If Only For One Night

I'm Proud of The Advances We Are Making As A Country.
I know you are too!

FUN IN THE FALL -- Join the writers of Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1 - Love & Redemption in New York City during the weekend of October 12th (Columbus Day Holiday).

Where: 583 Riverside Drive, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10031.
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Power Play

Same Old Sad Song

Why won’t you call me?
Your absence stabs me with despair

I’ve gone over the events a thousand times
I’m still left wanting to press rewind

what I said wrong
can I make it right

I never meant to break your heart
My feet just wouldn’t lead me right

Introduce me to the pleasure that forgiveness is sure to bring
Enduring your arraignment was difficult
But living out this sentence is maddening.
I’m tired of the Blues
I really need a new song to sing

You vacated my world
I remember the day exact
It was Friday the Hurt-teenth
Not a cloudy day
Your leaving turned the sky black

Your only reference now is pain
I can’t take it when the kids ask me why?
I thought by now you would have forgiven my cross words
Recovered from my spilled milk
The slate

I swear I’d take it all back if I could
Just to return to the days when
I was your guy
And you my girl
Before Black Friday
We was on top of the world.

Power Law 13

When Asking for Help, Appeal to People’s Self-Interest,

Never to their Mercy or Gratitude

If you need to turn to an ally for help, do not bother to remind him/her of your past assistance and good deeds. He/She will find a way to ignore you. Instead, uncover something in your request, or in your alliance with him/her, that will benefit him/her, and emphasize it out of all proportion. He/She will respond enthusiastically when he/she sees something to be gained for himself/herself.

FUN IN THE FALL -- Join the writers of Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1 - Love & Redemption in New York City during the weekend of October 12th (Columbus Day Holiday).

Where: 583 Riverside Drive, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10031.
For More Information visit


Back on Track Tuesday: Finishing Strong

For Back on Track Tuesday, I figured I would revisit my goals for my 365 Day challenge. We'll cover more of the book The Alchemist next week. We are on the second half, so if you want to get in on the discussion pick up a copy, it is an excellent read for those looking to achieve their life's work.

The beauty of attempting to achieve your goals through a public forum is that it prevents you from escaping the reality of who you are. Since creating the 365-day challenge I have realized that I’m not good with meeting personal deadlines. I have the tendency to keep pushing the dates back. I think part of my problem is that I have ADD (self diagnosed). I get bored so easily. I will jump around just for the sake of creating another level of excitement.

The other thing I learned is that I have a fear of non-acceptance. As outgoing as I am, I sometimes question whether people will accept what I’m offering. This is of course in regards to my writing and other business ideas. But I have decided that I can’t afford to keep questioning myself, I just need to move forward, especially since I have a hard time getting excited about the work that I do professionally. I’m thinking I need to just take the recent advice of my youngest daughter. Most days Elise (her middle name which we rarely use) is the first to greet me when I arrive home and like most kids she asks pretty routine questions like, “how was your day?” Well, one day she took it a step further and asks me what it is that I do exactly, because I said my day had gone “so-so”. I explained to her that the majority of my day is spent sitting in front of the computer either solving programming issues or I’m biding my time by surfing the web, but that I don’t really “like” my job that much but I do it so that I can take care of them. Her response was not only immediate, but spot on when she suggested, “well, why don’t you find a job that you love doing.” Oh the wisdom of a 10 year old! If that wasn’t enough she follows up two days later by asking if I had found the job yet. The answer, which I didn’t really explain to her was both “yes” and “no”. I gave her the adult response of “it takes time to find another job blah, blah, blah,” but inwardly I had found the job that I loved. I’ve been carrying it around with me for years. I’ve just been scared to do it. Scared I won’t get the crowds I see in my head, because I don’t fit the stereotypical presenter of such information. Goal # 13 on my 365 Day Challenge was to complete “Seminar” by January 1st. Well, it’s August and although I did start it, I haven't come close to finishing it. The seminar in question is a financial education seminar designed to help people get out of debt. My goal is to complete the seminar and begin touring to help people take control of their financial lives. Interesting enough, I have presented “others” work successfully, but not sure of the reception I will get when my face is the one out front. People can be so finicky, but if I keep worrying about that, I’ll never do it. So, later for that train of thought, I’ve got to get it done.

With that said, I have some updates to my 365 Day Challenge.

1. Stop drinking soda – I did it when they took Coke out of our building and brought in Pepsi, but Coke has been back since March and I’ve been on it occasionally. When I'm not drinking Coke, those new Mountain Dew flavors have been pulling me in, but I'm determined. I'm going to take this in spurts. I'm going to see if I can stay soda free until the October book signing in New York. If I make it that far, then I can go till the end of the year. I can also see how much of a difference it has made in my efforts to lose weight by then. Which brings me to #2.

2. Commit to a five day workout plan. – I fell off the bandwagon. It’s been extremely hard to get out of that bed in the morning. I haven’t worked out but maybe a couple of times in the past 30 – 45 days. (hangs head in shame). I guess I need to read my own “Richisms” and realize that “the bed is the enemy of progress.” I have solicited the help of a brother that I attend church with who is a personal trainer and he sends me text messages several times a week encouraging me to stand strong and make better decisions with regard to my help. It's working. The word says faith comes by hearing and hearing, so I'm going to keep feeding myself positive words of enthusiasm, so that I will be the better for it as it relates to my health.

3. Finish complete first draft of “Chance Encounters” – I didn’t make the December 16th date, but I DID FINISH IT, thanks to some pesky co-workers who really dig my writing. Interestingly, their first names are similar. So thanks to Renetta Fuller and Renita Williams for staying on me.

4. Not so lucky with my story “Closure”. To me it’s predictable and I so hate being predictable. I’m still trying to work that one out in my head, maybe it will come to me. I’m not giving up on it. I have since started another story called Ruby's Blues that I like so much better.

5. Visiting California won't happen before the summer is over, but I do plan to go before the year is up. – Ced, I have family in San Diego area so we may get the chance to break bread after all.

6. Didn’t happen in Chicago for the Christmas holidays, but she got her shopping on in DC back in April (3 outlet malls and one indoor mall), so I ain’t mad and she isn’t either.

7. Done – saw my Florida relatives in January, just hated that it was due to a funeral.

8. Phone calls are easy - Done

9. In the process of finishing the changes to our house, but in the meantime we purchased a foreclosure and already have it rented out. We are actively looking for more good deals. Don't believe the hype people, if you have dreams and aspirations of owning investment property, do your due diligence and buy now while the prices are low.

10. Selling books ain’t no joke. Don’t think you are going to waltz into this game and blow up over night. If you do, it’s because it was long in the cards for you. The Bloggers' Delight brand will do great things for up and coming authors who blog, I'm sure of it. As we focus on the quality writing

11. Reschedule working on novel. However, I did complete a novel writing course and was happy that my work was well received by a multicultural crowd. As any good writer, I'm constantly working to get better and I'm sure with persistence I will be all I envision that I can.

12. I decided against attending the Book Club Convention because I want to finish a self-authored offering.

13. Already talked about “Seminar”

14. PowerCell – which is another great idea I came up with. The idea surrounds investing in real estate and with all the rule changes we had no choice but to delay the revealing of the plan.

15. Ongoing -- spending time with my wife

16. Ongoing -- spending time with my kids

17. I subscribed to a free Podcast I found on itunes that helped with learning Spanish, but I may need something more structured. Either way, I still want to learn the language.

18. Modifying the Scholarship idea. I had an idea early in the year to donate books to schools libraries and I think I would like to incorporate the book list into the scholarship initiative somehow. More on that later. This will be part of my “Changing the Game” initiative.

19. Reading more books than I can keep up with. Currently reading a great novel called Blood On The Leaves, by Jeff Stetson. I highly recommend it.

20. As I stated earlier, I completed a workshop and I'm continually reading up on the craft.

21. Still considering if I have the time to commit to 100 Black Men. The St. Louis chapter is very big on mentoring and I hate giving my word and not keeping it, especially when children are involved.

22. I have been slowly building my music selection. My Ipod took a spill and I'm awaiting a new one, but I can't wait to buy more. Thanks to all of you who provided music selections in the past.

23. – 40. Never came up with anything else to add to list. This is enough to keep up with. I think I’ll finish everything I want to by the time my 365 Days are up.

I’d also like to thank Jaded Nyer and Richard Brooks for following up with me on staying true to these goals. I appreciate your having my back.

FUN IN THE FALL -- Join the writers of Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1 - Love & Redemption in New York City during the weekend of October 12th (Columbus Day Holiday).

Where: 583 Riverside Drive, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10031.
For More Information visit


Money Mondays: Love is Gonna Getcha

Ya know that's why man I be telling you all the time man you know LOVE - that word love is a very serious thing and if you don't watch out I tell ya that (Love's gonna get you) because a lot of people out here say "i love my car" or "i love my chain" or or "i'm i'm just in love with that girl over there" so far all the people out there that fall in love with material items we gonna bump the beat a lil' something like this
KRS ONE - Material Love

When you look at consumer debt, chances are, you can usually relate it back to matters of the heart. That's right, the heart. The heart is where you will find the issues of life. It is that place that tells the real story. Forget what you see on the surface, dig a little and you will find out what the real deal is.

Being a Financial Counselor is an interesting role to play in ones life, because the position requires you to discern what is at the root of a person's money problems in a relatively small amount of time. Rarely is it just a lack of money. We all have access to money. Some of us would like access to more, but in a good many cases "lack" is not the issue. Typically, money problems can be traced back to a lack of discipline in telling yourself no, using purchases to medicate past pains, using money to deny a certain reality exists, low self image or a combination of the aforementioned. While this is not a comprehensive list, it is a good start in getting you to understand how consumer debt is about more than money.

There is a saying that goes -- Money only magnifies who you really are. There was never a truer statement as it relates to money, because given your money was endless, we'd all see you for who you really are. Debt is just the result of you trying to express who you are with limited resources. You are trying to express what is in your heart.

Maria grew up with a mother who was selfish. Her mom had money, but she never brought Maria and her siblings much, just the necessities. Meanwhile, her mom constantly partied, brought herself nice clothes, and made sure she had a nice car and household furnishings. When Maria and her siblings wanted anything, her mom always cried broke and about how expensive it was to raise them without help from their daddy. Maria promised herself that things would be different when she became an adult. She kept her promise, she rarely tells herself no if she can help it, but she also has the debt to show for it.

Jonathon never felt he quite measured up to his brothers. He wasn't the biggest, the smartest or the fastest. I guess you could say he was just average. Jonathon grew up hating that his brothers got more attention than him. He always hated having to live in their shadows. When he grew up, he worked hard and managed to supersede them all in salary. To prove he was top dog, he had the best of everything. Luxury cars, big house, expensive clothes, you name it. However, the problem was he had no savings and he lived paycheck to paycheck. He spent all his money trying to prove he was better than his brothers. Now, the auto manufacturer that he works for is closing the plant he works at in 90 days and he doesn't know what he is going to do.

Charlotte grew up in a wealthy family. While growing up, she never experienced lack. I guess you could say she had a wonderful life. When she was in high school, her dad's company got sued and their family was practically wiped out. The problem is, none of Charlotte's peers knew about this incident, and she feels to embarrassed to tell them that with the exception of some money her grandparents left them, they are just middle class folks now. Meanwhile, she continues to feel the pressure to keep up with the lifestyles of her friends, but doing so has caused her to rack up nearly $200k in debt. She's at her wits ends.

These are just a few scenarios that tell a deeper story than what one can see when they look at the income statement and the balance sheet. There are instances when debt is due to medical bills, job loss or some other unfortunate event. However, most debt that exist is the result of conscious decisions that are made as it relates to the heart. So, if you are dealing with debt, pull out the mirror, look yourself in the face, and decide that you are going to fix the real problem, not just the symptom of the problem. Until you get to the heart of the matter, debt will continue to be a cycle in your life. You can budget, you can stop spending for a time, but unless you deal with the real issue, you are just playing games with yourself. The problem will resurface again. So, get some help, and change your life today.

For all you old school heads, enjoy this blast from the past.

FUN IN THE FALL -- Join the writers of Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1 - Love & Redemption in New York City during the weekend of October 12th (Columbus Day Holiday).

Where: 583 Riverside Drive, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10031.
For More Information visit


Rich Classics III

Originally Posted 2/26/2007

We should call this blog "The Love House" because I'm having fun talking about relationships and what not.

I ran across someone trying to sell an e-book on this topic and wondered what you all thought it was.

What one mistake is almost guaranteed to end your new relationship before it even starts?

Let's chop it up and see what comes of it.

About the host:
Rich Fitzgerald is the author of the short story "One to Remember" featured in Love and Redemption (Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1), a collection of short stories by authors who blog. To read excerpts or to order a copy of the title, visit i-Lit. The book is also available on Amazon.


Fresh Cup of Coffee

Come into you

Denizen’s grin
It’s all good

Reparations escape me
Shaven clean from memory
No chance for easy rise
Struggle to get out of the hood

Forget about that talk about lazy
Just tired of driving Daisy
Wages inequitable
For brown hued skin

Still we manage to come up
Despite being fed up
We use our spares
To endure this ride

Gank move being planned
Snatch the keys they can’t
Imbedded in my mind
Constantly on my grind

By any means necessary
I have a dream is in me
We shall overcome
Fight the power
If you dare

Cars and houses they can take
Chemically induced to set up rape
Weed given to steal brain cells

Read your cards
I’ve learned how
Spar with demons
They’ve been knocked out
How you gone defeat God's child?

Destined to win
It’s already in me
Not looking at them
It’s all good you see


Let the celebration begin!

FUN IN THE FALL -- Join the writers of Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1 - Love & Redemption in New York City during the weekend of October 12th (Columbus Day Holiday).

Where: 583 Riverside Drive, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10031.
For More Information visit


Freestyle Friday (umm Thursday)

Love Unrequited

You force me to write about love
But it pains me to tell you the truth

In my youth I was vanquished by its effect
So today it’s an emotion of defect

I loved with little return
Scarred by promises not kept

Tainted by brown skin deception
Light brown lullabies became my reprieve

Captured the prize with my manhood
Offering a little heart
A skilled courtier
Makes them believe

Still can’t control the feeling
Still scared to trust my heart you see.

Life is easier with love tied in a closet
Trapped in the dark
Mouth taped
Can’t hear the muffled screams

Life’s companion wrestles with me to set love free
I lie and say I misplaced the key
Pat my pocket
Always keep it on me

Every now and again love works itself loose
I’m encouraged to let love enjoy the day and play

Can’t trust a runaway slave
No joy allowed

Maybe tomorrow
But just copulation today.

Copyright 2008 - R. Fitzgerald

FUN IN THE FALL -- Join the writers of Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1 - Love & Redemption in New York City during the weekend of October 12th (Columbus Day Holiday).

Where: 583 Riverside Drive, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10031.
For More Information visit


48 Laws of Power: Double Up


You can die from someone else's misery -- emotional states are as infectious as diseases. You may feel you are helping the drowning man but you are only precipitating your own disaster. The unfortunate sometimes draws misfortune on themselves; they will also draw it on you. Associate with the happy and fortunate instead.

In his own time Simon Thomas was a great doctor. I remember that I happened to meet him one day at the home of a rich old consumptive: He told his patient when discussing ways to cure him that one means was to provide occasion for me to enjoy his company: He could then fix his eyes on the freshness of my countenance and his thoughts on the over-flowing cheerfulness and vigor of my young manhood; by filling all his senses with the flower of my youth his condition might improve. He forgot to add that mine might get worse. -- Montaigne, 1533-1592


To maintain your independence you must always be needed and wanted. The more you are relied on, the more freedom you have. Make people depend on you for their happiness and prosperity and you have nothing to fear. Never teach them enough so that they can do without you.

The Two Horses

Two horses were carrying two loads. The front horse went well, but the rear horse was lazy. The men began to pile the rear horse's load on the front horse; when they had transfered it all, the rear horse found it easy going, and he said to the front horse: "Toil and sweat! The more you try, the more you have to suffer." When they reached the tavern, the owner said; "Why should I fodder two horses when I carry all on one? I had better give one all the food it wants, and cut the throat of the other, at least I shall have the hide." And so he did. -- Fables, Leo Tolstov 1828-1910

FUN IN THE FALL -- Join the writers of Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1 - Love & Redemption in New York City during the weekend of October 12th (Columbus Day Holiday).

Where: 583 Riverside Drive, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10031.
For More Information visit


The Alchemist - Living Your Dreams

When we pick up our story from where we last left, Santiago had met up with Melchizedek and was stuck with the decision to choose between something he had become accustomed to and something he wanted to have. Santiago did what most people do and came up with excuses for why he should stay with the familiar, but then he came to the realization that those that loved him got used to him being away as a shepherd, just as they got used to him being away, so will his sheep.
How can you apply this same logic to a situation you are facing in reaching your Personal Legend? What is the main message that the author is trying to get to the reader?

“In order to find the treasure, you will have to follow the omens. God has prepared a path for everyone to follow. You just have to read the omens that he left for you.”
Can you identify any of the “omens” that are trying to direct you to the treasure God has in store for your life?

Melchizedek tells Santiago a story that ends with the follow statement – “The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon.”
What does this bit of wisdom mean to you? Share with us your revelation.

When Santiago arrives in Africa he is tricked out of his money. While he is licking his wounds he realizes that the owner of the bar was actually trying to help him as opposed to harm him when he grabbed him. Santiago makes the statement, “I’m like everyone else – I see the world in terms of what I would like to see happen, not what actually does.”
Can you think of a time (s) when you misread the intentions of others as bad when they actually meant you well? If those people were close to you, did you change your feelings towards those persons in a heart of reconciliation?

Do you make it a habit to think of yourself as a poor victim or an adventurer in a quest toward your treasure?
Can you see the benefit of making a shift in your thinking as it relates to obtaining your Personal Legend?

As Santiago watched the candy merchant he realized he could sense whether a person was near to or far from his Personal Legend. Just by looking at them.
Think about the people you surround yourself with on a daily basis, would you say you are around more people who are near their Personal Legend or around those that are far from their Personal Legend? How is the company you are in affecting your outlook?

Santiago realized that even in a strange land, he was applying the same lessons he had learned with his sheep. “All things are one,” the old man had said.
Have you found this to be true in your own life? How have you applied it?

Toward the end of Part One, Santiago meets a crystal merchant who he puts a days work in with. The crystal merchant informs Santiago that he couldn’t possible make enough money to get to Egypt, even if he worked an entire year. The crystal merchant offers to give him the money he needs to get back home. Instead, Santiago decides that he will work for him so that he can buy more sheep.
How does this bode with you the reader that even knowing that the “omens” are with him, that he is still discouraged about his plight. What lesson are we to learn from this exchange? What words of Melchizedek can we relate to this situation?


Feel free to respond to any question offered or pose another question as it relates to the study of insights brought forth by the author in part one of The Alchemist.

FUN IN THE FALL -- Join the writers of Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1 - Love & Redemption in New York City during the weekend of October 12th (Columbus Day Holiday).

Where: 583 Riverside Drive, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10031.
For More Information visit


Rich Classics II

Originally posted 2/21/2007

I’ve heard the words “Soul Mate” at least twice weekly for about the last month or so. It’s almost as if people are just throwing it around like its commonplace. However, it got me to thinking about just how many people end up with theirs.

In my lifetime I've had the occasion for more than one female to swear that I was their dude. Not to mention I have felt at one time or another like someone that I was dating was it for me, but then for some reason or another we broke up. So then comes the question, were they really my soul mate? Hmm, I don't know. I would like to think I'm with who I was destined to be with. This love thing is tricky though. Too much TV gets in the way of relationships if you ask me, but that's another post. For now I just want to know if you believe in soul mates, what does the term mean to you, and are you with yours?

About the host:
Rich Fitzgerald is the author of the short story "One to Remember" featured in Love and Redemption (Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1), a collection of short stories by authors who blog. To read excerpts or to order a copy of the title, visit i-Lit. The book is also available on Amazon.


48 Laws of Power : Nine

Law 9
Win through your Actions, Never through Argument
Any momentary triumph you think gained through argument is really a Pyrrhic victory: The resentment and ill will you stir up is stronger and lasts longer than any momentary change of opinion. It is much more powerful to get others to agree with you through your actions, without saying a word. Demonstrate, do not explicate.

Side note:

This is the perfect opportunity for me to promote why I enjoy this book so much. The book is filled with stories of conquest and defeat that are centuries old. You are able to learn so much simply from seeing the stories play out in support of the law and at the same time gain insight into historical treasure coves. Which brings us to Pyrrhus.

Pyrrhus (318-272 BC) was one of the most successful ancient Greek generals of the Hellenistic era. He was king of the Greek tribe of Molossians(from ca. 297 BC), Epirus (306-301, 297-272 BC) and Macedon (288-284, 273-272 BC), and one of the strongest opponents of early Rome. Some of his battles, though successful, cost him staggering losses, from which the term Pyrrhic victory was coined. Go to Wikipedia to learn more about Pyrrhus.

Practical Application of Law 9:

This law brings home the phrase, “I can show you better than I can tell you!” Often in relationships we face opposition with our loved ones and many times we try to argue our positions hoping that the other person will see our side. Sometimes during those discussions things can get nasty. This law warns us that instead of ripping away at the threads of the relationship simply let your actions and the prevailing actions of others tell the real story.

FUN IN THE FALL -- Join the writers of Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1 - Love & Redemption in New York City during the weekend of October 12th (Columbus Day Holiday).

Where: 583 Riverside Drive, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10031.
For More Information visit


The Alchemist, pt 2

When we last discussed this a few of you mentioned that you were grabbing your copy and hoped to be with us this week. However, I'm certain life happened for someone, so this week I'm only going to cover one question that everyone can answer whether they read the book or not.

The old man who reveals himself to be "the king of Salem" tells Santiago that the new book he's just acquired is about the same thing almost all other books are about: "peoples inability to choose their own Personal Legends." This story is so common, he suggests, because people come to believe "the world's greatest lie" -- that we all lose control of our own lives and must let them be controlled by fate.


Do you know what your Personal Legend is? If you do and care to share with us, please do.

Have you fallen for the World's Greatest Lie? What steps do you take to ensure that your life isn't affected by it?

FUN IN THE FALL -- Join the writers of Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1 - Love & Redemption in New York City during the weekend of October 12th (Columbus Day Holiday).

Where: 583 Riverside Drive, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10031.
For More Information visit


Money Mondays: Tithing, the conclusion

I guess it’s high time I revealed my position because one would assume I am AGAINST giving to the church with the information I have provided here to date, but keep in mind, I have only laid out the scriptures and have done very little giving of my own interpretation. I didn’t want to get into espousing traditional beliefs because they don’t necessarily follow scripture. The bible isn’t as hard to understand as one would be made to believe. So, there is no need to always depend on the Clergy to break it down for you. So, for the record, in my lifetime I have been neutral on tithing, pro-tithing, and con-tithing. At the height of my belief, I gave nearly $10K one year because I had bought into the whole prosperity theology of sowing and reaping. Keeping in mind, I was not earning anywhere near six figures but I had purposed to go above what you would consider a tithe. I don’t present that with a bragging heart, but as a testimony to the fact that when I believe in something, I’m all in.

I started studying this subject a few years ago for a book project, but kept getting stalled because what I found never lined up with what I was being taught and the reality was that, at the time, I trusted my Pastor more than the spirit in me so I would always believe that I just didn’t have all the necessary books needed to fully study the subject. But the thought that I was on to something wouldn’t let me go. The other thing that gave me pause was that no matter what church I attended or visited, the ministers would be sure to drive home the ideology that tithing was the way to go. I didn’t have a problem with believing in tithing, but I found it odd that when it came time to give, most churches would have a brief lecture on the subject as if parishioners forgot that God required them to give since the last time they were at church. During the discourse, ministers rarely failed to mention that if you didn’t want to be subject to being “cursed with a curse” that you would find it in your heart to give ten percent of your income. So this week, I want to present the biblical backing behind whether you are cursed or not.

Malachi 3:7-12

7 "From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My statutes and have not kept {them.} Return to Me, and I will return to you," says the LORD of hosts. "But you say, 'How shall we return?' 8 "Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, 'How have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings. 9 "You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation {of you!} 10 "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. 11 "Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast {its grapes,}" says the LORD of hosts. 12 "All the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land," says the LORD of hosts.

This set of scriptures sets forth that by withholding the tithe, you are robbing God and because of it you are cursed with a curse. As some ministers will say, you can not expect God to be concerned with the matters pertaining to your finances when you are robbing God of what is His, week in and week out.

One of the things I have always not appreciated is getting part of the story. I like to be informed and I like to get the whole truth, not just the truth in part. Having the truth in part can easily lead to being told a lie.

It is interesting to note that the book of Malachi deals with the sins of the Priests as well as the Israelites.

Chapter 1 of Malachi deals directly with the Priests offering blind and lame animals as a sacrifice. God was clearly not pleased and He was calling them on it; admonishing them to give Him the respect that He was due. A common form of deception among the Priests was to offer a pitiful sacrifice knowing good and well that they had an acceptable one available. So, in effect they were trying to lie to God about what they had available, forgetting that HE could see all.

Chapter 2 starts by saying, And now, O priests, this commandment is for you. – God let them know that he had already cursed their blessings because of their decision to offer inappropriate sacrifices. Midway through the chapter the audience broadens as God deals with behavior God’s deems intolerable. The character of the people is called into question and the Lord calls on them to re-accept a life of holiness. Apparently, one of the major issues at that time was that men were committing adultery as well as divorcing their wives, even when the wives remained faithful. God let them know he hated divorce. God also let them know that they were giving Him a bad name because their actions caused non-believers to think there was no justice when it came to unholy living because God had not openly punished them.

Chapter 3 leads in with a warning that while it doesn’t look like it, God will bring correction. So God’s people are encouraged to turn from their wicked practices on their own volition. He let’s them know that because of their relationship and the promises that he has made that he has already withstood destroying them. This now set’s the stage for the famous scriptures. God implores the people to give the tithes and offerings properly so that there will be meat in his house. This meat is not figurative, it is literal. God wanted the people to do right so that the Levitical Priesthood wouldn’t be tempted to give inadequate offerings. He wanted the blessing to flow all around. The tithe was also God’s way of providing for those who couldn’t otherwise provide for themselves, so it was the Israelites duty as his people to worship him in their giving. Because they had not done so, he reminded them that they were indeed under a curse. In order to be rid of the curse they had to obey his statutes (Mosaic Law) and give accordingly. If they did so, he would once again pour forth his blessing.

I know I summarized that but I wanted to get to the question of the day. Does NOT tithing cause me to be cursed with a curse? If this was the end of the story I would give you a big emphatic NO. Why, because the curse was predicated on their not fulfilling God’s statutes in the first place; his statutes clearly being Mosaic Law in this instance. Without the Law, how can you transgress it and thereby be subject to its penalty?

What about metaphorically speaking? Since the times have changed can we apply Malachi metaphorically such that God requires us to tithe so that He can be glorified in the earth? Is there a case for being cursed today?

My response to that is not as straight forward because of the power of our minds. What do I mean by that? You can become so convinced of a thing that it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy even if what you are believing is a lie. In other words, if you buy into the belief that you are cursed for not tithing, then you will seek evidence of that truth subconsciously. Anytime something doesn’t go as planned financially, you will attribute it to not tithing. On the flip side, when those same unexpected events happen to tithing Christians, what is the defense then?

The bottom line is this. The penalty of the curse was predicated on breaking The Law. God does not have us under The Law, we are under Grace. Nevertheless, even with our being under grace, there is an expectation to give.

In the book of 2 Corinthians, Paul speaks of the type of giver that God approves of – a cheerful one.

What does it take to be a cheerful giver? A cheerful giver is one that gives to the things of God in a manner that reflects that person’s heart towards God. It’s as if you are in a relationship with God and your giving shows how much you care. The problem is most folks talk about loving God, but the proof ain’t in the pudding. People have their cable/satellite with their movie channels/sports channels, flat screens, tivo, cell phones, satellite radio, closets full of clothes and shoes and then when it’s time to give to the things of God out come the excuses.

Let’s look at an example of how God dealt with “church folk” who took care of their stuff and their lifestyle as opposed to his.

Haggai chapter 1, verses 3 - 11.

3Then the word of the LORD came by Haggaim the prophet, saying, 4"Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?" 5Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: "Consider your ways!

6"You have sown much, and bring in little;
You eat, but do not have enough;
You drink, but you are not filled with drink;
You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm;
And he who earns wages,
Earns wages to put into a bag with holes."

7Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Consider your ways! 8Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified," says the LORD. 9"You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?" says the LORD of hosts. "Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house. 10Therefore the heavens above you withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit. 11For I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain and the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands."

The thing to point out here is that God was not dealing with the people about tithing (scripture already proves that God's people didn't tithe money). He was dealing with them about giving. It’s also important to see that he “blew” on their money. So even in our giving there is an expectation. So, are you under a curse? No. However, if you do very little in the way of giving to God, yet you question why you can’t catch a break. Maybe, just maybe, God is blowing on your funds and you should reevaluate how much God really means to you in lieu of everything else in your budget. If you prefer your life’s luxuries over giving to the Kingdom of God, then chances are God is dealing with you on your finances because you basically give to the church called “ME”.

So, if you haven’t figured it out by now, I believe in giving not tithing. I think tithing is taught simply because it is profitable for ministries to do so. However, I reject it because a person’s giving really depends on where a person is in the cycle of understanding. If you are un-churched but come into the knowledge of Christ and truly have a heart to worship God in your giving, it may take you a minute to get to the place of giving ten percent or more of your income. Depending on your situation, God may not be requiring that of you anyway, so to have that stipulation placed on you by a minister is just wrong and in my eyes deceitful. People know when they are cheating God. Self evaluation isn’t that hard to do. We know when we are pleasing to God and when we aren’t. If you need a litmus test for your giving try this. Think of something you pay for monthly that you love (barring your home since it’s usually the largest expense people have) and measure that payment against what you give to church or charities monthly. If you aren’t giving at that level, then I would say you need to make some adjustments. But again, you don’t have to answer to me, you may make so much money where a house note is a suitable offering -- but if that shoe fits you, you already know what time it is.

Questions? Comments? Criticisms?