Offering, Rest and Worship

As we meditate on the Word today, let’s assume that we are talking to God about: (1) Our gifts to Him and (2) Our day/time of rest, and (3) Our attitude and quality of worship to Him. It might be an interesting conversation in light of what He demands in today’s Scripture!

DATE WRITTEN: Saturday, 2021-04-17
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: Exodus 34:20-21; 23
TRANSLATION: Good News Translation (GNT)

BIBLE TEXT: 20 …… “No one is to appear before me without an offering.
21 “You have six days in which to do your work, but do not work on the seventh day, not even during plowing time or harvest.
23 “Three times a year all of your men must come to worship me, the Lord, the God of Israel. 24 After I have driven out the nations before you and extended your territory, no one will try to conquer your country during the three festivals.

OBSERVATION: As we meditate on the Word today, let’s assume that we are talking to God about: (1) Our gifts to Him and (2) Our day/time of rest, and (3) Our attitude and quality of worship to Him. It might be an interesting conversation in light of what He demands in today’s Scripture!

APPLICATION: There are three major themes in today’s Scripture and I would like for us to meditate on each:
(1) Offering – Remember, when God told Moses that no one was to appear for worship without an offering, or gift, this was at a time when the Israelites were being led across the wilderness from Egypt to the Promised Land. But God had no doubt that everyone had something to give as an offering. In today’s church, there are many who use the excuse that they only make minimum wage, so they can’t afford to tithe. Others may think they make way too much to imagine giving a tithe for such a large amount to their local church. Although God is their Judge, I believe that a percentage is based on the total income of an individual. No one looks for an excuse to not have government taxes subtracted from their wages. If 10% is due to God out of your income, then I would suggest that you look at your net income as being less government taxes and your tithes. That may sound like a lot to some, and it may sound impossible to others, but I believe that God is teaching us to be appreciative enough about all that He has blessed us with, that we are willing to give back a portion for His ongoing work/ministry. Remember the example Jesus gave about the poor widow who gave everything she had, all two cents? Does God or His church need our money to survive? Probably not, but I believe God is teaching us to be a giving people, not unappreciative children of the One who gave even His very own Son for us;
(2) Rest – I had a friend who once challenged me on the amount of rest I was getting. He told me about two men chopping down trees in the forest. One stopped ever few hours to sharpen his axe, while the other had no time to stop and improve the efficiency of his tool. Which of these do you suppose chopped down the greatest number of trees? Similarly, if we obey God’s commands to rest for one day out of the seven that He blesses us with, we too will enjoy sharper minds, rested bodies and more energy to work harder during the other six days. Note also that God quickly added that this routine should occur in spite of everything else that’s going on – even planting and harvesting!
(3) Worship – Cheerleaders will encourage players with the chant ‘1, 2, 3, 4, who do we appreciate?’ Taking deliberate time to worship God each week is much like those cheerleaders. Taking time to praise God for His goodness and His endless supply of health and provisions, is something that all thankful people do, whether to their parents, spouse or employer. Could it be that God will bless us even more when we stop to be obedient to Him and show our appreciation to Him through our worship? Let’s be sure to never think that simply attending church satisfies God that we are thankful for His mercy. From a heart filled with thanksgiving, our mouths will sing forth personalized, sincere praise fit only for our King!

PRAYER: Precious Lord, You showed Your power in wonderful ways, blessing Moses and the Israelites as You led them out of slavery in Egypt, through the Wilderness and into the Promised Land. Yet it was necessary for You to coach them towards giving, rest and worship. But this is so timely for us also, for we often overlook our blessings and take Your precious gifts for granted. Please forgive us Lord, and help us to be good representatives of the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. You are worthy of our praise each and every day. Please help us to make time for rest, and may we be faithful in our giving from the resources that You richly bestow on us. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. You may also visit me on Spotify and listen to Nuggets while you’re out and about. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

At Least 2 Benefits of Your Giving

As a child you may have been given a quarter to through in the offering plate, and that may have increased as time went along, depending on the financial success of your parents. Hopefully as you matured, this idea of giving became more of a partnership with God, and obedience to God. For His Word gives adequate guidance on tithes and offerings. But as we meditate on the Scriptures today, I want us to be reminded that God has promised that He will be even more generous to us, so that we might be more generous to the needs of His ministry here on earth. Let’s anticipate catching on to the generosity of our awesome God, and consequently imitate our God by giving even more through our tithes and offerings.

DATE WRITTEN: Wednesday, 2020-06-24
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: 2 Corinthians 9:11-14
TRANSLATION: Living Bible (TLB)

BIBLE TEXT: 11 Yes, God will give you much so that you can give away much, and when we take your gifts to those who need them they will break out into thanksgiving and praise to God for your help. 12 So two good things happen as a result of your gifts—those in need are helped, and they overflow with thanks to God. 13 Those you help will be glad not only because of your generous gifts to themselves and to others, but they will praise God for this proof that your deeds are as good as your doctrine. 14 And they will pray for you with deep fervor and feeling because of the wonderful grace of God shown through you.

OBSERVATION: As a child you may have been given a quarter to through in the offering plate, and that may have increased as time went along, depending on the financial success of your parents. Hopefully as you matured, this idea of giving became more of a partnership with God, and obedience to God. For His Word gives adequate guidance on tithes and offerings. But as we meditate on the Scriptures today, I want us to be reminded that God has promised that He will be even more generous to us, so that we might be more generous to the needs of His ministry here on earth. Let’s anticipate catching on to the generosity of our awesome God, and consequently imitate our God by giving even more through our tithes and offerings.

APPLICATION: Perhaps we should dispel a few myths that Christians in our generation tend to hang on to in their giving: a). I disagree with church leaders about supporting a certain cause, and since I never attend a business meeting to have my say on the matter, I will just stop giving. Perhaps then they will not have enough money to continue supporting that cause; b). The church is sitting on way more money than I have in the bank, so I will ease up on my giving and force them to use some of their own funds to fund the operating account for a while; c). I have found a needy friend that I will give my tithes to, until further notice. It’s a godly purpose, for God wants us to care for the needy; d). Unfortunately, I have run up a lot of debt and don’t have enough free cash remaining to support my church – tithes and offering; e). I have never given the church more than $99.99 at one time, so there is no way that I will fork over a check for $1,000 for that recent gift left in my dad’s will for me. I may give $100, but no more. Friends, I have a few questions for us to consider: 1). Is there anything in the Scriptures about any of the above examples? 2). Might we be ok doing any of the above and find a good explanation for God to support our actions? And 3). Do you suppose that God will still give you more for you to do more of the same that you’ve been doing? A great reminder for us every day is that we can’t out-give God! However, to know that two great blessings result from our giving, is super exciting: 1). Those in need are helped, and 2). Those who receive will sing great praises to their King for His goodness. You see, God never expects us to give because of the praise we might receive from our giving. Instead, recipients will sing praises to the King of glory! So let me encourage you today dear friend, to give from a heart that has been blessed already by the bountiful gifts of our Maker. Know that you are giving to the work of the Lord, not for the use, or abuse of church leaders. Your church leaders are answerable to God, because they were put in place by Him (according to Scripture). You do your part, and allow them to do theirs, for you both will answer to God for your faithfulness to the tasks assigned to you here on earth. Lastly, let me suggest that you place priority on things that you will use your income for. God is my priority, so I choose daily to give Him the first fruits of my income, knowing that He will meet my needs in the other areas of my budget as I place my faith and trust in Him. If you are not already doing something similar, please consider making God first in all aspects of your life, especially in your finances. Others who are blessed will praise God for all that you gave!

PRAYER: Thank You Lord for giving to me, thy great salvation so rich and free! Thank You also for blessing me financially! I am far from rich in the eyes of mankind, but You have given me more than enough to meet my daily obligations and to give of my tithes and offerings for the work of Your church and the needs of our community. Thank You for being such a generous God. Please touch the hearts of my readers as they evaluate their status on giving, and their true relationship with You. May we all place You first in all aspects of our lives, especially in the area of our finances, so that You may be lifted up by all mankind as they seek to know You personally and receive the free gift of eternal life. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

The Miracle of Giving From Fully Surrendered Saints

I believe that bank lenders may tend look at proposals from churches to build a multi-million dollar sanctuary, and they may wonder if the leaders have lost all sense of smart thinking and accountability. I believe the world looks at a congregation moving into a new building complex and they begin to evaluate internally if there are some drug runners attending that church, because they just can’t believe their own eyes that the congregation could afford such an elaborate building. Meditate with me on these verses from 2 Corinthians and let’s be reminded of how our Mighty God works in scenarios where His saints look to Him as the all-powerful, awesome God that He is!

DATE WRITTEN: Tuesday, 2020-06-23
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: 2 Corinthians 8:1-5
TRANSLATION: New Living Translation (NLT)

BIBLE TEXT: Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters,[a] what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity. For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem.[b] They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do.

OBSERVATION: I believe that bank lenders may tend look at proposals from churches to build a multi-million dollar sanctuary, and they may wonder if the leaders have lost all sense of smart thinking and accountability. I believe the world looks at a congregation moving into a new building complex and they begin to evaluate internally if there are some drug runners attending that church, because they just can’t believe their own eyes that the congregation could afford such an elaborate building. Meditate with me on these verses from 2 Corinthians and let’s be reminded of how our Mighty God works in scenarios where His saints look to Him as the all-powerful, awesome God that He is!

APPLICATION: Notice a few very interesting points in these verses. While reviewing the facts surrounding the unexpected gifts from these churches in Macedonia, Paul immediately pointed out these were very poor churches, with various troubles going on at the time. Now, if we were to have God bless these hurting people, we would probably tell God to please settle their troubles for them so that their burdens might become lighter. We might also tell God to give them sufficient money to meet their needs so that they may not have an added financial strain on them. But how many of us would ever think of asking God to encourage them to give more. Never in a million years would we think of something so extraordinary. But fellow believers, let’s be reminded today of the awesome God that we serve. When people who are blessed beyond measure financially give, we tend to praise God for them. However, when the poorest congregations out give the churches in a community, we could only praise God for miraculously using them as His agents of hope, and to richly bless them in giving. It becomes very evident that it is only God, and nothing, or no one else who could be lifted up for the gifts that result. I believe that the most significant words in these verses come from verse 5, where Paul explains how the saints gained the attention of their Master – they gave themselves to God first, then they gave themselves to the leaders God had chosen to lead them through this special time in their lives, and the life of His church. In various denominations today churches are ruled in various ways. Some are Pastor led; some are Elder led; and some are directed and led by the church body. Regardless, the churches gave themselves to their leaders. I believe this means that they committed to God that because they were praying so consistently, persistently and regularly for His representatives/leaders at their church, they would be comfortable following God’s direction or theirs. It seems evident to me that God saw the humility of His saints in these churches; He knew the needs that existed in their community; and He knew their hearts cry to give generously for the work of the Lord, even if they had no idea where the money was coming from. God knew that His blessings would not be overlooked or abused by these congregations, and that they would be humble in allowing Him to give generously through them to this important cause. So where do we go wrong in our churches today? Of course, the church is made up of people, so we must ponder what has gone south, or wrong, with God’s people today? I would dare say that we struggle in getting over ourselves. I’m not sure if we truly know what it means to fully surrender to God, much less to each other. Friends, our Father is the giver of all good and faithful gifts from above, but He’s not a robot for which we turn on a switch for gifts to flow in certain areas of our lives. Through a one-on-one relationship with Jesus our Savior, He knows our every need and He knows when we need something, and how much we need. He needs no directing from us. He simply needs our dedication to Him and our total trust in Him. He will supply all our needs, and it will be obvious to the world that our giving is far greater than anything we could possibly come up with. Let’s look for the opportunities to lift up our God and sing His praises. As He is lifted up, He will draw all men unto Himself. May I encourage you today dear friend, to surrender your all to Jesus, and allow Him to be God in every way. He will be praised for His awesome works!

PRAYER: Dearest Lord Jesus, we stand humbly before You acknowledging that we are nothing without You. In spite of the many needs that we feel like we have, yet You are so very capable of doing it again – giving generously through a people that have no means to give. Make it obvious Lord that You are in control, and that You alone can fulfill our every need. There is so much that we want to do in the name of ministry, but You alone know what and when something is needed so that Your mighty works might be accomplished. In Your time; in Your space and through Your awesome power, please have Your will and way in our lives, so that we may meet the needs of our community – especially their need for a Savior. Bless as only You can, in Your perfect timing! AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!