SERVING GOD IN ALMS
[This Message was preached at a place in Bungoma, Kenya in a house fellowship on the night of Monday the 24th day of February 2014 by Joshua. It was 1hr: 28mins: 2secs long]
Feeling so much better, talking about this Good old Way,
Feeling so much better, talking about the Lord.
Let’s go on, let’s go on, talking about this
Let’s go on, let’s go on, talking about the Lord;
Let’s go on, let’s go on, talking about this Good old Way,
Let’s go on, let’s go on, talking about the Lord.
We shall open our Bibles in the Book of Acts 9:36 – 43;
Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and alms deeds which she did. And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber.
And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them. Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and showing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.
But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up. And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive. And it was known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. And it came to pass, that he tarried many days in Joppa with one Simon a tanner.
Now, as we dedicate ourselves this night for the purpose of worship and prayer, we present ourselves before Him that is, so that we may find favour, grace and mercy from His presence. We are thankful to Him because He has watched over us throughout the day, and we trust that He is going to be faithful in watching over each one of us this night; so that each one of us may abide by Him in the way of His Word and the Holy Spirit. We have to surrender all and come to Him by the way of the Word always. Reading the Word, fellowshipping and meditating around His Word, which is His Name, His own nature and Himself Revealed and manifested by the Scripture.
And, any time we are far from the Scriptures, we are also far from Him. Any time, by the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, we happen to be closer to the Scriptures, then we are closer to Him. And in that case, we seek some spiritual way of meditating upon His Word. Now, any time your heart is not in the state of meditation, or in the state of fellowshipping with the Word, it means that somehow your heart is backslidden. That may be as a result of some relaxation and compromise somewhere, or whatever else you may have done somewhere that is contrary.
However, it’s the Will of God, by the Holy Spirit, that you should always be in the fellowship of the Word. And any time your heart is not in the fellowship with the Word, you should always question yourself and take a personal inventory. That may be as a result of a number of possible causes; either by being careless in your conduct somewhere, overlooking something, overdoing something, overtaken by something, having taken something lightly, or your having left something undone somewhere. It may also be that you have gone in the wrong direction somewhere, and that is why your heart can get into such a state, where you have no fellowship with God by the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, it is His that all the time you be in fellowship with Him.
Therefore, any time you lack fellowship with the Word, or with the Holy Spirit in any way, then you should simply understand that either you must have made compromise somewhere, done something that is not supposed to be done, walked somewhere you are not supposed to, handled yourself careless somewhere, overlooked something somewhere, not done what you are supposed to do, or you have overdone something somewhere. That is to say, lack of fellowship is a clear sign that something is wrong somewhere.
Whenever I personally have missed the fellowship with the Word, or with the Holy Spirit in my heart, it has never been because of any other justified cause, but it has always been that either I have not taken care of something somewhere; I have indulged too much in worldly ways – I have taken too much care about the world and forgotten the Spiritual way, or I have done something wrong somewhere. And that always brings some kind of Spiritual desolations.
So any time you miss that Spiritual fellowship, you should always search yourself in a real way. Sometimes it may even be things that are so innocently done, which do not draw much on your average attention, but they may do a lot of harm if they are not discovered. If you are just missing a closer fellowship with the Word, like not giving enough time to the reading of the Scriptures – studying of the Scriptures, or any other Christian literature materials which have somewhat to do with the Scriptures, then you will experience some Spiritual drought.
Maybe you are not giving yourself enough time to pray, and praying here and there with all prayer, where you surrender everything and pray for quite some time; or maybe here and there you are neglecting something you ought to have done. Maybe here and there you are walking a bit carelessly, talking too much about things that are useless, or you are concerning yourself with too much flesh and blood. You may also be overlooking some Spiritual duty somewhere.
Therefore, there are so many causes why many times we miss blessings and spiritual fellowship, which are not sinful as such. You may not discern it as sin which condemns you. So even if you search yourself on the level of sinning, wondering what evil you have done which has robbed you off the spiritual blessings, you will not find any sin. Maybe, you have not been reading the Bible enough, and that will not condemn you at all on the level of having sinned. Maybe, you are not praying enough, or reading other materials which have fellowship with the Word; that also will not condemn you at all. Maybe, you have just been talking too much about ordinary earthly things which cannot condemn you, but which you know very well that they are useless matter anyhow.
Therefore, there are very many engagements of that kind that would most innocently destroy your fellowship with God. And, once you grow up spiritually, you become careful, being able to detect when you are going beyond or relaxing, and not doing something you ought to be doing. You will find out that you are able to detect it very fast, and specifically realize that you are not reading the Scriptures as often as is required of you, or that you are not anymore having the desire to search out for messages to read the way you used to. You will clearly realize that your prayer pattern and frequency have dwindled and that instead, you have begun talking too much about ordinaries. You will be able to realize all that by yourself.
You will discover by yourself that currently when you meet with people who are not of the true Christian commonwealth, you tend to be so free with them, and as a result, you are drawn into talking about just anything easily. And once you realize that as the possible problem, then you would have easily detected the cause of the lack of fellowship, and the Holy Spirit will now help you to recover.
Those are people who are maturing, coming to Perfection and realizing that they are to have a closer walk with the Lord Jesus Christ; and that is where they find the real rich blessings of fellowshipping with Him. They are able to detect when those blessings are lacking and they are able also to realize that it is because of a certain kind of walking, or whatever else the cause may be. They are able to tell that it is not just sin or transgression that may necessitate their lack of blessings, but much more so, detect those innocent engagements of missing this, doing that, or overindulgence in something.
Whenever you find yourself in this spiritually alert state, then it means you are becoming strong and mature in the Spirit. You are able to detect the wrong in all your own engagements which would otherwise not condemn anybody before God, so that he may approach His Presence desiring for His Mercies to know and overcome things which he even doesn’t know. Over such innocent things, one may pray earnestly and still find out that he has not committed any sin, but they are still the very things that cause him to miss the blessings of the Holy Spirit and a closer walk with God.
You have to be useful to God, through His Son Jesus Christ. And, as others have said of a truth, I have read several people putting a lot of stress on that, and it is true; that once you have become a Christian, your concern, as you live in this world, should only be about what you do with the Lord Jesus Christ. It doesn’t matter what you are doing. Whatever you are doing, the center of it should be your concern with Jesus Christ. So that, in all that you are engaged, your concern and point of reference should be Jesus Christ. Regardless of what work you may be engaged in, whether natural, physical, or spiritual; your focus is ever to remain on Jesus Christ, and Him only.
You are not doing it for any other cause, but serving Jesus Christ. And you should be able to be in that condition about that work. It doesn’t matter whether it is an ordinary earthly job like even farming, your reference must remain to Him. If you are not able to bring yourself into a state of serving Jesus in that farm work, you should either leave that farm or repent and come back to Jesus Christ so that you are able to offer it to Him. If the work that you are engaged in cannot be consecrated to His Service, such that it is your service unto Him, then that is a backslidden state of serving. That is to say, you are backtracking in that service. And in that case, it is imperative that you stop there and bring yourself back in Jesus so that it becomes an offering to Jesus Christ.
I am speaking in the Name of this Scripture here, where we read regarding sister Dorcas of Joppa. This sister Tabitha, who died and rose again, had some work which she was doing, of sewing and knitting garments. In those days they just weaved clothes; that kind of weaving and knitting clothes like the old hand-made sweaters in the early sixties here in Kenya. So she could do that kind of work, and she did it in Christ. She did it with such dedication to Christ that it was evident to all. She never laboured for money or some kind of batter trade, so as to make ends meet in this life here below; but she did it in such a manner that was so clear to everybody that she was serving Jesus Christ by it. There was no question about that, such that when she died there was a living testimony that she did for that course. So it is from that strength that I am kind of implying the same; that is exactly what a Christian should come unto – perfection in His own works.
There comes a point in your Christian walk where whatever work you do, you do it unto Him; such that, you only concern yourself with anything for His sake. As you go around the work, you are always seeing Him and beholding Him, and therefore you are doing it with respect to Him. So, the end of your service and anything that goes with it is just about Jesus Christ – about God. And that’s what those who have really done it and have come to perfection in serving Him, never missed blessings in serving God throughout their life. If you found such a one serving in a certain work, he would work as unto the Lord, and the end of that service would be Jesus Christ. He dedicates all of it to Jesus so that he is serving Jesus by that. And if you can reach there – that mark in service, then it means that you are coming to the place where you cannot miss His blessings.
That is why the Bible says that the widows paraded themselves there in the house showing those garments that she had weaved and knitted for them, and the Bible comments her saying that this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds. She mainly did this good work and gave out the garments to the needy as an offering – alms. Alms was an Old Testament way of serving which was brought into the New Testament in another way.
In the Old Testament, there used to be very special offerings that were offered for the making of frankincense, which was a very costly kind of spice. It was a mixture of some kind of oil and some kind of spices that finally made it into that which is called frankincense. It was so special, in that, it was to be offered to God alone; and according to the commandments, no man was supposed to use it. It was a very unique kind of mixture of oil and spices, which one could anoint himself with since it was oily. It did not only have some kind of very sweet fragrance or smell, but it could also burn. Therefore, it could be burnt to give a sweet smell as well as being used as an ointment. Nevertheless, the children of Israel were commanded never to use it as ointment upon themselves but to offer it unto God only.
Now, there was a special offering which was done in a special place for buying that frankincense. It was done in such a way that if somebody came to offer, he could offer a general offering and also offer the money to be used to buy that costly spice and oil for making the frankincense. It was a very special offering, and that frankincense was burnt by the priest on a golden altar which was before the veil, during the time of prayer. As the people would be praying outside the tabernacle, the priest would be burning that frankincense. This was so that, as the priest burnt the frankincense, the smoke would go up with its sweet fragrance or smell together with the prayers of the people. So that sweet smell was representing the odour of those prayers as it took them along with it.
So, that is what frankincense was provided for and how it was used. There was a special offering to buy that frankincense, and it was that special offering that was called alms – it was given the name alms. When somebody gave an offering in the name of tithing, a vow, a Peace offering, thanksgiving or maybe something else in that order, then finally, he could also give alms, which was very special. And that is why the Bible says in the New Testament, Jesus Christ quoting that and saying that ‘when you bring or offer your alms do it in secret’ because it was always offered in the secret. The priest alone offered the frankincense inside the tabernacle, and there was nobody else allowed inside the tabernacle then. He offered it alone, and it was to be that way –offered in secret. However, others would be praying outside; and that is why the Bible says that when you pray, you close up yourself in a house, or somewhere and should not let it to be before men, but before God alone.
Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise, ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Now, that frankincense and those prayers meant the same thing. Hence, in the Christian dispensation, we don’t, therefore, offer money for buying frankincense because we don’t offer such things as burning spices on some kind of ordinary fire. It is no longer there because it was only a shadow and typing something else more real today.
It is possible to make such an offering in the New Testament; there is an offering which is to be offered unto God that has replaced the frankincense. That offering is found in Christ. In that offering, you have to labour in order to get alms – spiritual alms that you will be able to receive in Christ. By Christ being offered in the New Testament, He took care of every offer that was ever offered in the Old Testament; that is why we say that alms is in Christ. What purchases frankincense, the sweet savour and whatever else that goes with that is all in Christ. However, you work for it, for you to have it. You labour and seek for it so that you are able to offer a special offering like that. As the Bible says, we are a chosen generation, a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices unto God.
Let us read in the Book of 1Peter 2:5-9;
Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
Sometimes we find some Christians who are full of alms while others have no alms at all! We have Christians who are full of alms because of their much dedication to Jesus Christ – their dedicated life of serving Jesus enables them to be full of alms. Those are Christian who never miss prayer – they hardly miss a prayer, fellowship with the word and the revival of the Holy Spirit, because they are full of alms. Some of your offerings, as you live your Christian lives, become alms severally. We have those which are simply the Christian life, which means a sacrifice to be burned on that Christian life; where somebody is suffering for the sake of Christ. When he is afflicted for the sake of the Name of Jesus Christ, then he is like a burnt sacrifice which is burning on the altar.
So, we have various manifestations of these sacrifices such as crucifixion and dying for Christ, and such as an offering represented in Christ. Nevertheless, one of the most special ones, and the richest one which is the innermost – the closest to the Throne, is that which alms is. Therefore, part of your Christian life is to serve in the service of almsgiving.
Now whatever makes you amount to that sacrifice – whatever it is severally, is your dedication to Jesus Christ and to His Word. Now, it doesn’t matter what we can say about that or qualify it; like stating how you become, or how you receive that service where you are able to offer alms. Maybe, we try to state how you get in a place where you can offer a sacrifice of some thanksgiving, Peace offering, devotion, vows and so on; we may not so much concern ourselves of how you are to become that, but it’s simple like this; it is when you are all-round devoted to Jesus Christ and the centre of your life is Jesus Christ, such that whatever you do, you do it in reference to Jesus and as a service unto Him. As you work, you are seeing Jesus in your working and in your walking all-around, just like Tabitha was doing. Part of all the work that Tabitha did in her daily life was as alms. The Bible says she was full of alms – almsdeeds. you see. We have deeds that offer alms. Besides those deeds which offer sacrifices and whatever, we have deeds that offer alms. Those are most tender. So, I may not be able to say them or pinpoint them, but those are the tenderest deeds that become alms. Those are deeds of love and are full of love imparted from within as a result of the tempering of the Holy Spirit. They are indeed most tender. Those are the ones that become alms.
We have some deeds, some works and some help which are not so deeply rooted in the Spirit; and may not be so telling whether you do, or you don’t do them. Their lack may not cause your lack of blessings, just as their presence may not attract rich spiritual blessings. But we have some deeds and works which are so needful and require such dedication and love to possess them, and that is the Love of Jesus Christ. It requires the Love of Jesus, but many times we pass on them, especially those Christians who are not sensitive to almsgiving; they do pass on that unheeded. They do a lot of these things which are a bit bare, the kind that does not really count whether done or not because they even, in a real sense, do not solve any problem. They may be done, yes; but even if they are not done, nobody will lack any blessing, or suffer loss in any way.
It is true; whether conscious or unconscious, many Christians are full of such bare deeds, but when you come to almsgiving, their life is so much bankrupt. That is why you find many of them do not have a really deep fellowship in God’s Ways and Word – a deep fellowship that genders to a deep relationship with God. They are not so much in deep fellowship with the Word and with Jesus Christ. They are not very much close to Jesus Christ who is in the inner veil because these other bare deeds are done a far off outside the tabernacle where everybody is seeing them. True and acceptable almsgiving is done within the tabernacle, that is, before the veil, and very close to the Presence of God because the next move you make from the golden alter directly puts you at the entrance into the Holy of Holies where the presence of God is found.
So we have a special kind of gift, special life, special offer and special kind of service which is called almsdeeds. And if you will be a very rich Christian, then be ready to offer almsdeeds. Such deeds and such works, or anything in that line will always redound blessings. Now, these alms can be done both spiritually and physically. In fact, the physical almsdeeds encourage spiritual almsdeeds. The spiritual almsdeeds are about the Name of Jesus and how tenderly you hold it and confess it; how lovingly and how sweetly you confess the Name of Jesus Christ; how zealously you value Jesus Christ and how seriously you treat that Holy Name.
Now if the spiritual almsdeeds are there, but then these other outer almsdeeds lack, then the inner ones become barren. They dry up in service because it is like you are exaggerating what you are not ready to accomplish. Thus, how much tender you are towards Christ; how much you love Jesus; how much you surrender to Him; how much you uphold Him and how much you confess Him dearly should be supported by the outward manifestations of your Love for Jesus and your care for His Name. That tender care for Jesus, in which you really appreciate, thanking and holding Him very high in your life, will have no meaning; and soon or later will be dry and will not reach fruition until you support it strongly by your outward manifestations of how much you love Him and how much you appreciate Him.
Now, let me just give one example which may help to open our eyes to what I mean by the strong outward support – supporting your almsgiving within. Let’s say somebody is very desperately beside you – really desperate! That person is in dire need of your support. Now, that is an area where you can offer the most tender of your care - when somebody is very desperate and needs that care from you. And if you don’t do that, you see, you are skipping something which could have become an alms. God may send your way those kinds of things and push them very close to you; but the moment you skip them, you miss a lot as a Christian. Your spiritual state will not be without disruptions and unsettlement. Your prayers will be hindered and you will hardly get any blessing because God would have slightly moved away from you since you were not obedient enough to realize what grace He had bestowed upon you.
It means you are selfish; and it has been confirmed that you don’t love Jesus Christ enough because, if you did, then you could have never skipped that kind of offer. Sometimes God deliberately pushes that in your way, and with time, I have heard some Christians comment carelessly about such cases in a real hardened way, not discerning the purpose and blessings that go with them. They are able to comment using statements that are barren because they don’t realize that it is an opportunity to offer alms. They have not loved Jesus enough; they have not cared for Jesus enough and they are not awake enough since they are partly asleep.
Any time there is a desperate situation that offers itself before you, which calls for your attention, you must offer the best you are able if you will continue with blessings that are rich enough in your presence which can manifest Jesus Christ. That particular challenge or whatever has come your way, God has put it there deliberately. Don’t think it has just come by itself. He has just put it before you to see what you will do about it, and it doesn’t matter what you have, or what you don’t have, he is just looking at your attention; whether it is going to be all attention to do the best, or not. If you can just be attentive to that particular situation and you attend to it to your best, seeing that God has brought it before you, then you will be blessed for it, even the blessings of one offering almsdeeds.
This can be anywhere where you are somehow required and have somewhat to do with it. In such cases normally, it doesn’t matter what, or whoever is involved in the matter, but that it requires your attention. And more so, it is something that requires your tender care because it is so desperate; then you will be serving Jesus Christ in it so lovingly and zealously by being given to it wholeheartedly.
So, we have such kind of deeds which become alms since they are done directly to Jesus Christ, and that is when it is truly known that you have served Christ; or else all your praising, thanksgiving, prayer and all your worship is meaningless. It becomes meaningless because you are worshipping God without alms. It is like you are kindling fire on God’s altar and you don’t put anything there. Your prayers are not accompanied by the sweet fragrance of incense since there is nothing burning on the altar. So, the contradiction is that you have properly set up an altar and lit a fire upon the altar; however, you are not that determined to put frankincense on the fire, but you start praying before a dry fire. The interpretation will clearly be that you did not offer alms on the altar because they are costly, and you are not ready to offer that costly offering, since you don’t value Jesus Christ that much, enough to sacrifice for that much.
That is the challenge that Christians have today and is one main reason why people are dry, and therefore are not able to pray that much. Consequently, they don’t have that prerequisite hunger for the Word. Their hearts are continually dry with regard to the Word, and they do not feast at all upon the Word in fellowships since their hearts are of stone and impenetrable by the Word. Instead, their dry hearts slide down into the sides of the ship and, like Jonah, find comfort there, lay down flat and are fast asleep to the end that they don’t even recognize the voice of the Captain. They just comfortably sleep in the services because their hearts are away from Jesus Christ; and the one reason is that, as Christians, they have not been zealous enough to serve Jesus Christ with all their hearts in a way of becoming an alms.
Those widows were able to show Tabitha’s almsdeeds; all the widows stood by Peter weeping and showing the coats and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them. They were showing her almsdeeds; how she was given in the service of the Lord Jesus Christ. Notwithstanding, of course, she must have been selling some of the garments, but sometimes those who offer alms get very little in what they do. They indeed spend very little on themselves, such that, much of what they do goes away to enrich and bless others because of their rich and caring hearts in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let me give one more example of the Prophet and forerunner of the secret second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, Brother William Marrion Branham. You will find that, besides the Ministry, sometimes he was working as a game warden or something like that. You know, somebody who was to enforce the law that forbade people from illegal or wanton hunting of animals in that place, unless they had a license. So in that job, the salary arrangement was that for you to get your salary at the end of a given period, you were to arrest and fine the wrongdoer a certain stated amount. Then that stated amount of the fine would be his salary. When all had been said and done, Brother Branham never drew a fine from any man throughout all that period. He never charged any man.
Getting people on the wrong side of the law, he did, but to charge them that money so that it can be a salary for him was unbearable in his heart. Instead, all that he could do was to seat them down to a counselling session and make it clear to them how it was bad to do that – how it was bad to break the law by hunting illegally or wantonly against even natural common decency. And it would really prick their hearts, especially by the convicting manner in which he put it to them. Most of them would go persuaded never to come back again breaking that law. Brother Branham found that one more effective than charging money. He could not bring himself to a state of enforcement where he could write those tickets or charge sheets and command them to pay the fines or be imprisoned. Thereafter he was to be paid a salary from the same money so that he spends it in his house. That became impossible for him to digest in his conscience.
Those people who easily offer alms like that, there are some things which they cannot just do. There are some kinds of engagements which involve charges, some gainful demands or getting things from others which they cannot bring themselves to be able to do.
Therefore, Brother Branham never charged those people, and by extension, he did not get any salary; and so it became necessary for him to look for another job. That’s when he went to the Power Company, where they assigned him some other job of surveying the power lines. By coincidence, those lines passed through the same forest, or they were in the same region where he was taking care as a game warden. Therefore, it was very easy to combine the two without necessarily resigning; and this time he got his salary normally as a linesman. That is an example of a heart that can give alms.
Another sign on the prophet which shows that he was full of almsgiving, is about his ministry in his church. He was a poor man and could not afford a lot of things including those basic domestic upkeep requirements and the like. Sometimes it could get so tough, such that, he couldn’t make ends meet even regarding mere basic foodstuffs in the house. So, one time he thought; ‘let me go and take an offering from the church so as to buy some basic food in the house. They used to offer some offering in the church, but that was to pay for the bills of the church like the rent for the hall and such bills. He wasn’t collecting any offering, but had just written on a box somewhere and put it on a wall with inscriptions: ‘As much as you do unto these little ones you have done it unto me’. Whoever felt like dropping in anything little for whoever would be needy wherever went there and dropped it in, but they never used to pass something like a bag of offering in the church.
Then finally, that evening he thought; ‘How do I make ends meet?’ It had been a tough time until he did not know where to turn to. So, he said; ‘Let me go and take some offering, I know they will be willing to offer me some help’. He told some brother quietly and gave him his hat so that he passes it through the fellowship. And as he watched, he finally saw some old little mother take out maybe some handkerchief and untied an identical knot, kind of to get some coin to put in the hat. Then Brother Branham said, “Oh, No – no! I was only teasing, stop! I did not mean to take an offering. I just wanted to know what you were going to do. But I didn’t mean to take an offering, I was only teasing”. So, they stopped there and returned the money. He could not bring himself into that state of taking money from that old woman for an offering, and then getting all her coins going into his hat for to use to buy his food! His heart could not stand that happening.
I am just showing what kind of heart it is that is full of almsgiving. That is what makes somebody easily find that state and chance of offering that special offering that is called alms. It is an opportunity that often comes in the way of a Christian, but we cannot specifically describe all of it. It comes variously and we cannot define definitely how it is to manifest itself, but it is kind of something like life, and therefore you cannot describe it fully. It is just something that happens like life – the way it is.
But if somebody lives so close to Jesus, loves Jesus so much and is zealous, you will find himself giving alms very easily. His life shall be full of such alms of sweet fragrance unto Christ Jesus. His prayer shall never be dry, his fellowship shall never be lacking, and he will never be left desolate. His heart shall be made of flesh and his hunger for the Word shall increase daily, granting him a blessed fellowship with Christ and with His Word always. He will be richly revived and full of spiritual blessings in his heart.
Many times, we don’t realize how to approach it, and that is why many times we miss those blessings. Some brother may seemingly sincerely confess that he has searched himself inside out and he doesn’t see any condemnation in his heart or sin or something like transgression, but there are those many things that are left undone, which can cause a lot of spiritual problems to somebody. So, the more zealous you are in serving God through Jesus Christ and attending to Him personally in your life, the closer you are to Him in fellowship and the more He Breathes on you His Holy Spirit.
The secret is that you have to be so close to Him, and your heart will always be in a Revival. The secret is not how much you are going to kneel there and pray or try to pray. People think that if they can continuously and persistently pray so that they break through, then they will be all right. You can pray and breakthrough, but after an hour you will be back to square one, it’s like you never prayed at all. Yet someone else may even not pray at all, but he is ever in fellowship with Jesus Christ. And his heart is ever melting and revived because he is an alms person, and all his work is alms. He doesn’t have to pray to break into spiritual blessings and have a rich fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Instead, he is a prayer himself. His day-to-day life is enough prayer before God, and when he kneels down to pray he is only adding fire and sweet fragrance on his continuous prayer, which is his life in Christ Jesus. Therefore, that is the secret of having a continuing revival in you; it is simply alms.
Sometimes I get it so strange when I overhear somebody complaining about doing something that is not personal but to profit withal. I just don’t understand that kind of language! Me, what would make me not do that? Maybe I would be so weary and having lack of strength until I would be collapsing or fainting, and therefore not able to hold myself upright; such that, I am not able to lift it up at all. Why? Because I know who am serving! Simple, and I love Him. Otherwise, how will I fail to do it! In fact while fainting, I still want to do it anyhow and I may make the only feeble gestures that I can afford so that if there is any wise man around, he would quickly discern and accomplish it on my behalf, sympathizing with his fainting but willing Brother. I cannot wait to be told what to do. That kind of service wherein you must be told before you serve is not perfect.
For example, if I am serving Christians somewhere, and I know very well that am not even serving myself, then that is the best! That service in which I am the only beneficiary may just be done as a by-the-way because it does not even have any blessings. But that service which is done unto others, and more so unto the Children of the Commonwealth of Christ, I will really labour, such that, after it I will be found having fainted on my way back home due to exhaustion while in service. What? Why should I do that? It’s because I love Him whom I am serving, and my attention is very clear; I am not serving any man at that point. I have no hope in self-service because, after all the labour, I will put the product thereof on my teeth. So how will I get the blessings thereof? Somebody else should be the end of my service, and especially so where Jesus Christ himself is involved!
I will have never understood why somebody should be in a state of complaining. Nevertheless, if somebody is so exhausted that he cannot help it, then he can sit by the side and helplessly watch others assist him. There is no problem in such a situation. However, I am saying that when you serve Jesus and your attention is on Jesus – that most tender care that is required, that is where you find alms and it is not conditional. Alms was never conditional like tithing or payment of one’s vows. In alms you were to voluntarily count the cost, sacrifice and offer like that little woman who came and casting all her two coins. Nobody conditioned that, and it must be all the two coins she had. Alms is when it’s your own offer.
Nobody else has to ask for it to be offered, but it is only you who knows what you are doing because you love Jesus Christ and do serve Him. That now becomes your alms. Not all your service is alms; some of it is sacrifices, like burnt sacrifices and the like.
Some are tithes, which may be in form of a commandment that should be observed by all. The tithe is a service that you are compelled to offer, and you should offer it. So, if you are commanded to offer then you are tithing, but that one was never followed by much of that tender response from God since it was a service by commandment. Many people would have offered tithe, but would not attract that tender response from God. There is some kind of service that we could call tithe or something which is offered upon commandment, but there is a real service that brings you closer to God, and that is almsgiving.
In other words, you don’t have to harden your heart, or live a life which is of a hardened heart; you feel the problems and infirmities of other people and have them at heart as you respond to their needs or state accordingly. You are touched by the real infirmities and challenges that others encounter and you get sincerely concerned and if you are able to respond, you do so with all your heart. When you can be able to do that if an opportunity like that arises, then that is a great time whereby you can offer alms.
That brings blessings in your life, and that’s where the Bible says that you are like a tree planted by the rivers whose leaves never wither, and it never ceases to bear fruits. It is ever full of prayer, worship, fellowship and just frolicing in the Spirit. To have such a life, it is not how much you force yourself to pray; it is how much you serve and attend to Jesus in your life. Then that prayer just follows and it is just part of you – your Christian life. You become prayerful and are always in fellowship with the Word. Your attention is mainly directed to Jesus because Jesus Christ is there! And Jesus is revealed in this world to Christians. He is there and is found somewhere, but He ever comes our way so that we may serve Him.
There are many places where we think that we serve Jesus when it may not be so; instead, He may be very far away from there! And yet that is when we would be so much busy thinking that He is close there. Surprisingly, when we come very close to Jesus, where we are to truly serve Him, we develop excuses and are hardened at heart because when Jesus is closer to you, it always has a tag of higher demand. When Jesus is closer to you and you are to serve Him, the demand is very high and it is costlier; it becomes quite costly since you have to tax yourself a little more. You will have to count some losses in your life and experience some pain in order to serve Jesus. That is now the real service to Jesus Christ. If you have to serve Him without failing, then you should not harden your heart. That’s right.
Let me give one other example as I finish that involved Saint Martin on a cold night as he was on duty. An alms deed is like what Saint Martin did, which I think every one of us has read about. Saint Martin had an experience that freezing night with a poor and helpless man who was shivering and almost dying in the extreme cold. He had compassion on that man, and although he had only one overcoat for himself, he, unexpectedly, cut it into two and gave one half to that poor beggar. That is the type that we can easily classify as alms. However, if Martin could have had four, five or six garments; and then he gives out one, or even two to the poor beggar, that could have not been alms because what pain does he experience, or what sacrifice has he experienced, now that he still has more to himself for garments. He has only given part of what he had, and so that is not an alms. It could hardly be an alms and Jesus could have hardly responded.
You know, Jesus responded and came to him that night in a dream wearing upon Himself that half garment that Saint Martin had cut and given to that poor man, and told Martin that what he had done to that poor man, he had done to Jesus. And in fact Jesus Himself was wearing it. If Saint Martin would have just given one of his five garments to the poor beggar, Jesus would not have appeared to him in that dream. That could have been very far away a service unto Christ and not tender enough since it would not be so direct. It wouldn’t have been that much tender then. But this was half of his only garment!
That kind of garments was meant for the winter and he did have other beneath garments, and yet Europe is normally so cold during the winter season. So they had a garment like a pullover, or jacket, the kind which he cut into two so that he could cover himself with half and the beggar would use the other half. Remember his colleagues, and other people were kind of amused and looked at him narrowly. They were amused because there was a soldier who was putting on half a piece of an overcoat and walking around in it. They wondered what kind of a soldier this was, what had happened to him and why he was not putting on the way they are supposed to since he had only that half piece of the coat. That was something that we classify as an alms deed. However, if Martin had ten garments and then he gave the beggar one garment out of the ten, then the Lord Jesus had no reason to Grace him in that dream. In fact, he was supposed to give, and that becomes conditional since he had many garments and his friend had none but freezing to death out there. He was supposed to give by commandment then.
Nevertheless, if you have only one garment and you share it with somebody else, you see, it is not even expected that you do that because you don’t have enough either. Nobody will even say you should help in that case, let alone being commanded to give, because there is no extra garment to give, to begin with. Therefore, if there is somewhat you are to do in that case, then it will purely verge on an alms deed. That is an example which I can give you that resulted into this saying; …a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did, not just almsgiving, but almsdeeds. Those are sacrificial acts that are purely an offering which is called alms.
And then He said that when you do it, you do it in secret; and all that it means is that you are not doing it to be seen – it is not a public act. A deed which a man engages in so that he can be seen to have sacrificed loses its virtue therewith and cannot be classified in almsdeeds, because he has determined to make it public. It is like a politician who announces to the crowd of mourners how much money he is giving the bereaved widow, before he gives, as an offering. It has lost its glory already, and therefore it is not an alms. Of course, there are some alms which you cannot completely hide from everybody, especially if you are according help somewhere, or to somebody involving other external activities other than money. It will be difficult to hide it enough so that nobody sees it. But it all depends on which kind of heart you have when making the sacrifice. If it is so that it may be seen by others that you are such a good and generous person, then you have your reward, and of course, that ceases to be an alms. It may be something else like a tithe, but never an alms because it is not done in secret. Almsdeeds are done in secret.
So, may God help each one of us to become attentive to that and be more zealous in service to God so that you reach a level where you begin offering yourself as alms. You may get tender-hearted and really genuinely engaged in acts of Love to Christ so that your life itself becomes full of almsdeeds. And that will make you never run dry. Your fellowship with God will just be continuous; your river will never dry of Water, prayers will never dry up. We will only dry up because we have nothing on the Altar. When you go to worship; you kindle the fire on the altar, but you put no sacrifice there to burn so as to offer some sweet savour; there are no fats to burn on the altar for God to smell together with your prayer; thus, you begin offering dry prayers as is recorded in Malachi 1:10. It is obvious, your prayer is not going to go anywhere. He says; ‘You kindle a fire on my Altar without a sacrifice? You don’t put anything on My Table’, and that is God’s table. So you just watch your life, how you handle yourself and how you handle other people. It matters a lot.
If you are one who has somewhat to do with people here and there, you have to be very sensitive to their needs, offering helping hands and easily forgiving so that you become an almsgiver. But if you can demand payment for the help or service offered, then you already have a debt of alms; and you cannot escape being indebted to God. If you will do some good deed thereafter, it may just pay up the debt with God and then you remain with nothing. That is to say, a case presents itself in a manner where you are to let go, but you hold it that you must be paid for some service offered, fine, he will be pressed in a corner and finally pay you up, and that straight away sets you up in debt with God. You must also pay! If you do any good deed in future from that time, your good deed will pay up this debt with God first. The debts and your good deeds will go on matching up, such that, all your good deeds will have no reward until you are completely paid up!
Only God knows when you will be paid up because He is the only One who knows what hole you dug up in holding his heritage captive. You must pay up to the last farthing! Or else, when you go to pray, you are ever dry; no sweet fellowship with the Holy Spirit and no blessings. Jesus Christ is not close to you because you have been reduced to a debt-recovering potential worshipper. The bad you did swallows up every good deed done. Therefore, unless you walk while carefully watching, you may never have alms to offer because, as I said, it is one of the hardest things to do – offering alms. Unless you are sensitive, zealous and loving Jesus so much so that you are only serving Him, you might never find an alms to offer and therefore you may never truly worship because those alms are to be offered in that frankincense for worshipping.
Then, you find that when you try to worship, there are no blessings, and when you want to confess, there is no confession in Jesus Christ. For you to confess Jesus as your Saviour at all, you will really have to really scratch because you are lacking alms – your life lacks alms. More so, if you are the kind of person that is always thinking that you are often wronged and therefore you hardly forgive those who trespass against you, then it is very hard for you to offer any alms because you’ll always be in debt before God. In fact, it might be easier for you to add up your debts’ account than reduce it by a good deed.
If you are the kind who has this kind of questions in your mind, heart or on your tongue: ‘Why did he say that? What did he do? Why did he do that? Why didn’t he do it this way? What did he mean by that?’ You will always put yourself in debt. Because the Bible says very clearly that as you hold others responsible, God also holds you responsible for yours, and if you forgive others, God also forgives you. The Bible is very clear on that, and if you will offer alms at all, it must always be from a heart that is very forgiving, tender and easily touched by the infirmities of others. It is such a heart that can offer alms easily and freely.
Therefore, learn how to offer alms. I don’t like an opportunity like that passing by me. I may not take much notice of many general offers and may let them slip by, but when it comes to alms, I wouldn’t want to lose such an opportunity. Now, you cannot go searching for it, because it must come by its self, or else it becomes self-initiated and hence selfish. It simply comes how and when God gives you an opportunity. It is just as opportune as finding Buukusuma – a certain rare species of mushrooms (large variety of mushroom, as big as a plate, and having a navel) that grows in the field or by the wayside because you can never know beforehand when and where you are going to find it.
It will only happen by grace that you come across it. You may be passing somewhere and it is there, but you may not see it. However, by grace, you can see it, even if you are coming long after the rest, in a line of a number of people. Therefore, it comes by grace. Almsgiving is something that comes in that manner. It is not something you search for and find. No! If you search for and find it at all, then it has nothing to do with almsgiving.
It must be Jesus Christ presenting Himself to you. I trust that you do remember when he went in one place, healed only one person and left hundreds of others laying there, some of whom were even sicker than the one he had healed. Jesus Christ does not come to you in every situation, but there are certain times in certain situations where Jesus appears evidently before you. Here you are praying and longing to serve Him – so willing to serve Him, and yet when He presents Himself to you here, you just pass on Him because of some meanness. You are not even sensitive towards Him, and you don’t understand who Jesus is. So it is only in special cases where you come across Him and offers alms to Him; very special cases. So, you ought to be very sensitive all the time, if you will offer special alms to Him at all because he may come to you once in a while. He dresses up Himself differently or comes in another form of some poor man somewhere. How do you now know? It is only if you are sensitive and prayerful so that He does not pass by you.
God bless you... Amen.
We shall pray.
Oh, How I Love Jesus,
Oh, How I Love Jesus,
Oh, How I Love Jesus,
Because He First loved me
Our Heavenly Father, gracious and merciful Father; we come before you in your provided Way, seeking for your Face. We pray that you may forgive our trespasses and help us to be Christians who are surrendered to your service all the time. Help us to be enlightened Christians walking on your perfect and provided Way of this hour in your humble service because we know that not everybody claiming to serve you today, does so; but it is for the chosen few, who are very few indeed. Many who claim to serve you, indeed do serve themselves and fulfil their own desires. There are very few indeed who serve you in Truth. And so, we are praying that you forgive us and help us by shining upon us so that we may serve you acceptably through Jesus Christ.
It is a mystery and a secret to be able to serve the Lord. It is a secret if we may serve you. We pray that you may forgive us because many a time we have missed great opportunities of serving Jesus Christ. We don’t understand how we can serve Jesus. We don’t realize those opportunities because we don’t understand how we can serve Jesus. We don’t realize those opportunities, let alone seeing them to be opportunities for serving Jesus. We don’t see it as an offer, or a chance by which we may serve our Lord Jesus Christ, whom we should so much love that we should never miss to serve Him any time. But we have lost so many such opportunities. We are repenting heavenly Father. I am repenting Heavenly Saviour. I have lost so many opportunities here and there wherewith I would have served my Loving Saviour Jesus acceptably, and I have missed here and there such a chance. Help me when it comes in my way that I should never miss offering alms. I should be ready to offer alms to Jesus Christ, alms deeds. Oh, that I should be ready to offer those almsdeeds to Jesus.
Oh, we want to love it; I want to love offering almsdeeds; I should be ready; I should be given unto Jesus, ready enough to serve Him any time He is manifested before me and any time He is brought before me. I should be able to give Him alms. We pray that you forgive us because we don’t understand; we have not understood your Ways, and mind; we have not understood how we can serve you and come before Thee acceptably. That is why we miss so many blessings. We miss so much fellowship with Him. We miss you so much because we don’t know how we should serve you, how we should present ourselves to you. Forgive us for missing such times and being contrary to that which could have been such a great source of blessings to us, but we missed it.
Therefore, I pray that you forgive me for missing such opportunities of almsgiving; I repent for missing it and pray that your grace is upon me so that I may not walk in self anymore, but that I may walk in Christ all the time. Let me walk with Christ in His Way and not in mine. Let me walk in the Name of Jesus Christ, and in Christ.
May I serve and offer an acceptable offering, true to my God; and an acceptable offering of the sweet smell of frankincense burning on the altar of God – acceptable before my Lord Jesus Christ and before my God. In my life, let me be a sacrifice in prayer, a sweet sacrifice in worship and in bringing me in fellowship with my Lord Jesus Christ. O, that I may have a revived fellowship with joy within my heart, to offer that kind of offering; I am willing to offer it, oh, almsgiving and almsdeeds. Have mercy upon me, and may I find before me an open door for an alms deed. Let me not fail to offer that acceptable offering. I pray that you may offer it unto me – you may help me such a chance, such a time that I can offer alms; and let me never excuse it. Many times the way and time of alms come by once in a while, where I should be able to share the little that I got – I should be able to cut into two, but many times an excuse pushes out. How easily would have St. Martin excused himself, and how easily he could have given an excuse because he had no extra garment. Yet he was so much in the Love of serving Jesus that he could not pass on that almsgiving. We also pray that you help us to be such surrendered people, lovely people and loving Jesus so much to be able to offer alms.
We should not miss an opportunity like that one. Many a time I have missed such; many a time we have missed it, and many a time we have lost that chance. I repent and ask you for mercy to forgive me, help me that I should never miss it any more time. Forgive me, my Father. Every time I should be so forgiving and so forbearing because that becomes almsgiving. If I can be so forgiving, forbearing, patient and longsuffering, then it will become almsgiving. Oh, if I can be so forgiving and so humble, so meek without any strives, and that if somebody would have strived with me, I would have already given in and stopped striving; that would have been an alms giving already. It would have been a burnt sacrifice for prayer and burnt sweet-smelling incense, amen!
If I could forgive so freely; if I could longsuffering so freely; if I could forbear so freely; if I could be so meek, such that, I will never strive with anybody over anything, but I just give way; then what an alms it would become. Just give way without striving at all – never striving for anything. Oh! What a life of alms that will be: Patient all the time, O, that becomes an alms; longsuffering, that becomes an alms; forbearing becomes an alms; forgiving becomes an alms; being humble all the time becomes an alms; Oh! Bowels of mercy become an alms; Oh, easily touched with infirmities of others becomes an alms! When I can be so touched with the situation of somebody else such that I can pray for them, it becomes an alms.
Therefore, help me to able to offer these alms for the sweet savours, for the fragrance from that frankincense. Forgive me where I have missed such an opportunity to offer such alms; instead, maybe I strived, I was kind of selfish, mean, unforgiving, I was lifted up in myself, proud, not humbling myself enough and not feeling for the infirmities of others. All of those opportunities whisked by such that I was not able to offer alms, but now I repent and I return to you my Saviour. Forgive me, just once more, and help me to return to Thee resolved to live a life of almsdeeds. Amen!
Such a life brings about the resurrection, even as Tabitha was resurrected back when she received resurrection power to come back because she had given alms. Nevertheless, we are more assured of a life of resurrection if we are full of alms. Amen, we are surer of being resurrected in the first Resurrection, being translated in the first Translation, being changed like that. We are surer of that quickening and transforming Power if we are full of alms, like Dorcas. We find that a heart of grace easily gives alms; therefore, we repent. We also realize that it is not by power, might or great minds, but it is by almsgiving. Aaamen and aaamen! And amen!
It is by almsgiving that we are brought into the perfect fellowship of Jesus; and we overcome the world, bind the enemy and cast down to the ground because of being full of alms Aaamen! Help me! Have Mercy upon me and remember me, for I want to be full of alms. Therefore, I repent and surrender to Jesus Christ for His Mercy which endures forever. Amen.
I pray for all of them Father, that they may all be filled with a Life of almsgiving and sweet-smelling sacrifice with all prayer. That kind of offering, my Father, which you are much more delighted in; all on the foundation of righteousness and Holiness. Now I pray for all of the Father, that you may forgive them and help them to completely surrender unto almsgiving – Alms deeds. Amen, and amen, and amen. Forgiving, longsuffering, forbearing and so much meek, humble and lowly. Watching and praying, oh, longsuffering and forbearing because they love Jesus Christ so that they long suffer for the sake of others, to be so much helped; for others to be so much Blessed; for others to be so much supplied with, sustained with and helped as much as possible in all things.
Now we pray that you forgive all our mistakes and for missing the way. Forgive our ways, Father; am praying for everybody here that you give them hearts of almsgiving. Give them hearts to rejoice in almsdeeds. Oh, have mercy upon me and upon everybody so that we may be preoccupied with almsdeeds in all our lives. Amen, may our lives be full of that sweet smell before God, fragrance before the throne of God – a life of fragrance. Amen, Oh, I want to have a life of fragrance, a life of frankincense burning while offering sacrifices with much prayer. Have Mercy upon us, for we have failed, missed it, been hardened, are selfish and mean because of being in this canal flesh.
But we repent and surrender to Jesus Christ our Saviour. We desire to be much more fruitful with the fruits of the Spirit and full of sweet fragrance. Amen. Father, I pray for them, that you may help us to be able to bind the devil; hold him be bound; that we may cast him away and let him be truly a castaway. Hallelujah, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, amen. I accept to surrender to Jesus Christ my Saviour so that His Will may be done unto me as it is done in Heaven. I am willing to serve my Saviour Jesus Christ by obeying His commandments. Grant it, my Father. I commit all unto Thee and pray for your mercy upon them, and your help for every one of them. I Pray for them, Father, that you may forgive them and fill their lives with almsdeeds. Aaamen! A life of frankincense full of sweet savours unto the Lord, our God. Grant it my Father, my Saviour, and my Redeemer; help us now!
We are willing to offer ourselves unto the Lord for His blessings are mighty. Amen! I pray for all the brothers and sisters; all of us together need your mercies to receive forgiveness of all our wrongdoing and carelessness, so that we may be washed and sanctified in order for our lives to be full of almsdeeds before our loving God.
Help us not to be mere busybodies with dry offerings and fulfilling commandments that are only carnally and fleshly inclining; God forbid that this be the case. Instead, let us be filled with love offerings; oh, may the Love of Jesus in us produce sweet spiritual fruits from within us. We repent and surrender to Jesus Christ our friend and Saviour so that we may live a life full of almsdeeds before our gracious God. Have mercy upon us. Where can we find one whose life is likened to frankincense? Amen. Such that, his life is already a sweet-smelling odour before God. We repent and lay our hearts on the altar of sacrifice in the Name of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Forgive Father, and have mercy on us now. I repent and turn to Jesus my Saviour because am nothing? Forgive my Saviour I am nothing! I repent desiring mercy in the Name of Jesus my Saviour; of course, I am nothing, but I am praying that you have mercy on everyone – everybody, and let us find grace to be as frankincense. Amen! May we live lives that are a sweet savour before our God so that we may walk on the way of almsdeeds. Amen!
Hallelujah! Let our deeds provide a sweet fragrance to be smelled by our God, so that He may be refreshed by the very fragrance from our lives. Oh! Have mercy upon me us my Father; how much we should be so offered to the Most High through Jesus Christ our Saviour, that we may have a life that refreshes our Lord with whom we have to do. Hallelujah, amen!
We repent for having missed it; we repent for having been contrary; we repent in the Name of Jesus. And we pray, Heavenly Father that you forgive us again so that our lives may be changed to be full of the sweet fragrance, and to rise up into Heaven to refresh Our Loving God. May our life be full of the love of Jesus: holy, righteous, and to ever love our Lord Jesus Christ; oh, and to serve Him with all our hearts. Grant it, my Father, I have prayed and believe that you will be with us, care for us tonight, bind the enemy everywhere and cast him down to the ground. I am believing the Name God that is able to save to the uttermost that which comes to Him through Jesus Christ my Saviour. Grant it, my Father. I commit all to you now in the Name of Jesus Christ, Aaamen! In the Name of Jesus Christ, I have surrendered, Aaamen! I have given myself to Him who is true, whose Word is true by the fellowship of the Spirit. Amen.