Monday, October 25, 2010

Happy 8th!

Last 10/21, i celebrated our anniversary with of course, Oliver's family:-) It's been like a tradition already and sort of a reunion since it's almost always the only time of the year when I could get to really see the other members of his family who are really close to me. Haplessly with this year's mini celebration, we weren't able to have papa Turing join us since he has work that day.

***my honey six years after***

***Oliver's family***

This year is the 6th year that I'm celebrating our anniversary alone. Oh well, I know for sure he is also merry-making this day with his angel pals in heaven, but i couldn't deny the fact that I still miss those few precious moments we spent celebrating this special day together--or at least every 21st of the month.

I would be honest to say that the manner I celebrated our anniversary this year was very different from the previous years. Well, I still went to his grave and brought him flowers, met his family lunchtime and had lunch with them, and talked about him a bit--but perhaps God has really changed a good portion of my heart on how to deal with my past, with that particular episode of my life. God enlightened me completely that what happened was His will, His perfect plan for both our lives. Back then, I was so confused and blinded of the real purpose, the reason why God let that thing happened, but I chose to be faithful and wait for that time when I could finally understand the reason why. When I found my way back to God in 2007 and started my walk with Him, I started to see the reasons behind. It's as if God really opened my eyes.

I keep saying this: God loves me so much that He let that thing happened to me. I believe that and will believe that till the day I could get to meet my Savior face to face. God has lots of great plans for me but He wants to be part of that plan as the sole Anchor that He decided to break first my hardened heart with that tragedy so He could get in. It might be hard to understand at first and some would even think of God as selfish or brutal, but once you get to know Him and understand His words perfectly, you'll feel even overwhelmed of God's love for you.

I lost one of the great loves of my life, the only man who first believed in me and saw the real beauty and treasure in me--physically. For I know that in my heart and in my mind, Oliver will always stay with me. I might have lost him but I found the greatest MAN one could ever have-JESUS!

During the first few years since Oliver died, I always tell myself that I will only open my heart and love again when I'll finally meet that guy who is deserving enough to make me take off the necklace that Oliver gave me from my neck. Well guess what? I still hasn't found that mortal guy. But someone even more special and more deserving made me take off that necklace. JESUS. Now, I'm no longer wearing that necklace. I'm now more than ready to move and let go, NOT really forgetting Oliver but more of, truly accepting the fact that he's more than happy living his life with God now and His angels and that I still have a life to live.

When I accepted God in my heart, my life became more at peace and joyful for I know that I am walking with the Greatest MAn this world could ever have.

God's been the source of my strength throughout those mourning years. He's been my shield and sole protector. If not for God, I might have long bid this world goodbye. I love Oliver but I love God more!

God made the wonderful difference in the manner I celebrated our anniversary this year:-)

The Tithe is a Cursebreaker (Sharing a read.....)

This is a repost from the blog of Stefan Suarez regarding how should we view tithing. This read is such a blessing especially for those people who perceive tithing as a burden they want to be lifted up from them. 

“Do Christians have to tithe? Isn’t it strictly a Jewish thing? Paul said we no longer have to be circumcised. Why in the world do we still have to tithe?” – these were my questions around 2 years ago. These questions have blessed me. Why? Because this is when I started to ask questions about the New Covenant. I wanted to know the role of the law for believers. My beliefs in this area have radically changed in the last year or so. And now I’m confident enough to share with you what I’ve discovered.

Here’s the part that raised the most questions in my heart. Pastors in many churches would read these verses:

Malachi 3: 8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me.

And they would say something like this:

“Guys, if you don’t tithe, you’re robbers. If my daughter were to bring someone into my house one day, I’ll ask him if he tithes or not. If he doesn’t, I won’t let him see my daughter because he is a robber.”

“Choose today if you want blessings or curses. If you tithe, God will bless you. If you don’t God will curse you. Do you want to rob God”

It raised two questions.

First- am I really robbing God when I tithe?
And second, am I really cursed when I don’t tithe?
How can God curse Christians?

The second question piqued my interest more. Why? Because it came in direct conflict with how I understood grace. If Jesus took our curse, how am I still cursed? For a time, I stopped tithing altogether because of this. I thought to myself – “Tithing is just like circumcision. It’s an old Jewish thing that has been abolished and non-Jewish believers (like myself) shouldn’t be bothered with it. Everytime and every place we are required to tithe we are being put under the law again – and people are wrongly brought under the curse.” So for the greater part of a whole year (2009ish) I did not tithe.

In the meantime, I still kept checking on my belief. I’d read on tithing every chance I got. Every time I came across a teaching that said people are cursed because they don’t tithe, I would dismiss it altogether because it’s usually from Malachi which I concluded was “obsolete”. I said to myself: “Show me one teaching that has text from the New Testament about tithing, and talks about the relationship of tithing and Christianity”. Like I said earlier, that question really blessed me. I kept digging and asking questions about our righteousness, the law, the cross, etc. All the while, the Holy Spirit was speaking in my heart about the New Covenant and grace, but it was all a little seed I couldn’t put in words back then.

Tithing in the New Covenant

Today I believe in the New Covenant. I believe that Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the law for me. God blesses me today according to how well Jesus obeyed the law – perfectly. So as far as “tithing the commandment” is concerned – like in the law of Moses, I cannot be cursed for “breaking” that. I will be blessed as if I am perfect in my obedience of that.

But tithing is more than just a law. It existed before the law. And if it were put in a law to begin with, doesn’t it mean that it is good? The Law of the Lord is good. It was the covenant of the Law which judges us according to our obedience of the law that was problematic. God found fault with that covenant and sent his Son to rescue us from that and begin a new covenant by his blood. But make no mistake: the Law is good! Ordinances about diet and hygiene spared the Jews from plagues and kept them healthy. God loves his people!

I also believe that the spirit behind the law is Jesus.

2 Corinthians 3: 15Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

When people turn to Jesus, they begin to see him in the whole bible. They see him unveiled even in the Torah / Pentateuch. We cannot discard the entire Old Testament just because we associate it with “the Law” or with “the Old Covenant”. It was always about Jesus. He is the Spirit or the essence behind it, and when Christians see Jesus behind the law, there is freedom!

I no longer look at the 10 commandments with dread, I see it with excitement. Perfect love casts out all punishment-related fear.

I can jump off an airplane if I knew I had the Parachute. I would dare to tightrope if I knew there was the Net. Jesus sets us free from the old way we saw the law- THOU SHALT OR ELSE. Why? Because we know that even if we fall, he is there. God treats us like we did it perfectly, but invites us anyway to give it a shot. Right living is not a requirement for his blessing- it IS a blessing in and of itself, and we receive it by grace. It is true freedom to live right, doing so not because you were required to but because you want to. And that happens when we see Jesus as the Spirit behind these things.

God had always planned to give us Jesus and the New Covenant. What I’m here to tell you today is that the Tithe – just like so many things in the Old Testament – is a signpost to Jesus. It is a type and shadow of our Jesus. What do the Tithe and Jesus have in common?

The Tithe is a Cursebreaker

You see that verse in Malachi that always bothered me? It didn’t say God will curse the Jews for not tithing. It says they remain cursed because they didn’t tithe. We got the whole thing backwards.

When Adam fell, the ground was cursed because of his sin. He had to sweat and bleed to feed himself. All of creation was broken. Just like God gave the Jews ordinances about what to eat, how to treat skin infections, etc to SPARE them, he told them about tithing to spare them too! The tithe was a way out of the curse of Adam. Why? Because as far as God is concerned, when you give your firstfruits (your 10%), you’ve given him everything! And what God owns cannot remain cursed. That’s how the earth was cursed to begin with- by leaving God out of the picture. Tithing puts him back in. Everything you tithe, God co-owns with you. His protection and blessing come with it.

That’s why Tithing was around before the law of Moses. Abraham tithed when he saw Melchizidek (another “type” of Jesus – pointing to his priesthood), and we have no idea how he learned it. He just did it- probably out of a revelation from God- and because he saw Melchizidek, whom I really believe was a Jesus-apparition. He saw Jesus and his response was to tithe.

Romans 11: 16If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.

Give God the root – the firstfruit – and everything is considered holy. The whole batch.

Jesus is the Tithe

In Jewish times, the “firstfruits” was the first of everything- animals in the herd, crops, even first born sons. Who is Jesus? The Father’s only begotten Son. And God gave him to us.

Just like the tithe fought against the curse of Adam, the true and better Tithe- Jesus Christ became unto us a second Adam. His mission – in the simplest of words – is to undo all the mess that Adam made. But we all know that he did more than that. We’re actually better off now!

The Spirit behind the tithe is Jesus. I believe God had his Son in mind when he told the Jews to tithe. And because the root is holy (Jesus), all of us are holy too. The whole batch!

Jesus, our Cursebreaker, who hung on the tree to take all our curses- was God’s tithe. His firstfruit. And we are in him. So we are holy. We are curse-free.

So do I Tithe?

Yes. My tithe proclaims Jesus.

I really believe that the firstfruits belong to God. He wants us to bring it to him to honor and acknowledge him. More than that, when I tithe, I proclaim that God sent his First Born Son for me!
I believe Jesus became poor so that we may become rich. I believe he took the curse, so I can receive the blessing. I am blessed because of Jesus. So I don’t tithe “so that I can be rich”. I tithe because I am already rich! Just like Abraham, I tithe to acknowledge that I am blessed and that it was God that blessed me, no one else. I tithe to acknowledge that I have a covenant with my God and I am not out there on my own – godless.
I am curse-free, but the world is not. And our money is part of the “cursed ground” of the world. Bringing it to God breaks that curse! So whenever new money comes in, I give God his share right away and I know the enemy can’t touch it. Even if I don’t tithe, God will provide and money will keep coming in. I believe that. But tithing signifies my desire to give God “access” to what is “mine”. It’s saying we co-own everything together. The tithe is really his, but he doesn’t grab it from us! He waits for us to give it, then he does his magic after that.
Looking back, I really have been blessed since this truth has been restored in my life!

Remember that it is about grace. It takes a revelation. Relax. Don’t force yourself. If you find yourself “forcing” your wallet open, maybe you need to ask God to show you more about this. It is a Living Spirit you need to catch, not some bible trivia, facts or dead rules. For me it is better not to tithe, than to tithe without grace. When God opens your eyes, it all becomes easy.

May God lift the veil for you today! The Tithe is a Cursebreaker. His name is Jesus.