Psalm 50; Deut. 9:23 – 10:5; Heb. 4: 1 – 10; John 3: 16 – 21
In Psalm 50, God specifically tells us in verse 12 that the world is His and all that is in it. So this tells me God has no need of our tithes and offerings, except to honor Him. Do your tithes and offerings honor God? A Bible Study acquaintance of years ago claimed that she as a Christian was obligated to give no money to the Church. She said that God wanted her to be happy, and to be happy she needed a lot of nice things. Therefore it was okay to give no money to the Church. My grandmother felt much the same way. She told me that if there was any money left after you bought what you needed and wanted, the rest went in the collection plate. Neither woman took the Biblical perspective with their giving. It is wise to read the Bible as it relates to our gifts and pray about our decisions.
Then there is the matter of following His instructions listed in the Ten Commandments. A co-worker once told me that he had broken every one of them and yet claimed to be a Christian. When I studied the matter more closely, I realized I would have to say the same thing. Many of my sins were thought-centered, where he said his were action-centered. Nevertheless, thoughts can lead to actions, so it is unwise to fantasize breaking a commandment: e.g., for those who are married to consider relationships outside of marriage, even if they never intend to act upon their lustful thoughts. Satan can always put even more temptation in our way in all matters. Collectors putting an item that would add to their collection before supporting their Church would also be a violation, as they are not loving the Lord first and foremost. Telling “white lies” is another practice we tell ourselves hurts no one. We can pray and think through the Ten Commandments during this Lenten season, and evaluate our status as it pertains to each one. As a priest once told me, our conscience may produce a feeling of guilt when we commit a particular sin the first time – but sin becomes easier with practice.
Of course, we know that we are all sinners. But have we considered that part of the reason may be the one presented in Hebrews 4? Here we read that we have heard the Gospel preached, but the message was of no value. According to the Word, this is what happens when we do not combine the Gospel message with Faith. Studying the Word, praying for wisdom and honoring God may be a way of life for us. If it isn’t, we can repent and start in the direction of a stronger faith. We know we have God’s forgiveness. Why? The person of Faith, the believer, rests in a perfect work of redemption through the sacrifice of God’s Son on the cross. On the other hand, the non-believer stands condemned. But for the believer, John 3:16 says it all. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Sandra Mohney
Sandra Mohney was baptized in the Episcopal Church as an infant and has been a member of St. Margaret’s for 5 years. She served in Maggie’s Corner for 4 years and has recently become a member of Daughters of the King, St. Margaret in the Desert Chapter.