There are any number of attitudes in the Christian community when it comes to Receiving From The Lord in the area of finances. Over the years I’ve heard various comments from missionaries, pastors, evangelists, lay workers – just about anyone who has put themselves in a position where they are needing financial provision. Some attitudes and comments include where God guides He provides and It’s up to God to supply the need and all we need to do is pray and I’m “calling in” finances. These are not wrong, per se, but there is more to Receiving From the Lord than platitudes and a positive confession. Principles are involved, and this message describes eight important principles to Receiving From the Lord.
God will provide where He guides, God has resources, but God chiefly uses people as His vehicle to provide, and when people are involved free-will is involved. God moves on people according to what moves Him first, and then He moves on people who do the giving. Understand the principles of the kingdom of Heaven is important to Receiving From the Lord.
In my work as an engineer I follow numerous scientific, mathematical, and physical laws and principles. Here are some I and other fellow engineers, scientists, and mathematicians abide by:
- Ohms Law: Voltage = Current * Resistance
- Ideal Gas Law: (p1V1)/T1 = (p1V1)/T1 where p = pressure, V = volume, T = absolute temperature
- First Law of Thermodynamics: The change in internal energy of a system is the sum of the heat transferred to or from the system and the work done on or by the system (energy is conserved).
- Refraction Law: For a wavefront travelling through a boundary between two media, the first with a refractive index of n1, and the other with one of n2, the angle of incidence theta is related to the angle of refraction phi by n1 sin theta = n2 sin phi.
- Equation of Continuity: m1A1V1 = m2A2V2 where A = cross sectional area and V = velocity. Fluid flowing through a pipe flows at a rate which is inversely proportional to the cross-sectional area of the pipe. That is, if the pipe constricts, the fluid flows faster; if it widens, the fluid flows slower.
- Law of Sines: In trigonometry, a/Sin A = b/Sin B = c/Sin C where a, b, c is the length of a triangle leg opposite angle A, B, C. The ratio of a side of a plane triangle to the sine of the opposite angle is the same for all three sides.
If I don’t abide by these laws and principles, or if I willfully or ignorantly disregard them, then I won’t get the results I’m looking for in the physical world, no matter how sincere or dedicated I am. So too in the kingdom of God, if we understand the principles of the kingdom of Heaven, and properly apply the principles, then we can expect to Receive From The Lord. Principles work. Laws work. They work in the physical world and they work in the spiritual world. The following are, in no particular order of importance, principles that can help us Receive From the Lord.
1. The Principle of Principles
- Sowing and reaping – Galatians 6:7-8 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
- First the natural, then the spiritual – 1 Corinthians 15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
- Building – 1 Corinthians 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
There are indeed principles in the kingdom of heaven that can be used to our benefit or they can clobber us over the head. No one is surprised when an Olympic diver jumps off the platform and heads straight down to the water – we’re used to the law of gravity operating. We can use it to our advantage or disadvantage. So too Biblical laws and principles can be used to our advantage or disadvantage. For example, if a farmer sows corn seeds, when the crop springs up it will be corn. And at harvest time the farmer can expect corn on the cob. He sowed (planted) it, and he reaped (harvested) it. If we sow good things, we reap good things, if we sow evil, we reap evil. This should not be hard to understand. If we sow nothing, then we reap nothing. If we sit on the couch during the planting season but want to later harvest corn, we’ll go hungry; if we want to Receive From the Lord and just sit on the couch during the time to be working, we won’t Receive From the Lord because we haven’t sown or implemented anything to receive! If we follow Biblical principles, we can expect to Receive From The Lord either the good or the not so good, depending on what we have sown!
Another principle in the Bible is one of the natural world (what we see) reflecting the spiritual world (what we don’t see). Laziness, apathy, unfaithfulness, envy, and so forth in the natural lead to unemployment, lack, penury, broken relationships, and frustration, and in the spiritual it leads to poverty of soul, discontentment, purposelessness, and eventual spiritual death. Somehow in the precious reality that salvation is a free gift from God the Christian has gone into hibernation when it comes to work, effort, perseverance, study, and sacrifice and simply sits back on the couch and wait’s for God to freely pour out upon them an abundance in every area. Every physical and natural law we know has been studied, analyzed, worked, evaluated, proven, and published. Then it has been put into practice. This is how it is to be in the kingdom of Heaven beloved. You have to study the scriptures, apply yourself, prove out these promises and principles, and get busy and get focused and yes, work! First the natural, then the spiritual. You are born in the natural, after that you can be born-again, born of the Spirit. You first learn principles in the natural, and these natural principles we learn are a reflection of spiritual principles. To ignore natural or spiritual principles is to invite disappointment, confusion, and perhaps even disaster.
A third principle is one of building. We can build or we can tear down, but building first requires a good foundation, a plan, and then steady effort over a long time to build a career, a family, a ministry. There are no “instant” careers, no “microwave ready” families, and no “poof” ministries. All take time to build, and the more solid the building, the more likely we will Receive From The Lord. Consider this “paying your dues” when you invest in learning materials (school, CDs, seminars, books, training). I know craftsmen – welders, machinists, pipe fitters, carpenters, masons – all of their skills came through effort and application and took time to accomplish. Building takes time, building requires planning and diligence and cooperation. Famed American politician Sam Rayburn, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, said “it takes a carpenter to build a barn, but any jackass can tear it down.” Building takes time and effort, proper effort.
Let us now look into some direct principles whose diligent understanding and proper application will allow us to be in a position to Receive From the Lord.
2. The Principle of Giving
- Giving to the poor – Proverbs 19:17 He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again. 1 John 3:16‑18 Hereby know we the love of God, because He (Jesus) laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whosoever has this world’s good, and sees his brother have need, and shuts up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwells the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. Proverbs 28:27 He that gives unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hides his eyes shall have many a curse.
- Tithes and offerings – Malachi 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. 2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
- Cheerful giving – 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every man according as he purposes in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. Acts 20:35 I have showed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
- Proportionate giving – Luke 6:38 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. Proverbs 11:24 There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. 2 Corinthians 8:14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality.
The principle of giving is that if you are generous, you consider the poor, you honor God with regular tithes and offerings of your increase, and you do this consistently and with gladness, then God will overwhelm you with resources. He will rebuke destruction on your behalf. He will bless you in ways you couldn’t have predicted. He will make a way where there is no way. The flip side is that those that are stingy, withhold from God, take shortcuts, and ignore those that are in need, then when calamity comes they are laid bare and they take the brunt of it. If you are a giver, men will give unto you and it will be in proportion to your own giving. If you follow this principle, then you can expect to Receive From The Lord.
In my missions work I support many of our own PFC missionaries. In my home church 100% of the time a visiting missionary speaks I give. Each month I support more than one of our international missionaries (one in Africa, one in India) and have for years; I give special offerings when I learn of special needs abroad. If someone is in need, single-mom, homeless person, visitor to the church, I have and continue to give money to them out of my own purse (discretely). This is my attitude in giving. When you are used to giving, giving comes easier and easier. When you are not used to giving, giving can be very difficult and painful and any excuse can be used to not give (I’ve heard many of them). That’s how the principle of giving works. Beloved, you can pray until you are blue in the face, but if you are not a giver, if you don’t give, if you are not used to giving, if you withhold and heap all of your increase upon yourself, you will not Receive From the Lord and you will wind up losing what you do have. I have seen this time and again, it’s a principle of the kingdom of Heaven that can be used properly, or it can be violated and the result is poverty, loss, and penury.
3. The Principle of Asking
- Asking God John 14:13-14 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. John 16:24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
- Asking Others Luke 11:5-18 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? 7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. 8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. 9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
- Asking With Proper Motives James 4:2-4 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. 4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
Asking is the principle. James wrote that you have not because you ask not. Jesus taught the principle of asking. This is something many in Christian circles struggle with. They think asking is begging. They think asking shows a lack faith. Asking is God’s way, and it’s one of the necessary principles that, if ignored, like ignoring gravity or laws of electricity, will end in disappointing results! And all because the principle was not understood or was ignored. The first time I asked for an offering from people I was shaking like a leaf in a March wind. I had never done it before and like many I thought myself unworthy of asking, I thought it showed a lack of faith, and it seemed like begging, none of which I wanted any part of!
Like everyone else I have also seen the principle of asking abused by so-called Sunday morning televangelists who often seem as phony as a three-dollar bill manipulating the audience to give and give some more. Anyone with an ounce of discernment sees through this money-grabbing scam and certainly doesn’t want to be associated with it.
Yet just because a precious principle is abused doesn’t mean the principle is discarded! Asking can be done properly, within the boundaries of Christian integrity. A legitimate need can be shared, and God can move upon His people to meet that need, for that is God’s way and that is a principle of the kingdom. We ask God, we ask others, we ask with proper motives, and God will meet that need and receive glory in the process and praise from His people. This is a principle that has to be learned and understood and acted upon if anyone thinks that they will Receive From the Lord.
4. The Principle of Attitude
- Humility James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
- Thankfulness 2 Timothy 1:3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day. Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
- Teachability 1 Corinthians 2:13-14 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. 1 Thessalonians 3:2 And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellow-laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith. Proverbs 25:12 As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear. Proverbs 10:8 The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall.
- Attitude Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputing.
Aside from a few kook groups and extreme political organizations people respond to positive attitudes more so than they do to negative attitudes. People are attracted to those who show humility. People respond to those who are thankful. It blesses people to be around those who are teachable and have a good outlook on life. It is a principle of the kingdom that God resists the proud, just like reasonable people resist the proud. Pride goes before destruction, as military, political, and business history has demonstrated time and time again. My experience is that when someone is teachable then I am very willing and desirous to teach them. Many times I have been in the teacher seat, and many times in the student seat. I can sit in either seat and that is an attitude that God uses to allow me to Receive From the Lord.
When someone is violating the scriptural principle of attitude they put themselves in a position where they do NOT Receive From the Lord, and then confusion and discouragement can come, or, worse, they learn nothing from this and drive deeper into error by stiffening their neck and getting more cynical and less willing to take input from the brothers. I have seen this and it’s a shame and a poor testimony for the kingdom of Heaven. It doesn’t have to be this way, all we have to do is be conformed into the image of Christ, and let the Holy Spirit lead us, and allow the Fruit of the Spirit to take root and blossom in our life. This is intentional, and like physical principles in the natural world, we have to study and we have to apply principles that allow us to Receive From the Lord, and that includes attitudes of the heart and mind.
5. The Principle of Preparing our Heart
- Reading and Meditation Psalm 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. Luke 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
- Submission to God Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Matthew 6:31-33 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
- Obedience Isaiah 1:19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land.1 Peter 1:14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance. John 13:17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
- Patience James 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
- Renewal Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Romans 12:1-2 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.
- Single Minded Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. James 1:18 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
To Receive From the Lord requires that we prepare our hearts, and that we guard our hearts. There is much to successful kingdom living. Attitudes of the heart like obedience and patience are just two of the many attitudes pleasing to God. On the flip side, if we regard sin in our heart and lives God will not hear our prayer. Psalm 66:18-20 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: 19 But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. 20 Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me. To have God hear our prayer we want a heart prepared to Receive From the Lord. We want to renew our faith, our commitment, our vision, and our spirit. We want to be focused, single-minded, with a spiritual-mindedness about us.
In my experience submitting to the Lord is an easy-to-understand and also an easy-to-abide-by principle when I put myself in the position of having to Receive From the Lord. Our international missions teams don’t travel to Hawaii, the Bahamas, or Paris. We go to the tough places, the places where if God doesn’t show up we’re in deep weeds, places like Rwanda, Congo, Russia, Uganda, India and more. You’d be surprised how placing yourself in a somewhat dangerous position focuses your desire to live righteously, and when you’re living righteously you are in a grand position to Receive From the Lord. The principle is this – extend yourself, live right, and watch the Lord provide. If you expect the provision to come first before you extend yourself, well, it just doesn’t seem to work that way. Ministry, generosity, and kindness to others pleases God, and living right with right attitudes and with a heart prepared for God’s touch means God will touch you, and will speak to you, and will bless you, and you will indeed Receive From the Lord.
6. The Principle of Accountability
- To God Romans 14:12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Hebrews 2:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
- To your home church Romans 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 1 Corinthians 10:17 For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.
- To the ministry Luke 16:10-12 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. 11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own? Acts 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
- To one another Luke 17:3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
- Your testimony Romans 14:18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Psalm 37:25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
Your word is important. What you do should back up what you say. A Christian’s testimony is no small matter where people are influenced to support your missionary activities. Romans 14:18 describes a two-fold principle where you are serving (doing) consistently with God’s will, with the result that God finds it acceptable and moves upon good men and your work is approved of men also. Our testimony is built over time, and everyone has to start somewhere. In my own experience I didn’t even come into the kingdom of Heaven until I was already in college. I had no heritage regarding serving Christ. Had I chosen to do missionary work shortly after conversion I would not have had much of a testimony, which could have made it more difficult to gain support. This is not an absolute, but, again, I had no testimony.
My testimony is a reflection of my accountability – to God, my church, my prison ministry, and to others. In the church and in the work of the ministry I receive training, I receive opportunity, and this strengthens and equips me. I also associate with good people, strong people, and under the teaching of “iron sharpens iron” I am encouraged, challenged and held accountable by godly men and women and this in turn build my testimony. To Receive From the Lord our personal testimony within the church community and outside of the church community allows God to put us in favor with people, and it’s people who God chiefly uses to give into our missions work.
7. The Principle of Faith
- God is pleased by faith Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
- Faith when you don’t see how it can work out Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.
- Faith can move mountains Luke 17:6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamore tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. Mark 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
- Faith and works James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works. James 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
- Easy yoke Matthew 11:29-30 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. 1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
The Bible defines faith in Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. The word “faith” appears 247 times in the Bible; only twice in the Old Testament. The word “believe” appears 19 times in the Old Testament, and 124 times in the New Testament. The New Testament age and emphasis revolves around faith in God. Ninety-five percent of the occurrences of the words “faith” and “believe” are in the New Testament. Therefore it is important to us since we are a part of the New Testament age. Faith is a key principle in the Bible. It needs to be studied and understood, even in relation to Receiving From the Lord.
Faith is something that can be exercised and developed. Sitting on the couch is not how faith works. Faith works when we act on what the Lord has said in the Bible, or act on what we believe he says to our spirit. Faith is an action word. Every time I have embarked upon an international campaign it is by faith because I was acting on what I believed God’s will for me was. I knew that faith was required in any number of areas – finances, health, safety, time off from work, protection for my family while I was away, ability to successfully minister on the mission field with the American team and the local national team. All of this required faith. It required belief. It required stepping out and putting my name on the line. In my experience that’s when Heaven kicks into gear, and not before!
Worry is the opposite of faith. We are to yoke up with Christ, who can be trusted. We are to cast our cares on Jesus the Lord. We are to believe that though we don’t see the end, God Almighty does, and thus we put our safety, provision, protection, and health in His hands. Faith that can move mountains is great faith! Faith as small as a mustard seed is tiny faith! Yet either one gets the attention of Heaven! To Receive From the Lord requires faith, and it always will. Get in the arena, let God have His way with you, and watch Him provide, as He says he will!
8. The Principle of Presentation and Preparation
- Writing Down the Vision Habakkuk 2:2 And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
- Neatness In the Presentation 1 Corinthians 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order, Colossians 2:5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.
- Work hard and add value Colossians 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. Proverbs 13:4 The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.
- Study your subject matter 2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. Proverbs 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.
- Keeping your focus Titus 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world. Proverbs 16:3 Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.
- Regularly receive council from wise sources Proverbs 11:14 Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety. Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
Christians should have a higher standard regarding preparation and presentation when it comes to raising support among their friends and family. It’s a principle that laziness leads to want but diligence is rewarded. The support letters I write are personalized, names are spelled properly, address labels are correct, the need is made very clear, and the credibility of the ministry is openly displayed. Pictures make it more personal. The salutation is individualized. The hand-written note at the bottom is directed to that individual alone. Spelling and grammar have been checked and rechecked; content has been reviewed by other missionaries and by my wife and office manager. The content includes some information on the host country and what our objectives are. I and others spend time researching where we are going, we are focused on the goals, and we involve many in the process.
To Receive From the Lord, a Lord who has attributes of order, structure, process, and format, it stands to reason that if we operate in His order, structure, process, and format that that is well-pleasing to God and will be key to of our Receiving From the Lord. Over the years I have received support letters from young and old. I’m amazed at the grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. I marvel at the vagueness, the lack of any personalization (“Dear Friend”) and no personal note. The letter is black and white, with no ministry cited for credibility. I have given to these, because I know them or their parents, but I still wonder why they didn’t get help and counsel on their letter before sending it out. Take time to prepare, take time to study, keep your focus and know your vision and see how you too will Receive From the Lord.
9. The Principle of Stewardship
- Responsibility is relative Luke 12:48b For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
- Respect resources; gain resources Luke 16:12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?
- Being a conduit of God’s resources 1 Peter 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
- Use your resources wisely 1 Timothy 6:17-19 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
Going all the way back to Genesis we see Adam commissioned to care for and maintain the Garden of Eden, as we read in Genesis 2:15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. Maintaining order, keeping things neat and arranged, is a part of stewardship. I can tell you with certainty that I am much more inclined to support missionaries who are well dressed, well kept, have clean cars, work hard and diligent, than I am one who is lazy, sloppy, has his shirt tail out most of the time, is unshaven, and whose home is unkempt and an eyesore. Even when my own garage is cluttered and the car is dirty I am uncomfortable. This is not legalism, it is stewardship.
When I loan tools or equipment to someone, and it comes back in worse shape then it left, that is not a good testimony and it is not good stewardship, and it does not honor God. Once I loaned a tiller to a friend. He returned it on time, washed, and he greased the fittings. To another friend I loaned a vehicle, and it was returned to me on time and washed and vacuumed. Both Christian men left a very good impression on me. They would be able to Receive From the Lord by may hand if any request for support came. They were honorable in other areas, and are good friends, but these singular incidents still remain in my memory, and that does honor God.
In the work of overseas missions many resources are required. When we demonstrate stewardship of our possessions and those of others, then God is able to move on men and women and when it comes time for missionary support, we indeed Receive From the Lord, as we have given God something to work with in our lives that becomes a blessing to us and God is again glorified.
Being recipients of resources from others, let us be mindful that we have a responsibility to use those resources properly. If you would raise $3,000, or $4,000, or $10,000 it would happen because others believed in your work and they observed your life and beheld your stewardship and the resources came in because God blessed you and gave you favor in the eyes of others, and this is how we Receive From the Lord.
10. The Principle of Work
- Steady Work Brings Provision 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.
- Working as Unto the Lord Colossians 3:23-24 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
- Work Within the 10 Commandments Exodus 20:8 Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work.
- Production is Required Matthew 25:29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
- Work to Give Ephesians 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
- Work Absolutely Required 2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
The concept of work dates all the way back to the Garden of Eden, as noted earlier, and work is found within the 10 Commandments, and it is a bedrock principle of the kingdom of heaven that work is a fundamental responsibility of every man. Work is held in esteem in God’s economy, and to shirk this responsibility is to disobey the will of God.
If a man would be in ministry, or be a part of a ministry, then he should be one with a mind to work. Even a casual read of the Book of Acts shows the apostles and other ministers laboring, working with their hands, working in and among the churches, and producing.
To Receive From the Lord one had better be a worker. Even if there is no employment due to a hard economy, as is the case for many in America and around the world, a man still should work. Volunteer at the church doing repairs, assist the elderly, help others, and watch and see if the Lord will not see this and your fortunes would turn. Even taking a job below your capabilities shows the Lord you have an attitude to produce, and God will make a way for you, and you will Receive From the Lord.
Use your talents, invest, produce, add value, lighten the load of others, and watch increase come your way. This is well-pleasing to God, who sees what you do in private and rewards you openly. There are no shortcuts. Strengthen your back and get busy, and see if you will Receive From the Lord.
The parable of the talents from Matthew 25:15-30 demonstrates that to whom much is earned more will the yet be given. Further, it shows that to whom work and indusry and investing is ignored, even the little they have will be taken from them. This is the principle of work, a man is to produce and within that the blessing of God comes, and this man Receives From the Lord. Yet to the lazy, indifferent, fearful, and ignorant the little they have is eroded away. Understand this principle and prosper, or ignore it and live in poverty and lack. The minister of the gospel, and the international missionary, is to work and produce, and he can expect to Receive From the Lord.
In my experience and observation, God Almighty moves on persons to support ministry when they see the minister is working, and working hard. When they are consistent in their labors, and producing, and diligent, then God uses this as He speaks to the hearts of donors, and His blessing is on the donor and the minister, and this is consistent with the principle of work, and the blessing of God on persons who operate within God’s ordained principles. This is indeed how we Receive From the Lord.
In my situation my work in the Christian community is known to many. Over the years God has promoted me in the ministry to where today I’m a Certified Minister of the Gospel through my home church, and I’m Chairman of the Board of Directors for Prisoners For Christ Outreach Ministries. Recently I was granted a Doctorate of Ministry degree from Logos Bible College of India. This has taken a long time to achieve. My influence is known in many circles locally and abroad, and as a result my testimony is solid. When I prepare for an overseas campaign I have to raise my own support, and this puts me in a position to Receive From The Lord. As of this writing I have raised support for seven missions trips, three to Africa and four to India. By God’s help and grace I have been fully funded for all seven trips. I have also invested hundreds of dollars of my personal funds on each trip in special travel and packing needs, medications, mailings, and gifts for our hosts. Further, each trip has required many afternoons away from the family on pre-trip preparation with the team, as well as being gone for two weeks on the actual trip. This is the situation for everyone who travels with our missions teams, especially the leader.
Something that helps in my fundraising and Receiving From the Lord is my own testimony of years of consistent service in the jails and prisons. Also, for three decades of ministry I have developed a network of friends and family who are interested in this ministry. I have kept in touch with them each month via email and sent new messages I’ve written.
There are approximately 31,100 scriptures in the Bible. This lesson has referenced around 100 of them. That’s less than a third of one percent and leaves some 31,000 verses unmentioned. This lesson is intended to show that there are principles, albeit with only a handful of scriptures, relatively speaking. There are no scriptures that say point-blank what to do to raise support from the Christian community. The Bible rather provides principles that have to be sought out and studied. The Bible is not a random book of good thoughts to be taken as stand-alone teachings, but is intended to be compared with other scriptures to arrive at doctrine, principles, and instruction. The Bible says of itself in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. Part of being perfect (complete) and furnished (equipped) for all good works is using All scripture…
The Bible says in James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. This too is a principle and involves action. Another similar verse is in James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. With these and all of the other verses listed in this message, how can any Christian really conclude that to Receive From the Lord requires no effort on the part of the Christian? Perhaps this is why so many struggle to raise support. Perhaps this is why more people do not enlist for a foreign missions trip. It takes work. To date I have been on seven international campaigns, and was either the leader or co-leader on six of them. There were hours and hours of preparation, of team building, and of fasting and praying and working and communicating with potential supporters to raise funds.
My testimony, like so many other of those brothers and sisters who have traveled abroad with Prisoners For Christ, is one of God being gracious and moving on the hearts of good people to support our campaign. Though for each trip we seek to do all that is humanly possible to raise the support, as described earlier, yet even with this, many times we fast and pray for God to meet the need after our letters have gone out. We then send personal, specific emails to potential donors. In the end, God has made a way for every one of us. For some, God uses others to fund the entire trip. For some, God uses others and also the resources already with the missionary to fund the trip, and for others they have their own resources and elect to use those resources to fund their entire trip. In any event, God has made a way. We Receive From the Lord by applying principles the shown above.
Anything I write, which I believe Almighty God helps me with, is meant to encourage. So too with this message. There is no end of books written on the subject of fundraising. This is not meant to replace them. Books written by men and women who have learned God’s ways are valuable, and there are many out there and they should be read and implemented. I have read many of them. This study is meant to be short (relative to a book!), personal, and practical. It is to be added to good books, not replace them. My heart is like the prophet Ezra, as it is written in Ezra 7:10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments. I and others prepare our hearts, study out the word of God, learn principles through study, and then teach that to the brethren, that the kingdom of God may be advanced in our hearts and in our land.
When studying the Bible, look for themes and look for principles. The Bible is consistent. The Bible is trustworthy. Look for principles on subject such as marriage, raising children, finances, resolving problems, career matters, hearing from God, church planting, health and fitness, and unlimited other subjects.
Unlike a technical textbook there are not tables and equations in the scriptures but rather there are principles that can be discerned through study and research and application. The principles are gleaned from teachings where prophets, apostles, and Jesus himself are teaching. Many of the writings of the apostles involved people who were either in error or otherwise need some correction. There are a fair number of times in the Bible where real-world problems are addressed and from this we learn principles. Jesus taught principles in parables. This is why mockers despise the Bible; they cannot understand it and it’s not “clear” to them. Jesus spoke in parables as he said to his disciples in Luke 8:10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. Paul the apostle said in 1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. To understand the Bible requires that a person is born again and is a Christian. Then by the help of the Holy Spirit they begin the journey of learning and understanding, being taught by good men and women and over a long period of time the new believer moves from being a babe in Christ to being a mature warrior for Christ. Just like a college student, when we as believers are in the College of Christ, learning at church and getting involved in ministry and using our faith and watching our faith increase, we can understand principles and then go out and put those principles to work.
On the first page of this lesson are a handful of technical equations. Even if I understood from an academic perspective the equations, and I could solve academic problems on paper, but never applied these equations to practical, real-world problems, then I would have head knowledge only but no testimony in the area of results. People who go to college and earn degrees and then leave college and work in a field completely unrelated to their college training have not really benefited from what they learned in college, especially the higher-level things that their education taught. So too with the Bible. If after a few years in the kingdom of Heaven and you are not progressing, you are not participating in ministry, you are not involved in the Great Commission, and, further, you are still struggling with sin and bad habits and behaviors, then you are not Receiving From the Lord, and you are more in the way than you are In The Way (Acts 9:2). We must be doers of the word of God, we must learn and do; this builds our faith, this leads to blessing and more specific guidance and less struggling with common sins.
God is not a formula, and Receiving From the Lord is not formula-based. True, there are principles that put us in a better position to Receive From the Lord, but God is sovereign. You may not have a stellar testimony, may not have a broad network, may not have much family support, may be new to the Christian community and as such may not have great faith, or even mustard-seed faith, you may not be good at letter formatting or not have a track record of giving (quantity or quality). Yet God has moved on you by faith to go on an international trip, and you can Receive From the Lord. In my past people that I barely knew, and people that I have never met, contributed to my missionary trip. This is God at work, and this same God who guides will provide. Let us have you do what you know to do, and put yourself in position to advance the kingdom of Heaven, and to Receive From the Lord.
In summary, here are ten principles that if understood and applied help us to Receive From the Lord:
- The Principle of Principles – there are natural and spiritual principles that work when applied.
- The Principle of Giving – we must give in order to receive, those who don’t give don’t receive.
- The Principle of Asking – biblically we are to ask God and ask others for resources.
- The Principle of Attitude – humility and a good attitude is attractive to others, and God uses it.
- The Principle of Preparing Our Heart – prayer helps us focus on God and godly living.
- The Principle of Faith – faith increases when we act on what God has said.
- The Principle of Accountability – we must be accountable to God and men.
- The Principle of Preparation and Presentation – our work should be neat and our study thorough.
- The Principle of Stewardship – respect your resources and the resources of others.
- The Principle of Work – those who work prosper, those who do not lose even what they have.
May God meet all of your needs, may you draw nearer to Him, may you always Receive From the Lord. Prisoners For Christ has a number of foreign missionary campaigns scheduled and you are invited to participate. To sustain and expand the work of the ministry we need men and women of faith who understand the principles of the kingdom of God, and who are willing by faith to implement those principles.
Let us close with two excellent scriptures that are precious promises when understood within the boundaries of the principles we’ve discussed, and are a part of Receiving From the Lord.
Philippians 4:13; 19 I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.
Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.