Proclaiming a Message of Good News and Hope to our generation!

Month: December 2012

Truth About the Prosperity Gospel, Pt. 6

Who sinned?

As He (Jesus) passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?”

Jesus answered, “{It was} neither {that} this man sinned, nor his parents; but {it was}so that the works of God might be displayed in him.(John 9:1-3 NAS)

Recently I was listening to a teaching concerning divine healing which caused me to be so grateful for the Biblical instruction that I have received over the years. Before I go any further, let me say that I believe that Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever. He is our Savior, Lord, Healer and Baptizer in the power of the Holy Spirit. We are instructed to pray to the Father in His Name for help in every time of need. All things are possible to those who believe in Him! He has healed me and my loved ones numerous times and I rejoice every time and in every way He demonstrates His love to anyone in this way!

My concern today is only that we should be careful not to misrepresent the Lord in our efforts to inspire others to believe and pray to experience His healing power. Recently I have been exposed to evidence that certain errors are misrepresenting the Lord today.

Many people are being told that any disease or sickness they are suffering is directly related to some specific secret sin or negative heart condition they possess. When people are not healed by the healing ministry, the blame is often placed on the sick person. Since they believe it is always God’s will to heal everyone, they assume the fault must be in us.

Some are even taken into a psychotherapy session in which they try to uncover the root of the sickness in the individuals heart. The Scripture is used as a diagnostic tool in the following way: I was told that since Proverbs 14:30 states that “envy rots the bones,” a person with a Osteoporosis must be harboring envy.

My response was that all believers need to know the freedom that comes from full surrender to Him, whether they are sick in body or not. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation from every visible or hidden sin! Yes, there are known connections between our mental and emotional state, and our physical health. But Jesus Himself proved that it is wrong to assume that sickness is always the result of someone’s personal sin!

Consider James 5:14-16:
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.(NAS)

IF he has committed sins…

Jesus did not say that the blind man and his parents never, ever sinned. He simply stated that his blindness was not due to their sin. I think this would apply to James also. If a person was sick due to any unconfessed sin, that would be forgiven as the Lord restored his physical health.

In the New Testament, I cannot find many of the methods and techniques used today which frankly resemble the practices of the cults more than Biblical faith. Jesus and his disciples healed people under all kinds of circumstances. Some had great faith, others just desperation. One common denominator was their cries for help. The other, and most important, was the compassion in the Heart of Jesus!

All of us, whether young and healthy, or old and ailing, all of us need God’s grace and mercy. What a relief to know that we can place our full trust and confidence in Him for every need, whether physical, mental, emotional, relational, or financial! Our past, present and future are all in His generous, capable and loving hands!

The Radical Christmas Message

Have you ever considered the full implications of the Biblical stories and verses which every year are commonly referenced in our carols and found on our greeting cards during this season?

These implications are discussed in the audio message below entitled, “Kingdom Conversations,” as presented on December 9, 2012 at Emmanuel Church of Etna. www.emmanuelohio.com

 

Truth About the Prosperity Gospel, Pt. 5

Some years back I read a book by DeVern Fromke entitled, “The Ultimate Intention.” One of the main insights I gained from it was how easily humans can turn just about every good thing into a negative when it becomes all about us.

It is a matter of perspective. Just as medieval scientists under the Ptolemaic system believed that the earth was in the center, with all the stars, planets as well as the moon revolving around it, we tend to see everything from the perspective of how it serves or benefits us personally.

The earlier view was later proven false by Galileo, and its challenger Copernicus was vindicated. This was a major paradigm shift for the scientific world, but the truth has made possible many advancements in the world of science and technology, and has impacted our daily lives as well.

What does all this have to do with the Prosperity Gospel?

Jesus Christ has come into the world in order that we might have Life in its highest sense — more abundant life and fullness of joy! He demonstrated the Life of God as one that is focussed on others. God so loved the world that He gave…..The depths of the gift of His Son on the Cross are so great as to have cosmic implications! Who can fully comprehend it?

This life as Jesus presented it is one of self-surrender to the infinite love and grace of God. The whole weight of self-centeredness is lifted from the one who is “born from above,” and the focus turns to our loving, wise, giving and all-powerful God, Who is Himself focused upon others. We learn from Him how to lift up the lives of our fellow human beings.

In Luke 9:23-25, Jesus said: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?”

The greatest danger I see in the way the Prosperity Gospel is often preached is that it so easily becomes man-centered. As we previously mentioned, there is always the risk that we will make everything about us. Even the message of Salvation through faith in Christ has too often become contaminated to the point that for some it is no more than a “fire insurance policy.”

God wants us all to live life to the fullest, as He originally intended. Sin and selfishness has gotten in the way of that. Are we then to turn His remedy, the Cross of Christ into a formula for gaining the whole world, and losing our very soul? Our we to promote a return to the old paradigm of self-centeredness and selfishness, and laying up for ourselves material treasures that ultimately fail?

The beauty of this surrender of self to Christ is that He is so much more capable of looking out for our well being than we are. He is worthy of our trust, and we can rest in that knowledge, with a peace that surpasses all understanding!

Paul wrote: in Philippians 3:13-14:

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

The freedom of this single-minded pursuit of Christ contributed to His leaving one of the greatest legacies of Christian history.

What kind of legacy will this generation leave to the next?

The Church and the Kingdom in History


In these modern times, the believing Christian is more informed than ever before. Today we have television, radio, the printed page, and now the internet at our disposal. With all of our Christian schools and colleges, as well as the Christian media, we can easily become educated and stay informed of all major events and trends in this world with the facts from a Christian perspective.

Recently Christians have become preoccupied with the activities of our leaders, and are naturally concerned with many troubling situations on the global scene. It is normal and also important that were are aware of the world around us, to which we have been called to shine His Glorious Light.

But there is the danger that we might lose our focus on the Lord Himself in all of this. Are we not to live our lives by every Word that proceeds out of His mouth? Where is His focus today? To what is His attention directed? Where is His Heart, and what exactly consumes Him? Is there anyone out there that desires, even hungers and thirsts for the Lord’s point of view?

May I boldly affirm today that the focus of God’s attention has always been on His eternal purpose, and that people through which His purpose is being accomplished! Today, and even in these troubled times we know by the Word of the Lord that His purpose is His Kingdom reign and that people who are in His great Heart is that true Church, His Body, the fullness of Him which fills all in all!

What was the prayer that Jesus prayed and taught us all to pray? It was for His Kingdom to come and for His will to be done IN EARTH, as it is in heaven! And who did He pray for in the garden, that they would be one, so that the world would know and believe in Him?

He prayed for His people, His Church — for these are the important and most significant of all history — especially in the closing days of this age!

Have you ever really considered the significance of the church in history? Do you realize that the entire creation is eagerly waiting for you and me to come to spiritual maturity in Christ, revealing His true nature to all?

Why to you think that satan rages against any small move you attempt to make in the advance of God’s Kingdom? He knows, even though the rulers of this world do not, that the eternal purpose of God is invested in you, and that His Church is preparing to make known the wisdom of God to all of them!

All things are working together for your good, to you who have been called to fulfill His purpose! But what does that mean? Does that mean God wants me to have nice things? Are we to pursue personal peace and happiness? Or are we rather to SEEK FIRST the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, in order that all temporal and spiritual blessing would not distract us from His will? Our Father already knows what we have need of materially, but our greatest need is to know Him, His will and His righteousness!

Yes the president of the U.S. is important and significant. The leaders of all major nations do have an important part to play in history. But from God’s viewpoint, He has been working on a people for 6000 years that are about to change the course of History!

These are the ones who rule and reign with Him! Because they are under His reign, they reign in His authority! He must reign until all enemies are put under His feet, but we are under Him now! We are in His Kingdom now! We reign in life now!

But so many Christians are willing to spiritualize the kingdom into an imaginary fantasy world, a place where we can go to escape the struggles of this life, or perhaps a place that we expect to see eventually after we die.

The church is often seen as this big bus, picking up passengers on its way to heaven. Once seated, we simply wait to arrive at our destination. But is this the true Biblical view of Christ’s Church — that people who are breaking down the gates of hell?

You and I need to catch a vision of God’s purpose for this earth! We need to see how significant we are to the present unfolding of history! For thousands of years up until now, saints have died to fulfill their part in God’s plan for this earth. Are we willing to lay down our hopes, our aspirations, our personal ambitions and our personal security to face the challenge of God to our generation?

Or are we satisfied to watch history unfold on television as simple spectators? Does it feed your soul to watch carnal man control and use and abuse the helpless in our world every day? Or have you found the food that nourished our Lord? His meat was to the will of Him who sent Him, and to finish His Work in the earth!

Was Jesus simply a philosopher with a wonderful and wise and positive teaching? Or was He a man of action? Did He teach us to live a live of retreat, escape, survival, and fear? Or did He give us peace, love, boldness and courage to face the challenges of our day?

Please consider these questions, my brother, my sister in Christ. But be careful. Your life might just begin to be changed! You just might become released and snatched away from a man-centered religion, and a self-centered existence, to become translated into a realm full of challenges, failures, victories and defeats, but all the while filled with His abundant life!

Do you want to change the world? Or is satan whispering into your ear that this is just impossible?

Well, who are you going to believe in and trust — the father of Lies, or Truth Himself, who boldly declared that all things are possible with God! Are we standing with God? Are we listening to His Voice?

If so, we are being prepared for action! Get ready saints to break down the very gates of hell! You are not riding a bus — you have been enlisted into an army! You are becoming strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might!

Two thousand years ago Jesus, after His resurrection gave his disciples a direct command. They were to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Holy Ghost. Their obedience to this command was the most powerful act that mortal men have ever committed. For many days they waited for Him in prayer and humility as He knitted their souls together in His Love.

Then on the day of Pentecost they were endued with power from on high! They were all filled with the Holy Ghost and became powerful witnesses unto Him! Of them it was testified that they had turned the world upside down!

But those early disciples never forgot where the source of their power lie. Over the years they continued in His general command to make disciples of all nations, telling others of the Good News that filled their hearts. But they also knew how to act on the Holy Spirit’s initiative, for only by Him could the work be effective.

Today we often fall into patterns that have been established by the generations before us who were in fact directed by the Spirit of the Lord — but what is God saying unto us today? And even worse, we so easily become caught up in the machinery of organized religion, being so deeply entrenched in our traditions that the Voice of God is virtually unheard.

It is high time to hear the Word of the Lord! There is no life in the words or the counsels of men!

What saved Noah and his family? His obedience to the Word of the Lord! And how do you suppose to protect your own in these complex and disturbing times? Will your knowledge of the stock market save you? Will your trust in democracy and free enterprise save you? No!

The only true security for the people of God is in the secret place of the Most High, under the shadow of the Almighty! Here we find even more than peace and security, for we are now discovering the power and the purpose of God for our lives!

God is giving a wake up call unto His own! “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee Light!” “Call upon Me and I will answer, and show unto you great and mighty things, that you know not!”

Are you listening to the Voice of God today? What is He saying unto you? I can tell you with all confidence that His desire is for you to receive the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened that you might know what is the hope of His calling, and the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.

Bible teachers can be of help by pointing us to Him. They can even represent Him as His holiness and truth is revealed in their own lives. But the Lord of the universe wants to inhabit you! He desires that same intimate union with you through which you can be impregnated by His life!

He wants to set you free from your consciousness of rules and traditions. His law is written on the tables of your hearts! Your delight is to do His will! Your joy is in pleasing Him! Every deed done in His Name — whether great or small, whether simple or insignificant — whether noticed by others or not — the satisfaction of His Heart is all you truly desire! Is this not true? Well come on then, just admit it!

Those hesitations, those resisting thoughts are not really your own. They belong to a dead man, the person you were before Christ found you! That man was slain on the cross with Him two thousand years ago! Today God is calling forth the real you — the New Creation Man! This new life, this new man is the one who will fulfill the will of God in our day. He is Christ in you, the hope of glory!

Are you hearing His Voice today? Are you feeling a radical change coming over you? Then simply yield unto Him. Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways, and He will direct your paths!

He will speak unto you with His Living Word! He will fill you up with His Holy Spirit! He will empower you to live the impossible life!

So say no to satan’s lies! Say no to the limitations of religious thinking! Say no to your own doubts and fears! He is the Truth! You can know the Truth, and the Truth will make you free!

Just worship Him Who is invisible, immortal, all-powerful and all-knowing! Let all the idols fall and worship only Him! Then and only then can your life and mine make the difference in the world around us that is of eternal value.

Then we can begin to truly behold our God!

Heavenly Father,

You know how easily distracted we have become in these days. The cares of this life keep pressing in on us, and the lies of the enemy attempt to drown out the sound of your sweet call.

Give us ears to hear from you today. And fill our hearts with the vision of You. Then may we arise to that marvelous sound, and follow you into the heavenlies in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Amen

 

That Little Word, “IF”

Listen to this message:

IF………A small, commonly used word with great implications………..

Today I would like to discuss a very small word that often has very large implications. It is the word “If.” The very idea behind it can challenge well established, deep philosophical and theological concepts. It can also knock the props out from under the most common excuses people make.

Let me ask this question: Are you looking for excuses, or are you looking for answers? Are you looking for someone else to blame for your problems, or are you looking for hope, and a way out of them? Do you believe that things in our world can be improved or not? Whatever is your outlook, I hope you will hear me out today.

On the one hand, we acknowledge that from the earliest centuries of religious thought, people have recognized and affirmed the fact of the supreme authority of God. He is the Creator and Sustainer of this entire universe. Nothing escapes His notice, and never has the universe been outside of His control. I personally take great comfort in this.

Yet on the other hand, multitudes of conclusions have been drawn from this truth that may or may not themselves be true. One in particular is often harmful and detrimental to our understanding of God, and our place in His purposes.

The conclusion I am referring to is the one in which many hold that the sovereignty of God and His eternal purposes dictate in some manner or other every aspect of our lives. They hold that our choices, the consequences of our choices and even our eternal destination has been determined by God from before creation.

That God has the right to plan our lives is not an issue here. But the fact that God has challenged us to make wise choices, and to take responsibility is also well established. In many cases both in recent and ancient times we have truly seen the Hand of God at work, ordering events and circumstances. This might lead us to the conclusion that we really do not have any say as to what has happened to us or what will happen in the future — except for the existence of this little word, “If.”

The very existence of the word “If,” and the 1595 times it is found in the Bible call into question this fatalistic view we are discussing. Admittedly, there are figurative uses of the word throughout the Bible. For instance when God said, “If you could number the stars” in Genesis 15:5, He did not suggest that Abram could or should actually count all the stars. Yet it is my conviction that a great many times the word is found in the context of a possible choice and course of action that in fact could go in several different directions.

Consider the choice offered Cain in Genesis 4:6-7:

Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?
“If you do well, will not {your countenance} be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
(NAS)

In other words: “It’s up to you — Cain!”

On many other occasions people were given a choice with the promise that desirable events would follow IF the right choice would be made. Often it was shown that the opposite would follow if the opposite choice was made.

In Exodus 15:26, The LORD said: “If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.”

Also in Exodus 19:5-6, we read: “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”

Consider Deuteronomy 11:26-28: “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;
A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day:
And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.”

And 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Through the prophet Jeremiah, He said:
“If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.
And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.” (Jeremiah 18:7-10)

Here the words of Moses in Deuteronomy 30:19:
“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:”

Joshua later exhorted his people with these words:
“Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:14-15)

Here we see how God’s people whom He had chosen were called upon to make their choice rightly.

Now it could be said that God knew and even planned beforehand what choices they would make. You decide for yourself if that explanation allows for much sincerity on God’s part. That view, in my opinion reflects poorly on the character of God. In one instance God did say that He would harden Pharoah’s heart. The way in which He did that is not stated, and in other instances in the Old Testament we see how God used both the good and evil choices of people to accomplish His will. Yet throughout we can see Him challenging them — not forcing them — to use their ability to choose Him.

Now let us move to the New Testament, where this word “if” begins to project even greater possibilities!

In chapter 9 of the Gospel according to Mark, a man approached Jesus concerning his son. The disciples of Jesus could not help him, and when the father brought his son to Jesus, he continued in the strange behavior that was brought on by the spirit that possessed him.

The father said to Jesus: “ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.”

Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. (Mark 9:22-24).

Notice that Jesus did not tell the man that the fate if his child was already determined. If that were true, then only one possibility existed, the one that was predetermined. But here we find that little word “if.” It came to challenge this man’s thinking and ours as well. There are more possibilities than one. The disciples might have come to the conclusion that since they were not able to exorcise this evil spirit, that the fate of this child was fixed. Perhaps it was not God’s will for his deliverance.

But Jesus pressed his disciples and the child’s father. There was a reason that the disciples had failed, and it was not because it was God’s will for them to fail. Their unbelief was the problem. Thankfully Jesus had the answer for that also.

Unbelief has many sources. Some are simply not willing to believe. Others, like this man, are willing but find it difficult. Perhaps we have been influenced by fatalistic views concerning God’s sovereignty. Perhaps we have seen so many prayers seem to go unanswered. Often the circumstances look so dark and discouraging. But this man in his desperation cried out in what little faith he had. He had at least the faith to ask the Lord to help him overcome his doubts!

Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of the Lord. Jesus spoke the challenge to faith into this man’s heart, who responded with the call for help in this area. My faith and your faith can grow in the same way. Jesus, the Creator and Lord of all the universe is telling us, IF we believe, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE! And we can clearly see from this example that He will strengthen our faith and dispel our doubts if we sincerely ask of Him.

God’s greater purpose and plan is not always clear to us. We will happily leave that up to Him. For our part however, we can continue to believe for greater possibilities all around.

Today I hope you can see that your thoughts, prayers and actions do matter! So what if you offer a helping hand to someone who bites you back. The possibility did exist that your help might have blessed that person. And it still exists! Maybe you fasted and prayed fervently but did not see the outcome you were looking for. Next time you might have a better vision of God’s working and possess the expectation He wants in you!

Just keep on asking, seeking, knocking.

Mark 9:25-29: When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead.
But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.
And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

Matthew 17:19-21 relates it this way:
Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

In Matthew 21:21-22: Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

Wherever Jesus went He was not content to leave things the way they were. He brought freedom to the captive, sight to the blind, healing to the broken heart, and good news to the poor. (Luke 4:18). Change for the better was the mark of His ministry, which He passed on to His disciples, and they passed on to us! (John 14:12, 17:20, 20:21)

So if we can set aside some of our assumptions for a moment and really listen and ponder the words of Jesus Himself, IF we can truly believe what He said — perhaps we can become agents of change in this world also. Agents of change for the better, a change that begins in us and works its way outward towards others.

Think of the possibilities! IF you can believe, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE to one who believes!

 

 

 

Truth about the Prosperity Gospel, Pt. 4

The Road to Prosperity

Our God is certainly a miracle working God. This is one fact that all Christians should treasure. Here is one area where I believe prosperity and faith preachers and teachers have done us a service. Many have been greatly inspired by their stories and exhortations to believe in our God with Whom all things are possible! Ordinary believers can generally use a measure of encouragement to live in the anticipation and expectation of greater things to come in God. However discouraging your present circumstances may be, this kind of faith can lift you up in the present, and move you forward toward brighter days.

This kind of encouragement is found throughout the pages of Scripture. Consider these words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:7: (Love)” bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”

If we take issue with any particular teachings that come from the lips of a popular televangelist, we should never criticize him or her for lifting our spirits with optimistic words like these from the pages of Scripture.

The greatest miracle of all is of course the New Birth, wherein a hopeless sinner becomes a saint, a child of the Living God, by the wonderful grace of God! That newly born child of God is immediately translated into a higher station of life — as a member of the most Royal Family of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!

With proper leadership, teaching and guidance, the new-born Christian will normally be set on the road to prosperity in not only the spiritual dimension of life but also in the emotional, social, physical, and financial as well. This has been my personal experience, and that of countless thousands of others.

Those of us who have come from lower income families take great comfort from the words of Jesus and also of James, “Hear my brothers, has God not chosen the poor in this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom which He has promised to them that love Him?” (James 2:5). And yet, that inner transformation which made us rich in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17), has also contributed to changes in our outward circumstances. Our improved mental and emotional state transforms our attitudes and outlook which in turn affect our relationships, our work habits, even our physical health. It is easy to see how all these changes can work in a very practical way to help us to better deal with our problems.

What I am saying here is that real, genuine spiritual growth results in your becoming a better and wiser parent, child, worker, student, citizen, and manager of your finances and your health. This process has much more to do with our prosperity than a simple “positive confession.” That positive confession, as taught by many prosperity preachers must correspond with true and steady growth in the Grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

What I am also pleading is that we should never measure our spiritual progress by our material circumstances, as some would suggest. Godliness is not a means of financial gain! The greater gain is in godly contentment with the normal and necessary provision of food, clothing and shelter. Better and safer it is to flee the love of money, which has led many away from the faith! (1 Timothy 6:5-11).

How poor are those who store up material wealth only, and how rich are those plain and simple folks who have found their infinite treasure in Christ! (Luke 12:20-21, 18:22).

“And do not seek what you shall eat, and what you shall drink, and do not keep worrying. For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek for His kingdom, and these things shall be added to you.”

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves purses which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near, nor moth destroys.”

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
(Luke 12:29-34 NAS)

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