Date: Mon Jun 30 2003 - 12:03:12 EDT
MJM; thank you Sandra for sharing your testimony. We are fellow pilgrims in
His grace and life. May I pass on your story; if so, would you prefer I omit
or abreviate your name.
Yes; greetings to the rest. I'm new; intrigued; been following for a few
weeks; already used some material and arguments found on these digest lists.
Looking forward to interact. I'll have learn how the program and language
codes work in this format.
> Date: Mon, 30 Jun 2003 02:02:39 -0400
> Wrom: MQZUIVOTQNQEMSFDULHPQQWOYIYZUNNYCGPKYLE
> Subject: Re: (From Concordist...)--prosperity--some experiences
> Thank you for posting this beautiful poem.
> I've been following this thread with unrest, although I cannot put me
> on why, exactly.
> I am personally leery of the "prosperity" teachings out there. If God
> a person to have money, they'll have it and if he means for a person to
> one day at a time, not knowing "how" their needs will be supplied for this
> day, but trusting that it will happen, this is how they will live.
> If God meant for every Christian to be materially prosperous people would
> beating down the doors of the church to "cash in", it seems.
> My family of 6 (plus the numerous "strays" that we take in) has never been
> "prosperous", not for the past 18 years at least, (things seem to be
> better recently, but I don't count on it). I've questioned God at length
> to why this is asking Him, "wouldn't we be a better witness if we had our
> needs met?" "couldn't we be more of a blessing if we were more blessed?"
> We have struggled for everything. More, it seems than anyone else I have
> ever known. Everything has been HARD HARD work and it seems we ALWAYS get
> the short end of the stick in the "prosperity" department. For other
> it seems making money is so easy, for us it seems impossible. It's not for
> lack of asking either, or trying, I started out by asking for a lot, when
> that never came I tried all the name it and claim it crap and even
> to quoting the Bible to God about "ask and shall recieve", etc...all to no
> avail, I went through depression, doubt, anger, resentment, bitterness,
> self-doubt and eventually reached acceptance...that we are just destined
> be this way for some reason.
> BUT I will not complain, my family has always eaten well, they have always
> had clothing and shelter and we have always shared everything with anyone,
> no matter how little we had.
> As my children grow older I am starting to possibly understand why God has
> made it this way for us. If we would have been affluent even a little, our
> children would have no doubt been spoiled. Just like every other parent on
> the face of the planet we would love nothing more than to give them their
> hearts desires and couldn't resist it. But as it is, one Christmas we
> trying to keep our bank from foreclosing on our house, we couldn't even
> a Christmas tree until Christmas eve when they were giving them away. We
> no gifts, but the children understood that our "gift" was that we weren't
> homeless. Every Christmas since then the kids ask "are we having presents
> this year?" Last year, again, the answer was "No". I was a little suprised
> that they didn't seem disappointed, it was an "FYI" question, I didn't
> any whining or anything, just "Oh"... no sadness, no pouting and then at
> last moment we found ourselves feeding not only our own family, but
> family (mom and 4 kids) for that entire week. They had in fact, become
> homeless (one of the kids stayed with us until they could secure a place
> live). It was actually my own kids that told me that it was a "blessing"
> to have gifts to open that morning since that family would have no doubt
> been extremely uncomfortable and it would have added to their distress. I
> have to tell you that when my youngest daughter made that comment to me, I
> had to hold my breath to hold back the sobs.
> I started recognizing the positive difference in my kids when my son began
> going after school to volunteer at a soup kitchen and another time when he
> asked if he could give a card table, that my husband had "garbage picked"
> from work, to a girl he knew at school. Her parents had just finalized
> divorce and the dad got "custody" of most of the furniture, which left
> without any tables or chairs. My kids are constantly helping people, my
> daughter has brought two of her friends that were suicidal and seemed to
> almost miraculously lift their spirits, one of them plans to move in for
> good. (One of my daughter's tactics is a series of severely silly
> "productions", soap opera style, on video. Numerous kids have taken part
> the "productions", they also have a spoof of "Cop's", and the "Blair Witch
> Project", it's hilarious. Apparently, no one can resist her contagious
> "zest" for life and her particular style of humor.)
> Although they constantly bring their "needs" to us and walk away
> unfulfilled, they aren't angry or bitter toward God; they get frustrated,
> do I, but they "get over it" and apparently deal with it. The necessities
> least, always get provided for somehow. They've all been involved in
> work. I have watched what I would call my most "self-centered" child spend
> almost an entire week, caring for babies and toddlers and working
> at a home for abused and neglected Native children in Arizona.
> I ask myself, if we hadn't been "needy" would my children have so much
> compassion for needy people? If my children hadn't have gone without,
> they be so willing to share? If my children hadn't been so close to
> homelessness would they have been willing to sleep on the couch for a week
> to give a homeless family their bed?
> Needless to say, I don't question God about it anymore. We never really go
> without, although we struggle and fight for everything we do have, we must
> have more than enough because we always seem to have enough to share. We
> have so many THINGS too that have been given to us, expensive camera
> equipment, a washer and dryer, our stove, a 3 station exercise machine,
> furniture...etc...Heck God GAVE us our house for a fraction of what it was
> worth, we just found out it's worth 145,000, we just had it appraised, we
> paid 57,000 for it 9 years ago.
> I don't think it's really either way, God will bless whom he will, how he
> will, no one can say "this is the way God blesses" because sometimes he
> blesses people by NOT giving them things or money. I feel that if I start
> dogging myself for "not being prosperous", doubting God or my relationship
> with God, I would be ungrateful for the "blessings" he has obviously
> bestowed upon my children and my hubby and I, by and through our
> As it is, how can I complain? If a person has things and money I'm glad
> them that they don't have to work and struggle as hard as we do, but I
> sometimes think we have an advantage. Sometimes, I honestly feel bad for
> them. Our family seems so close, theirs usually seem so formal and
> Ironically, the girl that wants to move in with us, comes from a very
> affluent family, she spent the entire summer with us last year and most of
> the winter, she's back again for most of this summer and plans to come
> to stay for good in February, somehow God makes us able to afford even
> extras. Her parents brought her up (they live in New Jersey, we live in
> Michigan) and stayed a few days to talk it over. No one can understand why
> she would rather live with us who have so little compared to her own
> (I'm thinking maybe it's "the grass is always greener" kind of thing).
> also wanted to "compensate us" for all we have done for their daughter
> (which is the reason I said things seem to be getting better, but I'm not
> counting on it) we never asked for anything and felt guilty for accepting
> it, but they tricked us into taking them to the mall and proceeded to buy
> everything we laid our eyes on to the point we were afraid to talk or even
> go into anymore stores. She's still buying my daughter things back in New
> Jersey, she told me today there should be a package coming in the mail for
> her tomorrow. To be completely honest, I'm torn between the joy in
> my kids get so many gifts and fear that the kids will get the "bug" for
> "getting things". They've become so used to getting so little, I'm afraid
> this woman gets them used to it they may not be able to handle it so well
> when she stops, which she inevitably will. I think though they'll be fine,
> they know how cool it is to get things, but I really don't expect them to
> become spoiled so quickly/easily, I hope :) Even more ironically, they are
> of the "prosperity teaching" bunch and preached it to us the whole time
> were here, they claimed that God "told them" to buy us a whole boatload of
> stuff, too bad he didn't "tell" us to accept it, although eventually we
> Anyway, that's my "story" and I don't feel right when people say that we
> should be "prosperous". I cannot think of anyone that is "rich" that seems
> to "deserve" it better than any "poor" person that I know. I think an
> appropriate verse would be "God causes the sun to shine on the just and
> unjust and the rain to fall on the evil and the good" or something like
> Sondra Brasile
> >From: "Iain Strachan" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> >To: <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> >CC: <email@example.com>
> >Subject: Re: Concordist sequence--why be a concordist? (off list)
> >Date: Sun, 29 Jun 2003 21:47:31 +0100
> >Sheila asks:
> > > >God. How can we show how great God is if
> > > >we all live in poverty?
> > >
> >I think the following poem, by Nigerian writer Ben Okri (not a Christian)
> >perhaps shows us what we should aspire to in this materialistic world. I
> >think it answers your question. The poem made a profound impression on
> >and was also used some years back in our Church as the "epigraph" quotes
> >a sermon series.
> >It is not a Christian view; it is adapted from Okri's Booker-Prize
> >novel "The Famished Road", which is more about African spirit-world
> >religions. But I think it should teach us a thing or two.
> >An African Elegy
> >by Ben Okri.
> >We are the miracles that God made
> >To taste the bitter fruit of Time
> >We are precious.
> >And one day our suffering
> >Will turn into the wonders of the earth.
> >There are things that burn me now
> >Which turn golden when I am happy.
> >Do you see the mystery of our pain?
> >That we bear poverty
> >And are able to sing and dream sweet things
> >And that we never curse the air when it is warm
> >Or the fruit when it tastes so good
> >Or the lights that bounce gently on the waters?
> >We bless things even in our pain
> >We bless them in silence.
> >That is why our music is so sweet.
> >It makes the air remember.
> >There are secret miracles at work
> >That only Time will bring forth.
> >I too have heard the dead singing.
> >And they tell me that
> >This life is good
> >They tell me to live it gently
> >With fire, and always with hope.
> >There is wonder here
> >And there is surprise
> >In everything the unseen moves.
> >The ocean is full of songs.
> >The sky is not an enemy.
> >Destiny is our friend.
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> End of asa-digest V1 #3426
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