You are That Man!

Their only suggestion was that we keep on helping the poor, which I have always been eager to do. Galatians 2:10 NLT

Do you remember Ingathering? I wish we still did this door to door, where we would collect donations for our community services, going door to door around Christmas time. Several times as a child, while ingathering, we would mention, “the poor” and the people we were talking to would joke, “Well I am poor. Will you help me?” As this week’s lesson talks about helping the poor, it may be a good idea to ask ourselves if we are poor or rich?

King David heard a story about oppression and became very angry about it, until Nathan told him, “You are that man!” Like King David, I have to admit, for years  I thought I was among the poor that God’s justice would vindicate. After all, I have lost money to dishonest and greedy people, and I compared myself to those who had more. Then I realized there are many who consider me rich! With almost 7 billion people on the planet, there are only 1 billion cars. 1 This does not mean that 1 out of 7 people owns a car, because there are many people and companies who own many cars, meaning there are over 6 billion people who do not own a car. So if you own a car, even if its a 1980 Ford Pinto, you have something that over 6 billion earthlings do not have.

The other night when you got sick in the middle of the night and had to run to the toilet down the hall, you may not have realized what a luxury that midnight run was. Over two billion people don’t have a toilet to run to in the middle of the night. 2 So their experience with sickness may be a little different than yours. The other night I got a headache and my bones became a little achy, so I took a hot bath and presto! Headache disappeared and my bones felt brand new. Again, a hot bath would not be an option for billions of people. What a luxury!

I now realize when the Bible talks about the poor and rich, I am one of the rich people. That means when I read the passage below, I need to read it, thinking of myself as one of the rich people, instead of considering myself one of the poor people.

Look here, you rich people: Weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags.  Your gold and silver are corroded. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. This corroded treasure you have hoarded will testify against you on the day of judgment.  For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The cries of those who harvest your fields have reached the ears of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.  You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every desire. You have fattened yourselves for the day of slaughter. James 5:1-5 NLT

But how could I be holding back the wages of the workers in the field? I don’t even own a field. How about the gospel workers in God’s field? Do I return an honest tithe and offering? If not, then I am cheating the field workers of their wages just like James says. Do I give an honest tip to the waitress, barber, or the boy who carried my grocery bags to the car? If not, I am the cheater James is talking to. I could go on, but I think you get the point.

Withholding money which rightfully belongs to others is not the only form of oppression. How about when we snub someone from our social circle because they don’t conform to our beliefs or opinions? That is emotional oppression! How about when we sneer at the kid who just let the ball go in the other goal, costing our kid’s team the game? That’s emotional oppression. So you don’t have to be a millionaire to be oppressive.

No matter what my losses in life have been, I am still the rich person James is warning in James 5.

If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Romans 8:31-32 NLT

If I give my bread to someone who never pays me back that is okay. My Father will give me all the bread I need. If I love someone who never loves me back, that is okay. My Father gives me all the love I need. Whenever the Bible gives warnings to the rich, I know those warnings are for me personally. Nathan woke David up by saying, “You are that man!” When I read James 5 the Holy Spirit woke me up by saying, “You are that man!

The Acts of The Apostles-A Liberal Church

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Acts of the Apostles Chapter 32

This Chapter is based on 1 Corinthians 9.

God’s chosen messengers, who are engaged in aggressive labor, should never be compelled to go a warfare at their own charges, unaided by the sympathetic and hearty support of their brethren. It is the part of church members to deal liberally with those who lay aside their secular employment that they may give themselves to the ministry….But when, through the selfishness of men, their rightful support is withheld, their hands are weakened, and often their usefulness is seriously crippled.  {AA 340.1} 

  The displeasure of God is kindled against those who claim to be His followers, yet allow consecrated workers to suffer for the necessities of life while engaged in active ministry. These selfish ones will be called to render an account, not only for the misuse of their Lord’s money, but for the depression and heartache which their course has brought upon His faithful servants. Those who are called to the work of the ministry, and at the call of duty give up all to engage in God’s service, should receive for their self-sacrificing efforts wages sufficient to support themselves and their families.  {AA 340.2} 
     In the various departments of secular labor, mental and physical, faithful workmen can earn good wages. Is not the work of disseminating truth, and leading souls to Christ, of more importance than any ordinary business? And are not those who faithfully engage in this work justly entitled to ample remuneration? By our estimate of the relative value of labor for moral and for physical good, we show our appreciation of the heavenly in contrast with the earthly.  {AA 341.1} 
     That there may be funds in the treasury for the support of the ministry, and to meet the calls for assistance in missionary enterprises, it is necessary that the people of God give cheerfully and liberally. A solemn responsibility rests upon ministers to keep before the churches the needs of the cause of God and to educate them to be liberal. When this is neglected, and the churches fail to give for the necessities of others, not only does the work of the Lord suffer, but the blessing that should come to believers is withheld.  {AA 341.2}

The above quotes from Acts of The Apostles, reminds me of a devotional I wrote back in 2006:

And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, [is it] not evil? and if ye offer
the lame and sick, [is it] not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will
he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts. 
Malachi 1:8

This morning I was reading Malachi for my morning devotional and this
verse caught my eye. The lord is asking why His people are giving him the
“scraps” from their flocks when He asked for the very best. And shouldn’t
He have the best? After all He gave His only begotten son, He gave the
very best He had. Still His people were keeping the best for themselves
and giving the least they could to God.

What caught my eye was that this is not just a money issue. It is also a
time issue. Just as God asked for the best of the flock for a sacrifice
and today asks for our firstfruits for offerings and not just what’s left
over after we pay our bills and buy of all our luxuries, so He also wants
the best of our time and our day. Do we give God the firstfruits of the
day, the morning moments? Do we make consecrating ourselves to Him our
very first work? Do we give Him the primetime of our day or is primetime
for TV? At the end of the day have we given God the best part of our time
and day, or just whatever “scraps” of time we have left?

Doesn’t “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all,”
deserve the best of all we have, including our time?

In Malachi when the people did not give their best of the flock, the
offerings were lame and defective. When we give God less than the best our
offerings are just as "lame".

Your Christian servant,

William
Look for more devotionals and studies at In Light of The cross.

Stewardship in Light of The Cross

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Stewardship 

Brief Overview: God tells us to be good stewards of our time, money and talents that He has given to us. They are to be used to help spread the gospel. See Leviticus 27:30, Numbers 18:24-28, Malachi 3:8-10, 1 Corinthians 9:13-14

Why it is important to understand the truth about stewardship:

Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 1 Corinthians 4:2

Why it is important to understand stewardship in light of the cross:

Soviet Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, the author of Tortured for Christ, suffered terribly for the Lord. Yet he said that even while in prison, he saw fellow Soviet believers practice generous giving. “When we were given one slice of bread a week and dirty soap every day, we decided we would faithfully ‘tithe’ even that. Every tenth week we took the slice of bread and gave it to the weaker brethren as our ‘tithe’ to the Master.”

Pastor Wurmrband and his friends practiced “tithing” even in prison not because God needed their bread and soap, but because they needed a way to express their love for God. That is what stewardship is all about; using our time, money and talents to say, “thank you God for loving me and giving us your Son.” Just like a little boy who takes his allowance money to buy a Father’s Day gift, in reality the boy is only returning what the father has already given. It is the same with us and our Heavenly Father. Let’s take a look at how we can thank God for “His unspeakable gift (2 Corinthians 9:15).” In my home I had a plaque with a picture of the Cross, and the words, “I asked Jesus how much do you love me, this much he said, and then he spread out his arms and died.” Jesus does not need our money, that really is not what the tithe and offering system is all about. He has given us the tithing and offering system so when He asks us, “How much do you love me” we will have a way to answer.

Further Study on Stewardship

What belongs to God?

For every beast of the forest [is] mine, [and] the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world [is] mine, and the fulness thereof. Psalms 50:10-12

What besides the earth is His?

The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Psalms 24:1

Aside from creation why are we God’s?

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20

What is required of a steward?

Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 1 Corinthians 4:2

What will a faithful steward always remember?

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 unto the LORD. Leviticus 27:30

What was this tenth to be used for?

And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, [even] the service of the tabernacle of the congregation. Numbers 18:21

What is it used for today?

Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. 1 Corinthians 9:13, 14

Which tenth is God’s?

Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: Proverbs 3:9

What do we do if we withhold tithe and offering?

Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye [are] cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, [even] this whole nation. Malachi 3:8- 9

What does God want us to prove Him about?

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. Malachi 3:10

Does He promise to care for us?

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, [shall he] not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. Matthew 6:26-32

What should be placed first in our lives?

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33

How much above the tithe is the offering to be?

But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:6- 7

Do you want to hear Jesus say this to you?

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Matthew 25:21

William Earnhardt’s Financial Bailout Plan

I am writing from my comfortable apartment in beautiful Tampa Florida.

 

William Earnhardt’s Financial Bailout Plan

 

Okay, we all know I am no economic expert, but I think what we are discovering here is that we don’t have any economic experts! The reason we are having a world financial crisis is because the world’s financial policy is the exact opposite of Biblical financial policy.

 

Jesus says “The meek will inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5

The world says the greedy will inherit the earth. Sorry I have to go with Jesus on this one. And Jesus was not making a dictatorial decree when He said that. He was just revealing a law of nature. A law Wall Street will never learn, thus our financial dilemma today.

 

My bailout plan includes forgetting about yourself, and living to benefit others.

 

[Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Philippians 2:3-4

 

 

 

The Bible says, “If thou lend money to [any of] my people [that is] poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.” Exodus 22:25

We have a big problem here because the world banking business makes its profit from something that is strictly prohibited in the Bible-charging interest. Again I understand I am no financial expert here, but I can’t help but see red flags when your financial game plan is strictly prohibited in the Bible. Not that God will curse us for going against His plan, but God warned us against charging interest because He knew where it would lead to. By now we should see that too.

 

My bailout plan includes doing away with charging people interests on their loans. I know economy majors are laughing at me right now, but I don’t see anyone laughing on Wall Street right now, and once again I have to go with the Bible here again.

 

A couple thousand years ago a prophet hanging out near the Jordan River said, “be content with your wages.” Luke 3:14 

The world tells us if we don’t make enough to get what we want then charge it or borrow money for it. (while creditors should not be charging interest, borrowers should not be borrowing money just to keep up with the Joneses.) I know it sounds crazy, but I have to go with the prophet hanging out down by the river instead of those Wall Street gurus.

 

Borrowing money is actually lying. We lie to ourselves when we tell ourselves our credit level is actually money that we have. It is not our money it is the banks money. When we are content with our wages we develop something essential for survival, and that is self control and character. In the 30s people survived the depression with their self control, character and creativity. Credit cards and rotting our brains watching TV have all destroyed our character, self control and creativity. I shudder to think what a depression will be like this time.

 

I remember as a little kid in the late sixties and early seventies going to a little Mexican restaurant in Tulsa. We went on Wednesdays when their enchilada dinner was a dollar off. I remember asking my parents, ‘Can we go to the Monterey House today?” And my mother would answer, “No it is not Wednesday and they do not have their dollar off the enchilada dinner today.” I have not seen that kind of reasoning in years. My parents have always been generous towards others and thrifty with themselves. Frankly they have seen good times and bad times financially, but to be honest I can’t really recall exactly when they were rich or when they were poor because in either case they have always practiced, character, self control and creativity.

 

Again I am no financial wizard so it took me years to wake up and make this observation. Poor people are poor because they live like they are rich and rich people are rich because they live like they are poor. Sure there are exceptions, but it all comes down to character, self control and creativity. My mother was creative and would make us tuna gravy on toast. I loved it! It was not till a few years ago my mom said she made that just because we did not have a lot of money. I had no clue. I thought she was making it because it was delicious!

 

Fifty years ago you saw someone driving a Porsche and you thought, “Man they are rich!” Today you see someone driving a Porsche and you think, “Man are they in debt!”  

 

My bailout plan includes making character and self control the fabric of our lives again.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Matthew 6:33  Wall street is now missing “all these things” because they never sought “His righteousness”. Again Jesus was not being dictatorial in Matthew 6:33, He was just trying to explain to Wall Street another law of nature.

 

Malachi 3:10 says, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that [there shall] not [be room] enough [to receive it].”

 

I am no economics major but I have a message for Wall Street. The tithing system cures the greed that has brought on your recession. I have another message that will baffle math experts as well as economists. After you tithe, 90% of your pay check goes further than 100% of your pay check without tithing. Tithing is a systematic way to overcome greed. Greed is what has lead people to borrow more money than they can pay back, thus causing banks to go under. Greed is what has led people to spend more money than they have so they can live the lie that they are richer than they really are. You may think I am crazy Wall Street, but I believe the tithing system will cure the character problems that have brought about our economic decline. Sounds crazy I know, but I dare you to try it! At this point, what do you have to lose?

 

My bailout plan includes systematically returning tithes and giving offerings. This will help us develop the character, self control and creativity that will help us survive what is ahead for us as a nation.

 

God Himself says, “And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth [day] of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout [all] the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.  A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather [the grapes] in it of thy vine undressed. 

 For it [is] the jubilee; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. In the year of this jubilee ye shall return every man unto his possession. 

And if thou sell ought unto thy neighbour, or buyest [ought] of thy neighbour’s hand, ye shall not oppress one another: According to the number of years after the jubilee thou shalt buy of thy neighbour, [and] according unto the number of years of the fruits he shall sell unto thee:   According to the multitude of years thou shalt increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of years thou shalt diminish the price of it: for [according] to the number [of the years] of the fruits doth he sell unto thee. Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I [am] the LORD your God.  Leviticus 25:8-17

 

Forgiveness!! Debts forgiven! Wall Street will never go for this especially the more they themselves are in debt but I am going out on a limb here in allowing people to question my sanity by saying this, if you want to get out of debt, then cancel the debts of your debtors. Wall Street will tell you the first step out of debt is to collect all that is owed to you so you can in turn pay your debtors. Wall Street will never accept a “year of jubilee” where all debts are cancelled and debtors are not oppressed but set free. Therefore Wall Street will never be a sound infallible financial institution.

 

My bailout plan includes canceling the debts that are owed to me so that I can get in on God’s financial plan which is the only sound plan there is. Again there is a natural law that the Merciful will obtain mercy and forgiving people will be forgiven. Wall Street may not buy into it, but there is One who over rules Wall Street.

 

The Republicans are accused of having their eyes on Wall Street while the Democrats say let’s watch Main Street. My bailout plan has nothing to do with where Wall Street or Main Street is. Lets follow the plan that comes from Gold Streets!  Hhhhmmm…. Think about it, my plan comes straight from a place that is so financially sound they pave the streets with gold. Brave enough to try my plan?