Monday, August 2, 2010

Faithful Giving

2010 Ladies Summer Bible Study
Practicing Basic Spiritual Disciplines
Focus on the Foundational Principals of Christian Living
Charles F. Stanley
Week 7
Faithful Giving

Learning: What is the reason for tithing?
Growing: What is considered a “correct” tithe?

The basic understanding of all believers in Jesus Christ is that everything we have received in this life is a gift to us from God…every minute of every day, every ability we possess, every opportunity we are given, every child that we bear, every item of material wealth, and even our abilities to express love and have faith. God gives it to us first, and it is out of the abundance of our supply to us that we give.

Three Attributes of our giving:
• Cheerful Giving – 2 Corinthians 9:7, Luke 6:38, Matthew 10:8
• Consistent Giving – Malachi 3:8-12, Luke 11:42, Matthew 25:37-40, Mark 1:41-44
• Generous Giving – Acts 4:34-37, Romans 12:8, 2 Corinthians9:6

Our giving is a direct expression of our trust in God. It is a sign of our willingness to let go of the controls of our life and our material well being and let God direct us, use us, and bless us as HE desires.

What does Psalm 34:8-10 say that those who seek the Lord will not lack?

Is this the same as saying, “If you give to God, you will get everything you want”?

Is it the same as saying that if you give more, God will answer your prayer?

What is the difference?

Maybe the question we need to ask ourselves is not “Will God supply my needs?”

PERHAPS the question we need to ask ourselves is “Do I truly believe that God knows what I need and what is good for me?”

“Do I believe that God will not ask more of me than I can bear?”

Or, better still, “Do I truly trust what God thinks is best for me?”

Today: The Lord wants me to give back to Him some of the blessings He has given me.
Tomorrow: I will begin a regular schedule of tithing this month and will work on doing it cheerfully.
 Giving is not the price you pay for answered prayer.
 Giving is not a tool for bargaining with God.

Giving is an expression of TRUST in GOD.

I have to ask myself the question, “Do I trust Him?” If I say I do, and my giving does not reflect that, then my actions are in conflict with what I say that I believe. We have all heard the saying “actions speak louder than words” and this is definitely true in many things, giving included. God will ask us to give different things, according to what HE has chosen to bless us with. If God places in my heart the conviction that I should give something, and I “can’t”, then my actions say that I do not trust God to know what I need.

God will not ask you to give something that will not bring blessing on you in the giving. Perhaps you would have to discontinue your cable TV in order to tithe. What blessing could come from that? From discontinuing your internet service? From cooking at home rather than going out to eat? From giving up your favorite TV show in order to study a lesson to teach in Sunday School? From giving up your Sunday Afternoon nap to visit someone in the hospital?

PRAYERFULLY consider what God would have you give back to Him. Remember that this includes, but is definitely not limited to, your money.

If something crosses your mind and your reaction is “NO! I couldn’t live without that!”, then there is a great possibility that that is indeed the very thing that God wants you to let go of. Do you trust that He will bless you if you let it go? Remember that God blesses us in ways we cannot imagine. We deny ourselves those blessings when we hang on to tightly to what God has given us.

Jesus said that, when we give, what is returned will be in “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over it will be put in your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38

God multiplies our giving in ways we cannot understand, but surely can receive.

Father God,

I say that I am blessed beyond measure. I say that all I have comes from you. I say that all I have is yours. Still, even though I do say these things and even though I know that they are true, I am not willing to give parts of everything you have given me back to you. There are many things that I think I could not live without. I like...even love what you have blessed me with and cannot imagine giving up the good things you have given to me because it is hard for me to imagine there being things that are better for me than what I already have.

Help me Lord. Help me to step out in faith and give my tithe....when I first get paid, not after I get everything else taken care of. Help me to step out in faith and give you a tenth of my FIRST fruits, not a bit of what's left over when everything else is taken care of.

Help me Lord to step out in faith and offer generously what you have blessed me with. Help me know what it is that you want me to time? my talent? my knowledge? my abilities?

Lord, I do trust your word and Your Word tells me that you will give me what YOU know that i need and that you will give it in full abundance. Help me Lord to trust that Your way is BEST and that you do truly know what is BEST for me.

I love you Lord. Forgive my selfishness and my desire to hold on to what you have so freely given. I want to serve you. I want my life to be a testimony of Your love for your children. I want my life to be a living sacrifice to you.

Draw me near to you Lord and hold me close. Give me the courage to let go of the things I hold so tightly in my fist and the faith to believe that You will not ask me to give more than you have.