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23 January 2019
Walking in Prosperity and All Round Success - Rev. Funke Ewuosho

God wants you to be successful in life! His will for you is prosperity. God wants you to walk in favour and freedom in every area of your life. God"s will for us is not partial success but all-round success;

“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” (3 Jn. 2)

God said to Joshua; “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Josh. 1:8)

God want us to prosper in everything we do! Yes, in everything! Therefore, whatever we do is worth doing well; if it isn"t worth doing well, it isn"t worth doing at all. Wherever you are, whatever you do, God wants you to have good success.

In Psalm 1:3, the Bible says that man who delights in God"s law and meditates constantly in it, shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water “and whatever he does shall prosper”. To 'prosper" means, 'to push forward in various senses, to go over, to be good, to be profitable."

The Bible says that Isaac sowed in the land of famine and in the same year reaped a hundredfold, and the LORD blessed him. “And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great:” (Gen 26:12,13)

God wants you to prosper in WHATEVER you do! What then could ever be your reasons or excuses for not prospering or succeeding in whatever you do?

Joseph was a man who had every reason not to have prospered or succeeded in life. He was sold as a slave by his own brothers! The Bible says in Genesis 39:2-4, “The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper (to be a success) in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority.” Remember that Joseph was the great-grandson of Abraham, God"s covenant friend! Here he was, not as a Master, but a slave to an Egyptian master! Yet the Bible says that the LORD was with Joseph and he was a successful or prosperous man! Some people believe they are not prospering because they are not their own boss or because they are working for a non-believer. Potiphar saw that the LORD was with Joseph because he saw that the LORD made all that Joseph did to prosper. That was a good testimony in itself.

Joseph served Potiphar and he was promoted. Some people see their job as a limitation or a hindrance to their progress or promotion in life. On the contrary, your job could be a channel and a stepping stone to other things that God has for you if you would have the right attitude.

Proverbs 22:29 says, “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.” (KJV). Another translation says a man who excels in his work (or is prompt in his business) will not stand before unknown (or obscure) men. The Message Bible says “Observe people who are good at their work; skilled workers are always in demand and admired; they don"t take a backseat to anyone.”

Joseph was obviously a very diligent man. He served his master diligently; he was prompt in his business. No wonder he was promoted to being the overseer of Potiphar"s house. Also when he was in the prison, the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph"s hand all the prisoners and all the prison affairs; and the LORD made whatever he did to prosper. (Gen 39:22,23).

Diligence and hard work always pay off; it"s only a matter of time! Diligence, literally means, 'a threshing sledge" (i.e. having sharp teeth). It therefore implies; determination, eagerness, sharpness, quickness, readiness, skilfulness, etc.

Proverbs 10:4 says, “He who has a slack hand becomes poor, But the hand of the diligent makes rich.” Also in Proverbs 12:24, “The hand of the diligent will rule, But the lazy man will be put to forced labour.” These verses tell us why some people are poor; why they are in financial or economic bondage. The Message Bible is spot on, it says, “The diligent find freedom in their work; the lazy are oppressed by work.” (Pr. 12:24). How true! Did we ever see Joseph complain on the job? Did he ever try to draw any attention to himself? Don"t forget that this was a guy so loved and 'spoilt" by his father back at home. He had never had any practices on being a slave, yet he adjusted so well in a strange land, doing what he had never done before. Joseph, indeed, so found freedom in his work in Potiphar's house, in the prison and everywhere, that all he got was favour and promotion!

A lazy man will always complain on his job about anything and everything. Have you ever heard the saying; “A lazy man is always angry with his tools”?

A lazy man is always full of excuses. Proverbs 26:13; “The lazy man says, “There is a lion in the road! A fierce lion is in the streets! As a door turns on its hinges, So does the lazy man on his bed.”

Think about it; for every excuse you give to yourself as a reason for not succeeding, there are people who have faced similar or even worse situations and yet have succeeded! No reason is good enough. You can succeed despite the obstacles. Challenges are meant to be overcome. Hurdles are meant to be scaled. You can convert stumbling blocks to stepping stones. Lazy folks are always full of ideas but no action. They are too lazy to translate their ideas into profitable actions. They usually have nothing to show for their lofty ideas.

Proverbs 26:12, 16 (The Message Bible) “See that man who thinks he"s so smart? You can expect far more from a fool than from him. Dreamers fantasize their self-importance; the think they are smarter than a whole college faculty.” “A lazy life is an empty life, but “early to rise” gets the job done.” (Pr. 12:27 – The Message Bible)

James 2:17, says faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Verse 18 says “I will show you my faith by my works.” Proverbs 13:4 says, “The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.”

Have you ever heard the saying, 'If wishes were horses, beggars would ride"? Lazy folks are too lazy to work out their ideas. Proverbs 26:15 says the lazy man buries his hand in the bowl but is too lazy to lift it to his mouth. Proverbs 13:4 (The Message Bible) says “Indolence wants it all and gets nothing; the energetic have something to show for their lives.”

Remember, “Show me your faith without works, and I will show you my faith BY MY WORKS.”

Diligent people plan their work and they work their plan! Proverbs 21:5; “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.” Lazy people are too mentally and physically lazy to carry out any plan. They just can"t be bothered with details. Remember, diligence isn"t just about hard work but also means being sharp, being on the cutting-edge, being skilful and being determined. Diligence is paying attention to details. If you jumped into anything without careful planning, you will also find yourself jumping out as quickly as you jumped in! Proverbs 27:23,27, “Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, And attend to your herds; You shall have enough goats" milk for your food, For the food of your household, And the nourishment of your maidservants.” Did you notice the connection between diligence and prosperity? Many folks are lazy! You must make up your mind to succeed and be your best in whatever you do. Ecclesiastes 9:10: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.”

Before the fall, Man was put in the garden to tend (i.e. dress or cultivate) and keep it (Gen 2:15). God had planted a garden and made trees to grow out of the ground; there were also gold and other precious stones buried in that garden. The garden was full of potentials and God put Him man there “to dress it and keep it” (KJV). “Dress” means 'to work, to serve, to labour, to till, to bring to pass." It was man"s responsibility 'to bring to pass" what God had deposited in that garden. We must take note that work isn"t a curse! Man was put in the garden to work it, to till and to cultivate that garden. However, when man fell, the ground was cursed “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil (KJV – in sorrow) you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground,” (Gen 3:17-19).

That was a different scenario from Genesis 2:15, when man was put in the garden to dress it. To 'toil" means to work long or laboriously. It connotes something negative. That wasn"t God"s original idea about work. Ps. 127:1-2, “Unless the LORD builds the house, They labour in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, To sit up late, To eat the bread of sorrows; For so He gives His beloved sleep.” The curse was that the man shall eat out of the ground in sorrows all the days of his life. (Gen 3:17 KJV).

To toil connotes labouring without commensurate results. It implies putting out so much and bringing in so little. In Luke 5:4; Jesus told Peter to launch out into the deep and let down his nets for a catch. But Peter answered Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word, I will let down the net”. And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish...”

This story shows us the difference between 'toil" and 'work". Working without grace can be toil, “nevertheless at your word, I will let down the net.” He had been doing it before, on his own. “Unless the LORD builds a house, they labour in vain, who build it.” God still expects us to build; He still expects us to work but not without His blessing. Someone said, one word from God can change your life forever! Remember, it is the blessing of the LORD that makes one rich, without sorrow. (Pr. 10:22). Christ has redeemed us form the Curse, that the blessing of Abraham might come upon us. Jesus wore the crown of thorns to redeem us from the Curse. Your ground is no longer cursed! You don"t have to eat out of it in sorrow anymore! It shall no longer bring forth thorns and thistles for you; and you don"t have to eat bread in the sweat of your face anymore!

It was the blessing of Abraham that made Isaac to sow and reap a hundred fold in the land of famine. It was the blessing that made Jacob prosper under a fraudulent master, who had changed his wages ten times! It was the blessing that made Joseph prosper in Egypt, in Potiphar"s house, in the prison and in the Palace! God said to Abram in Genesis 12:2, “I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing.” The Patriarchs were not only blessed, they were a blessing to others. Joseph was a blessing to Potiphar, to the prison warden and to Pharaoh. Jacob was a blessing to Laban.

You are an asset, not a liability. You are a blessing to someone, and not a burden. Laban didn"t want Jacob to go; he said to Jacob, “Please stay, if I have found favour in your eyes, for I have learned by experience that the LORD has blessed me for your sake.” Then he said, “Name me your wages, and I will give it.” (Gen 30:27-28).

You must begin to change the way you see your job and also the way you see yourself. The way you see yourself is the way you will behave and also the way others will see you.

“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Prov. 23:7) If you think you are a burden and a liability to others, so you are! If you see yourself as 'grasshopper", that is also how others will see you. Don"t let what you see or experience affect who you are. Laban changed Jacob"s wages ten times, but that didn"t change Jacob"s fortune or future, because Jacob didn"t allow Laban"s ways to change who he was! He said to Laban"s daughters, “And you know that with all my might I have served your father. Yet your father has deceived me and changed my wages ten times, but God did not allow him to hurt me.” (Gen 31:6-7).

Did you notice that Jacob wasn"t lazy? He served Laban with all his might. Joseph also served Potiphar. There should really be no excuse for laziness or slothfulness on your job, especially if you would succeed in life. Jacob didn"t serve half heartedly; rather he served with all his might. Some people are forever looking for new jobs, and so they don"t work with all their might. Jesus said if you are faithful in least, you are also faithful in much and if you are unfaithful in least, you are also unfaithful in much. He said, if you have not been faithful in what is another man"s, nobody will give you what is your own. (Lk. 16:10-12). Jesus also said no servant can serve two masters, because he will either be loyal to one and despise the other. (Luke 16:13).

Are you serving two masters while on your job? Are you busy serving your own interest while you are on your job, or you are serving whole heartedly? Are you allowing your own interest to clash with the interest of your job? The answers will help you know if you are being faithful in another man"s business or not.

This calls for us having a change of attitude towards our job. We should be grateful to God for our job, instead of complaining about it. Remember, there are people out there who don"t have a job or who would rather have your job. Your job is a channel through which God can, and wants to bless you! He wants to prosper you in whatever you do. “The LORD will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand...” (Deut. 28:8). Remember, if you are doing nothing, then you aren"t giving God the room to bless you financially!

You can be happy on your job, instead of being put into forced labour (Pr. 12:24). You don"t necessarily have to change your job or be miserable because you can"t change it. You can change yourself, your attitude, your disposition, your orientation, your belief-system. You can find freedom in your work instead of being oppressed by it. Remember, Joseph was a slave and a prisoner; yet he was prosperous! You don"t have to be the boss to be happy! You can be happy where you are, on the way to where you are going. What are the things you can learn where you are now, on your job? That is what it means to see your job not only as a channel, but also as a stepping stone to greater heights. Zechariah 4:10 says, “For who has despised the day of small things?” Remember, small things have the potential of becoming big things, if we would handle them right. We must pass the test of 'small things" to move forward in life. Jesus said faithfulness or unfaithfulness in small things, is seen as faithfulness or unfaithfulness in big things! God won"t commit big things to us, if we aren"t faithful in small things.

How do you handle the phase you are in right now? That will determine if you will ever get to the next phase and how you will handle it, when you get there. I believe that Joseph learnt some skills as a slave and as a prisoner which prepared him for the challenges he faced as a Prime Minister later on in life. He must have learnt leadership skills, management skills, people skills, etc. Don"t you ever waste your trials, rather let them work for you! You can become better prepared and equipped for your future. James 1:2-4 (The Message Bible), “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colours. So don"t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” Imagine if Joseph had tried to get out of Potiphar"s house or the prison, prematurely? One thing for sure, he wouldn"t have made it to the palace or if he did, he would have made a big mess of it! Change your attitude of just working to get by or to pay your bills or to make a living. Work to develop yourself. Work to become a better person in life. Work to contribute to your world. Work to be a blessing to others. You must have a healthy attitude towards your work and work in general.

Jesus said, those who labour and are heavy laden should come unto Him and He will give then rest. How? “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me... For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30)

He does not want us to be oppressed by work! Ecclesiastes 10:10, 15: “If the ax is dull, And one does not sharpen the edge, Then he must use more strength; But wisdom brings success.

The labour of fools wearies them, For they do not even know how to go to the city!”

If you are being oppressed by your work, rather than finding freedom in it and enjoying it; you might need to learn a few things that could help you make the necessary adjustments. Remember, work is not a curse and it isn"t an option! There is no way round it, if you are to stay on top and not beneath!

God"s will for you is financial freedom! Proverbs 22:7 says, “The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender.” God"s blessing on Israel is that the LORD will open to them His good treasure, the heavens to give rain to their land and to bless the work of their hand, and they shall lend to many nations but shall not borrow. (Deut. 28:12).

In Deuteronomy 8:18, Moses commands the Israelites to remember the LORD their God, because it is He who gives them the power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant, which He swore to their fathers. 'Power" means, vigour, strength, force, capacity, etc. It means capacity or ability, whether physical, mental or spiritual. It is, therefore, in acknowledgement of God being the source of their wealth, that the Israelites respond to Him in their tithes and offerings.

After Abram"s battle against the King of Sodom and his allies, Melchizedek the Priest of God Most High met him with bread and wine and blessed Abram and also said “And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” (Gen. 14:19-20).

That is, Abram"s victory wasn"t just because he was strong and smart but because God delivered his enemies into his hand. And Abram gave Melchizadek tithes of all he got from the battle.

In Genesis 28, when God appeared to Jacob, he made a vow to God and said “...and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.” (v. 22b).

Take note that all this was before the Law! Moses said they should remember that God gave them the power to get wealth and not begin to say in their hearts that their power and might made them wealthy (Deut. 28:17, 18). To the Patriarchs, tithes and offerings were not a matter of the Law (as a matter of fact, they did them before the Law), it was done in recognition and acknowledgement of God, as their Source. Abel brought the first born for his flock and their fat to the LORD, before the Law. (Gen. 4:4)

Proverbs 3:9,10 says, “Honor the LORD with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase; So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.” The key word there is 'Honour". God wants us to honour Him with our giving. The Bible says the LORD respected Abel and his offering (I believe, because it was done with honour). We don"t give to God as slaves but as children of God. Give with love and joy in your heart. “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9:6-7). The Amplified Bible says: “for God loves (He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, “prompt to do it”) giver [whose heart is in his giving].” If we would prosper financially, we must also be diligent in our giving, not only in our work. 2 Corinthians 9:8 goes on to say; “And God is able to make all grace (every favour and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation].” (Amplified Bible).

Did you notice verse 8 starts with 'And"? That is, it doesn"t stand alone, it must be taken with the preceding verses. Paul was therefore saying to the Corinthians that if they would do their part, in giving bountifully and cheerfully, God"s grace will abound towards them and they will have more than enough for themselves and others! God multiplies every seed sown (verse 10). We could see the same trend of thought in Philippians 4:15-19; they shared with Paul concerning giving and receiving, they sent aid for his necessities. “Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:18-19).

In Philippians 4:17, Paul spoke about the fruit that abound to their account; but what account was he talking about? In Matthew 6b, Jesus talked about laying treasures in heaven. Seems to me that every believer has a heavenly account, “an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,” (1 Pet. 1:4). One of the ways we make deposits in our heavenly account is by giving; giving to support the work of God, giving to the poor, giving to support missions and missionaries, etc.

How then do we draw on our heavenly account. Remember, they are kept for us and not from us! Jesus said if we are faithful in 'unrighteous mammon" God will give us 'true riches" (Luke 16:11).

However, 'NO DEPOSIT, NO WITHDRAWALS". We draw, firstly, by ASKING.

Matt. 7:7-8; “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Also in James 4:2; “...Yet you do not have because you do not ask.” Jesus said in Mark 11:24, that whatever things we ask when we pray, we should believe that we receive them, and we will have them.

The key word in these verses is 'ask". We must be bold enough to ask. When you need to withdraw money from your bank account, you simply ask.

Secondly, you need to CREATE THE CHANNELS. God is the Source, and He wants to bless the work of our hands (Ps 1:3). He wants to give us creative ideas that can generate money. Remember, the power to get wealth is not only physical and spiritual, but also mental. Your job, your business, your investments, etc are examples of channels you could create.

In conclusion, remember, God wants you to prosper and to walk in financial freedom. “If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (Jn. 8:36). He wants you to make your way prosperous and have 'good success" (Josh. 1:8). God wants you to be victorious in life. (1 Jn. 5:4). “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” (2 Cor. 2:14). AMEN!