Before David and Maura Reza hand out the $5 weekly allowance to their children, David reads a scripture from the Bible about money. This is a shift for the family which has retreated from what Maura Reza calls years of “self-spending.” Now they have turned to a higher power for managing their budget: the world of biblical financial planning.
Their 5 children gather around the dining room table to listen to their dad then light up when mom walks in with the cash. “The important thing to remember is that all of this,” David Reza says, as he opens his arms wide gesturing to everything in the house, “belongs to God.” It may not belong to the Reza’s much longer because the family is in danger of losing their 5 bedroom, 2,900 S.F. home. Even if they do, they believe their faith will help them with their finances.
The Reza family turned to their church for help to climb out of their debt. Courses on biblical financial planning, how to get out of debt, and saving and tithing are now begin offered at many churches these days. These programs teach tithing to God must be first. Before, the Reza family gave sporadically to God, but now they give about $300 a month to their church. “What we have given we’ve gotten back in blessings,” said Maura Reza. (The Sacramento Bee, July 29, 2008; Faithful find fiscal salvation in church; pg. 1, by Jennifer Garza)
And yes, it is amazing how absolutely true the Word of God is. It teaches us how to be saved, blessed, healed, get out of debt, and how to turn a bad situation into a positive one. God’s word tells the reason people are suffering and doing without, which is always conducive to disobedience. If people will pay attention to the Word of God then implement it, the blessings will rain down on them.
God is not a man that is able to lie because He is the absolute truth. His one and only desire is to bless us, but He will not and cannot bless disobedience. God says, “Bring ye all the tithe into the storehouse that there may be meat in mine house and prove me now herewith, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:8-12). If we will obey God’s Word and meet His conditions He will bless us right out of our socks.
The problem with too many is they want the blessings of God without participating with God. God wants His people to cooperate with Him so they can say, “The Lord has blessed me! He has turned gloom into boom!” I am not talking about some Wall Street gamble or some get rich quick scheme. This has everything to do with integrity in God’s Word. Yes, it is just simple faith that God can do anything. And in this economy, many people, like the Reza family are finding out that it is better to give than to be a selfish tight-wad. It is true: you can’t beat God giving no matter how you may try. He will turn your curse into a huge blessing.
As a child I went Trick or Treating every year until people said, “You still Trick or Treat? Aren’t you too old?” And because I was embarrassed, even under my mask, I cut it off. But all I wanted was free candy. Every year my plan was to keep trekking until my shopping bag was full and too heavy. I remember people saying, “Hey it’s 10:30! Don’t you think it’s too late?” Yeah, but I want candy. People were giving it away and I wanted it. I liked candy and this was the time of year there was no limit to how much I could get. And it was free! And that was my only reason for Trick or Treating. There are some who condemn Halloween because; they say it is the Devil’s night. Personally, I never thought of devils; I was consumed with thoughts of lollipops, candy bars, and chewing gum. The Word of God says, “For what is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). Therefore, if Trick or Treating condemns us, we should not do it, because it is sin to us. Our conscience will bother us. The apostle Paul addresses this very sensitive subject in Romans 14. Read the chapter thoroughly for clarity. It will enlighten you! I love you!!
Erik Weihenmayer is blind from a degenerative eye disease, yet on May 25, 2001 he scaled the peak of deadly Mt. Everest. Erik’s success on this treacherous ascent came because he listened well. He cued in on the little bell tied to the back of the climber in front of him so he would know what direction to go. He listened to the voice of teammates who would shout back to him, “Death fall two feet to your right!” so he would know what direction not to go. He listened to the sound of his pick jabbing the ice, so he would know whether the ice was safe to cross.
Question: are you facing a perilous climb in life? Make sure you keep your attention on the voice of the Lord. Take your cues from the Holy Spirit and from His Holy Word to avoid the death drops that are up ahead. In walking with Jesus, what you hear is what you will finally get. You can count on Him to guide you safely over the path of life. When you are with a person a lot, his voice becomes very familiar. And that’s the way it is with Jesus Christ. He said, “My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28).
By spending quality time with the Lord we undoubtedly know His voice. H. V. Morton tells of a scene that he saw in a cave near Bethlehem. Two shepherds had sheltered their flocks in the cave during the night. How were the flocks sorted out the next morning? One of the shepherds stood some distance away and gave his peculiar call which only his sheep knew and soon his whole flock had run to him. They knew his voice. The sheep would have responded to no one else. The voice of their shepherd was assuring.
An 18th century traveler actually tells how Palestinian sheep can be made to dance, fast or slow, to the peculiar whistle or the unique tune on the flute of their own shepherd. And in the same way, we have to listen intently to the Great Shepherd’s voice if we care about where we are headed. He sees and knows what we do not see and know. He cares that we reach our destination and He does everything He can to get us to the top.
Erik climbed Mt. Everest because he listened very closely to his leader. He depended upon his leader’s eyes and ears to get him there. We are surrounded with many confusing voices and sounds today, but we must learn how to pick out the voice of our master while tuning out the others. Christ cares about our safety and success more than anyone. We are always on His mind. But the key question is: is He always on our mind?
I’m sure that Erik had his mind on his leader all the way to the top of the mountain; because, he was depending on him. Even after David became king over Israel, he depended on God to lead him. His signature Psalm tells it all: “The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want.” He cued in on the Lord.
Pastor J.C. Myers, III
Pastor J.C. founded Joy Christian Ministries in 1992. He was Sr. Pastor at Joy Christian Ministries in West Sacramento, California from 1992-2016. He was succeeded by his 2nd son, Pastor Brandon Myers who had been under his father's ministry and teaching for 39 years.