I believe in the place and power of preaching, not because I am a preacher, but because I have been impacted by messages that I have listened to at various times in my life. One such message I heard happened over thirty years ago when I was attending the church I later pastored in Eden Prairie, MN.
Roxanne Brant was preaching. The title of her message that night has lingered with me all these years, ‘The God Who Gives Ideas.’ She also wrote a book on the same topic where she states, ‘God delights in giving His children helpful, wonderful and inspiriting ideas that will bless and prosper them. As we seek God’s plan for our lives, living to please Him and serving others, He gives us marvelous ideas. When we follow each idea through to its conclusion, we find that problems are solved and that we are enjoying the fruitful lives that He promised in His word.
‘God gives us many kinds of ideas. However, the main focus of this book is that God gives us as Christians ideas that enable us to prosper materially so that we can be more effective channels of His blessings to others and help spread the gospel of Jesus Christ worldwide. He doesn’t bless us so we can lay up treasures on earth.
‘God’s plan is that we will prosper “From the inside out” – spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, and then physically and financially (3 John 2). He intends for us to be channels of distribution, not storehouses, hoarding wealth. In God’s plan, riches are never to be pursued. Instead, they are received as a blessing from God once our relationship with Him is right.’
GOD IS A CREATIVE GOD
Genesis 1 tells us God created the heavens and the earth and all things in it. When we think of God as creator, we tend to put Him back into ages past, when He created everything and set it in motion as though creating things was a season that He went through that is now over, and now He just maintains everything.
It is like my life, in which there were different seasons – the time I played tennis, or when I was made to learn the piano, neither of which I do anymore.
But God is not like that. Creativity is not just an activity He entered into for a season. It is a part of His nature and His character; the essence of who He is and consequently what He does. God is a creative God.
Eugene Peterson, the author of ‘The Message,’ writes in his book ‘Run With Horses,’ ‘The Bible makes it clear that every time there is a story of faith, it is completely original. God’s creative genius is endless. He never, fatigued and unable to maintain the rigors of creativity, resorts to mass-producing copies. Each life is a fresh canvas on which He uses lines and colors, shades and lights, textures and proportions that He has never used before.’
IDEAS THAT COME FROM GOD
He is always doing new things. Indeed, he told Isaiah, ‘Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing. Now it shall spring forth. Shall you not know it’ (Isaiah 43:18-19)’ Isaiah goes on to declare this further, ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8)’
Now, we can get caught up in our own ideas, some of which may be foolish. However, one small idea that God gives you can impact and change your life. What we need is God’s ideas, which are better than our own. We need to be expecting God-given ideas that will enrich our lives and benefit others.
GOD DOES GIVE PEOPLE IDEAS
God does give people certain ideas that can bring success in life, including the business world. Roxanne Brant tells the story of a businessman who experienced just that.
‘I know of a businessman who made soybean sauce before he was a Christian. His business took a turn for the worse and his company when bankrupt. Just when he was seriously contemplating suicide, someone told him about Jesus Christ. He asked Jesus to become his Savior, and God began giving him one idea right after another. He told this businessman to buy a certain mountain, so he got a real estate option on that mountain. People laughed at him, but he placed a binder on that mountain and obtained a mortgage. Next God told him, ‘Call your new company Petros, meaning “rock” in Greek.’ Imagine the people’s amazement when this Christian man discovered his mountain contained a vast quantity of a very valuable rock which was highly marketable in his part of the world. Orders for this extremely valuable rock came flooding in from businessmen all over that part of the world. Almost overnight, this man became a multimillionaire.’
IDEAS BOTH BIG AND SMALL
God is not just concerned about the big issues in life, but He is also concerned about revealing creative ideas for small things that happen to us every day. He is the God who gives ideas both big and small.
A LADY IN KOREA WITH ONE IDEA
Dr. Yonghi Cho, one of my spiritual heroes, from Seoul, Korea, tells the story of a woman in his church and the power of a single idea that came through listening for God’s word and His ideas.
‘One of his church members was taken home to Heaven and left behind him a middle-aged wife and three sons. The widow made an appointment with Dr. Cho to obtain counseling. She said, ‘Pastor, my husband has died and left me $100,000, but we have three boys: one is going to the university, another is in high school, and the youngest is in junior high school. I need to educate them all, and I have not learned the ways of the business world. All three of my sons want to go to medical school. I will need at least $200,000 just for their education. How can I do this when I only have $100,000? Dr. Cho knew this was a very important concern of hers. So, he wisely responded, ‘You need to recognize God as your total resource now. You need His help. God can help you even more than your late husband did.
‘This widow went home and prayed about the situation. She shared later that the Lord seemed to say to her, “You give one-tenth of the $100,000 your husband left you to My work, and I will bless the nine-tenths and take care of you and your sons.
‘Soon after the counseling session, she returned to Dr. Cho’s office. With trembling hands, she laid an envelope containing $10,000 on his desk. She told Dr. Cho, “I give my tenth to the Lord in obedience and take Him as my source and supply.” Both of them laid hands on the envelope and prayed, turning her situation over to God. She left his office rejoicing that God had His portion and was going to provide for her family.
‘Several weeks passed. One day she returned to his office and said, ‘Dr. Cho, God told me I should invest the rest of my money ($90,000) is a certain piece of land in the north-west section of Seoul. This land looks much like wasteland. All of my friends think I am foolish and that I will lose all of my money. But having peace in my heart, I have bought that piece of land.
‘During the next year, she continued to struggle and pray. All this time, God was working on her behalf “behind the scenes.” God knows all things. So, He knew what the future use of that land would be. Time passed. One day, about a year later, the city government decided they needed the “wasteland” this widow had purchased. They were planning big building projects near the land and wanted to expand the transportation system to cover the increased number of people who would be moving into the area.
‘The leaders approached the widow with an offer. They told her they wanted to build a main subway station on her land. Their studies and population flow charts indicated her land was the perfect place for a desperately needed new subway station. They offered her a marvelous price. She sold them the land for $290,000. After all of her expenses were taken out, including the taxes, she realized a net profit of $200,000 in one year’s time! Were her friend amazed? Most certainly!
‘This lady received only one idea, but it was certainly sufficient to take care of her and her sons! God abundantly met her need out of His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. This one idea, heavenly wisdom, and knowledge, that the Holy Spirit gave her greatly prospered her.’
DEVELOPMENT OF AN IDEA
Roxanne Brant, in her book, stated the following steps to developing ideas that come from God:
- An idea must be planted or received
- After you receive an idea, prove or test it. Is it Biblical? Will it fill a human need, solve a problem or help others?
- Commit yourself to put that idea into action. Invest your time, money and energy and develop the idea.
- Know that problems or troubles will come in an attempt to stop or block you from completing the project. Trials always come before the final victory. God will allow you to be tested and proved. When you are in this phase, you have to choose whether you will persist with your idea or vision or give up. Don’t quit! Believe in the idea God has given you. Hang in there, and you will eventually creatively and effectively move on the final phase.
- You will experience fulfillment and see fruit. Your dream will materialize, inspire and help others. After the storm is past, you will move into God’s blessings.
Well, there you are. Ideas from the God who gives ideas. Are you open to receive new ideas from God as you seek to follow Him continually? Are you seeking His answers to your needs in every area of your life? Why not try it and see what happens for God is the God who gives ideas!