PRAYER POWER PRINCIPLES – – Part 2


Matthew 6:9-13 – “Pray, then, in this way:

‘Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.  10’Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11’Give us this day our daily bread. 12’And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13’And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.’”  NASB

In the last devotional on prayer, we considered the six (6) topics which are, praise, priorities, provision, peace, power, and praise.  We listed two steps involved in engaging in prayer warfare and becoming mighty warriors in prayer in the spirit realm.  Those are, we begin with praise and then we move into total submission.

We must make up our mind (our will) that God’s will is the top priority in our life.  It is first, in us, then in the world around us.  There must be a total commitment and surrender to God and then we enter into the atmosphere and attitude of prayer where we verbalize our desires and His.  We use the rudder of the tongue, in agreement with the Holy Spirit, and allow that action to set the course of our lives. 

There are Four (4) Areas of Focus.

  • Ourselves

We must place our lives on the altar of sacrifice, daily.  There must be a continual and regular renewal of our relationship and commitment to God.  We must allow the Holy Spirit to lift the Will of God and His Priorities to the top spot in our lives.  We determine to stay before Him, in prayer, UNTIL. 

Until what?  Until the Holy Spirit has charted the course for our day in accordance with the mind and will of the Father.  We must do, as the disciples and followers did in the Book of Acts and tarry UNTIL.  That is vital.  Before you argue that you have to work and don’t have time to do this, realize what is most important and you will find a way to make time for God.

  • Our Family

If we are married, one of the key prayers we should be praying is for our mate.  We pray for their needs, not our wants.  We pray for their fulfillment of the purposes of God, not what we think they ought to do or be.  If we have children, they must be a high priority in our prayer focus.  Pray specific prayers.  Ask God for guidance in their lives, in everything.  Then, we pray for our extended family.  It is important that we allow the Holy Spirit to direct us in our prayers.  We may have opinions as to their needs and what they need to do or be, but it is God who makes the final decision, not us.

  • Our Spiritual Fellowship (Church).

Pray for the Leaders that God will anoint them giving them wisdom and strength.  Pray for God to give them the heart of a shepherd and use them in the Gifts of the Spirit and that they operate under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.  Call the names individually of all the leaders in the fellowship.  Next, pray for the other members that God will enable them to be faithful in everything.  Next, pray for the Harvest.  Isaiah 43:4-7 is powerful.  I suggest you read it and incorporate it in your prayers.  God wants to draw from the North, South, East, and West.

I suggest that this will require determination and persistence because the devil will not willingly give up those he has under his control.  But, remember we are overcomers and through the Power and Promise of God, we can overcome.

  • The Nation

Pray for the leaders, not just the ones you like.  I do not say pray for them to succeed in deviousness or personal agenda, but in doing His purposes and for the good of the nation. 

  • For Israel

Psalms 122 gives the basis for this.  “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you. 7 “May peace be within your walls, and prosperity within your palaces.” 8 For the sake of my brothers and my friends, I will now say, “May peace be within you.” 9 For the sake of the house of the LORD our God I will seek your good.” 

Never allow discouragement to distress you.  Allow the Holy Spirit to direct your praying and if you find that you do not sense a release in the Spirit and use up all your available time, don’t fret.  Simply put it on hold, meditate on it as you can through the day, and in your next prayer time, pick it up again and press into the Presence of the Lord and the Promises. 

If we will allow the Holy Spirit to direct our prayers, we will find that being to pray the will of God and discover that we are Praying the Promises of God and seeing results. 

God bless you as you embark on your spiritual journey in becoming a Prayer Warrior.  Have a fantastic day!

THE SEVEN (W’S) of SPIRITUAL WARFARE – The Warfare & Winners…


TEXT:  Ephesians 6:12-13; Colossians 2:15

Now we come to another aspect of Spiritual Warfare and realize that this is a battle between the devil and Jesus, and we are warriors in Christ.  We have considered the War, the Warriors, the Wiles, the Wardrobe, and the Weapons.  Now we other “W’s.”

THE WARFARE…

I believe that this is where far too many get off track and miss the message and revelation.  When we put on the Whole Armor of God, we are ready to go to war, but where do we fight?  In my, over 50 years of Christian ministry I have realized that many believers do not have the slightest idea where the Battle really is.

            Is the Warfare in Visitation and Evangelism?

            Is the Warfare in Attending Meetings and Compiling Statistics?

            Is the Warfare in Buildings and Memberships?

            Is the Warfare in Conducting Busy Church Programs?

            Is the Warfare in Preaching and Teaching?

            Is the Warfare in Printing materials and Conserving Institutions?

            Is the Warfare in Charity and Caring for the Distressed?

Maybe partially, but overall the answer is NO!  The real warfare is in Prayer!  That may shock some, but that is where the real battle is won.  It was in Gethsemane that Jesus won the Victory over the devil.  The Cross was the visible evidence of that victory.  Prayer is not part of the Armor and not even listed as a weapon because it is the Warfare!

Consider the last thing mentioned in Ephesians 6, “The Word of God.”  The soldier is equipped with defensive armor and offensive weapon preparing for war.  But where is the war?  Look at verse 18, “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.”  The scene of the conflict is the Place of Prayer.  That’s where we win or lose the battle.  I suggest that this is the reason for the lack of victories on too many fronts in today’s church.  We are spending our energy and resources on things that are not the real war but peripheral issues.

The devil is not threatened by all the ministries of the Church. He is not bothered by busy church programs if they are not anchored in prayer.  Truthfully, none of the ministries carried on by the church are more powerful than Prayer Warfare and Intercession.  My plea is for us to head for the Front Lines and find our Prayer Closets and begin to do Spiritual Warfare and Pull-Down Strongholds.

THE WINNERS…

The winners of the War have already been declared!  Jesus is the Victor and we are in Him.  He sits in the Place of Authority and is far above the powers of darkness.  He has already Won and has passed that Victory on to us.

Romans 8:37 – “We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.”

More than conquerors?  That means more than simply winning a battle, it is benefitting from the victory and enjoying the spoils of war.  It is more than simply giving the devil a whipping on the battlefield it is making him a slave to Jesus’ Chain Gang!  It is to have not only the Victory but also the Spoils of that Victory.  It is to storm the very citadels of the devil where he has stored up treasures that belong to us and recover them. 

More than conquerors?  That means that we are to be the aggressors and keep the devil off balance and refuse to allow him time to regather his forces.  It is to take the battle to the devil and stand in the Victory of Jesus, having done all to stand, stand!

2 Corinthians 2:14 – “Now thanks be unto God, which always causes us to triumph in Christ…”

2 Chronicles 20:15 – “…the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

Romans 8:31 – “If God be for us, who can be against us.”

We are Victors through the Blood of Jesus Christ.  My question is, “Do you know Him as Savior and Lord?  Are you a member of the family of God?  Have you been born again?”  If you are, we have a War to fight, weapons to fight with, and we know where the real war is.  Are you willing to enlist in the Army of God and fight the good fight of faith?  This is a war that has already been won but we must enforce the victory of Calvary. 

Why Not Now?  Why Not Enforce His Victory Now?

PRAYER POWER PRINCIPLES…


Matthew 6:9-13 – “Pray, then, in this way:

‘Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.  10’Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11’Give us this day our daily bread. 12’And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13’And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.’”  NASB

Jesus gave His disciples and the Body of Christ a Prayer Strategy in these verses.  In them, we find six (6) definite prayer topics, which, when followed as a guide, not a formula, will lead to tremendous spiritual victory.  That victory will be experienced in our own lives and others.  We will engage in victorious prayer that impacts others positively.

We are dealing with the supernatural.  We are waging warfare in the heavenlies.  We are pulling down strongholds or fortresses.  We are standing against the principalities, powers, rulers of darkness, and spiritual wickedness in high places.  Jesus has given us a plan for Victorious Spiritual Warfare.  It is time for the Body of Christ to both realize it and engage in prayer warfare.

The six (6) topics are: 

  • Praise – –Here is were we appropriate the promises.  “Our Father who art in Heaven, Hallowed by Thy Name.”
  • Priorities – – Here is where we discover and engage in submission to the Father’s Will.  “Thy Kingdom Come.  They will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.”
  • Provision – – Here we appropriate God’s Supply.  “Give us this day our daily bread.”
  • Peace – – Here we find the key in interpersonal relationships. “And forgive us our debts (sins), as we also forgive our debtors.”
  • Power – – Here we discover the ability to consistently defeat the devil.  “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
  • Praise – – In this we find the strength and power to obey God’s Word, Will, and Way.  “For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, forever. Amen.”

Jesus provided a means whereby we could become mighty prayer warriors and thereby, mighty warriors in the spirit realm.  For us to fulfill our mission and commission, we must learn to pray.  We must be able to pray fervently and effectively.  Prayer is vital for spiritual victory. 

Step One is to begin in Praise!  Here we change our focus from self and our circumstances to Him and His Purposes.  As we focus on Him, His Promises, and Provisions we create a condition in our hearts for faith to grow and develop.  Our confidence and hope begin to flourish in our hearts, and we are enabled to achieve a place in the spirit realm where we can engage in even the most difficult aspects of spiritual warfare.

Step Two is Submission.  We must come to the place of total surrender to God.  Anything short of total surrender will leave the door open for doubt, discouragement, and defeat.  Once we have invited the presence of God into our prayer time through praise, we are able to take this step.

I believe that prayer is the most critical element of the spiritual life and spiritual warfare and until we learn to pray, we will never fully achieve and receive the abundant life that Jesus came to bring. 

We will pause here and address this one more time in the next devotional.  Until then, God with God and He will go with you. 

Have a Great Day!

THE SEVEN W’s of SPIRITUAL WARFARE – The Wardrobe & Weapons…


Text:  Ephesians 6:12-13; Colossians 2:15

 What we wear to the War is important.  We must dress for success and put on the Whole Armor of God, which is God Himself and God’s Armor.  This armor is designed to render the believer untouchable.

1 John 5:18 – “We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him and the evil one does not touch him.”

THE WARDROBE…

When we consider the Wardrobe, we see the five (5) listed garments and/or tools or weapons.  We have the Girdle of Truth.  In the ancient armies, the girdle held the different weapons and pieces of armor in place.  Every piece of armor connected to the girdle – TRUTH.  Then we note the Breast Plate of Righteousness which signifies right standing with God.  It is a heart covering.  Next, we note the Gospel Shoes, or the feet shod with the preparation of readiness in the Gospel of Peace.  Footwear in the soldier’s wardrobe was essential.  In the Roman Army great care was given to the feet of the fighting men.  If they could not walk, march, run, or stand the army would be terribly weakened. 

We then move to two items that could be defined as weapons. There is the Shield of Faith, which signifies that we are protected by Jesus who Himself can take anything the devil can dish out.  We are empowered by the Holy Spirit’s anointing.  Then we see the Helmet of Salvation.  In 1 Thessalonians 5:8, we discover that we are to live in Confident Expectation.  The mind that is helmeted cannot be attacked by the devil and overcome by the lies that depress, discourage, and defeat.  We have our minds covered so that we can bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.  We have the mind that was also in Christ Jesus in us. 

When we put on the Whole Armor, we are putting on Christ Himself.  Whether we attempt to put it on as individual pieces or receive it all as the infusion of Christ in us, we need to understand that the Armor is Jesus.  He is the Truth.  He is Righteousness.  He is Faith.  He is Hope and Assurance.  He is Readiness.  Therefore, when we have on the Whole Armor of God we are dressed up in Jesus! 

THE WEAPONS…

The only offensive weapon in that list is the Sword of the Spirit.  It is the Spirit’s sword and therefore the most powerful of spiritual weapons. 

Hebrews 4:12 – “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” 

It is vital that we become intimately familiar with our Sword and learn its power and capabilities.  We need to distinguish ourselves in the use of it.  We need to never be without it.  We need to have it hidden in our hearts and our minds.  We need to meditate on it day and night.  It needs to be as close to us as breathing.

The Blood is a symbol of the finished work of Jesus and the ultimate defeat of the devil.  When we employ the Blood of Jesus we are declaring: “I believe that through the Blood of Jesus, we have been delivered from the power of darkness and we have authority over him now.”

Next time we will consider the Warfare and the Winners but will pause here and pray that you embrace the provision we have in Jesus and begin the process of becoming Warriors for Him, exercising our authority and enforcing the Victory of Calvary in this present world.

God bless you as you enjoy this day in Jesus!

THE SEVEN W’s of SPIRITUAL WARFARE – The Warriors & Wiles…


Text:  Ephesians 6:12-13; Colossians 2:15

Today, I would like for us to take the next step in the Seven W’s of Spiritual Warfare.

THE WARRIORS…

The antagonists in the War are Jesus and the devil.  Paul refers to the devil as, “The god of this world.”  Jesus’ purpose, as expressed by our LORD, is to “destroy the works of the devil.”  That suggests conflict.

One writer described it powerfully saying, “Our adversary is a supernatural person occupying a superior position and exercising a supernatural power.  He is the supreme dictator of the kingdom of darkness; a past master in every phase of diabolical deception and deviltry to be used in the seduction and rebellion toward God and His Son.  In the light of such a revelation what utter folly for anyone to underestimate or ignore the power of the powers of darkness.”  That is not to say he is Omnipotent, but he is a supernatural being and therefore, we need the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit to defeat our defeated foe.  We must never forget that he is a defeated foe, he just hasn’t given up.

Jesus Possesses ALL Authority in Heaven and Earth.  In the Gospel of Luke Chapter 11, we discover the power of the strongman and the stronger man, Jesus.  Jesus has defeated the devil and given us authority over him.  Jesus is our Captain or Commander in Chief. 

1 Peter 3:21-22 – “…Jesus Christ, 22 who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.” 

Colossians 1:13-14 – “For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

The Battle is the Lord’s and we are His Warriors.  He is “in” us and “on” us.  We battle in His Name, in His Stead, and we Impose the Victory He Won over the devil.  We do warfare in the Might Name and Power of God.  We are His heirs by birth.  His Blood gives us position and His Resurrection gives us hope.  Christ in us is our Hope of Glory.  We are more than conquerors through Him, and we overcome by the Word of our Testimony and the Blood of the Lamb.  It is In His Name!

THE WILES…

The apostle Paul declared that we are not ignorant of the devices of the devil (2 Corinthians 2:11).  The reason he emphasized knowledge of the devil’s devices was, “lest Satan should get an advantage over us.”  The word “Wiles” is the Greek word from which we get our English word “Methods.”  The devil has been using the same methods with great success for centuries and we must recognize what he is doing and learn how to negate his efforts.

One of the methods the devil uses is “Deceit” or “Deception.”  The apostle John identified him as the old serpent, the deceiver of the whole world. (Rev. 12:9).  He uses “Lies”, “False Teachings”, and “Accusations.”  In Revelation 12:10 we are informed that the devil is the ‘accuser’ of the brethren and accuses believers day and night before God.  He accused Eve and accuses us to God.  He accuses us to ourselves, to others, and others to us.  He is a divider.  He uses “Doubt” and does not always tell an outright lie but uses shaded truth to deceive us and cause questions to arise.  He uses “Contention” and is a sower of “Discord.”

I must remind everyone that He works with limitations.  He is not Omnipresent, although he maneuvers around quite speedily and easily.  He is not Omniscient, although he is well informed.  He is not Omnipotent but is a supernatural being.  It is vital that we recognize who he is, who we are, and to whom we belong.  We stand against the wiles of the devil in the Name, Blood, Authority, and Power of the Holy Spirit

I want to deal with the next aspect in the next devotional but will pause here and encourage you to do some deep introspection as to your position and allow the Holy Spirit to convict and convince you of Who You Are! 

God bless you and have a great day in Him

THE SEVEN (W’s) of SPIRITUAL WARFARE – The War…


Text:  Ephesians 6:12-13; Colossians 2:15

Let’s take the next step in our discovery of Spiritual Warfare and how it affects the believer in today’s world. 

THE WAR…

I cannot stress enough that this is no ordinary war.  It is a battle of invisible antagonist not a battle between flesh and blood.  Therefore, man’s methods will not work.  The devil never gets excited about human methods because he knows they are not a threat to his kingdom.

The War is real.  It may be invisible, but it is very real.  Until we step into the spiritual realm, we cannot see nor sense the immensity of this war and the powers involved.  I have discovered that in what are deemed ‘Cultured Lands’ few people recognize the existence of the devil and his hordes.  They never truly realize that a War is raging in the spiritual realm.  However, in those lands deemed ‘Heathen’, they are very aware of the existence of the devil and his demons. They are very cognizant of the War.  They may be terribly wrong in their interpretation and understanding but they know it is transpiring.

One of the first requirements for us to be effective in this warfare is to acknowledge that there is a War and then seek to discover our weapons, position, condition, and authority. I hesitate to bring this into the discussion but believe it is germane and will refer to an article published years ago about an event that transpired in 1986.  It was concerning “The New Age Movement.”  I realize that for many, that is ancient history, but bear with me, please.

I am convinced that a very large segment of the Body of Christ is totally ignorant of what is happening in the realm of darkness.  I place much of the blame for that at the feet of pastors (I was one for decades).  Pastors are charged with teaching, equipping, training, and warning their flocks of dangers.  Too much emphasis as been on feeling good about ourselves and not enough focus has been on the destructiveness of the powers of darkness.  We have sought to ‘grow our churches’ numerically rather than ‘empower’ them spiritually.

On December 21, 1986, the “New Agers” organized a group of 50,000,000 in a major effort to effect, a shift in the way humanity views reality.  They announced this would usher in the “New Age” or the “Age of Aquarius” and free the world from the influence of Christianity.  Their effort was not done in the shadows but openly and well-publicized.  John Randolph Price, Barbara Marx, and a host of other New Age leaders openly publicized the World of Instant Cooperation and few took note.

What is the World of Instant Cooperation?  This was designed to create a unified field of consciousness toward world unity or synergy.  It was hailed by its sponsors as a “planetary Pentecost”.  Interesting wording because of the biblical Pentecost it is countering.  They claimed this would restore man to ‘godhood.’  They chanted that this would result in the healing of the goddess earth.  This is the belief of those who practice Wicca (witchcraft).  The result, they claimed would be a new One World, New Age Religion born.

According to numerous New Age authors and proponents, the view and objective was that anyone who failed to cooperate would need to be eliminated.  One of their authors expressed the belief that would result in the elimination of about one-half of the world’s population. 

I ask you to get the picture in your mind of 50 million occultists, new agers, and mystics entering a state of hypnotic meditative prayer simultaneously.  But as bazaar and unthinkable as that might seem, we have information that there were likely as many as 150 million who joined in.  The ensuring difficulties and turmoil since the end of 1986 can be directly attributed to this event and subsequent events by the followers of darkness.  There is a War going on and it is imperative that we realize it and learn how to fight the good fight of faith. 

One of the organizers of the 1986 event declared that the only thing they feared was a counter-force from Christians who were empowered with the Word and Spirit of God. They followed that December event with an August one with the declared objective to achieve “Harmonic Convergence” and “Planetary Surrender.”

The War is real, and this is not the only prong of the devil’s attack but is one that transpired over 30 years ago and cannot be ignored.  The devil is serious, and the Body of Christ must be as well.  We have authority over all the powers of darkness, and it is time that we enforce the Victory of Jesus.  I caution you to remember that earthly battles fought in the energy of the flesh have no hope of victory, no victors and no spoils of war.  But, if we fight this War with God’s spiritual weapons, WE WIN!

God bless you as you enjoy this day in Him!

THE SEVEN (W’s) OF SPIRITUAL WARFARE – – Part 2


Ephesians 6:12-13 – “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” NASB

Colossians 2:15 – “When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.”  NASB

We must never lose sight of the reality that a War is going on in the heavenlies.  It is disturbing that some Christians never truly become aware of that reality.  Others suspect a War is going on but cannot decide with the side, they are on.  What I mean is they seek to get by without committing to God and seek to enjoy the best of both worlds.  Others have discovered that a War is going on, know whose side they are on, but are not confident of the outcome.  They live in fear, often dejected, discouraged, and defeated.  Finally, some know a War is going on, are certain of the outcome, because they know – “Christ has already won the victory!”

I feel compelled to remind everyone that no sooner did the Holy Spirit come upon Jesus that He led our LORD into the wilderness for a personal encounter with the devil.  Jesus did all He did as an example for us.  The devil never came out better than second-best in his encounters with Jesus and should not with us. 

The Casual or Carnal Christian (if there is such a creature) has been so invested in the world that he/she has no eyes for another world only this one.  But, when the quickening of the Holy Spirit comes, the spiritual eyes begin to open, and we see the battle lines drawn in the heavenly places and recognizes the desire of the devil.  God wants His people to awaken from their slumber and awaken to the reality of this War.  I am convinced that until we realize the realness of the devil and the power, he possesses we will not grasp the importance or urgency for us in this struggle.  We open ourselves to deception and defeat.

In Ephesians 1:18-21 we see a powerful truth. 

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.”

I want us to begin looking at the War but do not want to venture too far and have to leave the matter dangling too much.  Therefore, I will pause here and pick this up in the next devotional as we begin looking at the First W of Spiritual Warfare – The War.

 God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Jesus!

GRACE GIVING – Part 3


2 Corinthians 8

In contrasting the attitudes and involvement in Giving to the poor Paul was pointing out to the Corinthian believers that the Macedonian’s were following the example of Jesus.  That meant, that the Corinthians were not.  That brought to the table the confession and declaration of Love for God and Paul asked them to demonstrate that love tangibly in Giving and fulfilling their commitment and promise.  Grace Giving is an Evidence of Love.  It shows our love for, the Lord, His servants, and those in need.  It is an expression of the heart and character of Jesus! 

The giving of the Macedonian believers was sacrificial.  (v.9).  In that way, they were ‘rich’, but Rich in Jesus not in the natural.  Jesus, the eternal Son of God, the Savior is rich in His person, possessions because He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  He owns it all.  However, the Bible reveals that in spite of that position and condition, He “became” poor that we might be made rich!

I want to call your attention to the tense of the verb because it indicates that it is in His Incarnation, His birth at Bethlehem is what is being referred to. Jesus united Himself to mankind and took upon Himself a human body.  He left the Throne to become a servant.  He laid aside all His possessions so that He did not even have a place to lay His head.  His ultimate experience of poverty was when He was made sin for us on the Cross.  Hell is Eternal Spiritual Poverty, and on the Cross, Jesus became the poorest of the poor. 

Why did Jesus do that?  He did it so that we could become rich.  That suggests that before we came to Him, we were bankrupt.  But now, we share in all His riches.  We are now the Children of God and Heirs of God, Joint heirs with Jesus. (Romans 8:17).  With that in mind, how can we refuse to give to others?  He became poor to make us rich.  Can we not follow His example, as did the Macedonian churches, who out of their deep poverty abounded in liberality? 

  • Grace Giving Occurs When We Give Willingly.  (vv.10-22).

There is a difference between Promise and Performance.  The Corinthians boasted to Titus a year earlier, that they would share in the offering.  (v.6).  But they had not kept their promise.  In verses 10-12 we see the word “willingness” and that is the emphasis.  Grace Giving must come from the heart.

In my personal experience in Christian ministry, I have encountered many offering appeals.  I have listened to some of the most pathetic tales about unbelievable needs.  I have forced myself to laugh at old jokes which were supposed to make it easier for me to part with my money.  I have been scolded, shamed, and almost threatened if I did not give.  I have to confess that none of those approaches stirred me to give more than I had planned.  In fact, more than once, I gave less because I became disgusted with the worldly approaches employed.

It is needful that we be careful not to confuse ‘willing’ with ‘doing,’ because the two must go together.  If the ‘willing’ is sincere in doing the Will of God, there will be a corresponding ‘doing.’  Paul did not say that being ‘willing’ was a substitute for ‘doing.’  Quite the contrary. If our Giving is motivated by Grace, we will give willingly and not because we are forced to or expected to.

I want us to consider something that is often missed.  God see the ‘Heart Gift’ and not just the ‘Hand Gift.’  If the heart wanted to give more but was truly unable, God sees it and records it accordingly.  Whereas, if the hand gives more than the heart wants to give, God sees it and records it accordingly. Therefore, no matter how large the ‘Hand Gift’ is God records only what was in our hearts. 

Let me give this illustration and hopefully, it will resonate.  I heard of a man who was leaving on a business trip and his wife reminded him, before Church, that they needed some ‘extra money’ for household expenses.  Just before the offering, he slipped some money into her hand and she, thinking it was their weekly offering for the church, put it all in the offering plate.  It was the expense money for the week.

The man said, “Oh, well, we gave it all to the LORD and He keeps records.”  The pastor asked, “How much did you intend to give?”  The man gave him a number and the pastor said, “then that’s what God recorded because He saw the intent of the heart.”  God sees not just the portion but the proportion.  If we could have given more but did not, God sees it.  If we wanted to give more but could not, God sees it.  When we give “willingly”, according to what we have we are practicing Grace Giving.

  • Grace Giving Occurs When We Give by Faith.  (vv.13-24).

Grace Giving is an incredibly exciting adventure.  When we learn to give by Grace through Faith, we will experience some incredible blessings from the LORD.  We experience a liberation that can come in no other manner.  It frees us from being under the control of our possessions to controlling them.  We develop a new set of values and priorities.

We no longer measure our lives or other people based on money or possessions.  If money is the best test of success, then Jesus was an abject failure, because He gave all His away.  Grace Giving enriches us as we enrich others.  Grace giving enables us to be more like Jesus. 

The ultimate question becomes, “Have We Discovered the Thrill of Grace Giving?

God bless you on your new journey in Jesus and Grace.

GRACE GIVING – Part 2…


2 Corinthians 8

In considering the Grace of Giving or Grace Giving there is a key worthy of consideration.  When one experiences the Grace of God in their lives, they will not use difficult circumstances as an excuse for not giving.  The question is, “Are circumstances ever an encouragement to give?”  Maybe, but probably not as much as we would contend.

We need to keep in focus that God is God no matter what we face, and His program is not dependent upon the economy of the world or circumstances.  He is still in control and He still owns it all.

  • Grace Giving Occurs When We Give Enthusiastically.  (vv.3-4).

Let me pose an interesting question for you to consider.  “Is It Possible to Give Generously and Not Give Enthusiastically?”

I remember the story of a miserly member of a congregation who said, “The preacher tells us to give until it hurts, but for me, it hurts to think of giving.”  Another said in response to the pastor’s urging that it was better to give than receive, “If giving is better than getting, I don’t think I could stand it.  I enjoy getting so much.”  Attitude is a key factor.

The Macedonian Church needed no prompting or reminding, they were ‘more than willing’ to share in the offering.  Paul makes an astounding statement in verse 4 that they literally ‘begged’ to be allowed to participate.  That is incredible!  Their giving was voluntary and spontaneous.  It was of Grace not Pressure that they gave.  They gave because they wanted to and because they had experienced the Grace of God in their lives. 

Grace not only frees us from sin but frees us from ourselves.  The Grace of God will open the heart and then the hand.  Giving from a perspective of Grace is never cold and calculated but out of warmhearted jubilation. 

  • Grace Giving Occurs When We Give as Jesus Gave.  (vv.5-9).

The Bible makes it incredibly clear that Jesus is ‘always’ our preeminent example to follow in all things.  That includes service, suffering, and sacrifice. 

The Macedonians gave themselves to others as Jesus did. (v.5).  If we give ourselves to God, we will have no problem giving our substance to Him as well.  Likewise, if we give ourselves to God, we will also find joy in giving ourselves to others.  It is impossible to Love God and ignore the needs of our neighbor. 

The Macedonians gave through the motivation of Love.  (vv. 7-8).  That was a rebuke to the Church at Corinth.  The Church at Corinth was incredibly enriched with spiritual blessings and gifts. (1 Corinthians 1:4-5).  They had become so wrapped up in the Gifts of the Spirit they neglected the Grace of the Spirit.  Balance is vital and must be sought and maintained if we are to be healthy Christians.

The Macedonian Churches had an “abundance of deep poverty” (v.2), and yet they abounded in their liberality.  The Corinthian Church had an “abundance of spiritual gifts,” yet were lax in keeping their promise and sharing in the offering for the needy.  That is incredible!

I insist that we must never adopt the view or argument that our spiritual gifts are a substitute for generous giving.  Our gifts are just that, Gifts.  If we remember that truth it will help us and motivate us to give to others and not hide behind our ministry.  Paul made it incredibly clear to the Corinthian believers that he was not ordering them to give but appealing to them.  His contrasting of the attitude of the Macedonians to the Corinthians was to motivate, not coerce. 

We will look a little deeper in another devotional but will pause here.

God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful Day of Grace in Jesus!

GRACE GIVING…


2 Corinthians 8

When we consider the 8th chapter of 2 Corinthians it is well to remember that one of the major efforts of Paul’s third missionary journey was to receive a Special Relief Offering for the poor Christians in Judea.  He had done that before as we see in Acts 11 and now the Holy Spirit is tugging at his heart to do so again.  I find it interesting that Paul would remember the forgotten beatitude, “It is more blessed to give than receive.” (Acts 20:35).

I believe that this extended far beyond materially assisting the poor in Judea and there were at least three additional desires in his heart.  He wanted this offering to strengthen the unity of the Church encouraging the Gentile congregations to participate along with the Jewish congregations.  He wanted this to provide evidence to the Jewish Christians that neither he nor the Gentile Christians were their enemies.  He hoped that the generosity of the Gentile believers would silence the jealousy of the Jewish believers.

That brings us to a problem and not a small one.  The Corinthians were not doing their part.  They had made promises but had failed to keep them.  In verse 10 we realize that an entire year had passed, and the offering was not complete.  What caused the delay?  It was the spiritual condition of the Church in Corinth.  Their spiritual temperature was at a dangerously low level.

I have observed in my fifty plus years of ministry that when a Church is not spiritual it is not generous.  I have also observed the same is true with individual believers.  But another cause was the Church in Corinth had been invaded by Judaizers, who typically siphoned off as much money as they could. 

Paul faced a problem.  He knew it was going to be difficult to convince the Corinthian Church to participate because of their spiritual condition.  Therefore, he elevates his appeal to the highest possible spiritual level.  He teaches a truth that is too frequently forgotten, ignored, or not understood that Giving is an Act of Grace!

A careful examination of the teachings of Paul was that he used nine different words to refer to this offering, but one was used most frequently and that was Grace.  I believe that the Bible teaches that Giving is a ministry of grace and fellowship. (v.4).  It is a ministry that benefits others.  However, the motivation must come from the Grace of God in the heart.  I have experienced Grace Giving personally and congregational and it is a wonderful experience.  When believers truly embrace the reality that it is better to give than receive something powerful transpires.

That brings me to a question that is germane for our discussion.  “How Can We Know When We Are Practicing Grace Giving?”  The apostle Paul gives several pieces of evidence that occur when our giving is motivated by Grace.  I ask that you join me in considering them.

  • Grace Giving Occurs When We Give in Spite of Our Circumstances. (vv.1-2).

The churches that Paul used as examples were in Macedonia and they had experienced incredibly dire and severe difficulties but had given generously.

Consider the situation.  Paul says that the plight of those believers was more than facing affliction or difficulty.  He says that they had experienced a “great trial of affliction”.  They were in deep poverty, which means rock bottom destitution.  It is a term used to describe a beggar who has absolutely nothing and no hope of getting anything. 

Their situation may have been brought about by their Christian faith.  They may have lost their jobs, been excluded from trade guilds, and ostracized because of their faith.  The fact that they would have nothing to do with idols and idol-making could have and often was economically as well as socially, politically, and psychologically difficult.  Yet, they gave and gave according to their means and above their means.  They gave joyfully and liberally.  Imagine that, great affliction and deep poverty plus Grace equaled abundant joy and astounding liberality. 

There is a level of condition of Grace that enables a believer to fully trust God for everything and embrace His word and promises completely.  I want to delve a little deeper into this in the next devotional.

God bless you as you enjoy His wonderful Grace in all you do.