Spiritual Resolution Ideas

Since it is almost the New Year, I did some research to make an idea list for New Year's Resolutions. I searched the Internet to find ideas that will help improve our spiritual lives.
  • Resolve to be a missionary right where you are: your work place, neighborhood, school, congregation.
  • Resolve to include Jesus in all parts of your life
  • Resolve to equip yourself for the Spiritual battle that is taking place in your life, with more prayer and more Bible study.
  • Resolve to work together as Christians, supporting one big ministry for God, instead of competing with each other.
  • Resolve to cut back or remove spiritually negative influences on your life: TV, music, entertainment, negative people.
  • Resolve to serve God every day.
  • Resolve to pray for your husband on a regular basis, even when you're mad at him.
  • Resolve to deal with the emotional problems that keep you at an unhealthy weight, which negatively influences your spiritual growth.
  • Resolve to manage money better, so that there will be more to give to God's work.
  • Resolve to pray for your children, minister to your children, pray that your children will grow up to serve God.
  • Resolve to follow God's will for your life, to fulfill His goals for you.
  • Resolve to forgive and get rid of the bitterness that can destroy you.
  • Resolve to not become proud of your spiritual growth and wisdom, but to give God the glory.
  • Resolve to let your Christian light shine, ask yourself - What would Jesus do?
  • Resolve to encourage and pray for Christians in their ministry - pastors, church workers, volunteers, missionaries, Christian teachers, and any Christian ministry worker.
  • Resolve to rely on God's strength to help you, instead of worldly advice or trying to comfort yourself with an unhealthy addiction.
  • Resolve to learn from your mistakes and to grow spiritually, instead of letting them discourage you.
  • Resolve to base your decisions on what the Bible says, instead of what the culture says is okay.
  • Resolve to have patience with everyone in your life: children, husband, church members, co-workers, etc.
  • Resolve to be thankful to God for his - unconditional love, provision, and guidance - even if you don't feel it.

It's a Wonderful Life

Our family starts the new year watching It's a Wonderful Life. What a great movie to remind us that our life is not our own. We should be seeking after God's will for our lives. George Bailey was given a special gift - to see the difference his life made to others. We don't get to see most of the ways that we positively influence others. So, we have to trust that God's plans are the best plans for us.

You may get to heaven and find out that:
  • the neighbor kid you invited to church, decided to try church again in college.
  • the child you taught in VBS, brought her parents to church.
  • the person you listened to and encouraged didn't commit suicide.
  • the Christian ministry worker you thanked decided to stay working for the ministry.
  • the person you gave a Christian tract to, read the tract and accepted God's gift of salvation.
  • the Christian high school student you motivated, decided to go to Bible college to study ministry work.
  • the poor family you shared your food with, shared food with another family later on.
  • your good example made a child want to serve God.
  • a couple decided not to divorce, because of the example of your marriage.
We can't possible imagine all of the ways God has been using us. This year, I am going to try to ask God everyday - "Lord, what do You want me to do today? Please show me."

He uses us where we are at. We don't have to wait until we've been a Christian for 5 years, gone to Bible school, read through the entire Bible, or read Christian books. Even children can be used by Him daily. We just have to be submissive to Him and His will for us, and obedient when He shows us what to do. Plus, we need to keep growing spiritually. I encourage you to start the new year asking Him - What do you want me to do today?

Ideas for a Frugal Christmas

Make a cash spending plan and stick to it:
I heard that the majority of people buy at least one extra thing for themselves while they are out Christmas shopping. Plus, people tend to spend extra money on snacking, stocking stuffers, and extra gifts for the kids. Staying out of the stores during the Christmas season can really help. I make my list and try to order as much online as I can, avoiding the whole Christmas spending excitement that is going on in the stores.

Cut back on presents:
This year, we are cutting back on the amount of individual presents that the kids get and getting some group gifts that all the children can share. I also like to take some of the emphasis off of presents and put it on our Family's Christmas Traditions.

Make the recession work for you:
Because we are officially in a recession, you can announce that you are cutting back on Christmas spending this year. Plus, many stores are having great sales. But only buy the sale items if they are on your spending plan.

Extend Christmas:
Last year, my kids knew that they were going to be getting new jackets. But, we waited until the beginning of January to go buy them. We got a $100 jacket for $20 at J.C. Penney's, a $40 jacket for $15 at Kmart, and a $35 jacket for $5 at Wal-Mart. There are lots of year end clearance deals.

Try giving unique gifts:
You can do a weird gift exchange, give gadgets, something from a craft fair, make your own Gift Basket or Box of Themed Gifts, get something off of Ebay that represents an old memory for someone. Just make sure that your unique gift is also an affordable one.

Fill Christmas day with fun activities:
If there are going to be less presents under the tree to play with, then plan to keep the kids busy on Christmas day with family activities - have a Christmas devotion, go caroling in the neighborhood, invite people over, have brunch, make Christmas dinner together, volunteer, watch a Christmas movie, make crafts, play Christmas games, drive around looking at lights, look at old Christmas photos, call up relatives, talk about Christmas memories, do an outdoor activity together, have a family slumber party near the lighted Christmas tree, have a treasure hunt for a group gift and then play with it, take a walk together or play in the snow, make birthday cakes for Jesus, or decorate an outdoor tree for the animals.

Plan ahead:
Next year, set aside and save a little bit of money each month in a Christmas fund. Get presents through out the year when you find them on sale.

Make Your Own Gift Baskets

Fill an cheap basket, used Christmas tin, Christmas stocking, or Christmas bag (from the Dollar Store) with inexpensive related items:
  • body wash, lotion, bath sponge, and candle (Dollar Store)
  • assorted teas or coffee and a Dollar Store mug
  • a Dollar Store Christmas plate (the breakable kind) piled with homemade treats and a $1 Christmas CD (from christianbook.com)
  • an older (classical) movie from the $5 rack at Wal-Mart, candy, snacks, and microwave popcorn
  • inexpensive Dollar Store craft supplies and art supplies from the Wal-Mart back-to-school sale in August
  • a small Christmas cactus plant, homemade ornaments, Christmas dish towel, homemade cranberry jam, Dollar Store Christmas items
  • a $2 Christmas fiction book (from christianbook.com), Dollar Store mug, box of hot cocoa, chocolate bar, and a dollar store candle
  • for Grandparents: a framed picture of the grandkids, kid decorated sugar cookies, homemade Christmas tree ornaments made by the kids
  • for a young girl - nail polish, lotion, stickers, notebook, pens, a cute Dollar Store stuffed bear
  • if you have the right recipient: fill a basket with the most unique and humorous items and snacks that you can find

Family Christmas Traditions

I've made a blog with 100 Family Christmas Traditions.

You may want to choose a few to make your Christmas season more memorable. If you're really ambitious, choose one a day starting the day after Thanksgiving.

Thank You Card Ministry Idea

Thanksgiving is in a week, so today's ministry idea has to do with being thankful.

Get a pack of inexpensive thank you cards from the dollar store. Or, you can make your own cards. Write thank you's to your children, spouse, family, neighbors, and friends. You can thank them for something special that they did for you. It doesn't even have to be something done recently. Or, you can tell them what you appreciate about their character or personality.

People really like to be appreciated and thanked. It makes them feel good and it encourages them.

Cry of the Orphan Campaign in November

Encourage your Christian friends and family to listen to certain radio shows during the Cry of the Orphan week - November 17-21, 2008.

In November, the Cry of the Orphan campaign informs listeners about the orphan crisis and the need for Christian adoption. Christian radio hosts devote a week of broadcasts to orphan stories and information. The participating shows are:

Being Consistent About OurTime With God

My daughter and I are reading A Young Woman After God's Own Heart. In chapter 2, Elizabeth George writes about Dawson Trotman, founder of The Navigators ministry.

"He once spent five days interviewing candidates for overseas missionary service. He spent a half hour with each one, asking specifically about their devotional life. Sadly, only one person out of 29 interviewed said his devotional life was a constant in his life, a source of strength, guidance, and refreshment. As Trotman continued to probe into the lives of those men and women planning a lifetime of service for God, he found that never since they had come to know the Lord had they ever had a consistent devotional life."

If this was the case for 28 out of 29 missionary applicants, I wonder how true it is for others in Christian ministry work. Do our pastors, Christian leaders, and other ministry workers struggle with having a consistent time with the Lord? I imagine that the effectiveness of their ministry must be lacking if they don't have a regular time of prayer, Bible reading, and worship with Him.

This got me thinking about a ministry that is common among many women - raising children in a Christian home. If we don't have a consistent time with God, worshiping Him and growing spiritually, how effective is our ministry to our children? If we can't succeed with the ministry God has given to us, of raising our children, He can't trust us with other ministry work that could have an impact on a greater amount of people.

November - National Adoption Month

I've made a blog called How to Help Orphans. It lists many ideas for how you can help orphans and promote adoption.
Are you interested in starting an Orphan Ministry at your church?

Does the Church Need a Great Awakening?

Do churches need a great awakening? Do they need to be awakened to the fact that there are 143 million orphans? Many orphans are being cared for well. However, much more help and money is needed.

Orphanages are in need of support. There are orphanages without heat, hot water, and basic necessities. Some lack the staff needed to properly care for and love the children.
Every year, thousands of children turn 16 and are forced out of the orphanage. Because they are young and unskilled, they are unable to financially support themselves. Therefore many of them commit crimes, turn to prostitution, or commit suicide.

Many orphans aren't fortunate enough to call an orphanage their home. India can't provide for it's 18 million orphaned children, so many of them fend for themselves by living on the streets.
12 million African children have been orphaned, mostly due to AIDs having killed their parents. A lot of them now live on the streets or have been forced into slavery. Yes. Slavery. I heard on the Family Life Today radio show that there is more slavery going on in the world than at any other time in history. Thankfully, Christian organizations like All Kids Can Learn International are helping by building orphan villages to provide homes for some of these children.

In my own country, the United States of America, we still have
118,000 foster children that are currently available for adoption. The U.S. seems to be busy pointing the fingers at everyone else's problems, yet we have our own orphan crisis here.

These are just some of the facts, but they can easily be changed. Over the years, Christian churches have shown compassion to less fortunate and hurting people. There is free help and services available for people who are hungry, homeless, poor, in need of counseling and support groups. Many churches are reaching out to sponsor orphanages and are encouraging their church members to adopt. But why is it taking so long for the rest of the churches to awaken to this crisis? Why are there still 143 million orphans?

Until every orphan has a home, churches need to make the orphan ministry a top priority. We have the money, the resources, and the ability to help. Now we need the initiative, the passion, and the commitment of every church. This is a problem that could disappear. God is waiting on us. He has already told us the need. He's already told us what to do. So why are there so many Christians still looking the other way?

If you're interested in starting an Orphan Ministry at your church you can order a book with DVD for $10 from Hope for Orphans

Individuals, families, and churches can find realistic ways to help orphans on my site How To Help Orphans

The Pursuit of Holiness

Holiness is ... conforming to the character of God and obedience to the will of God. Jesus is our perfect example of holiness.

For most of my life, I have been a Christian - believing that Jesus died on the cross to save me from my sin's. But, I never really thought that He required very much out of me. Basically, I ignored Bible verses like:

Romans 8:13-14
For if you live by it's (your sinful nature's) dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

1 John 1:6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth.

1 Peter 2:21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered
for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.

My husband and I just recently realized this need for holiness. A few months ago, he talked with one of our pastors about why Christians have such a struggle with sin. The pastor said that the reason we even struggle with this sin is because we are not pursuing holiness. If Christians would grow in holiness, then they would stop being a slave to their sinful nature.

That basic statement from Pastor Wayne motivated my husband to get the book and study guide - The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges. We've been learning about holiness together.
There is verse after verse in the Bible telling us that growing in holiness is not an option for the Christian. If we are a Christian and Christ is Lord of our life, then we will need to pursue holiness.

Holiness in not an option for Christians.
We have a responsibility to pursue holiness and to live a holy life. We must obey and do our part to resist temptation and not sin. We are responsible for our sinful thoughts, attitudes, and actions. But we can not pursue holiness without the help and the strength of the God.

What God does for us concerning holiness:
  • He delivers us from the reign of sin.
  • He unites us with Christ.
  • He has the Holy Spirit reveal our sin to us.
  • He has the Holy Spirit give us a desire for holiness.
  • He strengthens us as we fight sin and pursue holiness.
What we are to do concerning holiness:
  • Submit to God.
  • Choose to stop sinning
  • Avoid the temptation to sin.
  • Accept the fact that we are responsible for out thoughts, attitudes, and actions.
  • Pray and rely on the Holy Spirit to help us grow in holiness and point out our sins.
  • Read the Bible to develop convictions about sin.
  • Make a disciplined plan to read the Bible, think about it, and apply what it says.
  • Fill our minds with good, pure, and praiseworthy things.
  • Obey God's will for us.
  • Not get discouraged over failures. Repent and keep going forward.
Some Bible Verses about Holy Living
Hebrews 12:14

Ephesians 4:30
1 Thessalonians 4:7
Titus 2:11-12
Psalm 15:1-5
Psalm 32:3-4

Isaiah 64:6-7
Matthew 1:21
Matthew 7:21-23

1 Corinthians 1:2
2 Corinthians 5:17
Ephesians 1:4
James 2:14-26
1 John 3:2-5
Hebrews 12:14
2 Peter 3:14

Psalm 66:18
2 Timothy 2:21

Holiness by Sonicflood

Halloween Evangelism

If it is too late to order tracts, then you can print out the
Are You a Good Person? comic tract for free on your own home printer. I have printed them in just black and white and have given them away.

Also, you can make up your own cards (business card size) with the website www.smartyface.com and give them to trick-or-treaters.

Don't miss out on easy ways to evangelize this Halloween:
  • Get tracts from a Christian book store and distribute them with candy to trick-or-treaters. (You may still be able to order online, if you pay more to have them sent fast.) Creepy Cash Tracts, Christianbook.com Tracts
  • Pass out tracts and candy in public places. (You can even offer free face painting.)
  • Tell the neighbor kids about the local church harvest party or carnival on October 31st. (For many churches, this is one of the biggest evangelistic outreaches of the year. They just need others to help get the kids to come.)
  • Deliver pumpkin pies and tracts to neighbors.
  • Decorate your yard and front porch with a heaven/hell theme and make an evangelistic poster for your front door.

What Can I Sacrifice (or Surrender) for God?

This is what God is concerned about:
  • that we have hearts that say "Yes" to Him
  • that we sacrificially lay down our lives for Him and believe that it's worth it to do so
"For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God." Hebrews 13:14-16

God does not expect all of us to sacrifice the same thing. It will be different for each of us.

Maybe God wants you to sacrifice (or surrender):
  • a good paying career to do a Christian related job or ministry
  • your free time to spend more time ministering to your kids or serving God
  • your TV time to read devotions and the Bible to your children or yourself
  • your hobbies to spend more encouraging and supporting your husband
  • your bitterness and unforgiving attitude to pray for and encourage your husband
  • the trust that you place in your money in order to trust in God's provision for you
  • your worrying in order to step out and follow God's will for your life
  • your job in order to homeschool your children
  • materialism or your financial security in order to give more money to God
  • your past hurts to concentrate on Jesus and the needs of others
  • your personal dream to support your husband in his dream
  • an addiction to trust God to help you and comfort you

What is God calling you to sacrifice in your life?

How to Prepare for a Recession

If you are a two income family, now is a great time to adjust your budget to one income. During a recession, you may find that one of you loses your job. In the mean time, you can save money from the second income to save for emergencies or pay off your debt.

Making a spending plan or a budget is very important. Crown.org has really helpful information about how to make one or adjust one.

Seeking God during this time is also important. He can give you ideas of how to save more money and how to make more money. You may be interested in reading the articles -
Contentment and Fearing the Future.

Most of your expenses can be lowered, if you really want to lower them. Challenge yourself to cut down every expense in your budget. Then do it again, until you are able to live on one income. It won't be easy, but this can be done. And the rewards will be worth it. You will also be better prepared if the worse happens to your family.

Things you can do to lower your monthly expenses:
Crown.org offers a wealth of free information through their online financial articles. They also have a daily radio show that you can listen to online.

The Dollar Stretcher has hundreds of articles for how to save money.

Consider getting a Recession-Proof Job

Operation Christmas Child

Every Christmas,
Samaritan's Purse, sends out filled shoe boxes with gifts along with Gospel booklets to poor children throughout the world. You can help by filling a shoe box. Your church my be interested in being a community collection site for filled shoe boxes.

Get the detailed instructions for how to pack an Operation Christmas Child shoe box.

Shoe box gift ideas:
  • small toys (car, ball, doll, stuffed animal, jump rope)
  • hygiene items (toothbrush and paste, comb, washcloth)
  • school supplies (pencil, sharpener, crayons, markers, paper)
  • hard candy, lollipops, gum, mints
  • T-shirts, socks, ball caps
  • hair clips, toy jewelry, sunglasses
Please donate $7 for each shoe box you prepare to help cover shipping and other project costs.

Turn in your filled shoe box to a collection site in mid November.

The Economic Crisis

In light of the massive amount of signs pointing to what some are calling the “economic crisis of a century,” an “economic Pearl Harbor,” or a “financial tsunami, including the collapse or near collapse of some of largest financial institutions in American history, I believe we all have reason now to ask: “What can I do to help solve this problem?” I for one believe it is time we stop looking to the federal government as the final solution and mobilize the grassroots of this nation to bring about the economic change that is desperately needed.

Here are the steps I believe will solve this crisis by each of us doing our part to fight this on a personal, local level......more

The Economic Earthquake of 2008

In 1991, our late cofounder Larry Burkett wrote The Coming Economic Earthquake, warning of the dangers of the ever-growing appetite for debt by our society and federal government alike. Although a best seller and helpful to many who heeded his advice, he received harsh criticism for his failure to peg the event to a date certain. Many dismissed his work as “too simplistic” and unsubstantiated by economic models. Others painted him as a “doom and gloomer,” especially in light of the robust economic growth of the 90s. Larry remained humble towards his critics, stating he was not attempting to be a prophet but was only making Christians aware of their need to apply God’s Word. He said that even if the events he outlined in his book did not occur, the reader would be better off for following the advice that God gave for our benefit.....more

Listen to Money Life - a Christian show about the economy and personal finance

True Woman '08 Conference Online

This past weekend was the True Woman conference. It's available to listen to online for free.

The conference was about: embracing womanhood, trusting and surrendering to God, living a God-centered life, sacrificing, praying, and how to deal with fear and suffering.

Speakers were:
  • Nancy Leigh DeMoss
  • Pastor John Piper
  • Mary Kassian
  • Karen Loritts
  • Joni Tada
  • Janet Parshall
You can also get DVDs of the conference and show them at your church or to your women's Bible study.

Women are invited to participate and join the True Woman Movement online.
You can do the 30-Day True Woman Make-Over. This is an email journey that will make you over from the inside out and help make you the woman God made you to be.

At the conference, 6000 women signed the True Woman Manifesto. You can read it and sign it online.

The Truth About Suicide

On this day, one year ago, my brother-in-law decided to kill himself. There was a lot that he didn't think about before making this horrific, permanent decision.

His suicide caused lots of problems for others. He didn't realize how it would devastate his family - causing his loved ones to blame themselves and each other. He didn't think about how people would feel when they discovered how he died - the emotional and mental problems that his immediate family would develop because of this choice he made. He didn't consider the financial cost to other people - having to fly across the country and miss work for his funeral. He didn't understand that he would be messing up the plans that God had for his future.

Suicide is murder, self-murder. It is a sin - straight from Satan. Every suicidal thought or attempt is straight from Satan. He wants to destroy God's creation. He wants to mess up God's will. When you give into suicidal thoughts, you are giving into the lies of Satan and doing his will instead. You have the power to resist Satan. James 4:7 tells us "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." Turn to God; submit to Him. Stop concentrating on self and think about God, to do His will. You can't live out God's purpose for your life if you're dead.

But it doesn't stop there. Tell somebody the truth. Get professional help. It may seem embarrassing to admit to suicidal thoughts, but dying from suicide is even more embarrassing. My brother-in-law did tell someone a year prior to his death that he had been having suicidal thoughts. But, he didn't do anything else about it, like get professional help.

Your situation can improve. Professionals can offer you the opportunity to talk and work through your problems. They can suggest resources that will help you. They can also prescribe medicine if you have a chemical imbalance that needs correcting. Many people have had suicidal thoughts disappear by just taking a tiny little pill. A chemical imbalance is a medical problem. But left untreated, Satan can use it to get you to kill yourself.

The truth is, there is nothing good about suicide. It won't solve your problems. Suicide will only create many new problems. It will:
  • devastate your family and friends
  • greatly disappoint God
  • please Satan
  • ruin God's specific plans for your future
  • cause deep emotional pain to others
  • Attempts can leave you physically disabled and brain damaged.
  • Attempts can cause great shame and embarrassment to you.
If you have suicidal thoughts, do something about it immediately.
  • Change your environment and get around people.
  • Call somebody.
  • Pray to God. Read the Bible. Focus on Him. Sing praise songs to Him.
  • Count your blessings.
  • Help someone who is less fortunate than you.
  • Do something that you enjoy.
  • Get involved in an activity: go for a walk, read, watch TV, make something good to eat.
  • Call a pastor or make an appointment with a counselor.
  • Make a no suicide contract and plan what steps you will take to keep from harming yourself.
If you are planning a suicide, stop. Get professional help now.
  • Call 911
  • Call a local suicide hot line.
  • Call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
  • Go to the emergency room.
There are many people that can help you. Many people are available to you and wanting to help you. This depression and intense emotional pain you are feeling can go away. God can use others to help you. It is never okay to commit suicide. Getting help is the answer.

If you have attempted suicide before, then I thank God that He spared your life. God has wonderful and specific plans for your life. Because you are still alive and available to Him, God can use you to help others and to do His work on earth. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Believe this. It is the truth. This is God's promise for you. He does not lie. We can trust God and always count on Him to keep His word. You may not understand how your life can get better, but have hope. It will get better; God has something better for you.

Being Nice Isn't Enough

I live in a predominately Roman Catholic town. There are just a handful of protestant Christians here. We're probably the only Wesleyan Christian family in town. The rest are, or claim to be, Roman Catholic. And what a nice town of non-protestant Christians it is.

The people here are so nice. The mail lady drops off hand me downs from her grand kids. Neighbors share fresh vegetables from their gardens. The next door neighbors take me to the grocery store when my husband is out of town. Someone even came by last winter and plowed my driveway when my husband was working in another state. My list goes on, but you get the idea.

Despite their niceness, I'm not interested in converting to Catholicism. Many of us Protestant Christians are nice in hopes that it will get people interested in Jesus. Being nice is wonderful and I definitely think that every Christian should be doing it. But being nice isn't enough to call it evangelism. People of other religions and even some atheists I know are as nice as can be.

We need to get the gospel truth out to people, if we're going to do our part to save them from hell. Oh, I wish that I had the boldness of my girls. The little neighbor boy asked my daughters about why we celebrate Christmas. That opened the door for them. They told him all about Christmas and how to become a Christian.

So, we can pray and ask God for those conversation starters. We can invite non-Christians to the many church events that are planned just for evangelistic outreach. We can also be bold and ask people if they think they are good enough to get into heaven. I took a Way of the Master evangelism class at church. It taught me that no one is good enough for heaven and that's why Jesus had to die on the cross - to pay the price for our sins.

Evangelism is an important part of the Christian walk. Many of us need to take it more seriously. We can't just leave it all up to the missionaries. We need to get busy praying and thinking about how we can witness for Jesus.

The Prosperity Gospel - Giving False Hope

What is it?
  • All Christians have the ability to become healthy, wealthy, prosperous and never in need.
  • You get to speak what you want in the name of Jesus, and it will become a reality.
  • This obligates God to give you what you want.
  • You can have whatever you want if you use the right spiritual words with the right kind of faith.
  • If you're not experiencing prosperity, then it is your own fault.
  • Thinking positive will keep the negative from actually happening to you.
  • If you admit to something negative, then you can bring that negative thing into being.
  • You don't know for sure what you're going to have in heaven, so you'd better get all you can here on Earth.
  • Humans use God, rather than God uses humans to do His work.
  • God is not Lord of all, we must release Him to work
Many people around the world believe this false teaching. It is especially popular when the economy isn't doing well. As people struggle financially to make ends meet they may turn to Prosperity Theology out of desperation. Some turn to it out of pure greed.

Proverbs 14:12 tells us that - "There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death."

And 2 Corinthians 11:13 warns us - "These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ."

Scripture Out of Context

The Prosperity Gospel (or Prosperity Theology) is based on faulty biblical interpretation. Followers take scripture out of context and twist the words to support health and wealth. Twisting scripture is very dangerous; this is how cults get started. We must read the message of the Bible correctly. It disappoints God if we live our Christian lives based upon misunderstandings.

When modern mankind thinks of the word prosperous, we usually think of being financially well-off and thriving in personal success. But God meant something different when He included prosperity in the Bible. Sometimes prosperity means that God will give us all we need to grow spiritually or to do His will. Some verses about prosperity refer to the Israelites being successful in taking over the land that God had given to them.

Here are some of the verses that are taken out of context to support the belief of the Prosperity Gospel.
  • Deuteronomy 8:18 "Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath."
  • Joshua 1:8 "Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do."
  • Malachi 3:10 " Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!"
  • Mark 11:24 "I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours."
  • John 10:10 "The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life."
  • John 14:13 "You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father."
  • Matthew 7:7-8 "Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened."
  • 1 John 5:14-15 "And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for."
The Prosperity Gospel Isn't Biblical

It totally contradicts what the Bible teaches. It supports living out our own will. It is believing that our own humanistic way is better then God's way. If we follow God's will, then God gets to make the decisions about what is best for us. Fortunately, He keeps many things from us that we mistakenly think are right for us. This kind of false teaching makes God irrelevant, and His grace obsolete.

As Christians, the Bible tells us to:
  • surrender to Jesus and live according to His will - James 4:13-16 "Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil."
  • seek God's will like Jesus did - Luke 22:42 “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
  • trust the lord's way even when we don't understand - Proverbs 3:506 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take."
  • not store up earthly wealth - Matthew 6:19-21 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be."
  • not idolize money - Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
  • be content with what we have - Philippians 4:12 "I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. Hebrews 13:5 "Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”
  • not love money - 1 Timothy 6:7-10 "For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."
  • understand how difficult it is for a wealthy person to grow spiritually - Luke 18:24-25 “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”
  • not love materialism - 1 John 2:15 "Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you."
  • follow Jesus and seek after heavenly treasure - Matthew 19:21 - Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
  • avoid greed - Ephesians 5:5 "You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world." Luke 12:15 Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”
  • trust in God, not our wealth - Revelation 3:14,17 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Laodicea. You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked."
  • be cautious of false teachers - 1 Timothy 6:3-5 - "If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain."
The Spiritual Danger

This false teaching is impacting Christianity negatively. It is dishonoring to God and teaches lies about who He is to unbelievers. It is like worshiping a false God. People are getting a false teaching about Christianity rather than a biblical teaching. When the name-it-claim-it thing doesn't work for people, then they feel deceived and are turned off to Christianity - even true biblical Christianity.

Christians who follow the Prosperity Gospel's teachings feel let down by God when they don't get what they want. Some feel distant from God or like they aren't spiritual enough. Instead of developing a closeness and reliance on God, these Christians are relying on themselves.

The Emotional Danger

When prosperity doesn't come, some people experience strong feelings of guilt. They believe that they are to be blamed due to their lack of faith. Their embarrassment and shame can create problems in marriages and with family members. This false guilt can lead to depression and low self worth.

Some people make incorrect decisions based on this way of thinking. These decisions can hurt themselves and others. For example: Instead of getting medical help, a person may rely only on her faith and claim healing from God. Another person may make an bad financial decision believing that more money will come if there is enough faith.

Someone is Getting Rich

There are people involved in the Prosperity Gospel that are becoming wealthy and prosperous. They are the ones that are teaching this false doctrine and selling millions of books, CDs, and DVDs about how to become financially successful. These people are living an excessive and materialistic lifestyle, yet they are supposedly doing full time ministry work for God. They see no need to apologize for their million dollar homes and excessive spending, because they consider it a blessing from God.

Is Your Church Preaching the Prosperity Gospel?

Are you going to a church that has taken the focus off of Jesus, the Bible, and God's will for us? Has your church become humanistic? Don't stay and support a church that is teaching lies. If you go to a true Bible believing and preaching church, you can grow spiritually mature and be used by the Lord. That is real prosperity.

If the Prosperity Gospel church tells you that God will punish you if you leave - this is spiritual abuse. That is what cults do to keep people from leaving. False teachers use manipulation to get you there and they use manipulation to keep you there. You need to be led by God to do the right thing, not pressured by people.

If the Holy Spirit is telling you to flee this false teaching then it is more important to obey Him. You don't have to stay because you feel that you should be loyal. Your loyalty should be to God, not to church leaders.

Evangelism at Halloween

You can pass these out in October. They look like money, but they have a gospel message on the back.

Here are some ways to pass them out: at Fall parades and events, in zipper lock baggies with candy, at Harvest parties, to trick-or-treaters, and to friends, relatives, & neighbors.

You get 100 Creepy Cash tracts for $4.00 from CustomTractSource.com

This is what it says on the back of the gospel tract:

Are you ready to be scared? It’s funny how at Halloween we delight in being frightened. Many people think it’s fun to be “scared to death”! But death itself is a very scary thought. What do you think will happen after you die? The Bible says, “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” Take this quick test to see how you’ll do on Judgment Day…Ever lied? Ever stolen? Ever used God’s name in vain? Ever looked with lust? (God considers lust the same as adultery.) If you’re guilty of these, you’ve broken God’s moral Law, the Ten Commandments. God sees you as a liar, a thief, a blasphemer, and an adulterer at heart. The punishment for breaking His Law is death, and eternity in hell.

Can you see your danger? What will you say in your defense? The good news is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, took your punishment for you. He died on the cross to pay your penalty, then rose from the dead. The Bible says, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” You broke God’s law and Jesus paid your fine. So what must you do? The Bible commands you to repent (turn from sin) and place your faith in Jesus Christ alone to save you. Your good works will not help you on Judgment Day. Confess and turn from your sins today—you may not have tomorrow! Then read the Bible daily and obey what you read. Please visit www.TheGoodPersonTest.net