Category: Christian Living

Prepare to Meet Your Creator

Prepare to Meet Your Creator

Whether you believe in life after death or not, be ready to meet your Creator. Life does not end at death when the soul and spirit separate from the body. The common notion that everything, including humans, came as a result of the Big Bang has been debunked by scientists.

So, while we are still in this tent (our body), how do we prepare to meet God? We get ready by living in a way that pleases our Creator. But it’s easier said than done, isn’t it?

We are now living in a society where many people do not seem to care anymore about the consequences of their actions. It’s because they do not believe they will give an account of their life before the Judge.

I’m not only talking about unbelievers; there are those claiming to be followers of Jesus who are living as the world does. If you think you can get away with this, you are gravely mistaken.

If God did not spare His chosen people and judged them, what makes you think He will look the other way regarding sin?

Bible Verse: Amos 4:12, NKJV

“Therefore thus will I do to you, O Israel; Because I will do this to you, Prepare to meet your God, O Israel!”

Amos’ second message to Israel was to denounce her sins. Consider some of the disciplines that God had sent to Israel to bring His people back to himself. They experience famine, drought, destruction of crops, sickness, defeat in war, catastrophe, and ultimate judgment.

God’s covenant with His people clearly stated that God would bless them if they obeyed His law and would discipline them if they disobeyed. (See Deuteronomy 27 – 29.) Unfortunately, they often spurned His love, rejected His warnings, and chose death.

You see, choices have consequences. God brings consequences to his disobedient children. Israel is God’s chosen people and yet their actions showed a rejection of God’s word and principles.

Indeed, the world is constantly rejecting YHWH’s love and salvation. But how often do Christians reject the Word so that we can live as we desire? Like the Old Testament was given to Israel to tell them how to live, how well does our Christian lifestyle compare to God’s Word?

Learning from the Jews

Like the people of Israel in the time of Amos and the people throughout history, we have the capacity for giving attention to external effects. And we do this while ignoring the issues of the heart. We evaluate by sight and feeling rather than by truth (see Samuel 16:7).

We can easily join a large, happy, religious crowd, enthusiastically sing rousing songs, and put money into the offering plate. Yet, not be changed in our hearts.

Whether we’re involved in evangelism, education, social action, world missions, or feeding the hungry, we must do it for the Lord. Let us always be reminded that everything the church accomplishes for the Lord flows out of worship. If the fountainhead of worship is polluted, the church’s entire ministry will be defiled.

Let us examine our hearts to make certain our motives are right and that whatever we do glorifies the Lord.

Being Christ’s Ambassadors

Christians are supposed to represent YHWH unto unbelievers but the question is how well do we do it? Every person is appointed once to die, then the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). Since so few realize how quickly death can happen, we all need to be prepared to meet our Creator and Saviour.

So few people realize Nuclear World War 3 is about to happen. We see athletes kneeling over for no reason, toxic chemicals are being spilled everywhere, and strange blood clots are killing many people. And why is the news purposefully lying to cover up the truth?

Do you even know that infanticide is about to become legal in California and human trafficking is swept under the rug? It is only for God’s mercy that are we not consumed (Lamentations 3:22). Whether the world suffers the consequences of its own choices or the judgment of YHWH, they will still result in many people going to meet YHWH.

Yeshua came to earth so that every single person could have a relationship with YHWH but many Christians are doing their own things. How many Christians give the gospel to other people? Believers have the mandate to reach out to the lost with the gospel but many choose to live comfortably in their “own world.”

Things for the Believers to Ponder

How many Christians study the Bible so that they are not just blindly following a pastor? It’s sad to see how many so-called followers of Jesus are deceived into believing the lies that false teachers spew online.

And why do many Christians prefer being legalistic and picking fights with other believers so they can feel holier than thou? Are we forgetting what Jesus told His disciples before He went back to the Father?

John 13:34, NKJV

Paul also instructed Timothy to avoid foolish arguments that could lead to quarrels. Instead, be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people (2 Timothy 2:23-24).

How many Christians would rather follow a list of rules rather than have an intimate relationship with Yeshua?

What about Christians who would rather make excuses for themselves so they don’t have to make their life more difficult? How many Christians would rather chase the American Dream to fill a void that only YHWH can fill?

Are You Ready to Meet thy Maker?

How ready are Christians to meet their Saviour and YHWH?

I know there are many people not ready to meet their Maker. Revival does not need to happen at any specific location. It can happen anywhere.

If you know there is something you need to get right, please talk to YHWH and Yeshua about it.

Just ask Yeshua to change your heart and desires.


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

Recommended Resource:

One Less Grain of Sand: Fulfill God’s Purposes While You Have Time by Joey A. Perry Sr.

If you are a Christian who wants to do what God designed you to do, then One Less Grain of Sand: Fulfill God’s Purposes While You Have Time! is for you!

With each passing moment, one less grain of sand remains in your life’s hourglass. Therefore, you should make doing God’s will a priority every day!

As you read this powerful devotional, you will be…

  • Reminded daily that you should commit yourself to fulfilling God’s purposes.
  • Encouraged to do what pleases God instead of what pleases you.
  • Motivated to make the best use of the time God gives you.
  • Moved to serve God, and thereby make a positive impact on the people around you.
  • Filled with a sense of satisfaction that you are doing what God desires.

In addition to being a devotional, this book is also a journal! 

Each daily reading includes questions or statements for personal reflection. To make it easier for eBook readers to respond to the journal prompts, a free, downloadable, and printable journal is available. 

Print book readers can also use the downloadable journal if they choose not to write their responses directly in the devotional. The link to the downloadable journal can be found inside the book.

Humility Bears Sanctification

Humility Bears Sanctification

Do you know that the root word for “humiliation” is humility? Did it ever occur to you that to be humble, you need to humiliate yourself? You read that right; humility means humiliating yourself in the service of other people.

But it is also through humble service that we are sanctified because humility bears sanctification. The Lord Jesus exemplified this when He washed His disciples’ feet.

Bible Verse: John 13:14-15, NKJV

“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.”

By washing His disciples’ feet, Jesus put them on the same level as His. This is because the servant (slave) is not greater than his master. But if the master becomes the slave, he would be on the same level as the servant.

By becoming a servant, our Lord did not push us down. Instead, He lifted us up!

Keep in mind that the Romans had no use for humility, and the Greeks despised manual labor. Yet, Jesus combined these two when He washed the disciples’ feet.

Jesus: The Model of True Humility

Yeshua is the perfect example of humiliating himself so that His disciples would have a model of service to God and others. In John 13:1-20, only a few hours before Yeshua would be crucified, He taught His disciples how to have a humble heart.

Even though Yeshua is called God and Saviour in verse 13, that does not mean He acted proud or pious. There is nothing we can do that can match everything Yeshua has done for humanity and the Church. How humble do we compare to Yeshua?

Sure, many Christians will say, “We will serve the Lord and by extension love and serve others.” But how well are we doing it? It is one thing to say it, but it is another thing entirely to do it consistently.

Humility and Sanctification

Did you know that a servant’s heart will bear spiritual fruit in others? In John 13:10, the Lord emphasized the relationship between humility and sanctification.

The object lesson on foot washing had nothing to do with the cleanliness of the disciples’ bodies and feet but with salvation and sanctification.

When the sinner trusts in the Lord, he is “bathed all over” and his sins are washed away and forgiven. See 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Titus 3:3-7; Hebrews 10:17; and Revelation 1:15.

However, as we journey in this world, we get defiled very easily. We do not need to be washed all over again; we just need to confess our sins and God will cleanse us as He promised (1 John 1:9).

Jesus did not have to stoop down to the level of a servant or slave; He did not have to wash His disciples’ feet. He did not have to “humiliate” Himself. But He did it to prepare them for what was about to happen. At this point, the disciples had no idea that Jesus would soon be dying to save mankind.

1 John 1:9, NIV

Growth and Sanctification

In Jon 13:10, Yeshua said Peter did not need to be washed from head to toe, only his feet.

As disciples of Yeshua, we are already washed from head to toe, only our feet get dirty as our feet are in contact with the world. People in those days wore sandals on their feet which would allow the dust of the ground to get on their feet.

As we go into the world to fulfill the Great Commission, our spiritual feet get dirty from the sinful habits we have. Hence, the need for humble Christians that are willing to wash the sinful habits that we have.

When was the last time we individually saw spiritual growth in a disciple of Yeshua? Sanctification should be a motive of all relationships between believers. A disciple is anyone that is truly born again and has started the journey of spiritual growth and sanctification.

How do we see sanctification in other believers? Love and serve them by washing their spiritual feet. How much effort do we put into washing others’ feet?

Closing Words

If you noticed, this post is a continuation of the previous post on humility and service. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that two different authors of this blog would tackle the same topic.

God knows what kind of message His people need to read and hear

We today, just like the disciples that night, desperately need this lesson on humility.

Sadly, the church is filled with a worldly spirit of competition and criticism as believers vie with one another to see who is the greatest. We are growing in knowledge but not in grace (2 Peter 3:18). Jesus served His disciples because of His humility and love.

Are we willing to “humiliate ourselves” to serve others as part of our sanctification process?


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

Recommended Resource:

The Power of Humility: Living like Jesus by R.T. Kendall

Pride is often the true reason why we get our feelings hurt, why we feel rejection, why we won’t admit to mistakes, why we want to be seen with certain people, and why we stay angry.

Jesus gives us the perfect example of a powerful life lived without conceit, smugness, or arrogance. So why do we not want to admit to our pride? It is because of our pride!

In The Power of Humility, R. T. Kendall challenges us to look deeply into our hearts and motives to recognize the pride and self-righteousness there. Using personal stories and enlightening examples from the Bible, he demonstrates how pride interferes with a close relationship with God and reveals how to overcome pride and become more like Jesus.  

Jesus Teaches About Humility and Service

Jesus Teaches About Humility and Service

Humility and service are just two of the values that Jesus not only taught but exemplified during His earthly ministry.

On so many occasions in the Bible, we read the Lord teaching His disciples to consider others before themselves. Jesus repeatedly emphasized the importance of self-denial and service to others.

In Luke 14:7-14, Jesus used the occasion of a banquet to give insight into humility and service. He addressed the guest regarding humility in verses 7 to 10, And in verses 12 to 14, He spoke to the host about serving others.

Jesus Teaches About Humility

Bible Passage: Luke 14:7-14, NKJV

So He told a parable to those who were invited when He noted how they chose the best places. He said to them, “When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him.

And he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’

Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid.

But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

Humble Yourself and Be Exalted

Jesus’ teaching is clear – don’t think so highly of yourself that you expect the best treatment at all times. No matter who you think you are in society, remember that there’s always somebody higher than you. Being ambitious might be good at times but certainly not on many occasions.

Imagine a city mayor who went to a wedding banquet along with his bodyguards and servicemen. Upon his arrival, the host was too busy attending to other guests so he could not personally welcome him. Thinking he was the most highly regarded guest, the mayor took the best seat and made himself comfortable.

When the host noticed his presence, he came and whispered to his ear that the seat he occupied is reserved for the governor. The mayor had no choice but to get up so the governor could take his rightful seat. What a huge embarrassment for the mayor knowing that all eyes are on him.

Humility and the Christian

Humility is a fundamental grace in the Christian life, and yet it is elusive. There may be times when we think we deserve VIP treatment because of who we are in the church or society. Or perhaps there have been times when we exhibited false humility.

Do you think you have this virtue? Please allow me to say, “If you know you have it, you have already lost it!”

As someone rightly said, “Humility is not thinking meanly of ourselves; it is simply not thinking of ourselves at all.” Jesus is the greatest example of humility, and we would do well to ask the Holy Spirit to enable us to imitate Him.

A True Act of Charity

The Lord Jesus also emphasized the importance of treating people equally regardless of their social and economic status. Unfortunately, when we host a banquet, we prefer to invite rich and powerful people.

But Jesus told the host of the banquet that when he holds a feast, he should invite the poor, the lame, and the blind. Why should the host do what Jesus said? It’s because these people won’t be able to repay him. They could not invite him back because they couldn’t afford to host a banquet! However, the host will receive his reward at the resurrection.

The reality is that whenever we host a party, we prefer to invite our friends, relatives, and the rich and famous. We want to have people who can bring gifts or those who can invite us to their party in the future.

Of curse, there’s nothing wrong with inviting these people. When Jesus said, “Do not invite your friends, brothers, relatives, or rich neighbors,” He did not mean absolute prohibition. Such language is common in Semitic discourse and is used for emphasis.

The Lord’s point here is that inviting one’s friends and relatives cannot be classified as a spiritual act of charity. It may also be a rebuke against those prone to reserve their hospitality for rich neighbors. They intentionally do this knowing that these guests will feel obligated to return the favor.

Here’s a beautiful song called, “Heart of a Servant” by the City Harvest Church.

Greatness and Servanthood

In Matthew 20:26-27, Jesus taught His disciples that greatness is parallel to servanthood. Jesus said in response to the request of James and John’s mother for them to be given high places in God’s Kingdom.

In his reply, Jesus highlighted being a “servant.” The word here means a “slave” and our English word “deacon” comes from it. Not every servant was a slave, but every slave was a servant.

The Lord was teaching His disciples that the style of greatness and leadership for believers is different. The Gentile leaders dominate in a dictatorial fashion, using carnal power and authority. Believers are to do the opposite. They lead must by being servants and giving themselves away for others, as Jesus did.

Sadly, in the church today we have many celebrities but very few servants. There are many who want to “flaunt” their authority but few who want to take the towel and basin and wash feet.

But while there are people who are still willing to serve, it’s interesting to note that they also have their motives. Some are sincerely serving to glorify God but others serve for honor and recognition.

What’s your motive for serving God and others?

Conclusion

In Philippians 2:3-4, Paul uses the example of Jesus’ humility and service to encourage believers to do the same. He uses the word “selfishness” which is sometimes rendered “strife” because it refers to fractionism or rivalry. It speaks of the pride that prompts people to push for their own way.

And then Paul encourages the church to have humility of mind. It was a term of decision with the idea of being low, shabby, and humble. The basic definition of true humility is regarding others as more important than yourself.

Our motive for being humble and serving others must be the praise of God and not the applause of men. We must care about the eternal reward in heaven and not the temporary recognition on earth. Remember, “You can’t get your reward twice” (Matthew 6:1-8).

On the day of judgment, many who today are first in the eyes of men will be last in God’s eyes. And many who are last in the eyes of men will be first in the eyes of God (Luke 13:30).

Do you exhibit the kind of humility and service that the Lord requires?


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

Recommended Resource:

Rediscovering Humility: Why the Way Up is Down by Christopher Hutchinson

Most of us value humility . . . especially in other people. But Jesus taught that humility is central to the Christian life. Author Christopher Hutchinson invites the church to follow Christ—both individually and corporately—in this high calling.

A systematic and comprehensive treatment of this core tenant of Christianity, Rediscovering Humility is structured around the three times Jesus addresses the topic in Scripture—how it is found, embraced, and applied.

This insightful resource should be required reading for all seminary students so they can understand the pitfalls of leadership before they begin to pastor. Current pastors and church leaders will find Hutchinson’s critiques and suggestions helpful as they seek to create humble and healthy churches.

Individuals who have lost an appreciation for humility as a central Christian virtue will be reminded of its value as the best way to grow closer to and more like Jesus.

Humble Christians create healthy churches, but in today’s world of celebrity pastors and widening platforms, our churches are more than ever imitating the prideful methodologies of our culture. Through his critiques, Hutchinson also offers suggestions for how Christians can better practice and promote humility in our time.

Offering a fresh and updated application of humility to our day, Hutchinson calls for a return to the path of humility as the one pilgrimage most necessary for Christian faith and life.

By showing humility in all its truth, beauty, and goodness, it becomes a value worth seeking — if never fully found — on this side of heaven.

Man’s Opinion vs. Biblical Fact

Man’s Opinion vs. Biblical Fact

I find it disheartening that today, people value man’s opinion over biblical fact. When it comes to important matters such as family values, people choose to listen to what the world says. In other words, people give more importance to man’s opinion over God’s.

But no matter what the world says, their opinions do not change the fact about God and the Bible.

Bible Verse: Hebrews 13:8, NKJV

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Both Malachi 3:6 and Hebrews 13:8 declares that God is immutable; He is unchanging. God remains the same always and will never change. Everything else in the world will change but we can trust God to be always good, loving, faithful, merciful, kind, etc. 

God is Constant

We often hear people say that the only constant thing is change and it’s true. People may promise one thing today but turns around and say something different. Your life may be smooth-sailing and comfortable today but you’ll never know what tomorrow holds. A couple might be “over-the-moon” today but could end up in divorce in two years.

So, you see? Nothing is permanent; nothing remains the same. But God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

What Happened to America?

It is a shame that American society and much of the world have rejected many biblical principles. Many things have changed because we now live in the “Era of Post-Modernism” or a “Post-Christian Society.” These labels accurately depict the period we live in.

Post-Modernism emphasizes relativity and the encouragement to affirm everyone’s beliefs. It does not matter anymore if someone else’s opinions or beliefs are contrary to the truth. They are accepted and regarded as facts nonetheless.

Since society agrees with Post-Modernism, genuine Christianity has been largely rejected for being too exclusive. It’s no wonder then that Christians are labeled as bigots and intolerant for standing up for their faith.

We’ve heard of a Christian baker who was sued for not agreeing to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple. But this man did not do as asked not because he was discriminating against the gay couple or intolerant of them. Rather, he refused to bake a wedding cake because doing so goes against his Christian values.

America’s Rejection of God

What happened to the United States of America? Isn’t this country’s constitution founded on Judeo-Christian values? Aren’t the founders of this great nation Christians and they wanted it to value God and His statutes?

America has rejected God in so many different ways. Gone were the days when students are free to acknowledge God in their valedictory or salutatory addresses. Today, it is considered bigotry to recite from the Bible or pray in public.

Allowing children to Pray in School
Photo Credit: Change.Org

But no matter how much people hate God and want to get rid of Him completely, the truth remains. The truth does not change; God is still God! Are we all doomed to only find out the truth after we die? God forbid!

This is a wake-up call for everyone who claims to be a follower of Christ. It’s time to stand up for your faith and keep spreading the truth about God. Regardless of what the world thinks of you and says about you, go out there and share the Gospel with the lost.

Jesus is the Answer

We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) but thanks be to our Lord Jesus for redeeming us from sin. The only solution to humanity’s problem of sin is found in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).

Jesus left His throne above, and came down to suffer and die so that we will be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:18).

Indeed, Jesus is the answer to the problem of sin. No matter how good we think we are or how much good works we strive to do, it is never enough. This is because our salvation is not based on our good works but on the finished work of Christ. The Bible is clear that salvation is by grace through faith alone in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Do you know Jesus? Have you confessed your sin, received His forgiveness, and surrendered your life to Him?

Do not value the opinion of man over God’s because they cannot save you from your sin. Instead, you should start making biblical decisions because what you decide today will determine your tomorrow.

Final Thoughts

Christianity has become unpopular, but that does not change the fact that God still changes lives through the finished work of Jesus Christ. 

God has not abandoned His creation (Hebrews 13:5b) and He never will. He will continue to work through His people to accomplish His purpose. Even when things seem to be going in the wrong direction, rest assured that God is in control.

It does not matter what anyone’s beliefs are now. Time will come when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is God (Philippians 2:10-11).

Just because Jesus lived 200 years ago, does not change the fact that God has been revealed, The Bible is God’s Word, He still changes lives, and all will stand before a Holy, Righteous, and impartial Judge. 

Every person needs to choose whether Jesus will be their Judge or their Advocate.  Choose wisely for your own sake! Do exactly what God is asking. Repent from your sins, believe that Christ died to save you, and live your life to serve Him until He comes again.


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

Recommended Resource:

Mission Possible One-Year Devotional: 365 Days of Inspiration for Pursuing Your God-Given Purpose by Tim Tebow and A. J. Gregory

In his first devotional, the New York Times bestselling author and athlete challenges you to find your mission and pursue a bolder, brighter, more fulfilling life—by building your faith every single day.

Tim Tebow knows a thing or two about living a mission-possible life. The two-time national champion, Heisman Trophy winner, first-round NFL draft pick, former professional baseball player, college football analyst, and New York Times bestselling author now shares what it takes to move toward your mission. 

Tim reveals how you can find your mission and take a step each day to reach your purpose and your best future.

Through 365 Bible-based readings, you’ll discover how to:

  • Align your responsibilities.
  • Identify your priorities.
  • Elevate your convictions.
  • Make decisive, wise choices.
  • Fuel your drive and passion.
  • Set your sights on eternity.

The secret to a truly meaningful life doesn’t involve more comfort or ease. It requires a clear focus on who God made you to be and a proven guide to get you there. Tim is ready to help you live that mission-possible life.

Dealing with the Storms of Life

Dealing with the Storms of Life

The Christian life is not at all a bed of roses. We will all face the storms of life as we journey with the Lord. But how should we deal with them? How should we respond when storms come and how do we overcome them?

In today’s post, we will look at the account of Paul as he sailed to Rome. It was indeed a challenging journey because of the hindrances they had to overcome. But it gives the believer some powerful lessons about the storms of life and how we should respond.

Paul Sails for Rome

In Acts chapter 27, we read of Paul’s journey to Rome along with Luke and the other prisoners. Paul was not the only prisoner that Julius and his men are taking to Rome (Acts 27:1).

They left on a ship whose home port was Adramyttium on the northwest coast of the province of Asia. And it was scheduled to make several stops at ports along the coast of the province. They passed along the province of Lycia and got on board an Egyptian ship bound for Italy.

Paul's Voyage to Rome Acts 27
Photo Credit: Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod

But arriving in Rome was easier said than done because of the wind and storm (Acts 27:2-5).

After many days of sailing, the strong winds hindered their progress, thus, taking them several days to get to Cnidus. The pilot then steered south-southwest to Crete passing Salmone and finally struggling into Fair Havens. It had been the most difficult voyage and a portent of things to come (Acts 27:9-10).

Lessons about the Storms of Life

What’s interesting about this account is how Luke, an accurate historian, presented the important facts of their voyage. Perhaps, the major purpose Luke had in mind was the presentation of Paul as a courageous leader.

Having said that, there are four lessons we can learn from Paul’s Journey to Rome.

1. Storms Come as a Result of Disobedience

First of all, storms come when we disobey the will of God. Needless to say, Jonah is a good example of this truth. Jonah had to experience being in the belly of a giant fish before obeying God.

In the case of Paul, he was not at fault. Rather, it was the centurion in charge of the ship. When Paul perceived that their voyage would end in disaster, he warned them (Acts 27:10). However, the centurion did not heed Paul’s warning. Instead, he followed the advice of the pilot and the owner of the ship (Acts 27:11).

Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided to sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there. While at sea, the storm grew worse and they took a violent battering from the storm. This lasted for many days making the situation seemed hopeless. And it all happened because one man would not listen to God’s messenger.

What happened to Paul tells us that sometimes we suffer because of other people’s unbelief. You see, disobedience does not always have to come from our end. There are times when we go through the storms of life because somebody in the “boat” with us rebelled against God.

2. Storms Reveal Character

Second, storms have a way of revealing character.

On their journey to Rome through Cyprus and Crete, their ship was caught in a storm at sea. At first, the crew did everything they could to keep the ship afloat. They bound ropes around the hull of the ship to strengthen it and lowered the sea anchor to slow the ship (Acts 27:17).

In the following days as gale-force winds continued to batter the ship, they began throwing the cargo overboard. They even took some of the ship’s gear and threw it overboard (Acts 27:18-19). It is evident that everybody was terrified to death so they started throwing things overboard to lighten the ship’s load.

But the terrible storm continued to rage for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars. That was when the sailors and the crew thought that all hope was gone.

But Paul trusted God and obeyed His will. When God impressed in his heart that they were about to face trouble at sea, Paul warned the ship’s officers about it. But they did not listen to him.

Yet, he exemplified the true character of a leader by taking command of a difficult situation in a time of great crisis. What a difference when a person has faith in God. Instead of wishing for a change or selfishly trying to escape (Acts 27:29-30), Paul got ready for the demands that could come.

How do you respond to a situation like this? Do you easily get rattled? Do you keep your calm and be still? Will you trust God to instruct you on what you must do and then do exactly what He says?

Paul Shipwrecked at Malta
Photo Credit: IndependentdotComdotMt

3. Storms Cannot Hinder God’s Purpose

Third, even the worst storm cannot hide the face of God or hinder His purpose.

While at sea on a ship, Paul, Luke, and the other prisoners faced a terrible storm. After doing all they could, the situation remained hopeless and they finally gave up.

But a messenger from the Lord visited Paul and assured him that he would arrive safely in Rome. The ship and the cargo would be lost but all the passengers would be spared and cast on an island. God has purposed that Paul would stand trial before Caesar in Rome and no storm could hinder that.

God has a plan and purpose for every one of us and no matter what storms of life we may face along the way, God will overrule. As one pastor often says in his sermon, “There is nothing that is beyond God’s control. He may allow bad things to happen but in the end, His purpose will prevail.”

We can see this repeatedly illustrated in the lives of many of God’s people in both the Old and the New Testaments. If God did it before, He will do it today because He doesn’t change (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8).

4. Storms are Opportunities for Witnessing

Finally, storms can give us opportunities to serve others and bear witness to Jesus Christ.

On his voyage to Rome, Paul was with other prisoners placed in the custody of a Roman officer named Julius, a captain of the Imperial Regiment. But unlike Paul, they were most probably going to Rome to die and not to stand trial. What mercy that they met Paul who could tell them how to go to heaven when they died!

Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was also with them along with the ship’s captain and officer in charge of the prisoners.

As the weather was becoming dangerous for sea travel, Paul warned of trouble ahead. And when they were about to dock, the sailors selfishly tried to escape and save their own lives. But Paul assured them that the God he serves has granted safety to everyone sailing with him (Acts 27:24-25).

For the two weeks that they were at sea, no one ate because they were so worried and Paul urged them to eat. He took the bread and openly prayed and gave thanks to God (Acts 27:34-36). The sailors and officers joined him, and before long everybody felt better.

Paul saw an opportunity to share God’s goodness and he did not waste time. Offering thanksgiving to God openly is a good example for us to follow when we are eating in public places.

Whenever you face the storms of life, know that God does not only allow them to strengthen your faith in Him. Difficulties, trials, and even sufferings are doors of opportunity for you to share the Good News of the Kingdom of God with those in need.

Romans 1:16, NIV

Conclusion

The situation on the ship looked hopeless! But Paul was there and his presence made all the difference. He was the most valuable man on that ship! He knew how to pray, he had faith in God, and he was in touch with the Almighty.

At times, one dedicated believer can change the whole atmosphere of a situation simply by trusting God and making that faith visible.

Let the account of Paul’s voyage to Rome be a constant reminder of God’s faithfulness in carrying out His purpose. You may find yourself regularly battling the storms of life. But know that God is using these circumstances to teach you a lesson.

It could be that God wants to teach you the importance of obedience and submission to His will. He could be in the process of molding your character or allowing you to witness to others. God may also allow you to experience the rage of the storm to increase your faith and dependence on Him.

How do you respond to the storms of life knowing that through them, God is teaching you important lessons? Will you be like Paul who stood firm in his faith and trusted God to carry out His will?


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Recommended Resource: 

Trusting God in Dark Times: Transforming Devotions for a Lifetime by Montray Ashly

It’s easy to trust God when everything is going well, but can you trust God in dark times when a loved one passes away, your child goes astray, your marriage fails, you’re battling an addiction, you lose your job, or experience financial hardship?

God wants you to trust Him no matter what. He wants to share in your despair and know that He is right there with you every step of the way even when you can’t feel Him or see Him at work. He wants you to experience the light of His presence during your dark times and desires for you to draw close to Him so that the light of His love can cover you.

Oftentimes, you feel alone and that no one cares but God feels your pain and wants to show you His love in the most unmeasurable ways. He also desires to demonstrate His power to help you overcome the obstacles you face.

During your fiery trials, God will make uncalculated moves in your life that will catapult you into another spiritual dimension and change the trajectory of your journey. When He doesn’t take you out of the fire, He’ll accompany you in it.

It is then, you’ll realize that the dark times of trouble did not come to harm you but to ultimately bless you. What God will do in you and for you during tumultuous times will increase your faith, renew your strength and encourage your heart.

You’ll discover that God is a healer of brokenness, a deliverer in the wilderness, and a provider in barrenness. You can trust God in dark times.

Finding True Peace in God

Finding True Peace in God

Everybody wants peace to reign here on earth, especially during the Yuletide season. But what we need to understand is that we only find true peace in God.

It’s true; the world also offers some kind of peace. Isn’t that the theme of the Miss World and the Miss Universe beauty pageant? That’s why one of the common questions asked is how a contestant would help to achieve this should they win the crown.

Bible Verse: Luke 2:14, NKJV

“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

The Jewish word shalom (“peace”) means much more than a truce in the battles of life. It means well-being, health, prosperity, security, soundness, and completeness. Peace has to do more with character than circumstances.

Life was difficult at that time just as it is today. Taxes were high, unemployment was high, morals were slipping lower, and the military state was in control.

Roman law, Greek philosophy, and even Jewish religion could not meet the needs of men’s hearts. Then God sent His Son.

Isaiah 9:6, NKJV

Jesus, God’s Greatest Gift

We all love gifts, don’t we? Gift-giving on Christmas day isn’t just for kids anymore but for adults too. This is why all over the world, exchanging gifts is a tradition that doesn’t seem to be going away.

Did you know that even people who claim to not believe in Christ enjoy Christmas as much as Christians do?

But as followers of Christ, we must never forget what Christmas is all about. More than 2 thousand years ago in Bethlehem, God’s greatest gift came down to save mankind from sin (John 3:16). Jesus, the eternal God, came to dwell among us and became the ultimate sacrifice for the redemption of man.

So you see, gift-giving started with God. But He did not give us the most precious gift because we deserve it. We don’t, but He gave anyway.

We may never be able to out-give God. But knowing what God sacrificed for you, what are you willing to give to Him as a sign of your gratitude? If God asks for your time and talent, are you willing to say yes?

Celebrating Christ

Is it just me or is the Christmas season the busiest time of the year? Is it just me or is it also a very stressful time of year as well? Why do we make it so stressful?

Instead of meditating on the greatest gift that we received from God, we are so occupied with all the preparations. We spend so much time shopping for Christmas presents and delicious food to serve.

I see nothing wrong with celebrating Christmas with family and friends. But if our excitement for the festivities overshadows our gratitude to God then we need to reevaluate our priorities.

Aren’t we supposed to be celebrating the Creator of the universe giving humanity peace?

What are you celebrating every Christmas season?


Peace from the Prince of Peace

Throughout history, humanity is always fighting with each other for their own fleshly sinful desires (James 4:1). And they continue to reject the Lord’s principles. Yet despite that, God still loves us anyway (Romans 5:8).

That is why the Lord sent peace down from above. Yeshua is the only one that could bring peace to this world and our hearts since He is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

Only Yeshua can bring reconciliation and peace between the Lord and humanity (John 14:6).

Conclusion

Are you seeking peace on earth and goodwill to men? Peace comes only from Christ. The peace that is from above is not only peace to be reconciled to God. It is also enough peace to overcome the stressful times of our life (John 16:33).

If you want peace, ask God and He will give it to you (Philippians 4:6-7).

Do you believe that the Lord can give you peace with God? Then you have to act like He can give you peace in all stressful circumstances just as He promised.


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

Recommended Resource:

One Perfect Life: The Complete Story of the Lord Jesus by John F. MacArthur

Read the best news the world has ever been given about the most significant life in all history—Jesus Christ. In One Perfect Life, Dr. John MacArthur shares with us the complete story of the Eternal Christ from Genesis to Revelation.

Using Matthew as the base text, Dr. MacArthur blends the gospels and other biblical material about Jesus into one continuous story that will help you better understand Scripture and grow stronger in your faith.

No other harmony of the Gospels includes such extensive study notes to help you unpack the meaning of each verse.

Features include:

  • Verse-by-verse explanations from one of the most important pastor-teachers of our time
  • Every verse connected to Christ from Genesis to Revelation
  • A harmony of the Gospels that demonstrates the inerrancy of Scripture
  • New King James translation
Do You have to Go to Church to Go to Heaven?

Do You have to Go to Church to Go to Heaven?

In this post, let us answer the question, “Do you have to go to church to go to heaven?” In other words, do you have to go to church to be saved? Is church attendance a requirement for salvation?

This question is just one of the issues Protestants or born-again Christians and Roman Catholics disagree on. Catholics say that one needs to go to church to be saved while born-again Christians say you don’t. Interestingly, both groups use the Bible to justify their beliefs.

So, who is right?

Salvation by Faith Alone?

A couple of weeks ago, I landed on a website that claims the church is vital for salvation. Matthew, the author, went on to explain with several Bible verses why going to church is a requirement for entering heaven.

Here is part of what he wrote:

“Protestant Christianity believes in the principle of salvation by faith alone. Many Protestants interpret this to mean: ‘I don’t need the church to get me to heaven. All I need to do is believe in Christ. End of.’

Catholics and Orthodox Christians think differently here. In fact, there are probably a lot of Protestant groups that also disagree with this attitude toward the church.

For the Catholic and Orthodox mindsets, we believe that the Church is VITAL for salvation. And so, in conclusion, do we have to go to church to go to heaven?

ABSOLUTELY!

The only exceptions to this strict rule would be people who cannot get to Church, because of illness or other important matters.

The Church offers the world the holy sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist, plus others. We cannot get to heaven without the Church.

The Church is so important, that Catholics are bound – on pain of mortal sin – to attend Mass every Sunday and every holy day of obligation (of which there is about 5 yearly).

God loves us so much that he commands this of us with the highest kind of force: we must go to Church weekly if we want to be saved and go to heaven.”


Refuting a Catholic on Salvation

First of all, I have yet to hear a Protestant or born-again Christian interpret salvation by faith alone the way Matthew did in his article.

My comment on his article:

“I appreciate your boldness in tackling this very controversial topic.

Indeed, many people are asking this question: Does one need to go to church to go to heaven? 

The only place where we could find the answer to these questions is the Bible itself. If we believe that the Bible is the sole authority then there shouldn’t be any problem and we will arrive at the same answer.

Nowhere in the Bible does it say that one needs to go to church to go to heaven.

If there’s any verse, please quote it to me.

Salvation is by grace through faith alone in Christ Jesus, not by works so that no one could boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). What Christ has accomplished was all that’s needed to redeem sinful man.

I am not saying that the church is irrelevant. We go to church for fellowship, listen to the Word of God, and edify and encourage other believers.

Also, we are exhorted not “to forsake our gathering together, so much more as we see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).

We go to church, get baptized, obey God’s command, and live according to God’s will. But we do all these not to gain passes to heaven or to be saved. God has already done the work for us to be saved.

Unfortunately, the author chose not to accept and publish my comment and noted the following reasons for rejecting it.

 “God bless you, but I’m not happy to accept this comment on my site. I don’t wish to get into debates on my site between Protestants and Catholics in the comments,  take care.”



Avoiding Debates

I do not mean to rant about him rejecting my comment. But when you publish a post like this on your website, you are already opening it up to debates. And you are not getting away with this that easily!

Just like when I published an article on the Difference between the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day. Using Scriptures from both the Old and New Testaments, I pointed out bluntly why Sabbatarians are wrong in their belief.

I received a comment from a Sabbatarian telling me how I am gravely mistaken for saying we do not have to keep the Sabbath. She also said that she doubts if I would even accept and publish her comment as it could be damaging to my site. But I approved her comment and explained further why I do not agree with her. 

Going back to Matthew’s rejection of my comment, I wrote another comment saying that if he is confident in what he and his church are teaching, there’s no need to shy away from opposing views.

Again, he refused to publish it. I guess, he just wanted comments that agree with his views. After all, his target audience is Roman Catholics based on his website’s name and URL

I understand that as the owner of his website, he has full control over what people can read either in the posts or comments. I just wish he’d be more open to differing views and then explain why he is correct and the other party is wrong. It would have been an opportunity for him to defend his views and shed light on some of the supposed misconceptions about Catholic beliefs.

How Do We Get Saved?

If going to church does not save, how then does one get saved? How do you know you are going to heaven? As I said in my comment on Matthew’s article, the only place where to find the answer is the Word of God.

So, let us look at what the Scriptures say about salvation, receiving eternal life, or going to heaven.

Be Born Again to Enter Heaven

I think we all know the story of Nicodemus, a Pharisee, and ruler of the Jews, who came to Jesus by night. Without Nicodemus asking directly how to get to heaven, Jesus plainly said he had to be born again (John 3:1-7).

Think about this for a moment; Nicodemus was a Pharisee and as such he strictly observed traditional rabbinic laws. Yet he had no assurance of salvation. In essence, he was asking Jesus what else he had to do or stop doing to earn a ticket to heaven.

Quote about Heaven

Jesus’ statement was imperative; there is nothing Nicodemus or you and I could do to gain entry to heaven. What we need to do is get born again and become a follower of Christ. But what did Jesus mean exactly when He said, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”?

May I refer you to these articles on this site:

Born Again: A New Religion
Nicodemus Transformed by Jesus

Salvation is by Grace through Faith

Ephesians 2:8-9 is just one of the passages that make explicit the truth of salvation by grace through faith alone in the Lord Jesus. Salvation is a gift from God; we do not deserve it nor can we earn it. I am pretty sure you have already heard many times that grace means “undeserved favor.”

The verse says salvation is not by works which simply means there is nothing you can do to earn it. Let me say it again; salvation is a gift from God through the Lord Jesus Christ.

And since it is a gift, all we have to do is receive it just like we do any gift that other people give to us.

For more on this, you can check out Romans 3:20, Galatians 2:16, and Titus 3:5.

Jesus is the Way to the Father in Heaven

Jesus’ statement in John 14:6 is also explicit. Thomas said they didn’t know where the Lord was going and asked how would they know. In response, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

God’s dwelling place is in heaven and Jesus said He was going back to the Father. If we can get to heaven by going to church, why did Jesus have to lead the way? Why did He have to leave His throne above, suffer and die at the hands of His creation just to redeem us from sin?

My Conversation with a Muslim

I am reminded of my conversation with a former colleague who was a Muslim while I was based in the Middle East. Muslims believe that your final destiny after your life here on earth depends on your works. In other words, they believe in work-based salvation.

To qualify for heaven where Allah is, your good deeds would have to outweigh your bad deeds. This means you’ll never know while you are alive if you are going to heaven when you die or not. All they can do is keep earning good points by following strictly the five pillars of Islam.

I said to my colleague that there are only two places where man will go after life on earth – heaven or hell. If she wanted assurance into heaven she would have to confess Christ as her Lord and accept His gift of salvation. This is because Jesus is the way to heaven; not one of the ways but the only way.

She got mad and started yelling, “So, you are sending me to hell?” To which I replied, “Going to hell is a choice and a personal decision. It’s not God’s will that anyone should perish in hell that is why He sent His Son to suffer and die for us. Would you accept His gift of salvation?”

She got pissed all the more so I had to shut up.


The Role of the Church

If going to church does not save, what then is its role in the Christian life?

First of all, the church can refer to the building where we gather for worship or the people of God. That’s right; you, me, and we are the “church.” But for this particular post, I will be referencing the building as the church.

As I said to Matthew, going to church is necessary because this is where we serve God and our fellow believers in Jesus. The church is where we are trained for service and ministry (Ephesians 4:12). We go to church to praise and worship the Lord and hear God’s Word. The church is where we learn the fundamental doctrines of Christianity and also where we observe the Lord’s Supper.

When we got born again, we were adopted into God’s family and became part of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). As members of God’s family, we are to encourage and edify one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11-15).

So I say the church, our spiritual family, plays a vital role in our spiritual growth. Perhaps, it’s also in the church where you first heard the Good News of salvation. Praise the Lord for the church!

Conclusion

Just as baptism does not save, going to church does not contribute to one’s salvation.

It is only through the finished works of Christ that salvation became available to anyone. The Bible makes it clear that we are not saved by doing good works.

Rather, we gain entry to heaven because of what Christ has accomplished on the cross. Jesus, who is God, came to live as a perfect human being, submitted to the will of God and redeemed us from sin.

This is why when Jesus breathed His last, He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). In essence, Jesus signaled the end of the Jewish sacrificial system and paid for all our sins.

But this does not mean we are to neglect to go to church. Just because we are already enjoying God’s gift of eternal life, we don’t need the church.

The church is our spiritual family and we are to care for it even more than our physical family.

Have you received God’s gift of eternal life by acknowledging you’re a sinner in need of salvation? Why don’t you do it right now? Confess your sins to God, receive His forgiveness, and surrender your life to Him as your Lord and Savior.


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Recommended Resource: 

The Doctrine of Salvation: By Grace Through Faith, the Gift of God by Dave Hunt and T. A. McMahon

GUARANTEED to be OUT OF THIS WORLD—Salvation is truly “the gift that keeps on giving”—not only in this life but for all eternity.

It is called “the gift of God,” but what did it really cost? How can we possibly receive so rich a reward? And is there any danger that such an invaluable treasure can be lost or stolen?

This delightful little volume features 50 daily readings on the Doctrine of Salvation—a wealth of Scripture knowledge describing God’s invaluable gift to the world.

Mined from the media vault of Search the Scriptures Daily radio broadcast and condensed into a convenient devotional format, this treasure chest of biblical insights by Dave Hunt and T. A. McMahon is artfully arranged as a string of precious pearls, interspersed with devotional prayers, hymns, and heartfelt reflection.

In these pages, readers will find genuine hope of their blessed assurance and discover (or rediscover) the joy of their salvation in this life—sealed by God’s Solid Rock guarantee. “The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation.” —2 Samuel 22:47

Who Has Your Devotion?

Who Has Your Devotion?

If I ask you the question, “Who has your devotion?” what would your answer be? As a Christian, the answer to this question should be easy. You don’t even have to think deeply and hard.

Unless you have some other things or people in mind that you are devoted to.

I am reminded of the song “Hopelessly Devoted to You” by Olivia Newton-John. In this song, the woman who was left brokenhearted by the man couldn’t get over him. Her mind is telling her to forget him, but her heart is telling her to hold on and remain true and loyal to him.

But first, what is devotion, and what does it mean to be devoted to somebody or something?

Meaning of Devotion
Photo Credit: Merriam-Webster

Devotion and Devoted

Vocabulary Dot Com defines devotion as a commitment or dedication to some purpose or feelings of ardent love. As far as religion is concerned, devotion is a religious zeal that drives one to willingly serve God. To this extent, devotion can become cultic and idolatrous.

Thus, to be devoted means to be extremely loyal and loving to someone or something. It means being focused on that particular thing or person almost exclusively.

Devotion Equals Love

Our devotion as Christians should be first and foremost to God. Our Lord Jesus commanded us “to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength” (Mark 12:30).

Mark adds strength but this quote is from Deuteronomy 6:4-5. The use of these various terms, heart, soul, mind, and strength is not meant to delineate distinct human faculties. Rather, it is to underscore the completeness of the kind of love that is called for.

But what is love and what does it look like today? Is it just a feeling that can be lost? Is it just an affirmation that can be later rejected? No, love is a commitment despite all circumstances.

In other words, love is a form of worship and devotion to the One exalted above everything else. And that is God! Only God deserves that position as Exodus 20:3 says.

The Proper Object of Devotion

Did you know we could be devoted to almost anything? We can make idols out of anything. That makes us sinners before a Holy God. All of us have at some point made choices contrary to God’s Will.

The phrase, “before Me” (Exodus 20:3) is the most appropriate expression in the light of the next few verses. All false gods stand in opposition to the One true God and the worship of them is incomparable with the worship of Yahweh.

Yet the better question is whether we all individually have repented and devoted our lives to living biblically. By the way, a biblical life is a holy life as 1 Peter 1:14-15 says.

Living a Holy Life

A holy life is a life devoted to living according to the truth. A sincere unbeliever knows nothing in this world and gives ultimate purpose, meaning, or hope as Ecclesiastes 1:2 says.

Holiness essentially defines the Christian’s new nature and conduct in contrast with his/her pre-salvation lifestyle. The reason for practicing a holy manner of living is that Christians are associated with the holy God. Thus, they must treat Him and His Word with respect and reverence.

1 Peter 1:14-15, NKJV

Just a quick note; to be holy in the Lord does not mean what the world says. It’s not about going to church every Sunday and practicing all the rituals or keeping traditions that aren’t even biblical.

Living a holy life means not doing what the world does. That’s why Paul said in Romans 12:2 that followers of Christ should no longer conform to the patterns of this world. Take note that Christians are no longer citizens of this world but of heaven.

Conclusion

Who has your devotion? Your spouse or partner in life? Is it your kids and family? Perhaps your career or business?

There is nothing wrong with being extremely loving and loyal to those mentioned. But our devotion must be first and foremost to God. This is why the first and greatest commandment is loving God with all that we are. And the second is loving our fellowmen.

This just goes to show that we cannot truly love ourselves and others without loving God first.

God wants our devotion, and He deserves it because of who He is: our Saviour, God, and King!


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

Recommended Resource:

Devoted to God by Sinclair B. Ferguson

Christians are transformed by the renewing of their minds. They understand that in large measure how they think about the gospel will determine how they will live for God’s glory.

They learn to allow the word of God to do its own work, informing and influencing the way they think in order to shape the way they live.

In a series of Scripture-enriched chapters, Sinclair B. Ferguson’s Devoted to God works out this principle in detail. It provides what he describes as ‘blueprints for sanctification’ an orderly exposition of central New Testament passages on holiness.

Devoted to God thus builds a strong and reliable structural framework for practical Christian living. It stresses the foundational importance of fundamental issues such as union with Christ, the rhythms of spiritual growth, the reality of spiritual conflict, and the role of God’s law.

Here is a fresh approach to an always relevant subject, and a working manual to which the Christian can turn again and again for biblical instruction and spiritual direction.

The Difference between Tithes and Offerings

The Difference between Tithes and Offerings

Most Christians know the difference between tithes and offerings. But for the sake of those who do not know or are not aware, we will tackle this topic in this article.

If you go to a Christian church that believes in the principle of tithing, you must be familiar with the Bible verses that they use. If your church does not believe that Christians today should tithe, you must be accustomed only to the offerings.

But you must know that there are different kinds of offerings as we read in the Bible (Leviticus) namely:

  • Burnt offering (Leviticus 1:1-9)
  • Grain offering (Leviticus 2:1-16)
  • Peace offering (Leviticus 3:1-17)
  • Purification or Sin offering (Leviticus 4:1-35)
  • Guilt or Trespass offering (Leviticus 5:14-19)

In the New Testament, an offering could just be love, special, or simply a freewill offering.

Whether or not I believe that Christians today are commanded to tithe is not the scope of this post. There’s a separate article I wrote years ago on the Biblical Truth About Tithing. Should you want to read it, just follow the link.

Deuteronomy 14:22, NIV

The Tithe

Whenever we hear the word tithe, it simply refers to a tenth (10%) of all that we earn (Leviticus 27:30). Deuteronomy 14:22 commands, “Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year.”

Wait a minute, what about Christians who do not have any field, how are they supposed to tithe? There have been a lot of debates and arguments about tithing. What’s interesting is that both sides (pro and anti) use the same Bible verses to justify their claim. So, whose right???

Law of Tithing in the OT

In context, Leviticus 27:28-30 talks about the devoted offering that is holy to the Lord. These are the things that God has especially “set apart” for Himself such as the spoils of war at Jericho (Joshua 6:17-18; 7:11-15).

Both objects and people could fit under this command. This means God put them under a ban so that they wholly belonged to Him. The major lesson is that God expects us to keep our commitments to Him and be honest in all our dealings with Him.

Deuteronomy 14:22 is one of the Bible verses that is often quoted when exhorting people to tithe. But while it specifically talks about setting aside a tenth, this verse is specific to that of agricultural produce which the land would provide.

This was a second tithe to be used for the celebration of convocations of worship at the sanctuary (Deuteronomy 14:23-26). The first is the Levitical tithe to support the priests and Levites who served the people (Leviticus 27:30-33; Numbers 18:21-32). A third welfare tithe was also offered every three years.

In contrast, the NT does not command us a specific amount to give. However, it urges us to give an amount that is in proportion to the blessings we are receiving. We are encouraged to give generously but our motive must always be to glorify God.

Testing God in Tithes

Another verse that is often used to exhort tithing is Malachi 3:10 wherein the Lord challenges the people to “test Him.” What does it mean to test God?

There are several examples in the Bible of both acceptable and unacceptable kinds of testing God. But what is acceptable and unacceptable? When doubt leads us to demand something from God to prove Himself to us, that is unacceptable. For instance, when the Israelites tested God in the wilderness. Regarding tithes and offerings, it is acceptable to “test” God.

The difference between these two kinds of testing is faith. By definition, faith takes risks (Hebrews 11:1). When true faith is present, obedience follows. It is that faith-inspired action of obedience that God desires.

When we give to God based on our faith in who He is, He proves Himself to be just that – faithful. In contrast, when we view God through our doubt and demand something of Him to see if He is trustworthy, we are in danger of testing God.

Are you testing God n a way that is acceptable to Him?

Special/Love/Free Will Offering

On top of the tithes we bring to God, Christians are encouraged to give offerings for special needs. Many ministries such as missionaries, pastors, relief organizations, refuge centers, church buildings, and Christian legal action groups depend on generous donations.

We give generously in support of our local church. This is where we are fed (spiritually) and it is our responsibility to help and support it. Can we help other ministries too? Of course! But let us not neglect the local church we are a part of.

2 Corinthians 9:7, NKJV

We are also encouraged to give special offerings from a thankful heart. You see, God is interested in your heart, not just your actions (2 Corinthians 9:7). However, be warned not to give as a financial transaction to get rich.

The Bible tells us that God rewards generosity. But if our primary motive for giving is self-interest, we are making a major mistake.

We give generously to acknowledge God’s love.

Conclusion

Many Christians view tithes differently from offerings. The tithe is a tenth of all that we receive from God. On the other hand, an offering is any amount that we give in addition to the tithe.

Do we often find ourselves struggling to give in support of the Lord’s work? The key here is giving ourselves first to the Lord the way the Macedonian churches did. They gave in the midst of their extreme poverty (2 Corinthians 8:1-5).

You may ask, “Do I need to separate them?” No, you don’t have to. You can give them at one time. God knows anyway how much you gave as your tithe and your offering.

When we give our tithes and offering to the Lord, God promises to meet our needs and often rewards our generosity financially. But other times the refreshment God gives is something much more than money.

Let us not think only of blessing in terms of money and other material blessings. We may find ourselves lacking in material things but having a deeper relationship with God is more important.


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

Recommended Resource:

Tithing: Test Me in This (The Ancient Practices Series) by Douglas Leblanc (Author) & Phyllis Tickle (Foreword)

Stories of people who live a generous and happy life (and why you’ll want to live that way too).

Journalist Douglas LeBlanc travels the nation to talk with believers whose lives have been enriched by the ancient spiritual discipline of tithing.

He discovers people along the way who do not understand the practice as an onerous law but as God’s call to a life of generosity and compassion. The effect on their lives is dramatic.

LeBlanc talks with a variety of believers-from a pastor in the south side of Chicago to progressive Episcopalians, from an Orthodox rabbi to an Eastern Orthodox priest and his wife.

By holding their gifts with open hands, they are drawn deeper into a life of joy and sharing that begins in the very heart of God.

What’s the Truth about God?

What’s the Truth about God?

Who is God? What’s the truth about Him? Many people have asked this question.

With so many opinions, how is anyone able to figure out what the truth is since we have not spoken with or seen God? The reason we have not spoken with or seen God is that we are spiritually dead and God is holy.

Jesus is God

We read this in John 5:25, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.”

In so many words, the only way man could find out who God is would be if God became a Man. In the above-mentioned verse, Jesus uses the title Son of God as a way to communicate the truth. And that He is the only one that has seen and spoken with God and was God Himself.

God the Son who is from all eternity had the right to grant life. The distinction involves Jesus’ deity versus His incarnation. In becoming a man, Jesus voluntarily set aside the independent exercise of His divine attributes and prerogatives (Philippians 2:6-11).

Jesus here affirmed that even in His humanity, the Father granted Him the “life-giving” power, i.e, the power of resurrection.

The truth about Jesus being God is confirmed by John 1:1, 14. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

These verses further elaborate on the fact that all of reality was spoken into existence by the Word.

The Word Created Everything

The Word had all the essence or attributes of a deity. Jesus the Messiah was fully God and He was the Father’s agent involved in creating everything in the universe (Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:2), including you and I.

While Christ as God was uncreated and eternal, the word “became” emphasizes Christ’s taking on humanity (John 1:14). This indicates that the infinite became finite and the eternal was conformed to time. The invisible God became visible and the supernatural One reduced Himself to the natural.

Since we were created by the Word, wouldn’t that mean we are accountable to Him? John 1:14 is saying that Jesus, who is God, became Man: the only begotten Son of God became the Son of Man. Why would the God of the universe become a Man?

John 3:16 gives us the reason why. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

The Supreme Love of God

The Son’s mission is bound up in the supreme love of God for the evil, sinful world of humanity that is in rebellion against Him. The word “so” emphasizes the intensity or greatness of His love. The Father gave His unique and beloved Son to die on behalf of sinful men (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Because of rebellion, man became the enemy of God. But through the work of Christ on the cross, He brought man and God together again. God has been reconciled with man and has turned His face in love toward the lost world

Since God loves us and our sin has already condemned us, Jesus did not need to condemn us. We need salvation from our own sinful choices and attitudes. No matter how righteous anyone thinks they are, they are nothing compared to God, since we all have broken God’s law.

God Redeemed Sinful Man

Lust is adultery to God. Little white lies are still lies to God. Stealing is still wrong to God. Hatred is the same as murder to God. Being fanatical toward anything other than God is idolatry. All of these and many more are sins toward God.

In spite of all of our sins, Jesus came to save us and clean us up so that we could spend eternity with Him. Jesus loves everyone enough He does not want anyone to go to hell and be separated from Him for eternity. He loves us so much that He suffered, died, and rose again so that we would have a way to become right with God.

Christ died that we might die and He died that we might live. But He also died so that we might share in the new creation. Our new relationship with Christ has brought about a new relationship with the world and the people around us.

Jesus is the Truth of God

Jesus said in John 14:6, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

This is the sixth “I am” statement of Jesus in John (see John 6:35; 8:12; 10:7, 9; 10:11, 14; 11:25; 15:1, 5).In response to Thomas’ query, Jesus declared that He is the way to God because He is the truth of God and the life of God.

In this verse, the exclusiveness of Jesus as the only approach to the Father is emphatic. Only one way, not many ways, exist to God, i.e, Jesus Christ (John 10:7-9; Matthew 7:13-14; Luke 13:24; Acts 4:12).

Conclusion

Then the question is, do you believe the truth about God? Do you believe that God became a Man, died, and rose again? God did all these to save you from the punishment of your own sinful choices so you could know who He is. God desires to change you and be right with Him.

The Bible tells us in John 3:17-18, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned. But he who does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

If you sincerely believe these passages, talk to God about it. Repent of your sin and ask for forgiveness offered through the finished work of Jesus Christ and you will be saved.

Strive to know the real truth about God and live every day to please Him.


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Knowing God by J. I. Packer

For over 40 years, J. I. Packer’s classic has been an important tool to help Christians around the world discover the wonder, the glory, and the joy of knowing God.

In 2006, Christianity Today voted this title one of the top 50 books that have shaped evangelicals, and this 20th-anniversary edition is updated with Americanized language and spelling, and a new preface by the author.

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Written in an engaging and practical tone, this thought-provoking work seeks to transform and enrich the Christian understanding of God.

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This guide leads readers to a greater understanding of God while providing advice to gain a closer relationship with him as a result.