What are the principles which govern God’s provision for His children? What are the purposes for God’s abundance? Today I’ll begin dealing with the conditions for receiving God’s abundance by focusing on the basic principles which govern the provision that He has established for His children.
Let’s start with examining some of the definitions of the words and concepts that will be used in this letter. These words are interrelated, but they are not synonymous. They have different meanings, and there are positive and negative concepts associated with them.
There’s a great deal of misunderstandings about God’s abundance and this subject is vital to living a strong life as a believer in Jesus. Unfortunately there are many who have twisted these truths into false doctrines that confuse and mislead. These confusions are causing great turmoil in the body of Christ and hopefully this letter can be used to put additional light from Scripture on this important subject.
There are four main groups of words that we need to understand for clarification. Rich and riches; prosper, prosperous and prosperity; wealth and wealthy; and also abound, abundant and abundance.
When the words rich and riches or wealth and wealthy are used, we are referring to someone who has considerable material assets or financial assets. But when we speak about prosper and abound and their related words, these can be distinctly different because the inference is such that it isn’t necessary that the person referred to has a lot of money in the bank or owns great material possessions. I believe these are important distinctions and will help us understand more about the way God’s abundance works.
After decades of trying to understand God’s way as revealed by scripture, I believe God’s primary promise is that we have abundance, rather then wealth. Let’s look at what that means.
Abundance means you will have all that you need – plus more to spare in order to give to others. When there is no longer lack in your own life and you have more than you really need – then you can easily and gladly give to others. The condition of abundance also suggests that one has risen above the basic need level and therefore are able to reach out to help the needs of others.
Let’s look at the word prosper, especially as I understand it from scripture. The implication of this word has the connotation of success. But prosper does not necessarily mean tremendous material wealth or possessions. Using Scripture let me illustrate. In the 3rd epistle of John it says, “Beloved I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 2). This is an awesome and beautiful statement regarding the will of God for the committed believer in Jesus.
This epistle was written to Gaius and was a model to the believer. But as we study this further we find that he was walking in all the truth that God had made available. Here we have another important distinction. The apostle John, writing as a mouthpiece of the Holy Spirit, said to him, “Beloved I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” KJV. This covers the three aspects of a person’s overall being – three vital areas of life. It covers the physical, the material, as well as the spiritual. Please take note that in every one of them – the will of God is good.
The word translated prosper here literally means, “to have a prosperous or successful journey.” In Romans 1:10 where Paul is praying that he may “have a prosperous journey by the will of God,” as he travels to the believers in Rome, the exact same word is used. And if we look further, scripture reveals that God answered Paul’s prayer. His journey to Rome is described further in Acts 27 and 28.
However, if you take detailed notice of the description of that “prosperous journey,” Paul did not travel first class. He traveled as a prisoner in chains. There are more than a few pastors today that refuse to see it that way.
We learn that Paul went through a tremendous storm while he was in chains. It seemed as if the whole ship and all who were on it were going to drown. But through God’s intervention they survived the storm and no one on the ship was lost. Praise the Lord. Paul and his party arrived on an island (Malta) and soon after, had what we would call a revival. (I’ll not soon forget the day I piloted a corporate jet and flew at low altitude all around the island of Malta at low speed. Looking down I thought of Paul’s journey, the shipwreck and revival experience. One day we’ll meet Paul and Jesus and talk about that revival!!!)
On one such trip in Gerrero Negro, Mexico, with an unplanned fuel stop, our team experienced a very similar type of street revival. How could this happen you may ask? Well, it’s the same Holy Spirit and the same God we serve still. “He is the same yesterday, today and forever.”
By the time Paul and his shipmates left Malta, the Islanders loaded them down with all they needed for the rest of their journey. So, Paul had a prosperous journey. I don’t think it was exactly a comfortable journey. He certainly didn’t travel first class, but notice how God worked it all for Paul’s good and God’s glory.
My point in this part of my letter is this: when we use the words prosper and abound, the Bible is not necessarily talking about people whom the world would classify as being very wealthy or very rich. Too many in the body of Christ won’t be open to this because they want what they want and twist scripture to appease themselves. But we must please God, not ourselves.
Not Only Riches
The words rich and riches as well as the words wealth and wealthy are basically the same. But take note, they are quite different from prosper, prosperous, and prosperity. The latter relate to doing something successfully. The opposite of prosperity could be failure. On the other hand, abound, abundant and abundance mean that you are not living in want or lack. Even though you may not have great surplus nor possibly have the things you want, your needs are met abundantly. We must renew our minds to think like Christ and not like this world.
There is no doubt this teaching is contrary to what many current Bible teachers are preaching, I respectfully don’t believe that Jesus, during the period of His awesome earthly ministry, had his own bank account where He was amassing a surplus. The Scriptures do tell us that He and His disciples had a bag in which they deposited offerings. But since He never went, said or did anything outside of His Father’s assignment for Him, I believe His life was one of supernatural abundance. It was a lot like using His Father’s unlimited debit card which was always honored.
As an aircraft owner and charter pilot for many CEO’s Forbes 500, several rock stars and movie stars and a handful of politicians, I’ve seen a few things in my day. One of those things I’ve seen is that most of the wealthy people I’ve flown seldom carry large amounts of cash on them. Their name preceded them. It was common when going out to eat with the wealthy that they didn’t use cash or credit cards. They would simply sign their name on the bill and that would be enough. The managers of the restaurant or the business knew this person, and also knew that his/her signature was enough. A couple times I saw even a head nod and the bill was completely taken care of.
For clarification let’s discuss the opposite sides of these four positive concepts that we discussed. Some of the words that come to my mind are: poor and poverty; want; need; lack; fail and failure. Let’s keep in mind both of these two groups of concepts – the positive and the negative – as we proceed to study the principles that govern the understanding of God’s abundance.
In the next letter of God’s Abundance I’ll begin by discussing the 5 Keys to God Provision.
With your help we shall preach and teach His word until the last second. He has apparently led us to keep preaching to the remnant Christian church. We each must take action–for the sake of your family, our future, and the world as we know it, we must take a stand for Jesus. I hope you will join us through prayer and generous giving today while there is still time to keep teaching and proclaiming the life-changing gospel of Jesus.
You remain in our hearts and prayers. Remember also, with God nothing is impossible!
Dale & Paula
you for all you do.
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