Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Why do I give? #4

I don't want to muzzle

I give because I want the Church to do well.
Unashamedly I really want the Bride of Christ to be looked after, blessed, well taken care off.
In fact I think it is part of my responsibilities as a follower of Jesus.

Jesus is coming back for His bride and I want her to be as glorious as possible on her wedding day.
I recognised a long time ago that my giving helps play a part in making sure the Church is not muzzled, restricted, even destroyed. My small part I pay helps a bride be prepared for its groom.
Please know I am speaking as a member of Christs body not just as a Pastor looking to placate some agenda.

When we withhold in the gracious gift of giving, we actually restrict what God can do through others.
I know some have been burned by leadership mistakes, but I can not in good conscience settle for that as an excuse to remove my giving from the equation.

Have you ever bought a coffee and it wasn't that good?
And based on that bad experience did you decide to never buy a coffee again?
Did you declare loudly and proudly that it is your civic, neigh moral duty even to make others aren't burned as you have been?
Maybe a silly analogy, but a similar story to what I have heard as a leader.

For Scripture says, "Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain," and "The worker deserves his wages."
1 Timothy 5:18 niv

I in no way want to muzzle and restrict those whose role it is to serve us in leadership and preaching, so I give a portion to play my part.

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
    when it is in your power to act.
Proverbs 3:27 niv

Something to think about...

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Why do I give? #3

I want to honour

I think that this word 'honour' gets used by you and me without possibly thinking about its meaning...and it has a pretty cool meaning!
It is used as both a noun and verb.
It is both the naming of something or someone to honour them and also the act of honouring them.

I have learnt that I can honour God with the 'fruit of my lips' and 'what lines my pockets'...

Scripture shows every generation of God's people doing both.
They honoured God by what they said of Him and their faith in Him.
They honoured Him with their actions, especially in the act of giving financially.
It is 'normal' for God's people to give a portion of what they have received back to Him as soon as physically possible.

Honour the Lord with your wealth,
with the firstfruits of all your crops;
Proverbs 3:9 niv

You might be thinking this sounds kind of weird...
What does God care about what I do with the money I have?
Very few things show what you truly honour, except what we say and how we spend. In fact scripture tells us that God gets a real clear picture of how much we truly honour Him by how we handle our finances, whether we are giving or not, the level of our generosity.

Maybe this will help?
The writer of this proverb finishes his sentence this way...

then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine.
Proverbs 3:10 niv

When we honour God the pattern seems to be that He then honours us even more.
I choose to honour God with what I give, not because I am after blessing, but it is a pretty cool byproduct for me!

Something to think about...

Friday, August 25, 2017

Why do I give? #2

I want to bless

One of the biggest thrills I have in my life is being able to bless someone else! I am serious about that.
I actually get frustrated when I can't bless as much as I feel I want to...

One day Suze and I felt lead to give a family a car.
We had 2 and because they didn't have one, it just seemed to make sense.
So I got up early one Saturday morning and cleaned our station wagon better than I had ever done before. Scrubbed it, polished it - made it smell fresh as a flower!
Then headed to the Post Office to get the change of ownership papers before we drove it around to the new owners.
I will never forget the looks on their faces when I simply handed them the keys and said "this is for you!"
What they wouldn't have understood is I was just as excited, if not more...

I want to be a blessing.
I think it is awesome to give to God especially financially.
Being able to give to Him is something I love to do. I want to bless Him. I want my giving to bless God's people.
I consider it an extreme honour to be part of the blessing process...

2 “I will make you into a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.”
Genesis 12:2-3 niv

God made this promise of a divine and exciting process to Abraham, and I believe it also applies to us today.
Our lives can be an ongoing source of blessing.
I hope you can discover the reality of this for yourself as well?

Something to think about...

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Why do I give? #1

I have been thinking about why I give, especially in light of many around me questioning why you would even bother.
Many weeks at Churches around the globe there is that 'moment'. That moment where someone encourages, convinces, cajoles even sometimes, those in attendance to give something financially.

Please, before you write me off and stop reading because you really feel uncomfortable with this topic, why not take a moment to check out my personal thoughts on this?
What I am going to share is me. What I think. Why I give and even continue to give.

I want to contribute

My very first Sunday morning experience in August 1991 is where I heard about a way I could be part of what God was doing at the Church I started attending.
Now I had only been there 7 days, with my first experience being the Sunday night before.
The Pastor does something called an 'offering talk', and I can still remember thinking "how does this even work?", that it all sounded a bit strange and foreign to me.
At the same time I remember thinking that I wanted to be part of what was going on.
That if it took some of the resources I had, then why not.
I should at least give it a try and see what happens...

Jesus had radically changed my life after watching a video and then with my responding by giving my heart to him in the shower.
I was passionately trying to find my way.
And in my passion and maybe arguably naivety I went with what someone over me in Christ suggested.
I wanted to contribute.
Because I didn't have enough experience yet, I couldn't offer to worship lead, preach, even help on the door. What I did recognise quickly is that I could contribute to the work of God at that Church with some dollars.

I started contributing that way August 27th 1991, and I can honestly and proudly say I have counted it an honour to continue doing to this day!
I want to contribute to what God is wanting to do.
I want to play my part with what I can, to ultimately see the Churches needs met.
I want to make sure that I do what I can, in part to at least give something back to God for what He has so graciously done for me.

“Since the people began to bring their contributions to the temple of the Lord, we have had enough to eat and plenty to spare, because the Lord has blessed his people, and this great amount is left over.”
2 Chronicles 31:10 niv

What a great picture of the way it should work...
When Gods people all contribute, there is always more than enough, there are leftovers, and all of Gods people feel blessed!

Something to think about...

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Thanks from me :)

Hi everybody...
Recently I took the time to have a look through the stats of my little blog page.
Was blown away that so many from all corners of the globe have take the time to visit and have a read! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

I am from New Zealand, and yet the majority of my readers come from other parts of the world. Turkmenistan, France, Portugal to name a few of the amazing places I have never been, yet you have visited me.

Thanks again for the honour of sharing with you.
I truly hope what I share helps in some big or even small way...

If you ever have any questions, comments or topic requests, I would love to hear from you!
Simply email me at locky@elim.org.nz

Thursday, August 10, 2017

What is God saying today? Part 7

What is God saying today?
I have been reading the Book of Revelation and struck again how God specifically and passionately spoke to each of the 7 Churches mentioned.
And I felt challenged to break each message down and see how that relates potentially to each of us today.
The writer regularly used the phrase "anyone with ears...listen to the Spirit..."
Let's see what the Spirit is saying to each of us today...

Revelation 3:14-22 niv - Message to the Church in Laodicea
14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

Have you heard of the phrase "sitting on the fence"?
Well that phrase pretty much applies here for God.
He just isn't a fan of it!
For God, He is all about knowing whether you are in or out, and simply going with that.
Of course He wants you to be in, He sent His son so you can be in.
But flip flopping with your faith is not so cool to Him.

Hot people are characterised by their absolute passion for God.
They are willing to do whatever it takes to follow Him. Giving up things, sacrificing their time, seeing their lives as no longer their own but as lives of worship for their father in heaven.
Be passionate about your faith my friend, no matter what the cost!

19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Maybe today you realise after reading this that God has been knocking and trying to get your attention?
The gentlemen that He is means He is waiting patiently for you to invite Him in.
The pay off is that when you do, you never loose! It will be an adventure and ups and downs, but more ups than downs. Letting God in will mean you will grow up in every way possible.
Open the door today and let Him in again or for the first time in your life...

What is God saying to you today?
Be encouraged, be challenged, be listening...

Why this little series...?
I have for a long time believed that God speaks to everyone.
Since the beginning of history there are account after account of people hearing God speak to them. From Adam through Moses and then to today. Spoke has spoken and continues to speak.
(Apart from when He promised to be quiet for 400 years - and kept His promise.)

Scripture tells us that God gave us each ears, not just to hear naturally with, but also to hear supernaturally with!
Scripture shows us as well that God can speak audibly, through angels and others, circumstances and His Word. He has a lot of communication tools in His toolbox...

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

What is God saying today? Part 6

What is God saying today?
I have been reading the Book of Revelation and struck again how God specifically and passionately spoke to each of the 7 Churches mentioned.
And I felt challenged to break each message down and see how that relates potentially to each of us today.
The writer regularly used the phrase "anyone with ears...listen to the Spirit..."
Let's see what the Spirit is saying to each of us today...

Revelation 3:7-13 niv - Message to the Church in Philadelphia
7 “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. 8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. 10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.

I am reminded that God tells us that He has a plan for each of our lives...
Maybe you wonder if that plan is open to others manipulation or even prevention?
Maybe you think it is danger from some outside force ripping you off?
The answer I believe to that fear is this - NO!
God has His way, and if we want it, it is a done deal!
Nothing on heaven or earth can stop you entering into all that you can have and be in Him...if you stay faithful to the course He has for you.

11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. 13 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

You and I need to stake our position in Christ and be immovable.
Scripture also reminds us that we are not those who shrink back, that is something God is not a fan of. We are people who stand firm in our faith.
We take our stand graciously and yet firmly on the rock that is Jesus.

My friend, in your walking by faith and fighting the good fight, stand your ground.
Don't give up on your hope or on your integrity.
Wait to see His salvation completely revealed in your life...

What is God saying to you today?
Be encouraged, be challenged, be listening...

Why this little series...?
I have for a long time believed that God speaks to everyone.
Since the beginning of history there are account after account of people hearing God speak to them. From Adam through Moses and then to today. Spoke has spoken and continues to speak.
(Apart from when He promised to be quiet for 400 years - and kept His promise.)

Scripture tells us that God gave us each ears, not just to hear naturally with, but also to hear supernaturally with!
Scripture shows us as well that God can speak audibly, through angels and others, circumstances and His Word. He has a lot of communication tools in His toolbox...

Sunday, August 06, 2017

What is God saying today? Part 5

What is God saying today?
I have been reading the Book of Revelation and struck again how God specifically and passionately spoke to each of the 7 Churches mentioned.
And I felt challenged to break each message down and see how that relates potentially to each of us today.
The writer regularly used the phrase "anyone with ears...listen to the Spirit..."
Let's see what the Spirit is saying to each of us today...

Revelation 3:1-6 niv - Message to the Church in Sardis
“To the angel of the church in Sardis write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

Reputation - funny how we value it many times and it maybe is not even the reality of someones life?
If you spend all your time trying to cultivate a reputation that doesn't match what God sees of your life, well that is pointless.
Before it gets too late sort it out. Come back to your first love.
Has God asked you do something? - complete it.
I bet you already have some idea what God wants from you. Just have the faith and courage to see it through.

Many years a go I used to hear a phrase preached...
Have an "ongoing short account with God".
No one graduates from repentance! No-one! Not me as a Pastor or anyone else I know.
Because I have sinful nature and a flesh that rages against my desire to honour God, many times I come up short of what is right.
Everyday I ask God to forgive me. I try and keep my account short.
God honours humility and contrition.

4 Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. 5 The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. 6 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

What is all this talk about clothes, dirty clothes, white clothes?...
In the 2000 years since this was first written for us, some things have not changed. You can tell a lot about someone by their clothing.
The clothing spoken of here is spiritual.
Dirty clothes indicates a life lived with sin struggles and where the person has given in to that struggle.

We get to choose the clothing of our soul. Clean or Dirty?

White clothes indicates a life lived where the person has exchanged this own unrighteousness for Christ's righteousness. They have chosen to live for Him. They don't want to satisfy their own sinful nature.
Victory over whatever personal struggle we may have is only possible by living for Christ and Him alone!

What is God saying to you today?
Be encouraged, be challenged, be listening...

Why this little series...?
I have for a long time believed that God speaks to everyone.
Since the beginning of history there are account after account of people hearing God speak to them. From Adam through Moses and then to today. Spoke has spoken and continues to speak.
(Apart from when He promised to be quiet for 400 years - and kept His promise.)

Scripture tells us that God gave us each ears, not just to hear naturally with, but also to hear supernaturally with!
Scripture shows us as well that God can speak audibly, through angels and others, circumstances and His Word. He has a lot of communication tools in His toolbox...

Thursday, August 03, 2017

I podcast as well...

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

What is God saying today? Part 4

What is God saying today?
I have been reading the Book of Revelation and struck again how God specifically and passionately spoke to each of the 7 Churches mentioned.
And I felt challenged to break each message down and see how that relates potentially to each of us today.
The writer regularly used the phrase "anyone with ears...listen to the Spirit..."
Let's see what the Spirit is saying to each of us today...

Revelation 2:18-28 niv - Message to the Church in Thyatira
18 “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write:
These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. 19 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.

I think it is awesome that God notices what I attempt to do for Him!
Even if no one else notices, acknowledges or even thanks me for my service to the Kingdom of God, God is happy with what I bring.

20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. 21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.

Why bring up this lady called Jezebel?
This lady featured during the time of the Kings, specifically after Israel and Judah became two kingdoms. She was a very strong and forceful character married to an easily lead King called Ahab.
Her claim to infamy was her willingness to destroy others for personal gain, her lack of morals, and her manipulation of others lives.
She wanted the good bits of being part of Israel, her position and the benefits there of. But she didn't want God interfering. Didn't think He was needed.
For me the warning is to make sure I am not like her in any way.
That I don't allow others to lead me who are like her.
That I do what I can make sure that her spirit of intimidation and manipulation isn't part of my family of faith.
Those things I will never tolerate!

24 Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets, ‘I will not impose any other burden on you, 25 except to hold on to what you have until I come.’

I think many of us are looking for secrets.
Like 'what is the hidden meaning of this or that' in scripture...
I believe that when Jesus encouraged us to have a child like faith, that He meant it about His Word as well. To simply take it as it is. To live it out as it is.
Many struggle to live out the most basic tenants of our faith - why look to complicate things?

When someone tells me they haven't just had a personal revelation, but that God is showing them and them alone a secret truth that has been hidden until now - I run!

26 To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— 27 that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery’—just as I have received authority from my Father. 28 I will also give that one the morning star. 29 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

What is God saying to you today?
Be encouraged, be challenged, be listening...

Why this little series...?
I have for a long time believed that God speaks to everyone.
Since the beginning of history there are account after account of people hearing God speak to them. From Adam through Moses and then to today. Spoke has spoken and continues to speak.
(Apart from when He promised to be quiet for 400 years - and kept His promise.)

Scripture tells us that God gave us each ears, not just to hear naturally with, but also to hear supernaturally with!
Scripture shows us as well that God can speak audibly, through angels and others, circumstances and His Word. He has a lot of communication tools in His toolbox...
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