Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Did You Pass The Test?

I Chronicles 29:17
I know my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent. And how I have seen with Joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you.

It’s final exam time for a lot of our students. They will be tested to see if all the information they have studied this semester has been retained, if so they will pass to the next level. Every so often God give us tests to see what has been retained in our hearts. He will send people who are in need in front of us to see if we will have enough compassion to help them. He will send people who are emotionally challenging to see whether or not we respond with love or retaliate with evil. God will also give us “God-sized” projects to see if we will contribute wholeheartedly out of faith or hold back out of fear what belongs to God already.

David had a final exam for his people. He was about to die but he had one last project to complete. He gathered resources for his son Solomon to build a Temple for the Lord. David said, “My son Solomon the one whom God has chosen is young and inexperienced. The task is great, because this palatial structure is not for man but for the Lord, God.” What is it that God is calling you to help with that will put your heart to the test? For our church, New Direction, God has challenged us to build a Town Center to rebuild community in the Hickory Hill area. It’s a 40 million dollar project on 43 acres! www.powercentercdc.org. It’s overwhelming but it’s also a test to see if we can believe God to see the vision come to pass.

David approached the leaders of Israel first. How a community responds depends first on how the leaders respond. We can’t ask the people to do something we are not willing to do. After King David sacrificed and the leaders responded overwhelmingly by giving their resources the bible says in verse 9, “the People rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord. David the king also rejoiced greatly.” They passed the test.

David said, “I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. When we give, God is looking at our heart for three criteria needed for us to pass our test:

1. Intent. Why are we giving? Simon the sorcerer thought he could purchase the Holy Spirit and got his feelings hurt. When Simon saw that the apostles by merely laying on hands conferred the Spirit, he pulled out his money, excited, and said, “Sell me your secret! Show me how you did that! How much do you want? Name your price!”
20–23 Peter said, “To hell with your money! And you along with it. Why, that’s unthinkable—trying to buy God’s gift! You’ll never be part of what God is doing by striking bargains and offering bribes. Change your ways—and now! Ask the Master to forgive you for trying to use God to make money. I can see this is an old habit with you; you reek with money-lust.”


2. Integrity. How much are we giving? When we give God tests our hearts to see if we are really going to give our best or just put on a show like the married couple in Acts But a man named Ananias—his wife, Sapphira, conniving in this with him—sold a piece of land, secretly kept part of the price for himself, and then brought the rest to the apostles and made an offering of it.

3–4 Peter said, “Ananias, how did Satan get you to lie to the Holy Spirit and secretly keep back part of the price of the field? Before you sold it, it was all yours, and after you sold it, the money was yours to do with as you wished. So what got into you to pull a trick like this? You didn’t lie to men but to God.”

3. Inspiration. How we are giving?

2 Cor 9:7

I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving.

When God sends a test your way like a “God-sized” project, helping the flood victims in the south, tithing in your local church to support ministry, will you pass the test? David said it best in verse 14, “Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.”

Dear God,

Thank you for trusting me with this project. I pray we would pass the test by giving you our best. Keep this desire in the hearts of your people forever, and keep our hearts loyal to you so we will always pass the test.

In Jesus Name,

[1]Peterson, Eugene H.: The Message : The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, Colo. : NavPress, 2002, S. Ac 8:18-23

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