Tag Archive: promises of god


July 15, 2013
Ask and You Will Receive
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7, NIV).

Friend to Friend

I have always loved giving gifts to my children – all kinds of gifts including hugs, kisses, time, and love – as well as material things like toys, books, and clothes. When the kids were young we didn’t have much money, so the gifts were small, but the kids didn’t seem to mind. I often scrimped and saved in order to buy a certain item for a birthday or for Christmas, and loved every minute of it.

Dan and I now have five grandchildren and I am in so much trouble! I want to give them everything! I know I need to give them the important things such as love, time and training in the ways of God, but I find myself in the same situation I was in when our son and daughter were babies – little money but a big desire to give.

I once took our daughter-in-law shopping for Jaydan and Lelia, our five-year-old twins. I had a list of items I wanted to purchase but was disappointed when I found only half of the items on the list. However, it was getting late, and the babies began to “tell” us that they were ready for dinner and bedtime. We checked out, loaded the babies into the car, and headed home.

When Jodi leaned over to kiss my cheek and thank me for the gifts, I looked at her and said, “You are so welcome, honey, but it’s not enough!” Jodi chuckled, but I was serious! “No, you don’t understand,” I continued.  “We have to go shopping again because I haven’t given the babies enough and my heart is not excited enough yet!” I know. I am totally ruined, but I am going to try very hard not to ruin Jaydan and Lelia. (The projected success rate does not look good right now, but I promise to work on it.)

On the way home, I began to analyze my words and my heart. I fully realize that material things won’t satisfy the deepest needs of our grandchildren. I am also committed to investing time in their lives to help them find Jesus Christ and discover His plan for their lives. Honestly, I don’t really know how to explain what I feel for our grandchildren, but it is sort of like watching my heart walk around on the outside of my body. I know I can love them in so many ways…and I do…and I will…but I always want to give them more.

Our Father has the same heart – a giving heart – when it comes to giving His children good things. The problem is that we don’t really believe that truth. We tend to measure His love and benevolent heart of giving by how much we have done or accomplished, or even by what we haven’t done and promise not to do.

We are missing the truth that God’s love simply cannot be measured. God doesn’t love us because we are so lovable. God loves us because He is love.

One of the most tragic results of our unbelief is an ineffective prayer life. We pray, not really believing that God wants to or really will answer those prayers. Jesus addresses this issue in Matthew 7:7-11.

Matthew 7:7-11 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?”

Jesus is teaching about prayer and about the very nature of God. He relates it to something we all can understand, the child-parent relationship. The son has been out in the fields working all day long and by the time he comes home, he is starving. His family is seated at the dinner table as dishes of steaming, delicious food are being passed around. I can almost see that tired and hungry boy’s eyes zeroing in on the food, salivating in anticipation of the meal before him. Then imagine that the father, seeing the hunger of his child, picks up a rock, tosses it to his son and says, “Here! Eat this!” Jesus is driving home the truth that good fathers want to give their kids good gifts. Now if this is true of earthly parents (and grandparents), imagine what our Heavenly Parent wants to give us – if only we would ask.

No one’s voice sounds sweeter to God than your voice, girlfriend. Nothing in the universe could keep Him from giving you His full attention when you pray. In fact, He longs to hear your prayer. In Psalm 34:8, the psalmist invites us to “taste and see that the LORD is good.” In this verse, “Lord” means “Jehovah, Abba Father.” In other words, your Abba Father, Dearest Daddy, is inviting you to come to Him in childlike faith, with a hungry heart so He can fill it with the gifts of peace, contentment and a satisfied spirit.

Don’t think you have to figure out a way to steal a blessing from God. Don’t believe you have to trick Him into giving up what He would rather keep for Himself. It is God’s very nature to give to His children. He has made all of His resources available to you. Do not doubt for a moment that He is a giving God with a heart that longs to bless, to encourage, to empower and to love you. God is not only able to answer your prayer, but God wants to answer your prayer. Ask and you will receive.

Taking a Leap of Faith
Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth
“I can do everything through him (Jesus) who gives me strength,” (Philippians 4:13 NIV).

Friend to Friend
Several years ago, on a trip to Kauai, my husband and our friends, Larry and Cynthia Price, decided to go on a zip line through the jungle. After being jostled and tossed like ragdolls in the back of a retired army jeep, we finally made it to the top of the mountain from which we were going to zip down—risking life and limb I might add.

I hopped out of the jeep and eyed the cable suspended high above the valley below. After watching Cynthia fly through the trees, I climbed up onto a wooden platform and surrendered to Jack, a jovial, burly Hawaiian, who strapped me into a harness and placed a helmet on my head. With a simple click of a metal buckle, he attached my harnessed body onto a seemingly flimsy steel cable. As I stood on the edge of the platform eyeing the disappearing earth below my feet, I had a choice. I could say, “no thanks” and ask to be released from the cable, or I could jump.

I chose to jump. My body flew over the treetops and the stunningly beautiful gorge. I was Tarzan’s Jane and this was my jungle. Airborne. Exhilarating. Risky.

Jacob was with us that day. He was a stranger among our little band of adventurers. Jacob was alone. No friends. No spouse. No family.

“Jacob, what brings you up to this mountain today?” I asked.

“I’m afraid of heights,” he answered.

I then noticed the thin line of perspiration beading over his upper lip. The slight tremble in his voice. The mechanical one-foot-in-front-of-the-other halted gait up the hill.

“You’re afraid of heights?” I asked. “Then why are you here?”

“I’m going to conquer it today,” he determinedly answered.

I was struck. We were here to have fun. He was here for a totally different reason. When Jacob stood on that platform, I prayed for my new friend. For Jacob this was not just a joy ride…or just maybe it was.

I’m not saying that God told Jacob to go to the top of a mountain, attach his body to a flimsy cable, and fly over the gorge at the risk of life and limb. But I am saying that obedience often requires a leap of faith. Too often we say yes to God, but live the no because of fear. We stand at the precipice of belief and a decision has to be made. Am I going to trust God or not? Am I going to attach my heart to the cable of His love and take a leap of faith, or am I going to freeze in fear because I don’t trust that He has my best interest in mind? Am I going to settle for safety and miss the thrill of seeing God work through me?

As we live and move and have our being in Jesus, God will take us to some amazing places. And there will always be a choice. Will we jump headlong into the adventurous journey of His perfect plan, or will we hang back for lack of faith? Jacob stood on the platform, took a deep breath, and jumped. He flew over the treetops, careened over the river, and landed safely on the other side of his greatest fear.

We clapped and cheered. Jacob took a bow. God smiled.

In Him we live and move and have our being…and sometimes we soar.

Let’s Pray
Lord, sometimes I’m just flat out afraid. Afraid I’ll fail. Afraid I’ll be rejected. Afraid I won’t be good enough. Lord, forgive me for all those “I’s.” Forgive me for focusing on my weaknesses rather than Your strength. Today, I’m believing that I can do all things that You call me to do because I know that You will give me the strength I need.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

I want each of you to pick up your iPhones, EVO’s, and all of those other smart phones, turn off the screen until its dark and then look at your reflection in that iPhone and I want you to tell yourself, “Self, I am coming out and I am coming out with my hands up! I coming out of every dark situation with my hands held high in victory. God has promised that he would deliver me.I am coming out of the trap of selfish ambitions.
I am coming out of depression.
I am coming out of low self-esteem.
I am coming out of financial difficulty.
I am coming out of this abusive relationship.
I am coming out of confusion and despair.
i am coming out of subpar living
I am coming out of the sphere of dwarfed goals
I am coming out of weak moments and poor decisionsLook to God and tell Him that you glory in His name and you rest in the promises of His Word. Self, I know that God has something for me, for His Word says that Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the hearts of men all of the things that God has prepared for those that wait on Him. Self, hold on a little while longer, the breakthrough is coming. Self, settle yourself into the peace that transcends all understanding and wait for the flow of God’s awesome power to reach into this situation. Self, I am coming out. I coming out with my praise in tact. I am coming out with my joy in place. I am coming out with my song ever refreshed in my soul. I coming out with a new testimony. I am coming out with new wings to soar. I am coming with a Dance like David’s. I am coming out with vision and purpose in view.

Praise God.

Enlarge Your Vision

Raising Your Expectancy

God usually meets us at our level of expectancy. It seems that whether it is Israel in the Old Testament or the blind man in the New Testament, what is done for the believer by God is in direct correspondence to what that believer expects. In Numbers Chapter 14, we see that Israel received the negative report of 10 of the twelve spies sent to scout the land of Canaan. They came back and basically said that it is all that God said it would be, but there are Giants over there and we are like grasshoppers in their sight. Two of the spies, Caleb and Joshua, said that we can take it. Why did they feel like they could take it? Because God said they could. They believed the promises of God. Their faith was based on what he said, not what they saw. Faith is not circumstantial, it is unconditional. What God says, he is definitely able to perform.

Several times in the New Testament, as Jesus performs a healing, He says “according your faith you shall have what you seek.” In other words, I will perform up to that which you believe and expect of me. There seems to be a direct correlation between what is expected and what is accomplished.

As for Israel, God was angered and considered their lack of faith as a complaint against him. His response was, “Just as you have spoken in my hearing, so shall I do to you.” That is exactly what he did. Joshua and Caleb said they could and they were the only two of their generation to see the Promised Land. The other 10 spies and all of those that believed their report died in the wilderness over the next 40 years. What are you expecting and what are you speaking in the hearing of God concerning His promises toward you? Remember life and death are in the power of the tongue.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life]. (Proverbs 18:21 AMP)

Expectation is something quite awesome in the life of the believer. We have the right and even the obligation to expect from God all that He has promised. We limit God with our limited faith. We allow the circumstances to dictate the flow of our thought processes instead of believing God for all that he is and all that he has promised. He has promised that his Word would not return to Him void, but would accomplish all that it was sent to accomplish.

“So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” (Isa. 55:11NASB)

 

The Bible also tells us that we are not able to fathom the things that God can and will do for us, in us and through us.

 

“But, on the contrary, as the Scripture says, What eye has not seen and ear has not heard and has not entered into the heart of man, [all that] God has prepared (made and keeps ready) for those who love Him [[e]who hold Him in affectionate reverence, promptly obeying Him and gratefully recognizing the benefits He has bestowed]..” (1 Cor. 2:9 AMP)

 

 

 

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, (Eph. 3:20)

 

A common phrase used by Christ upon healing someone was “According to your faith”, as with the Blind man in Matthew 9:29. According to your faith is basically saying that based on what you believe or taking it even further, what you know, this I will do on your behalf. Faith is the conduit through which God engages and functions in the life of every believer. Without faith it is impossible to please God.

 

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (Heb. 11:6)

 

You cannot please God without faith because the absence of faith is a personal indictment against God. Basically your lack of faith is saying to God, “I don’t believe you can!” It is saying that you cannot possibly be the great I AM. Remember what he said to the Israelites concerning their fear of entering into the Promised Land:

The LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who are grumbling against Me? I have heard the complaints of the sons of Israel, which they are making against Me.  “Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the LORD, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will surely do to you; your corpses will fall in this wilderness, even all your numbered men, according to your complete number from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against Me. ‘Surely you shall not come into the land in which I swore to settle you, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun.  (Num. 14:26-30 NASB)

 

What are you speaking into the hearing of God about your situation? Are you grumbling against Him with you unbelief, or are you standing on His promises and trusting His power? I urge you to raise your expectations. Set your focus like the woman with the issue of blood. Twelve long years she suffered with no end in sight, but her faith in Christ was so strong that she decided she did not need a personal face to face encounter with Him; she simply needed to touch His clothes. Her faith was so strong that it pulled power from Jesus to the point that her touching His clothes felt to him as if she had touch Him directly. This faith of hers was so powerful that it drew on the power of Christ. When he asked who touched me, the disciples thought he had lost his mind because there was a crowd and he was being thronged by the crowed. Yet, in all of this he feels this woman touch Him. Now that is faith. That is a great expectation.

Then there was the Roman General that came to Jesus and said that I am not worthy for you to enter into my house, but if you would just simply speak it (Glory to God), I know that it will be done. Now that’s faith. That is saying that if God said it, that settles it. I am not overtaken by my circumstances because God has promised to deliver. I am not shaken by delay because God has promised to come through. My circumstances sometimes paint an aphotic and desperate portrait, yet there lies underneath a cultivated seed of faith that compels my spirit to disagree with my circumstances. I did not say deny my circumstances or pretend that they are not real, but I disagree with them. I do not give the circumstances power and authority over my life.

Let me explain something to you. Stop giving so much weight to the facts. See people who do that are known as empiricist and pragmatist. They base everything on what they can see and observe. However, the Bible tells us that we should live by faith and it also says that we walk by faith not by sight. What does this mean? It means we must acknowledge the facts (do not be in denial. A real problem does not go away because you pretend it’s not there), but don’t give more weight to the facts than you do to your trust in God. My cousin and I say this slightly different, but basically it comes out to the same meaning: Either your faith will resolve the facts or the facts will dissolve your faith. You and only you will make that determination.

What are your expectations for God’s movement in your life?

 

I pray that you are blessed.

 

Sincerely,

 

Bishop Rick Wallace

No More Dry Bones

Foundational Scriptures: Ezekiel 37:1-14

 

As I reflect on my life’s history and contemplate the many struggles and vicissitudes, the ups and downs, the ins and outs, I find myself asking the same invariable question my ancestors posed many years ago -How did I make it?  I must say that my soul looks back in wonder of how I made it through.

 

To my fellow Christians that are going through right now, God has sent forth His Word so that it may bring healing.  The sun is downing just over the mountain top.

 

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ 1 Peter 6,7

 

I’ve said this more than once and I will venture to say it once more; It is only when the Christian warrior has been tested by the fierce and vehement winds of adversity that he proves himself genuine in his faith, while at the same time discovering the awesome power and ability of God to deliver and restore.

 

Not until you’ve been pushed to the brink of despair will your true character and integrity shine forth.  Not until you have reached that place in which family and friends have no bearing on the outcome of your situation, that place at which you have been left with but two choices:  Trust God or perish into the abyss of failure.  Only by choosing to stand on the infallible promises of God will the genuineness of your faith be validated.

 

My dear Christian friends, if you have not yet found yourselves in this place of vulnerability and frailty, just wait……but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world (John 16:33).

 

Now, if one must be tested, it only stands to reason that such a one should spend a significant amount of time preparing for the exam.  How does one prepare for life’s tests? – By the daily study, intake, absorption, metabolism, and inculcation of Bible doctrine.  This develops the foundation for every Christian function -faith! Faith is then applied to situations and circumstances of life.

 

2 Corinthians 5:7 establishes the fact that we walk by faith and not by sight.

 

Faith – Here is that unavoidable word that is embedded in the existence of the life of every Christian.  Without faith, the Christian life is void and hopeless; virtually nonexistent.  Without faith your Christianity is an illusion that bears no true power. Without faith there is no power source. Without faith there is no peace. Without faith there is fulfillment of purpose and destiny. So, if the apprehension of faith is paramount in this ethereal journey of Christianity, how must one go about obtaining it?

Romans 10:17 says faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God!”  Faith, then comes to man when they hear the Word preached by called men of God.  William Mac Author adds this to the point of hearing, “But hearing with the ears is not enough, a person must hear with an open heart and mind, willing to be shown the Truth of God.  If he does, he will find that the Word has the ring of truth and the truth is self-authenticating.  He will then believe (Believers Bible Commentary).  Once again we are magnetically drawn to the truth and relevance of God’s word.  Faith is therefore built upon the unshakeable foundation of the infallible Word of God.  Faith then, is receiving the testimony of God, as He has revealed it to us in His Word, as unadulterated truth and then standing and acting on that truth; this is faith.

 

Though today’s message deals with restoration, we cannot lose our focus on faith, for restoration is filtered through and encapsulated by faith.  A faith that says all things are possible through God; even delivery and restoration from the consequences and repercussions of our own actions. Oh how the devil desires to drape the anvil of past failures around our necks in an attempt to produce a guilt complex that stifles our growth and impedes our progress. Yet, we will find that the God we serve is a God of second chances; not only affording us a new opportunity to succeed where we have failed, but also providing the power through which to do it.

 

We begin our journey in verse one with the prophet Ezekiel being brought out in the Spirit of the Lord and set in the midst of the Valley of Dry Bones.

 

Allow me a diminutive degree of digression if you will. There are many hermeneutics (rules, principles, techniques, etc.) when studying God’s Word, one of which isagogics.  -Isagogics is the interpretation of scripture within the frame work of its historical setting or prophetical environment.  Lucidly speaking, Isagogics gives consideration to the date of authorship, the audience, and the reason.

 

With this in mind, we will take notice that Ezekiel is an Old Testament prophet, a contemporary of Jeremiah and Daniel.  He prophesied from 593-571 B.C.  Ezekiel was taken captive and exiled to Babylon during the second of three raids by the Chaldeans led by Kind Nebuchadnezzer.  During the third and final raid in 586 B.C, the third deportation took place and the temple was destroyed.  This fifth cycle of discipline (As outlined in Leviticus Chapter 26) lasted for seventy years, another Biblical prophecy fulfilled.

 

Through this diminutive bit of background information, we can ascertain quite a bit.  First thing would be that Ezekiel is an Old Testament Prophet; meaning he received his revelations through direct communication from God via visions, theophanies, and audible mandates; which explain verse one.

Next, we can understand the state that the nation of Judah was in at the time, the Jews were in a very dark time in their history.  They had every reason to give up and acquiesce to the despair of the moment.  This pit of despair is of their own doing, yet we will find out that God has honored his promise to never leave nor forsake them.

 

Now that we have laid the foundation, let us move on.

 

Ezekiel has been placed in the Valley of Dry Bones; a valley that represents death in the worst way.  These bones represented the nation of Judah.  Whether the placement in this valley is by vision or literal is irrelevant in the scope of its message.

 

Next, comes the question, “Son of man, can these bones live?  Ezekiel’s answer was succinct, yet immensely profound.  -”O Lord God, You know”.  At first glance, it may seem that Ezekiel did not answer the question, but deferred to God, but he did answer when he said, “O Lord God.”  -Through God, all things are possible. When Ezekiel acknowledged God he acknowledged the possibilities.

 

-More than deferring, Ezekiel was saying, O Lord God, you don’t even have to ask.

 

Now, the command, Prophecy to these bones -Preach to the bones, tell them to hear my words.  God too, has said to me, son of man, can I revive and restore those who are called by my name?  My answer every morning is the same, O Lord God you are able and you are willing. Be sure of this, for those that truly come to God and know that he is, this will be a year of restoration.

 

I can imagine how Ezekiel must have felt, being asked to preach to the dead, because there are times when I feel I am preaching to the dead. They are there, but they are not listening. They hear, but they do not comprehend. I hear the amen corner, but I don’t see the victorious soldier.

“Surely, I will cause breath to enter into you and you shall live.”  I would like to bring elucidation to the word “surely“.

 

Webster’s definition for surely is -without doubt, certainty.  The Word surely here should bring an unwavering confidence; not only in God’s ability but his willingness to perform what he has promised.  If God said it, I believe it and that settles it.  It will happen.

 

 

Verse 6 ends with “Then you shall know that I am the Lord.  The work that I am about to perform, that “new thing” of Isaiah 43:19 will be so complete, so awesome, so abundant that it will leave no doubt that God himself performed it.  When God shows up, He shows out.

 

The next verse, verse 7, is of the utmost importance.  “So I prophesied as I was commanded.”  Here we have one of the three quintessential elements that are imperative if we are to experience the process of deliverance and restoration – obedience; the remaining two being faith and patience.  “Behold to obey is better than sacrifice (1 Sam 15:22).”  Ezekiel did not question God, he simply believed and his faith resulted in obedience.

 

“Faith without work is dead (James 2:17)

 

As Ezekiel prophesied, he heard a noise.  Keep in mind that there is no one out there but him.  In our obedience to God we will be taken back in absolute astonishment by His movement in our situations.  He is a God of abundance and profusion not of mediocrity.  The scripture goes on to tell us that the bones came together and became flesh, but there was no breath in them.  These bones were like so many of us today -They did not get the entire message the first time around.  They grasped the whole bone and flesh thing, but not the part about the breath.  So, God told Ezekiel to prophesy to the breath.  It can also be translated spirit.  Here the breath or winds represented the power of the Holy Spirit to quicken or bring life to that which was dead.

 

Ezekiel once again did as he was told and upon doing so the breath of life entered these bodies which then stood upon their feet an exceeding and great army.  I ask you now, are your bones dry and brittle? Are you being tossed by the winds of despair?  If so, hold on, God has a word for you.

 

Then the Lord spoke to Ezekiel and said these bones are the whole house of Israel.  They indeed say our bones are dry, our hope is lost and we ourselves are cut off.  Therefore prophesy and say to them…behold my people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves and bring you into the land of Israel.  Then you shall know that I am the Lord when I have opened your graves – I will put my Spirit in you and you shall live.

 

There are many of you today who have become overwhelmed in your particular circumstances.  The pernicious and incessant attacks of the enemy have left you dangling by the circumscribed cards of despair and destitution.  A vehement sense of hopelessness has began to threaten your very existence.  However, I have good news.

 

God desires to renew, rejuvenate, and restore.  In essence, He has sent me to tell you: no more dry bones!”  The enemy would like for you to feel lost and alone, but God has promised never to leave you alone  -”No more dry bones””  You may  be at the most darkest of times, yet God’s command remains.  “No more dry bones”!  Like David your friends may have become your enemies, but I exhort you to give yourself to prayer.  I come to tell you today, “No more dry bones”!  There may be stress, tension, and uncertainty in your marriage, but God sustains, “No more dry bones”!    Your heart is heavy and your pillow is drenched with tears -”No more dry bones”.  Everywhere you turn is trouble, but trouble don’t last always -”No more dry bones”.

 

If you have to cry right now, that’s okay, go ahead because weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning -”No more dry bones”.

 

God through Christ has positioned us for blessings and deliverance.  He is about to breath life into your situation.  “Wait on the Lord and be of good courage and He will strengthen your heart, wait I say on the Lord (Psalms 27:14)“…Wait for the Lord, and He will save you.” (Proverbs 20:22)

 

God has offered His Son for our sins so that through Him, we might have eternal      life -This is salvation.

 

Christ paid the penalty for our sins -This is propitiation.

 

The sacrifice of Christ at the cross satisfied the wrath of God -This is expiation.

 

God imputed His righteousness to us -This is justification.

 

God renewed fellowship with us -This is reconciliation.

 

Because of God’s gifts, we lift our hands in praise -This is celebration.

 

In Christ, we have an unspeakable joy -This is elation.

 

Each day we are becoming more like Him -This is sanctification.

 

We have been anointed and ordained with a purpose -This is predestination.

 

We have been set free from the enemy -This is emancipation

 

God has declared us victorious over the enemy -This is declaration.

 

When we proclaim the power of God aloud -This is recitation.

 

When we turn away from evil -This is cessation

 

God is about to revive your hopes -This is resuscitation.

 

God is about to bring you back to a fullness -This is restoration.

 

Finally God will bring you to the fullness of purpose -This is glorification.

 

Your breakthrough is coming.  Hold on, remain steadfast in prayer.  God is about to bust a move.  Remember, No More Dry Bones!

 

Bishop Rick Wallace

Abiding In Abundance

By Bishop Rick Wallace

 

It does not require much effort to find yourself digesting massive doses of rhetoric and propaganda concerning the current economic situation.  Every self proclaimed expert is weighing in on the matter; and as always there is more criticism than contributions towards a valid solution.  The thing that grabs me the most is the level of fear.  In fact, an enormous portion of the current economic situation is driven by fear.  Consumers fear making the most nominal and inconsequential of purchases; bankers fear lending money due to the risk of default; retailers fear making the necessary investments to procure adequate marketing and advertising.  There is so much fear permeating throughout the corridors of society that we are feeding and nurturing the very thing we fear – economic instability.

 

In the fury of all of the extrapolated theories floating around in the air, in the midst of the paralyzing fear gripping our nation, is hidden the most disparaging of revelations, the defeated Christian.  The fear level among the saved is equal to or greater than the unbeliever.  Those who are called to walk by faith have become sight-walkers; glued to the T.V. set and gaining on every financial report.  I am in no way suggesting that anyone at any time engage in unwise spending nor do I propose total ignorance to the economic climate that encapsulates you.  However, I passionately desire to impress upon the heart of every believer that engages this piece to walk each day in the confidence of your identity in Christ and to stand implacably on the promises of God.  The promises of God are 100% recession proof.  Come with me as we take a journey through the infallible Word of God and come face to face with the great and precious promises of our great provider.  Walk with me as I show you how to abide in the abundance of God and share with you its multitudinous benefits.

 

There is no mistaking the signs of economic recession and the presages of a pending structural collapse of the economy.  Yet, these prognostications should not be the guiding forces in the lives of believers.  Yes, we are to be prudent in our thoughts and actions irrespective to social or economic climates, however, there is a distinct difference between prudence and paranoia.  External circumstances should never be the point of reference of the Christian solider.  We are to be guided by the Word of God.  We must ask ourselves: What does the Word say about this?  God’s Word is lucidly clear when it concerns the financial state of His chosen.

 

Though I will be addressing financial prosperity and stability in primary, it is of immense importance to understand that Biblical prosperity and abundance extends beyond the realm of monetary wealth.  Biblical prosperity encompasses emotional, physical, relational, spiritual, and financial advancement and stability.  There is to be balance in the progression of the believer.  Remember we are the reflection of God’s love and thereby the window through which the world sees our savior.  If we are only focused on prosperity in wealth, we do not represent our savior well.  We are told over and over in scripture that God will perfect us.  The verb “perfect” in the Bible connotes completion, fulfillment, and attainment of a desired goal.  Completion implies a person be established in every aspect. So, we cannot become so enamored with one aspect of our lives that we neglect others.

 

Yet, we must come to an understanding that financial prosperity is a part of the inheritance of the saints (belivers). There are those that teach that financial prosperity as promised in the Bible is only promised to the Jews of the Old Testament and are not a part of the new covenant. I will not spend a great deal of time addressing this directly, but we must understand that wealth in its rawest form is represented in natural created things. God created these things in abundance for all to have access to. For those that follow me, you know that it is my stance that lack is not of God; and just enough to get by is lack. We serve a God of abundance, and His magnanimous benevolence is expressed in every area of the believer’s life. Just as in other areas of a believer’s life; his financial lack comes from a lack of knowledge and appropriate action. Simply put lacking in knowledge in any particular aspect of your life produces poor decisions and fallible actions that produce lack in that area.

 

Now that we have this understood let us press forward.  What does God promise concerning finances?  Let us begin with the apprehension of the fact that money, as with all other blessings, carries with it an immense responsibility. Financial prosperity is a trust.

 

“Will a man rob God?  Yet you have robbed Me!  But you say, In what way have we robbed you?  In tithes and offerings.”(Mal. 3:8)

 

“In tithes and offerings”; there are two forms of giving, one obligatory and one voluntary.  There is a distinction between the two and failure to distinguish between the two can lead to indecision.  The fact that Malachi distinguishes between the two in verse 8 supports the fact that tithing and offering (free will giving) are two separate functions.

 

The word tithe means a tenth.  Since God commanded Israel to bring tithes (Lev. 27:30-34), it is compulsory in its proper context.  In the Old Testament, tithes were levied on the nation of Israel as a whole.  Every man was to give a tenth of what they owned or earned through labor.  There were several tithes: a tax for the maintenance of the Levites, the priestly tribe as inheritance in return for their work as priests (Num.18: 21,24); a tax for the national feasts and sacrifices (Deut. 14:22-27); and a tax every third year used for the poor and destitute of the land. (Deut. 14:28,29)  As we can see, not only was tithing obligatory, it had a specific purpose.  In the Old Testament, offerings extended beyond the mandated tithes.  It is what was given of one’s own free will.

 

There are some who believe that although tithing is not mentioned in the New Testament, it remains a valid function of Christian living, and there are those who believe that tithing was a bona fide function only in the Old Testament Israel.  Tithing as a legal obligation was given to the Jews of the Old Testament and them only. This means that a legal obligation for tithing no longer exists. Remember, we are no longer under the law, but grace. It does not, however, make tithing an invalid function within the church. The principles behind tithing are still true. The laws of diving reciprocity are still active. As you will soon see, not being under the law does not excuse the believer from giving, but actually requires us to give more. The Christian functioning under grace has a greater responsibility to give than the Jew functioning under the law.

 

Whether you believe in Church age tithing or not, we are still called to give.  The issue is motive and obedience. Tithing existed before the law was given to Moses, therefore it is a bona-fide function in spiritual service. Whether it is compulsory for the Church is a subject to be visited later. With this in mind, let us take a look at what Paul had to say concerning giving:

 

“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity (compulsion); for god loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9:6,7)

 

The first principle made visible here is the law of divine reciprocity.  In the manner you give is the manner you receive.  This is the simplest and most ingenuous of scriptural truths.  The sowing of seeds is an analogical principle revealed throughout scripture, and is without question, aptly applied to financial giving.  The second principle unveiled here is the attitude and motive through which one gives.  One is not to give begrudgingly or out of compulsion.  Mental attitude is the issue here.  The point here is God’s graciousness towards you should motivate you to be gracious in your giving.

 

We must always be cognizant of the fact that God is our source of sufficiency, abundance, and stability.  All things that are beneficial to our existence originate in Him.  We are blessed to be a blessing to others.

 

“….I will bless you….and you shall be a blessing.”(Gen 12:2)

 

It is God who gives the increase so that others may experience His graciousness through you.  To this point, you may be questioning the significance of seed sowing in the form of voluntary giving.  Please understand that the financial breakthrough you are seeking is inextricably bound to your ability and willingness to give.

 

Let us revisit Malachi and see what God has to say concerning being robbed:

 

“You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation.  Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try 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 such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”(Mal. 3:9,10)

 

We find that we have been brought under a curse due to our failure to give.  The curse here is the consequential result of the dereliction of a triune principle; a principle formed through the compilation of three basic Biblical precepts: Obedience, responsibility, and divine reciprocity.  At the core character of every successful and prosperous Christian is an obedient spirit.  A willingness to surrender their personal volition to the awesome will of God.  They have an erudite understanding that obedience is not only an essential part of Christian living; it is a banner that reveals the genuineness of their faith.

 

As Christians, we understand that our blessings come with great responsibility (Luke 12:48).  We, as Christians, must understand that as blessings come from God they are not to be managed through the vacuum of greed, but the liberal faucet of generosity and Christian love.

 

“…I will bless you…and you shall be a blessing.”(Gen. 12:2)

“…So I will save you, and you shall be a blessing.”(Zech. 8:13)

 

Being blessed carries the responsibility of being a blessing.

 

The law of divine reciprocity tells us that giving precedes receiving, that seeds must be sown in order to reap a harvest.  This law is 100% perpetual, meaning it is always functional.  Irrespective to the financial climate, despite personal circumstances, we are to give.  The concept of giving yourself out of a financial bind is as valid as any other Biblical principle; however, sewing seeds requires faith.  Trust God to perform that which He has promised. Stop making excuses of why the Church age believer is not privileged to the blessing of the Old Testament and start trusting God to honor his Word.

 

When we fail to obey, to properly execute our responsibility, or to sow productive seeds, we become counterproductive in our endeavors.  The curse of counter productivity is an inexorable force that devastates the life it invades.  When we withhold in hopes of sustaining, the very opposite happens; we lose ground.

 

“Trying God”

 

“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house and try 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 such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”(Mal. 3:10)

 

God invites his people to try Him that it may prove and validate His trustworthiness.  What God has promised in His Word, he will perform. (Isa. 55:11)  God uses money as a type of trust; it requires stewardship.  What we do with what we’ve been given has a bearing on how we are blessed in the future.  When we withhold giving, whether tithes or offerings, we not only rob God and the church, we rob ourselves of positional, sequential and corollary blessings.  God blesses us that we may bless others; He gives to us that we may give.  He calls for a renewed commitment to our giving in tithes and offerings.  Regardless to what side of the fence we sit on concerning New Testament tithing, it is important to remember that tithing was a genuine and valid function long before the law was given.  In Gen. 14:20, Abram gives Melchizedek a tithe (tenth), making tithing a bona-fide function long before the law was given. We simply should not take a legalistic approach to it. It is not the law that makes tithing effective, it the heart that understands its principles.

 

After a renewed commitment toward giving, God reveals that there will be food (resources for kingdom work) in His house.  Giving in the church equips the church to function, both internally and externally.  Not only in the inward functions, such as utilities, maintenance, salaries, etc., but it also allows the church to be an outreach into the community and beyond.

 

Then God says that those that give will place themselves in position to receive an overflow of blessings (that there will not be room enough to receive).  The Hebrew “day” pronounced (dye) translated have “room enough” carries the meaning sufficient, enough; a large enough quantity; plenty; immeasurable.  This word occurs approximately forty times in the Old Testament.  It describes an abundance that is inexpressible and beyond sufficient.  God is simplistically stating that we can in no way out give Him.  Growing up in church, we would sing a song, “You can’t beat God-giving”.  One of the lines said, “The more you give, the more He gives to you.”  I compel you to give yourself out of lack and into abundance.

 

I will digress momentarily.  Have you ever thought to yourself, “I wonder why so many nonbelievers seem to prosper even though they are seemingly diametrically opposed to the divine will of God?”  The answer is lucidly revealed in scripture.  These people have grasped an experiential knowledge of the law of divine reciprocity (the general principle of giving).  Biblical principles can be divided into two categories: general principles and exclusive principles.  A general principle that is delineated from Biblical doctrine applies to both, nonbelievers and believers alike.  The book of Proverbs is replete with such principles.  On the other hand, an exclusive principle is a principle that only applies to God’s chosen; it is covenantal.  Therefore, the question you should be pondering is: ”If unbelievers can prosper by adherence to a Biblical principle, how much more will God bless those who are His own when they are obedient to his will?” God designed the universe to bring back to you what you put out, both negatively and positively.

 

In Malachi chapter 3, God does not only promise an overflow to those who are loyal in there giving.  He promises to defend those blessings from the assault of the enemy:

 

“And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field, says the lord of hosts;”(Mal. 3:11)

 

This guarantees that Satan himself cannot stop the blessing process.  There is nothing like abiding under divine protection; living your life knowing that, “No weapon formed against you shall prosper.”(Isa. 54:17)  A mature believer will never allow himself to be deterred from his responsibility to give.  Allow me to pose a question.  If a Jew living under the law was required to give one-tenth, how much more should the Christian living under grace give? Grace provides so much more in the way of blessings, requiring so much more in return.

 

Let me be clear; one of the most important and powerful forces of life is the principle of giving.

 

“There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty.  The generous soul will be made rich.  And he who waters will also be watered himself.”(Prov. 11:24,25)

 

The aforementioned truths are undeniable and are invaluable in the life of the believer.  We can never become so imbued by social opinion that we lose focus as to our direction, purpose, and destiny as Christians.  We are to never allow fear to render us dysfunctional.  Fear is the antitheses of faith and has no place in the life of the believer.  For we have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Tim 1:7)

 

The Cheerful Giver

 

“But this I say:  He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully so let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Cor. 9:6,7)

 

Here, we once again see giving as being analogous to seed sowing.  We gain the stance that the measure at which we give is the very measure in which we receive.  Yet, Paul does not stop with the principle of giving; he protracts the message to the sphere of attitude.  “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver”(2 Cor 9:7).  We can see that God is not only interested in your giving, but the state of heart and mind at the time of giving.  Your motivation behind giving is just as important as the act of giving itself.  We are not to give grudgingly or reluctantly, but freely and openly.  We are not to give of necessity, which in essence, means under constraint, against one’s will, or as an act of compulsion.  We are to give out of love as a response to God’s immeasurable love towards us.  Yes, giving is an act of obedience, but our obedience should always be a responsive action in view of God’s awesome love and generosity towards us.

 

God searches our hearts as we give to determine our motives.  We are to be a reflection of His love and bountiful generosity.  For God gives us richly all things to enjoy (1 Tim: 6:17).

 

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance toward every good work.  As it is written: ”He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.  Now may He who supplies seed to the sewer, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness. (2 Cor 9:8-10)

 

There are three particular details we do well to take notice of here: First we must never lose sight of the fact that it is God who causes all grace to abound toward you.  In a society that places so much significance and perceptive consequence on being independent, it is a facile accomplishment to become convinced that we are autonomous and self-sufficient.  The fact is, irregardless to how active or proactive you are in your life and its circumstances, it is God who provides, protects, and sustains.

 

Secondly, the abundance of God’s grace comes with specificity of purpose; God blesses you with abundance (more than what is required), so that we may be a blessing to others. (Gen. 12:2)

 

Third, not only is it God who provides for your basic needs, but supplies for you in immense abundance so that you may bless others.  When you sow seed, you reap a harvest in direct correspondence to the type and amount of seed you’ve sown.  There must be an investment in order to receive a return.  Again, this giving cannot be contingent upon the economic climate, your mood and emotions, or any other potentiality; any time fear, stinginess, or spite causes you to withhold what is appropriate, and in truth, belongs to God, the harvest is emaciated and ravaged.  Liberality is the foundational force behind both, spiritual and material prosperity.  When the heart is guided by a liberal spirit, it opens the doors for God’s awesome and munificent blessings to flow through the arteries of your life.

 

When you are an incessant giver, you not only sow new seed, but also perpetually water the seed that you’ve sown previously.  The dynamic force in play insures that the harvest will yield bountifully as long as you continue to give.  Keep in mind that your attitude towards giving is the key; your attitude should always reflect God’s love and generosity toward you.

 

 

Opening Up The Gates

 

“For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.  For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.”(Heb. 2:10,11)

 

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God…. Beloved, now we are children of God.”(1 John 3:1)

 

“…having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself…”(Eph. 1:5)

 

These scriptures, among others, establish the doctrinal truth that, upon salvation, we are grafted into the Royal Family of God.  We become heirs with Christ.  If this is so, it stands to reason that God will supply our every need by His riches in glory.  Wait a minute, that’s not human reason, that’s sound scriptural principle!  Beyond money and wealth, God has blessings in escrow for the believer.  This means before you were conceived, before creation, God designed blessings specifically for your life and predicated on your purpose.  There are so many of us strolling through each phase of life failing to take hold of God’s blessings.

 

“He who did not spare His own son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”(Rom. 8:32)

 

Here, the Apostle Paul uses “A Fortiori” logic to establish the fact that God will take care of His own.  A Fortiori is a Latin phrase that carries the meaning “from or with stronger reason.”  A fortiori logic has two parts: the greater and the less.  Paul uses a fortiori with surgical precision in Romans Chapter 5, but we can also bear witness to His ingenious use of “a fortiori” logic in Romans 8:32.  I know that we have drifted of course, but bear with me for a moment.  As usual, I will get you there.

 

A fortiori logic is comprised of two comparative clauses which are also conditional.  A conditional clause has two parts: if this, then that.  The second clause is dependent upon the first clause; the “if” portion or premise is known in grammar as the protasis, and the “then” portion or conclusion is called the apodosis.  In essence, Paul takes something known to establish something unknown in a manner that the thing that was once unknown becomes lucidly clear.

 

An example of an “a fortiori” would be: If Usain Bolt can run 100 meters in 9.58 seconds, it follows “a fortiori” that he can run it in 10 seconds.  With 9.58 seconds being the greater task and 10 seconds being the less.

 

In Rom. 8:32, Paul uses the fact that God did not spare Jesus, but offered Him as a sacrifice for all, the greater, then He will surely, in conjunction with this sacrifice, freely give us all things, the less.  In fact, every time you gaze back at Calvary, every time you meditate on the cross, each time you fathom the awesome power of the blood, you should become confident that the same God that introduced grace will also provide more grace. (James 4:6)

 

The question is inevitable; how do we open up the floodgates to these escrow blessings?

 

“Give, and it will be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom.  For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”(Luke 6:38)

 

Though financial encumbrances may tempt you to give in, God’s Word calls for you to give outward.  Do not be confused or deceived by the enemy, the key to your breakthrough is giving.  If your back is against the wall financially, if you can see no way out, foreclosures and tax liens loom large, I dare you to try God, I dare you to test Him, I dare you to trust Him.  Give yourself into a blessing frenzy.  I’m not just speaking of sowing monetary seeds.  Sow yourself into your ministry; sow yourself into being a better parent, give of yourselves in every imaginable way.  We are to give even when we, ourselves, are in need. (2 Cor. 1-5)

 

The law of divine reciprocity is a universal principle that teaches us that as we give outward, we receive in direct correspondence to what we give.  If you sow seeds the ground yields a harvest.  If you deposit money into the bank it accrues interest.  There is a reciprocal affect.  There is a reciprocal relationship that exists between God and his chosen.  As we give, he gives to us.  The thing is we want something from God, but we refuse to give.  When we do this, we not only rob God, but we rob ourselves of exponential increase.  Whether you are investing time taken, commitment, money or obedience, abundance begins with investment.

 

“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” (3 John 2)

 

In this scriptural passage, the Apostle John prays for temporal prosperity and physical health for Gaius; not only that, he prays that this prosperity will be commensurate with his spiritual status.  The term “temporal prosperity” does not connote transitory prosperity, but is stated in reference to eternal prosperity, which extends into eternity “Just as your soul prospers”, references Gaius spiritual prosperity and maturity.  The word “euodoo” in the Greek; translated “prosper” meaning to help on the road, to succeed in reaching, or to reach a desired or profitable result.  So for the believer prosperity is not transitory.  It is a continuum through which we progress in correspondence to our spiritual growth.  As we grow up in Christ, God is free to expand our blessings.

 

 

Well, Bishop, Jesus commanded the rich young ruler to sell all he had and follow him; doesn’t this mean we are not to acquire wealth.  No, this passage is not a condemnation of a massing wealth, but of being possessed or controlled by our possessions, we are never to become so engrossed in the blessing that we lose sight of the blesser.  We are to never allow the gift to supersede the giver.

 

But Bishop, Paul said that money is the root of all evil.  No, what Paul said was, “…the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil…”(1 Tim 6:10).  The problem here isn’t money, but the way we perceive it and to whom we consider to be its source.  When money replaces God, we are out of line.  When we are not good stewards with our money, we are out of line.  We are not to put our trust in wealth, but we are not to despise it either.

 

Many of you are thinking that I’ve spent all this time teaching on the importance of giving, but I’ve failed to address the financial turbulence of today’s economy.  Oh, but I have!  Your breakthrough is inextricably bound to your willingness to give.  God’s promises of prosperity are multitudinous.  He has promised to bless the fruit of our body, to make us the head and not the tail, above and not beneath, the lender and not the borrower. Yes, these are covenantal promises made directly to the nation of Israel; however, they apply to the church age believer in principal.  And what does he ask of you in return for these blessings?  Give!  Give your time; give your money; give the sacrifice of obedience.

 

My friends, God is still God, even in the time of recession.  He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.  You are His children; you bear His name.  He wants nothing more than to bless you.  A child of God should not be stressing about the mortgage payment.  A child of The Most High should not be encumbered by the fear of losing their job.  A child of the King is never moved by external circumstances, for he knows that God is able.  Let the experts weigh in, let the naysayers scurry in fear; let the Wall Street dons press and pull, but as for you, trust God; try God.  Know that as you give, it will return in good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.  You are standing at the threshold of your breakthrough.  I invite you to walk into the sanctuary of abundant living.  God has a blessing of abundance with your name on it!

 

May God bless and keep you!

 

Bishop Rick Wallace

 

 

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