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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - The Ultimate Credit Score

Michael Youssef - The Ultimate Credit Score

Michael Youssef - The Ultimate Credit Score

I want to start by sharing with you a testimony, personal testimony, and I pray to God that you would not misunderstand it but you will receive it for the glory of God and that your edification, your challenge. This was back in 1978. We have been living in the United States for about a year. In California, I was doing my graduate studies there. We had two small children at the time, and I had a part-time job that basically covered two-thirds of our needs. The other third was met by savings and come out of sale of our furniture in Australia and my wife cashing her Teacher Retirement Fund. And so we were able to supplement our income.

These resources, after a year, they coming to an end. The important part is this; a year earlier, the Lord had convicted me that though I'm ordained to the ministry, I'm unfaithful with my tithes and offering, and that conviction began... so a year later, we are faithful with God with our tithe and offering. Yes, I was unfaithful. I'm full time ministry, why should I tithe? And the Holy Spirit kept saying, "Youssef, put the cash in there". We were supported by no one. We had no church support. We had no mission-organization support. We had help from no one. We were on our own. So after 12 months of... our personal resources ran out, but we stayed faithful with God with our tithing. We made the promise and we want to keep our promise with our tithing and with our offering.

And as always the case the test will come, and the test came. What do you do? We run out. My tithing check was due, and I looked in the bank account and my tithing amount was exactly what I had in the bank, exactly. If I write a check and I put it in the offering plate, we will have nothing. The bank will call us. And so I came up with this ingenious idea of not putting the check in the offering plate, but write the check and send it in the mail. Back then, not like today when you get it so fast, I mean, back then will take a couple of weeks to clear.

And so Monday morning, I wrote the check and I walked to the post office of the school where I was at the time and I mailed the check in the box, and turned around, literally around the corner, and went to my box, my post office box that I had in the school and I opened it. It was a matter of a minute or two. And as I open that box, there was a thick envelope, and as I opened that thick envelope I found 13 $100 bills. I counted them again and again. Yes, they were 13. There was a note with it. It says, "To most people who are superstitious, the number 13 is very negative, but to us it's really a good number. We love it. And so we're sending you 13 $100 bill to thank you for doing our wedding last month".

They already gave me a gift. I assume that was it. I tell you truthfully, I just sat in a corner and wept at the faithfulness of God, the incredible faithfulness of God. And that amount literally supplemented our income until we finish and went to work full time. This is one of these milestones in our lives that the Lord use to grow us in faith to trust him, to trust his promises, to keep our side of the condition of the promises. And from that time, thank God I have witnesses in this room, we have gone way beyond the tithes. We have been going up every year for the last 35 years, we're going up every year, and God blesses in ways that I could never explain to you. Even if I stand here for an hour, I still cannot explain it to you from the human perspective how God blesses us.

Now, tithing should be the starting point, not the end point. It's a starting point. Somebody said, "Well, should I tithe before the tax or after tax"? Do you want to be blessed before tax or after tax? You see the word faith starts, but the time when we come to Jesus we come to him by faith, not by works. But then most people stop and they try to finish by work. Faith continues on a daily basis, but faith and trust, you got to trust in something that is promised. If I say to you, meet me a such a such time and at such a such place, you show up believing that I'm going to be there. Why? Because you take at my word. You know that I'm a trustworthy person and therefore unless I'm dead, I'm going to be there, right?

And I'm a man, I'm only a mere human. But when you place your trust in God's promises, when you act on the trust of God's promises, when you step out in the trust of God's promises, you can be absolutely sure that he will not only keep his promise but he is honored by your trusting him. I want to show you from the Scripture, a biblical example that has challenged me for years of how this trust can bring about God's abundant blessing. So turn with me please to 2 Kings chapter 4, verse 1 to 7: "A widow of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha". Elisha was the chief prophet at the time. He succeeded the prophet Elijah. So she cried out to Elisha, "Your servant, my husband, is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord".

That is, he was faithful to God. He honored God with all his life. "'But now his creditors are coming to take my two sons as his slaves.' Elisha replied and said to her, 'How can I help you? What do you have in your house?'" First she said, "Well, your servant has nothing there at all". And then she thought for a minute, "It is really nothing but there is, or except, a drop of oil. Just a drop". "Elisha said to her, 'Go and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Do not ask for just a few.'" Here's a Youssef translation. "Don't be chincy". "'Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into the jars, and as each is filled, pull it aside.' She left him," and afterward she did what he said, "And she shut the door behind and her sons, and they brought the jars to her and she kept on pouring".

I'm taking liberty here. And she kept on pouring. "When all the jars were full, she said to her son, 'Bring me another one.' But he replied, 'There is not a jar left.' Then the oil stopped flowing. She went and told the man of God," Elisha, "and he said to her, 'Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. Then you and your sons can live on what is left.'" I'm wondering what you were thinking as I'm reading the story. It doesn't work like this anymore. God wants us to use our minds. God wants us to use our abilities. This is unrealistic expectation. I know God provides, but I don't have to meet the conditions of the promises of God. This was Old Testament.

Now, that's between you and God. Answer him truthfully. This widow hit rock bottom, and I mean bottom means there is no bottom beyond that bottom. This widow had less than nothing. This widow not only going to face bankruptcy, she was facing shame and degradation and desperation because slavery is what awaiting her and her two sons. But then she remembered something back yonder in the Word of God it says that God promised that he will never let the righteous be forsaken nor his children. Can you say his children? His children begging for bread. Listen, nobody can be in this situation. No one in our culture, in our day to day. But wherever you are, it doesn't matter. Whatever you are, you can begin to act on that trust in the promises of God today. You can start to live in the land of the impossible. You can begin to move from trusting human logic to trusting in God's promises. You can begin to move from living by sight to living by faith. Now, amen belongs here.

This widow did three things. First of all, she met the conditions of the promises of God. Secondly, she manifested confidence in God's provision. And thirdly, she maximized her capacity to receive from God. First, she met the conditions of God's promises. Verse 1, she said to Elijah the prophet, "My dead husband was servant of God. My dead husband was faithful to God. My dead husband trusted in the promises of God. My dead husband met all the conditions of the promises of God and he was faithful with God". Hear me right, please. This is important. For when the psalmer said, "I was young, now I'm old. I have never seen the righteous forsaken nor his children begging for bread," that became her anchor. That became her anchor, the promise of God.

Beloved, faithfulness to God brings about untold blessings, not only in this life but to the next generation. Faithfulness carries the benefits to the next generation. Now, I know today there are lots of people who want God to bless them without meeting the condition of the promises of God. There are lots of people who want God to answer their prayer without the willingness to surrender to the will of God, and then they're surprised when things don't happen. There are lots of people to whom they view faith as ordering God about to do exactly what they command him to do and they think this is faith. But this Godly woman did not place have faith in her good works, no, but in her faithfulness of God to keep his promises.

There is a world of difference between the two. She did not even place her faith in the fact that her husband was faithful to the Lord. That was given... in fact, she said, "You know", that is given. That is a fact that. You know all about it. Her faith was in God's unwavering commitment to keep his promise. Her trust was in God's Word. Her confidence was in the one who is no man's debtor or no woman's debtor. He is no one's debtor. He will not be beholding to you. He will not be indebted to you. That's really what it means. And she was saying, "I know that God promised to be faithful to the righteous but also to his offspring".

She met the condition of the promise. Secondly, she manifested confidence in God's provision. Look at verses 2, 3, 4, and 5. So Elisha asked her, "What do you have in your house"? She said, "A drop of oil". And what Elisha saw is an oil factory. You might think it's a drop of oil but I can visualize a oil factory. Malachi chapter 3, when God's people came back from exile and they were anxious, and they're worried, and they're hoarding everything and keeping it and God was trying to challenge them not to do that, he said, "Look what I've done for you". And in Malachi chapter 3 he says to them, "You tithe to the storehouse". And then he said, "Watch out and see how I'm going to open the windows of heaven".

Overwhelming when those windows of heaven open. "What do you have in your house"? So she met the condition. She manifested confidence. Thirdly, she maximized her capacity to receive from the hand of God. There are some people, and I heard it all through the years: "When I make big money, I'll start giving. When I make a million dollars, I'll be a tither. When..." And most times actually when those high things happen they never do. "When my ships come to the harbor". How are you expecting some ships to come to the harbor when you never sent some ships out? Faith acts at the front end. It doesn't take faith to act at the backend. Faith acts before the outcome. Faith acts ahead of sight.

This widow, in obedience, went out and borrowed all the empty jars that she can lay her hands on, and I can imagine her neighbors. Back then, you know, they live so close to each other. Everybody knows what's going on in everybody else's life. It's not like what we have today in the privacies and all that. And I'm sure they all knew about it when they heard about it and said, "Oh, poor Snookums, she lost it. She lost her mind. She really has. Poor old Snookums". We don't know her name so I'll call her Snookums. "She's hallucinating. Poor old lady, she's seeing things. Oh, now her mind really snapped under the pressure that she's been under".

Beloved, what people say about you means nothing. Don't give a flip about it. But what he says about you in heaven it matters. What God says about you matters. When your name is mentioned in heaven, what do they say? That's what really counts. So she expanded her capacity to receive from God. She maximized her capacity to receive from God. She expected great things from God because she knew she has a big God.

I need to explain something before I conclude. In the Bible, oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Oil was not only used for cooking, but also used for the anointing of prophets and the anointing of priests and the anointing of kings. Oil is always symbolic of God's blessing. Oil was symbolic of God's power. Oil was symbolic of God's Holy Spirit resting upon them. And that is why James said, "When you pray for a sick person, anoint him with oil, the symbol of the Holy Spirit with all his power".

Here's something that you should know, God loves to bless his children. He loves to see his children to be conduits, not reservoirs. He loves to see his children being channels, not puddles. And that is why he blesses those who are channels, those who are conduits because God wants to see his work go forward, and that is why Elisha said, here's a Youssef translation again, "Don't be chincy in expanding your capacity to receive. Don't just stop with few jars. Don't settle".

There are so many Christians who have settled long time ago just with few containers. Don't limit God's capacity to give you and for you to receive. Don't just have low vision of what God can do without obedience. Don't limit God. He's going to give you as much as your obedience offers him, and that is why the moment there was no more empty jars, the oil stopped flowing. God will only bless you to the capacity of what you make available to him. God will only fill the empty places that your offer him. God will bless what only you give him. God will fill the size of your obedience. Has the Holy Spirit of God stopped being poured into your life? Have you just settled and the overflow has dried up? Have you stopped giving him empty jars so he may fill them?

A drop of oil, and God said, "You're going to have an oil factory". I know we live in such culture that we really cannot even think about what it means to live by faith. From the world's perspective, this does not make sense. From the economic perspective, this is ludicrous. I know that and you know that. From Wall Street's point of view, it is silly and not logical. Oh, but from God's perspective, it makes all the sense in heaven. What is holding you back? What is your ultimate credit score in the websites of heaven? Today, you can say, "Lord, I'm going to meet the conditions. I'm going to manifest confidence. I'm going to maximize my capacity".
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