ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK: KINGDOM ECONOMICS XV
Jan 16, '08 1:13 AM
Good Morning, Good Morning, Good Morning!
How're you doing this fine, sunshiny morning?
Those of you who've been longtime Coffee Break readers may remember an episode I talked about that took place when Della and I went on a vacation trip to Alaska in the spring of 2004. We got this panic-stricken phone call from our daughter, Rebekah, who was monitoring our place in Texas during our absence. She phoned to say that when she went to check on the house, she went to the back door -- which was the door to my office -- and when she opened it up, water began pouring out of the house.
The water heater had exploded and the water had been running continuously for perhaps 48 hours or more. There was six inches of water throughout much of the house, and the damage was pretty extensive. By the time the repairs and remodeling had taken place, nearly six months had elapsed.
I've said all that to say that we've had a kind of repeat episode at Chris & Chelsi's house here in Sunnyside. Last Friday evening, the septic system backed up, pouring many gallons of raw sewage into the downstairs bathroom, recreation room, utility room and Christian and Kyle's bedrooms. The mess -- to say the least -- filled the house with an unbearable stench. The whole family got involved in vacuuming up the sewage, sopping up the floor with a couple of dozen towels, and working furiously to rescue clothing, bedding and furniture from the contaminated water.
State Farm is the insurer for the place, and they moved very quickly to mitigate the water damage. Nevertheless, losses will easily exceed $20,000 because of how quickly the water wicked up into the walls. As I speak, the entire downstairs has been torn apart, the studs are exposed, the bathroom has been completely demolished, carpeting and tile have been removed, and construction crews are getting ready to rebuild. We're in a brief waiting period while an anti-bacterial agent does its job after being sprayed on just about everything.
From all appearances, this has happened on several occasions in the past. We found black mold growing in the walls. Really, we consider the whole event to be a blessing and an answer to prayer. Chris's family has gone through one bout after another with what everyone assumed was colds, fever, upset stomachs, loss of appetite -- you name it. Now we know why.
When everything is back together, we'll have a very clean and sanitized -- and completely remodeled -- downstairs. Thank you, Jesus! Isn't the Lord wonderful? He has a supercalifragilistic way -- OK, expialidocius, too! -- of turning a lemony situation into lemonade. Now Chris and family will be able to remodel or redecorate the downstairs to their own taste -- new carpet, new tile, new paint in the bedrooms, etc., etc., etc. What a blessing!
OK! Time to get on with today's discussion.
Let's pick up where we left off last Monday when we were talking about faith as the currency of the Kingdom of God. Got your coffee poured, yet? So what're you waitin' for?
One of the aspects of faith is that it simply will not work in the presence of fear, doubt and unbelief. Fear is the very antithesis of faith. So are doubt and unbelief.
Here's the kicker. The entire economy of this world we live in operates on all three of those things.
Let's take the oil industry for example. Everyone of us are paying ridiculously high gas prices today -- all because of unrealistic fears among oil traders about the possibility of oil supplies being disrupted. In their panic, they've driven the price of oil past the $100/barrel benchmark -- if only for a few days -- during this past week, and the average price of oil per barrel is consistently running above $90/barrel.
Never mind the fact that oil supplies easily exceed current demand, and the newly developing oil fields around the world already have proven oil resources exceeding everything we take out of the Middle East. Arco and British Petroleum recently discovered an oil field in the Beaufort Sea just north of Alaska that stretches across the arctic all the way to Russian territory. There's far more oil in that field than the hotly contested ANWR reserves in northeastern Alaska. Islands are currently being constructed out in the ocean in order to provide bases for dozens of oil wells -- all of which will feed the Alaska Pipeline.
There is so much activity in Wyoming and Colorado right now that many hotels are booked permanently by oil companies to provide temporary housing for their workers who are developing vast oil fields with resources that dwarf everything we've ever known in this country. The oil from the Beaufort Sea and Wyoming/Colorado fields alone could supply all the needs and wants of this nation for decades to come.
Oil fields in Israel are being developed as we speak. The oil resources in Israel meet or exceed the supplies currently available in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran (combined, if you include the huge oilfield just off the coast of Israel in the Mediterranean). While it will take some time to be able to access all of that oil, no one can even begin to say that there are any -- or will be any -- real oil shortages.
Yet, fear drives the oil traders to such extremes that they pay unconscionable prices for a barrel of oil, and drive the world's economy into a tailspin. The oil companies themselves are having a heyday with it because these fears are pumping billions upon billions of dollars into their coffers.
The medical industry thrives on its ability to create "what-ifs" and "supposin's" in the minds of people. Prescriptions for medicines and medications are sold at unbelievably outlandish prices, and people pay those prices (or force their insurance companies or the Federal Government to pay them) with barely a whimper, all because they are seeking a quick fix to their health problems or because they are afraid (and made to be afraid) that they will either get sick or die.
The current byword or catch-phrase among many of today's presidential hopefuls is "change." They are seeking to create or encourage fear among the voting public that current trends in government will only grow worse if they don't elect one of these "hopefuls" to office and "change" the political environment -- never mind the fact that not one of them will tell you what real change they envision! (Truth be known, if you actually knew what change they have in mind, it would make you shudder.)
Today's crop of young people are lambasted on every side with pictures, television advertising, slick multi-media presentations and sounds that tickle their senses in order to convince them that they need to buy a certain pair of worn-out-looking jeans, or some tee-shirt with a particular logo on it, or else they won't "fit in" with their friends.
We don't need to belabor this any further. You get the idea, I'm sure.
There is absolutely NOTHING in the Kingdom of God, its mode of operating or its economy that is based in fear. I know there are churches today that preach fear in the mistaken concept that this is the way to keep people from going to Hell, but there is nothing in God's Word that is fear-based.
Let me deviate here for just a second.
Consider the words that occur in both Hebrew and Greek that are translated "fear." Three words in Hebrew -- pa.chad, ey.mah and yirah -- have very different meanings. The first word -- pa.chad -- is a sudden fear, or panic. The second -- ey.mah -- in its different forms represents terror, alarm, and to terrorize. The third word -- yirah -- is a picture of love-based reverence. This is the word we use when we refer to our relationship with God. Yirah is a holy awe, an intense respect. This is our "WOW" -- our awesome sense of the holiness, the power, the presence of the Lord Himself. Because that "WOW" is based in love, there is no fear attached to it.
Consider what John wrote in the first of his general epistles or letters to the body of Christ: "There is no fear in love -- dread does not exist; but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love -- is not yet grown into love's complete perfection." (I John 4:18, Amplified Version)
The apostle Paul tells us (in Galatians 5:6), "For [if we are] in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith activated and energized, and expressed, and working through love." (Amplified Version)
You see it don't you? Faith only works through love. Fear, on the other hand, is faith working in reverse. Fear is a kind of faith, but it is faith in death; it is faith in destruction, it is faith in doubt, faith in not believing -- and all of that is a contradiction in terms.
Yet that is how the world system operates -- in reverse! The economies of this world are predicated in fear of one kind or another. Contrary to popular opinion, there is no such thing as "healthy fear." All fear is destructive. All fear comes as a result of eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. All fear -- if left unchecked -- produces death of one sort or another.
If one fears God as a (excuse the expression) "Holy Terror," they will die both physically and spiritually. God is not someone to be afraid of. How in the world can you be afraid of love?
If a person fears another person, if a husband fears a wife or a wife fears a husband, it will be the death of their relationship since love cannot operate in the presence of fear.
If some is afraid they will catch various diseases, they invariably speak that fear. It is almost comical the way the fear is expressed, too!
"We've had cancer in our family for the last three generations, so I guess that means I'll die of cancer, too."
"My mother had Alzheimer's, my grandmother had Alzheimer's, and I tend to be very forgetful. Guess that means I'm already starting."
"Getter get your flu shot, or else you'll catch the flu."
I'd bet that most of you have heard one or more of these statements in your life and watched as the very thing unfolded that people spoke into their lives. What folks don't seem to understand and realize is that they speak the very death they so honestly trust and believe in into their lives.
Because my father was exposed to fallout from atomic radiation caused from an experiment that went awry and died of cancer, (along with a number of other folks who were also exposed) shall I now begin to confess that I will probably die of cancer, too? Not in a million years!
Am I afraid of the flu? Nope. Fact is, the only time I've ever had the flu was when I yielded to the advice of friends and took a flu shot. Not only did it not prevent me from getting the flu, it gave me a royal case of the flu -- and that happened twice. Never again!
My health doesn't come because I take certain shots! I don't avoid sickness or disease because I take a bunch of pills! My strength and vitality don't exist because I visit the doctor every six months or year.
I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen a doctor in my entire life, and I'm headed for my 66th birthday! Our medicine cabinet in the bathroom isn't filled with prescriptions. There may be a Band-Aid kit, and maybe (although I'm not sure at the moment) a small bottle of aspirin. I can't remember the last time I took an aspirin. That simply isn't where our trust relies.
If I get a headache, I rebuke it in the name of Jesus and go on about my work. If I sense an attack on my physical well-being from some quarter, I declare and confess the appropriate Word of God to deal with it, and I don't allow my body to possess any sickness, disease or infirmity. I simply will not take possession -- with my mind or my mouth -- of anything which contradicts the covenant I have in and through Christ Jesus.
Does that mean I never get attacked? Of course not! Does that mean that the flu doesn't try to get me? Nope. It does. I just don't allow it to take possession of my body, and I refuse to claim it.
This may not sound much like Economics to you, but it has a direct bearing, I assure you.
There is a word Christians love to toss around -- "Salvation" -- but honestly, what we call "Salvation" is a tiny sliver of the Economy of the Kingdom of God. Salvation -- in the sense of being saved by the Grace of God, and not having to go to Hell when we die because we have accepted and confessed that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior -- is nothing more than the gate or doorway by which we enter the Kingdom of God.
The core word in the Greek text -- and we've talked about this in prior Coffee Breaks -- is: sozo. From this root comes soter (Savior), and soteria, soterion, andsoterios (saved, and being saved, and salvation). The soter (Savior) is the one who delivers sozo to the recipient. The state of sozo results in soterion.
Now, lets get to the root of sozo, and its complete picture. The Greeks used this word to describe a universal principle: namely, to rescue (from any negative or dangerous situation), to preserve (the health and integrity of an individual), to save (in the sense of keeping one safe and sound), to stop or cancel suffering (from injury or peril of any kind, or sickness or disease), to restore (to health, wholeness and economic completeness in every way) and -- finally, but not incidentally -- to ensure blessing (in the sense of restoring the blessing of God so that one again becomes the picture of prosperity).
To use the word "Salvation" and leave out all the rest of the picture is to do a serious disservice -- first to the Lord because of all that He accomplished on our behalf, and secondly to us as believers. Getting one's fire insurance so they don't have to go to Hell is really only the tiniest part of the picture. The Kingdom of God encompasses, and in fact demands, the whole picture of sozo. There is nothing un-sound about the Kingdom of God. There is nothing about the Kingdom that one could even remotely describe as weak, sick, or in need in any aspect.
We've quoted this before, but once again, Jesus made the statement that "I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance -- to the full, till it overflows." (John 10:10b, Amplified Version)
Does that sound in any way like, "I came to save you from sin, but you're going to have to endure this world. Hang in there, kiddo. Soon this life will be all over with, and you can escape from it all and go to Heaven"?
No? Then how about this? "I came to ensure that you have life eternal, but living and walking in health while you're still here isn't part of the package. Neither is living with abundant prosperity. I don't want you to get sidetracked with the things of this world, so it's just better that you take advantage of the medical society for the time being. Ohh, and that stuff about prosperity? Forget it. Prosperity is what Satan offers. All you're going to get until you go to Heaven is poverty, and need -- being broke, busted and disgusted. Sorry 'bout that."
OK, so I'm being a bit extreme in my examples. Nevertheless, there are Christians who love the Lord who actually believe this bunk!
Is there any of that nonsense that sounds like the love of God? NOPE!
With the mountain of evidence in God's Word about Him being love -- agape love, at that! -- and living a life of abundance patterned after and living in the Blessing of Abraham, can you believe that folks actually buy into this kind of tripe?
Come on, people! The only people who preach poverty are those who live in poverty themselves and are too jealous of other Christians having the abundant life that God promises. The only people who preach that God uses sickness "to teach us" are those folks who haven't learned the truth of what David describes in Psalm 103 when he writes, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; Who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; Who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's."
Understand? These are the benefits that come with a Kingdom Economy. These are the benefits that come out of a real love-relationship (NOT a religious relationship) with the Lord. It is the kind of love that drives and motivates faith. It is the kind of love that engenders a real trust and confidence in the Lord. That trust and confidence are the spearhead of the kind of faith that moves mountains, conquers hardship, declares the blessing of Abraham, walks all over every disease and tramples it underfoot, and sees the provision of God for and in every situation and circumstance.
Let's finish up today's discussion the way we wrapped up our last Coffee Break.
This is the kind of faith that never alters in value. Faith -- God's faith, the kind He freely gives believers -- does not rise or fall depending on the value of the dollar, the pound, the franc, the mark, the Euro, or whatever. Faith does not alter in its spending power, nor its ability to accomplish what it is given or sent forth to accomplish.
Faith operates out of eternity -- not out of time. Faith is not subject to time like the world's currencies. This is why the operation and use of faith -- the spending of it, if you will -- never fails.
See you again, shortly.
Citizens of the Kingdom of God are designed, trained and prepared to live a glorious, supernatural life in a natural world so that the world can see what Satan has cheated them out of. We are supposed to be the manifestation of the Glory of God -- not leftover has-beens, used up and discarded by Satan.
The Blessing of the Lord: it makes rich and adds no painful toil and sorrow! Be blessed!
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