How are you? I’m well.
Have you ever thought that you might stand in God’s way? It sounds dreadful, but I think we might make a mistake to stand in His way, if we don’t listen to and obey Him. Today, I would like to share one of my recent episodes.
I’ve been willing to give offerings to the Lord and to help others. Looking back at my experiences of giving, though, I see not all of my giving was out of a pure heart. Some of them were out of fear and/or out of being manipulated. I realized that even Christians used manipulation, no matter whether they are ministers or not. As I got to learn about the witchcraft, the spirit of control that includes manipulation, I think I now became more cautious in giving; not to give out of fear or manipulated by others.
In August this year, I had some money that I was pondering on to whom I should give. I asked the Lord about this and I literally said to Him, “Father, I don’t want to be manipulated any more. So, please direct me to whom I should give offerings.” When it comes to manipulation, I set my heart not to give to those who ask me money literally, but to give without knowing their needs, but being prompted by the Holy Spirit. Interestingly enough, in a day or two after that prayer, I got a missed call and a text message from a missionary in a foreign country. I gave offerings to her twice out of a pure heart in the past, and I knew she is a self-funding missionary. She left a message to me, saying she called me, but I might not recognize her new number. But I already knew and saved her new number, when she let me know a few months ago. So, I texted her and asked her how she was doing, while I was sitting next to mom in an orthopedic clinic for her regular therapy. Then, the missionary texted me, simply saying that she called me for fund-raising her next discipleship training that she would lead soon. That’s all that she said. She didn’t ask me how my mom and I were doing. I felt so sorry, as I felt she just called me for money, not for friendship. Actually, when I shared the update on mom’s status at her new number, after mom was admitted to hospitals twice, she never replied back to me for the past few months. And after breaking the silence, she just talked about her fund-raising. (It made me understand how our Heavenly Father would feel when His children come to Him with their agendas only.) I had an impression that she was surprised and moved by my giving in the past, as I transferred the money voluntarily, even using the international banking transfer. Since the last year, though, I had a little bit of doubt as to whether she was on the right track on her faith, after getting some texts from her. Now, I got her missed call and a simple text message on her fund-raising, soon after I asked the Lord about giving and saying to Him that I do not want to give, being manipulated. I felt as if the Lord put me in that situation, to see how I would react. In the past, I would have said, “Sure, I would definitely help you.” perhaps out of compassion or out of fear. But now I realized that if God wants to send her to the discipleship training to lead others, He would make it happen, without my giving money to her. I would rather move, listening to His voice. I asked Him a few times to let me know, if He wants me to give her money. In the meantime, I replied to her that I would pray for His provision to her, even if it’s not through me. And I said to her I would hear His voice and obey Him on offering. And I prayed His will be done for her discipleship training. And I finally offered money to some other ministries and some other ministers out of a cheerful heart. It was not a matter of money, but I felt it was about obeying His voice. I felt in my heart that if I would help her now, I would let her seek people including me, not seek Him for financial provision. I felt our Father intended to teach her as well as me and I would take the opportunity for learning from her, if I would give her money. And, I believe every believer should rely on our Heavenly Father only, just like George Mueller did. And I also believe that if our friendship is truly based on the love of our Father, we would continue to be friends no matter whether I help her this time or not.
Then, just a few days ago, I happened to read Pastor John Fenn’s words posted back in 2014, Fear & Stupid Decisions (#3 Family/Money) in The Church Without Walls International website. It really spoke to me, and I’d like to share part of it, hoping it would also help you now and in the future.
Let us use the example of someone you’ve opened your home to for a season – an adult child, sibling, friend, or anyone else you are opening your home to. Let us say they are into various sins – maybe drugs, wrong relationships, and little work.
The fear is what will happen to them if you don’t provide for them? They’d be on the street. They’d be in a shelter somewhere? But Lord, what to do about them? If I kick them out it will be my fault if they die, but I can’t afford to have them here and they disrupt my life.
The fact is however, we parents raise our children to become self-sufficient. Any person able of body and mind should be taking care of themselves. There is a time and place to receive someone in your home to help them get on their feet – don’t get me wrong – but Jesus did say only give 1 extra coat, not your whole closet, and to walk just 1 extra mile, not a marathon with them.
If you obey fear some will bring themselves to financial and emotional hurt by not making them grow up. If they aren’t paying their own way after you’ve walked that extra mile and given them that 1 extra coat, then you switch from the giver of grace to the enabler of sin, by enabling their dependence on you instead of God.
Masked in Christian ‘love’, you may be actually keeping that person from growing up as a person and a person in the Lord. As I said last week, usually when we are comfortable there isn’t a lot of growth, and when we grow there often isn’t a lot of comfort. Sometimes you have to ignore the fears and make them uncomfortable so they will grow – and tell a person who you’ve walked that extra mile with them and given them the shirt off your back, and now it is time for them to walk on their own and earn their own clothes.
The answer is to go through fear – and let – maybe ‘make’ is a better word – that person stand on their own 2 feet. At the very least they can pay their proportion of the rent, utilities, and their own gas money while with you – make a plan, hold them to it. Something like ‘By week 2 you will have a job, by week 4 you will have your first paycheck and I get 1/2 to reimburse me for your room and board.
Yes, you may have to help them until they get paid – but if after awhile they either don’t have a job or aren’t up and out of the house by 8am treating finding a job as if that were a job, and not coming home from filling out applications until after 5pm each night, you have to draw the line.
Fear will use you – a demon of fear will use you – to keep them babies, dependent and immature. Going through the fear to stop enabling laziness or addictions is hard, you feel horrible, but it must be done.
You see, God gives us opportunities, but we have to decide to take them. Fear prevents us from presenting God’s opportunities for growth and provision to a person we are temporarily helping. You are actually standing in God’s way, fighting against Him the whole time, while wondering where His answer is. We are often both the answer and the problem.
I pray that you and I ask to give us His Wisdom and we present His opportunities for growth and provision, not standing in His way, in Jesus’ name.
Have a bliss!
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
How are you? Hope you had or are having a good day today?
In addition to my previous blog, “Financial Blessing,” today I would like to write more on finance. Have you read a George Mueller book, Answers to Prayer? I’ve not read it yet, but I wish I would read it this year. I’ve heard of him and his book, Answers to Prayer many times through sermons and other authors’ books, but I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. I heard and read that he never reached out to people to be able to feed the orphans he looked after but only prayed to the Lord. And miraculously he was provided for daily living. I remember a story of him and Preacher, Charles Spurgeon, but can’t recall the source for now. One day when Charles Spurgeon got to know that he didn’t get the fund he had been praying for, he visited George Mueller, knowing George got it, and saw his cushion he had been using for prayers, which was worn out. Charles Spurgeon said to George Mueller, “Now, I know why the Lord gave the fund to you.”
In 2019, I read a Korean missionary’s book and listened to his sermons online. He shared his testimony in his book on the time when he needed around US$5 million for the project to build an international university. He thought of George Mueller and decided he wouldn’t share the need for the money with anyone and any church. He chose to trust in the Lord to provide for the project He Himself initiated. Later, bills continued to pile up on his desk, but he had nothing from the outset. Many volunteers who gathered to partner with him looked at him and waited for him to find some ways. Yet he kept on praying for it, not disclosing the need to anyone. Miraculously, some people he knew came to him and gave him offerings, not knowing his need. He started to see miracles, yet he still had a lot to pay for. One day, a man came to him and said, “Brother, does the number 113 mean anything to you? When I prayed, the Lord gave me a heart that you are in financial need. My wife and I prayed together over it and we got the number 113.” And the missionary said to him, “Yes, I need US$1,130,000 dollars for a bill.” It was the Lord’s miraculous provision through His children. Later, the last bill for the remaining US$1 million was also provided by the Lord and he said, “We had no debt for the project, not even US$1. It was all provided by the Lord.” And he also wrote about His perfect timing. The fund started to be provided when the currency of the country where he worked got weak. I believe the Lord provided it at a later, but perfect timing, to test the missionary’s faith and to make the best use of the exchange rate of the currency, as He is the God of economy too. I believe it would require great faith for George Mueller and the missionary to totally trust in Him in finance.
I think Pastor Robert Morris mentioned about manipulation in his book “The Blessed Life.” He wrote something like some people use manipulation, not trusting the Lord on material provision. And he wrote the people who have the gift in giving can discern who uses manipulation. A few days ago, I happened to read Dr. Kevin Zadai’s article, “The Heavenly Mechanics Behind Christian Giving” that I saved in my mobile phone back in 2019. I would like to share part of his message which I think is so important in our giving:
Before any meeting where an offering might be collected, the best thing to do is to pray ahead of time before that meeting.
One good strategy is to simply inquire of the Lord, "What am I going to be giving tonight?" Asking this question before attending a meeting helps ensure that a person will follow the Scriptures. It also helps circumvent any manipulation that may come from those in the meeting through the offering message or any other situation.
A Believer needs to take precautions so that he or she is not being manipulated into giving. In Corinthians, Paul spoke concerning preparation of the offering before a meeting took place. If a Christian will determine ahead of time what he or she will give, then he or she will feel comfortable with the gift that is given. He or she will already have heard from the Lord concerning the offering to give, and then the giving will be done in faith.
I follow this strategy. The Lord will speak to me concerning the offering, and then I ask my wife, "What is the Lord laying upon your heart to give?" Her response is almost always exactly the same figure that I have heard from the Lord. Almost one hundred percent of the time, the amount that I am led to give and the amount that my wife says we are to give are identical. Therefore, in that manner, the Lord confirms the amount that we are to give completely! And that confirmation gives us freedom and the opportunity to rejoice in our gifts!
A Christian is to enjoy giving and not allow anyone to take that joy by making a gift compulsory. In other words, a Believer must not allow the pressure from others to take the joy of giving from them by submitting to that pressure to give. …
Christians must never give offerings when there is pressure to comply. One's purpose to give must not be a response to pressure, but rather a response to the Lord and an expression of love toward Him.
As I shared in my previous blog, “Unmasking the Witchcraft,” Derek Prince wrote in his book, “The Coming Revival” that unmasking the witchcraft in church is one of the keys to the coming revival, and manipulation is witchcraft. I’m sharing again what he wrote in the book on the definition of witchcraft the Lord gave to him:
Witchcraft is the attempt to control people and get them to do what you want by the use of any spirit that is not the Holy Spirit.’
Then He gave me an additional insight:
If anyone has a spirit that he or she can ‘use,’ it is not the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit is God, and no one uses God.
Sadly, even in churches, there are people who are under the witchcraft spirit. We must discern the voice of the Holy Spirit and obey the Spirit of truth, not the witchcraft. Not only churches, but individuals can use manipulation to get what they need or want. So, I think we should ask for discernment and give to the Lord out of cheerful hearts.
I would like to share another story of the missionary that I wrote earlier in this blog. He and his family had a sabbatical year in the US, after serving the Lord in Mongolia. When he left Mongolia, the Lord told him to give everything he earned and had in there to the people in Mongolia and he obeyed the Lord. When he spent a sabbatical year in the US and was about to leave the country soon, a young male student in a Korean church in there who knew his story in Mongolia came to him and said, “I heard the Lord speaking that you must give your car away to me when you leave here.” And I think the missionary’s answer to him was wise. He said to the student, “Brother, if it’s the Lord’s will for me to give away my car to you, He would definitely let me know too.” And he wrote that his car was given to another person, before his departure from the US.
Personally, I had some good and bad experiences related to giving. I gave offerings a few times to a ministry, not being voluntary or out of a cheerful heart, but out of pressure. The minister approached me in person, “Please pray and do according to what the Holy Spirit spoke to you.” In all honesty, I gave the offering to the ministry, fearing the minister. Of course, I don’t respect those who use manipulation and I’m not part of the ministry anymore for other reason. I repented of giving out of pressure. Yet, I had good testimonies when I was truly led by the Holy Spirit and gave to those who never used manipulation. I got to know from them only after my giving, that their needs were miraculously and timely met and they all said, “You were led by the Holy Spirit. Thank you for obeying the Lord.” In giving without being manipulated, there was always joy and thanks and praise to the Lord in both giver and receiver. And I do respect those who completely trust the Lord like George Muller.
I wanted to share the story of George Mueller and others to encourage you to put the total trust in the Lord when you are in need, and also to give to Him out of a cheerful heart, not out of pressure or being manipulated. I pray that you and I ask the Lord for discernment, and we are always led by the Holy Spirit and become cheerful, hilarious givers, in Jesus’ name.
Have a bliss!
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. (1 John 5:14~15)
How are you? I’m very well.
Are you blessed in finance? Since the pandemic, we hear on the news or around us that people suffer from losing jobs or small business owners have difficulties and some of them closed their business. I heard from my sister in California that some of her church home group members suffer in finance since the pandemic. My heart aches, when I see and hear some Christians have difficulties in finance. I’ve heard many pastors and prophets prophesy that there would be global economic collapse. Then, it would be even worse than now. Yet, I believe that our Heavenly Father wants His children to prosper in all things, including finance.
Today, I would like to humbly share my testimony and others’. Since I started to blog in 2020, I think I wrote on finance only once in my blog, “Hilarious Giver.” I had reservation in writing my testimonies on finance, though the Lord was always faithful to me and often surprised me with unexpected financial blessings. I didn’t want to share them, as I wanted to be rewarded for anything that pleased the Lord, by the Lord Himself, when He returns. Another reason was that I wanted to be cautious on this subject, especially in this difficult season when even Christians have much difficulty from this pandemic. But when I listened to Pastor Neville Johnson’s teaching on Keys to the Kingdom and unexpectedly listened to his teaching on finance in the last days during his teaching, my heart was stirred up to encourage the Lord’s children to obey the Lord and to receive financial blessings. Later, when I read the Scriptures, I felt it would be in His will to write on this subject. So, I’m writing this from the intention to glorify His name and to help His children, not just to survive, but to thrive in the difficult time and in the more challenging times to come.
In 2020, I listened to Neville Johnson’s teaching on Kingdom Finance. I chose to buy his audio teaching in The Academy of Light website and listen to it, as I have been feeling that the Lord would use me to provide for the remnants of His people in the last days, whether they are Jews or Christians. So, I wanted to be prepared in finance in the last days. In his teaching, he mentioned that receiving financial blessing would need something very radical, which would in turn require faith. I found out the very radical thing he was referring to is to give offerings to the Lord, in addition to tithe. He said tithe is actually mandatory. It sounded to me that tithe is actually the very minimum that every believer should give to the Lord at default. So, in order to receive financial blessings, we would need to first step out in faith, to give more to the Lord in our offerings. I think some would say, “How can I give more to God, while I’m suffering now, and I don’t have enough?” That’s why faith is needed. Faith is to believe the unseen. Even when we don’t see any extra money to give, in our own mind, we need to believe it will be filled, when we give Him first.
Not only the late Pastor Neville Johnson, but Pastor Robert Morris also wrote in his book “The Blessed Life: Unlocking the Rewards of Generous Giving” something most people who don’t tithe always say, “I can’t afford to tithe. I only barely make my ends meet.” But the reason that they never afford to tithe is that they never tithe with faith in advance. They only make ends meet because they can’t trust the Lord, thus they don’t tithe. If my memory serves me right, I think Pastor Robert Morris wrote in the book something like “Those who don’t tithe actually end up with having to spend the amount of tithe on something else that could be avoided unless otherwise.” I agreed with it.
In the early February 2020, I went to my Christian hairdresser. It was when the pandemic began to spread in Korea, but not so widely yet. People started to be careful in going out and having contacts with others. I asked my hairdresser during my haircut whether her business was affected negatively by it. She said it was not, thankfully, and she said the Lord continued to provide and prosper her, as she had been giving special offerings to her church for a project. I knew it was on top of her tithe and I also knew she was so zealous for sharing the gospel with her unbelieving customers and the kids in the playground. Then, after the coronavirus cases spiked, I chose to be careful in contacts. Though I didn’t live in fear at all, I wanted to be careful especially for my mom. So, almost for a year, I had my haircut at home, and my mom helped me for the haircut at the back. In a sense, it was fun experience to both of us. Then, in January 2021, when my pastor in Singapore encouraged the members in our monthly online meeting to connect with a likeminded brother or a sister and to fellowship with one another, I felt I must go to my hair salon to have a monthly fellowship during my haircut, as I used to do. I really missed it. So, I went to her salon in February and I got the professional haircut in a year. As I expected, her business continued to thrive even during the pandemic. I found her appointments with her customers were all booked one week earlier. Yet she was humble and thanked the Lord for the successful business in the hard times.
Looking back at my circumstance in 2020, I also couldn’t thank the Lord enough. I’ve been managing my mom’s commercial property due to her dementia, since I left Singapore and the company for good. One day, a tenant in her property who had his business in there for more than twenty years said to me, that his business flourished since I took over. And he said other business owners in the property seemed to have good business as well. I thanked the Lord Who made our tenants’ businesses prosper. And I believed He certainly opened the storehouse of heaven as I tithed from the rent income, while my mom didn’t, previously. Then, our country economy didn’t really go well, even before the pandemic came. So, vacancy in commercial properties increased and it was often reported on the news. When I had a vacancy in mom’s property, the Lord gave me the heart to provide the vacant place to a self-funding missionary for North Korea who used to be one of mom’s tenants. After a certain period of time I granted her a space for free, the Lord sent me a new tenant through her at a higher rent. During the pandemic, sadly, one of our tenants had to close her business and yet another decided to retire from his business. However, the Lord sent new tenants at a higher rent. And our property has 100% occupancy rate with higher rents in the midst of the pandemic, while I see so many commercial properties with empty rooms in Seoul look for new tenants. I still think it is miracle and our Lord is indeed faithful when we give Him first in faith. Not only the rent income, but I unexpectedly received money from here and there after giving to Him. After I listened to Pastor Neville Johnson’s teaching on Kingdom Finance, I was prompted by the Holy Spirit and sent some money to a minister in the very next morning. Then, I was amazed to receive her testimony. She said she had sent some money to a missionary two days ago. And now, she received the exact same amount of money from me. I was stunned and encouraged to hear that. And you know what? In a few days, I received more than what I sent to her, unexpectedly. Later, when I gave offerings somewhere, I unexpectedly received around US$9,000 as a gift. What a gift! I couldn’t thank Him enough for His faithfulness.
James Durham wrote in his book, “Keys to Open Heaven” that one of the keys to open heaven is giving. He shared his testimony. He wrote that the Lord put something new in his and his wife’s hearts. He wrote that they made a decision to stop working so hard to make a living and to begin to work hard to make a giving. He also shared a similar testimony that I shared on the minister who received the exact same amount of money as she gave. He wrote:
The Lord began to do some amazing and inspiring things which we received as signs and wonders…. On one occasion, the Lord told me to sow all that I had. I usually keep money in two separate compartments in my wallet. One section I call seed and the other section I call bread. This choice is based on Paul’s teaching in 2 Corinthians, chapter nine. … After I sowed all the seed in my wallet, the Lord spoke to me and said, “Now sow the bread!” The Lord had never asked this before. When I heard this, I knew the Lord was going to demonstrate something, but I didn’t have any idea what it would be. I obeyed the Lord and sowed the bread. Later, as we were getting ready to drive home from the conference, my wife asked me if I wanted to stop and eat on the way home. I told her that we could do that if she had some money, but I had sown all I had. I opened my wallet to show her. To my surprise, I had five crisp new one hundred dollar bills in the seed compartment and triple what I had previously had in the bread section. I couldn’t wait to sow that five hundred dollars again and see what the Lord would do with the seed.
[Durham, James A. Keys to Open Heaven. Xulon Press. Kindle Edition.]
Isn’t our Father so faithful and marvelous?
Again, I humbly shared the testimonies including mine, as I would like to encourage you to continue to or start to obey the Lord and give Him first in faith, even when you don’t see any source to be filled after giving. Our Father is the Creator and Possessor of all things in the universe. He can print notes and send His Angel to put them in your wallet, if He is willing to. If not, He would use other ways. Please put your trust in Him.
Having said that, I also would like to mention that poverty could come to some people for a season, as a test from the Lord, just like Joseph had to be imprisoned without any wrongdoing. Another reason for poverty could be from the curse or the spirit of poverty. If you or your family members or friends kept suffering from poverty even after tithe and offerings, I would like to encourage you or them to read a Derek Prince book, “Blessing or Curse: You Can Choose” or listen to his teaching online. I believe we must understand the source of ongoing poverty and find a right solution. In our Heavenly Father, there is always a cure and remedy even for the cursed.
As Father, He wants to see His children prosper. Friend, if you are a parent, you would know the heart of father or mother very well. You wouldn’t even want your child to wear shabby clothes. Our Father is love and He wants us to thrive even in the challenging times to come. I pray that you and I know His heart and we trust Him and give to Him first, with our love toward Him, in Jesus’ name.
Have a bliss!
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. (3 John 1:2)