The Lord called many religious teachers (of His day) hypocrites, whitewashed tombs, snakes, sons of hell and vipers. He said they were full of self-indulgence, greed and wickedness. This is what our modern church considers “spiritual abuse.” Jesus accused religious leaders of failing to practice JUSTICE, MERCY and FAITHFULNESS. All of us have witnessed leading clergy prosecuted in the news, and God has condemned the behavior of religious leaders who use their position to abuse and rob God’s people. When we discover spiritual abuse, we must resist the temptation to simply gossip, but instead, stand up for what is right and sincerely pray for these lost souls.
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Despite all our experience, testing and speculating, God has made it clear (through nature) that we don’t have all the answers. As leaders and servants, its more noble to admit that we don’t have an answer rather than to charge ahead or deliberately mislead others. Challenges stretch our faith and encourage us to reach out to the Holy Spirit for clarity and to remain connected to His wisdom and power.
Biblically speaking, there is no need for a believer to fear death. As the Apostle Paul noted in Philippians 1:21, “For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.” He knew death was merely a doorway to the presence of the Lord. In fact, we don’t have to morn over believers who lived for Christ because they are even more alive after physical death. We must pray without ceasing for everyone to truly know God for themselves, and celebrate the lives of those who do.
We should always ask God for guidance in decision-making. No situation is too trivial. The Lord has been generous, kind and eager to rightly-direct both good and evil people. Additionally, faith-filled Bible study is critical to developing our decision-making skills. Without the Word of God firmly planted in our hearts, we live in peril, often making costly or even deadly mistakes. Our Heavenly Father wishes for us to mature in His wisdom so that we become an enormous blessing to others.
Satan is constantly laying elaborate traps to destroy the lives and testimony of God’s disciples. In spite of everything, God sees beyond all schemes. The Holy Spirit is faithful to speak to and for everyone who has a close relationship with the Lord. The wisdom of God will amaze others and end dangerous dilemmas. God has no one to impress and we shouldn’t either. His infinite wisdom is always available to those who truly believe in and rely on Him.
Life goes on. We sometimes assume that God isn’t aware or doesn’t care about the violence and injustice that fills the earth. The truth is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has already saved millions of humans from destruction. Every day, hundreds more are returning to God. Lest we become complacent, lets remember that God isn’t being lax, He is waiting for more people to be saved. The day and hour has already been appointed when all evil (and those who practice it) will be eliminated. Where is God? He’s looking forward and rejoicing over being eternally reunited with us!
God has a direct path and assignment for us. Some of us resist, but later become faithful. Others were born and raised in the church, forsake God to pursue a downward path. Jesus observed that in the end, it was the worse of sinners who (most readily) converted to become His most devoted followers. All of us must guard against pride. The Word of God warns that, “Anyone who regards himself as all-wise is a fool” (Proverb 26:12). The Lord has prophesied that much to our amazement, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first” (Matthew 20:16).
When we find ourselves in challenging circumstances or confronted by enemies, it is not wise to speak or act too hastily. We must give the Holy Spirit time to direct or steps and our speech. “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (James 1:19 NIV).
We understand and use very little of the power God has freely given us. Jesus told his disciples, “If you believe, you will received whatever you ask for in prayer (Matthew 21:22, NIV). What a promise! Of course He was referring to prayers that agree with the Word and will of God. Even so, how often we fail to even ask God for what we need and truly believe that we will receive it. Let’s stretch our faith and go boldly to the throne of God asking for good things, then stepping out confidently, expecting His best.
Ministries have struggled to survive financially without becoming what Jesus called, “a den of robbers,” (Matthew 21:13). The brutal truth is that it takes great faith for anyone to serve God with honor. Leaders must rely 100% on our Lord to supply their family’s needs and the massive expenses of a growing ministry. As impossible as it may seem, it is imperative that we follow the example of Jesus Christ. He focused on completing the work His Father had assigned to Him while fully trusting in God to supply practical needs. Christ was not oblivious to their financial status, but He fully relied on the verse “Give and it shall be given to you,” (Luke 6:38). The ministry of Jesus Christ had a treasurer and dependable donors. In addition, they invited people to join their efforts or pitch in toward mutual goals. Most importantly, Jesus never lost sight of the fact that God Almighty (and not followers) was the central provider for their successful ministry!