I get emails all the time from people who say they are alone in their quest for truth and for God. They’ve left any religious affiliation they may have had and in some cases have even been isolated from their own family because of the stand they’ve taken. Many of them thank me for making this website available to them and are grateful for my willingness to take the time and effort to write these articles and correspond with them via email. And for many, the articles on this website and our communication is their source of spiritual instruction and guidance. It is to these dear ones that I address this addendum.
In many of the articles you will find on this website I stress the importance of reality in the lives of those who would be serious about their pursuit of God. I also stress the fact that God’s promises are not free and unconditional, as religion generally likes to present them. They are, in fact, conditional. In other words, God’s plan of redemption is actually a covenant of redemption in which both sides of the covenant have definite responsibilities to meet. The result of this is that God has not bound Himself to keep His promises unless the conditions He has established have been met. To this, many in the religious crowd will scream, legalism! But if you read the Scriptures with an open mind, absent any preconceived ideas, you’ll see what I mean.
Many struggle in their search for any degree of reality in God because they fail to actively, willingly pursue Him according to what He has established. Instead, the influence of religion has kept them ignorant of those things or has taught them to seek God on their own terms. But, for those who are serious about knowing God, this does not produce the desired result.
Some of the realities I’m talking about are found in the four-part series “Avoiding the Dog and Hog Disease” on the reading list. I’m talking about things like the willingness to freely forgive others (an absolute prerequisite to obtain the Father’s forgiveness), learning to talk with God before you can walk with Him, avoiding the two things that can kill your spirituality faster than you could ever imagine – self-preservation and materialism, and, to the surprise and often disappointment of many, giving. And before you read any further, please, oh please, understand I am not trying to manipulate you in any way. I’m only trying to give you the opportunity to be obedient.
Of the four, giving is probably the one people most don’t want to talk about. And I’ve talked to those who have left institutional religion enough to know that for many at least one of their reasons for leaving was that they objected to giving because they disagreed with the way the money was being spent. So, one of the “freedoms” they enjoy as a result of leaving religion is not having to give any more.
However, in spite of the abuses and deceptions of institutional religion regarding giving, it is still a legitimate principle that is important to those who would know and experience God. In the aforementioned series “Avoiding the Dog and Hog Disease”, Part 4 is entitled “Oh No! He’s Going to Talk About Giving!” If you read that article you’ll see that from the very beginning with Adam, then on through Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, the Prophets, and on to Jesus and then Paul, the willingness to give is a part of any intimate relationship with God. Giving allows us to put proper value on spiritual things, it is a constant rejection of worldly, material values, it is often the means God uses to reinforce our dependency on Him so He can prove His sufficiency to us, and it’s a continual test of our willingness to sacrifice and of our determination to serve and follow Him. And those men named above understood these things and made giving a reality in their lives.
I’ve been around long enough to watch the lives of those who decided they didn’t need to give (or couldn’t afford to, a justification that proves they are unwilling to trust God), and have been able to compare them to those who are faithful in their giving. The conclusion is inescapable: with regards to their spiritual growth, those who don’t give go backwards and those who give go forward. When it comes to true spirituality, there’s no such thing as a free ride. The realities God requires of us will rid us of our tendency towards pretense and lip service. We have to make the right decisions and do the right things to prove to our own flesh that we’re willing to follow God. And it is then that God honors our loyalty to Him and reveals Himself to us. Obedience is always the key to experiencing God, not just in giving, but in everything else.
Now, at this point I hope you’re not thinking, “this guy’s just another religious huckster trying to come up with some scheme to separate me from my money.” Honestly, in my flesh, it would be easy to think that I really could use some of your money; but my spirit knows better. God is my source, and has proven that to me for quite some time now. On the other hand, if you’re reaching for your checkbook right about now, forget it. You wouldn’t know where to send it. Nowhere on this website will you find my address.
The reason I’m doing this is two-fold. The first is that if you are truly alone in your search for and pursuit of God and not part of a fellowship of like-minded people, you have nowhere to give. The other is that I’m personally convinced that what you find here regarding giving is right and everyone needs the opportunity to give and benefit from it. In the event that you agree, have carefully considered it, and have talked to God about it and are convinced that you should give into this work, you will have to email me and ask for my address. And if you do, know that you will be supporting a ministry that is committed to truth and is reaching people all over the United States, South America, Europe, Africa, the Orient and the Pacific Rim.
I remain your friend and servant,