Rebirth: The Beginning of Giving Freely. 

Matthew 16:19 NIV

“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Today’s 13th reminder of God’s love. 
Luke 22:27 NLT (2+2+2+7=13)
“Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves.”

And in our family group Friday we spoke about how much we gave or if we gave a “TIP” at some places like Sonic, Golden Corral, Furrs, etc., it was surely eye and heart opening discussion.

It was a blessing once again to gently (Galatians 6) wise, to be reminded of why we give via tithes, offerings and all of us who serve the “Church” in where we all have the faith to embrace God’s blessing of drawing nearer.   
And to be encouraging, and to defend those that religion frowns upon because you are not doing “enough”, my message to you is that if you help a christian brother or sister, or show love to the unlovable, then you are serving the “Church”.   

It may not be associated or in the capacity of the walls of a “church” building, but it is what Jesus stood for and that is serving “outside” of the walls of a temple and serving the “least” of his brothers and sisters”. (Matthew 25:40)

Now those of us that serve at a church, thats where it starts and where it should start, but just know that it also doesn’t end there. For me, I spent a lifetime around religion where people didn’t have the FAITH to take what was “in” the “church” outside into our communities, our jobs, schools or even in our homes. And we wonder why “christian” principles are leaving our schools and workplaces? 

What was once a feast of the gospel in our country has now become a famine. 
Now tithes and offerings is not rocket science, its really not even left brained logical. Its about being liberated from the legalism by the gospel and helping others in being freed from a life of “having to do” something out of expectations and compulsions to now “wanting” to do something out of love. Calvary should have CHANGED everything in the OLD TESTAMENT and in our hearts.
It should have changed our hearts from what we do for God and for each other from obligation to love, from “needing to do it”, to “wanting to do it”. 
From “God said so”, to a now more intimate, “I feel led to do it”.  
You heard me say before, “What was the difference between Jesus and the Pharisee’s or the “religious” people of His time?”

They both had the Holy Spirit, both served and even both were obedient to scripture. Jesus even bragged about their obedience. (Matthew 5:20)

The difference you may ask? 

What separated Jesus from the “Old” ways was in His intimacy with God. One served out of sacrifice and the other served out of love.  

One wanted to do His will and the other had to do His will (Levitical law). To the religious, it was a Father’s love, and to the disciples, a love of a friend and now to us, an even more intimate love of a Husband via the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)
So the blessed tithe and offerings and serving is about examining our hearts.  

For ANYTHING that God asks us to do POST Calvary, should now be on behalf of love. For let NO debt remain other than the debt to LOVE one another. 
So simply, The Blessed tithes and offerings is about funding those who preach the gospel of God’s love and keep in mind that what we sow is what we produce.  

Now ofcourse I will be more “loving” when it comes to my definition of “Tithes and Offerings” because I don’t have the pressures or the overhead of a physical church. Believe me, my family started churches that still exist today and remember the hardships of having the “funds” to continue. 

 And sadly you have to take on a legalistic mindset and cadence when preaching about giving because here is the TRUTH, if you don’t make it like the Old Testament and imply sacrifice and obligation than the people just won’t simply give.   

We won’t do it on our own because in our “mind” our money represents what we “earned”. We do not see it as something sown by God’s love. 

In our hearts we earned it with our own “hard labor” and why should God have some of it!” 

A great pastor said, 
“It is easier to tithe when it is someone else’s money, amen?”

And it is, and our salaries should reflect that. We just had the blessing to “earn” it. But it was not ours because although it may feel like sacrifice to you, it was truly sown out of God’s love.  

So unless our heart changes, unless we can end the curse of receiving things out of sacrifice and into a heart that receives things out of love, then the curse never changes.

This is why we should receive everything with thanksgiving. 
1 Timothy 4:4-6 NIV

“For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,5because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.6If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed,”
So now on serving, serving is about giving and “giving” is like the manner we give “gratuity” at a restaurant.  
By definition via dictionary.com, “gratuity” means; “something given without claim or demand.” And in my heart it lines up with scripture on being a “cheerful giver” without obligation or reluctancy.  

I believe that it is the Holy Spirit speaking to us that reminds us gently and out of love and compassion.  
I don’t believe that Jesus gave anyone guilt trips, for even Jesus knew that Judas’ deeds were evil and yet he loved him extra because that is what Jesus did, He loved the unlovable.  

Evil will often remind you of evil, but good will always remind you of good. 
Now “Sin” is a tricky thing. It is written, 
James 4:17 NIV

“James 4:17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
“Sin” like you heard me before is nothing less than the state of being SEPARATED from God.  

Now the “Acts of sin”, or bad works is the product of being separated from God. However the “acts” good or bad mean nothing alone but just shows a peak in one’s heart and maturity.

This is why “works” alone won’t save you because good works done out sacrifice to me remains just as much separated from God as an evil work.   
God just doesn’t want a exterior result, He wants our heart.  

Psalm 51 NLT

“16You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering.17The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.”

Psalm 40 NLT

“6You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings. Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand—you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings. 7Then I said, “Look, I have come. As is written about me in the Scriptures:

8I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.”

Matthew 12:7 NASB

“But if you had known what this means, ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT A SACRIFICE,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.”

Hosea 6:6 ESV

“For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”

God DOES NOT desire our sacrifices no more than our spouses or loved ones do, all we want and they want is our love.   
As men, we should provide for our families because we WANT to and not just because we HAVE to. Because when something becomes like we have to, then we LOSE our love for it.  
God didn’t curse Adam, He cursed the ground which meant Adam lost the connection from what he once did for love to now a sacrifice of labor. Jesus, the “second Adam” restored where Adam failed. He restored God’s will of FAITH, HOPE and LOVE first. 
You heard me say before, the scriptures in 1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “THESE THREE REMAIN, faith, hope and love but the greatest of these is love”. Now if we look at that scripture, it says, “these three remain?”  
So my question, “Remain from what?” 

I believe the Old testament has 10 Commandments and the New Testament had these 3 (Faith, Hope, Love), which totals 13. And after Calvary, the 10 commandments or “The Law” ended and grace via faith, hope and love began.  
The Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes and the San Hedrin all were divided on how many laws they should observe. They knew about the 10 but some also knew that there should be more. This is why from the time God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, to the time Jesus came, it turned into over 600 laws!  
Really people? 

So one attribute of our failure in Eden was what we once did out of love, has now become sacrifice or work. 
Genesis 5:29 NIV

“He named him Noah and said, “He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the LORD has cursed.”
Jesus didn’t die on the cross because He HAD TO, but because He wanted to. 
Hebrews 12:2 NLT

“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the JOY awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.”
Imagine that “joy” that He was awaiting? Kinda like Christmas morning! Lol
I want that joy too where I can endure all things where I have disregarded its shame and persecution. Don’t matter what this world throws at me, there IS a JOY awaiting me! The jokes on yall! Lol
John 15:13 NIV

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Jesus was speaking of Calvary. He loved us so much, that God was literally willing to do anything to get our FELLOWSHIP back via the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)
Now do you believe God gave His Son out of compulsion or out of reluctancy? Because he Had To or because He wanted to? 

You decide.  
I like the ISV of this blessed scripture. 
John 10:18 ISV

“No one is taking it from me; I lay it down of my own free will. I have the authority to lay it down, and I have the authority to take it back again. This is what my Father has commanded me.”

This is why Jesus was not taken via force or when it was not the appointed time. Because IT HAD TO BE SOWN IN LOVE! His HEART had to be ready for this day because it was the beginning of a new covenant! It was the BIGGEST most important SEED to be sown!  
Mark 14 NIV

“48“Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? 49Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” 50Then everyone deserted him and fled.”
Notice the emphasis of Jesus not being taken by force or not by His will. 
Odly enough, how 1 John 3:16 complements John 3:16. 

1 John 3:16
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
And with emphasis on laying down His life “willingly” out of love AND we should observe this SAME LOVE to willingly follow His commands of love in wanting to do good things because God loves a cheerful giver.  
Don’t get me wrong now, what made Jesus a man was that He too felt the “sacrifice” of His labors.

Mark 14 NIV

“35Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36“Abba,fFather,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

The word “Abba” translated is aramaic for a word used as “daddy” as I would like to believe a son would talk to his father when frustrated.  
So we were not alone. But you have heard me say many times the last few years that in all things we wait on God and if God is love than we wait on love. Just like the example Jesus set for us. Willingly the scriptures said He gave His life. When His heart was finally right with God, then it was time to assemble the Last supper.

Jesus was believed to be 33 years old. In the Jewish faith, it was an age of MATURITY. This IS the definition of maturity, to simply know when it is time do something. It is self discipline. As the scriptures states, that HE is the author and perfector of our FAITH. And the Hebrew word for “perfector” is “Tilos” meaning mature or maturity.  
At 33, Jesus came of His age of perfection, the age of maturity and this was His maturity in love and then it was finished. 
For if we cannot do it in love we do it out of sacrifice and sacrifices will produce great things but doing things with love comes with a promise of producing greater things for this life and the life to come

Lastly,
For those of you who have yet to observe Acts 2:38 out of love I close with this;
John 12 NIV

“23Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
27“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28Father, glorify your name!”
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.”

Once again

“28Father, glorify your name!”
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.”
Acts 2:38-39

“38Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
There is a Kingdom of God and this Kingdom has a door who is Jesus Christ but this door has a lock of revelation that was to Peter who holds these keys to unlock the mystery of Jesus Christ which is via the Holy Spirit. Its the most intimate of the triune God, more intimate than a father’s love and more intimate than a love of a best friend, it is a love of a spouse or a husband, its a love that a groom has for His bride. 
Ephesians 5 NIV

“31“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”c32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.”
It was God “above us”(Father), God “with us”(Son) and now, God “in us” via the Holy Spirit. 

  
Make sure you have it brothers and sisters. This is the gospel, this is the true Good news, draw nearer than the love of a father and a friend, become one with God by receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit via baptism in the name of Jesus Christ.  
And by His name, a name by why a bride will take on the name of her husband and lose her own, a name that does not deserve to be left out in our baptism which is the most intimate testimony that a Christian will publicly observe, the name above ALL names, the name by which every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all.

With Agape love, your brother in our war against sin, 

Ray Evangelist

“What defined a great teacher in Jesus Christ will define a great husband, wife, father, mother, brother and sister.”

And for me, a great teacher is patient and creative.  

Author: Ray Evangelista, RN

I was born an "Evangelista", I didn't choose to be in the ministry, the ministry chose me. However, I did choose to be a nurse and I have been a nurse for over 20 years and thankful that I can help the sick in some way daily.

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