom.

Pray: “Tender Father, increase my fruit-bearing capabilities.  Help me labor not for the things that will never satisfy, but to sit at Your feet to learn of You.  Let Your gifts operate freely in my life.  I pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen”

“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Hebrews 12:11

Do you ever feel like the Lord is chastening and disciplining you?  There are times when a father must discipline his children, and, most assuredly, neither the father nor the children enjoys those times.  However, because of the father’s deep love for them, the children understand that the discipline is given for correction and growth in righteousness.

The Bible says in Hebrews 12:6, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth…”  Like every good father, God is in the business of perfecting His creation. Verse 10 assures you that He does not chasten you for His pleasure but for your profit… “that [you] might be partaker[s] of his holiness.

Picture God today as the Master Gardener, constantly pruning your life so that you will be more fruit bearing. Always remember: HE created YOU. HE loves YOU and carefully grooms His creation to perfection. 

The result of His careful pruning is “the peaceable fruit of righteousness.” Isn’t that what you really desire?

Pray: “Master Gardener, mold me into your image today. I yield myself wholly a ‘servant to righteousness unto holiness,’* and I rejoice in the work You have assigned to me. Amen.”

*Romans 6:19c

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