Thanks to everyone who read the excerpt from my upcoming book yesterday. It really helps me to have others read and then give me feedback. Here is another excerpt, and I hope you will let me know what you think. Remember, these are not from “Prepare For Greater Things.” It is already available, just go to the home page (www.pastorlee.org)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord and shun evil.
8 This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.
9 Honor the Lord with your wealth,
with the firstfruits of all your crops;
10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine.
11 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline
and do not resent his rebuke,
12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in.
13 Blessed is the man who finds wisdom,
the man who gains understanding,
He will make your paths straight. This word ‘straight’ here means prosperous and right. It means blessed. God will make your path straight. He will make your life prosperous. He will bless you. He will make your life right. I love that. In a world that is full of wrong, the Lord will make your life right. But what is right? What would your life look like if it were right? This is something that must be revealed by the Holy Spirit. We don’t know what right is until The Lord teaches us. Too many people think that right would be having no worries, no stress, and no fear. Some believe that a right life would mean not having to worry about money. In fact, before we go too far, it is important to understand an untruth that seems to be everywhere. It is called prosperity preaching. We have a lot of preachers in our society today that basically say that God wants everyone to be rich. Let me set the record straight. God wants everyone to prosper in every area of their life, but that doesn’t mean that God wants you to be rich and it doesn’t mean He wants you to be poor. Our financial situation will affect our spiritual walk whether we are rich, poor, or somewhere in between. The Bible says that it is easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into Heaven. God does not want you to be rich if being rich is going to keep you out of Heaven! So when you see me using the word prosperity, don’t assume it is money. God’s kind of prosperity is all inclusive. If you are prospering in your bank account, but not your heart, you are not experiencing prosperity from God. Don’t be fooled by today’s preachers that guarantee financial blessings if you will just send your money to them. Not all financial gain is a blessing.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
This was a proverb of the day. It was used to represent something that was impossible. A camel could not ever fit through the eye of the needle. Christ is referring to outward wealth. Outward wealth without spiritual wealth is a sure path to eternal destruction. What good is it to have all of the wealth of the world when all things of this world will one day soon pass? The wealthiest man in history, King Solomon, would gladly tell us that riches are meaningless. God is not in the business of blessing us solely for the here and now. Anything God gives to us may have Earthly value but it will also have greater spiritual value. The world gives earthly blessings while harming our soul. The Lord never limits His blessing to one realm.
The blessing of the Lord brings wealth,
and he adds no trouble to it.
If all I have are riches in this life, then how can I say that God is my God? If I have outward wealth, but inward poverty, then money or my perceived ability to earn money by my own power has become my Savior. But if I have inward wealth, I don’t need outward wealth. However, God says that He has given the task of storing up wealth to unbelievers who will finally give it away to believers. When believers are mature enough to handle outward wealth without being corrupted by it, He will cause those who are outwardly rich to give their wealth to those whom God has prospered with inward wealth. I will say it again. A rich man cannot enter into Heaven. But every person in Heaven will experience some level of prosperity from God while here on Earth. This includes prosperity of the heart, the mind, the body, relationships, wisdom, and yes, even money. I am not promising at all that anyone will be rich. I don’t want to spend a lot of time on this right now, but it is important for us to know that trust in the Lord has the power to bring into our life holistic prosperity of God. We should never cheapen God’s desire to give His children prosperity. God’s prosperity is so much better than money. Money can’t buy good relationships. It can’t buy peace. It can’t buy health. It can’t buy a healthy church. It can’t buy joy, love, mercy, and goodness. It can’t buy any of that. However, when The Lord makes our paths straight, we inherit all of these things. They are the natural result of learning to trust God. To obtain earthly riches without God’s blessing is no blessing at all. It is a curse, a trap. But when we obtain the prosperity of God, we may receive monetary blessings, but these will be the least of our blessings. We will not be tempted to worship money because it will be the last item on our list of blessings so that when money does come our way, we will not be tempted by it. Instead, we will give it away. We will give it to our children. We will give it to our church to fund the ministry. We will give it to the needy. We will give it to the poor. We will give it away for no other reason but to bless people. We will not worship money, but it will be an instrument of praise. To God be the glory!
God wants to make your path straight. He wants to bless you in every possible way, abundantly. He does not want you to have joy. He wants you to have joy unspeakable. He does not want you to have peace. He wants you to have a peace that surpasses all understanding. He does not want you to have love. He wants you to have a love that covers a multitude of sin. He does not want you to just get by; to just enjoy some good things. He wants you to prosper. He wants you to have extreme wealth in every area of your life. This includes finances, but finances are the absolute bottom of the pile, lowest of the low, the least important way that God wants to prosper you. He wants to make your paths straight.
I think of this idea of a straight path in contrast to wandering around in circles or taking the long way to a destination. The shortest distance to a point is a straight line. I can still hear my 8th grade geometry teacher standing at the blackboard. To trust the Lord with all your heart is a call to stop wasting your time chasing after empty dreams and deceitful visions. We get so tired wandering around in circles. I think of the Israelites and how they just wandered around in the desert, never reaching the Promised Land, because of their lack of trust in The Lord. It is when we trust The Lord with all of our heart that He makes our paths straight. No more wandering.
I know that in nearly every church service and nearly every sermon, we hear of how God wants to bless us and how He wants to do this thing and that thing in our life. I just spent a good deal of time in our church explaining how God wants to bless us abundantly. There are so many Scriptures that teach us how The Lord wants to do good things in our life, but everything starts with trust. Yet, so many of us have never experienced the blessings described in Scripture. The Bible describes what God wants to do, but so often, He is unable because of our lack of trust. Haven’t you ever felt frustrated hearing about all that God wants to do, but not seeing any of it in your life? It is trust that opens the floodgates of Heaven. We have been taught that faith in Christ does this. Faith in Christ opens Heaven’s gates for us when we pass into eternity, but it is trust that releases Godly prosperity here on this Earth. It is God’s will for you to be blessed like this. It is God’s will!! The question is whether or not you will really trust Him, with all of your heart. Faith and trust are two different things. We can have faith enough to have our names written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life, but still not have enough trust that God would make our path straight. Unless we trust with all of our heart, our path in this life will never lead us to His greatest blessings. We will wander around, perhaps living a merry-go-round life that seems fun at first, but eventually makes us sick. Trust is the key to stop the wandering, stop the merry-go-round, stop the destructive cycle, and get on a straight path to the Lord’s greatest blessings in our life.
Praise God! You can get off the merry-go-round. You can step away from the chaos. Freedom is at your fingertips. The Lord has not hidden the straight path. On the contrary, Jesus said, “I AM THE WAY.” Some people reading this do not think this applies to them. Get the HELL away from God’s children Satan, you loser! Get out of their head. Get out of their life. Today…do you hear me brothers and sisters…TODAY?!? Today, the wandering stops.