tompkinsindustries1When I was at Tompkins Industries, we were trying to increase our walk-in traffic for our hydraulic hose repair business. We wanted more construction guys to come to us to get new hoses made when the OEM hose broke. It was around 1979 and I thought we could use a rewards punch card to generate repeat business. Not being very creative, I made it a simple reward, get 10 hoses made and get 20 bucks back. All of a sudden we started seeing more of the same guys. And they were bringing more hoses with them. We were having to give out some money too.

But a fellow worker, Dan Turnbull, had another idea. Obviously Dan was more in tune with the kind of guy who walks around with broken hydraulic hoses. Dan suggested we give Buck knives as a reward. Wow! We started to see a lot more guys. They had a whole assortment of Buck Knives they could choose from. Tompkins Industries still rewards loyal customers with Buck Knives. I have heard that they are one of the largest Buck Knife dealers in the country.

Rewards have an amazing impact on our lives. We encounter rewards on a daily basis. As a child our parents used rewards for our behavior. In school our teachers used rewards to get us to learn. In our jobs our employers use rewards to get us to work. (If you look at a paycheck as a reward). In marriage, unfortunately, husbands and wives use rewards to further their relationship. Rewards are all around us, ingrained into our thinking and actions.

rewardscardsWe have even been brain washed by credit card companies to spend money because we think we are rewarded when we do so. They call them Rewards Cards! When I was using my American Express Card for my business, at one time we accumulated over 500,000 awards points. You say boy Jim you must have been a good boy! No, you got that many points because you spent $500,000 dollars (some things got triple points). It took 4 or 5 years to accumulate that many points, but they were gone just like that. They like you to spend money, but what you get in return is so overpriced. It is better to save the money and then buy your own reward at a cheaper price. You save all around.

churchrewardsChurches have gotten into the reward thing too. They offer Starbucks Coffee bars, gymnasiums with complete health clubs. I would love to go to a church with such “perks” but is that why we should go to church? We have become such a reward oriented society that inner character takes a back seat to outer behavior. Cheating in High Schools and Colleges is an accepted fact because the rewards are so great! Character doesn’t matter, results do.

We all want God’s Blessings in our lives. We all want to be disease free, money in the bank, large house, multiple nice new cars, kids all loving and successful, grand kids healthy, smart and on a track for success. We want a Hollywood kind of life. We pray the prayer of Jabez and expect that to open our lives to riches untold.

God is very clear in His Word what He considers blessing. God is very clear what He considers a Reward. If we are to find the “Pathway of Blessing” we need to understand what Rewards are and how does God Reward us in our Christian walk! Does God reward us because we go to church? Does God reward us because we tithe 10 percent? What is the basis of Reward? What opens the “Pathway of Blessing” to us.

pathwayWe began our series with our foundational verse:

Psalms 25:4 Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths.

If we are going to allow God to teach us His pathway of Blessing, we have to submit ourselves to His ways, which are higher than our ways. The Children in the Wilderness never learned the pathway that God had for them because they would not submit to knowing His ways.

We were introduced to the importance of Honor toward Jesus Christ in allowing Him to work in our lives, and to guide us into the Pathway of Blessing. This past week God gave me a fresh personalization of Proverbs 3:5,6, and I would like all of us to learn this.

I am not changing SCRIPTURE, but I am internalizing it, making it my own. John 3:16 is just a verse some crazy guy holds up at football games. But when it becomes your verse, it is life changing. It has the power to give you new life. When you realize that God loved me so very much that He sent His only Son Jesus Christ to be born in the form of a man so that He could become sin fo me, and that if I believe that what Jesus did for me means that my sins are forever forgiven, that God now lives in me and because I have a new nature-God’s Nature I will have eternal Life with God-that is when John 3:16 packs power!

prov356Proverbs 3:5,6 takes on a totally new meaning when we personalize it this way:

I want our church, our people to understand the importance of Honor in discovering God’s Blessings and Rewards. If we are to do so, we can no longer depend and trust in our fleshly, finite understanding. God’s ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts are Higher than. We must ask God to open our hearts and minds to His ways and His words!

2 John 1:8 (NKJV) Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.

Are you receiving a Full Reward from Jesus? Do you know what you must do in order to even hope of receiving a full reward?

fullrewardsI’m not talking about heavenly rewards. I’m talking of the rewards of our Life in Jesus Christ! Jesus came to give us live and that abundantly! There is meant to be rewards for following Jesus! We’ve lost sight of the Power of the path of Jesus! When the apostles preached the doctrine of Jesus, people were changed, lives were energized, rewards were poured out upon the people. It was powerful to be a follower of Jeus Christ. That Power effected their work, their home life, their marriage, their possessions, their way of life. it also affected their outlook toward struggles, toward persecutions, toward thieves, towards personal losses. Why did followers of Christ subject their lives to such drastic changes, changes that effected every aspect of their life? Because of the REWARDS!

Yes, there will be rewards in heaven. We will have to appear before the bema seat and answer to God:bemaseat

But I believe Jesus taught us about earthly rewards! The Life of a Christian is to be a life of REWARD! Each ones rewards are different because God has a different path for each one of us. But there are REWARDS! And what you do determines if you lose those rewards or end up with partial rewards!

Am I preaching a Prosperity Gospel? Yes I am. If you do as I am going to teach you will prosper beyond your wildest imaginations. You will prosper the way God measures prosperity!

  • Deuteronomy 29:9 (NKJV) Therefore keep the words of this covenant, and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do.
  • Psalms 10:5 (NKJV) His ways are always prospering; Your judgments are far above, out of his sight; As for all his enemies, he sneers at them.
  • Joshua 1:7 (NKJV) Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.

God’s Pathway is a Pathway of Blessing, a Pathway of Prospering.

Consider Ruth:

ruthRuth 2:11-12 (NKJV) And Boaz answered and said to her, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”

Now Ruth chose to follow after he mother-in-law. It was a way of poverty, a way of ridicule, for she was a Moabitess. Boaz prayed that she would receive the full-reward because of the path she had travelled on. If you read the “rest of the story” you learn that God indeed gave her a full reward, for Boaz, a wealthy man, married her, and through their union, the Christ child came.

What did Ruth do that made God want to reward her? I’ll reveal that in a moment, but first, what is

“FULL REWARD” IN MAN’S EYES…

phariseesIn Matthew we find Jesus teaching about Pharisees. He mentions that because of what they did they had their “full reward”. Jesus lets us see the difference between man’s idea of full reward, and what God’s idea is. Matthew 6:1-6 (NIV) 1 “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Man’s idea of Reward is anything that is visible. It is success, praise of men, money, fast car-anything that is visible and smells of success. Jesus said God’s reward only comes upon the invisible, on that which we don’t see. Those hidden prayers, those secrete gifts, secret acts of compassion. Those are the things that God gives a full reward for. So if God rewards secret and hidden thoughts actions and attitudes, could his rewards be similar, perhaps even unseen by the world, or more importantly unnoticed by the world?

  • The world rewards the Flashy, the Confident, God rewards the humble of heart.
  • The world rewards the Rich, God rewards the poor widow who gave her last mite.

The Full Rewards of God cannot be purchased by money, they cannot be won by lottery, they cannot be given, for they come from God alone. They are that magnificent.

God’s Full Rewards: They touch our Innermost Being.

1. Reward of Peace: If one follows the pathway of God he will be rewarded with a deep peace that comes from abiding in the Prince of Peace. Proverbs 3:17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, And all her paths are peace. Men have spent enormous sums of money to buy peace in their soul, but such peace is the reward of one who walks in the pathway that God has for Him.

2. Reward of Rest: One who walks in God’s Pathway “Shall not be afraid of evil tidings, His heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord” (Ps 112:7) His heart will be free from the fear of evil. What better reward than a complete rest from worry, anxiety and a calm assurance that there is no fear on God’s Pathway.

3. Reward of Good: Another part of the believer’s great gain lies in the consciousness that all things are working together for his good. Nothing is, after all, able to injure us. Neither pains of body, nor sufferings of mind, nor losses in business, nor cruel blows of death, can work us real ill. Jeremiah 6:16 (NKJV) Thus says the Lord: “Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

4. Reward of Joy Psalms 16:11 (NKJV) 11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. The full reward of God is a life lived with the utmost of purpose, fulfillment and joy. No matter what the trials, the difficulties, the sickness, God gives us the full reward of His Joy regardless of circumstances. When you have sustained a trial which once would have crushed you, the victory is exceedingly sweet.

5. Reward of God’s Ear When you abide in Christ and walk in His Pathway, you have God’s ear when you call unto Him. Psalms 37:23-24 (NKJV) The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand. If God is always holding your hand, He’s always going to be listening when you call!

What Did Ruth Do to earn a Full Reward? What Must each one of us do to earn a Full Reward?

Ruth Demonstrated the “Honor Principle”

honor-principle

Ruth honored Naomi. She also honored Naomi’s God! We Must Apply the Honor Principle to our daily lives. In the Book “Honor’s Reward, John Bevere details what he calls the “Honor Principle”. This Honor Principle is simply stated in I Samuel 2:30:in 1 Samuel 2:30: “Those who Honor me I will Honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed.”Eli was a High Priest, and worthy of Honor because of his office. His sons were causing disgrace to God, because of their debauchery and dishonoring of the office of Priest. So God said that Eli had lost his reward, in fact his family would be totally removed from serving as Priest. Eli and Eli’s family lost his reward.

Showing Honor is an essential Key in finding God’s Pathway of Blessing. Blessing in your personal and public life. Blessing that provides God’s Full Reward.

1. Partial Reward

Jesus was not honored by the people who knew him, the people of Nazareth. In fact, Matthew says they were offended at Him. Mark records He was able to only heal a few people.

Mark 6:4-5 (ESV) 4 And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” 5 And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them.

honorprincipledeterminesrewards2. No-Reward Situation – Healing of the Paraplegic Luke 5:17-26

17 Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them. 18 Then behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they sought to bring in and lay before Him. 19 And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus. 20 When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” 21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”–He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” 25 Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. 26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen strange things today!”

Surely one Pharisee needed healing. The Power of God was present to heal, but it did not heal any of the Pharisees. They were dishonoring Jesus in their hearts. They were amazed, but they received no reward. They received no reward because they failed to Honor the Son of God.

3. Full-Reward

fullrewardMatthew 8:5-13 (NKJV) 5 Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, 6 saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” 7And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! 11 And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.

This officer obeyed his commander. His men obeyed him. He was saying to Jesus that he had authority because he honored his country and his superiors by respecting their authority. So all I have to do is speak the word, and those under me respond immediately to my commands.

The Key phrase “I ALSO”. He knew that all Jesus had to do is speak a command, and the servant would be healed.

Jesus was blown away at this man’s faith. No one, not the Jews, the Pharisees had even come close to this man’s faith. This Gentile centurion had put it together- He saw the relationship between Honor and Authority. He received a Full Reward because he rendered honor and understood authority.

canaanite-womanIn Mark 7 another Gentile woman came to Jesus for help with her demon possessed daughter. She knew he had the power to heal her. When she asked, he ignored her. As he ignored her, she continued to beg until finally Jesus said that it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs. Jesus called this woman a dog. Now if she had been an American woman, she would have gotten in his face and reamed him out.

But she did something amazing, she honored him, she honored his authority by simply saying, Yes Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children’s crumbs..

Jesus said, for this saying, the demons have gone from your daughter.

She received her full reward!

The Honor Principle: Do You Want to See Jesus?

Luke 13:34-35 (NKJV) 34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing! 35 See! Your house is left to you desolate; and as

see-jesus

suredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ “

You will never see Jesus until you learn to honor those that He sends. When we honor the messengers of Jesus, we honor Him.

Jesus washed the feet of the disciples in John 13: John 13:5-7 (ESV) Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”

We all know the story. But after he did he said an amazing truth:

John 13:20 (NKJV) Most assuredly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”

Jesus applies the Honor Principle in every aspect of our lives in Matthew 10: 40-42 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.  He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”

Let’s examines Jesus words and substitute the word Honor everywhere receives and gives is used:

“He who honors you honors Me, and he who honors Me honors Him who sent Me. 41 He who honors a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who honors a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And whoever honors one of these little ones with only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”

To find the Pathway of Blessing (Rewards), we need to see:

1. Our Honor of God & His Son enables us to see the pathway of blessing (and to receive Full Reward).

  • “Show me your ways O Lord, teach me your paths”

2. There is an Authority Structure in the Kingdom of God.

  • “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matt 28:18)
  • “Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.” (1 Corinthians 15:24-25)

We must honor those that Christ has ordained we honor: Christ; Prophets-Spiritual Authorities; Righteous man-Our Peers; Little Ones-Under our Care

3. When we Honor “Sent Ones” we walk the Pathway of Blessing (Full Reward)

a. When we honor those authorities over us, we receive a reward
b. When we honor those around us, we receive a reward
c. When we honor those under our care, we receive a reward.

When I was growing up I was taught to respect (honor) my parents, my teachers, elders, the Pastor, even the President. I believe we have lost the importance of honor in our country, in our society, in education, in our relationships, our marriages, and our churches.

Life is all about what we can get for ourselves. Everyone does what is right in their own eyes. As a result we have lost sight of God’s pathway of Blessing. We have lost sight of what God considers “full rewards”. We are in pursuit of pleasure, fame and fortune and that is our reward, that is what we idolize, that is what we focus on.

God wants us to focus on His Son, Jesus Christ. And Jesus says we must learn to honor Him. We must learn to honor those authorities He has placed in our lives. We must learn to honor those He sends our way. When we discover the importance of honor, and commit to living lives that honor our Savior in everything we do, we will see and enjoy walking on God’s “Pathway of Blessing”. The way will be shining and clear. We will receive God’s “Full Reward”

One word of advice, to Honor others requires humility. It requires Faith to See the Power of God behind and because of the person you Honor. For as we obey God and Honor those He has placed in our path, then He will reward us with the Pathway of Blessing!

It is not a matter of Honoring someone only if we like them or respect them or think they agree with us. It is a matter of Obeying God because He commands us to Honor the authorities He has given us and those for whom we are responsible.

  • “he who receives whomever I send receives Me” – He who honors whomever I send, honors me!

Let me close with the story of a woman who desired very much to give her husband a child, especially a male child. They lived in a culture where the children you gave your husband showed your love for him, and showed your blessing by God. This particular man had another wife, and year after year she would give him a child.

This woman was at the end of her rope. Her husband assured her that he loved her, but she did not believe him. She couldn’t stand the bragging of the other wife. She felt disgraced every time she went to the store. She could her her friends whispering about her behind her back. Finally she had enough. She could take it no more. She went to church and fell on the floor before the communion table. She cried and cried and wept and wept. She cried out to God until she was so hoarse she could not even speak anymore. So she laid their and prayed and prayed. Her lips were moving, but their was no voice. She finally told God that if He gave her a baby boy, she would give him back to the Lord, to serve Him in church all the rest of his life.

Now at this point, in walks the old preacher. He sees her laying down on the floor, her lips are moving, but no words are being spoken. He concludes she is drunk. So he yells at her and says, Woman, we don’t allow drunks in church! You need to get rid of the wine and go home until you can sober up! Then you can come to church!

Now if this woman had been raised in America, she would have stood up and started yelling at the preacher. You insensitive jerk! I have been pouring my heart out to God, I really need His touch, and you want to kick me out of church? Do you see a wine bottle? How can you be a man of God and accuse me of being drunk? What kind of a pastor are you? I’m never coming back to this church again!

If Hannah had reacted this way, she never would have received God’s Blessing, His full reward of the baby Samuel. She would have gone home a bitter woman, and she would have died thinking that God doesn’t answer prayer. In fact, she probably would have concluded there really is no God.

Instead, Hanna honored this “Pastor” who actually was Eli the High Priest. She said “No My Lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I was pouring out my soul before the Lord. Regard not your handmaid as a wicked woman.” (I Sam 1:15-16 AMP)

She honored this man, even though he had wrongfully accused her. Why, He was her authority, he was the High Priest. Now was Eli a hannaGreat Priest? No. in fact God said “I have warned him continually that judgment is coming for his family, because his sons are blaspheming God and he hasn’t disciplined them. So I vowed that the sins of Eli and his sons will never be forgiven. ( I Sam 3:13-14)

Hannah honored an evil, accusing Priest, because to do so was to honor God! And as a result of her humbling herself (as a handmaid) and honoring Eli, she went home and conceived a blessed baby boy, Samuel. She received her full reward. God showed her His pathway of Blessing.

  • Do you want to see God’s Pathway of Blessing?
  • Do you want God’s Full reward for your life?
  • Are you willing to humble yourself before Jesus Christ and dedicate your life to honoring Him and those He has sent into your life?

Matthew 15:8-9 (NIV) “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'”

    1. Have you honored Jesus in your heart by repenting of your ways, your sins, and coming to Him as your Lord and Savior.
    2. Are you willing to lay aside the rules of man and enter into a living, daily relationship of honoring Jesus and those he sends into your life?
    3. Are you willing for God to teach you His pathway of Blessing?
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Comments
  1. Annette says:

    God sent me here to learn from you, for this is one of my major draw backs in obtaining all of God’s full pardons and rewards. I am trying to honor God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit faithfully and I have been struggling with my own pride and stubbornness for so very long. I have been repenting, trying not to sin, and am coming to Him as my Lord and Savior. I do want to lay aside the rules of man and enter into a living, daily relationship of honoring Jesus and those He sends into my life. I am willing to allow God to me His pathway of Blessing. I know the Lord had me find your blog this day, I know it in my being. He’s being so very patient with me. God bless you, please keep me in your prayers. Thank you.

    • mudpreacher says:

      Thank you for your kind words. Remember we each have full access to greatest teacher ever, the Holy Spirit. He will continue to work in your life as long as you humble your self before God. This is a matter of your heart and who you give it to. Jesus Christ is so worthy. I will pray for you and I welcome your prayers as well.

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