Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Fear Not

Thank God It’s Monday (TGIM) call led by Jack Weinzierl on February 25, 2008. Be blessed by the message.

Let's begin properly in prayer.
Dear Lord, we praise you and thank you for your living Word, the guiding light for our lives. We thank you for all the blessings that you give us and we give praise and honor to you. In Christ name, Amen!

We all have a tendency to avoid the uncomfortable, and I am expecting folks this morning to change some thinking, so they can change their lives.

I am going to begin this call with some basics regarding success and then get into the challenges and problems that each of us face, and more importantly, how to overcome them….not according to the world, but according to the Word.

Success is a choice . Failure is also a choice. When you understand God’s promises for your life as a Believer, the purpose of wealth and the lives we can reach, there is nothing that can stand in your way….at least not for very long.

OK, maybe I am the only one that has ever dealt with some of these limited thoughts, well, here are 5 key ones that most of us deal with at various times.
1. The first thought of defeat: You Can’t Do It. The root that empowers: Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me; I CAN DO IT!
2. Second thought: You Have the Wrong Motive. The thought comes to you ‘You just want to be blessed because you’re selfish. Who do you think you are? God says He wants me blessed! God calls me blessed, so that I can be a blessing.
3. Third thought: You’re not worthy –you don’t deserve to be blessed. Look at all the mistakes you made; you don’t deserve it. You say, I’m not worthy through my works; I am worthy through the BLOOD of Jesus. I do deserve it (not through my works) but through grace and because God is a good God.
4. Fourth thought: It’s not going to happen for you. It doesn’t work for everybody – You say, you shut up devil, He did it for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and so He’s got to do it for me. God is no respecter of persons and He says whosoever believes shall have what they say, and I’m one of those whosoevers who believes!
5. The Fifth thought: It’s Too Late. You can’t recover. Look at how much ground you’ve lost. Everybody is ahead of you. BALONEY. You say NO! In Jesus’ Name He that began a good work in me is faithful to complete it! Jesus is the author and finisher of my faith. It wasn’t too late for Abraham, Peter, Sarah, or Rahab the harlot. We’re not too discouraged, too broken, or too sick to be healed. BUT JESUS can take every sickness, financial problem or negative situation and restore it.

Are you praying and believing for the Lord to direct your steps, your family, and your business?

Are you believing and expecting Divine appointments in your business? Believe for divine appointments. Let His appointments and schedule become yours. He can open doors you can’t open in the natural.

Are you believing for Divine solutions?

Are you believing for Divine favor?

Are you believing for Divine power?

Are you believing for Divine results?

His results multiply. A lot of us say, Lord, you’re in control, but we are still in control. We have to surrender and truly make Him Lord of our lives.

We are not just here this morning talking about money. Prosperity in the Bible is not just money folks. It means nothing lacking, wholeness, and abundance.

OK, just about now, if we were not on moderator mode, I could hear Joe is Ohio shouting to his wife, Mildred, I thought this was going to be a business call. You bet it is. We have the proper priorities of God, Family, Health and Business, in that order. The marketplace is a ministry and we are to go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Preach means to announce and we are to be the bearer of Good News wherever we are at, amen?

I have been in this entrepreneurial mentoring environment for 3 years now and some of my successes and failures over 20 years in corporate America and networking, are my gifts to you. They cost me dearly along the way, but it was a great investment in our success and now I am passionate about mentoring others. It was only 3 years ago, however, that I truly saw the opportunity and responsibility and co-mission that we all have in the marketplace, to share the Good News, every day of the week.

OK, let’s change gears to something the Lord place on my heart to share from this past Friday afternoon. How does the average person think about problems? The average person thinks negatively about problems and that is a reason why they are average. Wealthy people are opportunity oriented. An average person will look at a business with poor cash flow and sees a problem, the wealthy person will look for the opportunity. When people look at today’s economy, they see the real estate problems or a business struggling. The entrepreneur sees the opportunities created, real estate or businesses that can be purchased, or maybe some employees that they can add to their team that they were unable to hire prior.

I hope after today you may change your viewpoint of problems. All people have problems. If you have a dream or vision, you have problems. If you have this deep seeded belief that they are negative, you will do your best trying to avoid problems. I have spent the better part of 40 years trying to avoid problems. Successful people have problems too and the more successful they are, the bigger the problems, because they have a bigger vision. The difference with successful people is they get the problem at hand solved, then go search out more problems.
Why? Because problems create opportunity and value. Think about the last time you felt incredible. Most likely, it was when you solved the last big problem you were faced with. There is an old saying that a man or woman is paid in proportion with the problems a person can solve. If you are in real estate and can only sell homes that everyone can sell, your income is limited. If you can solve problems others cannot, then you will be rewarded.

Let’s look at one major challenge or problem in the Bible that we are all familiar with, the story of David and Goliath. David was young of age and small in stature taking on this huge giant. You can read the story in 1 Samuel 17. When Goliath gave his speech, everyone ran. It states everyone, even David. But what did David do next? David hears of the reward for the guy who takes Goliath down. Land, no taxes, he got to be a prince and you got to marry the princess. He had hope. He had a vision. Dreams are critical.

When he got turned on, he was attacked. Who put him down? His brother. Hey, do you guys realize this is just a sheepherder? Sometimes the people closest to us, are like this about our businesses and dreams, as most people operate out of fear. And we cannot let fear stand in the way of our dreams. You will be attacked. How did David handle being attacked? Did he get all upset? He turned from him to another. It could mean that David turned to God or to some person in the crowd. He turned away from the dream stealers and you need to find people who will support your dream too and turn away from the dream stealers. What did David do next? He rehearsed. He gets to the tent and nobody was there. Everyone wants to be a prince, but no long lines. A key point here is this. There is little competition at the top. Very few people are willing to pay the price. He who attempts the impossible, will have little competition. From my experience, the 80/20 rule is so overly generous. It appears to be more like 95/5 in most environments.

Goliath was the best thing that ever happened to David. Translate this to your own life. Maybe your super challenge is that you were just laid off, or your back is against the wall financially, or you are facing an impossible relationship that needs healing. Maybe you are facing cancer. What are you facing that seems impossible? Goliath brought out the best in David. David didn’t take Saul’s armor. You don’t have to copy someone else. You don’t need their fancy education or personality. You have your own gifts and strengths and the Word of God to face your Goliaths. Goliath studied his competition and the problem. David didn’t study Goliath; he focused on the solution and the reward. David didn’t even have a sword. Goliath didn’t have a chance with God on David’s side.

What are you trusting in? Are you trusting in research, what your competition is doing, or are you trusting that the Lord will direct you towards the vision He has given you.
Are you trusting in dollars; your company; your degree or education; are you trusting in the world’s armor and weapons, or are you trusting in God?
We all will be afraid of different things in life. But we have to have a vision, a dream. Many adults have stopped dreaming. Or they retire and then die within 3 years of retirement, because their initial dream was realized and they did not have another dream.

Here are 5 quick keys if you are taking notes.
1) We will all have fear at times
2) Have a dream
3) Make it a big dream—impossible dream—keep your eye on the dream, not the problem
4) Find People who believe in you and your dream
5) Have Faith and take action—without action nothing happens.
David’s final words. Be strong, be fearless and go do it. Go do your dreams.
When you are faced with problems and challenges, you want to speak those scriptures that advise and direct us to not fear. Here are a few.


“Fear Not”

Deuteronomy 1:21Look, the LORD your God has set the land before you; go up and possess it, as the LORD God of your fathers has spoken to you; do not fear or be discouraged.’

Deuteronomy 3:22You must not fear them, for the LORD your God Himself fights for you.’

Deuteronomy 31:6Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

Deuteronomy 31:8 And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”

Judges 6:23Then the LORD said to him, “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.”

2 Kings 6:16So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

Psalm 27:3Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me, In this I will be confident.

Psalm 46:2Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

Psalm 56:4In God (I will praise His word),In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?

Psalm 118:6The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?

Isaiah 35:4Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.”

Isaiah 41:10Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

Isaiah 44:8Do not fear, nor be afraid; Have I not told you from that time, and declared it? You are My witnesses. Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one.’”

Isaiah 51:7“ Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, You people in whose heart is My law: Do not fear the reproach of men, Nor be afraid of their insults.

Isaiah 54:14In righteousness you shall be established; You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; And from terror, for it shall not come near you

Daniel 10:12Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.

Daniel 10:19And he said, “O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!” So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.”

Joel 2:21Fear not, O land; Be glad and rejoice, For the LORD has done marvelous things!

Matthew 10:31Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Luke 12:7But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Luke 12:32“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Romans 8:15For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”

2 Timothy 1:7For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Hebrews 13:6So we may boldly say: “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

1 John 4:18There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.1

Do you want victory? Has fear stood in the way? What are you fighting for?
Do you want to succeed? Do you want to succeed as an entrepreneur? Truly succeed?

Yes?

Then you better be willing to do battle, get in the game, and fight like your success depends upon it -- because it does.

Don't let anyone kid you... if you want to succeed you're gonna have to fight. What's more, you'll be fighting a very formidable enemy: yourself!

Here's what I'm talking about...
Whoever you are, you have the capacity to be your own best friend -- OR -- your own worst enemy. A lot of folks will blame the enemy, but we are to take every thought captive…..and our thought life is critical.

To create serious success you must be willing to go to battle with that part of yourself that says things like:

"I can't"
"I don't want to today"
"I'm not good enough"
"I can't find the time"
"I hope this is worth it"
"why can't I do this"
"just give up"
"I'll try"
"nothing's working"
etc.

Most of these negative statements are obvious, but others like "I'll try" are more subtle, yet just as dangerous. And, make no mistake, they are all based in FEAR.

Thoughts like these WILL cross your mind... it's inevitable. It's what you do with them however that matters. You cannot fight this fight alone and that is why we have His Living Word to instruct us, guide us, and tell us who we are as a child of God.

You can not allow these negative thoughts to persist and turn into patterns of daily thinking... it's far too destructive. It is truly a gate for the enemy.

Instead, CHALLENGE any and ALL negative thinking, and take action...
Then... move out of the "thinking phase" and into the ACTION phase. Take consistent action and implement your ideas. When you fail (and you will), make small adjustments and go at it again, and again and again.

PERSISTENCE.
If you want it badly enough, exercise the mental discipline it takes to stay in action mode, doing what it takes to get to where you want to be.
Never question IF you can do it. Or IF you can make it. Make a decision that YOU WILL make it. YOU CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Believe it. Then, act on that belief and continue to act on it every single day until you get there.
If you look at the most successful people in the world, what's the common denominator? Is it how they speak? Their age? Their height? Their looks? Not usually..it's what's in between their ears... it's how they think. It's the ATTITUDE they bring to the table. The ATTITUDE that says failure is not an option. That "I won't settle for "I'll Try".... but only: "I'll DO."
When you hit a wall (and you will)... find a way over that wall, around that wall or right through that wall... Do whatever it takes to get past that wall.
Be resourceful, resilient, resolute.
Monitor your self talk. Watch what you focus on. Take care what you say to yourself. Ruthlessly examine your daily routine, and the action you take and streamline your approach so that when you're "doing business" you're doing it with maximum effectiveness and unto the Lord.

Do what others are unwilling to do, so you can achieve what others never will.
And never, ever underestimate the power of THOUGHTS ... because what you think will make you... or break you. Control your thoughts. If you don't, you can be quite certain "they" will control "you".
Fight the fight... and fight hard. It's worth it. Trust me.

I want to begin to wrap up with this as I know there are some folks on the line this morning facing major challenges and persecution.

What happens when your faith is on trial? When you are facing challenges and you are right in the middle of trouble and persecution? It’s great to be people of faith. We all know that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word, but it is not saying that our faith is never going to be put to test. The Bible says this is the victory that overcomes the world even your faith. Just because the trial or persecution comes, doesn’t mean it is going o rob you of your victory. We need to know how to respond when things are not seemingly going our way.

Your faith is going to be tried and will be in the middle of persecution and you will come out of it with victory. We cannot give up, cave in and quit. Faith needs to be firm in distress, afflictions, or whatever comes your way. You need to make sure you have faith before the trouble comes. What have you identified from the Word of God—this book of promises to anchor yourself when that tribulation comes or you are facing trouble. It starts by getting into the Word and looking specifically for those scriptures for what you are facing. Identify the promises from the Word.

Faith needs to be firm in the midst. Outlast it.

To suffer for a Christian means to resist. None of us have to be nailed to a cross. Jesus’ suffering was to obtain the victory. He truly suffered for us. Our part is to take the victory that He has obtained, and we are to maintain. He obtained and we are to maintain. Our job is to resist anything that is trying to rob us from that victory. We need to get in God’s Word and our suffering is resisting. Where it states that By His stripes, we are healed….We are already “the healed” protecting our healing from sickness and disease. We are already “the prosperous” protecting our prosperity from anything not sound. Find the victory you already have, and our job is to resist and maintain our stance in that victory. I’m already blessed, victorious, already healed, already delivered and already prosperous and the enemy will do all he can to take that victory away from us. Stand therefore, stand there for until you get what you are standing there for. Take the time clock off God. This is what the Word says, this is what I believe, and I will not be moved.

God is faithful. We stay with the Word regardless of what report or fact comes against us. We walk by faith and not by sight. It may be a fact that you are struggling financially, but there is a difference between fact and truth. He didn’t say that the fact is going to set you free, but He said the truth will set you free. The truth will set you free from the fact. There may be a fact that you have cancer, but the truth says, that by His stripes you are healed. And if you stand on that truth, the truth can make you free from that negative fact. I hope you get this. This was revelation for me. We live by faith. We live by truth. We call those things that be not as though they were.

I have a question for everyone. Do you believe in miracles? Do you truly believe in miracles? If you are a Christian, you HAVE TO believe in miracles. Before you think what I just said is controversial (something in our nature—probably pride resists words like “have to” or “must” , or if you don’t agree with that, well the virgin birth was a miracle; the resurrection was a miracle. Case closed.

So, what can stand in our way of our healing and victory in all areas of our lives?

1) Unbelief, doubt—we have done several trainings on this subject
2) Unforgiveness—if you don’t forgive, you will be in prison. This will stand in the way of so much
3) Judgment—judging others. We need to love and pray for those who attack us. Not bad people, just being used to do bad things. This can go the other way too when you see wealthy people. We judge every day. Never judge a man’s harvest until you know his seed. Faith worketh by Love. If you are judging, you are not walking in love.
4) Strife—is there strife in your home. No peace. No power.
5) Pride

We are going to expand on Pride as I was blessed to hear Kevin Weaver, one of our mentors at our last conference, share some of these key points this past Saturday night during his Call to Battle session.

Recognizing pride—this is an area that I have dealt with over the years and I have yet to meet an entrepreneur who has not had challenges along the way, when it comes to pride.

Pride whines
Pride gets embarrassed
Pride gets hurt and offended a lot
Pride assumes things
Pride says I’m different

How do we overcome pride?

Remember that God detests it
Attack it when you see it in you—expose it
Don’t take yourself so seriously
Worship and praise Him
Fasting


In closing, we need to think battleship, not cruise ship. On a battleship, every person has a critical role on the ship. God needs all of us to work together and we are not lone rangers. Too many entrepreneurs operate as such, really limiting the impact their businesses and lives can have for the kingdom. We need each other. Every joint supplieth. The key is found in two words, unity and accord. Unity means to be united as one with a single spirit, purpose, interest, or sentiment. The definition implies that individuals are bound together in oneness of heart. Accord has a similar definition. It means to be in harmony, with no one dissenting or disagreeing. If you have studied Bible history, you will know that unity (or accord) is the theme of the book of Acts. The word accord is used 11 times in Acts—a book that details the tremendous things that occurred during and after Pentecost.

When we in the Body of Christ and those in marketplace ministry begin to unite ourselves in the unity and power of God’s Word and the Name of Jesus, we’re going to see some supernatural things. I believe we are going to see unity in the Body of Christ that we have not seen before, and the power of God is going to be demonstrated as never before. Let us purpose in our hearts to lay aside all differences and walk in greater glory, amen.

Thank you Jack for these powerful teachings and words of wisdom and for your ability to share the living Word with us.

God Bless!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Take Your Blinders Off !!!

Blinders can be devastating in our lives and if we want to do what God has planned for us, we must take them off and be willing to do our part. Blinders limit our ability to be available to see miracles, wonders and blessings from God because we get comfortable and stuck in our own little ruts. For just a couple minutes, take your blinders off and see if you might just be blessed by what I have to say here.
From the outside looking in, most people's mindsets are loaded with worldly thinking. If you could see through my eyes what I see, you wouldn't dare let an opportunity slip by that is calling you.  When you internalize the Biblical truths shared through Men and Women of God, you quickly understand how people's lives are changed and how their future decisions are influenced.  Transform your current mindset into Godly thinking. I like to describe it as an amplified Bible study.  The millionaire men and women of God mentors brought to us and their words of wisdom simply can not be found in any school or library.  They are words from people after God's heart. With God on our side, who could possibly be against us. All things are possible through Christ which strengthens us.

God changes lives...let Him.

God Bless.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

New Again - Through the Blood of Jesus!

What an amazing video.  Watch and give thought to it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQ7oAhYNEhg

So many miracles and lives that He changes still to this day and this world repays Him how? Yet with all the pain, The Father still waits for you.

Watching this video inspired me to tell you how thankful I am.  It took a simple invitation to inspire a man to have the desire to want to know God more.  What happened since has turned into a renewed passion to know Him more and build an intimate relationship with Christ.

If you've been searching for answers, you are here on purpose. I don't know exactly why but God loves you and wants you to get to know Him. The closer you get to Him, the closer He gets to you. Pray and ask God for discernment where He is calling you to be.

God Bless!

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Holy Spirit Will Give You the Words

Jesus when talking to a few of the disciples told them that "Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit." Mark 13:11 NIV Just as He told them the Holy Spirit would give them the words to say, so will He give you the words to say when needed.

I attended a weekly Thank God It's Monday.  Imagine calling in to a conference call to listen to a message to get your Monday started on the right foot by hearing the Word of God being shared with people calling in from all over.

Now, imagine that you are the one introduced to give the message for the day. Now...You didn't get the email sent last week to inform you so you could prepare for it? What do you do?

Friends, that is exactly what happened to my dear friend Janice this past Monday morning. Janice could have done like most would do and say "I didn't get your email and I'm not ready" Actually, you could hear the surprise in Janice's response and then she quickly collected her thoughts, accepted the challenge and just let the Holy Spirit provide the words? Janice was obviously not prepared in the physical, however, she accepted the call and gave one of the most powerful messages I've heard. Why? Because the Holy Spirit came upon her and she allowed the Word of God to flow through her. Friends, if you are put on the spot like this, will you be ready to speak? What would you do? Would you accept the call so the Holy Spirit could work through you to reach out to others? For some, that sounds impossilbe but I'm here to tell you that if you trust God and you know Him, He will provide the words for you and make this happen just as He did with Janice.

The way we do this is to possess the Word of God within us. If Christ is the center of our lives, we will deliver His message. You can memorize a lot of scriptures but you really need to internalize it to be able to deliver it to others. In fact, anytime you speak, if what you have to say doesn't allign with the Word of God, it's not worth the time or effort. Knowing the Word of God happens by spending time in it and studying it. Then you will possess it and when you possess it you can deliver it.

We live in a world controlled by the devil and he is the master disguiser. So, are you able to discern from what is the truth? Who are you listening to? Can you confirm that it aligns with the Word of God? It's not the preachers job to have all the answers for you or to save you or raise your family or to build your relationship with God. The pastors job is to equip you by guiding you in the Word of God so that you can do those things yourself and take ownership of what is your responsibility. It's our own responsibility to build our relationship with Christ, not the pastors. There is a dual part in that commission. We have a part to do and God has a part to do and God expects you to do your part...He's not going to do your part.

We all have room to grow but what are you doing to grow personally? You may take hours upon hours to record songs, watch movies, spend useless time online and watch all the media sitcoms the world offers but how much time do you spend in the Word of God, listening to Christian music and programs. The things that are worthy, the things that matter and never die that live forever. The important things that draw us nearer to Him.

God raises up unique individuals with different talents and enables us to be transformed in a very unique way to do the work He has prepared for us to do.  God equips us in the Word and how to use it in life and in business. You see, business is part of your life too so why do people try to separate the two. We focus on putting God in our business where this world tries so hard to keep Him out. We have to be equiped with what the Word of God has to say to guide us so that we are a walking demonstration of Him. We all have to pick up the pace and Get up and walk and stop crawling and hiding in the pew. You have nothing to worry about. His Word tells us that when we are brought before rulers, the holy spirit give us what to say. The Lord will give you the words. If the cats got your tongue…it's the devil that's got your tongue and you need to speak out and get rid of the devil.

We have a great blessing to get into peoples hands. Yes, it costs something and if it has value it often costs. It also costs you when you don't make the time to get to know God too. Are you willing to pay for learning, especially when it's learning to be more like Christ?  Could it get any better?  God is a God of abundance and will bless you through your obedience to Him.

God Bless!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

God's Economy

Malachi 3:7-18
Luke 16:9Haggai 2:8
In the world’s economy, “more” is the thing that men chase only to find that “more” is never enough. In the world’s economy, conditions like recessions and depressions in the marketplace loom large in the minds of men. Tales of woe and hardship frighten the masses and cause them to tighten their grasp on inanimate coins from which they are destined to be separated anyway.
In the world’s economy, people fear money. They incessantly think about it and worry over it day in and day out. They secretly wish money didn’t exist, yet their lives revolve around it, while investing the bulk of their time and energy toward its acquisition.

In the world’s economy men worship and are controlled by a non-existent god called mammon. This man-made god of deceit seduces individuals and entire countries with the promise of tinsel and glitter – mere objects that never provide meaning, contentment, or true pleasure whatsoever.
The world’s economy is defined in terms of scarcity. The concept of scarcity is focused on to the extent that it becomes a mindset and way of life. Since money and things are thought of as scarce, competition to get “my share” drives individuals and populations to compete for the “little” that is available. Soon, people become bound to the rules of scarcity and take up permanent residence in the town of “Scared City.”

In the world’s economy, human life is cheapened and even disregarded in favor of “our” comfort and convenience. Children by the millions are left alone without food or shelter, and that’s somehow OK as long as “our” stomachs are fed, and the sheets are warm and clean on “our” beds. “Ours” is so paramount that a baby can and does die of hunger every few seconds while we turn away in order to disattach ourselves from the horror to not feel guilty or nauseous.
The world’s economy is measured and reported on 24/7. Entire media networks focus on the world’s money and its condition. The world’s economy is watched like a hawk, while men focus their entire lives on understanding it, predicting what it will do, and conquering it. Those who seemingly have conquered it, gathering more for themselves than the masses, are venerated as pop icons, more famous than rock stars. We make lists of these people and value their rankings as if their lives were more valuable than ours.

When the world’s economy dips, the masses rise up and blame the President, the political party in power, and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve for their ineptness and stupidity. Likewise, when a household’s economy dips, blame and accusation flare against a spouse for his or her ineptness, stupidity, and lack of concern. The very subject of money becomes a source of contention, eliciting disgust and frustration.

Time out, please…

Can we please stop this manic carousel of confusion and aggravation? It’s time we understand and enter into a different economy - God’s economy. His economy is completely removed from the world’s economy, and doesn’t carry with it the angst and hysteria.

A few simple words reveal a greater economy - a powerful revelation for each of us to comprehend. “The silver and the gold is mine”, declares the Lord Almighty.” Haggai 2:8 God created the money. He created the things that money buys. Everything is His, and in God’s economy all of our needs are fully provided. They ‘have been’ provided and they ‘will be’ provided. He has given us everything that we need, not only for our provision, but also for the provision of the homeless, the orphans, and the widows. He gives us the choice – a test, as to whether we will “hoard” what He has so generously given us; or whether we will we transfer it to the ones who can’t provide for themselves.

The money to feed every soul on this planet has already been given to believers. It is in our pockets at this very moment. The question is whether we’re willing to turn loose of what we’ve been given to feed and care for those who are depending on us.

God’s economy is not scarce, so you can renounce your citizenship of Scared City if you’ve been living there. No, His economy is one of infinite abundance, where there is more than enough for everybody. His economy is prosperous, growing, infinite, and never subject to failure. It is not selfish, but rather expansive and inclusive of all of His children. If you want to find “more”, you’ll find it in God’s economy, and you will be amazed to find that it is always more than enough.

God says, and I paraphrase from scripture after scripture, “you are placing your focus on a wrong economy – the world’s; and the wrong person - yourself. You do not understand Who is important and Who is to be feared. Mammon will never treat you with respect and will always leave you empty. You can never trust in mammon – it is a trap and it will always betray you. No, I am the only One to be feared and respected. “I Am” your very great reward. Come to Me. Have courage and do not be afraid. Do not worry, but respect and trust in Me - and I, and I alone will take care of all your needs and even give you the desires of your heart.”
In God’s economy, relationships are infinitely more important than money and things.

Relationships are our reward, and they are much more fulfilling and longer lasting than money or things. Wealth is a mere tool. Jesus told His disciples, “…use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” Luke 16:9 Jesus doesn’t say, “if” it will be gone, He says, “when it is gone”.
In God’s economy – our wealth is stable. Our wealth is infinite. God is our wealth. He is our faithful provider. Our relationships, soul to soul with others, constitute tremendous, gratifying wealth, as well. Our wealth is here consistently all the time because God is here all the time – with you and me, and in you and me. Indeed, “the kingdom of God is within you”! Luke 17:21b. How could we want more? There is no need to do so.

In God’s economy there is no need for the blame game. People are not to be blamed. They are not to be disparaged. Quite the opposite – they are to be loved and uplifted. They are to be built up and supported in every way, not cursed, slandered, feared, or despised.
In God’s economy, there is no need to worry about circumstances. There is no need to worry about the future. Jesus admonishes Martha in Luke 10:41, “Martha, Martha..., you are worried about so many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.” Mary’s choice was to not be distracted with preparations, agendas, outcomes, etc., but to simply be with Jesus. She chose the best – the relationship with Jesus rather than a schedule or thing.

In God’s economy, we “return” to Him, and He will “return” to us. I’ve always thought of that word “return” as talking about giving our hearts to Him, while following His decrees, and that is certainly true. But God, through the prophet Malachi is very specifically talking about money and possessions when He uses the term “return”. I believe He is very clearly talking about the monetary meaning of “return” as much as He is our heart’s return. If we don’t purposely give or “return” our money (our “returns”) to Him, we are in essence robbing God. Notice in the following scripture who is to return first – we are.

“Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.
“But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’”
Will a man rob God? Yet you rob Me.”
“But you ask, ‘How do we rob You?’”

“In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing Me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. ‘Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.’” Malachi 3:7b-12

Let us be mindful of honoring and entering into God’s economy. Let us live under His rules and sovereignty, and not our man-made, up and down, worldly economy. Let us “return” to him in our hearts, and with our tithes and offerings. His economy is the right economy. His economy blesses - the world’s economy stresses. It curses. It frustrates and leads to nothingness. God’s economy is strong, faithful and not subject to the sneeze of the Chairman of some man-made board.

God’s economy was found long ago in the Garden of Eden, where man could find and have any and all he ever needed – abundant, delightful, free gifts from God. It will be found in the City of Zion, where the streets are paved with gold and where we sit at the feet of King Jesus surrounded by His dazzling white brilliance in the company of fellow believers. It is found today in our love for Him and in the hearts of one another - a prosperity afforded us beyond compare and measure.

In God’s economy, you can smirk at the recession and understand that opportunity always abounds regardless of circumstances, measurements, or the falling or rising valuations of the Euro or US dollar. True wealth lies in our hearts and in our relationships with our fellow man, our families, and with God Himself. In God’s economy, we are blessed beyond measure and that includes our needs and our finances.

Does all of this mean we shouldn’t go about the task of making money? Not at all. We should make money and we should be proficient at doing so. But it’s not all about the money like the world would have us believe. It simply means that we can get off the manic, agitating carousel of the world’s economy thinking our well-being revolves around the movement of markets, money and the creation of wealth. We can get our self-centered eyes off of the wrong person (our self) and focus on Jesus and our relationship with Him. We can loosen the death grip we have on our so-called ‘wealth’ and use our possessions to help those who are truly in need and rely on our awareness and compassion for their sustenance.

We must be ever mindful that the silver and gold are all His. His economy is extremely generous and in spite of what our checkbooks or savings account ledgers currently report, we have been blessed beyond measure.

Many talk of recession. Will you be fine? No, you will be more than fine. You will be, and already are unimaginably prosperous. Don’t be deceived by the world’s economy of confusion and chance when evaluating your worth and your measure of success. Enter into God’s economy and have total confidence in Him. Know that you live in abundance already and, in His economy, you have infinite value. You live in the very place where your future is perfectly assured – in God’s kingdom, God’s economy.

God Bless!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Test

Initially, the book of Job is one of the most difficult books to understand; but with time and study it becomes one of the most powerfully instructive books about life and God’s role in our life in all of God’s word. Widely considered to be the oldest book in the Bible (1st book to be written), Job’s story challenges our sensibilities and enables us to come closer to grasping our relationship with God and Who God really is.

You know the story. Satan asks for God’s permission to all but destroy Job, and God allows his misguided angel of destruction to move forward with that request. About the only limitation God sets is that satan doesn’t kill Job. So, satan Job to lose all of his possessions and wealth, and causes his precious sons and daughters to be killed. Many of his servants are killed, and he even covers Job’s body with extremely painful and deforming boils that cause Job to be hideous and reprehensible in his own eyes and the eyes of others.

All that is left is Job’s wife, who doesn’t help matters. Verse 2:9, amidst many remarkable verses, jumps off the page. Her advice to her husband is to “curse God and die.” It is ironic that, faced with a multitude of bad events, many of us would choose to take that advise. It is exactly the choice that satan would have us to make – 1) curse God, and 2) give up and die – the ultimate form of quitting.

Had Job taken that advice, satan would have been the victor in the contest between God and himself. Job’s wife was, in all likelihood and understandably, a wreck at this point. However, her advice was not based on faith, but rather on lack of faith. Most People (MP’s) would offer similar advice – but not a person whose life choices and decisions are based on a strong, abiding faith in God.

Hey, their situation was unquestionably tough – disastrous – truly terrible. Job’s situation probably makes your current situation seem not so intense, even though you may be going through your own cataclysm at present. I don’t make light of your challenges. They may be very stressful for you. But we learn a tremendously valuable lesson about life and suffering in Job’s response to his wife’s statement, and certainly throughout the dialogue of the rest of the book.

Job’s answer to his wife’s advice was a bit better than mine would have been. I probably would not have been so gentle. To Job’s credit, his was certainly a Godly response: “He replied, ‘You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?’ In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.” Job 2:10

One of the lessons we learn from the book of Job is that God is part of the scene. He knows His servant Job was suffering. He knew Job was stressed and in deep pain emotionally and physically. God knows that life is not always flowers and meadows, peaches and cream. We all experience degrees of suffering and pain – it’s part of life and always will be. Eventually, we will face a physical death – every single one of us.

But God is present in both suffering and death. He is there for us to turn to in those trying times. Being with Him, turning to Him, trusting in Him, especially during the suffering is a gift to us beyond measure. He sees us through those times and offers the ultimate remedy even to dying – eternal life with Him.

If things were pleasant all the time, would we be turning to God, or would we really be trusting in our pleasantries, reveling in our zones of comfort? God wants us to trust in Him, and one way He knows whether or not we will make that choice is to see how we will act in times of adversity and difficulty. It is indeed a test.

Satan wants us to do exactly what Job’s wife suggested – “curse God and die.” Give up. Throw your hands up. Question whether God is really real. Be frustrated and angry. After all, how could God allow such bad things to happen if He really was in control? But thinking that life should never have challenges or difficulty is a shallow perspective on what life is all about. He didn’t create us to seek personal pleasures and indulge in monotonous, changeless comfort all the time.

God wants us to seek Him – to turn to Him. We seldom take the initiative to do so until things get shaky. Smooth waters put sailors to sleep. Strong winds cause all hands to be alert and on deck. God wants us to pay attention to Him and connect with His great love for us. He knows and we have to admit that we don’t seem to make reaching out to Him a priority until our comfort or safety is shaken. God doesn’t want us to make pleasure, comfort and/or safety our gods. He wants to be our God, and He has every right to expect that for the fact that He is God. And He doesn’t dictate or even orchestrate that decision – He wants it to be our choice. When we choose to trust Him, even in the bad times, then He wins the contest with satan—and so do we.

Don’t abandon faith in God when hardship comes. That is a shallow, circumstantial, ‘candle in the wind’ philosophy. No, troubled times are when we need Him most.

And don’t give up – don’t quit. Job’s wife’s advice is exactly what satan is betting and hoping you and I will do. If we do take that route, then the enemy – the adversary wins the contest, and we fail the test. The great stories of the Bible are about men and women who hang in there, many times for decade upon decade. Satan says, “give up”, “quit”, “why keep trying?” God says, be strong, courageous and persist – I will give you rest.

The other side of the coin is to abandon faith in God during smooth, prosperous times. We must not fall victim to that sin either. Prosperous times can be the very time we ignore Him the most. God definitely does not want to be ignored. I know for me, I prefer you love me all the time, but if not, the worst thing you could do is ignore me. I would rather have a knock-down, drag-out fight than be ignored – most of us are the same way.

“Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?” No, we should prevail in our love and trust for God throughout the duration, regardless of the hand we are dealt, good or bad. We all will definitely see our share of both good and bad times. And when we honor God in both times – all times, then God wins the contest with satan.

And we pass the test.

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