Thoughtful Thursday: True Prosperity

True Propserity

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Reconciliation with the Almighty God of this universe is the greatest wealth we can have.

Scripture:

Job 22:21-28

21 “Reconcile yourself with God, and be at peace with him; in this way your prosperity will be good. 22 Accept instruction from his mouth and store up his words in your heart. 23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be built up; if you remove wicked behavior far from your tent, 24 and throw your gold in the dust–your gold of Ophir among the rocks in the ravines– 25 then the Almighty himself will be your gold, and the choicest silver for you. 26 Surely then you will delight yourself in the Almighty, and will lift up your face toward God. 27 You will pray to him and he will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows to him. 28 Whatever you decide on a matter, it will be established for you, and light will shine on your ways.” 

I’ve heard of people longing to win the lottery – even going to great lengths on strategies to hopefully help them land the winning number – and end their woes.  Thing is, the people who do win often end up destroying their lives.  What happened?  Wasn’t prosperity the solution to all of their troubles?

Some preachers have taught that world wealth is a given for those who are in Christ. People who are poor by the world’s standards must just not have enough faith to obtain the wealth God planned for them.  I don’t buy it and I have never played the lottery, either.

Like Paul, I have known what it is to be in need and to have an abundance.  In both times, I praised God.  I did not want to forget God when He blessed us, nor did I want to blame Him when we were unemployed and sued into financial woe.  God was faithful through it all. Both circumstances were not easy.

In times of prosperity, materialism, comfort and apathy threatened to woo us into a backslidden, religious state.  In times of financial hardship, we had to adapt and go without. We cried out to God and gained things of value that wealth could never give us.  A deeper walk with Him, a deeper trust in Him as He provided in creative ways, and learning contentment – precious treasure earned in challenging financial ordeals.

My children and I look fondly on the times when we craved food that we could not purchase due to a limited budget, then the LORD impressed on other people’s hearts to bring us that very food.  It was very specific and amazing to see God’s faithfulness in even the smallest of things.

The greatest riches we can ever achieve were given freely to us and can never be lost. Eternal treasures purchased for us by the blood of Christ, the cost for our reconciliation to God.  Nothing compares to this prosperity.

Lord, thank You for giving us Yourself, the most precious gift ever.  Please help us to be a grateful people and to share what You have given to us with the world.

The Purpose and Fruit from Testing

Photo Credits: gardenofpraise.com

Photo Credits:
gardenofpraise.com

Exodus 9: 1-7; 11

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, “Release my people that they may serve me! 2 For if you refuse to release them and continue holding them, 3 then the hand of the Lord will surely bring a very terrible plague on your livestock in the field, on the horses, the donkeys, the camelsthe herds, and the flocks. 4 But the Lord will distinguish between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, and nothing will die of all that the Israelites have. 5 The Lord set an appointed time, saying, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this in the land.” And the Lord did this on the next day; all the livestock of the Egyptians died, but of the Israeliteslivestock not one died. 7 Pharaoh sent representatives to investigate, and indeed, not even one of the livestock of Israel had died. But Pharaoh’s heart remained hardand he did not release the people. 11 The magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for boils were on the magicians and on all the Egyptians.

Psalm 66:11-13

“11 You allowed men to ride over our heads; we passed through fire and water, but you brought us out into a wide open place. 12 You allowed men to ride over our heads; we passed through fire and water, but you brought us out into a wide open place. 13 I will enter your temple with burnt sacrifices; I will fulfill the vows I made to you.”

Throughout time, the story of God’s mighty deliverance of His people from the Egyptians has captivated many.  The thing we often forget though, is that deliverance costs.  The Israelites suffered along with the Egyptians for the first few plagues and thereafter from the resentment the Egyptians poured out on them as retribution for their own judgment.

The rain falls on the good and bad, and the righteous and unrighteous alike will be tested – with one key difference.  The testing by God on one of His children has the potential to yield a bountiful harvest and has eternal purposes.  For the unsaved, God is hoping the testing will cause them to turn toward Him, but often testing yields punishment and exasperation for an unbeliever who does not understand the heart of God.

For those who fear the LORD, there is protection and a purpose in all hardship endured under the sun.  It makes me smile to consider that the magicians, who were so smug at being able to duplicate God’s miracles initially, then were suddenly covered in boils and recognizing the finger of God.  Not enough to repent and recognize their need for salvation, but humbled, nonetheless, in the presence of a Holy God.

God will be glorified in our moments of testing and of victory.  Knowing that nothing is in vain in Jesus gives encouragement when the testing seems lengthy.  He is at work.  Even when it seems like the enemy is advancing, God knows the end.

God is so good in all of His purposes.  He longs to bring us to a place of abundance, but not if our character is not prepared first.  Of far greater worth is our heart than our comfort, even if it means we suffer for a little while.  In due time, we will reap a harvest, and it will be beautiful.

Lord, thank you for patiently loving us and carrying us through life’s adversities and triumphs.  We need, You, Lord.  Help us to not resist testing but embrace the lessons learned and submit our souls to You in the process.

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