Trust and Blessing

Jeremiah 17: 7

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord.

In a conversation last week, the theme about trusting God kept coming up. Time and time again the circle seemed to close on our learning to trust the Lord. I believe with the people in the conversation last week that this is a critical lesson for us.

Today’s verse says plainly that blessing is in trusting the Lord. Why is that? How can God lead us in the paths of blessing if we do not trust Him enough to follow Him? He can’t. He can point out the way to go but if we do not believe that He is always leading us to the land of plenty then we will hesitate.

Abraham is known for his faith but it was really obedience that made him the Father of the nation of Israel. His father, Terah, received instruction to take his family and go to the land of Canaan but he got comfortable and stopped before accomplishing what God told Him to do. He saw a good land and did not trust God to take him to a better place. Eventually God spoke to Abram telling him to leave his family and go to the place where God would show him. Abram complied and now we know Abraham as the Father of the faith and you didn’t even know Terah’s name. It was through simple obedience that Abram learned that God was on his side. Through obedience, he learned he could always trust God. Through trust and obedience, he became the Father of faith.

Sometimes the big revelations are in the little messages. There is no great message in obedience other than just do it. However, obeying God gives us the evidence and belief that we really can trust Him. As we move over into trust, we find blessing. The blessing has already been provided by our Father. We have to learn to trust Him so that He can lead us to the blessing. Otherwise, we end up wandering around in the tall weeds like the Israelites wandered around in the desert.

How do you learn to be blessed? You learn to trust God daily for the small things. You must learn to hear God for yourself . If you cannot hear God speak to you, how can you trust Him? How can you do what He says if you can’t hear Him. This is ground zero. Practice hearing His voice. Contact this ministry if you need help hearing Him because this is where you must start. Then you can live the life of the blessed person, blessed coming in and blessed going out.

God Success

Proverb 10: 22

It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich, and He adds no sorrow to it.

This is the last day of our sojourn through the proverbs and I can think of no better proverb to end on than this one. I have been wanting to write on this for months anyway.

Do you know that you can do a lot more good in the world with riches than without? God knows it and so He intends you to be rich? Does that bother your sensibilities? I hope not because God has a plan and that plan involves making you rich. Hey, He said it! Besides, the verse tells us that you should not feel chagrin or shame. It is the blessing of the Lord which makes us rich and God adds no sorrow, misery, worry, shame, chagrin, or regret to it.

But wait . . . there’s more, much more. My good friend, Dr. Chuck Goldberg shared the real truth of this scripture with me and it brings great joy and perhaps even a little relief. Dr. Goldberg was on the Rabbinical path until he chose the study of medicine. That is a blessing to you and I because he was able to reveal to me what the original Hebrew of this text is and it is earth shaking. The Hebraic rendition of this verse is, “The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, and your toil adds nothing to it.” Wow! When we get back to the original language the truth and revelation leap out at us. For those of you are have been learning about and leaning into the integration, the intertwining of you and Jesus, this is at the heart of that critical lesson.

Our success is not about our gifts, talents, brilliance or even hard work. Success and riches are the by-product of a life intertwined with the Lord. As you have heard me say before, He does the heavy lifting. Our job is to pray and to listen to Him. That is also why Psalm 46: 10 is so important. It reads, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” Do you see the parallel with Proverb 10: 22? Success is not in our striving but in our “knowing” and experiencing Him as God.

I have been blessed to work with a number of business people lately and I have seen time and again that God keeps imparting this message in numerous ways. I have watched as He continues to lead you into business integration with Him as a partner. I celebrate you and hope that this “Word” from the Lord encourages you. It turns out that our “workaholic” patterns and mindsets are not of the Lord. In fact, in light of these scriptures they are not only unscriptural but might you argue they are sinful? They fly full in the face of these two scriptures. He has said, “Cease striving.”

God is the author of success and riches. I do not deny that we can attain some level of riches in our own strength but I am increasingly aware of the high cost of doing it ourselves. First, we never succeed to the level we would if we let God be the author of our success. Second, the cost usually is in sorrow.

Success with God and in God brings no downside, no sorrow. Success in the world is often marred by broken health, broken relationships and devastation in many areas of life. One’s spiritual life is guaranteed to suffer. This is the sorrow and suffering that God intends us to bypass. He has only good plans for us and everything with Him is good. There is no downside. Come on! That’s exciting. Can’t someone shout?! Let’s get a full revelation of this. God wants to bless you financially and in the offing is goodness and blessing in every single area of your life. That is God success. He wants you to have enough money to meet your needs, yes, but we’ve got to get past that. He wants you supporting ministries and sending ministers into all the world. He wants your star to shine so brightly and so high in the sky that it will draw people to it and thus, to Him. And, He wants to do the hard work. He does not want you to strive to achieve any of this but rather to lean on Him. He wants you to learn how to trust Him and work with Him as you never have before.

Be still, cease striving and let Yahweh show who is God. His action will bring rest and wealth and your toil, well, it adds nothing. It is all about Him and the power of His might. Yahoo! Find your way into that deep relationship with Him which issues from within your spirit. Look into your heart and find the creator of the universe. Then wrap your tendrils around Him and succeed.

Wisdom’s Fruit

Proverb 8: 32 – 36

Now therefore, O sons, listen to me, for blessed are they who keep my ways. Heed instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at my doorposts. For he who finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord, “but he who sins against me injures himself; all those who hate me love death.”

The speaker in this passage is wisdom. Wisdom was in the beginning with God and by her He founded the earth. “Long life is in her right hand; In her left hand are riches and honor” (Proverb 3: 16). In her are blessing and life, so if we want either those or riches, we should seek wisdom. She promised that those who diligently seek her will find her (Proverb 8: 17). This book of the proverbs is her book. She discloses herself here and the fruit of seeking her.

One of the first things I noticed from this excerpt from the eighth proverb is that we must heed instruction. That, I believe, creates a rather large stumbling block. To receive instruction requires humility and we are loathe to humble ourselves before anyone, even sometimes God. God gives wisdom to people on earth and they are meant to share it with others. However, one cannot share what others will not receive. However, wisdom teaches us that it is in our own self-interest to seek and receive the offerings of wisdom.

Another fruit of receiving wisdom is favor from the Lord. I like to think of God’s favor as the grease on the wheels of life. As you enjoy the Lord’s favor, life simply goes more smoothly. All sorts of things, both small and large, just seem to go your way. From getting a good parking place to securing a major contract for your business, God’s favor greases the way and we obtain that favor when we seek wisdom and heed her lessons.

Wisdom is calling out in the streets. She wants to be your ally. If you seek her, you will find her and one great way to seek her is in this book of wisdom , the Proverbs. Honor is with her; success is in her hand. She wants to bless you. Call upon her and receive, of the Lord, all His goodness.

Dams

Proverb 3: 9 – 10

Honor the Lord from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce, so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.

Sometimes humans are the dullest form of intelligent life. This verse couldn’t get much simpler, and yet there is tremendous resistance within the church to giving. God has told us how to have abundance. He wants us to experience overflow. Overflow is when you have more than enough. That is a typical God plan. He never stops at just filling a cup. He runs it over. So, if we are not experiencing overflow, what is damming the flow?

It turns out that we use our intelligence quotient to construct dams in our lives. We are blocking our own flow, in other words. The principle pointed to in today’s proverb is no different than what Jesus taught. It is the principle of sowing and reaping. God is a multiplier. He multiplies what we give Him and gives it back to us. In the old days they taught us that a hundred times zero was not a good yield. A hundred times one is better but if I understand God and His ways, I can use the kingdom principles He put in place thousands of years ago and receive whatever yield I need or want.

So how do we honor the Lord from our wealth and the first of our produce? One of the obstacles some people face is that they are happy to bless the Lord but they don’t like giving to person in order to accomplish that goal. Well, as I have said before, if you cannot trust your minister with your money then you probably want to look for another church home. Secondly, I find it hard to believe we can’t find one minister in all the world who we believe will use God’s money in the way He directs them. Third, pray over your giving. God will honor and multiply your gift without regard to what the person you give it to does with the money. Your part is just to give. When you let go of it, then the rest is up to God.

So, what I want to say to you is, “Don’t worry about it.” I want you in overflow. I want no financial stress on you whatsoever. Therefore, I encourage you to pour out your gifts to the Lord, even if they go through a person, so that God can overflow your cup. Tear down the dams in your life and let God bless you.

Above and Beyond

Ephesians 3: 20 – 21

Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever, Amen.

Yesterday we looked at 1st Corinthians 2: 9 which said that the mind of man has not even conceived of all the good things God has prepared for those who love Him. Many of you undoubtedly were put in remembrance of this verse from Ephesians.

This is a favorite verse for contemplating the plans that Yahweh has for us. Like Isaiah when he wrote about God’s goodness, Paul cannot seem to find words enough to express the great expanse of God’s favor and provision for us. Again, we see from this verse that no matter how big we may think, despite our most grandiose wishes, dreams and prayers, we have never thought big enough to comprehend all that God wants to do for us.

It is not enough that God does abundantly. His abundance exceeds any normal definition of abundance. Still, not enough. He wants to do for you that which is beyond anything you have ever thought or asked. Now then, how big have you dared to dream? God has a challenge for you. He effectively says to you, “No matter how much you expand your dreams, hopes and desire, I have something even greater for you!” I like to challenge God right back. “Okay Dad, I can dream this big, I say to Him.” Even then you think, “Wait, there is obviously something larger because no matter how big I think, He is thinking bigger.” That causes me to ponder my own boundaries. I purposefully push my boundaries out further; make my dreams bigger. It is quite an exercise.

It is interesting to note that the power that God is going to use to exceed my greatest expectations is already resident within me. Ponder that one for a little while. That power within you is alive and poised. Release your imagination and your belief in God’s words. Let’s see how far we can go.

Be a blessing & Be blessed

Proverb 10: 22

It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich , and He adds no sorrow to it.

I wrote yesterday that the fastest way to bless yourself is to pray for those in leadership positions above you. Frankly, you ought to be praying for those people in the organization who are below you too but that topic is for another day.

Do you know it is okay to be blessed? Even financially? Well, think about it. Who should be the most blessed, the kids of the King or the heathen unbelievers? There are a lot of components to being rich but it would be pure foolishness for me to suggest that financial wealth isn’t one of them. Dad wants you blessed in every area of your life. that, truly, is the only way you can be rich. You gotta have health, money, a great relationship with your heavenly father, and good friends. You are not, however, going to have these things if you don’t believe the father wants you to have them. If you think any part of the blessing is prohibited then you are going to choke off the flow. Believe it!

There is a reason Solomon wrote this verse. He conveyed two messages in it. First, wealth comes from the Father. Period. There are no qualifiers here. God is the Lord of the blessing. He is the one who sends the blessing to you. Secondly, Yahweh means for you to have the blessing and to be rich without guilt. He is the one who blesses you. What reason would you have to feel guilt over what the Father is doing?

Here is the point I want to get to though. As we saw in yesterday’s devotion, the way to be blessed is to bless. If you will hold up your leaders to the Lord, praying for them and refraining from speaking negatively, then good will come. Now, here is the rest of the secret. The remainder of the blessing comes on the same highway. Father God is the Lord of provision. No doubt about that. He has warehouses full of provision with your name on it. The easiest and the best way to requisition what He has already laid up for you is to give to someone else? Be a blessing and be blessed. That’s how this thing works. “That’s crazy!” you say. Yep! It is. The Kingdom of God does not work the way the world does and that actually makes sense too. The world has been perverted, which means it has been twisted where it just doesn’t work any longer the way it was designed to work. So, knowing that, you really wouldn’t expect the world and the Kingdom to work the same way. The secret is in knowing how the Kingdom works and applying those procedures. That is why I am telling you this, so that you can apply the Kingdom principles and get yourself blessed. Doesn’t that sound great?

Bottom line? If you want to be blessed, be a blessing. Kinda weird, very cool, but most importantly, it works.

The Way of Wisdom

Proverb 11: 11

By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is torn down.

So, yesterday was election day in the United States. Job done, right? No way. No matter what country you live in, registering your vote is the smallest part of the job. You can bless your city, country or province or you can curse it. Which shall it be?

Most of us do not understand the power we have as Christians to bring blessing everywhere we go. By our blessing, we are also blessed and this is no clearer than in the administration of government. Whether your candidate won or not, the real job begins now. We are taught to pray for our leaders, “First of all, I encourage you to make petitions, prayers, intercessions, and prayers of thanks for all people, for rulers, and for everyone who has authority over us. Pray for these people so that we can have a quiet and peaceful life always lived in a godly and reverent way. This is good and pleases God our Savior” (1 Timothy 2: 1 – 3). What this means is that we should be praying for every leader of every organization we are members of including our churches. Why? We make our lives a whole lot better if we do. In the book of Acts, “They had the disciples in each church choose spiritual leaders, and with prayer and fasting they entrusted the leaders to the Lord in whom they believed” (Acts 14: 23). These people entrusted their leaders to the Lord Jesus and we must do the same. This would be our spiritual leaders, of course, but also our bosses, presidents, governors, the president of the PTA, the leader of the Bible Study and every other person you can think of who is in a leadership position. It is the Lord Jesus who gives us all the grace to do whatever we are called to do. He is what makes a great leader. And if you are involved in choosing a leader for your organization or for a government office the best thing you can do is to pray. Some people pray for their candidate to win but after the election is over, that is when the prayer is most needed. No matter who wins, they are not qualified to lead. Only Jesus is fully qualified so we need all of our leaders following him. We need all of our leaders blessed and ministered to by him. I don’t care who the person is, it is almost immaterial. The key is for that person be able to hear the leading of the Holy Spirit.

We like to elect Christians to political office but a Christian who does not hear and listen to the voice of God will be just as lost in the fog as a non-Christian. We need people in all of our organizations who can, and will, hearken to the voice of the Lord. If an unsaved person was elected in your jurisdiction, then you will want to begin to pray for that person’s soul. I don’t mean that you should begin praying condemnation prayers over them. I mean you should pray compassion prayers for them. Pray for them like they were your only child. We all need a touch from Jesus. They are no different from us in that respect. Even if the individual is a person of God, don’t you think they will be tried and tested? Of course they will and they need our support every day. By your blessing of them, you will be blessed.

You can speak ill of your leaders or you can speak well of them and pray for them. If you constantly run down your boss, your political leaders and your church leaders, what do you suppose you will get? Remember, words are power containers. You are going to end up unhappy and oppressed. Then who are you going to blame? You are going to get what you sow. Therefore, pray for everyone who in anyway provides leadership in your life. Pray and curse not. This is the way of wisdom.

And while you are at it, pray for me too. It is only when God speaks through my fingertips and keyboard that I have anything valid to say and to send to you, so pray for me and I promise I will pray for you.