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Posts Tagged ‘abel’

The heart. It is not just a muscle in the center left of the chest. It speaks to the core of who we are as people. 

We were made in the image and likeness of YHWH Elohim (the God of the Judeo-Christian Bible). God is spirit – the essence of His being. In point of fact, His name YHWH means “I am” – the essence and being of His own existance. 

The core of essence of our being – our heart – is love, power, and a sound or sure nature. That is until we as a specie separated ourselves through sin – our choosing to try to live separate from the God who is life.

What happens from there is recognition that something is missing. 

Man’s first reaction to separation was to be a covering for himself. Fig leaves are not long lasting at all.

Man’s second reaction was murder, then walls to hide bebind, then to make a name for themselves. Since man could no longer reach God, man made gods that he could reach.

God said in Exodus 20 to not make any graven image as a god or even for God. Man did not listen.

Check point: at what alter do you worship most often?

An idolatrous heart is conditioned to worship the bright and shiny, the rich and power, the beautiful and sensual, that at which he or she can only guess and hope. 

Since man could not reach God, man made gods after man’s own fashion. The gods of man were / are made after the image and likeness of mans’ own design.

The idolatrous heart condition has set up gods to worship. 

Around the world man has made idols or little gods to worship. Heroes, philosophers, the beautiful, the enticing, the awe-inspiring, and those deemed to be better than the rest.

None of them have life. Not real, everlasting life. 

The idolatrous heart chases after things to worship instead of the one who created them.

Man is created to worship, to carry value and worth to one that is worthy to receive the gift. 

The idolatrous heart seeks succor and satisfaction from that which cannot deliver.

Like it or not: Jesus, only Jesus can give you access to succor and satisfaction that lasts. 

When the idolatrous heart finds a real Jesus, not a religious Jesus, idolatry fades away when exposed to truth, and truth fills that area of life that always seemed to be empty. 

God shows up when idolatry is put away. That which was man made fades in importance and desire when that which fills to the full and satisfies has fully come into you life.

The true God puts away idolatry just by who He is. The heart condition that pursued idols has now met true Life and One worthy of all praise and honor and glory.

What the world sees as right and attempts to explain in iconography, God explains by simply showing Himself by His Spirit.

Meet God.

Ask the God of the Judeo-Christian Bible to show Himself mightily in your life through the cross of Jesus Christ.

We cannot come near God without Jesus. God will not get close to us and give us His life without our first accepting and receiving what Jesus did at the cross, the grave, and the resurrection.

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. Confess Jesus as Savior and Lord. Do all He commanded you according to the Bible. Now rejoice! Your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and God can walk with you and give you His Holy Spirit and be with you all ways.

Amen.

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Last week, my pastor, Glenn Feehan, asked me to give the ‘giving nugget;’ to say a little word about giving. I agreed. I then asked the Lord – as has become my practice – what do we talk about in the area of giving?

Immediately springing to mind I thought of several verses of giving. This was not my first time talking about giving and I have studied ‘giving.’ Not relying on my education, I asked GOD and began to listen. How does GOD give? How did He give?

“For GOD so loved this world He gave…”

John 3:16, we see that verse a lot. But have we considered it? Have we thought about it from the stand point of how GOD gives? GOD gives excessively. GOD gives and does not seek anything in return from you other than you being blessed. Interesting.

For GOD so loved this world He gave … GOD gives the same way He loves; without thought of return.

“In the beginning GOD created the heavens and the earth…” Genesis 1.1

GOD’s idea of giving has been to take something that cost Him, make it useful, and then give it away. GOD created the heavens and the earth. After all of that, He made a place that was pleasurable to Him. He called it Eden [pleasurable, pleasant]. And in the midst of Eden, He made a garden. Then He gave the garden to Man. Do you see GOD’s idea and level of giving?

Out of Himself, universe, Earth, Eden, garden … Man’s.

GOD gives out of His love for us and for this world He created. That kind of love is epitomized by the Greek verb ‘agape’. Most dictionaries of biblical words will define ‘agape’ as the God-kind-of-love; the kind that loves without expecting to be loved in return.

The apostle, Paul, tried to communicate this kind of love too in a letter when he said that they set aside what is in their heart, they should give not out of compulsion, but out of what they purposed to give. You see, the early Church in Jerusalem was being heavily persecuted and they were being ostracized. No one was buying or selling or trading with them. It was a difficult time for them to follow after Jesus. They were being sorely tested for their faith. But GOD did not want the rest of the Church to just give. GOD wanted them to give out of their love for one another. GOD had set the example of giving and wanted them to live it out.

If GOD wanted to be demanding He could be. In Malachi He points out the tithe is Lord’s and the fullness thereof. The tithe pre-dated the Law of Moses but became a requirement under the Law. The tithe is a form of blessing if you let it. If you give out of your love and not out of obligation.

In Genesis we see where it has come time to make an offering to GOD. This is something that Adam and Eve had been doing and now included their sons. Cain came with an offering, but Abel came with an offering that was made up of the best portions. By implication those verses point out that Cain gave out of obedience, that he had better stuff, he just didn’t bring it. Those same verses point out that Abel brought the best portions. This implies Abel took time, made selections, went through preparations, all to bless GOD. Abel’s sacrifice was pleasing, Cain’s was not.

The Law proscribed giving, made it mandatory. Leviticus goes through the many different ways the children of Israel were required to give. Jesus showed it is not the why or how but the heart’s intent that means the most.

Farmers understand seed and sowing. They understand that you plant your seed on purpose and specifically if you want to receive a harvest. In our modern society, most of us are not farmers. We are in our own ‘fields.’ Our jobs, our specialties, are considered our fields. The fruit of our labors may not be in corn, wheat, barley, livestock, or whatever. The fruit of our labor in the USA is the American Greenback. When we give we must give intentionally and on purpose.

In Malachi 3, GOD points out they should bring in the whole tithe that His storehouse might be full. The purpose of the storehouse is to provide for the maintenance of the house, provide for those whose work is the work of the house, and to bless those out of the increase of the house. In the same way the local church is that local storehouse. There are needs to ensure the local house of prayer is maintained well. There are needs to provide for those who labor in the Gospel for the Church’s sake. And there are those that are blessed out of the excess, the increase, the surplus of income into the local church.

The local church building is not the Church, but it is the place where the Church meets, worships, studies, prays, and ministers. There are specific needs that must be met to maintain the building for all of the people attending at that local meeting place for the Church. It is a reality check. Electricity makes the lights work. Water makes the plumbing and drinking fountains work.

The Bible states that those who labor in the Gospel are worthy of double honor. Honor in biblical times and at the writing of the King James English translation meant gifts and support for the person being honored. Now does that mean pastors should be paid double what is normal? No it does not, but is does mean that they should be looked after well. For those who are pastors after GOD’s own heart, the work load is heavy and usually double for pastors. They carry what they must for their own lives and they carry what they must for their flocks. It can be heavy at times. Every effort should be made to maintain those who labor for us in the things of GOD.

The local church is the local storehouse and the local expression of GOD’s provision. Our local church has had the privilege to give to the Frisco Family Services, to special needs, to missions, to strangers who came to the local church with a need. That is being the Church, the local expression of GOD’s goodness.

So, we should give out of our ‘agape’ love. We should give on purpose, intentionally, with some thought and effort put into it. We should give to bless GOD and His house of prayer. We should give to bless those who labor in the Gospel for us, to show them our love and appreciation for them. We should give so we can be the hands that GOD might use to bless others, both locally and internationally.

So, give. Not out of compulsion or obligation or duty or obedience. Give just as you have purposed in your heart … out of your love for GOD, His house, His co-laborers, and His people.

Amen.

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