Sid Roth: Would you like to know the truth about prosperity teaching? Is there anything wrong with the popular message today which is all lumped together, called prosperity teaching.
Dr. Jim Richards: It is so sad to have to say it, that the truth of God has been so twisted, that it has become something that feeds greed and self-centeredness and makes it almost impossible, for people to grasp God’s realities, for us prospering and us living in abundance.
Sid Roth: Does God want all of us rich?
Dr. Jim Richards: You know something, Gods wants all of us living prosperous lives. He wants us living our lives where our needs are met, He wants us leading our lives where we are comfortable. but more than anything else, He wants us to live that God kind of abundance, where we have resources to invest into the world, and change the world and change people’s lives.
You know, the truth is, the reason the world is in the shape that it is in today is because the Church as taught that there is something spiritual about being poor, and the wicked have control of the resources. God made it very clear, may times in the scriptures, that when the wicked have the wealth, that the wicked will rule and the righteous will moan.
Personally speaking: poverty was the norm for us. We were one of these families that you passed all of your old clothes down to, and you might have one pair of shoes. I can remember taking tape, and taping around my shoes so the soles would stay on the bottoms of my shoes, and I might have one pair of pants that you would wear them until you could not stand to wear them anymore and then you would strip down and wash them and let them dry. That is all we had.
My Dad would come back many times at night and break into the house, steal all the food we had, steal the heating oil that we had in the winter. So growing up in that kind of situation, that becomes the norm for you, and your beliefs start being moulded. I had a poverty mind-set.
We know, and the Bible tells us that if something happens for several generations, it will continue on in our children. That is not because God is cursing us, it is what the study reveals, that if three or four generations of children grow up in welfare, grow up in destitution, that by the fourth generation, they come into the world, hardwired for that kind of life and it will be very unlikely that they will ever get out of poverty, by the time several generations have gone through this.
Sid Roth: But there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Dr. Jim Richards: Yes there is!
Sid Roth: Then where he was 28 years old and he was sick and hospitalized and so greatly in debt that he could not pay it back. Then as he was praying with his wife, he got a breakthrough.
Dr. Jim Richards: You know, I had gone from desperate poverty to the “just get by” mentality. And you know, you life, just be barely getting by. And I was thanking God for our food one day when I was saying that you for our food, thank you that you love us, that you that our needs are met. Then my wife said, “Jim, I am sick and tired of just having our needs met! I don’t think this is God’s plan for us. I don’t think this is how we are supposed to live.”
Now, at that time, I has just walked through getting healed, and it took about three and a half years from this genetic disease that I was born with and I should not have survived. I should have died, and at the end of it I get healed and I look around and I am so deep in debt that it looked impossible that I would ever get out of debt. And we just barely living form hand to mouth.
Sid Roth: Then he started to study the Bible and God showed him the principle of sowing and reaping.
Dr. Jim Richards: The first thing I understood about sowing and reaping is that, sowing and reaping is NOT and external thing. It is not that I am going to give, and God is going to owe me something back. And that is part of this “get rich scheme” that has been presented to us, you know, improperly from the Christian community. It is not like I am going to force God! Sowing and reaping is about something which happens in my heart. So that as I invest in a heart of generosity, as I develop myself where love is motivating me, then I am investing in the world, investing in other people.
It changes something inside me that gives me the capacity to receive! Not even to receive, but the capacity to receive the opportunities for wealth.
Sid Roth: Jim with his own experience, pulled himself, with biblical principles out of debt. But God doesn’t just want you pulled out of debt. He wants you to prosper to meet all of your needs. You family’s needs. And then, can you imagine, to be able to take care of the community? Take care of the needs of other people. It’s available! James, as he studied the Bible, discovered that originally, man was wired for success.
Dr. Jim Richards: You know, the very first thing that God said to man, was be fruitful and multiply. We are created in the likeness and image of God and we are designed to rule and reign like kings. We are not supposed to be like the paupers. We are supposed to be like the kings. And so, one of t he things I discovered, is that the first place we have to start is: Is it really God’s will? Is it really will? God wants us to begin to see that the Bible says that God takes pleasure in the prosperity of His servants. I began to see all of these processes.
Sid Roth: Why is it that today, if someone is in ministry or a strong Christian, that they are not supposed to get prosperous – they are not supposed to have a big home. Why is that mentality there, if originally, we were supposed to be blesses?
Dr. Jim Richards: You know what, there is, you know, been a deception in the world from the father of all lies, that has got woven into Christianity, throughout history. And when these lies appear, they appear in many forms to try to steal from us, what God has given for us, through the Word and the finished work of Jesus. And so you see this lie manifest in two different ways. You see it manifest in this extreme concept of greed and get rich quick schemes and all this kind of stuff. Then there is the other side of it where there is something spiritual about being poor, something blessed aspect to it.
Sid Roth: So the devil tries to get us both coming and going?
Dr. Jim Richards: Yes, it is like he is going to give us every lie that can possible appeal to us. But you know, the Bible says, that poverty is the destruction of the poor! (Proverbs 10:15). You know man, when you are poor, you don’t have time for God. You can’t take care of your family. You’re struggling, you’re under pressure. That is actually a form of temptation. Anything, according to the Greek word for the meaning of ‘temptation,’ anything which causes me to strive, is something which is trying to seduce me into compromising my life.
Sid Roth: Is poverty a curse?
Dr. Jim Richards: Yes it is. The Bible is very clear that poverty is a curse of the law and that really brings us to the next phase in understanding in my journey, in realising that Jesus delivered me form the curse of the law. And you look at that – and I remember saying, now God, I know this true – I know this is your truth, but I am not experiencing your truth.
Sid Roth: In other words, we were wired for success with Adam and Eve, then came the fall, what happened, did we get rewired the wrong way?
Dr. Jim Richards: We did not get rewired – we got programmed! We got conditioned. You know, the oldest lie that Lucifer brought to planet earth was that God was not good; he is not the one that you can trust; that he is not the one who is going to do good things for you; you need enlightenment and you can do it for yourself, independent of God. The oldest lie in the world!
Sid Roth: You talk about boundaries, imaginary boundaries that limit us. Explain that.
Dr. Jim Richards: Well the Bible says in the book of Proverbs 4:23, it says, guard your heart, above all else that you guard, because our of it flows the issues of life. Now that word ‘issues,’ could just as well have been translated as boundaries. What that is telling us is that all the limitations in our lives, we think there are out there, we thing they are because of the economy, we think they are because of the circumstances, we think it is because of the people who oppose us, but the real truth is, that all boundaries are determined by what we believe, about ourselves.
And I realised that I had accepted a definition of myself that was based on what my life has been. I had to look at the Word of God and say, who does God say that I am? Then I started connecting to me, resurrected with Jesus. Me being a new creation. Well you know when you connect with the resurrected Jesus, then you realise that all the promises of God, every promise that God have ever made to anyone is yes for you, when you are in Jesus. That boundary is going to expand. Those limitations are going to start going away.
Sid Roth: Do you feel, coming form the background that you came from, that you have any limitations? I mean, you could not have been economically lower than you were. How in the world, did you turn it around for yourself?
Dr. Jim Richards: This is God working in your heart. You know, I will tell you something, when my wife and I began to see these biblical principles, we realised that we had done the same thing with poverty as we had done with sickness. What a good excuse to be sick! I was born with this! Now I didn’t do anything to make this happen. This was a genetic problem. You know, when you have an excuse for something, then you can justify it and you can live with the excuse. And I have done that with sickness. Well you know what? I realised that I was looking at my life saying – I have these doctor’s bills – I didn’t’ do this! I didn’t mismanage any money! I wasn’t dishonest!
But you know what? That was an excuse, because I was allowing my circumstances to define how bid God could be. I will tell you something. We got on our knees at the foot or our bed one night, and we apologies to God. Literally – we just said, Father, we know you that you love us. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead, that He conquered all the curse of the law, and we have no right to live this way. We have no right to be destitute – and we repent of it. And that means change we changed our minds, and we made a determination, we said, God, from this day forward, we will never be here again, unless we are here because we have given it all away or unless we are suffering for righteousness sake. We will never be desperate again, because we have failed to trust you and operate your word in our lives.
Sid Roth: Most people know there is going to be economic failure throughout the world in the last days. Do we have to go through that? Is there anything we can do to prosper in these last days. Or is it just inevitable?
Dr. Jim Richards: Well you know, Isaac sowed in a time of famine and the Bible says he reaped! Incredibly. And the Bible shows, Joseph, Daniel… all of them, these people, they prospered in spite of the situations, that they should have suffered in.
Sid Roth: You know what I believe? When times are tough, God is going to make believers shine! And there is going to be such a contrast, everyone is going to want to be a believer. Tell me about the grace of generosity as opposed to selfishness.
Dr. Jim Richards: You know that, that is the phenomenal thing. We want our prosperity to be something that increases our life on every level, not just financially. And you see, so many times when people begin to look at this prosperity thing, that it is all about getting more, about having more.
Paul says, (2 Corinthians 8:7) just as you exceed in speech, in spiritual gifts and all these things, make sure that you excel in this GRACE. And he is talking about this Grace of Giving. And as I began to look at the word of God, I began to discover something so phenomenal. You see, here is the thing about grace. God’s ability that works in us, that makes us strong, is the same thing, but a different terminology, like saying that the Holy Spirit is working in me – the same thing.
But grace is like a two sided coin. You can only get the grace, the capacity to receive, what you get the capacity to give away. You see, I never really – I was never so interested in being wealthy. I was interested in taking care of my family. Serving my family. That day I was interested in the world, reaching the world for Jesus, and giving for ministries and helping other people. So I was seeking God for the capacity to give things away.
And what started happening, I started having this capacity to recognise and move in, realms of success and prosperity I had never moved in. I mean, God would show me things that in the past, I would have withdrawn from. And He would show them to me and I would step into them. Bam! Prosper.
Sid Roth: You stretched your boundaries!
Dr. Jim Richards: That is exactly what happened. These boundaries – since grace works in my heart, it could only work, if I am believing the truth and that truth is always going to expand by boundaries.
Sid Roth: Now you learned a lesson the hard way – that God is our source. Tell me about the time you were embezzled.
Dr. Jim Richards: I came home from a missions trip to find out that that day, my home, my ministry property was going into foreclosure (sale). I had U.S. $36K in overdraft fees at the bank. Every bill that we had was probably 90 days old, and I discovered that our accounting person had embezzled, while I was out of the country, every penny that we had. And as in typical embezzlement situations, you never get any of it back, because they has spent it, they have blown it on something. And so, you know, we are looking at this, and you know this was tremendous and not so long ago, and I, at my age, if you loose everything, you are thinking, starting all over again?
Well you know something, my wife and I sat down and said, you what? We can spend our life fretting over this, and can be angry over this, and can have all kinds of negative emotions, or we can invest that same effort into just trusting and following God. The Lord is my shepherd, He leads me away from lack, away from want, and we knew, that if we will just follow God, the same God that got us there the first time, He’s get us there again.
And you know, my staff would come to me every day and say, “Well Jim what are we going to do today?” I’d say, “We are going to serve people today! That’s what we are here for, and we’re going to listen to God.” And there would be a day then, if we did not have $100K by noon, we’re gone.
And then we would just pray and we would just serve people, like we always did. We didn’t make it about trying to get it all back. You know the real truth is, in about nine months we were caught up on everything and at about eighteen months, we are talking about $170K to IRS (tax), beside what was stolen, but we are talking that about eighteen months, our income actually doubled!
Before I pray, I want to say one thing.
Are you willing to give up all of your excuses?
It doesn’t matter how you got there! It doesn’t matter if it is your fault. It doesn’t matter if it someone else’s fault, are you willing to give up all those excuses and say: “God is God and His promises are sure. Jesus was raised from the dead. He delivered me form the curse. I can make this journey.” If you make that decision, then you are ready to receive.
Father, in the name of Jesus I speak life, I speak blessing. Lord, I thank you that the hearts of these people hearing these words, are going to start exploding, with a new capacity, a new hope, a new outlook, to believe you and to walk with you in this path of provision. In the name of Jesus, Amen.