Starting the day with my best Minnie Pearl imitation: HaowdeeEE!!!
Hmmmm...... Guess that worked, OK.
Anyway, how're y'all doin' this fine and wonderful day?
Gotcher coffee yet? Ayyup! Reckon we need to get on with things.
Because our last Coffee Break brought up the subject of
the attack on six different ministries -- and particularly television ministries,
I thought I might begin today's discussion with a piece written by Jim Bramlett. Jim and I have
known each other since our
"Six major ministries have been asked to provide financial records to
the U.S. Senate, which is looking into charges of lavish spending.
Whether or not the Senate has the legal authority to do this is another matter.
Without facts and with apparent glee, some Christians immediately jumped on the bandwagon and have assumed they are guilty. This message will serve as a caution to those who are prejudging the matter. Make sure you are not opposing God.
The other day I had a revelation from Jesus' own words, and it is attitude-altering.Â The below Scripture is from the lips of the Son of God Himself, the Second Person of the Godhead.Â He speaks nothing but truth, and His words can be totally trusted.
"Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel's, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time -- houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions -- and in the age to come, eternal life" (Mark 10: 29:30, NKJV).
Tradition often conflicts with God's Word, and most
Christians do not like those words of Jesus, and choose tradition, with this
and other Scriptures. Plus, they disparagingly call those who receive the
hundredfold as "prosperity teachers," because they dare teach what
God says on the subject.
Please reread the above words again carefully. Do not expect
How does this relate to those six ministries? It is amazingly relevant. To the best of my knowledge, most of them began with extremely humble and almost destitute beginnings. When they started their ministry, I know one of them lived in a small trailer.
What did they all do? They forsook everything for the sake of Jesus and the gospel, just like it says in the Mark 10 passage above. They struggled, sometime for years. But -- they began to sow into other ministries. They continued to struggle, and continued to sow, blessing others.
Eventually they began to prosper, also just as the passage says. And eventually from their sowing and sacrifice, they began to reap, eventually "a hundredfold -- now in this time" (or "present age,"
Sure, we have all seen instances of sacrificial Christians who have not seen this hundredfold increase. But a cardinal principle is to not judge Scripture by anyone's personal experience. Scripture must stand alone, by its own authority. It is truth. Those who believe and act upon it will see its promises manifested.
There is another part of that passage which has startlingly also come to pass. It is where it says, "with persecutions." Note they are being persecuted by the government, by the secular media, and by many Christians because of their hundredfold increase! Jesus' words are amazingly accurate (no surprise).
We have ministries which began humbly and with little or nothing. They believed, they sowed, and have now reaped a hundredfold, being greatly blessed. They are still sowing and blessing. Many millions are being blessed by them. Wealth has come to some, maybe all of them, outside their ministries, with outside sources of income.
Along comes disgruntled unbelievers who know not God or His Word. And just as the Scripture says, they are persecuting those who have received God's blessings. But let us remember the source of wealth: "Remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenantâ€¦" (Deuteronomy , NIV).
Just be careful in buying into what the world or false religious tradition says and in your accusations. You may find yourself opposing God."
Very Good, Jim! Thanks. Couldn't have said it better myself.
Actually, if you read Acts 5:38-39, you find a leader among the Pharisees saying virtually the same thing to the religious people of his day. The Jews, of course, considered Jesus -- and all Jews who called themselves by the name of Christ -- to be heretics of the first order. They were considered treasonous to orthodox Judaism: people who had departed from the faith, and worthy of death.
The sect of the Pharisees was a defender of tradition like no others among the Jews; and they especially defended their own doctrines and traditions to the exclusion of God's Word. Gamaliel was chief among the Pharisees and a learned teacher of their laws.
Surprisingly enough, it was Gamaliel who stood up in their midst one day and said, "And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God."
Men and women today are pretty much in that same boat today. Human philosophy hasn't changed, and even among those who consider themselves to be Christians there are those who think nothing of railing against other Christians whose doctrines or teachings or practices don't agree with those they earnestly and fervently believe to be truth.
That's the dumbest thing any Christian can do. There are lots of folks whose doctrines and teachings don't agree with those I hold, but the last thing I'm going to do is slander or speak against them as individuals. I may disagree with a doctrinal position, and state why, but I will not speak out against individuals who hold to or teach things I disagree with. I'm glad to say that I can have -- and do! -- have real fellowship in Christ Jesus with brethren and cistern (!), uhh, er, sisters who believe something different than I do.
There's an interesting thing about God's economy that many believers don't seem to understand. Just because someone -- and particularly a teacher or preacher (or televangelist!) -- preaches or teaches something we may think is wrong or in error doesn't mean they have somehow lost God's approval or anointing. It takes a pretty extreme set of circumstances for someone in authority to lose the approval or commissioning from God that put them where they are; and even if they, under extreme circumstances, lose that commission, the anointing for their position never leaves.
Witness King Saul who continually violated God's command
to the place where he lost God's approval to be on the throne, and have his
posterity continue in authority in
Thus David wrote, "Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm." (I Corinthians , Psalm 105:15)
OK. Enough of this digression. Well, actually it isn't a digression since it is germane to out discussion on Kingdom Economics. We wrapped up our last Coffee Break talking about Adam and Eve's life of wealth and prosperity in the Garden. They lived a life totally devoid of need of any kind. They lived a life of power and authority. They lived the dominion that God blessed them with.
That dominion was their assignment from God. So long
as they remained in their assignment and faithful to the Word that God had
given them, they lacked for nothing. It was when they departed from that
assignment and violated God's command by eating of humanly-gained knowledge
instead of walking in the revelation they had by the Spirit that they lost both
I've quoted this Scripture several times already, but I'll quote it again. "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
"And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
"Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." (Matthew -34)
What Jesus is really after is for His people to seek Him first. The priority is God's assignment for us.
Brother, has this ever been screwed up in the thought processes of most folks today!
Most people figure they will go out and find their job first. Wherever that job or position takes them, it matters not. Once they've arrived at their place of work, they then go looking for a church they hope to fit in.
When it seems like they just don't fit, and can't find a church where they feel part of the family, and know that this is God's place for them, they frequently just withdraw from church completely, and from any real fellowship with other believers. Their walk with God suffers, and the wonder why things just aren't working out for them. They're making lots of money, but they're miserable.
When folks figure out that their first priority is to find out where God wants them to fit in His body, and stop making their paychecks, their positions, their titles and their chosen occupations the main priority in their lives, it's amazing how things begin to work!
Let me share with you a simple process for all believers to follow.
1. Begin seeking God for your placement in the body. Find out what body of believers you belong in. If necessary, and there is a quickening in your spirit to do so, move to another town or city. This doesn't need to be a herky-jerky thing! If you live in some little Podunk town or community, and there simply isn't a church that is moving in the things of God, and you find yourself stale spiritually, start checking out other towns or cities. Check out churches in other towns or cities -- even if you have to drive some distance to get there, and even if you have to move cross country. The spiritual law that applies for you is this: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." (James 1:5 -- emphasis mine)Â God will NOT leave you in the dark.Â Promise!
2. Once you find your placement in the body, seek out employment in that place. Ask the Lord about your chosen career or job skills. If need be, be ready to go to work in another career or area of employment. If necessary, go to the pastor or any of the leaders in your assigned church and ask them to pray and agree with you for God's job assignment. There may even be an employer in that new church or body of believers looking for someone with your skills and training, or even retrain you to fit the job or position he or she has in mind.
3. Ask the Lord to find and prepare your new house (assuming you have moved to a new community), and to orchestrate favorable terms and conditions for your purchase. Even if you haven't changed communities, be ready and willing to change and move into another home should God direct.
The name of this is "flexibility." The Holy Spirit is always looking for folks willing to flex, willing to move, willing to uproot, willing to be placed so that He can put us with those who need what we have in God, as well as putting us with folks who have what we need.
Let's not forget. The objective of the Lord is to have a complete body -- a body that moves and operates according to His will, His heart's desire, and His purposes for a power-wielding, authority-speaking, grace-exhibiting, love-manifesting, Spirit-moving-and-sensitive people whose first objective is Him!
Hmmm...did that come out OK? Anyway, you get the picture.
For more than a year, our oldest son, Chris (Christian)
had been being pricked by the Holy Spirit to leave
This wasn't just a hard decision for him to make: it was
near-impossible! Not since Chris was roughly eight years old (when we
The church they had been a part of for most of their married life had gone through some horrific upheaval and they simply didn't fit there anymore. They had tried one church after another to no avail. They simply didn't fit or feel a part no matter what they did. It wasn't that there was anything wrong with any of the churches they tried. There simply was no sense in their spirits that they "belonged." There was no place in the Spirit where they fit.
Chris' occupation has for many years been that of a civil engineer. He is uniquely qualified and certified for the operation of some of the world's largest pieces of heavy equipment including cranes large enough to hoist ships out of the water. He is one of eight people in the world who have worked for British Petroleum digging trenches on the ocean floor and laying pipeline. That does make his job somewhat flexible, meaning that with his qualifications he can find appropriate employment almost anywhere -- including here in Washington.
He decided in July of this year to take a break and check things out here in Sunnyside. Although he was here for only ten days, we went house-looking and came up with a house absolutely suited to his family's needs. There was just one problem. There was another buyer in front of him who was better prepared financially to purchase this home on short notice. The other buyer also had offered about $5,000 more than Chris was prepared to offer.
I can see that telling this story and doing justice to it will take longer than this Coffee Break needs to be, so let's pick it up here in our next discussion. This is a great story, folks! It demonstrates Matthew 6:33 as well as anything I could possibly describe, and it illustrates the three-step outline I just drew for you.
See you next time. Have a blessed week!
The Blessing of the Lord be upon you.
Sunnyside, Washington 98944
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