I want to share a testimony with you guys. My invitation business was having lower than usual sales the last 3 weeks or so. I was somewhat concerned and I was planning to do some updates to fix this. A lot has happened in the last last month. My wife and I purchased a house, we moved in and have spent many hours on settling in and fixing things. In all of this I’ve slipped on returning my tithe and offering. Not because I didn’t have the money, but because I didn’t have the time. I just kept putting it off because many things have been coming up.
Every so often my forgotten tithe would pop into my mind, and I would say i’ll do it later. I noticed subtle but strange things were happening. For example, a few items of clothing tearing. My clothes usually last a long time, so this was actually a big deal, I still have clothes from middle and highschool (smile). Then on Sabbath morning I grabbed an orange to eat, and 4 out of 5 of my oranges were spoiled, which is very unusual seeing I bought them the week before. Then the verse in Malachi (3:10-11) about God rebuking the devour for your sakes came to my mind. I shared it with my wife, and decided that moment I need to return my faithful tithe. I submitted my tithe & offering online, and it felt great to know I had kept my commitment and now had a clean conscience. I thought that was the end of the story, and that was good enough for me, a clean conscience is priceless. But then Monday rolls around and I had the most sales I’ve had in a day (ever).
God is good. We sometimes don’t realize the blessings we have. Whatever our reason or situation we should aim to be faithful to God. The blessings we receive should not make us forget our Heavenly Father.
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.
All throughout the bible we see examples of similes and metaphors to describe and highlight certain attributes of God.
I thought, how could I explain God to someone in more familiar terms. The thought came to me that God is like a car factory. For the purpose of this illustration I’ll use a Toyota car factory. I just know that Toyota has an excellent factory system.
Let’s cover these 4 points to see similarities between a car manufacturer, for instance Toyota, and God.
1. Toyota brands its cars
2. Toyota knows best and gives recommendations for its cars
3. Toyota issues recalls and intervenes if something seriously wrong happens to its car
4. Toyota allows you to bring in your car for servicing and alignment.
Before we start, let me say that our bodies were made to be very resilient. We can survive on different diets and on different kinds and quality of food. You can even go years eating various things without seeing any degradation or effects. But the question is, do you want to merely survive or thrive? It is much better to trust the diet that the Creator of the universe has prescribed and not lean on our own understanding.
Everything that is alive was not made to be food. Creatures and plants were not all made for the same purpose, just as human have different skills, the creatures have different uses. In nature we see species that excel at certain applications. While we may never know the full purpose God intended for a certain plant or animal, we can still notice where species excel. For instance, camels and horses are excellent at transportation. Vultures are excellent at cleaning up dead meat. Roses are excellent at beauty and fragrance. Hevea brasiliensis are excellent trees that are used to make rubber. (Thanks Google)
Here are lessons that I have learned over the years in youth ministry. They are not in any particular order.
1) Keep Your Word
If you say you will do something; Do it. End of story. It’s better to not make a promise if you foresee a problem. If for some reason you can’t do it then apologize and let the kids know. Trust is very important. Each time you keep your word you show the youth that you are serious and actually care about them.
2)Be on Time
If you schedule an event, be on time. It is very disrespectful to come late all the time. There will always be those youth or families that will come early. By constantly coming late you can spoil their good habit of being on time. Set the example. I even encourage you to be early and prepare before anyone shows up.
3) Listen Without Judging
Don’t over react or flip out when they tell you what is REALLY going on, how they really feel. The fact that they are honest with you shows that they trust and like you. You will be far more effective if you stay calm and let them vent. Many times they can’t vent to parents or even friends.