From the archives of Oral Roberts – First of three parts
Some time ago, Evelyn and I were reading the Word and I came to a verse that I had read and preached on many times―Luke 6:38. “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together; and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete [or give] withal it shall be measured to you again.”
I had always thought that God’s return in response to my giving is what is good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. But God showed me that our giving must be good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over.
Second Corinthians 9:6 says, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. God is telling us to place our priority on the way we give, rather than on what He will return. We’ve got to see the difference between God’s part and our part, for not until we do our part will God do His part.
The people who have the greatest difficulty in understanding the principles of sowing and reaping, giving and receiving, are those who say, “But I’ve done what God said. I have given. I have sown my best seed. Now, why hasn’t He given back His best return?”
The silver and gold of the earth belong to God, and He gave us dominion over all the earth. The devil has taken it only because we have forfeited our claims on it. We can’t be jealous of the harvest of other Christians because we didn’t sow their seed. We cannot control someone else’s harvest. That’s God’s part, and He is obligated to honor their seed according to His Word. Whenever I see someone with a mighty harvest from God, my first thought is, He must have planted a mighty seed! What we must do is plant our seed then expect an explosive return on our giving.
First Peter 5:6 NKJV says, Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.
Humility is a mysterious quality in that when you think you have it, you have lost it. The humble person is not aware that he is humble. He accepts God’s chosen place for him whether it be in the forefront or the rear of the battle. What matters most is his relationship with God.
We do not become humble and automatically remain that way. Humility is a goal toward which we must constantly strive: Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind… (Colossians 3:12). Then in God’s time, He will exalt us.
From the archives of Oral Roberts
Many years ago, I was in a crusade in Richmond, Virginia, in the big tent. We were unable to find a proper location on a major thoroughfare. The location we had was large enough, but it was in an area of the city not easily accessible to those who would be driving in from other cities.
Three young couples drove in from Portsmouth, Virginia, for the crusade. The husbands were not believers, even though their wives were Christians and members of the church. They allowed their wives to go to church, gave them money to give, but they were not interested; that is until they heard that an Oral Roberts Crusade was in Richmond and God was healing the sick and performing miracles.
The men became very curious and decided that the three couples would get into one car and drive to Richmond, where the men could see for themselves if God was really performing miracles.
When they arrived in the city, they could not locate the tent. One of the men rolled down the car window, put his head out, and asked a man standing on a corner, “Mister, could you tell us where the Oral Roberts tent meeting is?”
The man said, “Certainly,” and began giving instructions. When he finished, the driver turned to thank him and found that the man had disappeared!
He got out of the car and looked all around, but no one was present. Such a feeling of awe came over those three young men that when they arrived at the tent, they didn’t even hear my sermon. They sat transfixed, waiting for the invitation, and were among the first of the hundreds that came forward to accept Christ.
After they went back home, two of the men were called to preach and became ministers and pastors of churches, the third became a lay member.
To this day, they do not know who that stranger was.
Richard & Lindsay Roberts
You know… it’s not the mile walk that will kill you ― it’s the pebble in your shoe! As you get more and more rocks in your shoe, you’ll suddenly find you can’t walk.
The same thing happens with your life. You have to get the pebbles ― those things that hinder ― out of your life. Then you can get yourself in a position to do what God says for you to do. Open your heart, give it to Him, and believe that He will pour you out blessings where there shall not be room enough to receive them.
First Chronicles 21 tells how Satan provoked King David to number Israel. David told Joab to number the people, but God was displeased, as He considered it a sin against Heaven. God sent a messenger to David saying “You’ve disobeyed Me. Now I give you the choice of three punishments: three years of famine, three months of being overrun by your enemies, or three days of deadly pestilence.” David repented before the Lord God, and said, “Let me fall now into the hand of the Lord; for very great are his mercies” (v. 13). So he chose the pestilence.
For three days, pestilence raged in Israel, and seventy thousand men died. David became disconsolate in his heart and said, “God, don’t lay this sin to the charge of the people. They didn’t sin; I committed the sin.” The Lord instructed David to go to the threshing floor of Ornan and sacrifice unto the Lord.
David went to the threshing floor and said to Ornan, “Let me buy this threshing floor from you … then I will build an altar to the Lord and the plague will stop” (v.22, TLB). Ornan offered David not only the threshing floor but also his oxen and even the tools for the sacrifice. He said, “I give it all to you” (v 23, TLB).
And King David said to Ornan, “Nay; but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which is thine for the Lord, nor offer burnt offerings without cost (v. 24).”
If you’ll be useable clay in the Master’s hand―if you will put Him first in your life and give Him something that costs you in your total being, rather than something that costs you nothing―then God can miraculously turn things around. If you’ll start saying what God says instead of what people say, you’ll begin to see miracles happening in your life.
I believe in a second chance. I don’t know anyone who has not made mistakes or slipped and fallen in life. I don’t know anyone who has not had to say, “God, I really blew it that time.” Yet there are so many people who think, God, I messed it up, and there is no chance for me.
Surely that is what Peter must have thought after he denied the Lord Jesus and cursed three times. People talk about Judas’ selling Jesus out, but look what Peter did. He cursed and denied that he even knew Jesus. Yet, Peter was the one who, when he came to town, they put the sick on beds in the street so that his shadow might pass over them and they might be healed. He is the one who preached a three-minute sermon on the Day of Pentecost and three thousand souls were saved.
Peter denied and deserted Jesus. He was a coward in the time of testing, a total failure as a friend. But when Peter was out in the boat on the Sea of Tiberius, about 100 yards from shore, the Bible says that Peter, with practically nothing on, grabbed a cloak around him and jumped into the water because John told him Jesus was on the shore (see John 21:7).
This tells me that Peter, in his present response to Jesus, was not trapped in the mistakes of his past. He jumped into the water and swam to shore at breakneck speed. In his brokenness, he wasn’t afraid of Jesus or intimated by Him. He was deeply affected by the sacred Man.
Are you wrestling with a situation where people are condemning you for what you’ve done? If you are, remember that even though people judge you, God forgives you. It’s up to you to reach out, take the forgiveness He offers, and start seeing yourself as God sees you ― forgiven!
From the archives of Oral Roberts
Jesus has command over all the elements. After He had rebuked the winds and calmed the seas in Mark 4, He turned to His disciples and asked them two questions, “Why were you so afraid?” and “Where is your faith?” (See Mark 4:40 and Luke 8:25.)
You see, fear is the absence of faith just like darkness is the absence of light. And just as light drives away the darkness, so faith drives away fear. When we are feeling fear, our faith is not being activated or released.
How do we stir up our faith?
First, the Bible says that faith comes by hearing the Word of God. (See Roman10:17.) When you are feeling fear, turn to God’s Word. Read God’s promises to you. Read about His miracles. Get into a position where you can hear the preaching of God’s Word under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, with signs and wonders following. Find a church where the Holy Spirit is manifested and attend there regularly. Listen to Christian television programs that tell of God’s miracles and healing power. Join in fellowship with those who will speak the Word of God to you to encourage you and build you up.
Second, your faith is stirred when you begin to give and make a Seed-Faith gift… planting something into the work of the Lord and, as you do, believing that God your Source will meet your need. Then you have the assurance that you have seed in the ground for God to grow. You have given God something to multiply on your behalf. You have been obedient to the Lord to give and you are in a position to trust Him to give unto you as He said He would. (See Luke 6:38.)
As you launch out to do what the Lord asks you to do, fear may strike. That’s the time when you need to activate your faith. Get into God’s Word. Plant a seed. Your faith can wipe out your fear!
Be beautiful inside, in your hearts, with the lasting charm of a gentle and quiet spirit which is so precious to God (1 Peter 3:4 TLB).
When you have received the inner beauty of the Holy Spirit, and God has become your Source and the One who makes you beautiful, you are beautiful in His sight. You have to be beautiful in His sight because He said He made you in His own image. When you get an understanding of that, something wells up on the inside. When you put away the past ― the abuse, the hurts, the former things ― then what God has given you… that inner beauty, is going to come shining through.
I once read in USA Today about the Olympian who was obviously shaken by someone who beat her with some sort of instrument on her knee. A lifetime of practice and preparation for the Olympics was jeopardized in a matter of seconds by a total stranger.
But the young lady was anxious to put the incident behind her, saying, “I cannot let this stop me from living.” Another thing I noticed about this young lady was that she had a good support group. This was probably her greatest asset.
It’s important to associate with people who don’t discourage you, but encourage you. If somebody is tearing you down, constantly ripping you apart and putting you down, and it isn’t possible for you to physically move away from that person, you must put up heavenly protection against whatever it is that is harming you. You may live with someone like that whom you can’t get away from, but what you can do, in the Name of Jesus, is not let that person’s influence penetrate and destroy you on the inside.
Find a church or a ministry that is positive and uplifting, that brings out the Word of God, and that tells you “you are somebody important to God and that you can make it!”
In America, the phrase “In God We Trust” appears on our money. I love that! It’s so important for us to put our trust in God as our Source and not in money. I’ve learned to sow my seed to God as an act of my faith because He is my Source. I sow when I’m facing a need and when I’m not facing a need. I sow seed all the time. It’s a continual seed-sowing operation because I need a continued harvest. I make certain that my tithes and offerings are up to date. I want my heavenly checkbook to be balanced.
Philippians 4:17 says that our giving is fruit that abounds to our account in heaven. If I have an account in heaven, I want to be sure I have a good balance there, not a negative balance! Verse 19 says that God shall supply all my need according to his riches in glory, which is where my heavenly account is. But if I’ve got a zero balance, then I’m in trouble.
Seed is not just money. Seed involves your obedience ― doing what God tells you to do. It may be giving a seed of your love, your time, a smile, or a word of encouragement. The Amplified version of verse 17 says that what you sow becomes fruit which increased to your credit ― the harvest of blessing that is accumulating to your account. When you need it, God can open your heavenly account and pour you out blessings so great that there will not be room enough to receive them (Malachi 3:10–11). That’s how Seed-Faith works!
From the archives of Oral Roberts
Jesus told a story about a “certain rich man” who had a field that “brought forth plentifully.” In other words, this man was a very successful farmer. And this rich farmer began to think to himself, “What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?” This man had a problem most of us would like to experience at least once in our lives ― he had received more than he knew what to do with and he didn’t know what to do with what he had received!
He said, “This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease; eat, drink; and be merry.” But God said unto him, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?”And Jesus concluded, “So is he that layeth up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” (See Luke 12:16–21.)
This rich farmer certainly knew God’s laws of multiplication ― of planting seeds and reaping a harvest. He had seen God reproduce what he had sown. But there came a point in his life when he said, “I no longer need to sow. I don’t need to plant. I don’t need God. I’ll take my ease.”
And the very day that he stopped planting ― he stopped trusting God for an increase and started hoarding what he had, until he died.
That happens today, too. When a person stops giving…stops reaching out to others…stops planting their seeds of faith…something in them dies. They turn inward. And even though they might not die on the outside in their natural man, something within their spirit begins to die when they separate themselves from God’s law.
I want to ask you a question today. Are you choosing to plant what you have today? Are you choosing to live? The Word says, “Choose this day whom you will serve,” It’s time to choose to serve God in all you do.
If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (II Chronicles 7:14 NKJV)
On this day of remembrance, let us join our faith together to pray for our country and her leaders.
Lord, we give You thanks, praise, glory, and honor, for You are our God. You are the great I AM, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. We bless You and praise You.
Give wisdom, revelation, and understanding to our country’s leaders. We praise You for providing us with leaders who have a relationship of prayer with you. Reveal the mind of Christ to them. Grant them the spirit of David and the wisdom of Solomon.
We lift our country up to You. This country was founded upon Your Word, the Bible, and today we are calling our country back to You and Your Word―back to prayer and repentance.
Father, our country needs Your mercy. We need Your forgiveness. We need Your healing. We claim Your power to heal our nation. You are a big and mighty God, able to do beyond all that we can ask or even think.
Let the nation become the beacon You meant it to be, so that the light of the Gospel will shine forth and reach the uttermost bounds of the earth. May Your people be called to a new sense of prayer and commitment; unified as we look to You as our Source of help and strength. In Jesus’ precious name we pray. Amen.