A thought about life

31 05 2007

I was wondering how christians will be like when they are too in love with what’s in this world than what’s in the next. I’ve been asking if i too, had that kind of money, will my priorities in this life be like them, all about things in this world? What we talk most, reflects the priorities in life. I pray that my heart will never grow cold from feeling passionate about God.


Embrace adversities

30 05 2007

Wish i could say this, that i have had a good, easy life but i could not. While I recognize that most is the consequences of the actions and decisions i made, and deciding that living in regrets is definitely not the way to move ahead, but embracing the consequences, recognizing that the abilities to forge ahead in adversities is a blessing from God.

Courage is not the absence of fear, it is the ability to act in the presence of fear.

I have unfortunately lacking in courage, and i thank God for these trials, for they are like lessons from the Most High, the university of the divine, where i do not go through the lessons to earn a degree, but approval from God and that i might please Him. The truth is, no one likes trials and pain and discipline, and i often struggle, in fact, many times that i asked God why. God instead of rebuking, He encouraged gently, and often send ‘angels’ to encourage, and most of the time, the most unexpected people.

I’ve learned a lesson – One can only grow amidst of adversities, one can only grow spiritually and mature when he is going through trials, and hopefully the pain in climbing the mountain that I may reach the top and truly enjoy the most beautiful dawn with God.

I can find joy

29 05 2007

Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. James 1:2-3

This verse has been such an encouragement especially in these couple of months when it seems everything else was all trials, it seems i’ve been led into the wilderness, into the valley of the shadow of despair and endless trouble. But it seems God has this written somewhere in the scriptures just for me, that i might read it one day, i can take joy whenever trouble comes my way because it is a perfect opportunity to be joyful!

Sexual revolution

25 05 2007

Sexual revolution among teenagers today is the key to destroy the generation for God. A strategy that Satan will use, once the ‘image of God’ is destroyed in these young people through sinning against their whole body, as the scriptures have put it plainly, all the other sins, we sin against God but sexual sins, we sin against our own body. Why is this different? And why is the understanding of this so crucial in today’s sexual revolution among young people?

Sinning against their own body puts them into a bondage stronger than all the other sin itself. First the temple of God is defied, it becomes a place where not just dead to fellowship with God but a dwelling place of wicked spirits. Second, the spiritual blindness will be like a fortress through sexual sins. A lie in the book of Romans, soon, they will believe in a lie, and lie in lust with the same gender, (Homosexuality) and God will gave them over to their own deception and in their judgment, God’s wrath is poured out on these people through the wickedness.

Third, the sexual revolution of young people will not be just targeted against the world but specifically against the Church, the young people in church. Once enslaved, the generation of young Christians will be forever unless in the mercy of God, be rendered powerless.

Tithing vs Giving

24 05 2007

Article taken from Truth or Tradition

Most churches I have been to teach rather emphatically that Christians should “tithe,” that is, give 10% of their income to their church. I have even heard some ministers say that if you don’t tithe, God will not bless you. What does the Bible say about financial giving?

“What does the Bible say?” is always the “bottom line” in life, but that vital question needs a qualifier: “To whom?” The Bible, the Word of God, most certainly does speak about financial giving, and a good case can be made that it is one of the five most basic activities for a Christian, the others being prayer, Bible reading and study, fellowship with other Christians, and telling others the Good News about Jesus Christ.

The question must be: “What does the Bible say to Christians about financial giving?” Why? Because what God says to Christians about financial giving is different than what He said to the Jews of the Old Testament about it. The sad news is that today very few Christians understand the difference, and, as a result, many are unnecessarily living under emotional and financial stress. For a more detailed exposition of this subject than we can set forth in this FAQ, I recommend our audio teachings The Joy of Giving, and Financial Stewardship: God’s Heart Concerning Money and Possessions as well as a book we carry titled The Tithing Dilemma, by Ernest L. Martin.

And, as is so often the case in examining a biblical issue, that takes us to the subject of the administrations in Scripture. Unless we understand what parts of God’s Word are written to Jews, what parts are written to Gentiles, and what parts are written to Christians, we can neither understand nor apply its truths in our daily lives.

We are currently living in what the Bible calls the Administration of the Secret (Eph. 3:9), which began on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1ff) and will conclude with the Rapture of the Church (all living and dead Christians meeting the Lord in the air—1 Thess. 4:13-18). The primary curriculum for Christians (i.e., people born again of God’s incorruptible seed) is found in the Church Epistles: Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and 1 & 2 Thessalonians. It is there that we must look to find God’s specific directions for us today, and the issue of financial giving is given two chapters worth of ink in 2 Corinthians 8 & 9.

There are also some pertinent verses in other Epistles, and the message of Scripture to Christians is that because of the finished work of Jesus Christ, we do not live under the Mosaic Law, during which tithing was instituted and commanded as part of the Law. Therefore, tithing as a commandment of God has no relevance to believers today.

At this point, it is important to distinguish between tithing and giving. Although tithing per se is not relevant to Christians, giving most certainly is. As a member in particular of the Body of Christ, each Christian is to determine in his own heart how much he gives and where he allocates his resources among his brothers and sisters in Christ (2 Cor. 9:7). The Epistles metaphor by which material giving is strongly encouraged is that of sowing and reaping—the more you sow, the more you reap (2 Cor. 9:6). “Tithing” is never mentioned.

We are working on a booklet on this subject, and it may be titled, In Response to a Blessing, because that is the biblical basis for giving. Under the Law, Jews were to give out of their produce, that is, what the Lord had provided for them. Just like the Word says, “We love God because He first loved us,” so we give because God has given to us. When we understand what God has done for us in Christ, and that the material blessings we have come from Him, and that He promises to bless us back for what we give, giving cheerfully is a joy.

Even in the Old Testament, believers understood that when they gave to God, they were opening a door, if you will, for Him to bless them in return. This is, of course, still true, but the idea has been distorted by some Christians who teach that one must give to God before God can bless him. Thus, too many Christians are giving in order to get. No, God always gives first.

Also, He does not specify just how He will bless us. If we sow, we will reap accordingly, but it may not be money for money, etc. Some Christians have become disillusioned about giving because when they gave money to their church, etc., they did not receive money back. They may have even failed to notice the blessing that God did give them. When we give in response to a blessing, and not so that we will get blessed, we can be cheerful and contented givers.

Making known the truth about this subject is critical, because the vast majority of Christians are told, and thus believes, that it is God’s will for them to “tithe,” which means to give one-tenth of what they earn. Many of the more “fundamental” Christian groups are adamant about this, and accompany this exhortation with a warning that failure to tithe will result in consequences of various kinds, usually having to do with a lack of prosperity.

In many groups, this has become little more than ecclesiastical extortion, with church leaders using the lever of people’s sincere desire to do what God says is right to squeeze money out of them. Such leaders proclaim that what God says is right is that you give at least ten percent of your income—to their organization. As a result of such pressure, financial giving has, for too many Christians, become a joyless, mechanical act of “bribing” God to avoid the consequences of not giving, and an attempt to earn His favor (something they already have!).

For many other Christians who once gave cheerfully, financial giving is no longer an act at all. They have stopped doing it altogether, either because they got sick and tired of the pressure being applied to them, or they really could not afford to tithe, or they saw the money they gave misused and feel that they were cheated when they did give.

Neither of these attitudes—giving joylessly or not giving at all—is biblically right, neither is the will of God, and both are therefore detrimental to a believer. That fits with John 8:32, where Jesus said that experientially knowing the truth, that is, practicing it, will make one free. Conversely, error regarding the Bible (the truth) will put people in bondage. And financial giving is a category in which countless Christian people are being subjected to the bondage of guilt and put through an emotional wringer they do not deserve.

If you feel that the above describes you, take heart, because you can be set free by the truth of God’s Word. Then you can also share with others the treasure you have found. In our economically driven world of today, having the right attitude about money and material things is a huge asset in life. Knowing and practicing what God’s Word says about financial giving will enable you to experience the joy of giving, and it will enable others in the Body of Christ to experience the joy of receiving and therefore having their needs met, so that together we can reach out with the Good News of God to a dying world.

A study of the Old Testament will show that tithing was instituted as part of the Mosaic Law to Israel. Some Christians point to Genesis 14 and/or 28 in a misguided attempt to prove that tithing was instituted prior to the Mosaic Law and is therefore relevant to Christians today. Their rationale is that because Abram gave ten per cent of the spoils of war to Melchisedek, and because Jacob chose ten per cent as the amount to give to God for watching over him on his journey, this is the prescribed amount God would have all people give. This is not sound biblical scholarship.

The Genesis 14 record takes place approximately 2000 years after Adam and Eve, and during all those years there is no biblical reference to tithing. Nor is there any record that Abram ever tithed as a result of some biblical law that told him to do so, and he certainly was “making money.” When he did give one tenth, it was not of the increase of his flocks and herds, which was the tithe prescribed by the Law, but rather of the spoils of war that he had gained by defeating the army from Mesopotamia.

In Genesis 28, Jacob told God that if He would keep him safe on his journey, keep him clothed and fed, and bring him home safely, he would give God a tenth of what he had. That was certainly not the Mosaic tithe, which was commanded whether or not those things happened. Both Jacob and Abram gave in response to a blessing.

Even in regard to Israel, for whom the tithe was specifically instituted, nothing was said about it until the beginning of the second year of their exodus. Prior to that, in Exodus 25, for the building of the Tabernacle, Moses instructed the Israelites to give “as their heart prompted them.”

You often hear proponents of the tithe say that surely Christians would do no less than what Jews did in the Old Testament, as if every Israelite gave ten per cent of his income. A detailed study of the tithe is beyond the scope of this FAQ, but suffice it to say that the idea that each Israelite gave ten per cent of his income (and therefore each Christian should do likewise) is far from the truth.

For example, an Israelite who had fewer than ten cattle born to him in a year did not have to tithe on them because the requirement stated that only the tenth animal that passed under the rod was to be tithed (Lev. 27:32). A farmer who had only eight cows born was therefore exempt from the tithe.

The tithe was basically on animal and agricultural products, and was paid in kind (i.e., the product itself). If one did not wish to pay his tithe in agricultural products, and decided to give money as a substitute, he was penalized and had to add a fifth part of its estimated value to the amount he paid (Lev. 27:31). Such a law was obviously not intended to encourage payment of the tithe in money.

The main purpose of the tithe was to support the Levitical priesthood. The Levites were responsible to minister to the people, and were prohibited from owning land, which obviously limited the ways in which they could earn income. God’s plan was that their support came from those to whom they ministered, much like the direction of Scripture for the Church today (1 Cor. 9:1ff; Gal. 6:6ff, etc.). The tithe also provided welfare for widows, orphans, etc.

One reason why there was no command to tithe until the Mosaic Law was that until then there was no Tabernacle (Tent of Meeting) and no Temple, no regular sacrifices commanded (the daily sacrifices alone commanded by the Law required more than 700 animals a year), and no class of Levitical priests to support. None of these would be relevant to a Christian today, even if they did exist.

Should a Christian today tithe? One is free to give 10% if he chooses, but we are not commanded to give any particular percentage or amount. Sad to say that many Christians, once misled and often emotionally coerced into tithing, stopped giving altogether when they learned the tithe is not required. 2 Corinthians 9:6 and 7 make it clear that the more generously we “sow” with the right attitude, the more abundantly we will reap.

For some believers who do not earn much, giving generously may not mean a large amount. For others, it may mean millions of dollars, and far more than 10%. Each Christian’s situation is different, and that is why God does not prescribe specific amounts that we should give, but allows us to make our own decisions. Remember, we are “fellow laborers” with Him, and He loves to work with us in determining how much and to whom we should give, and He loves to bless us with more so that we can give more. That kind of giving makes for an exciting element of the Christian life.

You may say, “Well, what about Malachi 3:6-10? That says people who do not tithe are ‘robbing God.’” Those verses have been used innumerable times to prod Christians into giving, but wait a moment—to whom is Malachi written? Well, in verse 9 of chapter 3 it says “the whole nation” is under a curse. What nation? The USA? No, the book of Malachi is specifically addressed to the nation of Israel, and more specifically to the priests (see 1:6,10-13; 2:1,7 and 8) who were badly mistreating God’s people. To use verses from Malachi as if they are talking to Christians is at best poor scholarship and at worst dishonest.

So what should Christians do about financial giving? 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 is the first place to go to find the answer to that question, and the heart of the message there is expressed in 9:7: “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” If, for you, that’s ten per cent, great.

Beyond that, Scripture directs us to give to those who are genuinely ministering to our spiritual needs. When we do, we are making a sound investment in (that is, sowing into) a work that is bearing good spiritual fruit. Although there is no way we can help everyone who asks us, we are also encouraged to give to those in need, and we can seek the Lord for wisdom in doing so.

For a Christian, giving from the heart is all about knowing that we have a great, big, wonderful God, and also understanding who we are in Christ. Speaking of the attitude of the believers in Corinth about financial giving, Paul said: “This they did, not as we hoped, but even beyond that, first they gave their own selves to the Lord, and to us, by the will of God” (2 Cor. 8:5). As Christians, each of us has been “bought with a price.” We (let alone our material possessions) don’t even belong to ourselves. When you know that you belong to the Lord, and that everything that you have belongs to the Lord, and that he is responsible to keep his promises to care for you, then you can truly be a cheerful giver.

Additional reference: Gary 
Something I wrote on Tithing vs Giving 

Deceptions in the church

23 05 2007

Matthew 24 bears the words of Jesus of what is about to happen, and more so, now we ought to bear in mind the warnings from the mouth of our Lord Jesus.

One particular warning that the church should be concerned, or rather should i use the word Church loosely, to mean the believers whose faiths are anchored on Jesus and their authority the Word of God, is the rise of false teachers and false prophets.

Make no mistake or be deluded that we are in the age where deceptions within the church have extended to the boundary that should no longer be dismissed. These must come (false teachers and false prophets) that the day of the Lord might be hastened! Church, put your eyes on Jesus, not on these false prophets and false teachers, and not even on the miracles, signs and wonders. Do not be led astray or be deceived by the global peace plans and initiatives that seems to be godly, no. Do not let their teachings and convictions be yours, go study the Word of God, and let it convince and convict you to a deeper relationship with God Himself!

Venus collided with Mars

19 05 2007

One can imagine the force it will create when Venus were to one day collided into Mars, such planetary disaster could jolly well signal the end of the world. However, as equally baffled as to what the possibilities of this happening is why man and woman gets into an argument especially as a couple.

I for one, is a victim of such planetary collision, and am flying through the space with the rest of the debris in the aftermath of a collision with Mercy…. without mercy, i am left exhausted by the ordeal.

Saturday, a precious day to be spent together with her, and she thought that me missing our breakfast shows i am not taking it seriously, and the truth of fact is, i need to wait for my mum to help with the grocery, and i got tons of work, not finished and priorities calling, and on the other hand, i want to meet her for breakfast and lunch or dinner before our music practise this evening! Why is it such a big deal to have meals alone? Now, everything is off, and she said she will be more independent, etc. I think one of the reasons why couple quarrels is that they each think too much for themselves, and that is all it matters, their own happiness, nothing more. Like Pastor Sally said, we are all inherently selfish being, to seek happiness and ultimately our own glory.

I am so exhausted by this, the thousands and one thing vying for my time, and i feel burnt out, and i do not want to do anymore things. The collision perhaps deafening, the hurl through space, is but silence. A desire to run away to really be alone and once embarked on that course, will forever doomed to that destiny. Frightening but like for everything else – hatred, anger, unforgiveness, lust, etc, and it is not what we want to do, but what we can do now, to arrest the development and growth and moving forward the right way. Choose today whom i shall serve! My Anger or God?

How did i get here from the explosive collision of Mars and Venus? I have absolutely no idea, perhaps human cannot depend on each other for fulfilment that only God can, that we are all limited, but He is not. When our priorities clash, relationship gets strained and that includes things as ridiculous as money! I wish the world can be rid of it, not that money is bad, but it is surely the main culprit for many disasters. Oh how disastrous Man can be without God.

Let me not love Mercy too much to let my passion for God die down, let me not love this world that His Word becomes the shadow of my forgotten life, let me not lay eyes lustfully on brilliant gadgets, girls or even careers, but direct my eyes to the Cross where laying it all down, is the way to freedom. Let me not value anything so much that God is just another emergency service hotline. I can truly say what a wretched creature i am, indeed, let me walk in His Mercy and in His Grace daily!