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"True Riches: The Ability to Access the Resources of Heaven, Not Just the Earth"

The Lord made it clear that the way we handle our earthly finances will determine the kind of true riches of the kingdom that we can be trusted with. Consider this question: Would you rather have the money to buy enough food to feed five thousand people or the power to multiply a single lunch into enough for them all? If you would rather have the money, then make it your primary pursuit. If you would rather have the authority that the Lord demonstrated when He walked the earth, then pursue Him. If we are in fact coming to the end times, we should want that authority more than any amount of money. That authority is partially what the Lord referred to as "true riches" (Luke 16:11). The true riches are the ability to access the resources of heaven, not just the earth. As we read in the prophecies about the end, there will be a time when a wheelbarrow full of money will not even buy a loaf of bread. At that time those who know the authority of heaven over the earth will not be in need, and they will feed many others as well. In my Christian walk I have lived through several cycles of both great personal prosperity and times of need. Even Paul the apostle experienced the same, as he shared in Philippians 4:11-13: "Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."

Increasing Our Attention on the Lord This is a part of the maturing process that the Lord seems to take all of His people through. A key to making the most of these opportunities to mature is to learn to be content in whatever circumstances the Lord has us. We should not become overly focused on what we have or do not have. In all things we should resolve to increase our attention on the Lord. If we are in times of abundance, then our stewardship has increased, and we should be even more resolved to be faithful in managing it in the way He desires. If there are times of need, then it is a great opportunity to grow in faith in His power to take care of His family. Even so, the way that every Christian is called to live is to "...have an abundance for every good deed..." (II Corinthians 9:8). Our main goal should not be to raise our standard of living, but our standard of giving. Whether it is by natural means or supernatural, we should have an abundance for everything that God calls us to do. However, we must go through a necessary process of maturing before we can be trusted with this. This is the reason for the cycles of abundance and need. We need to embrace each one in their timing, learn all that we can from them, and resolve to keep our peace and contentment in the Lord above all things. We do not want to set our hearts on riches if they come or overly fear financial testing when it comes. Our goal must be to grow in faith and be levelheaded regardless of our state. Set that in your heart. Neither our joy nor our peace is dependent on what we have, but on Whom we have. The immature will want everyone else to go through their same trials. When we are being abased, we will have a tendency to be critical of those who are not. When we are abounding, we will tend to be critical of those who are not. This attitude will probably ensure that we are not yet mature enough and will continue in these cycles as well as discipline in our lives. The truly content do not envy their neighbors.

Handling the Unrighteous Mammon As stated previously, there is a reason why the mark of the beast is an economic mark. The love of money is one of the ultimate idols of the human heart and those who worship it are worshiping the beast. One of the ultimate issues of true Christian maturity is learning to handle money or what the Lord called, "unrighteous mammon" (Luke 16:11 KJV) properly. It tests some of the ultimate issues of the heart and does seem to quickly distinguish the true from the false. As we have also stated often, the harvest is the reaping of everything that has been sown in man, both the good and the evil. At the very time the greatest darkness is covering the earth, the glory of the Lord is being revealed in His people. As this is stated in Isaiah 60:1-5, we also see that the nations will come to the light of God's people because of the glory, bringing the wealth of the nations. We do not want people to come to us because of what we have, but because the glory of the Lord is being revealed in His temple, His people. When the nations come bringing their wealth, it is not so God's people can then be wealthy, but so we can manage it rightly for the sake of the ones who are bringing it to them. When the first converts brought all of their possessions and laid them at the feet of the apostles, it was not so the apostles could have it, but so they could manage it for a fair distribution among the people. The wealth of the nations is still for the nations.

Why Is the Church Here? The church exists first to minister to the Lord and then to minister to people. We do not exist so people can serve us, but so we can serve them. The most basic way we can serve them is to connect them to the Lord, helping them to develop their own relationship to Him and thereby become those who exist to serve instead of being served. The selfish way in which many teach how the wealth of the wicked will be given to the righteous can turn the righteous into the wicked. This is not about us. It is about the Lord and giving ourselves to seeing Him receive the reward of His sacrifice. It may seem that I belabor some of these points too much, but we need a major paradigm shift in our basic thinking if we are going to become who we are called to be, entrusted with authority, and the wealth that we are called to have. Great authority and great wealth will come to those who are true servants - stewards who live to serve, not be served. Learning how we deal with that which we are entrusted is a big part of our preparation for the times that are coming. For this reason I will not cease to include reminders of our most basic calling - to serve. As the Lord Jesus said in Luke 9:23-26: "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels." The path to being entrusted with true riches is to live lives that are based on denying ourselves, not seeking for ourselves. There is a reason why He ends this exhortation on not being ashamed of Him and His Words. This is one of the ultimate tests of whether we are living for our own glory and acceptance or for His. We can count on it becoming increasingly difficult to be His followers, but we also know that for those who remain faithful, His glory will be entrusted to them and in the end the whole world will come to them.

by Rick Joyner

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