THAT TEN PERCENT THO!
February 12, 2013
Financial Fruit (Pt. 1)
Malachi 3:10,11 says, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse … and I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground …’ Fruit, in this instance is money. Therefore, fruit represents the profit from your business, the donations from your ministry, or the wages from your job. The ground represents; the business you own, the ministry you steward, or the company you work for. Now that you have a clearer understanding of what the fruit and ground represent, the scripture could now read; “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse…and I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit (the profit, donations, or wages) of your ground (from your business, ministry, or job).” Malachi 3:10, 11
The devourer uses certain tactics to destroy your money and in our next issue, we’ll discuss exactly how he does it, but until then…
Pray this with me: Heavenly Father, I ask that You would give me eyes that see and perceive, ears that hear, and that You would give my heart godly understanding of tithing. In Jesus’ name.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Financial Devourer (Pt 2)
“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse…and I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit (the profit, donations, or wages) of your ground (from your business, ministry, or job).” Malachi 3:10, 11
Devourer in Hebrew means ‘to eat’. Therefore, the devourer eats at your finances. But how? By influencing you to do it and here’s how it usually works. You see, the devourer convinces you that you can’t afford to tithe because you have to pay your living expenses. So once you get paid, you immediately pay your rent, mortgage, utilities, phone, transportation expenses, buy food for your family, and perhaps set aside a little of your discretionary income towards savings. I mean there’s nothing wrong with that.
But what happens is that since you didn’t set aside the tithe (10%) before you paid your living expenses, you go into hyper-consumption by spending (eating) the remaining of your discretionary income on things like cable, apparel, personal care appointments, techno devices, entertainment, and we still haven’t factored in what the kids want. Now hear me out; those things aren’t wrong - in and of themselves – because ‘God gives us richly all things to enjoy’. (I Tim 6:17) The problem is when you spend a portion of your tithe on them and afterward come to church on Sunday thinking ‘I couldn’t afford to!’ What happened? You ate your tithe and all the devourer had to do was convince you that the things your discretionary income went towards are actually living expenses. He kept reminding you of your bills and advertised a few sales which led you to believe that you couldn’t afford to tithe. So how can you?
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Immediately subtract 10% of your total income before you calculate your living expenses and decide what you’re going to do with your discretionary income. Then make sure not to include that 10% in your remaining total. And don’t get caught up in the gross or net because quite frankly that’s a heart issue.
For example, say you make $800 biweekly and it’s the end of the month; so your rent, car payment and insurance are due on the 1st.
Don’t even include that $80. But what if you owe $75 for last month’s cable bill? Really? Cable. You’d rob God to see the latest episode of The Sisterhood® or The Real Housewives of Atlanta®? If you have to put cable on hold for a month, do it; but stop allowing the devourer to influence you to eat what rightfully belongs to God.
Pray this with me: Heavenly Father, I just don’t see how I can afford to tithe with what I make. But Lord if You show me how, I am more than willing to learn. Thank You for teaching me how to tithe. In Jesus’ name.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Where Does The Tithe Go? (Pt 3)
People who don’t tithe, generally don’t understand what tithing is meant to do or they have a problem with where the tithe goes. Perhaps you don’t tithe because; (1) You don’t believe that it goes to God, (2) You think that your hard earned money is going to the preacher and you know him personally, so you definitely aren’t willing to finance his lifestyle, (3) You’ve been told that it goes toward the upkeep and expenses of the church. But when you see no physical improvement to the building, you decide not to, or (4) You were led to believe that it went toward outreach but yet there’s no new members and nobody’s really receiving aid; so you keep your lil’ ole money.
Notice in Malachi 3:10 God says, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in My house.” The Hebraic definition for ‘meat’ is ‘to supply with food.’ Therefore, tithes were intended to go to those churches and/or ministries that are feeding the Word of God to His people; to those that are taking the time to warm up the bottle for the spiritual babies (the milk of the Word – I Cor 3:2) and prepare the steak for the spiritually mature (the meat of the Word) so that all can understand and grow. (Heb 6: 1-12) The gospel is free but ministry costs which means, your tithe should go toward the expenses of that church and/or ministry that's feeding you spiritually.
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The problem is that you don’t believe you’re responsible for the expenses of your church. Some kind of way, the utilities, maintenance, mortgage, insurance, musicians, and Pastor should get paid – but not by you! God should be able to mysteriously pay all the expenses of the church – I mean He’s God! And you know what? You’re absolutely right! God is able to pay those expenses but guess how He does it? He uses your tithe!
When you go to a food supplier such as Walmart to get your natural food, you don’t tell the cashier, ‘Now before I give you this money for these groceries, tell me exactly where the Walton’s (owners of Walmart) are spending my money? Cause you know what? I don’t think it’s my responsibility that my grocery money should go toward paying your salary and buying other food for this store!’ No! You don’t do that with your natural food, so why do you have that same attitude about your spiritual food?
Pray this with me…Heavenly Father, where I am, I just don’t want to tithe. I don’t know where its going and I can’t see the benefit of doing it; so Lord, I’m asking You to let me know where I should send my tithes. Please reveal where I can be fed spiritually and I’ll bring you my whole 10%. In Jesus’ name.
In October 2012, I was experiencing a financial windfall of sorts. Without going into detail, I held on to my tithe too long. It wasn’t that I wasn’t going to tithe, but I allowed myself to think that because of the financial crisis, that maybe God was telling me to ‘hold off’. Well, I did and during that two week - yep I said two week period - that I was holding off, the crisis worsened when my laptop crashed. Mind you, I was a part-time-online-self-employed-student-having-to-continue-to-write-for-my-Real-Issues-ministry; so this couldn’t have happened at a worse time.
Because my computer crashed I thought, ‘Yeah, that’s why the Lord didn’t want to me to tithe, because He knew I’d need that money for this.’ Did you hear that foolishness? Well, I prayed and then I saw it. The reason why my computer crashed and I was struggling so much that month was because I hadn’t. No, God didn’t cause my computer to crash - the devourer had immediate access to it when I delayed tithing. The longer I held my tithe, I wouldn’t have anything working in my defense. The Lord of hosts wouldn’t be able to rebuke the devourer for my sake because at that moment, I was no longer a tither. Then I got it! Tithing is real time!
I use to think that because I’d been faithfully tithing for years that it would hold me over - but it didn’t; and the same is true for you. Perhaps you’ve experienced out-of-the-blue car repairs, household appliances mysteriously break down, computer crashes, or some other financial emergency. And whether you know it or not, every time you don’t tithe (or don’t tithe fully) is the exact moment the devourer starts to eat away and destroy the fruit (the money) you had planned for something else.
You see it’s a cycle. You get paid, you don’t tithe, something breaks down, you get it repaired which sets you behind again so the next time you get paid, you don’t tithe, some emergency happens which sets you behind again so the next time you get paid, you don’t tithe…
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I’ll say it again – tithing is real time! The longer you go without doing it, the more devouring you’ll experience. Break the cycle – tithe today!
Pray this with me: Lord, please forgive me when I’ve delayed tithing. Show me how to immediately set my tithe aside before I pay anything else. And Lord, thank You for this teaching because I’m beginning to see why I need to tithe and how You’re able to work in my life as a result. In Jesus’ name.
‘Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, in what way have we robbed You? In tithes and offerings.’ Malachi 3:8
Oftentimes, we only pay attention to the tithing portion of that verse, but God said ‘in offerings’ too! Many do one of the following;
1. Tithe, but not give offerings.
2. Tithe occasionally, but give no offering.
3. Don’t tithe the full 10% and give no offering.
4. Don’t tithe the full 10% and bring an offering.
5. Don’t tithe at all and give an offering every now and then.
6. Don’t tithe at all and bring no offering.
Malachi 3:11 says, ‘And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground…’ The fruit He’s referring to also includes the fruit from your offerings.
We’ve all been in services where we were told if we sow ‘our best seed’ or give a good offering then God will give us ‘thirty, sixty, or a hundredfold’ (Mt 13:8) of what we’ve given. But one of the reasons you haven’t seen the return on your investment (sowing, offering, and giving) is because your crop, your ground, or the means by which God uses to get your harvest to you is exposed and is being attacked by the devourer (click here for Financial Devourer) because you fall into one of the aforementioned categories. It’s not that sowing and giving doesn’t work; it’s that you’ve been misappropriating your tithe and offering.
Misappropriation is defined as ‘the intentional misuse of someone else’s money for one’s own use.’ ‘… But you say, in what way have we robbed You? In tithes and offerings.’ (Mal 3:8) When you chose not to tithe and give offerings regularly, you open yourself up for the devourer to consume your profits, donations, and wages which includes every return you should have received byway of the seeds you’ve sown and the offerings you’ve given.
So how do you start receiving a return on your investments? Tithe fully and give an offering! But how much? Well, you know tithe is 10%; but the offering is up to you and God. But remember, the way to ensure you receive a return on your giving is to tithe and give an offering regularly!
Pray this with me: Heavenly Father, will you please forgive me (insert which category out of 1 – 6 that you fall into) for not tithing and bringing an offering to You. I’d been so concerned with my living expenses and where the tithe was going that I decided not to. I didn’t mean to rob You. Lord, I ask You to help me to repent – to actually start tithing fully and give an offering as well. I know that since I hadn’t in the past that it may take some time for me to get use to doing it; but Lord I know that it begins with me making a decision. So I’m asking You to help me make that decision today. Help me to become a faithful tither and giver. In Jesus’ name.
‘Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you have kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.’ James 5:4
Sabaoth means ‘Lord of hosts’ which would be the same Lord of hosts that was mentioned in Malachi 3:10-12. 'Bring all the tithes into the storehouse...says the Lord of hosts...and I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit (the profit, donations, or wages) of your ground (from your business, ministry, or job), nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field, says the Lord of hosts.'
The Lord of the Sabaoth, whose ears have heard the cries of the laborers, is the same Lord of hosts that rebukes the devourer. But it gets better. Wait until you find out Who the Lord of hosts is!
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The Hebraic definition for hosts is ‘armies of God.’ Therefore, the Lord of hosts, the Lord of Sabaoth is actually the ‘Lord of the armies of God.’ Not army, as in one; but armies, as in several. And not just any army; the armies of God! You know how reverent folk get when you mention Navy Seals and Green Berets? Well, this is the armies of God! The Lord has a Special Ops Task Force that He sends specifically to fight your financial battles. Yeah I know you think you grown and got it, but it sholl feels good to know that if you're a faithful tither and giver - God's got YOU!
SIDENOTE: If you're still not tithing, don't feel condemned. Start with 1% or 2%. But don't feel condemned, get scared, or feel discouraged. Start where you are!
Pray this with me: Heavenly Father, thank You for fighting my financial battles. I know that through my giving, You’re able to protect me financially. I thank and praise You for it. In Jesus’ name.
As we discovered in our last issue, the Lord of the armies of God has a Special Ops Task Force that He sends specifically to fight your financial battles. But what I want to bring to your attention is that the armies of God have to get involved where your money is concerned. Let that sink in for a minute and try to grasp that as a born-again, Holy Spirit filled, tongue talking, tithing and giving, blood washed believer of the Lord Jesus Christ; that in order for you to simply get the clients, customers, and contracts for your business that God led you to start and you’ve been working so diligently at – that in order for you to receive any revenue and/or profit will involve combat. Take thoroughly into consideration that the ministry that you were born to do and God specifically created you for; that in order to receive any donation, support, contribution, and/or gift will require warfare.
And not only that, but in order for you to even get an interview, pass the background check, have an offer extended, be hired and work faithfully in the presence of those who complain and consistently violate company policy; that in order for you to receive a raise and/or promotion will involve conflict. Meditate on that. Marinate in it for a while. Put it on and get comfortable with it because once you settle it in your heart that its going to be a battle, you’re now in a position to hear from God how to fight.
Now that we’ve established that the Lord of the armies of God has a Special OpsFinancial Task Force sent specifically to fight your financial battles and now that you’ve settled it in your heart that there’s going to be a battle for your money; it’s time to learn about the fight! Your enemy is the devourer. But don’t be scared because as you’ll soon see, you can keep your cornbread! Go with me to Exodus 14:13,
‘…Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He
will accomplish for you today…the LORD will fight for you,
and you shall hold your peace.’
The Lord of the armies of God will fight for your financial battles – if you’re a tither and a giver. If you;
· Tithe, but give no offering
· Tithe occasionally, but give no offering
· Don’t tithe the full 10% and give no offering
· Don’t tithe the full 10% and bring an offering
· Don’t tithe at all and give an offering every now and then
· Don’t tithe at all and bring no offering
Then you’ll experience one financial struggle after another or you won’t live a life of true abundance, prosperity, and wealth. (See Tithing Issue Pt 4) The protection of God’s Special Ops Financial Force is only available to those who tithe and give – faithfully. But if you don’t, please understand that God wants you to because it gives Him the right to fight your financial struggles for you. As I stated in our last issue, if you’re not comfortable giving 10%, start with 1% - but START!
“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse…says the Lord of hosts…and I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit (the profit, donations, or wages) of your ground (from your business, ministry, or job). Malachi 3:10, 11