Saturday, February 05, 2011

Proving Our Love to Him

“You must set aside a tithe of your crops—one-tenth of all the crops you harvest each year. Bring this tithe to the designated place of worship—the place the Lord your God chooses for his name to be honored—and eat it there in his presence. This applies to your tithes of grain, new wine, olive oil, and the firstborn males of your flocks and herds. Doing this will teach you always to fear the Lord your God."
(Deut. 14:22-23)

I know there are many thoughts and views about tithing, but based on Scripture, its hard for me to believe that someone is obedient and in love with God, if they neglect to tithe. Today, my reading from the Life Application Study Bible reveals the purpose and proof of tithing.

Scripture teaches us to fear the Lord or revere the Lord and put him first in our lives. We are to give God the first and best of what we earn. For example, what we do first with our money shows what we value most. Giving the first part of our paycheck to God immediately focuses our attention on him. It also reminds us that all we have belongs to him. A habit of regular tithing can keep God at the top of our priority list and give us a proper perspective on everything else we have. Tithing is one spiritual act of worship or "worth-ship."

If you, as a redeemed child of God, are not tithing, you are short-changing God, and you are missing out on an opportunity to express your love to God. He doesn't need your money, but He desires your heart. We need to tithe to express our heart.

The New Testament documents it this way: 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. Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving. I am not commanding you to do this. But I am testing how genuine your love is by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches.
(2 Corinthians 8:5; 7-8)

How genuine is your love? Are you a cheerful giver?

May we never neglect the opportunity to prove our love for the One who willingly proved His love for us by giving Himself!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

A Call to Respect, Love, and Service

12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the Lord your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul. 13 And you must always obey the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good. (Deut. 10:12-13)

My YouVersion reading today sparked my attention to share with you the simplicity of our call as believers. Often we ask, "What does God expect from me?" Here Moses gives a summary that is simple in form and easy to remember. He stressed that the law was not merely an outward ritual of sacrifice and festivals; but a heart attitude and a lifestyle of respect, love, and service for God.

Here are the essentials: (1) Fear God; (2) Live in a way that pleases him; (3) Love him; (4) Serve him with all your heart and soul; and (5) Obey his commands.

Too often we complicate faith with man-made rules, regulations, and requirements. We begin to attach the world's definition of "successful faith" to God's plan. Are you frustrated and burned out from trying hard to please God? Do you feel guilty because you cannot seem to keep up with the "religious" requirements that others deem necessary for you to be in right standing with God?

In Deuteronomy 11, God directed this call to the essentials most forcefully at the older Israelites who had witnessed first-hand His mighty acts along the way from Egypt to Canaan. Even the Children were held accountable. Failure to love, obey, and serve God would bring God's curse on both the people and their land. (Deut. 11:16-17)

Are you concentrating on His real requirements? Real peace is found "only" by the way of... Respect, Follow, Love, Serve, and Obey.