Offerings of Gratitude

Scripture: John 3:16, Matthew 6:19-21, Ephesians 2:8
Date: 03/03/2018 
Lesson: 9
"Giving generously, whether from means, time, or talent, is a powerful means of living our faith and revealing the character of the God whom we serve."
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Good morning, friends, and welcome to Sabbath School Study Hour right here at the Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church. I'd like to warmly welcome all of those who are joining us online across the country and around the world, also our Facebook friends who are studying along with us. Those of you on Facebook, we are gonna have a few moments of question and answer time later in our study. If you'd like to post a question related to the lesson, you can do so and we'll try to answer as many of those questions as we can depending upon time as we study together. I'd also like to welcome our members and visitors right here at the Granite Bay church.

It's always good to see you week after week gathering here early in the morning to study the Word of God together. We've been studying through our lesson courtly entitled, "stewardship: motives of the heart." Today we find ourselves on lesson number nine which is entitled "offerings of gratitude" and that'll be our focus for today. For friends who are joining us, if you don't have a copy of today's lesson, we have a new website, we'd like to direct you to. It'll take you directly to our study for this week and that website is simply Just study. and you'll be able to get the lesson for today and study along with us. We also have a free offer for those of you who are joining us in North America a book entitled, "the surrender of self." And if you'd like to receive this, just give us a call on our resource phone line. That number is 866-788-3966 and you can ask for offer number 153. That number again is 866-788-3966, ask for offer number 153, we'll be happy to send that to anybody who calls and asks. Well, before we get to our study this morning, we'd like to begin by lifting our voices in song.

I'd like to invite our song leaders to come join me on stage. Hello and we are so excited to join with you in song, those of you around the world and those of you here. So today we're gonna be singing "come Christians join to sing." You'll find that on number 10 in your hymnals. If you have one of those at home, pull it up, we're gonna do all three stanzas, number 10. We're looking forward to that day when we will get to sing together on heaven's blissful shore.

At this time Pastor Ross will be having our opening prayer. Let's bow our heads for prayer. Dear Father in Heaven, we thank you once again for the opportunity together to open up Your Word and study this very important subject dealing with motives of the heart. Father, we pray for your Holy Spirit to come and guard our hearts and our minds, for we ask this in Jesus' Name, amen. Our lesson this morning is gonna be brought to us by Pastor Doug.

Good morning, everyone. I'm glad to see you here studying with us at Granite Bay. I want to welcome our friends who are studying online. We have some extended class that study with us through the internet. I also want to remind our friends that are watching the live stream right now.

You can go to the Facebook page if you want to Facebook any questions, and I'm gonna remind people 'cause these are questions that deal with the subject of stewardship and the lesson, getting questions about marriage and all kinds of things, then send them in and we have the technology back there where they will try and type them in the last third of the lesson I'll try and take some of your questions. We appreciate that. I want to welcome our online members. There are people who are members of this church, a lot of folks around the world have no local church where they can attend, but because of satellite television and because of the internet, they said, "look, we want to be part of a church family, we have a mechanism to do that. If you'd like to know how you can be a member of the Granite Bay church family, one of our digital members, then just go ahead and contact us at granitebaysda.

org, we'll talk to you about that. And we're gonna get right into our lesson, we have a memory verse. The lesson today is dealing with offerings of gratitude, lesson number nine. I bet you know the memory verse. It's John 3:16.

How many can do that without looking at it? Or shall we say it together? "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life." And, of course, the key to that is God so loved he gave. We're talking about giving, talking in particular about offerings, and we talked about tithe in several of our presentations. Now we're gonna talk a little more about offerings and the Spirit behind it and what's involved there. One of the first things we learn here as we take a look at the lesson is how much of the Bible has to do with giving? I remember when I first started coming to church I thought, "all these preachers, all they do is they talk about giving and offerings." And soon as they pass the plate, it seems like 10 minutes later, they pass it again. And they're having an offering for this and for that project and this mission project, it just seemed like it was all about money.

And someone did a study and they said… when you go through Matthew, Mark, and Luke, one out of every six verses deals with money. Did you know that? Of the 29 parables that Jesus tells, 16 deal with a person and their money, so the Lord evidently talked about it. Matter of fact, Jesus talks about money five times more than any other subject. Why is that? It's because you can tell how a person value something by how they spend their time and their means. It's incredible people manage to have money for what they want.

You know, there are folks who will say, "boy, just I have nothing to give for the Lord." But you ask him, "well, do you have a television?" Oh, yeah. I just can't afford to pay tithe. Do you have a car? "Oh, yeah." There's so many things in our culture today that we think are necessities, but we have nothing for God because we're trying to keep up with a very materialistic society. But when God is first placed in your heart, you find the ability to do what you want to do, that's a law of life. People kind of do what they want to do.

People have time for what they want and they have means for what they want. Yeah, let me tell you a quick story before I get into lesson because it provides a good introduction for what we're talking about. I was driving to a town to go to the hospital, make a hospital visit. On the way down the highway, traffic came to a standstill and as I thought there had been an accident, it turned out it was a terrible accident. What happened was a logging truck going one way on the highway struck a family that had rented a u-haul going the other way on the highway, it was head on collision.

And it was so bad that the u-haul, the sides just completely exploded open, all they were moving, all the home goods and everything that they had, the pressure of it just blew the sides out of the truck and their possessions were just all over the road on both sides of the road, the logger I learned later had died in the accident, he had swerved. Then I went to the hospital to make this visit of a member and while at the hospital, I met the family involved in the accident. And what happened was a family that quit their job, they were moving to southern California to take up a new job, all their earthly possessions were in the moving van. They had two vehicles, the mother and I think one of the child was in the car out in front, The Father and the daughter was in the moving van. The mother every now and then would look in the rearview mirror and she would see that u-haul and her husband and her daughter were back there.

And then all of a sudden she looked in the rearview mirror and there was nobody behind her and she wondered what had happened. And she turned around and she came back and saw the terrible carnage of this accident. Her daughter was alive. Her husband was alive seriously injured. And she told me this firsthand she said, "she could not believe being here her husband is in the road, he's laying there, he's bleeding, he's possibly mortally wounded, and daughter seriously injured, and the truck driver is dead.

" She said, "our stuff is all over the road," she said, "people were stopping and putting their stuff in their cars." They're just loading up her stuff not to bring it to us but driving off with it. And her husband did survive and she said... She said, "I kind of know how job feels." She says, "we've lost everything in one day." We moved, we lost our friends, we lost our health, lost our earthly possessions. She said, "if it wasn't for God, we wouldn't have anything." And so I have an opportunity to visit that family a few times while they were there in this for them a strange town recovering from this accident. But why would people do that? Why would you stop and, first of all it's stealing.

And they just figured, well, if it's on the road, you know, finders keepers I guess. The Bible says, "where your treasure is that's where your heart is." Matter of fact, we're gonna go to that verse and that's the section. Matthew, someone's gonna read for me in just a moment Hebrews 10:34, okay. And I'm gonna read Matthew 6:19 through 21. Jesus said, "do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroys where thieves break through and steal.

But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth or rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." You know, everyone worries about how secure are my investments. At the time of this broadcast, the stock Market has gone up and down thousands of points it looks like in a week, well over a thousand points in fluctuations which is, you know, unheard of and people are very worried about their investments. If your investment is in heaven, do you ever have to worry? You know, if everything you have is in heaven, you don't ever have to be afraid that someone's gonna break in and steal. You don't have to be afraid if your alarm system's working.

You don't have to be afraid of the stock Market. If your treasure is in heaven, you've got a very secure bank that is guarding what you have. Everyone lives based upon where their treasure is. Let me give you one more verse here, Colossians 3:1 and 2. "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

Set your mind on things above, and not on things on the earth." So again there's a verse which talks about where is your treasure, we need to be focusing on that which is gonna last forever. Why would you want to have your treasure be so temporary? How long is 70 years compared to eternity? Karen and I were having worship last night and it wasn't very structured, I just grabbed the book, thoughts from the mount of blessing and we read a section in there and it happened to be the section where Jesus shares a parable of the rich fool who Lord blessed him abundantly, his crops, he had these bumper crops, and his crops were so big and the harvest so great, he couldn't fit in the barn. And so he said, "what will I do." Said well, I guess I'm gonna have my servants quickly tear down my barns and build bigger barns and I'll just jam it all in there and I'll have such a surplus that I can say, "soul, you have many goods laid up for many years, take it easy, eat, drink, be merry." And then God says, "you fool, this night your soul is required of you, then whose will those things be for which you provided." Here he thought, you know, I've got it all stored away, I've got my treasure secure, and God said, "no, actually you're gonna die in your sleep tonight." Then what are you gonna get? Instead of thinking when he had this bumper crop, how can I give to others, how can I share with others. His only thought was for self. And so for the Christian, it's all about giving, storing your treasure in heaven because you're giving to God, you're giving to others, you're trying to save up that which is gonna last.

All right, go ahead read for us Hebrews 10:34. "For you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven." You know, I like the way Paul says this. He said, "you joyfully endure the plundering of your gifts," you know, of your goods, you can picture soldiers when they invade a city and they conquer a city. They go from house to house and they take everything of value and they stored away and that's called plunder. And Paul was saying, "you know, when I traveled maybe with silas or with Luke, and we stayed, you had to take care of feeding us, and you took care of helping clothe us and you made all of your goods available, and so he's using, he's overstating that's called hyperbole.

He says, "you accepted our plundering your goods." You ever have a visitors come over and then when they get done, there's nothing left. If they're teenagers, there is no food left in the refrigerator. They've plundered your goods. And Paul said, "look, you didn't mind supplying our needs is what he's saying because you know you have an enduring possession in heaven. And so when we give to God, when we give our offerings, we're really storing treasure in heaven, aren't we? In Hebrews 11, here's another example of where your treasure is.

He says, "by faith Moses, when he became of age, he refused to be called The Son of pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt, for he looked to the reward." Which reward was he looking to? The earthly reward or the heavenly reward? And Moses quite literally did that, he turned his back on all of the treasures of Egypt and they were one of the wealthiest kingdoms back then. Egypt now is comparatively poor. They don't have all the oil of the middle eastern, but back then it was a great trading center. And so many of the goods from africa came down the Nile and it was a very powerful kingdom. They had a temperate climate where they were able to farm there by the delta, and they had great food resources.

Remember the story of Joseph. At its zenith, I mean you look at the big pyramids they built. And just king tut's treasure, king tut was a poor king. Look at all the gold that these monarchs had. Moses turned his back on all of that.

And he said, "I don't want that treasure. I don't want to be king of the world. I want the treasure that's in heaven." Did you hear this last week? A lady won the lottery, roughly half a billion dollars, 400 and something million dollars and she's fighting in court, now I haven't heard the outcome if she succeeded or not. She wants to remain anonymous because she thinks my life is gonna be destroyed once everybody finds out I've got all this money and I'm not gonna be able to live my life anymore. And so she's fighting through the courts to remain anonymous.

She's probably all stressed out now. Here she's got $500 million coming in and she has no peace. She's all wrapped up in the court system because she's realized what's gonna happen to her life after this. Isn't that ironic when you think about it? Wouldn't you like to have that problem? Here Moses is saying, "I want the heavenly reward." 2 Corinthians 4:18, "while we do not look at the things that are seen, but the things that are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

" You might say, "how do I know I'm gonna have that treasure in heaven?" How do you know? God said so. He said, "yeah, you've got a reward," it's like Jesus said to that rich young ruler, "go, give what you have to the poor, you'll have treasure in heaven." If Jesus says that, you need to believe it. If you are willing to forsake everything for him and that ought to excite you if the Lord makes that promise. Look in Colossians 3:1 and 2, "if then you were raised with Christ, seek those things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things of the earth.

What's the rest of that verse? "Seek ye first..." What? "the Kingdom of God and his righteousness." You know what I think Jesus was thinking about when he said that verse. A lot of what Christ said, he's alluding to the old testament. You remember when Solomon first became king and he made a great offering to God. This story happens after he makes his great offering, I forget he like offers a thousand bowls which is a very lavish offering, show God his gratitude. God appears to him in a dream and give him at night.

And it says, Solomon loved the Lord, walking in all the commandments of the Lord. And God says to him, ask what I shall give you. Now what would you ask for? It's kind of like, you're kid, you hear about, you know, rubbing the genie bottle and the genie pops out and says, "what do you want?" So God says, "what do you want? You want to win the lottery? What do you want? You want a new car?" What would you ask for, better newer house, with bigger bank account? I mean, how many things could you say? You know, it's one thing if you've got a rich friend and he says, "what do you want?" But you've got God saying, "what do you want?" I mean that's called a blank check, right? I mean one time hezekiah brought a message from the Lord… I'm sorry Isaiah brought a message from the Lord to hezekiah, he said, "what sign do you want from God? You want the sun to go down 10 degrees, you want the sun to go backwards, I mean what do you want?" He says, yeah, we'll have the sun go backwards. So here God says, "what do you want?" What do you ask for? What did Solomon ask for? You know, the key is, it says Solomon loved the Lord, and Solomon loved the people of God because his answer is, he says, "here you've made me king in the place of my father and I'm just a child, I don't know how to go out or come in and here I'm king over this people of yours." Solomon says, "they're your people. They're like the sand of the sea and I don't know how to govern your people.

" And so he prays for an understanding heart to know the difference between good and evil, to govern God's people. So what is he seeking? He's seeking first the Kingdom of God and he said, "I need to know the difference between right and wrong, he's seeking the righteousness of God." And so because he saw it first, the Kingdom of God and the righteousness of God, what does he get? God says, because you saw at first my kingdom and my righteousness, I'm gonna give you things you didn't ask for, like nobody else before you. And he ends up becoming the richest king who's ever lived, richest earthly king because he'd made that his priority. So this is what the principle is here in seeking first the Kingdom and making sure your treasure is in heaven. Now when we're talking about offerings of gratitude, what's the most important thing we can give? Give our heart? Give our service? What did God give? God so loved the world, he gave his son.

Can you give The Son? Sort of. What did Jesus mean when he said to the disciples, "I give to you the keys of the Kingdom?" Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven. Whatever you lose on earth will be lost in heaven. The apostles given literal keys or are we given the keys in the truth when we share Christ. So the most important offering we can give is when we give Jesus to others 'cause you're giving life, that's why I still pinch myself that I'm involved in the most important work in the world that I could share life with people.

It is so exciting to hear the stories and we hear the testimonies, and I never get tired of it of people that say, "because you were preaching the word, I found the Lord" and that's the short version, I hear all kinds of interesting ways it happened. But here we've got some verses that deal with that. Ephesians 2:8, "for by grace you have been saved through faith, and not of yourselves, it is the gift." What is salvation? It's a gift. It's a gift of God. 2 Corinthians 8:9, "for you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich for your sake he became poor, that through his poverty we might become rich.

" We get these riches of his grace in salvation. And then one more in 1 Peter 4:10, it says, "as each one has received a gift, minister to it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." You know what a manifold is, I think most of the men here know what a manifold is. You've got an intake manifold and exhaust manifold, we call the manifold. It's similar to the word mini, minifold, it means it's got mini outlets in and mini outlets out. You can have, you got an eight cylinder.

You got a bigger manifold then if you have a four cylinder. And I want to talk about the manifold blessings of God. He's talking about all these different avenues through which God gives us his blessings. And they're gift. I'm gonna jump on to the next section here where it talks about our best offering.

We still got a lot to cover. I see some questions that came in. I see one question there that's actually coming up later, so I'm holding on that one until I get to it in the lesson. What is the best offering you can give? If you were to give 100% of your money, is that the best offering you can give? What does the Lord really want from us as the most important offering? I think I've got it here in my lesson. Yeah, Psalms 116:12, "what shall I render to the Lord for all of his benefits toward me?" It says, "I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.

" And so what is it that we offer to God? We take the cup of salvation. The most important gift that we can give is by receiving the gift of salvation. Someone's gonna read for me in just a moment, Exodus 25:2. You'll have that, okay. I heard a story about… there was a youth camp and at the youth camp, after they took an offering among this large group of youth, the deacons were in the back and they're going through the offering and they saw a picture of a girl in there, and they thought we know what happened, one of these teenage boys, he snag some girl's wallet and threw her picture in there, it's a practical joke that teenagers, you know, play on one another.

And they picked up the picture and they pulled it out and they turned it over and it actually was put in by the girl, she said, "look I have no money to give but I'll give myself." And so she put her picture in the offering basket, isn't that really what the Lord wants us to do? To give ourselves. All right, go ahead read for us, please, Exodus 25:2. "Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take my offering." Now a... What's the difference between tithe and offering? Should the tithe be given whether you're cheerful or not? Should the tithe be given whether you're willing or not? Yeah, some people say, "well, the Lord loves a cheerful giver but he'll take it from a grouch.

" I remember reading about this girl that when she went to church, her parents were trying to teach her the principles of giving, and so on the way into church, her mother gave her two coins, one was a large silver dollar and one was 25 cents and she knew the difference. And she said, the mother said, "now I want you to give one of these during church today." And so after the offering and after church they're on the way out and mom said to her daughter, "so what did you decide to give?" She said, "well, I was gonna give the silver dollar," but during the offering appeal the pastor said, the Lord wants us to be cheerful givers and I realize I was gonna be a lot more cheerful about giving the 25 cents than give in the silver dollar. So I threw that in instead. It's true that there is a difference between offerings and tithe. In that the tithe is specified and the offering is unspecified, both should be equally given faithfully because the Bible says, "you can rob God in not paying tithe.

" And it also says in Malachi, "you've robbed me in offerings as well." Now we should give our tithe cheerfully. We should give it all cheerfully. It's like this little girl, very little girl and her parents gave her some money and she started counting out the money. She had 10 pennies, shiny pennies and she said, "this one is for Jesus" and the parents said, "oh, she understands tithe, it's very nice." And then she said, "this one's for mommy, and this one's for daddy, and this one's for Jesus." And the parents said, "well, you already gave one for Jesus." She said, "no, that was my tithe, this one's a present." And so she kind of got the concept there of tithe and offering. Our Lord loves a cheerful giver and there you have it, 2 Corinthians 9:6 and 7, "but this I say: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will reap bountifully.

So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver." Lord wants us to give from our hearts and if he's got your hearts, it is cheerful. And again, you find Exodus 34:26, "it's not to be the last thing you do, it should be the first thing. It says, "the first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring to the house of the Lord your God." Now there's a story that we're asked in our lesson to consider, and it's, you find it in Luke 7:37. "Behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when..." And this is included in that book that we often give away here on mary magdalene. "A woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at table in the pharisee's house…" you read this Gospel in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, you compare them, you realize this is the house, this is Martha's house at bethany and it was mary was their sister.

"She brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at his feet behind him weeping, and she began to wash his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and she kissed his feet and anointed them with fragrant oil. Now when the pharisee who had invited him saw this, he spoke to himself, 'this man, if he was a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.'" By the way, Judas also said something about the gift, didn't he? He said, "why was this terrible waste made? This offering could have been sold for 300 denarii and given to the poor. He goes on to saying, "John..." I think it's John 12, he didn't say this because he cared about the poor, he was a thief. This is where it's finally revealed he was a thief. Mary's generosity was a rebuke to Judas' greed.

So back to Simon, he's there. And Jesus knew what he was thinking and he said to him, "Simon, I've got something to say to you. So he said, 'master, say on.' There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.'" One owes 10 times more. "And when he had nothing with which to repay, the creditor freely forgave them both.

Tell me therefore, which of them do you think will love him more? Simon answered, he said, 'I suppose the one that he forgave more.' And Jesus said, 'you have rightly judged.' Then he turned to the woman and he said to Simon…'" he's looking at the woman but he's speaking to Simon. "You see this woman? I entered your house, you gave me no water for my feet, but she has washed my feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss my feet from the time I came in. You did not anoint my head with oil, but this woman has anointed my feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many are forgiven, for she loved much.

But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little." That's a very important principle. He who has forgiven much love is much. People who understand the sacrifice that Jesus made for them have no problem giving offerings. When you think about the price The Father paid for your salvation. God so loved the world he gave his son, and then we tighten our knuckles around our dollars and think, "you know, I don't want to let go of this.

" You don't appreciate how much was paid for you. He's not saying, "you need to go out and become some kind of just the terrible sinner, and then you repent, you come back and then you appreciate salvation." We already are guilty of the blood of his son. I know I talked about this story one time when I met a lady after the service and she said, "Pastor Doug, you've got a testimony, you know, you're out there in the world, then you were converted, now you're enthusiastic. And I feel like, I've been raised in the church and I've got to go out there and just, if I go and live a prodigal life and then I'm converted and I come back, then I'll really appreciate salvation. I just don't feel like I appreciate it now.

And I said, "sister God forbid," I said, "you don't need to go out there and be a big sinner and then repent and come back." I said, "you just got to realize you already are a big sinner." He says, "there are no little sinners because all of your sin doesn't matter if you've grown up in the church, your sin whatever it is was big enough to put Jesus on the cross all by yourself." And when you realize that God so loved the world, he gave his son for you and your sins already, then you appreciate. He who is forgiven much loves much. Say it this way, he who realizes how much he was forgiven loves much. Isn't that right? And this story is also amazing in that. It's recorded in the Bible that two people kiss Jesus.

Judas who complained about the gift of mary, he kissed Jesus' face and betrayed him for 30 pieces of silver. Mary was willing to kiss his feet, and she gave this lavish gift. And what a contrast between the two. Anyway, I got a couple of questions I see it coming in. All right, let's take one, this came in on Facebook.

"How do I find the faith to give?" Well, the same way you learn arithmetic. You may start with little things. And as you discover that God takes care of you in little things, your faith will grow. Some of the questions we get... People are saying, "Pastor Doug, you know, after I pay all my bills, I have nothing left to give.

" Ah-ha, that's the problem. After you pay all your bills, you have nothing left to... Are you supposed to give your last fruits or your first fruits? If you would make God first, you'd find something happens miraculously before you get to the rest of your bills. And he will multiply the other 90%, but if you wait until you pay all your bills, you say, "I'll see if I have 10% left,” you've made God last. That takes no faith.

And so as you exercise faith in the little things, then your faith will grow. Another question came in. "What should one do with the wages they receive if they work in some medical or emergency services?" I'm guessing like doctor or nurse. "Should it be given as tithe or offering? Please provide Bible verses." It's going to be hard to provide a specific verse, I'll think about that. What they're asking is obviously there are certain necessary functions if you're a doctor, and, you know, you are required to work on Sabbath, or do some emergency work, or nurse, or some of these other medical services, and you, you know, hospitals are set up where they pay you those days also, even if it's the Sabbath, should you turn that in as tithe, offering, keep it, or just pay a tithe on it, or what do you do? Well, I tell you what I believe.

Now Karen is a physical therapist, and at one point when we were living in covelo. She would drive down, and she was on rotation to work at one of the adventists hospital there in ukiah. And she, every now and then, would have... People had surgery, and the next day would be Sabbath and she... They need a physical therapy, and you have to do it.

She just decided that any work she did on Sabbath was non-remunerative, meaning she'd get the paycheck but it went to the Lord. So the reason that's a good practice is because if you're in the practice of being paid, whenever you work on Sabbath and keeping that, you're going to be tempted to just keep on booking your Sabbaths. If you realize any work I do Sabbath, I'm going to consecrate to the Lord, you're going to be careful that you don't get booked every week on Sabbath. Even for those in the medical field, if you're booking out every Sabbath, and you're on rotation where you're just... You're not going to church, that's going to hurt you spiritually.

You need to try and arrange your schedule so it's the exception and not the rule. Of course, there has to be people to do those things. And there's a lot of unbelievers that work in hospitals too. I'd say, "let the dead bury the dead." That's a bad analogy, isn't it? But I'm glad someone's working at the phone company and that my phone works on Sabbath, aren't you? I'm glad there's somebody keeping the lights burning today, or we'd all be in the dark, right? But I'm not going to do it. You let the dead bury the dead.

You see, you know what I mean when I say that. Kind of overstating it. All right, do we have another question? "Should I make my kids tithe on their earnings?" What do you think? Sure. Or would do they only start obeying when they are adults? Yeah, I think that you teach them, "he that is faithful in that which is the least is also faithful in much." Teach them to be faithful in the little things, and have them be paying tithe or whatever their allowance is, you remind them, pay tithe on that, and be faithful in the little things. Another question, "how do I find the faith to let go of the things of this world and know it's going to be okay to give everything over to God?" Well, when you really completely surrender to the Lord, and you say, "Lord, all that I am, and all that I have is thine.

" That's actually in the Bible where king ahab said to another king, "all that I have, and all that I am is yours." It's a great statement to make to the Lord. When you make a complete surrender, and you take up your cross, and you're crucified with the Jesus, once you're dead, you're not afraid of anything else. Can anyone do anything more to you once you're dead? And so if you really laid all on the altar, meaning your heart and your life to the Lord, you have nothing to fear after that 'cause you're fully consecrated to God. And it all belongs to him. I have another question here.

We're going to get back to the lesson here, but I'll try and take a few more questions. "If my spouse is the sole provider but he's not a believer, how do I tithe?" Well, that is a difficult situation. It's especially difficult if your spouse thinks that because you may do work around the house that he is the sole provider, that would be sort of a terrible tyranny to live under where one member of the family says a 100% of it is mine. When you're married, you become one flesh, and the Bible says you're not even supposed to say your own body is yours. So for one spouse to tell the other a 100% of the income is mine because I'm the one with the job, that's a bad relationship.

And so typically, our paycheck comes in my name. Karen's also working part time too. But I've always understood that she's got some of the moneys, as a matter of fact, she takes care of the whole checkbook. She knows more about how much money we have than I do. That's the truth.

And so I would say to your spouse, "look, what do I have for my budget? Is any of this mine?" There needs to be some agreement to say, "yeah, you've got some discretionary money that is yours. You pay tithe on what is yours." And if not then you get marriage counseling. Because you ought to be able to say, "some of this belongs to me." Is that right? Yes. Yeah, I just... I think that if you're going to have a happy marriage, otherwise one person is sort of hoarding everything, and that's pretty greed.

"If I'm not able to tithe because of all my bills should I sell my belongings or sell my car so I don't have a car payment?" Well, there's two things that are kind of embedded in this. One is, as I mentioned, put your tithe first, and see what God does to bless what remains. The other question is, if you're buying outside of your income, you know, if you have a lot of payments on different things, you might need to downsize so that you can live in the budget, and part of your budget is paying tithe. I'm sorry, friends, if you'd say, "well, Pastor Doug, this tithe business is really difficult." You're going to have to take it up with the Lord. It's not my idea, isn't that right? Yes.

This is from the Lord. It's his plan for blessing you and for the propagation of the Gospel around the world. All right, back to our study. We got a few more minutes to cover these things. Proverbs, and this is another one about the first fruits.

Proverbs 3:9 and 10, "honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first fruit of all your increase. So your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine." So what's the promise if we do the first fruits? It says, your barns, you know, the barns where they store the goods of vats when they had the wine or they had vats that stored the oil, he said, "you're just going to have the abundance. God will bless what remains if you honor God with the first fruits." That's a promise you need to prove the Lord on. Now, what's the motive for giving? What should be the motive for giving? Needs to be gratitude and love. You know, one of my favorite stories in the Bible, it's a story of naaman and leper.

Here you have the syrian general. He comes down to Elisha 'cause he's heard that Elisha can heal someone from leprosy. And first, reluctantly, he leaves it, but he agrees to obey. He washes in the Jordan river seven times, his leprosy is cleansed. Now when he came to Elisha for cleansing, he brought this fabulous amount of money 'cause he had come from king of syria, and he has an armed escort with him 'cause they're guarding all of this wealth.

They've got silver, they've got gold, they've got clothing and gifts to give to Elisha for his healing. It was like a very high medical bill he expected to pay, kind of like medical bills today. Can you imagine how much you could charge if you could cure a person from leprosy? And so it was very expensive. But here, Elisha tells him, "just go wash in the Jordan." He washes, he comes up, he is clean. Now he's already on his way back to syria, he is so thankful.

The Bible says his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child. If you're dying, and you know you're dying, and you're dying from leprosy, you're dying in degrees. You're slowly falling apart. And you can't embrace your children 'cause it's contagious disease. You are unclean and you're dying.

That'd be terrible. You're terminal. All of a sudden, you're completely healed, not only are you healed, you're better than before, you got baby skin, right? How happy are you? Now he could have taken his money and just going back to syria. He got no bill from the doctor. Elisha didn't give him a bill.

But naaman is so thankful, he doubles back to go just for the purpose of thanking the man of God. He had no other reason to go back. He not only wants to thank him verbally, and praise God, he says, "now take a gift from your servant." He hadn't gotten a bill. So what is his motive for giving? Joy, love, gratitude. He said, "I've been given life, I will give everything to be cleansed from leprosy.

Everything I have, you can have it, and I'll still be happy." How happy was naaman before when he's dying of leprosy, and he's very wealthy, and he's very famous, wasn't happy. What profit is it if you got all those things and you're dying? So there's a lot of miserable millionaires out there, did you know that? And I grew up... My father was one of them. Drank himself to sleep every night, had millions of dollars. And we knew a lot of people that were in that world.

Happiness does not come from money, but if you've got life, then naaman, he's so happy. He gives for the right reason, gratitude in his heart. All right, someone's going to read for me Proverbs 11:25, and I'll be reading, just before that, Luke 6:38, "give, and it will be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over will men put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you. The generous soul will be made fat.

" Now he's not taking about the kind of fat you worry about today. He's taking about the generous soul will have in abundance. And so God says, he'll give to the givers. This is a principle that Jesus shares also. Please read for us Proverbs 11.

"The liberal soul shall be made fat. And he that watereth shall be watered also himself." Sorry, I stole part of your verse just by memory, but I like the second part there. "He that waters will also be watered himself." On the streets, we used to say, "what goes around, comes around," "you get what you give." There's the ricochet effect in life that whatever you put out is going to come back. And so it is a biblical principle, you know, some people call it karma. I don't like using that terminology but it is true that you tend to get what you give.

And if you're generous, and you care about the poor when they cry, God says, "when you cry, I'll hear your prayer." And so that's something that stays with us. It doesn't make sense but God... Things are multiplied through subtraction when you give. I think it was a... Mother teresa said, "if you give what you do not need, it isn't really giving.

" One where our offerings are all composed of leftovers, there's really no sacrifice involved in that. "He who gives what he would readily throw away, gives without generosity, for the essence of generosity is in self sacrifice." And cs lewis put it this way, "I do not believe one can settle on how much we ought to give, I'm afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare." People kept writing to cs lewis saying, "how much exactly should we give?" He said, "I don't think there's a safe rule. The only thing I can come up with "give more than you can spare." 'Cause that means it hurts a little bit, right? You're giving so that you sacrifice, that's what Christian giving is. And the promises in Philippians 4:19, "my God will supply all of your need according to his riches in glory by Jesus Christ." I think victor hugo said, "as the purse is emptied, the heart is filled." What about the experience of giving? There's a joy that comes, isn't there when we give. 1 Chronicles 29:13, "now therefore, our God, we thank you, and we praise your glorious name.

But who am i, and who are my people, that we were able to give to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from you, and of your own we have given you." There's a joy and the satisfaction when we give. And, you know, in reality, you don't get to keep unless you give. I remember reading about sadie saker. She was working in the Philippines, a sort of a mother in an orphanage, a mother of a home. And she loved to read, and she had a great collection of books.

And there are some books she was willing to share and lend that she had a bookshelf, and the book she was willing to lend she had it in bookshelf. But she had certain books she really treasured. And she was afraid she'd lend these books and they wouldn't come back, she said, "these are the books I'm not giving, I'm not lending to anyone. I don't want to risk losing them." She kept them in a footlocker under her bed. And after many months of working in this mission, she woke one night, and she kept thinking, "I keep hearing this strange noise," and she listened and listens, said, "what is that noise?" And after weeks of hearing it, she kind of tracked it down to the foot over her bed, and it was coming from her footlocker.

And she opened up her footlocker, and it was full of termites. She had heard the little grinding noise of termites, and what the termites had done is they had eaten through all of her treasured books. The books on the shelf she shared, she still had, the ones she hoarded were lost. I think it was martin luther who said, "I have held many things in my hands, and I've lost them all, but whatever I placed in God's hands, that I still possess." That's a good principle. Amen.

Well, we're out of time. I want to remind you that we have a special gift, and this is at the heart of what we've studied today, it's called the surrender of self. If you'd like a free copy of this book, just call the number, 866-788-3966, ask for offer number 153. And we'll send this to you. Then read it, and share it with a friend who talks about what it really means to surrender all and to put your life on the altar.

God bless you, friends, we look forward to study in His Word with you again next Sabbath. Have you ever heard a mouse howl like a wolf? Well, what would you expect would happen when a creature changes its destiny from the hapless prey to mighty predator? From the outside they look very much like just an oversized field mouse, cute brown fur, white on the underbelly, nice little beady eyes, but that's where the similarity stop. Grasshopper mice are very unusual making them the objects of great interest for animal researchers. These furry little creatures are found in the harsh deserts of North America. They're very territorial in nature.

And they will monopolize and fend off 25 acres. They don't build their own homes but sort of confiscate the burrows and the homes of other creatures. They're not called grasshopper mice 'cause they hop around. But it's because they eat a lot of grasshoppers. In fact scientists have discovered grasshopper mice are the only mice that are purely carnivorous.

They hunt much like cats or weasels, stalking their prey in a predatory fashion, and when they pounce, they are ferocious. Sometimes even taking on snakes, and scorpions, and centipedes. When a grasshopper mouse gets into a fierce battle with a snake, or a scorpion, or centipede, they may be bit or stung several times. But what is amazing to researchers is they've noticed when they are bitten, they somehow shake it off because they convert the toxin and the venom to pain killer. I think you can understand why this information would be of special interest to scientists that are trying to discover new ways for people to deal with chronic pain.

One of the most intriguing characteristics of these little creatures is when they're defending their territory or celebrating a victory over some adversary, they'll threw back their head and let out this earthshaking howl. It's a mousy howl. Check it out. The grasshopper mouse is not the only member of creation that can survive encounters with venomous predators. In Luke 10:19 it says, "behold, I will give you authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy.

Nothing will by any means hurt you." We don't have to be the biggest and the strongest to defeat our enemy and led out that victory roar. When God called David to be king, no human would have guessed that he had it in him. He was young and insignificant, from the outside he looked like there was no greatness in him. But when God looked at his heart, he saw courage, humility, compassion, and love. David wasn't perfect and he made mistakes but through God's power he was able to conquer giants.

Friend, God does not intend that you live out the rest of your life cowering and trembling like a little field mouse. If God can take the grasshopper mouse and give him courage so that he fights snakes, and scorpions, and centipedes. If God can put in the heart of David the courage to fight giants like Goliath, then he can give you that same courage. The Scripture say, "God has not given you the Spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind." And you can have that peace in your heart when you invite the prince of peace in your heart. Why don't you do that right now? Let's face it, it's not always easy to understand everything you read in the Bible.

With over 700,000 words contained in 66 books, the Bible can generate a lot of questions. To get biblical straight forward answers, call into Bible answers live, a live nationwide call-in radio program where you can talk to Pastor Doug Batchelor and ask him your most difficult Bible questions. For times and stations in your area or to listen to answers online, visit Amazing Facts, changed lives. I grew up here in New York city.

I guess dealing with all the temptations as you would have in a big city. Everything that you could imagine that you could run into, drugs, crime, it was always here. When I was at a young age, I actually got into trouble with the law, and my only out was to join the military at the time in order to not do time. So I left New York and traveled the world a little bit while I was in the military. Eventually I came back, having grown up as a hip hop kid, I eventually found myself working in a music business actually.

I worked at a couple of major radio stations, hip-hop, reggae. I was at all the big reggae shows working then. No matter what I did to try and satisfy myself, nothing really worked. I remember I used to play at this one club in manhattan. I used to play there every Friday night.

So I came home one Saturday morning after leaving the club, and I turned on the video channel like I usually do. So it was this guy in the video channel talking, and he was definitely out of place but the things that he was saying just totally amazed me. I never heard anyone speak about the Bible like this before. So I started coming home early on Saturday mornings just to catch this show. I found the things that he was saying absolutely amazing.

To the point where it literally made me stop and start to think about how I was living my life. So I found that all of these things that I have been doing to try and find happiness were actually not making me happy at all but were really just leaving me empty inside. When I started reading the Bible and it started to make sense, I started to make changes. I even tried to keep the Sabbath which I failed at miserably. So I was actually invited by Amazing Facts to go to see a live series at one of the local churches, but after going the first night, I ended going up another night, and another night.

I stayed for the entire series. That was there I made a decision that changed the rest of my life forever. I gave my life to Christ, and everything was different after that. I made a decision to give up the music business, stop hanging out or roll at the clubs. I made a decision that was eternal for me and for my family.

I started going to church. I got a position in church where I was actually in charge of the personal ministries department in the same Amazing Facts studies that changed my life. I actually got to share them with people and sit down with them and tell them about Jesus.

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