Who Is This Uncircumcised Virus?

Today during the message at church, a thought occurred to me I have never had before. Thanks to my Pastor, Paul Daugherty for such a great message, but most importantly for bringing this little bit of insight to me, by way of the Holy Spirit. When I wasn’t a Christian, just a small boy in the Methodist church my parents attended, I knew the story of David and Goliath. I paid extra close attention I’m sure because we share the same name, and I often wondered if I could have done what he did when facing down the giant.

What I never thought about until today however, was what the people around David were really thinking prior to him actually confronting Goliath. I know what his brothers thought when he showed up to bring them food and find out for their father Jesse how the war was going. They were mad at him, saying he’d just come to see a battle, of course at this time there hadn’t been any battles. It had actually been forty days, and on every single one of those days, Goliath came out and taunted King Saul and his army saying, “Come out to fight us. If you defeat us, we will be your slaves, but if we defeat you, you become ours.”

David showed up one day just as Goliath was making his usual speech, and what he saw was the Israeli army running away from the battle lines, saying things like, “Have you seen him? He’s a giant!” But an interesting thing happened as well, they also reported to David how the king had promised to give his daughter in marriage to the man who defeated Goliath, and making his family free from having to pay any taxes. When David heard this, he went to another man asking what would be done for the man who killed the giant, and it was reported to him the same thing. David’s response was different from that of every other man, he said, “Who does this uncircumcised Philistine think he is, that he is allowed to defy the army of the living God?” It wasn’t too long before this was reported back to King Saul, and David found himself standing in the king’s tent.

What I hadn’t seen until today, was how the army of Israel had been watching Goliath spew his taunts in their direction for forty days straight, and not one of them had enough faith to face him, including King Saul. It was probably easier to believe the report of how they were all going to die because of this giant looming before them, with each passing day. Talk had to be about how big the giant was, and what a man of this caliber could do to each and everyone of them. By the fortieth day, Goliath was probably like Superman to them, invincible. The difference between the army and David however was in the reporting. David didn’t know who Goliath was, but the army did, because they had been focusing on the problem before them for forty days, instead of on the God who had saved their nation time and time again.

What struck me today was how the year 2020 with it’s Covid virus fear inspiring pandemic was an awful lot like Goliath standing before the army of Israel. I’m not denying the fact people contracted this virus and some of them even died, just as David never denied the fact Goliath was a giant, he just properly called him what he was; an uncircumcised Philistine. The use of the word “uncircumcised” is covenant talk. This meant Goliath did not have an agreement with God like each and every one of the Israeli men in the army did, so he was subject to the man who did have a covenant with God. David even went on to say he had killed a lion and a bear while watching his father’s sheep, and this Philistine would be no different; God would help him in this battle just like He had in those others.

One thing about David however, he did listen to the reports of the older wise men in the room, respecting his elders. He even tried wearing King Saul’s armor to face the giant. But ultimately told the king he had never worn armor and it would just get in his way, opting to stand against his enemy with the clothes on his back and a sling in his hand. It’s interesting he felt he had to face the giant with what he knew, and not with what man thinks is important. I think we should listen to the reports, just not make them our focus. But when we’re told we have to do something which goes against what we know and believe to be right and true, we have to stand up and say, “Thank you very much, but who is this uncircumcised virus? I’ll face it head on with God, that’s what I’m going to do,” and then go and do that.

One thing you should know however and be ready for, is when you stand in faith against a giant, the crowd around you will ridicule you. Standing in faith goes against what the crowd says and does, if it didn’t, then everyone would stand up in faith and defeat the giants in life. I’m sure you’ve experienced it at least once in your life, being ridiculed for saying or doing something the world around you will not do because of fear. People who are operating in fear instead of faith get mad at the ones who are using their faith, and will do just about anything to make you feel like you’re the one who is in the wrong.

I believe it is time for us to stop being like the army of Israel, walking in fear every time the media reports something about Covid or any other media filled frenzied event. Then, we need to go down to the stream, find some smooth stones to put in our shepherd’s pouch and be ready to sling stones back at the enemy who is trying to keep us Christians quiet. And it’s definitely time for those of us who are Christians to stop being timid (play awe inspiring music here) and to stop running away from the problems, but run towards them, facing head on whatever is set against us, with a tenacity that is written about in our instruction manual (the Bible). I think if more of us would stop listening to the crowd and focus on hearing God, we would see amazing things happen just like did in the Bible.

Well, there’s that…for the Kingdom and the King, shalom!

Today Above All Days

It was while on vacation during a casual conversation over breakfast with my bride this morning I was reminded about how life changed so drastically for us eleven years ago. It’s hard to imagine eleven years have gone by since the suicide of my youngest son Noah. I won’t bore you with the details of that day again; I’ve posted something about it almost every year since his death, so no need to rehash the past. But I will say from the onset here, if you have thought about, or are contemplating your own death as you read this, please don’t do it. We need you here, even if at this moment it doesn’t feel like it.

Suicide is an insidious tool the enemy of mankind uses to thwart the things God has intended to happen on this planet. You may not realize it, but you are here on purpose, because you have a purpose (Thanks Pastor Paul). You may not know or understand your purpose, I can attest to this myself, because at fifty-seven now, I’m still working to realize my what my purpose and full potential is supposed to be.

One thing I do know about this day eleven years ago, is God knew it was coming and was prepared to walk with us through all the chaos, sadness and anger we were about to experience. Many people told me they were shocked that such a good Christian family as ours would have to walk the road we walked. I’m not saying we are perfect, no family is, but we were at the church every time the doors were open and all three of our children not only attended church, but were very active in doing the actual ministry of Jesus. Noah was the most prolific of all of us at talking to people about accepting the Lord.

The thing which saved me on that day and every day since was the Word of God; specifically John 10:10. It says, “The thief comes to kill, steal and destroy. I (Jesus) have come to bring you life and life to the full.” This is what I call a defining Scripture, because it explains what is actually going on in every situation of life. You can know where things are coming from because of it. If it brings death and destruction, it’s the devil, and if it brings life, then Jesus. This is why I used the picture from my phone on this blog. Every time I see the time 10:10 or even just the numbers 1010, I’m reminded of this passage of Scripture. And as I stood by our trampoline a few hours after they had taken Noah’s body away, this is the passage which kept repeating in my mind. It literally helped me run to God and not from Him.

I don’t know what you may be facing, but I know this one thing; there is a battle going on around you each and every day. It’s a battle for your soul; to either help you or hinder you, and if you are unsure of who is doing what in your life, or it will bring confusion to the point where you will blame God when bad things happen, when it is obvious because of this Scripture it is the devil, (the thief), who is bringing the problems.

Knowing John 10:10 didn’t bring my son back to me, but it did help me to understand what was going on and be able to navigate through the murkiness which tried to cover our family for quite a while. I don’t claim to be a Bible scholar or anything, and I’m definitely not perfect by any means, but I do know this one thing, having a working knowledge of God’s Word is what kept my family not only in church, but following and serving Jesus to this day.

It’s never too late to start reading God’s Word either, even if you don’t understand what you’re reading. I’ve always told people, I eat green beans, but I can’t tell you what they do for me nutritionally, I only know I like them and they’re good for me. It’s just like that with the Bible, even if you don’t understand what you’re reading, it is doing something for your spirit.

And it has never been any easier to get access to the Bible. You can download the Bible app from Life Church at your app store; it’s a free download and has many translations of the Bible to choose from. I prefer the New Living Translation, but there are so many available, you will be able to find one which speaks specifically to you. The main thing is to just start reading it and see where God takes you.

For the Kingdom, and the King…Shalom.

It’s About People Dummy

This morning I received a phone call from a coworker telling me about how another coworker of ours had died. To say I was shocked is an understatement. Death has a way of doing this thing where it creeps up on us, rearing its ugly head when we least expect it. I’ve heard it said how we never know what a day may hold until we actually enter into it and experience things much like turning of the pages of a good book to reveal what the story holds, but today’s story wasn’t starting out too good.

Driving to my mother’s house, I had some time so I decided to pray for this young man’s family. Having lived through the death of my youngest son ten years ago, and my father just last year, I found myself in a very introspective mood as I prayed. I began to think to myself about my coworker and the interactions we had in the few years I knew him. As I was thinking along these lines, I was reminded of a scene from the movie Master & Commander in which the captain of the ship gives a eulogy for a crew member who has died.

The simple truth is, not all of us become the men we once hoped we might be. But we are all God’s creatures. If there are those among us who thought ill of Mr. Hollom, or spoke ill of him, or failed him in respect of fellowship. . . then we ask for your forgiveness, Lord. And we ask for his. God be praised.

As I mulled this scene over in my mind I couldn’t help but wonder if I had failed this man at work in the respect of fellowship. I know I didn’t think or speak ill of him, but did I do everything I could have in being a good person to him? Which then led me to question my interactions with everyone I come in contact with. As I said I was in an introspective mood, and if I was to answer honestly, I probably have not done the best with people in the respect of fellowship. Let me say here and now, if you’re reading this and I have ever treated you in any way which made you feel anything other than valued and validated by me, please forgive me.

You know it is so easy to give lip service to ideas without truly living up to them. What’s worse though is when you give lip service to something you believe in, and actually think you are living up to it. And that is where I found myself during this time of travel this morning; realizing I have been real good at talking about it, just not so good at walking it out. Man I love these times when God shows up and stirs my pot so to speak. It’s painful to come to this type of realization, but at the same time if you can push past the fact you have fallen short in an area, ask His forgiveness and make the necessary changes, life can be so much better.

At 57, I realize God is not through with me yet. (Thank You Jesus!) And while I was never intentionally mean to my coworker, I could have been a better man in regards to my fellowship with him; asking about his life, family, hopes and dreams. While it may be too late to do this with him now, it’s not too late for me to make changes with everyone else I come into contact with. And this is what I intend to do, and promised God I would start doing.

This isn’t a quick fix, and truthfully I’m not really even sure what this is going to look like; after all I’ve had 57 years to become the way I am, and I am smart enough to know it’ll take time to make changes. But I do know this, somedays I’ll do great and others I may not, but like in all the great stories, the sun always shines a little bit brighter after there is a gloomy day. So on the days where I miss it and perhaps fail in terms of offering fellowship to those around me, I’ll get up the next day, quote Lamentations 3:23 and try again.

For the Kingdom and the King, shalom!

My Manhood Is Offended

To start with, I’ve not been watching a lot of media coverage of what happened in Washington this week. Most of it has just been snippets here and there, but from the little I’ve seen, there is one thing which has bothered me, and it is the politicians who decided to pull their support from the President at the first sign of difficulties.

I should say here too, this blog is my opinion, and at this time in America I’m still entitled to it, just as you are entitled to yours. I’m not hoping to change your mind, I’m just stating mine. I also don’t care if you disagree with me. Another great thing about living in America, is we can have disagreeing opinions and still be civil towards each other. It is a choice we can and must make however.

The thing which bothered me so much this week, was seeing Republican men who I had admired from a distance back paddle and start acting like Democrats. Their actions looked more like people drowning in the water, scrambling for the last floatation device; not caring who they pushed under in their attempt to save their own lives. There are some words I could use to describe these men, but I’m working on doing better with my use of language this year, trying to keep my French at bay.

One thing I have always tried to do is be a man of my word. Psalm 15:4B says that good men keep their promises even to their own hurt. Basically this means, if you say something to someone, you are to own up to what you’ve said even if it costs you something. The men who pulled the rug out from under President Trump, and for that matter the people they are supposed to be acting on behalf of, took a chance to save their own political necks and ran for the hills. It disgusts me!

One of the main problems in this world, is men do not honor their word any longer. Talk is cheap as they say, and unless your actions meet up with the words you say, they don’t mean anything. And herein is the biggest problem in politics today, it’s not about governing well and helping Americans, it’s about sucking the tit of big government for as long as you can and trying to stay in office for as long as possible.

Men who do not honor their word; saying one thing and doing another need to be horse whipped. Of course that doesn’t go with the kinder/gentler world everyone wants nowadays. But then I’m old school and think we need men who are not afraid to do what they say and stand up for what is right and good and true regardless of the consequences. These pantywaist men in Congress, whose only claim to being men is they have a penis but not a backbone need to move on down the road.

We need real men again. Not those men who were degrading to women and thought because of their sex they were entitled to do whatever they wanted without consequence. No we need men who love God, their families and working to make the world a better place than they found it.

In his book Wild at Heart, John Eldredge stated;

There are three desires I find written so deeply into my heart I know now I can no longer disregard them without losing my soul…I search the pages of literature, I listen carefully to many, many men, and I am convinced these desires are universal, a clue into masculinity itself. They may be misplaced, forgotten, or misdirected, but in the heart of every man is a desperate desire for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue. ~ page 9

If we are to make it as a society, and at times I wonder if it is possible, we are going to have to get back to being men, real and authentic men who embrace these three values deeply and live them out. If not, and we continue to see these men who are supposed to lead us take the easy way out, capitulating to the opposition in order to line their own pockets and make life easier for themselves, then I’m afraid we might be doomed as a society.

So come on men, step up and do what men are supposed to do, stop being liars and mean what you say and say what you mean. It’s not always easy, but then when is anything worth having easy?

For the Kingdom and the King, shalom.

Living Outside My Default Settings

Why is it my mind automatically replays over and over offenses I have received? It’s almost as if I don’t even have to be thinking about the thing, it just pops into my mind and before I know it I’m reliving the whole event over and over again. Why does my mind do this? Am I the only one this happens to? If so, does this make me a freak? All valid questions, and ones I really want answered, because it is really difficult to walk as a Christian when these scenes from my life are on replay in my brain.

The Bible teaches we are to forgive those who sin against us, and if we do not, then our Father who is in Heaven will not forgive us our sins. (Matthew 6:12, 14-15) This is a huge deal because it is conditional. This means in order for God to forgive me, I must forgive others. Yeah, but how do I do this when my mind seems to be replaying the sins directed at me?

I love the phrase on the picture I chose for this blog, it says, “There are people who live their whole lives on the default settings, never realizing you can customize.” ~ Robert Brault. This brings hope to me, because it makes me believe there is more to life than just allowing things to happen to me and being forced to live with them. One of the things God has done for mankind is to give us the ability to choose how we are going to respond to things. Just because something bad happens to us, it doesn’t mean we have to allow this thing to change our perspective on life. We have been given the tools to choose how we are going to see any given situation; good or bad. It’s up to us how we respond when something happens to us, not the situation’s. And this is great news!

One thing I’ve learned in fifty-seven years walking this planet, it’s we live according to what we believe and the words we speak. It’s a spiritual principle which works for any human on this planet, saved or unsaved. If you believe something in your heart, and do not doubt, but believe the things you say will come to pass, you will have whatever you say (Mark 11:23-24). And interestingly enough, in verse 25 Jesus went on to say, “But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” Hmm, interesting, we’re back to forgiving people for sinning against us.

Even as I’m writing this, I’m beginning to see a pattern here. One way to keep these things from replaying themselves in our minds is to immediately forgive the person who sinned against us. And listen when you are forgiving the person, you’re not saying what they did to you wasn’t wrong, it may have been. What you are saying, is that you are releasing them from your mind and heart and refusing to hold their sin against them. We never forgive someone for their benefit, but for our own. Holding onto the offense is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill them.

Won’t you join me in this new year and begin the process of changing the default settings in your life and truly forgive all of those who have sinned against you. Forgive them, and let it go.

For the Kingdom and the King, Shaom!

Let’s Do Better

For the last fifty-seven years my birthday has been on New Year’s Eve, I suppose it will be for the next fifty-seven to now that I think about it. In all of those years, I’ve always been prompted with the idea of making the new year better than the last one. I think we’ve all done it, written down our hopes, dreams and aspirations only to fall back into the routines of life in just a few short weeks. Or at least I hope I’m not the only one this happens to.

Many people have complained, whined and cried about the year 2020, I truthfully have seen some pretty amazing things; haven’t missed a day of work, continued to see the blessings of God in my life and was introduced to the most beautiful baby girl which has earned me the title of Pop Pop. There have been some sad things as well; my dad passing away (not due to Covid), friend’s family members having died (due to Covid) and our family vacation being extremely too short. But with all of this, I guess 2020 wanted to get in one last kick.

So yesterday was the most miserable day I think I have ever had at work. Usually, I’m pretty upbeat and optimistic with whatever is going on, but yesterday I guess I was off of my game, and unwilling to listen to the Holy Spirit’s promptings, which is funny, because the day before I did, and did well. Anyhow, yesterday just sucked. For those of you who know me, for me to even use the word “sucked”, it should be obvious how bad a day it was. For starters, I had to fix a situation at the very beginning of my shift (6 am) in order to keep the mill from losing production. And I had to do this, while trying to do the things I already have to do at the start of my shift, so I was behind.

Also with it being the end of the month and year the sales department decided to bombard us with an abundance of shipments going out. Funny how at the end of the month trucks magically appear to take these loads, but are hard pressed to be found during the actual month. And yes, before you say aren’t you being a little whiney? If this was a situation which only happens once in a while, I’d just accept it like a champ and move on, but when it occurs each and every month, there becomes a pattern which makes my life and the lives of the rest of the guys I work with more difficult.

As I ran to meet each and every need requiring my assistance I found myself around 5:00 pm thinking, “Hey, we might get home by 6:00 pm.” That’s about the time we were told we needed to get another load ready for the truck which had been overlooked. The truck arrived two hours earlier than that, and it would have been cool to get the load ready while it was daylight and not raining, but instead we had to tally the load in the dark, holding flashlights, clipboards, and umbrellas trying not to get the paperwork wet, not to mention ourselves. Now I don’t hold this against anyone, I really don’t. Accidents happen, and I’m a big enough man to forgive, especially when I make enough mistakes in my own life daily. I’ve only written about it so you can get a glimpse of yesterday from my perspective.

By the time we were loading the last three trucks for the day, the rain was coming in sheets, with a stiff north wind making the temperature about twenty-eight degrees. It was brutal. As part of my job, I have a vehicle to drive from place to place, but as luck would have it, it was broke down. I was driving another buggy, but one with only a windshield (thank God for that) but no doors, so I was parking it facing the wind to as minimize the amount of cold and wet I would get. Out of the blue, one of my coworkers starts yelling, I didn’t know he was aiming this barrage of words in my direction until he stormed closer to where I was sitting. It was at this point I realized he was mad at me for not loading the truck, or even offering to help. Should I have, probably, but with the day I was having I was just trying to make it until I could go home.

Now in hindsight, I did not handle the situation in the correct way. He shot off a bunch of cuss words at me, and I fired right back. To say I was mad is an understatement. Was this guy justified? In his mind he was. Was I justified in what I said back to him? In my mind, yes. Now a day later, reviewing this in my mind and applying God’s Word to it, obviously the Holy Spirit has been reminding me of the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:38-39 Amplified:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth [punishment that fits the offense].’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person [who insults you or violates your rights]; but whoever slaps you on the right cheek, turn the other toward him also [simply ignore insignificant insults or trivial losses and do not bother to retaliate—maintain your dignity, your self-respect, your poise].”

Yeah, great words to live by, wish I would have done that yesterday. But this is what I am writing about with my blog today, “Let’s do better!” I’m going to work at driving the words of Jesus further and deeper into my heart, by not only giving them mind space, but actually living them out in the real world. It obviously doesn’t happen just because I read it, I must put it into practice. Like Jesus said in James 1:22:

“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.”

I will be making my part in the way 2020 ended right with my coworker, because regardless of how right I may have felt I was justified in my behavior, I was wrong and need to make it right. How about joining me this year? Let’s do better, and see God work in our lives in a larger way in 2021. For the Kingdom and the King, Shalom and welcome to the new world!


Holy Two Face Batman!

I’m sure if someone didn’t know me personally, but made decisions about what manner of man I am from my social media postings and blogs, then who I am and who you think I am would be painted with two different brushes. While the truth is, who you see before you in this blog and on all of my social media posts is one and the same guy, obviously if you were to sit down with me over a cup of coffee and we discussed the very same things I write and post about, you would probably think I was not the same man who wrote them. Mainly because of the difference between reading what someone says, and actually listening and having a conversation with that person.

As a matter of fact, this very subject came up over a lunch conversation with my bride and a friend today. People are constantly getting upset with things people post online, and usually what the upset person gets aggravated with isn’t even what the author intended. Without being able to hear the inflection in a person’s voice, or see the intent within their eyes, it is hard to actually understand what they are saying.

It’s like why punctuation is so important when you’re writing something for people to read. For example if I write, “Let’s eat grandma.” versus, “Let’s eat, grandma.” even though I use the very same words, without putting that little comma behind the word eat, it turns my words into a heinous act. Hearing how someone says something is like putting the comma in your sentence; it helps to get your point across.

One thing I’ve seen so much of over the past few months is how many people are giving us all a piece of their minds. And while I am all for talking about what you believe, I have to ask myself is this really worth the effort I am going to put in before I post it? Does this mean I get it right every time? No, absolutely not, but this shouldn’t keep me from sharing my thoughts and ideas. Instead, if I end up posting something I should have taken a little more time seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit about instead of plowing ahead, I need to own it and make it right to anyone I’ve offended.

Now this brings up a whole other thing, in today’s society, we have people who get offended at every little thing out there. And as a fifty-six year old man who gets up each and every day and spends my entire day outside doing things I don’t really want to do in order to feed and provide for my family, I don’t have a lot of patience for anyone who gets their feelings hurt and needs a special room for coloring and petting puppies to help them feel better about themselves. (Too much, too harsh?)

Jesus told us in Matthew 5:37, “Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.” So understand when I write, post or say something, it will always be the same. Now you may not like what I have to say, and you know that’s okay. Nobody ever said life was about getting everyone to agree with you. But one thing you will find out about me is these things I believe, I believe because of what I’ve found in the Scriptures. I have a basis for what I talk about, and I would hope you do as well. Again, this is not to say I’ve never made mistakes before, but I do always own them, as I would hope you do as well.

To wrap this blog up, I hope you understand everything I say will come from the place of letting my yes be yes and my no be no. No wishy-washiness here, no just repeating what other people say without owning it. I’m going to own each and every word or picture I share, you can believe this, and if it turns out I offend you, then don’t hesitate to tell me. Because I can’t make it right if I don’t know I offended you.

For the Kingdom and the King, shalom!

God, What Do You Think?

In Matthew 6:33 Jesus says, “But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.” Honestly, this is something I struggle with. What I mean is, most of the time, and for most of my Christian walk, I have gone to God when things get tough, or I find myself in a bind. Rarely do I manage to go to Him first before making the decision to do something.

It’s humbling to actually admit this, mainly because I’ve been a Christian for 30 plus years now. Truthfully, it’s kind of embarrassing really, I mean asking God for direction is like Christianity 101, it’s one of the basic tenets of faith. But if I’ve learned anything in my time here, it’s we can overlook the closest things which are right in front of us if we are not careful.

So what does asking God for direction look like? Are you like me, and sometimes the things in the Bible kind of go over your head? You read something, or hear it taught and instead of it sinking right in, it just sort of flies right past you? Jesus said we were to strive and aim after the God’s way of doing things and being right, but what does this actually mean? Where can we find what that really looks like?

I know for me, I’m more of a visual learner; for instance, if we are going to play a new game, I need someone to show me how. I can read the instructions all day long, but I will still be unable to play it right. I need someone who can understand from reading to show me. Sometimes reading the Bible alone doesn’t help me to understand how to implement the things in it, like reading the instructions for a new game. I need to see some practical application of the principles.

The definition of the word seek is,

  1. attempt to find (something).
  2. attempt or desire to obtain or achieve (something).
  3. ask for (something) from someone.

When Jesus tells us to seek Him, He was saying we should attempt to find, desire to obtain or achieve or ask for something from God. He goes on to say in Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives, and he who keeps on seeking finds, and to him who keeps on knocking, it will be opened.”

This is not a one time thing. Ask and keep asking, seek and keep seeking, knock and keep knocking. What is He saying here? It seems to me perhaps God is wanting to see if we are serious or not. It is pretty evident here Jesus is telling us we will get our answers, but not on the first try. Have you ever had a child want something from you? They come to you and ask for whatever, and do you stop what you’re doing and run out to get it for them? No. If so, you are spoiling them, stop that. Ha!

I know in my own life, my kids asked me for things, and sometimes I waited to see if they were serious about what they were asking for, or if it was just a whim on their part. If they kept asking about it, then I would work to see about getting it for them. Yes, I did spoil my kids at times, bringing home gifts and toys for them, just because I wanted to see them smile. Writing this, I think God is showing me this is what He likes to do too, but sometimes He is waiting and watching to see if I’m really serious about what I’m asking, when I’m actually asking.

This may or may not help anyone but me, but this is okay, because I have found a flaw in who I am as a Christian, and realizing you have a problem is the first step in solving the problem. For me, this means a more dedicated time of seeking God daily. Not just reading my Bible and checking it off the list, or praying for the protection of my family daily. But closing my office door, and spending a little extra time each morning talking to God, including Him in my day more. After all, the truth of the matter is, God doesn’t really care as much about what I do every day as He does spending time with me. And if the God who created the whole universe and everything in it wants to spend time with me, shouldn’t I be a little bit excited to spend time with Him?

Yeah, like I said earlier, it’s a little bit embarrassing, but sometimes it takes being embarrass to get you to move, and so today I make the decision to move towards God and begin asking Him what He thinks about my day and what I should be doing. I’ll let you know how it goes.

For the Kingdom and the King, shalom!

God Doesn’t Need Your $$$

I’ve been writing for a long time now, and a while back I renamed my blog “Stuff My Father Says”. There has obviously been a lot of my opinions in the things I’ve written about, but ultimately those thoughts of mine are rooted and grounded in the Word of God. Often when I write, it’s because of a desire to help others learn the things I have. A few times it’s just because I want to see if I can get a rise out of people. I’ve been somewhat successful on both counts. Today is one of those days I want to see if I can get a rise out of you, while helping at the same time.

This time in history is a weird one to be sure. Never in my fifty-six years have I ever seen anything like it. I find myself at this time in my life experiencing what the writer David said in Psalm 37:25, “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” In this time of pandemic craziness, (who knew toilet paper hoarding would ever be a thing?) I can honestly say my bride and I have seen the blessings of God to such a degree it almost seems as if nothing has changed in our lives.

To God be the glory and praise for this, it’s not because Cheryl and I are such financial wizards, actually quite the opposite is true. But thanks to God and His Word of truth in the area of finances and giving. I can honestly say our giving has gone up during this time and not down. Actually last night at drive in church, we were in a race to see who could give towards the Dream Center faster. She won, but ultimately we both did.

When you talk about tithing and giving, it can become a polarizing topic for many. Fewer things can get people worked up faster than talking about asking them to give their hard earned cash to the church. Yet, it is a command of God, and actually the only way for you to enter into His financial plan for your life. Like it or not, it’s the truth. You can believe it or not, the choice is yours, and God will not love you any less if you never give a penny in the offering plate. But I honestly believe (because I’ve lived it) if you give with a willing heart, God will bless you more than you could ever know.

Many people will tell you that tithing is a rule from the law of Moses and with the sacrifice of Jesus we have been redeemed from the law. However this is a thought which is in error in my honest opinion, because tithing was from the very beginning and way before Moses ever received the law from God. Before we get into that however, let’s get on the same page about what tithing actually is and means.

My good friend Pastor David Emigh taught the tithe is three things; it’s 10%, it’s the first fruits and it’s holy. 10% is easy, if you have $100, you give $10. It is ten percent of all the money you get. It’s the first fruits, which simply meant, it is the first thing you give. I don’t pay my bills or put gas into my tank until I’ve given my tithes to my local church. And today, with online giving, and texting to give, it’s never been easier. On the morning my paycheck is deposited into my bank account, I get online and take care of all my tithing and giving before I do anything else. It is also holy, which just means it is not for secular use. Like I use to tell the kids when I taught children’s church, the tithe is not for buying candy bars and sodas, it belongs to God.

Now that we talked about what the tithe is, let’s look at some places in the Bible where tithing are talked about but not in the law. First let’s go to Genesis 2:16-17 “But the Lord God warned Adam, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was a type of the tithe.

But wait, there’s more, look at Genesis 14:18-20 “And Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High, brought Abram some bread and wine. Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing: “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who has defeated your enemies for you.” Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods he had recovered.”

Great Dave, but those are Old Testament passages, did Jesus say anything about tithing? Well I’m glad you asked, look at Luke 11:42, “What sorrow awaits you Pharisees! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore justice and the love of God. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.” Also this is found in Matthew 23:23, “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.”

But if God doesn’t need my money, then why do I need to tithe and give? Two reasons; first, it is a command and we are told to do this, and second, because it is the way God chooses to bless His children. It also is a barometer for your heart, in other words it will reveal where your heart is with God. Matthew 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Ultimately I cannot nor would I tell you what you need to do with your life. I can encourage you with the things my Father says, but ultimately you have to decide for yourself. But one thing I can say, as a Christian for over 30 years now, I have seen God come through for Cheryl and me on so many different things where it concerns our giving and financial life, you will never be able to tell me God doesn’t want us to get into His financial plan by giving. We’ve tried out giving God, but He constantly is blessing us more than we can ever hope or think.

One last thought, in the book of Malachi, God says, “Test me in this (the tithe) and see if I will not open the windows of Heaven and pour you our a blessing you will not be able to contain.” Malachi 3:10. What do you have to lose? He is basically placing a stick on His shoulder and saying, “I dare you to knock it off.” Give it a shot, I can honestly say if you give your tithe to the local church you are attending, then God will open the windows and pour you out a blessing just like He said he would. Go ahead, try it, you’ll be glad you did!

For the Kingdom and the King, Shalom!