Your City Can Prosper Too

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, a young man named Roger Bannister from Oxford University began to have a dream – to run the 1600 Meter race in under 4 minutes. It had been attempted by many runners but it was a barrier that no one was able to break. Roger became convinced that it was possible. No matter what others told him, he simply would not believe their words for he came to believe this barrier could be broken.

On May 5, 1954, Banister broke the barrier running the 1600 Meter race in under 4 minutes. Amazingly enough, before the year was over a number of other athletes ran the same race in under four minutes.  In one race, five men broke the record at one time. What had happened? The barrier to accomplishing this great athletic feat did not exist in their physical bodies, it was in their minds. It was in their thinking. One person broke through into a new possibility and others quickly followed.

What barriers do we have in our minds that keep us from accomplishing all that God has for us? From the scriptures we have already learned that we will prosper as our thinking prospers. But let’s take that a practical step further. What if there is a Biblical model where our prosperous thinking can be combined with others to impact our city or the region in which we live?

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Wind and Hail

So we have been looking at examples of how God’s spirit can direct us to Biblical prosperity. Here is another example. A friend of mine and his partner are in the construction business. They do remodeling of homes in need of repair or upgrade. Business was a little slow a couple years ago so my friend felt like the Lord was prompting him to put a sign advertising their business out on a street corner in a neighborhood near where he lived. It seemed like a totally random act of advertising to the point of him questioning why he should do it. But he followed through because he felt a prompting of the Lord.

Within a few weeks of him putting out the sign a violent storm came through the area with large amounts of hail accompanying it. The hail damage was extensive, in many cases it shredded the soft vinyl that was used by many builders for house siding in our area. So the damage from the storm required repair and many of the people in need of repair called my friends business because the sign was right there. They were swamped with hail damage repair business and saw a huge increase in their finances.

Did God cause the storm? I don’t think so but he was motivated to prophetically stir my friend to put out a sign before the storms damage. This sounds like God’s supernatural direction to me. It does not bet much more practical than this.

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The Fox Story

We know real estate is something practical and Biblical that the Lord might use to help us enjoy His prosperity. But it is not all common sense and natural wisdom. With all the due diligence, common sense and practical wisdom that I have been emphasizing in approaching wealth generation, we also need to rely on the direction of God’s spirit. Jesus did come along and tell the disciples, who were experienced fishermen, to throw their nets on the other side of the boat. They followed his direction and pulled in a miraculous catch. Let me give an example.

I have a building with two rental units in it and experienced a genuine crisis because neither one of the tenants was paying and neither one of the tenants wanted to get out of their apartment. Realizing that we were not helping the individuals by letting them stay there, we started the painfully slow legal process to evict them.

As I was praying one day about these units, God showed me a picture of a red fox curled up and sleeping under one of the apartments. I could not tell which apartment it was but I was able to discern that it was not a good fox; but that it represented an evil presence that was resident in one of the units. I immediately responded by commanding the fox to get out of my apartments and to get out of my town in Jesus name…I did not want this same spirit to just move into another location in our town. So I just made the verbal declaration I felt the Lord was directing me to make and moved on to other things I had to do that day.

The next day I had to drop something off at the building and to my surprise the renters on the one side approached me and said they were moving out. They came and proudly told me that they were moving to another city in our area. Well… I did not have to wonder which side “the fox” was sleeping under…clearly this spirit of darkness was leaving town as I commanded it too the day before. So in business, we must stay tuned in to the voice of the Holy Spirit. He wants to help us. John 14:16 calls the Holy Spirit our helper and he will help us with our business as well.

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The Wild, Wild West

Hernando De Soto calls underutilized capital Dead Capital. How does a society go from no legal property rights to proper legal structures that transform dead capital into working capital? Picture the Wild West in the United States 150 years ago. It was a developing country to say the least. They were trying to grapple with the law and disorder of migrants, squatters, gold diggers, armed gangs, illegal entrepreneurs and the rest of the characters that made the West wild.

Americans had already been settling and improving the land for centuries. Politicians gradually adopted what was there and made it officially legal and set up systems to resolve conflict over land. This allowed the assets of these settlers to become primed to be used as capital. There were many bumps along the way, but it can be done. Property systems open to all citizens are a recent development. It has just happened in the last 200 years. All was accomplished for the purpose of putting land in the hands of private citizens (DeSoto).

This is one of the main differences between the Biblical Worldview and the Socialistic Worldview. In socialism the land and property is held in common and private ownership is discouraged or outlawed. A lot of property law is based on the simple concepts that come from the ten commandments. Thou shalt not steal(what is your neighbors or on their land) and thou shalt not covet(desire what is your neighbors). Private ownership of land is a practical path forward for most Christians to experience Biblical Prosperity.

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Real Estate is “real”

In contrast to confusion over who owns a property, are Western nations that have developed the structures that allow property to be leveraged for economic development. Here is more from Fernando De Soto in The Mystery of Capital.

The recognition and integration of legal property rights was a key element in the United States becoming the most important market economy and producer of capital in the world… The six effects of an integrated property process mean that Westerners houses no longer merely keep the rain and cold out. Endowed with representational existence, these houses can now lead a parallel life, doing economic things that could not have been done before.

Citizens of advanced nations are thus able to split their assets into shares, each of which can be owned by different persons, with different rights to carry out different functions. Thanks to formal property, a single factory can be held by countless investors, who can divest themselves of their property without affecting the integrity of the physical asset.

Perhaps rather than sending billions of dollars of aid to developing nations we should provide finances for their young people to get legal training in property law to put these legal structures in place so the people can prosper. Such laws also protect ownership as many people(s) have suffered the taking of their land unjustly as well. This is stealing and God cannot bless land that is taken from others unjustly. Though some cultures celebrate common ownership of land, in most cases this does not allow for economic prosperity. The idea of private property rights is embedded right in the Ten Commandments. “You shall not steal” and “You Shall Not Covet” underline this principle. God’s plan is individual ownership and stewardship.

Land is on God’s heart. It is a key to how he prospers his people. Our experience has been one where the most significant increases in our personal net worth have come as the result of real estate transactions. If you don’t own land it is very likely that God wants to help you get some. If you own land possibly God wants to give you more. Rick Joyner states that the great thing about Real Estate is that it is “real”. It not a piece of paper related to a stock option purchase in a market somewhere. It is real. You can go there and walk on it. You can grow corn on it if you want.

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Whose Land is This Anyway?

Before we get in to the scriptures on home ownership let’s look some more at the importance of land. In light of the previously described link between economic development and land ownership in first world nations, it is important to look at the developing and former communist nations of the world that are hamstrung from economic growth because of weak or nonexistent property rights. For prosperity to come to these nations, one of the first needs is to improve the laws governing property ownership so people can own property free and clear.

Sadly, in many nations of the world, a piece of real estate might have as many as 5-10 different people claiming ownership of it and there is no functioning system to determine who owns the deed to this land. Whose land is this anyway? One person claims his uncle gave him the land, another says he bought it for an amount of money from the neighbor; another says it is theirs because they have been squatting on it for the last few years. As long as it cannot be determined who the actual owner of the land is and that it is free of claims against it, no bank will accept this land as collateral for a loan that might be used to start a business. Established and legal property rights systems can create capital and economic lift for everyone.

Fernando De Soto in his book, The Mystery of Capital, describes this predicament.

Imagine a country where nobody can identify who owns what, addresses cannot be easily verified, people cannot be made to pay their debts, resources cannot conveniently be turned into money, ownership cannot be divided into shares, descriptions of assets are not standardized and cannot be easily compared, and the rules that govern property vary from neighborhood to neighborhood or even street to street. You have just put yourself into the life of a developing country or former communist nation; more precisely, you have imagined life for 80% of its population……80% of the world is undercapitalized; people cannot draw economic life from their buildings (or any other asset) to generate capital. In Haiti…according to our surveys, 68 percent of city dwellers and 97 percent of people in the countryside live in housing to which nobody has a clear legal title. Legal property  creates financial empowerment for individuals in any culture.

Really…80% ? Is it possible to break out of this cycle ?    Yes.. practial details to come.

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God Gave Ruth Land

The Biblical story of Ruth is, of course a great love story. But it is also the story of God giving a woman physical land. God took her from gleaning leftovers along the edge of the field to become the owner of the field. When she married Boaz, who owned the field, she became an owner of the very field she formerly gleaned in as a pauper. What a great story of financial prosperity and God’s redemption. Take the time to read it.

In the United States, the number one way that people finance new business ventures is by borrowing money against their house, which is of course located on land. So the best preparation for starting a business is to purchase a house and start paying it off over time. This will eventually build equity, which will allow you to finance a business start up. Small business startups create 70% of new jobs. Most of these businesses are family businesses and as with Abraham and his sons, land is often central to birthing these new businesses.

There is a practical link between economic land ownership and economic development. Land ownership is the proving grounds for business. God gave me 20+ scriptures about home ownership that I will be sharing in the next couple of blogs.

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The Promised “Land”

In Genesis 12:1 it refers to the “land” God had for Abraham. It was not a “mystical” land off in heaven somewhere.

 The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.”

God gave this nomad a land to call his own and to build in with his descendants. He gave Abraham and his family the Land of Israel as a unique homeland where his descendants were supposed to create the nation that was the model for the world. Physical land was central to God’s plan to prosper Abraham. Land was central for Abraham to receive God’s blessing and prosperity. It was practical and it is Biblical.

We see a parallel lesson if we study the great Native American tribes from North America. The tribes along the East Coast were less transient and would stay in one place and farm the land as well as hunt. They tended to survive and prosper. Those tribes along the West Coast that were nomadic hunters would travel to seasonal hunting grounds. They were more likely to starve and die. They could never prosper because they never settled down and stayed in one place. Simply stated…when you are a nomad there is only so much you can carry so it is hard to prosper.

There is something about land that is really important to God.

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God Loves Real Estate

In the years following the Civil War in the United States, a pastor by the name of Russell Cronwell traveled America and stirred millions of people with a story he told. The name of the story is Acres of Diamonds. It is the story of an Indian merchant who had been told by a prophet that he would become rich if he would only seek his treasure. So the merchant traveled the world in search of treasure only to return home after many years disappointed and defeated. As he came back to his abandoned house he needed a drink of water but the well on the property was covered with silt. So he took out his shovel and dug a new well. As he was digging he struck what became the world’s greatest diamond mine. His fortune was not “out there” somewhere but right under his nose all along.

Generally speaking the best opportunity could be right under your nose. I love it when God asked Moses, “What is in your hand?” God did not ask this because he didn’t know. He asked it because he wanted to direct Moses attention to use what he had already been given. Perhaps our greatest opportunity to enjoy prosperity could be the very thing under our feet. It doesn’t get any more practical than this.

Land is important to God’s plan for His children. One of the first things God did in establishing a covenant with Abraham was give him land. Previous to this Abraham did not have a homeland. Abraham’s father and his family were pastoral nomads, wandering from place to place for varying periods of time. His father worshiped idols in a city dedicated to wickedness. Abraham was told by God to go out into a place in which he would receive his inheritance. It was later referred to at the Promised “land.” It was land!

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A Gold Mine in South Africa?

A friend of mine has a drafting business. He worked in construction for many years before that. He is now investing money in rental properties. This is working out well for him because he knows the industry and has a natural authority there. Where do you have confidence to invest? Is there an area your parents or family members have found success? What are the natural gifts God has given you? Are you good with numbers? Good with people? Move toward these areas.

This principle of confidence applies if you are buying stocks or stock funds. Buy stock in the companies you know and trust. I mean look around your house. What is the brand of your clothes washer? Your refrigerator? Do you like them? Do they  work well? Where do you like to stop for coffee? Buy stock in that company.

Should you buy stock in a gold mine in South Africa that you have never seen? Nope.

Should you buy gold and keep it in a safe in your basement? Not unless you want to buy the guns and ammo to defend you house from intruders. We will talk about gold as an investment, but first let’s talk about Real Estate as an investment tool.

I believe God loves Real Estate. We will explore this in the next few blogs.

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