Success Amid Stress Comes From Knowing You’re Blessed

Have you felt the stress that comes from seeing no success?

Perhaps you think you’ve blown it and therefore cannot be blessed.

You want someone to let you know there’s meaning to your life,

But all you feel you’ve gotten for your efforts is pure strife.

 

The pressure to succeed in marketing can cause much stress

If people with ten talents needle you for having less.

The devil says, “Where are your sales? Your gift did not succeed.”

That does present a problem in a world immersed in greed.

 

For success is just an end product by which men seek to measure

How well their strategies have worked to snag desired treasure.

But what serves as the best yardstick for measuring success?

Does it consist of what you eat or how you choose to dress?

 

(And in the end who are you really trying to impress?)

 

To try to serve both God and mammon will not get you blessed,

Because the lust for worldly things leads only to distress.

For what good does it do to gain the world but lose your soul?

And what profit do you get unless what’s broken is made whole?

 

Success is like the end point of a well-established goal.

In order to achieve it, you must climb out of the hole

That sunk you in depression over failed sales strategy

And wants to lock you in a trap of negativity.

 

To climb out starts with little steps you may not want to do.

But if you’ll take the time for them, your strength you will renew.

The first step: Dare to open up your Bible. Start to read.

Ask God to show you passages to meet your deepest need.

 

And, though it goes against your “grain,” give thanks for little things:

Like God’s abundant mercy and the favor that He brings.

Praise Him for sending His own Son to die upon a cross,

So that nobody who believes in Him will suffer loss.

 

To do this may take every ounce of courage you possess,

Because to set aside that time means saying no to “Bess”

And chores she wants to tie you to which only give you stress.

But once these truths free up your mind, you’ll surely have success.

 

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” Joshua 1:8

 

“But whoso looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” James 1:25

 

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

 

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

 

 

 

Prosperity and the Bible: What Does it Mean to Prosper?

I. What is True Biblical Prosperity?

The term “prosperity gospel” has become a magnet for dirty looks. These two words have gleaned a bucket load of  bad reviews – in some cases well-deserved. But it does depend on how you define “prosperity.”

In many people’s minds, the word prosperity evokes images of fancy cars, splendid clothes, mansions, yachts and private airplanes. People think of televangelists raking in big bucks promoting trinkets, books and baubles. Their misgivings are completely justified. I hate merchandising too.

Do you long for Jesus to drive those money-changers from the temple? If so, you’re not alone. Yet we can’t escape the fact that the Bible contains many references to prosperity.

The questions is, was does that word “prosperity” actually mean? Does it have anything to do with worldly wealth?

According to Chaim Bentorah, an online teacher of Biblical Hebrew Studies, “tsalach,” the Hebrew word for prosper, has to do with moving forward and/or making progress – not in a proud way, but through humble reliance on God.

 

II. When God Made Joseph Prosper, What Did That Mean?

Genesis 39:2-3 tells us that God caused all that Joseph did to “prosper in his hand.” In other words, Jacob’s son did well. He had success. It doesn’t tell us that he had a fancy room. Any fancy clothes he had got ripped off. Yes, he got “ripped off” more than once, yet despite that fact he remained faithful to God. The way he prospered blessed his boss. Joseph didn’t need a podium to get the guy’s attention.

That’s because God was with him. God gave him success. Then, in a strange turn of events, Joseph got promoted – to the king’s prison.

Wow- what stylish living! Not. Did this look like the so-called “American dream”? I don’t think so. But even in prison Joseph prospered. That’s because the warden put in charge of the other prisoners. Once again, God caused everything Joseph did to prosper. When the Pharaoh’s chief butler and baker told him their dreams, Joseph  told their meaning – with success. What he predicted, happened. The baker didn’t prosper, but the butler did. Joseph did too.

 

III. God’s Will For Us Equals Salvation Which Equals True Prosperity

But let’s move on and consider the best prosperity of all: when God’s word prospers in our lives.

Isaiah 53:10, a prophecy that Christians believe refers to Jesus Christ, declares that “the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.”

Verse 11 continues. “He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.”

Jesus caused God’s will to prosper (succeed, move forward). Herein lies true prosperity. What was God’s good pleasure in this case?

Hebrews 2:10 puts it this way: “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”

Hebrews 12:2 describes Jesus as, “the author and finisher of our faith,” who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Salvation is God’s will for us and it is Christ’s success.

I believe that’s what the psalmist meant in Psalm 118:25 when he wrote, “Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.”

(all verses KJV)

 

Christ Versus Cain: The Fruit of Their Own Sweat

(Cain Versus Christ: a stark contrast)

 

I. Cain Felt the Strain of His Own Pain

 

Though jealous Cain knew how to sweat, what sort of fruit did he beget?

For, God liked Abel’s offering, but Cain brought fruit that didn’t sing.

The soil in which Cain strived to toil somehow resulted in turmoil.

Alas, to have one’s fruit inspected and then totally rejected

Doesn’t make one feel accepted, but can that be overcome?

 

Some cave into rage to blot out their own pain, because cutting it off at the root is easier than facing it. But a slice of bad advice will lead to ruin in the end.

In other words, Cain clearly felt the strain of his own pain.

The fruit Cain did beget by his own sweat led to regret.

II. Abel Got it Right, But Not to Cain’s Delight

 

Because Abel got it right, but not to Cain’s delight.

Cain couldn’t be happy for him, therefore his countenance grew dim.

He coveted his brother’s favor, yet the feast he couldn’t savor

For his injured pride refused in any way to be amused.

 

In anger this man chose to stew. That’s what comparison will do.

Like worthless riches it will rust and leave you lying in the dust.

Had Cain repented of the sin which he’d allowed to enter in,

God might have sent refreshing rain and a blessing on his grain.

But there can be no true prosperity without heart charity.

 

Behold God’s message to him: “Do like Abel. Offer up a spotless lamb!”

 

Oh, if only Cain had believed! If only he had received the gift of grace offered freely from God’s hand! But Cain refused and wallowed in the strain of his own pain. And when he murdered Abel, the first prophet to be martyred, the very ground turned against him. He became a restless wanderer, having squandered the marvelous riches of God’s mercy toward him.

 

The fruit Cain did beget by his own sweat caused him to fret.

 

III. Jesus Came to Bless, Not Stress, Those Under Duress

After all, you can’t be blessed when you feel the stress that comes from being pressed beneath your father’s curse. A ground yielding thorns and thistles was Adam’s punishment for eating from the forbidden tree. The knowledge of good and evil, in effect, killed his joy for growing food. (see Genesis 3:17).

Cain knew evil and it really killed him. He felt the post-traumatic stress caused by his own duress. But God still chose to bless, even though Cain refused it.

“My punishment is more than I can bear,” Cain told the Lord (Genesis 4:13).

Fast forward many years later when Jesus the “second Adam” would take upon Himself the punishment no man can bear. He laid down his life as a completely pleasing offering to God. By the sweat of His own brow He redeemed us from Adam’s curse.

Much good fruit did He beget from His own sweat.

Jesus’ blood speaks a better word than the blood of Abel (Hebrews 12:24). Let’s not waste the grace He has for us.