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What we need to remind ourselves of is that God is sovereign and we are not. Nothing happens that God hasn't directed or permitted to occur. He doesn't need us for anything. As such, God will bless who He wants to bless. Period. There's nothing any of us can do to change that. If God's will is for me to be rich/poor but have strong/weak faith, so be it. If I think I have any influence over my station in life apart from what God directs or allows, I delude myself. If I had all the answers and knew how my life would turn out in the future, I would be God and I know I make a lousy god. I am not perfect. I am not holy. I have hate in my heart at times. I turn good things into god things. King David was blessed with many riches because God decided to bless him. But yes, he had strong faith. Job was Satan's play thing for a while because God allowed it. He had faith and would not curse God. If strong faith were the only requirement for riches, the Apostle Paul probably would not have been beaten and thrown into prison. He very well may have been the world's first bazillionaire! God wants good things for His children. But what we think we want as being good may not be part of God's sovereign, perfect plan for all of His creation. Basically, we must want what God wants. Wanting anything other than what His will for our life is will just end in disaster for us.
Does God want us to prosper? Of course! The problem lies in the definition of prosperity. If a preacher limits the definition of prosperity to physical things (wealth, health, power, honor), then he has missed the point. Another problem is when the preacher speaks so vaguely about prosperity that the audience infers that he is only talking about physical things (wealth, health, power, honor). A challenge for preachers: Speak about prosperity in its entirety, both physical prosperity and spiritual prosperity. A Christian life should reflect this prosperity in balance. If your preaching is one-sided, may God have mercy on your soul.
Job had the balanced view on life. God endorsed what he spoke. He said, "Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?" The Holy Spirit records, "In all this Job did not sin with his lips" (Job 2:10). One of the favourite texts for the advocates of the prosperity doctrine is 3 John 2, "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers." The promise in this verse is emphasized these days more than the condition. The fact is that most of the believers are not prospering in their souls! They hardly spend an hour with God alone in prayer. Very few memorize at least one Scripture verse each day. Many of them don't go out even once a week after lost souls. Tears of confession and repentance are rare. Personal purity is not the priority. Sacrifice is an unknown word. Where then is prosperity in soul? Why blow up the promise alone, leaving out the condition? If God should answer our prayers to grant us physical health in proportion to our spiritual wellbeing, the Church will have to offer its members crutches and wheelchairs at a subsidized price! Beware! Another oft-quoted verse is 2 Corinthians 8:9, "Jesus became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich." Read chapters 8 and 9 and understand in what He guarantees to make us rich. "Rich in liberality!" (8:2). The Macedonian believers were in deep poverty but they were rich in liberality (8:1,2). And then rich in every good work! (9:8). We will be "enriched in everything for all liberality!" (9:11). Multiplication or increase of our righteousness! (9:9,10). The Bible clearly states there are many children of God who are poor materially but "rich in faith" (Js 2:5). Those who have been blessed with riches are commanded to "be rich in good works" (1 Tim 6:17-19). Again, Jesus was never rich materially. His riches speak of the heavenly glory which He forsook for us. That of the widow was no ordinary faith. She believed in giving ten tenths to God! But still she was poor. She had only two coins! In the eyes of Jesus she was richer than all the rich men who gave from their abundance. She was in material poverty but spiritual prosperity (Mk 12:41-44). In the Old Testament the emphasis was on material blessings but in the New what is emphasized is spiritual prosperity. "Blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (Eph 1:3). To have less today is not necessarily a curse. The apostles were rich in knowledge, wisdom and other spiritual virtues but many times they were in want. Paul writes, "Even to the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten and homeless" (1 Cor 4:11). The Jerusalem saints sold their lands and houses and laid them at the apostles' feet to be distributed to those in need. In spite of this act of absolute faith, there came a time when Paul had to appeal to other Churches to raise money for the "poor saints" in Jerusalem (Rom 15:25,26). History abounds with examples of missionaries who gave away all they had and lived the simplest life possible in remote areas for the sake of the gospel, sometimes even without the basic needs supplied. Were they not heroes of faith? I We are not calling Christians to poverty. But there were days when it was thought that poorer a man richer he was spiritually! Now the pendulum has swung to the other extreme. What we need is a balance. Christians should work hard and expect God to meet their daily needs. Jesus has taught us to pray for our daily bread. But no one should try to become rich because "the love of money is the root of all evil." The golden rule is: "Godliness with contentment is great gain!" "For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these let's be content" (1 Tim 6:6-10).
God does want to bless us with things. Jeremiah 29:11 proves this. And God does expect us to ask Him in faith. Doing so does not limit God's ability to bless us, because we are not capable of controlling God's abilities. But it is to be done with a heart that is devoted to God's will for our life and we are to always ask God not to give us anything that is not His will or that we can not handle. He wants to bless us, but He also has to wait until we are ready and mature in our relationship with Him, to handle properly, the blessings He provides. God can not bless someone with wealth, if their love of money is stronger than their desire to do God's will. For with wealth and riches, comes much responsibility. If we are blessed with riches, we have a responsibility to use it to do God's will, such as taking care of the poor and widowed. King David was blessed with many riches, because his faith was very strong and his heart desired God's will. And though David made mistakes, because our flesh is weak, he did use the resources provided by God to accomplish God's will. Job is another example of a person who was capable of handling blessings of wealth from God. Job's faith was beyond most any other's. Main point, there are some who will do better for God, with little wealth. While others will do more, with the wealth. God wants good things for us. But our hearts are to be pure and willing to follow the guidance of God, with what He blesses us with. If we are going to pray for prosperity, we must also pray for wisdom from God, in handling that wealth so that our hearts will not turn and become focused on money, (talking about the love for money) and will instead stay focused on God himself and His plan for our life.
Material success or prosperity per se is not unbiblical so long as the means by which it is acquired is godly. There is absolutely nothing wrong with God's people making money or running multibillion dollar investments just as the rest of the world's people do. In fact if anything, this is a good ideal to the glory of God. The danger lies in having an unhealthy view towards material prosperity and neglecting our faith so that the object of our focus and our devotion is no longer on God who is the source of all things (Psalm 24:1) but on the riches that we have accumulated. This was the peril that attended the Rich Fool (Luke 12:13-21). The man began to view his success as a personal achievement and no longer saw God in the picture of things. This is where prosperity cross the Rubicon. Viewed in a healthy manner, material prosperity is indeed a treasure that the child of God can use to glorify God and to advance the objects of His Kingdom. The flipside to the prosperity teaching is the modern theology advanced by some "health and wealth gospel" preachers who teach that divine blessings are material in all aspects so that financial success is viewed as an exclusive measure of God's blessing. This is unbiblical for three reasons. First God can and does bless his people in many ways other than material or monetary means. Being in good health or having a good family or marriage are just but some of the ways. Secondly, the prosperity teachers interpret every condition of life in terms of financial or material success and condemn poverty or illness as a curse. They misinterpret 3 John 1:2 to suggest that God desires material prosperity for his children yet the passage context does not agree with this interpretation. Of course God will give His children sufficient resources for each day and we should be grateful to God even in need because He has promised to supply our need (Philippians 4:19). Thirdly, the health and wealth teachers teach that God answers prayers instantly and often interpret the lack of an instant healing or provision as evidence of lack of faith on the seeker. This may not be the case because God in his sovereign grace will determine when and how his answer will come. Some preachers appear to imply that God can be manipulated through some magical formulas such as the seed planting theology and many other rituals including the so called "power confession" or "positive thinking" or even "unlocking all you need from God." I agree with Bro Houdmann that God does not need to be manipulated in order to meet our need. There no magical words or spells that we can utter to "move the hand of God." God perfectly knows our needs even before we pray but as a loving Father, he expects his children to lovingly communicate with Him each day and honor the divine relationship He has established with us. He knows what is best for us even where this does not agree with our wishes. His Ways are always the best for us. Being poor is not in itself sinful but being lazy and unproductive is. The Bible teaches against laziness so that he that does not work should not eat out of the seat of others (2 Thess. 3:10-12). It also teaches against the danger that wealth can bring if a believer does not focus on God (James 5:1-5). The defining issue here is the motive for pursuing riches. Most times those who become rich end up being conceited, proud and arrogant. This does not however imply that being rich is in itself sinful. Job was a billionaire of his day but he was faithful and devoted to God all his life.
The gospel without the promise of prosperity is not complete. Jesus said, I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). And Jeremiah 29:11, "I have plans to prosper you and not to harm you." We serve a God who owns the cattle upon a thousand hills, and silver and gold belongs to him. To promise eternal life without the promises of God's blessings for longevity, prosperous, good health and happiest is to miss the message of the good news of Jesus Christ.
First of all we have to remember that salvation is a free gift that was given to us when we accepted Christ as our savior. But God has given us guide lines and the Holy Spirit to guide us. I have to admit and I think you will to that when we start out with little and a family to provide for, we really have to depend on God for everything. But as we accumulate wealth, we tend not to rely on God as much. It is just part of our old nature to be that way Some one once said that we should earn all we can, give all we can, save all we can, buy all we can. But we are not to be a slave to money. We would all be better off if we never had to borrow money, because the borrower becomes the slave of the lender. But if you are going to buy a house in this day and age, you are probably going to have to borrow. But it is never a good idea to live beyond your means like our government does. We can't just print more although some have tried it. The bible has much to say about money and what we do with it. It also says that one who is faithful in little, will be given more. But if we begin to rely on it to much God is also faithful and may just take some to help us remember that it all comes from Him and if we are able to earn a living it was because He gave us the ability to do what we do. But I do believe we are to work to provide for our families, and then what ever God blesses us with beyond that we are to use for His glory and our own enjoyment. We should be thankful for the material blessing that He gives us. Being a pauper does not make you any more spiritual than having plenty. God is no respecter of persons. What is important is how we get our money, and how we use it. A wise man will not spend all he gets on himself but give to others and to provide for his family first. The bible says a man that does not provide for his family is worse than an unbeliever. If everyone just did that this world would be so much different. But then all that God has given us to do would make the world better if we would just do what He says. But we have these two natures that war against each other, and when we do good there is still evil present with us. If we could just get rid of the flesh, our old nature, we could just live for God continually. But we are going to have it with us until we die. It does not go away when we are born again. Those that think the flesh was done away with when we are born again are deceived. First John 1:8 One thing I have learned to do is watch others to learn from, because I do not want to make the same mistakes. We also learn from our parents, but we have to remember they are still human and have their faults too. So the word of God and the spirit will help us to grow in grace and learn from our mistakes. It all takes time, but a wise man will learn and grow. But we need to build our life on a firm foundation which is found in God alone. I say all this having made most of the mistakes myself. We just do not get wisdom until we are old and have no use for it. LOL I should have asked for it when I was younger because God gives it liberally when we ask. The problem is when we are about 18, we think we already know it all, and it is not until we reach about 24 we realize we don't. That is when we start to grow. Maybe it was different for you.
I wish above all things that you prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers and again God delights in the prosperity of his servants. Prosperity is nothing missing nothing broken mind, body and soul it is a wholeness word. The rich young ruler all he had was money. Rev 2 the church in Smyrna was poor but rich rev 3 the church was rich but poor. Solomon is a good example of prosperity except for the mistress, he God gave him wisdom and insight into spiritual as well as physical things, writing proverbs, song of songs. It is the wisdom God gave him that led to him being the richest then and now, but it all began when he had the mind to ask God for wisdom rather than wealth and one needs wisdom to manage wealth. When one's soul prospers the rest follows suite. Psalms 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord and he shall give you the desires of your heart. Joshua 1:8 this book of the law shall not depart from your mouth you shall meditate upon it day and night, so that you shall do according to all it says then you shall make you way prosperous. Psalms 1 blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked nor stand in the way of sinners but his delight is in the law of God were he mediates day and night vs 3 he is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season and the leave does not wither, in all he does he prospers. Hallelujah! It is the good pleasure of the Father to give us the kingdom Luke 12:31-32. Abraham our Father was very prosperous both to God and personal possessions, the man could actually lend a nation money. Nice one that is prosperity. Jesus, if He need money to pay taxes all He had to do was direct peter to go fishing, the money being inside the fish's mouth, when He needed food to feed the people the miracle of multiplication was at work and some people think Jesus is poor. Beats me.
Timothy 6: 3-10: 3 "If anyone teaches another doctrine and disagrees with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and with godly teaching, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing. Instead, he has an unhealthy interest in controversies and semantics, out of which come envy, strife, abusive talk, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction between men of depraved mind who are devoid of the truth. These men regard godliness as a means of gain. 6 Of course, godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and neither can we carry anything out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. 9 Those who want to be rich, however, fall into temptation and become ensnared by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. By craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows". Remember what Paul tells us and his warning to the church about false prophets, and teachers, who will come among you. See what Paul says about coveting mans silver, gold and apparel. Acts 20: 28-35 28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. 32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. 33 I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. 34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. 35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said: "It is more blessed to give than to receive". Remember what Jesus tells us: Matthew 6: 19-21 19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. FOR WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS THERE WILL YOUR HEART BE ALSO. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (money).. Mark 8:36 36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? The true blessings of God prosper the Spirit, not the flesh. They lead to righteousness and salvation. They are eternal. These are true treasures. This is why Jesus said: “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven”. Having nice things, and, being prosperous on the earth, is not sinful, in and of itself, but, if those things take precedent in your life, they become false idols. It is better to live a simple, humble, and charitable life, so no earthly treasure becomes more important in your heart than God. Make Jesus the treasure of your hearts.
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