God set apart the tribe of Levi as priests to work in His sanctuary and a system of contributions to support His work and His priests.
After the exodus all the tribes received an inheritance of land, except the tribe of Levi.
God Was Their Inheritance.
Then the LORD said to Aaron, "You shall have no inheritance in their land nor own any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the sons of Israel.
(Numbers 18: 20)
God's property was theirs. They took the tithe and ate the food offerings.
For the tithe of the sons of Israel, which they offer as an offering to the LORD, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance; therefore I have said concerning them, they shall have no inheritance among the sons of Israel.
(Numbers 18: 24)
The support of God's work is based on a system of required and voluntary contributions called tithes and offerings.
1 Timothy 6: 17-18, Leviticus 19: 13 and Deuteronomy 24: 15 all indicate that anyone who works should be paid. If we work for the Lord we should be paid by those who claim to love God.
Tithing was known by the ancients before the laws on Sinai. It is a tenth of their profits returned to God.
This stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be God's house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.
(Genesis 28: 22)
In Matthew 23: 23 Jesus said that tithing should be done.
Tithe Belongs to God.
Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed me! But you say "how have we robbed you?" In tithes and offerings.
(Malachi 3: 8)
The tithes were used by the Levites who received no inheritance, except what was given to God.
God Was Their Inheritance.
The Levitical priests, the whole tribe of Levi shall have no portion or inheritance with Israel. They shall eat the Lord's offering by fire and His portion.
They shall have no inheritance among their countrymen, the Lord is their inheritance as He promised them.
(Deuteronomy 18: 1-2)
- Offering. The offerings were the first fruits and anything given freely or to pay a vow.
- Sacrifices. While some sacrifices were totally burned and offered to God, a part of other sacrifices were eaten by the priests as food.
Property of the Priests.
Now this shall be the priests' due from the people, from those who offer a sacrifice, either an ox or a sheep, of which they shall give to the priest the shoulder and the two cheeks and the stomach.
You shall give him the first fruits of your grain, your new wine, and your oil, and the first shearing of your sheep.
(Deuteronomy 18: 3-4)
In the same way the workers for God must be supported by the offerings of those who believe in the Gospel.
Supported by the Gospel.
Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share from the altar?
So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.
(1 Corinthians 9: 13-14)
Why does God need money?
God is at war and He needs to support His volunteer army during this war.
There are only a few ways that the messenger of the Gospel can be supported while he or she works.
- Tithes and Offerings. The complete financial support of the people allows the workers to commit all their time and energy to the work. God even instructs them to travel lightly.
Do not acquire gold or silver or copper for your money belts,
or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support.
(Matthew 10: 9-10)
For the scripture says, "you shall not muzzle an ox while he is threshing", and "the laborer is worthy of his wages."
(1 Timothy 5: 18)
- Working Pastors. If the people do not adequately support the ministers then the pastors are forced to take on other jobs and their loyalties will be divided. This is not God's plan.
Slaves of the Church.
Do we not have a right to eat and drink?
Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense?
If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you?
I am not speaking these things according to human judgment, am I? Or does not the law also say these things?
(1 Corinthians 9: 4, 7-8)
It is a disgrace to the church that our ministers cannot be fully supported and they have to find full time work and devote part of their time to the church, often neglecting their families.
This is not how a shepherd feeds his flock.
If this is the new financial model for the church, then we might as well hire motivational speakers and buy the lastest books that they are peddling.
- Cheerless Givers.
Sometimes the people gave their support so grudgingly that the workers took it as an honor to decline their useless support and rely on faith so that God receives the glory for supporting Himself.
Paul said that he would rather die than be supported by people who have to make him beg for their support.
I Make Myself A Slave.
But I have used none of these things. And I am not writing for these things so that it will be done so in my case; for it would be better for me to die than have any man make my boast an empty one.
What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.
For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more.
(1 Corinthians 9: 15, 18-19)
I Support Myself.
nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you;
not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves a model for you, so that you would follow our example.
(2 Thessalonians 3: 8-9)
God Supports Me.
Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have sworn to the Lord God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth,
that I will not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours, for fear that you will say, "I have made Abram rich."
(Genesis 14: 22-23)
Giving to the Gospel is a privilege, not a burden. You should consider yourself fortunate that God gives you an opportunity to support His work.
Imagine living forever with the knowledge that you chose the minimal, easiest, cheapest and least time-consuming way to support the Gospel while you rewarded yourself with the best at every possible opportunity.
Put your money where your heart is. Then put your heart where your money is. It is not enough to write a check.
In my humble opinion, religious groups do a disservice to the ministry of God when they emphasize tithe and offering and neglect to organize their church based on the duty to volunteer their service.
We have a system of collecting tithe and teaching about our financial duties to God.
Yet our duty to physically work for God has not been as carefully articulated or managed.
The fact is that we are all priests of God under the new covenant and are required to take turns to work for Him.
The Rule of Jesus Begins.
The Lord says to my Lord, "sit at my right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet."
The Lord will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying "Rule in the midst of your enemies".
Volunteers. Your people will volunteer freely in the day of your power.
In holy array, from the womb of the dawn, Your youth are to You as the dew.
(Psalm 110: 2-3).
- 24 Divisions of Priests For Service.
In the Old Testament, the priests and workers were divided up into twenty four groups assigned to a fixed schedule so that they could take turns serving God during the year (1 Chronicles 24: 1-18; 1 Chronicles 9: 25; 2 Chronicles 23: 8).
Each group served the temple two weeks per year during their scheduled rotation and all served three weeks per year during the three required feasts.
So the priests served for a total of five weeks per year (35 days)!
Since we do not emphasize service, the same group of people work tirelessly for years while others warm the benches. This is wrong.
Our duties should center more around service to God using the money collected. Instead, we run the church by focusing on collecting money for hiring contractors, not devoted stake holders. So the Holy Spirit never gets to distribute the gifts He has for us because we are simply lazy and uncommitted and our time is too valuable for God.
And he was saying to them, "The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few, therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."
(Luke 10: 2)
- Talent and Resources. God gives His workers the gifts, money and talents to do His work.
Unfortunately, most of us believe that our duty is complete when we pay our tithes.
God needs our service more than our money.
Money cannot go and spread the message, people do.
Money can buy food and clothes and television air time but it cannot create the message or nurture the flock unless you believe that we can simply fill in these jobs with motivational speakers, psychologists and social workers or professionals who do not share our beliefs.
God can feed us with ravens and not let our clothes wear out and let television reporters beg us for our story as we reach billions with a Gospel motivated by the Holy Spirit.
God is so determined to use all His resources to spread the Gospel that He even allows us to be poor, homeless wanderers as we minister to the people.
Your hands and feet and mind are His most important assets. When you are so personally invested in the work of God, the question of tithe and offerings become meaningless.
It is not enough to write a check.
Questions About Tithing
Since we are all priests, the offerings belong to us and the work is required from us.
Modern customs and the freedoms of the new covenant also give more opportunities to priests. This raises some interesting questions.
- Gross or Net? Should we pay 10% of the gross or net income?
Tithe is not taken from the money we pay after we have paid all our expenses. If so, we could buy the biggest and best houses and live as expensively as possible and give God what is left over.
The tithe is a portion of our "increase" or profits that we earn. So if it takes $5,000 to plant, water, manage and harvest a field and the crop is sold for $15,000, then tithe is paid on $10,000.
Modern income is more complicated. The cost of doing business includes transportation and uniforms and other operating expenses. Increasingly, our deductibles are more than taxes. They can be for education and medical expenses.
They are part of our costs of living structured in creative ways to reduce taxes and net income. However, should they reduce the tithe? In addition, we also get benefits that are paid for us. Should they increase the tithe?
The general concensus is that taxes are part of the cost of doing business, so tithe is a portion of the net income after taxes.
Where are we supposed to give the tithe?
Since tithe was generally farm produce, it was literally brought to a barn or to the temple in Jerusalem.
If the journey was too far, the tithe could be converted to money and given to the temple.
Apparently, the priests distributed this money among themselves.
Today, we are all priests so where does the tithe belong and how is it distributed?
It would be tempting to say that we should give it to a worthy ministry or even to ourselves for personal ministry projects.
However, such a disorderly process which is subject to so much abuse would be unwise.
God's form of government is hierarchical. There is a definite structure.
A distributed government creates more chaos and opportunity for thieves to thrive.
You should belong to a church because you trust the doctrine and the ministries of the organization and the leadership selection process, goals and mission.
Therefore, give your tithes to the church and use your offerings to support the church, personal and private ministries that are doing a good job.
» Clerical Abuse and Temple Prostitution. Eli had two sons who were corrupt priests. Hophni and Phineas were practically running a brothel at the door of the sanctuary, stealing the offerings and beating the people.
Pagan churches were brothels with temple prostitutes.
Several churches have problems with pedophile priests and pastors whom they simply transfer from one innocent flock to another. Their orphanages were a pedophile's play ground and business headquarters.
The deacons and male servants of some churches are instructed to "take care of" the females in the congregation so that they will stay in the church. The pastor is actually encouraging the men to have intercourse with the women in the church.
Pastors provide prostitutes for visiting pastors and evangelists.
When churches have annual meetings and conferences in a city, the XXX businesses and prostitutes are generously rewarded.
The brothel is alive and well in the church and the ordained servants of God are in charge.
If for some reason you believe that the hierarchy is corrupt or morally bankrupt but you are unwilling to leave because you believe in the doctrines then your moral obligations are to God only.
Give God an opportunity to fix the problem. If the moral conduct is so outrageous and systemic, then as a member of the priesthood, you are obligated to throw out the money changers and the whores.
Give to ministries worthy of the honor and vocally lodge your complaint and pray.
Sometimes even Jesus took drastic actions to end practices that dishonored the name of God and exploited the congregation.
- Jewish Laws? Isn't the tithe a part of Jewish customs that were done away at the cross?
It is interesting to see prosperity ministers argue passionately that the tithe is not Jewish and that its payment is still in effect. They can demonstrate that it was before the exodus and Jesus and the disciples paid tithe.
Yet they refuse to see that the Sabbath was before the exodus and before the tithe. It can be traced back to the creation week and Jesus and the disciples and the early church for over 200 years kept the Sabbath.
Tithing was not a part of the teaching of certain churches until about the 1960s-70s when the seed faith ministries began and the greedy crooks needed more money.
They found the texts and the reasoning to obey a law that lines their pockets, but disobey one that was written by the finger of God.
The most popular text used to prove God's blessings in return for money is this.
"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,"
says the Lord of hosts, "If I will not open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing so that there is not room to receive it."
(Malachi 3: 10)
God challenges us to test Him.
This blessing is not simply based on the tithe. It is the terms of the covenant blessing in Leviticus 26: 1-13.
If we keep the covenant, God will keep His promises.
You will eat the old supply and clear out the old because of the new.
- Testing God ("Prove Me").
Malachi 3: 10 is what God says. It is the famous text that prosperity ministers salivate on.
However, Satan also came to Jesus quoting Bible promises.
Jesus said to him, "On the other hand, it is written, you shall not put the Lord your God to the test."
You shall not put the Lord your God to the test as you did at Massah.
(Deuteronomy 6: 16)
So, why would God say that we should test Him, when Jesus and the law said that we should not test God?
Under what unique conditions would God subject Himself to be judged or tested?
God was speaking to a group of people who were complaining. They did not trust His judgment because they saw the wicked prospering while they were languishing and God seemed impotent or unwilling to balance the scales of justice in their favor.
So God told them to test Him.
This is the same state of affairs that happened when Lucifer sinned. The people were taking sides. One third eventually sided with Satan.
They put God to the test, showing that they did not trust Him completely.
The sovereign God should never have been put to the test by people who knew Him.
So God allows those who mistrust Him to test Him but this is not the ideal state of affairs.
This is why God cites those who do not test Him as the heroes whom He is seeking.
At some point God expects the testing to stop and trust to begin.
The immature will test God continually, but the mature will submit to the testing of God.
So be careful about putting God to the test rather than simply trusting Him. There is a big difference between the two concepts.
- Equal Opportunity. God rains on the just and the unjust.
But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you
so that you may be the sons of your Father Who is in heaven. For He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
(Matthew 5: 44-45)
- The Real Blessinngs. What are the real blessings that we will receive from heaven.
A Spirit of Giving.
... it is more blessed to give than to receive.
(Acts 20: 35)
- Manna. In the exodus, God poured out bread from heaven. This bread represented Christ.
- Mercy. God poured out mercy and forgiveness.
- Gift. God gives His gifts freely because He is compassionate. We received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
- Light (Pillar of Fire). God gives knowledge about Himself.
- Shade (Pillar of Clouds). God provides rest from sin and the glare of condemnation.
- God as Father. The true picture of God that the world needs to see is the Father of the prodigal son.
The message to both sons is that they should know that everything the father has is always theirs and they should not need constant tokens of proof to remind them of this fact.
However, the message to the prodigal son is that "you are forgiven, I am not going to remind you of your sins. You already know that. Instead, I am going to remind you that you are my beloved son".
- The Son Who Strayed. He received his inheritance early and squandered it, and when he returned home he did not get a scolding. Instead he got a feast and a celebration and a second helping of inheritance. He was rewarded for being bad! Not really. He was welcomed home.
- The Son Who Stayed. He stayed home and did all the wonderful things that a good son would do, yet the father never showed his appreciation by giving him a feast or telling him that he was grateful for his fidelity.
So within this covenant relationship God tells us that we should know that He will provide for us.
I wish leaders would appeal to the congregation on the basis of the love of God and their desire to see His name established on the earth.
We are in a battle zone. Good and evil are fighting for ultimate supremacy.
We should serve God because we love Him. Prosperity, blessings or favor should never enter the equation.
- Serving In Prosperity: An Awesome Responsibility.
... From everyone who has been given much, much will be required ...
(Luke 12: 48)
Wealth and talents are given to the righteous for a practical purpose. They will spend it on the will of God while the wicked will not.
Therefore, it is to the benefit of God that He gives you the knowledge, the energy, the people, the children, the ideas and the financial support to continue His ministry.
For the eyes of the Lord move back and forth throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.
(2 Chronicles 16: 9)
God searches for people who want to do His will so that He can support them. But almost every testimonial that I hear is about giving money to a ministry and getting money back within a month so that they receive a bigger house, a better job and more money.
You ask and you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.
(James 4: 3)
» The Prosperity Of The Wicked.
I would like to remind you that the wicked are also wealthy.
The righteous serve God and cannot get away with doing the slightest wrong, yet the wicked seem to pile wicked on top of wicked and have fun doing it but they never seem to be corrected.
In fact they seem to be more prosperous! Often this is because they will do anything immoral or illegal to get money, but no one can deny that God also helps them.
In fact, the people to whom God made the promise about returning the tithes had this complaint.
You have said, "It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept His charge, and that we have walked in mourning before the Lord of hosts?
So now we call the arrogant blessed; not only are the doers of wickedness built up but they also test God and escape."
(Malachi 3: 14)
In the end we will learn that it is not a blessing to escape correction.
The wicked will not respond to correction, so the best that God can do is to allow them to prosper because it will all be used as a witness against them in the judgment.
Their disobedience in both poverty and wealth is a testimony that the problem is not God's unfairness or harshness, it is their selfishness and wickedness.
In contrast, our obedience in adversity is a testimony to the strength of love and loving obedience.
The writer of the Psalms also sought to understand this and concluded that only at the end of time will we understand this financial injustice.
The Wicked Prosper.
For I was envious of the arrogant as I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
For there are no pains in their death, and their body is fat.
They are not in trouble as other men, nor are they plagued like mankind.
Therefore pride is their necklace; the garment of violence covers them ...
They mock and wickedly speak of oppression; they speak from on high.
They have set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongues parades through the earth.
The Righteous Suffer.
Look, these are the wicked; and always at ease, they have increase in wealth.
Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and washed my hands in innocence;
For I have been stricken all day long and chastened every morning.
The Wicked Are Rejected In The End.
When I tried to understand this, it was troublesome in my sight,
Until I came into the sanctuary of God; then I saw their end.
(Psalm 73: 3-9, 12-14, 16-17)
Job also had this complaint about the wicked being protected because God does not correct them.
Live A Life of Prosperity Without Any Consequences.
Why do the wicked still live, continue on, also become very powerful?
Their houses are safe from fear and the rod of God is not on them.
They spend their days in prosperity, and suddenly they go down to Sheol.
They say to God, "Depart from us! We do not even desire the knowledge of your ways.
Who is the almighty that we should serve Him, and what would we gain if we entreat Him?"
(Job 21: 7, 9, 13-15)
It is the wicked who are concerned about what they will get if they approach God.
» Punished In The End.
The wicked will get their reward in the end, so you may not see it in this life.
For the wicked is reserved for the day of calamity. They will be led forth at the day of fury.
(Job 21: 30)
You see, just as poverty for the righteous is a test of your motives, wealth for the wicked becomes a stumbling block in the judgment.
The righteous remained faithful for the right reasons, but the wicked will not even respond to God even when He throws everything good at them.
Prosperity is not a sign of God's favor and poverty is not a sign of God's abandonment.
» The Reward Of The Righteous.
The righteous will be rewarded in this life, but persecutions will occur.
Peter said, "Behold, we have left our own homes and followed you."
And He said to them, "Truly I say to you, there is no one who had left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God,
who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life."
(Luke 18: 20-30)
But that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses, brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms along with persecutions and in the age to come, eternal life.
(Mark 10: 30)
However, if we look at the life of Jesus and the disciples and the fact that their lives were deprivation followed by martyrdom, we must conclude that the rewards in this age are not a normal life.
The care and attention of good church members will provide the loving family we gave up.
Their hospitality will provide the homes we have in our homelessness.
Their generous contributions will provide the money we need as we become beggars.
The gifts of God that we receive give us the status and the dignity we need to prove that we are not simply hopeless losers begging for charity, but we are called by God to live like our Lord while we minister to the flock.
However, the modern day spiritual con men can perpetrate a fraud without evidence of the power of God, because they have redefined God's power and our responsibilities in terms of visible wealth as God's favor.
Serving In Need: The Shocking Secret.
Despite all the promise mongering and festive balloons, it seems that the prosperity whores are hiding a dirty little secret about serving God.
A look at the stars of faith shows that the blessings given do not appear to be obscene financial wealth.
Why is the biblical record of those approved by God so vastly different from the blessings promised by the covenant?
It seems that the more perfect you are, the more you are denied the blessings.
Could it be that the test God will pour out is a test of our love for Him?
So the best blessings that He pours out is the opportunity to really know Him as a friend without the clutter of wealth that may obscure a meaningful relationship?
The blessings these poor fools received was help to carry out the ministry of One whom they loved.
But in return, they gave up their lives, their comfort and their reputations.
- Jacob. He left His father-in-law as a wealthy man with eleven sons and a daughter and many animals. Yet he was a nomad, wandering from place to place, surviving several bouts of famine.
Near the end of his life, his testimony is that this life had been extremely hard.
The Evil Years. So Jacob said to Pharaoh, the years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and evil have been the years of my life, nor have they attained the years that my fathers lived during the days of their sojourning.
(Genesis 47: 9)
- Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego. Their intention was to be faithful, whether or not God came to rescue them. They knew that God had the power to save them, but they did not care if He did or not because they were going to be faithful under all circumstances.
Their love was not based on the beneficial actions of God towards them. God decides what to do and they will accept any decision He makes.
A Right Attitude.
If it be so, our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.
But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.
(Daniel 3: 17-18)
- Daniel and Joseph. Both of these men suffered and rose up to be politicians and leaders in foreign lands. God put them in these positions of wealth to help their people.
- Job. He was a wealthy man in terms of children and animals, yet he was severely tested because he was faithful!
- Disciples. Those doing the great work of starting the church were treated badly by modern standards of prosperity ministers.
To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless.
(1 Corinthians 4: 11)
We have come to expect that our ministers should sleep in $5000 per night hotel suites, have a fleet of luxury cars, private jets and palatial mansions. Some even have gold plated toilet seats and fifteen bathrooms in one of their many houses.
The record of the faithful does not support this use of the finances of God. It is not the will of God.
- Jesus. By these modern standards He could not possibly be the Messiah, God did not bless Him. Our ministers flee from this type of hardship because "God does not want us to be poor".
Riches to Rags (The Homeless and Penniless God).
Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."
(Matthew 8: 20)
We could explain away the miserable life of Jesus with His mission to suffer in our place. Yet, how do we explain the lives of the champions of faith in Hebrews 11 who are praised by God.
They had God's favor and approval, they were worthy of His blessings. Yet their lives were utterly cursed and they never received the promise before they died.
They were praised and held up as models of the faith for this exact reason. They maintained faith despite the lack of blessings and broken promises and in spite of the curses heaped upon them unjustly!
- Solomon. He was wealthy and he had the gift of wisdom. He built the first church of God and rulers from around the region flocked to Him. Yet this wealth almost made him lose his way. In the end wisdom returned to him and he concluded that all this stuff is vanity.
Knowledge and love of God is the only true wealth and blessing that does not corrupt and is not corruptible. This knowledge will make you happy in any circumstances while wealth can never seem to satisfy.
For the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
(1 Timothy 6: 10)
Lessons From The Afflicted
Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection;
and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment.
They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated
Great People. (men of whom the world was not worthy),
Homeless People. wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.
Broken Promises. And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised
An Example of Faith. because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.
(Hebrews 11: 35-40)
The faithful teach us a lesson about waiting on the promises of God.
- Something Better For Us. God provided something better for us when He did not answer their prayers!
How did breaking His promises to them provide something better for us?
They became an example of steadfast faith. So we are to learn that our trust in God despite the failing promises is more valuable to God than playing Santa Claus for us.
God has found faithful friends, not greedy investors and disloyal business partners.
- They Are Perfected by Us. How do we make them or their faithfulness perfect?
When we learn from their example and we see their promises fulfilled in us we get a chance to see a bigger picture than they did.
We see that God does fulfill His promises. Therefore, they have been proved correct in waiting. They are perfected or vindicated by their faith.
So if we see God keeping His promises, although it is on His time schedule, we can be assured of other unfulfilled promises.
We can be assured of the hope of the resurrection and the new earth and the bright future that God has planned.
So we can in turn give this gift of trust and faithfulness to God to our children because our trust is based on the mountain of evidence and testimonials from our ancestors and the history of how God has kept His promises.
So despite the fact that people claim that faith is visualizing what you want until you get the thing for which you have waited,
Faith is really trusting God despite not getting the thing for which you have waited and hoped.
Prosperity Ministries And Modern Money Changers
At the beginning of His ministry and during the final week Jesus drove the money changers out of the temple.
They had practically made the temple a shopping mall for their wares and the practice was offensive to the name, character and reputation of God.
A shameful practice has become popular among the church which does the same damage to God.
The Den Of Thieves (Ravenous Wolves).
I look and listen in horror as I hear the modern day money changers selling their wares.
Their opulent life styles have no resemblance to the hard life of their Messiah and the early apostles.
Yet they are successful at this because they have learned to dress up the rhetoric of their sales pitch with bible promises and testimonials.
For it is You Who blesses the righteous man, O Lord. You surround him with favor as with a shield.
- Christian Testimonials. I hear more testimonies about how we can get money from God than about the enormous cost God paid to break the power of sin and how God has broken the cycle of sin in their lives. I hear those testimonials too but you have to buy a book to hear the rest of the story.
In the prosperity mindset, a victorious story is not worth repeating unless it is the story of the rich and famous and we can sign a book deal.
Otherwise, it is the mad rantings of a cursed, hopeless loser.
- The Image of God: (Submission and Sacrifice). The problem with these people is that their merchandizing has ruined the image of God who became poor so that we might be rich through an incredible gift.
The Church is The Financial Institution.
And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves.
And He said to them "It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of thieves".
(Matthew 21: 12-13)
The Person Who made this statement cannot be very happy with the prosperity ministers.
The Money Lover's Idol.
No servant can serve two masters, for he will either hate the one and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
Now the Pharisees who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him.
And He said to them, "You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestible in the sight of God."
(Luke 16: 13-15)
As a result, the image of His children are of a litter of stupid, greedy, whining pigs who are being milked by heartless con men.
- Mafia King Pin.
Tithe is the protection money we pay so that the Mafia hoodlum on the throne of heaven who extorts money will bless us instead of taking revenge.
Don't Mess With Me!
Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, "How have we robbed you?" in tithes and offerings.
(Malachi 3: 8)
- The Pimp and His Brothel. God is portrayed as a slave master in charge of whores who will sell access, threats, forgiveness and hope at any price.
- The Heavenly Slot Machine. Put $5 in and get $35 out!
No matter how they phrase it or present it, their appeals for money and promises of blessings always sounds like God loosens His purse strings, doling out prosperity to anyone who first proves their love - by doling out more money.
The problem is that they are ignoring God's favor to His enemies and the main reality of serving God.
- The Great Toll Booth in The Sky. God will unlock His blessings if you will open your purse.
- The Lousy Father and Rotten Neighbor.
God is portrayed as the type of parent who will not give anything to His children unless they beg. In addition, He will not give anything until they pay first, prove that they deserve it and show that they love Him.
However, the scripture teaches that God is a parent Who is proactive in caring for His children. His actions never depend on the behavior of His children but on His character.
He is the kind of neighbor Who does not rejoice at the misfortunes of His enemies. He gives them help when He sees their need and would even die for them.
This is not the picture of the person Who demands proof of love from you. It is a picture of a person who is desperately proving His unfailing and unconditional love.
God is the bearer of gifts from way up north.
He dispenses lots of good gifts to those who subscribe with Him and contribute to His ministry. However, there is nothing for the rest of us, but a lump of coal in the middle of hell fire.
The People Praise God.
Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory because of your loving kindness, because of your truth.
(Psalm 115: 1)
For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act. For how can my name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another.
(Isaiah 48: 11)
- Blessings And Magic Beans For Sale!
These Merchants of Avarice have invented many gimmicks to sell items that will bring blessings.
It started in the Middle Ages with the selling of indulgences and relics.
Now we have blessed red strings, red rubber bands, blessed holy water from Jerusalem and holy oil from Gethsemane.
There are blessed coins, anointed cloth and blessed seeds.
The crook only invests money for the stamp and envelope, but spends less than a penny for the single mustard seed, teaspoon of low grade oil, tablespoon of tap water, rubber band, a square inch of cloth, three inches of red string or the foreign penny.
There is also anointing oil that will keep you and your property protected for one year.
Some of these are not on sale, but they are "free" with a donation.
» Peddling The Signs Of Judaism.
Around 2009-2010 I started noticing a new branch of peddling.
Scornful of Sabbath keepers and those who keep the Jewish feasts as legalists these peddling whores are now selling tallits, mezuzahs, scrolls and all things Jewish pointing to blessings pronounced in the feasts.
It is laughable to hear them stumble over the obvious questions as to why these things and tithes are not also as Jewish and banished as was the Sabbath day which preceeded all these Jewish things.
It is shameful! It is disgraceful! It is not what Jesus died for!
Christian Infomercials. I watched several Chrisitan networks and the majority of time was spent selling books, financial advice, exercise equipment, diet supplements and food processors.
Except for the occasional mention of God as the reason for these purchases, their sales pitch was not different from the secular infomercials.
The shame is that they will spend less than a minute explaining that we are giving for the love of God, yet spend the next 29 minutes explaining why we cannot expect God to give if we do not give to Him.
The love of God is not the message, the money from God is.
The Business of Church (Sacred Networking).
The relationship with God is presented as a business transaction between a whore and her client. You give me this and I will give you that. If you do not, then I will not give you any reward.
God is presented as a person who will give blessings and grant favors if we send money.
The level of merchandizing has gotten so obscene in the church that I have heard complaints about car dealerships having show cars in the church lobby on Sundays with promotional banners inside the sanctuary.
The prosperous church cannot separate itself from any business opportunity. So as they get wealthy building malls, coffee shops and other businesses inside the church, the blessings of money is the proof that God has given them wealth and favor.
But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He Who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
(Deuteronomy 8: 18)
As a consequence, people are coming to church to meet friends and business connections and people with similar interests. But nobody is coming to hear about God.
Spiritual Dung Flies.
It is amazing to see all the churches run after the advice of mega churches because they believe that the evidence of the blessing of God is visible in the number of fruits.
They define the fruits of God's favor as a large congregation and wealth. However, the immeasurable devotion to Christ is ignored and the garbage to which they are attracted is bottled up to be served to other congregations seeking rotten fruit.
The Fatal Attraction.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, for wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires.
(2 Timothy 4: 3)
Everybody thinks that this is acceptable because the church is getting wealthy and more people are coming.
We are attracting them to church, but we are not attracting them to God because we have stifled everything about God because it is unattractive to these prosperity dung flies.
I guarantee that sooner or later you will find more churches giving advice or seminars on how to gain wealth than instruction and bible studies on how to win and keep souls!
Of course all this business activity will be justified as "meeting the needs of the people". Then we tell ourselves that soul winning is supposed to be automatically done because we "attracted them to us". We are supposed to attract them to God.
It only matters if they are attracted to Christ.
If we cannot make Christ attractive then we should not make the things of the world the attraction that we display in the church's stained glass windows.
The Cesspool in the Dung Heap.
The church and its members refuse to do the work of God. The only heavy lifting that the church does well is lifting the offering. The members are content with not doing anything else as long as they can exchange hope for an offering.
The separation of the flock from their money has become a big business.
It has gotten so pervasive that even those with good intentions fail to see that their programs are designed to maintain the status quo instead for breaking the strongholds of Satan.
We justify all this by displaying the wealth of a few as the model for Christians.
Never understanding that it was not the devil who sent financial diseases like communism, it was the greediness, moral cowardice and unfairness of the church and the guardians of the people that created these reactions.
- Charities. We are now accustomed to spending 90% on administrative costs, while 10% goes to the charitable works. In the 1960's it used to be the opposite. Administrative costs used be to 5%. Administrators of charitable organizations did not complain about what they are worth in the corporate world.
» The Poor as A Lure. In some countries, criminals chop off the hands or feet of young children to cripple them so that they look like more pathetic beggars for tourists.
How much different is that from Christian organizations who use the images of the poor to gain wealth.
How many Christian organizations and families have made their obscene wealth through charities whose programs do nothing to lift communities out of poverty, but have a constant stream of pathetic looking bait splashed across the television for decades?
- Adoption. Orphanages and adoptions are big business, costing $50,000 per child in 2010.
Christians see nothing wrong in separating families because they are providing a "better life" for the children.
Some will even pretend that they are rescuing orphans when the truth is that they have convinced parents to give up children for this "better life".
Poverty is not a disease. I was very poor, but we valued education and it lifted us out of poverty in one generation. It is unthinkable to me that I could have been separated from my family.
Instead of spending $50,000 to adopt a child, why not spend that money to provide education to the community.
If you keep removing a few children from poor environments the environment will perpetually remain poor. Find a wiser and more humane solution that keeps families together and has a long term goal.
- Charitable Programs.
Build up that community with education, better jobs, food and health care.
We are inadvertently supporting the very systems that oppress them with our bandaid solutions. Shame on us!
This is why Haiti has remained poor for a hundred years, while well meaning missionaries pour money and programs into the mix for decades.
Haiti almost seems to exist as a place where we can prove our good works to God. So, in a sick sense, the persistent poverty of Haiti, is good for our charitable businesses and part-time charitable works.
In 2010, the average Haitian earned $400 per year working 70 hours per week for $11 in sweat shops that make trinkets for western conglomerates.
» Set the Captives Free!
Your efforts are part of the system that keeps them permanently exploited.
Put your efforts into giving them options other than modern day slavery.
Dig into the root cause of their impoverishment, instead of picking the flowers off the rotten tree.
Well meaning Christians used to buy the freedom of Christians put into slavery by their Muslim captors in Sudan.
They ended up creating a bigger market for slaves by financing the oppressors.
We will keep on making mistakes if we think that money and part-time missionary work will solve these kinds of problems.
- The Gold That Rules.
We have strip mined the gold out of the Golden Rule and left a sludge of dirty water for our own brothers to drink, leaving them at the mercy of financial predators.
In everything, therefore, treat people the way you want them to treat you. For this is the Law and the Prophets.
(Matthew 7: 12)
In many cases the church is actually complicit in these inhumane schemes, soothing themselves with the slogans that they are "giving them jobs".
One church actually said that it had more control over its members when they were poorer, because modern day prosperity caused people to be less faithful!
The church is in business with wealthy businessmen and farmers who can afford to pay and treat their workers better.
Instead, churches sit by while migrant workers are separated from their families, are grossly underpaid and poorly treated and are forced to bear the inflated cost of their indentured servitude.
Churches discourage efforts to help them by labeling the efforts as "socialism" or labeling those concerned as "trouble makers".
Lord of the Flies.
In many congregations the pastor is nothing but a performance artist or a scantily dressed cheerleader dispensing advice in the Game of Life.
Being an expert in blessings appears to be a lucrative business for those who can articulate its fundamentals or show the people a good time.
There are so many experts making $100,000 fee for speaking. They also sell books, tapes, CDs and all the attending merchandizing that goes with this for-profit business we call church.
Spiritual Advice Gurus Selling Salvation at A Price.
Her leaders pronounce judgment for a bribe, and her priests instruct for a price, and her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the Lord saying, "Is not the Lord in our midst? Calamity will not come upon us."
(Micah 3: 11)
God is only in this business if the goal is to save souls with everything you have.
However, for the prosperity preaching minister and their buzz flies these appear to be peripheral goals.
Useless as Watchmen. His watchmen are blind, all of them know nothing. All of them are mute dogs unable to bark. Dreamers lying down who love to sleep.
Greedy Pigs (Prosperity Ministers). And the dogs are greedy, they are not satisfied. And they are shepherds who have no understanding. They have all turned to their own way. Each one to his unjust gain, to the last one.
Drunks. Come, they say, let us get wine, and let us drink heavily of strong drink. And tomorrow will be like today, only more so.
(Isaiah 56: 10-12)
What the people want is guarantees on wealth, power and control, recognition, jobs, children and their love life.
What these useless watchmen give are sedatives and smooth words and lullabys while they fall into a drunken stupor with their arms extended for more money openly stating that all they want is "green" cash so that they can live the life God says they deserve.
What God is offering is fasting and martyrdom.
The Science of Greed. Proponents have put the spiritual laws behind this blessing in various marketing tools and slogans.
Science in the Torah. I totally believe in the concept that all scientific laws are based on spiritual laws. I have even proved it by showing that the Torah contains a pattern for scientific laws discovered in the past 100 years.
However, these people are ignoring the fact that God reserves these promises for those who are truly dedicated to His work and that this support is rarely financial abundance.
- Seed Faith. Like a farmer, you cannot expect to grow crop if you do not sow seed. If you keep on sewing seed you will get more yield (2 Corinthians 9: 6-8).
» Buying a Blessing. This inevitably leads to slogans based on a text such as,
May the Lord, the God of your fathers, increase you a thousand-fold more than you are and bless you, just as He has promised you.
(Deuteronomy 1: 11)
Sow a $111 seed and get a blessing!
I actually heard a minister say that "God is not moved by your need, but by your seed".
God is Sympathetic.
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
God is Comforting.
Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
(Hebrews 4: 15-16)
Make sure that you are not planting weeds, because God will throw them out to be burned.
- Law of Reciprocity.
Give and it will be given to you. They will pour it into your lap a good measure - pressed down, shaken together and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.
(Luke 6: 38)
What you give will be returned to you so that you can turn around and be a blessing to others.
- Law of Gravity. What goes up must come down. The implication is that what you give to God in heaven will be returned to you with interest.
- Law of Use. The more you continue to give, the more likely you will reach a point where your blessings will suddenly skyrocket like the steep exponential curve that is a signature of many chemical reactions and some transactions when the stock market is extremely volatile.
- Law of Attraction. You can attract whatever you desire simply by wishing for it.
Even the new age groups outside the church are appealing to scientific laws to make outrageous spiritual claims.
These same people would ridicule faith in God, yet they are promoting faith in their inner self having the power to reassemble the universe at their request.
The Strong Supporter.
For the eyes of the Lord move back and forth throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.
(2 Chronicles 16: 9)
Jesus' advice to the rich young ruler was to sell all that he had and give to the poor and follow him.
It is almost profanity to advocate for the sort of obscene display of wealth in the name of God when we observe extreme poverty around the world.
Multiplying Horses (Fleet of Cars).
Moreover he shall not multiply horses for himself,
People Go into Slavery to Supply Your Horses.
nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the Lord has said to you, "You shall never again return that way."
He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away;
nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself.
(Deuteronomy 17: 16-17)
I can never envision Jesus advocating this type of hoarding of wealth and living in this type of opulent life style under the conditions of spiritual warfare in which we are engaged.
The Destiny Of Money.
Money is worthless at the end of time and it is not of any value in the new earth.
You are accumulating dirt, rocks, garbage and firewood for your permanent grave in a dung heap.
- Moth Eaten. Your gold will be worthless during the plagues and they will witness against you in the judgment. Severe, persistent, global famine makes gold worthless when food is scarce for everyone.
» The Rich in Turmoil.
Come now you rich, weep and howl for the miseries which are coming upon you.
» Wealth Lost. Your riches have rotted and your garments have been eaten by moths.
Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire.
» Hoarded Wealth. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure!
» Underpaid Workers. Look, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields which you withheld, cries out against you; and the cries of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.
» Idle and Self-Indulgent. You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.
(James 5: 1-5)
» Rust And Dust.
It sounds like your money is destined for the garbage dump with you in tow!
You will not be packing a suitcase of valuables for your trip to heaven or transferring funds to the bank of heaven.
It will rust, rot, be eaten by insects and it will kindle the fire that consumes you.
- Garbage. Your net worth, stock portfolio, expensive cars, jewelry, possessions, status, powerful connections and diplomas are all useless. It only matters if you know Christ.
In the last days money and great possessions will not be able to buy food from a poor man at any price.
» Useless Wealth.
They will fling their silver into the streets and their gold will become an abhorrent thing; their silver and their gold will not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord.
Severe Famine. They cannot satisfy their appetite nor can they fill their stomachs, for their iniquity has become an occasion of stumbling.
(Ezekiel 7: 19)
The poor man will simply take your possessions when you are dead. You can't eat money.
- Fire Wood. Everything on this earth will be burned up with fire. The expensive mansions, gold plated faucets and toilet seats, art work, designer clothes, jewelry and cars will all be destroyed.
Knowing the destiny of all these things would it not be better to spend the money on lifting up the poor instead of making excuses for why they do not deserve your help?
All Works Burned Up.
But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved for fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men."
The Thief in the Night. "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with intense heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting to the coming of the day of God, in which the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.
(2 Peter 3: 7, 10-12)
The day of the Lord is the thief that will destroy the works you have accumulated on earth.
- Asphalt. In heaven the streets are paved with gold. It is the dirt and asphalt on which we will walk.
- Building Material. Precious stones will be the rocks used to build walls (Revelation 21: 19-21).
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and thieves break in and steal.
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal,
for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6: 19-21)
Jesus said to him, if you wish to be complete [perfect], go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, and come, follow Me.
(Matthew 19: 21)
Prosperous living is not a sign of God's favor. It is a piece of evidence in the judgment.
It is evidence that you laid up treasures on earth while making excuses for abandoning the poor.
Throw Out The Money Changers
Salvation will be indistinguishable from an act of prostitution if God only granted favors after we have paid Him.
God grants favors either because we need it or deserve it.
A Gift Of Mercy.
And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.
(Exodus 33: 19)
Man And Beast Need Mercy.
And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?
(Jonah 4: 11)
"Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done"
(Revelation 22: 12)
God is good and merciful. There is nothing good or merciful about the mercenary God portrayed by the prosperity ministry.
They claim that "when you release the seed in your hand, God will release the harvest in his hand" and
"Nothing leaves heaven until something leaves the earth."
God sent all the treasure of heaven when He sent Jesus Christ to a planet who hated Him and was willing to murder Him.
This is the generosity of the God I know.
- Gentile Currency. The Gentiles seek adoration, power, prosperity and they love gold and jewels and expensive things.
For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
(Matthew 6: 32)
God wants you to understand that the relationship between you and Him is that of a minor child and a parent.
As a parent He has certain automatic responsibilities.
A child should say "thank you" to his parents for food, clothes and other gifts and necessities but he should not beg for them.
» Do Not Worry - Be Happy.
God testifies that we should not worry about these things. He sees and knows and will take care of them like a parent automatically cares for the needs of his minor child.
So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
(Matthew 6: 34)
- God's Valuables. The currency which the children of God trade in is faithfulness and righteousness.
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
(Matthew 6: 33)
Faith and righteousness are a life time process by which we demonstrate that we belong to the kingdom of God and have the right and privilege to have the King listen to us.
Only on that basis do we ever approach Him for anything.
The faithful child is worth all the gold in the universe.
God paid a bigger price to save us.
- The Kingdom. We should focus all our attention on growing the kingdom of God and glorifying His name.
- His Righteousness. We should be focused on cooperating with the Holy Spirit to obtain righteousness.
God Remembers The Faithful.
For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.
(Hebrews 6: 10)
- The Strong Support Of Heaven.
Do you think that heaven is best served by people who will give only to get a bigger reward? Or is heaven served by those who give from love, not seeking their own?
For those who are dedicated to His ministry, we already have the promise that God will support us.
It only makes sense because we are building His kingdom.
What successful business owner requires his workers to provide for the company and beg for the money and equipment that they need to operate the business?
The Army And Supply Chain of God.
Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit of it? Or who tends a flock and does not use the milk of the flock?
(1 Corinthians 9: 7)
- God Finds The Faithful. God supports those who are dedicated to Him and He searches the world to find them.
God Looks For Supporters.
For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. ...
(2 Chronicles 16: 9)
The faithful have certain qualifications.
- Generosity. The faithful will be kind and generous.
Faithful and Generous Supporters.
Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
(2 Corinthians 9: 6)
Simple logic dictates that those who work harder and invest more will be supported more.
This has nothing to do with the money you give Him but with your willingness to give all your time, energy, attention and devotion to His work.
Then He will reward you with a bigger harvest because this harvest is souls for the kingdom not another Bentley or Porche for your fleet or a bigger house or more diamonds.
All of those things do not matter. In fact they take away from the resources that we should be using to grow the kingdom of God.
Generosity is wisdom. It is the fool that stores up his wealth for himself.
The Fool Is A Miser.
And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
(Luke 12: 19-21)
Be rich towards God.
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
(Matthew 25: 40)
... freely ye have received, freely give.
(Matthew 10: 8)
- Cheerful. We must give without strings, not from need or greed.
If we give from need with the expectation that God will give based on the sacrifice then we are giving God the reputation of a male prostitute.
Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
(2 Corinthians 9: 7)
Do not let your needs compel you to be desperate enough to attempt to buy the favor of God.
- Sacrifice. If you honor God out of love and respect and sacrifice to build His kingdom, He will remember you.
Like Abraham, you have made a covenant by pouring out yourself for Him as a living sacrifice.
Gather My godly ones to Me, those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice.
He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; And to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God.
(Psalm 50: 5, 23)
- God Finances The Faithful. God gives before we ask or even know that we are in trouble.
Tuned To Us.
It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.
(Isaiah 65: 24)
- God Supplies The Faithful. God makes sure that we are supplied with all we need to do His work.
He does not supply us because we do good works, He supplies us so that we can continue to do good works.
God Supplies An Abundance For Good Works.
Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;
as it is written, "HE SCATTERED ABROAD, HE GAVE TO THE POOR, HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS ENDURES FOREVER."
(2 Corinthians 9: 7-9)
God's kindness proves His greatness.
Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness;
you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God.
For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God.
Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all,
while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you.
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
(2 Corinthians 9: 10-15)
- God Helps The Faithful. When the faithful are in trouble God will help.
Be Honest With God.
Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving and pay your vows to the Most High;
Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.
(Psalm 50: 14-15)
- Everything Is Mine.
God does not need your money, He owns everything.
The only thing that you have of value is your willingness to work for Him.
It is your trustworthy behavior and faithfulness towards God that turns His attention towards you.
I Do Not Need You.
Hear, O My people, and I will speak; O Israel, I will testify against you; I am God, your God.
I do not reprove you for your sacrifices, and your burnt offerings are continually before Me.
I shall take no young bull out of your house nor male goats out of your folds.
For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine.
If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is Mine, and all it contains.
Shall I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of male goats?
(Psalm 50: 7-13)
Led By The Wolf Pack
It does not surprise me that our enemies in the media are gleefully exposing many of these men.
Some have become atheists who have no other career to fall back on, so they are not protective of the words of God because they are frauds who no longer believe.
Some are homosexuals and serial adulterers, preying on your wives and sons.
The worst are pedophiles preying on your children.
However, the worst of it is that they are leading you into disobedience to God, a crime for which they will answer to God but for which you will also be made accountable because you enjoyed the fame of a mega-ministry and the entertainment more than the truth.
They can pretend to have evidence of the Holy Spirit by speaking in tongues that nobody understands because you are stupid enough to think that anybody who babbles like a fool has the gift.
They can dance about and wriggle their bodies to the music because you want to be entertained because a preacher is a "good preacher" if he can perform on stage in a certain way and tell you the same soul-soothing message every Sunday. A message and performance that is soul condemning.
All of you pretend to do such wonderful works and there is nothing to show for it but more expensive firewood.
Evil keeps getting bolder and you keep getting richer.
Christian Ponzi Schemes: Greater Ministries International Church
Between 1993 and 1999 Greater Ministries International Church in Tampa Florida, under the leadership of Gerald Payne, operated a Ponzi scheme involving a fake precious metals investment that defrauded "investors/gifters" of over $500 million dollars until they were convicted in 2001.
It was the largest pyramid scheme in US history until Bernie Madoff's $65 billion accounting fraud was revealed in 2008. Recent estimates have reduced that to a $12 - 20 billion fraud.
Their actions appear to benefit only criminals intent on avoiding scrutiny.
The church is the best place to execute these scams.
It is full of cash. It is populated by people begging to show their trust who think that God has the duty to protect them in church and while in church the leaders are divinely filled with wisdom.
So they define a lack of scrutiny as "faith" and your expectations as "promised blessings". They make sure they come with the highest recommendation by simply targeting the pastor and your leaders by flattering them or being generous to them.
Your gullibility makes it so easy.
- Unrealistic Expectations.
These thieves succeed because you are either needy or greedy.
Although God works miracles, your immoral expectations are neither faith nor trust in God.
The core problem is that you are greedy and irresponsible and without any sense of justice or common sense.
- Needy Or Greedy? You are greedy because you cannot expect to give for the cause of Christ and receive double your money in 17 months.
Where is the sacrifice and the martyrdom?
Is God running an orphanage of spoilt brats?
- Funny Money. Money does not grow on trees. You lack common sense.
- Injustice. You have no sense of justice for who is being defrauded to allow you to get such a high rate of return.
If you thought about what it takes to get the kind of wealth these crooks are promising and you had any compassion for the person on the other end who must be cheated you would realize that these schemes cannot be from God.
- Common Sense.
Our behavior attracts this kind of exploitation. We think that God will protect us from our follies.
God will not do your thinking for you.
- Obey The Law.
They succeeded by ignoring sensible laws designed for your protection.
To stall scrutiny into their fraud they filed lawsuits alleging a "conspiracy against Christianity" and claiming that their first amendment rights were being violated.
When pressured to comply they used the "big-bad-persecuting-government" excuse to divert attention.
If the law does not require you to do anything immoral by breaking the commandments of God then you are supposed to obey it no matter how unjust and unfair and immoral their behavior is.
When your fraudulent, immoral and illegal actions demand a reasonable response from the government do not call it "persecution" or the government "interfering with the church".
So before you jump on your high horse and join the "poor-me-being-persecuted" bandwagon think about what Jesus teaches should be our response to unjust forces as we compare it to the actions of GMIC.
- Turn The Other Cheek. GMIC was associated with armed militia groups, white supremicists and a bunch of disgruntled and violent anti-government people.
But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
(Matthew 5: 39)
So there should be no armed resistance over matters that are not God's. God is conceerned with keeping the Ten Commandments and the right to spread the Gospel.
In the case of the Gospel we should be willing to suffer hardship and persecution for the cause - not form armed militia and anti-government movements.
- Walk The Second Mile. So cooperate if the government is making inquiries. Do not hide behind threats and lawsuits and demonstrations.
And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also
And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
(Matthew 5: 40-41)
- Caesar's Gold.
GMIC was dealing in cash and were not sending out financial statements.
You allowed this because you thought they were such nice people whom God has blessed.
Surely God would NEVER allow you to be defrauded?
God sent financial statements to help you make a wise decision.
Financial records are there for your protection. They are not the government's attempt to pry into your business and take your hard-earned money.
Financial records and oversight provides a means of transparency which screens out most criminals and confidence men from legitimate financial institutions.
Even though criminals like Bernie Madoff might send out false and worthless financial statements there is no excuse for accepting a fund that does not even bother to supply you with statements written in crayon on a toilet paper.
You are either naive or trying to avoid taxes. Either way you are the kind of person criminals love.
God says to pay Caesar his taxes (Matthew 22: 17-21).
- Hook And Bait. GMIC had all the outward appearance of a charitable organization. They helped the homeless and addicted with programs providing housing and work.
This was all window dressing to make you feel good about them while God paid you handsomely for assisting the poor.
They will wrap themselves in the garb of wonderful charities but they are wolves in sheep's clothings, clouds without rain, flowers concealing a viper..
- By Their Fruits.
Payne was caught at an airport with 26 bestiality video tapes.
Many of his top officers were involved in fraudulent schemes and had been arrested for them.
Top officers were being paid large sums to get the congregation on board.
These criminals anchor your desires to "promises of God". So in the end either God or your faith will be blamed when the scheme collapses.
When they were caught a spokesperson from GMIC said that "it was not an investment but a gift with no expectation of return except from God. So the gifters must greedy".
There is nothing wrong with being sheep as long as we are being led by the Good Shepherd. However we seem to prefer the company of wolves promising a rain of cash from God.
Between The Pit And The Blessing
Languishing in the pit of despair for many years waiting for the Mount of Blessing is the typical child of God.
Constantly bombarded with the subtle message that you are cursed because you are unfaithful, ungrateful and stingy with God.
In addition, there is the insinuation that you must be guilty of unconfessed sin for which you are being punished.
Prosperity is not evidence of the favor of God. All of God's people will see prosperity in the world to come, but most will not see it in this life.
God blesses us with knowledge and wisdom and He may even bless us by giving us adversity.
Perfection in Suffering.
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.
(Hebrews 2: 10)
A Disciple Bears A Cross.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me".
(Matthew 16: 24)
If you have suffered because of your greed and bad choices and wasteful spending, then that is not God's fault.
If you have suffered because of self-imposed torture then this is obscene.
The suffering that perfects must be unjust and undeserved. You cannot be in control so that you can turn it on and off like a spigot.
In addition, if you have not suffered unjustly for the sake of the Gospel then you are an immature, untested Christian.
Be very cautious if you appear to have the blessings without the struggle for the birthright.
Suffering Perfects. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
(1 Peter 5: 10)
There it is! The real blessings from God come after the struggle that proves that your character is gold.
Now God has a man or woman on whom He can pour out obscence wealth because none of it will go to prosperous living. It will all go to fighting the battle to win souls and relieve the suffering caused by the presence of sin in the world.
So, for once in your life grow up!
» The Kingdom Is Not For Cowards.
How can the kingdom of God win the battle if the soldiers are sleeping or lazy or stingy or not committed or want to be pampered?
Appreciate the scope of the battle in which we are engaged and be a good soldier of God.
On The Road To The Promised Land
We are like Israel. On an exodus to the Promised Land and the blessings.
Until then, we are homeless wanderers, strangers in a foreign land, living in temporary shelters and despised by the nations.
God is our shield and protector. He provides the bare necessities of bread and water and ensures that our clothes will not wear out.
» Rebuilding The Temple.
On the road to the Promised Land Israel built an important temple.
When the call to donate went out the people brought so much that they had to be stopped!
Imagine that! Imagine a time when the people are so generous towards the cause of God that the church leaders have to stop them.
Building The Temple.
And they spake unto Moses, saying, The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the Lord commanded to make.
And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing.
For the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much.
(Exodus 36: 5-7)
This is not the time to worry about gross or net tithe or what percentage should go to offering or wonder how much the average person is donating.
Aren't you flying below your potential by striving to be average?
Why not be above average!
Why not set an example instead of finding out what everybody else is doing. Be a trailblazer not the one who eats dust!
It is only Satan who has been condemned to crawl in the dust.
» Leaving Babylon And Cleaving To God.
We in the Seventh Day Adventist church have been called to rebuild and restore the sanctuary that is being cleansed in preparation for the time when the church will be fleeing from Babylon the Great.
Like ancient Israel after the fall of Babylon we have been content to stay in Babylon and we have neglected the house of God and His priests and we have not returned from Babylon.
In those days a usurper had thrown out the priests and was living in the chamber of the house of God reserved as the treasury.
The priests had to work because the tithe was not being paid so both the services and rebuilding were neglected.
Then God sent Nehemiah who instituted reforms for Israel coming out of Babylon.
These will also be issues of reform for those coming out of Babylon the great at the end of time.
A Usurper In The Treasury.
And before this, Eliashib the priest, having the oversight of the chamber of the house of our God, was allied unto Tobiah:
And he had prepared for him a great chamber, where aforetime they laid the meat offerings, the frankincense, and the vessels, and the tithes of the corn, the new wine, and the oil, which was commanded to be given to the Levites, and the singers, and the porters; and the offerings of the priests.
And I came to Jerusalem, and understood of the evil that Eliashib did for Tobiah, in preparing him a chamber in the courts of the house of God.
Cleansing And Restoring The House Of God. And it grieved me sore: therefore I cast forth all the household stuff to Tobiah out of the chamber.
Then I commanded, and they cleansed the chambers: and thither brought I again the vessels of the house of God, with the meat offering and the frankincense.
Neglected Clergy Pursued Other Work. And I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given them: for the Levites and the singers, that did the work, were fled every one to his field.
Neglected Temple. Then contended I with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of God forsaken? And I gathered them together, and set them in their place.
Tithe Reform. Then brought all Judah the tithe of the corn and the new wine and the oil unto the treasuries.
Sabbath Reform. In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals.
In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab:
And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves.
(Nehemiah 13: 4-12, 15,23,25)
I appeal to you, don't go to heaven wishing you had done more for God, wondering if that second television or upgraded phone or faster internet or concert featuring what's-his-name or football game or tenth pair of shoes were worth more than another dollar for the ministry or an extra hour helping the children's ministry.
We are living as if we are empire builders not temporary occupiers.
We cannot win if we are more generous to ourselves than to God.
How can we face ourselves in the kingdom if we consistently stuffed ourselves with all of our best years, more of our time, more of our talent and most of our money while the Gospel of Christ walks around in beggar's clothes and worn out shoes and stale bread?
Study to show yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2: 15
||Time: 70 minutes
Print: 16 pages
First Created 26 January 2010.
Credits: The Holy Spirit and personal experience.
Author: Laverna Patterson. Editor: Patterson (January 2010)
Greater Ministries International. URL:http://archive.adl.org/learn/ext_us/gmi.html?LEARN_Cat=Extremism&LEARN_SubCat=Extremism_in_America&xpicked=3&item=gm