Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Introduction: Garth Brooks, who popularized country music in the 90’s, wrote a popular song based on his own life story called “Unanswered Prayers.”
Just the other night at a hometown football game
My wife and i ran into my old high school flame
And as I introduced them the past came back to me
And I couldn't help but think of the way things used to be

She was the one that I'd wanted for all times
And each night I'd spend prayin' that God would make her mine
And if he'd only grant me this wish I wished back then
I'd never ask for anything again

Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
Remember when your talkin to the man upstairs
That just because he may not answer doesn't mean he don't care
Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.

I agree with Brooks, some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers. Interestingly 1990-1994 were one of the most testing years of my Christian faith. It was a time where I saw some prayers were answered and some were not. I lost my mother in 1989, whom I loved the most. That brought a deep void within me. During that period of grief and loss I was searching for someone to fulfill my need, lo and behold one girl came into my life. I sincerely thought she was God’s gift and an answer to all my loneliness and the pain I was going through. So I earnestly prayed to God that he would grant me that one request and I would happily serve Him for the rest of my life. But some events happened and that girl vanished from my life as quickly as she came in and I never saw her again. It was an unanswered prayer!. Thank God for that unanswered prayer otherwise I would not have met the wonderful woman I am married to, Wilma, is the best thing that ever happened to me after getting saved.

Hasn’t Christ taught us to “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”? (Matt 7:7) We were told by Paul that in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving we should present our requests to God.” When we just do that then how come some of our prayers, have been turned down? Is God lying? Or is he incapable to deliver what he has promised? I don’t know why God doesn’t answer certain prayers but I do know one thing that He never makes a mistake and he is always just. Then how do I respond when he doesn’t seem to make sense and the heavens seem to be silent? When my prayers are not answered what reason do I still have to pray? Can I still trust God even when I won’t get what I want? Let’s look at a few people in the Bible and how they have responded to God even when their prayers were not answered.

David lusted after Bathsheba and committed adultery with her and eventually murdered her husband Uriah. On two counts David was guilty, he violated two commandments of God which says, “You shall not commit adultery and you shall not kill.” God rebuked him through Nathan the prophet. David confessed and repented of his sin. It is never OK for us to commit adultery and kill some body if we do, we face the consequences. In David’s case God struck his son with illness.

As a loving father David fasted and pleaded with God for seven whole days and nights for the life of the Child. But in the end his request for his son’s recovery was turned down and the child died. Upon hearing of the death of his son how did David respond? He got up from the ground, took a bath, put on perfume and went into the House of God and worshiped then went into his own house and asked his servants to serve him some food.

The servants were surprised by his strange behavior and asked him why are acting this way. David answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, I thought, who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live. But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will got o him but he will not return to me.”

There is a principle here for us to learn. God is in control of every situation and he will do whatever is best for us. Some times we fast, and pray for our loved ones who are sick, hoping that perhaps God will be gracious and heal them. That is the right thing to do, but for some reason if God doesn’t heal and takes them home we must not grow bitter and upset with God. Instead like David we must come back to Church to worship him because he is still God and is worthy of our worship.

Just very recently several families close to us have experienced excruciating loss. I am sure they must have prayed and done everything they could possibly do, but in the end it must have been God’s will to take them home. We may never understand the reasons why?

In the seventh century B.C there lived a prophet by name Habakkuk. During his time God’s people Israel were disobedient to God, the prophet realized that God was going to use the godless military machine of Babylon to bring God’s judgment on God’s own people. Using a godless nation to punish a godly nation? It didn’t make any sense to the prophet. He dared to voice his feelings that God didn’t know his own God business. Not a day has passed since then that one of us hasn’t picked up and repeated Habakkuk’s bafflement, “God you don’t seem to make sense.”

Many Evangelical Christians here in the USA are going through the same bafflement. We wail and complain that this nation is turning away from its godly heritage. We watch with dismay the prosperity of the wicked and the suffering of the righteous. Habakkuk cried out to God saying, (I read from the Message) “God, how long do I have to cry out for help before you listen? How many times do I have to yell, “Help Murder Police before you come to the rescue? Why do you force me to look at evil, stare trouble in the face day after day? Anarchy and violence break out, quarrels and fights all over the place. Law and order fall to pieces. Justice is a joke. The wicked have the righteous hamstrung and stand justice on its head.”(Habakkuk 1:1-4,)

Like the prophet Habakkuk we too want to cry out for social justice and peace in our land. We want God to punish the wicked and bless the righteous. Has God answered Habakkuk’s prayer for justice? As we read the book we understand that God did not change the situation at least at that time but he certainly changed the prophet’s heart and his perspective. After having an encounter with God this is what the prophet declares, “though the cherry trees don’t blossom and the strawberries don’t ripen, though the apples are worm-eaten and the wheat fields stunted, though the sheep pens are sheep less and the cattle barns empty, I am singing joyful praise to God. I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God. Counting on God’s Rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength. I run like a deer. I feel like I’m king of the mountain.”

In other words the prophet is saying, “No matter what happens; whether there is justice or no justice I trust my God and rejoice in the fact that he is my father and I am his child. That’s what happens in the place of prayer; God may not necessarily change the situation but can certainly change your heart and give you His perspective on things.


The previous two examples were the prayers offered by people on behalf of others. The following two examples are more of a personal in nature. It was the time where Jesus was getting ready to complete the assignment that was entrusted to him which was to die on the cross so that he might purchase salvation for mankind. Just imagine what goes through your mind if you are going to be executed tomorrow. On the night he was betrayed he decided to spend the night alone to talk to his father rather to request his him if somehow he could escape the oncoming punishment.

Jesus fully knowing the type of death he was going to face, cried out to his father saying, “My father, if it is possible, may this cup be take from me. But in the same breath he said, Yet not as I will but as you will.” Did the father grant that request? There was silence from the father. By then Jesus got the message, but he tried one more time in case father may have changed his mind. Jesus said for the second time, “My father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it may your will be done.”(Matt 26:39-42)

I thank God that, the prayer of Jesus was not answered; otherwise you and I would still be condemnation. When his request was rejected Jesus did not lead a rebellion against the father instead he was obedient even unto death on the cross. Jesus Christ gave up his life unselfishly so that you and I might live forever with the father in heaven.

When we go through the most difficult and painful times in life it is natural that we cry out to God for him to take away that pain. Job, in the midst of his suffering said to his wife, “shall we accept good from God, and not trouble? Some times no matter how hard we pray God may not remove that painful situation from our lives so that we will learn to depend on Him and in the end He gets the glory through that situation.

When we pray and ask God to remove a mountain in our lives he may remove it, if not he will give you the needed strength to either climb the mountain or a dig a tunnel through it.


The apostle Paul perhaps is one of the greatest missionaries in the history of the Church. He had extraordinary insights and visions that none of the other apostles had, In fact he was caught up in his spirit into heaven. Paul had more reasons to boast than any one else. But he had as he called it a “thorn in the flesh” Speculation has abounded on what it is that Paul means when he refers to his “thorn in the flesh.” Some say it is his poor eyesight, malaria, migraine headaches and epilepsy. No one can say for sure what Paul’s thorn in the flesh was; but probably some sort of physical ailment or a spiritual attack.

Paul calls the thorn in the flesh as a messenger of Satan to torment him. Whatever it may be and however he got it, we know the purpose which was to keep Paul humble, lest he be proud with all the extraordinary revelations he received from God. It was indeed a messenger of Satan, allowed by God. It was a nasty, painful irritation to hinder Paul from preaching the word of God effectively. Paul just did not accept it and settled to his fate but he earnestly prayed to God to remove it. Did God answer his prayer? God did not remove the struggle instead he gave his grace to face the struggle. Therefore Paul could say I will boast in my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

No one is immune to situations of complete bafflement, pain, agony, broken dreams, promises, and disappointments in life. We tend to reason: Lord I have served you, I have been faithful to you, this shouldn’t be happening to me. Lord, you are not keeping your end of the bargain! Not getting our way can be the hardest thing. When all seems to go haywire we feel like quitting because God doesn’t make sense to us.

This is where the rubber hits the road and where a real sifting takes place. Times like this can be the test of true faith but it can also be a stepping stone to greater maturity. Why do we get upset when our prayers are not answered? Is it because we have a sense of entitlement, does God always have to answer our prayers the way we think He should? Dear friends, God is so much greater, so much more powerful, loving, wise and understanding than we can ever comprehend. Are we called to tell God what he should or should not do or simply to submit our requests, petitions, and prayers to God with thanksgiving? After having done that, we should leave the rest for his discretion. After all He is God isn’t he?

No matter what happens let’s not get mad at God. When God doesn’t answer your prayers it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love you. The opposite is true because he loves you so much he withholds any thing that can be hurtful to you and damages your relationship with him. Isn’t that how we deal with our children? At times we say no to certain requests of theirs because we know they may be harmful to them. When children trust their parent’s wisdom when they say no, they grow up to be better children, than the rest of the kids who always get it their way.

Our journey with a loving and caring God continues to be the greatest adventure of our life. To know God, our Maker and our Creator and to hold on to His strong and powerful hand in the midst of things that are a mystery to us and to continue to trust Him is a challenge. That is our journey not just as individuals but as a Church. Amen

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Have you wondered why we go through tough times? Especially financially challenging situations? Historically, this is one way for God to get our attention. He brings tough times on us lest we forget Him and live the way we like to live. God uses money or the lack of it in order to teach us to trust Him. Remember how Elijah was led by the LORD to a brook where he hid out for some time during a severe famine? No doubt Elijah grew quite comfortable he knew where to look for his breakfast and dinner. Sitting by the cool stream in the shade of the bank Elijah ate the food brought by the birds and drank from the brook. After some time, slowly but surely his brook dried up. God did not want Elijah to be comfortable and depend on the brook though it was his provision for him at that time. He was ready to lead Elijah on to something else, where he will continue to trust God for his needs.

Loren Cunningham the author of “Daring to live on the edge” writes, “When our financial brook runs dry, we are ready to listen to the Lord who wants our willful dependence on Him. His only aim is to teach us and to bring us closer to Himself. We so easily move in to a greater degree of independence than God sees is best.” Wilma and I have experienced our financial brook running dry several times. In 2007 our brook dried up, we hardly had $14 in our bank account, yet God provided us with a wonderful weekend stay at a friend’s home on Cape Cod.. Has your financial brook dried up lately? You are not alone; many are hurting by the recent “economic meltdown” as experts would call it. What is God trying to teach us as individuals and as a nation through these economic hardships? During these tough times can we trust God for our finances? What does the Bible have to say about “Faith and Finances?

Let’s look at a dollar bill, at the back of it we read, “In God we Trust,” what a bold and powerful statement! For the founders of this nation it was just not a statement but was a reality. President Thomas Jefferson wrote, "The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time" and asked ‘Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed the conviction that these liberties are of God?” Abraham Lincoln, in his proclamation on the National day of prayer noted, “It is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”

The early fathers of this nation recognized that they could not survive without trusting in God who has made this nation rich and prosperous. Ironically after 300 years, many today instead of trusting the almighty God, would rather trust in the so called the almighty dollar. How can we regain our trust in God? In order for me to understand that God is worthy of my trust, and is capable to take care of all of my families needs, I must look at how God cares for his creation and the cream of creation; human beings.
Recently during our vacation we had the opportunity to spend a week in the Berkshires. We hiked in the green mountains; they reminded me afresh of God’s faithfulness, steadfastness and his care. David described God as his place of shelter, Psalm 90:1-2, “Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”

Martin, Luther once said God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars.” Has God written something in the nature which might helpful for our survival? What are the lessons we can learn by simply observing nature? Does nature depend on God for its survival? In other words is God providing for the animals and other species in the universe? There are many scriptures which talk about the wonderful works of God in the creation.

In all of creation, we see consistently the law of dependency at work. Nature depends on God and is interdependent on one another for its survival. In Psalm 104 we see how God is taking care of the needs of his creation and how the whole creation depends on Him for its existence. God has made special provisions for all the creatures of the earth.

Vs10: He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains for the wild beasts
Vs 12 He made trees so the birds of the air can have a home.
Vs 14 He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate
Vs 18 He made high mountains as dwelling places for wild goats and rock badgers
Vs19 He made the night so that the wild beasts can gather their food
Vs 21, “The Lions roar for their prey and seek their food from God.
Vs 24, God’s works are many, and the earth is full of his creatures
Vs 27-29 “all the animal world looks to God to give them their food at the proper time, when God gives them food they gather it up and are satisfied, but when God hides his face they are terrified, and when he takes away their breath they die and return to the dust

These verses explain a beautiful relationship between God and His creation. Nothing comes into this world without God and nothing survives outside of God. The creation has learned the secret art of living in dependency on God and interdependency on others. Sometimes animals devour each other in order to survive at other times they befriend each other. For example, the survival of the fierce African crocodile depends on the small blackbird plover. It is truly a case of the mouse helping the lion, this relationship between the crocodile and the plover. As it happens, the tiny bird helps the crocodile by removing tiny morsels of food from in between the crocodile’s teeth. And what does the bird do with the food thus picked? Eat them, of course. This two-way relationship (interdependency) has resulted in a special bond between one of the fiercest creatures and one of the tiniest birds. Certainly we can learn lessons by observing how animals depend on God and one another for their survival.

Jesus often taught powerful lessons to his disciples using the nature. On one occasion he used birds to illustrate how God can take care of human beings. The context here is money. Matt 6:25-26, (the message) “If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There if far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God and you count far more to him than birds.
If this is how God takes care of his creation, do you think God can take care of your needs? Depending on God for their needs is working for the animals and birds in the animal kingdom, but can it work for us human beings too? Throughout the scriptures we see how God provided for the needs of his people. In fact the Bible commands us to put our trust in God rather than putting our trust in man. Let’s look at the following scriptures
Psalm 118:8-9 “It is far better to take refuge in God than trust in people; far better to take refuge in God than trust in celebrities.” (The message)

Psalm 4:5 “Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and trust in the LORD.”

Psalm 9:10, “Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, O Lord have never forsaken those who seek you.”

Psalm 37: 3-5 “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this”

Psalm 40:4-5, “Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. Many O Lord my God are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.”

There are numerous examples of people in the Bible who were helped because they trusted in Him. Among those were single mothers, widows, orphans, foreigners, kings, governors, administrators, army commanders, religious leaders, highly educated, blind beggars, lepers, sick women and the list can go on. They were helped not because they were great or more righteous than we are but because they called upon His name and trusted in His mighty power.

What does trusting in God mean? It is not just boldly declaring “I trust in God”, it is more than that. It is believing that God is true and trustworthy. It is having assurance and confidence. It is a strong conviction that nothing is impossible for God. It is entrusting our lives totally into his powerful hands. It is a patient expectation that he will do what he has promised he would do. It is not relying upon ourselves but totally depending on God’s ability to provide and redeem our situation. It is not being lazy and hoping that somehow God will provide but it is taking active steps of obedience and of faith.

If trust is all about reliance, confidence, assurance and belief then who could we trust? Can we honestly trust the Government, or rely upon the crumbling economy? Or can we rely upon the media No way, we can’t rely upon any one for that matter not even ourselves except God alone. David understood this principle of solely relying upon the name of the Lord. Psalm 20:7, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” Psalm 33:17-19, “A horse is a vain hope for deliverance, despite all its great strength it can not save you. But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.” I have numerous stories to tell you how God has provided for my personal and my family needs over the past twenty five years of my ministry. Let me share a couple of stories to illustrate God’s provision.

Very early in my discipleship training in YWAM I have learned to trust God for all my needs, starting with the small stuff such as soap and toothpaste and food. In 1994 however it was a whole other ballgame; I was getting married to Wilma and our wedding was to take place in the Netherlands. I had the challenge of trusting God for provision for the airfare and many other expenses. I didn’t share this need with anyone and definitely didn’t want Wilma to bail me out. As I waited, and prayed a friend of mine was impressed by the Lord to send me enough money to fly by KLM to Amsterdam. The same person let us stay in her fully furnished flat for our honeymoon. God knows how to give good gifts to his children.

Our whole journey to the USA in 2005 has been one faith adventure. God taught us as a family to depend on him afresh in this country. For the past five years we have seen miracle after miracle. During my seminary time we were operating on a tight budget. It was always a juggle to pay the never ending bills. One day Wilma was invited to attend a Latina women’s breakfast After the service they asked her to share why she was there and her prayer needs, then they took up a collection among themselves and gave the whole amount to Wilma, it amounted to over $ 400. It was a huge gift from a small group of believers. I can go on sharing story after story of God’s provision. It is exciting to trust God for our needs.

I am fully aware that we are indeed living in tough times. You may be sitting here today wondering well, pastor this trusting business can work for you but for me I have to work hard to put food on the table. Or you might be saying it is easy for you to say trust in God, but you don’t understand what is to be laid of from a job or loose a house or to be sick.

Our challenges and situations are different but none of our circumstances are beyond the scope of God’s willingness to help and deliver us. God is trust worthy and absolutely nothing is impossible for him. I just don’t simply say it, I am totally convinced of it; and I say it with confidence and much experience. If you care to believe you too can experience the miracle working power of God in your life. You can absolutely rely upon his sovereign providence. In fact God is inviting you to begin a journey of faith if you have not yet already begun and in the end you won’t regret. The Journey of faith it is not always easy, it is scary at times but it is always rewarding, as it says in Hebrew 11:6, “without faith it is impossible to please God. Let me close with these assuring words. “Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you. (I Pet 5:7)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

MONEY MATTERS PART I(Biblical Perspective on Money)

A money scandal had rocked the nation in July 2010. In Bell, one of the poorest municipalities in Los Angeles County the city manager made more than what the US president makes in a year. This city manager earned an amount of 800,000 in annual salary. Los Angeles times questioned, “Is a city manager worth $ 800,000?” I wonder what kind of services that this city manager offers to receive that much salary.

I think it is absurd that one person makes so much money per year when according to one report “the average annual income in Haiti is $ 450(per capita).
What a contrast! Sixteen signs suggests that the rich in America are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer” David Jeremiah in his yet to be published book “The Coming Economic Armageddon,”notes, “The American economy, is still deteriorating and threatening to collapse. Although there are glimmers of hope, unemployment is at near record highs in most of the country leaving the total unemployed at 17.2 million in May 2010.” Is the American Dream quickly becoming the American night mare?

In the midst of these contrasting reports what should be the believer’s perspective on money? Are we to follow in the foot steps of those who seem to easily acquire wealth? Or are we to identify with the poorest of the poor in the world? Is money evil or good? Is money important to God? In this message on “Money Matters” I would turn to the Bible to get a right perspective on this important yet often ignored and misunderstood subject, Money.

I. The Biblical perspective on Money.

We realize the importance of money. Unless you have money it is hard to get any thing done these days. It is needless to say that money occupies a very prominent place in our day to day lives and in the running of our society. Yet when it comes to talking about it or hearing a pastor talk about it, we tend to shy away from that subject. Does the Bible shy away from talking about money? Did Jesus ever talk about money in his preaching? Richard Halverson who served as the 60th Chaplin of the United States senate noted, “Jesus Christ said more about money than about any other single thing because, when it comes to a man’s real nature, money is of first importance. Money is an exact index to a man’s true character. All through Scripture there is an intimate correlation between the development of a man’s character and how he handles his money” In my own life and my early discipleship years God dealt with me in the area of how I handled my money.

When it comes to money matters we rather pick up “The Wall Street Journal or read books from Donald Trump or consult finance experts like Suzie Orman but do we ever think of consulting the Bible on matters related to money? Randy Alcorn argues, “How could the Bible’s author and Editor justify devoting twice as many verses to money (about 2,350 of them) than to faith and prayer combined.” This tells us that money is important to God. If it is not important why did Jesus spend 15 percent of his recorded words on money? Why did he say more about how we should handle money than anything else? If it is important to God, then it should be important to us as well.

Hear what we can learn from one of the richest, wealthiest and wisest Kings that ever lived. King Solomon has a few words of advice for us. Let me read from the message Bible. Eccl 5:10-15 “The one who loves money is never satisfied with money, nor the one who loves wealth with big profits. More smoke. The more loot you get, the more looters show up (government takes your money away). And what fun is that to be robbed in broad day light. Hard and honest work earns a good night’s sleep, whether supper is beans or steak. But a rich man’s belly gives him insomnia. Here’s a piece of bad luck I have seen happen. A man hoards far more wealth that is good for him and then looses it all in a bad business deal. He arrived naked from the womb of his mother; He’ll leave in the same condition with nothing.”

If that is how it is with money and our life then I wonder why some people work so hard to get wealth? I am not saying that we should not work; by all means we should work and work hard because work honors God. Do riches truly make one happy? Let’s ask some of the wealthiest people in the world regarding what they think about wealth and whether they were happy.
John D Rockefeller: “I have made many millions, but they have brought me no happiness.”
W.H. Vanderbilt: “The care of $ 200 million is enough to kill anyone. There is no pleasure in it.”
John Jacob Astor: (First multi millionaire in the USA) “I am the most miserable man on earth.”
Henry Ford: “I was happier when doing a mechanic’s Job”
Andrew Carnegie: “Millionaires seldom smile.”

Why money doesn’t necessarily make one happy? Consider what Solomon has to say, in Ecc 5:10, “Whoever loves money never has enough money; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income.” The repeated word never is emphatic. No exceptions.
What can money give, and what can money not give you? Money will buy a bed but not sleep; books but not brains; food but not appetite; finery but not beauty; a house but not a home; medicine but not health; luxuries but not culture; amusements but not happiness; religion but not salvation; a passport to everywhere but heaven.

King Solomon acquired so much wealth. He became internationally a popular and well sought after King. He had everything one would ever want to have. He said, “I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure.” (Ecc 2:10) Riches didn’t necessarily make Solomon happy in life, the more money he had the more he indulged in sin and in the end his heart was turned away from worshipping the living God.
There is a subtle danger in accumulating wealth. Money in itself is neither good nor bad, it is rather neutral. It all depends on how you use your money. For example, you can use money to support mission’s work or use the same money and support a terrorist organization. However the Bible warns us against the love of money. In I Timothy 6:9-10, “Lust for money brings trouble nothing but trouble. Going down that path, some lose their footing in the faith completely and live to regret it bitterly ever after.”(Message) I can give a number of examples including some Christian leaders who went down on that path of wanting to get rich and have lost their testimony eventually their faith. During the time of the Iron curtain one persecuted Romanian pastor said, “In my experience, 95% of the believers who face the test of persecution pass it, while 95% who face the test of prosperity fail it.”
If having much money is dangerous for our Christian faith, then what should be our attitude towards money? How could we keep ourselves free from the gripping power of prosperity? In Proverbs 30: 8-9, “give me neither poverty nor riches, but give my only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much, and say who is the Lord? Or I may become poor and steal and so dishonor the name of my God.” Having this attitude I believe would help us stay in balance. Remember it is not the money that is evil but it is the lust for money that is the root of all evil.
II. Two Treasures and Two masters

In the Bible we find many contrasts. For example, the wicked and righteous, or the poor and rich, the weak and the strong, the narrow and broad way, holy and unholy, in the same way when it comes to Money also there are two contrasts: Earthly treasure & Heavenly treasure, and two masters: Mammon( money) and the Lord.

In his first ever preached Sermon on the Mount Christ directly addressed the issue of two treasures and two masters. Matt ?6:19-24, “Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Vs 24, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You can not serve both God and Money.”

Let me explain this scripture. Is Christ saying that you should not work hard and earn money in order to take care of your own and your families’ needs? NO!! Christ is against amassing wealth only for yourself and never for the Kingdom. Storing up treasures on earth means it is all about me, my family, my comfort and my families comfort.

While we were ministering in India we were surrounded by a lot of poor people. With the financial support we were getting we could live in relative comfort, not in luxury. We were conscious of the poverty that was around us so we made it a point to invest money into the lives of Christian workers, missionaries, and those who were in need. We certainly did not alleviate the poverty in India but we realized we were blessed to be a blessing. That is storing up treasures in heaven by putting our money to good use for the cause of Kingdom growth.

Where your treasure is there your heart will be. How do we know where our heart is? One way to know what is in our heart is by looking at our values, priorities and our check book. What we do with our time and money doesn’t lie. We invest our time, energy and resources in the things that we value the most. If all we value is pursuing the “American Dream” that’s where we invest our resources but if we value pursuing God’s big dream for this world we invest our finances in outreach, supporting missionaries and missions work both locally and globally.

When you give money to missions, let’s say supporting the work of reaching the orphans in Kenya you are not just giving a few dollars but in reality you are developing a heart for the orphans in Kenya; you are sowing seeds in God’s Kingdom and you will reap a harvest of blessings in due season. I remember one time while ministering in Holland, after hearing the plight of the street boys in India a pregnant mother came up to me and said she would adopt three Children one for each of her three children and support them for their schooling. This mother got her priorities right, she is storing up treasures in heaven. If you are acquiring treasures only for your self, you will be like the rich fool of whom Jesus said, “this is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:21)

We have heard the saying, “you can’t eat your cake and have it too” In other words you can’t have it both ways or you can’t get the best of both worlds. This is what Jesus meant when he said you can’t serve money and God at the same time. In ancient times the medium of exchange was Gold, Silver, Bronze, Wood and Stone, just like the currency of today. Instead of worshiping the true and living God, the Israelites worshiped false gods.

Over the centuries Satan has deceived many by offering them wealth. He even brought wealth to a status of a “god” hence caused people to worship him indirectly. According to Greek mythology PLOUTOS (or Plutus) was the god of wealth. According to Hindu mythology there is a goddess of wealth by name Lakshmi.

When Jesus said you can’t serve both the money and God at the same time, he is warning us not to fall into the trap of wanting to become rich. Let’s be aware of subtle tactics of the enemy that come in disguise forms. What about sports? The soccer world cup? Shows like America got talent? American idol? Who wants to be a millionaire? Aren’t they all about money?

So far we have looked into the biblical perspective on money, the implications of acquiring earthly treasures for ourselves and the dangers of serving a hard task master called money. There is much more to learn about this crucial subject matter, for now let’s ask God for forgiveness if we are intentionally or unintentionally worshiping money instead of worshiping Him. May the Lord help us all to worship him alone. Amen.