Update:(6/24/2007) I have edited this a little. I have read up on some things, that made me understand what the people were talking about when it comes to tithes and offerings. I have left some things in this post to show a "where I was", though.
I don't want to get too much into it today, though, as I am still studying. I do understand one thing, God's Word says He wants us to present ourselves a living sacrifice. He doesn't want us to be under the old ways, or the old laws. His Holy Spirit gives us new life. That is the blessing I want and receive. I am called to be His child, and to present myself as a pure and blameless sacrifice to Jesus, God's Son and High Priest. He doesn't want a tenth of me, He wants the whole thing! The New Testament is very clear on all of these things.
I stopped tithing in 2005. It was about halfway through Bryan's first tour in Iraq, and I started listening to some people talk about "old testament law" and some other junk I can't even remember now. I had always had an issue with tithing, I felt like it was political or something, I guess, I am not sure. I also do not know why I, of all people, would have a problem with it, for, since I was a youngster, I always thought one should take the Word of God as that, and follow it. I do understand what people were saying, about how we live under New Testament Law now, but they were making up excuses not to part with their hard earned money unless they felt "led". These people went to my church, and I had missed the sermon that they heard, so I am still not certain what it was I "leaned my ear to".
Anyway, at the Church I am attending now, I was about to stick to that. But there was testimony given, about God providing the money He asks for. It was the first time I had ever thought that "this all makes sense!". He isn't asking us to give more than He is already providing. If He "leads" or asks you to give more, then He will provide the way.
Imagine where I would have been if I had listened to God with my heart years ago, instead of rebelling and going my own way. How much more will He bless those who OBEY His commands, instead of going their own way?
I am not just talking about tithe, either. For years, I have allowed my self to be rebellious, to twist God's word to my liking, or listen to people who do the same. I believed in God's love, and His kindness, but I have not spoken with conviction, or lived like I believe any of it. I have let my heart come into contact with things that aren't of Him, and said, "its ok, because I am saved", but that is like putting sugar on everything and then praying for God to take the calories away. He wants us to live in righteousness. I think it was Peter, in the Bible, who said that everything is permissible for us, but not everything is good. Yes, God won't strike us down with lightning if we listen to a dirty joke, or drink a margarita, but when the we take off the armor of God, and let those things in over and over and over again, to where we don't even blush anymore, or drink so much we can't control ourselves, we move farther and farther away from God's blessings. He commanded us to set an example, to live and speak in purity, to tithe, and to love our enemies and forgive those who hurt us.
I am a new creation, the old things have past away. The soil of my heart has been broken, the seed planted, the Word is my rain, and the God smiles rays of sunshine when I praise. The tree of my life will be strong and its branches stretch out wide.