Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Blab It And Grab It

         “Blab it and grab it!”, “Name it and claim it!” phrases employed as descriptions of the Word of Faith ministries of Kenneth E. Hagin, Charles Capps, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland and many others. Often the words were derogatory remarks made by people who never personally investigated what these men and women actually believed and taught. I know, I was one of them. Not until I took time to listen to their teachings and to read their writings could I draw my own conclusions. Now, I am one of them.

To be fair, did people act out of foolishness and presumption “naming and claiming” things outside of God’s will, timing and even their own level of faith? Yes. Because of this, for the most part, the church as a whole threw out the baby with the bathwater. The bible contains many references to the creative power of our spoken words; and the consequences, good and bad, resulting from our speech. Salvation, the greatest gift offered is received when one will “confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV The primary objective of Word of Faith teachings was never about “getting stuff”. The bible says when we pray, if we believe we received, we will have it. Word of Faith focused on establishing God’s Word as final authority and following its instructions implicitly no matter the situation, circumstance or cost.

In spite of any personal bias concerning “blabbing and grabbing it”, the real true litmus test of its authenticity, or lack thereof is, does scripture back it up? If there is biblical foundation, we have a key to receiving answers to prayers and an important tool for bringing the Kingdom of Heaven into manifestation on earth. If proven true, the mistakes and misuses of others attempting to reduce God and His Word to a formula to satisfy selfish desires must not prevent us from skillfully using scripture to change our world. The question we must ponder – does God “name it and claim it”? I believe He does.

Genesis 12 relates an encounter between Abram and Jehovah God. Abram, a descendent of Noah’s son Shem, lived in Haran with his father Terah and the rest of his family. All of them were moon worshippers. “Long ago your forefathers including Terah, the father of Abraham and Nahor lived beyond the river and worshipped other gods.” Joshua 24:2 NIV Abram’s background and upbringing may have included some knowledge of Jehovah as a god, but the focus was elsewhere. Still, God had a plan for Abram. In Genesis 12, God showed up and staked His claim on Abram. God named a childless husband the progenitor of a great nation of people. He claimed Abram as the instrument He would use to bless all the people of the world. In Genesis 17 God literally renamed Abram to Abraham and reasserted His claim to use Abraham to be a blessing.

Jesus imitated His Father in everything He said and did. “And I (Jesus speaking) tell you that you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Matthew 16:18 NIV Jesus renamed Simon, Peter; an impetuous, volatile fisherman, a rock. Jesus claimed Peter and his revelation of Jesus as the Son of God to be foundations He would use to build a church upon that Hell and all its fury could not defeat. God did not restrict naming and claiming to individuals only. “But this is what the Lord says – he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel; ‘Fear not for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine’.” Isaiah 43:1. NIV Of all the people groups, God chose the Hebrews and named and claimed them as His own.

The principle applies to every area of life. In the midst of a ferocious storm on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus named and claimed His solution to a sinking ship. “Quiet, be still.” Mark 4:39 NIV The wind and waves immediately obeyed; calm was restored and the voyage continued on to completion. Joel 3:10 instructs the weakling to declare, “I am strong” as opposed to lamenting their lack of strength. James 1:5-6 directs anyone in need of wisdom to ask God for some with the confident expectation their request is granted. When we truly believe we have already received when we pray, it is foolish to speak to the contrary.

People, in jest, referred to Kenneth E. Hagin as the author of Mark 11:22-23 because he repeatedly referenced it when teaching. A close look at these verses reveals a lack of any limits or boundaries defining what can be ask for and received. Was Jesus being reckless when He gave us “carte blanche” to ask for anything? God is not stupid nor is He Santa Claus. God will not violate His expressed will to satisfy our desires. Several years ago a woman claimed Kenneth Copeland as her husband. The problem, Kenneth was already very happily married to Gloria. Making this type of a confession is ridiculous: it is a direct violation of God Word. James 4:3 NIV addresses this issue; “When you ask you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasure.” This scripture should bring us great comfort. We are not always aware of our true motives. God is, and He will not provide things which will destroy our lives. The scripture does not mean we never spend anything for pleasure or enjoyment; what matters are the motives and intents of our hearts. When we ask for something we need or even want, do we ask with a pure heart; or are we attempting to impress others with our possessions and/or spirituality? Are we trying to bolster our self esteem? Will we get it wrong sometimes? Probably. Will we try to “push the limits”? Most likely; we did with our natural parents. That process taught us how far we could go. Sometimes we were pleasantly surprised to discover our “over the top” requests fell right into the realm of possibility.

When we are confident that we have not asked amiss, and our petitions line up with God’s word and our level of faith, how do we handle answers that are slow to appear? God’s Word teaches the principle of “seed TIME (emphasis mine) and harvest”. There is always a gap between “Amen” and “there it is”. Perhaps we still need time to grow into those things we want. For example, if a five year old boy asks for a motorcycle, would a wise parent give him one? His request although not bad, is inappropriate for a young child. When he is fifty, I mean fifteen; this might be the perfect gift. Time is needed for the child to mature and grow into his dream.

James 1:3-4 NIV tells us that the “testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” God is looking to develop us to go the distance, not just wind sprints. This requires maintaining consistency through good and bad while we wait. Someone asked Kenneth E. Hagin how long was “long” when waiting for an answer. He responded, “If you are willing to stand forever, you won’t be standing long.” There are no shortcuts in life and there certainly aren’t any in the Kingdom of God. Knowing the Word of God, decreeing and acting upon it place us in position to receive from God what we need, and on His perfect timetable.

To “name it and claim it” or “blab it and grab it”…that is the question? Only an individual can answer that for themselves. I stated my position, but don’t base your decision on my personal beliefs. Search this out in the scriptures and with God yourself.

Father, right now I name everyone who reads this piece a seeker of Your truth and I claim that they will find You in a deeper dimension than ever before and they will find answers in Your Word for the questions in their hearts. I believe I receive the answer to this prayer, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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