Coming into the Presence of God and our offerings for Him are connected.  Throughout the Bible, worship of God involves offerings.  We see this before the Law, during the Law, during the New Testament and we see it in the New Heaven and New Earth.  Offering to God is not a “covenant specific” doctrine.  Offerings were not introduced under the Law, but they were regulated under the Law.  Even so, the Law reveals the heart of God in many matters.  Here are some scriptures to consider concerning offerings and His presence.

(Psalms 96:8 AMP) “Give to the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering and come [before Him] into His courts.”

(Psalms 100:4 AMP) “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering and into His courts with praise! Be thankful and say so to Him, bless and affectionately praise His name!”

 

(Deuteronomy 16:16 AMP) “Three times a year shall all your males appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths. They shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed:

The Law commanded many things and each commandment carried a penalty or curse for not doing it.  Thank God we have been delivered from the “curse of the Law” through Christ (Galatians 3:13).  However, while we have been delivered from the penalty of not doing the Law, it still remains that it is the will of God to bring an offering when coming into His presence, just as it is still His will to not murder.  The Cross did not change God, it changed us.  (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8)

The three scriptures above reveal that a person is to bring an offering when coming into the presence of God.  If you are going to “bring” an offering, that means you thought about it and prepared it at home before you left to come to the House of God.  The Apostle Paul also told people to prepare their offerings in “advance”.

(2 Corinthians 9:5 AMP) “That is why I thought it necessary to urge these brethren to go to you before I do and make arrangements in advance for this bountiful, promised gift of yours, so that it may be ready, not as an extortion [wrung out of you] but as a generous and willing gift.

When we prepare our offerings at home before we go to the house of God, we are also preparing ourselves to come into His presence.  As we prepare our offerings we are meditating on God and putting our attention on Him.  Our considerations change from self and what we are to get out of going to church, to God and what we are going to do for Him.  This has a dramatic impact on the outcome of our experience at church.  It is the way in which God wants to be approached.  In preparing our offering, we have prepared ourselves to come into the Presence of God.

A prepared gift is a willing gift.

By definition, “willing” means: ready, eager, or prepared to do something. This is not a spontaneous offering, it is a well thought out offering that a person is eager to do and prepared to do.  It has been planned knowing they are coming into the Presence of God.

There is a place for spontaneous offerings in any given worship situation, but believers should never allow their giving to be solely based upon some kind of inspiration at a service.  The Holy Spirit should always be free to speak spontaneously to His people about offerings.  We need to be prepared for that too.  However, this type of offering is not the norm, it’s the exception.

God is very mindful of offerings and He emphatically wants them to be given willingly.  When God commanded Moses to receive an offering, He specifically wanted it to come only from people that would give it willingly.

(Exodus 25:2 AMP) “Speak to the Israelites, that they take for Me an offering. From every man who gives it willingly and ungrudgingly with his heart you shall take My offering.”

The Apostle Paul echoed this command.

(2 Corinthians 9:7 AMP) “Let each one [give] as he has made up his own mind and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion, for God loves (He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, “prompt to do it”) giver [whose heart is in his giving].”

Brother Kenneth E. Hagin said Jesus told him to be careful about money.  Here are some quotes from him about offerings.

"I believe our basic giving should be planned and systematic."

"In my fifty years of field ministry while I was holding meetings across the nation, I deliberately chose never to receive an offering when the emotions of the people were highly charged. If there was a lot of excitement and exuberance when it was time for the offering, I would put it off until the mood had settled down.”

Our “basic” giving should be planned - in advance.  Our giving should not be done in an emotional moment or through an emotional appeal.

Casualness toward the things of God.

Giving no thought about what your offering is to be before going to the house of God is an attitude of casualness toward the things of God.  Israel was commanded to not appear before God empty handed.  They were not allowed to be casual about approaching God.

Now that we do not have the Law of commandments, it seems that many Christians don’t even give a prior thought to coming to the house of God.  They come unprepared because they didn’t think about it.  Every human thinks about the things that are important to them - because they are important to them.  Importance is a product of value placed upon something.

I wear casual clothing in circumstances that I consider unimportant.  It is unnecessary to me to wear better clothing because I don’t place a high value on the situation.  My actions reflect my attitude and viewpoint.  For me, going for a walk and going to the house of God are different.  I place different values on them so I prepare myself differently for each.  One is casual, one is not.  God does not look at the clothing, but He certainly looks at the attitude behind our actions.  A man who loves God and doesn’t want to miss church so he comes straight from work in his dirty work clothes is seen differently than a man that wears dirty clothing because he is lazy and uncaring.

Christians that attend church regularly know there will be a time to bring the tithe and their offerings in worship.  Failing to prepare before you come reveals a very casual attitude toward the things of God.  If we were living under the Old Testament and we did this, we would end up dead because it was commanded not to come empty handed.  However, since we have been delivered from the curse, or penalty, of the Law, many seem to take the things of God for granted and have become casual in many areas.

As a matter of fact, as I travel to minister, I see that casualness in worship is robbing us far greater than what we know.  People come late and don’t seem to care.  The saints often talk with each other during the praise and worship.  I always find it amazing to watch the saints walking around talking with each other when we are supposed to be worshipping the Lord.  It’s even worse to see this at minister’s conventions knowing that these are the ones leading God’s people.  No wonder we are lacking His presence and power - we are not focused on Him and we don’t respect His presence and House. Then again, if you are not focused on the Lord and there is a manifestation, you wouldn’t know if it was the Lord or something else.

Being thankful and bringing an offering are the same.

(Psalms 100:4 AMP) “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering and into His courts with praise! Be thankful and say so to Him, bless and affectionately praise His name!”

The Hebrew word for “thanksgiving” means: an extension of the hand.  An extension of the hand without something in it is only a gesture and has no real substance.  That is why the Amplified version has accurately translated it “thanksgiving and a thank offering.”  How can we truly be thankful to God for what He has given us without giving Him some of what we have been given?

We live in a selfish self-absorbed world.  The spirit of the world is all around us and can easily get into the church through the culture.  We are surrounded with ungratefulness.  Often, rather than focusing on what we do have, we focus on what we do not have.  This attitude can hold people, even Christians, in poverty because it grieves the Spirit of God through ungratefulness.

Everyone has something to give.

(2 Corinthians 8:12 ESV) “For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.”

Everyone is welcome in the house of God and everyone’s offering is accepted according to what they have to give.  God knows what we have and receives from us based upon that.  As I travel, I often see pastors reluctant to lead in tithes and offerings because they say, “the people are poor.”  They say this as if being poor exempts them from giving to God from what they have.  This is a serious misjudgment in leadership and it affects the anointing in a worship service.  God said to come before Him with a thank offering - He didn’t say how much it was to be or that a particular people were exempt from His ways.

While we certainly do not “buy” the presence of God, the presence of God is connected to our offering.  The “connection” is our attitude toward God having considered in our hearts what we want to bring to Him as a gift.  This delivers us from selfishness and self-centeredness.  He becomes our focus and our attention is on Him.  When our focus and attention are on the Lord, He is magnified.  It’s no wonder the Lord prefers to manifest His presence in the environment of an offering.

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