TITHES ARE NOT THE ANCIENT TEST. THEY ARE NOT EVEN THE MODERN TEST.

liftinghandstoGod

WHY DO WE PROFANE THE COVENANT OF OUR FATHERS?

Recently, I wrote a blog about the Old Testament doctrine of tithing. I quoted some convicting, but also encouraging, passages in the book of Malachi about tithing (see my blog: TITHES: The Ancient Test?).

Test of what?

a)      Trusting God

b)      Obedience to the pastor

c)       God’s blessings

d)      Just plain old Scrooge cheapness

The answer is (c), God’s blessings.

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse that there may be food in my house. Test me in this and see if I will not through open the floodgates and pour out so much blessings that you will not have room enough for it” (3.10).

To many believers, the book of Malachi could just as well be called “The book of tithing.” That’s what I thought until the day I opened my Bible and my eyes “popped” to a scripture that put the doctrine of tithing into a new, and broader, perspective:

“Why do we profane the covenant of our fathers by breaking the faith with one another?” (Malachi 2:10).

What does breaking faith with others have to do with giving a tithe?  The same thing that giving a tithe has to do with breaking faith with others. In fact, tithing is just one segment in the book of tithes, oops I meant, “The Book of Malachi.”

THE PRIMARY THEME IN THE BOOK OF MALACHI IS RELATIONSHIP:

In Malachi, the Israelites are called back to the godly ways of their forefathers and, most importantly, to relationship with their God (Mal 5:5,6). Bringing the tithe to the storehouse, was actually a way to honor God; i.e., a form of worship.

TOXIC-FAITH TIE IN:

New Testament churches that focus on tithing, are missing the primary theme in the book of Malachi.

One characteristic of an imbalanced–or toxic–church is a tendency to develop a new doctrine based upon one or a few “pet” scriptures taken out of context. These doctrines usually are 1. preached frequently, and 2. enforced using emotionally-manipulative language that all too often motivates parishoners via fear, shame, and guilt.

New Testament giving should also be a way to honor God, a form of worship.It is a love, not a fear based-based act.

 

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Tithes: The Ancient Test

stock-photo-5159938-money-of-the-world      “…how do we rob you? ‘In tithes and offerings…Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.   Test me in this says  says the LORD Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the flood gates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it’ ” (Malachi 3:8-10).

You can’t be a church-goer for very long without hearing this portion of scripture. At the mere mention of Malachi, Christians think “tithe.”

I believe in the tithe. But I do not tithe.  Does this make me a hypocrite?  I don’t think so. Whether money, time, or talent, as a Christian, I believe in generous giving. I believe in grace-generated giving.

“…the grace that God gave the Macedonian churches…out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity…they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability” (2 Corinthians 8:1-3).

I believe that generous giving as modeled in the New Testament (grace), is an entirely more significant and less selfish giving than the Old Testament tithe (law). I also believe that tithing, or giving money in any capacity, is not the ancient test of faith. Though money is usually necessary to run a ministry, in my opinion, which may or may not be humble, I believe there is a more important theme in the book of Malachi, one that exceeds the significance and importance than giving of ones finances and wares to the work of the gospel.

to be continued…

Widdeling a Perfectly Good Day Away

Time is the only commodity I can’t get back. Thus, I do not like to waste it. But that is exactly what I am doing. I have assorted miscellaneous, but important, chores to face, yet I am entirely unmotivated. All I have done today has been get dressed, prep for yoga class, send an email to BJ and Angie, water the gardens front and back, make & eat breakfast, and deadhead dead spring blossoms.

I have not sold a single book in several days.  Is this the end of a ten-year-journey, a journey meant to entertain, encourage, and inform readers? Is my book going to be a flop? I would be terribly disappointed if my story does not get into the hands of at least 1,000 people.

There now, I have named the problem: I am discouraged. I must come up with a plan.

Don’t Be Enticed by High-Cost Publishing Services

booksSo, you want to be published?

You’re a fine, perhaps great, writer with a dream. This is good. Dreams lubricate the writing journey, keep it going when in doubt, discouragement, disappointment, or plain old exhaustion threatens.  And it will.  So, don’t be shocked when it does. Just take your expectation down a notch or 10 and get back to writing.  You’ll get there. Your “baby” will come.

Your completed manuscript is as vulnerable as a newborn. Protect it from predators, those “publishing” companies who entice unaware and eager novice writers with slick promises. For a price, usually a big price, they will transform your doubled-typed manuscript into an actual book. You could possibly even make it onto the New York Times Best Seller list.

These people seem to smell your desperation and are as quick to find you as an advertisement finds your Facebook page. I do not call these companies publishers; I call them printers.  Printers print. They create a product. Publishers provide a service. They have a stake in your book.  If your book doesn’t sell, the publisher will  not make money. In fact, they will probably loose money.

Unfortunately, you will probably loose money, too. After selling books to your friends at work and your family members (your mother bought ten to save as Christmas gifts) your beautiful books are in boxes in the garage behind the the camping gear. Nobody is buying. Nobody is marketing your books. You’re left with an insane debt.

Reputable book printers exist, but it’s important to know what you’re getting, and not getting, from these companies.

I invite you to read this excerpt by Mark Coker’s book, The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success, page 14. You can find the entire book on Smashwords.com, my publishing platform, which I highly recommend to any writer with a dream to publish their work. http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/145431#/download

“These services are criminal in my opinion. They’re in the business of selling over-priced services to authors. They’re not in the business of helping authors sell books. They prey upon novice
writers who don’t know better.

“Blogger Emily Suess has done a great job of exposing the unethical business practices of [some of these companies] on her blog at http://blog.emilysuess.com/tag/author-solutions/

Ebook self-publishing can be fast, free and easy if you do it
yourself” (Mark Coker, Founder of Smashwords).

 

Brand Me!

What is My Brand?

I am not a horse or a cow, but as an author, as a wanna be successful author, I need a brand.  What does that mean, what does an author brand look like? Since Dave Lakhani commented on my latest book cover, I have been talking to my brand.  What is my brand? How can I know my author brand? If you’re a writer, do you know your brand?

Consider these points from an article written by a Writer’s Relief writer:

“What are the best ways to establish my author brand?
First, find your voice and be consistent in your writing. Book cover design is a great place to display your author branding. So is your author website. We all know social media is becoming more and more relevant in the publishing industry. Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, and other social media sites are excellent tools for growing your fan base and solidifying your writer brand.

Remember: A clear, consistent author brand can make the difference between writing as a hobby and writing as a career.” (http://writersrelief.com).

Read this article in it’s entirety on http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/30/writing-tips_n_5241199.html

So, what is my brand?

My brand is for the Body of Christ, against religion;  suffering saints and suffering sinners; for God, against evil. Is that too vague?

I love God but hate religion.

Thank you Dave Lakhani for stimulating this discussion.

Brand Me!

What is My Brand?

I am not a horse or a cow, but as an author, as a wanna be successful author, I do need a brand.  What does that mean? what does an author brand look like?

Since Dave Lakhani commented on my latest book cover, I have been thinking about my brand.  What is my brand? How can I know my author brand? If you’re a writer, do you know your brand?

Consider these points from an article written by an Writer’s Relief writer:

“What are the best ways to establish my author brand?
First, find your voice and be consistent in your writing. Book cover design is a great place to display your author branding. So is your author website. We all know social media is becoming more and more relevant in the publishing industry. Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, and other social media sites are excellent tools for growing your fan base and solidifying your writer brand.

Remember: A clear, consistent author brand can make the difference between writing as a hobby and writing as a career.” (http://writersrelief.com).

Read this article in it’s entirety on http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/30/writing-tips_n_5241199.html

So, what is my brand?

My brand is for the Body of Christ, against religion;  suffering saints and suffering sinners; for God, against evil. Is that too vague?

I love God but hate religion.

Thank you Dave Lakhani for stimulating this discussion.

Brand Me!

What is My Brand?

I am not a horse or a cow, but as an author, as a wanna be successful author, I need a brand.  What does that mean, what does an author brand look like? Since Dave Lakhani commented on my latest book cover, I have been thinking about my brand.  What is my brand? How can I know my author brand? If you’re a writer, do you know your brand?

Consider these points from an article written by an Writer’s Relief writer:

“What are the best ways to establish my author brand?
First, find your voice and be consistent in your writing. Book cover design is a great place to display your author branding. So is your author website. We all know social media is becoming more and more relevant in the publishing industry. Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, and other social media sites are excellent tools for growing your fan base and solidifying your writer brand.

Remember: A clear, consistent author brand can make the difference between writing as a hobby and writing as a career.” (http://writersrelief.com).

Read this article in it’s entirety on http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/30/writing-tips_n_5241199.html

So, what is my brand?

My brand is for the Body of Christ, against religion;  suffering saints and suffering sinners; for God, against evil. Is that too vague?

I love God but hate religion.

Thank you Dave Lakhani for stimulating this discussion.

Crush, Stamp, Crumple, Mash

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thirty pounds after I accepted God’s deep and abiding love

 

My worship service began while driving to a woman’s conference last Saturday .

I was glued to the local Christian radio station, listening to a beautiful song by Francesca Battistelli when I heard the words:

I don’t need applause because I am adored (my paraphrase).

Whether I am famous or forever an unknown author, the Creator of the universe adores me.

Intellectually, I had known since I accepted Jesus as my Savior that God loved me, but it was not until he set me free of a 15-year-long eating disorder that I knew he adored me to the core of my being.

You are beautiful

I heard him speak to my heart the day I walked to the laundry room in my apartment complex.

But how can I be beautiful when I am 30 pounds overweight?

Crush, Stamp, Crumple, Mash

I heard the voice again.

You are beautiful to me. It does not matter what other people think.

After that “God Encounter,” my need to belong, to be included without going into robot mode, to measure up to the standards required by the churches I attended, decreased through the years. I settled into a more confident place. I also lost weight without dieting.

Toxic faith communities often do not teach this kind of intimate relationship with God because they are busy teaching man-made rules and doctrines that intimidate.

It took awhile to accept myself as God sees me: imperfect and adored.

I don’t need applause because I am adored