Tag Archives: blessing
By every measure, this summer has been huge! Not only did I move and start a church, but we got a church — attending members, like out of thin air. When God smiles on a man, it changes everything.
Some of you may know I’ve been moping along for six years since my missionary stint in Guatemala was over. Like the India Maria, I was neither from here nor there. I tried to help out in my parent church but couldn’t do much. I longed to launch out again.
Suddenly, the doors opened. They needed an apartment manager in Van Nuys, now known as the Promised Land. I would start a Bible study and patiently work for organic (read: slow) growth. I was in no hurry. I would let God do it in His time without becoming agitated.
Then the week after I was re-ordained at the Tucson Door Church (Christian Fellowship Ministries), I got a call. A nearby church was closing, and would I mind if its members came to my Bible study?
After I got up off the floor, I said, no, I wouldn’t mind.
Since then things have been going much faster than I could ever imagine. They wanted to start Sunday services. I am applying for a school auditorium, but that’s not fast enough. So we opened in the Anthony Beilenson Park at Lake Balboa Sunday at 10:00 a.m.
Now school is gearing up, and I look back over the extraordinary revival and blessings in ’16. Wow and hallelujah.
Finances are a dreary necessity that underpin the true joy of saving souls. I don’t believe that God’s main purpose is to bless His people. Yes, we are children of the King, but the Child of King didn’t have a home, much less a bank account.
Having disavowed the prosperity gospel heretics, I would wish to proceed with a balanced exposition on finances. I was struck by this reading Ruth: Let fall also some of the handfuls on purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glen them. (Ruth 2:16).
Boaz is a picture of Christ because he redeems her from deplorable poverty. Gleaning was a back-breaking job: 12 hours under the blistering sun only to pick up enough grains for one meal. Boaz makes the decision to improve her lot significantly.
We can, therefore, ask God in prayer to drop “handfuls on purpose” for our ministries.
When it comes time to teaching my high school students what “paradox” means, I turn to the gospels because Jesus relished using them. How can you lose yourself and thus find yourself? It doesn’t make immediate sense, and the carnal mind will never comprehend.
God doesn’t work by contract. He doesn’t tell us what all the perks are. He expects us to live by faith. Your boss, on the other hand, is probably not going to give you a dime more than what’s in the contract. When you serve God, He simply asks you to lose yourself for the gospel.
Then He blesses you more than you can imagine. Of course, if you scoff at this and don’t try it out, you will never see the spiritual law activated when you give to God.
It’s been two long years that I have wanted to visit my friend, Ezekiel. I met him playing soccer just before the accident. I wanted to pray for him and embrace him. He lived far away, in Salt Lake City.
I wanted to somehow bless him. Instead, he blessed me.
I got a vision of him preaching. I saw him functioning as a powerful man of God. I could totally visualize him being used by God. I saw no obstacles for him.
This was convicting to me. Because I see all kinds of limitations and disqualifiers for myself. While I had no doubt that God wanted to use Zeke, I am plagued by doubts about myself.
We let our sinful desires run rampant, and then we wonder why God hasn’t blessed us.
It’s like the person who blames water for shocking him when he uses electronics in the tub. Why refuse to accept the
physical laws spiritual laws that govern the world?
We accept that rules govern a happy relationship. We accept laws for civil society. We understand that geometry has its logic. But we want to tell God that He’s wrong when tells what will and will not work.
It’s not that you need to be perfect. God forgives. But when we flout the law of God, then why do we blame Him when things don’t work?
She chooses poverty, discrimination and likely abuse all to be with her widowed mother-in-law, Naomi. What gets into Ruth to leave behind the connections and culture of Moab and go to Bethlehem, where she has no chances?
Without any job opportunities, she decides to “glean” behind the harvesters, a back-breaking sun-scorching 12 hours of picking up dropped grains in which you’d expect to get about one meal for one person. A panhandler in the U.S. fares far better.
Yet she was hot. Since she was a foreigner, someone could have taken advantage of her, and she couldn’t expect legal protections. Ruth opened herself to all these dangers and adversities to be loyal to her new family and serve God.
God has a way of honoring those who honor Him. Boaz takes note of her sacrifice and kindness rendered to her mother-in-law. Eventually he marries her. As a result, her finances and future are secured.
In the beginning, this blog was very narrowly focused on a niche: encouraging pastors and leaders to pray for finances for their ministry. But as I interacted with the blogging community, I was drawn into reaching out with non-thematically related posts.
I believe I will be returning to the Mustard Seed Budget theme. I believe I will start pioneering a church again. So praying for finances to cover costs will start to figure large in my life again.
Everyone loves Psalm 23. But I was struck just now how it basically starts with finances: The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. God will take economic care of his people.
Since returning four years ago from the mission field (where I was almost 16 years), my wife and I have done a lot to try to re-establish ourselves in the States. The transition has not been easy. We started with no money. Thank God for a nearby church that gave us food right when we had none.
Isn’t it interesting that this famous Psalm, which many recite for consolation, starts with finances? That shows how important is God’s care of us!
Actually, the Psalm also ends with a promise of financial blessing: Surely goodness and mercy shall pursue me all my days. The verb pursue is used everywhere else in the Old Testament to refer to an army in pursuit of a retreating enemy. David is saying that he WON’T be pursued by soldiers, debt, problems. He WILL be pursued by goodness and mercy.
The fisherman THINKS he knows how to catch fish. He has done it all his life. He knows the behavior of the fish, where they are based on wind, sun, temperature and time of day. He is so much the expert that he forgets who truly brings in fish.
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” — Luke 5:4-6, 8 NIV.
After this, Jesus commissioned Peter a “fisher of men,” which is what we are. Never forget the difference between the expert fisherman and the Expert Fisherman. Depend on Him to make the catch. Pray.
If you’re facing potential devastation right now, you are in line to receive a miracle today! Praise God for your problem, however big it may be, because it is only a prelude to His power.
We ought to seek miracles! They manifest God’s glory. They shut up the atheist. They’re undeniable. God wants to do miracles. But we must reinvigorate our faith to seek them — just like heat-seeking missiles.
There’s an advocacy of this: The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me — John 10:25 NIV. The best apologetics don’t compare to a brush with the Supernatural God. Hunger for miracles. Don’t fear problems because God is only setting up a miracle opportunity that will make your ministry grow!
Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a HUNDREDFOLD, because the Lord blessed him. — Gen. 26:12 NIV (capitals mine). The prospect of this verse thrills the heart. You can a hundredfold increase, if and when, God moves.
Make no mistake with the math. That is NOT a 100% increase. A 100% increase is a “twofold” increase. No a “hundredfold” increase is 10,000% boon. TEN THOUSAND PERCENT.
Wow! That’s a lot. For every seed, Isaac planted, 100 grains grew. Normally more than one grain grows per seed — but not a hundredfold. This is the moment that Isaac got rich. The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy — Gen. 26:13.
Let me make the following observations. This multiplication didn’t happen every time Isaac planted. He spent many years planting and reaping a regular harvest. But he kept at it, kept believing, and one day without warning, God super-blessed him. It was a sovereign miracle of God.
Which leads us to the following conclusions: God can bless you sovereignly at any surprising moment. Maybe you have been slogging along, faithfully serving the Lord for years (like Isaac), and when you least expect, He’ll drop a blessing bomb — and you’ll be sleeping in the cash. You’ll be preaching to the multitudes.
So today pray for a hundredfold multiplication. Look for it expectantly. Persevere until you receive it. Never stop believing.
Maybe he´s not as dumb as they say. Part of his formula for success is to visualize himself doing well the night before. He’s so serious about this mental preparation that he even goes to staff and asks which uniform they will be using the next day. Visualization is the cutting edge of sports psychology: to block out distractions, knock down discouragements and steel up nerve. Once on the field, the player enjoys a heightened level of concentration.
Visualization is a significant element in prayer. When you confess with faith, you see yourself triumphing beforehand. You bat down depression, failure, and fear of failure. Then you spring out of your prayer closet ravenously ready to grab blessing, revival, favor, and God’s help. He is pleased by this kind of faith.
In the most exhilarating goal of the English Premier League this year, Rooney fired an overhead kick, squeezed between two defenders, to win against crosstown rivals Manchester City. The eye-popper silenced critics, who were downgrading Rooney’s status of legend.
Today, blast an overhead goal — with the power of God — in whatever you do. Shut up naysayers with some positive visualizing in prayer.
When my sons address me as “Daddy,” it signifies greater love and intimacy, greater confidence with me. I am their loving protector and benefactor. “Father” sounds like too much respect, stand-offishness, emotional detachment and formality. “Father” is good for dead religion. But if you want answers to prayer, “Daddy” sets a better tone. “Daddy” musters faith.
I believe this is what Paul communicates. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” — Gal. 4:6 (See also Mark 14:36 and Rom. 8:15). You are not addressing an overbearing, unwilling, disciplinary “Father” but a loving “Daddy” whose very heart beats to give what you want and need.
When my kids need new shoes (though I don’t have money), I am looking to see what I can do to get them.I give to my kids as many good things as I can. I prefer to give to them rather than myself. Don’t you think our Daddy in Heaven is that way? I do. Today, address God as “Daddy.”
He rebuked the religious leaders aplenty, BUT his strongest and most frequent rebuke TO THE CHURCH was for its lack of faith. Over and over again, Jesus is reprimanding, not the disciples’ fleshliness or lack of spirituality, but their lack of faith.
There is a different focus here! While we denounce lukewarmness, Jesus is losing patience for shortness of faith. Re-read the Gospels and decide for yourself if our message coincides with Jesus’ — if we give the same amount of time and space to what was of interest to our Lord and Savior.
Now I’m certainly not saying we can’t rebuke sin. But what I am saying is that probably we don’t give enough emphasis to having faith. What percentage of the Gospels (stuff directed at the disciples, not the Pharisees, Sadducees and other bad dudes) is eliciting greater faith? It almost looks like the greatest sin (for Jesus) is to come up short in the area of faith.
In truth, there is a profound lesson here. We need to have more faith. Focus on increasing your faith. When you pray, don’t whimper. Proclaim with faith, ask with boldness.
Droughts are painful. Droughts can bring death. Nobody likes those times when finances are short, attendance is down and trials outnumber blessings. We can whine, complain, blame God and even quit ministry.
During the times of drought, it is crucial you keep one thing in mind: Droughts DON’T and CAN’T last forever. Just pray for the end of the drought and hang on.
Joseph oversaw seven years of grain distribution in Egypt during a drought. Those seven years came to an end. Elijah prayed for three-and-a-half years of drought. They came to an end. The early church’s persecution came to an end.
The devil tries to get you to quit in a season of drought. He reminds of a time when your wallet was flush with cash, when you weren’t doing ministry. He wants to get you to sell out on the Almighty God in search of the Almighty Dollar. Don’t quit. Hang on until the end of the drought. Rain will come. God will prosper you again.
He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. — John 6:6 NIV
Lack is only a test. We need to learn to get an A.
Multitudes are coming, and Jesus casually asks Phillip how they’re going to feed them. Phillip failed the test. He said eight months wages wouldn’t buy enough food. Phillip saw the lack with human eyes — not with eyes of faith.
How do you see your need? You pass the test when you see your need with eyes of faith. Thousands were fed as Jesus multiplied food miraculously. Don’t despair with your circumstances. Jesus can multiply whatever you need. As missionaries in Guatemala, we scraped by month to month. We always had just what we needed. Don’t doubt God. Your crisis is just a test. You need to pass the test. You will keep receiving tests until you learn to pass it.
Even her brothers and husband turned against Penny Chenery Tweedy. Confronted with a $6 million debt to the IRS, the family saw selling their racehorse stable as the only option.
But Penny had other ideas. She banked on a young thoroughbred named Secretariat, who though untested possessed promise. Her brothers tried to talk “sense” to her. It was a risk that would send the whole family into financial ruins if the horse didn’t deliver against incredible odds.
Penny was willing to take the risk. She prefered to face the consequences of failure over regretting not even trying. She decided to follow her instinct and gamble on Secretariat. It was her passion, her dream, her calling, and she wouldn’t go to the grave with a “safe and secure” life that left her wondering what could have been.
Secretariat became a racehorse legend, winning in 1973 the Triple Crown for the first time in 25 years. Some race records set by Secretariat stand unbeaten today. Profits flowed to Meadow Farm. Her doubters — those who told her to cash in and drop out of the risky venture of horseracing — were flabbergasted by her success.
Don’t be afraid to follow you call, your passion, your heartbeat. God will grant the resources. Detractors will arise; remain firm in your conviction. Serving God may be “risky,” but the payoff at the end will astound your doubters.
We want victories. We want to avoid trials. But victories are inextricably intertwined with trials. Do you wish to serve Jesus? You will have horrible trials that make you wish to return to the quiet life of before. But at the same time, you yearn for Holy Spirit revival. Gold comes out of the furnace.
After Job suffered unimagineable sorrow, he was blessed beyond measure. Jesus first had to be crucified in order to be resurrected. To triumph over death, He first had to die. They don’t teach this at seminary. But this is the path of ministry.
So don’t pray to avoid or even get out of trials. Pray for the victory.
Are finances short? Praise Him. Chances are that victories are just ahead. Pray for victories. When it comes to couples, they say opposites attract. I say that Vicky married Mr. Trials.
I remember praying in my backyard in Guatemala. For over a decade, we had been holding church in the same old run-down warehouse. Today that warehouse is a used tire shop. I remember longing to raise the ministry up a dimension. But it seemed so unreachable. To buy a property was out of our grasp.
Despite the impossibilities, I prayed. Then a raptor flew over head. Words flashed through my head: “If you want to fly, you have to try.”
Trying to get a loan and risking ridicule if it didn’t come through. Trying to find an adequate property and risking wasting time. Trying to break out of current circumstances, which though undesirable were nevertheless comfortable because they were status quo. He who steps into the air at great height either falls or flies, but once you step out, there’s no turning back
I dared to believe in Jesus. Will you dare? God got us out of “the ghetto” and into one of the best neighborhoods in Guatemala City in a colonial building that was 6 times as large. It gave room for growth in terms of space and in terms of location.
Will you dare to believe? Pray.
When all is comfortable, we find a zillion reasons to NOT pray. When bills pile up, desperation spurs on prayers that gallop into Heaven and demand a response.
Not an overload, but a healthy measure of anxiety sharpens your prayer life. Thus, Moses pleads, Elijah cries, Job complains, the Psalmists breaks his heart before God. Even Jesus: “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with LOUD CRIES AND TEARS to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.” — Heb. 5:7 NIV.
“You must pray with all your might,” said Gen. William Booth. “That does not mean saying your prayers, or sitting gazing about in church or chapel with eyes wide open while someone else says them for you. It means fervent, effectual, untiring wrestling with God…This kind of prayer be sure the devil and the world and your own indolent, unbelieving nature will oppose. They will pour water on this flame.”
And C. H. Spurgeon declared: “Let us agonize in prayer.”
Angst-powered prayers, driven by need are far more effective than feeble mumblings from the half-asleep. Do you want revival fires from prayer? Do you want finances to flow? Then, let anxiety into your prayer closet.
I just got back from my old stomping grounds. I translated for my pastor in the Guatemala church. I saw the school, where scores of kids piled up around me to give me group hugs. The kids smiled and cried out: “Pastor Mike! Pastor Mike!” They wouldn’t let me go and almost knocked me down as they clung to me. It filled my heart with intoxicating emotion, love and happiness.
Nothing in the world compares to that. You can have your razor-blade Ferrari, your Italian suit, your smart phone. I will choose those kids. And I never regret the “sacrifice” of giving 16 years to ministry in poverty. I never regret living with less, eating mostly beans and rice for a lack of money to get something better. The riches of ministry are the greatest riches.
Jesus was also God’s son, a prince. Yet he had no place to lay his head, no house. When you choose to minister, it doesn’t have to be a vow of poverty, but you are definitely defining what your greatest treasure is. It’s God — and it’s helping His people. And the emotional rewards outweigh financial ones every time.
This blog is dedicated to helping you be inspired to prayer for finances so your ministry can increase. God is great and will carry forward His work. It is a great work for Him to have wholly the heart of his minister. Praise Him.
And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. — 2 Sam. 12:8 NIV
Honestly, I would NOT have expected God to say this. The Lord is enumerating the many blessings He gave to King David, including many wives. Why, He says through the prophet Nathan, did David take another man’s wife? David got Bathsheba pregnant and then arranged for the death of Bathsheba’s husband so that he could keep her.
Honestly, I would have expected God to be severe. But God is not overly severe with David. He makes room for grace. And what He says to David means blessings for you and me. I WOULD HAVE GIVEN YOU MORE.
If only you would ask. If only you would go through legitimate channels. If only you would believe. God does not reproach us for requesting more. He doesn’t scold us to be grateful for what we have already. He freely offers MORE, if only we would ask in prayer.
The devil aims to discourage you. Mr. Red Suit bombards you with a continual rant of “stop asking for more.”
But God says, Ask for more. Ask and keep asking. When do we have too much? Apparently, it didn’t occur to God to declare that David had too much.
When do we have too much? When everyone on Planet Earth is saved. In the meantime, ask for more without fear that He will deny your request.
When the small task force in charge of protecting Gen. MacArthur‘s rearguard found itself surprised by the Japanese Center Force in Leyte Gulf on Oct. 23, 1944, they didn’t expect to win. Twenty-seven Japanese warships — including the largest battleship ever made, the fearsome Yamato — bore down on Taffy 3 U.S. Task Force to blast landed U.S. troop like sitting ducks.
The U.S., who didn’t expect the enemy to appear on the horizon, left land forces protected only by planes with depth charges and destroyers so light they were called “tin cans.”
First they set up smoke screens to mask the retreat of U.S. aircraft carriers. While these light destroyers were doing this, Capt. Evans of the U.S.S. Johnston, without orders, broke ranks and charged the approaching ships on a torpedo run. Other ships watched incredulous what would surely be a suicide mission.
But the Johnston miraculously wasn’t hit as 27 Japanese ships trained their guns on it. It sailed to within five miles, fired its torpedoes, and scored a hit on enemy forces. Seeing this, other U.S. destroyers became brave to enter the fray. When the battle was over, the vastly superior
Japanese fleet retreated, American troops were safe, and history was written. The “greatest mismatch of naval history” was won by the underdogs.
Does this describe your church? You’re attacking futilely an enemy so large and fierce. You feel outgunned, outmanned, and outsmarted. You’re out-financed. You have practically no finances. Well, certainly not enough finances. But you have one potent weapon: daring.
You dare to continue serving the Lord. Finances are down to a trickle. Make a prayer run to torpedo the enemy and save the day!
Let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and end this disgrace! — Neh. 2:17 New Living Translation
Maybe you can relate to Nehemiah. He had the insurmountable challenge of rebuilding Jerusalem´s wall — with no money.
No cranes. No engineers. No bulldozers. No blueprints. No workers. NO RESOURCES.
All he had was a bunch of rocks, stones strewn everywhere, the tragic remains of Nebachadnezzar´s siege nearly 100 years earlier.The graceful wall of defense, once a wonder of ancient architecture, lay broken, a demolition job that embarrassed Jerusalemites. Not only did it remind them of past failures, it was present day eyesore and heartsore for the once proud inhabitants. Thieves and enemies could penetrate and wreak havoc in the city at will.
All Nehemiah had was will power.
So he prayed. And God did the impossible in response. Jerusalems´s men let their hearts be stirred and their hands set to action. They erected the wall in record time and restored dignity to the city.
The project before you is impossibly big. You yearn to extend the kingdom of God, but “financial realiteis” tell you to scale back your dreams. Instead, ramp up those dreams in prayer. If Nehemiah´s task was daunting, his testimony should encourage you. Let God do the same in your life that He did in Nehemiah´s. Be a rubble raiser!