|Abounding More in ‘04
By Joseph Prescia
1 Thessalonians 4:1 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. (KJV)
If we want to do more in ‘04 then it is certain that we will have to improve from what we did in ‘03. At this time of year resolutions are considered, like wanting to be thinner or wanting to be stronger. Some want to be more prosperous, a better paying job, a new home, a new car, better relationships, and so forth, yet over and over again people fail to accomplish what they set out to do. Some have said that goal setting is the key, while others have said that you should be realistic. After all if your expectations are too high you risk not succeeding. There’s so much information available that one has to decide the wisest course of action. When I started working in retail management years ago I was taught to “work smart.” I didn’t understand that very general statement at the time, but later I understood it to mean, choose wise work that will yield the greatest results.
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (KJV)
In this teaching I’d like to set before you some keys that are absolutely essential for building success. These keys are so paramount that you can apply them in any situation that comes your way, knowing that positive results are soon to follow.
The first key is that we seek the things of God first. We seek the will of God, the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these other things SHALL be added unto us. God shall provide all basic physical needs. How do we seek the will of God? Through His written Word and by prayer and by direct revelation from Him.
Psalm 37:4-5 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. (KJV)
We can expect to receive the desires of our heart when we delight in God. Desire is not a perpetual state of not having. If I pursue the desire first, then I forsake God, I leave Him out of the decision process. If I pursue ANY need first, ahead of God, then I make that need bigger than God.
Since we are starting a new year with new hope for the future I’d like to properly define a word that is on a lot of people’s minds, the word “prosperous.” We know that many times when a word is used for the first time in the Word of God it will often set the Biblical definition of that word throughout the Scriptures. The first time the word “prosperous” is used in the Bible is in Genesis 24 when Abraham told his servant by the will of God to go into another country to find a wife for his son Isaac.
Genesis 24:21 And the man (Abraham’s servant) wondering at her (Rebekah) held his peace, to wit whether the LORD had made his journey prosperous or not. (KJV)
He found Rebekah and wondered whether or not this was the woman he was to take back that would make his journey prosperous or not. So we see that the definition of prosperity has nothing to do with money but with something bigger. Prosperity is to successfully accomplish that which you set out to do.
Genesis 24:56-59 And he (Abraham’s servant) said unto them, Hinder me not, seeing the LORD hath prospered my way; send me away that I may go to my master. And they said, We will call the damsel, and enquire at her mouth. And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go. And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham's servant, and his men. (KJV)
In the book of Haggai we read of the children of Israel being in captivity in Babylon. They had returned to Jerusalem and had to rebuild the Temple that had been destroyed. God told Haggai, the prophet, that before the children of Israel set about to do this work on the Temple, He had something to tell them.
New International Version:
Haggai 2:15-19 " 'Now give careful thought to this from this day on-consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the LORD's temple. When anyone came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty. I struck all the work of your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not turn to me,' declares the LORD . 'From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the LORD's temple was laid. Give careful thought: Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit. " 'From this day on I will bless you.' "
Why? Because their hearts were right now, they had put God first now and from this day forward God was going to bless them, He was going to make their way prosperous. They weren’t prosperous before this because they were doing their own thing instead of the will of God. They were working on their own homes instead of the house of God, but now, God was going to bless them from this day forward because they got it right. They were going to get a greater yield out of the seed planted. They had made a wise decision.
Today we have an opportunity to do so much more than they did because we have Christ in us. We can have the mind of Christ. What have we been putting into our minds and hearts? What we consistently feed our minds will make its way into our hearts. That’s why we can’t change a habit by trying to change a habit. That's why New Years resolutions fail. That’s why diets fail. That’s why marriage counseling's fail. What we feed our mind will go into the heart. Will power will never win out over belief.
Proverbs 4:23 Keep (Guard) thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. (KJV)
We make decisions based upon what we have been feeding our heart. What the mind is fed over a period of time sinks into the heart. If we feed our mind on a diet of CNN, FOX, world problems, political envy and strife, then we will speak and act upon what's in our heart. We cannot do otherwise. We have decided what will come out of the heart, what we will act upon. The heart has no other choice. On the other hand, what if we feed our mind on a diet of the Word of God more in ‘04? We can make a New Year’s resolution to read more in ‘04. If we feed the mind on a constant diet of spiritual truths, spiritual power, wholesome words, what shall we absolutely manifest more of? The heart cannot do otherwise. If we want more prayers answered, if we want to walk more like Jesus Christ walked, If we want to listen to God more, if we want to believe more of the Word of God, if we want to love more, heal the sick, raise the dead, if we want to move the Word more, if we want more financial abundance, if we want to make wise decisions, if we want to be prosperous what do we need to be putting in the mind so that the heart can manifest these things? Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you. The heart SHALL respond, absolutely to what we put into the mind.
King David was a man after God’s own heart. Wouldn’t you like that to be said about you? David meditated upon the Word of God, he thought about the Word.
Psalm 1:1-3 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (KJV)
Seeking God first, reading His Word first, meditating on His Word first, then the end of verse three, “whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Even though this is Old Testament it is still applicable to us today because there are several laws that are immutable. The law of believing God at His Word has not changed from Old Testament to New Testament. The law of giving and receiving has not changed; neither has loving God with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength. If our delight is in the Word of God, whatsoever we do shall prosper.
Psalm 63:1-6 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. (KJV)
Look at that heart for God. That kind of love and appreciation didn’t just immediately come to David while he was taking care of the sheep. He developed it over time. He read the Word, he thought about the Word, he meditated upon the Word, and then he saw the love God had for him and then he acted upon it and got godly results.
When we venture into an aggressive program to read the Word of God, we will WANT to read it more and more because we will see the love God has for His people over and over and over again. We will then be able to believe more of the Word because believing is energized by love. We will naturally want to read more of it and we will naturally believe more of it as a result of these actions.
Ephesians 5:15-16 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (KJV)
If we only have a certain amount of time each day why not make it the most productive. Don’t we want our results to be fertile, abundant, and effective? The highest yield available can ONLY come from the one who owns cattle upon a thousand hills. Selecting the wisest work each day will produce the greatest back to us. It may take forsaking time with Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Phil, Oprah, and others to get more of the Word of God into our lives.
Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, (KJV)
We can do so much more in ‘04 provided we choose the right things to think about and the right work to do. It’s not a matter of giving this and expecting that same amount back. God is an exponent God. We don’t want to limit God in our thinking. We don’t want to block the abundance headed our way. It says in this verse exceeding abundantly. If we have a hard time with this concept of God it’s because “unlimited” is not coming out of the heart. We’re going to have to put it in there. The Word of God talks of thirty, sixty and a hundred-fold back. When you plant a watermelon seed you don’t get just one seed back. As we give we receive, but not X for X. It’s more like X for X100. We need to get out of the comfort zone of contentment and see God bigger. Yes it will require more responsibility when we receive more, but if you are capable of 60-fold why would you stop at 30-fold? You won’t know until you push the envelope with God, expecting Him to show you how to grow?
Fellowship with God gives us access to all God has to offer. Why not expect more in ‘04? I found it helpful to set goals. Setting goals with God is a great thing to develop. The reason for goals is to keep you focused until you get it done. To let go and let God is not about sticking your head in the sand. We don’t abandon our goals and desires. We can let go of how it’s going to happen. We let God provide. The greatest thing about goals is what you become on your way to the goal-not the goal itself. You cannot fellowship with money, a successful diet, or a new home, but we can develop our relationship with God more on our way to the goal.
The first key is I go to God first to find out His will. How do I do that? I start with reading His Word. I meditate upon the greatest thoughts ever put together by anyone at any time. Attention to the heart is the major key because I’m to love God with my whole heart.
Secondly I set a direction with goals. I can ask Him, “God what can we work on together?” He can help me to become passionate about something. It has to be something that I am passionate about so that I don’t lose hope in obtaining it.
Thirdly I expect more than what I’m putting into it. I expect Ephesians 3:20 style, “exceeding abundantly above all that we could ask or think.”
We can have an absolute determination and mindset that we shall be victorious, that we shall be prosperous in all that we do. We weren’t born on the wrong side of the tracks. We don’t let situations determine our future. Where do you want to go with God? Why not commit to reading more of His Word and doing more with a little? Why not fill our minds with wise, productive thoughts that yield the greatest results? Together we can abound more, with Him in ‘04.
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