Re: asa-digest V1 #3426

Date: Mon Jun 30 2003 - 12:03:12 EDT

  • Next message: Debbie Mann: "RE: Prosperity"

    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
    > Subject: Re: (From Concordist...)--prosperity--some experiences
    > Iain,
    > Thank you for posting this beautiful poem.
    > All,
    > 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
    > graciously.
    > 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
    > that.
    > Sincerely,
    > Sondra Brasile
    > >From: "Iain Strachan" <>
    > >To: <>, <>
    > >CC: <>
    > >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
    > >for
    > >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.
    > >
    > >---------------------------
    > >Iain
    > >
    > _________________________________________________________________
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    > End of asa-digest V1 #3426
    > **************************

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