Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Rest of the Prosperity Story

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”[Jeremiah 29:11NIV]

Jeremiah 29:11 is a favorite verse of Joel Osteen and others like him.  It is a favorite of mine, as well.

Nonetheless, there is something about that verse that is often (if not always) ignored by the so-called prosperity preachers, and it is of critical importance.  For that verse was given through a man who saw his country conquered, his countrymen slaughtered and enslaved, and his beloved Jerusalem burned to the ground.

Yes, the Prophet Jeremiah was held in very high esteem in days after, but during his time as a part of this world, he was reviled.  In fact, he physically died in Egypt after being taken there against his will by those who refused to listen to what else he had been given to say—even after everything he had previously told them would happen did!  By the way, if the Old Testament book that bears his name is not enough to convince you of what a "wonderful" life the Prophet Jeremiah lived in this world, go check out the next one in line, Lamentations.

Be assured that it is the same with this message as it is with all of the others like it.  For this is not meant to crush any dreams, and for some, those dreams will come true.  Ah, but most are dreaming of what should not be a desire of their heart.

Please, bear in mind that this is being given through someone who has been made all too painfully familiar with what the Prophet Jeremiah had to endure.  For I have been watching my beloved country crumble before my very eyes, and almost every time I have attempted to help someone to better know and understand what our Heavenly Father wants them to, it has been as if nothing was said at all.

Alas, I must admit that it gets to me at times.  For there is Joel Osteen with a drop-dead gorgeous wife, incredible kids and millions of devoted followers all over this world (not to mention wonderful health all around and more money than he knows what to do with).

Yet, am I not blessed even more?  For if I was standing in his shoes, I would naturally find it extremely difficult to change the message out of fear of losing all I had, and this is exactly what he must do or be content with knowing that he has already received his reward in full, which will count against him, come Judgment Day.

Yes, that sounds awfully judgmental.  So, please, I beseech thee, ask our Heavenly Father if it truly is of Him or my own bitterness?

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G. D. Dooley said...

Hey FishHawk,

Great posts. Great question.

It's a little of both which is what I've found to be true in my life.

I did not watch the video, not really into those just yet. However, I am experiencing a similar situation right now with a neighbor.

You look at what they have or don't have. Then you look at what you have or don't. And then you wonder about the "wealth of the wicked laid up for the just?" But what you see is the wicked prospering while we struggle to just hold on to what we do have.

But we must remember that we are each responsible for the gospel we preach or introduce to others. We are responsible for knowing the Word of God and handling it correctly and wisely. We are responsible for preaching Jesus to the blind, lost, captives and prisoners.

Apostle Paul said "whether Jesus is preached for gain or from the heart, at least He is being preached and in that I find great joy." (My paraphrase)

I do believe in the prosperity of God. But I also believe there is a balance that God has to bring us to before trusting us with such financial gain as most prosperity gospels preach. And prosperity should not be the most important thing to following Christ.

Too many people only believe in what they can get from God and not God Himself.

But we must remember that prosperity is the financial and material blessings of God to take care of and provide for all our basic needs that He created. But it also includes love, acceptance, mercy, grace, etc. In these there is prosperity as well.

But the thing I've also learned about listening to "man's preaching" and the "Spirit's teaching" is that those who preach, preach what they really believe regardless of whether it is of man's intellect or the Spirit's leading into all truth.

Well I could go on but I won't. Maybe I'll pick it up again. The thing I want to leave you with is this:

Each one of us is responsible for reading, studying, and knowing the Word of God for ourselves and what it says to us personally.

The Bible says "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness," (2 Timothy 3:16)

We must use the Word of God to also judge that which is good and evil; what is truth and lie. But if you don't know the Word of God you'll fall for any gospel that "just" sounds good.

Lavender Darwin said...

Ironically, I was flipping through Osteen's newest book yesterday at Walmart (it's called something like, "Hooray it's Friday" or something goofy like that) and I found it fascinating how there's virtually NO reference to Scripture at all in the book. He's just giving happy-go-luck feel-good advice with no basis in Scripture. Is Osteen any more of a Christian an Oprah?

Osteen's logic is instantly shattered if you spend any amount of time on sites like Voice of the Martyrs and read about Christians who know NOTHING of "wealth and prosperity" but instead endure total poverty, prison, torture and martyrdom for the same of their consuming faith and love of Christ. I'd have a lot more respect for Osteen if he would cast off all of this wealth, give it all to the poor of Houston, then go deep into China to share the gospel message for the rest of his natural life. Think that will happen?

FishHawk said...

Thanks for stopping by again, my dear G.D.!!! I would sure love to know which verse you were paraphrasing. So far, our Heavenly Father has not given me the answer, but He has pointed to several places where the preaching of the Gospel for personal gain is clearly condemned through the Apostle Paul.

FishHawk said...

Thanks for stopping by again, my dear Lavender!!! He really wouldn't have to do anything that drastic. That is, unless He was personally directed to, of course. In any event, all he (and the others like him) needs to do is preach a much more complete message. For some are given great wealth while others are kept in abject poverty, which has nothing to do with how much faith someone may want to take credit for having, nor how trustworthy they would like to think they have proven themselves to be. Furthermore, when the fact that many who are now first will be last, come Judgment Day, and that many who are now last will be first, come Judgment Day, much should be seen quite differently.

T.R.R.R. Paisley Ledbetter said...

Loser seems so inadequate in description of you.