Category Archives: Devotionals/Sermons

Giving Is A Regular Practice

  • Devotional: Giving should be regularly practiced. When Paul told the Corinthian churches to take up offerings to help the believers in Jerusalem, he told them to collect the offerings on the first day of every week. 1 Corinthian 16:2 says, “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” This verse shows us a pattern of giving regularly. It is an example that we can follow. As we receive regularly, we should give regularly.
  • Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for all the wonderful blessings and kindness that you show us each day. Thank You for the money You bless us with on a regular basis. God help us to be consistent in giving to You. God help us to use our money for You and Your glory. Help us to resist the temptation to use our money for our own purposes and pleasure. Help us to get into the habit of giving regularly to you. We ask these things in the name of Jesus, amen.

Believers Give The Amount They Decide

  • Devotional: In the Old Testament, people were supposed to give a tithe of ten percent to the tabernacle. They had a set amount that they were supposed to give. In the New Testament, God says that we are not under the law but under grace (Romans 6:14b). God doesn’t give New Testament believers a set amount that they are supposed to give. However, out of our love for God and the cheerfulness of our heart we are to give the amount that we think would be the best. 2 Corinthians 9:7 tells us how we are to give. It says, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” God lets us decide how much we are to give, but we are to have the right God glorifying motivation when we give.
  • Prayer: Dear Father God, Help give us wisdom to know how much to give. Help us not to give as little as possible, but help us to give as much as we can to you. Whatever amount we decide to give help us to give it cheerfully to you. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

A Church Allows People To Worship Freely

  • Devotional: God wants people in the local church to be willingly involved in giving. People are never supposed to be forced to give. The church is not a business. It is not authorized to charge money nor is its goal to make the best profit. God wants people to give out of worship and love to Him not because they are forced to. Jesus has never liked people being forced to pay money in order to worship God. Matthew 21:12-13 says, “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” We worship God without charge, but we give out of love.
  • Prayer: Dear Father, thank you for freely giving to us many things. Thank you for the free gift of salvation. Thank you for the many blessings we receive each day that we don’t deserve. God help us as a church to never take advantage or your goodness and force people to give. When we meet together, help us to give out of love. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Giving Is Part Of The Activity Of A Church

  • Devotional: A healthy local church is made up of people that are involved in giving. They give to take care of the church expenses and pay the leadership. They give to help other believers in need and support people taking the gospel around the world. From the early beginnings of the church people were involved in giving. Acts 2:44-45 says, “And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.” One of the things that makes a New Testament church healthy is that it is a church where people are regularly involved in giving.  
  • Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, help us as a church to be a giving church. Help us to think about ways that we can give and be a blessing to others around us. Help us to not be too protective of our money but to be willing to give it to You for Your purposes. Thank you for blessing us with the money to be able to give and help us to be generous with it. We pray this in the name of Jesus, amen. 

God’s Love Motivates Us To Give

  • Devotional: God loved us when we were unlovable. When He came and gave His life for us, we were in complete rebellion against Him. He gave up everything for us. This was an act of amazing love. Believers are people who have realized what God has done for us and have accepted this amazing gift of love. The love God has shown us motivates us to love others in the same way that we have been loved by God. 1 John 3:17 says, “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” If someone has truly experienced the love of God, they will want to give to meet the needs of others just like God gave the best He had to meet our need of salvation. We give to express the love of God in our hearts.
  • Prayer: Dear Father God, thank you for the amazing love you showed to us on the cross. God, thank you for giving up everything for us. God help us to love, be givers and show to the world around us Your amazing love. We ask this in Jesus’ name, amen.

We Cannot Serve Two Masters

  • Devotional: We cannot serve money and God. We must choose to love one and hate the other. Matthew 6:24 says, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” God wants people to serve and love Him alone, He does not want the “position of God” in one’s life to be divided. Giving is a way we live out God being in charge of our lives. Instead of letting money control our lives, we control it. We give it to God to show that He is the Master we have chosen to serve.
  • Prayer: Dear God, we ask you today to do a work in our lives.  God you are in charge and are the true King. Help us God to always choose You over money. Help us to love and serve you. Help us each day to live for you and not for money. Help us to show our loyalty to you by being givers. Thank you for your goodness. Thank you God for your love to us. We pray this in Jesus’ name, amen.

We Use Money For God’s Glory

  • Devotional: As believers, we are to joyfully use our money for God’s glory. Many times people think that they can use all their money for their own pleasure, but believers should realize that their money along with everything else in their lives are to be used for God’s glory. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” Money is a tool God gives us to serve Him with. We ask Him for wisdom on how to use the money He gives us and we try to use it in the way that most pleases, honors and glorifies Him.
  • Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for all the good things You have given us. Thank You for the money that You give us each day. Help us to use the money that You give us in a way that pleases and honors You. Give us wisdom on how specifically to use our money for You. Help us to use all the things You have given us for Your glory. Thank you for taking care of all our needs. We pray this in the name of Jesus, amen.

God Owns Everything

  • Devotional: Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” God is the Creator of everything; therefore, He is the owner of everything. Psalm 50:10 says, “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.” As believers, we recognize this fact and yield not only our lives, but also everything we own, including our money, to God. When we participate in giving our money as an offering to God we are showing that we believe He is the Creator God who owns everything and that we are willing to submit to Him as Lord of all.
  • Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, today we want to recognize you as Creator. We know that you are the Creator and Owner of everything. Everything we posses has come from You. Today, as we give, we ask that You will bless the gift and the one who gives. Use it to further Your Kingdom. Lord, we give today knowing You are Lord of all. Thank you for all that You have given us and help us to give back to You. We ask this in the name of Jesus, amen.

Understanding Speaking In Tongues (Part 5)

Rules That Guide Speaking At Church (1 Corinthians 14:26-33)

  • 14:26-28 Paul ask a question, “How is it then, brethren?” and then goes on to describe what their chaotic gatherings must have been like: each one has a psalm, a doctrine, a tongue, a revelation, or an interpretation. Then he clearly states, “Let all things be done unto edifying.” Edification is the goal of the gathering of every church. So Paul is basically saying, whatever your church meeting is like, if it isn’t edifying then it is wrong and it needs to stop. If anyone speaks in an untranslated tongue there are a few rules to follow: (1) Only allow two or three at the most to speak; (2) they should speak “by course” or successively, in order and one at a time; (3) finally they can only speak with interpretation. But if there is no interpreter, the person who has the gift of speaking in tongues must keep silent in the church. He can’t speak publicly. Instead he can speak to himself (meditate) and speak to God (prayer) silently—obviously with language you can understand not gibberish otherwise the problem is the same, it is unfruitful. 
  • 14:29-31 Another gift that was part of the church at that this time was prophets (Acts 13:1; Ephesians 2:20; 4:11). They also had rules to follow: (1) Only allow two or three to speak; (2) the other prophets were to judge what was said; (3) if one of the prophets who is sitting there and not speaking receives revelations from God, then the one who is speaking should hold his peace or stop speaking and allow the other to speak; (4) they must prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and be comforted.
  • 14:32-33a To clarify any other confusion, Paul states that, “the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets”—meaning that each prophet can control himself. No one can say they can’t control what they are doing because of the Holy Spirits work in their life, etc. And finally, Paul explains the basis for all of these rules, the character of God—he states, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace”. Confusion, upheaval, disorder are not characteristics of God. Instead, peace and harmony are descriptive of what God is like. Therefore, in all churches of the saints, we should reflect God’s character.
  • Conclusion: Edification is important (1 Thessalonians 5:11; Romans 15:2-3). It is the goal of meeting together as a church. When the church meets together, everything they do should not only edify but also be done in such a manner that it reflects God’s very character—that which leads to peace and not confusion. Speaking gibberish seems to be at odds with God’s character and not in line with it.

Authority, Decency And Order (1 Corinthians 14:34-40)

  • 14:33b-35 As in all churches of the saints—meaning the following principles will apply to all churches—women should remain silent in the churches, because they are not permitted or allowed to speak, but they are commanded to be under obedience—to be in submission—this isn’t a new principle but also mentioned in the law (1 Corinthians 11:3-15; 1 Timothy 2:11-15). Since the reason for them not to speak is because they need to be in submission, it seems this prohibition for speaking in church is focused on speaking in an authoritative manner, such as judging what the prophets were saying, speaking in tongues, or any kind of lead teaching or any type of speaking that brings down male leadership in the church. Thus, in this context, it would be a shame or disgraceful for women to speak in the church, So Paul tells them to learn by asking their husbands at home.
  • 14:36-38 Paul is teaching the church with authority because he knows that some might not like to read what he is writing to them. Again he sarcastically ask them, “What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?”—meaning were they the original source and authority for the Word of God, of course not. So Paul goes on to say that if any person thinks they are “a prophet, or spiritual” they should acknowledge that the things that Paul wrote unto them are “the commandments of the Lord”—they have the full authority of Scripture like the Old Testament. If anyone be ignorant—refuse to acknowledge this truth, we are to let him be ignorant—ignored, not acknowledge, not recognized (they are not to be a part of this discussion because they reject Scripture).
  • 14:39-40 Finally, Paul ends the discussion by summing up his key points: (1) they were to covet or be zealous to prophesy; (2) they were not to overreact and forbid people to speak with “foreign languages” but it was to be allowed to accomplish its purpose as a sign to unbelievers and in church according to the rules—especially translation; (3) they were to let all things be done decently and in order.
  • Conclusion: Paul’s teaching is authoritative and supersedes all human experience. Those who aren’t following what Paul has said are not obeying the commandments of the Lord. They weren’t to forbid tongues because it had a necessary purpose but also it wasn’t the gift that Paul told them to pursue—prophesy was.

Answering Hard Questions

  • What if I spoke in tongues and it made me feel better and more joyful etc? This is your emotions and emotions don’t tell us what truth is. For example, you can listen to a good song but it has nothing to do with Jesus and it can make you feel good. We can’t just do things because it makes us fell better, energizes us, etc.
  • You can say that tongues don’t exist today, but so many people around the world speak in tongues, how can you explain this? It is true that there are people all around the world claim they speak in tongues. But there are two type of tongues: false and true. “False tongues” are the gibberish nonsense that most people claim to speak. The problem is that these false tongues can’t be verified because they are not human languages. A person might claim the gift of “interpreting” but their interpretation can’t be verified either. This is convenient for those who want to speak in false tongues because there is no standard to be compared to. Thus, this also voids one of the purposes of speaking in tongues—to confirm the word that is preach with signs and miracles. How does speaking gibberish and someone claiming they can translate it confirm the word being preached? Miracles are supposed to be obvious supernatural workings of God that are undeniable (like healing a blind man, not healing someone with a cold). On the other hand, real “tongues” are authentic human languages and therefore they can be verified by the vast number of people who speak that language. How many people today claim to speak real “tongues”? Not many, because this claim can actually be verified. Thus, we most who claim to speak tongues today are just speaking gibberish.
  • Doesn’t the Bible says to “forbid not to speak with tongues”? Yes, but it is referring to speaking in real “tongues” and not a false “tongue”. The Bible never encourages speaking in gibberish. We don’t forbid people to speak in real tongues, but we think it has already ceased people don’t have this gift. If someone want’s to speak at church in a foreign language they can if they follow the rules—especially that it needs to be translated.
  • If I spoke in tongues before but now I am told it is wrong, what was I doing before when I was “speaking in tongues” and what should I do now? Hopefully, you are convinced by the Bible that there is a false way to speak in tongues. If you were speaking in tongues before and it wasn’t a real language then you were just speaking “happy gibberish” or just sounds from your current language that are often repeated over and over again (which Jesus gives us a warning against when praying in Matthew 6:7). You should recognize this and choose to not spend time in emotional babble, but instead focusing your efforts in prayer and Bible study with your mind fully concentrated on it.
  • Why are tongues and prophesy compared? Both are gifts from the Holy Spirit, one means to speak in a foreign language supernaturally and the other means to speak God’s revelations supernaturally but not in a foreign language, thus in your native language—which is also the most likely the language of the people you are talking. So it is comparing “native languages” and “foreign languages” or “language understood by the hearers” and “language not understood by the hearers”. Thus, prophecy is proven to be superior in gift for communication, pray, praise and spreading the gospel.
  • Are the tongues in Acts and 1 Corinthians that same gift of tongues? Yes, it is the same gift of the Holy Spirit and not two different gifts. A detailed comparison proves this.

Understanding Speaking In Tongues (Part 4)

Interpretation Is Needed Or It’s Useless (1 Corinthians 14:13-17)

  • 14:13 Therefore—if the goal is church edification—then if a person speaks in an untranslated tongue he should pray that he may interpret—to clearly explain meaning to the hearers so that the church can be edified.
  • 14:14-17 Paul continues his sarcastic tone and once again points out the silliness using an untranslated tongue or gibberish to pray. If a person prays in such a manner, he is praying with his “spirit”—his inner being, passion, human spirit, heartfelt, sincere—but his understanding or his mind is completely unfruitful. So what should this person do? Paul simple says to pray with your spirit, but also pray with understanding. This means he should stop praying in a language we don’t understand because there is no comprehension. The same thing goes for singing. We are to sing with our spirit and with our understanding. Otherwise, when we sincerely (with the spirit) bless but we are speaking gibberish or an untranslated tongue, how will others (“he that occupieth the room of the unlearned”) agree and say, “Amen” when we give thanks? They won’t because they don’t understand what we are saying. We might be giving thanks well, but the others are not edified. 
  • Conclusion: Any believer who was given the gift to speak another known human language that they have never studied was to only use it within the church if it was interpreted into the language of hearers in the church. 

Only Speak What Can Teach Others (1 Corinthians 14:18-19)

  • 14:18 Just to make sure everyone knew that Paul was not against the use of real “tongues” he thanks God because he actually spoke with tongues more than the church at Corinth. The difference is that Paul used the gift properly and for the right reasons. (Note: There is no record in the Bible of Paul speaking in tongues, which is important to note because he had the gift and used it a lot, but it wasn’t important enough to write down.)
  • 14:19 Paul continues, even though he spoke with tongues more than those in the church he was writing to, he makes it very clear that in the church he would rather speak five words with his understanding, that by his voice he might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an untranslated language or gibberish.
  • Conclusion: Even though Paul spoke in tongues, he never misused it or chose to speak in a foreign language instead of speaking in the language of the hearers. To Paul the important part of any gift is the ability to teach others.

The Purpose Of Tongues (1 Corinthians 14:20-25)

  • 14:20 Pauls next step is for us to understand the purpose of why tongues were given as a spiritual gift. First, he chides the Corinthian believers for being children in their understanding. He tells them to be children in “malice”—(perverting moral principles) but to be men in their understanding—that is to be mature and think carefully about the situation that he is presenting to them. They need to grow up in the Lord.
  • 14:21 Then he shows them the prophecy about tongues, saying that in the law it is written (Isaiah 28:11-12), “With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.” This was a prophecy that God was going to use people who spoke other languages (Gentiles) than that of Jews, and speak to the Jews, but they would also reject this message. This was fulfilled in Acts 2:3-12 (Jews) and 10:44-46 (Gentiles) when God gave men each different languages. (Note: Some languages the hearers could understand and some they couldn’t understand, which is probably the reason for them mocking, saying, “These men are full of new wine. ” From what we have already learned, if you don’t know what someone is saying, he is like a barbarian to you.)
  • 14:22 Therefore—because of the prophecy—tongues were for a sign to unbelievers not to them that believe. But prophesying on the other hand serves for them which believe not unbelievers (1 Corinthians 2:14). 
  • 14:23-25 Paul makes another comparison through a hypothetical situation. He says if the whole church comes together into one place and everyone is speaking with “tongues”—all kinds of different earthly languages probably at the same time—and there comes in those that are unlearned or unbelievers they will say that the church is mad—insane, uncontrolled emotion and chaos. This is obviously not the response that we want. So this was an example of misusing a real spiritual gift. On the other hand, if everyone was prophesying—speaking one earthly language, that of the hearers—and there comes in those that are unlearned or unbelievers, there is the opportunity that they may be convinced of all, judged of all, the secrets of their hearts made manifest and so falling down on their faces they will worship God and report that God is really among you. Thus, even though tongues was a sign to unbelievers, prophecy does a better job at evangelizing the unbelievers—it is superior.
  • Conclusion: The main function of tongues was to serve as negative sign to unbelievers. Thus, as tongues were properly spoken, it did positively edify the church thorough allowing people to hear in their own language the wonderful works of God—but don’t forget this fulfillment and blessing itself was the sign of judgment given to the unbelieving Jews. This also gives temperance to this gift.