count your blessings buttonIn recent editions of my weekly devotional, I have been writing about God’s plan and desire to bless us, His people, so much so, that we become the object of conversation in the world around us. Anyone reading those devotionals, could walk away expecting to be super blessed the next day. So they could build expectations that God cannot meet. So I feel the need to explain how it works, so whoever reads it puts it into proper perspective.

I remember, as a newly married couple, Iyke (my husband) and I had just began our prosperity walk with God. We believed God for a car- a little Toyota corolla car. Any time we saw one we would lay hands on it and claim it. There was this particular one we felt strongly that was ours. We would claim it each time we saw it. We never got it. Eventually we bought an old Volkswagen Passat- a huge anti climax. One of our friends called it a corn grinding machine. It was a far cry from the Corolla we wanted but it was our first car. Between then and now, we have had all kinds of cars. Brand new ones, second hand ones, we even got one as a present. We eventually did get the corolla. But we gave it my father as a gift.

What am I trying to say? It is true that God wants to bless us. He wants us to be blessed so we can bless. He wants the best things in life for us. However, He uses the blessing process to bring us the place where ‘we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ’ Ephesians 4:13-15. To bring us to the place where we are truly blessed, is a life changing process that takes time.

Our best example in scripture is Abraham, a man called by God to leave everything he knew to so much uncertainty with a God he had just met. The story starts in Genesis 12:1-3 The Lord had said to Abram out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

One fateful day he met with God and God promised to bless Him so much that the entire world would be blessed through him. One would have thought that the next day, the explosion would have begun, but not so. The journey had just begun. In this piece, I desire to walk you through Abraham’s journey, so you can appreciate where you are, where God is taking you and all the things that could lie in between.

One could say the prosperity journey starts the day we separate ourselves unto the Lord. I have heard all kinds of appellations given to people who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour- born again, believers, followers of Christ, disciples, To me they are all the same. God has always demanded that people walk with Him as their only God. Once one has responded to that call, being blessed becomes his inheritance. He or she will begin to experience God’s blessings right away in incremental doses.

In the same Chapter, Abraham encounters his first challenge after the blessing promise. Instead of stepping into prosperity, like God had said, there was famine in the land. He had to go to Egypt with his entire family. He got there and because he was afraid for his life, he lied that Sarah was his sister rather than his wife. She was his half sister, but more importantly his wife. He needed to make a decision in Egypt but like it is typical for young believers, he was scared. He did not have enough confidence in the God who called him. So he lied. Remember what God is trying to do- transform us into the image of His Son. Abraham got out of that situation knowing there was no need to lie about himself because God was with him.

The process is still on. When God called Abraham from his home land, he left home with Lot, his nephew. God called him and he took someone he should have left behind. Next thing, disagreement arose between them and he had to learn that his walk with God was a personal walk. You cannot take other people along with you. If you try to, it will become a problem down the road. It is a bitter lesson to learn but in our walk with God, it is one we must learn. The more the blessing, the more the separation. He does not call two people. Just individuals. When you marry, He sees one unit. He had to move away from Lot to fulfill God’s counsel for his life.

In this same process, Abraham had to fight a war. The Bible summarizes these stories and the time frames are not always clear. But Abraham had earlier lied about his wife because he did not want to be killed. Now he hears that his nephew Lot, with whom he had separated because of disagreement, had been captured by five kings and he was prepared to go to war. He was not a warrior. He took his servants to fight kings who fight wars on a regular basis. Where did he get his confidence? Time spent with God makes all the difference. He knew God would keep him and his men. And he did. They won the war and he was able to rescue his nephew Lot. It was a step further in the prosperity process. He learnt to fight for what he believed to be His. He was no longer a chicken.

As believers, warfare is a continuous part of our relationship with God. The day we get born again, we are called into the war. We fight several battles every day. At first it is scary, but as you develop your confidence in God, you get into the game. God cannot really bless His child who does not want to partake in this war. That is why in Ephesians 6:10-18, Paul admonishes us 10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13#Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.14Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.

We must constantly be aware of the fact that the enemy of our souls, Satan the devil, wants us dead and out of here and we must occupy and be who we are supposed to be for God here on earth-ambassadors for Christ. It is part of the prosperity process.

Upon winning, the war against the five kings, Abraham met Melchizedek, a priest of God. Genesis 14:18-20 18Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. 19And he blessed him and said “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand. And he gave him a tithe of all.

Abraham recognized that it was God who enabled him to win against those kings. He felt a need to give a tithe on the spoils he brought home. God did not tell him anything. Neither did Melchizedek ask for the tithe. There is no mention of how he came about giving the tithe. He just gave it. He set in motion the principle of tithing. In giving the tithe, he did not give a tenth of everything, he gave a tenth of the best part of the spoils. This is a very important but controversial part of the blessing pact we have with God.

I still hear arguments within the Body of Christ about tithing. For New Testament believers, the bar has been shifted from tithing to the principle of sowing and reaping. Jesus in Luke 6:38 said, 38Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you. Paul made it clearer when he said 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

We have gone beyond the tithe to giving when you are prompted by the Holy Spirit. So when I hear preachers shouting their lungs out to get people to give, I am amazed. There are all kinds of gimmicks in churches to raise money. Several offering sessions, selling of ridiculous items(brooms to sweep out the devil, prayer cloths, anointing oil etc), subtle threats, bogus promises that God cannot keep, just to get people to give. There is no need for all that. If you want to be blessed as a believer you cannot afford to have any doubts about giving. Not tithing because that is given. Ten percent of what you earn belongs to God. It is not yours. Of the ninety percent, he could also make a demand of you to give in church, to people in need, to causes, to anything that He desires, and you are expected to respond cheerfully. Finding joy in responding to God in this area is a major breakthrough for any believer desiring true prosperity, the kind I have been talking about.

You don’t call what you give money, you call it a seed. It leaves your pocket but never your life. It dies in the ground, but God gives it new life, it comes back in a different body, but right back to you. God never starts a relationship with you with this but as you learn to trust Him, He will bring it up. He will make demands of you to test your heart. The only way you can respond well is if you understand that He owns everything anyway. It will not always be easy to respond but you will get there because He will encourage you.

Still in the process, Abraham made a mistake along the line. Sarah, because she could not have children, convinced him to bear a child by her Egyptian maid, Hagar. She bore a son, Ishmael and he was glad. He had been childless by his wife even before God called him. The only desire of his heart was a son. He had everything else. He wondered how he would be father of nations when he could not have a son. Genesis 16: 15, 16 15So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. 16Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.

After thirteen years, Sarah had Isaac, the son God had promised him. He was happy. Genesis21: 1And the Lord visited Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had spoken. 2For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. 3And Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him—whom Sarah bore to him-Isaac.

Now he had two sons. However, it came to a point when God asked him to let his first son go and it was tough. Genesis 21:14So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water; and putting it on her shoulder, he gave it and the boy to Hagar, and sent her away. Then she departed and wandered in the Wilderness of Beersheba. But he eventually did.

Then in the ultimate test, God also asked him to sacrifice his son of promise-Isaac. Genesis 22: 1Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham! And he said, “Here I am.”2Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”……….6So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. 7But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father! And he said, “Here I am, my son. ”Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”8And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.9Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.11But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.” 12And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”

He was ready to do it. In fact he had raised the knife when God stopped him. What am I saying? To get into the abundant prosperity, God will test your heart towards Him. He will put you through the fiery furnace and the lion’s den. He will allow unpalatable things in your space and watch you. You will either respond like Him or not. His desire is that you respond like Jesus would. There will be loads of trials, some major and others minor but they will come. And as you pass the tests there will be promotions because God is fair.

At the end of the day, God’s abundant blessing is a responsibility. That is why He takes you on a journey. He does not want us to be ‘prosperity misfits’, what my people would call ‘money miss road’. He will prepare you for the blessing so it is a blessing indeed and not a curse. He will make sure you can manage the abundance before He brings it. That is why we go through the process. I felt a need to discuss this so we can enjoy the process which is not always fun. The good thing about it is that it will deliver the goods at the end of the day. His promise of abundance will be true, it’s only a matter of time.

In my twenty four years of being in Christ, I have been through process. I sometimes get to the point where I feel so expectant and yet nothing seems to be happening. He has never let that hope die-that I would experience the abundance of God. It is still very much alive. I have been blessed tremendously in my transformation process and I like who I am now much more that the person I used to be. The process is good for us. It brings you into a closer walk with Him and closer to the blessing. I am a blessed life. Ck