“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me” (Psalm 23:4 NLT).
Why? Because our hurts and hang-ups can often cause us to think that God is out to get us, that all he wants to do is condemn us and punish us. But that simply isn’t true, and Jesus is the proof of that.
When we understand God’s grace and mercy, we have no need to fear the future. God isn’t trying to get even with you. Jesus has taken the penalty for everything you’ve ever done wrong or will do wrong. He paid for it on the cross. So when a bad thing happens, you don’t have to think that God’s getting even with you; instead, remember this: “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me” (Psalm 23:4 NLT).
Take Care of Your Body
Your physical health is an important part of making your life count. Today and tomorrow I want to look at the right motivation for getting healthy – what God’s says about the importance of your body in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 (HCSB).
God expects me to manage my body – “”Everything is permissible for me,’ but not everything is helpful. “Everything is permissible for me,’ but I will not be brought under the control of anything.” (v12) Your body is a gift from God. He loans it to you and it’s your responsibility to manage it well. What are you doing with what He’s given you?
My body is God’s property — “The body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord .” (v13) Our culture teaches us that we can do whatever we want with our bodies. But God created our bodies, so we don’t have a right to share them with anybody we want.
My body will be resurrected after I die — “God raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.” (v14) God never wastes anything. One day he’s going to resurrect a new version of your body.
The Promise, Purpose, Place, and Day for Tithing
Whatever you want God to bless, you have to put him first in. So if you want God to bless your finances, you have to put him first in your money. This is the principle of tithing: You give the first 10 percent of your income back to God.
There are four verses that explain the promise, the purpose, the place, and the day for tithing.
First, Proverbs 3:9-10 gives the promise about tithing: “Honor the Lord by giving him the first part of all your income, and he will fill your barns with wheat and barley and overflow your wine vats with the finest wines” (TLB). God says that if you honor him with the first part of your income, he will bless you financially.
Kay and I decided 36 years ago that if we’re going to be in debt to anybody, we’re not going to be in debt to God. God gets paid first, right off the top. If I make 10 bucks, the first dollar goes back to him. If I make a hundred bucks, the first 10 bucks goes back to him. It all comes from God in the first place, and I want his blessing on the rest of it.
Why does God tell us to tithe? Deuteronomy 14:23 says, “The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives.” God doesn’t need your money, but he wants what it represents — your heart. He wants you to trust him.
Where should you tithe? Do you tithe to United Way? Or do you tithe to your brother who’s been out of work for three years? No. That’s charity. Tithing is an act of worship. It goes to God.
Malachi 3:10 says, “‘Bring to the storehouse a full tenth of what you earn …. Test me in this,’ says the LORD All-Powerful. ‘I will open the windows of heaven for you and pour out all the blessings you need’” (NCV). The storehouse is the temple or the place where you worship God.
When are you supposed to tithe? You do it on the day you worship. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 16:2, “On every Lord’s Day each of you should put aside something from what you have earned during the week, and use it for this offering. The amount depends on how much the Lord has helped you earn” (TLB). When you give to God on the first day of the week, the first part of your day, and the first part of your money, then you say to him, “You’re really number one in my life.”
Notice that the verse says “put aside.” You’ve got to plan this! Tithing should not be an impulsive thing. You’ve got to plan for it so that you are honoring God’s plan and purpose for tithing. Then, you can watch how God blesses and uses you and honors his promise in your life.