Prosperous in the deepest poverty

“Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing. Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the Lord. Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous? Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies! Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.” (Psalm 34:9-14 NLT)

We will never experience the blessings of God as long as we identify them with material prosperity. That’s more than just the heresy of the “Prosperity Gospel.” It’s also the far-worse tragedy of middle-class Christendom in the United States. We confuse our material prosperity with God’s blessing, and it never occurs to us that we enjoy prosperity without actually fearing the Almighty. Our idolatry of material wealth causes us to miss the mark of soul prosperity. Yet we can be prosperous in the deepest material poverty. Even in the most dire circumstances, the person who gives the Lord due reverence will lack no good thing. Our material ruin will be our spiritual devastation — or it will be where we learn the true meaning of fearing God and living a life that is prosperous.

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When I have struggled with soul-weariness …

When I have struggled with soul-weariness, my tendency has been to bear down and keep going, while I wait for the Lord to renew my strength. Perhaps, when things aren’t “working,” I’m just too stubborn to quit trying.

A couple of weeks ago, the Lord exhorted me through Haggai 2:4 — “Be strong. Get to work. I am with you. Don’t be afraid.”

This morning, it’s Hebrews 12:11-13 – “No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening — it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs. Mark out a straight path for your feet. Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but will become strong.” (NLT)

This discipline you’re experiencing isn’t punishment; it’s preparation. “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8 NLT)

Life’s marathon trains you for eternity. Don’t quit when you hit Mile 20. Something far better than a medal is waiting for you at the finish line.

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