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Thursday, September 13 2018

Contributor: Leye Olayiwola

Introduction: So, who is a poor person? “lacking a normal or adequate supply of something specified” (Merriam-Webster)Deficient or lacking in; Lacking sufficient money to live at a standard considered comfortable or normal in a society. (Oxford).

There is no doubt that poverty’s reach is both widespread and devastating. God’s people cannot be indifferent toward those in need, because His expectations for us in regard to taking care of the poor are woven throughout the entirety of Scripture. The first part of Proverbs 14:31 says, “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker.” Proverbs is, in fact, filled with verses clearly showing that God loves the poor and is offended when His children neglect them. The consequences for ignoring the plight of the poor are also made clear in Proverbs Proverbs 21:13: “If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered”. And note the strong language in Proverbs 28:27: “He who closes his eyes to [the poor] receives many curses.”.  

We will consider some strange teachings relating to giving to the poor and the examples that Jesus gave us in the scriptures.

  1. Contrasting Teachings about Giving to the Poor
  • Teaching that giving to an anointed personality will bring a greater blessing to the donor than giving o the poor or supporting the local church's ministry at the expense of the poor. These teachers imply that because they have a "special anointing" like Jesus, they have a gift—a Midas touch to multiply money back to the donor and impart great blessings.
  • Some of these ministers actually suggest that there is not much blessing in giving to the poor by quoting Proverbs 19:17: “He who is gracious and lends a hand to the poor lends to the Lord, And the Lord will repay him for his good deed.”
  • Referring to the above scripture, some ministers allege that giving to the poor is not too good an investment. They say, "Giving five dollars to a poor person is a loan to God, and He will pay you back five dollars.” You get back just what you 'loaned' to God. But if you invest that five dollars in a ministry with a 'higher anointing,' you can expect a multiplied return."
  • Jesus’s statement about always having the poor with you in John 12:8 has been mis-interpreted to mean that the poor aren't worth much, that they're a dime a dozen. This teaching is totally wrong and thoroughly unscriptural. Such suggestions are completely false interpretations of Proverbs19:7 and John 12:8.
  1. Truth about Giving to the Poor
  • The idea that "loaning" a dollar to God by giving it to the poor will only bring a repayment of a dollar is not consistent with other Bible examples. John 5 tells how Jesus "borrowed" Peter's boat. He got into the boat and asked "the big fisherman" to put out from the shore so He would have a platform to teach the crowd of people who had thronged about Him. Then Jesus repaid Peter for the loan of his boat.

“When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”  When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.  So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.” [Luke 5:4-7 NIV]

  • In the very next chapter of John's Gospel, we find the account of the feeding of the five thousand. You know the story: A little boy gave his lunch of five small barley loaves and two fish to Jesus, who multiplied them to feed the multitude of hungry people. When everyone had eaten, the disciples gathered up the leftovers—twelve baskets full! (see John 6:8-12.). It is believed that Jesus gave those twelve baskets of bread and fish to that little boy who had given his lunch to the poor, "loaning" it to God. Several people must have had to help him carry all that food back home. He was repaid for his loan with bountiful interest.
  • People often quote just one verse of Scripture on a subject that seems to give a certain impression, but they ignore many others. You can't build a doctrine on any one scripture. The Bible says, "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established" (2 Cor. 13:1).
  • The New Testament is equally clear as to how we are to take care of the poor. One verse that nicely summarizes our expected charity is found in the first Epistle of John:

“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with action and in truth”

(1 John 3:17–18 ESV)

  • God's Word gives us insight into His heart for the poor and instruction in how we are to care for them. If we truly have faith in Jesus, we must also share His concern for the poor. Jesus commanded us to love one another (John 13:34–35). And what better way to demonstrate the love and kindness and compassion of Jesus Christ than by reaching out to the “least of these” among us?

Conclusion:

The Bible has much to say about helping and ministering to the poor. Let's start with the verse some ministers misuse. In John 12:8, Jesus says, "You will always have the poor among you." What Jesus really meant is disclosed in the Old Testament verse He was quoting:

"There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore, I command you to be open-handed toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land" [Deut.15:11 NIV].

So what Jesus was really saying, in essence, was this: "There will always be poor people to help, and you should help them as much as you can. You'll always have opportunities to help the poor, but I'll only be here a very short time."

Part of this teaching was taken from “THE MIDAS TOUCH” by Kenneth E. Hagin

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 04:36 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, September 06 2018

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

INTRODUCTION

In the past few weeks we have been looking at several lessons that will help us; as believers avoid abuses and false practices as it relates to Biblical prosperity that has become the order of the day these days. Last week, we looked at the true definition and practical application of the hundred-fold return Jesus referred to against erroneous teachings surrounding it. In today’s study we will be looking at another possible error to avoid in the guise of 'Debt-Breaking' or 'Money-Multiplying’ Anointing.

THE HONEST TRUTH

The truth remains that fundraising has become a fact of life—a necessary part of every effective Christian organization if it is to survive. Gordon Lindsay; one of the leading ministers of the Pentecostal movement and the healing revival in the twentieth century wrote the following: “[Money] is an important element in promoting Christian work. Its availability to a considerable extent governs the scope of our activities. It is, therefore, natural that a minister looks for ways and means by which he can secure necessary funds for the work that he feels called to do. But here lurks many pitfalls in which the unwary may stumble. The line between the permissible and the objectionable is sometimes very thin. Some men have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for missions, and their work is to be highly praised. Others have raised comparatively insignificant amounts, and the manner in which it was done or the way they used it, has called forth strong condemnation. If people are told that the money is to be used for a certain purpose, and it is spent largely for other things, then it is being raised under false pretenses. This is a sore point. Certainly, there are costs in raising missionary money. Anyone who says otherwise doesn't speak the truth.”

There has been claims in that past about some preacher who either claims—or is said by others—to be especially anointed to "break the power of debt" over people's lives or to be able to "multiply people's money back to them." In most cases, this “special anointing or ability” can only be activated by giving an offering to this minister or the organization he represents. There is however no scriptural backing to such claims. Unfortunately, it is simply a scheme to raise money for the preacher, and ultimately it can turn out to be dangerous and destructive for all involved. We need to be extremely careful about elevating certain ministers to higher-than-human status. Our focus should be on God rather than man.

THE EXPECTED RESPONSE

Certainly, money can be more productive for the Kingdom of God when it is sown into a productive ministry. And there are gifted ministers skilled at building confidence and motivating people. But Christians should be giving to help get the Gospel out and to do God's work, not to get some "highly anointed minister" to multiply their money back to them.

Acts 14:8-18 tells the story of when Paul and Barnabas ministered in the city of Lystra, and a lifelong cripple was raised up, leaping and walking. When the people of the city saw what had happened, they cried, "The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men." They called Barnabas Jupiter and called Paul Mercurius. The Bible says the priests of the city brought oxen and garlands to offer a sacrifice to them.

To restrain the people from worshipping them, Paul and Barnabas had to run among the people and testify that they were just men in the service of the Living God. It seems there is something about human nature that wants to elevate certain people to god-like status. But these days, you rarely see such actions; instead these so-called ministers allow the weak to elevate them and make them believe that if they put money into their hands the will somehow, magically, bring increase and multiplication of their finances. This can quickly degenerate into wrong motives or covetousness as many could be tempted to give, not just to bless God's work, but out of greed for the material gain they hope to get for their own selfish purposes.

THE PITFALL

A person who feels that he is in bondage to debt may give a hope against hope that the minister will help him get such a miraculous return from his offering that he can pay off his debts and get a fresh start.

Kenneth Hagin writes:

“I've heard of people with large credit-card debts or medical bills who had been told to expect "supernatural debt cancellation." Then, through a computer mistake or human error, they received a statement showing that they no longer owed anything or owed a substantially smaller amount. In some cases, a bank deposit was posted incorrectly, giving them credit for a larger amount that was enough to pay off an indebtedness. There is nothing "supernatural" about these kinds of events. Trying to take advantage of them will only lead to more trouble. If some kind of mistake is made in which a Christian is credited with money that he knows doesn't belong to him, he has a moral, ethical, and biblical obligation to rectify the matter.”

How many of us will do this today?

It's been said that as a young man, Abraham Lincoln worked as a clerk in a store. A woman came in one day and purchased some items. Lincoln added up her bill, and it came to two dollars and six and a quarter cent. She paid the bill, was entirely satisfied, and left. Later, Lincoln began to question his calculation. He refigured it and realized the bill should have been two dollars even. That night when he locked the store, he walked two to three miles to her home and paid her the six and a quarter cent.

The Bible says, "If you see your brother's ox or sheep straying, do not ignore it but be sure to take it back to him. If the brother does not live near you or if you do not know who he is, take it home with you and keep it until he comes looking for it. Then give it back to him. Do the same if you find your brother’s donkey or his cloak or anything he loses. Do not ignore it" (Deut.22:1-3 NIV).

SUPERNATURAL WEALTH TRANSFER

So, what about Ecclesiastes 2:26 which says: “To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”

How then did God intend for this supernatural wealth transfer happen?

The Lord’s intention is that the fruitless labour of the sinner in heaping up his often-ill-gotten gains is not altogether wasted. His treasure is passed into hands that make a better use of it than he has done.

Proverbs 28:8 says, “He that by usury and unjust gains increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor,

And in Job 27:16-17, the Bible says: “Though he heaps up silver as the dust and prepare raiment as the clay; he may prepare it, but the just shall put it on, and the innocent shall divide the silver.”

Also see Proverbs 13:22, A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.”

God can and will supernaturally transfer the wealth of the ungodly to those who fear him. But not His children who seek after wealth like the ungodly; propelled by greed and not His children who don’t seek to please Him or are void of wisdom and knowledge.

CONCLUSION

For most people, getting out of debt is not an instantaneous or overnight process. They don't experience a single miraculous “breakthrough" in which God dumps a big lump sum in their lap. Usually it involves many months—maybe years—of hard work, diligence, good money management, wisdom, living within one's means, and the blessings of God that come through faith. Matt. 25:16-17 tells us the one way of multiplying resources. Hard work!

“16 The one who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he [made a profit and] gained five more. 17 Likewise the one who had two [made a profit and] gained two more.”

The minister who claims to have a "debt-breaking" or “money-multiplying" anointing is in danger of being led deeper into error. Instead of presenting a balanced message of the full Gospel and fulfilling the call of God on his life, he may become a narrowly-focused "specialist," dealing only with money and financial gain. He may even develop into such a skilled fundraiser that he becomes a "hired gun," brought in by other ministry organizations to raise money for them (for a "cut" of the “take"). Instead of living to bless people, strengthen local churches, and advance the cause of Christ, such a preacher runs a great risk and faces great temptation of focusing only on what he can get for himself and his purposes. Somewhere along the way, his original call and mission gets laid aside. The Apostle Paul said, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away" (1 Cor. 9:27). That is much too high a price to pay for money.

Parts of this study was culled from The Midas Touch by Kenneth E. Hagin

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 05:53 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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