Do you ever wonder why others are more ‘blessed’ than you?

By ‘blessed’ I mean they have more money or things or anything that your heart really desires but you don’t have.

Have you ever prayed a Jeremiah prayer?

“I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?” (Jeremiah 12:1)

If only …

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6 v 19-21)

The truth is we all like money. Most of us would like more. The reason being is obvious, we like what it does, what it gives us, where it takes us. But it is dangerous because of all of that. It can demand our attention and our desperation, our worship and our servitude.

Are you worrying about money? Are you wanting some retail therapy today? When was the last time you gave some money in just an act of generosity and not your tithe? Do you tithe? Are you free from the power of money?

According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, about 70 percent of people who win a lottery or receive a large windfall go bankrupt within a few years.

LOTTO jackpot winners Colin and Christine Weir have been granted a quickie divorce after 38 years of marriage. … Colin, 71, and Christine, 62, who took home the jackpot in 2011 had been married for 38 years before being hit by the curse of the lottery. They won £161 million! All that money and it didn’t bring them happiness and it certainly didn’t save their marriage. By the end of that year sadly Colin died of sepsis. Wealth can seriously affect your health and well-being.

To find out what we really love, Jesus says, examine the heart. There are treasures in heaven that have been stored up from what we have saved on earth. He has just spoken about giving, prayer and fasting and he instructs us to do those things in secret.

Whatever heavenly treasure means and the Apostle Paul would speak about rewards stored up for him, Jesus said we should do more things in secret before our Father.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus …. And the things of the earth will grow strangely dim …

Glorious disfigurement

After the destruction of the second temple, nearly 600 years before Christ, fast days increased amongst the Jews.  Fasting became ordered and specific days were designated fast days. 

Post AD, fasting along with other Jewish legalism and piety weaved its way into the Christian doctrine and it was administered as a form of penance, and the Popes ordered that quarterly fasts be undertaken which if broken led to torture!

In 1303 King Philip IV of France brought down Pope Boniface VIII on charges of heresy, blasphemy, sodomy, sorcery … and not fasting on fast day!

Fasting seems to have lost its beauty somewhat in history. It has become what Jesus spoke against. It has been gloriously disfigured by hypocrites. We need to recover it as a natural part of our discipleship as much as praying and giving.

“When you fast, do not look sombre as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6 v 16-18)

There are reasons to fast that are beneficial and it is not to look good amongst the crowd.

Fasting must be centred on God. It is not a means to get our own way, to somehow manipulate God to do what we want. 

Fasting is not a way to earn favour with God, to impress God or to earn his acceptance, for that is given through the work of Jesus Christ not our works.

Fasting will also identify to the ‘faster’ the things in their life that controls them, for example, pride or anger.

We are often unaware of being controlled, but fasting brings those things to the forefront, so that they can then be dealt with. So fasting isn’t necessarily from food but that will be the most popular form of fasting.

Fasting is a reminder to the Christian that our dependence is on God alone and not on food or the thing we happen to be fasting, that it is God who sustains us. Fasting unto God therefore is feasting – feasting on him and on doing his will. Fasting also helps us to recognise that the nonessentials really are nonessentials.  So often they can take over our lives; fasting helps to maintain balance again.

Fasting strengthens prayer because it helps to focus more clearly on what we are seeking God for. It doesn’t bend his arm it helps to bend our knee.

Fasting makes us more receptive to understand what God is wanting from our life.

Fasting can best express to God the depth of our feelings. Fasting can express the grief and confession of our sin that words cannot.

Fasting is often used in the Bible story to seek protection from enemies or circumstances

Fasting can indicate a new season has begun.

Fasting is a physical expression of humility before God.

Fasting can be used to overcome trials and temptations.

Fasting expresses love and worship to God. It is an act of sheer devotion to God.

How do you incorporate it into your discipleship?

Extreme Love

Our world is in need of this.

A few days ago I wrote of Eva Mozes Kor who had forgiven the Angel of Death, Josef Mengele. Afterwards I discovered that she had adopted the grandson of Rudolf Hoss, the SS Commander of Auschwitz, “I’m proud to be his grandmother. I admire and love him. He had the need of love from a family he never had.”

Extreme Love.

Jung Jin-Wook and her husband had been Korean missionaries in Turkey since 2015, they were great evangelists. Then one day her husband, Kim, was attacked in the street whilst evangelising, he was fatally stabbed twice in the chest and once in the back. He was 41 years old. Later she wrote to her husband’s killer facing court: “I do not understand why you did this, but I cannot be angry at you. Many people want the court to give you a heavy punishment. But I and my husband don’t want this. We pray that you become worthy of heaven, because we believe in the worth of people. God sent his Son Jesus, who forgave those who persecuted him. We also believe in that and we pray that you would also repent of your sin.” February 17,2020 (Christianity Today).

Extreme Love.

The horrendous picture of the naked girl in 1972 running for her life with the other children from the napalm bombs dropped in the Vietnam War went global. But so did her forgiveness of the pilot she met in 1996 at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Extreme Love.

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”(Matthew 6 v 14-15)

This is not Father standing over every individual watching to see if they are as quick to forgive as He is to forgive them. Your forgiveness is not conditioned on you being able to buy it through your conduct of others. That’s not it. But it is this ….

If you really have then you will.

If there is nothing there then it is an indicator that you haven’t truly received.

It goes together.

Extreme Love flows through a forgiven heart from a Father who made it all happen.

A prayer to be used, part 5

Every day the Jews say a prayer like this one:

“May it be Your will, HaShem, my God and the God of my forefathers, that you rescue me today and every day from brazen men and brazenness, from an evil man, an evil companion, an evil neighbour, an evil mishap, the destructive spiritual impediment [‘Satan’], a harsh trial and a harsh opponent, whether he is a member of the covenant or whether he is not a member of the covenant.” (The Complete Artscroll Siddur)

So now compare the prayer that Jesus made, I have underlined our verse today so you can see the comparison:

“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation,but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:9-13)

As we can see at the end of His prayer Jesus introduces us to the spiritual battle that we daily face.

There is a path that knows no end and which has ruined and continues to ruin countless lives, families, churches, communities and yes even nations.

No one really knows what it is that causes a person to be tempted to such destructive means, No one really understands the mind of the one being tempted at the time.

What was Samson thinking when he kept going back to Delilah, even when he knew she was trying to kill him through a sexual trap?

Why did Judas betray his friend even when there must have been doubts in his mind over what he was doing?

Why did Ananias and Sapphira pretend they were giving everything when they weren’t, they must have wondered if anyone would find out?

Temptation is irrational.

We will not know the answers to these questions, they are held within the mystery of fatal attraction.

James 1: 13-15 “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

Jesus tells us to pray about the spiritual battle. There are times the Holy Spirit will lead us into a desert experience where for a period of time we are tempted by our own desires in that place. If we give in to those desires we sin. If we surrender to God we mature in the power of the Spirit, just as Jesus did.

Temptations generally fall into the following categories:

The temptation of not having.

Temptation will come in the area of your lack, what you need or think you need, in the place of emptiness. It strikes at what you previously held as a personal belief or value for your life.

“Did God really say? Maybe not!” “Why not? Maybe God understands.”

Temptation comes to emphasise your restricted life. It will highlight freedom as being the most important thing and cause you to forget that you are already free.

The temptation of being secretive.

Temptation will try and fool you into thinking you can manage the consequence of sin. It will blind you to the effect on the people you influence.

The temptation of needing to be needed.

There is a temptation that tries to move the person from the place of adding value to focusing on feeling valued.

The craving to feel value can hinder a person from being valuable. We are most valuable when we get to the place where we do not need appreciation from people.

The craving to feel valued is one of the most common reasons people make bad decisions, “I’m leaving. I just don’t feel valued anymore.”

The craving to be valued causes people to assume they are most valuable when they are most valued.

The temptation of needing answers for your suffering.

God did this to me, Satan did this to me, maybe I did something wrong that brought this suffering?

Sometimes, stuff just happens and there is no one to blame.

But temptation draws you away from the treasures that can be found in suffering. It slows up the process of all things working together for good.

Let me end with the Jewish daily prayer followed by the Jesus prayer:

Do not let us be overcome by sin, disobedience, or iniquity, not by trials, nor by disgrace; and do not let the evil inclination rule us. Distance us from harmful people and harmful friends … rescue me today and every day … from my evil inclination, from an evil friend, from an evil neighbor, from an evil incident … and from the destructive adversary (satan). (Siddur, Morning Prayers)

“‘Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,but deliver us from the evil one.”

(Matthew 6:9-13)

This is a prayer to be used and perhaps by increasing the prayer being used in our daily lives we will be better equipped as disciples.

A Prayer to be used, part 4

In Mark Twain’s, Huckleberry Finn, Huck is told that if he doesn’t turn in his friend, a runaway slave named Jim, he will surely burn in hell. So one day Huck, not wanting to lose his soul to Satan, writes a letter to Jim’s owner telling her of Jim’s whereabouts. After folding the letter, he starts to think about what his friend has meant to him, how Jim took the night watch so he could sleep, how they laughed and survived together. Jim is his friend and that is worth reconsideration. Huck realizes that it’s either Jim’s friendship or hell. Then the great Mark Twain writes such wonderful words of resolve. Huck rips the paper and says, “Alright then, I guess I’ll go to hell.”

“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6 v 12)

Every day there are wrongs done to people. You may be reading this carrying such a horrible weight of wrong that has been done against you.

There are unbelievable tragedies today. There are many victims. Since the beginning of time God has seen what mankind can to each other. “The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.” (Genesis 4:10).

God has given mankind the freedom to choose.

We choose to love which blesses or we choose to sin which hurts.

Today you may be the victim because someone made the wrong choice.

When we are the sinner we cry for mercy. But the natural response when we are sinned against is to cry for justice.

The blood of Abel in Genesis 4 cried for justice. It was a prayer of ‘Get him God.’

The blood of Jesus is not ‘Father get these murderers’ but “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

What name needs to be mentioned that would cause you to react? They may have died years ago. The event is not far from you. Who still needs your forgiveness?

Who is your Jim?

A Prayer to be used, part 3

The enemy of your soul is out to attack your today. He’s not interested in tomorrow but today. He’s planning to mess it up, cause problems, to do everything he can to make it into a bad day. He uses yesterday to do that and he knows if he can destroy today he has broken your tomorrow.

“Give us today our daily bread.” (Matthew 6 v 11)

We go every day. We don’t miss a day. We don’t have a holiday. We never get too busy to go.

AND it is this persistence that changes you as you see the world through God’s eyes.

We don’t have to be like Moses wanting to give up and for God to end it all or like Jonah wanting to curl up and die or Elijah running into a cave of self-pity. We choose persistence. Daily.

What do we ask for? Bread. It is a physical and a spiritual matter, the source of life.

God doesn’t need to hear lofty prayers.

He longs for reality from us. He wants to hear prayers over what may even appear trivial matters. He heard the prayer for wine at the party. He hears the prayers from the hungry and the tired. He hears the prayers from the poor, the powerless and the sick. Today your daily bread may be so insignificant, but tell Him, don’t hold anything back.

Father I need bread today.

“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew’s version)

A Prayer to be used, part 2

Are our prayers nice? Do they contain beautiful poetic words? There are some wonderful prayers. But then there are some nitty-gritty, tough battle-type prayers. The prayer Jesus taught is one of those:

“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew’s version)

Our verse for today is indeed a very tough line within the prayer.

“…your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6 v 10)

In the beginning mankind was invited into this kingdom of God to reign with Him in partnership. “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” Gen 1:28

Because of the fall and our sin we lost the right to that kingdom.

The end result was that our kingdom became cursed, painful, hard work, sweat and toil for little return.

But prophets began to speak of a new, coming Kingdom of God.

Isaiah spoke of a righteous kingdom.

Malachi of a kingdom of peace and healing.

The after 400 years of no revelation a messenger comes …

“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.” Matt 3:1

Jesus comes and of course carries on that same message. He is in fact the Message of the Kingdom.

“Your Kingdom Come” is a request that the kingdom of God overshadows your kingdom.

Let your kingdom come is a prayer for those who are finding that their kingdom is one of sweat + toil, pain + headache, much effort and little return. Is that you today perhaps? Then make the request of your Father knowing this is in line with His will and therefore hallows His name. But there is more.

Today you can pray those 3 words over someone’s life. Maybe you know someone who has a broken kingdom, their life is in tatters? Let ‘your kingdom come’ over their kingdom is our prayer for others.

With His Kingdom comes His will. His will is never easy.

We will see Jesus battle with the will in Gethsemane, Mark 14:35 “Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him.”

Have you seen The Strongest Man programme? They carry heavy boulders and they have to go all the way.  After a little while you never see one of them fall with the stone – they just let go of it.  At some point of going a little further with God carrying the burden of death, the burden of the cross and the price of laying your life down, you will get to the point where something is going to drop.

Will it be the price or you?

Jesus refused to let go of the cost and fell to the ground with it. Many Christians have said ‘It’s too heavy, Lord –I can’t do that any longer. I cannot do what is expected of me. I want to go back’.

Jesus is calling you and me to such radical living that you will hold on to Him and the price of living the walk so that even if it means you drop to your knees – you drop there, holding on to the burden of carrying the cost.

Where is the army of God? Where is the soldier who never runs away at any price?

You drop to your knees because you are saying ‘I am willing to trust You. I trust you with my life. I am not sure where it is going and it is mightily uncomfortable right now and I wish I could live a different type of life and I wish you would take this away from me if you were asking me for a choice but I fall on my knees in submission because I surrender to you, whatever you have got – it is Your will over my will and “I surrender all to Jesus; All to Him I freely give”

Let your kingdom come, your will be done is a prayer for those who are willing to battle. It is a very tough request. Will you pray it?

A Prayer to be used, part 1.

Prayer for the Jew was part of who they were. Blessings, benedictions, petitions and doxologies weaved throughout their whole lives as communities and in their homes. So it is not strange at all that Jesus would focus on prayer. After challenging how the hypocrites had abused prayer he teaches them how they should pray.

Is this in itself a teaching Jesus was giving? Over the next few days we will indeed dissect it, dwell on it and hopefully discover some things.

Is this a model for us to use in our services together? If it is then it has disappeared from many churches and needs a reintroduction.

“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew’s version)

However Jesus meant for it to be used we can assume he created the prayer and that he was familiar with praying it and maybe that is all we need to know to make it part of our lives.

“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name” (Matthew 6 v 9)

The incredible blessing for every Christian today is that they can address God as Father. This personal, intimate, familiar title is given only because of relationship.

No one before Jesus called God this name.

No one after Jesus calls God, Father, except the followers of Jesus.

‘Our’ Father brings us together in community. We are His children.

Hallowed be your name.

When the Jewish scribes write a name or title for God they immediately go and wash their hands, such is the honour they attribute to it. In fact they avoid pronouncing the name God and use names like Yahweh instead, this is the way they choose to hallow the name.

Father, let your name be holy, sacred.

Let people across the world believe in you. Let them obey you. Let them glorify you. This is the desire of God. Jesus shows his disciples that they should begin to pray in line with that desire.

The Jewish history is of course one of being controlled by foreign powers and living in exile among nations not worshipping Yahweh. God raised up prophets to stir His people and to realise that His name would be hallowed. Ezekiel wrote, “I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I am proved holy through you before their eyes.” (36:23)

This promise of God to His people is that of redemption through Jesus. Isaiah carried that same promise: “When they see among them their children, the work of my hands, they will keep my name holy; they will acknowledge the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob, and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.” (29:23)

We are living in times when people are fashioning God into their own image of what they believe God to be, so that they can be who they want to be. They believe in God, they have faith, but perhaps not the God of the Bible.

And before we roll our eyes and point the finger at this group and the next for creating their own version of God, even ‘Bible-believing’ Christians need to be careful. If our prayer life is about us then we will not receive. If we want our Churches to grow bigger than the Church on the opposite side of the road then we will not receive. If we want promotion so that we can get a bigger car, a more luxurious house to live in, more comfort in this life then we will not receive. Yes, pray for provision and Jesus instructs us to do so. But first fall into line. Make your words aligned to the glory, the honour, the hallowing of His Name. Not my will but yours be done.

When people look at us, the Church community, the ‘our’, do they see people glorifying God? That is the point.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

Close the Door

Is the Son of God praying in me, or am I dictating to Him?….Prayer is not simply getting things from God, that is a most initial form of prayer; prayer is getting into perfect communion with God. If the Son of God is formed in us by regeneration, He will press forward in front of our common sense and change our attitude to the things about which we pray. –Oswald Chambers

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6 v 5-8)

We may never have witnessed street-corner praying. But we must still learn to close the door when we pray.

Prayer is to close out everything else and close ourselves in with God.

Closing the door is so important for you are shutting out your world outside.

Prayer is not always to stumble in carrying a weight of problems that you just need to get off your chest. “Prayer is getting into perfect communion with God” (Chambers)

When we go into someone’s home, we first wipe our feet, kick off the dirt and leave outside what we don’t want to bring into this home.

“Child, slow down, leave it all outside, you must be tired of all the trouble, close the door. Come enter in, come with me, I want to show you my love, I want to show you how much I care for you. Your worship is beautiful as it comes from a heart of sacrifice. I want to wash you. Come with me, stay awhile. I want to show you my power. I want to show you that I am stronger than anything you will ever have to face. Enjoy my peace, stay in my presence, gaze on my power.”

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2)

“Now, child, what’s outside the door?”

As you look again at the problem, no matter how huge it is, you have just experienced the place of prayer with a closed door and it has filled you with confidence in God and because of that you begin to ask with confidence.

Do you ever find yourself struggling with your words with people? You have to be careful what you say realising that there are people listening who would delight in jumping on something you said or to misquote you etc.

Closing the door means confidentiality. We can tell Father anything, everything and in any order. It doesn’t have to be a well-crafted statement. At long last, there is a place where you can use clumsy words, it can just fall out of your mouth with no worry of offence being caused. We can tell Him how it really is, share our hurts, sorrows and joys. We can give Him our frustration, tears and anger. We can admit our weaknesses, failures and sin.

What a wonderful place this is.

Many get so near to this place. But because of preoccupation many have never entered in.

This is the locked down place. The closed door experience. It is the place of prayer.

Blowing your own horn … but don’t let your left hand know it.

In 2007, my African friend was deferred a year by my denomination’s Ministerial Selection Board because in his interview he, “came across far too quiet and gave no evidence for having proven ministry.” Yet by the time of his interview he had planted tens of churches and was an avid evangelist to his tribe. So the following year I decided to help my friend succeed at the second attempt. “Let me introduce you to a phrase, for I am going to coach you in the art of Blowing your own horn!” Though I was leading him down the path of ordination my friend thought I was leading him down a sinful path and of course both paths are dissimilar!

I like to research where phrases come from. Mark Twain in a letter in 1859 wrote “Permit me to blow my horn”. But the phrase is also found 2 centuries before that.

Let’s see our next verses in Matthew:

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6: 2-4)

Even Muhammed took these words of Jesus when he declared there were 7 people who would be protected from Judgment of Allah, the sixth being, “a person who practices charity so secretly that his left hand does not know what his right hand has given”. In the Old Testament there are numerous references to God’s people seeing the right hand as being strong and the left as weak. In fact in Ecclesiastes 10:2 the left is seen as foolish. Jacob blessed with his right hand; Ezekiel lay on his left side for 390 days in penance for the sins of Israel which was left of Judah and then 40 days on his right side (one day for every year of their sin) for the sins of Judah. Note: if you are left-handed don’t be condemned just switch it and the point remains. There is a side of us that continually wants to weaken the situation by claiming some recognition for achievement. Don’t let it happen when it comes to giving.

The picture Jesus provides is some kind of trumpet blowing when either you or someone within the community is bringing a gift. They did it to be seen.

Jesus says don’t do it to be seen by man but by your Father in heaven. This is the common root of his sermon and the exposure of hypocrisy that runs right through the centre of his message.

Many years ago a Church member offered me £20,000 so long as I told the church who had given the gift. I knew this request was revealing a hidden problem the man had of ego and control. I thanked him and refused the money but thought of the £20,000 for quite some time!

Every year philanthropic lists of people are produced showing how literally billions of dollars are given to charities. Every year people who die are then exposed as being the most wonderful secret givers. But they all give out of their wealth and whether alive or dead are praised by man. But then there are other givers. People like you. People who give out of their income regularly to the church, into a big pot of money to be used to pay ministers/staff to lead a giving church into the community and also to be used for the extension of God’s kingdom through mission and evangelism locally, nationally and overseas. No one knows. You don’t announce it when you give into the bag/plate or by standing order. You just do it and you have done it for years. It is probably the same amount every time but throughout the year you will give special larger amounts because you want to show thankfulness to God primarily. Your Father has rewarded you along the way and you have many stories no doubt but the promise of Jesus is that your Father will reward you. Whatever our life is like the other side it does seem rewards are there for us. Matthew will record later in Jesus’ sermon about storing up treasures in heaven. Secret giving does pay! But it is the Father who pays not people.

One final note: did my tuition in Blowing your own horn succeed for my African friend. Yes! He blew his own horn wonderfully and was accepted and ordained, though he had to repent later for self-promotion! Today this friend has planted innumerable amount of churches and seen thousands and thousands come to Christ.