Zephaniah 1:13 -
Therefore their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation: they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof.
Just in the morning as I was getting up from my bed, my wife and I were discussing on the difference between the Church we were in and what is happening with the leaders in many Believer Churches.
Go to a meeting held for Pastors or meet leaders of ministries and you will find them rewarding themselves really well. Check out their vehicles and the electronics at their houses and like many lay people say it religion is good business.
What we see in the Catholic Church is the other extreme the Priest are made to live physically like beggars (very mere wages are given as per activity they do with something like fixed pocket money, but as you go higher in the system their stomachs are well rewarded - ironically most of them are mostly sick and cannot enjoy it although they greatly crave for it).
Most Believer leaders (Pastors and Ministry leaders) believe in God being a God of abundance. No doubt God does bless us but like I always say if you have been blessed more, it means you need to get down more often on your knees and pray longer and harder for you are been tested more.
Understand the one word that is root in the life of a Christians is OVERCOMER. Jesus Christ by His sacrifice saved us but things did not stop there. He gave us His Spirit so that by the help of His Spirit we become overcomers. The foundation of becoming an overcomer is knowledge of the Truth. That is the reason why we receive first the Spirit of Truth when we are baptized in Jesus Christ; He becomes the Rock of our salvation and the Rock on which the Church is built.
Some days back a sister forwarded me a mail regarding some top anointed Men and Women of God being removed from broadcast television in USA. If one visits the websites of any of these persons and it is like visiting an online mall running one the most complex sales and marketing engines.
I do agree funds are needed to run ministries and churches but that does not mean that one stands at the door with a bowl or pickpockets the innocent.
The best way to learn as how to manage finances of a large congregation can be learnt from Moses (who handed people in millions) in the earlier Church and Paul (who handled many Churches across a quarter of the world) from the new Church.
Jesus too showed us the way to handle finances in an excellent way in His earthly life examples. He gave this charge to Judas. Jesus did not run out of money for the group had always sufficient for them. Jesus lived without physical luxury but yet wore one of the finest linen robes any ordinary man could buy. It was not for comfort or luxury but for purpose. Since we are not mature in Spirit like Jesus therefore I will not take Him as an example.
We see in the life of Paul and Peter as example. Paul earned for his provision as tent maker and Peter did take from the Church collection but only for his basic needs. It depends on the grace one is in that one can take that decision. None is better than the other.
Moses spent an extravagant amount on the Sanctuary but all was according to instructions of the Lord. God did not instruct Moses so as to show great and beautiful monument is associated with our God but each and every item, even to smallest detail teaches us of the Kingdom of God it was all with purpose.
The Catholic Church on the other also builds beautiful monuments with a purpose to misguide the people and destroy their faith.
Finances of the Church and ministries are for building the Church - the people. Leaders can take from it but it should be according to need. They should remember that they need to control their fleshy desires and not let money or power hit to their heads.
In today's message the Lord is telling us once again (this message was given before also on 08 May 2010) as He is working on other this at the same time He is going to search through His people with a candle and those who have build castles for themselves will lose them.
[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord, You have made us in this world in the flesh so that we overcome this flesh and become worthy to be your Sons. You knew it is not possible for us to overcome by ourselves, so You by your sacrifice gave us your Spirit to help us become overcomers. Lord, we pray for all Church leaders especially that they are led by your Spirit and they live a life according to your heart and your will. We rebuke and bind their flesh and command their inner-man to return to You...
This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.
[ Reference Scripture ]
1 The word of the LORD which came unto Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hizkiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah.
2 I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the LORD.
3 I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the LORD.
4 I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the Chemarims with the priests;
5 And them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and them that worship and that swear by the LORD, and that swear by Malcham;
6 And them that are turned back from the LORD; and those that have not sought the LORD, nor enquired for him.
7 Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD: for the day of the LORD is at hand: for the LORD hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests.
8 And it shall come to pass in the day of the LORD'S sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king's children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel.
9 In the same day also will I punish all those that leap on the threshold, which fill their masters' houses with violence and deceit.
10 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that there shall be the noise of a cry from the fish gate, and an howling from the second, and a great crashing from the hills.
11 Howl, ye inhabitants of Maktesh, for all the merchant people are cut down; all they that bear silver are cut off.
12 And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil.
13 Therefore their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation: they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof.
14 The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly.
15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness,
16 A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers.
17 And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung.
18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.
11 Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished.
12 The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men.
13 Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your God.
14 Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD,
15 Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.
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