Peter Horrobin

International Director of Ellel Ministries

February 16, 2019
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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God’s Recipe for Good Health

“Do not be wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.”

Proverbs 3:7-8, NIV

There are many sayings in the book of Proverbs which link the fear of the Lord with godly living. One leads to the other. But this proverb takes the principle a very significant step further. It’s saying that there can be a definite link between our behaviour and our health.

There are three steps to wholeness explicit within these sayings. The first is simply a recognition that the wisdom of God is more important than the supposed wisdom of man. We can make assessments of a situation and, even though our conclusion is different from what God has said in His Word, if we decide that we know better than God, we are being wise in our own eyes.

A good example of this in today’s amoral world is having sexual relations before marriage. The world says it’s OK – and almost everyone does it. Even, sadly, many believers who, instead of being salt and light in the world, have brought the darkness of the world into the church. Man, supposedly, knows best and now that we have reliable contraception, “why not?”, people say. If you do not understand that when man and woman are joined together in sex that they become part of each other – and both are now different people than they were before the relationship occurred, you will not have any understanding as to what the consequences might be.

It is only fear of the Lord that will keep people from sinning (Exodus 20:20) and give us the courage and wisdom to avoid evil – not just the evil that man might consider to be bad, but what God defines as being evil (sinful) in His Word.

By shunning those things that God defines as evil, we avoid walking on Satan’s territory. If you walk through mud, your shoes will carry the stain onto the carpet when you go into your house. If we walk on Satan’s turf we will carry the stain of sin, and sometimes the powers of darkness as well, into our inner being, even our body which should, as described by Paul, only be “a temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19).

We can now see how the health of our body can be affected by the consequences of not avoiding evil. This helps us to understand how it is that sometimes people are physically healed through repentance and deliverance. For when a spirit which has brought infirmity into the body is driven out, then healing can follow – something that I have seen on many occasions as we have prayed for God to deliver and heal. These important principles are carefully taught and illustrated in my book Healing Through Deliverance (Sovereign World and Chosen). James, also, was very explicit about these matters when he said, “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16).

So, there is not only an eternal spiritual benefit of living a godly life, there is also the temporal physical promise of good health. I am sure that when Solomon wrote these words, he had no idea that the blood is made in the bones. But the knowledge and wisdom of God was in what he was inspired to write. We read in Scripture that “life is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11) and now, also, have the knowledge of medical science, so we can more fully understand the significance of these words. Healthy blood leads to a healthy life. If our bones are being nourished, then all of us is being blessed!

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the detail that You have placed in Your Word. I am sorry for the times when I have not avoided evil and I have suffered as a result. I pray that You will forgive and cleanse me, so that I may be free to be healed. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

January 31, 2019
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Truth and Integrity – the Keys to a Successful Life

“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed because of their duplicity.”

Proverbs 11:3, NIV

Today I want to look at how it’s possible to walk into the future with both faith and confidence.

There are some key words in today’s Scripture – integrity, upright and duplicity – that will help us understand the principles involved. Integrity means that you are the same all the way through. Upright means that you choose to live your life according to God’s Word and His laws, not your own good ideas. But duplicity means being two-faced, dishonest and deceitful.

If a person is two-faced, it means that they are presenting one side of their character or personality to one party and another side to a different party. They can be saying one thing but thinking another. They can be flattering you with their words but despising you with their thoughts.

And in terms of our relationship to God, it means that on the outside we are giving the impression that we love the Lord and want to serve Him at all times, but that the inner motives of our heart are very different. We then become unbalanced and it is not surprising, therefore, that it says in James 1:8 that “a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” An unstable and unbalanced person is a danger to themselves and to anyone who chooses to depend on them.

The saddest form of spiritual duplicity is when people swallow their own lie and try to deceive themselves. They can believe one thing but, in reality, the truth about themselves is very different from the image they present. They can use this false image to try and manipulate others and, even, try and manipulate God! It’s sometimes not easy to see what is going on – even in our own hearts. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to truly reflect back to us the picture of us that He sees, so that we can become single-minded and not be vulnerable to being imbalanced.

The words integrity and upright are easier to understand. An upright person is not only one who follows and obeys the Lord, but one on whom you can trust not to change their behaviour or beliefs to suit their circumstances and impress whoever they happen to be with. A person with integrity is someone on whom you can trust to always be the same in their beliefs, reactions and behaviour. So, a person who is upright has integrity, and you know that they can be totally depended on. That is the sort of person we need to become and remain before God – so that He can always depend on us to not only walk in His ways, but to do His Kingdom works. We won’t then fall into the deadly traps of unfaithfulness caused by duplicity.

It’s an exciting but awesome thought, that God depends on us to be true to ourselves and true to Him. When you look at Christian history, these are the people on whom God has depended to do His work. They could be depended on to act with integrity and be upright in all their dealings, so God trusted them.

So, do you want to be unfaithful, with duplicity as a hallmark of your character? Or do you want to be faithful and live an upright life of truth and integrity. You can be sure that if your heart’s desire is the latter that God will rejoice to be at your side to help you in all the stages of life’s journey. Proverbs 13:6 tells us that “Righteousness guards the person of integrity.” And Proverbs 4:18 tells us that, “The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.”

Prayer: Thank You, Lord Jesus that in everything You said and did You acted with truth and integrity and that, as a result, we can unconditionally depend on You. Help me, Lord, to so live that there is no duplicity in my heart so that You can depend on me to always be available to do whatever You want me to do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

January 15, 2019
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Wounds that Heal!

“Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”

Proverbs 27:6, NIV

When someone you know, love and trust, takes the huge risk of sharing something difficult with you, it may be hard for you to receive and even hurtful, like a wound. But such can be life-changing and life-giving, specially when they come from someone with a pure heart and no ulterior motive. We need to take notice of even tough words, when they are spoken in love, no matter what it is they are saying.

There are times in my own life when friends with a genuine and rightful concern have come to talk with me – sometimes with a real issue and at other times for clarification of something they didn’t understand. But when you know their heart you need not fear their motive.

Conversely, when someone flatters you with nice words, especially if they seem to be out of the context of today’s reality and are ‘over the top’, even too good to be true, you are right to be suspicious. You begin to suspect an ulterior motive and then wonder what it is that they are wanting from you. No-one likes to be patronised with deceptive words.

However, because we all like to hear nice things said about us, flattery can sometimes make us lower our guard and become vulnerable to making serious mistakes. It could potentially trap us into doing something that can have unfortunate, even dangerous, consequences in our lives.

There are many times when people have come for prayer about something in their life and instead of praying about their presenting symptoms, I have had to challenge them about something that is out of order in their life, which lay behind the problem they were wanting to solve. They needed to hear the faithful words of a friend, even though, at first, it may have felt like a wound.

Sometimes the initial response is anger, before reality makes them realise the truth that they are having to face. It’s not easy to confront people over what are often very sensitive issues, but if you don’t you run the danger of missing a golden opportunity to help them get right with God.

When the rich young ruler came to Jesus and asked “what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” (Matthew 19:16), he was expecting a spiritual answer. But Jesus looked right through him and touched the idol in his heart when he said “go, sell your possessions and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me” (Matthew 19:21). The reality for this man was that his wealth had become more important to him than following Jesus!

There can be many things which have become idols in our hearts and when a friend, in love, has the courage to come and touch that thing, we may be initially angry at what they are saying. But to God had chosen to answer the prayers, sometimes desperate prayers, of your heart. If we open our ears to listen to what God is saying to us, then such encounters can prove to be the most important days of our life!

Prayer: Thank You, Lord that You care enough about each one of us to confront us with the truth. I pray that, just as You spoke to the rich young ruler, You will speak clearly to me about anything that is out of order in my life. Show me from Your Word or through someone You send to me. Help me not to reject wounds that will bring healing to me, nor to be deceived by flattery. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

January 6, 2019
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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How to Prosper

“Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord”

Proverbs 16:20, NIV

One of the reasons why ‘pride goes before destruction’ is that pride tends to make people unteachable. They think they know it all – and don’t want anyone else to tell them what to do or bring any form of instruction or correction into their life. They know best and that’s that!

But, sadly, that means that they can never learn from other people and they condemn themselves to making mistake after mistake, because they are never willing to listen to the wisdom of others. This is especially true about learning the ways of the Lord, and being willing to listen to His instruction. It is not for nothing that the most sung song of the twentieth century was Frank Sinatra’s “My way”. Supreme arrogance and pride is represented by the lyrics, which talk about facing the final curtain (death) and saying (presumably to God) that I did it my way!

Humility is the opposite of pride. And a humble person, who is keen to learn, will grow in knowledge and understanding, learning from others and equipping themselves for life. A person who loves, respects and listens to the Lord is said to fear the Lord, knowing that what God has said will always be the truth and that when we follow Jesus, who is “the way, the truth and the life” then we will be best equipped for living our own life, whatever circumstances we have to face or live through.

It’s no surprise that there are many places in God’s Word which encourage us to live our lives in the fear of the Lord. Exodus 20:20, for example, tells us that “the fear of God with you, will keep you from sinning.” But my favourite verse about the fear of the Lord is Psalm 25:14, where we read that “The Lord confides in those who fear him.”

It’s wonderful news to hear that God confides in those that fear Him. For that simply means that God will speak directly into our lives by His Spirit, or through His Word, showing us what He wants us to do and the way to go!

Isaiah tells it this way, “your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it’” (Isaiah 30:21). The most costly mistakes I made in my own life were when I decided to ignore God’s voice or silence my conscience. The result was always painful. Yes, there is forgiveness for sin, but isn’t it oh so much better not to have stepped out of God’s way and remained on track.

It is also a fact that in my own business life, the most successful and prosperous decisions were those which were clearly made in obedience to the direction the Lord had told me to go. Ideas God gave me in specific answer to prayer, were those which were the most successful. One business decision I made forty years ago was instrumental in providing financial support in over thirty years of ministry. God is the best businessman I know and He delights to confide in us.

When we have learnt to trust the Lord we will not hesitate to be obedient to His Word and do those things that please Him.

Prayer: Forgive me, Lord, for those times in my life when, through pride, I have tried to do it my way and failed to take wise instruction. But thank You, Lord, that You have promised to guide and direct the steps of those who truly love and fear You. Help me, Lord, to be always attentive to your voice and not to wander off the pathway that You lay before me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

December 18, 2018
by Blog Moderator
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Light in the Darkness

“The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned” (Isaiah 9:2).

Isaiah’s extraordinary prophecy was given hundreds of years before Jesus, the Light of the World, walked on Israel’s soil. Jesus began his ministry by quoting these very words (Matt. 4:16). He was making it clear that the shadow of death hovers over every human being, from the day of their conception until the moment when they die. Physical death is the one life experience that unites the whole of humanity!

In John 11:25, Jesus spoke out a mystery, telling the people that if they believed in Him they would live, even though they would die! And that whoever lives and believes in Him will never die.

This is the mystery which has been at the heart of the Christian Gospel for two thousand years. When the Light of the World comes into our lives, physical death may still be our common experience, but for those who die in Christ, He is the gateway to life – eternal life.

John began his Gospel by declaring “Light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it” (John 1:5). The nations of the world, many of which have an extensive Christian history, are rapidly turning away from those Christian foundations for life and government. Fear of God has left the corridors of power, spiritual darkness has invaded the lands and, sadly, people are choosing darkness rather than light.

But, as the darkness increases, so does the contrast between the Light of Christ and the surrounding darkness. Only Jesus, the Light of the World, can heal broken hearts, restore the lost identity of a confused generation and set free those who have been caught in the bondage of addictions, giving them back a hope, a future and a destiny.

That is what the work of Ellel Ministries is all about – declaring the gospel of salvation and giving people hope and the opportunity to have their destiny restored through healing the broken-hearted and setting the captives free. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3.16).

May the Lord richly bless you this Christmas Season

December 15, 2018
by Seeds of the Kingdom
Comments Off on “My Words . . . are life . . . and health”

“My Words . . . are life . . . and health”

“Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.”

Proverbs 4:10-13, NIV

The first few chapters of the book of Proverbs are written as if Wisdom herself is speaking. The name Wisdom represents the Holy Spirit of God – for in Him is all truth, all knowledge and all wisdom. We read how Wisdom invites sinful man to learn of God, and through the application of wisdom be challenged, be encouraged, be rebuked, be corrected, be inspired, be healthy, be guided – and many more things which are expressed through the thirty-one chapters of this remarkable book.

We come to a very simple instruction – an instruction from Wisdom that, if followed will have massive consequences for each and every one of us – “Accept what I say”. This is an instruction which can, literally, make the difference between life and death. Do we or do we not believe that what God says is true and that if we follow and obey Him that it will be life-saving, life-giving and life-fulfilling?

I once saved the life of a terrified young boy whose canoe had capsized in a raging torrent of flood water. He was stranded on a rock in the middle of the river above a dangerous and very deep weir. I managed to cast my fishing line around his legs. Then I tied string to the fishing line which he dragged to himself. And, finally I found a rope in a farmer’s barn which I attached to the string. Even though he now had a rope tied round his waist, the force of the water was too strong for me to pull him up-stream away from the weir. To be saved, he was going to have to step into the raging torrent pouring over the edge of the weir and trust that I could pull the rope hard and fast enough across the surface to prevent him from being sucked under. This dangerous manoeuvre would only work if he accepted what I told him to do, held on tight, jumped in and trusted me. He did accept what I said. He did trust. And his life was saved. His rescue became a headline in a national newspaper.

The boy had to accept what I said and trust. And that is exactly what Wisdom is saying to us, both in the verses for today and throughout the book of Proverbs. Accept, without question that what Wisdom is saying is true and jump into the waters of life, trusting and obeying. For, Wisdom says, “I will instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.”

This is extraordinarily good news – for these are the rich promises of God to His children. But in order to enjoy the promised blessings, we must “hold on to instruction”. We must not, “let it go”. And we must “guard it well” for it is our life. If the boy in the river had not obeyed instruction I couldn’t have saved him and he would have lost his life.

Your life is utterly precious. Jesus died that you might be forgiven and given a new born-again life. He has a destiny and a purpose for you. But Satan is a destiny-robber and he wants to entice you away from God’s best and make you doubt the truth of God’s Word and, even, rob you of your life. Follow the advice of Wisdom in the book of Proverbs and God’s life-transforming keys will open the doors of opportunity for you. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. I pray that you will want to follow Him every step of the way.

Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, for showing us that You are the way to life. Help me, Lord, to always follow the instruction of Wisdom and so enjoy the blessings You have promised in Your Word. I choose now to step into the destiny You have reserved for me by accepting all that You say as the truth and follow You all my days. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

November 30, 2018
by Seeds of the Kingdom
Comments Off on Beware the Dangers of Beer and Wine!

Beware the Dangers of Beer and Wine!

“Wine is a mocker and beer is a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.” Proverbs 20:1. “Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly. In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper.”

Proverbs 23:31-32, NIV

The arguments about whether or not a Christian should drink alcohol have divided believers down the centuries. It is true that the Bible doesn’t say anywhere that it is a sin to drink alcohol. There is no doubt that Jesus turned the water into the best wine at the wedding banquet. And there are no grounds for thinking that the wine that was used at the last supper was not real wine. But the Bible is also very straight about the inherent dangers of drinking more wine and beer than is good for you. Scriptures such as these cannot be ignored.

No-one would dispute that alcohol-fuelled behaviour is an ungodly curse on society. When people begin to lose control of their tongue and their senses they become vulnerable to every possible kind of temptation and their behaviour can become obnoxious and aggressive. The courts are constantly hearing cases of sexual assault and violent behaviour under the influence of alcohol, which have wreaked havoc on people’s lives, causing terrible suffering. Countless abortions have followed alcohol-inspired sexual activity.

And right across the world driving under the influence of alcohol claims thousands of lives. In the UK, on average, 3,000 people are killed or seriously injured every single year from drink-drive accidents. And in the USA thirty people die every single day – that’s about 11,000 deaths a year. These are astonishing and terrible statistics.
It’s not surprising, therefore, that God has placed many warnings in the Bible about the potential spiritual and physical dangers of excess drinking – we ignore them at our peril. And medical science is now backing up Scripture with well-substantiated health warnings. They are now saying that even modest levels of alcohol consumption can, on average, cut life expectancy by up to 20%!

The Bible is making a serious point when it says that in the end wine “bites like a snake and poisons like a viper”. As Christians we should not only listen to these warnings in Scripture, but also take note of what medical science is now telling us. The long-term consequence of drinking more than we should could be robbing us, our families and God of years of our life, and also induce years of disease-related suffering. And we should be doubly determined never to touch alcohol if we are about to drive a car.

The body God has given us is precious. It is our responsibility to look after it. Paul says “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God. You are not your own, you were bought with a price. Therefore, honour God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19).

So, as believers, we know that our whole life is precious to God and that every hour, yes even every minute, matters to Him. Looking after the body, therefore, is a deeply spiritual responsibility and today’s Scripture should act as an alarm call to make us review how much we do drink, and how we treat the body God has given us, so that we can remain fit for His service and live all the years that God had planned for us.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the body You have given me and all the things You have created for our enjoyment. Forgive me, Lord, for any way in which I have abused my body by drinking more than is wise. I want to live all the years you had planned for me. Help me, I pray, to be self-disciplined as I seek to serve You with everything I am. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

November 24, 2018
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Guard Your Heart

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

Proverbs 4:23, NIV

A wellspring is the place where something important comes from. It is the source of a stream and then a river. It’s where things begin. And our Scripture for today tells us that it is the centre of our being, the wellspring of life.

The heart, not our physical blood-pump, but the very core of our being, is, therefore, absolutely central to who we are as a person. It’s where our thoughts, feelings and emotions come together and express themselves and influence the will choices that we make. It is, therefore, of critical importance. No wonder we are told here to guard our heart. For if we don’t we will be vulnerable to influences from every possible direction and to the temptations which the enemy may put before us.

Hebrews 4:12 tells us that it is the thoughts and the attitudes of our heart that are judged by the living and active Word of God, described here as being sharper than any double-edged sword. It’s as if the Word of God becomes the straight edge, or plumb line, against which the choices we make are measured. For when the motives of our heart are out of tune with God, we are in danger of heading for trouble.

Paul warns us to be very careful what we think about. He encourages us “to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). For the ungodly things we dwell on in our minds penetrate the defences of our heart and we can then become vulnerable to putting those thoughts into action – and so a cycle of ungodly thinking motivates the heart and leads us into ungodly actions.

These actions then, in turn, store up ungodly memories for the mind to dwell on, thus feeding a cycle which can dominate and control and become the root of addictions and addictive behaviour. This is serious stuff!

How precious it is when a child comes to faith in Jesus when they are young, before their mind and their heart have been challenged by the degrading standards that are prevalent in the moral behaviour of the adult world. The sooner their heart is turned towards the Lord, the easier it will be as they grow and mature to maintain a pure heart at the centre of their lives.

Under the deceptive guise of making sure that a child’s human right to choose for themselves, when an adult, are protected, society is trying to remove every Christian influence that there is in our educational systems and undermine the influence of Sunday Schools which, sadly, are very much in the decline. Christian foster parents, even, are being told not to share their beliefs with the children in their care.
But all of this is simply a strategy of the enemy to try and stop children discovering the truth about Jesus before their hearts would be affected by the pressures of the world. Samuel and Jeremiah are just two of the Bible’s key players who recognised how precious it was that they were called when they were young.

Christian parents and grandparents have an enormous privilege and responsibility to gently lead the children in the family to faith in Jesus when they are young. How I thank God that at the age of nine I knelt at my bedside with my father and invited Jesus into my heart. I have never forgotten that most important moment in the whole of my life.

Satan would want our heart to be polluted by ungodly desires. But Paul in his letter to the Philippians urged believers to counter the enemy’s inroads by thinking on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and whatever is admirable” (Philippians 4:8). By so doing, Paul was giving very practical advice on how to guard our hearts as we are urged to do by today’s Scripture.

Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, that with You as the Lord of my life, I can keep my heart pure. Help me to resist the temptations of the enemy and guard my heart, so that Satan is not able to blow my life off course and rob me of my destiny in God. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

November 15, 2018
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Honouring the Lord

“Honour the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops, then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine”

Proverbs 3:9-10, NIV

There are many physical scientific laws which govern the physical universe. Gravity, for example, keeps our feet firmly on the ground and makes things feel heavy. If you drop something it will always fall downwards. This is the fundamental law which holds our universe together and keeps our planet in place going round the sun, and the moon in place going round the Earth. We all know the importance of respecting God’s physical laws and are careful not to fall off the edge of a building or a cliff, for we know that if we do we will come to harm.

But, in addition to all the physical laws that scientists have discovered, there are spiritual laws which exist within God’s spiritual universe which God has shared with us in His Word. And if we ignore those spiritual laws then there will also be consequences. Knowledge of God’s spiritual laws was intended to be a blessing for us. For, if we choose to do those things that God has told us not to do, such as worship idols or commit adultery, then we are putting ourselves outside of God’s protection and that would be dangerous. And if we don’t do the things that God has told us to do, such as honour our father and our mother, then we will miss out on the many blessings that result from honouring one’s parents. And our Scripture for today highlights one of those spiritual laws through which God would want to bless us – honouring the Lord with our wealth.

To honour God means to worship Him. We worship , for example, by giving of our time, by listening to His voice, doing those things that please Him, and singing His praises. And one of the spiritual laws that is intrinsic to our relationship with God is that when we honour Him He chooses to bless us. If you read Deuteronomy 28:1-14, you will see some of the many ways God chose to bless His people when they honoured Him with their obedience.

And part of honouring God is to give to Him the firstfruits of whatever the Lord leads us to do, to bring to him our tithes and offerings and to give, with a thankful heart, when the Lord prompts us to share what he has given us with others. That is worship. And as we worship, the Lord chooses to pour back upon us His blessings. We do not give to God so that we will get a reward – that is the selfish deception of what is sometimes called the ‘prosperity Gospel’ – but when we give to Him because we love Him and want to worship Him, then God has promised that we will know His blessings in our lives. For, as Paul expressed it so powerfully, “My God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19)

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the amazing promises that are in Your Word. Forgive me, Lord, for the times when I have with-held from You my worship of giving. Help me, I pray, to learn how to honour You with everything You have given me, so that my giving may be a blessing to others and to You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

October 31, 2018
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Rich or Poor?

“Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me nether poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonour the name of my God.”

Proverbs 30:8-9, NIV

We all like having money to spend, but it takes an unusual degree of spiritual wisdom to pray this prayer – a prayer which is designed to help us maintain godly stability in our lives, with an adequate level of income for the life God has called us to live, but not too much!

This Scripture highlights the dangers at the opposite ends of the scale. If we have too little we may, in desperation, be tempted to use ungodly ways such as dishonesty, cheating or stealing to try and fix things in our way. But having too much could take the focus of our eyes off the pathways of life which the Lord would want us to follow. Both extremes are potentially dangerous, though it’s possible to remain faithful to God, even in the extremes of poverty or the having the privilege of wealth.

Benjamin Franklin once commented on this dilemma by saying that, “Contentment makes poor men rich, and discontent makes rich men poor.” He was taking his cue from Paul’s words to his trainee evangelist, Timothy: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:6-11).

Throughout all of Paul’s early life he had been immersed in the study of the Scriptures and our Scripture for today will have been very familiar to him. No doubt, he had seen the reality of both ends of the spectrum – how poverty and hunger can become an ungodly driving force in a person’s life and of how wealth, and the discontent with what one already has, creates the desire for more and more wealth. That also becomes an insatiable driving force.

And when a person has great wealth, the fact that they can buy whatever they want with their money makes their riches an idol which is worshipped every single day. When God answered Solomon’s prayer as a young man, for wisdom. God gave him the ability to know and to speak out God’s truth. But in the fleshly areas of his life he ceased to listen to the Holy Spirit’s voice of wisdom and finished up being led astray by the women in his life and building temples for them to their pagan gods.

If only Solomon had listened to his own teaching. It would have saved him from many things. Many times people have made “If only . . . ” comments to me – especially relating to how they had spent their life. They had not learnt how to be content with living a godly life and then, twenty or thirty years and more later, they reviewed the consequences of the choices they had made.

Perhaps it’s time in your life to learn to be content with God whatever our physical circumstances. To trust Him to be our provider when we are in need and to ask Him for wisdom and courage as to how to use the wealth that we have.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for Your faithfulness. Forgive me, Lord, for times when, out of need, I have been tempted to do wrong things. And for times when my desire for more wealth has unleashed a spirit of greed which has driven me away from God. Help me, Lord, to be content in You – knowing that Godly contentment is treasure beyond understanding. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.