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Building a Recession Proof Future - Rev. Kola Ewuosho
BY LEARNING HOW GOD PROSPERS HIS PEOPLE, YOU CAN HAVE A RECESSION PROOF FUTURE
Does God have a plan for His people in these days of the credit crunch? Are there lessons to be learnt from this recession? What can we learn to make us recession proof in the future? This global phenomenon has had a ripple effect in many aspects of the lives of many people. Many have faced untold hardship while others have had their homes repossessed and properties confiscated. Many parts of people"s lives have been negatively affected by the current recession. What is God saying about these human tragedies? Is there comfort from any source? Can we have assurance for our future in view of all these realities?
GOD HAS A PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE: TO BE IN HEALTH AND PROSPER AS YOUR SOUL PROSPERS
3 John 2 says “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” God"s plans are based on His Word and His covenant and therefore they are based on faith. Faith is the access we have into the realm of the spirit. The strong pull today towards being earthbound has done a major disservice to the life of faith. We access divine realities through faith. Faith starts with believing. By believing with the heart we enter into a new state, a new realm, a new reality. “With the heart man believes unto righteousness.” (Romans 10:9). What we believe matters, who we believe in is vital and how we let our faith shape our lives will determine what we experience and how much we can really cooperate with God for His will to be done in our lives. God is a faith-God and His nature is Love. The just shall live by faith. (Romans 1:17). Faith introduces us to a reality beyond our sense knowledge reality. It is this reality that proves too hard for the sense-ruled person to comprehend. This inability creates space for an intruder to try to paint a different picture so as to derail us from following God"s purposes. Actually, sense knowledge can and does war against revealed knowledge or Bible-faith knowledge. This is the reason why many outstanding events in the Bible come across as fables to people who are bound or limited by sense knowledge alone. Think about many miracles in the Old and New Testament and imagine how the man limited by senses will see them.
MAN IS A SPIRIT; HE HAS A SOUL AND LIVES IN A BODY
The tripartite nature of man is not a reality in many minds. We can relate with our minds but usually our relationship with the realm of the spirit is very uncertain because we have lived in the sense realm so long that the spirit realm looks unreal. This is what makes the whole issue of relating with God, getting into His plans for our lives and participating with His programme, sometimes daunting. In Matthew 16, when Jesus told Peter that what he said was revealed to him by the Father, we are immediately introduced to two kinds of knowledge: sense knowledge and revealed knowledge. The quality, power and impact of revealed knowledge far outweighs that of sense knowledge. By revealed knowledge, one comes into a lot more than just facts and figures. There is life flow that impacts the heart of the receiver, a life that encourages application and continuous study of the message or instruction that came through revelation knowledge. God uses His Word to release His power, to create His desires and to build up those who believe His Word. The Word is a carrier of His grace and power. Jesus said the words I speak are spirit and life (John 6:63). Our application of the Word and meditation in it builds up our faith and our spirit.
The realm of the revealed Word is the realm of the spirit. Our souls comprise of our will, mind and emotions. Our body is our earth suit. Through the physical senses of touch, taste, hearing, seeing and smelling we exercise our ability to make contact with our physical world. Our souls define the seat of our personality and our bodies carry the form by which we are identified i.e. tall or short, big or small. Our spirits represent our contact faculty with the spirit realm. These three interrelate so much that in reality they constitute a whole person and the various dimensions he is capable of functioning in. Man is a spirit; he has a soul and lives in a body. The same is true for women too. When sin entered the human race, the order of ‘spirit, soul and body" became ‘body, soul and spirit" as the human body gained ascendancy over the soul and the soul over the spirit of man. The spirit in contact with God"s realm has ascendancy over the soul and together they regulate the body so that man can reflect the image and likeness of God. When sin came in to man, it polluted and perverted the faculties and injected selfishness, pride and fear into the human nature. The roles, influence and purposes designed by God all came into a twisted state. Man"s authority became domination and the woman"s influence became manipulation amongst other things. All these find the potential for being reversed in the new creation in Christ. The reverse has to be worked out through the daily application of the Word of God. The revelation and application of the Word of God are the keys to transformation into the fullness of God"s plans and purposes in Christ Jesus. The same principles hold true when we really want to know how God prospers His people. Sin has taken advantage of the fallen nature of man to twist the purposes of God whenever prosperity is being considered. What is produced by the sinful nature opposes what is produced by God"s plans and purposes, like Ishmael and Isaac in the Bible. One is a product of human attempt to produce God"s intentions, the latter is God"s intention produced by God"s plans and purposes. This study is about comprehending how God"s power can operate to overcome opposing natural forces, especially in the area of finances. The power of God"s blessing can prosper mankind no matter the natural circumstances. God"s supernatural power can and does change natural situations.
ISAAC IS A CASE STUDY IN OLD TESTAMENT RECESSION-TIMES
Genesis 26 is a case study on all the factors involved in enjoying abundance during recession. The basis of God"s blessings is the blessing of the covenant of Abraham. Deut. 8:18 says God gives power to get wealth to establish His covenant. Obedience and service to God are conditions for living days in pleasures and spending years in prosperity (Job 36:11). Isaac obeyed God and sowed in the land of famine. The blessing of God makes rich and adds no sorrow (Proverbs 10:22). The blessing thrives in the midst of trouble. Isaac"s obedience was the key to activating the existing covenant God had with His father, Abraham. He also sowed in the land and reaped a hundred fold in the same year. Isaac began to prosper and continued until he was very prosperous. Isaac put God first, respected God"s Word and built his life around God"s covenant Word to him. Even when he was envied, Isaac refused to walk in strife with those who wanted his father"s well. Strife-free obedience characterised his lifestyle. When you know the quality and power of the relationship you have with God, it makes a difference. Remember his father Abraham also never wanted to walk in strife with Lot, his cousin, when their workmen had strife amongst them (Genesis 13-14).
THE SEED PRINCIPLE AND SOME FACTORS
The seed principle is the fundamental principle on which God"s kingdom, government and expression of His purposes are built. God himself established the seed principle for every realm of existence. He created seed bearing vegetation for the sake of reproducing itself. All animals as well as mankind carry seed to reproduce themselves. When God wanted to have spiritual children He gave Jesus Christ as a seed who was buried and rose again, thereby making it possible for God to have true spiritual sons. He sowed one to reap many. In the soul"s realm, people"s behaviour (fruit) can be traced to the beliefs (seed) that they have. Their beliefs are things they have accepted, whether consciously or not, to be true. Activating the seed principle in our lives is one of the privileges of knowing God through Christ. God always starts by giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater. The same God multiplies the seed sown and increases the fruit of our righteousness (2 Cor. 9:6-10). Every thought can be seen as a seed and words are the harvest. Words themselves are seeds and they are reaped in actions. Actions are seeds that are reaped in habits and habits determine how far we go in life. All the potentials invested in mankind by God are in seed form. Cultivation and a healthy environment are needed for the seeds of greatness in you to come into manifestation. Become seed-minded in every aspect of life. Divine ideas from God are seeds from which a harvest of breakthrough can come. God"s Word is the fundamental seed He uses to produce whatever He desires to produce. In the parable of the sower, the productivity of the seed was never in question; it was the condition of the hearts of the people that determined the yield of the seed. When we become seed-minded, it changes how we handle opportunities that come our way. The scripture says seedtime and harvest shall never cease as long as the earth remains (Genesis 8:22). Your future is made of the harvests of the seeds you are sowing. This is true in all realms of existence including finances. Things may happen that are not necessarily a result of the seeds you have sown but how you respond to them is the beginning of your seed sowing. Even a bad situation can turn out good if the right seeds are sown. Joseph"s life is a proof of this (Genesis 37-41).
RELATIONSHIP AS A FACTOR FOR GOD"S BLESSING IN YOUR LIFE
The first factor we are to consider is the relationship factor as we see how the seed principle applies. Our first relationship is with God and then the next is with people. With God, our relationship starts by being born again. The foundation of our relationship with God is our understanding the fear of God. Psalm 25:12 says “What man is he that feareth the LORD? Him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose” and verse 14 says “The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.” (See also Ps.112:1-3). Wisdom, understanding and knowledge derived from our knowledge of God"s Word will be a necessary arsenal in building healthy relationships with God and man. Our intake of the Word, prayers and worship all serve to nurture our relationship with God. Our worship of God includes our giving to Him. As we meditate in the Word, we come into a new understanding of who we are, what we have and what we can do. The seed of greatness is sown in us. We ‘water" all seeds with prayers. When we want to do anything, relationships around us determine how far we can go. Our relationships are nurtured by the seeds we sow into them.
THE GIVING FACTOR
We give of our time, talent and treasure. Our motive is love and our focus is pleasing God. These in turn become our seeds and when the harvests come we say we prosper. In money matters, we need to recognise that God is our source and there are many channels through which God gets through to us. Parents are channels for God to get through to their children. Our work that gives us salaries is a channel that God can use to get through to us. The work system has its remuneration process and we need to abide by its process but, in the long run, it is still a channel and can never become the source. A wise man has many channels that God can use to get through to him. In Proverbs 11:24-26, we can glean a few lessons:
1. Seeds need to be scattered to gain increase, (money must be invested as well), and similarly one will reap more than what is sown.
2. Stinginess can cause us to hold back more than is appropriate and that affects the harvest too.
3. Cultivating a liberal spirit and consistent giving will produce a reciprocal dynamic that continues yielding a harvest as long as the person continues sowing.
THE OBEDIENCE FACTOR
The obedience factor plays a part in our ability to be positioned to reap, obtain or come into increase. In the New Testament, obedience implies attentive hearing, to listen with compliant submission, assent and agreement. Obedience will go a long way in ensuring we are faithful as stewards of God"s resources. Job 36:11 says “If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures.” The obedience of faith activates God"s power in our lives. Isaac obeyed God in Genesis 26 when he was told to stay in the land that had famine. Obedience became a factor for the prosperity of God in his life. Increase is usually guaranteed after tests have been passed. It has been my observation that many people fail their tests and wonder why they do not experience increase from God. He does not waste His resources. He is generous, not wasteful. He wants us to be so developed that we are considered faithful to handle His resources as stewards. The tests include, amongst other things, the test of small things and the time test.
THE DILIGENCE FACTOR
Diligence is a major factor to produce and sustain increase in your life (Proverbs 27:23-27). Diligence is the main factor as opposed to laziness or slothfulness. Many scriptures in the book of Proverbs teach us about the essence and benefits of diligence. The diligent hand makes rich (Prov. 10:4). See also chapters 12:24, 27 and 13:4. Diligence is an attitude, a posture, as well as a predetermined set of actions born out of a desire to give one"s best in everything one does. It is hard work intelligently directed, it implies paying attention to details and it enhances walking in integrity as we learn to do what we say and say what we mean. It is a choice we make to respect our God-given opportunities and privileges rather than be sloppy, lazy and waste opportunities that come our way. Diligence should be cultivated by all as we strive to excel in all we do. We should learn to establish our lives in the subject of diligence in all aspects of our lives. Diligence is what a soldier, an athlete and a farmer, all have in common. We need to sow into a lifestyle of diligence. Diligence will make the difference in our spiritual, social and physical aspects of our lives. In handling God"s blessing in the area of finances, we need to be diligent in accounting; knowing the state of things (Proverbs 27:23). Know how much you own, owe, earn and spend. We should be diligent in planning (Proverbs 21:5). Planned spending brings satisfaction. We should save and also obtain a proper education concerning finances so we can know how to handle things in this area.
In summary, we see the importance of our God-connection through faith in the covenant. Then we see our inner attitudes and how these need to affected by His Word through meditation, worship, confession so that our expectation is from our true source... God. Finally we see the need for our application of these principles in our lives in order to become faithful stewards over our God given resources; to use them correctly and see them multiply as we increase in our capacity to handle more from God.