Freedom is restored and maintained through obedience.
In the previous article, we noted that freedom belongs to you, but is not automatically experienced. The determinant for actually living in the glorious liberty of the children of God is obedience. This keeps all cause of cursing far from us. “Like a flitting sparrow, like a flying swallow, so a curse without cause shall not alight,” (Prov. 26:2).
If we have permitted some cause, we must quickly repent before God, who is faithful to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Freedom is then restored and is to be maintained through obedience. This requires knowing the sources of cursings. Last month, I mentioned four that very often are responsible for the absence of freedom in anyone’s life. They were: 1) reliance on the law or self to make us right with God; 2) unforgiveness; 3) envy, jealousy and selfish ambition; and 4) despising your birthright as Esau did.
Number five is the occult. Nearly everyone has come in contact with the occult, either wittingly or not, through Ouija boards, horoscopes, séances, palm reading, zodiacs, or assorted jewelry and home décor dedicated to other gods. Even though innocently done or considered nonsense, this allows the curse to alight. Curses do not need your consent and have no regard for your intent (e.g. reading your horoscope though not taking it seriously). Curses alight on your life content (actions).
My wife, Maureen, once had a pretty gold ‘scarab’ bracelet. I had never really taken a good look at it, until I discovered that the scarab beetle was worshiped in Egypt. Upon examination, we found, on the back of every stone, an inscription to a different god – very serious grounds for cursing. We then renounced them, made confession to God, destroyed the bracelet with a hammer, and put it in the garbage.
I urge you to do likewise. Physically check your possessions and inventory your life experiences. Confess any occult activity in your past as sin. Cleanse your history by going to Father, who forgives, and to Jesus, who sets the captives free!
Resisting the authorities is number six. Romans 13 tells us that all authority that exists is set in place by God. The civil leader is God's minister and holds His sword of justice. Thus, you come under a curse when you resist the natural authorities, whether it’s a simple traffic ticket or something as severe as a capital crime. This is a simple extension of the spiritual realm, where you come under a curse when you resist the Word of God.
Number seven is robbing God. My text is Malachi 3:8. I want you to know that if you don't tithe, it doesn't mean God will curse you. God was saying the people were cursed with a curse because they were robbing Him by taking away His honor and glory by refusing to obey Him. Note the principle. Money won't please God. He doesn't need your money. His program is not going to fall apart if you don't give. We worship the God who is able to supply all our needs; we don't supply His. What He needs is your obedience. He can only use you if you'll obey. Tithing is the starting point. You learn to fear the Lord when you let go of your wallet. We also know that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” (Prov. 1:7).
For some of you, it may be a choice between feeding the kids or tithing. Please, feed the kids. Give God what you are able to by faith, asking for the increase, so you can get to tithe. Don’t use need as an excuse; understand that you are supposed to tithe. It's a New Testament principle, just as much as an Old. The difference between the Old and the New is that in the Old, you had an external law. Once you complied, you had finished tithing. In the New Testament, it's called the grace of giving, and you never finish!
Number eight is neglecting the needy. Proverbs 28:27 – "He who gives to the poor will not lack, but he who hides his eyes will have many curses.” If you see somebody in need and do nothing about it, that's sin. If there is a needy person near you and you don't recognize the need, that's one thing, but if you intentionally ignore them, you have a serious lack of love.
I sought God diligently prior to the inception of this church, and He made it very clear to me that His priority was for us to set aside funds for widows and orphans in their affliction. Therefore, the first $7,500 we received was set aside for them. Another God-priority was the needs of those inside the church. We prayed and along came an individual who made a $10,000 donation, which we gladly put toward needs in the church family.
When I talked to the Lord about this, I said, “Lord, You have GAP doing this in Toms River; who is going to take care of my Mom in Horseheads?” He said, "I will!" and He immediately did. One week later, somebody came to her and gave her $10,000. Don't ever hide your eyes from the needy. In fact, sometimes the needy are in your own house. The Bible says, "He who will not take care of his own family is worse than an infidel,” (1 Tim. 5:8).
Each time you get more, you're supposed to give more. This is God’s plan for meeting your needs. Tithe and don't neglect the needy. Your Bible says, "He who gives to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will repay,” (Prov. 19:17). He certainly did in the case of my Mom!
-Walt Healy, Senior Pastor