Friday, October 5, 2018

​Francis Harper ​Message for 10/5/2018

​------ Forwarded message -----
From: Francis Harper

​Francis Harper ​Message for 10/5/2018

Dear Ones,

We are born selfish. My brother’s first word was “mine.” He may have learned this word from me! God wants us to change from being greedy, selfish takers to grateful, generous givers. “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). When we are “born again” we will be generous with our time, talent and money.

God rewards those who give generously from the heart. A minister was scheduled to speak only once during the next month. He and his wife knew the offering taken during that one church service needed to be sufficient to cover their budget for the following month. After the service, the pastor told the guest minister: “This is the largest love offering ever received at this church.” It was roughly the same as their monthly budget. This was a miracle! But earlier in the same service a missionary had given a brief message and the man who gave the sermon was prompted by the Lord to give the offering; all of it, to the missionary. This was a severe test but the “miracle money” was given as the Spirit directed. An hour later, a well dressed man in a pizza place said to the preacher, “God wants to teach you about giving, so you can teach the body of Christ,” Then he was handed a check ten times the size of the offering he had just given away; ten times to the penny!

My brother-in-law Burton Moores was a lineman for the Harrison County Rural Electric Coop and my sister, Hattie, taught the first grade students at the Woodbine Community School for thirty-eight years. Burton and Hattie were accounting stewards. They always paid their tithing; in fact, they over-paid.

One year they assisted a destitute family financially, enabling them to attend reunion. A short time later Burton volunteered to help another Coop repair their electrical lines after a storm. His pay for this overtime work was ten times the amount they had given to the needy family. Sometime later Burton and Hattie assisted the same family again due to fire damage in their home. And a second time, Burton was given overtime pay for repairing the power lines after a storm. And once again the pay he received for this work was ten times the amount they had given; almost to the penny. This was proof “you cannot out-give the Lord.”

We need to have generous hearts and give at least 10% of our increase in tithing! I was amazed at Patriarch Mike Ballantyne’s testimony of tithing. He said, “I made a list of all of our bills and of my income and it would not begin to cover the bills. I also decided it was time to start paying on the tithing we owed. I divided the amount of tithing we still owed by 24 (2 years) and the amount we needed to pay each month was $234.39. I wrote that figure at the top of the budget list, followed by the mortgage payment, utilities, groceries, and other things. I wondered how I could pay all these things on my income. On that day, at noon, my boss asked to speak with me. He announced they were going to give me a 10% cost of living increase in my pay. Then he said they put in a merit pay request for me and it had been approved giving me a 28% increase in pay. Then my boss said my monthly pay would be increased by $234.39 a month. It was the exact amount to the penny, of what I had budgeted for tithing that morning! It took me a while to understand that even from the beginning my Savior had known that on that very morning I would sit down to prepare my budget and determine to give the first fruits. He also knew, before 7:00 a.m., the precise amount I needed to pay each month would be determined to be $234.39. then after lunch I would receive the gift. The perfect timing! The fact that no one else knew. The conviction and the sure knowledge that the Savior planned it all from the beginning, just for me!”

We have a wonderful, personal God, who rewards those who pay their tithes and offerings.

My Love to All,
Francis Harper


Open The Windows Of Heaven

​ “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse; for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith 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 3:8-10).

Those who are wise will accept the Lord’s challenge. Giving our tithes and offerings is the safest and best investment any of us can make. His promises are sure. “For he will fulfill all his promises . . . for he has fulfilled his promises which he has made unto our fathers” (Alma 17:48). He will open the windows of heaven and pour out abundant blessings to those who diligently and faithfully give their tithes and offerings. Doing this, as they say, is “a no brainer.” The Poor Widow

In Malachi 3:8 the question is asked: “wherein have we robbed thee?” The tithe is a first-fruits offering. From the beginning the first-fruits of the harvest belonged to God. “The first of the first-fruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the Lord thy God” (Exodus 23:19). “Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first-fruits of all thine increase; so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine” (Proverbs 3:9-10). The first ten percent of the first-fruits of our “increase” belongs to God. When we keep anything that belongs to God we have robbed him! We tend to give God the “left-overs.”

Tithing is paid on increase. What is increase? In the Old Testament times the majority of the people were farmers. Their families were fed, clothed and sheltered, primarily from the produce of their fields, flocks and herds. The increase was determined when an inventory of the numbers of animals and measures of grain were tabulated at the beginning and end of a specified period. Leviticus 27:32 speaks of the counting of their flocks and herds to determine the tithe. “And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord.” The numbers of animals and measures of grain remaining after the needs of the family had been met would be the increase.

The increase upon which the tithe is paid is also mentioned in Deuteronomy 14:22, 28: “Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. . . . At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and thou shalt lay it up within thy gates; And the Levite [priesthood] (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.”

Some may say we do not need to pay tithing now because we are no longer required to keep the Mosaic law. But Jesus talked about money in 16 of his 38 parables, and supported the paying of the tithe when he said: “Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint, and anise, and cummin; and have omitted the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, and not to leave the other undone” (Matthew 23:20 IV; 23:23 KJV). In other words, Jesus is saying: Pay your tithing and do not neglect the heart issues of justice, mercy and faith!

How foolish it would be for us to neglect the paying of our tithes and offerings, with a grateful heart, and forfeit the blessings from heaven he has promised.

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