Thursday, December 16, 2010

My House Will Be Called A House of Prayer

Matthew 21:12, 13 "Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 'It is written,' he said to them, 'My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers.'"

Question: Why did Jesus drive out those who were buying, selling and money changing in the temple area? After all, were they not purchasing the doves for burnt offerings and sacrifices to God as commanded?

Reflection: I've been troubled lately at the amount of sales that goes on in the church to raise funds for this and for that. From the prevalence of bake sales and vending done within the church or right in front of the sanctuary on days when services, be it Sunday worship, Bible study, prayer meeting are typically held. I can't help but wonder how Jesus feels about all this? Even though in most cases our motives are pure, often times to raise money for the church activities or school activities - and I've been guilty myself. I just am becoming increasingly disturbed in spirit by the abundance of these activities without much thought as to how it affects those spiritually and physically sick and hurting who may be distracted by these activities when they enter or leave the house of God.  Is the message that the house of God should be viewed and reverenced as a house of prayer being lost?

It started with car washes, tag sales and bake sales in the community rooms to now interjections during announcements on overhead TV Screens right after worship or before the Word is preached. Is anyone else bothered about all this? Do you see any similarity to Matt. 21:12-13? Have we now become more dependent on natural commerical means to provide for our church programming rather than on faith in prayer? A couple other scripture references that come to mind are: Isaiah 55:8-9, "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord. As high as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts." Also,  Proverbs 3:5- 6, which says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths."

These are just some thoughts that have been coming to mind. Your feedback would be appreciated.


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  2. Shalom In Yahshua Messiah,

    This post is very important. And why?....History is being repeated (Eccl.3:15).

    The "money changers" have set up shop in the churches! Really? Yes! We have ATM machines in the Vestibules now!(In addition to what you've, so accurately mentioned above)....soon some may refer to church buildings as church-banks....

    come-on now we must make sacrificing/giving more convenient and comfortable as possible.That way the sheeple (I mean people) will forget the cost of the Cross.(Just press a button, and voila..the money rolls out.(No cross in that transaction) Having(commercial ways to;not only earn money(as mentioned above) but extract money will go a long way to help make the people forget what Torah says about giving with a willing heart(sacrificial giving). And when people forget about giving money with a (willing heart) they'll soon forget how to give period. {they'll learn to give less....and sell more} the ATM machines in the churches will help them to sacrifice ONLY when it does not hurt.....what we can do next is start up online debt giving can be so silent and painless that I would hardly give it a second thought. And so eventually the offence of the cross will cease. (Gal. 5:11) We have the Bible for an example....the preachers (I mean Rabbis) where making things as comfortable and convenient as possible by bringing the sacrifices into the sacred precincts so they can make things easiest for the people....Why did Yahshua/Jesus get so upset?...I mean we had good motives...(Really)?

    Why did He drive them out?Because the sheep could not listen to the sermon because of all the distractions.(the bleating (inappropriateness of the announcements) of the sheep)And what did our Loving Savior refer to them as? 'Robbers'

    I'm happy to hear that you are troubled about the matter. Yahshua was too. And He is now beginning to drive/cast out the extortioners again; and at the same time call out the sheep to Himself. (Really)? Yes...Rev.18:4&5 May we heed the call.

  3. Interesting commentary. The issue of "fundraisers" bothers me too. I'm not sure how one balances supporting the church and raising funds needed. I do believe that tithes and offerings should be the primary means of support for the church but what do you do when those are not enough to adequately support the ministry?

  4. Hi Beverly,

    I'm hesitant to call the activities you describe as being money changers because the scriptures documenting the comments of Jesus expressed an attitude of the heart. The examples you cite could very well be an attitude driven by greed, but they don't have to be.

    Many smaller churches are faced with limited budgets and look to other means of funding. Larger churches may find themselves over extended and in need of additional funding. Whatever the reasons, they should be done decently and in order.

    There is also the issue of giving that causes many to retreat with their wallets and purses. Giving must come from a sincere heart that seeks to bless God's people in the local church.

    Blessings and peace.


  5. Thank you so much for your feedback. I'm inclined to believe that faith is the answer and has always been the answer to the support of the church. I know, I may sound naive in today's western world and ways, but I think we simply lack the faith to believe in God's provision. I think we are not praying as a body as we should and are resorting to natural means for spiritual support. I just thought of Israel when they asked for a king to be like the other nations because God, the invisible king, wasn't enough for them, so God gave them what they asked for a natural king and look what ensued.

    It's scarey to me how much of the world has crept into the church. It's insidious. Are we walking by faith or by sight to do God's will? It's so prevalent that I think I may sound like a simpleton or fanatic because the tide is so strong in the opposite direction. But my spirit is uneasy.

    How did the church of Ephesus lose their first love(Rev.2:1-7) and not know it? Is the church still known first for being a house of prayer, or a house of faith, or where the power of God can still be witnessed? Every day we have to fight the good fight of faith and believe for God to provide, do we not? Do we not on our individual levels, for our families have seasons where we have to have faith that God will provide for us and our families?

    Just this week, as I was speaking with the executive director of a rehab ministry for men where I'm teaching, he mentioned to me that they were having difficulty in meeting their financial need for the week or month and for the first time might not be able to make payroll. However, he'd been in prayer and fasting to draw closer to God as part of a corporate prayer and fasting at their church. A couple hours later, after I'd finished teaching, he came in with the report that a woman whom he'd never met before walked into the ministry house and gave them a check for $10,000! We praised the Lord together. I needed to hear that testimony just then. I was encouraged not only for myself and for them, but as I think of so many churches and ministries going through financial difficulties during this time. God is still Jehovah Jireh!

    Yes, we certainly need wisdom, but I can't help but think that we need more faith and more prayer.

  6. Father, Abba,
    Hear my cry. You see our plight. You already know. May we humble ourselves, seek your face and turn from any wicked ways, any ways that are not pleasing in your sight. Do not hide your face from us during this time, O Lord. Do not be far from us. Increase our faith. May we trust in you to provide for your temple.

    Though some trust in chariots and some in horses, we will remember the name of the Lord our God. Show yourself mighty. You are our Jehovah Jireh! We bear your name. You own the sheep on a thousand hills. There is nothing too hard for you. I repent for my lack of belief. I repent for the lack of belief on behalf of our churches. Hear my cry, O Lord and move. Clear your temples. Be merciful O God. Cleanse us.

    Though times have changes and methods have changed, you have not. Move upon your people who bear your name. Prick our hearts. Make us contrite. Do not leave us in any deception as to your will. Let your name be great among us. Let your glory be seen through us once again.
    Let faith arise.

    In Jesus' name I pray.

  7. Beverly - You bring up so many good points. And your follow-up questions were especially insightful. I believe that the Church today often walks a tightrope - it's a tricky path. The world will try to insinuate its way in - and we must constantly be on guard to keep the MESSAGE of God clear and untarnished. As far as our METHODS - we need to be very careful there, too. Ultimately, we cannot judge other people's actions, nor determine the state of their hearts - and we must ask God to give us discernment and understanding. Courage to stand up when it counts. I haven't answered your questions directly - but I agree with your sentiment that we must SEEK God's word on what is correct and according to His will - and then OBEY.


  8. Amen.

    We Christians have forgotten our First Love. If we all gave 10% of our first fruits to HIM, there would be little need for all these extra fund raisers. Whether one believes that tithing should be part of the Christian's duties, I do feel that one should be happy to give 10% to GOD. We give much more than that to our governments and to the Wal-Marts of the world. The late Larry Burkett said that you could tell much about where a person's heart is by looking at their check book. I think it is time that Christians started setting the example for giving by first giving to HIM.

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  10. We are only hitting on part of the problem. And if we do not get a deeper understanding of the problem, than how can we understand the solution. Pamela, I agree that we should support the cause of God with the tithing system; its Scriptural (Do we still know what the cause of God is?)(Do we still present the ancient Gospel once delivered unto the saints? Or do have in our midst another gospel; which is not another Gospel because there is only One Gospel). However, I'm convinced by the Word of YHWH that there is a bigger problem. Beverly made reverence to the messages to the Seven Churches in the Book of Revelation.(And Beverly for some; your answer is correct) I firmly believe that our(Corporate) problem and solution is found in one of those messages. Can you guess which one it is? (This question may come across to some as condescending in tone; but be assured; “Pride [goeth] before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Prov.16:18) We, as followers of Yahshua (Jesus Hebrew name) the world over; or should I say here in the western hemisphere are in a real fix spiritually. I mine if I was to comment and make reference to a few verses of Scripture regarding what has caused us to be where we are future comments might get skipped over by some, as soon as they see my name. However, I'd like for someone to answer the question I've asked. If you answer I'd be glad to expound on the answer.
    The reason I choose to weigh in on this matter is because it is an important matter; very important...just like some of the other issues we have been discussing on some other blogs. Those who've participated in them would know what I'm talking about. We are all in this situation together; even though we do not all believe the same. For example, Beverly mentioned ministries facing hardships. We are as well....and have been for a long while. Our situation is being dealt with by YHWH not as individuals only; but also as the body of Messiah, irrespective of faith. (And I'm not here lessening the need for unity; because YHWH has the answer for all the doctrinal differences as well. If you'd like; I would be more than happy to give you the answer on that at well.

    Shalom In Yahshua Ha Mashiach (Jesus the Messiah)

  11. Hi Beverly,

    Again, you've brought up some topics which I believe are relevant to the Christian church in America. Unlike issues Christians may face in other countries, we live in a country of prosperity, Christians are not persecuted in America for their faith by the state. So for many in this country, we are comfortable.

    I've been reading through the book of Revelation this week and it occurs to me that what John was told to write to the seven churches is relevant to the church in America today. There is a need to fast and pray. Where are the church leaders to call for national fasting and prayer? Are Americans serious about their relationship with Christ? Has that passion and love faded?

    I will stand with you in prayer Beverly, that God would speak to Christians all over our nation, as well as those scattered in other countries.

    Almighty God, look on the church in America and call forth unity of faith, obedience, fellowship, and love. Let our nation not become spiritually fat and lazy. Prune us O Father that we would bear fruit that pleases You. Strengthen our desire to walk by faith in the name that is above every name, Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. Amen.

    Blessings and peace.


  12. Hi Beverly,
    You raise a very good point. I do see the similarities to matthew in the examples you point out. This is definitely something to think about. I haven't experienced too much of this. my church sells some things to raise money sometimes but not very often.

    I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and New Year celebration. I write about Jesus being the greatest gift of all in my new blog post. He is truly the reason for the season.


  13. Thank you all for your comments and prayers on this matter. Pamela, you are so right. Our tithes and offerings are supposed to meet the financial needs of the church, but many are not tithing. Many do not believe or have the faith to do so for all kinds of reasons but I don't think it necessry to delve into at this time. The 20 percenters (20 percent of the congregations in most western churches) carry the burden of both the work of the ministry in the local bodies of Christ as well as the financial burden. Again, however, I believe even the 20 percenters are not praying as we ought. We talk a lot about it and we read the books, we even fast and fail to spend much time in prayer and that's where we find intimacy with our Lord.

    The number of church doors that are closing are astonishing while the number of mosques that are opening are apalling! It's starts with us.

    Thank you MTJ for joining with me in prayer for our churches that together make up the body of Christ. You're right, we are too comfortable.

    Thank you Yuri for stirring up the pot as well. We need to speak up and speak out, but most of all, when these issues are brought to the surface we need to pray. Prayer still changes things. I'm a firm believer in not just discussing truth, but in finding solutions and spiritual and natural problems require the counsel of God.

    The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16) And "Faith without works is dead." If we have faith, we will DO something about what the Spirit is showing us. We can all pray and in some cases and at different times, some of us will be called to speak out when the occasion arises, not simply on this matter and not simply on our blogs.

    I trust you all had a lovely CHRISTmas and as we move into a new year, I pray that God will burden our hearts for the lost like never before, fill us with his Holy Spirit and power so that we will stand boldly for righteousness but in the humility of Christ.

    I know that as we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness that he will prosper us. He's promised to do so.

    My prayer is that our blogs are not just forums for discussins and personal edification, which we all need, but that it will also alert us and encourage us to fight not to be conformed to this world. As we go into 2011, there's a battle cry-we must pray and when we get up off our knees or off our faces, be prepared to fight. Satan knows his time is near. Don't be ignorant of the enemies devices.(Eph.6:10-18) Don't get side tracked with life's every day challenges. They come to build perseverance. (James 1:2-4)

    Jesus said in the last days that the love of many will grow cold. (Matt.24:12) I pray that none of us will be in that number.

    Happy New Year!


  14. Hi Beverly -

    Thank you...

    This is a post that, no doubt, needed to be placed. So much of what has been said here by you and others is indeed food for thought. Deep thought needs to go into this subject matter.

    You said, "I just thought of Israel when they asked for a king to be like the other nations because God, the invisible king, wasn't enough for them, so God gave them what they asked for a natural king and look what ensued.

    "I know that as we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness that he will prosper us. He's promised to do so.

    "My prayer is that our blogs are not just forums for discussins and personal edification, which we all need, but that it will also alert us and encourage us to fight not to be conformed to this world. As we go into 2011, there's a battle cry-we must pray and when we get up off our knees or off our faces, be prepared to fight. Satan knows his time is near. Don't be ignorant of the enemies devices.(Eph.6:10-18) Don't get side tracked with life's every day challenges. They come to build perseverance. (James 1:2-4)"

    I feel you on those statements, Beverly, and I feel what has been expressed here by others. Yes, we must steadfastly fight not to be conformed to this world! Amen on the battle cry and prayer, as well as "be prepared to fight"! Yes, Lord - Amen

    It does not bode well with my spirit when people are offering products, for sale, from the pulpit. As for selling in the lobby copies of sermons, that may be acceptable - what do you think?

    Also, I purchased a Christian worship CD once, and before the song portions began, a pitch came on to go to the website to view more of the product line. That offended me. I have never experienced that but with that one CD. And some of the Christian programs that interrupt gospel discussions to offer things for sale, that bothers me some. Is it wrong or unholy? - of that I am not sure. What do you and others think?

  15. Hi Sandra,
    Thanks for commenting. Hope you had a lovely holiday season. I'd probably be sensitive to some of the same promotional tactics you described and for the same reasons, but I do believe there's a difference in reference to the House of God. I'm not sure about the Christian TV programs since I don't watch them. They have their place, but I just don't feel led to watch them. For those who are not in a local church fellowship and depend solely on Christian TV I imagine they might feel the same way.

    We just need to be careful, watchful and prayerful that we do not become gradually deceived and flow along with the mainstream in accepting everything and methods that find their way into our churches that may not be of God.