The Power Test

Here is a quick review of the previous tests: The pride test is the test when a dream from God first comes: the pit test is when the enemy attacks with evidence, but it’s false; the palace test which is how well we steward things that belong to someone else; the purity test is the test of moral purity; the prison test which is when we do the right thing but bad things happen in spite of; the prophetic test which defines how God’s word molds us over the prophecy, over our lives; and this study is the power test.

The power test happens when we step into God’s destiny that He has for our lives. This happened when Joseph was thirty years old. Pharaoh had two dreams and Joseph interpreted those dreams and stepped into his destiny. We’ll start where Pharaoh has had the dreams already:

Genesis 41:8 – Now it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. And Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was no one who could interpret them for Pharaoh. (Verse 9) Then the chief butler spoke to Pharaoh, saying: “I remember my faults this day.

(Verse 14) Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon; and he shaved, changed his clothing, and came to Pharaoh. 

(Verse 37) So the advice was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants. (Verse 38) And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?” (Verse 39) Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. (Verse 40) “You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.”

(Verse 41) And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” (Verse 42) Then Pharaoh took his signet ring off his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and he clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. (Verse 43) And he had him ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried out before him, “Bow the knee!” So he set him over all the land of Egypt. (Verse 44) Pharaoh also said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent, no man may lift his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.”

Promotion from God can come in one day. In one day Joseph stepped into his destiny. The pride test is how we respond to the dream and the power test is how we respond to the destiny. We will be tested by success. This is one test that many fail. Some let the power of success go to their heads and their whole personality will change with a promotion.

From where does power come?

Psalm 62:11 – God has spoken once, twice I have heard this: that power belongs to God.

John 19:10 – Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” (Verse 11) Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greatest sin.”

The power test is recognizing that God’s blessing and power are on our lives as we respond and do the right thing. It is understanding that the believer has worked very hard to have the success they have yet God’s blessed them. Without the blessing of God, they couldn’t do what they do. They walked in obedience, stewardship, principles of finance, principles of humility and servanthood.

Did you know that even the desire for power comes from God? However, Satan has twisted it and causes it to be a selfish and self-centered desire. But the original pure desire for power comes from God. When we understand that power is not for us and that it’s for the good of others, then we will use it in the right way.

God gave power to Joseph to feed multitudes. He gave him power so that God could bless the people in a time of famine. Joseph used his power correctly. It’s not wrong to desire to be great in the kingdom, but the attitude is to be of a servant to all.

To whom does power come?

James 4:10 – Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. God is the One that gives us the responsibility and power to accomplish what He has for us to do.

1 Peter 4:10 – Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

So power comes to the humble. Some will start out very humble in whatever position He places them in at first. But after they have done that one thing a while, a spirit of pride might slip in and they begin to think, “I’ve got this!” Usually, when that happens, their position begins to fall apart. Why? Because of pride. God gives grace, the ability, the authority, to accomplish what His purpose is. Pride is ugly! It’s also repulsive! (I could go off about some politicians about this spirit of pride, but I won’t because I’d be going down a rabbit hole. There are too many.)

Why does power come?

Why does God give His power or share His power with someone?

Acts 10:38 – “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with His Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. God gives power to help people!

God owns it all. He has all the resources in the world at His fingertips. Then we look at all the needs that need to be met. What’s in the middle? Us! God is looking for humble stewards that He can channel His resources and His power through. God works through humble people.

Deuteronomy 8:17 – “then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ (Verse 18) “And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”

So, why does God give power? So that He may establish His covenant! God wants to bless us so that we can bless others. This is exactly what Joseph did. He used the power that was given to him to feed the multitudes during a seven-year famine.

Just remember: “All Power Comes From God!”

 

 

The Prophetic Test

There are some prophetic words that God speaks that do not depend on man for them to come to pass. Whether we are ready or believe it, Jesus is coming back! That’s a prophetic word that is not conditional upon our response. Yet there are many, many words that are conditioned on our response. For instance: Many passages in Scripture say, “if”; then such and such will happen. “If My people will…”

We are still on the subject of Joseph. God gave Joseph a dream when he was 17. When he was 30, he stepped into that destiny. He began to fulfill that destiny when he was in his 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. Now we are going to look at the prophetic word God spoke over his life. And then Joseph was tested before that “word” came to pass.

God sets a path for all of us, however, if we turn or walk away from that path, we will not arrive at what God has for us. We each go through tests of our character so that that character can support our destiny.

Psalm 105:17-19 – He sent a man before them – Joseph – who was sold as a slave. (Verse 18) They hurt his feet with fetters (prison), he was laid in irons. (Verse 19) Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the LORD tested him.

“Until the time that his word…” That word, “word” in Hebrew is the word “Debar” and means “something spoken.” The next part of the sentence says, “the word of the LORD…” That word, “word” is “Emrah,” which means the literal word of God.

So here is what this verse is actually saying: Until the time that God’s prophetic word came to pass, the literal word of God tested him. Wow!

This Hebrew word “Emrah” is in the Bible several places: Psalm 12:6 – The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver, tried in the furnace of earth, purified seven times. Psalm 18:30 – As for God, His way is perfect. The word of the LORD is proven. Psalm 119:11 – Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You!

The Bible, God’s word tests us. The Bible tests our character. The Bible will determine whether what was spoken over us comes to pass. There is little difference in the prophetic word of God spoken over us and the literal word of God in Scripture.

This is the same Scripture in the New Living Translation: Psalm 105:19 – Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the LORD tested Joseph’s character. God tests our faith with prophetic words. He tests our character with the Word. So what is the difference? What is my part in all of this?

We Submit Our Word to His Word

There is only one difference between the prophetic word of God and the literal word of God – the human element. I have heard so many times people say, “I have a word from God.” However, if their word doesn’t line up with the written word of God, they need to adjust their word. God will never contradict His own word!

1 Corinthians 13:9 – For we know in part and we prophesy in part. Since we don’t know in “full,” we don’t prophesy in full. Prophetic words are like a piece of a puzzle. As more and more comes, we begin to see the picture. Sometimes we just need to wait before we say anything.

Most of the time when I’ve heard someone say that they have a word from God, their own lives don’t line up with the literal word of God. And the biggest part of the time they never get into the word for themselves. They rely on what others have told them what the word of God says. If they don’t submit their words to the word of God, they will never reach the destiny that God has for them.

I Test My Word

1 Thessalonians 5:19 – Do not quench the Spirit. (Verse 20) Do not despise prophecies. (Verse 21) Test all things; hold fast what is good.

1 Corinthians 14:29 – Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others, judge.

When someone gives a prophecy, we are to judge and test it according to Scripture because it’s coming through a human. We judge prophecy because none of us is omnipotent. None of us is infallible. We test it by the written word of God.

Deuteronomy 13:1 – “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, (Verse 2) and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other god’s  – which you have not known -‘ and listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD God with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Even if someone gives us a word with a sign or wonder, but the word doesn’t line up with God’s word, don’t listen! God’s prophetic word that comes to us through a true prophet is confirmed by God’s Word. I would just advise; Be very careful saying, “Thus says the Lord God.” We’ve got too many that are trying to make a name for themselves, running around telling others that they are a true prophet from God. Test and judge by the word of God. It’s up to the ones that hear the prophetic word to test it and judge it. The one giving it can’t test it themselves. They’ve already decided it was from God. However, none of this testing works if you don’t know the word of God yourself. After your word has been tested:

I Hold On To My Word.

This is only after submitting your word and testing your word with the Scripture.

1 Timothy 1:18 – This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, (Verse 19) having faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, (They rejected the prophecies concerning their lives.) (Verse 20) of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

The Apostle Paul is talking to his spiritual son, telling him to hold fast to the prophecies spoken over him. He also told him he received those prophecies with faith and a good conscience. We receive faith by hearing the word, but we have a good conscience by doing the word. A person cannot receive the prophicies of God if they are not going to do the word of God.

Then Paul tells him about two men that rejected the prophecies over their lives. Because of that, they suffered shipwreck. They were not submitted to the word. Apparently, rejecting the spoken word of God is blaspheme, because that’s what Paul called what they did.

Result: We receive His prophecy in faith, walk in His word in faith and a good conscience and test and judge what is spoken over us, according to Scripture!

 

 

 

The Prison Test

Genesis 39:13 – And so it was when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and fled outside, (Verse 14) that she called to the men of her house and spoke to them saying, “See, he has brought in to us a Hebrew to mock us. He came in to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice. 

(Verse 15) “And it happened when he heard that I lifted my voice and cried out, that he left his garment with me, and fled and went outside.” (Verse 16) So she kept his garment with her until his master came home. (Verse 17) Then she spoke to him with words like these saying, “The Hebrew servant whom you brought to us came in to me to mock me;

(Verse 18) “So it happened, as I lifted my voice and cried out, that he left his garment with me and fled outside.” (Verse 19) So it was when his master heard the words which his wife spoke to him, saying, “Your servant did to me after this manner,” that his anger was aroused. (Verse 20) Then Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were confined. and he was there in the prison. (Verse 21) But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.

(Verse 22) And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing. (Verse 23) The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph’s hand, whatever he did, the LORD made it prosper.

Every character test has to do with “stewardship.” People will not fulfill their destiny that God has for them if they are not a good steward. The prison test, in particular, is the test of perseverance. God develops character in things that we go through in our lives as we persevere in those things. Look at this formula for character found in Romans, Chapter 5:

Romans 5:3 – And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; (Verse 5) and perseverance, character, and character, hope. (Verse 6) Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

It says, “We glory in tribulation.” There are two Greek words for glory: One means to the “out shinning,” what you see. The word used for glory in this verse means “Rejoice!” So Paul wrote, “We rejoice in tribulation.” The root word of this means “we wish” or “pray” for tribulation because it’s going to cause us to rejoice. Why in the world would tribulation cause anyone to rejoice?

Tribulation Produces Perseverance

First of all, we don’t have to wish for or pray for tribulation, it will come! John 16:33 – “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

James 1:2 – My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, (Verse 3) knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.

Trials produce patience, tribulation produces perseverance. Patience is waiting with contentment. Patience is waiting while we keep our hearts right, while we wait for something. Perseverance is fighting the battle while waiting with contentment. Perseverance involves a war, a battle, it involves something difficult. A trial is brief, tribulations are a long period. Perseverance is a long and difficult trial.

This doesn’t sound good to most of us, but the Bible says it’s the only way to produce character! For Joseph, perseverance was 13 years, a long trial. David was anointed king, but for 13 years he ran from Saul before he was actually king. Paul was at the church in Antioch for 13 years before he went on his first missionary journey. It’s very possible that our response to the circumstances determines how long the trials last.

Perseverance Produces Character

So if a person wants to have a good character, they are going to have to go through a long trial of tribulation. The worse thing a person can do for someone is to promote them before they are ready or deliver them out of a trial that God is taking them through to put character in their life!

Joseph was first the number two man in Potipher’s house. Then he goes to prison and is the number two man in prison. Was it Joseph’s ability or was it God’s favor that produced this? Did Joseph prolong his stay in prison?

While in prison, the chief baker to the king and the chief butler displeased the king and were thrown in prison where Joseph was. While there, the baker and the butler have a dream and Joseph interprets their dreams and says to the butler: Genesis 40:14 – “But remember me when it is well with you, and please show kindness to me; make mention of me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this house.” (Verse 23) Yet the chief butler did not remember Joseph but forgot him.

Two years later the Pharaoh has a dream and the butler remembers that Joseph can interpret dreams. Who gave Pharaoh the dream? God did! Why didn’t God give Pharaoh the dream two days later, after the butler was released from prison instead of waiting about two years?

Could it be because Joseph “dropped a hint” for the butler to put in a good word for him to the Pharaoh? If God would have brought Joseph out of prison then, promoting him, Joseph might think that the way to “get ahead” is to find favor with someone other than God! God never rewards manipulation. It is by God’s grace that He doesn’t put us in our destiny before we are ready because then we would fall! He’s waiting on our character to be big enough to support the destiny.

Character Produces Hope

Character is not only how we act, but it’s also how we react. Joseph did the right thing when he fled from Potiphar’s wife, but suffered the wrong consequences. Satan has no new tricks.

What was the evidence Satan used to convince Jacob that Joseph was dead? Joseph’s coat. Then what was the evidence Satan used to support the lie that Joseph had tried to rape Potiphar’s wife? His coat! Can you think of something that Satan keeps tricking you with? Whatever it is, get rid of it! Whatever Satan has used to capture you in the past, he will use it again!

Proverbs 13:12 – Hope deferred makes the heart sick. When Joseph interpreted the dreams of the baker and the butler, it shows that he didn’t have a sick heart because he was still concerned about others. Joseph never had a pity-party. He was ministering to others. Joseph kept his heart right before God. Hope is not that God will deliver us from our circumstances, hope is that God will help us walk through our circumstance! Our hope is in God, not in our circumstances changing. If our hope is in our circumstances changing, and the longer they last, the more our hearts will grow sick.

Hope Produces Appointments

Romans 5:5 – Now hope does not disappoint. Hope appoints! The tribulation will produce perseverance in our lives and that perseverance, if we respond correctly will produce character and that character will produce hope and hope will produce a divine appointment for us to step into our destiny!

Genesis 40:6 – Joseph came in to them (the butler and the baker) in the morning and looked at them, and saw that they were sad. (Verse 7) So he asked Pharaoh’s officers who were with him in the custody of his lord’s house, saying, “Why do you look so sad today?” Because Joseph still had hope in God, it produced a divine appointment. A divine appointment is an appointment God has for us. Disappointment means we missed an appointment.

By Joseph keeping his heart right, it produced a divine appointment, and that divine appointment led him to step into his destiny.

So depending on how we respond to difficult circumstances will determine how long we stay in those circumstances and step into our destiny.

Even if people forget and don’t keep their word to you, Jesus will never forget and will always keep His word to you and deliver you!

 

 

The Purity Test

Genesis 39:7 – Now it came to pass after these things that his master’s wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.” (Verse 8) But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Look, my master does not know what is with me in this house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. (Verse 9) “There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”

(Verse 10) So it was, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her. (Verse 11) But it happened about this time, when Joseph went into the house to do his work and none of the men of the house was inside, (Verse 12) that she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside.

Flee or run from sexual immorality!

Impurity Affects Your Whole Family

If Joseph would have fallen to this sin, it would have affected his destiny and the destiny of an entire nation, not to mention his own family. One of the major lies from the enemy in this area of “lust” is that “As long as I don’t act on it, it’s fine.” When the Bible talks about sin, it’s talking about an inward motivation and an outward movement. Transgression is an outward movement. Transgress in the Hebrew, literally means to step over a boundary. Our English word would be “trespass.”

The Bible uses another word for sin called “iniquity.” Iniquity is an inward “bent” or inward motivation toward sin. Iniquity is lust, transgression would be adultery. Iniquity is inward motivation. If this is in a person’s heart, it will affect their family.

Impurity Will Affect Your Faith

Impurity not only affects your relationships with others, but it will also affect your walk with God. When God says to flee sexual immorality it’s because all sexual immorality opens the door to numerous sins. One of the sins would be a deception; one is manipulation; one is lying because one has to sneek around to commit sexual immorality. Sexual immorality is also being deceptive with God and God calls it “great wickedness.” When people sneak around to have sex, they are creating an appetite that God never intended for them to have. When God says to flee sexual immorality, He says it because He doesn’t want their life and their children’s lives destroyed.

Impurity Affects Your Future

There is no one but us that can stop what God has planned for our life. If we make the wrong choice, we can stop it. Joseph would have destroyed God’s plan if he had made the wrong choice. However, repentance and accountability may restore the destiny that God has for a life. So what is the answer?

Impurity Begins in the Eyes

Most think it begins in the heart, not so. It begins with the eyes. “His master’s wife cast longing eyes” on Joseph. She had lust in her heart because she kept looking at Joseph. She looked and then she luted! Jesus backs this up:

Matthew 5:28 – “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

This discredits the concept of “If I don’t transgress, it’s not sinning.” However, Jesus said, “Whoever looks, to lust, has already committed adultery.” Looks lead to lust and lust leads to adultery! Looking empowers lust and lust is never love! Potiphar’s wife didn’t love Joseph, because if she did, she wouldn’t have lied on him and let him sit in a prison for thirteen years.

Always remember this: Satan works in darkness and when a person has to sneak around in deception, that’s darkness! 

Psalm 101:3 – I will set nothing wicked before my eyes.

Proverbs 27:20 – Hell and Destruction are never full. So the eyes of man are never satisfied.

Matthew 6:22 – “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good your whole body will be full of light. (Verse 23) But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.”

Job 31:1 – “I have made a covenant with my eyes. Why then should I look upon a young woman?”

The purity test is one of the character tests that will determine whether or not we reach our destiny that God has for our life!

The Palace Test

Every person will go through a character test in order to reach their destiny. The first test was the pride test and then we looked at the pit test. This is the study of the palace test concerning Joseph.

Genesis 39:1 – Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, and Egyptian bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there. (Verse 2) The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a successful man, and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.

(Verse 3) And his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand. (Verse 4) So Joseph found favor in his sight and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put in his hand. (Verse 5) So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake, and the blessings of the LORD was on all that he had in the house and in the field.

(Verse 6) So he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand, and he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate. And Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.

Joseph is second in command and is in charge of everything. How would that feel to be successful in everything we do? There are certain “keys” to being prosperous and successful in everything we put our hands to:

(1) The key to prospering is the presence of the Lord.

Even in these verses, it says many times, “The Lord was with Joseph.” Prosperity is not a bad thing! Yes, there is a “hyper prosperity” teaching that cannot be supported by Scripture and it is wrong. But what is the Biblical understanding of the word prosper? God wants to prosper us not only in our finances but in every area of our lives so that we can prosper others? He wants to bless us so that we can be a blessing to other people.

In Hebrew, prosperity means “to push forward.” Wouldn’t you love to have a God that never fails, pushing you into success? So, if we walk with the presence of the Lord, we will prosper. It’s not that God removes His presence, people walk away when they think they know better. But look what happens for those who stay in His presence:

Genesis 26:12 – Then Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold, and the LORD blessed him. (Verse 13) The man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous;

Deuteronomy 29:9 – “Therefore keep the words of this covenant, and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do. 

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

Even the unbeliever, Potiphar, recognized that his house was blessed because the Lord was with Joseph.

(2) The key to the presence of the Lord is obedience.

2 Chronicles 17:3 – Now the LORD was with Jehoshaphat because he walked in the former ways of his father Daved; he did not seek the Baals (false gods), (Verse 4) but sought the God of his father, and walked in His commandments and not according to the acts of Israel.

1 Samuel 18:14 – And David behaved wisely in all his ways, and the LORD was with him. 

We know that David didn’t do everything right, but when he did mess up, he repented!

1 Samuel 18:12 – Now Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him, but had departed from Saul. So why was the Lord with David? Because he obeyed. And why had the Lord departed from Saul? Because he disobeyed.

Deuteronomy 11:26 – “Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: (Verse 27) “the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you today; (Verse 28) “and the curse if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD, your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known. Do you see that it is our choice?

Now, this doesn’t mean that we’ll never have hardships or never go through a storm. It means God will take you through those storms successfully!

Job 36:11 – “If they obey and serve Him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures. (Verse 12) But if they do not obey, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge.”

Proverbs 28:13 – He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.

(3) The key to obedience is faith.

A farmer plants because he believes he is going to receive a reward. The problem with most though, is that people don’t believe that if they are obedient there are rewards and if they don’t obey there are consequences to disobedience. If everyone believed that, we all would obey! Too many believe that they can disobey and get away with it! We have to believe that if we are faithful where we are, we will be rewarded. However, if we’re not faithful where we are, why would God give us more?

Colossians 3:22 – Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. (Verse 23) And whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not to men, (Verse 24) knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. (Verse 25) But he who does wrong will be repaid for the wrong which he has done, and there is no partiality.

Hebrews 3:18 – And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? (Verse 19) So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

Faith produces obedience! If they had believed that God would reward them, then they would have obeyed! But they disobeyed because they didn’t believe  – unbelief! So the key to prospering is the presence of the Lord. The key to the presence of the Lord is obedience. The key to obedience is faith. So what’s the key to faith?

(4) The key to faith is hearing the Word.

Romans 10:17 – So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

I hear people say, “I wish I had more faith to believe that, whatever.” Well, how much of God’s word do they hear, listen to? How much time do they really spend in the word of God? Most people that  I hear say that, never open their Bibles. They rely on the little bit of what they’ve heard others say miss quoting Scripture! The word has the power to change our lives. God’s word will never return void of what He sent it out to accomplish and what He sent it to do. Hear, believe, and obey. It’s that simple!

 

 

The Pit Test

The last study was about pride. We all have to take character tests in order to step into the destiny God has for us. By looking at Joseph’s life, we too can see what we need to do to accomplish what God has for us. Joseph didn’t do very well on the first test and neither do we sometimes. Now he is ready for the pit test.

Genesis 37:13 – And Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers feeding the flock in Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.” So he said to him, “Here I am.” (Verse 14) Then he said to him, “Please go and see if it is well with your brothers and well with the flocks, and bring back word to me.” So he sent him out of the Valley of Hebron, and he went to Shechem.

(Verse 15) Now a certain man found him, and there he was, wandering in the field. And the man asked him, saying, “What are you seeking?” (Verse 16) So he said, “I am seeking my brothers. Please tell me where they are feeding their flocks.” (Verse 17) And the man said, “They have departed from here, for I heard them say, ‘Let us go to Dothan.’ ” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them in Dothan.

(Verse 18) Now when they saw him afar off, even before he came near them, they conspired against him to kill him. (Verse 19) Then they said to one another, “Look, this dreamer is coming! (Verse 20) “Come therefore, let us now kill him and cast him into some pit; and we shall say, ‘Some wild beast has devoured him; We shall see what will become of his dreams!”

(Verse 21) But Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands, and said, “Let us not kill him.” (Verse 22) And Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit which is in the wilderness, and do not lay a hand on him” – that he might deliver him out of their hands, and bring him back to his father.

(Verse 23) So it came to pass when Joseph had come to his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of many colors that was on him. (Verse 24) Then they took him and cast him into a pit. And the pit was empty; there was no water in it.

The Position of the Pit

What brings a person to the position they are in? How did they get in that position? When we get in a pit, we need to see if we did something to contribute to our circumstances and don’t start off with blaming others.

Joseph could have easily said, “It’s not my fault. I didn’t do anything wrong. It was not because of the pride that was in me, it was the envy in them.” Many times when we go through a difficult time, we blame someone else. Do you realize that we now live in a “Blame” society? It’s not others’ fault for our difficulties, it’s how we respond that causes our troubles. Don’t go back to the past to find fault for what is happening today. It’s our “reaction” to the “action” that puts us in the pit! (This makes me think of politicians when they lose an election. They blame everyone else for their loss.)

I wonder if Joseph ever thought about why his brothers hated him? Why was Joseph not with his brothers tending the flock in the first place? Why did Jacob send his seventeen-year-old son to check on these older brothers? I believe Jacob was trying to get them to have a relationship with their younger brother. Jacob knew there was animosity between them. He was trying to mend that.

The brothers knew that the person coming toward them afar off was Joseph because Joseph had that coat of many colors on and no one they knew wore one like that. All those bright colors could be seen from a mile away and they knew it was him.

When we read this, we should ask God, “What is this passage saying to me?” Joseph had his father’s favor on him. And Joseph’s father gave him a gift and he was proud of his gift and showed it off in front of his brothers every chance he got.

How many believers are prideful of a gift our heavenly Father has given them? I’m amazed that prideful people will always try and slip the gift they have into any conversation. They have their identity in their gift, not in being a child of the Most High. Why do people want to show off? Why can’t they just be their Father’s child? This pride is what got Joseph in trouble in the first place. We get gifts from our Father too, but if we let pride slip in we can lose our gift.

Have we not seen a lot of high profile ministries lose their gift because of a lack of integrity and humility? Joseph’s father didn’t take back his gift. The coat Joseph lost was taken away by his brothers – he lost it! Whatever we lose through foolishness, we can get it back a hundredfold. Joseph did. The key to getting back what we lose is to repent!

The Perspective of the Pit

Any time we are in a pit the accuser of the brethren shows up first. Satan will show up and begin to condemn and accuse us. There is a huge difference between “conviction” and “condemnation.” Conviction is specific, condemnation is general. Conviction says, “You did this and that’s why you’re in this pit.” Condemnation says, “You’re a bad person, you’re worse than anyone else and you’ll never do anything right for God and you’ll never accomplish anything! Just give up!” Condemnation is always from the enemy!

John 3:17 – For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him, might be saved.

We cannot let the enemy fill our minds with condemnation, he is the author of lies and he’s lying to us. Look at the most famous lie in this story about Joseph: Genesis 37:31 – So they took Joseph’s tunic, killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the tunic in the blood. (Verse 32) Then they sent the tunic of many colors, and they brought it to their father and said, “We have found this. Do you know whether it is your son’s tunic or not?”

That was a lie! Satan is such a good liar that he will fabricate evidence to back up his lies! The brothers never told Jacob a wild beast had torn Joseph apart. Jacob came to his own conclusion that this must have happened. Jacob believed this lie for twenty-two years. Jacob didn’t know that Joseph wasn’t killed by a wild beast until Joseph was thirty-nine years old. The really sad part is that in all this time the brothers let their father grieve without telling him the truth! When a person holds back the truth, it’s still a lie!

The Purpose of the Pit

What is the purpose of being in a pit? The purpose of every pit is to get us to cry out to God! We have to recognize that we aren’t getting out without God. Do you remember Jonah? He was also in a pit he couldn’t get out of on his own: Jonah 2:1 – Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fish’s belly. (Verse 2) And he said, “I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction, and He answered me. Out of the belly of Sheol, I cried, and You heard my voice.” (Verse 6) You have brought up my life from the pit.”

When we are first in a pit, we immediately want to put the blame on others. After a while of being there and seeing nothing change, we think, “Well maybe I did cause some of this.” And when the situation lingers on and on, that is when we cry out and take either all the blame or the biggest part of it. And yes, sometimes others do cause our problems, but we still need to look to God to get out.

Genesis 37:22 – And Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood, but cast him into the pit which is in the wilderness, and do not lay a hand on him” – that he might deliver him out of their hands, and bring him back to his father.

Reuben is the firstborn, so he should have been the favorite son but he wasn’t. Colossians tells us that Jesus is the firstborn of God. So the firstborn, Reuben, wants to deliver Joseph out of this pit for two reasons: to deliver and bring him back to the father. The purpose of every pit is to deliver us and bring us back to the Father.

Psalm 16:10 – For You will not leave my soul in Sheol.

 

The Pride Test

Every person has a dream from God and that is our calling, but God also gives us a purpose and that is our destiny. The sad fact is though, many people live with the dream instead of living to step into their destiny.

In the life of Joseph, God gave him a dream when he was 17 years old and he stepped into fulfilling that destiny when he was 30 years old. However, in order to fulfill the destiny God had for him, he had to pass 10 character tests. Pride is the first test.

These same tests have to be passed by us in order to fulfill the destiny God has for us also. These are very important character tests that everyone will have to take in order to step into their destiny.

The Pride Test

Genesis 37:1 – Now Jacob lived in the land where his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. (Verse 2) This is the genealogy of Jacob, Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brothers. And the land was with the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Joseph brought a bad report of them to his father. 

Leah had six sons and Rachel had Joseph and Benjamin. Bilhah had two sons and Zilpah had two. These made up the 12 tribes of Israel.

Before Joseph even has a dream, he’s a tattle-tail. (Verse 3) Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children because he was the son of his old age. Also, he made him a tunic of many colors. (Verse 4) But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him.

(Verse 5) Now Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it to his brothers, and they hated him even more. (Verse 6) So he said to them, “Please hear this dream which I have dreamed: (Verse 7) ‘There we were binding sheaves in the field. Then behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and indeed your sheaves stood all around and bowed down to my sheaf.” ‘

(Verse 8) And his brother’s said to him, “Shall you indeed have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words. (Verse 9) Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, “Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun and moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me.”

(Verse 10) So he told it to his father and his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?” (Verse 11) And his brothers envied him, but his father kept the matter in mind.

Joseph is 17 when he received these dreams and 30 when he steps into his destiny. What happens in between the dream and his destiny? Tests!

God has a dream for you.

This dream that Joseph had was from God. Joseph bragging about it was not from God. Both of these dreams he had were from God and a dream from God is better than any dream we can have for our life! And his destiny is bigger than the destiny we can pick out for ourselves. So how do we know the dream that we have is from God?

Numbers 12:6 – Then He said, “Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, make Myself known to him in a vision, and I speak to him in a dream. (Verse 7) Not so with My servant Moses; he is faithful in all My house. (Verse 8) I speak with him face to face, even plainly, and not in dark sayings; and he sees the form of the LORD…”

So, if you’d like to know God’s dream for your life, get to know God. Get to know the One who can reveal the dream and fulfill it. The Bible says that the children of Israel knew His acts, Moses knew His ways. And God will speak to every one of us plainly face to face.

Remember when Jesus said, “No longer do I call you servants, I call you friends?” A servant doesn’t know what his master is doing, but a friend does. 

However, we also can have dreams that can be selfish. And those selfish dreams can cloud our thinking from hearing the dream God has for us. There are some dreams we need to just drop! However, when you receive a dream from God and you know that you know it’s from Him:

Don’t brag about it.

The dream leads you to God’s destiny but if you brag about it you will never get to that destiny. I can’t count the people I’ve talked to and heard them say, “I had a dream and I know it was from God.” I would listen to it and it would be the most messed up thing I’d ever heard. They would go around telling everybody that they had this dream and God had put a certain call on their life or they knew they were supposed to be with such and such person. And year after year, nothing like what they told me ever happened. The most amazing thing was that a few months down the road, they weren’t even in church anymore and back doing what they were doing before they were saved.

These people that brag weren’t even faithful in the small thing, not to mention that they were not obedient. Look at what Joseph did. He bragged about both dreams to his brothers and they hated him. Joseph failed the pride test. What happens when we fail a test from God? We end up having to take the test over and over until we pass.

So, why do people brag in the first place? Pride is in the heart. Matthew 12:34 – …”For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” If it’s in your heart, it will come out of your mouth! Pride always has to have a voice. Pride always wants to be heard! Pride always wants to give its opinion. Pride always interrups other people. Pride hardly ever listens to others. Do you know anyone like that?

Look at what Joseph did before he ever got the two dreams: Genesis 37:2 – …”Joseph brought a bad report of them to his father.” Joseph was already a tattle-tail. He already has a problem with his mouth. Remember, if we have a problem with our mouth, we have a problem with our heart. Then God gives him a dream of his brothers bowing down to him and he tells them.

The two dreams were only a part of his destiny. His true destiny was not to get his brothers to bow down to him. Joseph’s true destiny was to save multitudes of people! His purpose was to be the second in command in the greatest nation on earth at that time and to store up the grain that during a seven-year famine, thousands could be saved.

So why didn’t God give him a dream about saving the lives of multitudes of people? First of all, that wouldn’t motivate most of us when we are young. When we’re immature in the Lord, it doesn’t motivate us to help a lot of people. It motivates us to be well known or popular. Us being “great” is not the purpose of our life. Us helping a lot of people is! And as we mature, yes, we may have great influence one day, but that influence is for His purpose!

Second, God may have given him that particular dream, because God would reveal what was in his heart. The dream from God is simply what starts us on the path to maturity so we can handle the destiny. If a person can’t be humble with the dream, they will never have the destiny, because the destiny will destroy them. Pride should have no place in a believer’s heart. Once you receive the dream:

Deal with your pride.

How many of us can honestly say that we have had to deal with pride in our lives? If you say that you have never dealt with it, you are being prideful right now. We all have had to deal with this at some time or another.

Why are some still dealing with pride in their lives? Because many only deal with the fruit of pride, what it produces, and not the root, which is the cause. But what is the root cause of pride? Insecurity is the root of all pride. If pride is in your heart, insecurity is in your soul. The soul has to be healed.

Here’s another reason some continue to deal with pride: Because with every new challenge, comes new insecurities. With every new responsibility comes new insecurities. Think about that for a moment. Think about the times you had a new responsibility or a new challenge. More confidence in yourself is not going to solve the problem because then you’ll have pride. We have to be more confident in Jesus!

We deal with pride by coming to a place where we know who we are, children of God! We know that Jesus died because He truly loves us and we know this because of His sacrifice for us. That’s how we deal with insecurity. If we never forget where we came from, we will deal with pride in our lives. We all were on our way to hell before we came to Jesus and that ought to always knock pride right out of our lives!

Understanding that You are a child of the King deals with your insecurities. Remembering where you came from deals with your pride.

Saved Completely

Hebrews 7:25 – Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him since He ever lives to make intercession for them.

Because of preaching that a person may have sat under, some believers have doubt of whether they have truly been saved. The lie that the enemy tells Christians is uncertainty.

Here is what happens at the miracle of salvation. First, someone talked to us about the gospel of Christ. This could have been in church or been a one on one and then a revelation about Christ came and we responded. We believed and received. Instantaneously we received Jesus and became a new creation in Christ Jesus. Old things passed away and all things became new.

However, God didn’t just stop there, He cleansed us of all our sin. Then He imputed His own righteousness into us. We became the righteousness of God in Christ. In right standing with God, accepted before God in the beloved. He made this so, not us.

So here is the question many have: If I didn’t do anything to obtain this salvation, because Jesus did it all, is there now something I have to do to secure it? If I did nothing, how could I now do something to secure my salvation?

Then after all this of cleansing our sin and giving us His righteousness, He sends the Holy Spirit, His Spirit, to live in our mortal bodies! Our body became the temple of the Holy Spirit. And as a group, we became the Body of Christ in whom He lives. The Holy Spirit witnesses to our spirit that we are children of God.

God also sent His Holy Spirit as a pledge, downpayment of things already accomplished, and the performance of every promise that God has ever made concerning us for the future! Wow!

But God didn’t stop there, He’s got everything covered as far as we are concerned. He knows us and He knows we can “blow it” sometimes. But Jesus became our Hig Priest which means 24/7, for eternity Jesus is interceding before God for us! And He didn’t stop there, He fulfilled every requirement of the law and in fulfilling the law, He established a new covenant based upon better promises. The covenant is between God and His Son and we are a part of it. We are allowed to enjoy the benefits! Here are 7 things that show us our salvation is finished and complete:

(1) The Promise of the Scriptures

Romans, Chapter 8, starts out with “There is therefore now no condemnation…” and ends with, “nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

Too many people, Christians, have been told that when they sin after becoming a Christian, that now God is separated from us. According to Scripture, that’s not true.

In John chapter 10, verses 27-29, Jesus makes a statement while He is talking to the Pharisees and tells them that this is not so for you, the Pharisees, but it is true for them, His sheep. John 10:27 – “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. (Verse 28) “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. (Verse 29) “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. (Verse 30) “I and My Father are one.” We are as safe and secure as the hands of God can make us. The Promise of the Scriptures.

(2) The Perfection of the Sacrifice

Hebrews 10:14 – For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. There never needs to be another offering given, because Jesus was the perfect offering for sin. 

Sometimes people ask: “Can a true believer lose their salvation? 1 John 2:1 – My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

He doesn’t want us to sin, but if we do we can go to our Advocate the Father. This is why Jesus is our High Priest forever. We go to Him because He knows we were going to sin again before we ever do it! Romans 4:8 – “Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin.” 

(3) The Perseverance of the Spirit

Too many have been taught through the years that it’s up to the believer to “Hold on to God!” That’s not how it works. There is no such things as “Perseverance of the Saints.” Has any of us obtained perfection in living this Christian life? Nope! The Holy Spirit preserves us! Philippians 1:6 – being confident of this very thing, that He who has begin a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; Jesus is the One that perfects it, not us.

(4) The Position of the Saints

Everyone is either in these tow position: we are either in Adam or we are in Christ! We either know Jesus or we don’t. We are either spiritually alive or spiritually dead. “In Adam” all die. “In Christ” all are made alive! The position of the saints is that we are in Christ! 2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new. We are sealed!

(5) The Present Tense of Salvation

John 5:24 – “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”

Eternal life is the only kind of life that exists, spiritual life. Before we knew Jesus we were dead in our trespasses and sin, no spiritual life. John 11:26 – “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” You have eternal life now! We are as saved now as we’re going to be in heaven.

(6) The Prayers of the Savior

Hebrews 7:25 – …since He ever lives to make intercession for them. Jesus is our Advocate, all the time! Our salvation and the security of our salvation is not based on the quality of commitment to Him. It’s based on the quality of His commitment to us. It’s not up to us to keep our salvation. Our salvation security is based on Christ’s obedience.

(7) The Power of Sovereignty

1 Peter 1:3-5 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (Verse 4) to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, (Verse 5) who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

We are protected by that same creative power of God! We are saved and protected by All-Mighty God from the moment we believe. Christians need to stop doubting the miracle of what Jesus did for us when He died and rose again for our salvation!

 

 

 

 

It’s All About the Heart

Matthew 7:1 – “Judge not, that you be not judged. (Verse 2) “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you. This is part of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus is obviously addressing the attitudes of the heart. Judgments come from the heart.

There is a parallel passage in Luke, but there are sentences in-between the first and the last sentence: Luke 6:37 – “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. (Verse 38) “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.”

Nowhere in this passage does it mention money. Giving is a heart issue. Jesus used farming terms that people were familiar with back then. God had told the Jews to leave the four corners of their fields to the poor. When the poor took a basket to glean the fields, they would put the product in the basket, press it down, shake it and add more and repeat. And would put so much in that some would run over the top. That’s what came to mind when Jesus used these terms.

Whatever we give, we will get more back. Jesus is literally talking about “judging,” “condemning,” and or “forgiving.” When we read Scripture, keep it in the context it was written. Too many use this passage for getting people to give money so they will get more back. That’s wrong because He is not talking about money. Giving or forgiving is so much more than money.

If we give judgment, judgment will be given back to us, good measure, pressed down, and shaken together and running over will men give judgment to us. If you are a condemning person, you will receive condemnation back. But if you are a forgiving person and give love and compassion, then that is what you will receive back, good measure, pressed down and running over.

I watch this in the news media every day. The despicable things that are said by our so-called leaders in Washington. They condemn and judge our president as if he is the worse human being on the planet. They have no idea that the hate-filled speech is going to come back on them, pressed down, shaken, and running over!

The root word for “forgive” is “give!” And “for” means in favor of. So if you forgive, it means you are in favor of giving. However, if a person is not in favor of giving, they have a difficult time with “for-giving.”

I can’t stress this enough: Jesus is not talking about money, although that could be included, the issue is, “Are you for giving, are you in favor of forgiving? This is a matter of the heart.

Look how God deals with giving: Deuteronomy 15:7, 8 – “If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of your gates in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, (Verse 8) “but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs.” So how do we get to the point of giving like God does?

We have to deal with a selfish heart.

Deuteronomy 15:9 – “Beware lest there be a wicked thought in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and your eye be evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing, and he cry out to the LORD against you, and it becomes sin among you.

Selfishness produces sin! God had emplamented in Israel that every seven years all debt was canceled. So He’s saying not to let the thought that if you lend close to or in that seventh year and they can’t pay it back in that same year, come into your heart. God calls that a “wicked thought.” It will come in the mind, but He says don’t let it get in your heart and become sin.

When we do something to help another, do we expect anything in return? Us giving to others is not for God’s sake, it’s for ours. Giving will deal with selfishness and greed in our lives and we will never be happy if we are a selfish, greedy person. If we are willing to give to others then we are more than likely not going to be judging or condemn them.

Have you ever had to deal with a stingy, selfish, or greedy person? They are never happy. It seems they are always complaining about something. What’s the one thing every parent has to teach their child? Sharing! Is our God a giving God? Yes, He is and when we become born again, we are to be like our Father.

I haven’t strayed from the topic of judging and condemning. The fact of the matter is, if a person is always judging and condemning, there is a good chance that they are not a giving person!

Luke 6:30 – “Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. (Verse 31) “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. (Verse 32) “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. (Verse 33) “And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.

(Verse 34) “And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. (Verse 35) “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Highest. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. (Verse 36) “Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.”

God is kind to the unthankful and evil, and that was all of us before we were born again. The Bible says, “While we were sinners Christ died for us!” God sent His Son before we were thankful of anything, unthankful and evil. So that statement is absolutely true that Jesus made.

If we are grateful, we will develop a grateful heart.

Deuteronomy 15:15 – “You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this thing today.”

God commanded them to be generous. He wanted them to remember a time back in Egypt that they didn’t own anything! If we will remember a time when we didn’t have much, but as the years passed and the Lord began to bless us, we are to begin blessing others.

Let’s not ever forget where we came from; where God has brought us from; what God has delivered us from, and if we will remember that, we will become the most generous, non-judging people on earth. We will become like our Father in heaven who gave it all for us to spend eternity with Him!

If we are grateful for what God has done and given us then we know He is our source. Don’t fret about the good you do for others because the reward comes from the Father!

 

The Happy Life

Acts 20:35 – “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

The Greek word for blessed is “Makarios,” meaning “Happy.” A happy life is a blessed life. A blessed life is not about “stuff!” It is not about “give to get.” When a person develops an attitude of giving, we are the most like God.

Luke 19:1 – Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. (Verse 2) Now behold, there was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. (Verse 3) And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd for he was of short stature. (Verse 4) So he ran ahead and climbed up into a Sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way.

(Verse 5) And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” (Verse 6) So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. (Verse 7) But when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”

(Verse 8) Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor, and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” (Verse 9) And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because he also is a son of Abraham; (Verse 10) “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Zacchaeus tells Jesus that he is going to give half of his possessions and property to the poor and if he had mistreated or cheated anyone, then he would restore it four times what he took. That’s an amazing statement for someone to make. That was the “action” of giving. And restoring fourfold reveals his attitude.

The Action of Giving

God giving is the “action” of the Bible! God gave His Son and Jesus gave His life! And if you are born again, you gave your life to Christ. All through the Bible, giving is the action.

Matthew 6:19 – “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; (treasures means riches) (Verse 20) “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Verse 21) “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Be honest: Where is your treasure? Where are most of your treasures? Is it in your home, stocks, or property? According to Jesus, that’s where your heart is. Don’t quote this verse backward as I heard a lot of people do. It doesn’t say,, “Where your heart is…” It plainly says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Our hearts will follow our treasure. If we would like for our heart to be in the kingdom, put the treasure there! If we invest in a stock, we will keep track of it, often. We will want to know how well it’s doing. The heart will follow the treasure.

But Jesus made this statement: “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” He didn’t tell us that because God needs our treasure. He said it to benefit us! That must mean that when we get to heaven, we’re going to need it “for ourselves.” This goes back to: “In heaven, we will have responsibilities.” We will need resources to live throughout eternity.

What are we building up and investing in while here on earth that is just going to be left for someone else? Zacchaeus met Jesus and immediately gets a kingdom perspective.

There is an Attitude of Giving

Luke 19:6 – So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully.

Matthew 10:8 – “…Freely you have received, freely give.” We can hear the joy in Zacchaeus’ voice when he says, “Look, Lord,…’ He’s really excited for what he’s about to give. He received joyfully and now he can give joyfully.

If a person struggles in the area of giving, they actually struggle in the area of receiving. If a person has difficulty giving joyfully, they have difficulty receiving joyfully. If someone has a hard time giving freely, they have a hard time receiving freely.

If a person feels like what they receive from God by earning it, they will feel like their the one that has to protect it. Look: Even if you work hard to have what you have, it’s God’s blessings on your work!

In 2 Corinthians Chapter 8, Paul is talking to the Corinthian church about giving. But 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 are actually about “Grace.”

2 Corinthians 8:7 – But as you abound in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us – see that you abound in this grace also. We give freely because freely we receive, and we give because of love.

2 Corinthians 9:7 – So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. That should be our attitude when we give.

A “Happy life” begins by God speaking to us, God changing our life like He changed Zacchaeus’ life, and then us responding in our action and our attitude toward giving!