I am Concerned

The Church in America today is facing opposition like never before. We are not being killed or in prison (yet), but social pressure like never seen in our country is rising up.

There are many who are seeing “end times” in everything around us. Perhaps so, but in the last 2000 years The Church has come under persecution in many countries and in many different times.

However what has me most concerned, is the anger that I hear in so many Christian conversations. With the political upheaval this past year, Covid-19 and the lockdowns, Mask versus no mask controversy, etc., I have seen (and been guilty of myself) of arguing one side or the other and perhaps allowing anger to creep into my voice.

Discussions about Easter, Christmas also are topics heatedly debated.

Today I want to stop and look at the Beatitudes.

THE BEATITUDES (Matthew 5:1-12)

[1] Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
Be POOR IN SPIRIT. That is, detach yourself from earthly possessions that distract, and attach yourself completely to God. Rely completely on God like a beggar relies completely on others for survival.

[2] Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 
Be MOURNFUL ABOUT SIN. Take sin seriously. Recognize how awful it is – and be sorry for your sins. Grieve the affect that your sins have on God. Remember that your sins sent Jesus to the cross.

[3] Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Be MEEK. Consider who God is and who you are not and therefore respect Him as a child ought to respect her parent. Allow yourself to be controlled by God without disputing or resisting – knowing that he is always going to do what is best for you.

[4] Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 
Be STARVING FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Strive continuously to live more in line with God’s word. Train, by God’s grace, to be more Christ-like all the time.

[5] Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 
Be MERCIFUL. Step outside your comfort zone, and into the lives of the needy. Live out the gospel in the world, demonstrating self-sacrificial compassion to the down and out.

[6] Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 
Be PURE IN HEART. Give sin no foothold in your life. God is holy and cannot occupy the same space as evil. Your heart belongs to God.

[7] Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 
Be a PEACEMAKER. Actively pursue healing broken relationships. Don’t be a trouble-maker who causes divisions among people.

[8] Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Be ON THE FRONTLINES. Remember that you are engaged in a spiritual battle and get out there and fight! Staying out of it might mean you’re safe from persecution and harm, but you will surely miss out on the blessing of God

Non of those above make place for anger in our conversations. Even when we are right!

Meek, mercy, peacemaker; those require a soft answer. This isn’t saying we should not stand up for the truth, but the way in which we do it might need to change. Perhaps we might consider the proverb, a soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Prov 15:1

We May Have Offended God

We May Have Offended God

A deathlike, deep slumber, has overtaken the church: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead” (Revelation 3:1). The beacon of light has faded, the salt has lost its savor, and the message of the cross has been edited out of most sermons. We have lost our fervor for the truth. Have we considered that we may have offended God? Consider the following:

The politically correct police are on high alert. You can mention God as long as you don’t mention His absolute truth.

You can mention Jesus as long as He was just a good teacher.

And you can embrace religion as long as it’s all-inclusive.

Pastors are required to be politically correct rather than biblically correct to be accepted.

The trend in churches is to be welcoming, but primarily affirming. Sermons are designed to tickle the ear but not convict the heart. God help us.

Additionally, many Christians enjoy programs about the occult, vampires, witches, zombies, illicit sex, and other perversions of the truth. A Christian should not be entertained by darkness. If we are, our heart needs spiritual resuscitation. “If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).

Many go to church sporadically, but would rather see a movie. They are disengaged and bored during worship. Their social media posts resemble Hollywood not the work of the Spirit.

They choose friends who complement their worldly lifestyle, rather than friends who challenge them to live for God. They look forward to consuming alcohol and avoid prayer and Bible study. Their movie and video choices look no different than what the culture promotes. The things of the world are exciting and the things of God are dull.

Their conversations at work include every topic except God, and at home, their words are shallow and lifeless.

Their waking thoughts are either focused on wealth, pleasure, or entertainment. They are dead, or dying spiritually, and they don’t even know it. They have a religion but not a genuine relationship.

“Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?” Psalm 85:6

The present condition of the church leaves one to wonder if the lack of the fear of the Lord is contributing to her spiritually dead condition. I am reminded of God’s words to Jeremiah, “I have not sent these pastors but they ran. I have not spoken to them but they spoke. But had they truly stood in My counsel, they would have turned the people from their evil ways” (paraphrasing Jeremiah 23:21). “We need more prophets in our pulpits and less puppets”

A large majority of the churches in America have been desensitized one generation at a time, one court decision at a time, one compromise at a time, and we are drowning in a cesspool of relativism. “The wicked freely parade and prance about while evil is praised throughout the land” (Psalm 12:8). God is our only hope. “Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?” (Psalm 85:6).

The man who knows Jesus!

It’s time for the church to stop praying. It seem’s that God is hearing the prayers and messing up my plans. Last Sabbath I confessed that I really hated my neighbors. I know I ought to witness to them but truth be known I really hate them.

Well apparently some one in church took it upon themselves to pray for me. So Let me tell you what has happened.

I was sort of enjoying being mad, plotting how to get revenge, how to be downright petty and all …

Then today some Little 4 year old boy Lost his ball over our fence. I could hear it all happening. The older boys took the little boy’s ball and threw it over, Laughing and telling him he’d never get it back. Which is actually more true than not.  We usually don’t throw them back.  Bad experiences doing that in the past, besides I really don’t like them.

Well, the gang of older boys took off and I could hear the little boy sobbing.  So I grabbed the stupid ball, climbed into the back of a pickup, (no easy feat for me) and peered over the 12 foot fence.  I asked the boy what happened?  He said his ball is over the fence and he will never get it back.

I asked him what would happen if his ball was inside Jesus’ back yard?  The boy said, “Jesus would give it back.”  I told him I was friends with Jesus.  I know Him.  And I threw the ball back to him.

Later I was riding my Scooter doing a perimeter check, and I heard the little boy yell, “Gramma, that’s the man that knows Jesus!

Wow! Thanks a lot Church!  Now I can no longer plot revenge and be petty.  Now I have to live up to the reputation as “The man who knows Jesus!”

Have a blessed week!

Be On Your Guard

Be On Your Guard

Psalms 39:1

Fellow-pilgrim, do not say in your heart, “I will go here and there, and I will not sin,” for you are never so out of danger of sinning as to boast of security. The road is very muddy; it will be hard to pick your path so as not to soil your garments. This is a dirty world, and you will need to stay alert if you are to keep your hands clean. There is a robber at every turn of the road to rob you of your jewels; there is a temptation in every mercy; there is a snare in every joy; and if you ever reach heaven, it will be a miracle of divine grace to be ascribed entirely to your Father’s power.

Be on your guard. When a man carries fireworks in his hand, he should be careful that he does not go near a candle; and you too must take care that you do not succumb to temptation. Even your everyday activities are sharp-edged tools; you must mind how you handle them.

There is nothing in this world to foster a Christian’s piety, but everything to destroy it. How concerned you should be to look up to God, that He may keep you! Your prayer should be, “Hold me up, and I shall be safe.” Having prayed, you must also watch, guarding every thought, word, and action, with holy jealousy. Do not expose yourselves unnecessarily; but if called to exposure, if you are called to go where the darts are flying, never venture forth without your shield; for if once the devil finds you without your armor, he will rejoice that his hour of triumph is come and will soon make you fall down wounded by his arrows. Although you cannot be killed, you may be wounded.

Be sober-minded; be watchful–danger may befall you at a time when everything seems to be secure. Therefore, pay attention, stay alert, watch and pray. No man ever fell into error through being too watchful. May the Holy Spirit guide us in all our ways, so they shall always please the Lord.

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Proverbs 1

verse 2 2 Corinthians 13

An Invitation from Jesus

Centuries ago, ancient merchants originated a phrase which came to serve as the universal rule for trade and commerce: “The value of anything is determined by how much it can be traded for.” Ironic as it may seem, one of the greatest illustrations of this principle comes from the tragic story of Christ’s betrayal by one of his own disciples. Judas, who was also the treasurer for the twelve, traded his loyalty to Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. Judas simply traded Christ for something which was of higher value to himself. What a shame, that after being with Jesus daily, witnessing the miracles and the wonders, to Judas the Lord of the universe was only worth a mere 30 pieces of silver!
The infamous downfall of Judas, is really a story of warped values — he simply didn’t recognize the true worth, the vast preciousness of Jesus Christ. “Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced” (Matt. 27:9).
Twisted values are not uncommon in other Biblical accounts, such as in the story of the twin brothers, Jacob and Esau (Gen. 25). A special blessing and inheritance from their father Isaac belonged to the first-born son, Esau. But Esau lacked a full appreciation for his inherited birthright. In contrast, Jacob realized its astronomical value and coveted his birthright. He eventually found a scheme to transfer its rights to himself. At a time that Esau was famished, Jacob offered him a bowl of lentils in exchange for the birthright. Although this offer was in no way equitable, yet amazingly, Esau agreed to trade his birthright for a single meal. What stupid, distorted values Esau had!

But is this any different than the petty, inferior things that many people trade for spiritual things? Let me ask you a hypothetical question. What if Jesus sent you a letter and promised to personally meet with you and His other followers at a restaurant on Sabbath morning. But let’s say Sabbath comes, and you feel like sleeping in instead. Or maybe it’s such a beautiful day, you prefer to go on a picnic, or perhaps there’s a football game on TV you don’t want to miss. Wouldn’t you say that whatever you selected to do, instead of meeting with Jesus, would say something about the insignificance of your relationship with Him? Wouldn’t it mean that, like Judas, you have established your value upon Christ? Wouldn’t it mean that a TV show has higher worth, that a picnic is more important, or a little extra sleep means more to you than meeting with Jesus Christ, the Lord of the universe?
But you may say, “Jesus hasn’t sent me such a letter. He’s in Heaven and won’t be at a restaurant this Sabbath!”
However dear friend, Jesus promised that whenever believers gather in His name, He will always honor that gathering with His presence. “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20). In other words, He gave His word to be present whenever two or more believers come together in His name.

So do Christians really believe His Word? Many must figure that Jesus doesn’t tell the truth, because Sabbath after Sabbath, many professing Christians snub the Lord Jesus by not showing up where He promised to be. Either they must figure He lied and won’t be at church, or else they have simply established a low estimate of Jesus’ worth. Yes, that’s right! The things that keep you away from church is the value you have placed on the presence of Jesus — they declare what spiritual things are worth to you.

Thank God there are believers who have such a high value on their meeting with Jesus that it takes something urgent or awfully important to pull them away. Some have no choice but to work at their jobs during the times that some church meetings occur. Some might not come meet with Jesus because of an emergency, sickness, road conditions or car trouble, etc.

Although nothing in this world can assume a higher priority than our relationship with Jesus, at least the Lord understands our situations and knows our heart — that we rather would meet with Him and our brethren if it weren’t for similar urgencies. However, how could we expect the Lord to be pleased if we stay away from His meetings for less serious excuses?
What does it say about our spiritual values if we’re absent due to the special sale at Sears, the football game, watching the late show the night before, or are simply too lazy to get up on time?
Remember, the reasons which keep people away reflect the value that they take place upon the Lord, spiritual things, their brethren and the church.

Why does the scripture connect the neglect of church attendance to sin? Mere absence from a church meeting is not in itself a sin, however a pattern of absence from church always leads to, or has a relationship to sin and displeasing God. “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins” (Heb 10:25-26).

Why Unfaithfulness to Church Displeases God
(1) It keeps us away from a spiritual influence that would encourage us and keep us from falling away from the Lord (Heb. 3:12-13).
(2) It keeps us away from encouragement toward repentance and reconciliation should we fall into sin (1 John 1:9, Gal. 6:1).
(3) Prevents our faith from being built up by hearing the Word preached (Rom. 10:17).
(4) It keeps us from obeying the Lord’s command to demonstrate love for our brethren, which keeps us from falling (1 John 2:10, John 15:12).
(5) It prevents us from receiving correction or submission to spiritual authority (Heb. 13:17).
(6) It expresses unbelief and disobedience to God’s Word which tells us to fellowship and assemble together (1 John 1:7, Heb. 10:25).
(7) It shows disregard toward the call to worship the Lord collectively as His body (Psa. 22:22, 35:18, 107:32).
(8) It shows our lack of discernment of the Lord’s body (Matt. 25:14, 1 Cor. 11:29).
(9) It demonstrates a lack of self-sacrifice and discipline (Luke 9:23).
(10) It shows a disregard for the Lord’s presence (Matt. 18:20). (11) It is a sin of “omission,” in that we know it’s “good” to be faithful to church (James 4:17).
As for Esau, the value he placed on the things of God was only worth the price of a bowl of lentils which he traded in exchange for his birthright to his brother Jacob. For Judas, the things of God were worth only a slightly higher price — thirty pieces of silver which he exchanged for the betrayal of Jesus.
How about you? What is your worth you have placed upon the things of God? What price will it take to keep you away from your church or spiritual things? A favorite TV show? A sale at the shopping mall? A mosquito bite? A boo-boo on your little toe?
What do you suppose that God thinks about the value you have placed upon His church and His fellowship? If you ever thought that being a Christian was something that you could do out of “convenience” you were greatly mistaken. God isn’t interested in your “leftovers.” He must be the highest priority in your life, or else He becomes worthless.
In order to serve Christ it will require sacrifice on your part — sacrifice of your time, money, convenience, popularity… and even your life. “…nor will I offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God with that which costs me nothing…” (2 Sam. 24:24).

5 Ways to Silence the Voice of Satan

5 Ways to Silence the Voice of Satan

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Satan is a liar. He comes only to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). He has spent too much time in the minds of Christians trying to convince us that we don’t have power in Jesus Christ.

Let’s begin shutting him up and refuse to let him run rampant in our thoughts. Below I am sharing five ways to silence the voice of Satan.

Silence the Voice of Satan

1. Tell Him to Shut Up in the Name of Jesus

Start here. Get in the habit of simply telling him to shut up in the name of Jesus. We have power and authority in the name of Jesus to shut him up. (Philippians 2:9-10)

When you recognize a thought in your mind that you know isn’t from the Lord, just begin shutting it up.

Say out loud or in your head, “shut up Satan”, and then refuse to continue to think on that thing.

I’ll catch myself thinking about a conversation I had with someone 6 months ago and suddenly feel annoyed with them all over again. This isn’t the Lord, it’s Satan, and we need to shut him up!

If the thought pops up again, later on, shut him up again. He’ll start to learn your mind is no longer a place he can root his evil thoughts.

The more you do this, the more readily you’ll recognize him and will be able to shut him down quickly.

You’ll be amazed how drastically your thought life will improve just from this one practice.

Paul tells us this in Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things and the God of peace will be with you.”

If your thoughts aren’t lining up with this, shut them down and say in your mind and heart, I WILL think on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. Let’s stop allowing Satan to run rampant in our thought life by shutting him up in the mighty name of Jesus. This will take practice, but it is possible to no longer let Satan rule your thoughts.

James 4:7 tells us that when we resist the devil, he must flee from us, so let’s start resisting his attack on our thought lives and refusing to think the thoughts he’s planting in our minds.

2. Fill Your Mind and Heart with the Word of God

It’s been said that an idle mind is the devil’s playground, so we need to fill our minds with good thoughts, rather than bad thoughts or no thoughts at all.

Filling our minds and hearts with the powerful Word of Jesus is a great way to take control of our thought life. Start with memorizing Philippians 4:8, you don’t have to know it word for word.

I often just say, “whatever is true, whatever is lovely, whatever is noble I will think on these things”. It’s all out of order, but that’s usually how it comes to my mind and it’s the gist of the scripture.

Find scriptures that resonate with you and then begin to meditate on them rather than the old thoughts you previously meditated on.

Psalms tells us over and over again to meditate on the word of God. Find a scripture first thing in the morning or one that’s just resonated with you your entire life and begin to meditate on it throughout the day.

When you catch yourself daydreaming or festering up old thoughts, silence Satan and then go back to meditating on your scripture. Again, I highly recommend starting with Philippians 4:8. The word of God is a weapon against the enemy, use it!

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3. Meditate on the Goodness of God

He is so, so worthy of our thought life. The true, lovely, and noble that Philippians 4:8 is referring to, is our sweet Jesus.

He is true, He is lovely, He is noble, and we can spend our days meditating on Him, rather than all the crazy thoughts Satan sends our way.

Think about the many blessings He’s graciously given you, think on the mercy and grace He’s granted you throughout your life, think on all that is to come!

Psalm 145:5-7 says, “I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works. Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, and I will declare Your greatness. They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness and shall sing of Your righteousness”.

Begin to fill your mind and heart with the goodness of God.

4. Make a Gratitude List

When Satan is running rampant in your thoughts, stop and make a gratitude list. Making a gratitude list is a great way to shift our thinking and remind us of the goodness of God.

What blessings are all around us that often go unnoticed? If you find yourself drifting back into old thought patterns, stop and make a list of 10-20 things you are grateful for and then spend time thinking on the many blessings of God.

“Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” Psalm 107:8-9

5. Fill Your Mind with Praise

Turn on praise and worship music. There is nothing quite like turning on praise and worship music to shut up the enemy.

We can literally fight our battles by praising the Lord. Next time Satan begins filling your mind with thoughts you know are not from the Lord, turn on worship music, and begin praising our great God.

“I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, And I am saved from my enemies.” 2 Samuel 22:4

In Conclusion

We CAN turn our thought lives around through the power of Jesus. Even if you’ve spent years meditating on the wrong thoughts, make up your mind today to begin meditating on the right thoughts.

Ask God to give you the strength to apply the strategies above and you’ll be well on your way

Second Generation Fallout

by Charles R. Swindoll

2 Kings 18-21

A curious phenomenon has plagued families for as long as there have been families.  It’s that age-old problem of second-generation fallout that breaks the hearts of godly moms and dads.

The scenario goes something like this. A man and woman fall in love and get married.  They also love Christ and desire to serve Him with all their hearts. As their children come along, they teach and train and pray that God will get hold of their little lives and use them for His glory.

But what about the now-grown kids? Ah, there’s the rub. Somewhere along the way God got pushed way down on their list of priorities. Disciplines like prayer, church attendance, tithing, serving, and serious Bible study got lost in the shuffle.

I recently stumbled upon one of those father-son stories that still speaks volumes. The dad was Hezekiah, a king who took the throne when he was twenty-five and reigned until he was fifty-four. All the while, his heart remained warm toward his God, and God prospered him. What a man! When Hezekiah was forty-two, he and his wife, Hephzibah, had a son, Manasseh. But you’d never know he came from Hezekiah stock. According to the inspired historian’s account, he seduced the people of Judah “to do evil more than the nations whom the LORD destroyed” (2 Kings 21:9). What went wrong? Why didn’t Hezekiah’s righteousness and passion pass to his son? I believe there are at least three reasons:

First, Manasseh had a will of his own as we all do and with that will he stubbornly and deliberately refused to respond to the Lord (2 Chron. 33:10). Second, he was weak-willed and overly influenced by ungodly and wicked associations (2 Kings 21:3, 6). And third, he was neglected by his preoccupied, busy father. The king was at the zenith of his reign when Manasseh was born, and there is every indication that the prince saw little of his father during the formative years of his life. Hezekiah simply never took the time.

Sound familiar at all? While you still have your children under your roof, take time to talk together, to play together, to relax together . . . just to be together.

It is amazing how powerful first-generation presence can be when it comes to curing the second-generation plague.

Trouble Ahead

Notice that I didn’t title this “IF troubles come…” If you’re breathing, trouble will NOT be a stranger to you!

The notion that following Jesus equals an easy, comfortable, pain-free journey through life is one of the BIGGESToldest and most dangerous of misperceptions. False expectations, in general, set us up for disappointment; but this one can crush our spirit and even our faith if we’re not careful.

Often when a hard time hits, when a crisis hits, when a tragedy hits, we want out. We ask God for an airlift out of our problems. But many times God wants us to learn in the midst of those difficulties—and to learn especially about His love for us:

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?…No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. (Romans 8:35, 37 NLT)

Notice that phrase “all these things.” This passage isn’t saying we won’t face some of these struggles, but that in them we’re “more than conquerors.”

If you’re seeking to obey the Lord, expect opposition. Expect obstacles. Expect difficulties. But also expect God to see you through.
~ Excerpted from Beyond by Greg Laurie

Joseph is a prime example! (Genesis 37, 39-50) Betrayed and sold into slavery by his brothers! Falsely accused by his employer’s wife and tossed into prison. Forgotten about by a friend after helping him understand a dream.

From our Lower, earthly perspective we could easily conclude that God had forsaken Joseph. But twice – when he arrives in Egypt as a slave and when he is thrown in prison, it clearly states that “the LORD was with Joseph.”(Genesis 39:2, 21)

God sustains Joseph and we eventually learn that all of this was used by God to further His  kingdom agenda.

How can we prepare our hearts to trust God when troubles come?

Just Getting Started

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time.
 
— Ecclesiastes 3:11

When I look back on my life at the things God has allowed me to do and the opportunities He has opened up, I can see the wisdom of His perfect timing.

Our tendency is to rush things. But just because something hasn’t happened in your life today doesn’t mean it won’t happen tomorrow. Just because it doesn’t happen tomorrow doesn’t mean it won’t happen a month from now or a year from now. Maybe one phase of your life is ending and another is beginning. Maybe everything that has happened to you up to this point in your life has been preparation for what is still ahead.

Moses didn’t get going until he was 80. Then there was Caleb, another Israelite who left Egypt in the Exodus. Along with Joshua, Caleb came back full of optimism and belief when they were sent to spy out the Promised Land. But when the Israelites believed the pessimistic report of the ten other spies, God was so displeased that He refused to allow them to enter the land.

Years later, when Joshua led a new generation of Israelites into the Promised Land, Caleb was among them. And at 80 years old, he said to Joshua, “So give me the hill country that the Lord promised me. You will remember that as scouts we found the descendants of Anak living there. . . But if the Lord is with me, I will drive them out of the land, just as the Lord said” (Joshua 14:12).

Joshua gave him his little segment of land as was promised, and Caleb drove out all of its inhabitants. Caleb believed God’s promises, and God was faithful. We need to do the same.

False Promises

These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts.
 
— Jude 1:16–18

A common characteristic of false teachers is the offer of false promises. You see them promising, for example, that God will prosper those who give $10 with a hundredfold blessing—multiplying that amount and returning it to them. This is a false message, however. We should never give to get.

If I were to give an amount of money to God’s work, thinking it would multiply a certain number of times and would ultimately return to me, that would be a wrong motive. God will not honor it. It is also a false promise.

All believers should give, on a regular basis, of the resources and income that God has given to them. On the other hand, we don’t give to get something. The Bible says that God loves a cheerful giver (see 2 Corinthians 9:7). We give because we have received. We give because we recognize that all that we have comes from God. We give because we want to share in the eternal reward of what God is doing by investing in the work of His kingdom. We give because God has commanded us to do so.

Jude wrote his epistle to refute those who were teaching that the grace of God gives people a license to sin. And Paul wrote in Romans 3:8, “And why not say, ‘Let us do evil that good may come’?—as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just.”

In other words, there are those who say, “Go ahead and do wicked things, and God will bless you, because you are covered by grace.” Paul was saying that this is a perversion of the teaching of the grace of God.