[Hedz Up] Teaching Moments

This week keep an eye out for little moments the Lord uses to get your attention, internally or circumstantially. He may stir old desires or ideas, spark new directions, and/or solve problems in unusual ways. These will be fleeting moments. Once noticed and engaged, these teaching moments may expand into complex projects. His desire is that we remain attentive even to the subtlest glimpses of His Presence within our peripheral vision.

Have a great week!

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Tithing, Giving and the Scriptures [Part 3]


Abram (Genesis 14:17-20)

17And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s dale. 18And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. 19And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: 20And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

Abram gave a tithe, or one-tenth, of everything he had to Melchizedek, king of Salem. So if Abram had 600 sheep, 450 cows, 316 goats and 800 pieces of silver, Abram gave Melchizedek 60 sheep, 45 cows, 31.6 goats and 80 pieces of silver. “Giving” is the verb, “tithe” is a quantity. Who commanded, or told, Abram to do it? As far as we know, nobody. How many times did he do it? As far as we know, this was a one-time-deal. Why did he do it? To bless “the most high God.” This was his grateful response to the Lord blessing Him, not as a part of a covenantal relationship, to fulfill a commandment, to incur blessing or prevent consequences.

Abram didn’t tithe; Abram gave!

Jacob (Genesis 28:10-22)

10And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba, and went toward Haran. 11And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. 12And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. 13And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; 14And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

16And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not. 17And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. 18And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. 19And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first. 20And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, 21So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God: 22And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.

In Genesis 28:22 the same word used above as “tithe” is translated “tenth.” In response to the promises of the Lord, Jacob makes up his own covenant. Even though God never asked for it, Jacob says that if God will take care of him, and bless him, he will, when he has arrived safely home again, give Him a tenth of everything he has. This reveals more the difficulty Jacob had in receiving unconditionally from God rather than a reflection of God’s heart and intentions toward him.

God never told Jacob to do anything! Nonetheless, Jacob made a vow, that at some point in time he would give a tenth of everything God blessed him with back to Him. We have no record of his carrying out the “giving” part, though God certainly blessed Him as He had said.

Summary of the Tithe before the Law was Written Down

1. In both of these instances, God never commanded anyone to “tithe.” There was no covenant. Later, God did indeed make a covenant with Abram; God made many promises to Abram and his successive generations. All Abram had to do was circumcise his sons.

2. The law had yet to be codified (written down). This is significant because it means that neither Abram nor Jacob were following guidelines previously given by God. These events were “outside” or “before” the law was given.

3. Neither Abram nor Jacob tithed; Abram gave (freely), and Jacob promised to give, if God did what He had already unconditionally promised to do. There were no consequences tied to either one of them NOT GIVING!

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Spirit, Soul & Body and the 3 Realms of Reality

When we understand how God made us, and the changes wrought through salvation, we are better equipped to overcome the world, the flesh and the devil. We need to start with a solid understanding and description of what we are, and what our environment is. If you are a regenerated Christian, you can say, “I am a spirit, I have a soul and I live in a body.”

The Body & the Natural Realm

God created us with bodies. Each of us lives in a unique body, inherited genetically from our parents, who inherited their bodies from their parents, and so on. The body is made up of skin, muscle, circulatory system, heart, brain, etc. Our body was made to function in this earthly environment for a limited time and under earthly restrictions, and it is our body that communicates and relates to this world. The body has five senses: touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing. The body is not a spiritual entity, but is often affected by what goes on in both the soul and the spirit. Before we were born into this world, we did not have the body we have now, and after we die, it will go into the ground (in one way or another). The body is not eternal.

Because the body is a part of the natural realm, it is subject to natural laws. Some of these are time, decay, hunger, pain (sunburn, broken bones) and tiredness. Illness, stress and accidents are also a part of this realm. Jesus said the rain falls on the just and the unjust; the positive and the negative of the natural realm do not discriminate between believers and non-believers. Likewise, natural disasters, earthquakes, floods, tornadoes and the like do not always represent signs or judgment from God.

Warfare in the natural realm consists of taking care of our bodies; generally speaking, most of us don’t have any trouble seeing the need for brushing our teeth, eating properly, exercising regularly and getting proper sleep (though we may not actually do them). We do need to be aware, however, that when our bodies break down, it is often a clear indication that there is something wrong in the soulical realm.

We need to not only take care of our bodies (God loves your body), but also be aware of what is going on in the natural realm. God is constantly speaking through creation; this is one of the reasons there is such debate regarding the creation of the universe, the evolution of man, and the existence of alien life. In his present state, man often relies on “faith in the insupportable” to divert his thoughts from being confronted daily by the infinite majesty and order of the created natural realm (it takes more faith to believe in the poorly researched and illogical hypotheses of much of the scientific community than it does to believe in an infinitely creative God. By the way, among evolutionists, there is no agreement on what the main tenets of evolution should be, except that evolution opposes creation. True science wonderfully reveals God’s existence and workings in the natural realm; it’s often when we try to apply scientific, natural reasoning to the supernatural and spiritual realms that science turns into deception and manipulation).

We can conclude that that which pertains to the natural realm is subject to natural laws, and is under the control of the One Who created it.

[to be continued]
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AN OPEN DOOR by Ray Prinzing

“Behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it.”     Rev. 3:8

“Behold, a door was opened in heaven; and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither.”         Rev. 4:1

In the many cycles of God’s dealings with man, we are often brought to a new circumstance, a bend in the road with a new direction, a fresh start with a change of jobs, or just another measurement of time called a new year.  The attitude in which we face these challenges is vital in respect to the progress to be made, and the victories to be experienced.  I John 4:18 says, “Fear hath torment”.  The Greek word translated here as ‘torment’ literally means, ‘restraint’. It also holds within it the meaning of ‘a pruning’ which signifies a holding back, a restriction of growth.  Fear prohibits one from going on to perfection, for it draws back from the unknown, and confines us to the limitations of that which we have already experienced.  Therefore we must gird up our minds, knowing that “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”, (II Timothy 1:7).  And His love in us will “cast out all fear”.

Inasmuch as “the steps of a man are ordered by the Lord: and He delighteth in his way,” (Psalm 37:23), we can courageously accept the challenge of AN OPEN DOOR, knowing that He goes before us to lead step by step.  It is God that hath set before us this ‘open door’, and “If God be for us, who can be against us? – In all these things we are (become) more than conquerors through Him that loved us,” (Romans 8:31, 37)

Beyond all the natural realms, however, there is also that OPEN DOOR FOR NEW SPIRITUAL DIMENSIONS.  “Come up hither” bespeaks of a transition, an end to the former, the limitations of the ‘in part’, a prophecy, a word of knowledge, a word of wisdom, fragmentary and incomplete: and now to become partakers of the CREATIVE WORD for the new order of His kingdom.

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Memorial Day Reminder

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

Ronald Reagan

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Quotable Quote for Memorial Day

It’s not enough that we do our best;
sometimes we have to do what’s required

Sir Winston Churchill

Understanding our duty, our responsibility as citizens of whatever country is to acknowledge our present-tense role as conduits of the grace, wisdom and freedom of Almighty God. If anyone can value freedom, it should be those who depend on God for achieving and giving eternal freedom to them, unconditionally.
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Tithing, Giving and the Scriptures [Part 2]


One of the main reasons “tithing” has become a divisive issue in the church could be boiled down to a grammatical misunderstanding. To clarify, we will discuss “tithe” in the two forms in which it is used in scriptures, as a noun and as a verb.

“Tithe” as a Noun

“Tithe” simply means “tenth.” So, if I give you a dime, I am giving you a tithe of a dollar. Please note that “giving” is the verb, or action, and “tithe” is simply a quantity or amount. A tithe of 467 cows is 46.7 cows; a tithe of 12 months is 1 month +1 week (approximately). In many places in scripture the word is simply a number.

It is also used as a verb, or an activity God requires as partial fulfillment of His covenant with Israel.

Elements of a Covenant

The main elements of a covenant are based on “If you do such and such, I’ll do so and so.” Both parties agree to it, so there is an underlying assumption that each participant gets something out of it. When Christians speak of The Covenant, it is the covenant made in the Old Testament that is usually being referred to; specifically, the commandments and precepts given to Moses to bring the nation of Israel into a covenant-based relationship with God. The parties involved are Israel and God; the conditions of compliance are that if Israel will keep all the commandments and the precepts, God will be their God, and Israel will be His people. The consequences are long, happy, healthy lives; basically material blessings. (Remember, salvation was not available until the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.) The consequences for disobeying were also spelled out: failure to keep ALL of the law would result in God bringing judgment upon His people. Like the benefits, the consequences were likewise material in nature: disease, drought, war and famine.

There were many requirements of the law, only one of which was the tithe.

“Tithe” as a Verb

In the following section we will look at the specifics given in the scripture that make up the covenantal elements usually referred to as “the tithe.” In general, we can say that “to tithe” is to fulfill the law by paying a set amount in specific ways to specific people for specific uses at specific times in order to maintain a specific relationship with God. If the Israelites did their part, to fulfill the commandments (there were hundreds, by the way) and the precepts, then God was obligated by His Word to fulfill His part, and take care of them and bless them.

It may help to remember that the Levites were not the first to tithe; many idolaters dedicated a tenth of their increase to their gods, and held festivals and meccas to celebrate the blessing of their gods. Giving a portion of the spoils of war and of the increase of the field was common throughout the ancient world, from Greece to China to Mayan civilizations. And giving in proportions of ten was common, as it was the basis of most of the known counting systems (by virtue of the common counting appendages).

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Basic Principles of Bible Interpretation

As we study the scriptures, or anything else for that matter, we need to do some objective evaluating of the content. Here are some guidelines:

1) Who wrote it? (Author) Is this person speaking for God, or themselves, or for a position or belief they are trying to re-enforce or question?

2) To whom was it written? (Audience) Believer or non-believer? Those under law or under grace? To those in authority or to the common man?

3) What was the social situation? (Environmental Context) What city? What is the history of the region? What was going on politically, religiously, financially at the time?

4) When was this written? (Age Context) Was this written under Law or under Grace? Pre-Resurrection or Post-Resurrection?

5) What is the practical application for us, since we, as believers, now live in the age of grace? (Application)

6) Review the passage before and after the scripture being studied. Remember, in the original there were no chapter breaks, passage numbers or even punctuation or capitalizations.

7) Study key words according to their original definition. A Strong’s Concordance, referencing the King James Version, is an invaluable resource, as is a good interlinear reference, which gives a modern-day translation with a “straight-rendering” or “word-for-word” translation of the original language, whether Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek).

8) Does what I have learned from this passage cause me to depend on God, or on myself (the strength of my emotions, will or intellect). I have found this a good test to see whether I have interpreted a passage according to grace or from a law mentality, which begets legalism and death.

9) When using outside references, dictionaries, expositories, etc., use as great a variety as possible, as often these individual works are written to enforce a viewpoint, approach, belief, doctrine or denomination.

10) When studying scripture, use as many versions and translations as possible, as each will have a nuance that may give further revelation by the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment. This also trains us to become interpreters, rather than simply sponges that absorb the surface layer.

These are just a few criteria to keep in mind whenever we study the scripture, regardless of what version we use. This is important because we want to handle the scriptures rightly, and not be putting words in God’s mouth. In this way, we can have confidence that as the Holy Spirit brings the words to life, He is doing so according to His will, and not because it’s something we want to hear, or have heard from someone else.

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“Even though at present you are temporarily harassed by all kinds of trials and temptations.  This is no accident – it happens to prove your faith, which is infinitely more valuable than gold, and gold, as you know, even though it is ultimately perishable, must be purified by fire.  This proving of your faith is planned to result in praise and honour and glory in the day when Jesus Christ reveals Himself.” (I Peter 1:6-7, Phillips)

This is no accident.  It is a HAPPENING that is PLANNED to prove your faith!  The responsibility is God’s, according to His plan and purpose being wrought out in us, that we might be found to His praise.  Let us not be so quick to look for secondary causes, and forget that God is working out all things after the counsel of His own will.  Nor did He just allow it, nay, HE PLANNED IT.  We need to know wherein we stand, and in Whom we believe, else we shall not be able to stand in the “evil day”.  But knowing that whatever shall touch our lives in the days, months, years to come, is in the purpose of God, under His sovereign control, ant that IT IS NO ACCIDENT, then we can rest in His power and sufficiency to bring us through victoriously.  All our circumstances are not just casually permitted; they are planned in His love.

No wonder it is written, “neither give place to the devil”, (Eph. 3:27).  You cannot be GOD-CONSCIOUS and devil-conscious at the same time.  Since God is working in His elect to bring them to that place where “the prince of this world cometh and hath nothing in me”, (John 14:30), it is obvious that all the ‘place’ in our minds where we have given room to the negative must be purged, and Christ totally enthroned, so that He alone fills our being with His consciousness.

Predetermined counsel working, ‘Tis the Father’s will for thee,
And no accident can happen, what He planned is what you see.

From our God all things receiving, single eye, in faith to stand,
Strengthened with the blest assurance, none can pluck us from His hand.

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These First Things

This is a wonderful and exciting time to be alive and witnessing some fantastic things God is doing! Many of the clouds that have kept His plans secret are being blown away, revealing the grace, freedom and wholeness that is our inheritance. As we begin to explore some of the practical ways we can enter into His rest, we need to keep a few basic guidelines in mind:
1) Truth is a Person — Jesus Christ Himself. Though we will be referring to the scriptures, we will not be looking to the Bible as our primary source for truth. Our goal is to encourage the reader to hear from the Living Word directly and internally. Most of us realize that you can make the scriptures say whatever you want, which is one of the reasons there are so many denominations and translations today. The scriptures have been translated into over a thousand languages, each with their own subtleties and emphasis necessitated by the language. So our goal is to become acquainted with that witness, that “a-ha” within that testifies that what we have heard or read is Truth.
2) None of us has all the truth. Therefore some of what we believe must not be true. We must be willing to admit and let go of the misconceptions we have about God, ourselves, others and what He’s doing in our lives, and let Him change our hearts, minds and behaviors to line up with what He says is True.
3) Most of us don’t know what we believe. Much of what we believe has been passed down; it’s okay to question it. That which is truth, from God for us at this time, will stand the light of day. That which doesn’t, well, it wasn’t bringing us life anyway. So let it go!
4) We need to be practical — God is! There are things we can do, and stop doing, by which we can cooperate with what God is doing. God wants us involved in what He is doing in our lives, in this world, and in His plans for this time frame.
5) Wholeness, freedom and life are God’s provision for us — NOW! God wants us whole, complete and entire, and will not cease his efforts until we enter His rest.
6) We are often fighting the wrong battles. We’ve been distracted by battles that have already been won, yet are not taking up the sword where we need to.
7) A lot of what we have chosen to believe is because it fits our temperament, how we feel, our history, and how we perceive our identity. As our perceptions change, our beliefs will also change.
8 ) We are all dealing with the same basic problems. There are only two kinds of people in the world; those that are spiritually dead, and those that are spiritually alive. Once we get beyond this, we can look at what is really keeping us from entering into life: the flesh.
9) How Do You Spell “Success”? Let’s face it, this is really the bottom line. And we’re not talking about what organized religion calls success: achieving our goals, not “sinning,” fulfilling our calling, perfecting our gifts or being in full-time ministry. Our true calling is to “live in the spirit,” yet we often don’t even know what that means. For our purposes, living, moving, walking and having our being in the spirit will be referred to as depending on God, for our very life, for the meeting of our needs, and for guidance, direction, assurance, etc. For most of us, we have no idea what it would look like to truly live the Christian life. What would it feel like? Would we think differently, act differently? We need to discover how God defines success.
10) Is what you’re learning practical? Can you apply what you’re being taught to your daily life? We want to be able to stop going ’round the mountain, from one crisis to another, and finally learn how to walk daily as the overcomers God says we are. Sure, there will be times when we don’t feel happy, or our circumstances are bad, but is there something we can actually do to live in that promised peace and rest today? YES! And it’s simpler than you might think.
11) Man likes to make complex what God has made simple. One of the things we will be doing is to unravel and bring into the light some of the things being taught in organized religion that are contrary to what God says is Truth. So keep your ears open for what the Spirit is saying to you, the church, and when He bids you to come up hither, Come!
12) Accept what God reveals, even if it doesn’t answer all your questions or doesn’t seem to fit in with your other beliefs. We like to understand everything before we accept it, and will try to carry to logical conclusions that which God has only revealed in part. God has the right to teach us on His timetable; He operates strictly on a need-to-know basis. If and when we need to know something, He’ll teach and reveal it to us. Rest in what He is in you today!
13) Is what you’re believing working for you? Or are you counting the days until you can be whisked away to your reward, that place of perfect peace where you can finally rest and enjoy freedom, confidence and the acknowledgement of God; “Well done, good and faithful steward. Here is your reward”? This is not what God intended for us — He has a purpose for our time here, and it is my firm conviction that if we don’t learn it here we will have to learn it in the next age to come.
14) Religious Jargon. One of the first things we’re going to do is to try as much as possible to stay away from religious terms, and instead re-phrase the concepts into something that will hopefully mean something to all of us. So though we will occasionally refer specifically to a scripture verse, in order to encourage the Spirit making these things real on a personal level we will not be trying to “prove” these things by the written word. We trust that the Lord will witness to you personally what He wants you to know; that which is not from Him will be washed down the drain anyway, so even if you find you can’t accept some of what is written here, we hope you enjoy and are challenged by some differing perspectives.

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