January Month 2009
Saturday, January 31, 2009
WHY DO YOU GIVE?
"Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver."- 2nd Corinthians, 9:7 (KJV)
Kingdom work requires kingdom resources. God has set us aside for the purpose of being used in His kingdom. Whether it is your talent or your time, it all belongs to God. There are 7 (seven) unique Blessings related to the tithe.
1. It blesses the heart by making it receptive to God’s will. Tithing is about the condition of your heart not the condition of your bank account.
2. It blesses the life by lifting it to a higher plane of grace. Knowing that you are doing God’s will demonstrate the value you place on His grace. (Love)
3. It blesses the hands by making them willing to do God’s work. When your resources are given to build up the kingdom your hands will follow.
4. It blesses the Mind by giving it the satisfaction of doing the right thing. When you give for a kingdom purpose you do not worry about what you give.
5. It blesses the nine-tenths that remain because God has been honored. Because of the time and talent you sowed into spiritual thing, whatever else you have will be magnified by the power and principle of sowing and reaping.
6. It blesses the individual by giving him a part in God’s worldwide program of work. The believers’ who started Bethlehem invested in the kingdom and has has a part in what we are today.
7. It blesses the church by enabling it to carry out a greater ministry. When you contribute to the kingdom experience, you must always know the best is yet to come.
When you bless God with your gifts, make sure you are using your whole heart, for the God that we serve loves how you give more than what you give. We give because of who He is not who we are.
WHAT HAS GOD DONE FOR YOU?
"Lord thou hast been favorable unto thy land: thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob. Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin." - PSALM 85:1-2
The Psalmist in Psalm 85, is reflecting on the goodness of God. However, in doing so he is also acknowledging the sin of man. In verse 1, he celebrates God’s favor over the land of Israel. In verse two he acknowledges God’s mercy as he forgave the sin of the Israelites.
Often we shout about salvation and looking toward heaven as our home, but too many folk allow their eternal focus to prevent them from daily praise. In the spirit of the Psalmist, in Psalm 85, we need to thank the Lord daily for His favor, for saving us, inspite of our sin. For blessing us and loving us, even when we complain and are disobedient. I encourage each of you, to begin to see the benefits of being in Christ Jesus. Look at the fact that everyday he gives us another chance to do things His way. Each morning rises with new mercies which are established on our behalf.
What has God done for you? He has given you joy, peace, love and understanding. He has given you grace, salvation, hope and liberty. What has God done for you? He has healed your body, soothe your troubled mind, strengthened your broken relationships, mended your broken hearts. Maybe you don’t have everything that you think you want, but if you are honest with yourself, you have exactly what you need. That’s what God has done for you.
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?
"1. I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2.) For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. " -1st Timothy 2:1-2
In a few days our new President will take office. His daunting task is to not only restore economic stability but his administration must also do the following:
Restore confidence in our financial system, restore confidence in our housing market, restore our job market by creating jobs, restore Americans’ confidence in Washington and our political process, restore confidence in our Military decision making, restore confidence in around world, in American leadership, and restore peace in the middle East (Gaza). He and his administration must end a war, that perhaps we should have never started (Iraq) and finish a war we have to win (Afghanistan). WOW!
The question I have is what are you going to do? Paul’s encouragement to Timothy is relevant to us today. Timothy was Pastor in a season where political corruption and turmoil, was combined with wars and rumors of war, very similar to the task facing President elect Obama. The Greeks and Roman empires clashed and the Christians were being persecuted. Paul told Timothy that I encourage you, to be prayerful, for those in authority and to intercede on their behalf before God. We as believers must be prayerful for our President, his administration and all of our government officials.
We must also live our lives in a way that nothing we do, cause distractions or obstacles for their leadership. Paul said lead a quiet and peaceable life in godliness and honesty. I believe that scripture is the core principle of Dr. King’s legacy. He accomplished his purpose on this earth by attacking all of his obstacles by being peaceable, godly and honest. My question to you; "What are you going to do?"
Perhaps the failing economy, wars and rumors of wars, and the more than 2 million lost jobs have made many Americans fearful about the coming months and years. Financial chaos and so much uncertainty is making troubled times even worse. We are dealing with terrorism abroad and at home, violent acts in normally quiet neighborhoods have believers saying these are troubled times. The good news of the Gospel is that "Trouble Won’t Last Always".
The Psalmist is saying in verse 5, that when trouble arises, the grace and mercy of God, will cover His children. The pavilion represents the care of God. That those who believe in Him and trust in his power, will find themselves safe in His arms. To hide me in His care, is to make sure that the trouble around me, though it is effecting and impacting others, it is being kept from causing me harm. Put your trust in the God that loves you and cares for you. Focus on Him and how he wants you to live during these troubled times. He will put you upon a rock, which means He will put us on a solid foundation. That foundation is Jesus Christ.
Stand on the promises of God! Know that in these times, He will never leave us nor forsake us. He will be our strength in times of weakness, and our way out of no way. I encourage each of you to look to Him who is the author and finisher of our faith. Trouble will not leave the world until Jesus returns to destroy it for all eternity. However, the believer can be assured that despite the fact that trouble is present, "Trouble Won’t Last Always".
IT'S A NEW YEAR
Welcome to 2009, a year pregnant with possibilities. God will birth new ministries, new missions, new relationships, new growth and much, much more as we submit ourselves to His will and His way.
I give thanks to God almighty for everything he did to us, for us and through us in 2008. I want to personally thank each of you for the work and commitment you demonstrated as a vital member of the Bethlehem Baptist Church family. We have moved in the direction of shared faith, which is the position of power and purpose for the local church. When God’s people willingly work together in unity of Spirit, Word and deed, they enter into the favor of God.
I challenge each of you to begin the New Year with a renewed sense of purpose and commitment to the Kingdom of God. Make yourself available to God, surrender to Him all of you and not just part of you. Make personal commitments to prayer, study and meditation of the scriptures. Choose spiritual growth over church membership. Don’t just attend church but "enter into courts with thanksgiving and into his house with praise. Be thankful unto Him, and bless His Holy and righteous name.
My family and I are also grateful for all for your prayers, thoughts, and kind deeds expressed toward us throughout 2008. Our prayer is that the God of peace, power and prosperity grant each of you a merciful portion of each!