Change Your Lenses, Change Your Life (part 4)

Welcome to the fourth part of our series on changing your lenses, your perspective of your circumstances, your identity in Christ, and of God Himself. And it is this last item – your perspective of God Himself – that we are going to focus on today. And this is probably going to be one of the most difficult discussions that we have ever had… not because it is difficult to study, but because for many of us (myself included) it requires us to take an honest and hard look at what we truly believe about God; and repenting (changing our mind) regrading our beliefs accordingly.

So join me today, as we have a tough, but necessary discussion regarding changing our lenses of God.

God is Not Just a Bystander

What is your view of God? Some people see Him as a mere observer or a bystander; someone who is watching your life go by, but not taking part in it. In this view God is seen as more of a score-keeper, someone who is just watching your life, seeing the decisions that you make and keeping a record of your performance in order to judge you.

With this view of God, it is very difficult (or even impossible) to have any kind of real relationship with Him. You can never really have any closeness with someone who has real power to affect change and offer assistance, but refuses to act, and instead just uses your pain to judge you. Would you even want to have a relationship with someone like that?

The real question is, is this idea of God truly accurate? Is this the picture of God that we see in the scriptures?

We will explore this today; and the answer may surprise you.

The New Covenant Perspective on Money, Tithing and Giving (part 3)

Welcome back again to the third and final part of our series on the topic of money, tithing and giving; specifically the New Covenant perspective on these topics, because it is so very important to actually have the proper spiritual perspective in all things – including money, that it was time to look at them honestly with fresh lenses and firmly on the solid foundation of Grace in Christ Jesus and the freedom which He has given to us.
In the previous two parts of this series, we first saw that money in-and-of-itself is not evil – and we also saw that our Heavenly Father is a generous giver who actually enjoys blessing us in every area, including our finances. He wants us to be healthy and wealthy; not only so that we can have pleasure enjoying the life that He has given to us (which He does want us to enjoy) but also so that we will have health and wealth to be generous with and share the love and blessings of Christ with others as well, as His ambassadors.

Then in the second part, we examined tithing, and saw that the old customs and Old Covenant system have been done away with in Christ, as He is the ultimate sacrifice, payment and tithe.

Now today we will complete this series by looking at true New Covenant giving, founded on the finished work of Christ. Giving freely, based on His love, and your new identity in Him.

The New Covenant Perspective on Money, Tithing and Giving (part 1)

Alright, we have been doing a little mini-series on God’s Provision and Prosperity. The reason why we are taking this little journey is because there is so much confusion, misunderstanding, and flat-out error being taught about not just the Gospel in general, but specifically God’s Provision of both Healing and Finances, that it was time for us to look at these things beyond all of opinions, ideas and man-made theologies out there, and strictly look at what the scriptures say, and what Jesus and His finished work on the cross show us regarding them.

In the first part, we laid the foundation as we looked at seeing Jesus as a provider, and how He demonstrated full provision for our spirit, soul, and body (including healing and finances).

Next, we answered the question of how to handle circumstances and situations that don’t seem very prosperous, and how God’s Provision of divine rest, can lead us out of those situations.

Now today, we are going to begin looking at some of the biggest stumbling blocks among believers today in the area of money, and what the scriptures actually show us that our perspective should be, in the light of the finished work of Christ.

Do You See Jesus as a Provider?

The title of today’s study might seem a bit silly at first, but it’s meant to cause us to honestly stop and think. Each of us carries with us a certain perspective of God – a perspective that has been shaped by the events of our life, the doctrines and traditions we have learned, and the general thoughts and feelings that we have on a day-to-day basis.

The question found in the title of today’s study, is one that each of us must ask… Do we actually see Jesus as a provider? – because it is one of the ways which He has clearly revealed Himself. A provider in every single way and sense of the word.

In some cases, there has been push-back against the idea of seeing Jesus as a provider, because they say “it makes God into a genie” – some have felt that it is flat-out wrong to ask God for things, or that it is somehow greedy, selfish or worldly. Others have been taught that God really doesn’t care about provision, because that is too carnal, and God only cares about spiritual things. But again, is that how He has revealed Himself? Is that the picture He has painted Himself as in the scriptures?

Today we will take a look at the picture of Jesus as a provider, as demonstrated in scripture, and see a crucial aspect of Himself, that is sometimes ignored, but one that He wants us to see and receive, as much as any other.

Selfish Prayers Don’t Work! … Or Do They?

If you have listened to the typical “Christian” messages, you’ve probably heard some form of rebuke against selfish prayers. People will typically say things like “You know, God’s not a genie!” – “God’s not here to satisfy you! – He’s Lord and Master!”

Now immediately, I must say that it is true, that God is indeed Lord and Master of all. However, are we truly so ready to accept the idea that God is not the one who satisfies us (in every sense of the word)?
If God is not the one who satisfies us, then who is? Where should we look? If God is not the one who gives to us our needs, wants and desires, then who or what is left?

Do we believe that He wants us to be left unfulfilled and unsatisfied? Is that how a loving Father would treat His beloved children?

Today we are going to answer these questions in the most simple way possible: by looking at Jesus.

Your Father Knows What You Need

Take a few seconds, and think about what you need, right now. Go ahead I’ll wait…

Got it? You may have at some point shared this need with someone. Perhaps a Christian brother or sister. Someone who claims to be a believer in Jesus, and they may have given you this advice, or something similar to this: Oh, just keep praying, just keep pressing in. Just keep at it. You’ll get your answer! Remember that God already knows!

It sounds like good advice, and I’m sure that such advice is given with the very best of innocent intentions, but what does it actually mean? And also, what picture is this advice really painting of God? Well, in this study today, we’re going to explore that, and what it really means when Jesus said that the Father in Heaven, your Father, already knows what you need.

God is Not Just Your Light, He is Your Salvation

We recently did a study on how God is Light, and the Father of it, and it is absolutely true. The plain and simple analogy here is that without Him you can’t see anything clearly (or at all!). It is certainly true that He is Light – but that is not all that He is!

You may think that this is an obvious statement, but let me tell you that back in the days when I was entrenched in legalism and the religious performance mindset, I never really saw God as anything other than light. Oh sure – I knew of the scriptures which stated that He was more, but for myself personally on a daily-basis, I never factored-in anything other than God merely being a source of spiritual light. And there are a great number of people today who are still in that exact same place.

The implications of this are widespread and quite damaging to our relationship and union with Christ. For example, seeing God as only a light to point you in the right-direction, which you then must strive for through your effort and work, can actually totally negate the finished work of Jesus Christ.

So what I want to share with you today in this study, is the fact that God is so much more than light. He’s not just a pointer to salvation; but rather He is salvation.

Prosperity and Protection in Christ

I titled today’s study this way, on purpose, after some consideration, because these two things: prosperity and protection, are some of the most often attacked – not just by the world in general, but from inside Christian circles as well. In many places it is considered “radical” or “extreme” to believe in and trust God for prosperity, whether it be financial prosperity, or prosperity of other kinds such as prosperity in your relationships or prosperity in your health (i.e. healing).

There seems to be a disconnect in these areas, because the people that I often speak with, seem to have no real issue believing in a God who can give them eternal life, and save them from final destruction in hell; yet they have great difficulty believing that this same God is able or willing to provide for their temporal needs right now on this earth.

What I want to share with you today, is precisely what Jesus said about the provision, prosperity and protection, which the Father has for you, right now, today. And by seeing this, you will no longer be subject to the doubt that is so prevalent in the world today.

Give Thanks In All Things

At one time or another, most of us have probably heard at least one sermon preached on the famous verse of 1st Thessalonians 5:18. This well-known verse says that we are supposed to “give thanks in all things.” It’s a tough pill to swallow for many people – not because the instruction itself is difficult, but rather because our interpretation of it makes it harder than it actually is.

You see, what I was taught long ago, and what many people still believe today, is that this famous verse says that we must “give thanks for all things”, when in-fact it doesn’t say that at all. And what I want to share with you today, is what this verse actually is saying, and why this in itself is a testament to Jesus Christ and your relationship with Him.