Let those who favor my righteous cause and have pleasure in my uprightness shout for joy and be glad and say continually, Let the Lord be magnified, Who takes pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.
Psalm 35:27, The Amplified Bible
If traditional religion has taught you that God wants you poor and oppressed, I have good news for you today. The Bible says, “God takes pleasure” in your prosperity. God wants you to prosper!
Not just in the financial realm but in every area of your life…spirit, soul and body.
No matter where you are or who you are, God wants to see you delivered from every adverse situation.
Why? Because He loves you and He has a job for you to do. He wants you to help meet the needs of mankind and He’s smart enough to know that you can’t give away what you don’t have. You can’t give to spread the gospel or buy food for the hungry when you’re broke. You can’t go out laying hands on the sick when you’re lying in a hospital bed. You can’t minister joy to others when you’re being held captive by depression. No! You have to be blessed to be a blessing.
If you really want to tap into the riches of God today, make up your mind to be a blessing to others, and before you know it, you’ll be receiving more from God than you ever dreamed.
That’s what happened to me. I decided years ago, first and foremost, to be a giver. I developed a lifestyle of giving. Today, I literally “live to give.” And I don’t mind telling you, God dumps blessings on me by the truckload!
He’ll do the same for you if you’ll become His servant—if you’ll lay down your time and your money and your love for those who need it. Become a giver—and God will take pleasure in prospering you!
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
People of the world feel helpless as the systems of the world go up and down. They turn on the television and they hear, “This war will plunge the world into a recession.” They open the newspapers and they read that “Unemployment is at an all-time high.”
Beloved, God does not want you to feel helpless because you are not of the world (see John 17:16). You are of God and therefore need not be subject to the world’s systems. Whatever the world’s situation is, fear not because “God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
Notice that Philippians 4:19 says that “God shall supply all your need.” It does not say that God may supply some of your needs. It also says that God will do it “according to His riches.” It is not out of His riches. If a millionaire gives you a hundred dollars, it is out of his riches. But if he gives to you according to his riches, it means that he is lining up his millions for you!
Lastly, the verse says that God does it “according to His riches in glory.” It is not according to the riches of your company or how well the economy is doing. No, it is according to God’s riches in glory!
So how do you stop yourself from feeling helpless in uncertain times? The same way I stopped myself from getting seasick when I was on board a navy ship for the first time during my National Service stint. A senior naval officer had advised me, “Don’t look at the waves around you. Look at the horizon far away. Look at that stable, stationary line and you will feel better.” When I fixed my eyes on that unshakable, unwavering line, even though the ship bobbed up and down in the rough sea, I did not feel so seasick anymore.
My friend, don’t look at your circumstances or the bad things that are happening in the world because you will get “earth-sick.” Instead, look at the unshakable, eternal Word of God. Your heart will become stable and you will see your God supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus!
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly….
Things in this old world aren’t getting any better, and in recent times, the Holy Spirit has been speaking an urgent message to my heart. He’s been saying, Press in. Draw in to a more intimate relationship with your heavenly Father. If you don’t, you won’t make it. If you do, you will see more glorious outpourings of God than you can imagine.
That message isn’t just for me. It’s also for you—and for every other believer on the earth today. We are in the last of the last days of this age. Jesus is coming soon. It’s an exciting time, but it’s also a dangerous time. Those who don’t do what the Spirit says, who don’t press in to the Lord, are going to go from disaster to disaster. But those who do will defeat the disasters and turn them into glory, in Jesus’ Name!
Your first step in drawing closer to God is to realize that you know God first in His Word. Time spent meditating in the New Testament is time spent with Jesus.
Most people don’t realize that. So, instead of getting to know the Lord through His Word, they try to know Him through their feelings and that just won’t work.
Letting the Word dominate your thinking is to allow the Holy Spirit to have control over your mind. As you do that, your feelings will eventually fall in line.
Remember this: John 1 tells us that Jesus is the Word. That means, when you spend time in it, you’re spending time with Jesus. When His Word is dwelling in you richly, then Jesus is dwelling in you richly too!
Don’t go from disaster to disaster. Take those disasters and turn them into glory, in Jesus’ Name. Press in to Jesus. Press in to the Word and you’ll make it through these dangerous days just fine!
Topic:Your Children Released From Captivity
Thus saith the Lord; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they [your children] shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border.
Jesus has redeemed us from the curse. Many of us have been well taught about that redemption where sin, sickness and poverty in our own lives are concerned. But we often fail to realize that redemption has power over the destruction the devil tries to bring on our children’s lives as well.
Deuteronomy 28 states the curse of the law in verses 16-68. Notice what that curse says about children. “Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long: and there shall be no might in thine hand” (verse 32).
“Thou shall beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them; for they shall go into captivity” (verse 41).
Many Christian parents are still suffering needlessly under that curse. Their children are being taken captive by drugs, alcohol and perversions. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Since Jesus broke the curse of the law, these parents have the authority in the Name of Jesus to order Satan out of their children’s lives.
Don’t let the devil run roughshod over your children! When you see the first warning signs of rebellion in them, confess the promises of God over them and refuse to give the devil any room to operate.
Remember, the children don’t understand the unseen forces that are coming against them. So it’s your responsibility to stand against those forces on their behalf. Exercise that responsibility. Then take every opportunity to minister love to them.
God knows how to deliver your children. Do your part and trust Him to do His. He will bring them back from the land of the enemy!
Topic:JUST TRUST GOD’S GOODNESS AND PRAY IN THE SPIRIT
1 Corinthians 14:14
For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.
God has given us a powerful prayer gift—praying in tongues, which is not limited by distance, time or head knowledge. When you pray in tongues, you could be praying for your future or even a loved one overseas. You won’t know what you are praying unless God tells you. This is because your “understanding is unfruitful”—your mind is not involved.
“But Pastor Prince, I must know what I am praying!”
Sometimes, it is better not to know what you are praying. In 1993, I had a long season of praying in the Spirit. If I had known then everything that I was praying in tongues, I would have freaked out! For example, I would have been afraid if I had known that the Holy Spirit was saying, “Father God, in the year 2002, anoint Joseph Prince to preach six messages every week to more than 10,000 people.” That has come to pass. But back in 1993, one service was enough to tire me out!
So I thank God that I don’t know what I am praying when I pray in tongues. I simply trust His goodness and pray in tongues for everything that He has planned for me to come to pass in His perfect timing.
Beloved, don’t stop praying in tongues just because you don’t know what you are praying. You could be praying for the safety of a loved one in a life and death situation. Especially when you feel an urge to pray because you sense danger, pray! Pray until you sense a release as the burden is lifted. The Holy Spirit will know exactly what is going on, who is in danger and how to pray for deliverance (see Romans 8:27).
You may say, “Well, I can just pray in English.” You can, but your prayer will be very limited because you don’t know everything. It is better to pray in tongues because the Spirit knows all things.
My friend, you don’t belong to the natural, limited realm. You belong to God who is unlimited! So pray in tongues, and see great things happening for you and through you.
But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory [making us conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:57, The Amplified Bible
Victors! More than conquerors! That’s what the Bible says we are. I know you’ve heard that many times before, but today I want you to let the reality of it really sink in. I want you to spend some time meditating about what those terms actually mean.
The dictionary says that victory means “final and complete supremacy or superiority in battle or war, success in any contest or struggling involving the defeat of an opponent or the overcoming of obstacles.”
To conquer means “to get the better of in competition or struggle, to master, suppress, prevail over, overwhelm, surmount, to gain superiority, to subdue, to vanquish, to crush, to defeat.”
Once you get those definitions firmly in mind, you’ll realize in Jesus you’ve gotten much more than a ticket to heaven. You’ve gotten the best of the world you’re living in now. Through Him, you’ve overcome it, mastered it, suppressed it and prevailed over it.
No wonder 1 Corinthians 15:57 shouts, “Thanks be to God Who gives us the victory, [making us conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ” (The Amplified Bible)!
Why don’t you shout too! Shout thanks to God today for making you an overcomer. Praise Him that you are joined up with the One who has conquered the world, the flesh and the devil. Shout hallelujah and enjoy the victory!
Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.
1 Corinthians 14:1-3
That ties this back to the “love” chapter. Love is to be the basic, biblical reason for exercising a spiritual gift. Love is the hunger to reach out for someone else’s benefit. That is to be the controlling theme throughout this whole chapter in the discussion of tongues and prophesying. Love is building up someone else. To that end, “desire spiritual gifts,” so that they may be a means of helping others and fulfilling love.
Clearly the one spiritual gift that is most effective in that direction is prophesying. The gift of prophesying is not predicting the future. That may be an element occasionally in it, but it is the explanation of the present in the light of the revelation of God. The closest term we would call it by today is biblical preaching that unfolds the mind of God and applies it to the daily struggles of life. That is prophesying. That is the gift for a congregation to desire above all others.
Beginning with Verse 2 and on through Verse 5, Paul compares the gifts of prophesy and tongues. Anyone who speaks in tongues is not understood in a congregation because he speaks “mysteries in the Spirit.” The reason for that was he was speaking in a language that they did not understand. At Corinth people would stand up and speak in these languages, perhaps recognizable as being languages used somewhere nearby (as on the Day of Pentecost), but the people there did not understand the language, and so they could not know what the speaker was saying.
In contrast, Paul now describes the gift of prophesying, which Paul says has a threefold effect. First, it builds people up. The word is oikodomen in the Greek, oiko means “house,” and domen means “to build.” To build a house on a solid foundation is the idea; and the work of prophesying gives people a foundation. One of the major problems among Christians today is the struggle they have with the sense of their true identity. Many people are emotionally torn apart because they do not understand that they are new creatures in Christ; they are no longer what they once were. Because they still get feelings of being what they once were, they believe those feelings, and they react accordingly. There is an up-and-down experience that they can never get away from. Prophesying corrects that. It teaches us who we are in Christ.
The second thing prophesying does is strengthen people. This is the word from which we get the word paraclete, one of the titles of the Holy Spirit. He is the strengthener of God’s people. It means to support and encourage; it is “one called alongside,” that is the literal meaning of the term, to support you and steady you and strengthen you.
The third ministry of prophesying is that of comforting. Still a third Greek word is used here, paramuthian, which means to empathize, to put yourself in the place of others, to understand the pressures they are under. It means to be able to feel with them and be able to encourage them with the fact that you know how they feel. That is what the word of prophesying is inclined to do. We have all had the experience of listening to a text of Scripture expounded, and it seemed to speak right to our basic problem. That is what prophesying does. You can see how useful and how important it is to have this exercised in a church.
Thank you, Father, for the ministry of the Word of God in life. I pray for those who expound it that they might be your mouthpiece to a needy people.
What is the primary aim in the exercise of spiritual gifts? In what ways does the gift of prophesying, as in exposition of the Word of God, fulfill this basic purpose?
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
1 Corinthians 11:23-25
Paul passes on to them and to us our Lord’s emphasis upon two remarkable symbols, the bread and the cup. Deliberately, after the Passover feast, Jesus took the bread, and when he had broken it, to make it available to all the disciples, he said to them, “This is my body.” Unfortunately some have taken that to mean that he was teaching that the bread becomes his body, but as you look at the story of the Upper Room, it is clear that he meant it in a symbolic sense. If it was literal, then there were two bodies of Christ present in the Upper Room, one in which he lived and by which he held the bread, and the bread itself. But clearly our Lord means this as a symbol. “This represents my body which is for you.”
Not “broken for you,” as some versions have it. That is not a very accurate rendering. It is not broken for us. The Scriptures tell us that not a bone of his body would be broken. Rather it is intended for us to live on; that is the symbolism. Thus when we gather and take the bread of the Lord’s Table, break it and pass it among ourselves, we are reminding ourselves that Jesus is our life: He is the One by whom we live. As Paul says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me,” (Galatians 2:20 KJV).
This is what the bread symbolizes — that he is to be our power by which we obey the demands of God, the Word of God, to love one another, to forgive one another, to be tender and merciful, kind and courteous to one another, to not return evil for evil but to pray for those who persecute us and mistrust us and misuse us. His life in us enables us to be what God asks us to be. We live by means of Christ.
Following that, our Lord took the cup. The wine of the cup symbolizes his blood which he said is the blood of the New Covenant, the new arrangement for living that God has made, by which the old life is ended. That is what blood always means: Blood is the end of a life, and the old life in which we were dependent upon ourselves, and lived for ourselves, and wanted only to be the center of attention is over. That is what the cup means. We agree to that; we are no longer to live for ourselves. You do not have final rights to your life, and the price is the blood of Jesus. Therefore, when we take that cup and drink it, we are publicly proclaiming that we agree with that sentence of death upon our old life, and believe that the Christian life is a continual experience of life coming out of death.
Power with God only comes when we die to the wisdom and the power of man. We give up one so that the other may be manifest within us. That is what the cup means. It is a beautiful picture of what Jesus said of himself, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone,” (John 12:24 KJV). Nothing is more descriptive of the emptiness of life than that phrase “abides alone” — lonely, restless, bored, miserable, unhappy. That is the life that tries to live for itself and its own needs and its own rights, but the Christian life is one in which that is freely and voluntarily surrendered. If the corn of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it will bring forth much fruit, and by the participation in the cup this is what we are declaring.
Lord Jesus, thank you for giving your life up that I might have new life in you.
When we partake of the symbols of bread and wine, do we honor the richly profound reality they represent? Does our gratitude for His indwelling Life find expression in sacrificial love, no longer living for self interest but for Him who gave Himself for us?
Bible in a Year:
Isaiah 30–31 Philippians 4
Let your gentleness be evident to all.
In one of Dr. Seuss’ whimsical stories, he tells of a “North-Going Zax and a South-Going Zax” crossing the Prairie of Prax. Upon meeting nose to nose, neither Zax will step aside. The first Zax angrily vows to stay put—even if it makes “the whole world stand still.” (Unfazed, the world moves on and builds a highway around them.)
The tale offers an uncomfortably accurate picture of human nature. We possess a reflexive “need” to be right, and we’re prone to stubbornly cling to that instinct in rather destructive ways!
Happily for us, God lovingly chooses to soften stubborn human hearts. The apostle Paul knew this, so when two members of the Philippian church were squabbling, he loved them enough to call them out (Philippians 4:2). Then, having earlier instructed the believers to have “the same mindset” of self-giving love as Christ (2:5–8), Paul asked them to “help these women,” valued coworkers with him in sharing the gospel (4:3). It seems peacemaking and wise compromise call for team effort.
Of course there are times to take a firm stand, but a Christlike approach will look a lot different than an unyielding Zax! So many things in life aren’t worth fighting over. We can bicker with each other over every trivial concern until we destroy ourselves (Galatians 5:15). Or we can swallow our pride, graciously receive wise counsel, and seek unity with our brothers and sisters.
Topic:He Won’t Let Us Go
Bible in a Year:
Isaiah 14–16 Ephesians 5:1–16
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
Julio was biking across the George Washington Bridge—a busy, double-decked thoroughfare connecting New York City and New Jersey—when he encountered a life-or-death situation. A man was standing on a ledge over the Hudson River preparing to jump. Knowing that the police wouldn’t arrive in time, Julio acted quickly. He recalls getting off his bike and spreading out his arms, saying something like: “Don’t do it. We love you.” Then, like a shepherd with a crook, he grabbed the distraught man, and with the help of another passerby, brought him to safety. According to reports, Julio wouldn’t let go of the man, even after he was safe.
Two millennia earlier, in a life-or-death situation, Jesus, the Good Shepherd, said He would lay down His life to save and never let go of those who believed in Him. He summarized how He would bless His sheep: they would know Him personally, have the gift of eternal life, would never perish, and would be secure in His care. This security didn’t depend on the ability of the frail and feeble sheep, but on the sufficiency of the Shepherd who’ll never let one be snatched “out of [His] hand” (John 10:28–29).
When we were distraught and feeling hopeless, Jesus rescued us; now we can feel safe and secure in our relationship with Him. He loves us, pursues us, finds us, saves us, and promises to never let us go.