From the Pastor’s heart                                   Giving & receiving money

Giving

It was a business deal that was about to go sour. I had no idea I was being set up by the devil to take a fall in my business and be destroyed. I had just received this big order and had come to India to fulfil it. I was at the manufacturer’s place talking to him about the deal when he asked me to give him Rs 1 (A$ 0.25cents). As I began to hand it over to him, he asked me to give it directly to a god man who was also standing there. A god man is a self appointed Hindu priest who moves in witchcraft and deceiving power. I hesitated but was caught between a rock and a hard place and so I gave the Hindu priest the money. The manufacturer explained that it was to sweeten the deal between him and the priest because he was buying the land next door to build a Hindu temple. Everything that could go wrong with my order after that went wrong and I nearly ended up bankrupt. The whole process of my misery took 4 months. This included facing bankruptcy, spending more money than I could afford, looking like I have to move out of my rental, becoming a laughing stock among my buyers and having no hope of a future. This misery went on till I repented and heard from God about what to do. When I did what God asked me to do, I was set free and I was able to recover all my expenditure and profit and came out of the whole deal better than when I went into it. The object lesson here was to learn how to give and receive money.                    Act 5:1  But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, Act 5:2And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet. Act 5:3But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Act 5:4Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. Act 5:5And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. Act 5:6And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. Act 5:7And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. Act 5:8And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. Act 5:9Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. Act 5:10Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband. Act 5:11And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.

The Bible speaks of giving and receiving money at great length. The love of money is described as being the root of all evil. This is a very strong all encompassing statement. Yet, I have come to know that money by itself without love attached to it has such power over men, that one can make many mistakes when using it. I find that many people do not know what money is about and how it can change a person in an instant. So, the question must be asked; is it the physical form of money that is in question or the concept attached to it? The reason I ask this question is; money can also be a system like the stock exchange and other forms of money in gold and oil. So it seems, that the system (without the physical monetary note) has a strong hold on human reasoning as much as physical money. Physical money too has its fair share of hold on people and that is why hoarding it or having it in a bank account brings much security in the minds of people.

Gain, profit and greed is in the mind first before it comes into the hands.

God talks at length about the good and the bad of money and uses it to teach us lessons of relationship with Himself based on money. As we can see from the passage above, when money was delivered with bad intentions of breaking covenant with God, people died. In that example, God has given us a warning on how we must behave with Him regarding offering money. Was it the love of money that killed them or was it bad reasoning? It seems to me that it was bad reasoning that caused them to sin because Peter said; Act 5:4Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? Furthermore, we also see that the evil one influenced them to give in a manner that broke covenant. When we make covenant with God on anything, we must honour that promise we make to him irrespective of how much we may reason the sense of our promise after making it. Keeping covenant is a principle with God and cannot be altered. When Hannah (Samuel’s mother) made a covenant with God based on a desire to bear a child, she honoured the covenant and returned the child to God. I am sure that would not have been easy. My friends, please understand that we are dealing with God, not some business person, where we can chop and change as we please or as circumstances in life dictate. The world of money has no respect and men are easily corrupted by it or controlled by the fear of having much money, no money or less money. The striving we see in life by men who do not submit to God is always about power, status and money. These three go hand in hand. When we become of no reputation and humble ourselves in the hands of the Almighty God, He becomes our source. Then, we are given knowledge on how to make wealth, conquer it, rule over it and make it serve us. I encourage you to have principles when it comes to handling money in the giving and receiving of money. Many good intentions and personal reasoning about money has ended up in disaster. People have made bad decisions, investments and lent money only to find that it has slipped out of their hands forever. It has ruined them and they have ended up divorced, on the streets, living in despair and constantly trying to make it, even to the extent that they rob, cheat or lie about it .

On the other hand good Christians have given money for various causes only to be deeply disappointed by the outcome. When it comes to dealing with God regarding money, we must understand how it works with God. Deu_23:18Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God. This is an interesting statement as it covers more than prostitution. It covers anything that is done on the basis of deceit. Money earned by robbing, selling your body or things that are of an idolatrous nature will not be accepted by God. In India, many people go to temples and give millions in order to gain favour. The money is mostly got out of ill gain and wages that have been held back by them. That is basically a whore’s gain. Prostitution is selling anything deceitfully. One cannot buy God with money. Simon the Sorcerer tried that and was cursed for his efforts. Then on the other hand, we see the acceptance of a gift from a sinner by Jesus. Luk 7:37And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, Luk 7:38And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Luk 7:39  Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. We see how Jesus accepts the hearts of people, by accepting what is given in the fear of the Lord and humility even though it is from the hands of a sinner. That is because sanctification takes place through repentance. Repentance is the answer to many of our ills and woes in life and is a very powerful way out for us when we act without knowledge before God. Luk 7:47Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. Luk 7:48And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.  Luk 7:50And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

In the case of the poor woman at the temple who gave a small amount which was all that she had; was compared by Jesus to others as being more blessed by God than others. One man who was rich and never gave the beggar at his gate the blessings he himself enjoyed in abundance ended up in hell and the beggar in heaven. One testimony of a man who came back from heaven and had stopped in front of hell, saw a Pastor in hell because he had stolen money from the tithes and had never put it back or repented of his deeds. The devil seeks to steal, kill and destroy. He does this against us by using, money and the fear or love of money against us. People feel a great sense of loss when money is stolen from them, when promised money never comes or money lent is never returned. The list goes on. The maladies of money are usually devil contrived in our lives. What we do not know about giving money must be learnt. It is the key to our success as Christians in more ways than just the gains of money. It is the ability to walk in manner that pleases the heart of God that in turn blesses us in every area of our lives.

Receiving

Receiving money is as important as giving. When God gives, He gives in many ways. We all would love to receive in the pressed down shaken together and overflowing way He does things. However, God also gives us our daily bread on a daily basis and also gives us enough to keep us going with some left over. The many ways God gives money is also based on how we give Him money. This is exemplified in our tithes, offerings, giving of alms and special offerings. When we bless God and His people, God returns back to us in ways unimaginable. I can tell you stories of receiving that covered a eighteen year period that kept me going as a Minister of God when I travelled the world living out of a suitcase, without a salary or support. There was not a day that my needs were not met and often times the abundance overtook me. One day I would be in high places and the next day in low places but I never lacked anything. Php_4:12I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. What I did learn about the secret of receiving was, having the right attitude and never depending on man or being ungrateful for what I received at their hands and walking by faith. At certain times my giving increased over an above my discipline of tithes, alms, offerings and special offerings. When this happened, it fell into the category of listening to the Holy Spirit on giving. The returns were more than I could carry or was imaginable in my situation. It abounded to God’s glory and to my benefit.

Receiving is as much a major part of money as giving is. Many do not know how to receive and so lose out, just as when they do not give. I encourage you to learn both sides of money (giving & receiving) and be content with what God has given you. The abundant life follows the ability to handle small beginnings and then it expands and enlarges even as God sees your humility in handling money and your understanding through faith to access the Source who is God. It is one of the tests of God to see if His child is going to obey His commands. Just remember, ‘man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God’. This is the power of living not money. Money does not make the world go round, God does.

Lots of love                             

Pastor Noble