A Relationship With God

Revelation 12:11 – And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

These people overcame the enemy by the blood of the lamb, grace; by the word of their testimony, God’s Word; and did not love their lives to the death, gave their life away to the kingdom of God.

This is for those who are beginning their lives with God: Mark 4:16 – “These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; (Verse 17) “and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately stumble.

What Is Satan’s Plan?

In the first group of seeds that were sown, were the people that heard the word, but Satan came immediately and stole the word, lest they believe and be saved. Now, this group, he is trying to send tribulation and persecution in order to get them to give up.

This always happens to a believer that is just beginning their relationship with Christ. The battle is against God’s word. Satan will try to discourage and throw mockery and accusations against a new believer. This parable starts with the “birds of the air” coming and devouring the seed. In verse 15, of Mark 4, Jesus tells us it is Satan that comes and takes away the word that was sown in their heart.

When we begin with God, we begin to learn the word by reading the Bible, Old Testament and the New. These birds that Jesus mentions, are principalities and powers that do Satan’s bidding. They come to steal the word, and discourage the new believer.

Revelation 18:2 – And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, ‘Babylon the great has fallen, is fallen, and has become a habitation of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!

This is demons, demonic spirits. We have to keep in mind: When Satan fell, a third of the angels went with him and these are the demonic spirits. So, back in Mark, Chapter 4, the birds represent demonic spirits.

Birds represent demons in the Old Testament also: Deuteronomy 28:26 – “Your carcasses shall be food for all the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and no one shall frighten them away. (This was referring to the blessings and curses, if they obeyed God and then if they did not.)

So, if a person that is beginning their life with Christ allow temptations and persecutions of this world to discourage them, they will stumble. If Satan can keep a new believer from reading and starting to understand God’s word, he can cause them to stumble. He tries desperately to keep us from our “Daily Bread.”

But What Is God’s Plan?

This is real simple: God wants us to prosper and bear fruit in every area of our lives. Successful relationships, business, finances, and overcoming the enemy is what He desires for us. However, in order to have this successful life, we have to accept His Word. 

A new believer starts school, so to speak, they learn God’s word and start to understand. Reading and meditating on God’s word starts our journey in the Christian life. If we are going to grow in God, it is going to be up to the believer themselves. No one can make them grow. So, if they never read God’s word on their own, they will be saved and stuck. They will go no further and the birds of the air will bring things their way to cause them to stumble in every area of their lives. Reading and studying God’s word is our responsibility.

There is a Scripture that will keep Satan from stealing the word out of our hearts: Psalm 119:11 – Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. So how do we hide God’s word in our heart? By meditating and memorizing. And, if you constantly meditate, before long, we begin to memorize, because we read or hear it over and over.  And that is “hiding” the word in our heart. When you know what you know, Satan can not steal it!

I cannot stress enough how important it is to read God’s word on your own. Do you want a successful, abundant life, that Christ died to give you? Then meditate on His Word, day and night.

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Fellowship With The Lord

In Jesus teaching of the sower and the seed, He shows us there are four kinds of people in this world as it concerns their relationship to God.

The first group is “exploring” God. These are those that have a slit curiosity about God. They might be open to hearing about Him.

The second group is people “beginning” in God. These people have accepted Christ and are beginning their walk with Him. The next group is “close” to God and they are growing in their relationship with Him. Then there is the last group who are “God Centered.”

Mark 4:1 – And again He began to teach by the sea. And a great multitude was gathered to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat in it on the sea; and the whole multitude was on the land facing the sea. (Verse 2) Then He taught them many things by parables, and said to them in His teaching:

(Verse 3) “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. (Verse 4) “And it happened, as he sowed that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. (This is the first group of people, just exploring God.) (Verse 5) “Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. (Verse 6) “But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. (This is the second group, just beginning.)

(Verse 7) “And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. (This is the third group, growing but have stopped.) (Verse 8) “But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced; some thirty fold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” (This is the God Centered group.) (Verse 9) And He said to them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

For those who have been in church a while, you know what, “Let him who have ears to hear,” means. But for those who are not familiar with this saying, Jesus is talking about “Spiritual Ears.” The Bible will make no sense to those who do not have spiritual ears to hear. You must have a new spirit by being born again – a receptive heart.

(Verse 10) But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. (Verse 13) And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?

In other words: If you don’t understand this one, you can’t understand any of them.” This parable is very important or Jesus would not have said that.

(Verse 14) The sower sows the word. (Verse 15) “And these are the ones by the wayside when the word is sown. And when they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. (Verse 16) “These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground, who when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; (Verse 17) “and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward when tribulations or persecution arises for the world’s sake, immediately they stumble.

(Verse 18) “Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, (Verse 19) and the cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. (Verse 20) “But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit; some thirty fold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

So many misunderstand this parable. They think Jesus is talking about people who are never going to come to Christ until the last one. That some would only hear a while and then walk away and that there was only one person that was good.

However, it very clearly says that all hear the word and receive it, so this parable is talking about a “Bad Enemy,” not the people being bad. In this parable He is talking about “growing” and how they grow in their understanding of the word. A new-born grows in their understanding, just as new believers do when they didn’t know much about God.

If there are four groups of people then there is three stages of growing, but none have arrived yet. When we move from “exploring God” to “Beginning in God” it was because of this one “Truth,” “Grace!” These move to “Beginning in God.” We understand Jesus paid it all and we accept that.

People who move from “Beginning in God” to “Close to God,” began to understand God’s Word as the final authority in their life. That truth will also dramatically change a person’s life! There will be a transformation. Once they understand that God’s word is how they will set their standards; run their business; be married; handle finances, it will be their final authority. If God’s word is not the final authority, then they will not move forward.

Then we have those who move from “Close to God” to “God Centered.” This group understands the truth of “Giving!” This is not just giving money. Its giving your life away for the kingdom of God. They understand, “I’m just not here for me.” This is when a person’s life becomes God centered.

They begin to give time, their talents, and their treasure. This is hard for many, but when we commit our finances to God, we are committing our lives. Look at the one’s that are by the wayside in Mark, verses 14 and 15. Satan came immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.

Our heart is the ground that can produce thirty, sixty, or hundred fold, good ground. If a person doesn’t continue in God’s word, yes, Satan can steal it. They will be open to God at that moment, but if you check with them after a while, they are completely closed to what you have to say about God. Lack of understanding will cause a person not to pursue the word any further.

This same parable is in Matthew and Luke. Watch what Jesus says here: Matthew 13:19 – When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. 

Then Jesus gives the reason why we must understand: Luke 8:12 – “Those by the wayside are the ones who hear, then the devil comes and takes away the word of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.”

That very first group of people that are only curious about God have not been saved yet. When they first begin to hear God’s Word, the gospel, they must understand it, then believe, and then are saved. That is why Satan comes to the lost, unbelievers just as soon, immediately, as they hear the Word. He doesn’t want them to understand lest they believe and be saved!

Romans 10:9 – If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe with your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

People make being saved too difficult, but it really is very simple. By faith in Jesus Christ and by God’s grace, you are saved!

 

 

Influence

Matthew 5:13 – “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. (Verse 14) “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. (Verse 15) “Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. (Verse 16) “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Jesus tells believers that they are salt and light of the world. Salt and light are an influence into other people’s lives. Even in the Old Testament, all the sacrifices were seasoned with salt.

Leviticus 2:13 – ‘And every offering of your grain offering you shall season with salt; you shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offerings you shall offer salt.

Numbers 18:19 – “All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer to the LORD, I have given to you and your sons forever; it is a covenant of salt forever before the LORD with you and your descendants with you.”

Salt preserves and salt is symbolic of eternity. It is symbolic of causing something to continue to last. God calls it a covenant of salt, because He’s going to preserve you, the preservation of the saints. In Psalms and in Proverbs, the Lord says, “I preserve the souls of My saints!” It is God who preserves my soul forever. So, salt symbolizes eternity.

Jesus said, “You are the salt of the world.” Believers are preserving our world from ending; we are preserving our society from decaying. The more you take Christian faith principles and morality out of society, the quicker that society will die and decay. However, it doesn’t look like we have done a very good job of being that influence in today’s society.

Think about this: We allowed prayer to be taken out of our schools; we allowed the 10 Commandments to be taken down off walls; out of sight, out of mind. The quicker you take the “salt”, influence out of something the sooner it starts to decay. However, there are still Christians in schools; still in court rooms; still on school boards; still in city counsel and the state legislative; they are still in all these different areas. And yes, there are still Christians in Washington DC and it is up to those Christians to preserve God’s principle. But it is up to the rest of us to pray for them to make the influence on others.

Some Christians believe that we should stay out of the government, but I don’t believe that is true. Just listen today at the ones wanting to take over individual’s lives with everything from what we can put our thermostat on in our houses to what we should eat. Do you really want a non-believer running your life? Not me!

Salt also makes things taste good. Bad salt is put on the roads to melt ice, but it will also kill the grass, it is good for nothing. But good salt makes God taste good. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

But how does salt lose its flavor? Some interpretations say “savor.” In the Greek, this word translated means “to become foolish,” moron, a foolish person. We are the salt, but if we become foolish, we lose the influence over anyone. Romans 1:21 – because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Verse 22) Professing to be wise, they became fools.

When a Christian does something foolish, they may lose their influence and witness for someone they have been trying to reach. They can lose their credibility and respect of others. Christians can be very hard on other believers that should know better. One also cannot be a “yo-yo” Christian and expect to be a good witness of Christ. One day they are on fire for the Lord and the next, they are back to their old life-style. Once these people lose their witness for Christ they will be like the “bad salt” that is good for nothing.

John 8:12 – Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 9:5 – “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 

John 12:35 – Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.”

Keep in mind, John 12 is when Jesus begins to prepare His disciples for His departure, crucifixion. John 13, He washes their feet; John 14, 15, and 16, is the conversation at the last supper; John 17 is the prayer in the garden; John 18, He is arrested; John 19, He is crucified; John 20, He rises from the dead; and John 21, He appears to His disciples.

In John 12, He was trying to tell the disciples that He was only going to be with them a little while longer and for them to walk in the “light” while it was still light. John 12:36 – “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of the light.”

In other words: Because He is the light, we walk in Him and then we become sons and daughters of Him. When we are truly born again, because He lives in us and He is the light of the world, we then become the light of the world. We become the “body of Christ.” The only light in a darkened world is “You!”

Do you wonder why God would put Christians in a job where they are the only light in that job? Or maybe its our neighborhood. God will and does move us to dark places in order for us to shine some light in that place. However, if we start to blend in with the darkness, we have become “good for nothing.” We have lost our flavor, witness, and influence. No Christian can put their light under a basket and shine.

Salt is an internal influence and light is an external influence. When we go into a dark room and flip on the light switch, darkness disappears immediately! This world we live in is full of darkness and it seems it is getting darker. We can see this in the evil laws that are being passed concerning abortions “rights.” We also see this in defining what marriage is. If we as believers don’t start standing up for God’s standards and principles, this world will continue to decay. Of course though, non-believers want us to keep our mouths shut and just go away.

Let our light shine with kindness and love everywhere we go and watch what happens to those around you. God loves you so let others know He loves them too! It’s not that hard to tell someone that God loves them and wants them to have a better life.

What Hinders People From Being Healed?

If it’s God will to heal us, why then is not everyone healed? One of the reasons is “ignorance.” I’m not calling anyone ignorant, I’m simply saying you can not operate in something that you don’t understand.

Most people are taught and trained to believe that God’s will automatically will come to pass and the person has no authority or power, or say-so in the matter. Things can happen because of ignorance, but it is not an excuse. It’s like the law of gravity. You know if you walk off a ten-story building it will kill you. People are ignorant about some of God’s laws. They don’t know or understand how His healing system works.

That’s one reason, but another thing that will hinder healing is sin. However, let me be very plain, some sickness comes and has nothing to do with what we did to our own bodies or because of sin. I’m simply saying, if we live a life-style of sin, there will be consequences to that life-style.

In John 9, there was an instance where Jesus was coming out of the temple, and His disciples pointed out a man who had been born blind. His disciples said in Verse 2, “Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” The disciples were trying to relate this man’s blindness directly to sin. Jesus answer was that neither of them sinned to make him blind. It’s untrue to say that all sickness is related to sin, but it’s also untrue to say that sin cannot be one of the factors.

Here is an example of where Jesus healed and sin was the factor. In John 5, Jesus was at the pool of Bethesda, and He healed a man supernaturally. There were multitudes there in that place and only one person was healed. Why do you think only one got healed that day? I think it was because the man’s heart was open. Later in the story, the Jews asked this man who healed him and he said he didn’t know. Afterward, Jesus found this man in the temple and told him, “Thou art made whole; sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” Jesus said right there that if the man didn’t stop sinning that something worse than his paralysis would come on him. Jesus tied the result of sickness to sin in this instance. 

Some things just happen naturally because we live in a fallen world, but there are times when sickness disease, or problems can be the direct result of sin. Even in such cases, it doesn’t mean that God is the one who is doing these things to us.

If through sin, people yield themselves to Satan, they are empowering him and giving him opportunity to destroy that life. People pray for God’s healing while not changing that “sin thing,” and by their actions they are allowing sickness to come in.

Another hindrance is believing that you don’t deserve healing. That attitude of false humility is like saying, “I know God can heal, but I don’t deserve it!” Guess what? None of us deserve what Jesus gives to us, so get over yourself! It’s not based on our performance. It’s based on what Jesus has done and our faith is in Him. We all will see healing in our lives if we repent from sinning and quit giving Satan an inroad into our lives.

Another hindrance is negativity and unbelief. Do yo remember reading in Mark 6, when Jesus went to His hometown? The people didn’t respect who He was because they remembered Him as a little boy and a carpenter’s son. The Bible says, “And He could there do no might works, save that He laid His hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief.”

The Bible didn’t say that Jesus wouldn’t do any mighty works, but said He couldn’t. It was because of their doubt and unbelief. This verse is proof that, not because Jesus was limited in any way, but because of people’s unbelief. He did not over-step into people’s lives that didn’t want Him there.

Jesus does want people to walk in divine health, but He will not go against people’s will. God will protect their right to be sick, their right not to be healed. And they cannot get healed off of someone else’s faith no matter how bad you want them healed. Our faith can help them if they are struggling with understanding, but it is going to take “their faith” to do it. There has to be faith on our part.

God is faithful to His word and He does want us healed, but we need to learn to cooperate with Him. He can’t do it for you, He has to do it through you. Our healing will come from the inside of us through faith in Jesus Christ. Can you see yourself healed before it happens? Start agreeing with God’s Word and see what happens.

 

 

Jesus Wants You Healed

Isaiah 53:3-5 – He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. (Verse 4) Surely He borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. (Verse 5) But He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him. And by His stripes we were healed.

Scripture backs up that Jesus purchased healing for us with the stripes that was laid on Him. Why then is it, too many churches today, do not teach that Jesus heals? Do you believe that Jesus wants you healed?

In Mark 2 and Luke 5, Jesus was teaching in a house so crowded that a paralyzed man was let down through the roof by friends and Jesus miraculously healed him. But look at what Matthew says:

Matthew 8:14-16 – Now when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever. (Verse 15) And He touched her hand, and the fever left her. Then she arose and served them. (Verse 16) When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, (Verse 17) that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sickness.”

These are very powerful Scriptures, but too many Christians have been taught to “spiritualize” them. Some churches just don’t believe in physical healing. Jesus took our infirmities and bore our sickness! This is talking about physical sickness, hurts, and pains.

The Bible goes on to say in 1 Peter 2:24, Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on a tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed.

“You were healed,” is past tense, already done! Yes, Jesus came for the forgiveness of sins, but that’s only part of it, He also came to heal. In the Greek, the word used for “salvation” in the New Testament is “sozo.” But if you look it up, it’s also translated “healed.”

Look what James 5:14, 15 says, “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. (Verse 15) And the prayer of faith will save the sick and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”

The word “save” used there, is the Greek word “sozo,” and it is talking about the sick being physically healed in their bodies. This same word that was translated forgiveness of sins hundreds of times in the New Testament, was also translated to mean “healed.”

When Jesus sent His disciples out in Matthew 10, the command He gave them was to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils, and preach the Gospel. Healing is just as much of what Jesus came to accomplish in our life as forgiveness of sin.

If you are born again, a disciple of Christ with Him living on the inside of you, then you have this same great power and authority to do what these disciples did. 1 John 4:17 – “As He is, so are we in this world.”

God doesn’t teach us some kind of lesson by placing sickness and pain on us. Nowhere in the New Testament can I find where Jesus placed sickness on anyone. All the sick that were brought to Him, He healed. So why do some doubt that the healing that He brings is not for them?

God’s supernatural divine healing is available to all of us and is part of the atonement that Jesus died to produce. You can love God with your whole heart and not believe in healing, and still go to heaven. You’ll just get there quicker because you haven’t learned that walking in health belongs to you.

I get so tired of hearing Christians say, “God doesn’t heal everyone.” Really? Is that His fault? Do you really believe that God wants you sick and full of pain? The biggest problem that people have of not getting healed is that, they want to do it “their way!” They won’t ever go to God until something is wrong; they won’t read His Word on their own; they won’t pray on their own; and they won’t stop saying the opposite of what God’s Word says.

The Bible says to pray, call for the elders of the church, let them anoint you with oil, and not only will your sins be forgiven, but you will be healed. I didn’t write that, God did. Believe and receive or doubt and go without!

Principles of Multiplication

Our God is a God of multiplication. Wouldn’t it be great if God would multiply our resources?

Luke 9:12 – When the day began to wear away, the twelve came and said to Him, “Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding towns and country, and lodge and get provisions; for we are in a deserted place here.” (Verse 13) But He said to them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we go and buy food for all these people.” (Verse 14) For there were about five thousand men. and He said to His disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of fifty.”

Many people believe that Jesus only fed five thousand people, but that is not the case. In Jewish culture, at that time, the way they counted crowds, was they only counted men. This is because they were counting families. So, assuming there was a spouse and just two children – four times five thousand – that’s twenty thousand people, with only two children each. Look at what it says in Matthew 14:21 – Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

This miracle is much greater than most have ever thought. This was five thousand families! Back to Luke 9:15 – And they did so, and made them all sit down. (Verse 16) Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude. (Verse 17) So they all ate and were filled, and twelve baskets of the leftover fragments were taken up by them.

Do you ever imagine how you would have responded had you been there that day? Just imagine that you were one of the disciples. Keep in mind, the disciples had already seen many miracles by Jesus.

This multitude had been there all day and is now starting evening. Notice that the disciples didn’t tell Jesus that they were hungry and tired. They told Jesus that the people needed to be let go so they could go get provisions. Jesus is still speaking when the disciples went to Him.

The disciples wanted Jesus to “Rap it up!” But Jesus said, “You give them something to eat.” Jesus turned it around and put it on the disciples. I’m sure this is not what they had in mind. Would we not panic all of a sudden if that was one of us? What? How?

But what they did was show Jesus what little they had. The crowd was too big to feed with this little bit of food. To them, it made more sense to just let the people be dismissed, because there was no way the multitude of people could be fed with what they had.

Think about tithing. Does it make sense to you? Doing it God’s way doesn’t make logical sense. But it works. Do you ever argue with God about what little you have when you know the Lord wants you to give? We tell Him, “But Lord, this is all I have!”

Jesus told His disciples to have the multitude sit down in groups of fifty. Many Christians believe that when Jesus prayed, the food just multiplied. But that’s not what happened. (Verse 16) He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude.

The miracle took place in the disciples hands, right before their eyes. Once the disciples gave what they had to Jesus, and Jesus blessed it then gave it to the disciples, it began to multiply.

Two principles: It has to be blessed before it can multiply. The way our finances are blessed is, we bring the first 10% to the house of God.  Principle two: It has to be given away before it can multiply. The first principle is the tithe, and once Jesus has blessed it, now we will be able to give away over and above.

Think of it this way: What if the disciples had just given what they had away, before Jesus blessed it? It wouldn’t have been enough. And, what if the disciples had just eaten what they had, themselves? It never would have multiplied.

There are a lot of people that will tithe, bu they don’t ever give anything above the tithe. It has the potential to multiply, but it never does because they keep it unto themselves.

Our finances, as good stewards, has to be in order. God cannot bless things out-of-order. So, how do we do that?

Number one is to get out of debt. This means different things to different people. Different convictions for different people. We know when we spend on things that we shouldn’t and the Lord will guide you in what needs to be cleaned up.

The second thing is to not “manipulate”: Manipulation comes from a root word that means witchcraft. Don’t manipulate for money, drop hints and expect others and God to always give us what we want. This could be “Poor-mouthing” all the time to others. This is manipulating others so they will feel sorry for us.

This is not going to be a blessing to this type of person, because God wants them to be depending on Him for their needs. Blessings come from the Lord, and yes, He uses others to bless, but don’t manipulate them into doing it. He chooses the people to use.

Another thing we do to get our finances to multiply is to be a giver. That 10% we give to the tithe, belongs to the Lord anyway, so we are just returning it to Him. The Bible says if we don’t return it, we are stealing it.

When we give, it’s over and above the tithe. The Lord will tell us when to give, whom to give it to and how much. How will we know? Because “My sheep hear My voice.”

If we will start listening and learn to let go of what God has blessed us with, He will multiply it in our hands, in order to bless others. It all belongs to God and we can’t out give God.

 

Beyond Blessed

When people say, “I’m blessed,” it doesn’t always mean material blessings. Beyond blessed is that we are so blessed, we are able to bless others.

Giving to others is only one part of being blessed. Another part of being blessed, which plays a major role, is stewardship. Stewardship has to do with every area of our lives, not just in money.

However, there are some, yes, even Christians, that are “stingy.” I honestly don’t believe they are who they say they are when they are not generous. Stinginess is a carnal attitude that needs to take a hike, if you are a Christian. Generosity and stewardship go hand in hand.

If we are generous but not a good steward, I don’t  think we will ever go beyond blessed. If we’re not a good steward along with the generosity, we won’t “manage” what God gives us. On the other hand, if we’re a good steward, but not generous, then why would God bless us and give us more? The whole purpose of blessing is to get the resources to the people who need it.

Think of it this way: God has and owns all the resources for all the needs. Needs on one side, resources on the other. We are in-between. God channels, funds, His resources through His children, us. So, God will bless us, His children, but if it doesn’t get to the “need,” others, He will move on to someone else. He will find someone who will be a “river,” not a “reservoir.” If we are not a good steward, our resources will only last a little while.

This thing of being generous and a good steward goes all the way back to Abraham where God is talking to Abraham. Genesis 12:2 – “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.” Blessing a person was God’s idea, not ours.

God wants us to go beyond blessed, to be a blessing to others. Do you know what will close someone’s ears faster than anything in a church service? Talking about money! I have literally heard people say that this subject is why they won’t go to church. “All those people want is your money!” I cringe when I hear that. However, the Bible talks a lot about money. Every time someone “worshiped” they brought an offering.  God commanded offerings. God’s the One that set up tithing. That was not thought of by a “Preacher.” Sixteen out of thirty-eight parables that Jesus told, talked about money and possessions.

Don’t ever forget: God owns it all, including what we call “ours.” When God wants to accomplish His purpose, He does it. You might say, “But He needs my money to build that church!” No He doesn’t. God uses what He already owns. Over and over in Scripture, it tells us everything is His. We need to be very careful about calling all the money and possessions we have ours. He owns it all! He’s the One who gave it to us in the first place and if we get arrogant and prissy with the attitude of, “This is all mine,” He’ll let us know pretty quick who it really belongs to.

When Jesus talked about money, He was after their “hearts,” not their money. Matthew 6:21 – “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Don’t twist this verse or turn it around. If you give, then your heart will be there, not when your heart is right and then give. Giving comes first.

We “get to give” to be a blessing. So, how do we “be a blessing?” God blesses us for two reason: He blesses us because He loves us; you bless your children, because you love them, right? There’s nothing wrong with wanting something nice for your family. Don’t let the enemy come along and place condemning thoughts for wanting to improve your life.

He also blesses us to be a blessing. Some of you may remember a little book that came out years ago called “The Prayer of Jabez.”

1 Chronicles 4:9 – Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” (Jabez in Hebrew means pain, hurt, or sorrow.) (Verse 10) And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested.

In other words: Would You bless me, O God, increase my finances, resources, keep me in good steward over what You give me, to be a blessing to others.

He prayed to be blessed. So, was that a bad or conceited prayer? If it was, then why did God grant it? And, if it was a prayer that we shouldn’t pray, why did God call Jabez more honorable than his brothers? God granted his request so that he could be a blessing to others.

Bottom line: It is not wrong to ask God to bless us! It is not wrong to steward our finances so that when we see a need, and God leads us, we can meet that person’s need.

The enemy has messed our thinking up in this area because so many preachers have ruined it with their teaching of “Give to get!” Some that have preached that teaching for years, live in million dollar houses and their congregations are poor as a church mouse. It’s that prosperity preaching and the only one’s getting rich is them. Leave them alone. God will deal with them in due time.

We are generous and give in order to answer someone’s prayer, because they needed a blessing. Beyond blessed is about being a blessing! This is not about being blessed for selfish reasons and to hoard what is given. God will show us a need in someone’s life and we go and bless them. Let your blessing flow like a river, in and out!