#269 Unlocking God’s Blessings Part III (21/01/07)

The Message

By: Robert A. Schuller

Special Guest

Ken Duncan
Now today we are welcoming back Australia’s premier panoramic landscape architect’s internationally renowned photographer, Ken Duncan. He was watching Hour of Power one Sunday some years ago in Australia and the spirit of Christ came through that program, touched him and impacted him very deeply and very beautifully.

Special Music

Hymn
" Joyful, Joyful.. "
" In Thanksgiving, Let Us Praise Him "
Thanks be to God (Elijah)
" When Morning Guilds the Skies "

Solo
VIVAN FAN – “Piano Concerto”
JASON CATRON – “In Pastures Green”

The Message

A hundred and ten years ago, at the Democratic National Convention, a guy by the name of William Jennings Bryant stood before this convention and he gave a speech. And the speech was so stirring and so inspiring that they actually nominated him for the president of the United States. And he ran. He lost, we know that, cause we don’t have him in the list of presidents. But he ran, he got the nomination. And one of the things he gave us was a quote that I love. It says, “I suppose about all a man can do in this world is use or lose his opportunities.” God gives people opportunities. And throughout our lives and throughout our paths, we come across these chances. Or these times where we can walk through the door or we can walk away from the door. But opportunities come and there’s a time where we have to step through there and we have to take action and we have to engage and we have to move forward in faith, knowing that God’s going to be with us and He’s going to carry us through. Its opportunities.

You know the worst war in the history of this nation was without question the Civil War. There were more people lost to the Civil War than all the wars that we have ever been in combined. And it is said that that war could have been shortened if the union had had better generals. One such guy was General B. McClellan. And he had over a million troops to two hundred and fifty thousand troops on the South. But he wouldn’t engage. He was a spectacular planner. He could get everything in place but he wouldn’t engage and the President Lincoln said, “if you’re not going to engage, would you please loan me this army if you don’t intend to use it.” And we know that finally the results were that the war ended. But the facts are that life is a series of opportunities that we have. Choices that we make, decisions that we intend to carry through, go through, or we walk away. And that’s life.

This morning I want to read a passage of scripture. It’s found in Timothy. Timothy 6, it’s part of the letters that Paul wrote to Timothy, and he shares with us these words: “But godliness and contentment, this is great gain for we brought nothing into the world. And we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we’ll be content with that. People who want to get rich, fall into temptation, in a trap and into what many foolish and harmful desires that plague men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people eager for money have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, people of God, flee from all of this and pursue righteousness and godliness. Pursue faith and love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you are called.”

We have opportunities every day. They come and we want to seize the opportunities, but we weigh the opportunities and some are just too much to bear. But more often then not, skepticism that holds us back from really moving forward with the understanding that this is the best way for us.

A few years ago I had what’s called group activity tickets. We buy them here for our employees. Some of you may be familiar with group activity tickets. What you do is you buy a ticket to the movie in advance, and its good at the theaters, and its like a three dollar discount, so I actually pay $6.50 for my group activity ticket and I take that to the theater and I get a $9.50 ticket. So I save three dollars a ticket. Good deal, right? Well I bought a whole bunch of them because my kids are always asking for them and every time I want to give one to them, I run out and so I said I’m going to buy 20 of these things. I don’t want to run out and have to pay $9.50 for a movie when I can get in there for $6.50. So I bought a whole bunch of them.
Well it just so happened that year things happen and I didn’t use them all, and I noticed the expiration date was coming up in a couple weeks. And I had four tickets left over, my wife and I were going to the movie and I said do you know what I’m going to do, I’m going to bring these extra two, I’m just going to sell them to somebody in line. Who would buy a ticket for $6.50 if the normal price is $9.50? Anyone here buy that ticket? Oh a lot of smart people here. I got to the theater and there was a line about 50 people long to the window. So I figured oh good, this is a piece of cake. I’ll just go to the first person here and sell them my tickets. I go, hey do you want to sell a ticket.. do you want to buy a ticket for $6.50 instead of $9.50 and they look at me and they just look the other way. I’m going, no I’m serious. This is a group activity now just.. give me $6.50 for the ticket and you save three bucks. Said I’m not interested. You got to be kidding. So I go to the next person, wasn’t interested. I think I went through about 15 people before I could sell a $9.50 ticket for $6.50! Why are people afraid to save three dollars? They didn’t trust me, did they? They didn’t trust me. They didn’t believe that what I was selling them was what I was selling them. And they didn’t believe me.

And that’s the exact situation we face when we look at the financial guidance that we receive throughout the Bible. The Bible is perfectly clear. And the math is very simple. And yet I teach this and I teach it and I continue to teach the basic principles of foundational, spiritual guidance that we receive from the Bible. It’s not me, I’m just reading out of the Bible. And people just don’t buy it. They don’t believe it. And so I just keep going to the next one and the next one, sharing the principles that are within the Bible and letting people know. That hey you give ten percent to the spiritual guidance that you receive in life, give ten percent to your church, to the Hour of Power, and put God to the test and see if He will not bring blessings upon you that your storehouses won’t be able to contain it. And I don’t think they believe me. And I don’t think they believe the Bible. I don’t think people have enough faith in God to come through and actually do it. It can’t be more clear. But it’s like one in ten if I’m lucky who go and buy it. Say, okay I’m going to start tithing today. I’m going to make a commitment and I’m going to start giving ten percent. Some people say it’s impossible. But it’s absolutely amazing how God works. I’ve been tithing forever and how does God bless me financially?

I had a flat tire on my car. Is that a blessing or what? Dog gone it, now I’ve got to go through the hassle of either calling AAA which I never do because it takes too long for them to get there, so it’s easier and faster for me just to change it myself. So I can do that so fast you can’t believe it. I’ve changed so many tires it’s a piece of cake. There’s always construction on my street so I’m picking up nails all the time. Anyone know what I’m talking about with that? Oh, it’s a pain the neck.

So I go out there and I place the tire real quick, I run down to find out that the tire is ruined, and I have to buy a new tire. I also find out that my two front tires are bad so I’ve got one good tire on my car. And I go in there and I find out that what do they have? They have a set of tires that exactly that I needed, used. They had a hundred miles on them. But he says we’ll give them to you at half price. And they’re the exact same three tires that I needed. It couldn’t have been better. I couldn’t have planned it that way. God gave me a flat tire cause He wanted to bless me with new tires! And I can go on all day long talking about how God just continues to bless His people and the money that I receive just seems to keep stretching and stretching and stretching and stretching. I don’t know how it works, I just know it does.

And I know the Bible is very sincere and real and honest and true. And God says, “Test Me in this and bring your tithes to the storehouse and put Me to the test and I see if I will not bring out such a blessing upon you.” And He does because life is about opportunities.

I’ve been talking about finances and money for quite awhile but you know what? I don’t talk about it half as much as the Bible does. The Bible talks about it consistently. Let me continue reading from Timothy here. I’m just going to share the words of St. Paul to Timothy: “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain. But to put their hope in God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” These are not my words. I am simply reading from the Bible. “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds and to be generous and willing to share. In this way, they will lay up treasures for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”

And I know what a lot of you are thinking, that’s a good idea. I think all those rich people should do that. I know that’s what you’re thinking because every time I meet somebody, they always refer to other people as being rich. If I meet somebody who makes, you know the bottom of the barrel are people who make three hundred and fifty dollars a year. That’s the bottom of the barrel. Those are the extremely poverished people. Do you realize that in the world one in seven people fit into that category? One in seven people in the world make less than a dollar a day. Now, under those circumstances, those people look at somebody who makes three thousand dollars a year, and guess what, they’re rich. Right? If you made $300 a year and you saw somebody who made $3,000 a year, you’d be sitting there going now that guy is rich. And the guy who makes $3,000 a year, what is he saying? Are you kidding me? I’m dirt poor! And he looks at somebody who’s making $30,000 a year and he says now that guy is rich! And he makes ten times as much money as I do. And the guy who makes $30,000 a year, he goes, rich? Me rich? Are you kidding? And he looks at the guy who’s making $300,000 a year and says he’s rich. And the guy making $300,000 a year, what does he say? I’m not rich, look at all my debt. I’ve got my house, my cars, I’ve got the plane, the boat, whatever it is. I’m not rich. Now he’s rich and he points to somebody whose making three million dollars a year. And he says yeah I’m doing okay.

We’ve been blessed with opportunity. And the greatest gift of all is the opportunity. The opportunity to receive the knowledge and the understanding of the opportunities that we have to be able to exemplify our faith in God by actually doing something; something that is constructive, something that is powerful, something that has the ability to change the world. When you donate money to this ministry, you’re not only changing the world for you, you’re changing the rest of the world for God.

I was in Germany and I received many letters from Germany. Let me share you with one letter I received. The lady Heidi Scheible. She said, “I’d like to thank you very much for your endeavors to help and encourage so many people and also for bringing so many to the path where they can be and live with Jesus. We appreciate that you came to this country. I’m also so thankful to you, I began watching the sermons in 1989. Way back then there was not the opportunity here in Germany to watch on the VOX channel, but your enthusiastic words about Jesus and about faith contributed a great deal to strengthening my faith as I have lived my first 30 years of my life in a country where faith has been held back from people on purpose. I did not have the chance to grow up in an atmosphere of strong faith. And so during all these past 17 years, I felt that you, together with your father, were inspiring me and also were near me during the tough times. Thank you and best wishes.”

We have the greatest advantage of all in this country. We have opportunities. We have the opportunity to accept the grace of Jesus Christ, to accept the teachings that we find within His Bible, to stretch our faith and to put God to the test and at the same time, be a blessing to the world. And so this morning I challenge you to make a decision to start somewhere. You start somewhere and then you grow from there. You walk through the door, you make a commitment, and you say okay Lord, I’m going to start with one percent or two percent or five percent, and if your faith is there today to go to ten percent, the blessings of God will truly overwhelm you.

Thank You Lord, for the privilege we have to give. So use us, oh Lord, to be able to reach as many people as possible with Your good news through our acts of faith by giving today. We love You Lord, Amen.


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