Religion used for self-pleasure
Acts 16:20,21 -
And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.
Outside Christianity all religious leaders use religion for reasons like self-glory, power, riches etc. none of them have anything to do with God or with Truth. But even in Christianity we see leaders misusing religion to exploit people for their own gains. They may not crave for riches but they still do not have any good agenda behind it. Ironically Christianity root foundation is about overcoming one own desires and pleasures and working towards the desires and pleasures of the Kingdom of God.
Some years back there was a person (A) who learned how easy it was to heal people and saw how people responded when they received help or were given hope of freedom from their problems. He got another brother (B) into his plans into exploiting the people commercially. This brother (B) was healed from AIDS that too after he jumped off a bridge onto the railway tracks. God did not allow him to die and started reaching out to people through him. These two had even calculated the returns per week from holding sessions or out reaches. Thankfully the brother (B) today has come out from the deceitful plans of the person (A).
We read in today's message how Paul and Silas' giving the Gospel was hurting the interest of the Jews, Romans and specially the person who mislead people with prophesies from unclean spirit, they caught Paul and Silas and got them to be beaten and put behind bars.
Today even Churches exploit people. We know how the Catholic Church builds it riches by getting people into unholy practices and traditions, the very things which the Bible speaks against. The Believer Churches also misleads people with promises of riches (more earthly and less spiritual) like coning them to give tithes. They fail to realize the very first act of tithing in the Bible of Abraham giving 10percent to Melchizedek also gave always all the remainder keeping only what his people needed. Even in Acts the very first organized Church people kept only what they needed and gave all remaining for the Kingdom of God.
I know of Pastors who make their subordinates to telephone people to remind them to pay their tithes and confirm if they have done so, Pastors threatening the congregation members from going to another Church all because they will lose their fat cows. The Churches lack all because of the greed of the leaders and their not selflessly working towards building people in the Lord.
Like the Lord dramatically saved Paul and Silas by causing an earthquake and broke the bands of chains holding them, so also the Lord is going to shake the Church system to save His people. He is going to break the bars of human authority which is not according to the Word that they have put people behind. He is also going to break the rules and practices which they have created and are not according to the Word.
They do not realize the Manna was sweet to taste when used according to instructions but when instructions were not followed the same Manna got worms and became dangerous to consume.
[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord, your Church is suffering because its shepherds are more concern about themselves more than about your Kingdom. The world does not know You because they do not see your glory shine in your Church among your people. Lord we pray You intervene in the Churches and cause an spiritual earthquake and break the bonds put by man and set free your anointed ones to lead your people. Cause a spiritual revolution and an outburst of your Kingdom...
We make this prayer in Jesus' Name, Amen.
[ Reference Scripturesr ]
16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:
17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.
18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.
19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,
20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,
21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.
22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.
23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:
24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.
14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.
15 And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus.
16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.
17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's dale.
18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.
22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,
23 That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:
24 Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.
30 By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child [servant] Jesus.
31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
35 And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,
2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet.
3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.
7 And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.
8 And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.
9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.
10 Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.
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