Tithing ~ Giving back to God, He will bless you!

What is Tithing?
Tithing is RETURNING the first 10% of our income to God’s church.

Leviticus 27:30 NIV84
A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.

Tithing is giving God my FIRST and best so he can bless the REST.

Proverbs 3:9-10 NIV84
Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.

Why Tithe?
Tithing provides for God’s work through the CHURCH.

Malachi 3:10 NIV84
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.

The storehouse is the church!

Put God First
The purpose of tithe is to teach you to always put God first in your lives. Deuteronomy 14:23 TLB

Why Tithe?
Tithing builds my FAITH in God.

Here is what Rick Warren says:

We’ve all heard the word – TITHE – Take the first 10 percent of their income and give it back to God. Why?

Three reasons –

First, we tithe out of gratitude for the past. “God, I realize that everything I’ve achieved up to this point, anything I have, it all belongs to You anyway. I want to give 10 percent back to You as an act of gratefulness.”
Second, we tithe to keep our priorities right in the present. It’s a reminder that God is really first in my life. (Deuteronomy 14:23)
Third, we tithe as a statement of faith for the future. When I write out the check or give money, I’m saying, “God, You’ve taken care of me in the past and so I trust You. I’m giving you this as a demonstration of my faith in you.”

In Malachi 3:10, God gives us a challenge: “Bring all the tithe into the storehouse that there may be food in my house. Test Me in this,” says the Lord, “and see if I won’t throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing you will not have enough room for it.” (NIV)

God is saying, “I dare you to put Me first in every area of your life including your finances and see if I don’t bless you.”

My family is experiencing so many blessings because of tithing and paying off debt. God is showing up and showing off! He is blessing and blessing. If you don’t believe it, tithe for 3 months and test God, in Malachi, that is the only place where God tells us to test Him. Test God and He will bless you beyond your wildest imagination!

Forgiveness

If is better to forgive than to harbor hurt and resentment. And God forgives me, so I should forgive others no matter what.

Matthew 6:14-15 ~ “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Give God Your Hurts by Rick Warren

YouVersion.com

In your life, you will be hurt by others; sometimes intentionally; sometimes unintentionally. How you handle that hurt determines your happiness.

When you bottle up hurt in your life and hold onto it – that is called resentment. If somebody hurt you years ago and you’re still holding onto it, it will poison your life. For your own health and happiness, you must learn to forgive.

The Bible says forgive and be forgiven. In fact, Jesus says, “If you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive the wrongs you have done.” (Matthew 6:15 TEV) They’re inter-related.

Forgiveness is the only way to get rid of the past. That’s one of the values of prayer. It helps you unload, forgive those who have hurt you and let it go so you can get on with life.

When we let go of our hurts and forgive others we are reflecting the grace of our heavenly Father, who forgave us and continues to forgive us. It means we’ve given God our love; we’ve given God our lives; and, in doing that, we worship God.

Managing your Time

Another good YouVersion post from the Rick Warren Daily Devotional. We all need to do this!

Jesus experienced enormous stress and pressure, yet it didn’t seem to disturb his peace of mind. In spite of opposition, constant demands, and little privacy, his life reflected a calm sense of balance.

What can we learn from Him?

Know who you are (John 8:12) — Eighteen times Jesus publicly defined himself. There was no doubt in his mind as to who he was. Trying to be someone you’re not causes stress!

Know who you want to please (John 5:30) — Jesus never let the fear of rejection manipulate him. No one can pressure you without your permission. You can’t please everyone. Even God can’t!

Set clear goals (John 8:14) — Jesus said, “I know where I came from and where I am going.” Preparation prevents pressure but procrastination produces it. You work by either priorities or pressures.

Focus on one thing at a time (Luke 4:42-44) — Jesus knew how to handle interruptions without being distracted from his primary goal.

Don’t try to do everything yourself (Mark 3:14) — Jesus enlisted twelve disciples. We get tense when we feel it all depends on us.

Make a habit of prayer (Mark 1:35) — No matter how busy Jesus got, he found time to get alone and pray. A daily quiet time is a great stress decompression chamber.

Take time to enjoy life (Mark 6:30-31) — Balance is the key to stress management. Work must be balanced with fun and worship.

God’s Masterpiece

Ephesians 2:10 NLT ~ For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

No matter what you do in life, God designed you with talents, gifts and interests that He wants you to use for His glory.

You are custom-made. There’s nobody like you in the whole world. And the gifts, the abilities, the talents, even the interests you have were genetically given to you by God. God made you with a specific purpose in mind and He wants you to use the gifts he’s given you in your daily life.

I love this, the Bible says you are God’s workmanship. The Greek word used for workmanship is poema. That’s where the English word poem comes from ~~ you are God’s poem!

You are God’s work of art.

You are God’s masterpiece.

Life is like a Marathon…

I recently took up running…well walk/running, okay…jogging? Anyway, I am training to go from my couch to a 5K first and then eventually do a Half Marathon in a year. Lots of time…but there is still training that you have to do, as there is in life as well. I came across this article on Tumblr recently and I had to share it because it is so appropriate as to how we should live on the road of called Life.

Philippians 3:14 has always been a favorite verse of my sister, Pam. She was a very successful track runner in High School and she still enjoys it today. She had it posted on her wall in her closet so that everyday when she opened the door to get ready for the day she saw the verse.

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. ” NIV84

I like it in the New Living Translation and The Message

“I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” NLT

“I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” The Message

Check out this article…amazing advice that we need to follow.

Life is like a Marathon
by Naeem Callaway

1. Pain is part of the process.
 There’s no way to train for a distance race without having every part of your body hurting at some point. It’s the same in life. Pain means we’re growing; we’re being stretched beyond our limits. In life, God always uses our pain to bring about growth.

2. Stay in your lane.
 In life, we’re so quick to measure our progress against other people, but God never wants us playing the comparison game. His plan for each of our lives is masterfully unique! Run your own race and don’t be prideful of anyone you’re outpacing and don’t be discouraged by anyone who is outpacing you.

3. Keep Moving Forward. You might not be going very fast, but always keep moving forward. The Apostle Paul write that he was, “forgetting what was behind and straining to reach the prize that was ahead.” Don’t focus on how far you still have to go…just keep taking one step at a time. God will always give you strength for that next step until you finish the race.

4. Stay hydrated. With running, if you don’t have enough water in you, you’ll never finish. In life, if you don’t have the Living Water (Jesus) in you, you’ll never finish.

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.. Hebrews 12: 1b, 2a NKJV

Paul’s Prayer for Spiritual Wisdom

Ephesians 1:15-23 NLT

Such a powerful prayer! Take it to heart, believe it!

Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called – his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else – not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.

Heaven Waits for You!

Heaven Waits For You by Rick Warren
youversion.com

Psalms 23:6
When King David says, ” and I will live in the house of the Lord forever,” he’s saying that God has prepared a place for him in Heaven.

That’s one of the most important connections we see in the Bible. It connects yesterday with today and then connects them both with tomorrow.

God says, “I’ve got this great life planned for you and surely goodness and mercy will follow you through it, BUT that’s not the end! I’ve got something else at the end!” God builds it to a crescendo.

So David ends his Psalm by saying, “We’re going to heaven!” Jesus saves the best until last. With God it just keeps getting better and better. The best is yet to come – “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” (2 Corinthians 5:1 NIV)

What is Holiness?

This is an post on our OKC Sisters Newsletter from Cindy Beall, our campus pastor’s wife about our upcoming bible study. Would love for you you join us!

If you would like to receive our OKC Sisters Newsletter by email, email okcsisters@lifechurch.tv

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From Cindy:

I’d like you to join me on a journey this year. It will most likely be uncomfortable at times, but absolutely worthwhile. You will see some qualities in yourself that you appreciate and others that you hope no one else notices. You will be challenged, encouraged, convicted and motivated as we learn what it means to be holy.

Did you know that holiness is expected in the life of every believer? (1 Peter 1:15-16) Did you know that it’s the promised birthright of every Christ Follower? (Romans 6:14)

Interested? Nervous? Excited about this journey? Good. Let’s boogie.

According to Webster, holiness is the state of being holy. When you think of the word  holiness, what comes to mind? I imagine God comes to mind, but maybe you also think of a few individuals who are known for their faith or good works. The Pope? Mother Theresa? A foreign missionary? Your pastor? These people all may be holy but holiness isn’t just for the leader of a church or ministry. It is for you and me if we call ourselves Christ Followers!  Holiness is essentially conforming to the character of God.

You may be thinking, “Cindy, I will never be completely holy and have God’s character so why even try?” And you’d be right. We’ll never achieve holiness but we are called to pursue it, to “run in such a way as to get the prize” (1 Cor. 9:24). Pursuing holiness will take effort on our part. Not a works based type faith by any means because our salvation is secure at the cross! But it takes willingness on our part to say no to our sinful habits and walk how Christ would want us to walk (Gal 5:16).

What does conforming to God’s character look like? It’s simply stated but far from simple to do:  Love what God loves and hate what He hates. God loves people and He hates sin. Oftentimes, we get that turned around and we end up loving our sinful habits and find ourselves trapped in a godless lifestyle. We also judge others and treat them poorly instead of loving them as Christ has called us to do.

As we walk this road and learn what it means to be holy, remember that God is for you (Rom. 8:31). God looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7) and knows when your motives are pure. He knows when you are trying to honor Him with your whole life because he knows you completely. (Ps. 139:1). But none of these actions will be genuine unless you’ve completely surrendered your life to Him. We cannot live a partially surrendered life and expect to be holy. Pastor Craig said it best a few weeks ago: “Our only reasonable response to Jesus is to give Him our whole lives.”  I believe that when we do this, holiness will be something we desire. And that, my friend, will change our lives.

Bold Obedience

That’s good preachin’….Craig Groeschel kept saying that all through his message during his BOLD Series and to tell you the truth….IT WAS GOOD!! It is probably a message that I will go back and refer to over and over again. Here it is four months later and I am still going over and over the notes.

BOLD

Amazing Boldness ~ Boldness is behavior born out of belief.

Acts 4:8-10 ~ Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit, empowered by God. He was not about to take the credit, but give all to the Glory of Jesus Christ.

In verse 13, people were amazed at the Boldness of Peter and John, they were ordinary men, with no special training in scripture. God gives ordinary people extraordinary Boldness.

Your boldness should amaze the word!! When was the last time someone was amazed by your boldness?? Spiritual boldness comes from knowing Christ, and knowing Him intimately.

Remember, time with Jesus builds your faith; which leads to boldness that produces spiritual results. “We cannot stop telling everything we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:20 NLT

Bold Obedience in Prayer
What you pray reflects what you believe about God.

We must learn to pray BOLD prayers! Sovereign Lord, you are in charge! (Acts 4:24a)

Two Bold Prayers
Pray for Boldness
Pray for the benefit of someone to lead them to Jesus. Reveal yourself to those who don’t know you!
Pray for Miracles. Acts 4:30

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. Acts 4:31.
God showed up, God showed off and God gets all the glory!!
Use me today for Your glory!!

Bold Speaking
We speak boldly about what we believe deeply!!

Acts 4:16-20 vs. 20
“For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
Not a religion, but FREEDOM!
If you knew my transformation, you will know why I am so passionate about Jesus!!! Jesus is that good! He has that much forgiveness!! I speak boldly because I believe that deeply!
Because I believe so deeply:
~I can’t help but speak boldly to myself. 1 Samuel 30:6 KJV
~I can’t help but encourage you. Hebrews 3:13
~I can’t help but lovingly correct you. Proverbs 27:6
~I can’t help but lead you toward Christ. Acts 4:20

Bold Obedience
In Acts 5:17-20, it tells the story of the Apostles being arrested by the Sadducees and put into jail.

17 The high priest and his officials, who were Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19 But an angel of the Lord came at night, opened the gates of the jail, and brought them out. Then he told them, 20 “Go to the Temple and give the people this message of life!”

~Usually triggers Opposition
~Often releases God’s Miracles
~Always requires Faith

** If you’re not ready to face opposition for your obedience, you’re not ready to be used by God. **
When you walk in obedience, you will not be surprised! Remember, delayed obedience is disobedience and partial obedience is disobedience.

Rick Warren talks about obedience in his YouVersion.com Bible study.
Biblical Obedience: Love + Trust + Action

Today, the word obey has a negative connotation. We view obedience as a forced, unwilling decision to do something we don’t want to do because we’re afraid of punishment.

But that’s not the kind of obedience that’s in God’s Word. Obedience in the Bible means this: love + trust + action.

It starts with love, as Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (NIV) Obedience comes from knowing that God loves you and you love him in return.

A lot of people think obedience is about fearing God, but God wants us to see obedience to him as a relationship of love. And out of love comes trust. If you trust what God is saying to you, and you believe that he loves you, then that will lead to action.

You need to have all three because action without love is just rote religion. And love without action is just mere talk.

God smiles when we obey him wholeheartedly. That means doing whatever God asks without reservation or hesitation. You don’t procrastinate and say, “I’ll pray about it.” You do it without delay. Every parent knows that delayed obedience is really disobedience.

God doesn’t owe you an explanation or reason for everything he asks you to do. Understanding can wait, but obedience can’t. Instant obedience will teach you more about God than a lifetime of Bible discussions. In fact, you will never understand some commands until you obey them first. Obedience unlocks understanding.

Often we try to offer God partial obedience. We want to pick and choose the commands we obey. “I’ll attend church but I won’t tithe.’ “I’ll read my Bible but won’t forgive the person who hurt me.’

Wholehearted obedience is done joyfully, with enthusiasm. The Bible says, “Obey him gladly.” (Psalm 100:2 LB)

This is the attitude of David: “Just tell me what to do and I will do it, Lord. As long as I live I’ll wholeheartedly obey.” (Psalm 119:33 LB)

James, speaking to Christians, said, “We please God by what we do and not only by what we believe.” (James 2:24 CEV)

God’s Word is clear that you can’t earn your salvation. It comes only by grace, not your effort. But as a child of God you can bring pleasure to your heavenly Father through obedience. Any act of obedience is also an act of worship.

Why is obedience so pleasing to God? Because it proves you really love him. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.” (John 14:15 TEV)

If you’re not ready to face opposition for your obedience, you’re not ready to be used by God. My prayer~God use me Boldly to make you known in this world!

http://open.lifechurch.tv/group/1582/bold

God Builds Faith by Giving a Dream

Rick Warren is God’s messenger! He is amazing! Here is what he says about God’s plans for your life.

Ephesians 3:20
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”

When God wants to work in your life, he’ll always gives you a dream – about yourself, about what he wants you to do, about how he’s going to use your life to impact the world.

How do you know when a dream is from God or when it’s just something you’ve thought up yourself? The Bible tells us that God, “by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of – infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.” (Ephesians 3:20 LB)

In other words, if a dream comes from God, it will be so big in your life that you can’t do it on your own. It also will never contradict His Word! If your dream is something that the Bible speaks against, it’s not from God.

He may be speaking to you now, but you just don’t recognize it for what it is. That dream you have – the idea, the concept – that thing you’ve been thinking about doing and would be of real benefit to other people, where do you think that idea came from?

God starts with a dream as he builds faith in you.