January 20, 2011

Here's an example of the joyous Christian life!

Why does the "prosperity gospel" aggravate the dickens out of me? First--because it is not true, 2nd it runs contrary to life, and 3rd, it sets good people up for a devastated faith and 4th it presents a god that is foreign to the Scriptures.

Positive thinking has its place, but not when it comes at the expense of truth. I remember a disturbing Newsweek story many years ago showing a man--a devotee of a middle eastern religion--sitting on a railroad track. He was quite sane yet because of his "faith", positive vibes, and his good energy, his belief system taught him he could stop a train just by thinking he could. He was wrong, dead wrong, no pun intended.

The prosperity gospel has many of the same traits. It is full of "feel good," loaded with "happy thoughts" and sound bites of positivity. There is usually "some" truth to it but in the end it is a deception which will leave one high and dry.

The truth is, suffering and hardship is more normal for the faithful Christian than fanciful fantasies of favor, flavor and dreams come true. Below is an excerpt of an e-mail I received from a woman in our church whose life has not been a cake walk. Yet she is full of the Holy Spirit, honors the Lord and one day--DOWN THE ROAD--like in eternity, she will be blessed, completed, fulfilled and satisfied in every way. But right now, her life is like most as we live out our faith in a broken world ravaged by sin. Here is what she writes--describing her life:

"...childhood sexual abuse, death of my mother at 9 years, death of my father at 16 years, I was a wayward in my teen and early adulthood years, I had substance addictions, (now 21 years free from this), difficult relationships with step family, marital difficulties, times of marital separation, house fire, infertility, premature birth of my daughter, kidney failure, dialysis, I'm a living donor transplant, domestic violence, legal issues, financial hardship, entering college late in life, suicide of my husband, and currently, readjusting my views of mine and my daughters’ life… …there’s more, but that’s a good brief summary…"

Here is the reason for her writing: She adds--

"God’s Word sustains and is life-giving and life changing… don’t miss your opportunity for what He has for you through neglect… don’t try to seek to conform to a program, although it’s a great place to start, but seek what He has for you daily…"

It is her testimony about the value of reading through the Bible in a year--something we stress in our church; something few Christians have ever done even once. It is the major way one can grow in a complete, balanced and truthful understanding of the amazing love of God. He is not a vending machine around to grant our wishes, desires, and plans. We exist for HIM and not until we get to heaven will we experience the fullness of that love. Right now, sometimes, maybe even often times, this life sucks! And its not because you don't necessarily have enough faith, a life of excellence, or enough integrity.

In my book--The Proper Pursuit of Prosperity, this is all clearly explained and illustrated with real life stories!


Blogger Barbara said...


2:53 PM  
Blogger groovyoldlady said...

Prosperity comes in letting Christ take us through the trials and becoming more like Him in the process.

5:14 PM  

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