Twenty or so years ago, prosperity preachers used to say that if you were driving a Chevrolet instead of a Cadillac, you were living beneath your privileges and probably didn’t have the faith to live in divine prosperity. Maybe some of them still do. I stopped paying attention.
I believe in divine prosperity, so long as we let the Bible define it. 2 Corinthians 8-9 constitute the greatest fund raising letter in history. Paul wanted to raise a huge donation for the church in Jerusalem, and here is what he promised that generous people would receive: enough for every need and abundance for every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8).… Read the rest
“Shalom” in Hebrew
Jeremiah 29:11 ranks high on the list of favorite Old Testament scriptures. As much as we love it, do we really understand how much it promises? “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.” (NIV)
“Prosper” translates the Hebrew word shalom, a word (a noun, by the way) so rich it has no good English equivalent. It usually appears in English translations as “peace.” In fact, many English translations of Jeremiah 29:11 say, “plans for peace” or something similar.… Read the rest
When you get home from church, what do you think of God? During the week, do you think of God for a morning quiet time and then hardly at all for the rest of the day? Or, admit it to yourself, do you remember God at all between Sunday mornings?
How easy it is to go to church, participate in Sunday morning activities, and have the experience wear off before we get back home. Back to the ordinary. Back to the messages of the world around us.
The television ads all try to make us focus attention on all the things we don’t have and make us discontent until we get them.… Read the rest
God wants his people to prosper. That hardly means that he will not allow them, or rather compel them to go through times of trial in which prosperity seems impossible. We have to put aside our human idea of prosperity and let God define it for us.
Jeremiah proclaimed the message of divine prosperity even in calamity in a letter to the Jews in Babylon, that is, to victims of a recent national catastrophe. The invading Babylonian army had taken King Jeconiah, his mother, all of his court officials, and all of the skilled craftsmen and artisans in Jerusalem as captives back to Babylon.… Read the rest
Elijah prophesied that it would not rain in Israel until he said so. That got the king upset with him, so he went into hiding. God sent him directly to Queen Jezebel’s homeland, perhaps the last place anyone would look for him. Eventually, he stayed with a widow in Zarephath. To herself and everyone around her, she looked destitute. Actually, she more nearly represents the biblical model of divine prosperity than anyone else I can think of.
It has been a long time since I have watched much Christian television. Many popular ministries I know of preach some kind of gospel of self-esteem.… Read the rest
“Beware, lest you forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage,”–Deuteronomy 6:12, NKJV
Moses looked over a crowd of people who had grown up as wanderers in the wilderness. They were about to enter the Promised Land, where God would give them houses and cities they had not built and crops they had not planted. It would take hard work to occupy the land, but Moses foresaw trouble resulting from the prosperity that would follow.
Hard times can make or break our faith. People will either cling to God through a crisis or turn away from “religion” entirely.… Read the rest