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Category Archives: Prosperity

The Valedictorian Church

Misalignment of the spine can cause any number of problems in the human body and can affect not only the skeletal system but major organ function as well.  Studies show that heart, lung, gall bladder, pancreas, spleen, stomach, kidney, bladder, prostrate and uterus issues can be directly influenced by the spine.  Furthermore, nerve fibers stem from the spine into every major immune system organ.

In the spiritual terms, misalignment can be just as detrimental to the Body of Christ.  When we fail to come under the headship of our Lord Jesus Christ and those He has set in authority, things become out-of-order.  As children of God and necessary parts of the body, our function can be hindered and our immunity weak.

For the remainder of this post, I want to call the misalignment, a “spiritual learning curve”.   To spare you the more in-depth and wordy definition of “learning curve”… here it is in short form.  The learning curve averages everything out.  In other words, new skills or knowledge can be quickly acquired initially, but subsequent learning becomes much slower. At first, a minimal investment of resources yields significant results, but the payback from continuing effort is smaller.

This is daunting in the world we live in of bigger, better and limitless upgrades.

At first it’s easy to make progress and our efforts are rewarded quickly but as time passes, the efforts we’re making do not garner the same results.  Just as when much is given, much is required, there are times when more is asked of us, with seemingly little to no increase.  This is when we are in real danger of settling for less in terms of spiritual gain if we fail to rise to the challenge. The average Christian walk, with a letter grade C and without challenge can begin to look rather appealing. It’s still passing right?  Yet, God wants us to excel in the call upon our life, walk worthy of it and increase more and more.  Come up higher and get an A!

I do believe God wants us to be straight A students… studying to show ourselves approved by Him, regardless of the applaud of men or the immediate result.  He is interested in our commitment and our longevity in our faithfulness to Him, the church, our leaders, fellow believers and the duty assigned to us.  We should be nothing less than valedictorian in the Spirit as we serve from scrubbing toilets to preaching to the multitudes.  Every season of our life comes with its own report card.

How are we faring?

“Average is just as close to failure as it is to success.”-Dr. John Polis

 

Being Rich Toward God

Luke 12:15-21, And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

It’s important to take inventory of our lives. To examine ourselves.  What does my life consist of?

When we find ourselves in a prosperous season… when the harvest of seeds sown has come to bear, there comes with it  a temptation to “pull down” our barns and build greater.  An upgrade is due us.

Somewhere along the way maybe, we’ve been lead to believe that we will arrive at a certain level of prosperity.  It’s a lottery of sorts…  a sweet spot in life, where we can just rest easy.  “Eat, drink and be merry”, right?

We long for the day when we won’t have to work so hard. When we can just retire and finally “live” a little.

We start to daydream of pulling down our barns.  It might look something like this…

“Oh, God has great things in store for me.  His plans are SO big that I’m gonna need a better ______________, a better _______________, a better _______________.  That’s what I intend to do! As soon as I get MY harvest, I’m gonna leave this ______________ behind.  I’m gonna build the life of MY dreams!”

Perhaps this kind of mindset has truly diminished the things that God has already equipped us with to use for His glory.  We’ve pulled down our barns.  And if these barns already aren’t enough for us, then how could something bigger and better ever be enough?

And here it is… that man was rich already. He was significant. He was provided for. He was equipped.  In essence, he had what was necessary for today.  He was taken care of, yet somehow, He thought he had to take care of himself.  Somehow, he thought the ground he was given belonged to him.

So what it all boils down to is that there is a question left unanswered.

In all of your pulling down and building greater, who have you served?  If you got your harvest and bought your dream _______________, to what purpose was it?  If it all ends at sunset…whose will it be then?

Will our children know what to do with it?  Will our extended friends and families?  How about our neighbors and communities?  And heaven help us, our government?

We must consider the “whose” of our harvest!  We must begin something with what God has given us that will live well beyond our years!

Get ready! The harvest is upon us. It’s time to seek the Lord! The Lord of the harvest is visiting our ground! He is preparing laborers to who will not labor in vain but will produce more of His spirit and yield His glory in this earth!  Unless the Lord builds it, we will labor in vain! Even if we give it ALL away, we will not find ourselves wanting.  The windows of heaven are opening and God has promised that He would pour out a blessing, so much so that there would not be room enough to contain it!  For some, even the most faithful among us, He hasn’t been able to release such a blessing because with even a handful, we pull down our barns!  We must settle it in our hearts that the foundations are good! What is already built is good! Yes, the barn is good! This is the year of the open door! If we will refrain from pulling down our barns, we will discover that He has opened the door of those barns and His bounty shall spill forth!  If we will rejoice in our room, He will give us a realm! Be rich toward God!

 

Let God Be Magnified

Psalm 35:27, …Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.

Poverty undermines, belittles and causes us to shrink back from truly seeing the magnitude of our God!

The problem is, if we don’t truly understand what it is to be prosperous, we will never see God in His vastness.  His greatness will escape us.

We’ve got it all wrong folks.  Merriam Webster defines poverty this way,

the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions.

In light of that, the truest sense of prosperity is defined by the Word of God this way…

Completeness, soundness, welfare and peace.

Completeness in number.

Safety and soundness in body.

Health

Quiet, tranquility, contentment.

Human friendship and the utmost friendship with God especially in a covenant relationship.

The prosperity of God encompasses so much more than material good or monetary gain.

The prosperity of God is an eternal guarantee and a revenue that is withdrawn directly from His glory.

Philippians 4:19, But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ
Jesus.

To the extent that we magnify and exalt our God, the wealthier we become!

You cannot magnify God and lack peace!  For that matter, you cannot magnify God and lack any thing.

You cannot lift up the name of Jesus and be disappointed!

You cannot glorify the King of kings and suffer discontent!

You cannot make God big and remain small no matter the size of your bank account or social status!

 
 

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A walking, leaping and praising God kind of year!

Acts 3:1-11,  Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.  And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;  Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.  And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.  And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.  Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.  And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.  And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.  And all the people saw him walking and praising God: And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him. And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering.

I recently finished reading an account written by George Muller of his relationship with the Lord and the work entrusted to him, as he cared for as many as 10,000 orphans in his lifetime.  The one thing, most of all, that  was imparted to me was that he never asked a man for anything.   It was a God-given conviction in his heart that the Lord himself would provide for him without his ever having to address the needs of the ministry (or any deficit for that matter) with anyone other than God.  He believed with his whole heart that no matter what, God would meet the needs of today.  He did not disappoint. God would always send someone.  Always.

I am also in the midst of reading an account of Reese Howells, an intercessor, whose conviction was that he had no right to pray for something that he himself would not be willing to provide if the means were available to him. Another words, if someone came to him and asked him to pray for a financial need they were facing, he could not and would not pray for it unless he himself were willing to meet it or contribute to it, if at all possible.  This was to the degree that if someone asked for prayer, he believed that God would indeed use him to bring the answer.

To live with such conviction and purpose.  To trust God with such self-less abandon.

I want this.

Last night, I was thinking on such matters when the Lord began to revelate Acts 3 to me.  I saw the lame man at the Gate Beautiful.  He lived a life where people were always carrying him and not God.  And if I could just interject here, my friend Melissa Flores wrote a beautiful post here about Hosea… he was in the womb and the pains of birth were coming to him, yet when the time came, he refused to come to the opening of the womb.  I believe these two to be the same testimony to what the Lord is saying.  Hosea relished being “carried” in the same way.

How often do I have a handicap and rather than look to the Lord to meet my need, I sit just like that man at the Gate Beautiful?  Searching for someone to tell…someone to help and living a peripheral life, outside of God’s provision?

Truth be known, there is something SO BIG in my heart to do.  Something SO BIG, that my mouth can’t open wide enough at times to speak of it.  My impulse is to lean on the crutch that I see so many others with this same “calling” taking.

If I do this, who will agree with me?

If I do this, who will help me?

“Alms for the poor.  Alms for the poor.”

I keep coming up short every time… and I wrongly convince myself that someone else will do this with me and I will not have to walk it out myself.  Like it’s going to be handed to me.

Here’s the thing. If I never learn  to rely solely upon God.  If I never trust Him as provider.  Silver and gold will never be enough.

When Peter and John said to him, “Look on us.”, what they were really saying was, “Take your eyes off of us! There is Someone greater!”

It’s time for the spiritual “nickel and diming” to stop around here.  For weeks I’ve been so unsettled.  I’ve been at the Gate Beautiful for too long, dreaming of living and praying someone will fund it.

For those of us who have been living this way, (and I don’t think I am alone in this) we are very aware that “eyes are fixed on us”.  We are being challenged.  It’s time meet their expectant gaze and look beyond the flesh, to the One and only name of Jesus.

It’s time to open my mouth wide again and  believe that God will satisfy it with good things!

I believe that even as I post this, immediately my feet and ankles will receive strength!  This is going to be a walking and leaping and praising God kind of year!  It’s going to leave those around me greatly wondering!

You too?

 

Wisdom’s Children

A few days ago, I skimmed the surface on this subject and I encourage you to read that, as I’m going to launch into this post from there.

The Word tells us that the love of money is a root of all evil.  Oftentimes this is what we base our perception of greed upon.  Money.

Looking more closely at this scripture, it’s more of a love issue than a money issue.  Where we set our affections will either be our victory or our demise.  It’s up to us.

You see, we have simply glossed over the context of 1 Timothy 6:10.  We can easily quote the first part of that passage, yet, couldn’t begin to recite the second half.

There’s a second half?  Yes.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves though with many sorrows.

What’s worse is that the preceding verse is just as vital.  (vs. 9).  But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 

Obviously, these are not waters to swim in.

And just to be clear, the love of money is not the root but a root of evil.  Not every evil thing has to do with money or greed.  But being a root, it will work its way deep into the ground of our heart and into many areas of our life.  Roots seek the waters of our life and they will tap in and suck the life-giving flow from us if at all possible.  These roots hotly pursue the river of true prosperity within us, in order to leave us dry and barren.

Perhaps feeling dry and unproductive are symptomatic of greed at work in our lives.  It’s worth investigating.

Greed will begin to pull us away from our faith, leaving us at a loss and alienating us from God and one another.  One of the meanings of the word strayed (as found in 1 Timothy 6:10) is separated from the group or main body.  The body of Christ, is unified by love.  Love for God and one another. When we begin to invest love in other things, we stray.  Our interests reflect our attendance…not only to church services but to ministry as a whole. Our function changes. Our production wanes. Our prayer life suffers.  Our relationships suffer.

What’s more is that greed doesn’t just stop there.  I love what Wikipedia has to say about it.

(Greed) may apply to the need to feel more excessively moral, social or otherwise better than someone else.

(Marked by) pursuit of wealth, status, and power.

Greed is about hierarchy.  It’s a “one upper”.  It stands to reason that greed could very well be generated from a legalistic, works mentality.

The need to feel more excessively moral runs rampant in the church today.  Brothers and sisters in Christ exercising competitive nature among themselves.  Living under the microscope of perfection, deprived of grace.

Greed not only seeks after “things” persay but power and status, bringing idolatry to the rungs on the ladder of promotion.  Having the mindset, “I attained to this, in order to get here.”

It’s not working.  It will never work.  Jesus attained…alone.  In His great love, He made us something we could never be without Him.  Moral beings.  He took our infirmities or better known as our personal, moral failures.

And socially better?  Ha!  Jesus ate with the prostitutes, and the publicans, the tax collectors and the sinners.  Let’s face it.  He ate with me.  He ate with you.

Tax collectors.  The irony of it! These guys were known for taking more than what was necessary and pocketing it for themselves.  They were known for their greed!   Matthew 11:19 says, The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” But wisdom is justified of her children.

True prosperity isn’t influenced by greed. Prosperity isn’t intimidated by accusation.

It’s one thing to be greedy.  It’s another thing altogether to be wise.  Jesus was and is wise! Wisdom is better than riches and wisdom is justified of her children.  True prosperity will sit down with them and offer something more; something real.

It’s the hour to be wisdom’s children and to become wise stewards.  In order to steward the things for God effectively, we must abandon our’selves’.

I can’t have both Him and me. I can’t think both Him and me. If a double minded man should not expect anything from God (James 1:7), a single minded man can expect everything from God! And that’s not greedy!

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2012 in greed, Jesus, Prosperity, Wisdom

 

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So Are The Ways

In life, it’s easy to get caught up in the wrong thing.   Proverbs 1: 17-19 says, Surely, in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird, but they lie wait for their own blood, they lurk secretly for their own lives. So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; it takes away the life of it’s owners.  Greed is a trap friend, yet the word tells us that we can set ourselves up for it. What’s worse is that it doesn’t just imprison us but it takes away our life.  Pointedly Proverbs tells us that, we are personally at fault when we fall into this trap. The reason why is because it’s rooted in loving our “self” more than God or anyone else.

Greed is the desire to acquire beyond reason.  Another words, there’s really no good explanation for it. It can’t be justified.  It’s not righteous and definitively it is a symptom of an unsound mind.  If that’s really the case, the root goes much deeper than we could imagine because the word tells us that God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and sound mind.  (2 Timothy 1:7)

Where greed is, the spirit of fear is at work.  When we must have something without regard for God’s will, fear gains ground in our life.  With everything we gather to ourselves, it’s grasp tightens all the more and it’s hold on us becomes cemented.

What then is the antidote? Luke 12:48 tells us that Everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required.  Contrary to this, greed can in no way give anything.  It will simply require, require and require because it has nothing to give. Greed is a poverty spirit.  It seeks to deplete us of all true worth. One who is snared in greed, has never truly received anything that has been given them by God.  Void of understanding of what is available to them, fear persists that resources will diminish or run out.

What I’m about to say next may surprise you and I am in no way telling you to go bust on God.  Please don’t.  But do you realize that one word found in the thesaurus that contrasts the word greed is prodigal?  Prodigal.  Really?

Now the implication would be that the prodigal son (found in Luke 15) didn’t know what he had. That he was operating out of greed.  But now, I’m taking a second look.  A Jewish man had two sons.  And the younger of them said to his father, “Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me. So he divided to them his livelihood.  And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.”

Under the microscope, I see something more here.  The “prodigal” son knew something of his Father and what he truly possessed more than we realize.  I believe it was at the core of his being that he had something of far more value than “possessions”.  Could it be that understanding of the true riches of his inheritance were suppressed by the desire for material goods and that when all was gone, it surfaced?  (Vs.  17) “But when he came to himself”…  When everything else was out of the way, his identity could finally approach him.

Can you hear the voice of reason (or sound mind)?  You are so much more than this.  Father God is so much more than this.

 

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Let Go Of The Thread

Recently I was reading in Genesis 14.  Abram has just overturned the enemy and had recovered not only his brother’s house (his nephew Lot)  but had taken the spoils as well.  The King of Sodom approached Abram and asked for the people to be returned to him and offered that Abram keep the goods for himself.

Abram’s response should be an example to all of us.

But Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lifted up my hand and sworn to the Lord, God Most High, the Possessor and Maker of heaven and earth,  That I would not take a thread or a shoelace or anything that is yours, lest you should say, I have made Abram rich.

How often, do we have a great victory and foolishly believe the spoils (people, places and things) to be our prosperity? 

We can find ourselves holding on by a thread, when the thread wasn’t the true riches to begin with.

Let go of the thread. 

Don’t let any other than God be able say,  “I have made you rich”.

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2011 in Prosperity, Provision