few weeks ago we had a prayer Sunday here at the Crystal
Cathedral. We invited people to come forward and share their
prayer requests. I made a commitment to pray for everybody
who came that day and gave us a prayer card. I also committed
to signing all the prayer cards. This week I fulfilled
that pledge. I held every single one of those prayer cards
in my hand and I prayed for every single name. I read every
name, prayed for every single one and signed them all. In
addition to that, I prayed for about three hundred people
who requested prayer online. We have a terrific prayer community
on line. You can go to our website: http://www.hourofpower.org/ and you can
read about and participate in our prayer community. I prayed
for about three hundred people on the prayer community.
All totaled, I prayed for about two thousand people this
week. Isn't that amazing? Two thousand people requested
were two requests that kept coming up over and over again.
I didn't keep score because that's not important to me.
However, it seemed to me, the most frequent prayer requests
were health issues and finance issues. Isn't that interesting?
Many people are definitely struggling with finances. When
you read the Bible you discover that Jesus cares about our
finances. He talks about finances a lot. There are many
scriptures that talk about how to deal with our finances.
said, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye
of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of
heaven." (Matthew 19:24) As a result of that there
are many people who believe that you cannot be rich and
enter the kingdom of heaven. They say, "Oh it's impossible
for a camel to go through the eye of a needle." They
pick up a sewing needle and they say, "How can a camel
get through this?"
have traveled a lot to the Holy Land, and I've done lots
of archeological studies. In fact my major in college was
ancient civilization, which incorporated a lot of archeology.
One of the things I discovered is that the eye of a needle
is not the needle of a sewing needle as we know sewing needles
today. If you go to an ancient city, it will always be surrounded
by a huge wall. Those huge walls are there to protect the
city from invading armies. Those cities have huge,
giant gates. Those gates primarily remain closed all the
time. Within those huge gates, which are opened only for
special occasions, they have the gate which is open to allow
normal pedestrian traffic to come and go. It is a small
door within the big gate. It's not unusual for it
to have a board across the bottom so it's more like a window.
So a pedestrian would literally have to step through, and
then on either side as he's stepping through, are the guards
of the city with their swords drawn. In such manner
they protect the city and they control the traffic that
comes in and out. Horses don't go riding through there.
But it is possible for a horse to maneuver his way through
that little gate. It is possible for a camel to maneuver
his way through that gate. It is not impossible. It is not
simple, but it is possible.
words are spoken very profoundly by Jesus Christ when He
says it is harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of
Heaven, than it is for a camel to go through the eye of
a needle. What He is telling us is that it is very difficult
for rich men and women to enter the kingdom of Heaven. Why
is it difficult for rich people to enter the Kingdom of
says later in the scriptures, "To whom much is given,
much will be required." (Luke 12:48) If we look at
our country today and who we are as a nation, we realize
that almost every single person in America today is rich
by world standards. We do have a poverty level, every country
does. The UN, and the World Bank have established various
poverty levels for various nations. It depends upon the
nation whether or not you are the poverty level. Extreme
poverty, which is worldwide, is considered income of a dollar
a day or less. That is considered extreme poverty in the
world today. A dollar a day or less. How many people are
there in the world today that live in that position? In
1990, there were 740 million people who fit that category.
The goal of the UN and the World Bank is to cut that in
half by the year 2015. If they are successful, there will
be 360 million people at that extreme poverty level ten
years from now.
rich do you feel? How many people think they might be very
rich from the world standpoint? I think I am talking to
a lot of people who would consider themselves very rich
by poverty standards of the world. If that's the case, this
scripture speaks to you, "It is harder for a rich man
to enter the Kingdom of Heaven then it is for a camel to
go through the eye of a needle." Those words are intended
for us, ladies and gentlemen. Those words are intended for
us, which means the next words are also intended for us,
"To whom much is given much will be required."
So there are extreme requirements for us because God has
blessed us so much.
does he expect from us?
He expects us to simply do what He asks.
He doesn't expect a lot, He just expects us to do what he
asks. He doesn't ask for a lot. 1)
He asks us first of all to be willing to give of our soul
and our spirit. To give of who we are to Him
so that we first and foremost recognize the fact that we
are His child. He created us. 2)
He wants us to give thanks to Him in all circumstances.
So often it is easy for us to think "Oh,
if only I had that or that" and it's never enough!
I believe God wants us to stop and be thankful for what
we do have, instead of simply complaining about that which
we don't have. I promise you that 99.9 percent of people
could think of something more they want. The bathroom needs
to be painted, the car needs new tires. Am I right? We have
all been there. We can always think of something more we
wants us to stop and thank Him for what we do have. 3)He
wants us to give financially.
He doesn't want us to give everything. He doesn't want us
to give out of our excess, He doesn't want us to give when
we have more then we know what to do with. He wants us to
give from our poverty. Because the same time we recognize
that we're rich, we also recognize that we're poor.
and wealth is all relative. God doesn't wait until we have
excess to bless us. He wants us to bless Him out of our
poverty. No matter where we are, no matter what kind of
bills we have to pay, He wants us to trust in Him and put
our faith in Him. It's not higher mathematics. It's really
quite simple. Ten percent. He says, "Bring the whole
tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my
house. Test me in this and see if I will not throw open
the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that
you will not have room enough for it." (Malachi 3:10)
important word there is blessings. Remember that it is blessings.
It's not showers of money. Because if you can't be happy
in your poverty, you can't be happy in your wealth. Everyone
knows that money doesn't buy happiness. Money helps but
you cannot use it to buy happiness. If you need more finances,
I mean really need, than God will supply the necessary finances.
He is true to His Word; He says in scripture, "I will
supply your every need." The Bible is true!
important thing for us today, is to be able to recognize
the calling that God has given to us. We need to recognize
the talents and the gifts He has given to us.
have something here I want to read to you from Paul Bryant,
the football coach for the University of Alabama. Here's
what he said. "There are four types of football players.
There are players who have ability and know it. There are
players who have ability and don't know it. There are players
who don't have ability and know it. And there are those
who don't have the ability but don't know it." Later
on he said, "The player that makes you the proudest
is the one who isn't good enough to play, but it means so
much to him, and he puts so much into it, that he does it
is where we are today. You have the ability and you
don't know it. You can do it if you decided to do
it. Paul Bryant concludes the quote by saying, "The
ones who have the ability and don't use it are the ones
who eat your guts out." That is a modern way
of saying "It is harder for a rich man to enter the
kingdom of heaven than it is for a camel to go through the
eye of a needle."
many people today have been blessed with the ability and
they don't use it? To whom much is given, much will be required.
When we trust God, and we live the way He has called us
to live, then we learn to give back. So we need to learn
to give back, we need to realize we have to use the blessings
that God has given to us. Use the money, and love people.
Never the other way around. Never use people, and love money.
Heavenly Father we thank you for giving us the ability,
the determination, the will and the strength to give out
of our poverty. When we learn this wonderful principle,
we will truly realize how rich we are. We thank you God
for your blessings, for your touch, for your joy, for your
hope, for our future and for your goodness. We love you
Lord and we praise your name. Amen.