PROVERBS 3:9-10 NKJ 9 Honor the LORD with your possessions, And with the first fruits of all your increase; 10 So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.
Giving money is not the only way to show honor, but it is one way.
The word translated honor means to value. Honoring someone is a way of showing them, and others, that they are valuable to you.
Scripture connects giving of money with honor. Specifically included are God, your parents, those who preach or teach the Word of God, and widows.
MATTHEW 15:4-6 NLT 4 For instance, God says, Honor your father and mother,’ and Anyone who speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death.'” 5 But you say, `You don’t need to honor your parents by caring for their needs if you give the money to God instead.’ 6 And so, by your own tradition, you nullify the direct commandment of God.
1 TIMOTHY 5:17-18 NKJ 17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”
The double honor spoken of in verse 17 for those whose work is bringing us insight from God’s Word is clearly financial support, as verse 18 explains. The NLT translation makes this clear.
1 TIMOTHY 5:17-18 NLT 17 Elders who do their work well should be respected and paid well, especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, “You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain.” And in another place, “Those who work deserve their pay!”
1 TIMOTHY 5:3-4 NKJ 3 Honor widows who are really widows. 4 But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God.
Again, to see that honor includes giving support, look at the NLT translation.
1 TIMOTHY 5:3-4 NLT 3 Take care of any widow who has no one else to care for her. 4 But if she has children or grandchildren, their first responsibility is to show godliness at home and repay their parents by taking care of them. This is something that pleases God.
ROMANS 13:7 NKJ 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.
JOHN 3:16 ESV 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
God so loved me, (insert your name here), that He gave…
What did God give me? He gave me His only Son. (John 3:16)
What did God give me? He gave me the gift of righteousness. (Romans 5:17)
What did God give me? He gave me eternal life through Jesus my Lord. (Romans 6:23)
What did God give me? With Jesus He freely gave me all things. (Romans 8:32)
What did God give me? He gave me victory over sin and death through my Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57)
What did God give me? He gave me all things that pertain to life and godliness. (2 Peter 1:3)
So I trust in the living God who gives. He gives me richly all things to enjoy. (1 Timothy 6:17)
ACTS 23:5 NLT 5 “I’m sorry, brothers. I didn’t realize he was the high priest,” Paul replied, “for the Scriptures say, ‘You must not speak evil of any of your rulers.'”
A major, yet often unrecognized, problem is members of the Body of Christ using their words to curse leaders. (It is not necessary to use profanity to curse. Any time anyone speaks badly of someone the Bible calls it a curse. Jesus cursed the fig tree by simply saying no one would ever eat fruit from it.)
Don’t fall into the devil’s trap. Christians have been delegated authority on Earth by Jesus Christ. When we speak bad things about people we are abusing that authority which was given to us to bless, and not to curse.
ROMANS 12:14 NLT 14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.
The world tries to get us to focus on the shortcomings, weaknesses, and failures of our leaders. Admittedly, all leaders are human. Not one of them can be expected to be perfect. This is why it’s important for us to pray for them, and not to joke about them, or say anything bad about them.
1 TIMOTHY 2:1-2 NLT 1 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.
Think about this: you cannot pray in faith for a leader and also talk badly about them. Such negative speaking would negate your prayer.
The leaders when the New Testament was written were certainly not perfect. Yet the New Testament never encourages any disrespect to those in positions of authority.
ROMANS 13:1 ESV 1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
The spirit of the age is to mock, belittle, and criticize everyone, but especially those in authority. We must guard against this trap of our enemy.
We can discuss issues without condemning people. We can disagree with policies, but that does not mean we should speak badly of a leader as a person. Should we curse someone Jesus died for?
Our job is not to condemn people but to offer them a way of deliverance through the love of Jesus.
You don’t have to lie and say anything good about a leader. You don’t have to vote for them. You can just keep quiet.
HEBREWS 2:10a NLT 10 God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory.
If you want to understand life, and the Bible, then you need to understand God’s plan and purpose.
We’re here because God wants a family.
This is what life is all about. The best description and summary of what is going on is that God is raising a family. It is happening in a realm where there is free choice and temptation to do wrong, but God has provided everything necessary for our complete victory and maturity.
If you keep this perspective clearly in view, it will give you the right framework for your thinking about God. Every thing God does has this purpose in mind.
2 CORINTHIANS 6:18 NLT 18 And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.”
We are in preparation for eternity, and this life on earth is just first grade in our learning experience.
MATTHEW 5:45 NLT 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.
Jesus revealed that we should primarily relate to God as a Father. Not as our judge, not as our boss, but as a loving Father who is training us to be like Jesus, so we can enjoy fellowship with Him for eternity.
(We cannot become like Jesus by our own effort. Only by receiving Jesus and allowing Him to live through us is it possible to become like Him.)
ROMANS 8:28-29 NLT 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
1 JOHN 3:2 NLT 2 Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.
God is training his family and preparing us to be fit companions to Deity for eternity. God is raising a family that He will enjoy being with, and not just have to tolerate.
In the light of eternity our spiritual growth is most important. How can we recognize spiritual growth? By the fruit of the spirit, which is the same as becoming more like Jesus Christ.
EPHESIANS 4:15 NLT 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.
GALATIANS 5:22-23 NLT 22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Becoming more like Jesus and learning the ways of God is God’s plan for you in this life.
LUKE 12:4 NKJ 4 “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
Since Jesus defeated death and removed its sting, believers should no longer be motivated by fear of death.
1 CORINTHIANS 15:55,57 NLT 55 O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? ” 57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Death has been defeated by Jesus. Now the death of a Christian believer is just a transition from this lower reality to a higher, more perfect, and lasting reality. For anyone trusting in Jesus, there is no reason to be afraid.
I believe that death is now like birth: just an entry into an unknown but better place, a place of more freedom and consciousness, where we will continue to learn and grow, as we enjoy the goodness of God.
LUKE 20:38 NLT 38 So he is the God of the living, not the dead, for they are all alive to him.”
Death is not the end. And death is only sleep for your body, not sleep for the real you which lives inside your body. After you die your body will sleep in death till the great Resurrection, but you will be alive with God all the time.
2 CORINTHIANS 5:8 NLT 8 Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.
PHILIPPIANS 1:21,23 NLT 21 For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. 23 I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me.
Believers need to realize that passing through death means we will be far better off. Why be afraid of that?
JOHN 14:1-3 NKJ 1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
When you leave this life, Jesus has a place prepared for you — better than what you have experienced here. He told you to not be afraid! You can trust Jesus.
HEBREWS 2:14-15 CJB 14 Therefore, since the children share a common physical nature as human beings, he became like them and shared that same human nature; so that by his death he might render ineffective the one who had power over death (that is, the Adversary) 15 and thus set free those who had been in bondage all their lives because of their fear of death.
Through the fear of death, the devil has been able to hold us in slavery, by getting us to do whatever it took to avoid dying. Believers are supposed to overcome this fear because of the victory of Jesus. We should live our lives fearless — knowing that God is watching out for us and will always be with us and take care of us — even in death.
So we should never let the enemy stop us from doing God’s will because of fear that we might die.
Every one of us needs to finish our race and fulfill God’s plan for us on earth before we die. But when it comes time to die, we should not fear.
1 PETER 2:2 NKJ 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,
If you want to grow as you should as a Christian — feed on God’s Word just as a newborn baby desires to be fed. If you know anything about babies, you know they require regular feeding!
It’s not just a quick reading of the Word that you need. You must chew the Word to get the “milk” out of it. This just means you need to meditate on God’s Word to get all that you should from it. You can’t just gulp it down quickly and expect to receive all its nutrition. It takes some time and effort to think on the Word and digest it, so that it becomes a part of us.
The food we take into our physical bodies does not nourish us unless we properly digest and assimilate it into our cells. Spiritual food is the same. The Word you read has to “become flesh” in you. It has to become part of you. As it nourishes you, it will change you by changing the way you see yourself and the way you see others.
It is possible to study the Bible and not believe it, not personalize it, and not internalize it. This type of mental study does not feed your spirit.
Personalizing the Word and speaking it, helps us digest the Word so it becomes part of us. This, along with thinking and seeing in agreement with the Word, is Bible meditation.
You are who God says you are. You have what God says you have. You can do what God says you can do. You need to say whatever God has said about you. This is the primary way you will be fed and grow spiritually.
MATTHEW 4:4 NKJ 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'”
Matthew 4:4 shows us that God’s Word somehow sustains life, as does bread in the physical realm. But we need more than physical food to enjoy life as God intended. God’s Word is our spiritual food which will enrich our life.
ROMANS 10:17 NKJ 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
God’s Word produces faith in our hearts and renews our minds. It is vital for our spiritual growth. God’s Word is our spiritual food.
JEREMIAH 15:16 NKJ 16 Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.
A curious thing about God is that He never seems to defend Himself! This is important for us to understand as we face the daily spiritual battle.
Humans usually interpret silence on the part of someone being accused as guilt. But this is wrong when God is accused.
Jesus never argued with anyone. God gave His Word. You either believe it or you don’t. God doesn’t beg you to believe in Him, or try to convince you against your will.
MARK 15:3-5 NKJ 3 And the chief priests accused Him of many things, but He answered nothing. 4 Then Pilate asked Him again, saying, “Do You answer nothing? See how many things they testify against You!” 5 But Jesus still answered nothing, so that Pilate marveled.
Although the Gospel of John says Jesus talked some with Pilate, He did not in any way defend Himself.
Who do you think tells us that God is bad? Who puts those thoughts in your mind?
REVELATION 12:10 NKJ 10 . . . for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.
The Bible reveals satan is the accuser. The devil accuses us before God, and accuses God to us. We need to learn, like God, to ignore what the devil says.
Ignoring what the devil says is a way to resist him. When he brings thoughts of doubt to us, but we don’t act on his lies or speak them, we are resisting the devil. We cast down whatever is against God’s Word by not accepting it or speaking it.
It is probably safe to say that satan is either author or supporter of all thoughts which accuse God of wrong. Because satan is behind accusations against God, you can see why God would not stoop to defend Himself against them.
God’s loving actions throughout history, including dying on the cross for us, speak in God’s defense. He has no need of any other defense for an honest, searching person open to truth. We should not blame God for evil and bad things. God is not guilty!
JOB 40:2,8 NLT 2 “Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?” 8 “Will you discredit my justice and condemn me just to prove you are right?
Throughout the book of Job many negative things were said about God, questioning His justice. But when God came on the scene He did not respond to any of the accusations (Job 38-42). God did not defend Himself nor explain Himself. All God said was basically, “Who are you?” and “What do you know?”
Instead of responding to the negative accusations, God turned the focus to whether humans are really qualified to judge God.
Job’s response was to repent and admit he didn’t know what he had been talking about (Job 42:3,6).
If we are honest, we have to admit there is much we don’t know, and we are not now fully qualified to judge God. Just because we don’t understand everything that happens is no reason for us to condemn God.
Imagine trying to explain something complicated to a one-year- old child. No matter how smart we may think we are, compared to God we are no doubt very much like a one-year-old child in our understanding of many things.
Because God does not defend Himself, and we lack total understanding, our faith is sometimes tested. Doubts arise in our minds. But we should never doubt that God is good and just. He deserves our faith. We may not understand, but that is not proof that God is guilty.
Why should God defend Himself? He is the judge, and He knows He is innocent! Also, God knows all the accusations against Him originate with His enemy, the devil.
In the Bible, God has already revealed the truth about who is responsible for all the bad things that happen. We need to go to the Bible for our answers. God has already revealed truth to us through His written Word, so why should He repeat Himself?
One day God may defend Himself and explain all that He has done. But it will be at a time when we are able to fully comprehend. It won’t be because God has to defend Himself, but rather because He enjoys sharing with His children.
1 PETER 5:7 AMPLIFIED
7 Casting the whole of your care — all your anxieties, all
your worries, all your concerns, once and for all — on Him;
for He cares for you affectionately, and cares about you
God is not just mildly interested in you. He cares for you just
as a good mother cares for her infant child — affectionately
Would it be reasonable for a well-loved infant to worry?
Neither is it reasonable for you to worry when God loves you
and has promised to take care of you.
PHILIPPIANS 4:6-7 NRSV
6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and
supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known
7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will
guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Worry is not appropriate for a child of God.
2 CORINTHIANS 6:18 NKJ 18 “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty.”
You may not have been blessed with good earthly parents. But you are blessed with a wonderful, perfect Heavenly Father!
Earthly fathers may fail us, but Scripture reveals that our Father God is much better than any earthly parent. God is perfect, and He never fails!
MATTHEW 7:11 NKJ 11 “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
ISAIAH 49:15 NKJ 15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you.
You will face problems in life, but no matter what you face, your Father God will be there to take care of you.
What did God mean when He promised to be a Father to you?
A father is someone stronger, more capable, and more knowledgable than you are, and thus able to provide for you when you are not able to do so for yourself.
A good father assumes responsibility for his children, to provide for them, care for them, and train them so they can be successful.
A school may decide to “expel” a child who is not responding as they wish. But a good father will continue to care for their child, no matter what.
A child does not have to be perfect to be loved and provided for by a good parent. Nor do you have to be perfect for God to love you. God loves you simply because you are His child, not because you are perfect.
A good father will correct you, but His aim is to provide encouragement, not discouragement. And a good father never expects more from a child than the child is capable of doing.
Also a good father never does anything that would harm his child. Every good and perfect gift comes from our Father God, and anything harmful is from our enemy the devil.
If you are a Christian believer then Almighty God promises to be a Father to you! What a comforting thought! This should cause you to face life with confidence.
LUKE 19:13,15 ESV 13 Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’ 15 When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business.
Your working life is supposed to be for more than just meeting your needs. Your work is an avenue God can use to bless people in many ways. You should use all that you have been given: your influence, your contacts, your profits, to bless people and turn them toward God.
Many people won’t listen to a pastor or TV preacher, but they will listen to someone they know and contact in daily life.
You don’t have to be a pastor or a priest to walk with God and be used by Him. Think of Abraham, David, Moses, and Daniel. Not one of them was a preacher or a priest. Instead, they were all involved in agriculture or government, what we consider as secular jobs. Yet they are among the most famous and admired of Bible characters.
Also we should keep in mind that Jesus of Nazareth spent most of His years on earth as a carpenter — a businessman — not a preacher.
COLOSSIANS 3:23 NLT 23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.
You can see God move just as much in the work place as at a church meeting. God is interested in blessing people right where they are.
Where you work and spend your time is your “world.” God does not expect or ask most people to win some other country for Him. God expects you to be a witness right where you are. Be a witness of God’s blessing and goodness and love. You don’t have to force your beliefs on people, but let your associates and customers and suppliers and co-workers see God’s blessing in your life, and as you have opportunity let them know it is because of God’s grace and goodness — which is also available for them.