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He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Psalm 1:3  

What does it take to be prosperous? The politician will tell you it’s more government programs or less government programs. The religionist will tell you it’s more piety and stricter adherence to rules and dogmas. Prosperity is almost always measured by what you do or what you have accomplished.

The Psalmist gives us a different picture. The psalmist tells us that true prosperity doesn’t come from listening to the ‘experts’ of the day. Rather, prosperity comes from a relationship with the heavenly Father.

A person who prospers in God’s kingdom may not have the fanciest toys; the biggest house; the most accolades tacked to the end of their names. Prosperity in God’s kingdom isn’t the corner office, the star student-athlete, the one who carries signs to bring about social change.

The Psalmist gives us a word picture of what the person of prosperity looks like. In theMiddle East, water was not always easy to find. The Egyptians and other groups learned that if they diverted the river into channels they could irrigate crops and orchards. This was a great asset during times of drought and allowed them to expand productive crop land beyond the limited borders of the streams and rivers.

In Psalm 1 the prosperous person is, first of all, planted. There is a picture of intentionality here. We aren’t just randomly placed trees along the banks of some river. We are planted. Placed where we are and when we are for a divine purpose for the glory of the Father. Trees planted near each other benefit one another.

Secondly we are planted by streams of water. The diversion of water for the trees caused a constant supply and a steady flow of life giving water that was unhindered by drought. Usually these trees were located in a valley that protected from storms. Their roots were able to grow deep, making the tree healthy and strong.

Lastly the prosperous person bears fruit in season. An apple tree is always an apple tree. From the time it sprouts from the seed until it grows to produce beautiful fruit it is an apple tree. It’s an apple tree when it’s full of leaves and blossoms, when it’s laden with apples; when it’s enduring the fall and winter cold.

Prosperity doesn’t mean we always bear fruit, it means we are always what God intends for us to be. A tree that would bear fruit constantly would grow tired, and its leaves wither. We also grow tired when we constantly try to produce the life we think God wants for us. Prosperity comes through maturity. Strength comes through rest. Fruit comes as we learn to balance the two of them.

Take a lesson from the tree planted by the streams of water. You were placed where you are at this time to glorify God. Prosperity won’t come from a bunch of activity. Rather it comes from growing in relationship with your Heavenly Father. Fruit may not come as often as you’d like, but if you are digging your roots deep into the soil of his word, it will come in season.

PRAYER: Lord, I want to prosper. Too often my view of prosperity comes from listening and walking with those whose prosperity isn’t the eternal kind you can give. Help me to dig deep in your word so that I can prosper according to your Kingdom. Amen.

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” John 18:36

When Jesus was on earth many people became disillusioned with him when he began to speak of his upcoming death. They misunderstood his mission. They were looking for someone to deliver them from the bondage that the Roman Government was putting on them

The people of Jesus’ time were tired of high taxes, tired of government rules and regulations and tired of being told how and where and when to worship. They wanted government off their backs. They wanted freedom. In Jesus they saw all that and more. Imagine having king that was not only righteous, but could heal as well! Life would be so much better.

But Jesus didn’t come to earth to provide the people with a guarantee of prosperity. He didn’t walk the dusty roads of Palestine to preach revolution from government. Jesus didn’t come to remove trials and tribulation from people’s lives, he came to show them how to live in the midst of them.

We really haven’t changed much from the days when Jesus was physically here. During those honest times we still expect, or at least wish, that he would wave some magic wand and make our world easier.

Who wouldn’t love to have a Savior that would provide all our wants? How marvelous would it be for him to remove the crabbiness from those around us. If we could pray against the guy who just cut us off and have a policeman promptly pull him over! If we could simply wish those extra pounds away, magically produce lower gas prices, or change our spouse/significant other into the caring person we once thought they were.

Life would be so much easier if Jesus were our Santa Clause instead of our Savior! Ok, maybe that was a bit of a stretch, but every day people lose faith because their prayers weren’t answered the way they hoped, or the strength they prayed for didn’t come.

Jesus didn’t come to bring his physical kingdom into existence. Someday that will come. Jesus came to bring a Spiritual kingdom into the hearts of those who choose to follow Him. We should not expect to feel at home in this world. Our home isn’t here on earth, it’s in heaven. Until we get there, we are aliens in a foreign land.

Since this world is not our home we can expect to be misunderstood, mistreated and even attacked for our faith. Since we are aliens if a foreign land our hope isn’t in the life we live here, but in the life we live when we get home.

PRAYER: Father God, sometimes I get so tired of being under attack for my beliefs. I’m misunderstood, I’m tempted to doubt and I’m encouraged by the world system to go against your word. I live in a world system of no values and no absolute truth. I ask that you would strengthen me through your Holy Spirit to remain true through the attacks and struggles. Help me to remember that my home is not here, but with you. In Jesus name, Amen.

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