Don’t give in response to pressure. 2 Cor 9:7

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   The tithing thing bothers me. It’s not that I don’t like tithing or giving, I do. It’s the way the pressure is put on some (a lot) the congregations.  I believe and feel confident that if churches, meaning here leaders, put their effort into leading the people to Christ, their hearts would be moved to give always and give cheerfully.  They wouldn’t need to pressure the people. Maybe…if you need to pressure you’re congregation—- the flock haven’t been feed properly or they have fallen away. I think so. If we’re truly walking with the Lord, the Holy Spirit prompts us to give, where to give and to give abundantly.

Don’t give in response to pressure. 2 Cor 9:7

This is the NLT version, so I decided to study further and look up the meaning of the Greek words as well as other versions of this passage. Sure enough, it means what it says.

According to the definition of words in the blue letter bible, 2 Cor 9:7 reads as follows:

Every man and all, according to their stores ( what they have) and their preference and purpose in their heart, according to what is moved in their heart to give should give, but God forbid that one gives with a grudge, being annoyed to give or to give with grief, and likewise, God forbid one give out imposed upon customs, laws, necessity, manipulation, shaken to give or forces. Yet instead, let it be from your heart both cheerfully and willingly. 

Image result for cheerful heartA cheerful heart,  that’s how we’re supposed to give, but let’s look at this meaning. The Greek word for cheerful is Hilaros- meaning merry, prompt willing. To go further, the root of that word is merciful, gracious and further study brings us to the word willing.

When we give, we should give willingly, with mercy for others and with a joyous happy heart.

 

I LOVE THIS VERSE IN ACTS 4:

“There were no needy people among them..those who had something to give, brought the money to the apostles to give to those in need.”…..

Will we ever get back to this place?

 All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had.  The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. 34 There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them 35 and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need.

Keys to this verse:

First we must be united in Christ
Then we will understand that all we have belongs to the Lord
We will be prompted to SHARE – OH my gosh, do you know that some”Christian” parents teach their kids not to share. unbelievable! I see it out there people
And God’s great blessing was upon them all
There were NO more needy among them

I want that.

Want Revival? True Revival in the Church

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  1. Repent
  2. Pray
  3. Call out to Him with a Humble heart
  4. Call for a Solemn Assembly on your knees pleading for mercy
  5. Sanctify a fast among the people

            Last month I heard a great preacher, Richard Owens Roberts, speak on revival.  He described revival as a pebble being thrown into a pond. The rippling effect from that one action continued on and on and that is how it is in revival. The Holy Spirit moves and soon the rippling effect goes out beyond ourselves, beyond our churches reaching out to the unsaved and the lost. It’s going beyond those of us sitting safely in our churches. It reaches the lost, the hurting, the lonely and all God’s people.
 

     I saw revival when I was young and I’ll never forget it. People were on fire for Jesus.  A small bible study of 5 people turned to 10, then 100’s and soon neighborhoods were gathering together studying the word. In my family, it started with one person…soon my aunts, cousins, parents, grandparents, neighbors and friends were soon on fire for Jesus, learning scripture and leading bible study groups. The good news had spread like wildfire. Today my family (cousins, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters)  are Christians, teaching their children and grandchildren God’s ways. It all started with that one revival- now my family, as if it were a rippling effect through the generations, teaches the next generation and on and on this goes, reaching out still to those around us.

     In revival, repentance is vital. We need repentance on a personal level, as we each search our hearts, and repentance together as a group or entity. I wonder how many of us really repent as we should? It’s important to ask the Lord to search our heart and see if there is any sin lurking in there that needs to be removed.  There have been many times I thought myself sin-free until I stopped and asked the Lord. He is gentle and kind but it’s never fun to admit you’re wrong.  Unforgiveness , bitterness, anger, and hurting others are sins that can hide from our view if we aren’t looking closely within ourselves.

Three things accompany revival when God is near:

  1. Prayer
  2. Repentance
  3. Humbleness

3 things proceed revival in our churches

  1. Terrible seasons (so be ready and prepared- don’t be shocked at the terrible time you may be going through)
  2. Moral and spiritual decline (sounds like today)
  3. Righteous judgment from God

Gather together and pray: Raise up our churches and don’t let God go! Keep seeking His face and glorifying the Lord. Be so close to God that what troubles Him, should trouble you. Commit yourself to seek Him. See what He sees, feel what He feels. 

But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace 2 Thessalonians 3 :13-16  

There is a measure of sin- and we have reached the overflowing limit

    There seems, according to history and scripture, to be a measure of sin. God has allotted to every person and entity a measure of sin. When the measure of sin is full, the wrath of God is upon that entity to the full. God has left some churches and it is too late to repent – TOO LATE, they never listened.

Is there hope for America? Is our measure of sin about to bring God’s wrath on us?

     There is still time for America, but our measure is almost full…but… by God’s grace we still have some time. We must face the sin in every one of us and in every entity, we must repent before it is too late.

Now is the time to call for a Solemn assembly and fast

Joel 1:14 Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the Lord your God, and cry unto the Lord,

Joel 2:15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly

Zephaniah 3:18 I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden

“And afterward,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your old men will dream dreams,
    your young men will see visions.
 Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
 I will show wonders in the heavens
    and on the earth,
    blood and fire and billows of smoke.
 The sun will be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood
    before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
 And everyone who calls
    on the name of the Lord will be saved;
for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
    there will be deliverance,
    as the Lord has said,
even among the survivors
    whom the Lord calls (Joel 2)

We must:

1-     Cry out to the Lord, for the day of the Lord is near

2-     Return to God with all your heart with fasting, crying out to Him. Turn back to Him for He is compassionate and abounds in loving-kindness

3-     Proclaim a Solemn Assembly on your knees pleading for mercy

4-     Seek God and revival

   If we want revival, we must take extraordinary action It can all start with you. Come before Him with fasting, weeping, prayer, repentance and humbleness.

 “How will the people of the world know we are your people if you, O Lord, are not with us?” Ex 33:15

 

Refined in the fire

 ISAIAH 48:10-11 I have refined you, but not as silver is refined.
    Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.
11 I will rescue you for my sake—
    yes, for my own sake!
I will not let my reputation be tarnished,
    and I will not share my glory with idols!

 The bride are those who are willing to suffer for Christ, suffer for Christ’s kingdom.  God’s people must suffer hardships to enter into the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22) Persecution, suffering and hardships make us worthy of His kingdom. Remember that God will provide rest for you, just as he gave rest to Elijah.

Psalm 71:21 You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again.

Psalm 119:107-112 I have suffered much, O Lord;  restore my life again as you promised. Lord, accept my offering of praise, and teach me your regulations.
My life constantly hangs in the balance, but I will not stop obeying your instructions.
The wicked have set their traps for me, but I will not turn from your commandments.
Your laws are my treasure;they are my heart’s delight. I am determined to keep your decrees to the very end.

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Isaiah 26: 16-19 Lord, in distress we searched for you.
    We prayed beneath the burden of your discipline.
17 Just as a pregnant woman
    writhes and cries out in pain as she gives birth,
    so were we in your presence, Lord.
18 We, too, writhe in agony,
    but nothing comes of our suffering.
We have not given salvation to the earth,
    nor brought life into the world.
19 But those who die in the Lord will live;
    their bodies will rise again!
Those who sleep in the earth
    will rise up and sing for joy!
For your life-giving light will fall like dew
    on your people in the place of the dead!

 

Scripture to study and read: the Book of Joel, Psalm 58

Having a Berean attitude – What’s your attitude when you go to church?

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   The word “Berean” popped in my mind out of nowhere a few weeks/months ago.  I was helping my kids do homework and all of a sudden “Berean”. Then it happened again and again. I looked up the only verse in the bible about Berean…..

 Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so

    I didn’t get it. The verse seemed, at the time, just words to me. Then I kept running into sites and posts with Berean in it! Was there a message in here for me? I just didn’t get it.

What do we know about Berea? Berea was part of  Macedonia Greece. We know there were Jewish believers in Berea and they were more open minded and ready to listen than people from other countries. When they heard Paul speak, they listened eagerly. They took the words they heard and searched out the scripture to see if his words were truth. We are told they searched the scriptures daily. They found Paul and Silas’s words to be truth and as a result of this, many Jews believed- even the prominent Greek women and men.
          However, when the people in Thessalonica – who were not as open to hearing his message, heard that Paul was preaching in Berea, they went to Berea to stir up trouble and distract the people.

My Berean Lesson-   finding new zeal 

     It’s been weeks since I’ve first heard this word and I think I’ve finally got it!!!  I was on my way to a bible study (or worldly book study –it’s debatable) last night and I saw this verse again. Something in the verse popped out at me:

*** they received the Word with an EAGERNESS OR READINESS OF MIND****

προθυμία  prothymia

        I looked up the Greek word and it means: zeal, cheerfulness, eagerness, promptness and  readiness of mind

          It reminded me of a runner in starting position at a race- at the starting line, waiting for the whistle to blow. Ready with excitement to win and go forward.

    I used to go to a super boring church, their hymnals sounded like the distant monotone sound of the dead. Okay, maybe that‘s not nice, but the entire service would put anyone to sleep. Even though this was true, I would go in prepared with a zealous and good attitude expecting to hear the Word of God and I did. Years have gone by and after going to dead church after dead church, listening to watered down gospel , “tell me what I want to hear gospels” , “church members” living in hate to others and watching forms of ungodliness in youth dances, music and harlem shakes—– I found that I lost that zeal to go to church and studies that I once had. I found more understanding and power spending time with the Lord and studying scripture on my own. Don’t get me wrong, I still go, but I’m not happy on the way.

           Last night I was on my way to a bible study and really, I was only going because my sister was the table leader and I wanted to support her and the group. I kept my attitude in check , so no one really knows I’m rolling my eyes with every wrong word I’m listening too. The book they are reading is not biblical at all and the video they play has many questionable things- borderline new age. The last few meetings have been nothing but worldly.  The Power of God is missing because there is no scripture!!! So frustrating.  Anyways, I was about to leave for bible (book) study and waste $9.50 in gas going ( that’s what I was thinking) and I saw on my computer screen a bible verse from a site I accidentally clicked. It was that Berean verse again- in my face- as I was grabbing my keys to leave to meet up with the group…..

  Acts 17:11  These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so

 The words popped out at me : Readiness of mind, and eagerness 

      Okay, I thought, I am going to go in with an eagerness of mind- with a new zeal to find truth and a have new attitude. 

   With this excitement- as going back to my first love with the Lord- the day was new. I was able to bring biblical truth to my table.  Using some of the worldly things they spoke, I was able to share miracles the Lord has done in my life on some of the subjects they discussed. I listened to the video and was able to pin point unbiblical words and gently and with love mention them- and much to my surprise, there was agreement.  We brought the Word in when the study brought the World in.

    I’ve decided to have the zeal, readiness, cheerfulness and eagerness the ancient Bereans had when I go to church and my studies. I will go and search the scriptures to see if the words are truth and will speak out always in defense of the Word. Always in love, encouraging others and being a gatekeeper to God’s word so that all may know the truth.

  • I will zealously serve the Lord as Elijah and Paul did. 1 Kings 19:10, Acts 22:3
  • I will zealously worship the Lord as the 12 tribes of Israel did Acts 26:7
  • I will cloth myself with a new zeal Isaiah 59:17  For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak

Get out of the world and it’s ways……………. NOW

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“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other!  But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!  You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. 18 So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see.  I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.

“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. 21 Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne. “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.”  Revelation 3:16-22

Sigh….. our churches…………..sigh………………………dead works, full of doubt, no hope, filthy language, Harlem shake at the altar, paraphrased watered down gospel, praying to the god of money, idols, no kindness, no love and NO SEARCHING FOR THE LOST SOULS – No one bothers to seek Him, no one bothers to read His word, excuses for sin and no teaching of repentance.  When I sit down to read the word, I’m mesmerized! I don’t want it to end, it’s full of life and depths of truth that never end (I almost cry when I get to the end of a a book like Jeremiah- NO! you can’t be over now!)….yet when I sit in church I am bored out of my mind! I want to roll up and down the aisles, but I’m all grown up now and can’t get away with that (anymore). The churches have made their own ways, their own laws and their own beliefs that do not follow the true God.  The REAL God fearing followers are kicked to the curb and rejected. I remember that Jesus said if the world hates you, remember it hated Him first. But even in our churches????? yes, unfortunately.

I was told in a dream that many people are confused in bible studies. I didn’t quit understand that at the time, but now I do. So many Christian leaders quote scripture and seem religious, but th fruits scream – salmonella! rotten to the core! BUT they seem so holy – and put on such a good front….. how can they treat people so rotten? how can they get away with that? What is going on? Doesn’t anyone else see this? It’s still difficult for me to understand, I don’t think I want to believe it- but I need to open my eyes so I am no longer fooled. It’s like Jesus said “Whitewashed tombs”.

What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence!  You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too.
What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity.  Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.
  What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you build tombs for the prophets your ancestors killed, and you decorate the monuments of the godly people your ancestors destroyed.  Then you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would never have joined them in killing the prophets.’ “But in saying that, you testify against yourselves that you are indeed the descendants of those who murdered the prophets.  Go ahead and finish what your ancestors started.  Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell?

It’s a snake pit -so if you get bit, don’t be surprised. Did I just write that?

Where are the works of Jesus? Where is godly humility? Who can be found with a humble heart? Who is willing to give everything up and let Christ rule in their hearts – with no looking back……………………………..