All election, all the time. Is that a blessing?
Welcome to the next 43 days of the American reality show. The “big choices” will be ours on November 6th: The confirmation process for the Supreme Court justice is the dramatic War of the Titans leading up to the winner-take-all contest that is just six weeks out…
Some are wearing “Make America Great Again” caps; others are saying that America was never really that great. Patriotism is claimed by all; acting out that assertion – and choosing candidates based on their promises – is the citizens’ responsibility. What else can one person do to change things?
A short course – on one page – about what we can do to bring back “God Bless America.” Our flag salute says we’re “One Nation, Under God,” but in God’s vernacular, we’re “under God” in one of two conditions: we’re either under His Blessing, or under His Curse.
Psalm 1 kicks-off Israel’s Hymnbook with a short-but-catchy tune about living under God’s blessing. It’s worth a read; the opening line says a lot: “Blessed is the man who…” It paints a clear distinction between people who look to godless sources for “wise counsel,” and the people who listen to God for their key inputs. Blessed people are listening to different voices than the cursed crowd…
“But wait!” you say. “I’m a Christian, so I can’t be cursed!” Sorry, my friend. All Christians are saved, but not all of them live under the blessing of God. Proof? The Old Testament ends with it…
According to Malachi, “I the Lord do not change…” Point: this isn’t “old;” it’s timeless. Going on, “…Return to me, and I will return to you…” Point: action is needed, on our part. Back to Malachi: “…you rob Me! But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings…” Clarity: the tithe is 10% off-the-top of gross income; offerings are the over-and-above the tithe, and it’s the giving that denotes generosity. The person who is tithing is not generous; he is faithful. Obedience is critical.
Malachi goes on: “…You are under a curse – the whole nation of you – because you are robbing Me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse… Test Me in this, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven…” Insight: the only other time the term “floodgates” is used in the Bible is back in Genesis, talking about Noah’s deluge. Two citations: Genesis cites God’s overwhelming judgment, and Malachi promises God’s overwhelming abundance. Wow. He finishes: “…and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it…” (Malachi 3:6-12).
Two pictures: the curse, and the blessing. These are God’s people, but they are living like the godless because they are not being obedient. Don’t mistake God’s grace – His unearned favor, which is the basis for your eternal salvation – and God’s blessing – His provision for His children who choose to be obedient to His clear instructions, which position themselves through their faithful disciplines to receiving God’s blessing. Grace is a gift from God; blessing is earned from God.
National statistics are sobering: among Catholics, 2% are tithers. Among Pentecostals, the number rises to 11%. The Evangelical community “wins” at 24% who meet the minimums. Whoopee!
Evangelicals are the leading losers; we only have 76% who are living without God’s blessing! A huge “ah-ha!” moment: there are only two zip codes among God’s people. You’re either blessed, or cursed. What does it mean to be “cursed?” You’re living outside God’s blessing.
Most Christians in America are suffering under the same effects as the godless around them. Why? They have chosen to live like the other side; they consider obedience to be optional.
We’re 43 days from the Election, but we’re 98 days from year-end. Here’s a challenge, from Bob-o to you: God invites us to “Test Me now, and see…” If you’re among the majority who are living outside the blessing, why not test God? Give Him the first dime from every dollar, now ‘til New Years…
At our house, about 35 years ago, we tested God; He passed the test. We’re blessed and generous. Government doesn’t bless us; God does. Are you blessed, or missing out?