Herbert W Armstrong

Repost: “COME OUT OF HER MY PEOPLE!” A Light Suggestion? OR DIRECT COMMAND?


Here in 2018, there are a MULTITUDE of “CHURCH ORGANIZATIONS”, but what about the Church founded by Jesus Christ on the day of Pentecost 31 A.D?
Is the Church of God an “ORGANIZATION”? Or is it a SPIRITUAL ORGANISM, made up of the people who have been called of God, and whom received the Holy Spirit upon repentance, belief of the gospel and baptism?
There has been MUCH confusion caused by the numerous misconceptions of what the true Church of God is! A REAL BABYLON!
Perhaps you belong to a certain “Organization”? Perhaps you have been working hard, volunteering, raising money, and donating that money to build up such an “Organization”? What if you were to find out that all of your hard work, all of your sweat, your tears, your sacrificing was ALL IN VAIN? You would be UPSET & ANGRY, now wouldn’t you?
But, whether you realize it or not, IT IS HAPPENING TO MILLIONS OF PEOPLE, and you may be one of the many who have been FOOLED by such a great deception!
 


ARTICLES/BOOKS:


 
The Worldwide Church of God was raised up, through the WORK of preaching the gospel done by Herbert W. Armstrong. The people CONVERTED through hearing this wonderful message preached by the apostle of Christ, who received the Holy Spirit of God upon repentance, belief and baptism, became members of the Worldwide Church of God! This body of believers, is UN-incorporated.
This UN-incorporated body,  SUPPORTED and FINANCIALLY BACKED God’s apostle, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, and the WORK GREW. And when the Work grew, an organization was REQUIRED to be incorporated. But the ORGANIZATION is NOT the Church!


“And, by the way, if you look at the telecast tomorrow morning, I wonder are you indifferent — thinking “Well I don’t need to look at it”? Well, brethren, it’s money that you pay in. Of course, it’s God’s money. But that’s what’s paying for it, and each one of those telecasts tomorrow (The one tomorrow morning on Channel 11, and the one tomorrow evening on Channel 9.), each one of those just for that one-half hour is costing several thousand dollars. Did you know that? But they reach a lot of people; and telephone calls come in by the hundreds and the thousands as a result immediately, from people clear outside of the Church.

But that’s part of your work. I just happen to be the speaker. But you notice that it says, “This is sponsored by the Worldwide Church of God.” Not by me. I don’t sponsor it. You are all the Worldwide Church of God. The Worldwide Church of God is all of us combined, put together. And we’re ONE BODY fitly framed and joined together whether we are in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the Philippines, South Africa, England, Germany, or where — ONE BODY, many offices, many things to do; but one body. So let’s understand that. And each of us has his own job to do. That’s why one scripture says, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” because we each have something to do.”
| Author: Herbert W. Armstrong, “Success Based On God’s Law (Origins)” given July 30, 1983


Today, the Worldwide Church of God membership still supports Christ’s apostle in preaching the gospel.
However, there are today a NUMEROUS AMOUNT of “Church Organizations”, calling themselves “The Church of God”. The men starting these ORGANIZATIONS, were ministers who were ordained into the ministry, under Herbert W. Armstrong in the Worldwide Church of God. They started an ORGANIZATION FIRST, setting up their own CHURCH GOVERNMENT with them in the chief seat of power,  then proceeded to build up a Church membership unto themselves, targeting the membership of the Worldwide Church of God.
Just like Garner Ted Armstrong did:

Now, some libraries are promoting Garner Ted’s writings, and audio, and video, along with Herbert W. Armstrong’s, pretending that he is a minister or member of the Worldwide Church of God!
Since he was removed and MARKED from the Worldwide Church of God, and all members were commanded to AVOID HIM according to the command in Romans 16:17, the act of raising his old publications to the level of Church teaching is the height of disloyalty and rebellion!
Therefore those who do such, are NOT the Worldwide Church of God! But an impostor!
These “ORGANIZATIONS” are not the true Church of God! And as Mr. Armstrong said in the first article listed above, THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR SCATTERING GOD’S CHURCH AND PEOPLE!!!!
They teach their members, that the Worldwide Church of God ceased to exist. They teach that their Church is the continuation of that Church, but they are a DIFFERENT CHURCH ALTOGETHER, while competing with each other on how many members of the Worldwide Church of God they can GAIN as THEIR MEMBERS.
Yes, their members are WASTING THEIR TIME, SWEAT, TEARS and SACRIFICES, to build up these ORGANIZATIONS OF MEN. The Worldwide Church of God funded the organizations of the Church, in order to help and support Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong in the Great Commission(Matthew 24:14)!



  • “It is revealed in Malachi 3:1-5 and 4:5-6 that God would raise up one in the power and spirit of Elijah, shortly prior to the Second Coming of Christ. In Matthew 17:11 Jesus said, even after John the Baptist had completed his mission, that this prophesied Elijah “truly shall first come, and restore all things.” Although it is plainly revealed that John the Baptist had come in the power and spirit of Elijah, he did not restore anything. The human leader to be raised up somewhat shortly prior to Christ’s Second Coming was to prepare the way—prepare the Church—for Christ’s coming, and restore the truth that had been lost through the preceding eras of the Church. Also a door was to be opened for this leader and/or the Philadelphia era of the Church to fulfill Matthew 24:14: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”
    It was to be at a time when, for the first time in the history of mankind, the weapons of mass destruction were produced that could erase all humanity from the earth (Matt. 24:21-22). This also was to occur just before the Second Coming of Christ (verses 29-30).
    These prophecies have now definitely been fulfilled. The true gospel has been restored and has now gone in power into every nation on the face of the earth.” | Author: Herbert W. Armstrong, “Mystery of the Ages” (Chapter 6)

The current landscape of the “Churches of God” is a landscape of ORGANIZATIONS, each competing with each other, each politicking, each trying to gain the chief seat with the MOST members, and each trying to make “their organizations great” as the organization under Mr. Armstrong grew great. And so when their organizations wax weaker and weaker in membership, they turn to the World with campaigns to build membership!
So they tell their members that they have been commissioned to fulfill Matthew 24:14, in order to justify their search for NEW MEMBERS! Mr. Armstrong, as the apostle of Christ, was given this commission, and the Worldwide Church of God was commissioned to HELP HIM in that Work! Not, go off helping ANOTHER MAN, or a BOARD OF MEN!
So the Worldwide Church of God are doing their parts LOCALLY where they congregate. Ministers who have REBELLED, have gone out to form their own ORGANIZATIONS, their own GOVERNMENTS, their own BOARDS and COUNCILS, teaching that such boards, or MEN, or COUNCILS have the power to put doctrine within the Church of God.
This is the IMAGE of the BEAST.
Mr. Armstrong magnified the OFFICE of his apostleship! He was UNDER authority! Doctrine did not originate from him, but from God the Father, who gave it to His son Jesus Christ, who then gave it to the apostle, who gave it to all of the Church!
These organizations, alter, reject or change existing doctrines of Christ, and place NEW DOCTRINES into their congregations on their own authority, NOT the authority of Jesus Christ!
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”(1 John 2:19)
Someone UNDER authority cannot CHANGE what the authority OVER THEM has established!
Mr. Armstrong is under Jesus Christ, and was faithful in preaching what he had been taught! The true ministers are UNDER Mr. Armstrong! And so whatever Mr. Armstrong taught must be ADMINISTERED by the lower-rank ministers to the congregations, or they are not carrying out their ministry in Christ!
Any man or woman who teaches CONTRARY to what Christ gave through His apostle, are not fitly joined with the foundation of the Church!
And so the efforts, of these organizations, are all in VAIN. They are NOT the true Church of God!
They are ALL COUNTERFEITS OF SATAN THE DEVIL!
Yes, we have had ONE TIME MEMBERS of the Worldwide Church of God, turn against the Church to bring the members UNDER BONDAGE- BACK INTO BABYLON. And these organizations are being used to get that job done(i.e Obadiah)!
So, don’t be caught up in ORGANIZATIONS OF MEN.
YOU MINISTERS- Don’t be paid by ORGANIZATIONS OF MEN, rely on God, obey God.
The reason why the Church grew weak before the raising up of the Philadelphia Era, was due to the Church mingling with BABYLON, and allowing BABYLON to set up CHURCH GOVERNMENT, and under Babylon’s rule the Church was SCATTERED!
The very reason the Worldwide Church of God today is scattered is due to ORGANIZATIONS.
The 501(c)(3) status is a category the IRS has for “religious non-profit ORGANIZATIONS”. Some leading ministers of another Church claims that Herbert W. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God was 501(c)(3), and they teach their membership THIS LIE! This is done to LIFT UP THEIR ORGANIZATION- their IMAGE OF THE BEAST.
But the Worldwide Church of God was never 501(c)(3), as the Worldwide Church of God is NOT an ORGANIZATION OF MEN, but a SPIRITUAL ORGANISM. And because of this great confusion as to WHAT the true Church IS, this BABYLON of confusion, this array of competing ORGANIZATIONS, SECTS AND DENOMINATIONS is prominent!
WE NEED TO GET THESE THINGS STRAIGHT IN OUR MINDS AND THE TRUTH CEMENTED!
Those of us, who attend with these ORGANIZATIONS, must “DELIVER OURSELVES” as God commands in Zechariah 2:7.
In Revelation 18:4, Jesus Christ tells us- THIS CHURCH- to “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”
Is this a light suggestion? Or a DIRECT COMMAND?
That depends on whether you have been called of God or NOT! Are you going to OBEY God, or just disregard His Word? That is simply up to you.

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Christians Have Lost Their POWER! by Herbert W. Armstrong

Probably you, too, are spiritually powerless! Here is the shocking truth! Read why your prayers are not directly—miraculously—answered! The chances are that even you, if you believe you are a Christian, are today on mighty dangerous ground! You’d better STOP—and check up! Open your Bible! Take a look at the real Christians back in the days of Peter, John, and Paul—AND COMPARE! Take a look at the POWER in the original true Church—in the lives of those Christians. See how your life stacks up!

. . . But Are You Sure?

You think you are under God’s GRACE? Safe and secure for all eternity? Well, listen! “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he FALL!” So warns God’s Word (I Cor. 10:12). It’s time to realize you are going to be finally judged by the very WORD OF GOD. You need to see to what standard you must measure up. Jesus told His disciples just before He ascended to heaven that they should receive POWER when they were converted. “Ye shall receive POWER, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you,” He said (Acts 1:8). Do you have that same POWER today? Did you ever study closely to see what that power is? Have you ever been concerned about HOW you may receive it? Have you ever checked to see WHETHER YOU NEED IT? It’s time you did, for without it you are not truly Christ’s!

What We Do See

Of course many of you professing Christians see that you must accept Jesus Christ as personal Savior to be saved. You may even see that you must repent of transgressing God’s law—His spiritual law, as summarized in the Ten Commandments—because sin is the transgression of the law. Perhaps you’ve gone far enough to realize WHY you were born—you’ve learned God’s great PURPOSE being worked out here below. You may see that today ALL NATIONS are spiritually drunk on the false pagan doctrines of the modern spiritual “Babylon”—that all nations are deceived—that the TRUTH has been turned upside down. You may see that even the churches are deceived, and have turned away from the truth and embraced fables. You may realize that grace has been turned into license! You may even have progressed so far as to comprehend that God is molding our lives until we shall be literally BORN of Him—His character created within us—this mortal becoming immortal—this human becoming divine in the very Kingdom of God. But haven’t you overlooked, or failed to “see,” the POWER of the Holy Spirit of God within you? You may have come to see how evil and paganized this world has become, and to be disgusted with its ways. You may recognize that you must forsake YOUR WAY, and turn to and live God’s way! Yes, you may fully understand that Isaiah said: “Seek ye the ETERNAL while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake HIS WAY, and the unrighteous man HIS THOUGHTS” (Isa. 55:6-7). But have you overlooked or neglected verse 1: “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the WATERS . . .” Thirsty for what! WHICH “waters”? Why, the very “waters” Jesus spoke of: “If any man thirst,” He said, “let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly [innermost being] shall flow RIVERS of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified)” (John 7:37-39). Have you ever fully realized that the Holy Spirit is something that was not born in you? We hear a lot today about tapping your own inner hidden resources—the dormant powers within your mind. Modern religions are springing up calling that sleeping, dormant, latent part of your mind “GOD”! But the Holy Spirit is something you have not had—something you must RECEIVE from GOD! Something infinitely greater and more POWERFUL than any powers within you—something from the great God who created YOU—who created the entire vast universe and all that exists! It is the essence—the very life—the NATURE of God. But it also is something from God, which He gives you from Himself, which is actually a part of Himself—and which IMPARTS POWER! Do you know what that power is? Has that POWER come into you, so that you can wield it? You, as a professing Christian, may have come to realize, to see, to comprehend, many of these things—to have accepted them—but is this POWER actually being manifested in your life? Are you sure you know WHAT that power is?

What Is This Strange Power?

First, let me tell you what this power is NOT. It is not an emotion physically worked up through the senses. It is not something that you can generate, or work up, yourself. It is not falling over backward “under the power.” It is not being robbed of all power, as some people who have accepted the counterfeit emotional religion are, while “under the power.” It is not something that makes people shout, shriek, jerk, laugh insanely and uncontrollably, or go through ridiculous and childish antics in a meeting where the preacher generates a fake, false “power” and a counterfeit spirit by constantly calling for loud emotional responses of “Hallelujah!” “Praise the Lord!” “Amen!” etc., in response to his oft-repeated: “All who believe it say ‘AMEN’!” etc., etc. To know what it truly is, look into your Bible! Jesus is our example, and we find this POWER first of all in His life. It was nothing physically inherent within Him. He said: “I can of mine own self do NOTHING” (John 5:30). But, He said, “the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works” (John 14:10). The Father dwelt IN Jesus by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit imparted POWER. What WAS that power? The inspired Peter, bringing salvation to the Gentiles for the first time, explained: “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with POWER: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him” (Acts 10:38). Notice, that POWER in Jesus did none of those things that are done today by the very ones who most loudly profess to have the power of the Holy Spirit. He used that power, going about quietly, unobtrusively, not shouting, bragging, falling helpless “under the power,” or any of those “wildfire” things—but DOING! Yes, His was a life of DOING—but doing what? Doing GOOD! Serving, helping, OTHER PEOPLE! There was divine power—with it He performed MIRACLES—He HEALED all that were sick—He cast out demons, and had discernment to know when a person was demon-possessed. His was the POWER of the Creator GOD! The very same POWER that produced all creation—when “He spake”! God is a miracle-working God! With that POWER, which came from the Father, and was in Jesus, He stilled the storm, He turned water into wine, He fed five thousand with only five loaves and two fishes!

The Power of the True Church!

Now notice that POWER in the original Church, before the apostasy set in, and before the degeneracy of our day. Soon after being filled with that power from God, Peter and John went up together into the temple at Jerusalem, at the 3:00 p.m. hour of prayer. They entered through the gate called “Beautiful.” At the gate a beggar, crippled from birth, asked for money. “Look on us,” said Peter. “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk”! Grasping the beggar’s right hand in perfect faith, Peter lifted him sharply to his feet. The beggar was healed instantly. He leaped up, and then walked with Peter and John into the temple, leaping as he went, shouting out praises to God (Acts 3:1-8). Jesus, powerless of His own human self, was filled with the divine POWER of the Creator. The very supernatural power of God did the WORK OF GOD through His human BODY. Jesus said, “The works that I do in the Father’s name, they bear witness of me” (John 10:25). And again, “If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do . . . believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him” (John 10:37-38). Today that same Spirit—that SAME SUPERNATURAL power—utilizes the collective body of the true Church of God as God’s human instrumentality, through which God accomplishes His WORK here on earth. In that way the true CHURCH is also the BODY OF CHRIST (1 Cor. 12:27). And Jesus said: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do . . .” (John 14:12). That same POWER of God was in Peter and John. It did the WORK OF GOD in proclaiming Christ’s gospel.

God’s Power in Action!

The miraculous healing of the beggar aroused the antagonism of the priests and Sadducees until they seized Peter and John and threw them into prison for the night. The next day, these religious leaders threatened them, commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then these true Christians went immediately to their own group of believers. And here is a point I want you to get. They were human. They had none of this power inherent within themselves. They, themselves, were not the source of this dynamic power. It had come from God. And the important point is this: We do not receive enough of this divine power all at once to last forever. Remember, Jesus said this power of God SHALL FLOW OUT from our innermost being! (John 7:38.) This POWER of God is active—dynamic! It is not static. You cannot get a supply of God’s Spirit, and then bottle it up within you. This power comes into you from God daily! It circulates—from God, into YOU—and then on out from you in love, in faith, in joy, in patience—even in performing miracles. You might have been imbued with this power yesterday and depleted of it today!

A Refilling of Power

The threatenings of these chief priests and elders, after a night in prison, apparently left Peter and John a little depleted of faith and the confident POWER of God. Yes, they were human! They went to their brethren in Christ. When they reported what had happened, all their brethren were shaken. They, too, being human, must have felt a sudden sense of spiritual inadequacy—a lack of power! But they sensed and knew their NEED. They knew the SOURCE of constant refilling of this POWER OF GOD within them! They didn’t delay! They went immediately to the SOURCE of their divine power! “And when they had heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is. . . . And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, by stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus” (Acts 4:24, 29-30). Yes, suddenly this company realized their own human inadequacy—realized their need of renewed POWER FROM GOD. They didn’t run from their difficulty! They didn’t cower and tremble in fear. They didn’t give up their Great Commission. They went directly to the SOURCE of their power. They yielded themselves into God’s hands, as His servants, anew. They urgently, intensively, cried to God to FILL THEM with His power—to give them boldness, faith, power of speech. They asked God fervently and believingly to heal and perform miracles. Was there any God listening? Was there any response? Listen! “And when they had prayed, the PLACE WAS SHAKEN where they were assembled together; and they were all FILLED with the Holy Spirit, and they spake the word of God with boldness! . . . And with GREAT POWER gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 4:31, 33).

We Need It Today

Do you, today, have the SAME POWER the original Christians had? They were just as human as YOU! The real question, then, is this: Do you yield yourself as fully—surrender your will as unconditionally to God—pray as often, as earnestly and intensively, as they? If you do you will be filled with as much of the divine POWER as they—for God is no respecter of persons! This same POWER OF GOD operated actively, continually, in those early original Christians. They actually did do greater works than Jesus—until even the shadow of Peter passing over the sick healed them! They did the very Work of God! The Work of God, which God started in the individual body of Jesus, was carried on through the collective body of disciples, now becoming the BODY OF CHRIST—the true CHURCH of God! Then the great apostasy set in. The apostate false church (Rev. 17:1-5) rose up in A.D. 33, two years after Christ started His true Church. It professed to be Christian, taking on Christ’s name. This professing Christian church turned away its ear from the TRUTH and turned to FABLES (II Tim. 4:4). But there continued, also, God’s true Church, pictured in Revelation 12—persecuted by Satan and his great false church of Revelation 17. No longer was this persecuted Church able to proclaim the true gospel to all nations—to the whole world—in great power. But Jesus had said, prophetically, that just before the END of this world—right now—”This gospel of the KINGDOM shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto ALL NATIONS; and then shall the end come!” (Matt. 24:14.) Today God is opening gigantic doors—the doors of radio, television, and the printing press. Doors of MASS COMMUNICATIONS. The original, true gospel of Jesus Christ—the same gospel HE brought from GOD and taught—is broadcast into EVERY CONTINENT around the world! It is hitting this world with terrific IMPACT—with tremendous POWER! This very WORK OF GOD for our day is foretold in the prophecy of Revelation 3:7-13. But there is revealed that we, today, are a people of but little strength—little power! (verse 8)—within ourselves—though we have faithfully kept God’s Word! The impact of this WORK OF GOD today is going out only through the power of God! Are you having your part in this very WORK OF GOD? But—let’s face it!—we do not have within ourselves, as God’s instruments for His Work today, anywhere near the power of God that activated that original first century Church! For that very reason, the living Christ says (Revelation 3:8) He has opened to us the gigantic door of MASS COMMUNICATION! The magnified power of the microphone and the printing press. Yet that is only physical mechanical power! The REAL POWER that makes God’s Work vital and alive is the Holy Spirit of God! We need to present our bodies a living sacrifice to GOD! (Rom. 12:1.) We need to receive a greater TRANSFORMING—and to be LESS CONFORMED to this present evil world! We need to REPENT! We need to more earnestly SEEK GOD! We need to put on the WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD, as we are admonished in Ephesians 6:10-18! Perhaps some of us need to FAST and PRAY—as Jesus did! Have YOU enough of the POWER OF GOD flowing dynamically into, and out from you? You need to seek a much closer contact with your GOD! Source: “Christians Have Lost Their Power!” by Herbert W. Armstrong page 26 Plain Truth September 1979]]>

But Why Isn't God Blessing Me?

Have you asked that question? If so, are you sure God really is not blessing you? And if He is not, what can you do about it?

By Clayton D. Steep The Good News, March 1986

There is no doubt about it. God has promised to richly bless those who submit their lives to Him in obedience to His precepts and laws. The Bible is filled with such promises. Take Malachi 3:10, for example, where God says to those who render to Him the part of their income He claims as His (a tithe, or 10 percent): ” ‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.’ ” Not room enough to receive all the blessing? Do you think that describes your situation? Again, in Job 36:11 we read that if any obey and serve God, “They shall spend their days in prosperity.” And Psalm 1:3 says of the righteous, “Whatever he does shall prosper.” What about that? Can you say that depicts you? Some Christians have looked at these and similar promises in God’s Word and then looked at their own lives and become discouraged. “But why isn’t God blessing me?” they have asked. They have looked around them and seen what the Bible calls the “prosperity of the wicked.” Like the writer of Psalm 73, they know God promises to bless the righteous (verse 1). But then when they observe how some of the wicked prosper, they are perplexed and come close to stumbling spiritually (verses 2-3). And what is perhaps even harder to endure, they may look at other Christians — maybe Christians who haven’t been converted anywhere near as long as they have — and they see how some of them have prospered in a very visible way. Oh, yes, they are aware they should not make such comparisons. Still, they have a difficult time rising above such thoughts. These thoughts are especially hard to deal with when one is faced with a pile of unpaid bills, unexpected major automobile or home repairs, sickness or just the desire to purchase something one cannot afford. Does that sound familiar to you?

Not being blessed?

Let us consider the possibility that you truly are not being blessed as you could be. That can happen. If that is the case, there is a reason. There are causes, and some profound self-examination is certainly called for. Are you habitually disobeying God in some respect? Disregarding one point in God’s laws is, in God’s eyes, the same as disregarding them all (James 2:10). Are you faithful in following the financial laws found in the Bible? If you don’t know what they are, write for our free booklets Ending Your Financial Worries and Managing Your Personal Finances. Are you applying the seven laws of success in your life? (You may have our free booklet on this subject, also — The Seven Laws of Success.) Are you aware of the needs of others — especially the poor? God says He will bless those who generously share what they have with others (Proverbs 28:27). This may seem too fundamental to even mention, but have you asked God to bless you? And more important yet, do you give at least equal time to praying for God’s blessing on others? Including your enemies? God doesn’t expect us to be perfect before He will bless us materially. But He does want us to be sincerely trying to put into practice the truth we know. He wants us to be working toward perfection. That’s the goal of the Christian life (Matthew 5:48). But let’s say you are fulfilling all these considerations, that you are really growing spiritually, but you still sometimes feel you are not being blessed as you should be. In that case we have to ask by what standard you are measuring blessings. What gauge are you using? Is the quantity of material goods a person possesses the Christian standard? Are physical objects the primary measure of how much a Christian is blessed? Not according to the Bible!

The true perspective

Let’s get the true perspective on this. Let’s go back to the beginning of our existence. Each of us was conceived and then born at some point in time. Had we done anything to deserve conception and birth? Did we earn childhood? Did we do something to merit adolescence and adulthood? No, we did not! It was given to us. However long any of us has lived to this moment, we have outlived countless other persons whose lives were cut short before they reached our age. Think of it! The gift of life itself is an enormous undeserved blessing. Anything worthwhile we have in addition to being alive is a bonus. It is more than we deserve. Oh, some may feel they have labored for various acquisitions. But they couldn’t have done so without the gift of being able to labor. All the good things that are part of our lives are unmerited gifts — blessings. What would make any of us think we deserve still more? If God gives us more, that’s wonderful. But if He doesn’t, we must be careful lest we lose the blessings we have, for if we are so blind to our blessings that we don’t know we have them — that we aren’t deeply thankful for them — God may have to take them from us in order to make us realize and appreciate, perhaps too late, what they were (Psalm 39:11).

First things first

What is it that makes a person feel not “blessed”? More often than not such a feeling is a direct result of making the mistake warned against in II Corinthians 10:12 — the mistake of comparing oneself with other humans. It is a common blunder. “So and so has more than I have” is the first thought in a rapid-fire mental process that sees casual observation turn into envy, covetousness and dissatisfaction. The person feels not “blessed” in comparison with how someone else is “blessed.” Jesus illustrated this human weakness in a parable about some employees who would have been happy with the amount they were paid for their work. They would have been happy except for one thing: They saw some fellow workers receiving a higher hourly wage than they received. Gratitude vanished. Dissatisfaction, self-pity and pouting set in. The employer, representing God in the parable, sternly corrected them for their wrong attitudes. “Is it not lawful,” he asked, “for me to do what I wish with my own things?” (Matthew 20:1-16). All blessings — all good gifts — belong to God and come from Him (James 1:17). Who are we to ever question how He chooses to distribute them? It must displease God greatly to see a person pouting for lack of a better TV set or automobile or house or standard of living. If that person’s heart is so set on physical things that he or she carries on like a spoiled child for not having more, one of the most harmful things that could happen to that person would be to be blessed with still more material goods. Such an increase could become a snare, causing that person to even lose out on salvation. Believe it or not, it can be harder for a rich person to stay close to God than for a person who has little in the way of this world’s goods (Luke 18:25). Consider the disastrous effect wealth had on King Solomon. He had lavish wealth, but it helped to ruin him spiritually because he didn’t use it properly. If it happened to a man of such great wisdom, it could certainly happen to any of us. “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses,” Jesus said (Luke 12:15). That is well worth memorizing. Never were those words more important to bear in mind than in this over-commercialized, materialistic age. Don’t set your heart on visible, physical blessings. Instead, seek to be “rich toward God” (verse 21).

Count the blessings that count

The blessings that really count are spiritual blessings, blessings that cannot necessarily even be physically seen, but can be perceived by faith (Hebrews 11:1). These are what we ought to have our minds on (Colossians 3:2). All this is not to say God doesn’t physically, materially and financially bless those who submit their lives to Him and seek the right way to better their circumstances. He certainly does. But the point is, if He doesn’t do it in the way, to the extent or at the precise time we think He ought to, we should nevertheless give thanks unceasingly for what we do have (Ephesians 5:20). There is, after all, no promise in the Bible that a person who becomes a Christian will automatically gain great material wealth. The apostle Paul wrote against the notion that “godliness is a means of gain.” Rather, he specified, “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (I Timothy 6:5-6). When you get right down to it, what is it that makes an object or an experience a blessing? Is it not that the object or experience promotes well-being and happiness? The more situations a person can be happy in, the greater that person is blessed. It is not therefore the physical circumstances that count most; being blessed is primarily a state of mind, because the mind is where a person decides what it is he or she considers enjoyable. “Let your conduct be without covetousness,” Paul penned on another occasion, “and be content with such things as you have” (Hebrews 13:5). Paul knew what he was talking about. Read in II Corinthians 11:23-28 about events that dominated so much of his Christian life — being beaten, stoned, imprisoned, shipwrecked, in constant danger, subjected to hunger, thirst, sleeplessness, to name a few of the trials and deprivations he faced. Hardly what some would consider being blessed! But Paul thought he was blessed — very blessed “with every spiritual blessing” available in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). Read in Hebrews 11 about saints down through history who were homeless wanderers, destitute, afflicted, tormented, put on trial, sawn in half or otherwise executed (verses 36-38). These were some of God’s very own people, His chosen and called ones, individuals whom He loved and richly blessed — if you have the eye of faith to see it. Blessed? By what standard? By the standard that counts most. They had a personal relationship with Almighty God. They had the priceless promise of eternal life. They received inner strength, comfort, joy (even in adversity), hope and all the other fruits of God’s Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Nothing else a person can possess in this physical existence really matters. Anything else is expendable, and they knew it. Wealth? God was their gold and their precious silver (Job 22:23-26). They were indeed blessed. They sought God’s Kingdom first and trusted in Him to add the physical and material blessings when and how it pleased Him (Matthew 6:33, Hebrews 11:13). They knew that if they sought to do the will of God before all else, they would someday become inheritors with Jesus Christ of all wealth (Hebrews 10:36, James 2:5, Romans 8:17). Have you been looking too much at what can be seen — the things that are temporary — rather than the things that are eternal (II Corinthians 4:18)? It’s easy to do. Perhaps a freshened perspective combined with a recount of your blessings is in order. You may be surprised at how much more blessed you are than you had imagined!

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