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!
It is ironic that people cheered Jesus one day, then not long after, they turned and murdered Him. Throughout His ministry, Jesus healed them, prayed for them and finally laid down His life for the same people who killed Him. His love for them was greater than life or death. God has given us the same unconditional love through the power of His Holy Spirit. When love springs from a pure heart (without selfish motives), it can become invincible and totally indestructible. Circumstances have no power to alter or obliterate true love.
Each of us has a burning desire to accomplish something meaningful. Life can bury our dreams as people try to convince us that we are wasting our time. Throughout the Bible, we see God honoring perseverance. Those who hang in there get their miracle! If God has given us a vision, we cannot expect others to see what only we can see. As we forge ahead (sometimes all alone) we can succeed in making our dreams a reality.
All our lives we are taught to work for accolades, rank and positions of authority. However, the Bible demonstrates a less obvious path to greatness. Jesus said, “I came to serve, not to be served,” yet He was the greatest leader who ever lived. The scripture, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” reinforces this same principal. As we meditate on this truth, we know that the most accomplished people who have ever lived, made the most profound contributions to mankind. God has given each of us unique abilities. To the extent that we give of ourselves and develop our talent for the enrichment of all, will be to the extent that we become truly great leaders in the eyesight of God and man.
We often hear devastating news. Do we stop to consider that for every work of the enemy (Satan), God has empowered believers to overcome and triumph? In the end, we always win! No matter how dire the situation, God knows what to do. He has the resources and He has promised to direct us. Even in death, believers go on their eternal reward while God heals, strengthens and provides for the survivors. As Jesus predicted His upcoming death, He was careful to remind His disciples that three (3) days following his murder, He would be raised to reign forever! When it comes to faith-filled believers, behind every dark cloud, there really is a silver lining.
Scriptures on forgiveness which directly quote Jesus have made a huge impact in my life. In fact, the first time I studied the entire Bible, I found these scriptures most memorable. In day-to-day life however, most of us struggle with forgiveness. We selectively forgive only individuals whom we deem repentant, deserving and rehabilitated. This rarely works because few offenders measure up to our subjective standards. Jesus, in contrast commanded us to forgive everyone, every time and for every offense. When Christ said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” He meant it. Believers liberally forgive others because (through the finished work of Christ), God has alreadyforgiven all of our sins. Our kindheartedness toward others demonstrates (to God) who are truly His children.
Christians and non-Christians often misunderstand what is required to be saved or to inherit eternal life with God. God has made it so UN-complicated that it defies logic. In John 3:16, we are told “Whosoever believes in Him (Jesus) shall have eternal life.” Therefore, the only requirement for salvation, is faith in Jesus. Other scriptures admonish us to repent and be saved. It is understood that we can come to Christ spiritually broken and just as we are. Faith within an open and repentant heart allows the Spirit of God to transform our lives. We will never be free of temptation, but as we exercise our faith daily, the manifested love of God gradually makes us more godlike. It is never our good deeds or or generosity that saves us, it is our faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.
Money is a very small part of “child support.” Let’s look at this from God’s perspective. When the disciples removed the children who were brought to Christ for His blessing, Jesus rebuked His own disciples saying, “Let the little children come to me…for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:13-15, NIV). God Himself stopped everything and everyone in effort to touch and bless children. Today, we have no idea how important our children are! Children in our families and communities are being neglected and we’ve learned to live with it. Neglected children and teens grow into the most impoverished, under-skilled and troubled citizens in our societies. All the while, currently each of us has many opportunities to encourage, guide and support a child. Let’s recall that God stopped everything to help a child. Let’s welcome our opportunities to do the same! There are enormous blessings for our CHILD SUPPORT.
The Bible tells us that in the beginning, God intended for a man and woman to remain together forever. However, in the Old Testament, Moses gave God’s nation permission to divorce, in an effort to maintain peace in homes. Even though God has permitted divorce, the Bible states that it is better to be celibate (and never marry), than to marry and divorce. This indicates that marriage is a huge commitment which we must never take lightly. Most of us have not demonstrated the God-given strength to remain celibate, therefore the Word of God clearly states that it is better to marry than to cohabitate or fornicate (Mt 19:1-12). Simply put, God wants to protect us from sin, disease, unwanted pregnancy, strife, heartbreak and more. Most importantly, He desires to bless us and be at the center of all our relationships!