Prosperity

November 6, 2014

Philippians 4:10-20
I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
14Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. 17Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. 18I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
20To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Prosperity

We, in this country, we have become a prosperity oriented people. In some cases we almost equate our outward wealth with our spirituality. Is that what we glean from this passage that Paul is sharing here?
We love to quote the word that he gives to the Philippians, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus,” but what prompted that statement. It was because the Philippians were all about giving. They appear to be one of Paul’s primary supporters and as such he speaks this blessing over them. It was the giving that brought the blessing.
Now Paul is not a prosperity preacher in the since of worldly goods. The prosperity that he preaches is the riches of God’s grace and glory in Christ Jesus. He speaks to the rich things God has for us and that isn’t always gained through the riches of this world. The truth is when the soul is pampered in comfort, it often doesn’t grow much in substance. We read about Paul’s training in this principle in the first of this passage. The training we see God taking Paul through and what He wants to bring us through is that of “being content whatever the circumstances”. God’s life and purpose are not really found in the pampering of our flesh, but more in the crucifixion of it. We are actually dying to the outward man and what we perceive its needs and desires to be. Our Christianity isn’t about living out of the benefits and provisions of the outward man, it is about living out of Christ who gives us strength to endure all trials and find contentment whatever our circumstances.
I know this kind of flies in the face of the prosperity teaching many of us have sat under. Indeed God is a God of blessings and most of us can attest to the enormous blessing over our physical lives as well as our spiritual ones. The thing that we need to understand in this hour is that there are going to be tougher days ahead and it is important for us to know and realize that our life and spirituality does not rest on these outward things. There is now a depth and treasure of riches we need to search out in knowing Christ. He alone is the riches that never fail. He is still that God that will meet our need, but it may not conform to the Christian-American mindset that many of us have developed. What’s more, is that we are to learn a key principle, the key to having our needs met, is in our willingness to see and meet the needs in others. This blessing that Paul spoke over the Philippians was birthed out this key principle. Our natural inclination when things get tough is to fear and react by hoarding to ourselves. The spiritual principle is that we see and meet the needs in the body of Christ, as well as blessing those who are in the world.
If we want to really prosper in this hour, it is to be found in the depth and intimacy of your relationship with Christ. It is out of Him that you can do all things. As Paul says here in verse 13, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” It is only as we lose our supply that we begin to truly experience His supply. Let’s get a revelation of what true prosperity is. It is not in the things that you possess, but in the person that you possess.

Blessings,
#kent

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The Death that Defiles Us


Haggai 2: 10-19

10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Haggai: 11 “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Ask the priests what the law says: 12 If a person carries consecrated meat in the fold of his garment, and that fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, oil or other food, does it become consecrated?’ ”

The priests answered, “No.”

13 Then Haggai said, “If a person defiled by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does it become defiled?” “Yes,” the priests replied, “it becomes defiled.”

14 Then Haggai said, ” ‘So it is with this people and this nation in my sight,’ declares the LORD. ‘Whatever they do and whatever they offer there is defiled.

15 ” ‘Now give careful thought to this from this day on —consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the LORD’s temple. 16 When anyone came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty. 17 I struck all the work of your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not turn to me,’ declares the LORD. 18 ‘From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the LORD’s temple was laid. Give careful thought: 19 Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit.

” ‘From this day on I will bless you.’ ”


The Book of Haggai is written during a time when a remnant of Israel has returned from their Babylonian captivity.  They have returned to a devastated Jerusalem and a former glorious temple of Solomon that now lies in ruin.  The Spirit of the Lord is stirring up the people through the prophet Haggai to come together and rebuild the temple.  Up till this time every one has pretty much been to themselves and only concerned with their own welfare and building back their own houses.

Our scripture today may not make a lot of sense to a lot of us, but I felt compelled to share a few spiritual truths from it.  This analogy that the Lord is giving is about those things which sanctify and those things which defile.  First He is saying that just because a priest has sanctified meat or meat that had been offered on the altar and it touches some other food or drink does that mean this other substance becomes sanctified.  For instance, spiritually speaking, you carry around in you the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.  For He has said, “ except you eat of my flesh and drink of my blood you have not life in you.”  Therefore by faith we are partakers of God’s holy sacrifice, Jesus, and as such carry Him in our spiritual garments.  Does that mean that every life that we touch becomes sanctified and redeemed because we have touched them?  No, they have to come into a personal relationship with Christ by faith and partake of the Christ for themselves. It doesn’t just rub off of us onto someone else.

The same is not true concerning the contact with a dead body.  Anyone touching a dead body became defiled by it.  Then Haggai reminds the people that before one stone was laid on another in the Lord’s temple when anyone came to a heap of twenty measures there were only ten and whenever they went to the wine vat to draw fifty measures there was only twenty.  How many times have we came to lay hold of the life and substance of Christ and His Spirit and we have come up short?  We haven’t found the fullness and the substance that we needed.  How many times have we experienced want, or need or adversity instead of blessing?  “You did not turn to Me, declares the Lord.”  The law of sin and death around us has defiled us.  So many of us are still trying to live out of that life or else we are allowing it to touch and contaminate us.  We are in Christ, but Christ has not been fully formed in us.  This is why we must come together in the unity of the body of Christ to rebuild the true temple and tabernacle of God whom we are.  Too long we have been contented to abide in our “ceiled houses” our own denominations, doctrines and religious houses, ideologies and thinking.  God is calling us to come out of the defilement of flesh and spirit and come together to build His house.  What we see in the world today has little to do with His true house.  What we see is a fragmented bunch of religious people, many of whom are into it for their own profit and gain.  The world is seeing people that call themselves by the name of Christ and yet they are dishonest, unreliable, backbiting, slanderous and many other things that shouldn’t even be named among us. We have become a mockery of His holiness.  We are a defiled people.  We are defiled by the world and defiled by a dead religion still operating under the principles of sin and death, rather than life and peace in Christ Jesus.  Where is Christ really seen and glorified in all of this?  His true temple lies in ruin, but He is calling forth a people to build it again.  He tells us that when we put His house first there will be blessing.  Where you haven’t seen fruit before you will begin to see fruit as the Lord is lifted up and His house is built.  How is the house of God built?  Christ has to be formed in us.  He has to be not only our habitation, but also our expression in this life.  It is not just about believing in Jesus; the faith has to become substance and Christ wants to be the substance of your life and of His entire house.  The Spirit of God will build the house as we come together in the unity of the Spirit and the love of Christ to join hands and hearts and be ONE in Him.  Christ is not divided; He is ONE Man, ONE Lord, ONE Spirit and ONE Baptism.   If we will separate ourselves from the defilement of this world, from religion and dead works, if we will consecrate ourselves to His work, we will see blessings in areas that we have never seen them before.  He has called us to build HIS HOUSE!

7But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.” 9(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”  (Ephesians 4:7-13)

 

Blessings,

kent

2 Corinthians 6:9-11
6Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9As it is written:
“He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.”
10Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

You Don’t have to Give

Giving should never be a mandate, a law, a legalism or a guilt trip. Those should never be the reasons for our giving. For so many giving has ceased to be a joy and has become an obligation and burden.
The truth is so many of us are continually being pressured to give. I am a business man and I wish I received half as many calls from people that wanted to do business with me as I do with people wanting me to do business with them. Then I go to the mail box and the majority of the mail is again full of requests for what I can give to them. Then I may go the kids school or have the kids coming to me raising funds for school projects. By the time I go to church or I have the opportunity to give unto the Lord, I may well feel tapped out and resentful at one more person or organization wanting “my money.” By the time the pressure of the holidays come people often feel overwhelmed and unable to live up to all of the expectations put upon them without going into debt to do it. Is this the way giving should be?
First we must get rid all of the guilt and manipulation when it comes to giving. Can I tell you that God doesn’t want you to give if it is not in your heart to do so. God meant for our giving to be a joy and not a burden. One of the things that really affect how we give and the attitude with which we give is our mindset about what is mine and what is God’s. If I see everything that I get as mine then it comes under the limitations of my mindset. If I see all that I posses as God’s, with Him entrusting it to my stewardship, then that shifts the ownership from me to Him. While God wants me to enjoy what He has put into my care, I know it is not His nature to be selfish with it. If I believe that God is responsible for all that I have rather than just the works of my own hands, then I have to understand a kingdom principle. It is stated in 2 Corinthians 9:6, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” The way to harvest more seed is to sow a portion of the seed I have already harvested. No seed planted results in little to no harvest reaped.
Giving is not as much about the amount or the percentage as it is about the attitude of our hearts. Why has God so generously and bountifully given to His children? He doesn’t do it out of obligation. He does it because it is His nature and joy to give. He wants us to experience this same heart in our giving.
Can I just be honest from my own heart. God was speaking to me today that I have a fear of giving, because deep down I always think there won’t be enough. “I’ve got to horde this back or I’ll run out.” But He showed me fear is not faith. It is quite the opposite and fear will always rob you of what faith can produce. If I give out of fear then my giving is begrudgingly, reluctantly and without joy. That is not the Spirit of my Father, that is an orphan spirit. A spirit of lack, rather than a spirit of abundance. I need my Father’s heart to have that giving spirit. God knows that I can’t give what I don’t have, but first I must be faithful in what I do have. Doesn’t He say that if you faithful in the little, He will make you faithful over much?
Do we really dare to believe God or are we content with the little while we rob God through our lack of faith and obedience? Let’s dare to prove God with a joyous heart of outrageous giving. It doesn’t have to be just monetarily, it should flood over into every aspect of our lives. When aligning our minds and paradigms with God’s mind and kingdom thinking there will be no lack for we will see and meet the needs in one another and provide for God’s house. We will see God’s abundance begin to flow through us as we are willing to open up resources for His use rather than just ours. He tells us in Proverbs 28:7, “He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.” What Father is trying to show us is that we are robbing ourselves when withhold from those in need. It doesn’t mean that we have to give to every thing that comes along, but that we should have the Father’s heart in our attitude of giving. While I am still of the mind to consider my finances, “my money”, it will always come up short and always experience lack. When I see it as His money for blessing others then I am brought into a whole new freedom and joy of dispensing His wealth and not my own.
You don’t have to give, but that would be to rob yourself of the greatest joy. It was God’s joy in giving us the greatest gift of all, His son Jesus to die for our sins, that we might see the Father’s heart for unconditional giving. Why wouldn’t we want the joy that is in His Spirit of giving? Why would we want to rob our own selves through our spirit of want, fear and lack? Luke 6:38 promises, ” Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” We can’t out-give God!

Blessings,
kent

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