Recently I went to the Lord in prayer very heavy-hearted, laden down with many cares. I began to plead my case before Him:
"Oh Lord, I've never been so weary in all my life. I can hardly go on! My mind is so tired, I don't think I can get another message. You've got to come and help me with these heavy burdens You've put on me, in my ministry and in my life. I've got to have strength from You. Lord, please -- help me!"
Then I began to weep. I was so exhausted the tears literally burst out of me. As I lay crying, I thought, "Surely my tears will move the Lord's heart!"
The Holy Spirit did come and minister to me -- but not in the way I thought He would! I wanted sympathy, encouragement, understanding. And He did give me all of that -- but in a way much different from what I expected.
The Lord gently instructed me to go to 2 Corinthians 9:6-11. He said everything I needed was contained in this passage of Scripture:
"But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.
"Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God." 2 Corinthians 9:6-11.
I read this passage and reread it -- but I got nothing from it. Finally, I closed my Bible and prayed, "Lord, I'm confused. I see nothing here to help or encourage me."
In these verses Paul was talking to the Corinthian church about taking an offering for the suffering saints in famine-stricken Jerusalem. He was urging them to give not grudgingly but generously, like the Macedonians who had given an offering out of their poverty.
I asked, "Lord, what does all this have to do with me? I'm hurting -- downcast, drained, bankrupt of resources. I need help! Besides, I'm a generous giver. What are You saying to me in this?"
Finally, the Spirit spoke forcefully but lovingly to my inner man: "David, this has everything to do with what you are going through. Lately you have been serving Me without a bountiful, cheerful spirit! Where is your joy and happiness in your service to Me? My Word isn't talking only about giving money to help the poor. It is speaking of ministry to Me and to My body!
"I have called you to New York City to raise up a holy remnant in these last days. And I did not send you here without help or abundant resources! All that you need is available to you -- strength, rest, power, ability, joy and cheer. There is no reason for you to labor with sadness, to be overburdened. You have access to all strength and joy!"
I'd like to share with you some very important lessons the Spirit revealed to me from this:
- 1. When God Calls Us to Any Specific Work, He Has Already Made Provision for Everything We Need to Accomplish It -- With Freshness and Cheer!
"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work" (2 Corinthians 9:8).
This verse is not just a hope -- it is a promise! It begins with the words, "God is able!"
Yet God is not interested in just meeting your need. He wants always to give you more than you need. That is what "abound" means -- an ever-increasing, superabundant supply!
"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us..." (Ephesians 3:20).
Think of what is being promised here: When you are down and tired and don't think you can go any farther, God is able to so invigorate you that you will have all you need -- at all times, in every possible situation!
This promise includes power to keep you from falling. I know many Christians who are utterly afraid of falling and missing the mark. They're scared the devil is going to entrap them somehow -- and they're going to grieve God!
No matter how powerful your temptation is or how discouraged you are about your lack of resistance, God says this about His power on your behalf:
"Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy..." (Jude 24).
It is as if the Lord is saying, "Listen, all you shepherds! Listen, all you who faithfully attend My house and labor in prayer, praise and intercession! I want to give you an abundance of strength, hope, joy, peace, rest, finances, encouragement, wisdom. In fact, I want you to have an overabundance of all you need -- at all times!"
God never intended for us to be spiritual paupers, poor in the things of the Lord. On the contrary, the bountiful servant is the one who enjoys a revelation of all the great provisions God has prepared for him! And he goes after this revelation by faith!
"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God" (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).
Paul is saying, "Our forefathers could not begin to comprehend all the great provisions God had prepared! It never entered into their vision, hearing or imagination. But there is no reason for us to be blind about these things, to go about not knowing what is ours. Our eyes must see, our ears must hear, it must enter into our hearts and minds -- because we're the people for whom God has prepared it all! The Holy Spirit has revealed it to us!"
Indeed, the Bible says we are to seek Him for this revelation. Paul wrote, "Now we have received...the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God...which things...the Holy Ghost teacheth...[and] are spiritually discerned" (verses 12-14).
I believe most Christians have not honestly faced the power of these promises of God! We've read them many times, but they remain as dead- letters to us. We haven't laid hold of them and said, "Lord, reveal to me what You have prepared! Open my mind and my spirit to Your resources. Your Word says I must know all these things that are freely given to me, so I can claim them for Your glory!"
Why Are So Many Christians
Easily Discouraged, Tired,
Weary in Well-Doing?
Why do so many believers experience weakness, feelings of despair and emptiness, as if they can't go on? It is because they do not have this revelation that the Spirit gave Paul and the New Testament saints -- a revelation of all the provisions God has made possible for those who would claim them by faith!
Do you fit Paul's description of a bountiful servant -- one who has all he needs and more, at all times, in every crisis? Have you proven this by drawing on the bank of heaven? *Not many can claim it!*
For several years I worked with Kathryn Kuhlman. I preached my heart out at her meetings in the morning, afternoon and evening, and usually by the end of the day I was wiped out. One night Kathryn said to Gwen and me, "Let's go out and get something to eat." I told her, "I'm sorry -- I'm too tired. I've got to go to the motel and get some sleep."
She looked at me quizzically and asked, "David, did you preach under the Spirit's unction tonight?" I answered, "You know I was anointed. The altars were filled!"
Kathryn said quietly, "Then you're missing something. If you're ministering under the power of the Holy Ghost, you should be stronger at the end of the service than when you started -- because He is a quickening Spirit! You can rise above your flesh, because by the Spirit you can claim that freedom."
"...that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work" (2 Corinthians 9:8). To "abound" here literally means, "ever-increasing; to have more at the end than at the beginning." In other words, as the battle gets hotter, God's grace increases! As weakness comes upon you, His strength comes on even greater! And when your burdens become heavier, His power and strength increase in proportion to your burdens!
Yet God gives this strength only to those who want it, need it and appropriate it! Often I have prayed, "Oh God, You've laid an awfully heavy burden on me. It seems more than I can handle!" Yet He has answered each time, "I have provided greater strength for you than you know! I never put a burden on any of My children without also making provision for more than is needed to bear it. You have My promise of joy and rest in your worst crisis!"
Beloved, this means we should never lack! We ought to abound in our ministry, labors and life. The harder our situation, the more difficult our path, the more heavy our burdens -- the more cheer, rest and hope we can have! God is saying, "You have more than an abundance of resources promised to you! You shouldn't be worn out, drained, cast down. You should be increasing your efforts rather than pulling back!"
For years in my ministry I spent much time and effort raising money to support various outreaches, and over time I grew tired of it. We had a Bible school to support. We held crusades all over the world. We supported missions. Each of these works required a lot of money to keep going. We had to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars, and eventually it burdened me down.
Years later, when God called me back to New York City, I said, "Lord, I'll go -- but I've got some conditions. I'm not going to raise any money! I won't go into debt. I don't want to have to write appeal letters. And I don't want to spend all my time praying and weeping over money. You've got a bank in heaven with more money than I could ever need. I want You to open the windows of heaven and pour it out for us! I need a flow of finances."
The Lord promised me: "If you go to New York, you'll never again lack a single dollar to do My work. I'll send in everything you need. You won't have to pressure anybody -- you won't even have to talk about money. I'll supply it all!" And He has kept His word!
I had "made a deal" with the Lord: "I'm going to believe what You said! I don't want a dollar more than we need -- just Your sufficiency." His answer was: "You'll have superabundant sufficiency -- in all things, at all times!"
- 2. Since God Has Promised Superabundant Supply, He Expects Us to Give Him All We Have -- With Our Heart in It!
God does not accept grudging service from anyone. "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto man" (Colossians 3:23). "Heartily" means, "with all your heart -- all your strength, all that is within you."
Paul writes, "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity [unwillingly]..." (2 Corinthians 9:7). The apostle makes a dual application of this matter of giving: It has to do with our financial offerings -- and the giving of our very lives to God's work!
Paul wrote that the church in Macedonia literally begged him to let them take up a collection for the poor, suffering saints in Jerusalem. These Macedonians were so wholly given to the Lord, they gave out of their poverty! At the time, they were suffering worse than Jerusalem was, because of war. Their economy was smashed, a depression had hit, everything was out of control. Yet out of all that anarchy and chaos, they gave all they had -- above their ability -- bountifully!
Paul says the Macedonians gave much more than money. They told him, "Here is our offering. Now what do you want us to do? We volunteer our services to the work of God!" "...but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God" (8:5). They spared nothing in serving the Lord and their brethren! "...beyond their power they were willing of themselves" (8:3). They gave beyond their human ability -- with much prayer!
Paul didn't have to browbeat these people into giving; he didn't hold them to the law, or beseech them to give 10 percent. They were so excited about Jesus, so trusting in His faithfulness, they gave willingly, eagerly, bountifully!
I must warn you: If you focus on percentages with God, you might as well keep your money. God does not honor any gift that is not given in joy -- willingly, out of a heart overflowing with love!
If you give only because you believe it is commanded -- or if you're always wondering, "Is tithing a New Testament concept, or just Old Testament?" -- your heart-attitude is all wrong! If you give 10 percent because the pastor asks it of you, that is wrong also. None of this gets to the issue -- to the heart of what it means to give!
One man told me, "After I give my 10 percent, I can do whatever I please with the rest. And I expect God to bless me as He promised -- because I gave my tithe!"
No! Many are able to give more than a tithe. And God wants us to give as we are able -- with generosity! There is no place for stinginess among God's people. Show me a Christian who gives only what he thinks is required of him, and I'll show you a Christian who is stingy with his time, energy and work for God. (He's probably also stingy with his family, squeezing every dollar!)
If you're stingy with God, God will be stingy with you. If you go to church grudgingly -- once a week, out of obligation -- God will deal with you in the same way, giving you hardly any blessing at all!
When You Give Your heart
and Life Fully to the Lord,
All Your Giving Comes Out
of Your Love For Him!
If you have given yourself to the Lord wholeheartedly, your first thought shouldn't be, "How close to 10 percent can I give?" but, "How much of myself -- my money, time and energy -- can I give?" Our joy ought to be in how much we can give -- and how much our heart is in it! Anything else is extortion!
If you drop your offering into the basket and think, "That could have paid my gas bill -- but I have to give it" -- then you should have kept it! God does not acknowledge it! "... not grudgingly, or of necessity..." (2 Corinthians 9:7).
"There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty" (Proverbs 11:24). This verse says, "One person gives freely, yet gains even more -- and another withholds more than necessary, yet becomes poverty-stricken!"
The fact is, the more strength and energy you spend for God, the more He will pour back into you. The more you exert yourself for His concerns -- the more you sacrifice of your time, resources and strength -- the more He has promised to undergird you. The end result for you is an overabundance!
You may say, "Brother Dave, I really love the Lord, and I'm doing my very best to give Him my all. I don't slack off -- I'm not lazy. My heart really is in the work I do for Him. But my flesh is weak, weary, worn out! I'm tired -- my spirit is cast down. I just can't help it!"
There is not a single emotion, a single kind of despair or weariness, that Paul did not himself experience. Listen to his testimony:
"...troubled on every side...perplexed...persecuted...cast down...without were fightings, within were fears...in weariness and painfulness...in hunger and thirst...in cold and nakedness" (2 Corinthians 4:8-10; 7:5; 11:24-27).
Yet through all of this, Paul had a revelation of the resources available to him. And when he was overwhelmed, his faith laid hold of all he needed to bring him through every trial -- with victory and overcoming power! Paul always jumped right back into the battle because he was drawing on the resources of his heavenly Father! We see him rebound again and again, with new faith and new strength to go on:
"...we faint not...not distressed...not in despair...not forsaken...not destroyed...chastened, and not killed...always rejoicing..." (2 Corinthians 4:1, 8-10; 6:9-10).
He said, "I've been through it all -- fiery trials, buffetings, burdens, sorrows, pain and suffering..." "Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us..." (7:6). Every time Paul was downcast, he turned to the Lord. He knew the God of comfort -- and he began drawing on heaven's bank!
If you're thinking about giving up -- if you want to take it just a bit easier, or even quit outright -- you'll be making the biggest mistake of your life. Stay in the battle -- for it is in the heat of warfare that God makes you stronger! That is when He comes to you generously, showering you with His resources and inner strength. Only those who are involved in the battle receive His great provisions!
- 3. Finally, God Expects Only Cheerful Service -- Without Murmuring and Whining!
If you're going to give yourself wholly to the Lord and His service, you must do it cheerfully!
"...for God loveth a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7).
I am sorely convicted by this verse -- because often I go about my life and ministry without the joy of the Lord. I hear so many Christians say, "I'm so weary, I don't know how I'm going to make it. Oh God, You've got to come and give me strength!" That is murmuring -- whining!
The word for "cheerful" in Greek here means "hilarious, merry, glad" - - having a light heart, willingness, gladness; being full of hilarity. God is saying, "Whatever you do in your labors for Me -- whether it's interceding, worshiping Me in My house, or seeking Me in your secret closet -- do it cheerfully! Be joyful and generous with everything -- your money, your service, your time, your life!"
I ask you: Has serving the Lord become a bore, a drag to you? Is it just a burden, leaving you mostly sad and weary?
Deuteronomy 28 describes a terrible curse God pronounced on those who would not listen to His Word, but instead wallowed in fear and turned to idolatry. This curse included oppression, unfulfillment, loss of all joy, confusion of face, lack of all things. Why such a horrible curse on God's people?
"Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things" (Deuteronomy 28:47).
God told Israel, "I made all provision for you -- I gave you such abundance -- but you refused to appropriate it! You neglected Me, and you went about sad, with no joy, no cheer. Now you are cursed with confusion and the loss of all your joy -- because you never served Me with gladness in your heart!"
God has promised us all these provisions as well -- everything we need at all times, for all godliness, to be more than conquerors. And yet we go about complaining of heavy burdens, hardships, lack of strength! We murmur and complain -- and we run to God like poor, dejected, forsaken paupers!
It is a serious matter to complain to the Lord about how heavy your burden is. Jesus said, "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:30). If your burden is heavy, you're not carrying His, but your own -- and you make Him out to be a liar!
In just one day 23,000 children of Israel were stricken to death in the wilderness -- because they murmured! Paul called their sin "tempting Christ." He warned, "Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer" (1 Corinthians 10:8-10).
God doesn't want you complaining about your burden -- He wants you to chase those things out of your life by laying hold of His Word!
Your checkbook to His resources is faith! He is saying, "I have already made provision for you. What need in your life is so great that I cannot supply more than is required? What kind of weariness or burden is so heavy that I cannot give you super-strength to endure? All you lack is faith!"
Are you at the end of your rope? Weary, cast down, about to give up? I challenge you to answer the following questions with a simple yes or no:
- Does the Word of God promise to supply all your needs?
Did Jesus say He would never leave you, but would be with you to the end? Did He say His ear is open to your prayers, and that he will give you the desire of your heart? Did He say you will be more than a conqueror? Yes or no?
- Did He say He would keep you from falling and present you faultless before the Father's throne?
Did He say He would supply you with all you need at all times? Did He promise you all the seed you need to spread the gospel?
- Is He more willing to give than you are to receive?
Is He greater in you than he that is in the world? Will He do exceeding abundantly above all you ask or think?
- Are His thoughts toward you good thoughts?
Is He a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him? Is He acquainted with all your ways? Is His eye upon you night and day? Is He interceding for you right now?
- Is He preparing a place for you in glory?
Is He coming in the clouds to gather His people home? Are you going with Him when he comes?
- Your answer to all of these should be, "Absolutely, yes!"
Finally, can anyone or anything
in heaven or on earth separate
you from the love of God that
is in Christ Jesus?
I call this a bountiful Savior! We have become spiritually rich through all His resources toward us!
"Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God" (2 Corinthians 9:11).
Dear saint, confess any murmuring and complaining you may be guilty of, any heart-attitude of despair. Forsake it all before the Lord right now! And pray with me:
"Lord, You've made me rich today. I'm rich in strength because You told me You have everything I need at all times. From now on when I'm tired, rather than complain to You about it, I'm going to draw a check! Pour forth Your strength into my heart -- make me stronger today in You than I've ever been. Hallelujah!"
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