Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Bloated with Blessings? Try our NEW Prosperity Gospel.

Dear Friends,

Have you ever walked out of a dark theater or dimly-lit restaurant and been overwhelmed by the brilliance of the mid-day sun? The contrast brings a greater awareness of the darkness we’ve exited from and accentuates the light that we’ve entered into. Perhaps the one good thing we can say about Halloween is that when it’s over and we step out of the darkness and into the light, we become even more appreciative of this season of Thanksgiving. 

At Sam’s Club where there were shelves stacked high with black and gray decorations, today there are harvest baskets with the brilliant, golden colors of autumn. Where there used to be gravestones and skeletons symbolizing death, I see Nativity sets signifying life. Where I saw animatronic demons with flashing red eyes, I now see the baby Jesus lying in the manger. What a contrast these images present as we transition into the seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Lord God as we enter into this time of Thanksgiving, hear our prayers. “Thank you Lord for Your bountiful blessing of this Thanksgiving Feast, as we consume turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes smothered with gravy until we are bloated with Your blessings.”

“Thank you God for Your generous financial provision,” we pray as we quickly deposit that check safely in the bank where no one else can get their grubby hands on our money.

“Lord, thank You for all your good gifts,” we pray as we add another cute, red top to the twenty-five red tops we already have hanging in our closet.

“Thank you Lord for all You have blessed us with,” as we survey our packed garage or storage rooms filled with expensive things we will never use.

And in this season of giving thanks to God, He has been putting on my heart that I need to start practicing and preaching the Prosperity Gospel. No, no, no. Not that Prosperity Gospel! I’m talking about an entirely NEW Prosperity Gospel. 

The doctrine of the old Prosperity Gospel is not based on scripture and was developed by American Evangelists in the 1950's. That doctrine says that financial blessing is the will of God for all believers. You must confess that, believe in it, use positive thoughts and speech to affirm it and of course you must give a "$eed Faith" to the evangelist’s ministry to “activate” your “blessing” of material wealth.

But the NEW Prosperity Gospel (PG) is not based on self-centered desires; it’s based on God’s Word and the Lord’s desire that His kids share their things. The old PG takes “authority” over what I don’t have and commands that God give it to me; the NEW PG looks at what God has already given me to see how I can use my things to bless others.

The NEW PG is not based on my getting more, it’s based on my giving more. It’s not coveting what you don’t have and “Naming and Claiming it.” It’s naming what you do have and giving it away to someone who needs it more than you do. If that sounds shocking to you, go read Acts 2:41-47 paying special attention to verses 44-45.

The old Prosperity Gospel says that God wants you to live in affluence, wealth, opulence and luxury. But the Bible says: “Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! (And that, my friends is real prosperity!!) Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry. You should help the poor and remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (NLT Luke 12:33; Luke 3:11; Acts 20:35)

Have you become swept up in a swirling tsunami of things? Bloated with blessings that are rusting away and attracting moths? The NEW Prosperity Gospel says, “Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness..” (Isaiah 58:10) 

If you practiced the NEW Prosperity Gospel, what would your priorities look like? What would you be doing differently in your life? With your money? Are you willing to do that?

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