The forgotten meaning of giving and receiving

Ruth meets Boaz. No one ever became poor by giving. Giving and receiving

Ruth Meets Boaz / Edward Burne-Jones, 1879

It’s more blessed to give than to receive. But God is such a generous giver that we receive all the time. And in fact, what we receive depends very much on what we give.

Unfortunately, we concentrate so much on material things that we easily forget how much else giving and receiving means.

Let’s take a look at one of Jesus’ teachings on the subject:

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you.

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Elijah meets a prosperous widow

Elijah prophesied that it would not rain in Israel until he said so. That got the king upset with him, so he went into hiding. God sent him directly to Queen Jezebel’s homeland, perhaps the last place anyone would look for him.  Eventually, he stayed with a widow in Zarephath. To herself and everyone around her, she looked destitute. Actually, she more nearly represents the biblical model of divine prosperity than anyone else I can think of.

It has been a long time since I have watched much Christian television. Many popular ministries I know of preach some kind of gospel of self-esteem.… Read the rest

Christ’s attitude in us

What could have gone on in Jesus’ mind on Palm Sunday, as he received cheers that he knew would not last. Here was the Lord of the universe, deliberately riding a donkey into an ambush. He knew a judicial miscarriage of justice, an illegal trial followed by an ignominious death, awaited him in less than a week.

Fortunately, we don’t have to wonder what he thought. Paul tells us all we need to know. Jesus was God in human form: the fullness of deity, the maximum portion of being God that his fully human nature and body could hold.

He had laid aside all of his heavenly privileges to accept his humanity.… Read the rest

Robbing God in tithes and offerings

As Christians, we don’t pay tithes to our church; we pay them to God. The check may be made out to our church, but we pay them to God. Suppose instead of putting your tithe in the offering plate, you decide to keep the money for bills. Chances are no one at the church will notice. You would not be taking from the church, but the prophet Malachi says you are robbing God.

What is the tithe? Ten percent of gross income. Don’t try to tithe on the net, unless you consider the government and whoever else gets your deductions more worthy than God of the first portion of your income.… Read the rest