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Davis: Tithing is not a law … kind of

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By Ahmad Davis
Special to Inside The Pew

My first experience with tithing was when I was homeless sleeping out of the back of my 1991 Ford Explorer. I heard Dave Ramsey on the radio and his show gave me hopeTithe and inspired me to get out of debt and start to tell my money what to do.

As I gained composure and wrote my first budget on a yellow pad and starting to see some traction in my finances, he was also inspiring me to tithe because of some of the testimonies and experiences I was hearing on his show. So I begrudgingly wrote my first tithe check to a church that I had only visited once, but they were kind to me.

I soon recognized that my own inner struggles with writing the tithe check was not isolated, many people have a tough time giving 10% to God for various reasons. But, one reason was reconciled with me a while back and I wanted to share it with you.

Tithing was pre-law. The very first tithe was performed by Abram to Melchizedek. According to Genesis 14:18-20 (NKJV), the author wrote, “Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: ‘Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemiesAhmad Davis into your hand.’ And he gave him a tithe of all.”

This scripture shows that Abram gave a tithe to honor God who has already blessed him. There was no commandment given by God prior to this event to give ten percent of your earnings, it was done because it was the right thing to do.

As a rule of thumb, the first actions in the Bible set the precedent.

You might have a few reasons why you do not tithe, but read over the entire Genesis 14 chapter and pray over what God’s word is saying here. Prayerfully, you will feel a sense of peace about this piece of the great debate.

Ahmad Davis is a coach with Victory By Design, a firm based in Beaumont, Texas, serving clients locally, nationally and internationally. Ahmad provides solutions for individuals, couples, and businesses who are overwhelmed and stressed financially. Ahmad’s typical clients’ are pastors, single parents, lawyers, couples, doctors, business executives, newlyweds, business owners, and others who want a simple solution with remarkable measurable results. For more information, visit http://www.thebiblicalblueprint.com. To get your questions answered on the Inside The Pew Forum, email Ahmad at coach@thebiblicalblueprint.com.


Jerry Mathers is still the ‘Beaver’ after all these years

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By Tonya Andris
Inside The Pew

Jerry Mathers will always be remembered as the loveable “Beaver” Cleaver from the immensely popular TV show, “Leave It To Beaver,” but the actor recently said in an interview that Hollywood needs to create more family-centered programming.

“I think it’s very important that we still have movies that families can go to see like I did when I was a kid on Saturday mornings,” Mathers told ASSIST Ministries founderJerry Mathers Dan Wooding.  “We should be able to let our kids go to the movies and not really wonder what they’re going to be seeing. It is something that I think our kids deserve.”

Mathers showed his support for attended the 15th annual MOVIEGUIDE Faith & Values Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry in Hollywood on Feb. 15.

The actor told Wooding, “Adults should be able to see whatever they want to see, but I believe that there should also be some programming that you can take your children to and not walk away and go, ‘Ooh, I wish I hadn’t seen that’, especially when they’re young.”

The Sioux City, Iowa, native played Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver, a suburban boy who always seemed to find himself in trouble. Barbara Billingsley and Hugh Beaumont, both deceased, played Beaver’s parents, June and Ward, and Tony Dow played Beaver’s older brother, Wally.

Clockwise from left, Barbara Billingsley, Tony Dow, Hugh Beaumont, and Jerry Mathers

Wooding said in his article, when the series was not renewed at the beginning of the 1963-64 season and many of the series stars wanted to move on to other projects, Mathers entered Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Calif., and from there he served in the Air Force National Guard (1967-1969). He was mistakenly reported as killed in action during the Vietnam War, but all of his duties were stateside. After leaving military service he attended and graduated from the University of California at Berkley in 1973 with a BA in philosophy.

Mathers said family-friendly TV and movies are a niche market that needs to be filled with people with great ideas that need to be supported. Therefore, parents can take their children to see the movies and not end up disappointed.

Learn more about Mathers at www.jerrymathers.com and MOVIEGUIDE at www.movieguide.org.

Donovan has important message in book ‘The Hard Way’

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Special to Inside The Pew

TULSA, Okla. – When his self-destructive nature spiraled out of control and threatened to take his life, Jeremy Donovan found salvation and redemption through God, turning his life around to become healthy and successful.

In his new book, “The Hard Way,” Donovan shares his story and the lessons to be learned from it with his readers, helping to save them from having to learn the hard way, “The hard way is not the way to go. It’s, well, hard. Even when things seem fun and you’re getting away with it, that boulder can come and take you out.”

When Donovan hit rock bottom, he saw no way off of the path that he was on, “I was at rock bottom and saw no way out… but I hadn’t bargained for God’s intervention!” After he attempted to OD on drugs and pills, God clearly spoke to his heart, urging him, “Quit trying and get help.”

Donovan, who now serves as youth pastor of Destiny Life church, a multi-campus church in the Tulsa, Okla., area. urges his readers who are on a similar path to ask God to help them change, “Right this moment, you can stop, pray, and ask God to search your heart. Then ask Him to help you change, and show you how to change. He is faithful and He will answer that prayer.”

He reminds readers that God’s message to each of us is, “‘I love you so much. You are my favorite and I am proud of you. I want what is best for you. Trust in me to give you the desires of your heart.’” It is this message that will ultimately carry Donovan’s readers through their trials and help them to find the grace that they need to see them through the long road back to the right path.

Making these choices helps readers to “close the doors to destruction” and rewrite their legacies.

In 2008, he along with friend and ministry-partner, Matt Moore, founded “The SOZO Movement,” a series of testimonies from everyday people sharing the love and power of Jesus Christ.

Donovan’s show airs on Revolution TV (ReVTV), http://RevTV.com, a live streaming network that broadcasts in hi-definition over the Internet, mobile devices, and IPTV.

Learn more about Donovan at http://jeremydonovan.me/

4Soils’ Bible Heroes app benefits parents and children

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By Jacob Trimmer
Inside The Pew

There’s no two ways about it: children are spending more time than ever on mobile devices. To help rest the minds of parents, Lusi Chien has found a way to do so.

The Bible Heroes app was created with children and parents in mind. Based out of Stanford, Calif., the series of apps, created by Chien’s company, 4Soils, is based on the principles of making learning the Bible exciting. In return, children can relate to the great biblical tales.

“The Bible Heroes app is geared toward children, but the value of the app is a huge benefit to parents who crave apps which entertain, educate, and enrich their children’s minds,” said Chien, who is an MBA graduate student at Stanford University. “Our app is one of the only apps that seamlessly integrates story and activities to create a truly engaging and interactive experience for hours of great Bible instruction and fun!”

The Bible stories featured  the series are: David and Goliath, Daniel and the Lion, Jonah and the Big Fish, Esther and the King, Noah and the Ark, Joseph and his multicolor dream coat, and the Christmas Story.

For holiday gift givers, the Bible Heroes app was recently released as a 7-in-1 Christmas bundle.  Features of the bundle ($9.99 USD) include:

  • 143 animated scenes that invite children to read or listen to biblically accurate accounts of all the Bible heroes. The stories come to life through vibrant illustration and touch animations. Each story features scriptures from the Bible and a closing lesson to reinforce key concepts.
  • 41 thrilling game levels which engage children in activities and games as they journey into the world of the Bible heroes for hours of endless fun!
  • 91 coloring pages for children to use their imagination and recolor all the Bible Heroes to their liking.

Chien said 4Soils relies on the input from parents, Christian educators, and youth pastors to help improve the app.

Dallas mother Felicia Pinkney said, “My children, ages 3 and 6, love hearing the Bible stories. The storytelling is engaging and easy to follow for kids of that age. The parent portal is a nice touch and helped me ask the right questions at the end of the story. The games are a great way to reinforce what they learned from the story.”

A parent in Vermont commented on the 4Soils Facebook page: “These stories are not being read to children enough, nor are children being encourage to read them as much as they need to be.”

The Bible Heroes app has also gained endorsements from the national Christian radio circuit, notably contemporary Christian singer Jaci Velasquez. The seven-time Dove Award winner and host of “The Family and Friendly Morning Show with Doug Griffin” on 94 FM in Nashville, Tenn., said the apps allows parents to “build their child’s faith, at church, at home, or in the car – everywhere your iPhone or iPad goes.”

The app – available for download on the App Store – is compatible with iPhone and iPad. iOS4.3 or later is required for the apps to operate. Learn more about the production process behind the Bible Heroes app, visit the 4Soils blog.

A survivor’s story

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By Trenika Batiste
Special to Inside The Pew

My biggest fear is dying before I have even had the chance to live. To me, living life is not about the amount of years one ages

on Earth but about how you live each day. Did I leave my mark…did I pierce someone’s heart?  How would I be remembered and how soon will I be forgotten; those are my worrywarts.  I am seeking opportunity and not waiting for it to knock. I dream that one day my passion will provide the way for me to get paid to do what my soul desires; to write.

Stage plays, poetry, short stories, children’s books…wherever the road leads me.  The writing ability that I possess is God-given. Sometimes I impress myself.  There are moments when I read something that I have written and am in complete awe just thinking, “Where did those words come from?”  And at the same time, I’m answering… “Those words came from God.”  For He has shown me a tremendous amount of favor, in my heart I am forever grateful.  I strive to live in His presence for He knows what lies ahead of me.  He is the head of my life. I put Him first so that I am able to walk confidently, blindly without knowing what tomorrow holds.  I trust God with my life, I trust Him with my soul.  Life Goes On is a poetry book that was written to awaken today’s generation.  From a mirror’s reflection stands our only excuse.  Not everyone is the same, but if we can get everyone on the same page…it will be like the day of Pentecost in the Bible days, Life Goes On.  The following piece A Survivor’s Story is based on my aunt’s victory with breast cancer and how, with God on her side, Satan was defeated.

A Survivor’s Story

The thought came,

Call your aunty and have her to explain.

Give her an interview.


Write about what she went through.


Being obedient I picked up my phone,

Called my aunty, who happened to be at home,

Made arrangements to hear her story,

Speaking to me, there was no hurry.


The interview begins…

As she converse

From the beginning to the end.

She speaks:


I had no symptoms

And it was not a bump.

But what I felt was a lump.

Inflammation right across my chest

And here goes my test.


I was worried and stressed,

Tensed and completely distressed.

The devil attempted to instill in my mind

Not to worry because I was doing fine.

However being strong minded,

I still scheduled a doctor’s appointment.


October 31st was the analysis,

To find out the mysterious,

The unknown,

And the nameless.

The doctor had completed the biopsy, my examination.


Scared…shaking as a leaf on the tree.

It was November 2nd when he revealed the outcome to  me.


My heart was racing.

My emotions ran wild.

Doc says it’s cancerous

And it was a river that I cried.


I could’ve hit the floor.

I couldn’t take it any more.

Though my husband was with me,

I still needed spiritual support.


Stating my options,

Like a cop reading Miranda rights.

Bumpy, bump, bump, bump…my heart dropped.

Option #1

Was to remove the lump,

Option #2

Was to take the entire breast out,

Option #3

Was Chemotherapy,

My heart yet beating

Bumpy, bump, bump, bump.


Departing the hospital,

I looked up to God.

I placed this cancer in his hands.

I had to give Him my all.

I arrived at work.

I had plans to tell my boss.

I walked into his office.

But not a word came out.


For I was in denial about my state:

Me, I, Bobbie have cancer?

Words I never thought I’d say.



I just stood there…

Crying and weeping, I stood there.

Traumatized and disturbed, I stood there.

Lost and broken, I stayed there

Just emotional.


Finally I settled down

And told them what I had just found out.

Understanding, Sympathetic,

Concerned and Compassionate,

To leave or to stay…it was my alternative.


Not giving Satan the victory,

I decided to stay.

And everyone I saw…I told them to pray.


Pray for me…regardless of your age.

Pray for me…I don’t care about your race.

Pray for me… if you can pray.

Pray for me…because I need your prayers.


November 8,

Marked my surgery date.

Family and friends filled the hospital with their presents.

Under the knife,

I knew they were praying.


Hours later…

The doctor gave an update.

My lymph nodes were fine;

The cancer did not spread.


Taking Chemotherapy every 3 weeks for 3 months,

I lost my hair.

I craved certain things;

Other things I couldn’t eat… all apart of Chemotherapy.


But through it all God kept me.

I made it through.

Now I can tell it.


Small things are worth losing

In order to maintain

Or to remain living.

Which is the big picture!

So take my hair!

Take my breast!


I don’t care!

I’m still here!


This clock has not stopped clicking.

Ima still a ticking.

I ain’t worried about Duracell

Because I have Jesus cells in me.

My husband didn’t leave me

In spite of what chemo did me.

I’m still blessed.

And I’m still among the living.

I’m a survivor !

I’m a survivor!

I’m a survivor!

Do you hear me?


Trenika L. Batiste is a motivational speaker and author of “Life Goes On: Collected Book of Poems.” The Amite, La., resident is founder of Trenika Batiste Productions. Contact her at trenika@tbatisteproductions.com.

‘A Community Cooks’ slated for April 19 at Paul Quinn College

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Special to Inside The Pew

DALLAS – As the sun sets on April 19, a selection of Dallas’ top executive chefs will step away from the kitchen to prepare their signature culinary creations between the rows of strawberries, mint and arugula on Paul Quinn College’s organic farm. Feast between the budding sprouts of cantaloupe and sweet potatoes as live music sets the stage for a great night of partying beneath the stars.

“A Community Cooks” celebrates the farm’s accomplishments and raises resources to help expand the farm’s ability to combat the food desert surrounding Paul Quinn College. The farm brings healthy food to the neighborhood by donating a minimum of 10 percent of all items grown to those in need.

At 5 p.m., join the college for a special ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the farm’s expansion. Thanks to the contributions of the Associate Leadership Council of the Real Estate Council of Dallas, the farm will now feature a greenhouse, solar lights, and an irrigation system. Those attending “A Community Cooks” will be among the first to witness the improvements.

Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, the former commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services and current vice president and chief medical officer for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, will be the slated guest speaker. Sanchez is a leader in the fight to reduce food deserts and also stresses the link between the lack of access to healthy, affordable foods, and chronic diseases.

Tickets are $75 and can be purchased at http://www.prekindle.com/promo/id/21692820750405706

Participating chefs include Jeff Harris from Bolsa; Matt Balke from Bolsa Mercado; Janice Provost and Chad Houser from Parigi; Tim Bevins from Craft;  Tre Wilcox of Marquee; Jason Maddy from Oak; Matt McCallister from FT33; Jon Stevens from Nosh; Randall Copeland from Ava; Central 214’s Graham Dodds; the Dallas Cowboys’  Orazio La Manna; and Brent Hammer from Hibiscus.

Muse: What to do when forgiving is the hardest thing

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By Pastor Grelan Muse Sr.
Inside The Pew

Remember the talkshow from years back called “Forgive or Forget”?

The program was hosted by Mother Love and Robin Givens, and individuals went on the show to discuss horrible events in their lives. The offender and the hurt individual discussed the situation amongst themselves and with the audience. At the end of each segment, the host asked the hurt individual if he or she would forgive or forget the act.

For some people, that is a difficult question to answer. Do you forgive the person yet never forget what they did? Or, do you hang on to the anguish and anger of the past wrong?

One of our followers on Twitter presented a thought-provoking answer to the question. He posted his answer as a health tip: “Pray for then sincerely FORGIVE someone who hurt you and you’ll soon feel better spiritually AND physically.”

Possessing a negative mind keeps you from experiencing the peace Christ Jesus has given to each of us. Do not allow the past to dictate your future. Colossians 3:13 reads, “Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (NIV). It is God who forgives us daily for our missteps, so it is only fitting that you pray to overcome your woes, and pray for the person who has offended you. I will admit that forgiveness is a hard step to take, but as Christians we must let it go and move on. Forgiveness is the just thing to do, and it is required because our Heavenly Father tells us to do so. Paul said in Romans 12:12 and Romans 12:17 that we must be patient in affliction and faithful in prayer and not repay evil for evil (NIV).

There are many people I have encountered through the years in ministry who have been hurt by a loved one – mother, father, sibling, spouse, etc. There seems to be no closure in their minds or in their hearts. What eventually happens is these individuals began to transfer their negative energy onto other people. But, praying, shedding some tears, and talking about their situation will allow people to release that negative energy and live a renewed life that is not filled with stress.

It is my prayer that individuals who deal with forgiving someone remember that Christ promises in Matthew 6: 14-15 that “if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men of their sins, Your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Grelan Muse Sr. is founder of Emanuel and The Mainline Ministries Inc. (www.emmnetwork.org), a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization, and Inside The Pew (www.insidethepew.net). Connect with us @PewTalk on Twitter and @Inside The Pew on Facebook.