Daily Devotional for Wednesday December 31, 2014
Sacrificing for God's Work
(Exodus 35:4-5,21, 36:4-7; 1 Chronicles 29:2,6)
**ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, For some reason I have a hard time understanding this. Example: John Smith was saved on Friday at 2 PM. If that person does nothing else with their life, how can they say they are saved?
ANSWER: Only God knows a person's heart, however, if a person is truly saved there will be evidence of it in how they live their life. Sadly, many are not properly discipled and don't know how to make the correct changes. But in the ned, if a person is tryly saved, they will have a desire to please the Lord they have committed their life to, and through going to church, reading the Bible, fellowshipping with other Believers, begin to transform their old life into their new life.
I have always been challenged in reading God's Word about those who made great sacrifices for His work. When I read the Bible, I try to put myself in the actual scene that is being described. I wonder what it would be like to have been in the assembly as Moses told the people about the Tabernacle, and then challenged them to give all that was needed to build it. I can imagine being there as David shared the plans for building a Temple to God, describing all that would be needed to build God's house.
Judas was the treasurer of the disciples who followed Jesus. You don't need a treasurer unless you have a treasury. Obviously, during those 3 years of ministry, Christ and those who followed Him had to deal with the same necessities of life you and I do. They had to have a place to sleep each night, food to eat, clothes to wear, as well as whatever other miscellaneous expenses that were involved in their day to day lives. We read about a few of the people who gave to Christ during his ministry including Mary who anointed Jesus with perfume and Joseph of Arimathea who supplied the tomb Jesus was buried in.
Without a doubt, the person from God's Word I would have loved to follow and watch was Paul. Just the glimpse into his life we get from the book of Acts and the letters he wrote were amazing. Here was a man who was as sold out for Jesus as any man could be. He was faithful to his calling to serve the Lord with his life in bringing the message of Christ to the world of his day. We read about all of the real life issues Paul had to face in serving the Lord. One of those real life issues was raising the money he needed to accomplish all that he did during his ministry.
Lost by most people in reading his various letters to the church are some of the best fundraising appeals you will ever read. Last week I was flipping through the TV stations one evening and one of the large Christian networks was having their telethon they put on several times a year to raise money. In flipping back and forth over the course of several hours, I heard about every twisted use of Scripture, emotional plea, and guilt trip you could name to get people to go to the phone and give money.
To my knowledge, Paul never held a telethon, never sold "resources," never mailed out "prayer cloths," never promised people they would be debt free by giving to his ministry, didn't preach a powerful message then end his message with, "now give me money." No, Paul simply shared his needs, reminded the people of their responsibility to support God's work, encouraged them to give according to their ability, and give cheerfully out of a grateful heart for all God has done in their lives.
I spent several years in the Christian television world at the beginning of my ministry over 22 years ago, and have seen every trick, every game, every Scripture that is used to induce people to give. I have done my very best from day one to emulate Paul in not only his fearless dedication in serving the Lord with everything he had, but in dealing with the reality of having to finance the ongoing work of God here at Liveprayer by simply sharing our needs from time to time and trusting God to move on people's hearts to help me reach the lost and hurting in this world for Christ.
The Bible tells us of the great sacrifices a few made in supporting the work of God. The fact is, it has been millions of faithful people since the Garden of Eden that have sacrificed to make possible the work of God throughout all of these years, people whose names will never be known by anyone but God Himself. Each month there are hundreds who faithfully and sacrificially give to God's work here at Liveprayer. Some can only give $5, others $10,000. The amount is not important since it is your heart that God sees. I pray daily for those who are led and able to give, knowing that they are part of a wonderful group of people that have made the work of God possible throughout the ages.
I love you and care about you so much. The tithe, or the tenth, is what was paid to the priest in the Old Testament. The fact is, 100% of everything we have belongs to God. When we give, we are simply giving back a portion of what God has entrusted to us as an act of obedience, sacrifice, and worship. My advice on giving is this. Sit down with God and work out your budget and pray about what you can give to Him each week. Come to a peace about that figure and then faithfully and cheerfully give your offering each week.
Even if you have very little, you can give God a dime, a quarter, or a dollar. Remember, the widow at the temple gave very little in terms of actual money, but Jesus said she gave the most of all since it was out of her need. God is never going to ask you to give what you don't have, only what you do have. Also, God may move on your heart to make special gifts from time to time. Simply be obedient and give as God directs you to and never forget that He is not impressed by the amount we give, but by our faithfulness and obedience to give it.
I will be praying for you today as the Lord guides you in this area of your life. The work of God exists because of the obedience and the faithfulness of those who sacrifice to support it. As I share with you so often, God blesses us for our obedience. I am thankful each day for those who are obedient in hearing from the Lord in giving to this ministry. I never forget for a minute that we are here only because of your faithfulness and sacrifice to give as you are led by God.
The Tabernacle and Temple never would have been built without the sacrifices of those who gave. Paul would have never went on the incredible missionary journeys he did without the sacrifices of those who gave. The great ministries of our generation would not exist without the sacrifices of those who gave. LIVEPRAYER WOULD NOT EXIST WITHOUT THE SACRIFICES OF THOSE WHO GIVE EACH MONTH!
***DECEMBER FINANCIAL UPDATE: THANK YOU for everyone who was led and able to help me with a gift so far this month! So many have made great sacrifices and I appreciate it more than you can imagine! Through yesterday, we've received $20,000 towards the $40,000 we require for our December internet operations and $5,000 of the $25,000 we require for the TV program in December. That leaves us requiring just $40,000 over this final few day to end the month and year with all of our basic internet and TV operations current!!! WE REQUIRE IMMEDIATELY $5,000 OF OUR DECEMBER INTERNET BUDGET FOR BASIC OPERATIONAL COSTS NECESSARY JUST TO KEEP LIVEPRAYER.COM ONLINE! I AM ASKING FOR ONE OF OUR FRIENDS WHO CAN HELP ME WITH A SPECIAL YEAR-END GIFT TO COVER THIS CRITICAL $5,000!
If you can wire, make the extra effort to direct deposit into our Wells Fargo account, overnight, put your gift on a credit card or through PayPal, please let me know ( email@example.com ). Thank You for the TWO God is speaking to about this need and His blessings for your obedience!
--->Everyone else please pray about what you can do to help me. For those able, pray about a special one-time year-end gift of $1,000 or more to help me insure Liveprayer continues to be a beacon of light to so many each day! Just 40 people would insure we end the year with 100% of our basic internet and TV operations current!!!
The Bible teaches to give according to your ability to give. For some that may be $5, for other it may be $20, for others it may be $50. Still others God has blessed and you can make a sacrifce today of $100, $300, $500, $1,000, or more. Never forget that it is not the amount God sees, but your sacrifice, and He will honor your heart as you obey His voice.
*ALL GIFTS POSTMARKED BY DECEMBER 31ST WILL COUNT TOWARDS YOUR 2014 GIVING!
Will you help me today? Please take a minute today, and pray, seek the Lord what He is asking you to sacrifce as we boldly stand where virtually nobody else will, in the marketplace declaring His Truth as unpopular as that is today, to help lead this nation back to God and Biblicla Truth while leading the lost to faith in Jesus Christ!
TO GIVE A GIFT TO LIVEPRAYER, you can use your major credit card on our secure server at: www.liveprayer.com under the "Donation" link, you can give using your PayPal account using my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org,or you can mail your gift to: Liveprayer, 6660 46th Ave. North, St.Petersburg, FL 33709. All gifts to Liveprayer are 100% tax deductible.
In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ,