Please click to read the writing on the batteries
Recently as I was taking a bath, God began speaking to me about the "power source" of most churches not being included in the New Covenant. We know that the gospel speaks of the freedom of the Spirit and about giving love freely. However we wonder how in the world this good news will be "financed", and have felt like it was a sort of "batteries not included" situation. The way that the church did it in the book of Acts doesn't seem secure enough or safe enough for us. So we've reached back to the Old Covenant to find the "tithe" batteries so that we can power our churches and keep them running.
For a Spirit-led study on the subject of "tithing" in Christianity, please read my spiritual mum's booklet at this blog: Transformed By Truth
When I showed this picture to Hazel, she had this to say:
While looking at your picture right now I'm getting that many church leaders see the tithe as their life insurance policy that everyone in the church must get plugged into, just in case depending on the promises of God in the new covenant gospel doesn't pan out materially speaking... Without the "tithe power" church leaders are afraid that they will cease to function as a church. They're afraid they will have to close the doors, and that their material livelihoods, and their lavish lifestyles will be at stake...I was surprised to read Hazel's reply because the "dead wood" thing she said explains why I was impressed to make the church building wooden!
The "sheep" are the "tithe power" that pay for the shepherds lavish lifestyles, and keep the church life going. Those "batteries" are constantly needing to be replaced and recharged... so low in some churches that they can no longer function as they did before and are having to close down shop and lay-off workers.
Since many church leaders can no longer hear God's voice in these matters, they use their own voice (as the voice of God) to spiritually abuse the sheep that are under their care, fleecing them, even sacrificing some for their own selfish means. Many have not been a shepherd to the sheep under their care, but have behaved more like a ravenous wolf, devouring the weak sheep so that they can no longer walk, but have to be carried.
The sheep are being made weak by not being taught how to discern God's heart for themselves through the power of the Spirit, but are always having to depend upon someone else (a leader or anointed person) telling them what to do, and what to think, and how much to give. Pretty much like our government's welfare system. It's a "Big Brother will take care of you if you do what I say" kind of thing, instead of teaching people to rely on God's Word for themselves, and letting them know that they can each hear God's voice for themselves and don't need to come to another "anointed" leader to be told what to do in these matters.
In fact, it's God’s heart that many churches do close their doors because they are a great hindrance to the work of the true gospel of Jesus Christ. They are not plugged into God's power source, the Holy Spirit of Truth, but are relying on themselves for power. Man's power supply quickly runs low, but God's doesn't. Moreover, since the church building isn't the church, but believers in the body of Christ are, God is preparing the hearts of more and more believers to start more and more house churches. I believe that these little "islands of power" will replace more and more of the organized churches that have become dead wood, because they have fallen away from the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
I believe that even the bad economy is working to God's advantage to achieve His ultimate purposes in releasing His children from spiritual bondage to man-made doctrines and traditions in many churches. Although much has been hidden up until now, God is bringing everything out into the light... everything that can be shaken will be shaken. Only our sure foundation, Jesus Christ, will remain. As long as we are found in Him, and plugged into Him through His Spirit, we will remain also.
The "storm" with lightning striking is God's discipline coming to "knock out" the ungodly power source. His storm is not meant to hit us, but rather our dependence on flesh and the old covenant.
But, the more we try to 'protect' this power source, the more we ourselves risk getting struck by lightning! He wants to knock out the false power source, not us, and replace it with Him Himself—the Holy Spirit of freedom and life! He's calling us to willingly repent and so detach ourselves from flesh, old covenant and feeding off the lives of our spiritual children, otherwise He will have to "strike us" (or flatten us) in order to fix things.
I need to pray:
Lord, You know all things and You know our hearts. Often we know we're stretching things when we try to find "tithe" in the New Covenant. But then we go further in to convince ourselves, and we want the congregation to be convinced, too. God, so often we've quieted that little voice in our heads that said, "Hey, this doesn't quite fit the context"... and that little voice was You, Lord.
Forgive us, Father, in Jesus' name. Forgive us for trying to extract support from the sheep when You meant them to give willingly. Forgive us also because when we have reached back to the Law for the support of its tithe command, we cut out "the poor" that You meant to benefit from tithing in ancient Israel, and we said tithe was meant to support our church institution instead of being given to the needy (ancient Israel was commanded to give a significant portion of it directly to the needy).
Forgive us, Father, because when we preach to people about "giving", it only rarely if ever means "giving to the needy". The whole topic of "giving" in church is reserved almost exclusively for giving "to the church"—to the building, pastors, leaders and ministry projects.
Lord, please enable Your children to see the truth and to take the daring leap of faith to allow Your people to provide for leaders and ministries freely without being under compulsion. Teach us the greater blessings in store for us when we live by the Spirit alone instead of by the letter of the Old Covenant Law. Please open our eyes and convict us, Holy Spirit, and please do so before it becomes time for You to discipline us, in Jesus' name, amen.
See also: "Depending On Darkness"