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To Tithe or Not To Tithe? (Part 5)

Greetings to My Beloved Readers,

Thank you so much for your patience in waiting for me to continue with the tithing series, To Tithe or Not To Tithe?, while I was temporarily out of commission. Thanks also to everyone who has been praying for me. I truly appreciate your prayers, more than you know…

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And now, let’s continue with the fifth part of the series, To Tithe or Not To Tithe?. In the last few posts, we’ve compared Old Testament teachings about tithing to New Testament teaching. Now, let’s take a look at the early church to see if they tithed. Let’s also see where their money went, and how they got it…

“It is admitted universally that the payment of tithes or the tenth of possessions, for sacred purposes, did not find a place within the Christian Church during the age covered by the apostles and their immediate successors.”

Hastings Dictionary of the Apostolic Church ~
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“The Christian Church depended at first on voluntary gifts from its members.”

~ Encyclopedia Britannica ~
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44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 

~ Acts 2:44-45 — NLT ~
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bag_of_money_wallpaper-other.jpg

As you can see from the scripture above, and from the references above, the early church did not tithe. Instead, all of the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. Now take note of who shared… All of the believers shared… This included apostles, pastors, prophets, teachers and evangelists, as well as everyone else…

Next, let’s look at what they shared… And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. ~ Acts 2:44 — NLT ~ Wow. Just think about this. All of the believers shared everything they had. Obviously, there would have been no apostles, pastors, prophets, teachers and evangelists who were independently wealthy from the tithes and offerings they received from other believers, because they would have shared everything they had. There would have been no worshipers or Christian musicians who charged people to see them and listen to their music, because it all would have been for the glory of God.

Finally, it’s important for us to see who the early church shared everything they had with… They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. ~ Acts 2:45 — NLT ~ The early church shared with those in need. Money was not collected to pay ministers, but to give to those who were in need.

“The New Testament nowhere explicitly requires tithing to maintain a ministry or a place of assembly.”

Bruce M. Metzger and Michael D. Coogan,Oxford Companion to the Bible ~
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As you can see, giving in the early church differs greatly from the church today, who gives first to pay for clergy, buildings, maintenance, heat and air conditioning for the buildings, utilities, administrative staff and administrative costs, and a portion goes to whatever denomination the church members belong to. It is only after this and so many other expenses are met, that the money taken in is shared with those in need, and then, it is often given very selectively, after those in need meet certain criteria. I can’t help but wonder what Jesus or the early apostles would think of the giving of tithes, which are given to support many pastors, evangelists and televangelists, who never even come in contact with those who are in need?

“The silence of the N.T. writers, particularly Paul, regarding the present validity of the tithe can be explained only on the ground that the dispensation of grace has no more place for a law of tithing than it has for a law on circumcision.”

Baker’s Dictionary, 1960 ~
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2 Corinthians 9 encourages the Corinthian believers, and us as well, to give to those who are in need. It is not a command to tithe to any church, but to give to those who are in need. It also encourages believers to determine in their hearts how much to give, and not to give reluctantly or in response to pressure. It does not command us to tithe our income…

In fact, after studying the subject, I’ve come to the conclusion that tithing is part of the Old Covenant, which was fulfilled by Jesus. Further, Old Testament tithing never included the people’s income – rather, they tithed their produce and their meat. Finally, we must remember that we are no longer under the law, therefore, if we tithe, we are placing ourselves under the law…

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.

~ Galatians 5:1 — NLT ~

I’d like to share one final thought about tithing and giving. The Lord wants us to give to the poor, orphans and widows. He wants us to give with a cheerful heart, not under compulsion. What if we listened to Holy Spirit as the early church did, and gave accordingly, not limiting ourselves to a 10% tithe? The early church shared freely of everything they had. If they had  nothing to give, they felt no shame for it. The early church didn’t need a lot of money to share the gospel with their coworkers, families, friends and acquaintances. 

My friends, I urge you to prayerfully consider what you’ve read in this series, and give according to what Holy Spirit leads you to give. Don’t limit yourselves by tithing to a place of worship. Instead, let Holy Spirit lead you to give to those in need, according to the will of God. 

Related Articles:

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

To Tithe or Not To Tithe? Update

Greetings Friends,

Please forgive me for taking so long with my next post. Since returning home from my trip out of town, I’ve been under the weather, and with medication changes, unable to focus. Please keep me in your  prayers. I will be continuing this series and seeing it through its completion, so I ask for your continued patience.

May the Lord bless you!

Love,
Cheryl

To Tithe or Not To Tithe? (Part 4)

8 “Will a man rob God?
Yet you have robbed Me!
But you say,
‘In what way have we robbed You?’
In tithes and offerings.
9 You are cursed with a curse,
For you have robbed Me,
Even this whole nation.
10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.

Malachi 3:8-10 — NKJV ~

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Image Credit:
http://slaveoftheword.blogspot.com/
2013/05/old-testament-
tithing-passages-
response.html

I’m really enjoying this study, and I don’t mind confessing that I’m learning as we go along too. I have also tithed for most of my walk with Christ, (at least since I seriously started serving Him), and until I complete this study, I will reserve my final judgment on tithing. What I am discovering is that many of the things I’ve always believed or been taught to believe about tithing were based not on what the scriptures say, but on the teachings of the church. Also, please understand that I am not telling anyone that they should not give as the Lord leads you to give, and until we complete this study, I’m not even telling you to stop tithing, especially if you feel that it is sinful not to tithe. 

The purpose of this study is for us to discover what the word of God truly says regarding tithing in the church. Please let me be very clear about one thing before we continue with our study, because several people have expressed concern that I might be encouraging you not to tithe. I am encouraging you to join me in this study of God’s word, and after we have completed the study, if you choose to continue tithing or to stop tithing, I encourage you to do so based on what the bible says, NOT because I told you to do so. Now that I’ve cleared that up, let’s continue our bible study with Malachi 3:10…

10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.

Malachi 3:10 — NKJV ~

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Image Credit:
http://www.templesanjose.org/
JudaismInfo/faq/temple
wall.htm

In Malachi 3:10, the Lord instructs the Levite priests to, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house…” 

In our previous studies, we learned that tithes were seeds and fruit, and herds and flocks. We also learned that 10% of these tithes were given to the Levite priests, who were dedicated to a life of service to the Lord and His temple, and had no land of their own, in order to provide food for them and their families. Therefore, in order to ensure that the Lord’s priests would always have enough to eat, the Lord instituted the tithe. This information is important, because it explains why it was important that there be food in God’s house.

Now look at the first part of that scripture again, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house…” What was the storehouse, and where was it? (2 Chronicles 31)

  • The storehouse was where the tithes and offerings were kept until they were distributed to the priests.
  • The storehouse was located within the temple. 

There are several reasons why this scripture does not apply to Christians… 

  • Firstly, as I shared with you before, tithes were never cash or credit…
    • Tithes were for a sacrifice to God, and food for the Levite priests.
      • The priests served the Lord in the temple, offering sacrifices, playing music, mediating to God for the sins of the people, etc.
      • Because their lives were dedicated to the Lord, and they had no land of their own, 10% of the tithes were given to the Levite priests for food for them and their families.
      • After Christ was crucified, there was no longer a need for the priests to serve in the temple, because Jesus became our High Priest.
  • The temple was destroyed in 70 AD, and has not been rebuilt.
    • Therefore, there is no longer any storehouse.
    • Further, since Christ was crucified, He became the final sacrifice, and there is no longer a need to present tithes and offerings to the Lord to be sacrificed… In fact, it was never our sacrifices that the Lord desired…
      • You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings.
        Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand—
        you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings.
         ~ Psalm 40:6 
      • I want you to show love,
        not offer sacrifices.
        I want you to know me
        more than I want burnt offerings. 
        ~
        Hosea 6:6
    • Levite priests are no longer necessary, there is no longer a need to collect tithes to feed them.
    • Since the temple was destroyed, there is no longer a storehouse for the tithes to be brought to.
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Now, some claim that the storehouse we are now supposed to bring our tithes and offerings (cash and credit, no longer food, although scripture makes no mention of this change) to, is the church. However, according to the scriptures, the church is not the building or the place where we worship…

  • 22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. ~ Ephesians 1:22-23 — NKJV ~

According to the scriptures, Christians are the church. We are the body of Christ, not the building that we go to worship at. If I am in my home, then my home houses the church, but it is not the church. If I am in my car or Walmart, then they house the church, but they are not the church. When I go to my place of worship on Sundays, as soon as the men and women of God show up, that is where the church is, but as soon as we leave that building, although it may be dedicated to God, it is not the church. 

Not only that, but the bible tells us in several different places that not only are we (all Christians) the church, but we are also the temple of the Holy Spirit.

  • Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself… 1 Corinthians 6:19 — NLT ~
  • 19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. ~ Ephesians 2:19-22 — NKJV ~

So, the tithes and offerings were brought to the storehouse for the purpose of sacrificing to God, and feeding the Levite priests. There is no longer any need to do either, because Jesus was the sacrifice for our sins once and for all. Further, consider this…

  • you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. ~ 1 Peter 2:5 — NIV ~
      • And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. ~ Romans 12:1 — NLT ~
  • But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. ~ 1 Peter 2:9 — NIV ~

The tithes and offerings were taken to the temple and given to the priests. If all Christians are the church and temple of the Holy Spirit, and if we are also a holy and royal priesthood, then it’s important to know this fact. The Levite priests were not required to tithe, because a portion of the tithes were to feed them. 

Therefore, since we are a royal priesthood, and the temple of God’s Holy Spirit, are we bound by the law to tithe? Also, let us not forget that the Lord doesn’t desire sacrifices, and the sacrifice that is required of all believers is for us to offer our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, which is pleasing to the Lord. Brothers and sisters, this is truly the way to worship God. As I study the scriptures, which tells us that we are not bound by the law, why would God command His people to obey this law? And would He change the terms, requiring priests to pay tithes now, and changing the food offerings to cash or credit offerings? And to whom and where would God’s holy priesthood present tithes?

I urge you to prayerfully study the scriptures, asking the Lord to reveal the truth to you through His word. I also encourage you to join me for To Tithe or Not To Tithe (Part 5)when we will continue our study.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

To Tithe or Not To Tithe? (Part 3)

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Welcome to the third part of To Tithe or Not To Tithe?, and thank you for your patience in waiting for part 3. I just left my daughter’s home in GA and headed for home yesterday, and was unable to finish this post during my last few days there. However, I’m home now, and hopefully, Lord willing, I will be able to continue on this series more regularly. If you’re just starting this series, please be sure to check out the following posts first…

In part two of this series, I said that we would be studying Malachi 3:8-10…

8 “Will a man rob God?
Yet you have robbed Me!
But you say,
‘In what way have we robbed You?’
In tithes and offerings.
9 You are cursed with a curse,
For you have robbed Me,
Even this whole nation.
10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.

Malachi 3:8-10 — NKJV ~

In part two of this series, we began the study with verse 8…

8 “Will a man rob God?
Yet you have robbed Me!
But you say,
‘In what way have we robbed You?’
In tithes and offerings.

Malachi 3:8 — NKJV ~

In verse 8 we learned:

  • The Lord spoke these words these words to warn the Levite priests who had turned away from Him, and were not treating the sacrifices they were to make to Him seriously, to repent and obey the Law.
  • The Lord did not require monetary tithes and offerings.
    • He required a tithe of seeds and fruit
    • He required a tithe of herds and flocks
  • When Jesus was crucified on the cross, as a sacrifice to pay for the sins of man, there was no longer any need for sacrifice in the Temple…Since there is no longer any need for sacrifices to be made, there is no longer any need for priests to offer sacrifices, approach God on our behalf, or mediate for our sins, for Christ is our High Priest…
    • For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus — 1 Timothy 2:5 (NKJV)
    • 14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. — Hebrews 4:14-16 (NKJV)
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Now, we’ll continue the study, with verse 9 of the passage…

9 You are cursed with a curse,
For you have robbed Me,
Even this whole nation.

I have heard this message directed at Christians, and have sat under pastors who have said that not only are people cheating themselves out of a blessing for not bringing our tithes to the storehouse, but they are also bringing God’s curse on themselves. However, as we learned in To Tithe or Not To Tithe? (Part 2)this specific message was never intended for Christians. The Lord spoke this message to warn the Levite priests who had turned away from Him, and were not treating the sacrifices they were to make to Him seriously, to repent and obey the Law. Further, we also learned that the tithe was not 10% of one’s income. It was not cash or credit. The tithe was seeds and fruit, and herds and flocks, which the people were giving. 

  • Therefore, the Lord was telling the Levite priests that they were cursed with a curse. (Remember, they were still under the Law)

For those who would imply that this law applies to Christians, and if we as Christians do not give 10% of our income, we will be “cursed with a curse”, please consider this:

13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

~ Galatians 3:13-14 — NKJV ~

Brothers and sisters, this post is short and sweet, because I really want you to focus on these verses from Galatians 3. When someone speaks a curse over you for not tithing or for not living by the law, remember that Christ set us free from the curse of the law, and whom the Son sets free is free indeed!

Please be sure to join me for the next post in our study of To Tithe or Not To Tithe?, when we will continue this study, focusing on verse 10.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

To Tithe or Not To Tithe? (Part 2)

8 “Will a man rob God?
Yet you have robbed Me!
But you say,
‘In what way have we robbed You?’
In tithes and offerings.
9 You are cursed with a curse,
For you have robbed Me,
Even this whole nation.
10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.

~ Malachi 3:8-10 — NKJV ~

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Image Credit:
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resource/images/main/s/mo/pow/ss/tithesandoffering.jpg

First of all, let me state very clearly, I love the Lord, and I don’t want to rob Him. I don’t want to sin against God. I want to love Him and serve Him, and be a blessing to Him. My heart’s desire is to be a woman after God’s own heart. I want to know Him and understand His word. I want to be all that God has called me to be, and I want to walk in the liberty that He has given me…

Therefore, let’s begin To Tithe or Not To Tithe? (Part 2) by looking at verse eight of Malachi 3…

8 “Will a man rob God?
Yet you have robbed Me!
But you say,
‘In what way have we robbed You?’
In tithes and offerings.

~ Malachi 3:8 — NKJV ~

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Image Credit:
http://cdn1.tillhecomes.org/wp-content/
uploads/2012/01/Malachi-3.jpg

One of the first rules when studying scripture is to discover who, what, when, where and why. Therefore, let’s start first with who…

  • Who was speaking in this passage?
    • God was speaking
  • To whom was God speaking?
    • To find out who God was speaking to, I had to go back to the beginning of Malachi, where I discovered that God was speaking to the priests, not the people, who had brought their tithes, and it was the priests who failed to distribute them according to the Law.
  • What was God saying?
    • He accused the priests of robbing Him in tithes and offerings.
    • The priests were not presenting the tithes and offerings to the Lord as they should, instead, keeping the best of the tithes and offerings for themselves, while offering the Lord blind, sick and lame sacrifices.
  • When did God speak these words?
    • Malachi was written some time between 440 and 400 B.C.
  • Where did God speak these words?
    • The word of the Lord came to Israel.
  • Why did God speak these words?
    • He spoke these words to warn the priests who had turned away from Him and were not treating the sacrifices they were to make to Him seriously, to repent and obey the Law.

When studying the scriptures, after determining the 5 W’s, we also need to see if these scriptures apply to us (Christian believers) today… Therefore, at this point, it’s really important for us to understand what the tithes and offerings that the Lord was talking about, were. Just so everyone is on the same page, let’s look up the Law’s tithe requirement…

  • Leviticus 27:30-33 (NKJV) — 30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s. It is holy to the Lord. 31 If a man wants at all to redeem any of his tithes, he shall add one-fifth to it. 32 And concerning the tithe of the herd or the flock, of whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the Lord. 33 He shall not inquire whether it is good or bad, nor shall he exchange it; and if he exchanges it at all, then both it and the one exchanged for it shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.
  • We see here that the tithe was food, both from the fruit of the land and from animals
    • The Lord did not require monetary tithes and offerings
    • The tithes and offerings required were food, which was given to the priests, who were to offer a tithe of what they received to the Lord.
    • The rest of the tithes and offerings were given to the priests, who owned no land to grow or raise their own food, because their lives were dedicated to the Lord.
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sdEWIhL1Dsc/TK0l3D3Zl
VI/AAAAAAAAADI/C8N2
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Does the Lord still require these tithes and offerings, as required by the Law? Of course not! For Christ paid all of our debts once and for all…

11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

15 But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, 16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days,” says the Lord: “I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” 17 then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

~ Hebrews 10:11-18 — NKJV ~

When Christ died on the cross, there was no longer any need for sacrifices, because He paid for the sins of mankind once and for all. Therefore…

  • There is no longer any need for priests to offer sacrifices, approach God on our behalf, or mediate for our sins, for Christ is our High Priest…
    • For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus — 1 Timothy 2:5 (NKJV)
    • 14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. — Hebrews 4:14-16 (NKJV)

My beloved Messianic readers, if you have given your life to Christ, you are a new creation, and you are no longer bound by the Law. Beloved Gentile believers, you have never been bound by the Law, and you shouldn’t allow anyone to deceive you into giving your freedom away…

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.

2 Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3 I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses. 4 For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.

5 But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us. 6 For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.

~ Galatians 5:1-6 — NLT ~

My beloved readers, I do not want to influence anyone, nor do I want to tell you what to do or believe. However, there are those who try to shame and coerce the people of God into giving money to their ministries by misusing  the Word of God, and my desire is that the men and women of God will read and study His word so they will know what God’s will for His people truly is.

Therefore, I encourage you to pray about what you are reading here, and seek God’s face. Also, please don’t misunderstand what you are reading or what I am saying. As you read this  series, please be sure you hold this scripture close to your heart as you pray…

You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”

~ 2 Corinthians 9:7 — NLT ~

 Thank you for reading, my friends, and please, be sure to join me for To Tithe or Not To Tithe (Part 3), when we continue our study of Malachi 3:8-10…

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

To Tithe or Not To Tithe? (Part 1)

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I’ve been studying the scriptures and seeking answers about tithing. I know what the church’s stance on tithing is, and I know what non-church goers think about tithing, but frankly, I’m not interested in opinions. I want to know what God says about tithing, because I want to walk in obedience to Him in all areas of my life, because I truly do love Him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. I also feel the Spirit leading me to share my findings with others who want to walk in obedience to the Lord.

I began my study by looking at some of the various scriptures we hear in church, urging us to tithe, and it soon became evident to me, that this was not something that could be answered in one  post. For this reason, I decided to do a series on this subject, so that we could do an in-depth study of God’s word and determine His will for us. After deciding to do a series on To Tithe or Not To Tithe?, I decided to start with one of the scriptures that I’ve heard used most frequently by pastors, evangelists and televangelists, when urging their congregations to tithe…

~ Luke 6:38 — NKJV ~

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Image Credit:
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Well, that seems pretty clear, doesn’t it? These are the words of Jesus, which means that it applies to His followers, therefore, we should all obey His words, if we want to receive the promised blessing… But wait!

It’s always important to study scriptures in their context, so that we can truly understand what the Lord’s will for us is. Therefore, let’s look at this scripture a little closer, in its context…

32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

37 “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.

39 And He spoke a parable to them: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher. 41 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? 42 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.”

~ Luke 6:32-42 — NKJV ~

Did you see any mention of tithes and offerings in that passage of scripture? I didn’t. Please allow me to share with you what I did see in this passage of scripture…

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Image Credit:
http://faithfactorytreasures.com/wp-content/uploads/wpsc/product_images/Angry%20Birds%20Love%20Your%20Enemies%20T-shirt.jpg

In Luke 6:32-36, Jesus is instructing people to love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return. He also instructs us to be merciful just like our heavenly Father is merciful. He also tells us that if we will do those things, our reward will be great, but He makes no mention of tithes in those verses, does He?

Now, let’s look at Luke 6:37-38, and see what Jesus tells us… In verse 37, Jesus tells us not to judge or condemn anyone, so you won’t be judged or condemned. He also tells us to forgive, and we will be forgiven. Then, in verse 38, He tells us to give, and it will be given back to us, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

In Luke 6:39-42, Jesus tells us that the blind cannot lead the blind, and the disciple cannot be above his teacher. Then, He continues speaking about judging others, and tells us that before we judge someone else, we must first examine ourselves and rid ourselves of the plank (sin) from our own eye, before trying to remove the speck (sin) from our brother’s eye.

Did you see anything at all about tithes and offerings in this passage of scripture?

“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

Luke 6:38 — NKJV ~

When you put this scripture into context, we discover that Jesus is instructing us to give mercy and forgiveness and it will be given to us, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, it will be put into our bosom. For with the same measure that we use, it will be measured back to us…

Also, just to verify that we are interpreting this passage correctly, let’s look at Matthew’s account of this passage of scripture.

1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

~ Matthew 7:1-5 — NKJV ~

Again, you can see clearly that Jesus was not talking about tithes and offerings in this passage. He was talking about showing your brother mercy and forgiveness, rather than measuring out judgment and condemnation against him.

Beloved readers, it is important for you to know God’s word for yourself, so that you will know what God’s will for you is. Jesus was commanding us to be merciful and forgiving when He spoke the words above. He was not commanding us to give money in this instance, nor was He promising to reward us with money. Therefore, if you give tithes and offerings expecting to receive back what you have given, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you,” you could be very disappointed.

Please be sure to join me in this study of God’s word on tithing for Christians, so that we can understand what the Lord is truly commanding us to do. I look forward to sharing more with you in To Tithe or Not To Tithe? (Part 2)

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Truth or Lie? To tell the Truth or Continue the Lie?

Which is best?

    • To reveal the truth and hurt those who have believed the lie?
    • Or to allow the lie to continue in order to protect those who have believed it?

If someone’s life is based on a lie, doesn’t that hinder them from being all that they could be, if they knew the truth?

By maintaining a lie, who are you really protecting?

    • The one who has believed the lie?
    • Or yourself?
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By maintaining the lie, so as not to hurt those who have believed the lie, do you continue to hurt the person who was originally harmed by the lie over and over again, each time the lie is repeated or maintained?

Is the old saying, “The truth hurts,” really true? And if so, how does that line up with scripture? Is it really the truth that hurts? Or is it that those who have believed the lie now have to come to terms with the fact that their lives have been built on lies, which were bound to crumble beneath them?

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, But those who deal truthfully are His delight.
(Proverbs 12:22 NKJV)

Scriptures tell us that lips that lie are an abomination to the Lord… The Hebrew word for abomination is Tow`ebah, which means a disgusting thing, abomination, abominable… If we repeat or maintain a lie, our very lips are vile and disgusting to the Lord. In fact, He looks on our lips with loathing if we speak a lie…

On the other hand, if we want the Lord to look on us with delight, we need to be truthful, according to His word. That means that we can no longer continue to uphold or maintain the lies that have been spoken for years by and to our families.

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Those of you, like me, who have come from abusive and dyfunctional families know what it is like to live a lie. We know what it is like to be forced to maintain and uphold that lie, at all costs. So many of you, like me have been told that we must never discuss the abuse against us, because that would only serve to hurt other family members. Of course, no one stops to consider what the lies have cost you, the victim of the lies and the abuse. 

The pain that many of us have suffered from the physical, sexual and emotional abuse didn’t just end with the act of the abuse. Instead, the pain was exacerbated by the lies that were also told, in order to protect the abusers. Lies were told about us when we acted out as a result of the abuse, in order to turn friends and family members against us, while protecting our abusers. For those of us who fled from the situation, sometimes leaving our family behind in order to protect ourselves, we were often portrayed as cold, heartless, and uncaring, for breaking the hearts of our loved ones. Because they didn’t know the truth, members of our extended family have rejected us, leaving us to feel alone, unloved and unwanted.

It’s a vicious cycle. As long as we continue to maintain the lie, we are destined to remain forsaken by those family members who only know the lie.

And yet, this leaves us with another problem. For you see, there are still those family members that you dearly love, who know the truth, but they do not want you to reveal the truth, because they say that this will only cause others to suffer and hurt. It’s sort of like a catch-22. You’re an abomination to God if you don’t speak the truth in all things… And you’re an abomination to those family members that you dearly love and yearn to have a relationship with when you do speak the truth…

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Have you been there? For too many years to count, this deep, dark family secret was kept, in order to “protect others from being hurt,” while the lies repeatedly ripped your heart into shreds. Because no one outside your immediate family knew the truth, did your aunts and uncles, your cousins and friends, look on you with condemnation for hurting your “poor parents” who lavished you with love? Did they believe the lies that your immediate family spewed about you? Were you, like me, estranged from your family, because you were the bad seed, who never gave your parents the love and the respect that they deserved? Were you the bad child — the hateful daughter who caused your parents years of undeserved pain and suffering? No one ever knew the pain and rejection that you suffered, and yet again and again, were you told to uphold the lie?

My beloved brothers and sisters, do you long to do the right thing, but because of the pain and lies that have been repeatedly told to you through the years, do you question what is really right? Do you wonder if you should speak the truth, or continue to lie in order to “protect others” from pain? Do the lies really protect anyone? Or do the lies cause more pain to those family members who want to love you, but can’t, because they believe that you are cruel and unkind to your family members? What does God say about truth?

“But the time is coming and is already here when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for anyone who will worship Him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
(John 4:23-24 NLT)

pain-sorrow-234412
Image Credit:
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You see, it was the truth that set me free, and it is my desire that all of you walk in freedom from the spirit of deception that has destroyed our relationships. Indeed, my prayer is that your families and mine would all be set free from the terrible destruction of lies. Jesus makes it clear that the only way to be set free from the bondage and pain of lies is to know the truth…

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
(John 8:32 NLT)

There is no point in hiding the truth from our families, because it does not shield them from pain. You see, by continuing to agree with, maintain or uphold the lies that have been told to protect our abusers, we forsake the truth, which brings freedom. When we withhold the truth from our family members, “to protect them from being hurt,” we prevent our loved ones from being set free by the truth. I don’t want to be guilty of withholding freedom from those that I love, do you? We need to understand that all of the things done in darkness will one day come to light as Jesus said…

“For everything that is hidden or secret will eventually be brought to light and made plain to all.”
(Luke 8:17 NLT)

I have determined that I want to leave my children and my grandchildren a legacy of truth and love, not because I am any better than my parents werebut because I know the truth, and I have been set freeWith the help of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I will speak the truth in love, to all I come in contact with, and I will no longer silently condone the lies that have been spoken against me. 

 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
(Ephesians 4:15 NIV)

I will share the truth with my children and my grandchildren, and with anyone else who wants to know the truth. I will share the truth, not to turn people’s hearts against those who abused me, because my abusers also suffered a lot of pain, and the truth is that I loved my abusers. I hate what was done to me, but I love those who hurt me, and I truly pray that they made their peace with God and received His forgiveness as I have.

My prayer for each one who reads this post is that you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. I pray in Jesus’ name, that you would leave a legacy of truth and love for your families and friends, too. God bless you!

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Swift Blogging Challenge: Sweet Little Lies

Swift Blogging Challenge: Sweet Little Lies
When (if ever) is it ok to lie? And why (or why not)?
If you’re brave enough, share an example of a lie that you told which you thought was necessary. Give details.

I’ll probably come across sounding like an old prude for saying this, but it’s true (no pun intended)… I believe that it is never okay or good to lie. To understand my reasons for feeling this way, you must first understand that I grew up in a house of lies, and for much of my life, I lived a lie.

I know that a lot of people claim that not everything is black and white, and that there are a lot of gray areas, but that isn’t how God created me. I do see things as right or wrong, good or bad, black or white. For me, to drift over into those “gray” areas is to compromise my faith and my integrity, and so, at the risk of being branded “intolerant,” I will tell you some of the many reason why I believe it is wrong to lie, and why I believe that there are no such things as “Sweet Little Lies.”

As a Christian, I look to the scriptures to show me how to live, and here are just a few of the scriptures that talk about lies:

  • The LORD detests lying lips, but He delights in men who are truthful. (Proverbs 12:22 NIV)
  • I will not allow deceivers to serve Me, and liars will not be allowed to enter My presence. (Psalm 101:7 NLT)
  • Good people are guided by their honesty; treacherous people are destroyed by their dishonesty. (Proverbs 11:3 NLT)
  • Do any of you want to live a life that is long and good? Then watch your tongue! Keep your lips from telling lies! (Psalm 34:12-13 NLT)

That’s just a small sampling of the many scriptures that speak against lying, and for me, as a child of God, at this point in my life, that’s reason enough to be against lying… But my reasons don’t end there.

You see, I’ve seen firsthand what lies can do to a person… to a family… to a culture… to a nation… to the world. As I said at the beginning of this post, I grew up in a house of lies, and I know the damage that lies do. As a child, I told so many lies that I often deceived myself as well as others.

I can remember my mother beating me until my back and butt

Tell me, tell me, tell me lies, tell me sweet ...
Tell me, tell me, tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies… (Photo credit: marciespics)

bore bruises shaped like the imprint of her hand, because I told so many lies. “If there’s one thing I hate,” my mother would scream at me in rage while she beat me, “it’s a liar!” My heart used to break every time she would shriek those words at me, because it was just another reason – a BIG reason for why I was so unlovable.

And here’s the crazy thing – I really hated lying, but I couldn’t stop myself. I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone, but it’s true. I started off lying out of fear, but then the lies would grow, because when you tell one lie, another lie has to follow in order to keep up the pretense, and it doesn’t take long before it grows out of control.

I remember feeling so guilty when I would lie to my parents, to my teachers, to my Sunday School teachers, to my sister, to my grandparents and on and on and on and … you get the picture. And then, there was my mother and father… If I wanted them to love me, (and I did) I had to lie to earn their love… only they couldn’t really love me, because I was lying, and if there’s one thing they hated, it was a liar. Do you see what a vicious circle lying creates?

And then there was this other thing that really disturbed me. My mom and dad lied. I remember the first time I became aware that Mom lied. I was only around 7 or 8 years old, and I heard Mom say, “Jesus Christ,” not because she was actually talking about Jesus, but because she was using His name as a curse word. A few days later, we were riding in the car, and I asked her what taking the Lord’s name in vain meant.

"Everybody Lies"by: ersen-t
“Everybody Lies”
by: ersen-t

They had talked about that at vacation bible school, and this little girl didn’t know what they were talking about. Mom very seriously replied that taking the Lord’s name in vain is a terrible sin, and we must never do that. “You know how some people say ‘JC’ and some people say ‘GD’?” she asked me very seriously, looking at me in the rear view mirror, as I solemnly nodded my head yes. “Well, you should never ever do that, because that is very bad. Mommy might cuss, but that’s one thing I would never say,” she continued.

“Mommy, that’s not right. You’ve said ‘GD’ and ‘JC’ before. I’ve heard you,” I promptly retorted, remembering that she had just said that a few days before.

“No, you have not ever heard me say that,” she replied quite sharply to me, and I started to argue back, because I knew darn well I’d heard her say that, when I caught the look in her eye… You know, “the look”… the one that says, “You’d better shut your mouth before I slap it.”

“Oh,” I replied quickly. “I’m sorry Mommy. You’re right. I didn’t hear that.” There! I lied again, in order to protect my mother’s lie, and in order to protect myself from receiving a beating.

The other big lie that sticks out in my mind happened when my dad molested me. After he left the house, I had called Mom at work and told her what he had done to me, and she said we would talk later, when she got home from work (3-1/2 hrs later), and she told me not to say anything about what happened to my sister, because I wouldn’t want to upset her.

Stop the Lies
Stop the Lies

That evening, when she got home, she sent my sister to our room with me, while she talked with Dad. Now, let me just give you a picture of how I was thinking and feeling. During the 3-1/2 hours that I waited for my mommy to get home from work, I had everything figured out.

You see, I knew it was going to be hard for us to live alone, without Daddy, but I was going to help Mommy. I was going to start doing better in school, and I would do all of the cleaning, and help her take care of my little sister, and even though it would be hard, I was going to be a good girl from now on. I was going to stop lying and arguing with my sister. In fact, I was going to protect my sister, and the three of us were going to be very happy together.

When my mother entered our room a little while later, she sent my sister out of the bedroom, and shut the door, so we could speak privately. “Did your father have to beat you because you got in trouble today?” she asked me. I looked at her, startled. That wasn’t a question that I had expected. When I shook my head and said that I had not been in trouble, she responded, “I just talked to your daddy, and I didn’t let him know that you told me what he did to you. I just told him that you called me at work and said you were afraid of him. Then he told me that you got in trouble today and he had to spank you, and that’s why you’re afraid of him.”

I looked at my mother in disbelief. “This is the woman who hates liars?” I thought.

“I told him that I didn’t want him hitting you anymore and scaring you, and he said he won’t. He’s really sorry about what happened, and he said that it won’t happen again, so I’ve decided that we’ll stay for now, but if anything else ever happens again, you let me know, and we’ll decide what to do then. Also, I don’t want you to say anything to your sister, because that would just hurt and upset her, and you wouldn’t want to do that would you? And don’t tell anyone else either, or you could destroy our family.”

Numbly, I nodded in agreement, as she went on. “Now your daddy said he wants to talk to you and tell you he’s sorry, because he loves you, okay?” What could I say? What was I supposed to say?

Dad entered my room a couple of minutes later, and I’ll be honest with you, I don’t remember much of that conversation, except that he too instructed me not to tell anyone or I would destroy my sister and our family. I remember staring at both him and mom, and thinking of all of the beatings that I had received from their hands for lying, and now, look at the two of them. We were living in a house of lies, and I bought into their lies, hook, line and sinker.

I believed the lie that I was the one at fault. I believed the lie that I would destroy our family if I spoke the truth. I believed the lie that by continuing to lie (oh the irony of it) by burying that dark secret deep within me, I was protecting my sister. I believed the lie that everyone else’s happiness must be protected at my expense.

http://uturntograce.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/1-truth-with-grace/
http://uturntograce.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/1-truth-with-grace/

Can you see why I hate lies? Can you see why God hates lies? He hates lies, because He knows how they destroy the lives of men and women.

Is there such a thing as a “sweet little lie” or a “white lie”? Let me share one more example for you before I close. When my children were little, I taught them to believe in Santa Claus. When I say that I taught them to believe in Santa Claus, you should know that I went all out with it… My husband would wet his boots, and we would place a hand towel on the floor, by the chair where Santa would sit to eat his Christmas cookies, and my husband would step onto the towel with his wet boots, leaving Santa’s boot prints etched in the towel. And then, I would sprinkle gold glitter, also known as “Christmas Magic” all around where his foot prints were. Then, if we were blessed to have snow, my husband would make “reindeer tracks” and “sled marks” in the snow, (or the dirt when we didn’t have a white Christmas) while I followed behind sprinkling “Christmas Magic” quite liberally on the ground.

My children loved Christmas, and they were so excited to wake up on Christmas morning and discover all that Santa had left behind. This lie didn’t feel like a lie to me, and I guess I would have even told you that it was a “white lie” or a “sweet little lie” at the time, until the day came that the truth about Santa Claus was revealed to my son.

My son loved Santa Claus, and he believed in him with his whole heart, well past the age when other children believe in Santa. He was between 11 and 12 years old, when I revealed the truth to him in a very ungentle, unkind way. He was being disrespectful as many children that age are, and I accused him of being unappreciative of all that his dad and I did for him, to which he obnoxiously replied, “You and Dad never do anything for me or get me anything. Santa Claus and Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop, and Grandma and Grandpa are the only ones that ever give me anything.”

In my anger, I responded, “Well who do you think Santa Claus is?” My son’s eyes got great big as I continued, “There is no Santa Claus. Your dad and I have given you everything.” As I confess this story to you, I have to tell you, that this was one of those times in my life that I am deeply ashamed of, and as the tears welled up in my son’s eyes, my heart broke, and I was very sorry.

As tears flowed down his face, my son questioned me, “You mean you and Dad lied to me about Santa Claus?” he cried. When I tried to explain that it wasn’t really a lie, that we did it because we loved him, he just looked at me in disbelief. My explanation suddenly seemed pretty lame to me, because as I looked at it through his eyes, it became very clear to me, that the fun we had given him was based on a lie, and then he asked me a question that broke my heart, and caused me to see why God hates all lies.

“What about the tooth fairy? Is she real?” I shook my head no. “What about the Easter Bunny?” Again, I shook my head. “What about Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse” (click this link to see what he was talking about)? again, I shook my head no. “Are God and Jesus even real, then?” he asked, and the weight of what I had done fell hard on me.

You see, when we deceive someone, even with good intentions, we cast doubt on all that is good and true as well. I don’t want to be a part of any lies anymore.

http://uturntograce.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/1-truth-with-grace/
http://uturntograce.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/1-truth-with-grace/

So, am I telling you that I never lie anymore? I can honestly say that I try very hard not to ever lie, but there are times when I mess up and lie. That is when I go before God and ask for His mercy and forgiveness, as well as asking Him to help me to change. I don’t ever want my lies to be the cause of someone doubting the sovereignty of God. I don’t ever want my lies to harm anyone else, ever again.

Therefore, please don’t ask me to lie for you. Don’t ask me to deny the truth. Don’t ask me if I like what you’re wearing, if you don’t want to hear the truth. Can you understand why I say it is never good or okay to lie?

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

Words of Jesus – More Thoughts On, “Come after Me, and I will make you fishers for men!”

Yeshua said to them, “Come after Me, and I will make you fishers for men!” (Matthew 4:19 CJB)

As I was getting ready to write on more of the words of Jesus, the Lord began speaking to my heart about what is involved in being fishers for men, and I realized that yesterday’s word was only a part of fishing for men. It’s not enough for us to share the good news with people – to catch the fish so to speak. You see, a fisherman’s work is not finished once he catches the fish. That’s only the beginning of the work.

The next thing a fisherman must do is scale the fish, and that’s a nasty job. You see, you have to grasp that slippery, slimy fish that you’ve caught and begin scraping against its grain with a knife to remove those scales. In the same way, a fisher for men must hold the person that has been won over by the Lord, and begin speaking the truth of the Word to that person, who may have scales over his/her eyes, thus blinding them to the truth about themselves and about the Lord. Warning! This is a painful task for both the person who has the scales and the one who is holding him/her up. There is always the danger of being cut. That’s why we must be very careful to let Holy Spirit do the scraping, while we hold that person up – praying and speaking only those words the Spirit gives us to speak, nothing more, nothing less.

The next thing a fisherman must do is gut the fish. Warning! This is a nasty, stinking but necessary task. Again, this is a surgical procedure that we allow Holy Spirit to perform, while we continue to hold the person up, speaking life and praying fervently for him/her. As painful as it was to have the scales removed from the person’s life, this is the most painful and crucial part of being a fisher for men. You see, there may be all sorts of lies that this person has absorbed in his/her life, not to mention the toxins that he/she may have ingested. And what about all of the things hidden in the depths of his/her being that must be gutted out?

Brothers and sisters, if we are to be fishers of men, we must be willing to complete the job, from start to finish. We must never leave the job partially done or the person’s new found faith may wither and die. We must continue to pray for that person, even though that person may try to slip away from Holy Spirit’s surgical procedure. We must continue to encourage that person while they are going through the very same procedure that each one of us went through, exhorting them and sharing the hope that is within each one of us, letting them know that in the end, they will be clean and new, as all of the odors and toxins are cleansed away, because one day, they too will become fishers for men.

May the Lord richly bless you today as you go fishing!

© 2012

Cheryl A. Showers