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Too Much Giving!
Exodus 36:5-7 and
they spoke to Moses, saying, "The people bring much more than
enough for the service of the work which the LORD commanded us to
do." So Moses gave a
commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp,
saying, "Let neither man nor woman do any more work for the
offering of the sanctuary." And the people were restrained from
bringing, for the material
they had was sufficient for all the work to be done--indeed too much.
Moses and His Proclamation
Today, Christians do all kinds of fund raising for their projects.
You can give over the internet, you can send money by mail, you
can give through the Sunday morning offerings of the church; but,
however people give, it never seems to be enough.
I get fund raising letters all of the time and they always seem
to imply that there is an acute need that is not being met.
I have never gotten a fund raising letter that said, “Please
don't send us any more money, we wouldn't know how to use it properly
for the Lord. All of our
needs have been met.” Moses
had that privilege. While he
didn't send letters, he did make a proclamation that the people had
given generously and they had given more than enough
He told them to QUIT giving.
The Source of this Bounty
After Joseph died, a ruler that didn't know Joseph took the leadership
in Egypt. While Egypt had
been a place of refuge for the children of Israel under Joseph, it
ultimately became a place of slavery.
As we know, the Lord had told Abraham that his descendants would
be in a land that was not theirs for 400 years (See Genesis 15:13-14).
He also told Abraham that he would bring his descendants back to
the promised land. In order
to do that, He performed miracles through Moses that destroyed Egypt.
Apparently, this was a war between Jehovah represented by Moses
and the pagan gods of Egypt. The
last miracle was the killing of the firstborn in Egypt that were not in
a home protected by the blood of a lamb.
When the children of Israel left Egypt (actually the Egyptians
thrust them out) they asked the Egyptians for their silver, gold and
clothing. By doing this,
they were paid for their years of slavery and the Bible says that they
“plundered” the Egyptians. This,
then, was the source of the material for the tabernacle.
Plundered by Idolatry
After leaving Egypt, the children of Israel finally reached Mt. Sinai
where Moses went up into the mountain to get instructions from God as to
how He wanted to be worshiped by His special redeemed people.
Moses was in the mountain 40 days and 40 nights.
It was long enough for the children of Israel to wonder what had
happened to Moses and to make a golden calf that supposedly represented
the God who had brought them out of Egypt.
The worship of the golden calf, something that the people had
made, allowed for partying and it required a lot of the gold that had
been brought out of Egypt. God
of course was incensed and very angry.
The golden calf was ground to powder and sprinkled on water.
The people than were forced to drink it.
But those who contributed their wealth to the golden calf could
not contribute that wealth to the building of the tabernacle.
The people that had plundered the Egyptians had now been
plundered by idolatry.
The Privilege of Contributing to the Tabernacle
While Satan tried to provide a counterfeit worship during the time
Moses was in the Mount, the real worship of the Lord was never in
question. Moses had to
intercede for the people because of their sin and there were
consequences associated with their rebellion.
But the Lord had his faithful people who had more than enough
wealth to build this tabernacle and to worship right.
Moses in the mountain is a picture of Christ in heaven today.
He has gone into heaven with the promise that He will return.
Just as the forty days and forty nights was a testing time for Israel,
we too are being tested by 2000 years of waiting.
It didn't take long for the children of Israel to forget Moses
and all the miracles they had just experienced including passing through
the Red Sea. Their path to
safety had been a path of destruction for the Egyptian army.
Are we like that today? Corrupting
ourselves while we wait for the Lord to return from the mountain?
Do we turn to our way of worship or are we remaining faithful to
the mandates of the Lord given through the apostles and prophets of the
New Testament? Do we still
believe that there is only one way of salvation? Do we believe that
salvation is not something we do for God but something He has done for
us? Do we still believe that
there needs to be a time in our lives when we turn from the way we
thought was right and turned to the Lord and trusted Him?
If we turn aside to “our way of worshiping the Lord” we will be
robbed. If we faithfully
wait for His return we will be blessed and His work will prosper.
There will be more than enough resources to do what He asks us to
for the week of February 7, 2016
Winners and Losers
2 Timothy 4:7 I
have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the
Some Win and Some Lose
We are constantly being bombarded with winners and losers in this life.
Presidential debates have winners and losers—at least that is
how the press describes the debates.
We have the Superbowl with one team described as winners and the
other as losers. Those who
amass wealth in our society are considered winners and those who are
poor are often considered losers.
When we have games for our children in our children's meetings,
the children all want to win. In
spiritual things, the megachurches are seen as the successful winners.
The little churches that are left with nothing when all of their
members head to the big churches are seen as losers.
In real life we are taught that we are either winners or losers,
and many of our children are depressed because other children bully them
and make them think that they are losers.
Does the Lord Encourage this Kind of Competition?
Should the Christian experience be characterized by winners and losers?
To some degree, yes! The
Lord says however that those who save their lives lose them and those
who lose their lives save them. In
Matthew 16:25, the Lord says, “For
whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his
life for My sake will find it.” The
Lord says that the winners are the losers and losers are the winners!
does use the idea of a race to help us understand the Christian
experience. In 1 Corinthians
9:24, he tells us that in a race only one receives the prize and that we
need to discipline ourselves if we expect to win that race.
But is Paul saying that only one person can receive the prize?
Or is he is saying that we are all to run the race as though
there is only one prize? I
think he is saying that we should run the race as though there is
only one winner, but I do
not think only one person is going to get the prize Paul is talking
about. I think we can all get that winner's prize.
Yet when it comes to Christian service, sometimes it seems like
we are competing against one another rather than cooperating with one
another. Cooperating is
called fellowship. Competing
against one another certainly does not lead to unity and fellowship.
Paul also uses the idea of a marathon race in Hebrews 12 to
encourage us to finish what the Lord has called us to do, even if we are
discouraged. But in a
marathon it is more important to finish than it is to finish first.
Paul had that in mind when in 2 Timothy 4:7
he says he had fought a good fight, he had finished the race.
He had also guarded the truth that Christ died, was buried and
was raised again the third day. He
had been faithful until the end.
When we look at the Christian experience, there is no competition
between winners and losers. W are just asked to be faithful to the Lord
who called us to serve Him when He saved us.
The Lord never says that one Christian has to lose in order for
another to win. The rewards
that are going to be given to Saints for faithful service at the end of
their lives does not require us to compete so that we can be winners.
I am convinced there will be enough rewards to go around.
I know that James and John were competing for the best places in
the Lord's kingdom in Mark 10:35-41, but the Lord rebuked them for it;
and the other disciples were displeased when they realized that James
and John were trying to get the Lord to give them preferential
treatment. It did not lead
to fellowship but to contention.
The Real Losers
However, there are winners and losers when it comes to the
Christian's relationship to the world, the flesh, and the devil.
We are admonished to win the wrestling match in Ephesians
6:10-13. That match is
against spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies.
We know that we need to separate from the ungodly world and flee
the lusts of the flesh in order to be victorious over the world and the
flesh or ungodly appetites that we have.
From a natural standpoint Christ was a loser.
He died at the hands of the powerful but the whole story wasn't
written until the disciples came to an empty tomb.
The book of the Revelation gives us the rest of the story and
this One who was bullied and crucified is going to be the final victor.
The winners are those who trust Him, the losers are those who
trust the lies of Satan. Unbelievers
do believe, they just believe the wrong person and the wrong message.
Yes, there are winners and losers when it comes to obtaining
eternal life. But Christians
should never be competing one with another for a place of prominence
with the Lord.
for the week of February 14, 2016
What and Who can we Believe Today?
1 Timothy 1:15 This
is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus
came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
is a faithful saying? It
is a saying that is trustworthy. It
is a communication that is true. One
should be able to depend on a faithful saying.
Who tells the truth today?
is certain that much of the material being posted on social media sites
dealing with the current political campaigns cannot be trusted.
There are sites that are designed to check the facts and rumors
that abound but unfortunately we tend to believe those sites when they
agree with our opinion and we consider them biased when they don't agree
with us. Can we depend on
promises made by politicians? The
answer is “no” because even if they try to keep their promises,
there are checks and balances in the political process that will keep
many of the promises from being fulfilled.
what can we depend upon? Some
say we can depend on scientific facts. But unfortunately facts have a
way of changing over the years. At
one time the earth was the center of the universe and then the sun
became the center of universe and now as I understand it, either can be
considered the center depending on the purpose of the model being used.
I am told that Cape Canaveral is the “center” for the
vehicles that we send into space. But
over my lifetime there have been a lot of scientific “facts” that
somehow aren't facts any more. An
atom was once the smallest particle of matter but then we found out that
atoms have parts called electrons and protons and neutrons.
Now the smallest part is called a quark but even that may change
according to scientists as they gain more knowledge about what makes up
matter. I remember when the
“science” of medicine told my wife to be careful about gaining
weight when she was pregnant with our first child.
By the time the second child came along, weight gain that was not
exorbitant was considered a good thing.
I paid doctors for both sets of advice.
Now I am not saying that any of these scientific “facts” were
designed to intentionally deceive, but obviously some facts are
presented without knowing all the facts about the facts.
is my understanding that there are courses available to teach people how
to lie in a believable way. Most
of us didn't need a course in how to lie, we have likely all done it.
But lying so everyone believes us is an art.
Satan has that art down to a science and he knows just how to
deceive us. Usually it is by
questioning the Word of God. He
constantly asks the question,
"Has God indeed said?” (See
Genesis 3:1). I know many
people that accept parts of the Bible and reject the rest based on their
own experiences and limited understanding.
Now I realize that the Bible has to be read in context, and that
the New Testament has to explain the Old Testament.
I also realize that there is symbolic language in the Bible.
The Lord used parables in the New Testament which were allegories
explaining spiritual principles. There
is poetic language and allegories in the Old Testament as well.
Sometimes it is difficult to know what is literal and what is
allegorical. However, the
verse that I have referenced in this meditation is bedrock truth and is
Paul actually write this? In Paul's day, some
letters were supposedly written by him when in fact he had not written
them. So from time to time
he would emphasize that something he was writing was something he had
written and it could be depended upon.
This is one of those verses.
Paul told over and over how he had been confronted by the Lord on
the Damascus Road in Acts 9. That
encounter changed his thinking and it changed his occupation.
Meeting the Lord changed everything.
Instead of prospering as a religious Pharisee, he became a
follower of Christ, the One he had been persecuting.
And now he reminds Timothy who had preached with him and had
traveled with him of this dependable saying.
I suspect Timothy had heard this before many times but Paul still
reminds him that this is bedrock truth upon which he can depend.
are we going to believe? We
have many different voices wanting us to believe them today.
Some are outlandish ads about health products.
Some are outlandish ads by would be politicians.
Some are subtle messages enticing us to do things that we know
are not right. But Satan is
subtle and tries to convince us that if a lot of people believe things
in a certain way and do things in a certain way, then that is the way we
should believe and do. We
all have to make choices as to what and who we are going to believe.
I have made my choice. I
m going to believe Paul when he says, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance,
that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am
chief.” When I believe
Paul, I am really believing in the written inspired word of God which
means I am really believing what God has said about His Son.
I am normally a skeptical person when it comes to believing
anything, but after years of studying and reading the Bible, I have
found that there is nothing more dependable than the Bible properly
I believe the message of Paul.
That message has not changed for over 2000 years and it gives
every person who believes that faithful saying peace.
Everyone believes something or someone.
I believe Paul.
for the week of February 21, 2016
Musings on the Lord's Commands
Luke 8:39 "Return
to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for
you." And he went his way and proclaimed throughout the whole city
what great things Jesus had done for him.
Do We Tell People What Great Things the Lord has done for
A great miracle had been done for this man.
He had been tormented and imprisoned by a legion of demons.
It had left him with super human strength and he was dangerous to
others. The demons knew who
the Lord was and apparently spoke through the man who was demon
possessed. When the Lord
freed the man from the demons, they wanted a body to inhabit so the Lord
let them possess a herd of pigs who then promptly committed suicide by
running down into the lake and drowning.
The people who saw this were afraid and told everyone in the city
what had happened. A
multitude came out of the city and asked the Lord to leave.
One would think they would be rejoicing in the fact that the man
who had the demons was now clothed and in his right mind.
But it appears that they were more concerned about the loss of
the pigs which no doubt was a great financial loss than they were about
the healing of the man who had the demons.
The man with the demons wanted to follow the Lord, but the
Lord said, “No!” Now is
the time to go back into the city and tell people what great things God
has done for you. He did
just that and it should have been obvious to anyone who had known him
that the Lord really had done something great for him.
This man paved the way for the Lord to come back to that area and
to be welcomed by the people. Likely
some of those people had previously wanted him to leave.
Times Not to Speak
When lepers were healed, the Lord told them not to say
anything but to show themselves to the priest.
Likely this was because in that day only a priest could declare a
leper clean. Having the
priest declare the leper clean would be proof that the miracle of
healing was real. When
Jairus' daughter was raised from the dead in Mark 5, the Lord didn't
want anyone to know that He had raised her.
Why? I suspect it was
because the girl was only twelve and I think the Lord wanted to protect
her from those who would have made a spectacle of her and maybe even
tried to make money by exhibiting her.
I think the Lord wanted her to have a normal life.
A Time when People can't help but Speak
In Mark 7, the Lord healed a man who was deaf and had a
speech impediment. He told
the man and those who witnessed this miracle not to tell anyone.
We read however, “the
more He commanded them, the more widely they proclaimed it (Mark
it be nice to be so full of joy about the things that the Lord has done
for us that we just couldn't help but tell others?
And if one had had a speech impediment, it would be a great joy
to be speaking clearly. There are some things that are just too good to
keep to ourselves and this was one of those things.
have often pondered why sometimes the Lord has told those He helped to
be quiet and sometimes he told them to tell others.
Sometimes when he told them to be quiet they didn't seem to be
able to contain themselves and they proclaimed what the Lord had done
for them to their friends and neighbors anyway.
I am sure that there are other lessons to be learned from these
passages but for those of us that have encountered the Lord and have
trusted Him, He has done great things for us.
Our testimonies need to make it obvious that great things have
been done for us and then we need to be so happy about being saved from
the penalty that we deserve because of our sin, that we just can't hold
it in. That would be true
the Lord is absent. He is in
heaven. But He is coming
back and I hope that we who have been blessed by Him are telling others
about the great things He had done for us.
Are we preparing people to be ready for His second coming or will
they look at us and wonder why we just weren't excited about sharing
this good news?
for the week of February 28, 2016