I’m not a fan of writings that for the most part seem assembled from the quotations of scholars, historians, and theologians, weaving them together like some great tapestry of spiritual enlightenment. To me, such writing seems oddly disconnected from the soul of the author which leaves me cold. I’d so much rather read a personal testimony from the author’s own life experience. What was your condition, how did the Son intervene, how were you healed or blessed, and what did you learn? That’s what I want to know, for no derivative of commentary ever touched my heart like the open, honest, and vulnerable testimony of a brother or sister in the Son.
And yet, it is a daily devotional-commentary I receive by email that has had me on the receiving end of the Lord’s chastisement several times these last 2 weeks. Whoever is in charge of publishing excerpts from an author who died in 1971, has obviously been spying on me and selecting them with intent to hit me squarely between the eyes.
It first happened while I was lying on a gurney in the emergency room 2 weeks ago, strapped to an EKG monitor, and with an IV in each arm, I spoke frankly to Karen about the possibility of my death. She refused to hear it of course, admonishing me to speak faith but still I wanted her to know that I loved her and she was free to return to her family in Illinois, leaving the care of my elderly father who lives with us, to my siblings. And I apologized to her because our wish has been for a Notebook ending to our lives together. Again, Karen spoke words of encouragement, even while I lamented the Back to Eden garden I’d started in faith but now could not finish because of the heart attack. Continue reading
This is a letter I sent to dear friends who prayed for me while I was in the hospital.
Dear Pam and Vinny,
We got home yesterday about 2pm. Issuing the discharge orders took awhile, in particular putting together the long list of new drugs and arranging follow up appointments. The drugs I have to take to reduce stress on my heart while it heals and keep the stent from clotting, costs over $600 a month. Ouch! And I’m experiencing the side effect of the main one ($400/mo.) which will make me look for an alternative or just quit it altogether – breathing difficulties. It feels like I can’t take in enough breath nor expel everything that’s in my lungs – that “can’t catch my breath” type of feeling.
It’s difficult to figure how this happened; my cholesterol numbers are good although my good cholesterol is a little low which is typical for someone who is obese and doesn’t do aerobic exercise. But that’s never been a problem for me and the last time the doctor tried to put me on cholesterol meds to elevate my good cholesterol – I refused it and started walking most days. You asked about dehydration – I might lose 2-3 lbs while working in the yard but drink water and sometimes Gatorade. Karen comes out every 30-60 minutes with a drink to make sure of that; she’s always done that even when I’m just mowing the lawn.
There are 7 articles in the original “Tithe” series, written between 2000-2002 and posted to my former web site Lord, You Are (dot) com, now defunct. This article consolidates the 7 articles in the order they were published. Exposing the falsehood of the modern tithe doctrine was one of the instruments God used to set me free from man’s dead Laodicean church system. As always, I pray the Lord will use them to set you free from false teaching and guilt-based giving.
To Tithe or not to Tithe: the $earch for Truth
Though I’ve always struggled with the tithe, I still shook my head in disgust when I heard about the preacher who’s congregation quietly left the church during the prayer following a long sermon on tithing. He said “Amen”, looked up and cried out “half my church is gone!” I laughed saying “they must have fled the conviction of the Holy Spirit”.
What the Lord said took me completely by surprise: “They fled from error and guilt-based giving”. “What?!?” I’ve heard more sermons on the tithe than on any other topic except perhaps our need of Jesus for eternal life! After I picked up my jaw from the floor, the Lord prompted me to study tithing and giving.
Throughout the Bible study I prayed for His guidance and in the end I reached the inescapable conclusion that the “tithe” is to the modern church what the issue of “circumcision” was to the church in Paul’s time.
NOTE: Nothing in this article is intended as an excuse to stop giving as the Lord leads you to give.
The verse most often cited in support of the tithe is from the Old Testament, found in Malachi 3:8-10: Continue reading