Daily Devotional for Sunday February 2, 2014

Your Blessings are Not Determined by How Much Money You Give to Some Ministry

(Psalms 68:19; Matthew 6:33)

***ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, some people think God chose who he was going to be saved even before they were born. I tend to think He just knew who was going to follow him and who wasn't. What is your opinion?

ANSWER: It is the age old debate about "election." God in His omniscience knew before the foundations of the earth was formed who would accept Him and who would reject Him. Having said that, despite His knowledge, man has the free will to accept or reject Christ and God DOES NOT interfere with that free will choice, meaning each person is responsible for what they do with Jesus. Otherwise, there would be no need for preaching the Gospel, there would be no point in evangelizing, and all of the commandments regarding telling others (Romans 10) would be meaningless.

Your blessings and prosperity are NOT determined by how much money you give to some ministry. I feel like a member of the mafia talking to the Feds about the secrets of the "family business." For over 14 years I have never held back the truth from you and won't start today. I get inundated every day with emails from people asking me to explain why they gave a certain amount of money to some ministry they saw on television who preached a message on how to get out of debt. They did what they were told (gave them $$$$) and they are still in debt.

Others were told to plant a seed and all their financial problems would be solved. They planted the seed (sent them $$$) but still have the same financial problems. Still others were told to take a stand of faith for their child who was running from God. They took a stand (sent in $$$) and their child is still on drugs and running from God. People are confused, mad at God, feel like they don't have enough faith because they do exactly what they are told, send in $$$, yet nothing changes!

I have shared with you in the past messages on Biblical giving, on giving without guilt, and how to give by faith. It is not just those on TV and radio who pervert God's Word to get people to give, but many churches also manipulate their people by taking passages and stories in the Bible totally out of context in order to induce people to give. Today, I want to expose some of the spiritual fraud that is being committed to drive giving, and once again share with you the Biblical reasons and ways to give.

After 22 years in the ministry, 5 of those years heavily involved in the Christian television world, I think I have seen about every game, trick, and gimmick there is to get people to give. People who use a certain Psalm to "open up God's blessings over your finances," and if they use say Psalm 68 verse 19, then tell you to write a check for $68.19 to their ministry for the next 10-12 months. Those who take some of the great accounts in the Bible where people acted on their faith in God, and then tell you the way to exercise your faith like the person in the Bible is to write them a check.

Many who share perverted teachings from the Old Testament on the various offerings to God, making the false leap that you can make a corresponding offering to God by writing a check to their ministry Some are so good they can take ANY passage of Scripture and create a message that ends with you sitting down and writing them a check.

The most egregious examples are those who preach a prosperity message. I am not talking about the REAL prosperity message of being a child of God. I am talking about prosperity strictly from a dollars and cents standpoint. Without saying it, the implication of these messages are crystal clear. The more you give the more God will bless you financially. It is a Christian Lotto mentality that those who preach this perversion are more than happy to encourage.

Those who preach this type of message will normally use themselves as the examples of God's blessings. They will tell you how they were just like you, poor, struggling, making it from paycheck to paycheck. Then they will tell you that by trusting God and giving God everything (what money they had) God began to bless them. It is very misleading and a misrepresentation of God's blessings when they tell you that if you will give them everything you have, one day you will be prosperous like they are. It is like the no-money down real estate infomercial guys. They didn't get rich by selling real estate, but by selling YOU!

The glaring hole in these false and perverted messages that tie your blessings and prosperity to how much money you give, is that you have to give to the person delivering the message! They have set themselves up as God's trustee for your blessings and prosperity. I guess that means if you believe their message and choose to give your gift to some other work of God you won't receive the same blessings or be as prosperous.

The other glaring hole is what if you don't have anything to give? Does that mean you don't qualify for God's blessings? Does that mean you will never be prosperous? Does that mean you have no faith? I guess God doesn't love those who follow Jesus in India, or China, or Africa, or in most places on this planet where people have little if any material possessions. I guess that means a man or woman in Texas who loves Jesus and is serving Him each day but is living in a one- bedroom apartment and driving a 20-year-old car has no faith.

Here is the problem with these messages that are designed simply to raise money. They use some truth from God's Word but pervert that truth by tying it all to how much money you give. The Bible DOES teach us to have faith in all things, including our finances. The Bible DOES teach that God will bless us and prosper us as we are faithful, and that includes being faithful with our finances. The Bible also teaches us to be wise stewards of what God has entrusted to our care.

ALL we have is from God, He has simply given us stewardship over whatever resources we have during our brief journey through this life. GOD DOESN'T NEED OUR MONEY! We give to God as an act of worship. We give to God as an act of obedience. We give to give as an act of sacrifice. When you read the Bible, the giving of the tenth or "tithe" in the Old Testament was part of the Old Treatment Law. We are no longer under the Old Testament Law. 100%, not 10% of everything we have belongs to God. So when we give, we are simply giving back to God what is His already out of obedience and as an act of sacrifice and worship!

The Bible teaches us to give according to our ability to give. We are also taught to give cheerfully. Don't get so legalistic in your giving that you lose the joy of giving. I counsel people all the time to sit down with God and decide how much you can give to His work each week. Agree with God and then be faithful to give that amount. As the Holy Sprit leads you, you may be led to give over and above that amount to those works of God He lays on your heart.

There will be times God challenges you to give sacrificially, as an act of faith. Again, God will prompt your heart on those occasions and those are the opportunities in life to really take a stand of faith and trust God. YOU DON'T MAKE THE SACRIFICE TO GIVE BY FAITH EXPECTING ANYTHING IN RETURN. YOU MAKE THE SACRIFICE TO GIVE BY FAITH TO SIMPLY BE OBEDIENT AND TO PLEASE GOD!

I love you and care about you so much. Raising the funds to be able to do God's work is necessary to exist. Nobody understands that reality as much as I do. Sadly, I have seen many ministries start out with the purest of hearts and end up playing every game imaginable to raise money. I have done my best to hold fast to the Biblical approach to raising the funds we need to operate Liveprayer. When God told Moses to build the Tabernacle, when God told David to build the first Temple, they simply shared with people the need and then trusted God to move on people's hearts to provide what was needed.

That has been the way Liveprayer has raised our funds since day 1 over 14 years ago. Share the need and trust God. Guess what, God has always provided! No false hope, no false promises, no twisting of Scriptures, no manipulation, simply share the need and trust God to provide. Will God bless you for giving to Liveprayer? ABSOLUTELY, just like God will bless you for giving to anyone who is truly doing His work. Never forget however, God blesses us in MANY ways, not just financially.

I will be praying for you today. Our faith is measured in MANY ways. Giving is simply one of those ways. Never allow yourself to be manipulated or made to feel guilty to give. God wants you to give with a cheerful heart as an act of worship. Giving is simply another way we can be obedient and express our love to the Lord for all He has done for us. Never forget, God knows your motives and He sees your heart. It is never the amount you give that impresses God, it is the heart you give it with.

Your blessings and prosperity are NOT determined by how much money you give to some ministry, but your obedience and faithfulness to God. Your RICHEST blessings and prosperity have nothing to do with money, they are the peace, joy, and abundance of this life and the treasures you are storing up in Heaven!!!

In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ,

Bill Keller