Google+ 09/19/13 Let's Eliminate the Bribes and the Frustration!

Ezra 4:4-5

 

Then the local residents tried to discourage and frighten the people of Judah to keep them from their work.

They bribed agents to work against them and to frustrate their plans.

This went on during the entire reign of King Cyrus of Persia

And lasted until King Darius of Persia took the throne.

 

In part eleven of our thirteen-part devotion series entitled, "The Best Laid Plans," we continue listening to the prophet Ezra in the book named after him.  Often Christians work hard to execute God's plans.  Many times, we are faithful laborers in the vineyards!  As Satan sees our progress, he becomes enraged.  As the devil does so well, he enlists others to derail and destroy God's work.  Don't feel alone.  Ezra reports that this very thing happened to the people of Judah.  Satan's workforce even went as far as to bribe agents to work against God.  These practices went on for a very long time.  It must have been very frustrating for God's humble servants, as they attempted to carry out His well-laid plans.  But that was Old Testament and doesn't apply to us, right?  Have you looked at many of our churches today?  "Bribes" are still continuing.  Because so many churches are focused on money, because of wrong choices they have made, pastors can be "purchased."  Yes, many gifts are given by parishioners, not for the glory of God and in secret, but to control the outcome of ministries.  Many of these same people provide inaccurate and self-serving counsel to pastors, diverting them from God's plans.  If God has ordained it, He will provide whatever resource is necessary to pay for it!  That is why in our ministry we never take up an "offering."  We provide an opportunity for people to be obedient to God and give to Him in secret, either via a donation basket stationed in a secluded location in the back of the room, or via our website.  We are to give to God's ministry and it is to be generous, joyful, and secret before God.  By doing it this way, no "bribes" of any kind are permitted.  No one can stand in the way of God's work by using a "donation" as a lever to ordain exactly what they want.  Let's heed Ezra's warning.  God's people need to be able to execute His plans.  "Let's Eliminate the Bribes and Frustration! "