Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Power of Soul Prosperity

The James Strong and McClintock Encyclopedia says a soul is "that vital, immaterial, active substance, or principles in man whereby he perceives, remembers, reasons, and wills.

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says a soul is a “living being, life, self, person, desire, appetites, emotions and passions."

In light of understanding what "soul" means, let's review what the Apostle John said it. 3 John 1:2 says, "Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers," I wonder if John is saying to us, O.K., I know you want to prosper financially but for your soul's sake I want you to prosper only according to your ability to be prosperous toward God. Maybe, he had Luke 12:20-21 in mind when he wrote the passage.

Perhaps he had a flashback, recalling the parable of the rich man whose land produced an abundant crop and upon seeing the abundance the man said to his soul "thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry." 

 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

John appears to agree with Jesus, that Christians shouldn't be financially prosperous but spiritually poor.We see in scripture some were rich toward God so He made them rich on earth.

Do you delight to do God's will like David? David said, I delight to do your will o' Lord. He also said He loved the word of God, he said it was sweet, sweeter than honey and the honeycomb (Psalms 19:10). The word of God was better to him than fine gold (Psalm 19:10, Psalm 119:122).

Job was the richest man of the East but scripture also says, He shunned evil like no other (Job 1:1-12)

Abraham was also blessed with riches, some say it was simply based on his faith but God said, Abraham would inherit the promises because he would teach his household to obey him (Genesis 18:18-19).

On the other hand we have people like Achan who coveted and stole clothes and jewelry from property seized in war (Joshua 7:1-26), Gehazi lied to get clothes and money (2 Kings 5:21-27), For fame and money Balaam taught Balak how to get God to curse Israel (Numbers 22:17, Jude 1:11) Judas betrayed Christ for money(Matthew 27:3-5) and Ananias and Sapphire lied to God and the apostles regarding property and money (Acts 5:1-11). 

So unlike David, instead of finding delight in God they found delight in possessing and owning things and impressing people.

Soul prosperity will occur when we "seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness" then the things we want shall be added unto us. They will be added to us, we won't have to lie to get them, nor will we have to steal, deceive or go bankrupt to get them.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

God or Mammon? Make Sure Your Choice Brings Peace and Contentment & Not the Opposite!

Sometime ago, I started watching a certain preacher on television. I eagerly watched him  until find myself spiraling into selfishness and discontentment. According to him God wants me to have a big house, fancy car (my dream care a Ferrari) and promotion in my field of employment. And the great thing about it was the only thing I needed to do to get those things was have faith!
So, I tried to work up more faith but during the process, I began despising my current house, car and form of employment. Even my mate looked questionable! Perhaps, I needed someone who made more money. Someone who wanted bigger and grander things.
Realizing my thoughts were not corresponding with scripture, I asked God to help me and He gave me the answer. He said through another television preacher "beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 16:6), that is false teaching because it causes one to become puffed up." To become puffed up means to become prideful.
For a brief moment, I had partaken of the very fruit that marks one as a follower of Satan. Like Satan I had become prideful. I determined, my current state in life was not good enough. I began thinking, I deserved more. I deserved better and I deserved it now! My focus was on how to get "stuff" and not on how to please God by loving my neighbor as myself (Mark 12:31). I had become a casualty of false teaching. Knowing the danger of false teaching, Jesus told the disciples to be on guard against it
Also during that time, a pastor I follow on Facebook said "stop hanging around people that can't do anything for you, people that can't help you reach your destiny. You are a winner stop hanging around losers." As I meditated on his statement I thought about Romans 12:16, which says,  "Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited." That's the NIV the KJV says, "Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things,  condescend to men of low estate."
How can I share the gospel or help others if I am told to stop hanging around people who can't do anything for me?
We must beware of false teaching because it causes us to focus on making more money, buying bigger houses and nicer cars, starting businesses and buying real estate as a way to prove God's love and favor toward us.
Yes, God loves us and He proved his love for us by sending Jesus to die on the cross for us.
For some of us, Christ's death and resurrection, may be the only sign we receive in this life. Jesus said a wicked and adulterous generation seek signs. What if you don't get a bigger house? Does God love you less? Scripture says, nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39). 
This message is not to condemn any pastor or ministry as I cannot determine the heart of a man or his ministry. I cannot determine if his or her teaching is based on inadvertent error or if it is done with malice. I just pray that all who proclaim to be messengers of Jesus Christ will love, seek and speak the truth. God's word is truth.
I pray for lay members to seek the truth and to turn away from all false teaching. The life and health of the church depends on both.
William Tyndale noted that "yeast slowly transforms a large lump of dough." He said, "Leaven speaks of a penetration that is slow, insidious and constant."
False teaching has slowly and insidiously transformed the church. The people worship God with their lips but their hearts are far from Him. Their lips proclaim love for Yahweh but their hearts, minds and actions prove they are seeking, serving and trusting Mammon.
Jesus said we can't serve two masters. We can't serve God and Mammon. Scholars note that in Matthew 6:24, Jesus focusing on the real source or battle for our hearts did not say you can't serve God and Satan. He said we can't serve God and Mammon! Christian's will readily reject Satan in his natural form but when he appears as Mammon/money, we unknowingly embrace him. Because we have been conditioned to believe that godliness is gain. 
Let's close with 1 Timothy 6:5-9:
It reads "Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself."
1Timothy 6:6  But godliness with contentment is great gain.
1Timothy 6:7  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
1Timothy 6:8  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
1Timothy 6:9  But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
Famed Commentator John Gill says, of our text:
Supposing that gain is godliness; such were Simon Magus and his followers, and other false teachers, who made merchandise of men, looked everyone for his gain from his quarter, and acted as if there was nothing in religion but worldly profit and gain; these served themselves, their own bellies, and selfish interests, and not the Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore the apostle gives the following advice to Timothy, and through him to all ministers and churches, from such withdraw thyself: do not come near them; have nothing to do with them; do not lay hands on them, or admit them into the ministry; do not suffer them to preach, or encourage them by hearing them: if in the church, cast them out; have communion with them, neither in a  civil nor in a religious way; avoid all conversation with them.
Choose whom you will serve. Will you serve God or Mammon?