Friday, March 31, 2017

MARCH 30 "KEYS TO PROSPERITY"

   HEARD someone recently say, "you mean a Christian that actually has money and is not poor and broke like the rest of us!". Many Christians, if we would be honest (as this particular person was) would utter that same phrase. Why are so many of God's people poor and broke?  Did you read today's reading? Are there not some guidelines here? Verse 15:3 "However, there need be no poor people among you... 5 if only you fully obey the LORD your God"   So we can only conclude by this that we as Christians must not be obeying God. "Obey Him in what?", you ask.  "Tithes"....NO!
      God getting most Christians to Tithe is like trying to squeeze juice out of a grape, no it's above and beyond the Tithe that Jehovah is speaking about.  Verse 7 7 If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them.  Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need. 9 Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward the needy among your fellow Israelites and give them nothing.
      The Church of Jesus Christ is failing miserably in the area of finances and morality. God's people are not prospering (this does not mean being rich) and there are many poor amongst us, but the answer lies in our text this morning.  Today's mindset is, "I will tithe and I can be squeezed maybe for an offering or pledge, but don't (Lord) ask me to give another dime after that, I've given towards Charity."
But God says, "no, you're not done giving towards charity, not if you want to prosper".   Always ask "why" when God says something.  Why would God say not to be "tightfisted" towards one another, why would God say, "there should be no poor amongst you", why would God say, "don't harbor this wicked thought in your heart" and the answer is....because we are guilty of all of these.  We want to store, gather and hoard for that rainy day, but God has always said, share and give away and I will provide. This does not mean spending your whole paycheck on somebody and then waiting for the mortgage payment to miraculously come in, but just as we take a portion off the top for God, perhaps we ought to take a portion off the top to bless the poor amongst us and if we who have abundance hoard, we may find ourselves poor now sticking our hand out for help. The paragraph finishes with this: "11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land."
     We feel smug saying, "I'll pray for you or I put in a prayer request" but God says nothing about praying for them in this text, He says, "be openhanded" towards them.  There's a balance in all of this I'm sure you know, but normally I don't think our problem is finding the balance, we are quick to come up with that, we are quick to be practical (ie: giving to them is a bottomless pit) but just be careful that you don't allow your reason, rational & practical thinking, to rob you right out of the blessing and prosperity God wants you to have and enjoy.