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"Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David inquired of the Lord. And the Lord answered, 'It is because of Saul and his bloodthirsty house, because he killed the Gibeonites.'” 2 Samuel 21:1 Things don't happen without a cause. King David knew that, so he went to the Lord and asked why famine was on the land. The Lord answered that the former king, Saul, had killed Gibeonites. Saul was dead by now and the slaughter of the Gibeonites took place long ago. So we see that judgments and curses can be brought forward even long after the deed was done that caused them. It's reminiscent of the several passages revealing that judgment continues down to the third and fourth generations. "The Lord is long-suffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but he by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation." Numbers 14:18 So David set out to make things right. He asked the Gibeonites how he could make things right with them. They asked that seven descendants of Saul be handed over to them, and David complied. Then he went to the graves of Saul and his son Jonathan who had been buried by enemies who killed them in war, and he brought their bones back to Israel and buried them in the graves of their fathers. After doing all he could think of to rectify the situation, he then went to the Lord and asked the curse to be removed, and "God heeded the prayer for the land." Folks, we need to understand spiritual laws. Today, believers ignore them believing that their sins have been forgiven because of the atoning sacrifice Jesus accomplished for us, and that is very true. But there are CONSEQUENCES of sin, and many times those consequences will reach down the generations from the perpetrator. Children tend to carry on the sins of their fathers. If you look into the descendants of an alcoholic, you'll often see alcoholism down through the generations. If a woman is promiscuous, oftentimes her daughters will be too. If a man sins through violence, there will oftentimes be violence in his descendants. So what to do when you realize there is such a tendency in your own family, even if the source is a generation or two back from you? You do as David did. You confess the sins you know about, and ask for forgiveness. Then you do whatever you can to make things right with anyone who was victimized by the sin in your family. And then you ask the Lord to reveal anything more of what you need to know, and you submit the whole subject into the hands of the Lord and ask for guidance. Then, having done all you can, you wait for his response. Sometimes a judgment or curse cannot be reversed, but in such a situation the Lord will walk with the person through whatever he has to face. And if a judgment or curse cannot be reversed, the Lord will make a way to turn it into a blessing, because for those who love the Lord, "all things," ALL THINGS, will be turned around for the good. "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 If you perceive that there is a judgment upon your family, seek the Lord concerning what you should do. One way or another, Jesus has promised relief. Stand on his promise, read the following over and over again until it lives inside you: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed;" Luke 4:18

"Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship." Exodus 31:1-5 The setting: The Lord is revealing to Moses all the detailed instructions involved in setting up the tabernacle. When he gets to the specifications concerning the implements to be used, the details he gives are very complex, very intricate. He singles out Bezalel, saying that God has filled him with the Holy Spirit, and has endowed him with wisdom, understanding and knowledge in all manner of workmanship. In calling Bezalel by name, God makes it clear that not just anyone would be able to do this work, but only the ones he specifies and in whom God has given the skill to handle this kind of work. This is a picture of the Body of Christ. Every member of the Body of Christ is gifted. But it is important to remember that gifting is specific, so that only the one gifted with a certain gift can operate in that gift. Expectations… This is where trouble can brew. A believer looks at another who is operating in a particular gift, thinking he/she "should" be doing something like that too. But how can he, if he is not equipped to? No, a believer is not to be judged by what he cannot do, and that should put an end to all criticism in this area. "And the eye cannot say to the hand, 'I have no need of you,' nor again the head to the feet, 'I have no need of you.' No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; ...God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, THAT THERE SHOULD BE NO SCHISM IN THE BODY..." 1 Corinthians 12:21-25 If you're a foot, you cannot be an ear. If you're an eye, you cannot be a hand. Let no one judge you for not meeting their unreasonable expectations of you, as long as you are operating in the gifts you do have. The Scriptures admonish us to love one another, and that means to love the ones who are not meeting OUR expectations. No one can walk your walk, they're not equipped to. Nor can you walk theirs. Therefore, we are called to have respect for each one's calling regardless what it is, even if we consider another's calling "inferior." We are working together for a common goal, and each one has a part to play. This is how the Body of Christ works, each one playing his part. "And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ..." Ephesians 4:11-12 "Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?" 1 Corinthians 12:29-10 Just as important as it is to honor each one's calling, it is equally important that you play your part. If not, you are robbing the Body of Christ of the critical role you are equipped to play. Never think your gifts are inferior, there is no "inferior" gifting from God. Also, there is NO ONE who can play your part. If you don't play it, there is loss. Seek the Lord for direction so that you may operate effectively in the role you are CALLED to play. And then play it! Live it! With all your heart!

“Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” Proverbs 3:9-10 In the lives of most people, the priority is making money. Now, there is nothing wrong with making money. Indeed, a righteous man will provide for the needs of his family. But the question is HOW does he go about it? Well, he gets an education in the field that he is most interested in, then he gets a job. This is all good. However, his livelihood will always be under threat. What if he loses his job? What if he experiences a disaster in his life and it takes all he has to recover? What if someone steals his identity and takes all his money? What if the stock market crashes and he loses all he had in his savings? There is a better way. You might call it “God’s insurance policy.” The Word of God instructs us in the wise way to see to our needs being met. If a man or woman will follow the instructions of the Lord, he can rest assured that the Lord will take care of him no matter what. The Lord says that if one will honor God with his possessions and with his tithes, his life will be filled with plenty and his cupboards will overflow. Let’s take a look at Malachi chapter 3: “‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and TRY ME now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.'” Malachi 3:10 What a person does with his money is a huge indicator of the faith level and the character of that person. No one wants to part with his money, so to suggest to him that he should honor God with his possessions will usually meet with all the excuses why he cannot do that. Yet the secret is that if he does it God’s way, many times those reasons disappear. If all would follow this directive from God himself, it could eradicate a lot of poverty. You can’t obey the Word of God and lose out. However, the ways of God are “foolishness” to the world. Does this all sound like foolishness to you? “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14 To those who believe, the ways of God are the ways to salvation, happiness, and joy. If one desires his assets to be protected by the Lord, he needs to start operating in the “foolishness” of God’s Word, because the Word of God is faithful. God has made the sustenance of his “house,” the church, dependent on the tithes of the believers. When a believer brings his tithe, God has promised to pour out upon him a blessing way out of proportion to what he has given. One of the most difficult things I’ve had to do in my walk with God, is to deliver this message to people who are poor. To tell a poor person that the way out of poverty is to obey the Word of God and bring a tenth of what little he has – well how does one have the courage to say that to a person struggling just to survive? Yet this Word has not failed in any instance in which I have had to tell this to someone. Without fail, each one later reported back to me the wonder of what God did in response. Why is that? It’s because when a person is willing to part with a tenth of his income, in doing so he is demonstrating where his faith lies. In parting with his money, he is stating that his faith is not in the world system, his faith is not in his ability to make money, his faith is in the Word of God. And God will honor that. But let’s not stop there. Many only quote the passage in Malachi this far. But the next verse is an extremely important part of the promise: “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes…” Malachi 3:11 A man might have a lot of money, but his resources can be consumed by “the devourer.” The devourer can set up circumstances in which a man’s income, however great, becomes worthless by going into a bag with holes. Left to himself, the man who does not honor God with the tithe God requests, will oftentimes see his income go to waste. The more he makes the greater the holes. He just can’t get ahead. “And he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes.” Haggai 1:6 But God promises to rebuke the devourer for the man or woman who makes the decision to place his trust in the Lord, and not in himself. He will find that all his needs are taken care of. God’s insurance policy has to be received by the person who has made this decision, and it’s a commitment he is to keep all the days of his life. If there are ups and downs to test that commitment, he has to remember that he signed on to God and he must weather the storm. He will find out in the end that you can’t out-give God. That person will lack for nothing. Pray with me: Father, just the suggestion that I should part with a tenth of my income causes fear inside me. I’m struggling just to get by, so telling me to give some away – defies common sense. But I realize that the test of faith takes place when one is called upon to defy common sense in order to obey your Word. HELP ME TO TRUST YOUR WORD and be willing to obey you, and to do what you have prescribed. Help me to let go, to transfer my trust base from myself to you, knowing that one does not lose out with God. I pray for the courage to step out in faith, defy common sense and the ways of the world, and place my trust in your Word, knowing that what you have said, that you will do. I thank you Father, for the protection you offer and I choose to believe.

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