Witness Him Now
When the LORD gave me the message four years ago that judgment was coming and then He showed me in the scriptures what was about to happen, I said, "LORD, Your church is not ready. How are we going to make it?" He gave me four scriptures that day. I memorized them, and I tried to give this word to others, but I did not truly understand. It was not until this past year that God revealed to me the significance of those words. I will share with you those scriptures and and how we have to apply these words to our lives. With every point I make, I will come back to these words until this becomes our default response to every situation.
The first scripture God gave me was, "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you." Matthew 6:33. I thought, "OK, no matter what happens, we have to seek God's kingdom." What I did not understand until recently is that this whole passage, starting in verse 19 has to do with money and provision. So the first thing God wants us to know is what we do with our money.
The first thing He said was, "Do not store up your treasure on earth where moths eat it and rust destroys it, but store up your treasures in Heaven where moth and rust do not destroy it and thieves do not break in to steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. So I believe with all my heart that our savings account and 401K and all the things that we want to put our trust in are not going to be there, and if they are, we need to reevalualte what we do with them. Remember, our money and our heart are tied together, and if we choose to store our treasure, thieves will break in and take it...inflation, the collapse of the dollar, a collapse of the stock market...the list could go on and on. Take your pick. Right now we get to choose where our treasure goes. After the theives break in, we won't be able to do that.
Next it says that if your eye is good, your whole body is full of light. If your eye is bad, your whole body is full of darkness. And if the light you think you have is really darkness, how deep that darkness is! I really never understood this passage until I saw that it was sandwiched between scriptures on money. So what it is really talking about is...what are we looking at? If we are looking at Jesus, our whole body is full of light. We know where we are going and we know what to do, but if we are looking at money, we are full of darkness. We will not know where we are going or what to do. But listen to this, what if the light we think we have is really darkness...how deep that darkness is. What if we think we are looking at Jesus, but what we are really looking at is money. Oh my goodness! I have had to reevaluate everything I am doing. Is my work on the mission's committe really about money? What about all the fundraisers? Garage sales? Bake sales? What about concerts? What about Women's Conferences? What about camps? I am not going there anymore. I will fix my eyes on Jesus. I will give when He says give. That is God's way. God says He will give us bread to eat and seed to sow, but we have to plant that seed, we can't eat it. I think we have been eating a lot of our seed, but not anymore. It is not our money anyway, it is God's. All of it belongs to Him, and one day we are going to have to give an account for what we have done with His money.
Then it says...no one can serve two masters. You are going to hate one and love the other. You cannot serve God and money. We are going to have to choose. Wow! This is going to be hard. We have spent our entire life following after money and things, and now God is saying that we have to choose. We can't have them both. How do we do this? It reminded me of the story of the rich young ruler. He loved God, and he wanted to please Him. When He met Jesus, he said, "Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life? Jesus said, "If you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments: you must not murder, you must not commit adultery, you must not steal, you must not lie, honor your father and mother, love your neighbor as yourself." "I've obeyed all these commandments," the young man replied. "What else must I do?" Jesus told him, "If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I'll say it again - it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!"
Because we live in America, we all fall into the category of the rich young man. This choice is going to be as hard on us as it was on him. I don't know what God is going to ask us to do in the coming days. In the early church, they sold all of their property and distributed the money to the churches. Will He ask us to do this? Is He asking us to do this now? What will we say? Will we have an excuse for this like we have had an excuse for the other things we have failed to do? This is the pearl of great price, but do we understand the value of the pearl that is in our hands? I can't choose for you and you can't choose for me, but we are each one going to have to choose. Do we go and sell all we have to buy the pearl? Or do we think the money in our hand is worth more? Who will we serve, the Creator of the Universe or money? I don't know how to get out of this point because it is so huge, but I will proceed as if we have chosen to give it all.
Then God said, "Don't worry about your everyday life, whether you have enough food or drink or enough clothes to wear. Life is more than food and your body is more than clothing. Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to Him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why do you worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not clothed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for the wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will most certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don't worry about these things saying, "What will we eat?" "What will we drink?" "What will we wear?" These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your Heavenly Father already knows all your needs. But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you. So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today.
There is so much in this passage. Don't worry. God knows what we need and He will take care of us. We don't have to worry about these things. God has our back. We pray it, and we expect it..."give us this day or daily bread". In the past I never thought this verse applied to the people in America because we have such abundance, but in the coming days, this verse is going to be very important. God will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. So we can't worry about what will happen tomorrow, we have to be thankful for today.
So how do I sum up this lesson on finances? Fix your eyes on Jesus. If our eyes are on money, we won't make it. Don't withhold any of your resources from God. It's all His anyway. And DON'T WORRY! God will take care of His people. It is written, and God cannot lie.
One of the things I love most about my God is that I can take one small step toward Him, and He comes running to me. In Malachi 3 God lays out a small step that we can take to return to Him. He says, "Return to Me, and I will return to you." "You ask, but how?" "You have cheated Me of the tithes and offerings due to Me. You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating Me. Bring ALL of the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in My Temple." "If you do," says the LORD of Heaven's Armies, "I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won't have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put Me to the test! Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease. Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe," says the LORD of Heaven's Armies. Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight," says the LORD of Heaven's Armies.
In the coming days things are going to get rough in a lot of ways. We are going to feel it a lot in our finances, so God lays out a very concrete plan...tithe. Give 10% of everything that comes into your hands back to Him. Now, let me tell you, God does not need our money. He wants our heart, but somehow our money and our heart are tied together. In the past we have been cheating God. We have not given Him our first, and we have not given Him our best, and because of this, we have been cursed. BUT...if we bring Him our first fruits, THE LORD OF HEAVEN'S ARMIES begins to fight for us. Wow! The curse is broken and the blessings begin.
So where do we give this 10%? It always goes to your local church. Don't give it to a TV evangelist. You give them your offerings. Give the first of your money to the church. If you don't have a church, get one. God says, "Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together...especially as you see the Day approaching." Find a church that preaches Jesus, repentance, and love. It won't be perfect, but it will be God's place of safety and provision.
Now some of you are saying in your heart, I've tried that tithing stuff before and it doesn't work. Listen to what the Bible says just after this verse in Malachi 3, "You have said terrible things about Me," says the LORD. "But you say, 'What do you mean? What have we said against you?" "You have said, 'What's the use of serving God? What have we gained by obeying His commands or by trying to show the LORD of Heaven's Armies we are sorry for our sins? From now on we will call the arrogant blessed. For those who do evil get rich, and those who dare God to punish them suffer no harm." If we think this promise is about getting rich, we are sadly mistaken, and I think this is how we have interpreted it in the past. There are rich people being fattened up for slaughter right now as we speak. This verse has to do with trusting God to take care of us. That burden no longer falls on our shoulders. He takes care of us.
Anyway, in the coming days we will not make it if we withhold our money from God. We will be tying His hands. He will not be able to do for us what He wants to do for us, but if we give him that little bit...the first part of our money - before we pay bills - before we buy groceries...He will do the rest. The windows of heaven will be opened to us, and we will not be able to receive all His goodness.
The scripture says, "May you prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers."