Category Archives: Tithing and offerings

Kingdom Baking!

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I enjoy baking. Not that I am an incredible success at it. I have shed many a tear in the kitchen from my flops! Yet I am a sucker for punishment and I carry on baking up a storm.

Unlike Jesus, baking is not very forgiving! If you do not follow the recipe as it is laid out, you will end up with a flop. And extra salt from the tears. Jesus has His own recipe for giving, and He uses as much flour as He can squeeze into that cup.

“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38

This is how baking reminds me of Luke 6:38

These are the rules to measuring flour (men bear with me):

  1. You have to scoop the flour into the measuring cup until it overflows. You then have to use the back side of a knife to level off the flour.
    BUT when we give, our rewards are not leveled off. What we receive will be good measure and running over! And I’m not talking about monetary rewards – but joy and blessedness in Christ!
  2. Do not tap or shake the measuring cup, as this causes the flour to settle in the cup and become more dense. 
    BUT Jesus says our reward will be so good that it will be ‘shaken together’ – He wants to fit so much in that a little shaking is necessary to make some space… for more!
  3. Do not press the flour down to add in more – extra flour will make your baked products heavy and tough. 
    BUT Jesus says what we are about to receive will be pressed down – pressing flour down in a cup compacts it and you make way for more!

That’s my little experiment in my kitchen:

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Jesus wants us to cheerfully open our hearts to give to others. As we give, God is so gracious and He rewards us far better than we could ever reward ourselves! Serving others means we are serving Jesus and we are left with an abundance of deliciously rich, chocolately, sprinkle-covered kingdom cake!

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Rather the Pitbull?

C&H

Coming home from work rounding the street corner to my house, I suddenly screeched the brakes. To my left, hiding under a bush was a huge Pitbull, shaking, nervous and covered in blood. I have an incredibly soft spot for Pitbulls, and helping fight in the efforts against dog fighting. My first horror thought was that he was used in a dog fight and dumped, or worse, used as a bait dog. I quickly parked my car at my house and ran back up to him with bandages and dressings. On closer inspection I was thankful that a fight was probably not the case but most likely had been knocked by a car.

It was after 5pm and the emergency number I have on my phone for the lovely man at the SPCA had already gone home. How on earth was I going to find his owner in this big neighbourhood? At this time of day? At the risk of getting bitten, I spoke softly to him to keep him calm and prayed over him. Eventually he could tell I was there to help him. There was no way I would leave him alone. I could not bring him to my house as I have 3 dogs and they would fight and he was so sore, he couldn’t move. 

I earnestly prayed, “Father, please send the Holy Spirit to help me, I can’t do this on my own! Please tell me where the owner is – otherwise You know I will bring a mattress from my house and sleep outside here tonight with him! So please help me?” 

To cut a 2 hour story short, wandering the neighbourhood and asking neighbours if they knew the dog, the Lord led me down a road 2 blocks from my house, and lo and behold there stood a little Pitbull puppy on the pavement who had just gotten outside his gate that was mistakenly left open! That was obviously the house! I managed to call the owner while the puppy chewed blissfully on my leg and Tony the Pitbull was taken home safely and medically treated the next morning.

“the righteous gives and does not spare.” Proverbs 21:26

I love this post by Calvin and Hobbes – when I first saw it a decade ago I burst out laughing, because his last statement is really something that can come from my mouth! This is what I try do in my spare time- I help to rescue abandoned and abused animals and get them re-homed. This is where I give until it hurts.
But I got to thinking what I would have done if Tony was a human? That day I did not care if I skipped dinner, bathing or bed. My focused purpose was to get Tony home and healed. I’m not joking when I said I would have slept outside with him to not leave him alone! Would I have done the same for a human? I tithe and volunteer at my church when an opportunity arises, and buy food for the homeless people in and around my neighbourhood when I can; but am I giving until it hurts for people? If I’m honest, no.

I realise that the complete love and devotion I shower on animals by giving of my time cheerfully will have a massive impact on people who are in need of physical items and the love of Jesus. The love I am showing to animals is the exact same love I need to be showing people more often, because it is Jesus’ love in action. What animals are getting from me is what humans need more of from me!

“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so.” Proverbs 3:27

“He who gives to the poor will never want, but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses.” Proverbs 28:27

I have been trying to place my focus more on what Jesus wants:-
What am I sparing with regards to the poor?
What luxuries can I give up to benefit someone else?

How can I better use my time to give and glorify God?
Are there a few extra things I do not have to buy in the month to use to give to someone else?
How can I bend over backwards so that Jesus is clearly seen?

“Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'” Matt 25:40
It is great to know that when we give to help others, Jesus sees it as giving directly to Himself. And that is truly a blessing. I should be giving more to King Jesus. And more. And more. Sparing nothing.

“Then the people rejoiced, for they had offered willingly, because with a loyal heart they had offered willingly to the Lord” 1 Chronicles 29:9

 

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Wrestling the Holy Spirit for money!

We had just moved back to Johannesburg after one incredibly stressful year at the coast in Port Elizabeth. My daughter had been literally born straight into NICU and was there for a month. My business was on a go-slow because I literally lived at the hospital. At the end of it all, we had decided to move back as Port Elizabeth had just become too bittersweet.
But it felt like we were starting all over again. And money was tight.

We’ve all been there – when it comes to tithing, we hold back just a little thinking of the things we need to buy here and there. Even more so when money is just not rolling in!

God just adores obedience. One of my favourite stories on obedience comes from my aunt. She is a teacher and the Principal of the school had told all the teachers that they needed to purchase a specific pair of shoes – I can’t remember what the reason was. It was “one of those months” where she was short and had already paid her tithing into God TV which was quite a chunk. She prayed to God and told Him she was quite worried about obtaining these shoes as it had been quite a hectic month.

One day she was in the shoe store with her friend and they were looking at the shoes and discussing them. She had noticed this one man in the corner kept staring at her. This happened for quite a while and she was getting a little freaked out and eventually he came over to her. Watch how beautiful he put this, wouldn’t you just melt? “Excuse me, I’m sorry for staring and I hope you don’t take offense. But I have to obey my Father. God has told me that I need to buy these pair of shoes for you…”

Does that not just give you goosebumps? What a wonderful man of God and so incredibly gentle. I will never forget that story. God is so colourful, I just love how He orchestrated this scene! Hollywood has nothing on our God!

Anyway, I had just started a new job at a logistics company in the HR department. God definitely got me that job – my boss was fantastic! She was just great to work with and we had so many laughs during our day, it made the day go faster! Any time I apply for a job I ask the Lord to allow me to be successful in interviews only  if it was His will for me to work there. I don’t want to be where God does not will for me to be. You never find any blessings in situations like that!
However, I was finding that the salary I had was just covering our bills and 2009 was the most stressful year of my life. I had more month at the end of my money than money at the end of my month!

One day, I had left work and was around the corner from fetching my baby from crèche. Sitting at a traffic light, I noticed a beggar begging for money. You see them at almost every traffic light in South Africa! I thought to myself, “Oh how horrible. I wish I had something to give him.” Notice the word “wish”.

The Holy Spirit grabbed this opportunity and said, “You do have something – you have that twenty Rand in the pocket of your bag!” You know, when I think back to that now I always start laughing! I had seriously forgotten all about that money sitting there! In spite of the word “wish” here started the wrestling match with the Holy Spirit!

“Yikes, R20…I forgot about that Lord…”.
“Give him the R20”.
“But Lord, I can buy bread and milk with that now, or at least put in more petrol…”
“No. Quickly give him the R20 before the traffic light changes!”

I hesitantly, but knowing I had to obey, gave the man my last R20. I did, however, thank the Lord for helping me be obedient.
I forgot all about that money. But God never did.

In the meanwhile I had been panicking how I was going to pay the internet contract and endowment policy I had which both amounted to R500.

The following week, my Manager came up to me with an envelope and said “I don’t actually do this, but I wanted to give you R500 cash, just because it was your first two weeks here and I kind of threw you into the deep end and you have worked so hard!”

Like, what?? Did you see what God just did there? He blessed my obedience of giving the homeless man my last R20 by restoring it back to me! R500 is exactly what I needed to pay those two bills! I was astounded!

Sharp lesson to learn! Even though I wrestled with the Lord about that last R20, I gave cheerfully because I wanted to please Him. God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor 9:7)

Challenge – find someone this week to give cheerfully to! I tend to pray and ask God to lead me to someone who will need it. He always answers!