Romans 12:1-2 (Message)
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
What are you doing with your life? I mean outside of waking up, consuming three meals, going to work, sleeping through church, and the mundane routine that human beings have established and labeled an ordinary life. Is your first thought in the morning that there has to be more to life than this? Or do you struggle to determine what your purpose is? Are you living the abundant life that Jesus died for each of us to have? Many people cry out to the Lord each day to do something for them, with them or in them. We have missed the point. He did do something. Now it is up to us to do the rest. What are you doing today to uncover the calling that the Lord has placed on your life? It has nothing to do with money or success but fulfillment and contentment. Abundant means existing in plentiful supply. It is copious, profuse and overflowing amounts of “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23) when it pertains to our life in Christ. We do not embrace what the Lord is doing our life because a lack of faith makes us wonderful if we really want what He has for us. Culture has bred a mentality of want that is seldom satisfied but promotes wanting more. The American Dream is that of supply and demand so we spend the majority of our time pursing prosperity that looks a lot like a dollar bill rather than investing our life in pursuit of the Kingdom of God. Thinking cold hard cash will bring us contentment, it becomes our passion. Abundant life is for Children of God. The Lord did not come into this world so that you would be saved yet live in poverty and lack. But He also did not come so that you put your faith in this world and yield worthless wealth. Money cannot produce a single gift of the Holy Spirit because they are just that. As we learn to invest our life in forever and stop wasting it on futility – we will mature and in turn we will prosper. That is all prosperity is! It is a successful, flourishing and thriving condition. To prosper means to be mature and fully develop. The Word of God tells us that we will prosper as our soul prospers. Dead soul will result in dead dreams. Those who choose to prosper will decide that God knows what is best for them and decide to do something about it.
Matthew 16:24-26 (Message)
Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?
Jesus is not religious…He is righteous. He is bent on justice and doing things the right way. Manmade religion has decided that we must “act” a certain way, wear special clothes, pray specific words, and do everything right. That’s not what Jesus said! “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead.” Jesus always did the “right” thing. He gave up His Life to do the Will of God. We want Jesus but we do not want to follow Him. Am I the only one who cringes at the thought of leaving my well-built, temperature-controlled, comfort zone called home to go into the mission fields of third world countries? Of course I am considering there are few who will give up their weekend to cut an elderly friend’s yard or bring a shut-in a hot home-cooked meal and some company. There is not condemnation because I am just like you. Easily becoming consumed with my own life and making everything perfect rather than allowing Jesus Christ to perfect that which concerns me as He has promised. (Psalm 138:8) I try to control everything so that I am never inconvenienced or uncomfortable. Discipleship doesn’t work that way. Abundance does not flow in such a life. Self-anything does not work. To find our purpose and full potential in this life is to give it up in pursuit of Jesus Christ. To gain the whole world and die in one’s sin is a tragic loss that no one has to bear. What would you trade for your soul? You may already be doing so today. What is that person, place or thing that keeps you from following Jesus Christ to the Cross, through His Grace and into Eternity? It is the very thing suffocating your dream, killing your vision and stopping your success!
John 15:11-16 (Message)
“I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father. You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you.”
We are not servants of God through Jesus Christ although we are called to serve the Lord. A servant is paid to obey. It is a job or task for them. They do not know or understand purpose because they don’t have to. But the Lord has a plan and purpose for our life that is good containing a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11-13) He is not interested in what you can do for Him as an employer might be, but is completely invested in your prosperity. He wants you to have an abundant, rich and overflowing life but few people are willing to give what it takes to really do something with their life. There is a price and cost to consider in prosperity. It will cost you everything to make room for what Jesus Christ has in store for your life. Can you handle it? Of course you can because He chose you for this purpose before time began. Do you really want it? You may not think so in its present condition. Your dream may seem small and insignificant but by choosing obedience over laziness you will make room for your purpose to grow, mature and develop into prosperity as God designed which is abundant and overflowing. Such a life is not for mindless servants but those who He calls “friends”. Those who choose a relationship with Jesus over religion. Those who decide to invest the effort and time in cultivating the gifts of His Spirit rather than chasing the American Dream. What did He command? That we love one another enough to lay our life down for our friends. This and only this will make you a friend of God. Some of you are thinking that you have to hold it all together. Life has taken so many bits and pieces from you that you have nothing real to give God. He took care of that too by giving you a measure of faith to invest in Jesus Christ. (Romans 12:2) He placed Eternity in your heart so you would know what you are after. Anything and everything you do will succeed when you walk in the Love of Jesus Christ following His Lead!
Luke 12:47-48 (Message)
“The servant who knows what his master wants and ignores it, or insolently does whatever he pleases, will be thoroughly thrashed. But if he does a poor job through ignorance, he’ll get off with a slap on the hand. Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities!”
Before you get all worked up that Jesus punishes us for laziness or disobedience, hang on a second. The point of this parable is this: Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities! Or in New King James it reads “to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” If you are seeking satisfaction and fulfillment in achieving your purpose in this life, it will require responsibility on our part. We must live according to God’s Word. We must love God more than we love this world. We must surrender our life to Jesus Christ so He can prepare us for a plan that involves more than we can think or ask. If you cannot think of it or ask for it, how can you prepare to receive it? You can’t. It is God working on the inside of you. But unless you are will to obey God’s Commandments as they are written, how can God give you the great responsibility of divine purpose proposed by spiritual inspiration? We are no longer servants but great leaders know how to serve. Servants serve out of obligation, but friends serve one another out of love. We are become so focused on money and manmade wealth that we desire it from the Lord which is considered a lesser thing. For Pete’s sake, God used it to pave the streets of heaven. This implies its real worth. The dollar is unstable. You will never have enough money to satisfy your life. Money cannot buy love, peace, or joy. It cannot anchor our hope. Yet we spend our life trying to get it. I believe that when money does matter anymore that you will have more than enough. I am very surprised at the doctrine known as the prosperity gospel still being preached from the pulpit. I testify to you today. Money cannot buy love, it cannot heal your body, it cannot restore a broken heart and it cannot satisfy your soul – only Jesus can making Him a most worthy investment of our time, talent and treasure.
Luke 6:37-38 (Message)
“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.”
Who doesn’t want bonus and blessing? Some of you are praying for it right now. What if I told you that you have everything you need to live a satisfied, overflowing, abundant life? (2 Corinthians 9:8) We must examine the “want’ in our life to determine the origin. Giving is how we make room for God’s Bonus and Blessing. We are to have a life that is overflowing meaning have enough so that it just runs over the top. “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” are the catalyst of abundance and prosperity in our life not hard work, determination, and motivation. The more of our life that we are willing to commit to the pursuit of Jesus Christ – the greater the area of harvest. We limit our potential by barricading parts of our life to the Holy Spirit’s work. We do not take the Lord to work with us. We do not allow Him to open our wallets. We refuse to give Him a moment’s notice as we are much too busy living this life. Yet we cry out to the Lord for His Prosperity and are perplexed when we don’t have it.
Luke 12:13-21 (Message)
Someone out of the crowd said, “Teacher, order my brother to give me a fair share of the family inheritance.” He replied, “Mister, what makes you think it’s any of my business to be a judge or mediator for you?” Speaking to the people, he went on, “Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot.” Then he told them this story: “The farm of a certain rich man produced a terrific crop. He talked to himself: ‘What can I do? My barn isn’t big enough for this harvest.’ Then he said, ‘Here’s what I’ll do: I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll gather in all my grain and goods, and I’ll say to myself, Self, you’ve done well! You’ve got it made and can now retire. Take it easy and have the time of your life!’ “Just then God showed up and said, ‘Fool! Tonight you die. And your barnful of goods—who gets it?’ That’s what happens when you fill your barn with Self and not with God.”
Jesus desires our generosity. He doesn’t need anything but rather watches to see if we are truly satisfied. You have a plan and purpose for your life that God planted in you for fulfillment. Do let the things of this world like money and power distract you from finding it. Worry and concern rob precious moments from your life while you worry about daily provision rather than focusing your full attention on prosperity. Prosperity is an inward condition that produces an outward harvest as God’s Love and Power overflow from your life. Don’t put a lid on it! Don’t stop it up afraid you will run out! But let it flow in you and through you generously. As the Word of God reminds us “generosity begets generosity” according to the Kingdom of God. You are a member of His Kingdom and your inheritance is secure. You don’t need to tell the Lord what you need. He already knows and has provided it for you. You can’t tell God how to do it either, this would abort His Plan and end the possibility of fulfillment for your life. Remember God is good and just. He will always to the “right” thing. The more of God that we allow to live and work through our lives, the sooner prosperity will produce an abundance in our life completing us and causing us to be satisfied. You are a child of God. You have a plan and purpose with an inheritance big enough to bless you and overflow to those around you! it is all about the Lord. Give Him an inch and He will give you a mile. That’s how it works with Jesus because we can never out give God. Less of me and more of you Jesus is the cry of the prosperous. Success comes at a price. It will cost you everything! But you will have to do something…
John 3:29-30 (Message)
“That’s why my cup is running over. This is the assigned moment for him to move into the center, while I slip off to the sidelines.
John 3:30 (NLT)
He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.