One of my wife’s and my favorite Bible passages is commonly known as the “Aaronic Blessing,” “Aaronic Benediction,” or “Priestly Blessing.” If you have a religious heritage based in Judaism or a liturgical Christian denomination, such as Methodist or Episcopalian, you have certainly heard it pronounced over the congregation by the rabbi or pastor, usually at the end of the service:

The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:
‘The Lord bless you and keep you;

The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you;

The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.’

So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.” Numbers 6:22-27

I feel led of the Holy Spirit to unpack this passage and others to explore just what it means to be blessed by God.
Continue reading “Blessed”

Divine Prosperity: Heresy or What? #11:
How to Become Divinely Prosperous

I’ve been praying over the last few days about how the Holy Spirit wanted me to conclude this series. The answer came when my pastor began his sermon last night with the following quote from Proverbs:

My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.Proverbs 3:1-7 NIV

So let’s summarize what it takes to be divinely prosperous based upon this passage as well as everything else we have covered thus far in this series.
Continue reading “Divine Prosperity: Heresy or What? #11:
How to Become Divinely Prosperous”

Divine Prosperity: Heresy or What? # 10:
Were Jesus’ His Disciples Actually Poor?

One of the common objections raised against the prosperity message is that Jesus, as our perfect earthly Example, and His disciples were all poor folks who didn’t have two shekels to rub together. This article will hopefully put that myth out of our misery once and for all.

One of my favorite non-fiction authors is Rodney Stark, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Social Sciences at Baylor University and Co-director of Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion. He is one of the foremost authorities on church history as well as its impact on history and modern society, exploring how Christianity was crucial to the development of Western Civilization, why non-Christian religious/philosophical systems lacked the ideological framework to achieve similar developmental inroads, and debunking many myths concerning church history in general.

One of my earlier articles here at Miscellaneous Ramblings entitled The Rise of Christianity deals with facts presented in his book by the same title and their implications for modern-day believers. That book covers the timeframe starting with Christ’s resurrection and ending with Emperor Constantine in the 3rd century.

In his sequel to that book, The Triumph of Christianity, Stark expands his timeframe to include the era leading up to Jesus, followed by His birth, life, death, burial, and resurrection, and what followed during the ensuing millennia up until today.

One of the chapters I found fascinating in this book debunks traditional claims that Jesus and His disciples were financially impoverished. While Word of Faith (WoF) preachers have been proclaiming that fact literally for over two decades, Stark — a professor at a Baptist university — can be considered something of a neutral party in the controversy over the so-called “health and wealth gospel,” having no doctrinal axes to grind one way or the other. We will examine his assertions, citing references, and you can see for yourself. Rather than trying to reword and summarize what he wrote, I’ll just quote him directly and let him speak for himself.

Let’s get started!
Continue reading “Divine Prosperity: Heresy or What? # 10:
Were Jesus’ His Disciples Actually Poor?”