Hope for the Divorcee “The Case Against Treating Divorcees as Second-Rate Citizens in the Church”


Hope For the Divorcee

This article is not a justification to take divorce lightly, nor is it an endorsement for divorce. The reality is that God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). The reality is that divorce is a failure. The reality is that divorce has devastating consequences, and the reality is that divorce is a sin; it is the breaking of a covenant. As I start developing my case against treating divorcees as second-rate citizens in the church, let me start by stating that misrepresenting God’s character and judgment is also a sin.  In Job 38, after many agonizing chapters of Job’s friends misjudging what Job was going through and why and, after using God to back up their theories, God himself start his response by asking, “…Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” Job 38:1-2 (NASB)

God’s counsel is darkened when his Word is not properly interpreted. In Acts 17:11 Paul speaks about a very special group of Jews, he said of them, “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” (NASB). I am afraid that those who are treating the divorcees in the church as second-rate citizens are sinning because they are darkening God’s judgment by not properly searching the Scriptures.

I am directly opposing the portion of the church that teaches that divorcees are disqualified from being recognize as ordain ministers. Some have modified their position by allowing those who had biblical divorces to still be ordained. By biblical divorce meaning those who divorced because of adultery. Even as I appreciate such modification, they are still rejecting the rest of the divorcees; they are still biblically in error. They are doing the same thing many cults do when they take one portion of Scripture out of the context of the entire Scripture and make doctrines out of it.

God himself established from the beginning that it is not good for the man to be alone (Genesis 2:18). Let me ask you this; after divorce, is it now good for the man to be alone? In First Corinthians 7:9 Paul tells us, “But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” (NASB). After divorce, does the man loses his sexual desires? Do we not burn in passion still after divorce? We all know that sexual desires do not go away just because we are divorce, so for those who continue to treat divorces as second-rate citizens, what you are saying is that it is now ok to burn in passion, right? Let me go a little deeper than this, if divorce is a sin, and we know it is, is there no forgiveness for such sin? Is the blood of Jesus not powerful enough when it comes down to divorce?

The Christian faith teaches us how messed up we are, how much we need God and how powerless we are without Jesus. The Christian faith teaches us that Jesus paid the price for our sins and that the reason he did so, is because we are unable to properly deal with our own sin; nobody is good, and nobody can perfectly follow the law. Of course, there is no forgiveness of sin without recognizing that we have indeed sinned. About that the Apostle John told us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (NASB) However, what these denominations that are disqualifying the divorcees as ordained minister are teaching us is that, God is able to cleanse us from all unrighteousness except divorce.

Please tell us what you think about this article. For speaking engagement call me at 907-888-0117. For more on this topic please read my book Hope for the Divorcee: Forgiven and Moving Forwardor visit us at https://www.facebook.com/hopeforthedivorcee/?ref=bookmarks

 

 

 

 

 

The Sounds, the Smells and the Images of Homelessness


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Images from Skid Row in Los Angeles California

     As I entered the Chapel at Los Angeles Mission, the speaker was already speaking. He was blaming the politicians for failed policies and for ignoring the issue. He was blaming the family and friends of homeless folks for ignoring them when they were hurting and, the list of those who he blamed, grew bigger. He was good and correct in partially explaining why the problem of homelessness in Los Angeles exist. However, The sound, the smell and the images of poverty in the streets of Downtown, Los Angeles are the same as everywhere; in some places more and in some places less.

“In 2017, the United States homeless population was estimated to include 553,742        people on any given night. This number includes adults and veterans living on the streets, as well as children and families living in shelters. Overall, homelessness in America has decreased by 13% from 2010 to 2017, but the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development believe a substantial amount of work still remains in order to eradicate the epidemic. From a nationwide standpoint, these 15 cities have the most homeless people in America.”[1]

10. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

9. Boston, Massachusetts

8. Las Vegas, Nevada

7. San Francisco, California

6. San Jose, California

5. District of Columbia

4. San Diego, California

3. Seattle, Washington

2. Los Angeles, California

1. New York City, New York

Other smaller cities with alarming homeless populations include:

5. Santa Rosa, California

4. Salinas, California

3. Huntington, New York

2. Santa Ana, California

1. Honolulu, Hawaii

     Maybe the speaker has a point in blaming the politicians; after all, all of these cities have something in common; they are all democrats and their states are historically democrat. These cities have been infected by liberalism. These liberal and progressive policies do not work against homelessness, but seems to be a magnet for it? They have a solid track record of failure.

     As representatives from over 40 Christian mission around the USA and Canada gathered for our Annual CityGate Conference,  we took that short walk from Los Angeles Mission to the Union Rescue Mission. As we walked through the famous Skid Row, we heard the profanity and the loud voices. You could feel the intimidation. There was trash everywhere and the smell of urine and human feces. I saw a man calmly turning his back, as we were passing by and, right on the sidewalk, he started urinating against a building. No shame and no concern. I saw people everywhere, massive amount of people; heavy traffic, people blowing their car horns; everybody in a hurry to go somewhere. I saw this woman yelling and accusing the white folks in our group of thinking that they were better than anybody; a cry for social justice… I guess!

 

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Images from Skid Row in Los Angeles, California

     I am sure everybody has their story; I am sure you can’t paint everybody with the same brush. I don’t want to be insensitive; but I heard another speaker stating that at the core of homelessness is people that can’t afford housing. Even as we must take a close look at these liberal agendas and, even as we could take a closer look at the cost of housing; at the core of homelessness there are bigger and deeper issues.

     At the core of homelessness there are many broken relationships, many broken bridges, many opportunities given, many opportunities wasted and, countless times using, manipulating and abusing those opportunities. At the core of homelessness there are demonic belief systems, and mindsets that lead to destruction. At the core of homelessness there is sin, transgressions, iniquities and curses. At the core of homelessness there are traumatic experiences, physical abuse, neglect, abandonment, tragedy and the lack of preparation for the unexpected crisis of life.

     I have seen poverty before; no greater poverty than what I saw in Mexico; but poverty here in the USA is different. Even at Skid Row folks do not go hungry; these missions are there for them, to feed them every single day. In Los Angeles and around this nation, it seems like the homeless population still have enough physical energy to engage in violence. My co-workers from Fairbanks, witnessed a man getting beaten up and strip of his clothing while people just watched casually, as if this is a normal thing to see.

     In conclusion, we may not have all of the facts of the why of homelessness, but I have no doubt in my heart that the solution is Christ. That’s where I agree with the Los Angeles and the Union Missions; they get it! They seem to understand that God MUST be at the center of this impossible and overwhelming task. May the Lord continue to bless them for their work and may the truth, love, compassion and power of Christ be manifested in all rescue missions around the world.

[1]https://www.cheatsheet.com/culture/states-cities/these-15-cities-have-the-most-homeless-people-in-america.html/

Mormonism vs Christianity: Is it the Same?


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It is so easy to state that all religions serve the same God and, that all religions are the same. It is easy to say that Allah is the God of the Bible and that the God of the Bible is Allah and, to include Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons as one more Christian denomination. I argue that to arrive to these conclusions is intellectually lazy and irresponsible. We must, at least, do a basic study on what the diverse religions believe.  Every religion has a belief system and, every religion has a book or books they follow. Today I will focus on comparing the Later Day Saint and the Christian beliefs.

   Let me start by saying that I respect every person and, as a Christian, I am called to love, even my enemies. In my life I have come in contact with a few Mormons, especially here in Fairbanks. I have to admit, I like them. I have not engaged in any spiritual discussion with neither one of them; but as people, I find them honorable, good folks and very helpful. At least that has been my personal experience with them. Because my personal experiences with Mormons have been so positive, I hesitated, for years, to write this article. There is a degree of fear in me to offend the Mormons I know personally. I have been invited to their homes to eat delicious barbecues with them and, they have been in my house as I shared my own barbecues with them. In many aspects, we share the same conservative values.

   It is easy to state that Mormonism and Christianity are the same. After all, Mormons are all about Jesus. Right? However, our doctrinal differences are as far as the east is from the west. There are many differences between our belief systems, I will just point out at a few that should be enough to make my point.

   Let me start by stating that Mormons claim that after the original apostles, the whole church was overcome by total apostasy. They believe Christianity, after the original apostles, lost her way. Furthermore, the Mormons believe that in 1830 they became the true church; they became the restored church.  Only they have the truth; the rest of us are simply victims of apostasy.

   No doubts that through Church History there has always been apostasy; nevertheless, the idea that the church was totally lost is totally unbiblical. No doubt that we are constantly in a battle to maintain the foundational truths in our faith; nevertheless, these attempts must always go back to the Prophets who wrote the Old testament and, to the writings of the original Apostles who wrote the New Testament. In Ephesians 2:19-22 the Bible tells us,

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.(NASB)

   We can’t talk about restoration of the church without going back to what was already established. The orthodoxy of our faith is already written. You can’t come up with new stuff, especially when that new stuff clearly and totally contradicts the core values of our faith. This is not a game or something that we should take lightly. The Apostle John tells us in Revelation 22:18-19,

I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book;19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.(NASB)

   The Mormons are guilty of adding to the Bible and, are also guilty of taking away the authority of Scripture. Mormons recognized four standard works as authoritative: 1) the Bible, as long as it is translated correctly according to the Mormon’s doctrine (Article of Faith 1:8), 2) The Book of Mormons. Joseph Smith declared that this book is “the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, then by any other book.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 194). 3) The Doctrine of the Covenants; this is “a recollection of modern revelations… regarding The Church of Jesus Christ as it has been restored in the last days. (GP, p. 54). And lastly, 4) The Pearl of the Great Price; this one claims to be “a clarification of doctrines and teachings that were lost from the Bible and gives added information concerning the creation of the earth.” (GP, p. 54) The adding of these books by the Mormons is a clear violation of Revelation 22:18-19. There are more outrageous believes in the Mormon Church that totally contradicts Christianity.Let’s take a look at some, there are many.

For us Christians God has always been God according to Psalm 90:2 “Before the mountains were bornOr You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” (NASB)

Mormons believe that God was once as we are now and that he became an exalted man. Joseph Smith directly states that he refutes the idea that God was God for all eternity (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345).

For us Christians Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary according to Isaiah 7:14.

Mormons believe that Jesus was born of a natural birth. (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 8, p. 115). Mormons believe that Christ was begotten by an immortal Father. (Mormon Doctrine by Bruce McConkie, p. 547).

For Christians Jesus is the eternal Son.

Mormons believe that Jesus is the spirit brother of Lucifer. Mormons believe that Jesus Christ was also created. (Gospel Through the Ages, p. 15)

For Christians salvation is the forgiveness of sin and deliverance of the sinner from damnation. It is a free gift received by God’s grace according to Ephesians 2:8).

Mormons believe in three destinations after death:

  1. Exaltation of Celestial Kingdomfor faithful Mormons ONLY where people become gods or angels. (D&C 132:20)
  2. Terrestrial Kingdomfor righteous non-Mormons; honorable men who were blinded by the craftiness of men. They will be receiving part of God’s glory, but not all. (D&C 76:75-76)
  3. Telestial Kingdomfor the wicket and the ungodly (This is not hell). These are liars, sorceress, adulterous, etc. They will suffer the wrath of God on this earth. (D&C 76:103-104, D7C 76:57-119 and 131:1-4)

For us Christians the church is the Body of Christ; these are Born Again believers.

As stated before, Mormons believe they are the only one true church. Joseph Smith claimed that Jesus told him to join none of the existing denominations, that they were all wrong and that they were all corrupt. (PGP: Joseph Smith – History 1:19-20)

   In conclusion, I respect every religion; I respect non-religious people also. In this country you have the right to believe whatever you want to believe. People even have the right to go to hell if that’s what they want. However, the purpose for this small article is to encourage folks to stop painting all religions with the same brush. There are many differences between the Mormon and the Christian Church. The Mormons are not Christians; they do not qualify as so. Their own doctrines clearly show that even as the church has always been attacked by heresy from within; the Mormons were not and, are not the answer for Christian faith reformation. Mormons do not follow the orthodoxy of Christianity; they claimed to be the ones bringing restoration; they claim that the church lost her way after the apostles. However, they did not go back to the teachings of the original apostles; they came up with a total different set of beliefs that are standing in direct contradiction to our faith.

Cuidado con la Arrogancia de los Hombres


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Le explique a este estudiante que, lo que nos hace parte de la Iglesia no es la denominación de la cual formemos parte; eso es un disparate. El formar parte de la Iglesia es un acto de misericordia de parte de Dios. Es el milagro más grande, eso es, el nacer de nuevo. Jesucristo nos dijo en Juan 3:3, “…De cierto, de cierto te digo, que el que no naciere de nuevo, no puede ver el reino de Dios.” (Reina Valera 1960)

La Iglesia de Jesucristo no tiene absolutamente nada que ver con edificios y casas. Si Dios te escogió para salvarte, provocando que te arrepintieras de tus pecados, creyeras en el evangelio y recibieras a Cristo como Salvados y como Señor… eres parte de la maravillosa familia de Cristo.

Hermanos, la Iglesia está bien definida en la Biblia. La Iglesia tiene su propio gobierno (Efesios 4:11). La Iglesia tiene también instrucciones especificas. Hechos 2:42 nos dice, “Y perseveraban en la doctrina de los apóstoles, en la comunión unos con otros, en el partimiento del pan y en las oraciones.” Todo comienza con perseverar en la doctrina de los apóstoles no en inventos de hombre.

Está claro que, 1) los miembros de la Iglesia son solo aquellos que han nacido de nuevo (Juan 3:3), 2) la Iglesia tiene su propio gobierno; existe orden (Efesios 4:11) y, 3) la Iglesia tiene instrucciones especificas comenzando con perseverancia en la doctrina de los apóstoles (La Palabra de Dios), perseverancia en la comunión los unos con los otros y perseverancia en las oraciones (Hechos 2:42). Estas son las instrucciones básicas de la Iglesia.

Existen también otras instrucciones que podemos ver claramente en las páginas de la Biblia. La iglesia es un gimnasio espiritual y un centro de capacitación en donde sus miembros se entrenan y capacitan para la obra del ministerio (Efesios 4:12). La Iglesia es también, una agencia de rescate; estamos llamados a ministrarle a los perdidos en lo que se conoce como la gran comisión (Mateo 28:16-20). La Iglesia tiene muchísimas más instrucciones que emanan de las instrucciones que ya he mencionado aquí.

Estas instrucciones no tienen nada en absoluto que ver con ninguna denominación o grupo. El problema es cuando ponemos estas denominaciones y grupos por encima de lo que ya está escrito.  Todo grupo que se autoproclaman ser los únicos que tienen la verdad, los únicos que son la Iglesia, son herejías y, todo grupo que minimiza la autoridad de la Palabra de Dios son herejías también. Hermanos, busquemos la verdad, confirmemos lo que creemos en las Escrituras y no nos dejemos engañar por la arrogancia de los hombres.

Activating our Consciences and Calling it Like It Is


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I find myself purposely avoiding talking about politics, especially with love ones. The reason for this is because politics is dividing people like never before. We have lost the ability to disagree without demonizing the other side. We have lost the ability to reason. I am a fan of the truth over any political party or political figure.  The truth is the truth no matter who is saying it and, a lie is a lie no matter who is telling it. Democrats automatically attack everything our president says and does, just because he is Donald Trump. Republicans rejected everything Obama said and did just because he was a democrat. In the process, we are losing our objectivity.

I told a friend today that I did not want to talk about Trump, Obama, Hillary, Pelosi and the new socialist wing of the Democratic Party. People are getting upset with each other, loosing friendships and not talking to family members over politics. I still want to have meaningful conversations, but without adding these political figures to the conversation.  I want to talk about what people believe and why. I want to know if people support same sex marriage and why, I want to know if people support abortion and why, I want to know if people believe in high taxes, strong military, obeying our parents and obeying authority; I want to know what people think about the police (the good, the bad and the ugly) and those who disrespect the police; etc.

Many times, what I see, is that people are supporting political candidates who totally contradict their belief system, but because that’s the way they vote traditionally, they are unwilling to dig deeper and stick to their convictions. Today, a man expressed to me how he despises the idea of transgender going into the women’s bathrooms. Nevertheless, it is his own party who support these kinds of changes. So, without mentioning any political party or candidate we were able to have a respectful conversation, focus on what we believe and not on who we support for office.

Isiah 5:20-21 says, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” (KJV) There is evil, darkness and bitterness everywhere; but the truth is not out of sight; the truth is not hiding from us either. So then, point out the lies, where ever they come from and, recognize the truth where ever she is told. Is really time for all of us to dig deeper in passionate pursue of the truth; stand firm and don’t compromise. It is time to activate our conscience and call it like it is.

7 Banderas de Esperanza: La Bendición de Yokdzonot


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Estoy tan contento por la publicación de mi primer libro en español. Este libro habla de mis cuatro viajes misioneros a México y enseñanzas aprendidas en el proceso.  Espero que sea de gran bendición para ti.

https://www.amazon.com/XQS-Womens-Push-Breathable-Everyday/dp/194310638X/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_2?keywords=7+Banderas+de+Esperanza%3A+La+bendicion+de+Yokdzonot&qid=1558047536&s=gateway&sr=8-2-fkmrnull&fbclid=IwAR1Dd_fysZdfy3GL4BRs5Jw1ewH4KYYkl9ps_xSlm220-gwad7M-NB73ghg

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/7-banderas-de-esperanza-ngel-casiano/1131374506?ean=9781943106387

 

Changing our Focus


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Today I am not writing about having each other’s back or, how we are a family or how we are in this thing together, etc. I am not going to talk about whatever the government has to offer this time around. If the focus of your hope is on those things while ignoring God, you will find yourself running in circles and not advancing. We must fix our vertical relationship with God first before we can truly have a chance of learning how to deal with our horizontal obligations. Today I want to talk to you about “Changing our Focus”. I want to give you 5 Biblical truth that will help us to change our focus:

  1. Nobody loves you like God.You keep looking for love in all the wrong places, but nobody loves you with that Agape love, that unconditional love, that love without conditions that comes only from God. In John 3:16 Jesus tells us,

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (NIV)

  1. God is the only one who will never leave you nor forsake you.People will let you down eventually. We are humans, we make mistakes, we say the wrong thing, we read into things wrong, we get tired, etc. But not God, He is always there, in the mountains, in the valleys and even in the deserts. In Deuteronomy 31:6 Moses tells us,

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (NIV)

  1. God is the only one who has the ability to supply you with everything you need.You can look for stuff, places and people, but only God can truly satisfy and fill the emptiness of your soul and give you everything you need. The Apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 4:19,

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

  1. God is the only one you and I can truly trust with our lives.If you are placing your hopes in people and programs, the Bible states that you are curse. When it comes down to the seriousness of our lives and destiny our trust should be on the Lord and on the Lord only. Jeremiah tells us in Jeremiah 17:5,

“…Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
    who draws strength from mere flesh
    and whose heart turns away from the Lord. (NIV)

  1. God is the only one we can truly trust with our pain and adversities.Many of you are in a great deal of pain, some of that pain have been cause by family members, a former friend, a spouse, local churches; that is, men that have presented to you a false idea of God; and, some of that pain have been cause directly by you. Jesus Christ is more qualify than any therapist, any doctor, any physiologist or psychiatric to deal with your pain. As Jesus got ready to start this three-year ministry he stood and read these words in a synagogue,

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free, Luke 4:18 (NIV)

Conclusion

Today I am asking God to change our focus, from focusing on ourselves, people and programs to focus on God. If you change your focus you will begin to see fruit in your live. As you change your focus you will begin to see how we become more effective in loving one another, helping one another, encouraging one another, praying for one another and all the one another’s in the Bible.

 

 

Are we Victims or Victors?


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When I was a kid being a victim was not cool. We wanted to be the tough kid; the one that everybody feared. We wanted to be known as fighters. We did not want to be labor as a coward or as weak. However, in today’s society, we celebrate victimhood; there is no need to overcome anything. Part of the reason this is so, is because being a victim has its privileges. There are a numbers of government programs and various kinds of disabilities that, if you qualify for, you can make some money out of it without having to do a thing; tax payers have your back.  Let me stablish very quickly that it is not biblical for us, as Christians, to see ourselves as victims. That is a slap in the face of God.

I want to make clear that you don’t confuse not being a victim with the absence of going through difficult times. In 2 Timothy 4:7 the Apostle Paul tells us, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (NIV) The Christian life is a fight; it is a fight to maintain our faith in spite of what we go through and, in spite of what our eyes see. The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:7 that, “…we live by faith, not by sight.” (NIV) Another great man of God, King David, tells us in Psalm 34:19 that, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” (KJV) The focus should never be on the suffering; but in God’s deliverance. Beloved, we are more than overcomers. Revelation 12:11 tells us, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (KJV)

The word Overcome in Revelation 12:11 is the Greek word níkē”meaning, “To be victorious, to prevail.[1]Romans 8:37 tells us that, “…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” (KJV) Again here, we see here the Word Nike! Maybe you lost a love one; maybe you lost your job; maybe you suffer a great betrayal; maybe you lost it all; maybe your dad mistreated you; maybe your mom mistreated you. Maybe… God did not promise a life with no afflictions; but he promise that he will deliver you from them all.Today, be encourage!

God bless you and thank you for visiting our blog! Leave a comment, a question or initiate a discussion

[1]Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament(Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

Is Prosperity Achieved Through Giving or Through Good Stewardship?


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This is not the time in my life when I am making the most money. I am a Shelter Manager in a Rescue Mission; we definitely do not make a whole lot of money. Just 4 years ago I was making $9.00 an hour more than what I am making right now. However, because I am a better steward of what God has given me, I have more money in the bank. I am totally debt free and, I am working on something that I thought it was impossible, to have enough emergency savings for six months. I am now ready for God to release more into my life because I am learning how to live within my means. I thank God for Dave Ramsey; he has been the instrument God is using to transform the way my wife and I approach our finances.

As I focus on the topic of this small article, I will be dealing with answering the following question, is prosperity achieved through giving or through good stewardship? You will never be prosperous by giving only, without stewardship; but you will always be prosperous if you embrace biblical stewardship. In 3 John 1:2 the Bible tells us,

Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. (NASB)

            Let me start by stating that, it is God’s will for us to prosper. The word prosper is the Greek word, euodóō; meaning, “Easy to travel through. To lead in a good way, to prosper one’s journey. Figuratively, to make prosperous, give success to; to be led in a good way, to have a prosperous journey.”[1]As we can see, prosperity goes beyond money; on this verse the Apostle John attaches health and the condition of our souls to true prosperity.[2]In our souls we have our minds (the way we think) our will (Decision-making) and our emotions (the way we feel).  However, it seems that when it comes down to prosperity, as explained by the average church, the focus is strictly on material things. The theology of the prosperity Gospel apologist goes only as far as Malachi 3:10, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.” (NASB)

For some, prosperity is only achieved if we just give our tithes and offerings or, better yet, if we give beyond that. However, this message is incomplete if we don’t deal with this thing called stewardship. Proverbs 21:20 tells us,“There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man swallows it up.” (NASB)

            Prosperity is found as the result of divine wisdom. We can give, but if we are not good stewards of what God has already provided us with, if our giving is irresponsible, we will not prosper. We will find ourselves one bad situation away from a financial disaster. For example, the Lord is blessing you with a good job. Let’s imagine that this week you made $1000.00; you go to a church service on Sunday and the preacher is talking about sacrificial giving, faith and planting seeds, etc. The preacher is talking about how the Lord is going to bless you if you give a $500.00 offering. Apparently, the Lord told him that there were 50 people that were supposed to give $500.00 each. Now, you just made $1,000 that week by working hard. You have bills to pay, your car needs gas and your house is in desperate need of groceries. You have enough money to cover all of your financial responsibilities; God really provided all you needed for that week; but this preacher is still talking… What would you do?

I have a word for you, DON’T LISTEN TO THAT FOOLISHNESS.” You have the God-give responsibility to provide for your family. First Timothy 5:8 tells us, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (NASB) Understand that here the Apostle Paul is placing folks who do not provide for their families, in the same category as folks who deny their faith.

Your biblical responsibility is to take a look at that $1,000.00 you made that week and understand that, 1) you must make sure you pay your debt, because it is a sin to be in debt. Romans 13:8 tells us, “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.” (NASB) This is not a recommendation; this is a Biblical mandate. 2) Living within our means is actually biblical also! Make sure you are addressing your debt and that you are providing for your family. Believe me when I tell you, that preacher is not delivering a Godly message to you or anybody when he speaks about giving a $500.00 offering. As soon as preacher speak of a particular amount, he is clearly in violation of Scripture. This is a demonic tactic that is keeping God’s people in bondage. First Peter 4:10 tells us, “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” (NASB)

            You give according to what you have received. According to First Peter 4:10, when you give according to what you have, you are a good steward of God’s grace upon your life.  Giving out of what you do not have or, giving what you are supposed to use to provide for your family, is irresponsible and ungodly giving. What about those preachers that encourage folks to place their giving on credit cards? Again, a total violation of Romans 13:8. The same goes to those missionaries with families who abandon their jobs to go and serve the Lord with no income. While the Senior Pastor enjoys a salary and house allowance, the Missionaries have to live “by faith.” Again, we all have the biblical responsibility to provide for our families. The Apostle Paul is our best example, even as he was a single man and even as he was an apostle, he still work and make his own living.

In Matthew 25:21 the Bible gives us another powerful insight into stewardship, “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave (employees). You were faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” (NASB) I am not saying that giving is not biblical; as Christians we must give. What I am saying is that the Bible is very clear that stewardship is required for prosperity. In Matthew 25:21 we see that prosperity came as the slave (employee) proved himself faithful to his master. The master is a typology of God.

To be good stewards of the blessings God gives us is a Biblical theme. The secret to prosperity is not in giving alone, but in faithful stewardship. You can give a $1000.00 expecting that the Lord will bless you with $10,000, but the reality is that is not going to happen. God is in the business of teaching you how to manage that $1000.00 before he can bless you with more. If we are faithful in the little things God will indeed bless us with more. That my friend, is a biblical promise.

 

 

[1]Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament(Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[2]In our souls we have our mind (The way we think), our will (Our decision-making process) and the seat of our emotions (The way we feel). The way we think, and act will affect our emotions. The Apostle John wants us to prosper in our mindsets and make decisions according to God’s will; the result of that will be the enjoyment of joy and peace.

The Holy Ghost is not Only for Pentecostals 3 “Bearing Fruit”


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Jesus stated that the evidence for salvation is a person’s fruit (Matthew 7:16). When we are born again, our spirits are now alive to God; we now have the ability to respond to God. As a matter fact, our spirit is the part of us that is willing to cooperate with God (Matthew 26:41). It is impossible to be a born-again believer with no fruit; that is because the Holy Spirit of God dwells in us (1 Corinthians 6:19). Galatians 5:22-23 tells us,

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

(NASB)

Let’s take a look at each one of these fruits:

  • Love:This is the Greek word “agape” meaning, “Affectionate regard, goodwill, benevolence.[1]This is the unconditional love. We, as believers, are called to love every person in this world; that is, including our enemies or, those who want to harm us.
  • Joy:This is the Greek word. “χαράchará” meaning, “To rejoice. Joy, rejoicing, gladness.”[2]I know that we all have our moments; nevertheless, a believer is a joyful person. We have more than enough reasons to rejoice. There is indeed a gladness that is release from our spirit. Joy is something humans in general look for; people want to be happy. Many times, folks end up using drugs to feel joy; to feel energy. Think about this, the Bible tells us that the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Joy releases energy; depression take it away.
  • Peace:This is the Greek word, “εἰρήνηeirḗnē”; meaning “metaphorically, peace of mind, tranquility, arising from reconciliation with God and a sense of a divine favor.[3]This is another gift that folks look for; peace of mind is truly a blessing. Again, as believers we are not immune to losing a night here and there over stuff. However, as believers we must have a lifestyle of peace. Our peace should be so powerful that for the naked and untrained eye in the things of God it should make no sense. It should surpass any reasonable understanding (Philippians 4:7).
  • Patience:This is the Greek word, “μακροθυμίαmakrothumí”meaning,“To be long–suffering. Forbearance, long–suffering, self–restraint before proceeding to action. The quality of a person who is able to avenge himself yet refrains from doing so.[4]As believers we will suffer; that is guaranty, this fruit helps us to endure and show restraint in retaliation.
  • Kindness:This is the Greek word, “chrēstótēs” meaning, “To be useful, profitable. Benignity, kindness, usefulness and is translated good.[5]A kind person is not a weak person, but a useful one. A kind person is a good person. Even as we have different personality, a believer must live a lifestyle of kindness towards others.
  • Goodness:This is the Greek word, “agathōsúnē” meaning, “benevolent. Active goodness. Of disposition and character, virtue.[6]This fruit is very close to kindness; however, goodness is active; so, it implies a disposition; a special willingness to help others.
  • Faithfulness:This is the Greek word, “pístis”; meaning, “To win over, persuade. Faith. Subjectively meaning firm persuasion, conviction, belief in the truth, veracity, reality or faithfulness (though rare). Objectively meaning that which is believed, doctrine, the received articles of faith.”[7]This is a non-negotiable faith in God as the provider of all things and as the God of the impossible. As believers we never place hope in ourselves; we have a deep conviction that we can trust God in all things.
  • Gentleness:This is the Greek word, “praǘtēs”; meaning. “Meekness, but not in a man’s outward behavior only, nor in his relations to his fellow man or his mere natural disposition. Rather, it is an inwrought grace of the soul, and the expressions of it are primarily toward God. It is that attitude of spirit we accept God’s dealings with us as good and do not dispute or resist.[8]This is beyond humility is a deeper confidence and trust in God. Gentleness accepts, without dispute, God’s dealing in our lives; whether we like or not.
  • Self-Control:This is the Greek word, egkráteia; meaning, “temperate, self–controlled or continence.[9]There are plenty of reason, circumstances, people, etc. that are demonically designed to make us lose control of our emotions and explode in anger. This fruit will always surprise us; because we are able to see the deep work God is doing in us. This fruit is always tested in fire.

            Beloved, to be a born-again believer is more than repeating a random prayer. A person can pray the perfect prayer of repentance; but that does not necessarily mean that they are save. The prayer should be a reflection of what God is already doing in their hearts. A born-again believer WILL BEAR FRUIT; that is an automatic. How can we not bear fruit with a born-again and willing spirit within us? Moreover, how can we not bear fruit with the indwelling of the Holy Ghost? Many are repeating these prayers of repentance; but I encourage you not to look for the prayer as the ultimate evidence of salvation, but look for the fruit; that’s how we know  them, by their fruit.

[1]Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament(Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[2]Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament(Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[3]Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament(Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[4]Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament(Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[5]Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament(Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[6]Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament(Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[7]Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament(Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[8]Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament(Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[9]Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament(Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).