The Blessings of Open Hand

“I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring 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” (Acts 20:35).

Admit it or not we live in a prosperity-seeking society. Few, if any, possess a desire for poverty (me included). What is the secret to prosperity? Sorry. There are no quick fixes that effortlessly transport you from rags to riches or poverty to prosperity.

Prosperity and blessings are based on God’s unchanging principles. He provides the promises and the conditions. He stands ready to act or should I say, “react.” God is waiting for us to act in obedience. Like any other contract, two parties are involved. Both have responsibility to fulfill.


Rev. Nick Sisco mentions two facts in his lesson “Pursuing Principles; Possessing Promises.”

  • God promises. Man possesses.
  • Most of God’s promises are conditional.

He goes through an impressive list of scriptural promises where he shows if we do our part, then God fulfills His promises now. Check it out with 2 Chronicles 7:14-15.

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. NOW mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attentive unto the prayer that is made in this place.”

Someone has offered this advice.

  • If you wish to be poor—grasp.
  • If you wish to be needy—hoard.
  • If you wish to be rich—give.

“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8, NIV).

The principle: “it is more blessed to give than to receive” is a close brother to “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

Our world and culture thinks, “It is more blessed to receive than to give.” God’s wisdom is the opposite. Paul quoting the words of Jesus in Acts 20:35 provokes a question. Why is it more blessed to give than to receive?

“Lord, bless those that have to give and those that have not…” Ever hear anyone pray over the offering like that? It is a deficient, pointless prayer. God does not promise to bless those that give and those that do not give the same. He blesses those that give.

Try: “Lord, bless those that have given, and for those that do not have to give; bless them so that they can give.”

Giving releases the flow of God’s blessings on the giver. A stream that is not flowing will become stagnant. In giving, there needs to be an outflow before there can be an inflow. Your generosity flows out, and God’s blessings flow in.

Consider this. A person must breathe out in order to breathe in. It’s the only way to stay alive. There is only so much breathing in you can do before you’ll explode, smother or collapse. Outflow determines inflow.

David Holdaway in his book Never Enough: How to Achieve Financial and Spiritual Breakthrough explains we are born “with fingers curled and grasping, crying and clutching for what we want.” He advises that we “walk through life with open hands, learning to give, so we are in a place to receive. Clenched fists make it impossible for us to receive what God wants to give us. Only to the extent that we open our hands will we be in a place to receive.” After all, poverty is keeping what we have with clenched fists, fearing that if we give, we will have nothing. To break out of the poverty bondage the opposite spirit must be employed.

Holdaway tells of a farmer known for his giving. The man said, “I just take my shovel and shovel into God’s barn, and He takes His shovel and shovels into my barn. I have discovered that God has the bigger shovel.”

Speaking of barns: “Honor the Lord with your capital and sufficiency [from righteous labors] and with the firstfruits of all your income; [Deuteronomy 26:2; Malachi 3:10; Luke 14:13,14.] So shall your storage places be filled with plenty, and your vats shall be overflowing with new wine. [Deuteronomy 28:8]” (Proverbs 3:9-10, AMP). Give and your barns will be filled with plenty and your vessels will be overflowing. No wonder churches proclaim, “Offering time is blessing time!”

Get the picture? Outflow determines inflow. Open hands beat clenched fists. You have a little spoon. God has a huge shovel. You are blessed to be a blessing. When you bless, you receive a blessing.

“If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted…Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs…Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to” (Deuteronomy 15:7-10, NIV). I hoped you noticed the: if, then, and now promised in those verses. It’s all in the contract.

photo credit: Artotem via photopin cc

A Little Humor about Giving


There was a preacher in a church who said, “This church, like the crippled man, has got to get up and walk!” The members shouted, “That’s right. Let’s walk!” “This church,” he continued, “like Elijah on Mount Carmel, has got to run!” “Let it run, preacher!” thundered the people in response. “This church has got to mount on wings like eagles and fly!” And they said, “Let it fly!” But when the preacher said, “If it flies, it takes money” the people shouted, “Let it walk!”

Enhanced by Zemanta

He Gave All He Had

“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7).

The story is often told of Mary and Joseph making the long journey to Bethlehem for the census. Mary and Joseph are turned away by an innkeeper who proclaims, “There is no room for you in the Inn.” Songs have been written about this, and messages preached. As the Innkeeper turns the couple away, he remembers that he has a stable, and offers for them to stay there. The Innkeeper is blamed for being insensitive to Mary’s condition and not being able to discern that it was the King of Kings that would be born in that stable. However, there is another aspect. He could have sent the family away from his premises all together. But, when he saw Mary’s condition and assessed the situation, he offered the only available space in his inn – a stable. The Innkeeper’s suggested response reminds us that:

God never requires anything more from us, than what we are able to give.

How often have we declined to offer what we had because we didn’t think it was good enough? He can take our little and make it grow just by His touch. One man has said, “Little is much when the Master is in it.” How many times have you failed to give what you had because you did not feel it was enough? Even in areas of financial giving, be reminded that if you can’t do something BIG, why not do something SMALL? If we all would give a LITTLE then a LOT would be accomplished. Don’t do NOTHING just because you can’t do EVERYTHING. And when it comes to you, God only expects you to give what you have. The few talents that you have when yielded to the Lord Jesus can accomplish much. You may feel that you are not rich enough, talented enough, or smart enough to be used of the Lord. Put these feelings aside, surrender yourself to God, and tell the devil, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). In the “Parable of Talents” mentioned in Matthew 25:14-30 everyone was given talents “according to his several ability” (Verse 15). Not all had the same amount of talents but those who used theirs received more. The man who did not use his talent had it taken away from him and given to another. It has been said, “If you don’t use it; you lose it!”

Enhanced by Zemanta

3 Categories of Experiences – Part Two

Three Categories of Experiences

  •  Store-away
  • Give-away
  • Throw-away

Give-away (Experiences shared with others, i.e. testimony).

* “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 4:8).

* “And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey” (Acts 22:6).

* Henry Poitras in his Fishers of Men Series writes, “A witness tells what they have seen and heard (Acts 4:20, 22:15). Your story of personal experience is captivating, inoffensive, indisputable, and most of all ‘salt’ that will settle in and create thirst. Remember we are witnesses not judges.”

* When anything good comes our way, we usually tell it. The early Christians were told not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. They responded, “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:20) The NIV translation reads, “For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).

* “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalms 107:8).

* Leonard Ravenhill said, “A man with experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument.” It is difficult to talk someone out of what he has experienced (John 9:24-25).

* “Witnessing” is an effective means of evangelism, because you are explaining what God has done in your life. No one can argue with a transformed life or other miracles experienced. “And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it . . . What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it” (Acts 4:14, 16).

* In a more specific sense “witnessing” is telling others what salvation/eternal life means to you. It includes three parts.

* BEFORE: What you were like before receiving eternal life.

* HOW: How you received salvation/eternal life. This would explain how you came to obey Acts 2:38.

* NOW: What salvation/eternal life means to you. Here you would also declare the peace you experience now and your hope for the future.

* In your testimony you should always emphasize the positive by telling the great things that the Lord has done. Be careful not to give credit to the devil in the first part of your testimony. Begin by telling what your life was like before you met Jesus Christ. It is not necessary to go into a lot of detail. Keep your entire testimony to 3-5 minutes. Be brief and to the point.

* Phil Callaway in Who Put My Life on Fast Forward confesses that one of the greatest stresses in his life is “witnessing.” He writes, “When I told others about my faith, I was as clumsy as a carpenter with ten thumbs…A few years ago I made a surprising discovery: When I simply tell others what I have seen or what God has done, they listen…I used to count conversions; now I count conversations. I don’t have all the right answers, but I know and care about the questions.”