There are many controversies of late within the Christian belief. One major issue is the so called "prosperity gospel," and those opposed to it. The opposition view that message as anti-gospel, apostacy among believers. Their war against the name it and claim it teachers are reasonable, but not entirely correct. You see, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a message of prosperity for the body, soul, and spirit of all who believe.
Sadly, the real truth of their argument seems to be that the popularity of the prosperity message is more popular than the message those opposed to it preach, and they don't like it. As a follower of Jesus, I realize that not every day is a zip-adee-do-dah day. I realize that those that live godly in Christ shall suffer persecution, and to know Jesus in the power of His resurrection is also to share in His sufferings. But I also realize the joy, peace, and love that fills my life by following Jesus, far out-weighs the suffering. According to the Peter, the man who walked and talked to Jesus on a daily basis, belief in Jesus is very profitable.
In 1 Peter 2, Peter gives us a brief look of the prosperity message he preached:
Sure, he speaks of hardships we go through as Christians. So does Paul the apostle, who goes even further speaking of such hardships he personally suffered. But Paul too, expressed the glory of God in the life of the believer when he said in Ephesians 2:1, we are made ALIVE in Christ! The writer of Hebrews also brings our attention that as a result of the sacrifice of Christ, shedding His innocent blood for our sin, we are reconciled to God and may walk right into His throne room and boldly ask to have our needs met. Does this sound anything like a gospel of poverty?
I know that everything we experience in our life of serving Christ is not so glorious on the surface. But in the realm of the spirit it is. Jesus Himself said there is nothing that we give, money, land, goods, even ourselves that isn't repaid a hundred times in this life and a bonus of eternal life beyond. But the real clincher is this; by our belief in Jesus as Savior and Lord, the Holy Spirit supernaturally comes into, and abides in our hearts...forever! Think on that. A member of the Great Holy Trinity...in our hearts! True prosperity.
All of these things are foreign and totally impossible to the unbeliever. No MRI, x-ray, or CT scan can see into the spirit of man. Sorrowfully, the unbeliever has no conception of man having a spirit and any of what is written above is only fantasy. Even more tragic is that we who are called into this life of prosperity refuse to accept it's reality. Some say the gifts of the Spirit passed with the apostles. Others argue that our power is only in the written Word. We divide on issues of grace, free to all. With the division we keep the unbeliever in unbelief, and stifle and grieve the Holy Spirit.
You can bet there are charletans preaching a different Christ, an unscathed life for those who follow Jesus. And they do it for money...your money. But if you think the Gospel is anything less than a message of prosperity, read what the Word says without allowing the nay-saying unbelieving "minister" to tell you how to believe. Read it and believe it is for you. Pray for the Holy Spirit to open truth to you, to keep you from falling into folly.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep, and prosper you all.
Two words to remaining on the outskirts of God's grace are pride and complacency. Put the two together and you have a person completely sure of themselves spiritually. This is the goal of the enemy for everyone who makes the decision to become a follower of Jesus. We get enough of faith to believe we have enough faith to stop growing or conforming to the image of Christ. We can rest knowing our eternity is secure, our doctrines are correct, so let's move on to achieving our mission in life to obtain gain.
The evil one is aware that Jesus' words, quoting from the Song of Songs, about the little things ending our fruit-bearing lives:
"Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes." Song of Songs 2:15
Little things ignored kill big hopes. But complacency or not feeling like doing spiritual practices in our lives doesn't always murder our desire to follow God's plan for our lives. We can be complacent and have the sudden epiphany like the prodigal son...why am I here eating with pigs?
"But when he came to himself, he said, "How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger?" Luke 15:17
Complacency is bad. But one may just fall into complacency from having so much activity that they stop spending time looking to please God, serve others, do the next right thing. They may suddenly say, "Why are things so out of whack?", then ask the Source for help.
Now add pride to the equation. Thinking I know enough and don't need to go further even though everything is falling apart, is spiritual suicide. That is the place where humility makes it's exodus from our heart. We can fix the problem by sheer willpower and not humbly seek help in prayer or from talking to another believer. The crux of the problem when the two meet is we forget what or where God brought us from. Gratitude, the mother of all virtue is no longer something we think of. Pride says you made it happen...gratitude says it is by God's grace alone that I stand.
Had God not led me to recovery rooms, I may have never noticed how closely recovery and being a follower of Christ are related. I have seen many with long-term sobriety relapse. I have seen many long-time Christians fall deeply into sin...I was one who did. Maybe you are there now. If you are not able to recall how long it has been since you approached God for any reason, you have arrived in the danger zone. You cannot shirk this off with "I'll be okay" thinking.
Get with God without delay. Find another believer to talk to. Humble yourself. Don't swallow your pride...puke it out. If you fear talking to another, know why you fear that. It is pride in it's true form. You don't want to appear weak or un-spiritual. Do not allow the enemy to have this victory. The ripple effect is devastating.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.
There are endless words to help people trying to recover from addictions to, well, everything they struggle with. People in general do not like the truth that they have a problem, but we all do. When they do become aware of their problem, they want to fix it by willpower or continue to deny or ignore it all together.
Rest assured, there are, in every person, dead or alive since Adam, addictions, personal issues, and personal sins. The important thing for each of us as individuals is not to judge one another for any reason. However, judge others if you want, but be willing to suffer the consequences you WILL face.
I want to continue to write about recovery. At times I have such a feeling of inadequacy when I write, knowing I have so many issues I personally struggle with. Ironically, many are the same I blog about to help others. Some would laugh at my struggles saying, "how is that a problem?' 'That isn't even a sin, why are you having such a hard time with that?" The answer is because I write about them, I teach about them.
"Not many should become teachers, my brothers, knowing we will receive a stricter judgment: for we all stumble in many ways..." James 3:1-2a
Though recovery from addictions has been my focus. My personal conduct, our conduct as followers of Christ has been weighing heavily on me of late. I feel a change of my main focus to write about that issue. It is an issue, a major issue. Of course, conduct of Christians can easily couple into recovery. To live free of an addiction that took you down, that took me down, takes a change of conduct to have any success and ultimately be free to the service to others, to God's glory.
People are confused about living as a Christian today more than anytime in Christian history. Christians have to carry the bulk of the blame for that. The more I read the New Testament, I feel my personal issues, sins, every action, needs my being aware of the "cloud of witnesses" about me watching every move I make and word I say. WE Christians have brought reproach on Jesus, grieving the Holy Spirit within us, in ways unimaginable before the eyes of the world we live in. That must change.
I want to be under the scrutiny of the Holy One living in my life. He is supposed to be the One guiding, teaching, and revealing spiritual matters to us, bringing us into maturity through conforming to the image of Christ. Spiritual matters can only arrive at our door when we give them preeminence in life. No one wakes up in the morning suddenly spiritual. That is learned behavior from God- hungering souls.
Like recovery, there are requirements in following Jesus that I want to fully comply to. That is not dressing the part, acting holy or pious, and certainly not restrictive from a life of pleasure, as so many think. It is life, it is joy unspeakable, it is living waters flowing from us to share to those dying from spiritual thirst. It is real recovery.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.