Tag: Help

The Encourager 

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There’s no doubt in my mind; everyone needs encouragement from time to time.

And guess what? We should all know how to BE encouragers.

Encouragement can keep someone in the game of life, even when they feel like giving up.

Encouragement can help settle a troubled heart, and bring quietness to one’s soul.

Encouragement can bring new found strength to someone totally wiped out by life’s crazy twists and turns. It can be like cool, refreshing water in the middle of one’s personal season of drought.

Everyone needs encouragement from time to time.

Whether you are a spiritual giant, an apostle to the world, or just someone trying to be faithful in the least of things, you will need encouragement at some point in your life.

And if you’ll need it, so will someone else.

So what’s it take to be an encourager?

Basically two things.

Your time and your willingness to care for others.

We can show our care in various ways; our words, prayers, notes, text messages, or just showing up to lend a helping hand.

What encourages you? Well, why not try that same thing on someone else?

The apostle Paul, though he was a mighty man of God, never outgrew his need for or his appreciation of encouragement.

Notice what he said about Onesiphorus.

“May the Lord show special kindness to Onesiphorus and all his family because he often visited and encouraged me. He was never ashamed of me because I was in chains. When he came to Rome, he searched everywhere until he found me.” (2 Timothy 1:16 – 1:17 NLT)

It’s probably no coincidence the name Onesiphorus means “profit-bearer”, or “bringing profit”.

An encourager “brings profit” to those who may be facing spiritual, emotional, or physical bankruptcy.

An encourager brings cool, refreshing water to a person dealing with the hot breath of the adversary.

And the word “encourage” means “to endue with courage”. The one encouraged becomes able to refocus and reestablish their purpose in Christ.

Notice also, Onesiphorus OFTEN visited and encouraged. He didn’t toss Paul a couple of “praying for you” tokens, but was faithful in ministering encouragement; faithfully refreshing Paul, the prisoner.

When he heard Paul was in prison, he searched everywhere UNTIL he found Paul. In other words, he didn’t look for ten minutes, give up and say, “Well, it must not be God’s will. After all, if I was supposed to encourage Paul I’d be able to find him.”

Don’t give up too soon, especially when you know someone needs what you have to give.

Onesiphorus had another way of encouraging Paul; a way that’s difficult to do at times.

He didn’t let the fact that Paul was in chains keep him from bringing encouragement.

Some people are almost impossible to be around. It’s hard to deal with all the things they’ve gotten themselves ensnared by or even the stuff life has thrown at them through no fault of their own.

Know what I mean?

They may be going through a divorce, or the loss of a loved one, or they are dealing with an addiction of sorts; they’re hard to be around because, frankly, we don’t know what to say or how to relate.

But they still need encouragement, which means they need someone like you and I to step up and give them our time, and our care.

It’s what Paul needed.

It’s what you and I need.

You and I may not have world-wide ministries or many possessions. But there’s something thing we do have-the resources in God to help make an eternal difference in someone else’s life.

As an Encourager.

For an in depth study of how to encourage others AND yourself, follow the link to my book “the Power of Encouragement”.
https://www.amazon.com/Power-Encouragement-Jan-Grace/dp/1629949140

They’re Coming Home

imageDo you ever get mad at people who:

Waste your time
Make you late
Dump on you
Ignore you
Embarrass you
Manipulate you
Steal from you
Are undependable
Lie about you
Leave you for someone your opposite

Well, do you? Do you get angry, or is yours a righteous indignation?

Would YOUR treatment of a brother or sister have anything to do with why they left home?

How do you feel when a close friend or family member treats you like any one of those things listed? Do you lose your cool? Do you give them a piece of your mind, or the whole thing?

Do you offend easily?

How long do you hold a grudge? How many grudges can you hang on to? Seventy times seven?

Do the “prodigals” (your classification) you know ever have a chance of reconnecting with you and your work? If so, what test do you have them take to show you they’ve truly repented?

Can YOU pass your own test?

Do you love people because they do exactly what you expect, or do you tolerate others giving and doing less than what you expect from yourself?

When someone turns their back on you and your beliefs, do you wait for them to return? How long do you keep their room like they left it?

Do you EXPECT them to come back home? Why would they want to?

Maybe you are hoping Father will let YOU have what your brother or sister left behind.

I am SO glad Jesus told us how the Father God is. He’s forever watching, waiting, and interceding for each person who steps away from the kingdom. He EVER LIVES to make intercession for us all; whether we’re a prodigal or the perfect saint.

The Lord would have us:
Watch with Him for the returning prodigals

Greet those returning from their self-imposed exile as if their slate is clean

Help keep the roadsigns pointing back to home in plain view. Make sure no weeds are allowed to grow and block the view of the sign.

Keep your heart filled with everything necessary to aid a weary traveler.

Don’t expect perfection from the returning prodigal. It’s not a prerequisite for forgiveness.

Keep your eyes on your Father’s eyes. That way you’ll be able to tell when someone’s getting close.

Practice love. Practice makes perfect. Perfect love casts out fear.
Fear yields to God’s faithfulness.

The Love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit helps bridge the gap between Father and the wayward son or daughter.

Don’t let the Angels in Heaven praise God more than you do.

And make sure you keep the car gassed up in case Father God sends you on a journey; the journey of reconciliation.

Remember, Father is stirring up and shaking everything shakeable. This includes those deemed “prodigal”. Keep your focus, your faith, and your friendly, faith inspiring demeanor. You’ll be used by the Ruler of the Universe to help move a brother or sister back home.

And, just maybe, there may be something you need to do or say before anyone would ever consider coming back home.

Amen.

I believe the Lord spoke this to my heart:

“As the Lord worked many signs and wonders in Egypt before they released their captives, so shall the Lord dominate the prodigal’s captor; the one who enticed and enslaved your brothers and sisters from the far country.

“And as the Lord caused the return of the remnant from Babylon during Ezra and Nehemiah’s day, so shall the kingdom receive a great multitude returning from land of wasteful living.

“They shall return. Watch for them. Be part of the restoration process.

“The rewards shall be great.”

Ask For Help

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People are kind of funny, don’t you think?

Maybe odd would be a better word.

We can appear so strong, so independent, so very confident.

“Excuse me, sir. Would you like some assistance?”

“No thanks, I’ve got everything under control.”

Inside we’re falling apart. Yet we’d rather lie and wear our plastered smile, than have anyone think we’re weak and not sure what to do.

Since when is it a sin to ask for help?

Maybe odd isn’t the correct word, either. How about a phrase no one likes to use?

Mentally disturbed.

Mentally ill.

I’m not a trained psychiatrist or psychologist, and I’ve never played one in a school play. But I can tell when something isn’t right.

And it isn’t right to need help, but refuse it because you don’t want to look weak or out of control.

Especially if you’re out of control.

If your arm is bleeding, wouldn’t you let someone give you a bandage?

Mental illness isn’t something people like to discuss, except in a whispered tone. But what’s the difference between a sprained ankle or a strained mind? Not much.

I really believe the body of Christ has dropped the ball on this subject. “Don’t think about it or talk about it; it will go away.” But it doesn’t go away. It gets worse.

Like everything else, it’s a lot easier to fix something if you first know what’s wrong.

I’ve had issues in the past. Moments when I was scared of what I was thinking, but too scared and embarrassed to ask for help. What would people think? Would people want nothing to do with me if they knew of my struggles; my mental anguish?

The Lord has helped me in a couple different ways, AFTER I acknowledged my need for help. First, when I let someone know what I was going through it became easier to talk about. Second, as I began to share with a trusted, and competent counselor, the Lord started revealing to me His peace and stability. I began to get answers.

I began to heal.

People are odd. And they will probably always be that way. But they, we, don’t have to be overrun by mental illness, stress, or anything like it.

There is help. Ask for it.

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 NKJV)

“He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me.” (Psalm 18:19 NKJV)

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed…” (Luke 4:18 NKJV)

Whether you go to a doctor, a counselor, or a prayer partner; healing comes from God.

Just quit trying to fix everything on your own.

You aren’t that strong. No one is.

Subtle Suicide Suggestions

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Depression. Have you ever felt depressed? Of course, a lot of people are thinking about it since the news of Robin Williams.

Many people have sad moments in their lives, but that’s not the same thing as depression.

I know. I’ve felt depression’s cold, steely fingers around my throat. And yes, as a Christian.

I know what it’s like to have thoughts of suicide come at me from out of nowhere, walk right into my mind and unpack. In no time, the thoughts began to take over my mind and I found myself planning the time I’d leave.

No, I wasn’t sad. I didn’t cry every night. Things weren’t going bad. I had a great wife, son and daughter in law. I pastored a church and worked a full time job, which wasn’t easy, but I didn’t consider it a problem.

But a problem was growing.

I hadn’t told a soul about my struggle. I had even started to believe everyone around me would be better off if I just checked out.

I was losing my mind.

Praying didn’t seem to break the mental torture I was experiencing. Studying and preaching the word of God didn’t diminish the damning thoughts in the least. I was headed for destruction.

What a precarious position I was in. I felt like a stranger to myself. I knew I needed help, but I felt I couldn’t speak a word of it to anyone. What would they think of me?

One day, I had a doctor’s appointment. Just a normal physical; a checkup. Everything was fine, at least that was my answer I had planned on giving the doctor.

However, as the doctor was finishing her poking and prodding, listening to my heart and lungs, in a routine manner she asked me, “So, how are you feeling?”

The dam inside broke. All my pent up emotions that had been holding me captive burst out of me, and into the examination room. She looked at me as if she were the Angel of the Lord, who had arrived to deliver me. At least that’s how I remember it.

I told her of my thoughts, and plans, and all I’d been going through mentally. Then she asked one question that broke the hold on my mind.

“Does your wife know? You must tell her.” And she promised SHE’D tell her if I didn’t.

Was it easy? No. Was she thrilled to hear of my struggles? Of course not.

But it was no longer my little secret. It was out in the open where I could receive some help.

Help from people who loved me.

God used that moment in the doctor’s office to jump into my struggles and point me to freedom and wholeness. My wife joined in, along with a dear counselor friend. God used them to open up my life to a new understanding of my strengths and weaknesses; especially my weaknesses. I learned it’s okay; it’s natural to have limitations and weaknesses. It’s acceptable. I’m not a freak if I’m not an emotional, and yes, even a spiritual superman.

My life opened up to healing, as I opened my mouth and asked for help. The presence of God became more than a doctrine as I asked for help.

Yes, it was risky; and the doctor could have ignored the little voice inside her prompting the question, “So, how are you feeling?”

If you’re feeling confused, emotionally spent, worried sick about what’s happening in your mind; strange thoughts of suicide are feeling like they belong, then call a friend, talk to your doctor, or spouse, family member. Someone.

You need not walk alone.

You dare NOT walk alone.

Longtime Friends

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Have you ever considered the value of friendship? I’m not referring to Facebook friends, or people who are merely an acquaintance.

No, I’m talking about people who will walk with you through thick and thin, good times and bad times, whether you have a lot or little.

Friends.

My wife and I are so blessed. We have friends we’ve known for a long time; some for thirty and forty years. They’re scattered all over the country, with some even living on a different continent.

Florida, California, Washington, New York, just to name a few of the places our friends call home.

And, of course, we have great friends right here in central Iowa.

We were visiting some friends in the hospital the other day, and as we were walking back to our car I began to realize how special long time friends really are.

Why are they so special?

Because of all you’ve invested into each other’s lives.

Time, tears, and treasure. Maybe even a few trinkets along the way.

Laughter, love, and lessons learned. Last minute lunches just to catch up.

Phone calls, emails, post cards that say, “Wish you were here” (and you really mean it).

Prayers, problems, and even the deep pain of losing a loved one.

Friends grieve with you, rejoice with you, because friends love you.

Don’t ever take for granted, abuse or misuse, someone you know. Long time friends begin as casual acquaintances. Some never make it past being just someone you’ve met, but some do. Those who do may become someone whom God uses to invest much into your life, and you into theirs. And that’s beautiful.

One more thought while I’m at it. My wife and I have known each other for over forty two years. And besides being married, we’re also lovers, partners, and friends. Yes, friends. Longtime friends.

“There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.”
(Proverbs 18:24 NLT)

Hypocrisy

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Does the number 23 billion mean anything to you? How about the number 487 million?

The first number is the amount of money this nation gave to other nations last year, in the name of humanitarian aid.

The second number is the amount of tax dollars given to Planned Parenthood last year to fund abortions.

On one hand, our nation’s leaders appear to be so concerned for the humanitarian needs of other nations. They’re quick to promise money, billions of dollars, to help the victims of natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and tsunamis. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, just an observation. Though I do wonder how how we can afford it.

On the other hand, this great caring nation spends, every three years, many tax payer’s dollars to rip a million living babies from the “safety” of their mommy’s womb.

What’s wrong with this picture?

“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. The king’s favor is toward a wise servant, but his wrath is against him who causes shame.” (Proverbs 14:34-35 NKJV)

The king’s favor, or grace, is toward people whose wisdom comes from the Lord. People who seek to do the right thing, say the right thing, and live the way the righteous king would live, are recipients of God’s grace and favor much like Noah. And in Noah’s day, sin prevailed over righteousness so God had to destroy the earth. Civilization couldn’t be trusted to govern themselves any longer so God’s wrath was poured out.

“As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be…”

Society is quickly moving to that same place; they are losing sight of what is right and what is wrong. How can they know since they keep voting God out of their lives?

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” (Isaiah 5:20 ESV)

Hypocrisy is alive and well throughout our nation. Any moral compass we once had has lost its magnetic signal. No longer is it possible to lock in on “true north”. Society is continually adding its own version of “north” into the mix, making their humanistic desires seem logically and gratifyingly wonderful. “If it feels good, do it.”

And as long as people step farther and farther away from God’s way of doing things, our society will continue to dig its own grave. If righteousness isn’t important any longer, this nation is doomed. It will go the way of Sodom and Gomorrah, since it is so insistent on promoting that sort of “anything goes” lifestyle.

“Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day – just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.” (Jude 1:5-7 ESV)

Notice the phrase “likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued UNNATURAL desires…”

America’s obsession with humanitarian aid is a symptom of its humanistic philosophy. “Man can take care of everything. We can police every nation, send aid for every need, and bring peace and safety to our world. Who needs God?”

We want to stop the killing in Iraq, China, and other places around the world. Again, a great idea!

Yet we won’t protect the lives of over 333,000 babies a year. In fact, our tax dollars are used to fund their demise.

Our nation spends millions of dollars annually trying to protect a bat or some kind of bird, but won’t spend a single dime protecting the pre born.

Kind of makes you go “hmmm”, doesn’t it?

By the way, August 19, 2014 is World Humanitarian Day. World Humanitarian Day is a global celebration of people helping people.

Just in case you’re interested.

Do The Opposite

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Even though I may act as though I’m a well of information, I must say this: that absolutely and positively, beyond the shadow of a doubt…

I don’t know everything.

Just in case you were wondering.

But I have learned one or two things along the way. But any 60 year old is bound to have learned a few things just by simply walking the road of life. At least they should.

I want to share with you one thing. Just one thing. One thing I’ve learned from experience and from God’s word. One thing that, if you’ll learn, can put the devil beneath your feet and joyful praise in your heart.

One thing.

Here it is: when you are tempted in any way, shape or form, and you recognize the desire to do thus and so…

Do the opposite.

That’s right. Do the opposite.

Tempted to eat too much? Do the opposite.

Tempted to talk too loud? Do the opposite.

Evil people cursing you, threatening you? Do the opposite.

Tempted to gossip and speak ill of someone? Do the opposite.

Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12)

Do the opposite.

Tempted to ignore the poor, the widow, and the fatherless? Do the opposite.

Sexual desire, uncontrolled thoughts raging through your mind, pictures of pornographic images hinting and hollering at you to merely relax, yield, and fulfill the passion that is growing within…

Do the opposite. Pray for your spouse, your mom, your sister; unhitch yourself from the train of wanton desires by hitching up to the opposite.

Do good. Think good. Live good. Be good.

Anyone can give in to pressure. It’s not hard to do. But those who do end up feeling like some kind of five day old road kill. And all they have to show for their life is a flattened tail that twitches now and then.

The voice of everyone in the nation may be screaming at your face, trying to weaken your resolve to talk right, live right, be right. Just remember, the word “No” carries with it a limitless supply of authority and power; it can stand up to one or one million.

If you’ll do the opposite.

When pressure comes knocking at your door, all dressed to kill, do the opposite. Think the opposite. Speak the opposite. Believe the opposite.

Repent before you need to.

Joel Doesn’t Always Smile

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People who see me out and about, wearing my ministry face, shouting hallelujahs, may not believe there’s another side of me.

I’m not always full of pep. I don’t always have my pastor cloak draped over my shoulders. Actually, there are times I simply want to be left alone so I can brood my life away.

Sometimes I have a hard time with my circumstances. They seem to run me over when I least expect it.

And yes, there are times when I beat myself up with self-condemnation. It’s like I take the sword of the Lord, God’s word, and stab myself over and over until I run out of energy.

It’s not something I’d ever advise someone doing, yet I find myself doing it. Every so often.

Too often.

Like today, for example. My stomach started bothering me yesterday, cramping and acting all goofy. The same thing it’s done for a number of years. No doctor has really been able to help me, so I quit going. I just ride them out when they happen. Until today. The pain and duration was more than I could handle, so my wife drove me to the emergency room.

Four and a half hours later…medicine to help with the symptoms. And a bill due for several hundred dollars.

Why am I telling you all this? Because you need to understand that pastors, people in ministry, DO NOT live a perfect life! They can be attacked spiritually, physically, emotionally, financially, and socially…just out of the blue.

I’m sure you’ll never hear any of the big name televangelists tell of their woes on national television. However, you will receive mail asking for donations to help them pay for this or that ministry or problem.

Joel Osteen doesn’t flash that million dollar smile 24/7. TD Jakes will have days, or moments anyway, when he simply doesn’t know what to do. Kenneth Copeland can’t always be above only, and not beneath.

I’ll just bet they don’t always preach a perfect sermon. And if they don’t, they trash it. It won’t be put on the air.

No, I’m not blasting them. Great men of God, I’m sure. But they’re only men.

The men of God who’ve recently committed suicide were people well respected and admired in their cities and churches. Probably seen by all, wearing their church smiles, and ministry hallelujahs. But somewhere along the line the enemy got in and took control.

It’s not necessarily just one thing that shoves them over the edge. Many times it is a combination of events, and one proverbial last straw.

I cannot over stress the need for people like you and I to look after our pastor. We need to cover them, support them, and release them to do God’s bidding. It’s not only for their benefit but for ours as well.

Please check this book out for more ideas about how to help your pastor. “How To Get The Most Out Of Your Pastor.” Available @ amazon. Also, if you’ll notice the page on this blog titled “Kindle eBooks by J.Grace”, click on the page and it will open up with links to amazon.com.

Don’t let a flashy smile or an expensive suit fool you. Pastors need our help.

Now more than ever.

What Does Everything Mean To You?


I saw this commercial the other day. “What does ‘everything’ mean to you?”, asked Samuel L. Jackson for Capital One.

Now, for the record, I am NOT endorsing Capital One OR Samuel L. Jackson. But the commercial caught my ear.

I think sometimes we forget what the word “everything” really means.

We are told to not worry about anything, “but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6 ESV)

There’s the word, everything. Pray about everything, worry about nothing.

Here’s another word for us. “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV)

In everything. Can we agree with Mr. Jackson’s definition? Can we agree with God’s?

The word declares we can receive God’s bountifully supply in everything, so we can always be generous. 2 Corinthians 9:11

Oh, we agree with Mr. Jackson with that verse!

But what about these…?

Do everything without complaining and arguing… (Philippians 2:14 NLT)

…but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 NLT)

But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative – that is, the Holy Spirit – he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. (John 14:26 NLT)

Praise him with a clash of cymbals; praise him with loud clanging cymbals. Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord! Praise the Lord! (Psalm 150:5-6 NLT)

We’re instructed to: not complain or grumble about anything. Test everything and let go of evil. Look to the Spirit to teach us and remind us. About every thing!

And if you’re breathing, praise God!

You see, “everything” to God means every problem has an answer, every word of wisdom we need will be supplied, every stronghold of addiction will be broken, and every demon must flee when resisted in faith with the Name of Jesus..

Every knee must bow, every tongue confess, that Jesus is Lord.

Every prayer will be answered, every word spoken won’t return without accomplishing it’s intended purpose.

Every heart can believe, every voice of repentance is heard. Every angel dispatched to minister to those who are heirs of salvation.

Every truth will be revealed, every lie exposed, every mountain and hill brought low, and every crooked path straightened.

One other thought before I wrap this up.

For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. This includes you who were once far away from God. (Colossians 1:19-21 NLT)

…for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see – such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him. (Colossians 1:16 NLT)

God wasn’t willing for anyone, or anything (just in case you don’t want to identify with the human race), to be separated from him. So he did something about everything. In Christ.

Every person will have an opportunity to receive the savior; the one who died for everyone.

He created everything through Christ, and reclaimed and restored everything (and everyone) in Christ.

This is powerful stuff! Something we shouldn’t forget. Something even Mr. Jackson agrees with.

God’s definition of everything.

After all, “That’s what everything SHOULD mean.”

Breaking the Spirit of Poverty (Intro)

chainGod doesn’t have a nickle to His name, but He’s rich. He doesn’t own a Lexus or a Lamborghini, but He always rides in style. He wears no fancy Rolex, but He’s never late. He has never known poverty, and He doesn’t want you or I being chained to the spirit of poverty either. 

He is rich. He’s rich to all who call upon Him.

This post is the introduction to a little eBook I wrote a couple of weeks ago. If you are interested in receiving the whole book, free, please sign up to follow this blog via email. You’ll not only receive the book for free (PDF version at this time; I’m working on the Keynote version), you’ll also receive my posts (3-5 per week) and a weekly newsletter highlighting various ministry opportunities, challenges and, quite possibly, a chuckle or two. Thank you for your interest in Grace Books and Blogs, and A Seasoned Word.

Breaking The Spirit Of Poverty Contents

1. God’s Attitude
2. Characteristics of a Poverty Spirit
3. Characteristics of a Generous Spirit
4. Breaking Free
5. Living Above Your Income
6. Let’s wrap it up

Breaking the Spirit of Poverty
By Jan L. Grace
copyright 2014

God’s Attitude

Poverty, according to the dictionary, is the state of lacking sufficient money or material possessions. But according to biblical principles and examples, poverty is much more than just the lack of funds or possessions. It is a spirit, a force, that enslaves men and women. It becomes their mind set, the reason why they live the way they do.

God’s people may or may not have a lot of money. At times, they may be downright poor. But being poor and under the curse of the spirit of poverty are two completely separate things. NEVER does God want his people (or anyone, for that matter) living under the curse of poverty.

God’s attitude toward abundance and lack can be summarized in the following passage:

“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.“

Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness.” (2 Corinthians 9:6 – 9:10 NKJV)

Many people have the idea that God is very much against wealth and riches. If that were the case, why did he put so many resources in the earth? He has created every precious gem, every valuable mineral, every costly metal and fossil fuel. He has given mankind the knowledge to find and refine such commodities; and the knowledge to use them for the betterment of his people.

God is extremely wealthy! And yet, no one is more generous. He does not wring his hands, or shake his head, when he thinks about our needs. He is rich to all who call upon him (Romans 10:12). He is so rich; he never runs out of anything!

“God is able (and willing) to make all grace ABOUND toward you and I; so we’ll have the ability and the resources to have an abundance for EVERY GOOD WORK.”

“And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” (Deuteronomy 8:18 NKJV)

The power to get wealth includes the wisdom to use it, and not abuse it. The poverty spirit will abuse it, waste it, and blame God for his stinginess. But the heart free from the spirit of poverty will allow God full access to everything they have; everything they are. And that leads to one, very exciting life!

Characteristics of the Spirit of Poverty

“And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses. Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. “And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ “So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. ‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ’ “But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:15 – 12:21 NKJV)

Covetousness is an indication that the spirit of poverty is lurking close by. Notice the certain rich man’s focus. Himself. No one else. Not a wife, a child, a parent, a church, a beggar; no one else was even considered when he was contemplating what to do with all his good fortune. His chief concern was how he should store all he had gained. God called him a fool. And that was putting it mildly.

Here is a list of characteristics, indicators, of the spirit of poverty.

Lazy
“How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.” (Proverbs 6:9-11 NKJV)

People who have an “entitlement mentality” can fit into this category. I’m not referring to people who CAN’T get out of bed, or those who have had financial, social, or some other kind of trouble. This is about those who WON’T get up, get to work, or do something for someone else. Yet this spirit loves to scream, “I have my needs!” Too bad the prowler has stolen everything they ever had – including their dignity.

The lazy man says, “There is a lion outside! I shall be slain in the street.(Proverbs 22:13 NKJV)

Laziness declares – I can’t. It isn’t safe. I have to stay clear of that area UNTIL SOMEONE COMES AND GETS RID OF THE LION. Yep, that’s lazy; and sad.

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