Acts 3:6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”
The power of priority is one of the quiet eternal principles that work in our universe yet so few seem to ‘get it’! Peter’s priorities were aligned with God and His righteousness. Although Peter didn’t have any money he had the Holy Spirit’s power! For the crippled beggar who couldn’t walk this was an important distinction. The beggar was looking for a little monetary relief and God through Peter’s ministry gave him a new life. When it comes to provisioning and daily need, Jesus said; “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)
This wisdom is all but lost to my generation and those that follow it. Sadly it is lost in some who profess to speak in God’s name as a prominent evangelist’s ’emergency letter’ demonstrates (quoted in the Let us Reason Ministries website);
“A few days ago I came out of a powerful, anointed time of prayer, feeling the presence of the Lord all over me, with peace flooding my soul and God’s joy in my being.
But when I turned on my BlackBerry cell phone shortly after I was finished with my prayer time, I read an urgent report sent by my Chief Financial Officer informing me that we have vendors to whom we owe money who are threatening to cancel some of our vital services because of the financial struggles that we as a ministry are facing right now due to the hard-hit economy.
Immediately I called my CFO. He told me that we are facing very serious financial circumstances—one of the worst in years—and unless we have a major influx of money right now, we will face a situation where our vendors will discontinue services that are absolutely essential for our survival as a ministry….”
Counterfeit preachers attempt to poach God’s Grace as they manipulate people through fear, using any edge including gratitude for true healing to get people to give to them as they place themselves between Jesus and us. Even among sham ministries God does work miracles and pours out His mercy to those who cry out to Him. We must not forget that both the wicked and the faithful assemble together; “. . . his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. ” (Matthew 13:25) Any preacher that places exorbitant claims upon a person because they have been healed or because they have been shown Grace, is a poacher. We owe Jesus and no one else! For the faithful, God alone covers our daily needs and provides – no one else!
One telling mark of a poacher preacher is in who he turns to in times of need or trouble. Chief Financial Officers, fundraisers, management gurus or charismatic personality are all idols that poachers prop up beside their pulpits to beguile their ‘marks’. In extreme cases instead of relying on God, the poaching preacher puts himself on the cross and asks his people to intervene for his sake making a parody of the True Gospel. From that point on starts the manipulation through guilt and shame as well as grasping claims on the honest gratitude of people who feel blessed by God’s Grace. God in Hosea’s day saw this and nailed the false priests; “They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity. And there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings. For they shall eat, and not have enough: they shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase: because they have left off to take heed to the LORD. ” (Hosea 4:8,9,10)
It is easy to point to the outrages of extreme cases. It is far harder to discern when we stray from trusting God for our daily needs and turn the idolatry of management paradigms, fundraising gimmicks or charismatic personalities. Like the proverbial frog placed in lukewarm water, we can’t (or don’t want to) notice the slow heating up of the water until it boils and then the damage is done. Every person in the assembly of the faithful is responsible for knowing God’s Word and maturing in the knowledge of it. God’s Word and the growth of the faithful in His Word is the way to freedom from manipulation. The early church did this; “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:42)
Let no one stand between you and Jesus. If you keep your priorities straight and aligned with God then you will walk in His Grace and Power – like Peter, Paul and the Apostles. Many healings, many miracles of Grace and provisioning occur quietly and powerfully in today’s true church. Any faithful person can walk with the Holy Spirit’s Power just like in the days of the early church – it just isn’t usually televised. The world takes no notice. Whether you have silver and gold won’t matter because these things are not priorities. His will and His way matter more than anything else; in them are life and life in abundance (John 10:10).
Jesus said: “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” (John 15:7)
Praise the Lord!