Bishop Jordan Personal Articles to read and understand all about Prophecies.

SOCIAL JUSTICE

The Bible has repeatedly stressed the obligation of the believer to aid those who are in need.

The Bible has repeatedly stressed the obligation of the believer to aid those who are in need. The purpose why the Lord provides for us is for personal sustenance, and to help others who need it. When we only use our income for personal gain, then we are moving in social injustice. We are not doing our part to contribute to society. Even when the bible stressed this obligation to help the less fortunate, there is no specific term for it.

Tzedakah is something the Rabbis adopted to apply to charity, in the context of social justice. Tzedakah’s literal meaning is “righteousness” or “justice,” as in the famous biblical phrase, “tzedek, tzedek, tirdof” (“Justice, justice, shall you pursue”; Deut. 16:20). Charity is not merely a generous or magnanimous act.

For the Israelites, giving is the performance of a religiously mandated duty to provide something to which the needy have a right. By providing the chance to carry out an important mitzvah, the poor man gives the giver more in accepting the alms, than the giver does for the poor man in giving him charity. How come? The poor man allows the giver to be blessed a hundredfold.

The blessings come according to the individual’s obedience of God’s divine laws and commands.

 

God determines who He is going to bless with wealth and who is going to be poor. He is the ultimate own of all human possessions. The blessings come according to the individual’s obedience of God’s divine laws and commands. Understandably, the one who has faith in the Lord would obey, and be blessed. On the other hand, the one who doubts the Word of God would ignore His commands, and would find himself in lack. A person who believes in the Lord should be willing to give whatever he or she has to fulfill the divine will of the Lord.

A person who believes in the Lord should be willing to give whatever he or she has to fulfill the divine will of the Lord.

There is a need to consider the Jewish view of charity. Christians focus on charity as motivated by the love for fellow human beings. The Jewish view is more realistic and leaning towards social justice. They believe in giving to those who need help and doing it because it is right — as they have the resources and they have the need. It does not mean that Jewish ethics have no concept of love or philanthropy. Instead, they believe in going above the requirements of the law, as an act of lovingkindness. As in the last chapter, there are different kinds of givers. Aspire to be the generous giver and set apart a portion of what God has given to you to bless others.

A Divine Attribute

Having the tzedakah spirit, or a philantrophic spirit is a divine attribute, since God upholds the cause of the fatherless and the widows (Deut. 10:18). If God does so, then the one who gives to those who need it partners with the Lord. Giving to the poor is regarded as an essential element of the righteous life. It is not enough to simply fast and do your devotions. What good is that if there is no fruit?

Action must back up your faith. Action reveals the faith of the person.

The prophet Isaiah castigated those who fast and do nothing afterwards. He is telling the believers to fast and share their bread with the hungry or take the poor into your home. Action must back up your faith. Action reveals the faith of the person.

The Prophet Ezekiel (16:49) prophesied about the destruction of Sodom because its lack of charity: they “had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.” King Solomon talked about the noble wife to give generously to the poor, her hands being stretched out to help the need (Prov. 31:20). Here’s another passage that is interesting, “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and will be repaid in full” (Prov. 19:17). How amazing is this Word? When you are generous, it is the Lord whom you are lending to, and it is also the Lord who would pay you back in full. King Solomon also wrote to do what is right (tzedakah) is more desired by the Lord than sacrifice (Prov. 21;3). The Lord values the one who goes beyond what the Law says.

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The Tzedakah Spirit

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And, the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference. Because of indifference once dies before one actually dies.”

Elie Wiesel

 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13 NRSV

The distinction of Tzedakah (צְדָקָה)

There are different kind of giving that emerges from the bible. Târumah can be considered a tzedakah, especially when it is in the context of taking care of your leaders — people whose duty does not allow them to make a profit for themselves. The word tzedakah (tsuh-DOCK-ah) is a Hebrew term that literally means “righteousness”. In the Jewish culture, tzedakah pertains to charitable giving or philantrophy. In Judaism, the weight of this word goes beyond charity. It refers to doing good to ensure that the needs of others are met. In the context of the târumah, the giver does not only give to fulfill traditions or duty. Instead, there is a spirit that has compassion for the well-being of the priests, as servants of God. They are doing their part to serve their spiritual leaders. The tzedakah offering does not only include the târumah, but it refers to what we now know as a benevolence fund.

Tzedakah is a foundational spiritual practice.  Tzedakah was a central obligation of Jewish life, whether the person is rich or poor.

 

Tzedakah is a foundational spiritual practice.  Tzedakah was a central obligation of Jewish life, whether the person is rich or poor. The practice of giving is not according to a person’s economic station or spiritual accomplishments. In the Jewish culture, life begins and ends in tzedakah, and so it must not be an issue or a struggle. When a child is born, the Jewish father pledges a certain amount of money for the distribution of the poor. At the funeral, the mourners contribute coins to the beggars who swarm the burial area.

The tzedakah is practiced in order to remind the individual that at every turn of one’s life, giving is present. Every celebration or holiday is usually accompanied by gifts. In Jewish culture, generosity is a way of life. During holidays, they would pass around a box wherein coins are dropped for the support of different charities. The well-off home have a series of boxes for different purposes. If something good or bad happens to the family, a coin is dropped in the box. The children are also trained in the habit of giving. The father would encourage this habit by having his son give the alms to the beggar, instead of handing it over directly. Jewish people grow up with the gesture of giving becoming almost as a reflex. How blessed is a person whose habit is to give, instead of to take?

Jewish people grow up with the gesture of giving becoming almost as a reflex.

If we study the proper context of “love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev.19:18), it is not a command to feel as loving toward another as you do toward yourself, but to love your neighbor as part of yourself. Love is an action. It is about taking care of others, as you do yourself. Thus, giving tzedakah leads to the realization that there is no self or other —  giving to the needy is like taking money from your right hand and placing it into your left.

Tzedakah is a practice in which anyone can engage in. Unlike the word “charity,” which has its origins in the Latin caritas, “heart,” tzedakah comes from the Hebrew word tzedek, which means “justice.” Charity is done by someone who’s heart is awakened (Ruach), something not everyone has experienced. Tzedakah, on the other hand, challenges you to be just. Even the person who has a scarcity-fearing egoic consciousness (Neshamah) can support this principle, since creating a system of just earning and use of finances protects you as well as others.

According to Moses Maimonides, a great medieval philosopher, there are eight degrees of tzedakah (with number 1 being the ultimate and number 8 being the most basic) still followed today:

  1. Seeing to a person’s independence by providing a person with a job, entering into a partnership that allows the person to establish a business, giving an interest-free loan, giving a grant.
  2. Giving tzedakah anonymously through a reputable third party and without knowing who will receive the aid.
  3. Giving anonymously to a known recipient.
  4. Giving publically to an unknown recipient.
  5. Giving without being asked.
  6. Giving generously after being asked.
  7. Giving gladly but not generously.
  8. Giving grudgingly.

The highest form of charity is when you prevent others from ever becoming poor, such as by offering a loan or employment or investing in someone’s business.

 

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THE THREE KINDS OF GIVERS

In the Rabbinic tradion, the proportion by which a person gives reveal the person’s heart. The generous man — the man with a good eye — gives 1/40 of his income to the priest. In other words, he gives 2.5% to the priest, on top of the 10% he gives as his tithe. If the income of this generous man is $10,000, then $1000 is given back as his tithe, and $250 is given to the priest as a heave offering. The fair man gives back 1/50 or 2% portion of his income outside of the tithe. Whoever gives 1/60 or below above the tithe is referred to as a stingy man or the miserly. In other words, someone who gives 1.6% or less of his income, outside of the tithe is considered tightfisted.

The generous man — the man with a good eye — gives 1/40 of his income to the priest.

The Târumah Offering Principle No. 11

A         [This is] the [required] measure of heave offering:

B         [If a man is] generous, [he separates] one-fortieth [of his produce].

C         The House of Shammai say, “One-thirtieth.”

D         And [if he is] average, [he separates] one-fiftieth [of his produce].

E         And [if he is] miserly, [he separates] one-sixtieth [of his produce]

 

A blessing is declared upon the entire increase by separating the târumah from the rest of the income.

The Târumah is produce that is separated from the harvest and given to the priest as a gift, and it is a personal thing for the giver. A blessing is declared upon the entire increase by separating the târumah from the rest of the income. Ideally, the person reciting the blessing must be able to hear himself say it. Once it is separated the târumah is consumed by the priest and their families alone, and this food could not revert to the status of hullin, or the food that is consumed by non-ministers.

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God gives you the heart to be generous

God gives you the heart to be generous, and the means to be generous. God covers all grounds. When you limit your giving based on your current circumstance and the money in your bank account or your wallet, then you would be paralyzed. You are unable to part with your material wealth because you are relying on your own ability. However, when you fix your eyes on the power and love of the Lord, then this opens your perspective to see the bigger picture. You are not the source of your generosity. Paul reveals the secret to generosity is simply stepping out in faith and giving. Decide in your heart to be a cheerful giver. God is the One who will bestow gracious abundance on those who give generously as it is that He will bless the generous with resources to give generously.

Paul defines the blessing of grace of having all sufficiency in all things. The term “Sufficiency”, which came from the Greek word autarkeia, is the state of possessing all that one needs, so that he is able to manage without any help or support from others. In Philippians 4:11, it distinguishes the idea of “contentment” (as in Phil. 4:11). However, it is an indirect result. The idea implies that the generous man curtails his own wants that he may be able to give to others, thus not being in want any longer.

A generous man is motivated by God’s own spirit of blessing.

 

The truth involved is probably close to that of Philippians 4:19, which is also expressed in a context of the Philippians’ generosity. Said in another way, a generous man is motivated by God’s own spirit of blessing. This man does not fear that God will leave him penniless. The God who puts it into a man’s heart to be generous with his material wealth will also ensure that his needs are supplied so that this man abounds in every good work. In other words, he is always able to contribute in the good work God intended for the church to do on earth

How to Give Your Heave Offering

Is the tithe the same as the heave offering? The short answer is no. The heave offering is often given in conjunction with the tithes (Lev. 7;14, 34) as a provision for the Levites. The Levites are the priestly tribe the Lord assigned to be ministers. They have no land of their own, and could not grow their own food. Their life’s calling and vocation is to serve the Lord. They depended on the Lord’s provision through tithes and heave offerings (Num. 18:24, 29). The heave offering, like the tithe is given from the person’s firstfruits, that is, out of the first portion of the produce harvested each year (Num.15:21).

The heave offering is designed and permitted to be consumed only by the priests.  According to Jewish traditions, only the proprietor was allowed to set apart the târumah. In other words, it is the giver who intentionally gives the târumah set apart for its purpose as a heave offering.

In ancient Israel, there was a sacred character to the târumah.

 

 

 

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THE KIND OF GIVING GOD COMMENDS

Paul wrote to the church in Corinth about the generosity that pleases the Lord. Generosity is a heart issue, not a money issue. A person’s generosity is measured against his willingness to give, and not in the amount that he is giving. A person can give a million dollars with a reluctant heart, and the Lord would be displeased and dishonored by it. Compare it with a person who gives a hundred dollars for his tithe, which is double what is required of him, because of his willingness to give to the Lord and his desire to please God. The Lord would be pleased with the $100, and displeased with the $1,000,000.

Paul wrote, “Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7). In the passage, it is clear that Paul addresses this letter to “each of you”, suggesting that the amount give will be different from one individual to another. The amount does not determine the attitude of the heart when it comes to giving the offering.

The amount does not determine the attitude of the heart when it comes to giving the offering.

 

Paul notes three important thing about the giver. First, he should give according as he purposes in his heart. We see a parallel to this in Exodus 25:1-2.  The giving must be free and deliberate, not under compulsion. It is not on a mechanical scale that one gives. It must be absolutely voluntary, and it must be the man’s worship to his God.

Another thing Paul listed here is that the give must not give grudgingly or out of necessity. The giver must not be grieved by his sacrifice. A person’s grief is based on his perspective. If he feels he is losing money — period — then he would be sorrowful. If he knows that God is faithful to reward those who are faithful and obedient to His word, then this would be a joyful process.

Finally, the giver must be cheerful in the process. The word “cheerful” (Greek hilaros) implies that one is quick to act because he finds joy in the action. Paul further reveals how our generous God also loves a cheerful giver. He approves and choose this kind of giver. How come? Because this giver reflects the nature and identity of the Lord. God is cheerful when He blesses us. He absolutely enjoys it. When we have the same attitude in giving, He loves seeing His image in His children.

God is cheerful when He blesses us. He absolutely enjoys it. When we have the same attitude in giving, He loves seeing His image in His children.

The Source of What We Give

Giving is a faith issue, and not a supply issue. The giving is not dependent of what you currently. Instead, it is based on your heart to believe God. What did Paul write, “And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work” (2 Cor. 9:8). Every word of the first part of the verse alone speaks a lot about how the ability to give comes from God:

God is able to provide

God is able to provide you

God is able to provide you with every

God is able to provide you with every blessing

God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance.

The second part of the verse reveals God’s purpose. First, so that you can always have enough of everything. Second, so you may share abundantly in every good work. The purpose of the blessing is to bless you and to enable you to contribute — to give your offering.

The purpose of the blessing is to bless you and to enable you to contribute — to give your offering.

 

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Spotting the Amateur Prophet

Looking around, we will see many amateurs thriving in the marketplace. In contrast, mature prophets are scarce. What separates the amateurs from the mature ones? We see mature people like, Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Barrack Obama, and ask the question, “What makes them stand out from the rest of the adult population?” They may not be in ministry, but they exhibit the way of being of a mature minister in the way they influence their respective marketplaces.

Usually, amateur prophets merely respond or concede to offers from others. They are easily swayed to compromise (recall the example set by Gehazi). Amateur prophets actually rely on offers from others instead of making offers themselves. Back in the story of Elisha, we see that he was the one offering to the Shunamite woman and Naaman how he could make their lives better. Gehazi took offers that were not even directed to him; in effect, he was stricken with leprosy.

Moreover, amateur prophets tend to wait to respond to offers. They only react to invitations, requests, and offers, and they do so to satisfy immediate needs. If they feel like their happiness or their comfort is threatened, then they react.

Moreover, the level and quality of his contribution to the marketplace and to the world where he belongs is so great that it cannot be compared to that of an amateur prophet.   The Bible shows the state of mind of the mature prophet. The Apostle James tells us, “If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you” (James 1:5 NRSV). In life, you can always grow. The only question is if you will create for yourself an empty space by which God can generously fill with wisdom.

A mature prophet is someone with a higher sense of drive to fulfill the work entrusted to him. He seeks to achieve a degree of happiness and accomplishment that is beyond his current circumstances. The amateur prophet is also driven by his pursuits of fulfillment of his happiness. Moreover, the level and quality of his contribution to the marketplace and to the world where he belongs is so great that it cannot be compared with that of an amateur prophet.

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How do you identify an amateur prophet in your ministry?

MOVING INTO SOCIAL MATURITY

In order to experience social maturity, you must articulate your chief aim in life coherently, logically, and specifically. List your faith goals. Do not just go with the motions of life. Instead, ask God for wisdom for where He wants you to be. Begin by accurately assessing and distinguishing where you are currently in your own life. It may be a painful process to recognize where you are, because it will require you to look into what is missing. Moreover, it will require you to identify areas in your life that lack authenticity and integrity.

Growing in social maturity is a choice you have to make. Times demand making choices, especially on how you are supposed to live your life. Day in and day out you make choices about the unavoidable and inescapable—whether you recognize it or not.  On a similar note, being a prophet in the marketplace is about being highly strategic and purposeful in your choices.

Now, how does an amateur prophet differ from a mature one? An “amateur” prophet differs from a “mature” prophet in the degree by which they pursue the fulfillment of their calling. This pursuit is proven by their ethics, behavior, and the quality, quantity, and value of their invitations, requests, and offers.

Mature prophets seek to transact with other mature ministers. They observe their actions, moods, attitudes, and states of minds to adapt their willingness to make or accept invitations, offers, and requests. They recognize that they have so much more to learn and to grow.

In order to gain access to centers of influence in higher ecologies, one must demonstrate that one can act in similar ways. Therefore, you must have the same level of ethics, ability, capacity, and knowledge in order to fulfill valuable transactions.

The state of mind of the mature prophet is that which allows him to take responsibility and to take care of the needs of others. The mature prophet is not in the marketplace to be served and to be praised; he is there to be a shepherd for the followers of Christ. Mature prophets are distinguished from their amateur counterparts, as  they are able to look beyond their own needs to cover the needs of others, just like adults distinguished from their children. We see that Gehazi and Jonah were amateur prophets because of how they acted and behaved in their ministry. They considered mostly their own needs, hence were unable to cover the needs of others.

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How can you grow in your maturity as prophet?

Identifying Limiting Conversations

Of all the limiting conversations, the most pernicious is the victim conversation, and we always address it head on. Every problem you’ve ever had in your life, they’ve all had one thing in common. You were there. Having problems in life is inevitable. We all face problems in life that puts us in a position of being vulnerable. Acceptance is the key in facing problems. When Job went through trials and persecution, he said

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (Job 1:21).

Job accepted what had happened to him. He still acknowledged God despite the things that bothered him. He continued in his stand in the Lord –remaining faithful – even when his wife and even his very close friends are persecuting him. In this kind of stand, despite the fact that he is being seen as a victim, he chose to stay in his victorious position in God.

As he chose to stay in his victorious position in God, he declared God in his life. When this happened, God blessed him even more. The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters… Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers. After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so he died, old and full of years (Job 42:12-17).

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 How are you being a victim?

Ego: The Enemy of Powerful Conversations

In our conversations, we can be overcome by fear because of many reasons. It could be the person we are talking to, the topic of the conversation, etc. Fear can be viewed as an obstacle to the enrollment process. When there is fear in the enrollment process, there is no sense of concern or care to the person being enrolled. Fear inhibits a person from being his best. It is a poor motivational tool because it makes one lose sight of the passion inside him.

Bad changes happen when fear is instilled. This makes a successful enrollment process a bit difficult to attain. If there is fear in the enrollment process, it should be dealt with right away. Fear should be eliminated because it will lead a wrong or negative kind of mindset.

The ego may most of the time pose a bad image. However, it still has its uses. After all, it cannot be fully eliminated – but can be controlled. You must have a big ego, because you have to ignore all the negative conversations – especially from negative people. Critics may have valid concerns, but you have to be careful not to allow yourself be derailed trying to be everything to people. The bread of success is buttered on the side of those being criticized, not those criticizing.

People will always have something good and bad to say to us. We cannot keep them from doing so. However, we can filter whatever negativity we are getting from them – and having a big ego is something that can help you filter them. Aside from that, being Christians who are Spirit-driven, we are to let the Spirit lead us and remind us about the Truth.

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 How is your ego keeping you from communicating powerfully?

Be a Space of Inspiration

Enrollment begins with being authentic to your being. Jesus was authentic, and the people saw this. They were inspired by his authenticity to His true nature, as the Son of God.

When you are free of constrains from yourself and from others, a wide range of possibilities will begin to open up for you. You will no longer be confined by the limits of what you “should be”, but become inspired by the things that your freedom can make possible. Knowing that you can choose to do, be and say whatever you see fit and true to your nature, will make it easy for you to look ahead at what you can make of your life.

When you find something that you are truly inspired by, which follows that it is in accordance with your nature, you must enroll in this possibility. Enroll in it by giving it everything and committing to it. Do not doubt yourself or your abilities. If you can become truly inspired by a possibility, you can surely achieve it. Accomplishing this possibility is something that should come as naturally to you as becoming inspired by it in the first place.

Find out how you can inspire people. Archbishop Jordan’s book, Power of Prophetic Communication Workbook is now available via the Book of the Month Club.

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What inspires you? List five specific things that bring you inspiration to do something.

Blame Game

What are the reasons you are mostly blaming on others? What is wrong in your life that you cannot take responsibility for? Assigning blame on others significantly impacts your power to transform your life.

No single generation has the answers or the responsibility for the future. But, we all have something to contribute. We cannot solely put all of the blame on one person. We always have something to contribute to a group, a family, a community or a society.

What we can offer may seem quite insignificant compared to what others can but it does not take away the fact that whatever the outcome is, we had contributed something to it. It is also a poor practice to put the blame on others without even looking at ourselves.

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What do you want be different about your future?

Simon Peter: Commitment to Action

Prophetic commitment is something that exists in language, and it is only by speaking and listening that you can have access to it. We all make commitments. Even self-confessed procrastinators at some point will realize that they are committed to avoid decisions.

One account in the Bible that depicts prophetic commitment to action which resulted in a new possibility is the conversation between Jesus and Simon Peter while in a boat when he walked on water (Mt. 14:22-33).

It happened again after Jesus died and resurrected from the dead.

Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off. (John 21:3-8)

Everything seemed ironic. It was a time when the odds were against Simon Peter. They had all night to catch fish, but not a single one was caught. Then Jesus, a carpenter’s son, instructed him, a seasoned fisherman, to let down the nets. It was just like a kindergarten teacher coaching a rocket scientist about his job. Despite the unreasonableness and the fact that it was against any fisherman’s professional judgment, Peter committed to do as the Lord said. He faithfully let down the net as told.

Because of that faith and commitment, the result was spectacular. The nets were overflowing with too much fish that they were already about to tear. Even the boat, because of too much weight it was carrying, was almost to the point of sinking. This is what prophetic commitment does.

When we are committed to that possibility of change, we will do it despite the unreasonableness. And once we do, that possibility is realized.

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What is the Lord challenging you to commit to right now, despite the impossibility you are facing?