Why Christians Should or Should Not Pursue Their Dreams

dreams...

Certainly, God is in the business of making things fall into place as they should. However, the way they fall into place is often based on the condition and motives of our heart.

As an artist, one who writes, acts, sings and directs, it is easy to think I have what at first glance may seem to be “good” intentions. But we have to have genuine faith in Christ, not in ourselves, if we are going to first please Him and be used by Him for what really matters.

As a Christian and an artist, I can sometimes get off focus and start concentrating on and pursuing worldly desires, not Christ’s desires. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with desiring to provide for your family. In fact, it is a godly desire, since God too delights in providing for our physical needs. However, it is certainly a lesser need and one that should ALWAYS take third place in the life of a Christian.

When Jesus was weakened by hunger, and His disciples left Him to sit and rest at a well while they searched for and pursued their physical needs (food), Christ pursued God’s greatest desire first. He chose to draw a broken and sinful woman to Himself, extend His forgiveness and salvation to her, and transform her life with the power of His love. When His disciples returned, still focused on their physical need for food, this is the lesson Jesus taught:

“Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for *eternal life*, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.””
‭‭John‬ ‭4:33-38‬ ‭

Beyond a doubt, Jesus was more concerned with the eternal souls of a lost village than with His need to eat. Too often we are primarily concerned with how we are going to pay the bills than how we are going to bring souls to Christ.

Our gifts were not essentially given to us in order to earn income. Sure, God can use them to provide financially, but again, that is always third place. First thing we are commanded to do with the gifts God gives us—with all that we are—is to love Him, to seek to please Him. Next, it is to serve others for the purpose of edifying them in love. Lastly, it is to earn income to physically provide for our loved ones and others in need. When those priorities are shifted, we are missing the mark, we are not doing God’s will.

My prayer, my plea, is for every Christian artist out there to just stop and examine your heart and really discover the primary reason for why you are doing what you are doing. If it is first to promote yourself in order to provide for your physical needs, remember that is not supposed to be the primary desire and thus, repentance will be necessary.

Repentance is a change of mind. It is when you agree with God totally and then choose to obey Him. The amazing and beautiful thing about our Lord is that He is faithful to forgive when we repent, and He then pours out His Spirit and gives us all we need in order to accomplish His good desires to save souls and transform them with His love.

As Christians, we mustn’t seek our dreams first unless of course those “dreams” are truly and primarily the goals of Jesus: sharing the gospel and making disciples. In fact, I genuinely dislike the whole, “Pursue your dreams,” and, “believe in yourself,” phrases. 100% of the time, these phrases are encouraging you to put yourself first and to trust in yourself to do what you want to do. Let’s face it, that’s exactly what satan taught Eve, and continues to preach to this day. Jesus, on the other hand, says deny yourself, believe in Him, love others, and put yourself last!

Many self-proclaiming Christians tragically buy into the self-serving dream-pursuit message, and don’t even realize they’re serving themselves instead of Christ; they’re building up themselves, instead of bearing fruit for His kingdom, i.e., bringing souls to Him and/or strengthening the hearts of those who are already His. As a parent, that is certainly something I want to be mindful of.

As much as I love Arrow, I cannot support or enable him to pursue selfish desires. When he’s an adult, if he chooses that route for himself, I will pray for him, but I will not cheer him on. I pray his gifts and his life are always offered up as a sacrifice to God first and foremost. I pray he loves and fears Jesus first and I pray my husband and myself model that example for him for as long as we live. May my goal always be to love the one who loved me first, to give everything to the one who gave everything for me. To live for the one who died for me that I may truly live forever with Him. And I pray the same for you, beloved.

Why I Don’t Like When Pastors Preach Financial Prosperity & Abundance

Many pastors make claims that if you tithe faithfully, or very generously, God will likewise bless you abundantly. They leave the promise at that, and continue using it week after week.

Here’s my issue: it is clear that there are over a billion—if not more—professing Christians living in poverty. Who is to say they aren’t tithing? Paul was a faithful man of God, but he lived quite humbly.

I myself have been faithfully tithing for five years or so, and according to America’s standard, hubby and I are poor.

God is not a shmuck. He examines and tests our hearts. Do you really think if we are faithfully tithing, all the while expecting and greatly desiring to be rich, that He will go ahead and make us rich? If our motives are wrong, will He really grant our desire?

Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? (‭James‬ ‭4‬:‭1-5‬ NKJV)

Does not the bible warn that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil? Did not Jesus say you cannot serve both God and money? And I am pretty sure Christ never promised riches. However, I know He certainly promised that God will provide what we need—with a condition:

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (‭Matthew‬ ‭6‬:‭31-33‬ NKJV)

Are we really seeking to be righteous? Are we really concerned about discipling others and expanding God’s kingdom on earth, or are we too busy hoping we’ll get rich so we can spend it on our pleasures?

I challenge you, even if you think your desire to be rich stems from a noble cause, like wanting to be able to give more, examine your motives. Get before God and ask Him to reveal to you your motives. Because in the opinion of a few of the apostles, just desiring to be rich period was a snare and caused the falling away of many.

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. (‭I Timothy‬ ‭6‬:‭6-11‬ NKJV)

Even Jesus said it was extremely difficult for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. So just be content with what you have. According to Paul, clothes and food should be enough to make us happy. I know our culture bombards us with the lifestyles of the rich and famous, flashes luxury in our faces excessively, and pressures us to buy, buy, buy, but just look away. Focus on eternity. If God wants to give you riches, that’s great. If He never makes you rich, that’s great too. Whatever He wills for you is good, pleasing, and acceptable (Romans 12:2). Just be faithful now with what you have, even if it’s a little. Because I’ll tell you what, Jesus was way more impressed with the half penny the poor widow gave than the abundance that the wealthy people gave.

Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.” (‭Mark‬ ‭12‬:‭41-44‬ NKJV)

It’s always the heart that Jesus looks at. He’s more concerned with your heart’s intent than your actions alone. If the act of obedience comes from an evil motive, He won’t be pleased, no matter how much you give. If you are poor and still tithe faithfully because you want to give back to Him for the ministry, He is pleased, even if all it is $10 a week from your $100 paycheck. “God loves a cheerful giver.” We can assume He also disdains a bitter giver.

May we continue to keep our eyes on the true prize which is our eternal salvation, and the abundant riches we have in the Spirit; fellowship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, adoption, acceptance, mercy, favor, forgiveness, love, joy, peace, power, and boldness.

Much love to you. Praying for you.

Natasha

Check out my latest eBook on amazon, Kiss A Frog, Miss the Prince.

http://www.amazon.com/Kiss-Frog-Prince-Natasha-Sapienza-ebook/dp/B00FDWY2G8

Christians Are The Poorest Rich People In The Entire World

We see video clips of extremely impoverished Christians in third-world countries, dancing and singing with radiant joy, barefooted with dirty clothes and skinny bodies, and wonder how they can be so content.

We have Jesus too, but when those bills and groceries suck us dry, and we don’t have a savings, or an above average car, we get down, at times even defeated. That is because we are believing the lies of this world by those deceived by satan himself.

We believe what they feed us every single day: if you don’t have wealth, you’re a loser and you certainly are not successful; if you don’t have a shiny new car, or designer clothing, you’re inadequate. If you can’t go on sweet vacations, you’re missing out and should be miserable.

But is that what God’s Word tells us? Does not the Bible say blessed are the poor, for they will inherit the earth? Does it not say we are co-heirs with Christ, the very one who owns everything? Does it not say that Christ Himself became poor and was poor His entire earthly life, for our sakes?

Doesn’t the Bible promise everything is ours, and that we will reign one day with Christ, receiving a crown and so many other rewards if we are faithful to the end? Notice, however, that these promises speak of our eternal life. We shall receive material riches beyond measure, of exceedingly more value than the richest billionaire on the planet—when we die and live with Jesus in eternity.

In the same token, spiritually—now, while temporarily stuck on earth—we are infinitely rich, as Ephesians declares:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places …(Ephesians 1:3 ESV)

It goes on to list the incredible spiritual riches we have received in Christ (check it out for encouragement).

And how about those of us on the flip side:

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:25 ESV)

But godliness with contentment is a great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. (1 Timothy 6:6-10 HCSB)

Come now, you rich people! Weep and wail over the miseries that are coming on you. Your wealth is ruined and your clothes are moth-eaten. Your silver and gold are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You stored up treasure in the last days! Look! The pay that you withheld from the workers who reaped your fields cries out, and the outcry of the harvesters has reached the ears of the Lord of Hosts. You have lived luxuriously on the land and have indulged yourselves. You have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter. You have condemned — you have murdered — the righteous man; he does not resist you. Therefore, brothers, be patient until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and is patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, because the Lord’s coming is near. See, we count as blessed those who have endured. You have heard of Job’s endurance and have seen the outcome from the Lord. The Lord is very compassionate and merciful. (James 5:1-8, 11 HCSB)

So, although we may—for the rest of our earthly lives—only have enough for our physical needs, we are spiritually rich and will eventually become materially rich beyond measure in the after life when we live and reign in the new city of our God, with new bodies, and a new name. Don’t you like new? Well, if you can defeat the devil’s lies that attack your trust in God daily by reading His promises and putting your hope in them, renewing your mind so you can discern that God’s will for your life is good, pleasing, acceptable and perfect (even if it means having just enough for food and clothing), you will eventually obtain more wealth than you can think of, ask for, or imagine.

John Piper encourages us with some incredible promises to poor Christians here.

May us below middle-class American Christians be content with what we have because we indeed are the richest people in the world.