The Golden Ladder of Giving:

The Golden Ladder of Giving:

give forget

The following account was written by a friend of mine, pastor Dan Stratton, from New York City, and I love it’s thoughts. So, I shot him a message, and asked his permission to post it here on the blog. With his permission, here it is:

“A while back I had dinner with an elderly gentleman who was doing work around the world. He spoke of building shopping centers in Ghana. His name was Daniel and his son’s name is Joseph. Joseph and I were classmates at Yale. However, I was introduced to Daniel through Obie who has been my friend now these past 8 years or so.

A group of politicians and business leaders had come from Africa to discuss potential work that we might do together. We met at the Havana Club at the top of the 6’s where Obie has been a member for some years. We were there as Obie’s guests.

Obie is an established African American businessman – a Harvard graduate and a very strong Christian. Daniel is a Jewish businessman who has done amazingly well in the real estate market and a devout Jew.

Our discussion began. Obie challenged the motives for this potential partnership as he spoke to the contingency from Africa. Amongst this group were men who had been to prison with Nelson Mandela and had been part of the formation of the new government in South Africa. We looked for common ground.

We found common ground Daniel and me in and old document written by Moses Maimanodes. I was introduced to this as the Golden Ladder of Charity. Daniel challenged me and said that the thought would best be understood and communicated as the Golden Ladder of Justice. He said that the difference was this, “Charity is something we can choose to do or not do. Justice is a duty. Justice must be done.”

In this Golden Ladder, Maimanodes bemoans the fact that so many with such good intentions create division through their giving. He says that it is not enough to give. He describes a wisdom and a process that must be considered to insure that the giver doesn’t subjugate the recipient. If the recipient is minimized in any way, he says, eventually there will be a major backlash that will leave both parties diminished.

The Golden Ladder

Golden ladder
The steps of giving — 8 rungs.

1. To give with reluctance or regret. This is the gift of the hand but not the heart. 
2. To give cheerfully, but not proportionately, but not until solicited. This causes distress to the sufferer. 
3. To give cheerfully and proportionately, but not until solicited. 
4. To give cheerfully, proportionately and unsolicited but the giver gives directly into the hand of the receiver, exciting in him the painful emotion of shame. 
5. To give cheerfully, proportionately, proactively but the giver does not know the recipient. Still the recipient knows the giver. 
6. To give cheerfully, proportionately and proactively; whereas, the giver knows the recipient but the recipient does not know the giver. 
7. The chamber of Silence — total anonymity. Giving cheerfully, proportionately and proactively, whereas, neither the giver nor the recipient knows each other. 
8. Anticipating need. Preventing poverty. Preventing suffering through education, infrastructure and access. Giving to someone so that they never experience a day where they have to raise their hand to ask for help.

I have written extensively on the emotion and the pain experienced as we walk through these 8 steps of revelation. Growing to give without the need to be recognized is a process that few are unaware of.

In every exchange, every conversation, it would bid us all well to keep in mind that even Wisdom is a gift that can subjugate the hearer if we are not careful. This subjugation will create a backlash. Taking heed to give as anonymously as possible is a journey toward selflessness.”

Carefully consider that which you have received. Has it created in us an anger or worse, a hatred for the giver. Reconcile that, or you will receive that same anger paid back to you when you give.

And carefully consider when you give. Your motive may be some form of recognition, that will cost you and the recipient far more than the resources exchanged.

I say this into the realm of need that exists on our precious planet earth. None of these thoughts are mine. I have just discovered them on my “school of hard knocks” journey.”

This is the end, of pastor Dan’s account, but I have been meditating on several Scriptures, that lead my thoughts towards the worship component of our giving:

How about this one:

Hebrews 7:8 AKJV
And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth

Here, we see that when we give, we first present our offering to God as an offering, then to whoever He directs us to give it to in this life. Charity then, true charity – must be worship to God.

In this passage, that I often teach on with respect to tithing, I see the spirit of giving, and on this I will expound. When I give to the poor, if possible, I do what I can to remain anonymous, for Jesus Himself said:

Matthew 6:3 AMP

But when you give to the poor and do acts of kindness, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing [give in complete secrecy],

give secretly

As we understand, that ‘the poor we will always have with us’ and we seek to honestly empower, support, and bless them to the best of our ability through the love of God that works through us, it is good to meet needs, without expecting anything from them, as part of our worship and obedience to God Himself. Though I may not expect anything from the poor, I do expect things for them – as I honestly seek to better their condition, be it through education, job creation, or economic development initiatives.

In Matthew 25, we see how God will judge us, individually and in the work of our organizations, by how well we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, get water to the thirsty, visit the sick and the prisoner. Again, in these passages, I see the spirit of worship injected between the lines of the text – God loves all people – and one of the ways we worship, is to serve and meet the needs of people that He created in His image.

We must do it in faith to please Him, for it is written:

He who is gracious and lends a hand to the poor lends to the Lord, And the Lord will repay him for his good deed.

No matter how wealthy our work and gifts make us, we humbly recognize that it is only by the hand of an Almighty Creator, the author of all life that we have been able to prosper, and that He is the author of all life. No matter how wealthy we become, we are limited in our abilities to alleviate human suffering, He is limitless, and well able to repay to us, any amount He might require us to give.

Sometimes that giving, is only seen privately, between us and Him in prayer. Like when Nehemiah was rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem, and was legitimately owed his wages and expenses while he was there. Yet, he saw the oppression and needs of the people and we read:

Nehemiah 5:

Nehemiah’s Example

14 Moreover, from the day that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes, for twelve years, neither I nor my relatives have eaten the governor’s food allowance. 15 But the former governors who were [in office] before me put heavy burdens on the people and took food and wine from them in addition to forty shekels of silver [as an excessive monthly salary]; even their servants assumed authority over the people. But I did not do so because of the [reverent] fear of God. 16 I also applied myself to the work on this wall; we did not buy any land, and all my servants were gathered together there for the work. 17 Moreover, there were at my table a hundred and fifty Jews and officials, besides those who came to us from the nations that were around us. 18 Now the following were prepared for each day: one ox and six choice sheep; also fowls (poultry) were prepared for me; and in intervals of ten days all sorts of wine was provided in abundance. Yet for all this, I did not demand the governor’s food allowance, because the servitude was heavy on this people. 19 Remember me, O my God, for good, according to all I have done for this people.

Read the whole chapter – he used his position and authority to make financial wrongs right, and to set the people of God free from unjust interest.

I find myself often surrounded by glaring financial needs, children that need food each day to live, orphans that need school tuition and supplies, ministries that need buildings, and I long to help them all, yet I am ONLY responsible to help those that God places upon my heart.

Yes, we are to give, but with selflessness, and purity of heart, that we might see God in every area of our lives.

May we give, generously, often, in faith, to glorify Jesus in all we do:

Let’s Pray:
Lets pray

‘Father, flow through me in generosity and love as I worship You in my giving. Help me to become more selfless, than selfish, equipping and empowering people that you love to the best of my ability. Release to me, more resource and wealth to further make this world a better place. Help me to alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found, to use my position, authority and influence to break policies that oppress people, rather than empower them in life, liberty, honor, and pursuit of the dreams You have placed in every human heart. I ask this, knowing I am heard, for I ask in Your name Lord Jesus, Amen’

Giving Jesus MY ALL – Today!

Giving Jesus MY All, Today!
Chris Karen Walsh's photo.

Mar 14:9 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.

The woman with the alabaster jar, poured out her life, her offering, in such reckless abandon upon the feet of Jesus, that He, King of the Universe, deemed that her act become an eternal memorial of her.
Chris Karen Walsh's photo.
Ever thought that we can live in such radical obedience, passion, brokenness at His feet in love, that our lives might be written as eternal memorials to our sacrifice?

Mal_3:16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.

There is a book being written in heaven, that will be an eternal best seller. The book of remembrance of the acts of the saints, forever recorded, for the glory of Jesus, the testimony of the saints.
headlines in heaven
Let’s live in such a way today, they we cause heavenly scribes to have to pick up the pen on our behalf, writing headlines in heaven, angels to rejoice, Jesus to smile, and the great cloud of witnesses to be on their feet, peering over the balconies of heaven, as our life, our testimony, our radical passion for Jesus, our sacrifice, and poured out consecration for Him!

Let’s Pray:
‘Father, burn like a fire in me, blazing bright to this generation. Jesus! I come to your feet, and pour out my love, my life, my passion, my all for you, today. May I live in such a way as to make headlines in heaven, eternal record of my love for you, that you might smile, as you receive, through me, the reward of your suffering. Amen’
fire soul

The Lord has need of it?

The Lord has need of it…

Lord need of it
Mark 11:3 And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither.

We all know the story, how Jesus spoke to his disciples to go procure for Him a donkey for the triumphal entry, and told his disciples where to get one, and what to say to the owners.When the owners came out to see what was going on with a couple of guys apparently stealing their donkey, they were informed: ‘The Lord has need of it!”
Interesting verse, especially in today’s Christian culture.
Could you imagine a minister showing up in your driveway, and taking your car proclaiming: “The Lord has need of it?”
Yet, we say, that Jesus is Lord of our possessions, that we are only stewards of them.
Round here, all I can say, is the Lord better be speaking to you, or you’re going to get shot!
This verse exists, and I am convinced that God still speaks to His disciples to give certain things at certain times.


Problem is, we have all seen the excesses.

 

Prosperity preachers who prophesy money out of people’s pockets, clearly padding their own pockets, and giving the gospel a bad name.

 

Yet, there have been clear cases where God did speak to His servants to tell people to give, and they heard correctly.

why give
Like my pastor, Billy Joe Daugherty, getting a word in prayer, that he was to claim a summer camp for youth, of at least 100 acres, and he was not to pay one dime for it. We call it Camp Victory now, and it is a remarkable testimony, how God did it.
Or when God spoke to us to believe for a second vehicle for my wife, and a couple came to the church, having just closed their driving school, asking God what to do with one of the cars. They learned of the need, and showed up at our house with a little Toyota Tercel, that we drove for several years. We had no idea they even had an extra car, much less were intending to give it to us.
Yet, on the other side, we all get the letters, you know the kind: “I was praying last night on my prayer rug, and the anointing fell from heaven, and flowed down my forehead, over my body, and into this rug. The Lord instructed be to cut this rug, endued with Holy Spirit power, into 1000 pieces, and to send it to 1000 people with the following instruction: Lay this upon your body, and you will be healed, and if you sow $99.95 into this ministry, when you receive this, you will receive $10,000.00 harvest in the next 9 months”
Could God have spoken to a man like that?

 

Sure He could. Did He?

 

Probably not.

gimmicks

Why?
1. You cannot buy a miracle. You can sow a seed, and believe God for increase, but notice that when hankerchiefs were sent forth from the apostle Paul for healing, he was simply moving in love and power to heal the sick. He was not taking up an offering.

  1. Judge the fruit of the person’s ministry. If they were using this gimmick this month, what will it be next month?

The American industrialist, Henry Ford, was once asked to donate money for the construction of a new medical facility. The billionaire pledged to donate $5,000. The next day in the newspaper, the headline read, “Henry Ford contributes $50,000 to the local hospital.” The irate Ford was on the phone immediately to complain to the fund-raiser that he had been misunderstood. The fund-raiser replied that they would print a retraction in the paper the following day to read, “Henry Ford reduces his donation by $45,000.” Realizing the poor publicity that would result, the industrialist agreed to the $50,000 contribution in return for the following: That above the entrance to the hospital was to be carved the biblical inscription: “I came among you and you took me in.”
Bits & Pieces, March 3, 1994, pp. 1-2
I am not cynical about giving, like every Christian, I love to give. It is the nature of God, for God so loved the world that He gave…yet I preached a message recently entitled, ‘Be led, not bled”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_x13nAPRbCE
I believe in vision based giving. Where a man or woman of God receives a visionary directive from God, then using common sense and sound business practice, they investigate how much what they believe God has called them to do is going to cost them, and they make the need known.
In the meantime, strong Christians and ministries are working the unshakable principals of the kingdom of God: Tithing, sowing financial seed, aggressively believing, and placing pressure on promises, not people.

http://chrisaomministries.com/2015/08/07/gods-promises-of-provision-from-scripture/

God must honor His Word, but how He does it, is up to Him.
I have been thinking about the work of the Holy Spirit in all this too.

Holy Spirit help
When God sent Elijah to Zerephath, 1 Kings 17:8 ¶ And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying,
9 Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.
10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.
11 And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand.
12 And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.
13 And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.
14 For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth.
15 And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.
16 And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah.
Similar situation I’d say. God had spoken to Elijah, and He also had spoken to the widow woman. Had they not both obeyed, things could have been pretty rough for both of them. God had the provison of the widow and the prophet on his mind.
Notice the key in my mind to the whole account, God spoke to both the woman, AND the prophet!

Much can be said here, but I will end with this thought: While God governs by principals, He speaks individually to people.

voice

It is a relationship He requires, not religion. He is alive!
John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

 

No matter what the emotional plea, the screaming financial need of a sin sick, hurting earth, we are only responsible to give what Jesus tells us personally.
If someone shows up at my door asking for money, generally, my answer is no, unless He should speak to me.

voice today

And speak He has!

 

I cannot count the times, we have had the privilege of God to meet human needs!

 

Truly, it is more blessed to give than to receive! There is wonderful joy in giving!
When I owned my companies, and would receive the countless support letters sent out by various ministries, I would carefully open them, and place the reply letter on my shelf. When we were paid on various contracts, and there was some money in the bank, I would take down this sheaf of envelopes, and get quiet before God to see what He might have me do financially for any of them.

 

Sometimes, He would instruct me to give our men a bonus, or buy a new tool, or take my wife out to eat, but often, regularly, I would write checks to many of these ministries, sometimes sacrificially, as part of my worship towards God. He fully understood the long hours worked to earn the money, the battles fought, the fatigue, frustration, pressure, and sacrifice we had endured to earn the money.

 

In those moments of giving, I had a fresh insight into the verse:
Rom 12:1 ¶ I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Giving, at those times was a deep sacrifice between me and God, worship, only He and I fully understood. Truly, He understands the long hours, stress, sweat, and brutal deadlines met, that produces the money, and this is our sacrifice…

listen sacrifice

Where your pleasure is, there is your treasure; where your treasure is, there is your heart; where your heart is, there is your happiness.
Augustine

Yet, whatever a man sows, he must also reap. As I step out again on this well worn gospel trail, I am convinced that those sacrificial seeds, will richly provide the needs of this family, and this ministry…

provides3
Joh 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
Let’s Pray:
‘Father, you have created us all uniquely with different jobs to do to develop us, support our families, and to build your kingdom. As we see the next season approaching, may we remain faithful where we are, carefully hearing your voice, and living in obedience to you, daily. Shepherd, pastor; lead, feed, grow, and speak to me today Lord Jesus, Amen’

 

 

There is a RAM!

There is a Ram!

ram2
Lev 5:17 And if a soul sin, and commit any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the LORD; though he wist it not, yet is he guilty, and shall bear his iniquity.
18 And he shall bring a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest: and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his ignorance wherein he erred and wist it not, and it shall be forgiven him.

There is a Ram, without spot or blemish, the sinless, holy, spotless, Lamb of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who already did all the dying, any one of us might need. Yes, God is still Holy, and people still sin, knowingly and unknowingly, yet, each day, we can come before the very throne of God, and find that the precious, holy blood of Jesus, still speaks mercy before the throne of grace on our behalf.

ram1

Grab it and go!

Receive His mercy, and then get up, and receive power, grace, to serve, obey and walk with Him, today in His love, as He unfolds for you, tremendous wonders, great and mighty things that you could not comprehend!

ram3

Let’s pray:
“Father, thank you for your love and mercy! If I have sinned against you in any way, I ask you forgive me, and I receive the precious provision of the blood of Jesus upon my life, today. Empower me, to learn from this, to live in your love, power, grace, and holiness, today, and forever. Thank you Jesus, for your great sacrifice for me. Thank you for forgiving me, and showing me how to live! Make a way, for you are my waymaker, almighty King! AMEN!”

ram

Perpetual Incense….

A perpetual incense before the LORD

incense2
Ex 30: 7 And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it.
8 And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations.

Was thinking about how our lives, as we walk with Him, and cry out to him, become a living alter, our prayers the incense that rises from it….

Re 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

Re 8:3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.

Re 8:4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.
incense1
Let’s sing:
“I love you Lord, and I lift my voice, to worship you. I love you Lord, and I lift my voice, O my soul, rejoice. Take joy my King, in what you hear, Let it be a sweet, sweet sound, in Your ear….”

Patriotism is not enough! We must have Jesus!

I read this testimony and had to post it here!

citizens

“Greater love hath no man that this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
“When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Romans 5:10).

When nations are engaged in deadly strife, it is common for patriots to declare that he who gives his life for defense of his country may be certain of a home in heaven because of having made the supreme sacrifice. This teaching is in accord with the principles of the Moslem religion and not with true Christianity. Mahomet promised his fanatical followers a place in Paradise if they died for the faith in conflict with the “infidels” who rejected his teachings. Patriotism is a virtue of which any man may well be proud.

But patriotism, praiseworthy as it is from the human standpoint, will never fit the soul for the presence of God. It can never wash away the guilt of sin. The testimony of Edith Cavell, the brave British nurse who was killed by the Germans during the former world war, is well worth considering in this connection.

Edith

This noble woman was born in Swardeston, Norfold, on December 4, 1865. She entered the London Hospital for nurses’ training in 1895. In 1907 she was appointed first matron of the Berkendael Medical Institute at Brussels, Belgium. This became the Red Cross Hospital in Belgium at the outbreak of the conflict in 1914. From August of that year, until August, 1915, Nurse Cavell helped to care for wounded French, Belgian, English and German soldiers alike. She ministered faithfully even to those who had fallen while fighting against her own nation. Naturally, her sympathies were with the Allies, and in cooperation with the efforts of Prince Reginald de Croy, she aided many derelict English and French soldiers who had fled from the Germans. These escaped by “underground” methods to the Dutch frontier, where, with the aid of guides, they were conveyed across to Britain. When some of these fugitives were traced to her house in Brussels, she was immediately arrested and after a court-martial was sentenced to face a firing-squad. All her kindness to the German wounded was forgotten. Her captors considered her a spy and treated her accordingly.

Just before the bandage was placed over her eyes, as she stood fearlessly facing the solders who were about to take her life, she gave a last message to the world. “I am glad,” she said, “to die for my country. But as I stand here I realize as never before that patriotism is not enough.” Then she went on to give a clear, definite testimony to her personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and her assurance of salvation, not through laying down her life for others, but because He laid down His life for her. In perfect composure, she submitted to the bandaging of her eyes and, in a few moments fell, pierced by many German bullets.

Her words, patriotism is not enough! have spoken loudly to may in the years that have gone since she died a martyr to her convictions.

“What more is needed?” you may ask. The answer is “Christ!” It is through faith in Him alone that the soul is saved and heaven assured.

H.A. Ironside, Illustrations of Bible Truth, Moody Press, 1945, pp. 60-61.

Here in America, I see tremendous love for this country exhibited, but this, alone will not be enough to save this country!

This nation was founded upon the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!

save

Jesus has indeed risen from the dead, and He is alive!

Here, as I have tossed and turned upon my bed, I find myself at 3 Am, writing, because His Word is a fire shut up in my bones!

Jesus alone is the answer for America, there is no plan B from heaven, no secondary hope. He is the only way!

It is time to cry out again to heaven for His plan, His call, His fire, His destiny for your life, no compromise.

There is no more time for side tracks, we must be in His face, now!

Let’s pray:

‘Father, You alone are the answer for this sin-sick, messed up world. Burn in me, infuse in me, fresh fire! Blaze through me your passion, purpose, and power that this world might see again that You are alive, active, and Lord over the affairs of men. It has been said, that desperate times call for desperate actions! This is my cry, show me what I must do, my cross, my place to stand for You, and then use me for Your glory! Jesus, I know I am heard, for I have asked this in Your name, Amen’

Seven That Ways God Speaks to You: Still Small Voice -Part 4

listen0

Still Small Voice:

God Speaks directly through His still small voice!

John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them,  and they follow me:

This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible, and if you have a copy of my book, ‘The Parable of the Sower’, this is usually the verse I give when I autograph it.

Why?

The last thing the Body of Christ needs is yet another Bible study void of life and power. What is needed is a living, vital encounter with Jesus, freshly hot from His Word. Living Words that bring life!

Whether someone knows God, and walks with Him, or has walked away from Him, and gone their own way, God is still capable of speaking to them, Adam and Eve, AFTER they had sinned, still heard the voice of God, for is it not written:

“‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on ALL people

Ge 3:8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the  LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

God expects us to hear Him!

Ex 15:26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.

Hearing the voice of God then, according to this verse, is good for ones health. Notice hearing though, is not enough. In this verse He expects us to both hear Him, and OBEY Him.

De 28:1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which  I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:

Surely He did that in Christ, for it is written: Ephesians 2:6 (KJV)  6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

1Sa 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

1Sa 28:18 Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the LORD, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the LORD done this thing unto thee this day.

So God speaks, and He must be OBEYED!

Ps 106:25 But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the LORD.

listen

Isa 6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.voice

Hag 1:12 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD  their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the LORD.

Joh 10:3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.

obey hear voice

Heb 3:7 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear his voice,

Heb 3:15 While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.

Heb 4:7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

voice today

Why did I post so many Scriptures on hearing the voice of God?

Simple, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God, and I am deliberately building your faith to hear the voice of Jesus, the voice of the  Holy Spirit in the earth. There is an entire generation depending upon it, upon you to do your part, in bringing from heaven, the bread of life, the only thing  that can honestly meet the needs of a hurting humanity.

voice of Holy SPirit

There is always a people on the other side of your obedience that need Jesus, somehow, some way.

Had I gone on with my story of how I truly met Jesus, I would have told about the part, where my well meaning mother tried to have me committed to a mental  institute, because I told her that God was speaking to me, and He has continued to speak to me, every day, since that experience way back in 1989.

He has, from that day til this. Though I have not always heard or obeyed perfectly, I have honestly tried, and now, 25 years later, He is still speaking to me.

Today, it is to write this article, for you, just because He loves you, and so do I…

God loves You

Let me give you two dramatic times I clearly heard the voice of God:

1. While I owed and operated our construction company, we did a contract supplying highly skilled carpenters to a man building a multi-million dollar estate. He failed to pay me $8500 he owed me, at a time we desperately needed the money. When I saw what he had done, and the way he was now hiding behind faxes, emails, secretaries, and attorney’s, I was so angry I wanted to kill him and rid the earth of him. The work had been very difficult, and to not get paid for 3 months of hard work was infuriating. I knew I had to forgive him, and would pray for grace to forgive him each day, but as creditors called, and carpenters needed paychecks from money I did not have, I got ticked.

It became very serious over the next four months. I would pray each morning for the grace and strength of God to walk in love and obedience, but on several occasions woke up in a cold sweat from a nightmare where I had pulled a pistol on this man, and killed him. Vivid dreams, and during the day thoughts of rage would again come as I faced the mess this man created in my world.

I kept mouthing the prayer: Father forgive him, and deal with him, thinking that God would deal with him in the night to pay his bill, but that did not happen. Finally, in my truck one day I cried out to God in frustration: “Father, I have forgiven this snake, but what about the money? I still owe it, and have to fight every day to work long hours to earn back what that man stole!” ( I used to call these sessions ‘Get in the truck and scream’.

listen anger hulk

The only way I knew to live and walk honorably, and never vent anger in front of an employee, client, vendor, or my family. Be angry, but sin not! Anger may be a great motivator, but it is a lousy lord, and we can never make decisions based upon anger. We must lead people in love, honestly, with their best interests at heart, never control them through anger, intimidation and fear.)

listen anger coal

That night, I saw my problem. I saw Jesus looking at me in a dream, high and lifted up, and He spoke to me:

He said: ‘Chris, you have forgiven ___ for lying and stealing from you, but what you need to do now, is present the fruit of your labor, the $8500 as an offering to me, sow it as a seed, for this is the actual financial cost of your forgiveness.’

listen give

Suddenly, I saw this verse in a different light:
Romans 12:1-2King James Version (KJV)
12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
I had a revelation that day of the cross of Jesus, and how I needed to get on my own personal alter, and become a living sacrifice as part of my worship to Him, recognizing He loved me, and He is Lord with a whole lot more resource than me, well able to provide.

listen sacrifice
I got it, and quietly died to my passion, pride, will and way, and became more like Jesus that day:
‘Would you be free from your passion and pride?
There’s power in blood, power in the blood’

listen blood
The Lord was faithful, and over the next couple of months, he blessed the company, and we made much more than I lost, and we were delivered.
Of course there is another side to the story, that took a little more time to digest. Gotta tell off on myself too. Two weeks past the due date of payment of my invoice, I saw the clients wife at the house with the architect and construction manager, and tore a strip off of her calling her husband everything but nice, embarrassing her publically. Never worked for the architect, the family, or the construction manager again, for this foolishness: Like I said: anger makes a lousy Lord…
Amazingly enough though, God used that incident to forever dethrone anger in my life. Never again have I gone off like a screaming idiot again before a client, carpenter, competitor, or my family (Although I have had many sessions of ‘Get in the truck and scream’ over the years!)

One more time where the voice of God got really serious.
Heard a story of a pastor visiting a prominent member of his congregation upon his deathbed: The man’s family had called for him, because the man was terrified of dying. He came to the man, to bring comfort saying to Him: ‘Brother, I know you are right with God, you have served Jesus faithfully for the twenty years you have been in our church, you are a pillar of the community, a man of honor, respected in business, by your family. You have provided well for your family, and your affairs are in order. Go, in peace to heaven and enter into the joy of the Lord.”
The man turned to the pastor with fear in his eyes: ‘That is what you, and everyone else in this community sees, but I am about to meet Jesus! Let me tell you a story: After I returned from Viet Nam, I had an encounter with God, where Jesus appeared to me, and told me to return to Viet Nam as a missionary, to help the children who suffer so horribly there. Yet, I married my childhood sweetheart, and had children, and never told anyone about it. Each year, for the past 20 years, we have had special services, revivals, missionaries come, and God has visited our church. Yet, in each of these services, repeatedly, Jesus has spoken to me clearly about my call to Viet Nam, and I have disobeyed, or tried to discount it as an ‘emotional’ experience. Now, I am about to face Him, I have no time left, and I have never obeyed Him…”

wait
The question I ask myself is this: Did this man make heaven? I believe he did, for heaven and eternal life are granted to us by God through faith alone, and the heart of Jesus is to seek and save the lost.
Yet, I cannot think he would hear the words I long to hear one day: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant, enter in the joy of the Lord”
The best he could hope for, is to see Jesus face to face (in His great love), and hear ‘Well?’

listen finalIn 2009, at my office, I had Jesus again speak to me powerfully, about His calling upon my life to do this, that is preach the gospel to the ends of the earth, that I was to leave our companies, and again follow Him. Took me over a year to disentangle myself from the two companies I was part owner of, and come back over to doing this. Yet, I knew then I had heard Him clearly, and I have endeavored to whole-heartedly obey Him.
There is always a people on the other side of our obedience. The gospel of the kingdom of God is designed to change lives, communities, nations, with the love, power and authority of heaven.
Yet, we are the chosen instruments, carriers of this glorious message of freedom, ambassadors of grace…

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
ambassador

Let’s Pray:

“Father, speak to me, cause me to hear Your voice, today. Help me to articulate, that which you speak to me, that I might tell others about You, that You might speak to them, and manifest Your great love, miracles, and power, to meet their needs, in Your mighty name I pray Lord Jesus, Amen’

Bring Back the Cross!

Bring Back the Cross!

Bring Back the Cross!

Today, as we go through our yearly Bible reading, these simple words jumped off the page at me, ‘WHICH ARE IN CHRIST JESUS!’ coupled with the thought: BRING BACK THE CROSS!

It seems as I endeavor to be fully led by the Holy Spirit, fully, daily, each new season of life and ministry, requires a fresh trip to the cross, where another alter is raised up to Jesus in the sacred depths of my heart, where the fire of His holiness, meets the idol of my self-will…and again I consecrate, and become that living sacrifice to Jesus this generation needs…

Let’s take a look together:

Rom 8:1 ¶ There is therefore now no condemnation to them WHICH ARE IN CHRIST JESUS, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

There are no crown-wearers in heaven who were not cross- bearers here below.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Today, as I find myself surrounded by good people who struggle with grief in the loss of loved ones, guilt and shame over things they have done, trauma and torment over atrocities they have seen or committed, I weep, knowing the freedom that can only come at the cross of Jesus Christ. Counseling, medicine, even great churches and the comfort and love of family and great Christians, cannot replace the horror of the cross of Jesus. Here, and only here, when an individual, personally admits to God, their crimes, hurts, frustrations, losses, heartbreaks, and deepest sickest secrets, does the divine exchange occur. He forgives, and removes the burden, heals the broken heart, delivers a sin sick soul from torment.

cross ray

Only, at the cross…

We need men of the cross, with the message of the cross, bearing the marks of the cross.

Vance Havner

There is no other way. Human counsel only goes so far…

There are sacred secrets to be told to God, and God alone. Pains too deep for human consolation, healing and forgiveness granted, only at the foot of the cross of Jesus.

At the Cross, His blood flowed freely, and it provides an atonement, a healing, a cleansing from our sin, sickness and pain.

cross cry

Heb 9: 13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Under the law, in the holiness of God, there was only one punishment: death!

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life…

Yet, even under the law, God allowed certain substitutions to occur. Instead of us bearing the punishment for our crimes, we could offer the life of an animal, as an atonement, a guilt offering, it’s blood shed in our place, to cover our transgression.

Yet, there are things in the earth that no animal blood can cover. Murder, rape, treachery, betrayals of sacred trusts, perversions of the worst kind, innocent blood shed at our hands…

The blood of animals could cover our sin, but never erase it. Our conscience, our memories deep inside, still ate at us with guilt.

This is the torment of the mother who aborted her child, flashbacks, guilt, depression, because as Mother Theresa said: Abortion is the only crime that takes two lives, the life of the child, and the heart of the mother. There is only place to find peace, when, in truth, we face the horror of what we have done, and we cry out to God, and ask Him to forgive us for taking the life of our child. Then, we discover the horror of the cross, become the object of our deliverance, and the divine exchange occurs. His blood, ever alive before the throne of God, reaches into the deepest part of us, and He washes us clean, taking our guilt, shame, depression, grief, pain, and exchanging it for His love, acceptance, forgiveness, and blessed peace that passes all understanding

Works the same for the veterans I have counseled, diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. (https://chrisaomministries.wordpress.com/2014/12/11/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-jesus-heals/)

victory-in-the-cross

The panic attacks, the explosive fits of rage, the nightmares, the flashbacks, tormenting beyond what words can express, in response to horrors performed or witnessed in the heat of battle. You can counsel, medicate, perform therapy, but at the cross, God reaches into the deepest part of a man, and recreates him, free from it all.

What about the victim of sexual abuse? Whether the victim or perpetrator, things performed in the secrecy of darkness, sick secrets that continue to haunt, torment, seduce, arouse…Can there be freedom from this uncleaness?
Only at the cross…

It has been said, that we are only as sick as our secrets…

Tell Him about it today. Give it all to Him. Allow Him into your deepest pain, your sickest secrets, pour out your heart to Him. He knows anyway, He saw it all…and He loves you anyway, longing to forgive you!

Michah 7:18 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy

He will meet you there….

Time will not heal all wounds, but Jesus can, and will, at the cross.

Stop the dances with denial, deception and devils today, by embracing the blood He shed for you, personally, on the altar of ultimate sacrifice, His cross.

cross1

Listen to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbuDlbx-_Ng

Let’s pray:

Father God, Creator of Heaven and earth, God Almighty: You know, You understand, You see, and You saw all that I saw, I did, and that was done to me. Forgive me! I choose to forgive those who did such evil against me, but only You can handle my rage, my pain, at the injustice of it all. Take it! I give it to You. It is too much for me, so I lay it all down at the cross. Replace my loss, with Yourself. Fill my heart with Your peace, Your presence, Your grace, and bring me peace, heal me, give me something to give back to this hurting world. I’m done running, but choose to allow Your to lead me, guide me, and use me as an instrument of Your blessing, honor, and glory in the earth, in this generation. I give it all to You Lord Jesus, knowing You hear, care, and love me, AMEN!

Give God Your First and Best

Give God Your First and Best

Give Your First and Best to God, NO COMPROMISE!

Mal 1:14 I say, cursed is the deceiver who promises to sacrifice the finest male in his flock if I grant his request but who sacrifices the imperfect one to the Lord instead. I tell you, I am a great King. My name is feared among the nations who aren’t even My own.

Colossians 3:17
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

No long teaching, simply an exhortation to sell out for the call of God, without reservation.

Let’s pray:
‘Father, show me what You would require of my life, my offering to You, my Creator, and the great King of all the earth. I would serve You Lord Jesus, with all my heart, mind, soul and strength, Amen!’