“ON EAGLES’ WINGS MINISTRIES”
“The Biblical DNA to a Prosperous Life” or, “Ministering in the overflow.” April 2009
“For if these things be in you, and abound, (abundant, make to increase, super abound) they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 11 Peter 1, 8.
From time to time in local congregations where there is a period for personal testimonies, in which members stand and express what God has done for them, I often hear this declaration: “If I can just make it in, I will be satisfied.” At that very moment my mind goes back to the words of Isaiah; “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.” Isa.53,11a. I picture the Lord standing by, watching as millions upon millions of his redeemed from earth go marching by, and in deep satisfaction, and sense of accomplishment, he sees of the travail of his soul, both in the garden and upon a cruel cross. Like a human being would, he says to himself, “It was well worth it. For this, I would have died a thousand times.” I proceed to tweak the issue a little bit more, and ask myself, “Why should I feel a sense of great victory in securing my own salvation, and now I am walking in a parade of true overcomers, all by myself, because I just barely made it in. In other words, “If I can just make it in” to me, is a cop out. It reflects selfishness, laziness, lack of ambition, and ignorance to what God’s purpose is all about in the salvation of each and every individual. It is not merely to save my own skin, but it is God’s way of reaching out and touching the lives of multitudes through people like us.
We were not raised up together with Christ, and made to sit with him in heavenly places, simply because he was lonely, or because he got tired of the ministering angels that surround the throne. Paul took pleasure in putting the issue under the spotlight. “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: (To what end, or for what purpose?) That in the ages to come (no time limit here) he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Eph.2, 6-7. When James addressed the issue of the Gentiles receiving salvation through Peter’s visit to the house of Cornelius, he had the council look at the big picture. He said, sure, God did visit the Gentiles to pick out of them a people for his name. And why did God make this selection? “That the residue (remainder) of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.” Act 15, 14-17.
There were times over the years when people would stand before a packed sanctuary and testify how the Lord has used this ministry to settle certain issues in their lives, some were marriages, some were healings and such the like. I am always left with a sense of being useful in the hand of the Lord. At that point in time, I felt that God’s purpose in my life is being fulfilled even in some small way. The best part for me, is that I cannot remember when, or if I really did minister to the people in question, but if they said that I did, then I must have done so. By not knowing the full story or when these things happen, I cannot go out and shout it from the housetop. This way, God gets all the glory! I cannot claim anything that I have done!
This study is designed to examine one’s personal life, and we will determine from scripture that the DNA for a prosperous life is already laid out in the bible. Many have developed a belief that the bible is a book meant for “holy people” a bunch of “do gooders” who display a “holier than thou” attitude. But far from it! The bible holds within its pages, the DNA for every person’s life of prosperity and goodwill. Laws have been set in place and wired into their very fabric is a “trigger mechanism” that sets those laws into motion, no matter who pulls the trigger. It is like knowing the best time of year to plant your seeds and what kind of soil will tern in the largest harvest. Even he who believes that there is no God, will still get good yield by working with those laws.
Let us examine a case of people working on their own to outsmart God the next time around. The flood had taken place and people began to replenish the earth. Somehow, they came up with this outlandish idea. “And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” This is quite a project for one to conceive, and failure does not seem to enter into the equation. So how did God view this project, and what was his personal opinion of it? “And the Lord came down to see the city (This is so personal, I like the narrative to the very last drop) and the tower which the children of men builded. And the Lord said, Behold the people is one, and they all have one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.” Genesis 11; 4-6. What we could safely deduce from this lesson, is that whatever a man’s mind can conceive, he will succeed in turning his thoughts and imagination into tangible results, and remember, these people were not working in concert with God’s own plan. They are planning to out smart God, the next time he plans to bring on a flood, and yet, God said whatever they imagine to do, there will be no stopping them, so let us confound their language so that they cannot understand each other and confusion will result. So it was done and the building was halted. Until this day, Babel means confusion!
We just mentioned “a prosperous life” but how do we define prosperity? Many people see prosperity as having financial independence, including huge assets in real estate, commercial buildings, and such the like. On the other hand some may look at what we call a “mega church” with a membership numbering thousands, with a huge fleet of church buses, camps and country retreats high up in the mountains; to many, that is real prosperity. But the bible puts it this way: “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” 3 John 2. Notice that the health of the soul is the key to prosperity and health. In other words, a healthy and prosperous soul will evolve into one’s natural health and bank account. There are many around us who don’t seem to regard this rule and seemingly are very prosperous. Yes! But there are many around also, who we thought were very prosperous, who are now behind bars for what we call “white collar crimes”. Many acquired their own version of prosperity and end up living mean, unhappy, and turbulent lives.
Listen to the Psalmist David in this keen observation! “But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble like other men; neither are they plagued like other men. Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish. Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.” Ps. 73, 2-5,7,12,16-18.
One day, the folks around Jesus got on the issue of “worldly possession” and brought the issue to the attention of Jesus: “And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. And he (Jesus) said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of THINGS which he possesseth. BOTTOMLINE! Prosperity is not about THINGS! And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God, said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” Luke 12, 13-21.
This gives us a better perspective on life’s values, as Jesus asked; “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Matt.16, 26. As we shall see later on, God does not believe in one being barren and unfruitful, but we have tried to separate between the world’s idea of prosperity, and God’s own ideas and foundation that he has invited us to build upon. As the President of the United States said the other day in blasting the banks and firms like AIG, “This crisis was brought on because of greed.” Seemingly, a man like Madoff who has billions of dollars, could not help himself. The more he had, the more he craved for! But the child of God learns to be content in whatsoever state he finds himself in, for gain is not godliness, but godliness with contentment is great gain.
Throughout the bible, being barren was seen as a curse, and God commanded the first couple on earth to “Be fruitful and multiply.” He commanded the birds of the air, the beasts of the field, and the fish of the sea to multiply. In fact, in creating all things, God himself began to multiply himself in his creation. It was not because he was lonely, but because multiplying always suggests success or increase. Think of this for a moment! Christ living in each of his true believers allows us to look away from a historic Jesus—a man who could only be in one place at any given time—but now, he lives in each of us (Christ in you the hope of glory—Col. 1, 27.) and in the process has managed to multiply himself in and among his creation. Man has become his off-spring, off-shoot, or next of kin, because he ordained it to be so. Acts 17, 28. Except the grain of wheat in the earth dies, it remains alone, but if it dies (germinates) it produces fruit; in other words, it reproduces itself and is no more a lone seed, and more over, each seed produces after its kind as set forth in divine principles.
In ancient times being barren was seen to be something like a curse that we read the following: “And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.” Genesis 30, 1. We understand that God’s dealings with Israel of old signified his dealings with the Church today. When he took them out of Egypt, he told them this: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” Exd.19,6. Peter came along in New Testament times and added to this truth. “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2, 5.
Israel was told to obey God’s laws and they would be blessed above all people on the earth; again, a type of the church of the living God. “And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee. Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or your cattle.” Deut.7, 13-14. Jesus came on the scene and declared the true meaning of our salvation, or the reason for us being saved. “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” John 15, 16.
Jesus placed the emphasis and the thing of paramount importance on “bringing forth fruit.” Where does his Father get glory? “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” John 15, 8. So if you are going to be my disciples, you must bring forth fruit. But as we said earlier, biblical DNA as outlined in scripture does not apply only to believers in Christ. The principles work with whomsoever is in tune with it, or tapped into the resources governed by those principles. Let us be reminded that we are not talking about going forth and assembling vast amounts of cash. We are talking about attributes that form and mold one’s character, so that one becomes an asset to the family of man. Speaking for myself, there is a lot more I wish I could have done, but when my time comes to bid this world goodbye, I will do so with the satisfaction that the Lord has ministered to many and has changed many lives because of his calling upon my own life, and because the Lord placed it in my heart to be faithful to his call. Even my mistakes and hasty decisions have served as part of life’s lessons for others.
The first step to being fruitful is to recognize what we are working with. Moses cried to the Lord at the water’s edge with Pharaoh’s armies fast approaching. But God replied by asking Moses what he had in his hand. He said “a rod” and the answer came when he raised his rod and pointed it across the waters. When I travel to foreign countries and see how other people live, I am amazed at how God provides for each person and each culture. He provides a unique way for plants, shrubs, and trees to feed themselves, to reproduce, and makes provisions for the smallest insect to the largest animal to survive against the odds. As we set ourselves to assess this process, we must first recognize that the Creator (some don’t like to say God) is One who rains upon the just and the unjust. Farmers of all race, creed, and religious beliefs, and even those who have no religious beliefs at all, plant their grains and wait for the rains. No rain, or too much rain can both result in total loss for that year. Our heavenly Father supplies us in “portions” as is necessary, or as we are able to utilize what he gives us.
Let us examine the DNA to a prosperous life as defined in scripture. The first building block is “virtue.” “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue.” 11 Peter 1, 5. In its basic form, virtue means manliness, and excellence. We should also add to virtue, knowledge. In this economic downturn, many who suddenly find themselves unemployed are going back to school to retrain for what could be a new job market. The lack of knowledge can be a slippery slope all by itself. Someone once said that what some people call luck is nothing more than opportunity coupled with knowledge or being prepared Along with knowledge, we must add temperance. The lack of temperance has resulted in crimes being committed, lives hitting the rocks like a lost ship in the northern sea. Many have become addictive to one drug or another, salaries and paychecks have vanished at the race tracks and casinos, because of the lack of temperance. Knowledge without temperance generates self conceit and a certain amount of bumptiousness that becomes irksome to ordinary folks. If virtue means excellence, then temperance is also a part of the package, and we can certainly add “patience” to the mix of good things.
Patience is the most visible factor that is missing in our world today. We are now living in a world of “instant gratification.” This applies to love, romance, home and car buying, vacations, and a host of other things that seemingly, we MUST have TODAY—right NOW! This period of instant gratification has gotten hold of our world and many lives have been thrown in a tail spin; on a downward spiral to which there seem to be no end. The opposite of patience is “impatience” and this is largely displayed on our public highways, in many cases with tragic consequences. I read a news item in one of our local newspapers some months ago. It told of an incident that occurred in a southern State, possibly Alabama. Here is the gist of the story as best as I can remember it.
It was the afternoon rush hour and the highway was jammed with homebound workers and thru traffic. (I will say car 1 and car 2 so as to help paint a complete picture of what happened. In the flow of traffic, car 2 overtook car 1 and pulled in front at a sharp handle. Car 1 flashed her headlights to show her displeasure at what car 2 just did. Car 2 slapped on her brake and for the next few miles, both cars began playing a sort of cat and mouse game. Both drivers usually get off at the same exit, with one turning right and the other turning left. This afternoon, both cars exited to the right, and at the top of the ramp, the driver of one car walked back to the car behind, waving her hands and shouting, “What’s going on here? What is this all about?” As she approached the car, the driver lowered her window just enough to get the nozzle of her gun through, and she pulled the trigger hitting the other driver flush in the face. As she fell dead to the pavement, the aggressor began screaming, “My God I killed her, I killed her!” Yes, she did, and she was charged with first degree murder. Where was patience in this case? Where was virtue, where was brotherly kindness, forbearance and long suffering? Many years ago, driving along any street in America was a pleasure, and people showed respect and tolerance. Not any more!
More on the DNA of one’s life! “And to temperance patience; and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity.” 11 Peter 1, 6-7. Possessing these attributes for personal gratification puts us in the safety zone and one could secure his own interest that way. But to be fruitful, one must take the matter a little further. “For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of Lord Jesus Christ.” I call this, “ministering in the overflow.” Remember the story of the prodigal son? Out great hunger he came to himself, or rediscovered his true identity and refused to remain down by the pig pen. But the one thing that set him on the road for home was the fact that even the hired servants of his father, had bread enough to spare. He was not going back home to regain his rightful place at the table. But he was sure that if he waited until after the family had eaten, and the hired servants had eaten and cleared the table, there would be enough left over for him to eat a good meal. What if your life cannot, or do not touch others? What if you never lend a helping hand to someone in need? What if you lived just for yourself? Do you think there would be much purpose in your being here?
Is there bread enough to spare in our individual lives? Are these things in us and abound as the scripture suggests? What happens when love and compassion fail? Many years ago, in a small Welch village (that’s in Wales) a young girl got pregnant and she hid it from her parents for as long as she could. The young man who was involved took off when he found out that she was pregnant. (They usually do) Eventually the parents found out and through out the girl. By now her stomach was protruding in no small way. She drifted from alleyways to street corners. One Sunday, in desperation she decided to attend the only church in her village. She figured that someone there would understand and help her. She took her seat among other ladies in the pew. Soon they started nudging each other pointing to the girl’s protruding stomach. At the end of the service, they shared embraces among themselves always careful to avoid the girl. She left silently without being noticed, but came back for the night’s service. The service was well attended, but many stood in the aisles and the girl occupied the pew all by herself. At the end of the service, she drifted out in the night, much to the relief of all those “self-righteous” folks who were too clean and holy to lend a helping hand to a girl in trouble. She was a poor country girl, who, possibly made only one mistake and now her life was on the line.
Three days later, her body was found at the bottom of a cliff by some fishermen with her body wrapped in mangled form around the rocks. In her hand was a crumpled piece of paper with these simple words “NOBODY CARED.” Each time I mention this story I shed a tear all over again. Think of it for a moment! When news of the find went back to the church, they hugged each other and wept, but it was too late. (I call those tears crocodile tears) God brought the opportunity to do a little bit of good right into their sanctuary. He placed a frightened and desperate young girl into their midst and had her sit shoulder to shoulder with them, but they were so wrapped up in their own little world that they missed their chance of becoming a hand that God could use to save some one else. “God could not find one person to use as a savior.” The girl and her unborn baby died because God’s people did not have bread enough to spare. All the love, all the grace, all the compassion they had were just enough for their Sunday morning shindig.
Here is what Paul admonished the Galatians to do. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Gal. 6, 9-10. Let us suppose that we have all the components rightly blended for a prosperous life, and we have to start each day putting those components into practice, how do we begin? Let us suppose that you bought a book from Donald Trump on how to become a millionaire in real estate. In the book, he gives you a step by step outline of what to do. After you have studied and digested all the common denominators, you must then go out in the real world and turn those concepts into money in your bank account. This is where the rubber meets the road.
A prosperous life begins like any other, on a day by day basis. We succeed, we overcome, we excel on a day by day basis. But one must always be mindful of the fact that the most successful people today experienced their days of set backs and even downright failures. How do we begin each day? It begins with “attitude” and “mindset.” Simply because one begins the day with a positive mindset, does not mean all will go as planned and snowball into success and triumph by 6.00 p.m. But with a positive mindset, even if things go awry you have the fortitude and the resilience to turn the negative into the positive. Open your window to the morning breeze, fill your lungs and shout: “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we (I) will rejoice and be glad in it.” Ps.118, 24. When things seem to take a downward turn resort to Ps.27,13. “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Tell your troubled soul within you: “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, upon the Lord. Verse 14. Worried about a long trip through dangerous territories? Rely on this: “The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore. Ps. 121,7-8. A couple days ago, Brother Elwin Roach sent out a request for prayer for my daughter Ruth who is under going intense treatment for cancer, and the response was overwhelming from the Body at large. My heart has been deeply touched. I am waiting word from my youngest daughter who is now on the scene in TENN. Thanks a lot and thanks for visiting my website and emailing your many comments. Bless you all!
Royce O. Kennedy