Prosperity Preachers

Sometimes people ask me if I am a “prosperity preacher.”
The term “prosperity preacher” is a critical term some use to put down those who preach God’s will is prosperity.
After thinking about this, I believe there are only four possible positions on this issue.
1 Preach prosperity is God’s will for people.
2 Preach prosperity is NOT God’s will — leading people to believe poverty is God’s will.
3 Preach prosperity is God’s will for some people, but not for everyone.
4 Don’t preach anything about the subject. Just keep quiet about the subject of money.
Please correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems these are the only options. Either you preach God is for prosperity, God is for poverty, God has some special favorites, or just keep quiet about the whole issue.
For those who might think it safest to ride the fence and not say anything, realize that Jesus spoke more about money than He did heaven or hell. The Bible is not silent on the subject, so we should not ignore the subject either.
For those who think God shows favoritism, the Bible clearly says otherwise six times (2 Chronicles 19:7, Acts 10:34, Romans 2:11, Ephesians 6:9, Colossians 3:25, 1 Peter 1:17).
Admittedly, there are warnings in Scripture about the dangers of prosperity. And we should not ignore them. Money, just like fire, can cause great damage if used wrongly, but is a great blessing when properly used.
Money is certainly not the most important thing in life. Nor can we judge a person’s spiritual condition by their financial condition. Yet we all require material things in order to live here on earth.
Surely our Father God, who Jesus taught is superior to earthly parents (Matthew 7:11), desires for every person to have all they need.
No doubt there may be some who preach prosperity imperfectly, with the wrong emphasis, or with wrong motives. But they are not my servants, and to their own Master they are accountable, not to me. It is not my job to criticize other preachers and call them names to put them down.
Maybe they are not perfectly balanced in their teaching. Maybe they don’t know everything. But I don’t either! (And neither do you.)
But surely the correct approach is not name-calling, trying to tarnish the reputation of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
I think the right attitude is the one Paul had, that even if people were preaching with wrong motives, Christ was still being preached — so he rejoiced.
PHILIPPIANS 1:17-18 NLT 17 Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me. 18 But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice.
The reason the devil wants people to use such disparaging names is because he is afraid people will find out the Bible really does teach God’s will is prosperity for all people — which it is.
Poverty is not God’s will for any person!

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Eternal Life

ROMANS 6:23 NKJ 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Eternal life, or everlasting life, is more than living forever. Eternal life is the life of God, the Eternal One.
The Greek word “aionios” is usually translated as eternal or everlasting in the New Testament. (From this word we get our English word “eon.”)
“Zoe” is one of several Greek words that are translated life. According to Vine’s Dictionary, zoe means “life as a principle, life in the absolute sense, life as God has it. . . . Eternal life is the present actual possession of the believer because of his relationship with Christ. . . .”
A note in the Translator’s New Testament says, “In the New Testament eternal life is that kind of life which is given to all true believers in Christ. The word `eternal’ draws attention to the quality of that life, not to its duration in a temporal sense. Thus eternal life can be experienced by believers even while subject to the temporal conditions of earthly life. Translators should be careful to avoid expressions which mean no more than a timeless continuation of life after death.”
More than three times as many scriptures refer to eternal life as a present possession, than as a future possession.
JOHN 5:24 NKJ 24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.
There is only one way to get eternal life. When a person is born again by receiving Jesus Christ, eternal life is imparted to that person’s spirit — making them new inwardly.
1 JOHN 3:14-15 NKJ 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
From this passage, we see that eternal life is a present-tense possession which changes the nature of a person: turning them into someone who cares for others. Eternal life enables people to overcome selfishness.
Just as something with fish life in it could do what a fish does, so someone with God’s life in them can do what God does — which is walk in love.

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Think You Know Something?

1 CORINTHIANS 8:2 NIV 2 The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.
1 CORINTHIANS 8:2 LB 2 If anyone thinks he knows all the answers, he is just showing his ignorance.
A problem we have is that we don’t know what we don’t know.
(Certainly, we can trust in God’s Word (the Bible) and know it is truth — as long as we are accurately reading it.)
Just like you, I evaluate things based on what I think I know. I evaluate myself. I evaluate others.
But are my evaluations correct? Do I know as much as I think I do? Am I using the right criteria? Do I really see the whole picture as God does? Am I really qualified?
What should we do? We have to make choices everyday — which implies making judgments in the sense of making evaluations. We have to proceed based on the best information we have at the time.
But just remember, not one of us knows everything. So walk humbly before God and mankind. Those you think are wrong today, you may realize tomorrow are actually right.
If we are wise, we will live in the constant realization that we need God’s wisdom and guidance in all we do. God is not too busy for you to talk with Him about every decision you face — no matter how small it is.

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Jesus Paid For Your Prosperity

ISAIAH 53:5 AMPLIFIED 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.
Jesus, by His sacrifice on Calvary, paid for your prosperity.
(The word translated peace in the verse above is “shalom.” It means well-being in every way, not just inward peace, but what can be seen by others, and includes material prosperity.)
Everything Adam lost through the fall was reclaimed for mankind by the sacrifice of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:21-22, Romans 5:15- 19). Jesus took the punishment necessary for us to have peace and perfect well-being.
With Jesus, God gave us everything He had (Romans 8:32). God is not holding out on us. He has given us richly all things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17).
All the blessings of Abraham are available now to all people through Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:14). These blessings include good standing and fellowship with God, abundant riches, and long life (Genesis 13:2, Genesis 25:8). Abraham enjoyed all these blessings because of His faith in God.
Jesus has been appointed heir of all things, including the Earth, and we are now joint heirs with Jesus (Hebrews 1:2, Romans 4:13, Romans 8:17).
But just as the children of Israel had to actively dispossess the giants in order to possess their promised land, which God said He had given to them, so we must actively possess our inheritance in Christ Jesus. God’s promises must be actively received by faith.
We possess what God said is ours, not by killing those who possess it now, or stealing from them, but by blessing them. As we bless others through ways like providing excellent goods and services, in return we prosper by God’s blessing. By helping others we are blessed.
While all things are ours, we reap a harvest of blessing based on what we sow. It is like we inherited the whole farm, and are therefore rich, but if we don’t plant anything, not much of value will be produced. So our prosperity is given to us in seed form.
Now we live by the perfect law of liberty: whatever we sow, we reap, multiplied (Luke 6:38, Galatians 6:7).
God does not send money out of Heaven. But He does send ideas. If we obey the ideas and put them into action, we will reap a rich harvest of God’s blessing.
Jesus is our wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30). As we allow Him to live His life in and through us, His wisdom will cause us to increase and prosper in all we do.
Jesus said God feeds the birds (Matthew 6:26), yet we see they have to gather their food. God does not carry food to their nest and put it in their mouths. In the same way, God is also our provider, but we must do as He directs. We cannot be lazy or rebellious and expect blessing.
We don’t have to earn God’s prosperity. Jesus already paid the full price for us. We cannot add to the perfect sacrifice of Jesus. But we can only receive this blessing through faith (Romans 5:2). So we must believe it!
When we believe something, we will act on it. If we believe prosperity belongs to us, we will not allow the devil to steal it from us. So we must resist doubt and unbelief, tools used by the devil to steal from us.

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Pray Through Daily

Many have criticized the old phrase “praying through,” by rightfully telling us that now there is no need to struggle in prayer, since Jesus has already won the battle for us.
The devil is defeated, and any child of God has the right to use the Name of Jesus and immediately be through the devil’s resistance and be heard by our Father God.
However, in life we must deal with things of the flesh and this world, which can pry our focus off God.
Spiritually, we can grow dull. It can seem like we are in a fog. Things are not clear. We do not have a note of victory and triumph. We can, and must, press through these impediments.
Pray through — until praying is not hard. Pray until you enjoy it, because you have broken through the things of your flesh and this world that would hold you back from enjoying daily fellowship with your Father God.
MATTHEW 26:41 NASB 41 “Keep watching and praying, that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

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God Still Loves You

ROMANS 8:38-39 NLT 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow — not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below — indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
At one time you may have believed God loved you. But now, because of what you have done, you may not understand how God could possibly still love you. But He does!
ROMANS 5:8 NLT 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
God loved you while you were a sinner, in rebellion against Him. And He has not changed His mind!
We must understand that God does not love us because we deserve His love, but because it is His nature to love.
1 JOHN 4:8 NLT 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
Why does God love you? Because He has a loving nature. And because He created you.
We tend to evaluate people, including ourselves, like we would a factory: by what we produce. But that is the world’s way of thinking, not God’s.
I certainly have been like that. When I did good things it was easier to think of myself as a good person who God would love. But when I was not accomplishing much, it was easy to think of myself as worthless.
Although God did create us with the ability to do good works, we don’t have to do good works for God to love us.
God does not love us because of what we do for Him, but because of who we are — His workmanship, His children, made in His likeness.
The world values us by what we produce, but God values us for who we are.
You are valuable and precious to God, not because of what you are able to do for Him, but because of who you are. You are His creation.
God knows your true value because He created you in His image. You may only see your present situation, but God sees your potential and your future.
A good father does not provide for his children based on what they do for him, like a pimp or a slave master, but on the basis of his love for them as his children.
Although a good father may use incentives to encourage and train his children in right behavior, he would never withhold his love or necessary provision for his children until they perform perfectly and produce abundantly.
Jesus taught that we should relate to God as a good Father. God is raising a family, and He will not disown you just because you make mistakes. Jesus, as your Savior, has accepted responsibility to teach, train, and mature you into the person God intended — someone everyone will love.
God never will give up on you. You were created in His image, determined and designed by God to be a glorious creature. Just because you have not yet lived up to your potential is not enough to cause God to discard you. God is patient, and He is still working on you, making you what you are supposed to be.
No doubt you have made mistakes — we all have. But God’s love for you is not dependent on you being perfect.
There may still be consequences from your bad decisions, but God giving up on you will never be one of them.

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God Has A Plan

JEREMIAH 29:11 NIV 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Genesis 37 tells the story of Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers. At that time, I’m sure it didn’t look to Joseph like God had a plan — at least not one that was good for him.
Joseph surely thought what many of us have, “Why did you let this happen to me, God?”
No doubt things looked clearer to Joseph later on when he was ruling Egypt and was able to save his entire family from starvation. (Genesis 45-50)
Often life may seem confusing and out-of-control. But don’t despair. God has a plan for you which He is working out. If you could only see the end He has in mind for you — you would begin to rejoice and thank God right now. (Hint, hint.)

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Importunity

LUKE 11:5-8 KJV 5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? 7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. 8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
The lesson of this parable is NOT that we must persist in prayer to obtain an answer from an unwilling God. But that we should be bold in asking.
A parable may teach by showing similarity or by contrasting differences. The point here is based on contrast. This becomes more clear, just a few verses later, in verse 13.
LUKE 11:13 KJV 13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
How much more willing is God — than any earthly friend! Friends may sometimes be undependable, but God is always dependable! God is “rich unto all that call upon Him” (Romans 10:12).
Read the story again and you will see that Jesus was asking a question: “Who would have a friend that would not help in a time of need?” Someone like that would not really be a friend. A friend would not say, “Don’t bother me!”
However, even if the friendship was not that strong, if someone has the boldness and audacity to ask for help in the middle of the night, they would not be refused by someone they knew.
Even if it was inconvenient and they really didn’t want to help, if you have the nerve to knock on their door and present your request, they will not ignore you. Your audacity and boldness will overcome any reluctance they might have, and you will get your request.
This assumes some relationship was already established. For if you knock on a stranger’s house at midnight insisting they give you something, you are more likely to be met with a weapon, instead of having your request granted.
Understanding this about human friends, HOW MUCH MORE your Father in Heaven, who is perfect, can be counted on to help whenever you come to Him. The key is that you must have the confidence to come and make the request.
Note that this person was coming to get something for someone else. There is nothing wrong with asking for help when we need it for ourselves. But Jesus was especially encouraging us to ask boldly for help for other people. They may not have a relationship with God, so they can’t ask Him for help and have confidence in receiving an answer, but you do, and you can!
Why was the person shameless in asking? Because he was his friend. He had a relationship, so he boldly did something out of the ordinary, knowing he was being unreasonable, but having confidence to do it because he knew his friend. Although the friend, at first, realizing how unreasonable the request was, talked reluctantly, nevertheless, granted what was asked.
The word translated “importunity” in verse 8 is a Greek word, used only once in the New Testament, which literally means “without shame.” It pictures someone without bashfulness or reluctance. Someone who did not hold back, or hesitate. Someone with audacity, even recklessness in their disregard of anything stopping them.
These descriptions indicate faith — a belief that if I make the request, it will be granted.
Unfortunately, some modern Bible translations translate this word as “persistence.” This is simply because many people, even translators, have not clearly understood this parable.
Translation is not an exact science, but is subject to the bias and level of understanding of the translator. So every translation is affected by the beliefs of those who do the translating.
In this parable, the person did not stand outside the door for days on end while continuing to ask for bread. So the point cannot be to just keep on asking for a long time, but to be bold in asking, instead of being held back by fear or doubt.
Persistence in prayer (in the sense of keeping on asking for a long time) is not the idea Jesus was encouraging in this parable.
The point isn’t that God is reluctant and needs to be persuaded. But that we should not be reluctant asking God for help. Jesus makes the point clear in the next verse by saying, ask and you will get, etc.
LUKE 11:9-10 KJV 9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Some translations insert the idea in verse 9 of “keeping on” asking, seeking, and knocking, but that idea is not from the Greek New Testament text, but from the Latin translation.
Nothing in this parable gives us any evidence it took a long time for the request to be granted. Instead of getting the idea of knocking on a door for several years from this parable, we should realize Jesus was encouraging us to be bold in asking for God’s help, especially for others.
So don’t hesitate! Don’t think God is too busy, or the need is too small or too big for God. Even a human friend will help, if asked. HOW MUCH MORE will your Heavenly Father who loves you, and also loves those you want to help.

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Sprinkle The Blood

1 PETER 1:2 NKJ 2 . . . in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
By faith we can sprinkle the Blood of Jesus on people who come to us for help. The Blood is a token of Christ’s total redemption, signaling the devil that he must flee. By faith in that precious Blood all can be delivered.
Blood in the human body brings healing to sick tissue. The Blood of Jesus brings healing to His body as well.
LEVITICUS 17:11 NKJ 11 `For the life of the flesh is in the blood . . .
Blood delivers everything necessary for the members of a human body and carries away waste material. Jesus’ Blood also brings life and nourishment to the members of His body, and rids us of everything that is of the curse.
When the Israelites in Egypt had blood on their door, no evil dared enter their dwelling. Likewise, we are kept safe through the protection of the divine Blood of Jesus.
Jesus’ Blood overcomes the devil and all he has done. Believe it in your heart and say it with your mouth — until you see complete victory.
2 CORINTHIANS 10:4 NKJ 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,
By faith, sprinkle the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ anywhere there is evidence of satanic effort to stop the complete will of God in your life.
Let us use all our weapons: the Name of Jesus, the Word of God, and the Blood of the Lamb.

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The Message Of Revelation

REVELATION 1:1¬†NKJ 1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants — things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John,
Books on the “end times” are very popular. People are interested in knowing the future.
Some think the Book of Revelation is a step-by-step guide to what will happen in the future, but not every Bible teacher agrees with this interpretation.
Although I taught on the Book of Revelation in a Bible School, I admit I don’t have it all figured out.
But the first verse reveals what is the true subject of the Book of Revelation — Jesus Christ. It is about the victory of Jesus Christ, revealing to us that He will triumph over and banish all evil.
The Book of Revelation is supposed to give us comfort and encouragement, not by revealing to us the Antichrist, but by revealing to us the victorious Christ.
At one time I thought I needed to thoroughly understand the Book of Revelation so I could know the future. Now I realize my motivation was more one of fear and lack of trust in God than anything else.
We don’t have to know the future in order to be safe, because we know the One who holds us and the future in His hands. He has promised to provide for us and protect us. We can trust Him and not be afraid.
Nations come and go. But God, and His Word, are forever.
All God’s promises will always be true. He will take care of His people no matter what happens. Period. God loves us and He is faithful. We don’t have to worry about the future. All we need to do is trust God and obey Him, day by day.
So what is the primary message of the Book of Revelation? Very simple. Jesus Christ comes out on top. He puts an end to all the evil and suffering and misery in this world. And it will be worth it to remain true to Him — even through all the evil this world is currently experiencing.
Jesus wins! Those who stick with Him also win!
That’s the message!

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