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Healing Line

Healing Line

Adventures with "Holy Money"

Fall 1996

Editor's Note: The author is a faithful prayer minister and volunteer at CHM, who despite our desire to give credit where credit was due, Insisted on remaining anonymous. We were thrilled when the article was submitted by this great steward, and knew from experience that this person had much to teach us all on this subject. CHM has been so blessed by the Lord through the author's obedience and generosity, and we are so grateful that this dear person has had ears to hear.

"Holy money," what an odd expression that is! God's Little Instruction Book says, "We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give," and receive, I might add! There have been some wonderful adventures with the Lord for me regarding what I've come to call holy money. Thought I'd like to share a few of them because adventures with the Lord are open to all of us, all of the time.

Adventures with the Lord begin with prayer; not someone else's prayer, but my own and your own. Holy money is that which we offer to God in prayer; listening, and following his instructions about what to do with it. Where does he want it to go? How much? When? Of course, God who made the universe and keeps it all held together by the power of his word (Hebrews 1: 1–3), does not need any money, but there are at least three ways the Bible mentions that we can have holy communion with Him through dollars and cents: the tithe, offerings, and alms to the poor. A tithe is one tenth or our income. The Bible tells us that it is the Lord's and in Malachi 3: 10–17 the Lord says, "Bring the tithe and test me now. See if l don't pour you out a blessing so big that there's not room enough to receive if' (This is the only place I know of where we are challenged to test God). God accuses those who don't tithe of robbing Him and causing disruption in their relationship with him.

The tenth is the money part or tithe: one dime from one dollar. But the holy part is the praying part — part and parcel of the tithing part. For example with my gift in my hand, I silently pray, "Lord, as an act of worship, I bring you not only this money, which I pray you will use for your purpose, but also I bring my heart as well." (My heart usually needs some cleaning up or at the very least, renewed commitment to his will, and besides my heart is a more important offering. Matthew 15:8 and Isaiah 29: 13 offer stern warnings for people who make sure the rituals are right, but whose hearts are far from God). I continue my prayer by saying, "I look forward to the blessings that you promise. Please fix my receiver so I won't miss them. Thank you for inviting me close to You this way."

An offering is a gift above the tithe and can be many different things for many different reasons. The Bible speaks of many types of offerings: thank–you offerings, I'm sorry offerings, offerings to show new willingness to obey, food and drink offerings, and burnt offerings. Burnt offerings are a great way to close the door on past involvement in occult practices, in Acts 19: 19 it says that new converts repented from their pagan and occult practices, and publicly burned their books of magic. This is a very serious matter; some people have received great spiritual freedom after they have been led to burn idols or fetishes to other gods that they bought innocently as souvenirs as they traveled in other cultures.

Offerings can be a gift of time, hospitality, transportation, work, even grass seed — most anything the Lord inspires you to give. Jesus said in Mark 9:42 and Matthew 10:42, "Give and it will be given to you, full measure pressed down, running over shall men heap into your arms." That's why we need our receptors open to receive what the Lord will send our way, as well as our ears and hearts open to hear what he asks us to share with others. Praying, listening, and following directions are keys to dealing with holy money!

Alms are gifts to those less fortunate than we. "Whoever gives to the poor lends to the Lord. He will repay," Proverbs 19: 1 7. Jesus mentioned that the poorer (than we) will always be around and that we can do something about it any time we want to (Mark 14:7). There always seem to be people around who are richer and those around who have less. I find I'm not the richest or the poorest person I know!

Psalm 41: 1 –3 says: "Blessed is he who helps the poor (weak). The Lord delivers them from troubles; will protect them and keep them alive. He will bless them in the land and will not surrender them to the desires of their enemies. He will sustain them when they are sick and He will restore them from illness." That's encouraging to me. However there are some important giving ethics. Jesus said, "I only do what the Father tells me" (John 5: 17, 19, 30). It is important to ask, "Do I help this one, Lord?" "How much?" "When?" "How do I honor your direction for not letting my right hand know what my left hand is doing?"

Sometimes he says, "No" or "Not now." Sometimes he says to first go make peace with someone I'm at odds with. He speaks to us by his Holy Spirit, with a gentle impression in our mind or heart. If he says, "Yes, now." He will also indicate a specific amount. Ask and see how he guides you when you have a prompting to give.

This business of keeping your right hand from knowing what your left hand is doing is an adventure in itself. I had an assignment once to do three good deeds anonymously in two weeks time. If I was found out I had to start over. I found myself alone in a untidy rest room at my work place. I straightened up the best I could and got so tickled about how ridiculous I felt looking over my shoulder every second, that I told a friend about it. So I couldn't count it as one of my three! You can't imagine how complicated it can get sometimes trying to do something good that only the Lord can see.

Sometimes in obeying holy money directions, the gift the Lord tells me to make is just not tax –deductible. I don't believe he minds at all for us to get deductions as long as they are legal. When they are not deductible just dedicate a "lost tax deduction" offering to Him. Sometimes he asks us to give to someone or an agency that seems to have more than we do, but He knows the inside story and we don't. Sometimes we are impressed to give to a church or ministry that has special needs or whose work seems to honor God and bless people in Jesus Name. When that happens pray about when, how and the exact amount, then dedicate your gifts to His purpose. In giving to a person, sometimes it is important to give in secret so that the person doesn't feel exposed, obligated, or grateful to me. Sometimes someone gives me something and says the Lord told them to do it. That's when I really need for my receiver and my discerner to work especially well, because what is happening here is holy –blessings might be coming back! There is a time to receive because receiving can be as holy as giving. When this happens I offer thanks to God and ask him to multiply the gift back to the giver. I say discernment is needed in receiving because sometimes people might offer gifts in gratitude that are inappropriate for me to receive. In II Kings 5: 15 –16, the prophet said, "I can't take money for what God gave 6r did." In Matthew 10:7 –8,Jesus said, "Freely you have received; freely give."

When someone offers me a gift that they think the Lord told them to give, but I feel is off target, I may accept it in Jesus name and tell the person how loving the gift is and suggest that together we decide where he might want us to spend it. There is Christian quicksand here — trust the Holy Spirit. An appropriate place to give might be a Church, ministry or Christian organization where God has blessed the person or me. If they still insist that it is for me, but I don't feel God's peace, I accept it but I won't spend it on myself unless I receive the Lord's peace first. I will simply ask him where he wants the gift to go. It is important for me to honor that the other person can hear from the Lord as well as I can.

Giving and receiving provide opportunities of holy communion with God and each other and with churches and ministries. Giving and receiving afford great and small adventures and joy in the Lord. At times He has let me know that what came to my mind to give was exact to the penny of a specific need, and that it arrived at exactly the right time for a specific emergency of which I was not aware. I've made mistakes also; giving too much or too little at the wrong time, in the wrong way, but he is teaching me gently to hear more clearly and obey more perfectly. He promised in John 10: 5, 27 that we would know his voice and not follow another, that means that if our hearts are willing he will teach us to hear him and help us to obey.

A Christian therapist and friend of mine, Cindy Patten, says, "You know how money gets away from us sometimes? I pray that not one cent that leaves my hand will ever go for anything God doesn't approve." Now that is the best money prayer and heart attitude that I have heard anywhere. It challenges me to pray diligently about all my spending. Like II Corinthians 9:8 says, "God is able to make all grace abound giving you everything you need and more so that not only will there be enough for your needs but plenty left over to give joyfully to others."

Giving and receiving is an earthly adventure with heavenly connections; and besides being holy it is wonderful fun. I hope this testimony encourages you to consider holy money adventures with the Lord as something to embark upon with high expectations. If you've never thought of money this way and if you've made mistakes and feel discouraged, I pray that you will begin with joy again today and never give up. Don't do nothing just because you can't do everything! When I don't have enough to meet the need, I give what the Lord directs me and I ask him to multiply it like the loaves and the fishes.

Fall 1996 Issue