Friday, December 20, 2013
What is an apostle and the apostolic? What are the differences between apostles and prophets? Is an apostle higher than a prophet? Who are apostles and prophets subject to?
(See Acts 13:1-3, Acts 15:1-41)
by Stephen Gola
Below is a list of the functions of an apostle and prophet in the Church today.
< An apostle is "sent to," a prophet is "raised up."
< The apostles are "subject to" and "sent out" by the prophets and teachers.
< A prophet is "raised up in their midst." An apostle is "sent to" a specific place, group or group within a group.
< Jesus as a prophet: "I will raise up a prophet from among your brethren." Jesus as an apostle: was "sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel".
< Prophets can hold political or governmental positions, apostles do not. (See the book of Daniel.)
< Prophets are given authority within the authority-system of the church and the world systems. An apostle's authority is only within the church.
< Apostles deal with those who are saved or are leading them to be saved.
< Prophets deal with all---both saved and unsaved, but not necessarily with the focus (as apostles do) to lead them to Christ; but rather to teach, warn, guide or direct church and world affairs.
< Apostles foresee events coming to the church but could involve world events connected to the church. However, they do not normally foresee world events without being associated to the church. Prophets foresee coming events to the church, and the nations of the world. However, prophets normally foresee coming events of the nations which do not include the church.
< Apostles call "people" to salvation. Prophets call "peoples and whole nations" to turn from their wicked ways.
< It is not "who" a person is, but rather, "what office" they function in. "That" is where the authority comes from.
< A single person can hold multiple "offices." A person can be an "apostle to the church" and a "prophet to the nations" (just as Jesus was).
< The focus of an apostle tends more toward "fatherhood" to those who are birth through them. Prophets tend to be more focused on the "things of the Spirit" and "the things of God" rather than fatherhood.
< Apostles are not over prophets---the prophets and teachers release the apostles.
< Elders are not positions in the church; rather, an elder is "who you are." In other words, elders are mature individuals (usually which comes with wisdom, knowledge, skill, godliness and years of doing it). Elders can be a prophet, pastor (bishop, shepherd), teacher, apostle, and evangelist just as they were at the counsel at Jerusalem (see Acts 15). You are an "elder" because you "are" elder as described above. Elders of old were never "made" elders; they are in the positions of Elders because they "are" elders---mature and skilled.
< Apostles are not over the prophets pertaining to what is right or wrong for the church. Rather, the apostles go to the prophets, apostles and elders and together work through what God has given them.
< Apostles deal in the area of church government; prophets deal in the area of church and/or world governments (political, media, military etc (see the prophet Elijah).
< Apostles are "released" by the prophets, teachers and elders to go and labor in areas where the unsaved are in order to establish assemblies to train and equip.
< Apostles and evangelists were added to the New Covenant Addendum because of the new birth. Prophets, teachers and shepherds existed under the Old (Longstanding) Covenant before being updated with the New Covenant.
< Both prophets and apostles confront false doctrine and worship (lifestyles) and restore truth.
Friday, December 06, 2013
I didn't write this, I wish I had, someone did their homework
Many of us have accused those who don't share our views of "denying the truth of the bible". I think such accusations are unnecessary and untrue. All of the views presented here are biblical. The differences are not a matter of "right" or "wrong". They are a matter of which passages we choose as foundations for our creeds and which we ignore. As Heather Goodman said, "It's not what you teach, it's what you emphasize". The differences in eschatology are merely differences in emphasis and modes of interpretation.
There are different ways in which the bible can be read and understood. One is the literal approach, in which we take most passages to be literally true. Some of the bible is understood to be metaphorical, figurative or symbolic in meaning. Our differences in eschatology come from the differences in which passages we take to be literal and which we take to be figurative. The differences between Literal and Figurative interpretation lead to different eschatological views.
Another difference concerns historical events. One group believes that most or all of the prophetic passages concerning destruction and God's wrath have already taken place while others see them as future. These differences make us Futurist, or Historicist in our views.
Points of difference include the fulfillment of prophetic passages from the Old Testament, the fulfillment of prophetic passages from Christ's discussion about the end of the age, His return to the earth, the role of Christians in reigning on the earth, the role of the nation of Israel in God's plan and the bodily resurrection.
Another point is the apparent contradictions in scripture that describe God's future plans for the nation of Israel and His eternal purposes for the Gentile church. Simultaneous classifications of people groups and seemingly contradictory purposes of God are a great stumbling block to those who want to understand the Scriptures in unambiguous terms. Trying to resolve this ambiguity has caused much of the division in the church. We should not be afraid to consider what (at present) appear to be contradictory views. This dynamic tension between different ideas is the source of great understanding about the depth of God's wisdom and knowledge. We cannot unlock God's mysteries without being willing to investigate such paradoxes and apparent anomalies.
The best example of this was the apparently mutually exclusive views of the Christ as a suffering servant and a conquering savior. The Jews could not resolve these two opposing views, and chose the more convenient one over the other, less attractive, view, when in fact both were true. Other examples include faith vs. works, grace vs. the law, and predeterminism vs. free will.
The hermeneutic method held by an individual will greatly affect their interpretation of prophetic passages and consequently their eschatological scheme. Hermeneutical styles differ and act as the lens through which our understanding of scripture is perceived.
Historicism says that Biblical prophecies provide us with a broad view of history, as well as an explanation of the religious significance of historical events. Historicists attempt to identify prophetic passages with major events in history.
In Futurism, parallels are drawn with historical events, but most prophecies refer to events, which have not been fulfilled, but will take place at the end of the age and the end of the world. Most prophecies will be fulfilled during a global time of chaos known as the Great Tribulation and afterwards.
In Idealism, the events described in prophecy are neither past, present, nor future, but are representative of larger ideals and principles. With this view, prophecy deals with the ongoing struggle between the forces of light and darkness, and the ultimate triumph of good over evil. Its message is purely a spiritual one, an allegory of the spiritual path, which is equally relevant in all ages and for all people.
Supersessionism is the belief that the New Covenant in Christ supersedes, or replaces, the Old Covenant with Israel. It comes in at least two forms: covenant theology and kingdom theology. It was the predominant teaching of the church until the rise of dispensationalism in the 19th century.
In covenant theology there are two primary covenants; the covenant of law and the covenant of grace. Under the covenant of law, mankind (represented under Adam) failed to live as God intended and stood condemned. But the covenant of grace was made between the Father and Son, to agree that Christ would live an acceptable substitutionary life on behalf of, and as a covenantal representative for, those who would sin but would trust in Christ as their substitutionary atonement, which bought them into the covenant of grace. The Covenant of Grace applies to all who trust Christ for their salvation, covers Jews and Gentiles alike.
Dominion or Kingdom theology takes the view that the church is to engage in establishing God's kingdom rule here, in the earth during their lifetime. Dominionism takes the command God gave to Adam (to subdue and rule over the earth) as a literal mandate that was never revoked. They see the church as kings, priests and ambassadors of God, sent to destroy the kingdom of darkness and advance the kingdom of righteousness in preparation for the return of their King, Jesus who will ultimately rule with them.
The idealist view takes a purely figurative approach to interpreting scripture. The idealist does not believe that "end times" passages should be interpreted literally to any degree. They instead see such scriptures as a general portrayal of the fight between good and evil with warnings and illustrations that encourage the Christian to live righteously. The idealist view is associated with amillennialism, which states that there is not a literal 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth, but rather that Christians are currently reigning with Christ in a figurative sense as we strive to bring about justice and righteousness in the world.
This view holds that end times prophecy has been in the process of fulfillment since the time of Christ. It sees fulfillments through historical events over the past 2,000 years, and typically does not hold to a final tribulation period, a specific person as the antichrist, or the special role of national Israel as distinct from the church.
The pre-millennial (futurist) views all hold that most of end times prophecy has yet to be fulfilled and that Christ's second coming is followed by a literal thousand-year reign with the resurrected saints on the earth. The differences within the pre-millennial approach are primarily in the timing of the rapture of the Church. The pre-millennial view can thus be further broken down into pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, pre-wrath, and post-tribulation.
Adherents to this view approach interpretation to scripture literally, generally rejecting typological and allegorical methods, i.e - Biblical references to Israel mean ancient and modern Israel. One of the main tenets of Dispensationalism is the strict dichotomy that exists between Israel and the New Testament Church. This is denied by Covenant Theologians. A dispensationalist would claim that none of the prophecies pertaining to Israel are or will be fulfilled in or by the New Testament Church. Covenant Theologians would claim that some of the prophecies pertaining to Israel are, will, or may be fulfilled in or by the New Testament Church.
In this view, history is divided into typically seven "dispensations" where God tests man's obedience differently. The periods are described as innocence, conscience, civil government, promise, Mosaic law, grace, tribulation, and millennium.
The present Church dispensation concerns Christians (mainly Gentiles) and is a parenthesis to God's main plan of dealing with and blessing his chosen people the Jews. Because the Jews' rejected Jesus, Jewish sovereignty over the promised earthly kingdom of Jerusalem and Palestine was postponed from the time of Christ's first coming until prior to or just after his Second Coming when most or all Jews will embrace him.
Pre-millenialism teaches that there will be a literal reign of Jesus on the earth for 1,000 years, preceded by a time of judgment as foretold in scripture especially in the book of Revelation. They see most of the events of Revelation as future. Because they believe that God does not judge the righteous with the wicked, adherents believe the church will be removed from the earth at some point in the process and be spared the judgment. The removal is usually referred to as the "rapture".
Pre-tribulation adherents believe that the rapture will be followed by a great tribulation of seven years' duration during which Antichrist will arise and battle of Armageddon will occur. Then Jesus will return visibly to earth and re-establish the nation of Israel; the Jewish temple will be rebuilt at Jerusalem. Christ and the people of Israel will reign in Jerusalem for a thousand years, followed by last judgment and a new heavens and new earth.
The mid-tribulation view is similar to the pre-trib, exept on the issue of when the rapture occurrs. This view is based on the assertion that the tribulation is actually the three and one-half year Great Tribulation, and that it commences with the revealing of the Antichrist midway through the seven year peace treaty he has made with Israel. At that point the church is raptured in order to escape the Great Tribulation, which is taken to be God's wrath.
The pre-wrath view says that the church will experience some of the Great Tribulation period after the mid-point of Daniel's seventieth week, when antichrist is revealed. This would include the natural and man-caused disasters, or wrath, but then the church will be taken out just prior to the wrath of God aimed at the unrepentant. In this view God's wrath includes only the trumpet and bowl judgments, which occur after the sixth seal.
The post-tribulation view sees a single second coming of Christ. It says that the church will be kept by God's grace through all of Daniel's seventieth week, and the saints will be given their glorified bodies in order to meet Christ as he comes to earth to defeat the antichrist at Armageddon and establish his millennial reign in Jerusalem.
The preterist view holds that most of the events of the book of Revelation were fulfilled in the first century AD, and that many prophetic details relate to the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. This view leads to postmillennialism, which says we are currently living in a non-literal millennium that began with the destruction of Jerusalem and the ascendance of the Church Age. Preterists believe the Church is in the final Kingdom period, where believers are actively working toward dominion over the world by the establishment of God's kingdom. The two main schools of preterist thought are commonly called partial preterism and full preterism.
Full preterists believe that the second coming of Christ occurred after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD, because Jesus said, ‘This generation will not pass away until all these things take place.’ (Matthew 24:34) That promise included His second coming. They also point to the promises of Christ’s second coming as been "soon" in the book of revelation.
Full preterists argue that Matthew 16:28 is to be taken literally. In that passage Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom." The preterist places the second coming of Christ in the first century and precludes a physical second coming of Christ.
Partial preterism holds that most eschatological prophecies, such as the destruction of Jerusalem, the Antichrist, the Great Tribulation, and the advent of the "Day of the Lord" were fulfilled either in 70 A.D. or during the persecution of Christians under the Emperor Nero. Some identify "Babylon the Great" (Revelation 17-18) with the Roman Empire. They generally identify Nero as the Beast, while his mark is often interpreted as the stamped image of the emperor's head on every coin of the Roman Empire. However, others believe the Book of Revelation was written after Nero committed suicide in 68 AD and identify the Beast with another emperor. The Second coming of Christ and the resurrection of the dead, however, have not yet occurred in the partial preterist system.
As you can see, there are a wide variety of views on eschatology. There are many other views I didn't mention. Some are extensively detailed and some leave many things open for discussion. Perhaps you've found that you identify with more than one view. I'd encourage you to consider the strengths and weaknesses in all of them and weigh each carefully.
Monday, February 25, 2013
Dealing with Debt, You Have the Right! You do NOT have to go bankrupt.
You have much power if you know what your rights are. You don't have to live as slave to the lender.
There are things that debt collectors and lawyers can do, and many more they cannot. You don't have to talk to them. You can shut them off. It's your right.
They will sue you. But if you are broke, they can get nothing from you. A judgement proof debtor is really hopeless for one trying to collect. Don't commit suicide. Don't get drunk. Just keep your head up and your profile down... and you can get out of this.
Figure out if you're judgment-proof. If your income and property are legally protected from creditors, you can still be sued, but the creditors won't be able to collect. That's known as being judgment-proof. You may be judgment-proof if you own very little and have no income, or if all your income is from Social Security, because Social Security payments are legally protected. The list of property that's exempt from creditors' claims varies by state but often includes clothing, household items and a car worth $2,000 or less.
There is a hitch in being judgment-proof: If your creditors go to the trouble to sue you and get a court judgment, they may be able to collect from you if your circumstances improve in the next 10 years. A bankruptcy filing, by contrast, would legally erase the debt. The filing will stay with you forever. Keep your head down for ten years. After a few they forget all about it anyway. You become more work than you are worth to them.
There are a lot of things a creditor CANNOT take from you even if they get a judgement, even if you have some stuff. They can't kill you and they can't take your shoes. In fact the list of what they cannot take is fairly long.
Items exempt from collection
|Stock in trade||$5,000|
|One computer; one TV||no stated dollar limit|
|Cash or savings (execution)||$2,500 on any day|
|Automobile||$7,500 wholesale, $15,000 for disabled or elderly|
|Personal property||$1,000 to $6,000|
|Bank account (trustee process)||$2,500|
They can collect but they can't take everything you have. Don't be afraid of them. Bark is greater than their bite.
The amount of what you earn that can be Garnished is regulated. In Illinois it's 15%. SO, you are pretty well protected. There are strict laws. They don't want you to starve. So, relax. You will spend more foolishly than the garnishment can take. Wage garnishment is more a threat than a reality. Don't let them fool you.
Even after all that there are people who fear debt collection and consider harming themselves from Shame. There is no shame. People get into hard times. It will make you stronger if you fight and win. AND God is the redeemer of those who trust him in these hard times. There are laws, they are there for your protection, Renumber the Bible Verse all creditors know, "Anyone who is among the living has hope--even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!" Ecclesiastes 9:4
There are plenty of books and articles on this topic. There are a lot of services you hear about. Not all are good. Not all are right. Some are designed to get you to go bankrupt which is KaChing to the lawyers. Some want to get you into debt consolidation or debt forgiveness schemes. Some of those are run by credit card companies. It pays to be suspicious. They will take your money and give you no results.
Educate yourself. You don't have to live under the oppression of debt. Someday you will come out of it, the sun will shine; you will walk free and prosperous. The way to get out of debt ultimately is stop borrowing. Live modestly. Spend no money. Generate any form of Income you can find that is legal.
You will someday find yourself among the successful and respected of your generation.
I did, and if I did, you can too.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
On Normalizing Homosex in our Culture
We hear that we should do unto others as we would have them do for us. That seems to be a lever to allow for "mercy" in the area of Homosex marriage. Lets look and see:
Matthew 7:12 English Standard Version (ESV)
12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
There is absolutely nothing in that text that necessitates the acceptance of any and all behavior as normal and edifying. Doing unto others as you want them to do to you does not mean that our government must condone gay marriage.
One need look no further than the first chapter of the book of Romans to find Biblical support for the sinfulness of homosexuality. Romans 1:24-27After suppressing the Truth of God in unrighteousness and worshipping the creation rather than the Creator ( Romans 1:18-25 ) God gives men and women over to degrading passions ( v. 26 ) and a debased mind ( v. 28 ). The normalization of homosexual behavior is a judgment of God Almighty on both the individual and the society that gladly approves of such behavior.
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
Normalizing the deviant and deviating the normal is a sure sign of the moral decay that eats at the roots of a civilization. By giving license to sinful lusts a society further destroys the foundation upon which it is built: the family.
.Not only can condemnations of homosexuality be found in Romans but also in 1 Corinthians 6:8-10,
English Standard Version (ESV)
8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers![a]
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous[b] will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,[c]10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God
and 1 Timothy 1:9-11,
English Standard Version (ESV)
9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers,[a] liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound[b] doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.
Homosexuality is not the unforgivable sin and should not be treated as such, but we should not overlook the seriousness of the matter either. Those who practice homosexual behavior live contrary to sound doctrine and will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
Obama and his unbiblical view is contrary to the Creation ordinance as can be seen in Jesus’ own words:
English Standard Version (ESV)
3 And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” 4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? Jesus, in refuting the Pharisees about divorce, left no room to quibble about what marriage is and to what sex one should be married to.
How can Same Sex Marriage fulfil the biblical mandates to be fruitful and multiply? How can it fulfil the mandates of marriage relationships?
Although males and females are equal in relationship to Christ, the Scriptures give specific roles to each in marriage. The husband is to assume leadership in the home (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:23). This leadership should not be dictatorial, condescending, or patronizing to the wife, but should be in accordance with the example of Christ leading the church. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word” (Ephesians 5:25-26). Christ loved the church (His people) with compassion, mercy, forgiveness, respect, and selflessness. In this same way husbands are to love their wives.
Wives are to submit to the authority of their husbands. “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything” (Ephesians 5:22-24). Although women should submit to their husbands, the Bible also tells men several times how they are supposed to treat their wives. The husband is not to take on the role of the dictator, but should show respect for his wife and her opinions. In fact, Ephesians 5:28-29 exhorts men to love their wives in the same way that they love their own bodies, feeding and caring for them. A man’s love for his wife should be the same as Christ’s love for His body, the church.
God-ordained marriage originated, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them“ (Gen 1:27). Here we see that God not only performed the first marriage ceremony, He was the originator of marriage and it was – in the beginning – between a man and a woman. God knew that it was not good for a man to be alone, so he made a woman for Adam. In fact, God did not make man to be joined with men or women to be joined with women, but to be joined with someone of the opposite sex. Even biology teaches us that it would be impossible in the natural to have and raise children if the marriage partners were of the same sex. It would have been impossible to “Be fruitful and increase in number, [and] fill the earth” (Gen 1:28). Children receive better balance on how to be men and women when there are both a male and female in the home. Same sex marriage may be fashionable today but that doesn’t make it right in God’s eyes. He see’s it as sin as we will later see from the Scriptures.
Paul clarified that sex outside of marriage is wrong but indirectly said that sex should be between men and women. He wrote that, “each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband” (1 Cor 7:2). There is no clearer definition of marriage in the New Testament than in I Corinthians chapter 7 and it is always between a man and a woman.
husband of one wife, not another man, and so if someone is called into the ministry, they are literally not qualified if they have a marriage partner of the same sex or if they have more than one wife. This is made clear in 1 Timothy. A pastor has to be “a husband of one wife” (1 Tim 3:2). This is repeated in Titus 1:6 and elsewhere. Paul was very familiar with homosexuality in the culture that he lived in since he wrote two corrective letters to the Corinthians about this. He could have made the exception to a man having another man or a man having more than one wife but he did not. We see that Paul’s writings on this subject are no different from that taught in the Old Testament.
There is no grey area at all. Even the Old Testament said that this was an abomination to God as Moses wrote, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination“ (Lev 18:22). Just how serious did God take the sin of homosexuality? In Leviticus 20:13 He says, “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” We realize that the same thing applies to women having sexual relationships with women, for God has no double standards.
In case you are thinking that this was the Old Covenant, think again, for the New Testament actually has more Scriptures condemning same sex relationships than the Old Testament does. Paul wrote, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God“ (1 Cor 6:9-10). He continued in the Book of Romans, writing, “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error” (Rom 1:26-27).
This speaks of embracing sins that were contrary to biblical doctrine, telling him that “the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine“ (1 Tim 1:9-10). Sodomites are referring to same sex partners and the association is easy to see when you read the story of Lot in Sodom
In Revelation 21:8 it says, “the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” To make it crystal clear, Paul writes that this lake of fire is the final destiny of those who have same sex relations, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders” (1 Cor 6:9).
God does not care that His Word doesn’t seem relevant to this culture or that liberal theologians and the unbelievers feel that the Bible is out of date. The fact is “the word of the Lord stands forever” (1 Pet 1:25) and David wrote, “Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens” (Psalm 199:89).
Saturday, October 06, 2012
Why no Christian dare vote for Obama 1
January 2009 – Obama lifts restrictions on U.S. government funding for groups that provide abortion services or counseling abroad, forcing taxpayers to fund pro-abortion groups that either promote or perform abortions in other nations.
March 2009 – The Obama administration shut out pro-life groups from attending a White House-sponsored health care summit.
March 2009 – Obama gave $50 million for the UNFPA, the UN population agency that promotes abortion and works closely with Chinese population control officials who use forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations.
May 2009 – The White House budget eliminates all funding for abstinence-only education and replaces it with “comprehensive” sexual education, repeatedly proven to increase teen pregnancies and abortions. He continues the deletion in subsequent budgets.
May 2009 – Obama officials assemble a terrorism dictionary calling pro-life advocates violent and charging that they use racism in their “criminal” activities.
July 2010 – The Obama administration uses federal funds in violation of federal law to get Kenya to change its constitution to include abortion.
March 2011 – The Obama administration refuses to investigate videos showing Planned Parenthood helping alleged sex traffickers get abortions for victimized underage girls.
October 2011 – The Obama administration eliminates federal grants to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for their extensive programs that aid victims of human trafficking because the Catholic Church is anti-abortion.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Causes of Poverty - Behavioral, Mental Attitudes and Spiritual Strongholds that keep us Trapped
If I had a billion dollars and gave each one all they needed today, in a few months or years they would be as broke as they are now. This syndrome has been proven by studies again and again. Helping people with money and substance only continues the poverty. It’s bad generosity. Government has demonstrated this. Lottery winners prove this again and again. Money will ruin people who are in poverty unless you get the poverty out of them.
POVERTY will continue as the RESULT of BAD Generosity and Misplaced Compassion
Economic oppression most often comes disguised as a hand out.
Every time you weaken a member of a family, you weaken the family.
Every time you weaken a citizen of a nation, you weaken the nation.
Every time you give someone something that robs from them the opportunity to discover what they are made of, you have taken something irreplaceable from them.
The best contribution you can make to solving world poverty is to not be poor yourself. The stronger and richer you are the more capable you are of helping others by building a business and giving someone a job. In that job mentoring them to get out and stay out of poverty.
If you really want to help someone, you have to help them be responsible for themselves. Compassion and generosity are not the same thing.
I was reprimanded thus 30 years ago by a Prophet of God from Florida. He didn't know me, but he instructed me in this. I was stupid with my money, giving lots of it to people who didn't know how to handle it. I even did it to my own family and have two members in my extended family who are now poor because of my so called generosity. It was all a power trip on my part. I offer this in the hopes that you might not make the mistakes I did.
Let’s discover together what the Blatantly Ignored Reasons for Poverty are and see what we can do about this.
How to have a congregation that prospers - overcoming the number ONE reason people are in Poverty
People are and remain poor because of ignorance about money and finances. They treat economics and the financial world as a language they can't learn. They pay no attention to the marketplace, political influence on economic policy, money supply, interest rates, trends and reversals. There is a vocabulary that will bring you higher or keep you down if you don't have it. I am astounded by the profound lack of understanding by church leaders in the area of finance. You cannot impart what you do not possess. IF you would have a congregation of increasingly prosperous people, you must speak the language of prosperity. Learn it. Speak it out.
Blatantly Ignored Reason for Poverty: Complaining about being poor
The auxiliary of that is confessing your poverty, calling it in, reinforcing the effect it has on you. We understand negative and positive confession. This is that. IF we constantly complain about our poverty, we will be poor.
WHY? Complaints come from an ungrateful heart that INSULTS the Provision of God. DO not criticize the source of your wealth. Deut 8
Opportunity comes to the grateful, those with Joy no matter their circumstance, to the one who GIVES energy to others rather than takes it by complaining. Sowing and reaping.
Prosperous people are grateful people. They bring energy, enthusiasm and ideas even when they have zero money. They bring out the best in others and a rising tide lifts all ships. I have made millionaires out of others and it lifted me. Successful people learn that true joy comes from within, not from your circumstance.
Change what you are prophesying about yourself and you will change your future.
Cause of Poverty - Believing that a Job will make you Rich
Having a job is good. Someone has to be an employee. We can't all be bosses. If you are happy with your job, get up, take a shower and go. Thank God for your employer and bless him or her for being there for you. Do the very best for him or her. Just be aware of this, it's not a pathway to riches. It isn't slavery, it's just you have decided to serve others in a job. Don't complain about it. It's just not going to make you rich.
When you work for someone in a job you are at their mercy, at their beck and call. A business owner knows he must stay on the cutting edge to survive. He will be called on to make changes when the market demands. The owner of a business works extra hard because his livelihood is on the line. Sometimes that may mean you become superfluous and you are fired. That's the way it works.
If you are working for a company or a large corporation it becomes easy to begin to depend on them for a steady paycheck and your retirement plan. You have turned over your future prosperity to another's whims. Once you take this step you come closer to poverty. Golden shackles with golden handcuffs. Bond slavery.
Wealth can only come from how you invest your spare time. Escaping from poverty or a bad job situation will come as you use your free time wisely. Many more people should own their own business rather than work for someone else. Find ways to use the time you have for productive ends. It is the pathway OUT of poverty. Playing video games, watching housewives on TV, hanging out at the club or the bar, devoting yourself to sports are NOT on the list of things that will bring you out.
IF you keep busy enough doing this, you will have less time to talk yourself out of being prosperous. Besides, the only gift you get every day when you open your eyes is time. Use it well.
People LOVE being poor
I posted earlier that the reason people stay in their sin is because they in fact LOVE their sin. They enjoy it. They don't want to be without it. So...they sin. I am coming to the conclusion that the same is true of poverty. They complain about it but they enjoy being safe and pitied. There's no challenge in being poor. You just stumble from crisis to crisis in your life and keep hoping to win the lottery. We sin or are in poverty for the same reasons. We choose it. I don't want to anger you, but God has tasked me with shining the light of truth on the spirit of poverty. If you heed it, perhaps you can break free. IF not you will remain in the hole you dug with your mouth. No one put your there, you chose it.
Reason for Poverty - Taking instead of Giving
Nobody owes you anything just because you breath and exist. No one else can make you rich. Believing you are entitled to anything will get you nowhere in the meritocracy of the real world. Instead of living life with an expectation to receive from others, discover the joy of giving without the expectation of any return. The rewards you receive will be much more valuable than anything you gave away. Your income leading out of poverty is not determined by what you THINK you deserve, but by the value you bring to others. Every person has an innate value as a human being. The difference is some people deliver more economic value to the marketplace. Focus on the needs of others. How can you help them earn more money, make their life easier, healthier. What problems are they facing that you can help them find the solution to. If you can just help enough other people get what they want, you will get all you need and more. Stop being a taker and begin a life of giving. Try giving yourself away...and watch what happens.
A cause of Poverty - Resenting the Rich
It is easy to resent those who are more successful, wealthier or happier than you are. BUT... the best way out of poverty is for there to be many more rich people. God wants YOU to be one of them. Not so you can have a bigger TV or faster car, but because Rich People create jobs in our economy. Who has the capital to start a new business? Who other than rich people can hire others? When the rich are overtaxed, over-regulated, suffer from inflation or find that there are costs of living and operating that pinch the, they hire fewer people. They can't buy new cars, can't build new houses, landscape their yard or hire inside help. When the rich become poorer, we all do.
When we resent the rich it creates a mindset that REPELS money. It creates a spirit of greed, resentment, jealousy, mistrust and entitlement. None of that spirit has the capacity to attract wealth or connect you with wealthy people. The fact is very wealthy people want to mentor someone. They want to pass on what they know. They need someone to carry on their legacy. Do you think they will waste time on someone who resents them. When I was a young man, I studied wealthy people. Real people. Got to know some of them personally. They were surprised and honored that I sought them out without an agenda. Many I stay in contact with still.
The best gift you can give your children is to teach them to emulate the very wealthy. I have known a few scoundrels, but many fewer than you would think. A few of my wealthy friends are Facebook Friends. They know who they are. I won't embarrass them. I will say, they are noble giving caring people who have a desire to make the world a better place. They do it by building business. That is the stewardship they were assigned. Admire them, don't resent them. It will attract them to you and you to them.
HELP, I'm stuck in Poverty and I can't get out
I have so many friends I know who are stuck in poverty. They are just making it or not making it at all. Many come to me for ministry and advice and I really hate to tell them what really is going on. So, I am using this forum to help them understand what the causes of poverty really are. If you want to get out from under the curse. You will want to go back and review what is above. There will be several yet to come. God never wanted you to be poor, in lack or needful. You were destined to be the head and not the tail, a lender and not a borrower, one who pays wages to others not looking to others for a paycheck. The answer is not a job, a scheme, a system a secret. The answer is to get your heart right.
The Self Destructive Behaviors that are Direct Causes of Poverty
How you present yourself
If you are insisting on dressing like a bum, you will be treated like a bum. Tattoos are a drag down no matter how pretty they are. Funny hairdos. Strange clothing. Smelling bad. In other words do the best you can with what you have. Clothes may not make the man, but they can bring him or her down. A sweatshirt might be OK but not if you are going to see a client. Keep your car clean the best you can. A back seat full of empty fast food containers and an empty big gulp container says slob. And if you live in that, you will act like that.
Treating every event as a crisis.
This is almost an art form for many pastors and preachers. They have learned to "never waste a crisis" as a method to make sure the offering bucket is full. That has taught their congregations to become drama kings and queens. Learn some stoicism. It's not about you. Yes, we all have issues, but learn to endure. The true test of faith is not your boisterous positive confessions but how you stand when the hard winds of adversity blow. Your best testimony comes out of your darkest test. Some bad things that happen to you are not for public information. Man up.
Lives out of order
Working in ministry in the City of Chicago I have come across a core cause of poverty. Lives out of order. In contacting people I find that many have a hard time getting out of bed before noon and seldom asleep before 2 or three in the morning. They may not be partying. They might just be up watching TV (they would say praying). The truth is Ben Franklin's advise is still true, "early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise. Before electricity, people rose when the sun came up and went to bed when it went down. Now people are awake all hours of the day or night. Lives are out of order. Showing up at 2 pm means the early birds have eaten all the worms. Make a decision to wake up at the same time (before 7am is a good start) and go to bed every day at the same time, 11PM would be a good bet. Think of the Convenience store. 7-11. There's a reason. My wife has a saying, "Nothing GOOD happens after Midnight". I know this is true for me. All the bad behavior I ever have been trapped in was after hours.
Allowing every form of garbage into your soul and spirit
I am stunned by Christians and even pastors who go to every hellish movie on the big screen, watch any kind of TV (I actually had one say to me, "You can learn a lot from those housewives shows" SMH). I won't even mention porn. Never mind that the best selling porn book is 50 shades of something (for women). Do you think it's even possible ONE Christian lady bought this book? I do. AND VIDEO games. It's amazing that Christians play for hours with these video games with demonic themes. They somehow think that they can get away with it by offsetting it with some church going. A little poison in the water is what it is. I won't even mention Sports and some of the excesses in that area. I wonder what the GNP of the Christian community would be if we had back all the hours invested in sports voyeurism and reinvested it in enterprise. Then there is music that comes from hell. Enough said about that. I had a Christian pastor say to me when he was justifying spending a hundred fifty dollars a month in cable and pay TV for entertainment and he couldn't pay his rent. HE said to me, I gotta have my entertainment. He is still poor. Marriage ended. Now in his late 50s. His behavior was his downfall.
I have given away cars, furniture, computers, clothes and a dozen other things. I have bought new many things. It's amazing that the very people who are in the deepest poverty cannot take the time to take care of the little bit they have. They are poor stewards of their possessions. So clothes break down. Cars don't run. Houses leak. They will always claim that they don't have the money to take care of them. I know a man in perpetual property who has some equipment I supplied him with. There are tires on this equipment. Tires that need attention from time to time. I gave him an air compressor. A good one. Told him that these tires needed to be kept up for the equipment to work well. When I checked back to see how he was doing the equipment was broken down. He didn't check the tires. Too busy he said. IF I as a man see this, how much more does our Father see how we treat his blessings. Do you think I will do more for this man?
Cause of Poverty... An unbalanced view of Money - NOT CARING ABOUT MONEY
At this end of the poverty spectrum are people who piously say, "I don't care about money." That is almost guaranteed to come from someone who is poor. There can be a calling to truly eschew money (see Mother Theresa) yet she had all she ever needed. IF a person doesn't care about something (like money) he will be careless with it. God seems to care about wealth and money, there is more information on money and our proper attitude towards it in the Bible then there is on prayer. Yet, the church spends a lot of time teaching, preaching and engaging in all kinds of prayer. There is even a prayer moment. Perhaps we need to see what HE says about money, it's proper place and what that all means. A Biblical Money Movement. That's probably not going to get much traction.
Telling God you are disinterested in something He seems to care so much about is prideful and foolish. While obsession with money is destructive, neglect of knowing it's nature and influence will be equally destructive.
If disinterest in money is based on Pride, Ignorance or immaturity it yields the same result: it will repel money from your life. If you tell someone "I don't care about you" will he or she stick around?? In fact will he or she even COME to you?
Money like friendship requires time and attention. It takes more time and attention to work hard to not care about money then it does to pay it the proper amount of attention to it. Poverty takes more energy than success.
The other end of the spectrum is caring too much about money. That is more easily taught and understood. You can probably teach this unbalanced view better than I can. This first is a much harder teaching.
Cause of Poverty -- Poor Character
If you go into prison and ask the men imprisoned there what personal attributes they have that are positive (I have done this in prison ministry). Nearly all of them will have included in their self appraisals that they are HONEST, Truthful, Sincere, Good Men in a bad situation. In ten years of Prison ministry it never ceased to amaze. If they were so honest, WHY are they there??? Just this last week a guy who I worked with in prison ministry went back to prison for theft. YET...he told me many times how honest he was when I was one on one with him, working side by side.
I know people who are as cheap, stingy and miserly as anyone on earth (would make Ebenezer Scrooge blush) ...yet from those same people they will say, "I am the most giving person I know". Self delusion about our own character is astounding.
Character is being and knowing who you really are and then trying to do better. Good Character is desirable and attractive to others. In business I want to do business with people who are as good as their word. Who if they say they are going to do a thing, make a payment, deliver a good or a service, you can write it on the wall. Their word truly IS their bond. You would trust them with ten thousand dollars and expect it to be taken care of and returned intact.
Poor character leads to financial problems when people make promises with their mouth that the rest of them can't keep, trying to remember what they told who leads to low self esteem, con game strategies that cause all kinds of protective gyrations (no one is smart enough to pull this off for long). Poor character often comes from toxic relationships continued with people of bad character. That can lead to legal troubles. The list of people who were cheated, shorted or stiffed means that person has a deep hole to dig out of even if their debts are forgiven. Bad Character equals a bad reputation. Poor character damages relationships you wish would be better.
To attract prosperity, we need to do better in our character. The ones who hold the key to our breakout of poverty and breakthrough to prosperity are attracted to dependability, integrity, honesty. This means if you make an appointment to see someone, show up ON TIME. IF you say you are going to begin a project or a meeting at a certain time and complete it at a certain time they can mark it down. It is NOT a cultural thing that everything and everyone starts and ends late. That showing up on time is not our culture. It's just poor character. Even in Church life, the most prosperous and successful ministries do exactly what they said, start and end exactly on time. Yes, we need time for the Holy Spirit to move, but mostly it's the guy with the mike who can't stay silent for HIM to do his work.
You will see that I am staying clear of the spiritual causes of poverty ... for now. They are easy. Most people can stand up and holler when they come up. They have been over taught WRONGLY for too long. When I have exhausted the mental attitudes and negative behaviors that manifest themselves in poverty... I will address the poverty from Spiritual causes at the end of this writing. Too many itching ear preachers talk about all the spiritual components because they are afraid to confront their members on the behavior and attitudes that keep them locked in lack. As a result they have a congregation of a thousand who give like they were a hundred. I'm hoping that by coming against the attitudes and behaviors first that we will admit to ourselves why we are where we are. I am tired of poor saints staying poor. It's high time we come up higher...much higher. But we have to start with the Strongholds of poverty in the Mind and the Behaviors that they manifest that keep them there. I know too many saints who have read all the books on prosperity printed by the prosperity teachers, can rehearse the principles, but still languish in lack. Time to bring to the fore those things that keep us there. The Kingdom of God NEEDS you to Prosper. I know I will offend some, but as the old saying goes, that which offends the mind, reveals the heart. Some minds need to be offended so hearts are revealed.
Build better character and get out of that hole you are in. It starts with YOU. Your character determines the kind of life you will lead. The life you lead may indicate your character. If you are always on the make...you will not make it.
Reason for Poverty - Slothfulness - the attitude. (a spirit)
This seems like low hanging fruit. It's easy to say people are poor because they are lazy. THAT"S NOT WHAT THIS MEANS.
Even the hardest worker can be slothful. In complete disclosure, I struggle with this demon.
A slothful attitude (spirit) is always on the lookout for reasons of inaction. It's not time yet. Someone else will take care of it. It's not my job. They might be diligent at their own work assignment, but they are quick to point out why other things around them are not in their "lane". While I agree with the idea of "Stay in your Lane" it has the negative effect of implying, "It's not my job".
The slothful attitude will complain about being tired, discontent, not feeling it right now or claiming not to fully understand the situation enough to take action. The Spirit of Busyness is a sister to this spirit. "I'm so busy I can't take care of this.. Someone else will have to..."
The slothful attitude shirks responsibility and then complains (many times privately) that no one appreciates them. (I own this tee shirt)
A slothful attitude will allow a great city like Chicago to fall off the edge (as it is). THE OTHER has to take care of this. Poverty is the result. Look all around you.
IF we are to escape the spirit of sloth we must begin to uplift others, accept responsibility for more than "our Lane". We must become better informed about the situations around us, not expect someone to give us bullet points to tickle our ears.
To escape the spirit of sloth we must work harder, longer and with the highest level of excellence possible. Even if others around you make fun of your diligence, your future depends on your choice of attitude.
This translates to church. One of the reasons we don't always have the neighborhood impact we should have is we are only diligent in our "Lane". I walk by some of the storefront churches and even those in large facilities and see garbage up and down the street. Beer cans and condoms on the sidewalk in front of the "Church". Dirty windows. Filth. That means for someone to come to your church they have to walk thru hell to get there. The church I attend on Sunday mornings is in the suburbs. On nearly every Saturday I make a pass thru the parking lot and around the building. I pick up the beer cans and condoms (yes people have sex in a church parking lot) and all the other garbage laying around so that people Sunday morning won't have to walk over or around the junk. I don't publicize this, but you have to know this is not theory to me.
Many city churches think that keeping the neighborhood around them tidy is the city's job. That is a spirit of sloth. It makes them look like they are and will stay in a poverty mentality.
Cause of Poverty - Not Understanding the Truth About Money
Many very poor people have spent their lives pursuing Wealth, Riches, Money and spend all their time just trying to get rich. That is a trap. It is the ultimate deception of money.
"He also that received seed among the thorns is he that hears the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful". Matthew 13:22
"Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction". Timothy 6:9-10 & 1 Timothy 6:17: "Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy".
Show me a person in poverty who is trying to "show up rich" by a car, clothes or jewelry and I will show them a person trapped by the lies of satan that will plunge them into ruin and destruction.
We have to present ourselves well but not stupid. The poor do not understand the true nature of money. Money doesn't really exist outside of our acceptance of it as a medium of exchange. There is no money in reality. If the federal reserve wants to create money, it taps a few keys on the computer, moves a decimal point and presto, money appears. We all have more. THEN if the federal reserve makes the decision we have too much money in the system, a few more taps and presto your savings disappears. Money vanishes. Like the matrix....money is an illusion. There is no spoon. There is no money. I won't write more on this, I don't want to freak you out, but if you understood the real nature of money you would understand that it is just a way of keeping score and storing up productivity for a short while. It only works in the flow.
Oh, it's important. We need it. We should work for it. But money is by it's nature fickle and fiat.
When people chase money, riches wealth, they end up poor. That axiom is true. A few hit it rich for a little while, but if the underlying character that understands what it is lacking...poverty will follow as sure as night follows day.
Money is the net result of your value to others. What others perceive you to deliver to them that they want continued in their life. IF you bring nothing, you get nothing. Money is NOT a zero sum game (except in the government's eyes). The slice of the pie you get doesn't have to be taken from another to be given to you, the pie can be enlarged and everyone gets more.
You will get more by helping others get what they want then by trying to get what you want. Your hand reaching to help another helps you up. Besides, Father wants you to know that he will take good care of you. Remember the birds of the air...etc
"Greedy people try to get rich quick but don't realize they're headed for poverty". Proverbs 28:22
They sell their whole soul for money that doesn't even exist creates = Poverty of the worst kind.
Cause of Poverty - Stupidity and Foolishness - Refusing Instruction
If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace; if you accept correction, you will be honored. Proverbs 13:18
The Proverb is self explanatory. Poverty and disgrace comes to those who are too full of themselves (prideful) to accept instruction, feedback or even if it comes to that, Criticism. There are wise ones, ones with words of life and correction that can steer you back on the road and away from poverty. Advisers, Mentors, Friends. IF you seek their counsel, you must be careful to heed what you hear. You don't have to do all they say, but some of what they share with you is going to be words of life. The lone wolf is easy pickings for the pack. Of course you will want to be first instructed from God's word. Others however will have insight into your life that you will need to escape poverty. Select well those who will speak into your life. It MAY NOT always be a Pastor. Many of them are not wise. IF you have the right counsel on your quest to avoid poverty some of the advise will be hard to follow. You may have to give up a pattern in your life that is taking you nowhere. Hearing wisdom is worthwhile but acting on it is golden. Listen for God to speak to you as you seek counsel. He will use the voice of others to offer instruction.
YET... in spite of this admonition, sometimes poverty results from stupidity. From raw foolishness. Those who do not value wisdom in good counsel will NEVER experience success.
Hear the word of the Lord as Wisdom Speaks:
32 “And so, my children, listen to me,
for all who follow my ways are joyful.
33 Listen to my instruction and be wise.
Don’t ignore it.
34 Joyful are those who listen to me,
watching for me daily at my gates,
waiting for me outside my home!
35 For whoever finds me finds life
and receives favor from the Lord.
36 But those who miss me injure themselves.
All who hate me love death.”
Foolish behavior repels wealth and prosperity from your life. Foolish people spend money on things and entertainment they do not need. They are seduced by the idea of "I deserve a break today". No you don't if you can't pay for it. Worse then that, people who stay in poverty make shaky investments because they trust the WRONG people. Those who look like, act like, seem like you are most often the ones you have to watch out for the most. The good ole boy syndrome. When he saunters up to you and starts his soft soap routine....RUN. That's in my culture. Every culture has these con artists. Look out for them and run.
It takes wisdom to avoid poverty and develop true wealth. Cultivate wisdom by studying history, time in prayer, seeking the Lord in decisions (always go with the peace) and consuming the word of God.
There are so many examples, I even hesitate to review them all. The guy who spends 300 dollars on a special foot pedal for his hot rod but his kids have no milk. The woman who spends $300 dollars a month on Hair products, Manicures, Makeup, clothes and the beauty shop and at the same time needs food stamps to make it every month. The man who spends money on movies and sports attendance but can't fill his car with gasoline to get to work.
In another post on my wall there has been discussion about weddings and the extravagant cost they have come to. There is a reason the Brides magazines are the thickest magazines on the shelf. These have become such productions that they have lost significance. The average wedding in America now costs $25,600 dollars. People live together (they call it fianceeing) and even have children together so they can afford the big white wedding. I see it all the time. If you have the money and want to spend in excess of twenty five grand on 5 hours of entertainment, have at it. IF you are living on the ragged edge, wisdom says, forget it. Get married. Avoid debt. The subject of the post in question was the incredibly lavish wedding of a famous evangelist that cost nearly $1,200,000. Yup. The dress $65,000. If she could afford it (and I question that) it set a pattern that many young women who saw that spectacle on TBN and attempted to model that in their own wedding. The net result is marriages that either never happen because they stay living together in fiance mode or the beg, borrow and steal the money to guarantee them a position of poverty the first day of their married life.
Foolishness and Stupidity. I know those are hard words, but excusing something that is foolish as a cultural thing is just stupid. We have cultural things in my background that still make no sense...so we don't.
If you want to get out of or avoid poverty, have sound counsel around you and avoid the obvious foolish stupid choices that further impoverish.
One other fact. Credit cards are dangerous to foolish people. Payday loans are dangerous. Title loans are dangerous. IF you want to get out of debt...stop borrowing money.. That much is clear.
I don't write this hard for pleasure, I'm hoping that by my words some will caus someone to stop and reflect on a decisions, expenditure or investment they are about to make. If you decide not to, it cost you nothing. One investment is sound. The Kingdom. Invest in building the Kingdom and the KING is obligated to pour it back to you. I know this from experience.
Getting out of the Poverty Box
I am coming to the conclusion that the barrier or stepping stone to prosperity is wrapped up in part by our attitude towards those who have "Made It". One looks at them and says to themselves, "How in the world did THEY ever make it"? Another looks at them and says to themselves "How in the world can I make it". One looks at the prosperous and shakes their head side to side. Another looks at the prosperous and shakes their head up and down. One sees their situation and says, "Things will NEVER change". Another sees their situation and says "Thing are GOING to Change". Which are you. Which am I? Remember the word says:
"So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever". 2 Corinthians 4:18Your situation is not permanent, Its SUBJECT TO CHANGE...But if it's going to be...It's up to ME (or you) who can do all things thru the anointed one and his anointing power residing in YOU. Philippians 4:13 (Gene's Paraphrase, but I believe it to be accurate in the Greek) If you are a Bible Scholar, argue with me...I stand by it. Now who's report will you believe??
A Cause of Persistent Poverty - Self Sabotage
This is a tough one. If a person can't see themselves out of poverty, they will stay in poverty. I'm not talking about imagining a new caddy with a picture on the fridge. I mean really knowing in your knower that you are going to come out of it.
Many people come into money or prosperity for a season and piddle it away.
Sometimes it's guilt, an improper view of one's self and sometimes it's just self destructive behavior. While they talk a good game, they really don't believe that they deserve success, so they subconsciously derail any opportunity for achievement. Many people inherit assets, get an enviable job and then squander the opportunity to keep what they have received and achieved. Soon it's gone and they have sabotaged their success.
I know about this because I have been one of these. In the last 12 years a million and a half dollars has passed thru my hands. I achieve great things and then find myself starting over. I hate the fact that I live in great potential. "There is no heavier burden than great potential". Linus from Peanuts.
To keep myself on the right track, I have to constantly keep my thought life under control. I have to constantly battle personal sin that would beset me. I live a constant life of repentance and forgiveness first of myself. IF I live in guilt I will self sabotage.
I know this much, wealth starts from within. It is an inner game. Self Sabotage comes from the heart and the antidote is dealing with the issues of the heart. I really believe that it is a FEAR OF SUCCESS that is at the heart of this cause of poverty. Our personal vices, sorrows, failings will eventually cause us to self sabotage because we don't believe we deserve what is coming our way. Self sabotage is when we declare that we want a thing and then go about making certain it doesn't happen. That's a tough way too live and will keep us in poverty.
A testimony on overcoming this syndrome:
I received a precious promise from God at a Crusader church 18 months ago. It was a dark time financially for me. I was in a rough place and feeling defeated. I received this word not from any human, but in my Spirit. Spirit to spirit. I was given a promise that if I would trust HIM and believe (not self sabotage) he would provide for me at a certain level that frankly was hard to believe for. He even gave me the amount he would provide. He has been as good as his word. To the penny. It's a decent 6 figure number. One thing that overcomes Self Sabotage is a sure word of the Lord. It's why I am so committed to the prophetic for his People. IF GOD says your are about to come into a certain level of provision, are you going to easily sabotage that? I don't think so.
The prophetic word will trump your self doubts (Sabotage)...if you just believe GOD!
I did and I haven't been able to sabotage the flow... That is a victory of the heart.
Thank You Jesus
It's recognized by many psychologists, self sabotage. I have read about it for years. I have a full library of books on business, economics, motivation and related psychological treatises. I have made it a life's study to know all there is to know about success and failure. Poverty and Prosperity. I have known many people that have manifested this. They make a lot of money and then subconsciously drive themselves to end up broke because they don't think they really deserve it. Guilt about having something that others don't have. Some lottery winners do this. It is not all my personal story, yet I recognize some of this in my own life. I am pretty introspective and honest with myself. Having been a very wealthy person twice and almost broke three times I spot some of this pattern. I have had my ups and downs. Some people think it's because I am a risk taker, that it is an entrepreneurs fate to ride the roller coaster. They celebrate such, Col Sanders and JC Penny. That they will put it all on red. That's why getting what amounts to a check from the mouth of God in a prophetic promise silenced the syndrome. Yes, it is true, I am a builder, willing to take a chance. I am unwilling to allow what amounts to a lie of the devil to keep me down. The darkness hates light. Bringing this to the light helps all of us as it points out things that are traps. I think it's a significant issue that robs many of their provision and prosperity. Every one of the things I have posted, some of which have angered some, are hammered out on the anvil of experience and are proven by professional observation. IF any of what I have written has made any of you angry, it is an indication that you need to examine your heart. The only chicken that squawks is the one that is hit when a stone is thrown into the flock.
Ignored Cause of Poverty - Stasis
Sometimes we call this being stuck. We prophesy against it. We declare we are not going to be STUCK anymore. Yet It happens to all of us. It has happened to me. We get trapped by our surroundings.
You may be familiar with the Stockholm Syndrome. Look it up. It's when a person becomes comfortable, even friendly with a captor. In this case it's POVERTY that is the captor. Poverty becomes a familiar misery. It becomes a part of our identity. "I'm just a poor sinner saved by grace". It becomes easier to perpetuate our poverty then to change. This develops a victim-hood mentality and that is reinforced by making us "Eligible" for sympathy (and Welfare). Living in poverty is hard, but being comfortable (Friendly) with it is a trap.
The problem is a refusal to change. People will stay in poverty as long as it is comfortable. People avoid change until the pain of remaining the same is greater than the pain of changing. It's difficult to face.
YET, change is the only thing that works. Change of neighborhoods, change of those you hang around with, change of cities even. Change what you do for a living. The power to change is the only power you possess....that and a faith in an Unchanging GOD.
If you have become friends with Poverty, IF you are stuck, start by changing the way you talk about yourself. Not some phony baloney positive confessions that you parrot, but speaking to yourself in songs, hymns, spiritual songs and believing God for the Change you need. Here's where the prophetic comes in. You need to hear God declare change over your life. Begin by not confessing your poverty to yourself or others. Begin to break up with your friendship with poverty. Find ways to get away from pity and the other "Eligibilities" in your life. It's time to break free from the strongholds that have been built around you to keep you down.
In Gone with the Wind has Scarlett Ohara saying, "As God is my witness, as God is my witness they're not going to lick me. I'm going to live through this and when it's all over, I'll never be hungry again. No, nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness". She wasn't a christian, but her confession was real. You have to hate your poverty and determine to break up with it. No matter how friendly it seems, it's your enemy. Patty Hearst was a victim of Stockholm Syndrome, she joined her kidnappers. You may remember that time. Eventually she got out and was made whole. You can too.
There are two more submissions on the causes of Poverty. For those who embraced them, I believe you will find your way up. For those who were angered, I hope you will discover why and examine your heart. I didn't mean to offend. Truth sometimes is offensive. The next to last is an extension of yesterday's. It follows. "The culture of Poverty and it's comforts".
The last one will be the ten spiritual causes of poverty. I will make a single list of them. MOST preachers have preached many sermons on the spiritual causes and STILL have a congregation of people under the oppression of Poverty. It's easy preaching. IF we deal with the spiritual roots and refuse to recognize the blatantly ignored cultural reasons because they are uncomfortable, we have done no one any good at all. It's time to get real. I have tried.
Reason for Poverty - It's comfortable
What? I can hear you say it. I can't pay my bills. I can't buy food. I'm being evicted. I'm up to my ears in debt. My kids don't have shoes. Life is hard. And you think I'm comfortable???
Yes, all that you are suffering might be true, but there are comforts in poverty and if you enjoy them you'll never get out. There are 3 clear comforts in poverty:
1. The idea that the poor are somehow more noble, holy, righteous then the filthy nasty rich are. This idea makes you feel better (comfortable) but it is a lie from the pit. Even pointing to people who were intentionally poor (Mother Theresa) is a flaw. If she had needed a 747 to do a mission of mercy, 50 would have been at her disposal without a second thought. She commanded great wealth in her "poverty". IF you think all rich people are rotten, then why would you want to be our of poverty? HUH? See the trap? Now get away from the cheese.
2. Those comforting voices all around you. People with lots of advise. With lots of schemes and scams about how to find the scraps people put out for you. These bad advisers will drag you to the pit. Your mindset is created and maintained by the people you spend your time with, the people you respect, the people you take advise from. IF they are telling you no one is making it, there is no hope, only government or someone else can help then you will stay right where they are....poor. It's more comfortable to hear how you can't make it then the discomforting voice of correction.
These kinds of comforters (like Job's) will keep you down. They are trying to govern you when they can't even govern themselves. It's about pride. They never learned to follow but they want you to follow them. So they have "wise" words (sometimes couched as prophetic) that send your right into the death spiral of poverty. Learn from those who have earned the right to teach you something. Probably not clergy.
3. Resting comfortably in the problems and not the solutions. It's easy to think about, talk about, meditate on, consider and commiserate with others over the problems in our lives. It's comfortable. Sitting on the porch, ice tea in hand, talking about back in the day. We had it rough. Sounds nice doesn't it. So nice that it would be uncomfortable to break out of that mentality. To say, things are not as they should be. If you want more problems, keep talking about the ones your already have. Like attracts like. Fear attracts fears. Even conferences on poverty (government) focus so much on the problems the solutions become gigantic and expensive. Look at the war on poverty. We are poorer today because of it. FOCUS ON THE SOLUTIONS. Fix you mind on things better. Much better. Hope. Joy. All efforts to FIX poverty has done is to cause people to be comfortable.
DISCOMFORT IS YOUR FRIEND. Like the doctor who's patient said that it hurt when he did that, the doc said, "well then stop doing that".
Time to turn this thing around and get out of that comfort zone. I won't give you the elephant's tether example, I'm sure you know it. BUT your comfort zone if it is poverty is your limiting factor. You don't have to live like this.
Roots of Poverty - The Spiritual Causes
There are TEN core spiritual roots of poverty. They have been preached, taught, written about with full on prosperity ministries built on these truths. They ARE all true, but Jesus warned that if you cast out a demon (a lie bought that is torn down by good teaching) and don't replace that empty space with something, the demon will return with seven others worse than him.
This is what has gone on in many poor communities. They have heard it, read it and tried it. For a brief moment it was of benefit. Light came. And then because the cultural and behavioral strongholds, they weren't changed they slid back into poverty. Hopelessness rose up. The dreams they had were deferred. Hope deferred made the heart sick. They became immune to hearing truth. "Heard it, Tried it, it didn't work".
You can know, believe and activate all the spirituals regarding getting out of poverty, but if you do nothing about the cultural, mental and behavioral, it would have been better you never heard.
Here they are, No Surprises. What makes me sad is there is a preacher or two who is going to jump on these and decide to preach a series on the Spirituals. He will have a ministry time, yell loud, cast out all kinds of demons, pray in tongues really long and send the poor folks on their way to fall right back in the pit. It's easier than tackling the blatantly ignored causes. I offer them with fear of that potential:
1. Being bound by a Spirit of Poverty. Rich and poor can be oppressed by this. It's the idea of "I don't have enough". It focuses on the impossibles in your life. A miser can have a spirit of poverty. Poverty people are more bound by price than value. It is a real spirit. It can and should be cast out. BUT it must be replaced by right behavior and attitudes or worse will return.
2. Living under the curse. Always getting the lemon. Everything breaks down. Nothing lasts. Sickness and disease plagues your life and robs you. Money just flows thru your hands and there's nothing in it. Being aware of God's passion to provide and protect you is critical. Study it out. AND, being in line with curse breaking behaviors from Deut 28 and Malachi 3. YET One can have the curse broken off and then return back UNDER the curse.
3. Diminishing God. Making our poverty, problems and situations so big in our eyes that it diminishes GOD. Many make God smaller than he is by failing to recognize his provision and protection in abundance in our lives. This results in a lack of thankfulness. Thanklessness blocks God from providing.
4. Despising the Word of GOD. This one is hard. It is a cause. We say, we would never despise the word of God, yet, we refuse to believe it when it comes to protection and provision. We don't take our stand on HIS word. We become lukewarm in our belief...and unbelief is equal to despising. This is one I have recently had to deal with.
5. Praying amiss. The selfish, greedy prayers of saints stops GOD cold from providing and protecting. Prayers focused on wealth, fame, glory and other selfish pursuits will go unanswered. In fact, the opposite is true. When we pray and rehearse our problems to God, complaining about our situation, that becomes amiss. Pray to the Omniscient Father. He already knows and understands. Pray in hope, joy, peace and deliverance. That is the prayer that gets results. Otherwise it's "a miss"!
6. Deceit Fraud and Vanity. This one is hard, but I have seen it. IF you trust God for your provision and protection to get you our of poverty, you won't need shortcuts. You won't need to manipulate people and things. Gaming God is always a bad plan. Keep yourself tender in this area and when that little voice inside you says NO, stop. You don't want to curse yourself. Ill gotten gain may offer short term relief but in the end will lead to damage in your spiritual life, your reputation and short circuit your future prosperity.
7. A rebellious heart. It always starts with an attitude of "I don't care but..." It causes people to not do what they clearly heard GOD tell them to do and the consequences are staggering. RE - BAALing is returning to Baal. It's idolatry. IF we can learn to walk by faith and not by sight we will experience first hand the pure joy of living in pure obedience.
8. Pride. Too proud to ask for help. To ask for direction. To ask for correction. To accept a lesser place in the short term. Pride is the ROOT of an entitlement mentality that traps people in poverty. "I Deserve This". I'm worth it. That somehow we are OWED prosperity because of our education, background, upbringing or evening up for past slights. This prideful spiritual trap bemoans the world, whines about how hard life is and wishes it weren't. It's a demon. Pride and a victim mentality are closely linked.
9. Lack of Discernment. Poor people many times are the easiest to fool. They are desperate. They are grasping at straws. Yet above all the one who would escape from poverty must have a triple helping of discernment. Just because it sounds logical doesn't mean that it is. Just because it sounds appealing, doesn't mean it's right. Being unable to discern truth from error is the root of all kinds of grief and poverty. Yet, even though it's a spiritual cause, it's not taught much. The problem is we lie to ourselves, we lie to others and that makes us vulnerable to lies. When we receive a lie, it will put us in chains. Tell the truth and learn to discern the truth. It's a spiritual gift. Don't believe EVERY spirit that comes in the name of the Lord. My biggest ripoffs in life came at the hands of people who claimed to be my brother in Christ.
s. I know that got your attention Pastor. Yup, there are blessings and curses according to Malachi that we need to know, but there much bad teaching, much bad understanding and I won't try to dismantle the whole thing here. My advice would be to the one looking to get out of poverty, GIVE into whatever is BUILDING the Kingdom of GOD in your life. That may be your church. It may not be. IF some ministry is building the Kingdom of God in your life you owe a part of your tithe to that. The concept of seed faith is so badly taught it has impoverished many. IF you haven't tithed, you have no seed to sow. So claiming your tithe as your seed is unscriptural. BUT, even if you are part of a fellowship that teaches this badly, Tithe anyway. God will give you revelation and he will honor his word. You are safe.
Those are the ten most obvious. There may be others, but I know these are certain spiritual roots of poverty. Funny how most of the western church spends most of their time on number ten. AND no time at all on the Blatantly Ignored Causes of Poverty that I have outlined. This is the last of the series. I will compile this into a single teaching and make it available on line. I offer notes and consultation to any Pastor, Teacher, Prophet or Apostle with the courage to get their people out of poverty and lack. It can be done. But first YOU must believe the truth.
The Book of Proverbs
The University of Life
30 years as a Christian living thru this
Writings of Dr Marlene McMillan (31+ Blatantly Ignored causes of Poverty) I have quoted liberally from Dr McMillans little book, but I have added my own life’s experiences and understanding.