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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Spirit-Led or Income-Led?


Secret Entourage
Ministers, especially pastors, should be extra sharp to discern the difference, because a very thin line separates one from the other. Are you Spirit-led or income-led? Did you end up in ministry because of a divine call or because you were looking for profitable work and got one, and then somehow ministry followed?

To be sure, income sources are God's blessings. The more the merrier. I love to be in a lucrative business. In fact, the church can be in business as the Acts church was. But we are NOT to be led or controlled by our income source, business or money. All who are led thus end up like prophet Balaam---always bargaining for the right price while pretending to be after God's leading.

Abram got wealthy while "in the process" of obeying God. He didn't leave Ur for greener pasture somewhere. He left Ur without knowing where he'd end up. He left simply because he obeyed God. Unlike a lot of pastors today who leave for the US, Canada or elsewhere to earn in dollars or by targeting rich churches there. Worse, some leave to get a purely secular profitable job, not just a more lucrative ministry. And then somehow, incidentally, they "also" find ministry there later. Some never end up in ministry at all (whatever happened to their "calling" and formal ministry training?). God's work becomes incidental to them.

Here's how to discern God's will from man's will. Click here.

Nothing wrong with going abroad to do ministry there---if you are genuinely called by God to do so, and not because you just want to earn more money. Some pastors dream of owning a car and living a good life, and since they see no hope of that happening in their native country, they seek opportunity abroad, particularly in the US or Canada. And then they claim they were "called by God" there. And many actually believe them and follow suit so that it becomes accepted practice. They fool themselves and believe their jokes, too.

The apostle Paul traveled to many places as an apostle of God, first and foremost. He went to places to really preach the Gospel. Then somehow he found tent-making sidelines to augment his ministry. He didn't travel abroad as an OFW and then later tried some ministry. His apostolic ministry came first and foremost. There's a big difference, which many fail to discern.

The important thing here is to know God's Kingdom principle---seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. Whatever you are, a simple church member or minister, this is what should lead you in all things. Seek first (and always) the Kingdom and God's righteousness, not money or livelihood or profitability or greener pasture. Don't seek ways how to end up in the US or Canada or New Zealand or elsewhere.

A lot of people have counseled me to go abroad for greener pastures. Why suffer hardships in the Philippines when you can go abroad and enjoy better pay, better living standards, free education, free hospitalization, free everything? Think of your family! Anyway, I can also easily find ministry there, they added. Wow. And these were supposed to be church leaders who had gone to bible school and seminary.

Listening to them, I remember Lot. He chose the portion of Canaan where "the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt." He used his personal preferences, not God's preferences. He judged by what he saw (and he thought a land as good as Egypt was a good place).

Abram was different. He let God choose for him.

Phillips & Company
These folks missed the point altogether. They missed the basic. I was born again not to seek earthly fortune but to do the will of my Father. If it's God's will for me to live abroad, then I will. So far, my heart's burden is in the Philippines.

I'm waiting for God to change that and give me visions of (and a heart for) ministry abroad, but he hasn't. When I told them this, they looked at me like I had gone totally crazy. Like I was the stupidest person they've ever seen (especially when I told them I turned down my dad's petition for a US citizenship for me).

"Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" I wanted to tell them that but they wouldn't understand. I very seldom talk about this because no one today in church understands it. Instead, I just look at them and nod, saying in my mind, "OK, so that's how you see it, huh? What a waste."

Do you think Abram had planned to get a more profitable job when he left Ur so he could live a better life in Canaan? He didn't even know where Canaan was and he didn't know he was headed for it. He got rich because everything was just added to him after he seriously sought God and his will. A lot of ministers today do not know a thing about this. All they understand is the value of money. To them, if you have no money, you are not in God's will.

"If you're obeying God's will for you, how come you're not yet rich like Abraham?" Some would actually ask me this question. Well, I tell them Abraham started getting blessed when he was 75---and I'm not yet 75. I have 18 more years to go. Plenty of time. In fact, I believe God can change your entire life and ministry in a day, or even less. Nothing is impossible to him. Who knows, something may come up tomorrow and I start getting rich. 😂

Never depart from this vital Kingdom principle whatever the issue in life:
"Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness." 
Just seek the Word, meditate on it night and day, live it out daily and let it change you and your mindset radically. Worship God higher and walk with him. Delight yourself in the Lord, and then you'd see how He will give you the desires of your heart.

Never seek something else. Don't seek for a life partner, don't seek for a ministry, don't seek how your ministry would grow, don't seek how you can fill up your church with people. Just seek the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. All these things will be added.

So, be honest. Check yourself out. Are you really Spirit-led or are you just income-led?

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