Whom God Choses – Part 3b – Blessing, the Art of Giving


“But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. (Mat 6:1-4)

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BLESS?

Blessing means to give what we have to one who does not. Blessing is counterintuitive. We bless the ones who do not deserve our blessing. We bless those who have no chance of repaying us. We bless in secret. We bless in a way that God gets the credit.

We are givers if we are His children. Giving your blessing is not necessarily done in a big way with fanfare. It is most often done in a way that no one but God notices. God, seeing your obedience, rewards you. We do not bless so that we can be praised by men.

CAVEAT LECTOR:

When we bless, we obey God. When we do things God’s way, He provides all we need to be obedient. To not do things His way is a form of rebellion. He will not punish you for this, but He will not bless your rebellion, either. If you say you are a child of God, yet insist that your way and your fleshly power is all you need, then you are on your own. You have the fire insurance, but you do not have the power of the Living God working in you.

When you do things, even “religious and church” things on your own power, you are in rebellion to God. You invite every disaster that exists when you say you are a child of God but do not allow the Spirit of God to transform you and lead you to behave as Jesus did. The discipline of obedience is not accomplished by our will or our flesh. This is impossible. The discipline of obedience comes from submitting to what Christ accomplished on our behalf, and allowing the Spirit of God to work Christ’s character into our being. This is part of dying to self. We cannot claim to be His children and disobey Him. God does not wink at your rebellion, and give you a cookie in spite of your misbehavior. But there is nothing you can do in your own power to be like Christ. This comes only when we learn the mystery of resting in the completed work of Christ.

To bless is to give all we have been given

We have been given:

Grace, Love, Mercy, Son-ship, An eternal inheritance, The riches of the Kingdom of God, Peace, Healing, Provision, Forgiveness, Righteousness. These are ours forever, but not ours to hoard. Just as Jesus gave them to us, we are to give these to others.

Who Gives?

All who have received freely of God, give freely to mankind.

What do we give?

All we have received from God, give freely to mankind.

When do we give?

We give at all times. We give when the sun shines. We give when it rains. We give when we thirst and we give when we drown. We give.

Where do we give?

We give in the midst of all our circumstances.

Why do we give?

We give because God gave to us even when we were at enmity with him.

How do we give?

We give joyfully. We give sacrificially. We give when we are abased. We give when we abound. We give riotously. We give with reckless abandon.

 

Let’s be about it!

I love you

David G. Perkins

Sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

Whom God Chooses – Part 3a – “Through”


But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene–walk!”
(Act 3:1-8)

In Part One, we looked at how the heroes of faith got out of the way of God. God helped them get out of the way, so He could work through them.

In Part Two, we saw that the heroes of faith acted out of absolute assurance that they were in God’s plan.

In this part, Part Three, we will see that the Heroes of faith are absolutely willing to be a channel through whom God blesses others.

“… while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.” (Act 4:30)

The operative word here is “through”. The point made about getting out of the way of God and be willing to let go of your agenda and be confident that you are in His will is so that God can work HIS will through you. God does the work. He chooses to do His work through us. We do not bring our agenda to Him and hope he blesses it. One of the best summaries of this thought is given by the Chinese Evangelist, Watchman Nee. Nee was giving a series of messages at a special conference held in Shanghai from June 11 through June 18, 1940. In that series of messages, Nee talked about the question, “What is God’s Work?”

He said:

“In Philippians Paul says: “That I may lay hold on that for which I also was laid hold on by Christ Jesus.” The Lord Jesus has a special, specific purpose in laying hold on us – and that specific purpose is the thing we want to lay hold of. He has a purpose, and this purpose is that we might be co-workers with Him. Nonetheless it is still true that we cannot do God’s work, since it is absolutely and wholly His. But on the other hand, we ARE His coworkers. So that on the one hand we must recognize and acknowledge that we cannot touch with even one little finger the work of God, yet on the other hand we are called to be co-workers with Him! And this is that for which He has laid hold on us. The Lord has a definite purpose in salvation – and a clear and specific purpose in saving us – which is, that he might have us as His co-workers.”

“Now just who is a co-worker of God? Well, it is NOT one who wants to work for God, one who sees a need and wants to meet it; it is not even one who gets people saved; rather is it the one who does what God has appointed him to do in His eternal purpose, and ONLY that does he do. If we truly see that for which we have been laid hold on by Christ Jesus, all our labors, all our former works for Him will be smashed to pieces”

“The aim and object of God in everything is to reveal His Son, to manifest His Son, to “show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward is us in Christ Jesus.” This is His eternal purpose. Is this YOUR object in the work you are doing now? If it is any lower than this, then you are not a co-worker with God.” – (“God’s Work” by Watchman Nee, Christian Fellowship Publishers, Inc.)

Am I saying that you shouldn’t do good works? No, what I am saying is that our good works are led by God. God is doing them through us because we have gotten out of the way. Our works will reflect the will of God. We are the conduit through which God’s will is excised.

Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.
(John 5:19)

“I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
(John 5:30)

If the King of Heaven was subject to the will of God on earth, why do we think we can develop our own agenda and bring it to God and expect Him to bless it? We are called to be just like the Master.

The Apostle Paul reminded us to:

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” (Php 2:5-7)

 

Even this is not a work we humans can strive to accomplish. It is already accomplished in Christ Jesus. If we rest in the finished work of the cross, we are filled with the spirit of God. We are able and empowered to act and be what God has designed us to be.

God does all this in us, so that, when it is time, He can work through us. The aim and object of everything God does is to reveal His Son, to “show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

 

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

At our very best, we can imitate some of the works of God, but they, being driven by the flesh, are ineffective. There will be no works in Heaven that are not of Christ, and for Christ. All other efforts will be destroyed in the end.

 

“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ (Mat 7:22-23)

The difference is not what they did, but whom they obeyed when they did it. Any and all works, even if they were done in the name of Jesus, if they were not first conceived by God and flowing from Christ through you, then they are of no account.

When we bless others, it is because we see Christ doing this through us. When we do anything at all, it is because we are in the vine, who is Christ Jesus. We hear the voice of Jesus and know the will of the Him who sent us, and we obey.

God worked through Jesus. We are to let Jesus work through us. The work He will do through us will be to demonstrate what the message of the Cross is so that as many as will accept this free gift will be saved.

“Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

(John 14:11-13)

When we get out of the way, and understand we are part of the plan of God, and let God work the life of Jesus into us and through us, we will become a channel through whom God blesses others.

This is what it means to be chosen.

Stay tuned for part 3b.

Let’s be about it.

I love you,

David G. perkins

sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

Surprised by Giving


I heard a great message today by Michael Yousef.  http://www.leadingtheway.org/  “Surely Not Me … And Definitely Not Them

It is definitely worth a listen.  You can read my babbling later.

“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”  Heb 13:2

Grace is SufficientThe really nice thing that is coming out of my circumstances is, God is using my circumstances to pare me down to what I really believe, to seek that which I do not understand (About God), and to test the things I claim I believe.

One of the big tests and refining fires of God is to see if what I say I believe is: A. Godly (Is there a genuine Biblical basis for what I claim?), B. Not just in my head…”knowledge puffeth up.”  Does this belief actually live in my heart. Does it walk, or just talk? C. Where this knowledge is weak, that I get opportunities to apply it in the “real” world.  Nothing defines you better than your circumstances and opportunities those circumstances offer, to be like Jesus.  In my weakness to obey, God is my strength to be obedient.  That is when it lives in my heart.

I find the answers to:

Do I live the commands of Jesus Christ, to love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my mind, all my soul and my strength, and do I actually love my neighbor as much as I love myself?

Do I have the strength of character to take my eyes off my circumstances and look the Lord straight in the eyes?  Do I have the courage to live out my love and faith in the midst of my circumstances?

I read in the Bible:  “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”  Luke 6:38 KJV

Here is a conviction that is being driven into my soul.  That verse says that I am to give.  It is an active tense verse that calls for immediacy of action.  It begs a large question of me.  Am I ever ready, and ever-present in my observation of life that I am waiting for the opportunity to give?   If I give, am I being genuine in my love toward that person, or am I doing it out of “religious obligation”?  When I give, have I already begun adding to my ledger the anticipation of getting something in return?

Why do I give?

My prayer is that God use the Holy Spirit to make me into the very character and likeness (I know, that was redundant), of Jesus Christ.  He gave for two reasons:  1. Obedience, and 2. Love of God, and Love of Mankind.  His LOVE is what led to His obedience.  It was not a religious obligation, it was a genuine act of grace and love and mercy.  He gave what He was rich in.  He gave sacrificially.

Here is the big point God is trying to bore into my very thick skull.  Give out of love.  Give what you have.  Jesus Himself did not have a home.  He lived off the kindness of strangers, sinners, and the disciples.  But what He did have, he gave even unto death.

Now comes the hard part.  Being unemployed means not having the goodies I had when I was employed.  And there may come a day soon, that I will be homeless.  My Debtors are calling daily, some are suing, and, even though I have over 100 applications out there, I am getting crickets.

Here is WHY I am sharing this intimate detail with you:  Those are my circumstances.  I can tell you exactly what I would have done in my Pre-Christian life.  I would have panicked, paced the floor, gotten angry and taken it out on my loved ones, and generally would have made an ass of myself.

What God is teaching me in these circumstances is that, He is able to carry me, and continue to change my character into the character of Christ.

So now comes the test.

Do I get so involved in how unlucky I am, how I am a loser because I am unemployed, because I cannot even buy my family the very basics of life?  Am I so wrapped up in my apparently overwhelming circumstances that I forget that I am being made into the image of Christ?

This morning, while the Spirit of God was showing me these things, He asked me, am I willing to give as Christ gave?  Of course, in my best legalistic, and Hyper-Calvinist voice, I reminded the Spirit, I have NOTHING!  What can I give?  I have to beg for just the basics of life!

It was then he reminded me that I belong to God.  I belong because of the Salvation that I have accepted in Jesus Christ.  God is teaching me, through my circumstances, that I can give to others even though I have “nothing”. What I do have is a lot of time and my body.

I have a heart that God has healed.  I have a mind and heart for the downtrodden, that I never knew existed.  I have eyes that can see the differences between a taker and a person in genuine need.  When I see opportunities, do I respond with the Love of Christ, or do I keep my head down, my eyes averted, and focus on my own problems.  Are MY circumstances more important that the Love of God?

Am I afraid to trust God that, when I approach a stranger, my giving will be a blessing from God?, That HE will be my courage, and my blessing? That it is HIs desire that I be just like His Son? Do I trust God that He will empower me and make me able?

Jesus becomes manifest in our lives when we obey Him, out of Love, and desire to be like Him.  It is not a duty.  It is not a forced obligation.  It is an external expression of the Love of Christ being revealed in my heart.  It becomes a gift from Christ when I give it to a person who happens to need a smile, a kind word, or a blessing.

My sins were very many.  Do I love others with the same gratitude and joy that I love God for my forgiveness?

I have hands:  I can open a door with a smile and a “God Bless You”.  I can carry a package for someone, while I show love to that someone.

I have a heart:  The Spirit of God will reveal to me the ones He wants me to touch, and when I am in doubt, I will touch anyway.  Love and Grace and Mercy are more fresh and delightful when given with reckless abandon.  It doesn’t mean you are stupid for going where no one else will go.  It means you trust God to carry you because you are giving away the love God has shown you.

I have feet:  I can walk however far it takes to help someone.

I have the Love of Christ:  He said He has not come into the world to judge the world, but to save it.  Do I look on the helpless, the needy, the lost, the ones who are lost in their circumstances, just to judge them unfit for my love, my mercy, my grace, my gift?  Or do I see an opportunity to share the Joy, love, mercy, and grace God has shown me?

“Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”  Luke 7:47 NKJV  The words of Jesus

Is my heart so hardened by my circumstances, or my “Religious Wisdom”,  that I cannot see that it is my arrogance God is trying to cure?  My sense of self-righteousness is broken on the rocks of those in need.  My heart is being molded into the Character of Christ when I step out of my circumstances and learn to give, even out of my need.

“Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil.”  Luke 7:44-46 NKJV  – The Words of Jesus

Am I really willing to do for others what I say I am willing to do for Jesus?

I can push a shopping cart that an elderly person is struggling with.  I can put a shopping cart away for a soccer mom who is harried by her circumstances.  I don’t know what God is doing in her life, but maybe, just maybe, my act of kindness will be that one act that God uses to help her turn a corner.

We do not know what we are doing when we are urged to show kindness to a stranger.  That stranger may be at a breaking point that my kindness will heal.  This is a gift from God, and not of my own doing.  A smile is medicine.  A hug is security to someone so lost in their circumstances that they believe they are alone.  Giving will soften a hard heart, both mine and theirs.  Love has turned my cynicism into a willingness to believe that Jesus’ love will be translated to another person when I demonstrate it.

Am I willing to give love to the unlovely?  Am I willing to give my time for someone I cannot even stand being around?  It is easy for me to help people I love, or even like.  It takes Christ in me to help me to love my enemies, pray for those who spitefully use me.  It takes the courage only Love of Christ in you generates to kneel down and give water to someone who may be out to ruin you.  Doing this in love is a blessing to them, and will soften their heart.  Given for any other reason is poison.

My friend from England, an Engineer, used to tell me that I am such a jack-ass that I kick the door down, shoot everyone in the room, THEN try to determine who the bad guy is.  He was right.  Now, can God turn that behavior into someone who is willing to open the door, and give to everyone in the room, despite who is worthy of the gift?  Yes.  He can, He does and He will.

Do I wait for the Big moments.  Do I want to be Moses, and be known as the friend of God?  Do I want the lime light?  Do I want the return on the gift instead of being willing to give out of my need?

I know myself well enough to know that I am always looking for the big moments.  God will fill me with His love, grace and mercy, but my understanding of its significance is revealed in my behavior.  Is there enough evidence to convict me of being like Jesus?

I praise God that I lost my job, if learning these things is what it takes to make me aware of the power and love of God.

My Prayer:  My Heavenly Father. I praise your name.  I glory in your mercy and grace.  I pray, Lord, that you take all of us “Religious Bigots” and turn us into the very image of Christ.  This especially applies to me.  I am grateful you are turning my lip service into a real walk.  I confess that I only had a head knowledge of you, before these circumstances.  I glory that you love me enough to discipline me.  I am grateful that, instead of casting me aside as completely lost, you sought me out to redeem me.

Glory to God.  I praise your name.  You are the helper of the hopeless, and the defender of the weak.  You are my Lord.   Jesus is my Savior and my Lord.  Thank you for turning my heart of stone into a heart that loves.  Keep me constantly in your eyes, and deliver me from my own foolishness.

I pray because I am bought with the price of Jesus’ blood, and am redeemed by His sacrifice.

Amen

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”  I Cor 6: 19 – 20

Jesus did not come into the world to make bad people good.  He came here to make dead people live.

Let’s be about it!

I love you,

David G. Perkins

sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

How Do I Say Thank-You?


For all the friends who prayed for Sandy and I. Thank you. Early this AM, we were scheduled for cut off. By time Sandy picked me up from where I was all night, our electrical balance was zero. Prayer definitely changes things.

In my hyper-Calvinist view point, I saw prayer in this regard as a practical thing to tame the fearful heart, and calm an intemperate mind. I felt that, after prayer, I had to “Gird my loins” and do whatever form of soul selling I needed to do to get this bill paid.

By the grace of God, Sandy and I saw your prayers being answered. Strangers we only met yesterday intervened and worked things out with the utility company. Our debt is mostly gone, and what is left over will be distributed over a two month period as an addendum to the bill.

I am telling you these personal details for the following reasons:

1. I asked for your prayers. I have learned to be accountable in all things, great and small, through this, so I wanted to tell you, your prayers released a Grace on my family.

2. Like I said, I come from a Hyper-Calvinist world. We are an arrogant lot, knowing the scriptures well, but not understanding them where it applies to practical and real faith. The Mustard seed kind. God is changing my heart daily, and my faith in the more “Mysterious” aspects of prayer and faith needed this lesson. Consider it “Boot camp” for the soul.

3. I have been unemployed since April. That means NO income. But God has demonstrated His grace, mostly in the miraculous, and sometimes through people who give out of their own need. And sometimes through strangers.

4. Lessons Learned: Arrogance has no place with God, neither does pride. If I have been anything over these last 30 years, I have been very prideful and arrogant. I needed this. Really trusting God is defined in moments like these. It preaches real good when all your stuff is lined up, and things aren’t very desperate. But I have an understanding of a kind of Grace I never knew existed. This is, afterall, why, 2 years ago, I began to return to God. I needed to see that He loves even the most fallen and wayward child.

5. Intercession works. And it is one of our first responsibilities as Christians. Instead of clucking my tongue at people who are fallen or having a very difficult life, I have to understand that I am not God, and have no right to judge them. I have to understand that they may be crossing my path for a reason. The same reason God stood back to see what Hezekiah would do. This is why intersession needs to come before rash behavior. When I intercede for someone, I get a clear picture from God, via the Holy Spirit, how to address what I have seen.

6. This makes me excited to see what God will do next over our House, and other bills. I hate what my family is going through due to my unemployment, but I love what God is building through this experience.

Thank you. I pray God’s blessings for all of you a thousand times over.

And ten-thousand blessings for that person who we never knew before.

In Jesus’ Name. I love you.

Let’s Be About It!

David G. Perkins

sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com