John 1:15  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God, All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made, In Him was life’ and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in darkness: and the darkness comprehended it not.

God created all.  So much power existed in His very being, that in speaking, His word became everything that exists.  In creating it, He owns it.

Psalm 50:10-11  For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.  I know all the birds of the mountains:  and the wild beasts of the field are mine.

Of everything that is His, God has given to each of us a portion of His great wealth as our sustenance.  We are to be stewards over a small portion of all that exists.  It is to provide for our needs; establish God’s covenant with His people; and be used to spread the knowledge and understanding of God to the lost and dying world.  In Ecclesiastes, God tells us what we receive for our labors is our portion, assigned to us by God.

Ecclesiastes 5:18-19  Behold what I have seen:  it is good and beautiful for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor that he gathers under the sun all the days of his life, which God gives him; for it is his portion.  Every man also to whom God has given riches and wealth, and has given him power to eat of it, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.

We see in God’s inspired word, that God gives each man his portion as a gift and the rich also have been given the power to gain wealth as a gift from God.  You may be saying to yourself, “Well, why hasn’t God given me the power to gain wealth?”  This next part may describe you.  No matter how hard you work, you never seem to get ahead.  All your plans to make money fail, while those around you prosper  You tithe, you give gifts and alms to the poor; but you never have more than just enough to get by.  It may be because God loves you and desires a close relationship with you!  I know that sounds nuts, especially after what we’ve just seen in the Bible, but maybe it will make sense in a minute.

When times are hard and the world closes in around us, we cry out to God.  We need Him.  We draw close to Him.  God desires a relationship with each of us.  God created Adam and Eve, so in the cool of the evening, He would have someone to be with.  God needs, God craves, God desires, God jealously covets our companionship.  For many of us, when things are going good, we ignore God.  Once or twice a week we get together with friends and family to commune in His name, but for the most part we ignore Him.

So God, in His infinite wisdom and tender love for us, doesn’t allow us to drift too far away from Him and get lost again in the world.  Our portion of His endless wealth is miniscule, to keep us reliant on Him.  When we need Him, we draw close to Him.  If that is the only way we will stay close to God, then, that’s just the way it will have to be.  He would much rather we sought Him out for companionship, rather than necessity, but any father enjoys a visit form his children, no matter what the reason.  So, our portion of God’s great wealth remains small, so we’ll stay close to Him and learn to rely on Him. 

God tells of His provision for Israel in the wilderness in Deuteronomy.  Israel would have turned back to bondage if God hadn’t provided manna where they could find no food.  The Israelites, like us, are a wayward people.  To draw them close to Himself, God had to keep them in the wilderness where they had to rely on Him.  And God provided for Israel in a miraculous way!  But he only provided enough for each day, to keep them close to Him.

Deuteronomy 8:16-18  Who fed you in the Wilderness with manna, which your fathers knew not, that he might humble you, and that he might prove you, to do you in the long run; And you say in your heart, My power and the might of my hand has gotten me this wealth.  But you will remember the Lord your God:  for it is he that gives you power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he swore unto your fathers, as it is this day.

We see that “want” keeps us humble, relying of God and it’s for our own good in the end.  But God wants us to be in a position where we don’t rely on Him out of necessity, but out of respect for who He is and His infinite wisdom.  We also see the common, natural, pitfall of wealth - pride.  When wealth is accrued, the human response is to say, “I made this!  I did this!  I created this wealth by my industry and ingenuity!  Who needs God?”  For those of us who are weak, who would not acknowledge God, who would fall away from God when we no longer needed Him; God, in His love for us, keeps us from stumbling.

God’s word warns us about the pitfalls of wealth, but most of us are eager to test ourselves, believing that we know better than God.

Ecclesiastes 5:10-13  He that loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loves abundance with increase:  this is also vanity.  When goods increase, they are increased that eat them:  and what good is there to the owners of it all, except just looking at it with their eyes?  The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he ate little or much:  but the abundance of the rich will not allow him a decent nights sleep.  There is a great evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches horded by the owners of it, only to be ruined by their own greed.

Everyone is selfish and self-serving to a certain degree; it’s a survival instinct.  But weak character makes a person greedy.  When possessions and gain become the focal point of life, everyone else, including God, become less important than the goal of accumulation.

Luke 12:34  For were your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

God is a jealous God.  Not because He is vain, but because He loves us.  In His tender mercy and love for us, He knows that our lives will be better if we listen to Him and obey, and do things His way.

Matthew 6:24  No man can serve two masters:  for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will cling to the one, and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and selfishly chase after riches.

So we are admonished to set our hearts on things above, keep life and possessions in a right perspective.

Matthew 6:19-21  Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroys, and where thieves break through and steal:  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Does all this mean God doesn’t want us to be prosperous?  Heaven forbid!  It’s part of God’s plan for us to be prosperous as a sign of His covenant with us, as an example to the lost.  The disciples understood God’s plan was for His people to be prosperous, and were taken aback when Jesus issued His warning about the love of riches.

Matthew 20:23-26  Then Jesus said to his disciples, Listen closely; I say to you that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.  And again I say to you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.  When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?  But Jesus knew their hearts, and said to them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

The key to having riches, and being saved, is in the last phrase, “…but with God all things are possible.”  It isn’t so much that God can perform this miracle of getting a rich man into heaven; it is, if a rich man is with God, belongs to God, his heart is set on God; it is possible for him to have riches but serve God with his heart, all his resources, and not be a slave to his wealth.  The rich man’s heart belongs to God, not to the riches.

The key to God’s prosperity isn’t tithing, it isn’t giving generously, and it isn’t giving alms to the poor.  It is submitting to God, it’s having a personal relationship with God, it’s yielding to the leading of the Holy Spirit in every aspect of your life, it’s living to please your Lord.  When your hearts belong to God, He has everything; your money, your time, your relationships, your will.  When your heart belongs to God, wealth is meaningless next to the riches of a relationship with the Creator of all things.  Wealth is just a resource for living and spreading the gospel of Christ.

But how do we get to that point - where our hearts are stayed on God, where our lives are rooted and grounded in Him and riches can’t turn our heads or hearts?

Matthew 6:33  But seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things will be added to you.

Earnestly seek after God!  Strive to understand His righteousness and how Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross made His righteousness ours!  When your life becomes a daily quest to understand more of God, and submit your life more fully to Him, then your heart will become firmly established, rooted and grounded in His love.  When your heart is secure in God, then there is little danger that material things will draw you away from your relationship with the Creator.  Then, God can begin to show you the provision He has saved up for you.

3 John 2  Beloved, I wish above all things that you would prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers,

When we prosper in our souls through a growing relationship with our Creator, it’s safe for our hearts to be delivered from the trials that serve to draw us close to God.  I’ve learned something from my own experiences.  The closer my relationship is with God, the fewer bad things happen in my life.  This is mainly because, as I draw closer to God, I do fewer foolish things, and I don’t have to suffer the consequences of my own bad behavior.  Many of the traumas we face are a direct result of our own actions!  But when we live a life of close relationship with the Father, we have already drawn close to Him, not out of necessity, but out of love.  And it’s love, God’s love, shed abroad in our hearts, that leaves no room for the love of money and the snares it provides for the natural man.

So, how much does God want to bless us?  How much wealth would God like to be able to give us?  Again, the Word provides our answer.

Proverbs 13:22  A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children:  and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.

God would have us blessed with an abundance so great we could leave an inheritance not only to our children, but to our grandchildren also.  More important than the riches, however, would be the legacy of Godliness that our children and grandchildren would learn from our example.  For without the foundation of a Godly life, the inheritance left to them would be the ruin of their lives.

Proverbs 20:21  An inheritance may come quickly at the beginning, but the result of easy riches in not blessed.

This might touch on a question you may have pondered.  If God loves us so much, he keeps us poor so we depend on Him, why are wicked people getting rich?  The wicked people, who have gotten rich, have paid for their wealth with their souls.  Their lot in eternity is not to be envied.  But even in their greed, they have served a purpose in God’s plan.  The wealthy wicked serve as a bank, accumulating wealth for storage.  When God’s people learn the principles of God’s financial laws, the Word says this wealth has been laid up for the just to draw on.  The wicked act as a bank account for the righteous to draw on, when they learn to bank with God.  And perhaps, in the process, the wicked will draw close to God when the wealth they trusted in evaporates before their eyes.

So, you might say, “I’ve prayed and prayed, but God hasn’t answered my financial needs.”  Again, God’s Word may hold your answer.

James 4:3  You ask, and you don’t receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so you can spend it on your own lusts and desires.

We may think of lust as a physical thing, and it can be, but lust is anything that distracts or draws our attentions away from God.  Anything we enjoy more than spending time with our Lord qualifies as lust.  Rather than complain about the needs in our lives we feel God isn’t meeting, we should give thanks for those trials, because they draw us closer to God, and His power.

James 1:2-7  Brothers and sisters, count it all joy when you fall into various temptations; Knowing this, the trying of your faith develops and strengthens patience, But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing, If any of you lack wisdom, ask for it from God, who gives to all liberally, and doesn’t scold; and it will be granted.  But ask in faith, not doubting His willingness or ability.  For the doubter is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  Don’t let that man think he will receive any thing of the Lord.  One who doubts God is unstable in all their ways.

The Apostle Paul was tormented by a messenger of Satan sent to buffet him.  This malevolent spirit follow Paul around stirring up mobs to end Paul’s preaching.  The Greek word, translated buffet in King James, is the same word used when the Roman guards beat Jesus before he was crucified.  It means, “to strike with a fist.”  Paul prayed three times to be relived of his thorn in the flesh, and God answered his prayer.

2 Corinthians 12:7-9  And so I wouldn’t become exalted above measure because of the many revelations shown to me, there was assigned to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to strike at me, keeping me down, so I wouldn’t gain too much influence.  For this reason, I sought the Lord three times that it would leave me alone.  And He said to me, My grace is all you need:  for my strength is made perfect in your weakness.  Most gladly will I glory in my weaknesses then, that the power of Christ can rest upon me.

Paul was weak and called upon the Lord.  The Lord answered him and told him he had come to the right place, because the Creator of Heaven and Earth and everything that exists, was sufficient for the task.  And he told Paul a great mystery.  He said, “…my strength is made perfect in weakness.”  Paul’s inability to help himself in this situation brought Paul to the conclusion he was weak and needed God’s help.  When Paul relied upon God, and put his faith in God to help him, God could release His power in Paul’s life.

When we are weak and our finances are poor, we need to draw near to the Powerful One, who can meet all our needs, according to His riches in Glory!

Philippians 4:19  But my God will supply all your need, according to his riches in glory, by Christ Jesus.

But if we want to be prosperous, we need to draw close to God, get to know Him intimately, live daily in His presence, draw on Him for our inspiration and vision, make His priorities our priorities, make His goals for our lives our goals for our lives, and set ourselves to doing His will.  Because God isn’t going to allow us to amass riches just to spend on our desires.  God wants us to make His desires our desires.  When we have reached that point in our relationship with God, then the windows of heaven will be opened up to us.

Malachi 3:10  Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and test me by it, says the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing, that there will not be room enough to receive it.

Most of us have spent our lives handling our own financial affairs.  To allow God’s prosperity in our lives we have to renew our minds.

Romans 12:2  And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.

We have to understand we don’t earn our paycheck, it’s our portion assigned to us as a gift from God.  It is pride to think otherwise, and God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

James 4:6  But he gives more grace.  For this reason he says, God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

We need to understand that we are stewards of a small portion of God’s vast financial empire.  He’s given us a small portion to watch over.  Out of that portion, we are allotted an allowance.  The rest we are to invest to further His kingdom.  To help us be good stewards of God’s investment in us, we can look to Jesus’ parable of the master who gave his servants money to invest.

Matthew 25:14-30  For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling into a far country, who called his servants, and delivered to them his goods.  And to one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one; to every man according to his ability; and immediately left on his journey.  Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with them and made another five talents more.  And the servant who had received two, he gained another two.  But he that received one went and dug a whole and buried his lord’s money.
After a long time the lord of those servants came back, to settle accounts with them.  He who received five talents came and brought another five talents, saying, Lord, you entrusted me with five talents:  behold, I have gained for you another five talents.  His lord said to him, Well done, you are a good and faithful servant:  you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you a ruler over many things:  enter into the joy of your lord.
He also who had received two talents came and said, Lord, you entrusted me with two talents:  behold, I have gained for you another two talents.  His lord said to him, Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you a ruler over many things:  enter into the joy of your lord.
Then he who had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I know that you are a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not spread seed:  And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the earth:  Here it is!  You have what is yours.
His lord answered and said to him,  You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I haven’t sowed, and gather where I haven’t spread seed:  You should have put my money in a bank, and then, when I returned, I would at least have gotten my money back with interest.  Because of this, I will take the talent from him, and give it to him who had ten talents.  For to every one that has, more will be given, and they will have abundance:  but from him that doesn’t have, from them it will be taken away, even what little they have.  Throw the unprofitable servant into outer darkness:  there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.

If we compare our stewardship of God’s investment in us, with this parable, many of us would best relate with the servant who received one talent.  But Jesus intended to teach us with his parables.  And if we have ears to hear what he is saying about finances, we need not remain the servant with one talent.  If we humble ourselves; and become God’s servant of the portion He has given us; instead of being the masters of our own destiny; we can serve God with good stewardship of our portion.  If we have mishandled the one talent God has given us, we can draw close to God and ask Him how we can improve.

James 1:5  If any of you lack wisdom, ask for it from God, who gives to all liberally, and doesn’t scold; and it will be granted.

As we prove ourselves faithful with little, God will give us more responsibility to watch over, more talents to invest.  He won’t allow us more than we are ready for; it takes time and experience to change our thoughts and habits to God’s way of doing things.  We can gradually work our way into greater and greater positions of responsibility if we are diligent.

1 Peter 5:6  Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time:

God has three purposes for bringing wealth to believers:  To provide for our needs; to establish His covenant with his people; to provide for the spreading of the gospel.  It takes money to spread the gospel.  It takes money to support the servants of God as they go about the Lords work.  And why has God sent ministers to us?

Ephesians 4:11-12  And he gave some abilities to be, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ;

God gave these ministry gifts to the church to: Perfect the body of Christ, (those of us sitting in the pews), so we can go out and do the work of ministering the Gospel of Christ to a lost and dying world; which edifies, adds to, builds up, brings new souls into, the body of Christ.

If your heart’s attitude for gaining wealth isn’t to further the gospel of Christ, so more people can enjoy the same close relationship you have with God and enjoy eternal life, then save your prayers, because God isn’t going to fulfill them for you.  God wants to use HIS resources to reach the lost.

Ephesians 5:16  Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

There is a revival coming to our nation.  A great harvesting of souls for eternity.  It’s God’s plan.  But He needs you.  You are His hands and feet.  You must speak His powerful words to create new hearts within the lost.

Jude 22-23  Have compassion on some, making a difference in their lives:  And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh,

We must dedicate ourselves to pray daily in this battle for souls.  This coming revival must start in the heart of each believer.  A re-dedication to the weeping of God’s heart for the lost is required.  We must draw close to Him and take up His cross.  As we follow Christ’s example, as we yield our wills to God, our hearts will become unshakable in Him.  Then, God’s prosperity, God’s true prosperity, which starts with our hearts, will become reality in our lives.

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