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"…That Which Is Not…"

By: Bodé Adeboyejo

At a time when 700 people are applying for one janitorial position; or where over a thousand people show up to apply for 35 fire fighter positions; where people are losing their jobs, homes, retirements and minds; or where used-to-be billionaires are now millionaires, to say that times are tough or that we are in a recession (a global recession), will be an understatement.

In fact, according to news reports, financial markets around the world lost a whopping $50 trillion, in 2008 alone! $50 trillion in one year! That is, trillion with a ‘T!’ That is money that just vanished, evaporated literally from people’s investments, retirements, etc.! Just gone, perhaps, with the wind!

"This is by far the most serious crisis to hit the world economy since the Great Depression. While this crisis originated in the USA and some European countries, by now no region or country is insulated. I am afraid things may get worse before they get better," Asian Development Bank (ADB) president, Haruhiko Kuroda said.

But such confounding news about the global economy, while staggering, only brings to mind, the age-old truth of God’s Word, especially concerning riches or wealth.

God, in His Word, through the wisest and richest man that ever lived, King Solomon, said:

Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven. -- Proverbs 23:5

When Solomon, in the verse above, referred to riches as ‘that which is not,’ he was referring to riches as ‘that which barely exists;’ or ‘that which is fleeting;’ or ‘that which soon dissipates’ or ‘that which is not dependable;’ or ‘that which is here today, but gone tomorrow;’ or ‘that which literally disappears in thin air,’ etc. So if riches barely exist, why be surprised when they vanish? Riches are like illusions -- now you see, now you don’t.

To us Christians, the grim global economic news is not surprising to us, at least it should not be. Yes, it may not be like anything many of us have seen or experienced before in our lifetime. Yet, the Bible always told us about money, and what our attitudes should be towards it.

Therefore, more than anything, the current economic crisis, while on one hand, confirms what we’ve always known about the Bible, as the true and immutable Word of God, on another hand, it should remind us and convince us why we ought not to trust in uncertain riches. And it’s very easy to trust in riches, even when we think or say that we are trusting in the Lord.

We all have the tendency to trust in riches, especially when we think that it is safe. Whatever safe means. But when you think about it there are no safe riches. And certainly no safe investments! Really! Not CDs, not bonds, not savings, not gold, or even stuffing money under the mattress! That’s why Apostle Paul told Timothy:

Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.

– 1 Timothy 6:17

Yet, we all go to bed at night thinking that our money is where we think it is. But is it really? For all we know, it could be in someone else’s personal bank account, while we think it is working and earning interest for us. After all, all we go by is some monthly paper or electronic statement. But we all know how that goes, thanks to Bernie Madoff. He was sending his clients falsified statements, while he was diverting their money elsewhere. By the way, just in case you don’t know, Bernie Madoff is an investment manager who pleaded guilty of swindling his clients of over $50 billion.

"Riches are like illusions -- now you see, now you don’t."

So, we can lose it all in a moment. This is why we can not trust in riches, which the Bible rightfully calls, ‘uncertain.’

Now, the question that begs asking is this, "If the Bible says that wealth is ‘that which is not,’ or ‘uncertain,’ why then are so many so-called preachers spending an inordinate amount of time preaching about prosperity? Why are so many preachers encouraging their members to keep grabbing more and more of that which is not?" "Why are we Christians so fixated on it?" Why, like Solomon put it in another proverb, are we laboring for the wind? (Ecclesiastes 5:16)

So, another thing this whole economic crisis has done is burst the prosperity bubble – pop! It let the air out of all the naming and claiming, blabbing and grabbing mess going on in many churches today.

But then, just when you wonder, "What are they going to preach now?" Like the great spiritual scam artists these preachers are they always come up with something, some slogan or catchy phrase to keep their victims captive.

My wife told me that, while flipping channels, she heard a preacher on TV talking about being recession proof. Yes, that’s the new buzz phrase. Well, maybe not a new phrase, since this is not the first recession. But it’s becoming popular again. To which I ask, "How can anybody be recession proof?" You’d have to be dead to be recession proof! Even if you’ve not lost money in the Market or lost your job, some way, somehow you have been affected directly or indirectly by the recession.

Just because you haven’t lost your job, retirement or investment doesn’t make you recession-proof. It just means that it hasn’t affected you yet. If the recession lingers, chances are, it will affect you. And if it doesn’t affect you, that doesn’t mean that you have some special favor with God or that determines your high level of spirituality. Because whether you have or don’t have you are still His. God does not only get glory when we have, but especially when we don’t have.

"...you don’t have to be recession-proof to be who God called you to be..."

In fact, there’s no better time to glorify God than in tough times. When people can see you go through difficult times, while demonstrating the abounding and unfathomable peace of God and His unspeakable joy. This is why Apostle Paul said that he had learned in whatever state or condition he found himself to be content; and because he was content, he could do all things through Christ, whether full or hungry, rich or poor (Philippians 4:11-13).

While it sounds good to be recession-proof, it is not biblical. By the way, you don’t have to be recession-proof to be who God called you to be or do what He told you to do. So, for a preacher to talk about being recession proof is hogwash! It’s just another scam to rid people of whatever money they have left. I mean, even the preacher talking about being recession proof, I believe, has been affected by the recession, especially as it relates to giving, since some of his members or viewers have lost their jobs, and as such don’t have tithes, offerings or donations to give to his ministry. This is why he wants the little money you have left, to make up for lost donations.

Speaking of giving…the other day, I was flipping through the channels and came upon Daystar Television Network’s 2009 Spring Share-a-Thon (indeed, it is a share-a-ton!), and heard Joni and Marcus Lamb (the founders of Daystar), along with Mike Murdock, asking the viewers to pledge $58 for 12 months. Why $58? So that the people may receive, wait for this, the 58 blessings of the Bible! Huh? Are you kidding me?

Now you tell me, how does giving $58 dollars for 12 months give someone the 58 blessings of the Bible? As if the American dollar is the currency of heaven! Is that how to interpret the Bible? $58 for 58 blessings! (See The Truth about Blessings, to learn more about blessings.) And even if there were 58 blessings in the Bible, do you think that you could buy God’s blessings simply by just sending $58?

"There is no such thing as 58 blessings in the Bible."

Yet, you had people calling in to pledge $58 for 12 months. If only these people could just stop and ask, "Why American dollars and not some other currency, especially those weak currencies of the world, like the Indian Rupee, the Nigerian Naira, the Ghanaian Cedi, the Russian Rouble, or even the Japanese Yen, etc.?" Since they claim to broadcast around the world. I mean, I get the 58 part, because I want the 58 blessings, but why dollars? Why can’t I send you 58 Naira, 58 Rupees, 58 Roubles, etc.?

Perhaps like me, you are wondering if there are 58 blessings in the Bible. Let me say, upfront, "Negative!" There is no such thing as 58 blessings in the Bible. That was a scam someone (Mike Murdock) concocted to rid you of your money. How do I know? I researched it. Like you, I wanted to know.

Since there is no such thing as 58 blessings in the Bible, out of curiosity I decided to do some more digging to find out what the 58 blessings are as touted by Mike Murdock and his disciples. I found an e-book, titled, The Blessing Bible, authored by, you guessed who, Mike Murdock! I didn’t buy the e-book, because I had better things to do with my money, than make a spiritual con-artist richer. But I found this website, (http://hisgloryringministries.com/anointing%20oil2005.html) selling anointing oils, with a list of the scriptures with the 58 blessings of the Bible. Actually, the website has an anointing oil called, "HIS 58 Covenant Blessings Anointing Oil!" Go figure!

Needless to say, most of the so-called verses had nothing to do with blessings. And some of those that did could not be applied to us, because God was not talking to us. Rather, most of the verses are scriptures taken totally out of context just to come up with a money-making scheme. The verses ranged from the ridiculous to the misused. To give you an idea, here are some of the ridiculous scriptures for the 58 blessings of the Bible:

I was glad when they said to me,
          "Let us go into the house of the LORD." – Psalm 122:1

As for the Almighty, we cannot find Him;
He is excellent in power,
In judgment and abundant justice;
He does not oppress. – Job 37:23

Your mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens;
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. – Psalm 36:5

To further prove that this $58 for 58 blessings thing is all a scam taken from the same playbook of prosperity preachers, I wrote in another article about Paula White’s TBN telethon appearance, a few years ago. In the article titled: Does it Take Money to Spread the Gospel?, I noted how Ms. White misused scriptures to raise money. Here is an excerpt from the article:

For instance, just recently, Paula White at a TBN telethon, read Psalm 66:12, to ask the viewers to call in to pledge $66.12 for the next 12 months to help support TBN, so that they can get the blessing of Psalm 66:12! My goodness! How do these people come up with these scams? Ah! How are they able to sleep at night? Don’t they have a conscience?

By the way, just in case you are wondering what Psalm 66:12 says…it says

You have caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; but You brought us out to rich fulfillment.

I don’t know if you noticed the similarity between the amounts TBN asked its viewers to pledge for 12 months, few years ago, and how much Daystar, is asking its viewers to pledge this year -- $66.12 for 12 months and $58 for 12 months respectively. If you noticed, it’s somewhere in the $50-$70 range; something that seems affordable to a lot of people. But when spread out in a year, it’s in the $700-$800 range. Pretty slick, won’t you say!

But while all these so-called preachers are searching the scriptures looking for scriptures to manipulate, wondering what their next scam would be, they ignore such scriptures where Jesus said, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal…" (Matthew 6:19) Why? Because both the earth and the treasures you store in it will not only corrupt but pass away. Or where Apostle Paul admonished us saying, "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth." (Colossians 3:1-2) Why? Because the things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18).

Anyway, while I may not be able to convince these false preachers to desist from their wicked and evil ways, at least I should be able to warn you of their exploits. But more importantly to remind you not to set your eyes on that which is not.

Remember…

For riches [are] not forever, nor does a crown [endure] to all generations.

-- Proverbs 27:24

As he came from his mother's womb, naked shall he return, to go as he came; and he shall take nothing from his labor which he may carry away in his hand. And this also [is] a severe evil-- Just exactly as he came, so shall he go. And what profit has he who has labored for the wind? –- Ecclesiastes 5:15-16

As the Psalmist says:

It is better to trust in the LORD
Than to put confidence in man.
It is better to trust in the LORD
Than to put confidence in princes. –- Psalm 118:8-9

Why not put all your trust in Him today?

 

The Lord'sQuill © 2009

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