Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Kingdom Principles for Business Prosperity

Part 2 on Finding Your Purpose in a Chaotic World. Purpose is linked to many things. Some people are called to the arts, music, ministry or a variety of other things. How can you know where you fit? If you missed the article on Finding Your Purpose in a Chaotic World, go back and read yesterday's post. This is a continuation on the same subject, a little different application. We will be going through this same topic for a while so that people can understand more about finding purpose and how their gifts and talents are placed there by God as a means of directing them to fulfilling the plan of God for their life. Before we embark on today's lesson, let's take a look at some important background information concerning God's covenant with Abraham and how it applies to us. (Genesis 12:1-3.)

IF Abraham was obedient (Get out of your father’s house, go on a journey with God)…then all the covenant promises would be fulfilled. The rest of the promises hinge upon obedience to what God tells you to do.

1. Promise of multiplication (many descendants). Also long and healthy life. Gen. 15:15 & 24:1
2. Blessing, wealth & importance.   Gen. 13:2
3. Fame or honor   
4. A blessing to others
5. Those who curse you cursed by God (divine protection & retribution to enemies)  He is a shield of protection, Gen. 15:1 and our great reward
6. Limitless opportunities to bless others


Why is God’s covenant with Abraham important to us? Because this promise was not limited to Abraham; it was promised to Abraham’s seed through Issac, his son. Abraham had two sons, Ishmael & Issac. The son of promise came by faith. By it's very nature, genuine faith is an act of humility. If you know anything about faith, it's that it requires risk. Total dependence on God. Pride cannot wait on God. Pride will cause people to try to work their own solution to a problem but as Abraham discovered, trying to make a promise come to pass on our own efforts can bring forth an Ishmael that causes great consternation and problems for a long time afterward. Pride assumes one can do whatever they please and have God bless their efforts. Pride keeps us from receiving what’s ours through God's promise - but His promise is only fulfilled by faith and patience. Pride often masquerades as fear and resists believing God. It sounds so logical but logic will talk us out of obedience and logic will talk us out of taking a step of faith. Pride masquerades as fear to keep us in indecision after we clearly know that God has spoken to us. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. True humility is believing God, trusting Him and obedience even though it requires great risk on our part. We are inheritors of the covenant promises because we come by faith, choosing God's methods above our own.
(Read Gal. 3:16 & 3:29).

Abraham’s promise came to Issac, and Isaac also learned what it was to trust God and walk by faith. God showed up in Gen. 26:23 and renewed the covenant with Issac. Isaac prospered just like his father. It was a generational blessing that continued because they walked in faith. Even the men of the community recognized that Isaac prospered because God was with him. (Read Gen. 26:28)



Many years later, along came Isaac’s son, Jacob. Jacob worked a sly deal with his brother, Esau, and scammed him out of the first born blessing, then ran to his uncle’s house a long way off to hide from the wrath of his brother. During this time, Jacob met Uncle Laban’s daughter and fell in love. He ended up working for Laban for many years but the whole time Laban was deceitful and kept changing Jacob’s wages. Many times over, Laban convinced Jacob to stay but look at his reason why! “Please stay, if I have found favor in your eyes, for I have learned by experience that the Lord has blessed me for your sake.” Gen. 30:27. (Here comes the moment Jacob has been waiting for!) Laban says, “Name your wages and I will give it.” 


Let me just interject something here. An old proverb states “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Another quote by play writer George Chapman states, “The great mother of all productions is grave necessity.” 



Great leaders do not emerge when things are running smoothly. Great leaders emerge in times of crisis, chaos and when there is a great need for change. You must learn to look at discomfort and frustration as opportunities for change, and those unmet needs as indicators to start looking for answers outside the box. YOU WILL NEVER FIND THE ANSWER YOU NEED INSIDE THE BOX OF ALL YOUR LIMITATIONS. You will never find the answer you need if your God is too small. If God isn’t big enough to bust out of your religious theology and comfort zone, then you have put Him in a box and tied His hands. HE WILL NOT WORK UNTIL YOU TAKE THE LIMITS OFF. You have to tell Him it’s ok to do some changing around and let Him lead. Ask Him to be Lord of all your impossible situations!

He longs to be BIG in your life! He longs to hear his children ask Him to do things so big that they can’t possibly do it on their own strength. He puts us in impossible situations so that we have to ask Him to do the impossible. If we’re too afraid of looking foolish or getting out on a limb, then what we’re saying is, my pride and my comfort zone is more important that really letting You get the glory for doing something great in my life. This is where faith is activated, and faith is the commodity of the kingdom. It's the only real currency you will ever need to operate in God's economy.

Difficult situations are the opportunity we need to inspire creative solutions. Ingenious solutions. Difficult times require inspired ideas for change. Unless we are pressed to do something different, we won’t look for a new solution. You literally need to be between a rock and a hard place in order to get a miracle. In other words, if there is no need for a miracle, you won’t get one. Discovery of creative solutions often contain the same elements of being pressed by your circumstances. Discomfort in your situation is God’s gift to you to inspire the change He wants to bring!


The discomfort of Jacob’s situation made him want to run from it, but in the midst of his troubles, an angel showed up in a dream one night and gave Jacob the strategy to outwit the guy that was swindling him out of wages and peace of mind. No doubt Jacob prayed for a solution, although the scripture doesn‘t specifically state that. He knew God because Jacob had encountered him many years before. It stands to reason that although the scripture doesn’t state it, Jacob had been praying. After all, an angelic encounter is often the result of answered prayer! I believe it wasn’t just the covenant with God that gave Jacob success but it was a generational inheritance of anointing for business that Jacob received from his father, Issac. His grandfather, Abraham had it and was very wealthy. Jacob inherited a lot from his father and grandfather including the knowledge of how to excel in multiplying flocks. That was one of the commodities of their day.


There were many years of Jacob getting a taste of his own medicine, which in the process of time served to humble him and change his nature. Jacob had to have realized that what Laban was doing to him was along the same line of what he had done to his brother. But even with all that, God still hated injustice, and Laban was acting unjustly towards Jacob. You see, Jacob was God’s son, but it doesn’t say that Laban was. They were in the same family line but they didn’t have the same God. Laban worshiped idols. So one day God shows up in a dream and gives Jacob a strategy to improve his business that begins to help him recover his losses. Read Gen. 31:11. But Jacob didn’t share that tip with even his wives until he had gotten very prosperous because of it.

What is interesting here is that Jacob’s name meant “he who supplants.” It meant one who gained by deceit and trickery. Then God showed up and turned it around to show a positive meaning, “The Lord supplants.” That word means displacement. Proverbs 13:11 says “Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished.” God was about to diminish Laban’s wealth because it was gained by dishonesty. Hear me now! This is important if you are an employer! God looks at how you gain your wealth and at what cost. Who is paying the price for your success? Who are you stepping on? Are you treating others fairly? Laban had  changed Jacob’s wages many times over. Have you ever had a boss offer an incentive when times were hard, trying to get you to work harder - then when he got the blessing in the house he changed his mind and gave you less than what was promised? That’s greed and dishonesty, and those that operate their business by taking unfair advantage of others will find their finances slipping through their fingers because they are not honoring their promises. The cries of their laborers is coming before the Lord of Hosts. Prov. 13:22 says that the wealth of the wicked is stored up for the righteous. That’s us. God wants to give us strategy for success in business that will supplant, or displace those that gain their living by deceit and trickery and let us inherit that wealth. Wealth never goes away, it just changes hands. Strategy allows us to understand how we can partner with God to have those finances change hands and make it into ours. IF YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE PRINCIPLES OF GOD, YOU WILL NEVER EFFECTIVELY OPERATE IN THE ECONOMY OF GOD. God is under no obligation to bless those that don’t know Him, and He is under no obligation to bless those that have no interest in serving Him. He is obligated by His oath and covenant to those that covenant with Him. (re-read chapters 12-15 of Genesis).




God has said in Deut. 8 that He takes us through the wilderness to test us and humble us so that we would know that man does not live by bread alone (our needs being met) but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. He wants to know that we will follow instructions! He said he did it in order to do us good in the end. So there are times where our trust in God is tested, our integrity and character are tested, and we learn to change our behavior so that it aligns with faith and God’s character. If we do not have sufficient character, which includes generosity and compassion towards others in need, we will be stingy. We will not be the blessing to others that God requires us to be. We will allow roots of greed and the love of money to corrupt character and horde the blessings instead of releasing them to others. That is why it is so important to BLESS and SOW in times of famine. You sow your way out of every wilderness season. Don’t let fear impoverish your future or your harvest. If you don’t sow you can’t reap. If you don’t sow you demonstrate to God that you are not yet trustworthy to handle greater riches. Those can be some lean years - but after we pass the tests, God’s intention is that we would be able to inherit wealth. Deut. 8:18 says, “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, (WHY?) that He may establish His covenant, which He swore to your fathers as it is this day.” It’s the same covenant with the same promises as He made to Abraham.


In the practical that may equate to receiving raises, promotions or bonuses; including a new job, gaining new clients or contracts, and God’s favor to bring increase to Christian businesses. He always made Israel to stand out and be so blessed that others would know they were blessed because God was with them.  Laban was shrewd, but he wasn’t wise. If he had any wisdom at all, he would have inquired and wanted to have a personal relationship with the very God that was blessing Jacob, but he only wanted the financial gain. Laban understood that he was getting blessed because of Jacob’s God and didn’t want him to go; not because he wanted to know the God who fought for Israel but because he wanted the financial increase to remain in his house. God will not be used like some talisman for good luck. He wants to prosper His children,  but He also knows what motivates us. He knows if wealth is our treasure and the love of money or if it’s really Him. We have to make sure our priorities are in the right place. One of those priorities is to ask for wisdom. Solomon was blessed with wisdom but he had the sense to ask for more. He didn’t ask for riches; he asked for wisdom to know how to govern God’s people, and because he asked for wisdom, God gave him everything else he didn’t ask for - everything, by the way, that is contained in the covenant promise: wealth, fame, honor, blessing to be a blessing to others, land, property, etc.  You would not give a great deal of wealth to a child, a person that had a poverty mentality, addictions, or someone that was a chronic homeless. Why not? Because they would not have the wisdom to know how to manage kingdom wealth or resources. Good intentions are not enough. You must be tried in the furnace of affliction and go through certain tests because only a person that has suffered will understand humility and compassion towards others. If you never understand what it feels like to be in a humble place and have to receive from others, you will never learn how to bless others without making them feel small. God wants us to give, but not at the cost of depriving others of their dignity. Wealth without the wisdom to know what to do with it will result in it slipping right out of a person’s hands. ASK for WISDOM before you ask for anything else. Demonstrate to God that you understand what is truly important.

  For more great insights on how to prosper in difficult economic times feel free to browse the other articles. Many of our own personal testimonies are included and will encourage you to know certain principles of breakthrough as well.

PRAYER:

Father God,

I ask You for wisdom to know how to correctly handle any situation I may encounter. I need wisdom and strategy in order to be successful in my future, and even just in my daily life with my family, work and personal relationships. But I also ask You for strategy to succeed in business, sensitivity to Your Spirit, to know how to correctly understand what You're communicating, and a heart that is quick to obey You. I ask You for wisdom to know what to do and how to manage what ever success You allow me to have. I acknowledge it is You that gives me power to gain wealth, Lord. Help me to have the quality of character that pleases You so that I can be a blessing to others. I also ask You to increase my faith so that I will not shrink back when taking a great risk is required of me. Show me how to prosper Your way, Lord Jesus. I thank You for helping me find my purpose and walk into the newness of whatever You have planned for me. In Jesus name, amen.

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