How to Receive God's Blessings
Part 2: Giving

The second tool is giving. The Bible tells us in II Cor. 9:7 the Lord loves a cheerful giver. What made Abel's sacrifice pleasing and acceptable to God, and what made Cain's unacceptable? Wasn't it the attitude of their hearts; the attitude in which it was given? We must be sure that we give with the right attitude.

There are three kinds of giving discussed in the Scriptures. The first is your tithe, or ten percent. This money comes right off the top to support God's house-- your local church. Now, I can already hear many of you saying you cannot afford to give ten percent of your income to God. Please understand one thing: This tithe is not your money: it BELONGS to God! If you are a Christian, you do not have the right to withhold that tithe from Him; in fact, you are committing a sin if you do not give it. We are guilty of robbing God if we use that tithe for anything else. Malachi 3:8,9 says:

Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed me. But you say, In what way have we robbed you? In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse: for you have robbed me, even this whole nation.

The second type of giving is mentioned in that Scripture, as well: offerings. Our offering are different from our tithes. That tithe belongs to the Lord, we are merely giving Him back what is already His. But our offerings belong to us. Our offerings are our gifts to God, over and above our tithes.

Many people consider their offerings as seeds. We all know the Bible says we will reap what we sow. Giving offerings to specific ministries apart from our tithes is like planting seeds. The best way to reap a bountiful harvest is to plant as many seeds as we can!

The third way to give is called alms-giving. "Alms" is an old English term, and it means "aid" or "assistance" or "charitable works" --- helping someone in need. The Bible is very clear that this is also a responsiblity of a Christian. We are told in James 2:14-16:

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?

Giving alms, or assistance, is another way to do service for our Lord. In Matthew 25, Jesus says that whatever we do for His children, even the least of them, it is the same as doing it to Him. So when we give in the name of Jesus, it is like giving to Jesus Himself.

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' (Matthew 25:35-40)

It is our clear Christian duty to help others who are in need whenever we can. If we dare to neglect this responsibility, we are also neglecting our Savior. Jesus goes on to say, in Matthew 25:41-45:

For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

We are guilty of sinning against Jesus Himself if we are in a position to help someone and we don't do it, just as we are guilty of robbing God if we refuse to give our tithes. That's a pretty sobering thought, isn't it?

We need to make sure we are obedient about our giving if we want God's blessing to fill our lives. Dear friends, God doesn't need our money! The Bible tells us He owns the cattle of a thousand hills! (Psalm 50:10) He just wants us to give our money in accordance to His perfect will. We must remember that the love of money is the root of all evil. (I Tim. 6:10) God doesn't want us to worship our money, as many people do. Matt. 6:24 tells us:

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon {money}. "

If we want to receive God's blessings on our own lives, we need to learn to bless the lives of others, as well. Our loving Father truly wants to bless our lives! You've heard it said many times: it is in giving that we receive.

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you mete withal it shall be measured to you again. (Luke 6:38)

God gives us nothing in this world strictly for our own benefit; He wants us to share whatever we have--- including our time, talents, and money--- to be a blessing to others, that His name may be praised and glorified, and lost people may come to know Him. When we learn to look at our finances from God's perspective, we realize how important it is that we use our money wisely, in a manner that's pleasing to God. We have to do as God says in order to receive what God promises!

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