Charge Your SEED GIFT at 20% Interest!

March 14th, 2011

The Kingdom of Heaven, on the Monthly Minimum Payment

Today I feel like the Holy Spirit is just SITTING on me. Not every minute, but from time to time. It’s a very odd sensation. I think we’re supposed to live like this all the time. I hope that’s true; it’s extremely pleasant.

This happens to me a lot, and I always wonder why God doesn’t do something spectacular while it’s in progress. Why not let me hear an audible voice, or give me a vision, or–I don’t know–something involving special effects. I mean, he’s RIGHT HERE. Maybe he could instantly make me a better person. I know a lot of people who would appreciate that.

But that does not seem to be his style. Maybe God is careful about handing out overly abundant displays of power, because he prefers faith to knowledge. If God does enough wild things in your life, sooner or later, you have natural knowledge of his power, in addition to supernatural faith. He does not seem to like that. Not if his reaction to Thomas’s doubt is any clue.

I think I got a pretty decent revelation today, even if nobody parted the Red Sea.

As people who read my blog know, I’m a charismatic, but I have a very dim view of many prosperity preachers. They teach people that God has to give them money if they give him (via the prosperity preachers) money, and that he will multiply their offerings back to them. This is not true. At least, it’s not true the way they teach it.

For one thing, about one in a thousand of these guys talks about charity. It’s always, “send ME your ‘seed gift.'” I am reminded of what my great uncle said. He said he would love to give money to the Lord, but he could not find anyone he could trust to take it to him. Many of the prosperity guys blather endlessly about blessing their self-exalting, personality-cult ministries. That’s just wrong.

The other thing…they whine and manipulate. You’re supposed to have the Holy Spirit inside you, telling you what to do, and that includes giving. If all you have is the Bible, you obey that, but it’s very general. The Holy Spirit is specific. It will tell you who to give to, and how much. Nowhere does the Bible (or the Spirit) say to obey the voice of a whining, manipulative person. These guys go on the air with apocryphal, undocumented stories about people who gave them cash and then received money, and they tell us we’re going to “miss out on the blessing” (like God is a package of cheese with an expiration date), and they try to make us feel guilty for not putting fuel in their private planes. If you have to beg me for money, clearly, God is not blessing you. So go away.

Shouldn’t we realize something is wrong, when a man of God uses time-tested, notorious methods commonly used by car salesmen?

The Bible says we should support ministries, and it even gives specific promises for people who give to the poor. It says we lend to the Lord, and he will repay. It says we will be blessed on the earth. It says God will keep us alive and heal our diseases. It says God will not let our enemies defeat us.

Where does it say we should buy rich whiners more stuff?

Why should I support some character who does nothing but teach people they should give him money? How is that a ministry? I can move poor Jews to Israel. I can pay for air time for ministries that teach people how to connect with the Holy Spirit. I can buy vaccines for people in Sudan. I can pile my money up and burn it. Even that is probably less offensive to God than giving money to a lying weasel who begs in God’s name.

I feel the same way about bums. Come to think about it, they’re about the same as greedy preachers. They’re living in sin, and they want us to finance it. The bum’s iniquity is addiction. The preacher’s iniquity is greed. You don’t subsidize iniquity. This is why people throw their drug addict sons and daughters out in the street. Rewarding sin is not a good deed. It’s evil. And if you reward sin so you can look good to others…wow.

So I guess it’s obvious that I find many prosperity preachers irritating. I think they take God’s name in vain every time they ask for money, and I believe they will be judged for it publicly when they die. They waste the resources of God’s people, and they turn us bitter and drive us to shut off our generosity, which is essential to our own growth. They cause us to offend, and we all know what the reward for that is.

That being said, today I realized three ministries I support have brought me real, obvious benefits. God is definitely rewarding me for being associated with them. I’m not getting UNEXPECTED CHECKS FOR EXACTLY THE AMOUNT OF MONEY I NEEDED or INCREDIBLE JOB OFFERS THAT CAME IN THE NICK OF TIME or TUMORS THAT MAGICALLY FALL OFF AND RUIN THE CARPET, or any of that other nonsense we always hear about on TV, but I’m getting some wonderful teaching, I’m making fantastic connections with other believers, and I am helping advance God’s plan.

That’s my big revelation. I think God has told me who he wants me to help, and I believe I will be rewarded even more handsomely now that the Holy Spirit is aiming the bombs.

If you think I’m too hard on prosperity nuts, try this. Send ten thousand dollars to a hardcore prosperity preacher who rarely mentions the poor, and see what happens. Just try it, observe the result, and make up your own mind. TV preachers like to tell us that Malachi said to test God with your offerings. Okay, fine. Test the TV preachers.

To see the other side of the issue, pray about good religious charities to fund, try to determine God’s direction, and give. Then remember Psalm 41 in your prayers. Different story. I think I can say that with confidence.

Two of the ministries I like don’t ask for money. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. The third is a charity, and they do ask for money, but they do it politely and discreetly, without a lot of whining and guilt-trip laying.

I think Robert Morris would back me up on this. He wrote an interesting book on giving. He does not beg for offerings, and in his book, he said he gave nothing to whiners who tried to play him. He waits for the urging of the Holy Spirit. He doesn’t consider the Bible’s admonitions to give to the poor and the church to be operative in an aimless, general way. He waits for specific requests from God.

You may be poor. I don’t care. Maybe God made you poor because you have an iniquity you refuse to confront. The Bible says he does that. When I decide whether to give, your suffering is not the main issue. What matters is my perception of what God wants me to do. It’s easy to give money to miserable-looking people, especially if someone is watching. What’s hard is giving the right thing to the right person. Sometimes the right thing is nothing.

I recently saw Charlie Sheen on TV. The news said he was preparing live shows where he intended to present his drug-warped tirades. They were selling out. Is that a blessing? I looked at him and realized where I would be, had God not hit me with punishments and failures. I would not know God, and I would be making a fool of myself as a way of life. I would think very, very highly of myself, even as I was destroying myself. Failure helped save me. Poverty is the best thing that could happen to Charlie Sheen.

For some people, everything that should be a blessing is a curse and an opportunity to hurt someone else. People like that can only be blessed by what appears to be harm. To such a person, a blessing is a curse.

I have learned that it is just about impossible to curse a good man, and it is equally difficult to bless a bad person. A bad person is like a bag with holes; the blessings run right out. A good person–a person who lives by faith–will invoke God’s power to turn any adversity into a blessing, or to reverse it entirely.

Interesting thing: Perry Stone’s gigantic ministry has ZERO DEBT. How many preachers can say that? It always disturbs me when I hear preachers talking about the projects they’ve started “on faith,” using borrowed money. Show me an example of that in the Bible. Did Noah borrow? Did Solomon? Job? The only example I know of is Obadiah, who mortgaged his house to feed a bunch of prophets. Other than that, as far as I know, the Bible condemns debt. It says the borrower is the servant of the lender. It says a wicked person borrows and does not repay, but a righteous person gives. One of the signs that you are blessed is that people owe you money, because you end up helping less-blessed people from your abundance. Oddly, if you’re paying someone else’s bills, it may mean that you have God’s favor. Owing, on the other hand, is a sign that you’re cursed.

I’ve told God that if he wants me to do stuff for him, it will have to be debt-free. I’m not going to make a mockery of his power by relying on man. I’m not going to make myself man’s slave in order to serve God.

Perry Stone’s ministry is one of the three I plan to put at the top of my list. He says he believes the reason he has no debt is that he blesses Israel and the Jews. It certainly isn’t because he begs. He briefly mentions the need for donations and book sales, but that’s it.

So to sum up, things are going extremely well, and God amazes me more and more, every week. I hope you can read this and pick up some of the same blessings I’ve received.

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