It’s what you have in your heart.

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Two brothers went away to college. One brother became a farmer. The other became a brilliant lawyer. The lawyer brother visited the farmer brother on the farm. He said, “I can’t believe you’ve not made anything of your life. You’re out here on a farm. Look at me. Look where I am. I’m on Wall Street. I’m an investor in the stock market. I have clients who are millionaires. Here you are, stuck out here on the farm. I wonder what the difference between us is.”
The brother farmer then spoke. He pointed out to his wheat field. He said, “You’ll see two types of wheat out there, brother. You’ll see the wheat that’s standing straight up. In the head of that wheat, there is nothing. It’s empty. That’s why it’s standing so high. You’ll also see some other wheat that is bent over. That’s because the head is full. It’s full of wheat.”
Some of us are standing straight up. We are walking tall. However, we are only able to do so because we are empty. Some of us walk a little bent over indicating that we are full. The test isn’t what you have in your pocket. It’s what you have in your heart.

The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements.

James 1:11

Prayer is Important

To Pray

There once was a young seminarian starting out on his journey toward the priesthood. He was a bit of a know-it-all, and wanted to be the best at everything he did. He heard about a very holy monk who was considered a spiritual master in regard to prayer and contemplation.

The seminarian sought him out, and asked the old monk to teach him all of his secrets for prayer. The monk sent him away. The seminarian was stubborn and returned again soon, asking again to learn his secrets to prayer. The monk told him to come back in one week.

When he arrived the next week, the monk took him out behind the monastery to a body of water. He still hadn’t said a word. As they entered into the water up just past their waist, the seminarian grew impatient with the monk, who was still silent.

All of a sudden the monk grabbed the seminarian and held his head under the water. The seminarian struggled and thrashed about, but with the strength of an ox the old monk held him under the water. As the monk let go of him, he came up gasping for breath, embarrassed, angry, and confused. The monk looked at him and said, ‘Until you pray with the same desperation that you have for air, you have not prayed.’

Prayer is as important to our soul as air is to our body! We need prayer to stay connected to the God who created us with a plan in mind.

Dear Son by Dave Bruskas

Whether we want to admit it or not we are living in a time where young men aren’t encouraged to grow up, put their God given talents to good use, and be the role model that young boys need.  Face it, more and more young men are growing up as fatherless sons.  In his book Dear Son, Dave Bruskas does a brilliant job of taking on the fight of a fatherless nation by giving a fathers insight for men on some of life’s most significant milestones.

Dear Son is a collection of letters to Dave’s son, who he lost to a congenital heart defect twenty years ago.  The letters expand to all the advice, insight, wisdom and love that he would have given his son if he had lived.  He touches on everything from first jobs and dates, to graduations,weddings, and so much more.  This book is filled with encouragement, encouragement that young men desperately need to grow up to be the men God intended them to be.

Paul’s best gift to young Timothy was being his spiritual father through the gospel of Jesus. Gospel, as you may know, literally means Good News.  Much like Paul, I believe what young man like Timothy – and you – need today is Good News from God.

If you or someone you know is growing up in a fatherless situation, I encourage you to get this book.  Dave will show you that there is a better future out there for you.

You can read an excerpt of the book HERE.

I received a complimentary copy of the book for review purposes from Tyndale House and the review is my honest opinion of the book.

Dave Bruskas serves as an executive elder of Mars Hill Church. He is the teaching and network pastor, overseeing all lead pastors at each Mars Hill location.Born in Albuquerque, Dave planted City on a Hill Church in his hometown in 2001. He pastored that church for 10 years before transitioning into Mars Hill Albuquerque, the first Mars Hill outside of the state of Washington. He remained lead pastor until moving to Seattle in 2011, to take on the role of executive elder.He’s a graduate of Texas Tech University and Dallas Theological Seminary, where he won the Harry A. Ironside Award for Expository Preaching. He’s a proven, seasoned pastor and gifted teacher. He frequently teaches at all 14 Mars Hill locations as well as the Resurgence Training Center (ReTrain). He’s been married to his wife, Kara, for 26 years and has four lovely daughters.

be a blessing

There Are Three Kinds Of Givers

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There are three kinds of givers: the flint, the sponge, and the honeycomb.  If you want to get anything out of the flint, you have to hammer it.  And you’ll only get chips and sparks.  To get water out of the sponge, you have to squeeze it.  The more you squeeze, the lore you get.  But you have to squeeze a lot.  But the honeycomb simple overflows with sweetness.

When a person understands what God has done for them, you don’t have to prime them to give and you don’t have to have collection after collection.  They understand that He is a great God.  In fact, at offering time, we ought to jumping to our feet and applauding that we are here to give, have something to give, and have been blessed to be have the strength to work that we might be able to give.  We ought just to appluad the privilege of giving.

Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back. ”  Luke 6:38

When The Door Opens

And When The Door Opens

A sick man turned to his doctor, as he was leaving the room after paying a visit, and said, “Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side.” Very quietly the doctor said, “I don’t know.” “You don’t know?” the man said.

“You, a Christian man, do not know what is on the other side?”

The doctor was holding the handle of the door, on the other side of which came a sound of scratching and whining. As he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.

Turning to the patient, the doctor said, “Did you notice my dog? He’s never been in this room before. He didn’t know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened, he sprang in without fear.”

“I know little of what is on the other side of death,” the doctor continued, “but I do know one thing: I know my Master is there, and that is enough. And when the door opens, I shall pass through with no fear, but with gladness.”

 

John 14:2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

Be a Crazy Giver For God

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As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.” For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. 2 Corinthians 9:7-10

Simply put, whatever we put in we get out.

I decided to write about tithing and first fruits after watching my 2 year old grandson. Lincoln loves grapes, bananas, watermelon, apples, the list goes on, he loves fruit. When ever he is given any type of fruit he is asked to share some with others. (His momma is bringing him up right) With a smile on his face he always shares what he was given with anyone in the room. Great right? Here’s the kicker, I noticed that he is given a bowl of grapes he immediately, and cheerfully, gives more than half away before he takes even one for himself. He does this with everything he shares. MORE THAN HALF! Can we say the same for ourselves?

If we are given 10 apples do we immediately take 1 to God? The best one? And than rejoice that we are left with 9 beautiful delicious apples? Or do we look at all the apples, pick out the worst looking one and then take it to God? And on the way to taking that one poor excuse for an apple to God do we start taking bites out of it? How does that make us feel when we leave that partly eaten, rotting apple for God? Better yet, how do you feel when you witness a child cheerfully given away more than half of what they have, and completely happy with what they have left? I am completely overjoyed when I see my grandson so freely and cheerfully sharing the best of what he has. And at times I’m ashamed of myself for not always following the example of a 2 year old.

So lets talk about tithing and first fruits:

A tithe is one-tenth part of one’s income. Tithing, or giving a tithe, goes back to ancient times, even before Moses. In the Bible, Mosaic law required that the Israelites give one-tenth of the produce of their land and livestock, the tithe, to support the Levitical priesthood (Leviticus 27:30-33). Today, many Christians donate a tithe, or ten percent of their income, to support their church, the pastor’s needs, and missionary work.

In the Old Testament “First fruits refers to the first portion of the harvest that is given to God.

A First fruits ceremony is described in detail in Deuteronomy 26:1-11

Note that the “firstborn,” whether human or beast, was also considered of God’s special possession and can be considered a type of first fruit. Exodus 22:29, 34:19

By giving God the first fruits, we acknowledge that all good things come from God and that everything belongs to God. Giving the first fruits is a way of expressing trust in God’s provision; just as He provided the first fruits, so He would provide the rest of the crops that were needed.

Remember that the Feast of First fruits was instituted when the nation of Israel was still wandering, without land or crops. It was observed in faith that God would lead the people to the land He had promised.

What does first fruits mean to Christians today?

While there is nothing in the New Testament binding Christians to give “first fruits’ we do know that God loves a cheerful giver. Christians are expected to give of our substance to support the work of the church and missions. We, like the Israelites need to give.

All Christians are especially dedicated to God in the manner of first fruits. As it is written in James 1:18, “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of His creatures.” We need to be mindful, just as God wanted Israel to be mindful, that we and all we have belong to God.

In the bible first fruits meant simply giving God the first of your fruits on a tree or the first lamb or a calf that is born.

In today’s world it would be your first salary or the first promotion you receive. Now please remember none of these are laws but your willful giving to honor God even in your finances.

Tithing in Malachi Teaches Three Basic Reasons

1. Food in the House of God. Your finances bless the ministry of the house of God. You help the Church to do more and reach out to more people in knowing Jesus.

2. It opens heavens. Tithing is not about money but your faith and faithfulness. It touches the heart of God that there is nothing that you won’t give back to Him.

3. It releases God’s blessing over your life in different ways even to your generations to come.

Have you ever noticed that most people will give a waiter a 15% tip, or more. Should we treat God any less? Allow God to lead you on how much you should tithe.

You may know of Mr. William Colgate, (Colgate Toothpaste). William Colgate arrived in New York and got a job in a soap factory. The first dollar he earned, he gave 10 percent to God. Soon he became a partner. Later he became the owner. The business grew, so he gave a double tithe, 20 percent. Then a triple tithe, a four fold one, 50 percent – finally he was giving 90 percent and living on the 10.

Pastor Samhwan Kim of Korea also makes the following observation about two very wealthy men in his book, “J. D. Rockefeller (1839-1937) and Carnegie (1835-1919) were tithe-giving Christians who followed Jesus as Lord and Savior. They gained much of the world’s wealth and used them for God’s work all over the world.”

Paula Ryan a non-Christian writer states, “In fact, some people who tithe eventually discover they can effortlessly give away 90% of their income and live comfortably on the remaining 10%. John D. Rockefeller experienced this joy.”

Remember, the only condition of giving from the Bible is to do cheerfully, “let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 Don’t do it for a reward but do it because you love God and want to obey His word. Don’t give to get but give because God first gave – even His only begotten Son.

I’ll end with this – A faithful giver is good but God is looking for crazy givers in this generation. I pray that you and I will be crazy! My grandson is the craziest person I know, and I love him for it.