Beyond Prosperity

        When some people look up and learn about the vastness of the universe, you sometimes people say,"This makes me feel small." God loves a humble heart, but he loves you more than the stars. The stars are just made out of inanimate material. The stars aren't living and do not have souls. God cares more for you than he does for all the stars in the sky. So when you look up at the stars, don't think,"I feel small." think,"I feel loved."

        For as big as the universe is, God is more awe inspiring. God can create more alternate universes in a blink of an eye. Heaven is another place of existence, and in a way it can be thought of an alternate universe. So when you're looking up at the stars, or if science ever explores the whole universe and documents every rock, realize God can make infinitely more stuff. And the rules we have in this universe might not be the ones he creates in other. With God, anything is possible.

        Anything is possible for God, but he won't do things contrary to his nature. God's nature is that he is good, love, and truth. God is good so everything he does is for the good of others and not just self serving. God is love. And in a similar way to being good, he is out to help others. I don't believe God can tell a lie because God is truth. People say God can do anything, but he won't be evil to people, nor will he lie.

        This is where a person mature in faith goes,"I'm glad I don't have the powers of God myself." Without being bound to being absolute good and perfect in action, we'd make mistakes with God's power. Even our best actions would be flawed and mess things up. You've heard: Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This isn't a biblical phrase, but there is some wisdom in it.

        What would you do as your first actions if you had all the powers of God? I believe mine would be to cure all the sick, and provide food for everyone. This might not make a step towards God's plan of saving the world through Jesus Christ, but it is what I'd do. My limited knowledge would fail as God is more complex in his thoughts and plans. We see in the Bible at least one person is born blind for the Kingdom Of God to be shown in his healing:John 9:1 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been born blind. 2 His disciples asked him, "Teacher, whose sin caused him to be born blind? Was it his own or his parents' sin?" 3 Jesus answered, "His blindness has nothing to do with his sins or his parents' sins. He is blind so that God's power might be seen at work in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me; night is coming when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light for the world." If I lived in that time and had the powers of God and healed him before Jesus did, I'd have gone against God's plan. Fortunately it is good intentions to want to heal others. We have prayer. If you have something you'd do with God's power, tell him what it is. Telling God what you'd want him to do, if done with proper respect, that is prayer. If it is something outside of God's will God might say no to the prayer for the greater good. Only God knows when something is for the greatest good. Man might claim he knows when something is for the greater good, but man often times fails. Accept God's grace for answering your prayers whether he says"yes" or "no"

        If you read on FatherSpiritSon.com, I invite you to read several articles I've done on,"Why does a good God allow suffering." The short version comes down to,"God's ways are above our ways.". God's mind is infinite. God knows how everything is connected. God is also thinking about our salvation above any temporal feeling we have. Because God's mind is infinite and he focuses on the things of eternal salvation, his thoughts are far above ours.

        So it is important not to judge God for anything that happens on Earth. Don't hold a grudge against God for anything that happens on Earth. Chances are if something bad happened, God wasn't responsible, but God can use bad things to get a good resolution. We can't tell how a butterfly's wings flapping in China can affect weather in North America 100 years later, but God knows exactly how everything is intertwined. We cannot determine if a seemingly negative situation may end up with a positive outcome. We do not need to grasp whether something was of natural cause or was sent from God in order to trust that it was His plan at work. If you'd like to read more in detail about this, check out: http://www.fatherspiritson.com/articles/affecteffect.html

        Our point of view is not to be discounted, but we can't get angry at God for any reason. We have the right to be sad when bad things happen and rejoice when good things happen. God is with us there too. Do you remember in the Bible where Jesus wept? I believe Jesus wasn't crying because he missed Lazarus, after all he was about to raise him from the dead. I think Jesus was empathizing with those around him who were weeping. So don't be angry at God for any reason, but you can ask God to share in your joys and sorrows. *v1

        I just gave you some high level concepts without explaining in depth how they're supported, but bear with me. God loves you more than the stars and animals he's made. Yet suffering does happen in our lives. You can live a perfect life, and still encounter suffering. Just look at what happened to Jesus. We're not perfectly good, so why should we get away with an easier time than Jesus? Well in all likely hood, we'll have a better experience than Jesus was destined to live. Still, we can't avoid suffering in our life if it is to happen. This is just how things go. If you experience suffering in your life, it isn't because you've failed, sinned, or otherwise did something wrong.

        I've read about "The Prosperity Gospel" which is a false Gospel that says if you live perfect and good that nothing bad will happen to you. That is a blatant lie. It not only is a lie, but it is a very bad lie because let's examine what could happen. Lets say someone is attracted to the the charisma of a Prosperity Gospel writer and it is their first glimpse of what they think Christianity is. At first, this person loves what they think Christianity is, but when suffering comes, they think it is a failure of their own, and that they did something wrong to deserve it. What they could also think is,"If this Christianity said nothing bad would happen to me, and bad things did happen to me, then Christianity is false!" Yes the "Prosperity Gospel" is not just a lie, but a dangerous lie.

        Another lie the "Prosperity Gospel" says is if you give a lot of money to charity, you'll be rewarded with more wealth as a result. God isn't some strange cosmic pyramid scheme. God does want you to donate and will reward you, but it might not be in Earthly money. The reason Prosperity Gospel preachers say to donate so much money is that they want you to give them your money. You should be wary in general of any preacher who focuses too much on giving.

        We've seen how people can fall away when suffering comes, or fall away when the money they give doesn't come back to them. Let us turn to scripture on a verse that will explain why the Prosperity Gospel is so bad.

        Matthew 13:1 That same day Jesus left the house and went to the lakeside, where he sat down to teach. 2 The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it, while the crowd stood on the shore. 3 He used parables to tell them many things. "Once there was a man who went out to sow grain. 4 As he scattered the seed in the field, some of it fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some of it fell on rocky ground, where there was little soil. The seeds soon sprouted, because the soil wasn't deep. 6 But when the sun came up, it burned the young plants; and because the roots had not grown deep enough, the plants soon dried up. 7 Some of the seed fell among thorn bushes, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 But some seeds fell in good soil, and the plants bore grain: some had one hundred grains, others sixty, and others thirty." 9 And Jesus concluded, "Listen, then, if you have ears!" 10 Then the disciples came to Jesus and asked him, "Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?" 11 Jesus answered, "The knowledge about the secrets of the Kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 For the person who has something will be given more, so that he will have more than enough; but the person who has nothing will have taken away from him even the little he has. 13 The reason I use parables in talking to them is that they look, but do not see, and they listen, but do not hear or understand. 14 So the prophecy of Isaiah applies to them: "This people will listen and listen, but not understand; they will look and look, but not see, 15 because their minds are dull, and they have stopped up their ears and have closed their eyes. Otherwise, their eyes would see, their ears would hear, their minds would understand, and they would turn to me, says God, and I would heal them.' 16 "As for you, how fortunate you are! Your eyes see and your ears hear. 17 I assure you that many prophets and many of God's people wanted very much to see what you see, but they could not, and to hear what you hear, but they did not. 18 "Listen, then, and learn what the parable of the sower means. 19 Those who hear the message about the Kingdom but do not understand it are like the seeds that fell along the path. The Evil One comes and snatches away what was sown in them. 20 The seeds that fell on rocky ground stand for those who receive the message gladly as soon as they hear it. 21 But it does not sink deep into them, and they don't last long. So when trouble or persecution comes because of the message, they give up at once. 22 The seeds that fell among thorn bushes stand for those who hear the message; but the worries about this life and the love for riches choke the message, and they don't bear fruit. 23 And the seeds sown in the good soil stand for those who hear the message and understand it: they bear fruit, some as much as one hundred, others sixty, and others thirty."

        This parable is famous and you may have heard of it. Look at: Matthew 13:20The seeds that fell on rocky ground stand for those who receive the message gladly as soon as they hear it. 21 But it does not sink deep into them, and they don't last long. So when trouble or persecution comes because of the message, they give up at once. Doesn't that strike you for the false Prosperity Gospel? The Prosperity Gospel promises you a good life without suffering so people want that badly. However that is a lie, suffering can happen to any of us for reasons we can't understand. So when bad things happen to a person who was promised no bad things would happen, they'd have serious doubt in their world view! The worst part is that false teachers are calling that Christianity when it isn't. So when they get doubt in what false teachers called Christianity, it inoculates them from finding true Christianity! That is very bad. Prosperity Gospel teachers are basically pushing people away from Christianity!

        The other part of this parable related to the false Prosperity Gospel is this:Matthew 13:22 The seeds that fell among thorn bushes stand for those who hear the message; but the worries about this life and the love for riches choke the message, and they don't bear fruit. The Prosperity Gospel promises if you give money to good works, God will reward you with money back. God isn't a pyramid scheme though, and he isn't always going to reward you with money, and you might lose all your money in servitude. I'm not saying servitude is bad. Later in this article, we'll explore that servitude is great, but the idea,"Give money to the poor so you get money in return" is a lie, and it also induces greed. So when people give their life savings and then are without a house because they were told to trust the Prosperity Gospel, they might find themselves starting all over from scratch. When you give all you have expecting more in return, but you're on skid row, that's when you doubt what you've been taught. If you think you were presented Christianity, you might reject it and never want to hear about Christianity again because the one that you were taught was a lie.

        This is why I wanted to write this article. I feel it is imperative to debunk these lies, and gather people to Jesus instead of scattering. Some of what the Prosperity Gospel preachers is correct such as telling you that you're worth more than gold. But telling people they'll never suffer again on Earth is a lie. You might live a life without suffering, but it isn't guaranteed. And telling people if they donate money to the poor they'll be given money in return is a lie.

        Another reason why I am writing this book is to tell you that what God promises you is better than these promises anyway. God promises you life after death if you believe in Jesus and love everyone here on Earth. This life after death will be devoid of suffering. There are even clues that the best moment you have on Earth isn't as good as the best moment you'd have in Heaven. Also Heaven doesn't mean you're devoid of a body. God will give you a glorious body in Heaven which is likely far more beautiful and powerful than anyone on Earth now.

        Don't seek to haste to the next life though, there are rewards you can receive through servitude. The end of this article will discuss servitude. Jesus sacrificially died for us because he loved us so much. So in order to show Jesus how much we love him, we should sacrificially live for him. This means in general that we should always be working when we can, then live frugally, and finally give our excess to the poor. This is one optimal way of serving. It takes faith to serve though because you operate at a zero sum or negative sum gain when you donate time and money to others. The rewards are worth it though. God can do ANYTHING. You might think you'd love to find a genie in a bottle to grant you wishes. God can give you anything. This means in Heaven, life will be greater than a fantasy. You can even possibly get what you want on Earth too, but it is no guarantee(some prayers aren't granted because they'd mess things up). We should make sure we love God more than anything and not have our desire for Earthly things become an idol. There are definitely rewards for serving, but we're not guaranteed rewards on Earth, let alone specifically getting money in return. If you had eyes to Heaven, money on Earth would be the last thing you'd want as a reward anyway. Earthly rewards have a short lifespan as they can be stolen, and our lives are limited. Heaven lasts forever though, and rewards we get there will be with us for all time. This is why that when you're spiritually mature with good faith, you can see why trading your earthly time for permanent blessings in Heaven is so worth it. *v2

        So while the Prosperity Gospel is a lie, it isn't 100% wrong. The Prosperity Gospel says God will help you, and this is true. God does help. God will not line your bank accounts if you line the church's bank account. Rather you'll likely see blessings in other ways if you tithe hard. The Prosperity Gospel says you matter a great deal, and this is true. God loves you tremendously. God loves you more than any mother has ever loved her child. This does not mean bad things will never happen again like the Prosperity Gospel says. Bad things can happen to good people since we're all sinners in ways we don't even know. Look, Jesus even suffered and he never sinned. God is there with our sufferings though, and if we hold onto that. If we praise Him in the storm, it proves we're on an unshakable foundation. And this gives glory to God. *v3

        Where do we go beyond Prosperity? Prosperity sounds good even though it is a lie. However, the real thing is better still. God is bigger than Prosperity makes him out to be. After all if God was merely a being who did things predictably based on what we did on Earth, he would be used and abused by us flawed creatures. We can't just give money to the church or poor and say to God,"Now give me back double!" He'd laugh if it wasn't terribly sad of you to think God works that way. There are great rewards in servitude, and works prove you have faith. However, God is no pyramid scheme. So God is a better God than Prosperity makes him out to be for this for starters.

        I do wish however that you'd not encounter any suffering in your life. I do not wish suffering on anyone. Some people should be brought to justice and educated, but I don't wish suffering on them either. I especially do not wish suffering on innocents either. Suffering does come, and sometimes suffering stays for the rest of your life. There are incurable diseases and disabilities that cannot be overcome with our technology. There is hope for the future for technology to increase, for diseases to be cured, for disabilities overcome. And we should pray for better science, medicine and technology in addition for God to directly cure people who are ill and disabled. Some people will say suffering is a blessing because you can relate to what happened to Jesus. But I feel suffering is a bad thing. God can use bad things for good things to happen in ways we don't know. But I do not wish anyone to suffer. In fact I pray against it daily, and you should too. *v4

        You should focus on you as being super important. That is the part of the Prosperity Gospel that is the most right. God loves you more than anything else. God loves you more than anyone has loved anyone. God loves you as much as he loves Jesus. We should embrace that God loves us. Even if no one else loves us, the being who matters the most loves us. There is love in your future from others, but this life promises nothing like that though it is likely you'll find people who love you. As an aside, I personally try and insulate myself with friends and family to live. You can do the same, but listen to the rest of this paragraph. Because God loves us all to a great degree, we should feel good about ourselves, but we should love others more than anything as well. This means we should love others more than our possessions. While it is fine to insulate ourselves from the world when we are relaxing, we should reach out to others and let others know God loves them too. It is one of the greatest things you can know on Earth is that God exists and he loves us all. John17:20 "I pray not only for them, but also for those who believe in me because of their message. 21 I pray that they may all be one. Father! May they be in us, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they be one, so that the world will believe that you sent me. 22 I gave them the same glory you gave me, so that they may be one, just as you and I are one: 23 I in them and you in me, so that they may be completely one, in order that the world may know that you sent me and that you love them as you love me.

        While we're super important to God, we must remain humble. I think the reason God wants us humble is that maybe he himself isn't that prideful yet all powerful. If the guy with all the intelligence and power isn't prideful, we just look like idiots when we have more pride in ourselves than God has with all his power. We are really important though. We're so important that Jesus died for us. If God didn't think much of us, he wouldn't have lived such a difficult life ending in pain, torture and execution. When someone lays their life down for someone else, it shows how much they love. So God loves you greatly, and bestows blessings on you, but don't let the gifts God gave you go to your head. In fact, one of the standard tests of faith we encounter every day is,"Will we give of ourselves to help others because God loves them dearly too." If we're too prideful, we could be self absorbed to have more to like about ourselves. But if we look to Calvary, and how Jesus self sacrificially died for us, we can live sacrificially and help others.

        There are rewards for living for others. It is possible you can give money to others and gain wealth, but it is not promised like the false Prosperity Gospel. Proverbs 11:24 GNT Some people spend their money freely and still grow richer. Others are cautious, and yet grow poorer. We should aim on more important rewards that will be given in Heaven. Matthew 6:19 "Do not store up riches for yourselves here on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and robbers break in and steal. 20 Instead, store up riches for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and robbers cannot break in and steal. 21 For your heart will always be where your riches are. If you help others in Jesus name on Earth, you can earn eternal rewards. Some people disagree with this, but scripture is strong on rewards for doing good things to others. You can not donate so much to the poor that you can get into Heaven*v5, only by accepting Jesus do you get into Heaven. But once you accept Jesus, your faith should drive you to serve. James 2:18 GNT But someone will say, "One person has faith, another has actions." My answer is, "Show me how anyone can have faith without actions. I will show you my faith by my actions." James 2:26 GNT So then, as the body without the spirit is dead, also faith without actions is dead. So if you have faith, you serve and stock pile rewards in Heaven.

        There is a reason why planning a lifetime of sin followed by a death bed confession and repentance isn't optimal. Sure you get to Heaven, but you don't experience everything you could have by repenting the moment you realized God is for real. 1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are partners working together for God, and you are God's field. You are also God's building. 10 Using the gift that God gave me, I did the work of an expert builder and laid the foundation, and someone else is building on it. But each of you must be careful how you build. 11 For God has already placed Jesus Christ as the one and only foundation, and no other foundation can be laid. 12 Some will use gold or silver or precious stones in building on the foundation; others will use wood or grass or straw. 13 And the quality of each person's work will be seen when the Day of Christ exposes it. For on that Day fire will reveal everyone's work; the fire will test it and show its real quality. 14 If what was built on the foundation survives the fire, the builder will receive a reward. 15 But if your work is burnt up, then you will lose it; but you yourself will be saved, as if you had escaped through the fire. So as scripture says, there is rewards for servitude. You can be saved by simply accepting Jesus and repenting of sins, but a lifetime of servitude can reward you in the next life. This takes a great deal of faith. Even if you believe Jesus is LORD and even know God is real, it takes faith to change your lifestyle from living for yourself to living for others. *v6

        Living for others is something defines a person as being good. While living to exploit others for your own gain can be considered evil. People who want to justify their evil will say many things such as they're doing the person they're exploiting a service. But lets say you help the people some, and exploit them to a degree for your own personal monetary gain... Do you then turn around and donate much of what you've gotten to the poor? For some things in this world lie in the grey area. Is it moral to outsource work to a foreign government that doesn't respect its people or environment? Well you can say the goods are cheaper so people can live on a limited income which is a positive thing. But who gains the rewards gotten from this? The people who lost their jobs, how do they feel about this. Is safety, pollution and environmental factors in check, or are they sacrificed to make a buck too? It is hard to answer things like outsourcing work as being moral or immoral as 100% right or wrong, but a grey zone. The main idea is that when you live for others because of what Jesus did for you, you're acting good. While if you're out to exploit the world for your own personal gain, that is being evil. *v7

        It is not a sin to be rich. If you make a large sum on money honestly earned, then that is great gain. If the money is earned on deception, lies, cronyism, and you don't actually help the people you engage with, then all the money in the world does you no good. Some people look at the world and go,"Hey, the smart guy will exploit the gullible, that is capitalism at its finest." and ,"The cream rises to the top. People willing to tighten the screws on the poor, to exploit them to the maximum, are the ones with the most wealth." Some evil people might think that is the way the world works, and I feel sorry for them. The poor aren't all stupid, we see corporations and politicians not always acting in the best interest of the people. We see there is money in it for them to increase the debt to do nothing more than share the money with themselves. Politicians get money from corporations and money gets them elected more than the people they lie to. It is illegal to buy a vote in the US, but a far worse offense takes place when people buy out politicians through campaign contributions. Politicians think that by doing good things to these corporations, they in turn will get more money and reelected. This is why Congress has a record low approval rating now. We don't have enough honest politicians in office, and we have a system set up that penalizes honest politicians. I'm not here to rant on any specific politics. I'm just saying that the system designed to be obfuscated is crystal clear to some of us. The politicians and corporations are in it together, and we just ask nicely for them not to put the screws to us as they extract money from us the best they can get away with it. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't want to live anywhere else in the world than the US. This is precisely why I say this. If we have crooked leadership just looking out for themselves and what lobbyists can give them in money, the US might struggle more than it has to under national debt and bad policy. We need leaders who are in it for the American people, and not just out for themselves under the guise that they want to help the people. At the end of the day I ask God to bless the USA, and I pray for my leaders to follow God's will.

        Again it isn't a sin to be rich, even if you're not donating large sums to the poor. It is possible to take the route of investing in moral companies, and earning more money so that you can later donate. This route of aggressive investing though is risky in terms of eternal rewards. I say if you're going to aggressively invest to donate at a later day: At least donate a trickle here and now. Do you remember the parable of the man who built bigger barns? Luke 12:15 And he(Jesus) went on to say to them all, "Watch out and guard yourselves from every kind of greed; because your true life is not made up of the things you own, no matter how rich you may be." 16 Then Jesus told them this parable: "There was once a rich man who had land which bore good crops. 17 He began to think to himself, "I don't have a place to keep all my crops. What can I do? 18 This is what I will do,' he told himself; "I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, where I will store the grain and all my other goods. 19 Then I will say to myself, Lucky man! You have all the good things you need for many years. Take life easy, eat, drink, and enjoy yourself!' 20 But God said to him, "You fool! This very night you will have to give up your life; then who will get all these things you have kept for yourself?' " 21 And Jesus concluded, "This is how it is with those who pile up riches for themselves but are not rich in God's sight." So if you donated some to the poor before you die, you'd be in better shape than the guy who just built bigger barns. So there is balance to be had even if you're a great investor. For say you could donate 10x what you can now in a year. You would be able to help more people than immediately giving it away. *v8

        The balance is interesting to look at and is a personal choice. Also as a personal choice is how much of a savings you want to have before donating or investing. God is there for us. God provides. But what the false Prosperity Gospel teaches is that you can give to get and never have problems. What it says is not true. It is possible to give away your life savings and then be broke and unable to help your family members if they have a life threatening problem they need medical attention for. I think it is important to save up a sizable chunk of money for your savings before donating large amounts of money. Still just as the bigger barn parable can indicate investing, it could also indicate savings. So while you're saving up, give a trickle to the poor, and always give your 10% income tithe to your church or to the poor if you have no church. The tithe is another faith based action. If you have faith, you can give your 10%. If you have little or no faith, you could refuse to give the 10% and instead treat yourself with luxury items. *v9

        Mark 12:41 As Jesus sat near the Temple treasury, he watched the people as they dropped in their money. Many rich men dropped in a lot of money; 42 then a poor widow came along and dropped in two little copper coins, worth about a penny. 43 He called his disciples together and said to them, "I tell you that this poor widow put more in the offering box than all the others. 44 For the others put in what they had to spare of their riches; but she, poor as she is, put in all she had - she gave all she had to live on." God cares how much you give in relation to how much you have to give. So don't be discouraged when you can't give millions of dollars to help the poor survive. Help with what you can. If we all get together without discouragement and help the poor, we could eliminate world Hunger. It is a fact. It has been estimated 10 billion dollars a year would go a long way to eliminating world hunger over time. 10 billion dollars is only a drop in the bucket for the US budget. You'd think the US could solve world hunger single handedly if it wanted then. But what would happen is many nations would adjust their guns-butter slider to more guns and ask the US for more money for butter. Thus what would happen is that the US would basically be arming the world with more weapons. But if this money comes from individuals across the world who aren't united in anything except helping the poor individually, world hunger could be stamped out. How much money can you give to help stamp out world hunger? That is a personal decision based on how much money you earn, your savings, your investments, your family's needs, and the size of your faith.

        Servitude towards God is a worthy thing if you have the faith to do it. God's promises are greater than what is actually promised by the Prosperity Gospel. God promises a great afterlife, so we need not fear death. God promises that he is with us always. While the Prosperity Gospel says we'll never suffer, the True Gospel tells us God will be with us in our sufferings. The Prosperity Gospel actually abandons people who are suffering almost in a way almost saying,"Well you brought it on your own by not being a good person." God is more complex than just rewarding those who are good and punishing those are bad. Sometimes God tests us to see if we're strong in our faith. Bad things can happen to good people(not always a test a faith). And good things can happen to bad people to set them up for further tests as well. Also the Bible says God sends rain on the good and the bad. God loves to provide for us all, so don't be discouraged when bad people see the goodness of God here on Earth.

        Another reason the True Gospel is better than the Prosperity Gospel is that the Prosperity Gospel promises monetary rewards for donations. It is much better to get rewards in Heaven for servitude on Earth. God can do ANYTHING. This means God could create for you an entire planet in Heaven for you and anything you can imagine that isn't sinful. It is much better to get things better than your imagination can conceive of in Heaven, than just a couple bucks on Earth. It takes faith to donate time, energy and money, but it is rewarded. God loves you more than anyone has ever loved anyone, and he knows what you want more than you actually know. God can reward you. And this is another reason why the True Gospel is better than the lie of the Prosperity Gospel. Truth is always better than a lie. Believe in God, and have no fear of death. Once you have no fear of death, you can start living for others for this life is the only time we can help others in their suffering. *v10

-Jim Sager

Be sure to check out the editorial. Victor spent hours editing this article. While I didn't incorporate all his ideas in this article, I kept some of what he wrote in the footnotes. Some of it is powerful stuff.

*v1 Editorial by Victor Nunez: I think it might be good to note that even though it's understood that there is a time to be happy or sad, that as Christians we probably shouldn't dwell in sadness because God has blessed us with the gift of living. If we dwell in a depressive state daily, we could be taking the beautiful life He has blessed us with for granted. Of course some people are clinically depressed and may require medicine to help them overcome issues like this, but some of us tend to bring extended sadness upon ourselves. It's important to wake up from this if it is reoccurring for an extended time without good reason. Of course if someone passed away or if a relationship was recently lost for example, these would be potential reasons to mourn for perhaps a larger time than a normal day to day scenario.

*v2 Editorial by Victor Nunez: Only God knows how long our time is, so we should not rush to live in a manner that reduces our life span or otherwise puts ourselves in unnecessary risk. If God calls you into a dangerous mission field to spread the gospel, that might be someone's calling. Riding a motorcycle without a helmet in order to feel a rush however or the like would probably be frowned upon. It is showing somewhat of a carelessness about the precious life God has given you. Also well put on how we should prioritize God's desires for us even if it is challenging to let go of some earthly desires/habits/hobbies sometimes. We need to wake up when God says enough is enough, and it's time to move forward if something is being detrimental to our walk.

*v3 Editorial by Victor Nunez: Prosperity Gospel is full of half truths but misses out on significant and integral aspects of scripture. Good no complaints on this paragraph. I am glad you mentioned that God is there with us in the midst of our sufferings. It is worth mentioning that there may be times where we feel Him closer than others, but just because we do not feel His presence close doesn't mean He isn't there. It is kind of like a student taking a test, the teacher is there but if the student has a question they don't receive a direct answer. If we compare the student to ourselves and the teacher to being in the position of God, we can understand that sometimes God will want us to make the right decisions without feeling the benefit of His presence closely. Look at Job.

*v4 Editorial by Victor Nunez: Even though there is always a possibility for suffering or great loss, it shouldn't be something we ever fear. Keeping a strong prayer life and open lines of communication with God are important in and out of seasons of trial or suffering.

*v5 Suggested verse by Victor Nunez: Ephesians 2:8 For it is by God's grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, 9 but God's gift, so that no one can boast about it.

*v6 Editorial by Victor Nunez: We also don't have the convenience of knowing when we will die. Many times people die unexpectedly prior to a death bed scenario, even then if we're mature enough in faith, we should understand that we are called to avoid sin by God. That in itself should be enough motivation for us to try to eliminate and reduce sin to the greatest levels possible and pray for extended grace to overcome it more often. This particularly rings true in our areas of weakness, which we may need to be more constantly prayerful of and battling to resist. Putting on God's full armor is integral to this battle.

*v7 Editorial by Victor Nunez: Another benefit of living for others is that your reputation follows you. If you're an honest person and a man or woman of your word, you will be admired by a good number of people. Although this is just a secondary benefit to living in service of others and should not be looked as a primary motivator. I would also consider talking about moralism/legalism here. Sometimes people make it seem like works need to be done in order to earn our way into Heaven, when in reality Jesus Christ is sufficient. When we try to criminalize more than what the Bible speaks of, beyond some very reasonable inferences based on scriptural ideas, we could be in danger of trying to add requirements to Christianity that do not exist. This is dangerous and doesn't do justice to the gospel.

*v8 Editorial by Victor Nunez: I think it is important to at least donate the trickle and strategically plan for the future within reason. The verse reference is perfect to illustrating this point, good call.

*v9 Editorial by Victor Nunez: A savings provides a small security blanket, but it's a good opportunity to incorporate the idea that God is our ultimate refuge and not to allow money to give you an illusion of protection that isn't there. God is the one who protects us and everything we ultimately own is His not ours. We were bought with a price, a heavy price (Jesus died for us).

*v10 Amen, good closing paragraph. The Bible says do not fear many times, the only command to fear is related to the reverential and worshipful fear of the Lord. It is not a fear of terror or panic, which otherwise we should avoid as best as we can. Fear is counter-attacked by having faith, if we're afraid it means we have faith in the wrong thing(s). God is our refuge.