Author Archives: jrpmail2003

About jrpmail2003

Christian ministry with a broad view of the church and society as they interact with the message of the Lord Jesus Christ according to bible scriptures . Commentary and responses about today's events.

Why America is in Confusion?

March 2019

The nation of America had a good start and great opportunities to be the first nation to have a truly free people.  The blueprint was fair and just for all people but Americans strayed from the blueprint. The blueprint established freedom, justice and equality for all citizens.  The blueprint was based on the bible that America no longer wants to follow.  The blueprint put forth the standards of Jesus Christ, who illustrated and set up a plan for us to share love with every person regardless of gender, race, culture or past mistakes.  God, as Creator, upholds His own standard of love and truth and He cares for every individual made in His image.

The Europeans who came to America were from a people who fought religious wars, resisted aristocracy and religious authoritarianism and evolved into a people of liberty.  These immigrants escaped European rule and won freedom to practice a new liberty where they followed the bible and their own conscious without the heavy hand of government or church.  With this new freedom, they chose to put themselves under the rule of God and be guided by the values learned from scripture to provide equal opportunity and justice for all citizens.

After Christian evangelism hit Europe and persuaded its citizen of the cruelty of slavery and abolished it (1833); the colonists to America, nevertheless, used scriptures to justify enslavement and used the bible and African slaves to build the new society brick by brick.  European Christian evangelists came to evangelize America against slavery but it took the Civil War (1865) to finally deliver Africans from American slavery.  After abolition of slavery in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln, American legislators and hate mongers found new ways to enslave blacks through laws, taxes, social practices, clan activity, miseducation, and religious deception.  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 granted blacks’ freedom from discriminatory legal practices but the same racist practices still continue to the day enhanced by voter suppression and gerrymandering to diminish black empowerment. Various ethnic American citizens have suffered injustice by white Americans and have had their complaints settled by court suits or financial reparations while white America refuses to atone for their most egregious sin: cruelty and stolen labor from African slaves who built this nation.

White Americans, descendants of those delivered from European religious and governmental bondage, refuse to recognize their hypocritical reverse treatment toward black people captured and enslaved for profit.  The nation that promised to give every citizen the right to pursue liberty and justice under an oath to God has lied to God and non-white citizens. Their Sunday ceremonial worship and praise cannot alleviate this error.  The long journeys of European explorers and exploiters who travelled distant lands and did mental search of divinity have settled on the opinion of past researchers:  that they are the supreme beings of the universe.   White American citizens, legislators, judges and ministers still justify their discriminatory practices toward black American citizens and make no apology or effort to fulfill their covenant promise to the God that allowed them possession of this land.  In the mist of religious, political, social and economic turmoil; American whites cannot figure out what is wrong.  One news panelist trying to uphold old standards recently said in disappointment, “No one is coming to help us.”  How sad!  Someone already came and they crucified Him! 

The nation of American was set up on Christian values and prayers but now refuses to conform to the requirements of the God of the bible or His revealed Son, Jesus Christ.  Their Christian journey seems to have hit a snag and reverted back to the ways of their European forefathers, before they repented of slavery.  This original sin has tainted the religious faith of white Christians. Many of these “Christians” have made a mockery of the word “Christian” in their practice of Christianity because Christianity is based on love of neighbor as one loves himself; and a practice of racial supremacy by white America reveals proof of hatred against neighbors who do not look like them.  How can they represent Christ, who is love, and finish their Christian journey while hating those He died for?  Has Christ given them an exception from the love clause?  Their faith is found to be fraudulent and their covenant void. Their “god” who lords over hatred is trying to force the nation to serve him and those he has appointed as his leader, cabinet, and false ministers to carry out his plan of false leadership and religion, imitating Christ and His church.  Christ taught much about the last day’s deception using a false church of which true believers should beware. 

For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Mat 24:24 

False Christs want us to believe that everything is okay with the church and we are all in line with the Lord but racial hatred and superiority rants expose this lie.   Christ came and exposed a hypocritical church and false leaders.  He pulled the cover off hypocrisy and exposed their evil in order to protect true believers.

Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. Joh 8:42-44

America, who fought a civil war over racial prejudice, is now fighting a spiritual war based on the lie of racial superiority and is willing to bow to the father of lies to prevail in power. White America needs to remember that it was a non-church attending 16th U.S. President during the Civil War who settled the debate but, nevertheless, surmised that maybe both sides claiming to be doing the will of God were in error. They must have been because the debate continues.  Is God satisfied with the continuing debate?  Americans must individually choose to stand for truth and reject the liar and his lies.  Changing gods or denouncing the True God and His ways mean warfare and we are experiencing the turmoil of this change.  Even the devil wants a peaceful entrance into power and he uses deception and subtlety until he is ready to reveal himself in authority. God prevents this evil unveiling while His people remain in the earth.  The reason the public is confused about determining the right from wrong path is the interference of evil oversight.  The evil one is a chameleon, changing to suit the occasion.  God withdraws His hand when His guidance is refused and evil’s influence is strengthened. Compromise of truth eases us more and more into the way of error.  Jesus has declared though that “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mt. 16:18) so the real church will hold the line by the power of the Holy Ghost until Jesus says it is enough. The masquerading of evil as light must not deceive the church.  Every individual has free will to choose what god to serve, but the True God will judge every decision at His throne.  The best thing the nation can do is to choose wisely by rejecting the god of confusion while upholding truth by serving the True God of Creation, Jehovah God.

For more discussion on this subject, read my book:  Christianity and Ethnicity:  Is Christ Concerned About Race? ISBN: 9781387188253; (https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/christianity-and-ethnicity-joyce-reba-payne/1127151207

Posted to website: joycerebapayneministries.com – March 25, 2019

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LEARNING THE LESSON

March 2019

While our memories are fresh we should pause as Americans to see what we have learned from our recent political discourse.  But you say, “It is not over yet!”  The ordeal might not be over but the lesson is apparent and ready to be learned.  It is amazing that with the multitudes of professions, spiritual intuition and educational knowledge available in our nation; it was the American media that saved the day.  They called out lies that the politicians, church and government would not.  They were a little slow calling a lie a lie but they finally got there.  Their reluctance in calling false statements as lies was probably due to their professional relationship with morality, whose guidelines for truth is rooted in biblical scriptures.  America has had its debate with truth and truth was tossed out on its ear in favor of public opinion.  Truth does exist, however, even though few public leaders want to validate the importance of truth derived from religious faith as the standard and foundation of our society.  Religious wars were fought and settled in nations before America was established as a God-honoring nation.  America must re-establish this baseline truth. We cannot re-fight religious wars within our borders.  Some things, like math, are universally accepted truths across nations and so must be the truth about God, which America had the most liberty to expound across the world.  Has America come to an epiphany about God and yet reverted back to pagan discourse?  Has the church failed at practicing what it has preached?

Chasing After “Shiny Things”

The media unearthed a truth that revealed people were running around in circles. “Shiny things” was a phrase that was repeated over and over by one media outlet who discovered the enemy was hiding the truth by causing the public to chase after “shining things.”  Little children love shiny things and will chase after them and amuse themselves in play with them all day long.  They can easily be distracted by shiny things.  The media found that they were being pulled off topic and off the scent of their journalistic search by shiny things introduced to lead them astray.  They caught on to the game, called it out and decided to stop allowing these traps to ruin their efforts in exposing real problems.  Would to God we all would learn this lesson and stop running after “shiny things.”

The real question is how we ever got into the mess our political system has fallen into.  It’s appropriate to consider: America loves shiny things!  We love the flashy, the bigness, the loudest, the richest and the most visible things.  We love our stars!  If there is a selection to be made, we want the “most-est” of the bunch.  We are Americans and we want nothing less than the best! So we chase after shiny things because they stand out and must represent the best.  We were groomed to seek after movie stars, celebrity preachers and greatness in leaders. Everything shiny is not the best!  Sometimes it’s just greased up.

Choosing Wisely

What am I talking about?  We, as Americans, must learn from our present situation, while the experience is still fresh in our minds, how to make proper decisions from a wide selection of options.  New elections are on the way!  We will have an opportunity to do it again and leaders can and have been proven to lead the masses astray with smoke, mirrors and flashes of light.  Did we learn the lesson?  If we have not learned the lesson, we are bound to repeat it.  I dare say some are reporting, we are already repeating our previous bad history.  The best leader is not always the best looking, tallest, wealthiest, most smooth-talking, charismatic, renowned person we can find.  Abraham Lincoln is believed to have been one of our best presidents yet his success as the 16th President of the United States was not based on popular criteria.

The best source for guidance in selecting true leadership is found in the Word of God.  If we refuse this sound guidance, we will continue to have more of what we are already seeing.  The devil does not need new tricks; the old ones work just fine.  Church instruction was supposed to teach us how to make right choices.  Our first great leaders were chosen by God and He gave mankind guidelines for selecting good leaders.  Here is some biblical instruction:

Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. Act 6:3

 Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tensEx. 18:21 

 And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment. 1Ki 3:28

For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. Pro 2:6 

The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility. Pro 15:33 

I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. Deu 18:18 

The scriptures above reveal God’s guidance for selection of a leader:

  • One from among us (someone we know and his ways)
  • One of honest report, fears God, Spirit-filled,
  • One who has judgment, wisdom, truth
  • And one who hates covetousness.

Inner-Struggle of Nation

Our nation started out as a God-fearing nation but now mostly choose to disavow God and shun His ways in favor of worldly leadership.  We have compromised our values for the sake of getting along.  The fact that none of us are perfect should not disqualify the guidebook that identifies our shortcomings.  We can see clearly where that has gotten us and we can look back at the list above and realize there is a lack of virtuous traits in our present leadership.  We should not settle for lest of men because we cannot find a perfect human.  We also should not look to man as God, which is idolatry or demagoguery (Suggested audio/video on demagoguery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IaGHbyWf7c.  This is the right time to look back over the last several years to see how far we have gone from God’s original instructions that the founders valued and we should each determine why we find ourselves in this present state.   Some would say we are doing that.  Unfortunately and as previously explained, the expertise of the media cannot produce repentance, which is God granted.  When America chose to refuse the Christian standard, it also refused godly leadership. Without God’s guidance and Christian values, we no longer have a standard on which to judge righteousness or the proper course for the nation.  When biblical Israel became corrupt both leaders and the people were in darkness.

For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 2Co 10:12

Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him. Pro 26:12 

The very definition of right and wrong has been publicly challenged and debated with vigor while the “Judge” over the debate has been muzzled.  We can continue on the wrong course and become worse and worse or we can stop now, acknowledge we went off course, check the guide book to see our error and be corrected.  It is time to seriously evaluate our experience and extract the lesson.  Without a vision the people will perish (Pro 29:18) and the vision of our nation was God’s direction for the nation.

A list of  worldly characteristics to judge the best candidates are usually: strong vision for the nation; ability to put the times in historical perspective; effective communicator; courage to make unpopular decisions; crisis management skills; character and skills (www.ushistory.org/gov).  Careful evaluation reveals the list was derived from biblical examples but it purposely leaves out God’s Spirit as the source of guidance.  We cannot use God’s wisdom while failing to acknowledge Him as the source and expect to be successful.  Kings, prophets and wise men have acknowledged God as the source of their abilities, whereas modern intellectuals show shame. The very nature of God and His commandments refuse to be ignored and demands recognition for who He is.  If we fail to acknowledge Him, He has vowed to deny us.  We are seeing the results of this denial without realizing the cause as forsaking God.  The nation that denies God subsequently goes into decline before experiencing bondage or destruction.

Many mainline Christian churches surely failed us when they showed a stubbornness toward accepting the spiritual gifts God sent to empower the church at the Azusa Street revival, resisted cross-race fellowship that led spiritually-hungry believers to enticement by celebrity preachers who beguiled seekers with false gifts, false doctrine, pursuit of wealth, abandonment of righteous standards in lieu of worldly fellowship and surrender to political leadership without God.

The first appointed leader over the children of Israel was a man led by God, named Moses.  Moses was given the authority to assign public leaders over the Israelites for service as priests, discipline, judge, worship leaders and social care.  All of these positions are part of our present society that we call community, church and government for the people and they are all derived from the original Lawmaker and Sovereign God, who set up foundation standards for the lives of His people and society.  Where we varied from that direction is the point where we went astray. We cannot allow arrogance due to our wealth, modernization, or intellect to cause us to deny the God who made us. The founders (well-versed in law, science and theology) acknowledged God and established, to the best of their abilities, the pattern they thought their descendants would follow and improve on any shortsightedness.  Rather than improve on what the founders did, America has flipped the script and gone all the way backward, ready to return to authoritarianism, monarchy, church dominance, over-taxation and class-rule.

Correcting the Path

It would be ideal to assume that America has learned the lesson from recent and still on-going errors, but there is still that fascination for stars.  We love our stars!  We want a star in the pulpit and as head of our government. Did we learn nothing from King James I of England, who considered his rule divine and unanswerable to men? Fascination with stars assumes that someone else is better than we, whereas Jesus came to disprove that theory and reveal great potential and the Creator’s power in each of us.  We must learn to look for signs of God’s selection of a leader in those who possess maturity, wisdom, integrity, humility, fear of God, honesty and a servant-spirit.  Those are godly characteristics that protect us from charlatans like those being charged in today’s news cycles. Christian ministers were supposed to teach us to resist looking for the glory of man but rather to give glory to Christ. Many instead taught us to glorify them and look for god in man.  The uniqueness of America is a God who gave a Savior and Lord in human flesh whom we as Americans are free to know, follow and emulate

It is so easy to chase after “shiny things” like children.  We must be more studious in our undertaking for leaders because what we do will affect our destiny, the next generation and the world watching us.  We should not miss the purpose of our faith which was to show forth Christ in all that we say and do.  If our present spiritual, political, and community leaders have failed us; we must not give up on the right path but rather return to the original guide book and pattern.  Once we can see the pattern and have the right model, we can pick up where they left off and continue on course, like Joshua.  No leader is to be set up higher than or instead of Christ. Misguided leadership does not have to be the end. God gave us Jesus walking an earthly path as our example to follow and He warned us of making gods of men.  We all have within us the same potential for greatness because we are all made in the image of the Creator.  We have not yet reached our highest national potential and we can still reject the trap of the enemy.  We have a long way to go still if we straighten out our course and reject tyranny. The enemy of our nation, his plan and false way has been fully exposed in plain sight in a time of weakness but we can still denounce the evil choice.  God has given us mercy at the crossroad of grace and destruction so we should learn the lesson and make the right choice. Let’s choose to reject the wrong path and press toward a better future!

ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM: FOR TRUE UNITY

February 2019

God Reveals Himself

The plan of God to restore mankind back to righteousness is presented through preaching the good news of the gospel.   Jesus Christ both brought this message and was the embodiment of the good news from the Father.  His instruction to his disciples was to disseminate the gospel message throughout the world to bring all people back into unity in God.  Jesus is still teaching His disciples to follow and preach the gospel today; however, some preachers distort His message for their own purposes.  The bible boldly declares there is “One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph 4:5-6).  Everything outside of that truth is a lie spun by the devil, the father of lies.

In the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, Moses revealed to the church in the wilderness their God:  “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:  And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deu. 6:4-5).  God revealed Himself to Abraham and foretold that Abraham would guide his descendants in the fear of God (Gen. 18:19).  God loved and established David as king over His people because David reverenced God with love and worship with all his might (2 Sam. 6:14).  Zechariah prophesied: “And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one” (Zec. 14:9).  Old Testament prophets knew of this one-God truth and Jesus’ ministry confirmed it: “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment” (Mar 12:29-30).  Apostle Paul declared the truth of God to the Jews and Gentiles: “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him” (1Co 8:6).  Paul taught a message of church unity upon seeing the division in the Corinthian church:

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.  For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.  Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? 1Co 1:10-13 

Throughout the bible, God declared and revealed Himself through prophets, teachers and nature to those who would hear. Jesus entrusted His message to disciples that would declare it to the world.  His trusted inner circle of followers and disciples received the message and started the first Christian church with this central truth. Even though the same message is written in the scriptures for all to read, it has somehow been distorted and a new message has been written that people are trying to follow.  Not only is God rising up ministers to declare His true message, but some ministers are rising up their own ministers to teach their distorted message.

Union through the Message

Our Christian faith is based on the truth of one God and we are baptized into the body of Christ.  That truth, that faith and that baptism leads us all into the one body of Christ that makes us the family of God.  Everything outside of it is of the world and rooted in the devil’s lie, but Christ is still the door which all people are brought into the unity as the body of believers.

The church, as it is known in America and some other nations, have done an extraordinary job of confusing the people.  Many who would serve God are being delivered a distorted message about the Christian faith.  Leaders, who could not be trusted like Abraham or David, have discipled a group of believers with a false gospel that have brought confusion to the church.  The bible teaches that the devil is the author of confusion and not God (I Cor. 14:33).  The voice of some teachers have invalidated the voice of bible scripture and therein lies the problem.

My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace. Jer 50:6 

Paul taught:

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (Rom 10:13-15)

God has sent His preachers with the true message; and Satan, as an imitator of God, has sent his false messengers to contaminate the true message of God.  The mistake of some seekers of God is their failure to compare the written word of God to the message of their preachers to see if it is truth.

And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.  Act 17:10-11

God has warned the believer of false teachers and commanded them to study the word for themselves.  There is amazing access to the scripture everywhere in America through libraries, bookstores, braille texts, radio, tracts, CD’s, computers, television and through church and outreach ministries.   Anyone crying out to God can expect a response from God so there is no excuse for ignorance of God in America.  With all the truth that God has given us through prophets, Jesus, preachers, the bible, and the Holy Spirit; the church and the gospel message have still been led astray by false teachings.  It is disheartening to watch some of the things taught by preachers, from snake handling to the “name and claim it” message.  We never saw Abraham, David, Peter or Paul teach some of the things that are being emphasized in churches today.  Paul was not trying to test God’s power when he was bitten by a snake.  He was going about the business of his ministry when a viper tried to abort the mission.   Neither did Abraham, David, Peter or Paul serve God to heap on themselves material things like the televangelists do today.  The early disciples were empowered with God’s ability because of their obedient service to God and their obedience brought the blessings of God into their lives without defrauding the people.  Though Abraham was abundantly blessed, we never saw him pursuing the things.  He refused the spoils of war offered him by Melchizedek, the priest of God. Elijah’s servant Gehazi was cursed with leprosy because of greed in seeking reward for ministry work. The most profound teacher of scripture, Apostle Paul taught more about aligning our lives with the will of God than on exercising faith for things. Jesus actually taught that we should seek God and take no thought about the things of life:

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Mat 6:25, 32, 33

Paul emphasized the Deuteronomy Chapter 28 teaching about obedience reaping good things and disobedience reaping evil.  He also taught about a people “Who changed the truth of God into a lie and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator…” (Rom. 1:25).  Man’s religion consists of his idea of serving God but it does not mean it is God’s way.  James taught in the New Testament that “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world (Jas. 1:27).  James emphasized love and service to God while loving his neighbor as evidence of pure religion.  The racial hatred, division and community corruption we see in our world today is evidence of a false religion, false worship and false god.  Pure religion will result in love of God and man, where peace and harmony exists in the community and the needs of people are met.

Many of our churches are teaching a “Me” gospel where one seeks to satisfy self with all he desires while preachers illustrate a model of greed that is never satisfied regardless of the multiple houses, cars or planes acquired.  A church focused on things causes disunity because greed repeals while giving draws and promotes love and unity.  Churches are failing to deal with the moral issues of our community while busy reaping material things for self-glory.  The self-sacrificing service and Christian surrender of Acts Chapter Two is visibly missing.

Christ taught the church to be at the forefront and gave warnings of danger and strategies of the enemy.  Here is an Old Testament example of a warning pertinent in today’s society: “Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter” (Ecc. 10:20).  That wisdom given to the children of God gave forewarning of days like these where one’s words are carried by electronic devices from the bedchamber to the public arena to be used by an enemy.  Imagine if some of our exposed leaders had heeded that biblical warning!  When the church is caught up in pursuing money, it puts itself in a place of temptation where the enemy lies in wait.  This temptation by Satan for money was one of the first lessons Jesus revealed to us in scripture.  When the church craves money just like the world then the world loses its moral teacher.  With little or no moral guidance, money temptations have led some of our leaders astray from within and without the borders.

The Church’s Responsibility to Unite

At the core of the problems facing America as a nation is a church failing to do its job.  It was given one job and that was to imitate Christ and make disciples.  If you think, “Impossible!” then consider these questions.  To whom did Jesus:

  • Make heir of His power and authority on earth? (Luk 9:1)
  • Give power to declare the message of salvation and loosen captives? (Mar 16:15-16, 18)
  • Assign power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy? (Luk 10:19)
  • Declare that nothing would be impossible to them that believe? (Mat 17:20)

Jesus did not come to Jerusalem to blame the sick people for being sick. He came amazed at finding no doctors to heal them.  If the doctor has no knowledge to operate, he has no business being called a surgeon or going into the operating room.  When Jesus came to Jerusalem there were plenty of surgeons with no power to heal and he called them out for their inability.  God described the religious leaders as: “…dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber” (Isa 56:10).  Jesus called Jerusalem’s religious leaders: hypocrites, vipers and serpents.  Marveling over the lack of watchmen or ministers to help the people, Jesus began to heal, deliver and set free those in bondage.

Among my early writings online was an article inquiring of pastors: “How Much Are You Like the Lord?”  That is the assignment of Christ’s ministers: to be like Him.  People looking for Christ should find His ministers doing the healing and delivering that Christ demonstrated.  The healed will then return home witnessing that God still heals and glorifying Jesus, that he is still alive!  Where is that witness to bring glory to God and why are people asking if God is dead?  Jesus called out the Charlatans that deceived the people for filthy lucre who left them broken, hurt and disappointed.  He came to heal the people but he rebuked the leaders who did not know Him or His Father.  God had already prophesied this through Jeremiah: “Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD” (Jer 23:2).  God is requiring a change from the head down because leaders should lead the people in the right way.  That is why God is exposing American false leaders at all levels that have defrauded His people and led them astray.  He is challenging us to look higher than men to Christ.  True leaders are those that know God; they have His power, authority and knowledge to represent Him to the people.  King David was a blessing to the people of his kingdom because of his love for God.  Believers should be able to recognize the difference between true and false leaders: a King Saul compared to King David.  Jesus taught us about a separating of the sheep from the goats. Neither God nor Jesus ever commanded that people had to believe and follow all leaders.  They taught the difference so believers would not be deceived.  Peter taught: “We ought better to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).  Jesus taught:

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. Joh 10:27-28 

And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.  And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. Joh 10:4-5

True Christian ministry starts with one who has known the Father and His Son through an encounter or intimacy like that experienced by Abraham, Moses, David or Paul and one who goes on to disciple family and the world for the love of God.  “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” Rom 10:15).

Christians have one Lord who is Christ; one faith which is the finished work of Christ on the cross and they are united in the one body of Christ.  Christ’s kingdom and church in the earth prevents the rule of the evil one in the earth.   Satan cannot possibly head a true Christian body and certainly cannot come near without sounding bells and whistles; Christ will always rise up His trumpets and trumpeters.  Satan can, however, rise to the head of a false church without any alarms going off because it is his.  Organizations or groups where evil rises to rule as head are void of Christ, even if they once recognized Christ.  True believers will not follow a false lord but will flee from him as Christ taught.  Those religious people who pursue money are actually pursuing a false god, not Christ.    Christ commanded His disciples to follow Him, not things. Jesus Christ is Lord over the Christian church, but Satan lords over many false religions.  The devil has led people astray in church, organizations and government where he lords and is preparing to one day manifest himself as their leader.  Where some people may believe they are too entrenched in certain unions to deny the devil that has them bound, freedom starts by denouncing Satan and professing Jesus Christ as Lord.  Jesus taught the sinner that he must be born again (Joh. 3:7) and He came into the world to save those that were hopelessly lost and enslaved to the devil.  They can be “born again” into the family of God when they receive Christ as Lord. Through faith they become baptized into a new family:  the body of Christ.

The true gospel has the power to put us on the path to becoming one with the body of Christ.  It is the responsibility of Christ‘s ministers to help believers come into full maturity ready to carry out their own Christian witness.  What we have seen too often is Christ giving liberty and then some “churches” bringing people back into bondage to their church rules and guilt. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.  Church rules do not have the ability to unite the body across lines of physical division, but Christ’s power can.   Strong church leaders can lead people into a unity with Christ or to a false god through ignorance and people must know who is lord over their religious fellowship.  Christ has come to set all men free and give us the Holy Spirit who brings union with the body of Christ as one people and one family.  It starts with confession of sin and receiving Christ’s salvation.  Liberty and maturity in Christ leads us into a united body of believers across gender, race, cultural and physical lines.  This is the unity America was destined to display for the nations.  Christ’s prayer to the Father before His crucifixion was that believers would become one as He and the Father are one.  We become one through recognizing and walking in: One Lord, one faith, one baptism that unites believers in the one body of Christ.

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (Joh 13:35)

 

 

When the Curtain is Drawn Back

January 2019

When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed for ever:    But thou, LORD, art most high for evermore.  For, lo, thine enemies, O LORD, for, lo, thine enemies shall perish; all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered. . . . Ps. 92:7-9

We are taught stories at a young age that reveal the mysteries of life to guide us from youth, if we retain them.  Such a lesson is the story of the big bad wolf that came to blow down the houses of the three little pigs.  He blew down the house of straw and the one made of sticks because they were weak in structure.  When the wolf came to blow down the house of bricks, it was too strong and withstood his attack. This lesson teaches us to build strong houses or lives that can withstand the storms of life.  Important lessons can be learned from simple childhood stories.

Several more complicated lessons can be learned from the lengthy story of the Wizard of Oz.  Who could forget the end of the story?  The long, tedious journey of Dorothy and her friends brought them before a menacing wizard that made them shake in their boots.  When Dorothy’s dog pulled back the curtain, a shocking sight was revealed to them.  The menacing voice behind the curtain was really a small, weak old man using a magnified voice to create fear in those who heard him. He was revealed as a fraud and imitator. Things can seem menacing or impenetrable but that may just be the curtain.  The wolf is not always so smart and the evil curtain is not always as invincible as it appears.

The scripture written above reveals a truth about the end of a menacing enemy.  First appearances may seem foreboding and impenetrable but it does not mean it will withstand the force of time or pressure.  Scriptures in Psalms and Proverbs give us the wisdom of age-old problems.  They reveal our most earnest needs in life and our fear at the challenges of an enemy.  God reveals in Psalms and Proverbs that He both supplies what we need and conquers our fear.  The lessons of our youth, which brought us hope, often need to be repeated to our more mature self because of the many times we have failed the test and the challenges to our faith.

The innocence of the Garden of Eden gave way to the evil that was waiting behind the curtain when disobedience was accomplished.  We have had to deal with that evil throughout life as it has risen and fallen.  When it rises to an overwhelming force where it looks like it will destroy us, there is an invisible force behind another curtain that causes it to subside because the Overseer behind this curtain is neither timid nor powerless to help us.  Childhood stories gave us hope that evil could be overcome but the terrorizing fear in adulthood may not always withstand the fear with youthful hope.  Amazingly, God has told believers that they must come to Him as little children (Mt. 18:3); yet adults often choose to internalize their fear that unconquered will cause tumors, heart disease, cancer, strokes as well as many phobias and other diseases resulting from fear.

Ancient Israel had an experience with a curtain that had hidden behind it the means of their deliverance and instruction.  As long as they obeyed, God kept them safe.  In the midst of their camp in the wilderness, they built a place of worship called the tabernacle that was surrounded by curtains.  They stepped within the borders of the curtains to interact with their God.  They brought an offering behind the curtains from their bounty in penitence for sin  and found God’s mercy extended toward them.  Once a year, God extended an opportunity to meet with Him for a fresh start.  The high priest would go behind the curtain into the holy of holies to meet with God on behalf of the people.  If he was a clean representative of the people, he would meet with God and receive favor and the removal of the sin from Israel.  If he had not properly prepared himself to meet with God and was unclean, he would die behind the curtain and the rope attached to his leg would be used by the people to pull him out from behind the curtain where the glory and presence of God abode.  The nature of God was always that He was good but the people and the priests received the consequences of their actions.  This practice left a lot to be desired and God had in mind a better way that was to come down through the ages of time in Jesus Christ, the perfect sacrifice and perfect priest.

When Jesus came into the earth, Divinity was wrapped in a curtain of human flesh.  God was extending mercy to all mankind.  Jesus walked the earth for 33 years, repudiating sin and rebuking evil.  His mission was to overcome evil with good.  Evil seemed to have won when the evil one provoked man to pierce the flesh of the Holy One on a cruel cross until Jesus died.  What seemed to have been the end was only a new beginning though. When darkness pierced the curtain (the flesh of Jesus’ body), it rend the veil between man and God that released the Holy Spirit.  The darkness of sin met with the mercy of God revealed in the Holy Spirit that dwelt behind the curtain in the tabernacle. The barrier between God and man was removed so man could approach his God for himself without the intermediary of a high priest. Sin and the devil had lost and man and the Holy Spirit had won by the power of God.

Jesus paid the price for the removal of sin and evil. The Holy Spirit abides with us today in an intimacy that neither the tabernacle nor the flesh of Jesus could.  The tabernacle was limited to a particular place and time as was Jesus when He walked the earth.  But today the Holy Spirit can be everywhere at the same time and available to whomever needs Him.  The Holy Spirit is also a curtain now that hides the saints of God from the evil that is without. We know that the devil is an imitator of God, so he hides his workers behind a curtain too.  The source of evil is often veiled and it can be difficult to discern where it is coming from or what hand has dealt the fatal blow.  It can often hit us from various directions until it seems overwhelming.  No amount of darkness though is hidden from the All-Seeing Eyes of God who watches over the earth and His children.

When those that possesses the Holy Spirit of God commune behind the veil with the Father about the evil in the earth, God rolls back the curtain of darkness to expose the evil with His light.  We no longer have to wait on the high priest of the tabernacle or the once-a-year intervention.  God’s power is immediately available to all His children.  Satan, who manipulates people and operates in darkness, is revealed when the curtain of darkness is pulled back by the light of Christ Jesus.  Behind that curtain is a weak and defeated enemy who has already succumbed to the power of Christ’s resurrection.  The truth that Satan is already defeated is a truth he wanted kept a secret but it is one destroys the fear of his lies.

The three little pigs need not fear the big bad wolf anymore because they dwell in a house strong enough to withstand the wolf’s attack.  One version of the story has the wolf trying to sneak in the house by the chimney and ending up in a pot of scalding water on the fireplace that provides a wealth for the three little pigs when they sell his hide.  The menacing wizard behind the curtain was powerless as is the devil against the child of God. Jesus came veiled in a body of flesh and blood to destroy the devil that had the power of death and Jesus delivered believers from a lifetime in the fear of death.

The wolf has brought a breath of fear against the nation of America and the wisdom of God has allowed some houses of straw or sticks to fall.  There were houses built on false teachings; lust of money, sex and self-fulfillment that fell when exposed to the light.  America’s nature of infidelity was revealed when God pulled back the curtain of false religion and exposed false doctrine, fraud, idolatry and sexual immorality in the pulpit and priesthood.  He pulled back the curtain of government and exposed racism, discrimination, fraud, organized crime, hatred, sexual immorality, lies, national disloyalty, ignorance and pride.  He pulled back the curtain of business and exposed fraud, theft, sexual immorality, greed and treachery.  God has allowed America to see that it has poor leadership in homes, schools, government, businesses and its churches  Their weaknesses came because of failing to acknowledge and uphold the power of God in their leadership.  God did not expose these weaknesses for America’s defeat but rather for America’s repentance.  Even though these weaknesses could cause the nation to fall, it is God who determines whether it stands or falls.  His decision depends on the nation’s decision on repentance and turn from sin.  A drowning man must make the decision between fighting for life and giving up to die.  The fight for America depends on giving up the fight against God and dying to sin so there can be a rebirth.  The unethical nature of America is no better than the nations to whom it once stood as a shining light on a hill or beacon.

Righteousness exalteth a nation but sin is a reproach to any people. Prov. 11:34

God reveals man’s sin in the open when he fails to heed the various warnings sent to him to repent. At every church communion, God asks that believers examine themselves and determine if they are suitable to commune with God behind the veil.  God both allows and helps His children to discover their own sin so as to repent and be delivered from that which can cause death.  It is the love of God that reveals our sin to us.  Every Israelite that came to the tabernacle with an offering for sin was acknowledging to the priest that he was a sinner deserving death but was requesting mercy instead. The priest accepting the offering was supposed to be sanctified for the purpose of receiving the offering for sin and standing as an intermediary between God and man even though no human has ever been worthy for this task.  Judgment was temporarily prevented by this system of repentance and forgiveness of sin.  The resurrection of Christ from the dead for our sin has replaced the Israelite system with the new system of Christ’s own blood offered once for the sin of every believer.

Today Christ requires man to confess sin in intimacy with Him through prayer and in some cases to another believer to receive forgiveness.  Christ will reveal our sin to us in the privacy of our prayer in communion with Him when our heart is tender enough to hear.  Those that resist this option will have the opportunity to be told their sin by another person or circumstance.  Strong resistance against confession of sin brings more sternness from God to make one aware of sin and allow opportunity for repentance.  This is the mercy of God.  Prophets may be sent to a people refusing to heed God’s warnings.  They stand as an intermediary between man and the judgment in the Old and New Testaments.  God has always shown mercy toward mankind to get them to return to Him before destruction.  Noah preached for 120 years before the destruction by flood that wiped out the whole earth.  God loves the creation He has made and He said it all was good after making it.  Romans Chapter One tells us that even the wicked on which wrath will fall have had God revealed to them through nature itself testifying of God and that they are without excuse.  God is willing to reveal Himself to all that seek Him in sincerity and forgive all sin through Jesus Christ’s blood shed on the cross.

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Pe 3:9 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. Jo. 3:16-17

God has allowed the curtain to be pulled back to reveal the sin of our nation, leaders and people so that we can receive the forgiveness made available to us through the ripping of the tabernacle veil to reveal Jesus Christ as Savior of the world, where we can find mercy in our time of need.  If the veil of our heart has been rend to reveal our personal need, then God has allowed us opportunity to humble ourselves in His presence to receive His mercy and grace.

WHY THE FATHER OF THE PROSPERITY MOVEMENT REBUKED HIS DISCIPLES

December 13, 2018

How it Started

If we traced the present prosperity movement back to its springboard, we would find Kenneth E. Hagin and his many teachings on spiritual gifts and church leadership.  Many of today’s prominent evangelical teachers sprung from the lineage of the Kenneth Hagin faith movement. While the public’s distaste for prosperity teachers does not disqualify Hagin or his teachings, it does help us to discover how we got where we are today.  Hagin told the story in his books of a spiritual encounter that brought healing, inspiration and revelation of Jesus Christ while he was bedridden as a little boy. His experiences led him to establish a teaching/evangelistic ministry in 1949 and a school in 1974.

Hagin’s teachings excited a sluggish church movement where preaching the gospel did not seen to work out very well for the preacher or the people.  As preachers were working as itinerant preachers, travelling around to churches declaring the word of God, they suffered lack of provisions in their personal lives.  Pastors were experiencing the same general problem of lack while trying to be faithful to God in ministering the Word.  Evangelists would stay in the homes of church members or leaders who welcomed them in their spare room with free meals.  They were often ill paid for their services by poor churchgoers or duped by the hosting church leader.  It was a system in need of repair as the faithful were sometimes being mistreated by those to whom they ministered.

Kenneth Hagin wrote in his books about his own experiences with being defrauded and suffering lack while trying to faithfully serve God.  He wrote of how he went to preaching engagements in faith believing God for traveling expenses, housing and funds to support his family back home.  He recalled the difficulty he experienced when pastors did not give him his fair share of the offering raised from his preaching and how he suffered financially.  He wrote that he addressed the problem to God and was given revelation into God’s plan for financial prosperity.  God never intended for his servants to suffer poverty while ministering for Him and He began to show Hagin His true plan for their financial well-being.  Hagin, of course, began to teach his own followers what he had learned and the Word of Faith Ministry was launched.  Ministers would stand on God’s word and believe God to respond with a supply of their needs if they were faithful.  Not only did they begin to operate in a faith walk with God for meeting their needs but they taught the people to believe by faith as well for their own financial blessings.  Because the people believed that they, too, would be delivered from poverty if they gave the preacher of their resources; they began to give greatly in expectation of a sizable return for their generosity, as they still do today.

God was surely faithful to bless the giver who trusted Him according to His word.  Kenneth Hagin became a well-known preacher/teacher and prospered with his new teaching.  He appeared to be humble and obedient to God in execution of the word.  People were seeing the miraculous moves of God through faith and the Word reinforced the teaching of Hagin.  Kenneth Hagin began to have large followings and multitudes of meetings to teach spiritually hungry believers who needed real answers from God.  Hagin was not the first teacher of faith, healings or miracles, but most of today’s sensational teaching sprung through a host of his followers.  There were other well-known evangelists, faith healers and word of faith preachers during this period as well.  Some widely known preachers of faith during that time were Kathryn Kuhlman, A. A. Allen, William Branham, Jim and Tammy Bakker and Oral Roberts, and others.

Error Detected and Addressed

We know that he best laid plans and intentions can go awry.  Where some ministers saw answers to prayers and help for their true service through Hagin’s teaching, of course, there were some who saw an opportunity for great wealth and fame through teaching the bible to uneducated followers of Christ.  There were so many churches where few really understood the word but they taught in faith what they had been taught and many people followed in fear of the consequences of disobedience.  Many local churches taught the saints about the horrors of hell without much emphasis on the grace of God.  The new liberty and blessings taught by the Word of Faith churches were a welcomed alternative.  The Word of Faith churches and movement grew in size and followers.  In 1974, Hagin began his school called Rhema Bible Training Center that greatly promoted the Word of Faith teachings, commonly called the prosperity movement.

Hagin wrote a book addressing how his teaching was being distorted and, in some cases, straight out erroneous or false teaching for nefarious reasons.  He made an effort to give correction to the churches that had strung up from his original teachings.  This book was entitled: “The Midas Touch: A Balanced Approach to Biblical Prosperity”. Hagin, who born in 1917, died in 2003 shortly after publishing this scathing book repudiating the misdirection of his message.  Shortly before he died he called a meeting of his closest followers, who had carried his teaching into large national and international ministries and movements of their own, to come hear his message in repudiation of their erroneous teaching.  Hagin had convened a special meeting in Tulsa, Oklahoma on the campus of Rhema Bible Training Center, the Fall of 1999 to rebuke followers for manipulating the Bible to support what he viewed as greed and selfish indulgence. The topic was: Excesses and error present within the “prosperity” message being taught by the major Word of Faith ministries.   The report is the meeting was attended by well-known teachers of today:  Kenneth Copeland; Creflo Dollar; Jerry Savelle; Jesse Duplantis; Mac Hammond; and Steve Parson.  There is a long list of prosperity preachers today that sprung up from the original teachings that are a who’s who of the religious world.  They are also the who’s who of the world’s millionaires and privileged possessing multi-million dollar homes, cars, ministries and personal airplanes.

The wealth of prosperity preachers, the poverty of the givers and the distaste to believers because of these preachers appear to be a 180 degree turn from the original teaching and intents of Kenneth Hagin.  The end results we see today in the practices of prosperity preaching must have been the incentive for Kenneth Hagin to call the meeting with his followers in 1999.  He must have foreseen the error and damage to the church and the gospel message that we are experiencing today.  Prosperity teaching has gone from the modest teaching of faith to the fragrantly outrageous swindling of the people (2 Pet. 2:3).

In 2007, the United States Congress through Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), tried to rein in the abuse but several of the preachers in question stood up in rebellion to the inquiry, questioning the validity of worldly authority into their spiritual affairs.  Some of them refused to disclose their financial accounting.  It is true that spiritual authority exceeds worldly authority when the spiritual authority is sound and righteous; but when spiritual authority is in error, it is God who brings judgment to His stewards.  God can use any person or means to bring correction.  When the wicked reign long and there is no outcry by the people, it is not proof that God is pleased with them.  Jesus taught:  “And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch (Luk 6:39)?”  They are both thrown on the trash heap.  God does not always reconcile his accounting books overnight.  There is a throne of judgment awaiting each of us to be judged by the Lamb of God for our deeds (Rev. 7:4; II Cor. 5:10).

Distorting the Bible Authority

Ministers can choose to evade the biblical process where God ordains oversight for local pastors.  Unbiblical positions of pastors who rule over worldwide or multiple churches are not authorized in scripture by Jesus.  Preachers often in error use titles of pastors, while they minister as world-wide evangelists.  They misuse the title of prophet while pastoring and evangelizing nationally and internationally.  They may call their office pastor while running multiple churches, national and international businesses with regular interactions with politics.  These are all unlawful actions of the church simply because they are not authorized by Christ or scripture.  If you wonder why Christ has not corrected this behavior, it is because He gave authority to the church to correct spiritual behavior. Jesus will be our final judge of obedience.  Apostle Paul called out Apostle Peter’s sin. The prophet, John, called out Herod’s sin.  Prophet Nathan brought a correcting message to King David.  Even Israel challenged some of their own tribes to war because of setting up another altar (Jos 22:10).  When no correction is brought by God’s people, He throws them all on the trash heap as He has done over and over in scripture.  Korah’s theft and rebellion under Moses’ leadership brought death into the whole camp (Num. 16).  There are nations and governments today that still stand after betrayal of their covenant with God but to what avail?  We have seen various countries and nations that once stood strong on biblical values that now have horrible internal violence and reputations on the world stage.  Many of these formerly Christian nations appear God-forsaken, turned over to a reprobate state or set for enemy destruction. This is the conclusion of rebellious nations.  What a horrible fate for anyone who has ever loved God but a rebellious heart and a seared conscious is insensitive to the things of God.  Reprobate preachers can continue in religious activity, having no standing with God and rule over people at their mercy without the presence of God (Tit 1:16).  Even though it seems merciless for God to leave them in this condition, God never leaves a true believer, who will be led away from such places. This is the end Hagin probably sought to prevent occurring for those he taught.

In the early 80’s, I began reading Hagin books and listened to his tapes.  I attended a Hagin conference once, bought his Rhema bible, watched prosperity television programs and attended some conferences by his ministers.  While diligently seeking God through local church attendance, personal study , outreach ministry, donating funds and attending conferences; it all came to a miserable end.  Fortunately, I also had a connection with God that picked me up from where I had fallen and led me to the right path.  I observed as the movement grew by leaps and bounds and continued to examine the teachings because there were few others who could provide advanced biblical knowledge during that time.  My heart and prayer goes out to all of those still caught up in the error of this movement from which God delivered me.

Many people whether believers or non-believers have discovered the error of this group of Christians but the movement has become so big that it even encompasses top government leaders enthralled in this practice.  Some evangelicals who endorsed the current U.S. president are leaders in this movement, who now appear to have been blinded-sided by the accusations of unlawful collusion with a foreign nation, sexual immorality and financial misconduct.  Some of these evangelicals mirror the president in their multiple marriages/divorces and their pursuit of greater wealth and prestige. The U. S. President is believed to have had some early training in the positive thinking teaching of Norman Vincent Peale, a forerunner of faith teaching which led into the greater leaps of faith for wealth by the prosperity movement. Jesus warned against the lust for material things and this vulnerability and lack of moral compass seems to be the glue that holds this group together.  They have denied the true love for God, gospel truth and moral conscious in their pursuit of greater wealth.  Religious followers seem to envy these prosperity preachers’ extravagant homes, churches buildings and lifestyles and they pursue these leaders and methods like lottery tickets, believing their lucky day too will soon come.

Kenneth Hagin’s book rebuking his followers was called:  “The Midas Touch: A Balanced Approach to Biblical Prosperity, 2003.”  It is reported and evidenced by subsequent behavior of Hagin followers that they did not take heed to his rebuke or his advice to change their ministry approach.   Hagin did not deny of his original teaching on prosperity but reproved the ungodly balance in pursuit of profit for preaching.

The current prosperity teaching is a practice of religious abuse or abuse of power.  Jesus very blatantly rebuked the religious leaders of Jerusalem for this very practice (Mt. 7:15; Mt. 2314-27) and the Old Testament priests (I Sam. 2:16) had a similar abuse of religious authority.  The authoritative position and power of religious leaders over people make correction a very difficult prospect.  The greatest tragedy of this practice of abuse is that it brings a reproach on God’s name.  Believers willing to give to God are disappointed when their giving is not fruitful as promised.  These preachers then accuse the giver of lacking enough faith to receive a blessing like they did.  They bring a reproach on the church and the name of Christ.

One way of looking at this practice is revealed in the saying that “a fish rots from the head down.”  It implies a failure of an organization’s leadership.  Corrupt leadership in church effect the spiritual condition of the people and makes it difficult for members to escape its snare. Because the church is the head of a community of people and the head of God’s authority in earth, its corruption rots everything in its path.  With the influence of prosperity preaching in the high ranks of government, its influence runs throughout the nation and at every level.  What the evangelical preachers did in offering God’s favor, adding authenticity to the current president, was to add spiritual corruption to our nation when they put an anointing on a scandalous candidate to be head of our nation as President of the United States of America.  Their prayers gave spiritual empowerment to a corrupt vessel.  Is there any wonder the nation is struggling with spiritual battles of good and evil throughout the land. ‘Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain (Psa 127:1). Our current difficulties mirror the problems of biblical King Saul while he walked in disobedience with God and brought failure and trouble to the whole nation.  King David was both a spiritual and political leader in Israel and his sin brought death and destruction to Israel (2Sa 12:9). King David’s punishment brought death to his child, disinheritance to his heir, violence of war and a period of humiliation from his beloved son.  In another sin of David, God’s wrath poured out a sentence on the people of David’s kingdom:

2Sa 24:13  So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days’ pestilence in thy land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me.   2Sa 24:15 So the LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan even to Beersheba seventy thousand men.

The bible examples of King David show the damage to a nation when the leader sins.  The impact of the leader’s sin is shown in the Old Testament kings and the effect on the people under their authority.  Where the power and authority of the leader should bless the people, we have seen that they can be a curse to the people instead.  People under authority of leaders are advised by God to pray for those over them and the example above proves why it is so important.  Our destiny can be wrapped up in the leader’s destiny.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely and the love of money is the root of all evil. Therefore, when these charismatic leaders take sole authority, their greed for money makes them a cancerous double assault against the church and infect our world.

The false set up of most of these churches makes it difficult to correct because the pastor is often both the leaseholder and chief financial officer. God’s correction has to be exercised either from within the church through true believers or from outside authority.  The sole power of these leaders has made both types of correction very difficult.  Hagin probably did all he could to correct this error and he cannot be held responsible for the high jacking of his teaching.  It takes truth to reveal error and the more truth is revealed the greater chance some victims may have to escape.  The persistence of American news reporters in revealing corruption in our government despite the President’s criticism has been the saving grace to our American democracy in the midst of the Russia scandal.  Church dissidents must be equally persistent to correct their church corruption or flee idolatry to prevent their own destruction. We have seen recently some churches that have stood up against church abuse by the pastor but it is difficult and rare.  Churches that are set up with proper oversight can save their people from abuse by bringing correction to a straying leader.  We see Apostle Paul bringing proper correction to the churches he established in II Corinthian Chapters 3 through 15 and there should be elders in each church to help guide and correct the local assembly.  Teachers, pastors, bishops nor evangelists are given world-wide or final authority in Jesus’ church.  The book of Ephesian clearly states that the church structure was built on the foundation set by prophets and apostles with Jesus Christ as the final authority revealed by the Holy Spirit.

Eph 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone…

Jesus clearly committed the church to His apostles who established and guided the church by the words they received from Christ, the Lord.  Old and New Testaments reveal the sacrifices made by prophets and apostles under the strict tutorage of the Lord’s guidance and how He led them as they led His people.  The close relationship between God and His apostles and prophets, along with the discipline He mete out to them, make these leaders of a different quality than local pastors.  Local pastors can advance to higher offices but Christ does the calling and sets the order of His church.  The gospel is based on sacrificial service to God by those that follow Christ but the prosperity preachers are seeking their wealth and privilege now here on earth for their service and denying the principle of sacrifice and suffering that comes to test every believer as Apostle Paul taught and revealed through his life.  Prosperity preachers neglect this teaching because they falsely emphasize an easy life of comfort in Christ that many desire.

Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Jas 5:10

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 2Ti 3:12

The nation of America has had the knowledge and freedom to exercise biblical truth but is now seeing the matured fruit of the prosperity gospel message metastasize in chaos, darkness and confusion for the nation. The prosperity movement has been accepted by a President who appears to believe the greatest gift is wealth and is being guided by religious leaders who are motivated by their own wealth and fame.  The bible clearly ask: How can two walk together except they be agreed (Amos 3:3). They have followed a false gospel and false god through temptation of wealth and fame, which temptation Christ refused (Mt. 4), and it has led a whole nation toward imminent ruin and jeopardy by an angry God that the nation swore to obey.  The punishment for choosing another god is severe…ask biblical Israel who were sold into bondage again and again (Deu. 28:36; Joe. 3:8). Wisdom pleads for the Christian believer to search out the truth and turn from error, which Satan always sweetens with just enough truth to entice the unlearned.  Kenneth E. Hagin both taught and wrote a book to bring the erroneous teaching to the attention of those that would follow succession of his ministry but the truth was already written in the scriptures that Christ instructed all men to read for themselves.  Jesus always taught the believer to live by faith in the Word of God but He warned against the pursuit and love of money (Mt. 4:4; Mar 8:36).  The choice has always been and will always be: choose whom you will serve.

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.  Jos 24:15  (KJV)

You cannot serve two masters: God and money.  For you will hate one and love the other, or else the other way around. Mt. 6:24 (TLB)

What To Do When Evil Sits In The High Place?

November 2018

Most of us know from childhood teachings that there is right and wrong behavior and consequences rendered for choosing what is wrong, but the great dispute of our society today is determining what is actually right or wrong.  It seems to vary based on the concepts and teachings of those who consider the matter.  The morals of our society derived from home teachings or personal opinions have branded us with a certain frame of mind and value system that is difficult to uproot.  Our capitalist society no longer wants to support old biblical concepts or moral absolutes that came from allegiance to God and that established our government and nation because it could stand in the way of pleasure or profitable gain.

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?  Mat 16:26

There was a time when people believed concepts of heaven or hell as moral restraint and final destination for life’s deeds.  Belief in a Sovereign God, who rules earth and man’s life, was accepted in most civilized societies of early Europe and America.  People were so persuaded in the idea of a Sovereign God and of eternal damnation until many nations following the crucifixion of Christ established government religions like the official adoption of Christianity by the Roman Empire in AD 380, and the subsequent Christianization of most of Europe.  After the crucifixion and appointment of apostles, Peter’s ministry in first century AD Rome  became the foundation of the Christian church that was later called the Catholic Church.  The Catholic Church’s message was taken world-wide as missionaries were sent out to teach and convert sinners.  There was zeal to take truth into all the dark places of the earth.  From those early Christian beginnings, nations established religions that were endorsed and directed by kings and emperors; some of whom became ruthless toward the people and forced leadership change, even though they professed Christ and endorsed the Catholic Church.

The Holy bible tells us of the righteousness and holiness of God as the Creator of the world and of the glory and majesty of heaven as the angels shower God with worship and praise.  Scripture revealed that the head angel of heaven, named Lucifer, led worship to God until evil was found in him.  This evil being led an uprising with other angels in conspiracy to overthrow the throne of God so that he could rule in God’s place.  This anarchy ended when Lucifer and his cohorts were kicked out of heaven by the Sovereign God, who rule supreme in heaven and earth.  The anarchists were evicted out of heaven and thrown down to earth where they then set out to corrupt earth and torment the children of God.

Satan sought to control the high place of heaven and now has access to earth and the hearts of mankind.  His evil influence tempted the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, to disobey God and caused them to lose fellowship and peace between mankind and God in the Garden of Eden.  From that point to this, mankind has had to deal with his evil influence in the affairs of man.  Satan still envies God’s authority and seeks to establish a kingdom that will compete with or overthrow God’s authority and that is why man is both a potential tool and enemy.

The opening chapter of the New Testament shows Satan’s temptation of Jesus Christ after a 40-day fast in the wilderness.  Satan took Christ upon the pinnacle of the temple and later offered Christ all the kingdoms in Satan’s possession if Jesus would just bow down and worship Satan (Mt. 4).  Christ, of course, refused every temptation and successfully passed each test in obedience.  We see revealed in this story, power that the devil possessed to tempt Christ and all mankind to sin against God.  Apostle Paul taught that: “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the ruler of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph 6:12).”  So when we run into wickedness, we need to realize it is the power of Satan working in souls that have fallen victim to his influence.  That is the reason why we have to identify Satan’s work and learn how to fight.  Our fight is not against man, whose soul God loves, but against the enemy in the person whom the evil spirit has taken captive.

Jesus warned us about the wit of evil men “…for the children of the world are in their generation wiser than the children of light (Lk 16:8).”  Jesus commended the unjust servant when caught for theft because of the wisdom he used in negotiating a way of escape from judgment. His evil skills were compared by Christ with the lack of wisdom in the children of God.  It was a point of shame because the children of God possess the advantage by their access to the omnipotent power and knowledge of God.  The children of God are actually more powerful than the devil’s children but the wisdom and power of deity is available to both.  Paul taught whose wisdom believers should choose: “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness (Rom 6:16)?”

There was a time when erratic behavior of individuals such as listed in Mark 5 was thought to be mental but Jesus taught us the root of certain types of problems can be spiritual dysfunction.  The very nature of some fights are spiritual battles rather than a societal, political, or mental issue that can be solved by practitioners of the medical, mental or psychological profession.  The Christian community has the advantage of Christ’s teaching and should be able to minister to people who are afflicted with spiritual abnormalities resulting in unnatural behavior in our communities.  Unfortunately many of our churches have advocated their religious responsibilities to mental health professionals who medicate, incarcerate or label people that could be otherwise set free by competent spiritual ministry.

Left to their devices people with great spiritual abnormalities can take on positions of high office where their subordinates have no power to resist.  This can occur in high offices in government, religion or society, where many have been discovered in great mischief only after much damage was done.  It is hypocrisy when this is found in churches. But Apostle Paul taught that “… Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light (2Co 11:14).  The devil loves to hide in the high places because that is what he is used to; but people should have their eyes open and seek proof of Christ’s presence in their religious leaders. The Catholic Church is now wrestling with pedophilia in priests that has been covered up by religious leaders for decades.   Business leaders are being confronted with criminal prosecution for sexual misbehavior that has long been condoned as acceptable business practice.  We see presently in the highest office of the land a man that a majority of America has called a narcissist, liar, thief, unpatriotic and unfit for office; yet there seems to be nothing anyone can do about it.  Because the office of president, the standard bearer for the nation, is the highest law enforcement office in America, there is no higher government office that can rein in unlawful actions.

Could it be possible that God, who orchestrated lawful governing of men from the instructions given Moses by his father-in-law, Jethro, had no remedy for this type of problem?  Contrary to the beliefs of the American people, God never made the president or any governmental representative the final authority in the land.  Godly spiritual authority has always been commissioned by God to discipline corrupt governmental authority.  For all the love God showered on King David, He did not condone David’s sin against Uriah when David took the man’s wife to bed and had the husband killed.  God in that situation raised up a spirit-led servant called a prophet of God who went to David as the mouthpiece of God to confront and convict David of his sin against God and the people.  David’s sin was judged by God and punishment was dispensed to the highest officeholder in the land.  We saw God in scripture (Dan 5) personally smite a heathen king for pride and arrogance and even use the finger of God to write a warning message on the palace wall for another.  When Israel and Judah’s leaders and citizens could no longer be corrected and brought back to godly discipline, they were all turned over to the enemy for punishment. God will always judge sin.  We see King Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, delivered into bondage to Babylon around 587 BC, his sons killed before him, and his eyes put out in captivity to his enemy (2Ki 25:7). The vast majority of Americans believe like the Israelites did that they possess superiority above all other people and could not be overtaken by enemy nations because of their relationship with God; but God favors present obedience, rather than symbols of past obedience.  So evil in the high place of the people of God is an affront to God and represents punishment, not favor.

God sent Jesus into the earth to restore power back to mankind for rule over the earth and righteous judgment of the behavior of man.  Jesus restored righteous rule through establishing the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The saints have power with God through prayer to bring intervention in the affairs of the earth.  Jesus clearly made it known to His disciples that they were to exercise righteous justice in the earth through the Holy Spirit’s power given to all who believed in Christ. That power extended through the use of righteous government officials brings people into submission to God’s authority as stated in I Peter 2:13.   Only through transferring the power of God to unrighteous worldly authority could the church stand powerless to exercise justice in the land.  And this we have seen performed by the church when it surrendered its authoritative power to the government for tax benefits! The story of Daniel teaches us that even an idolatrous government could be converted to God through holy intercession and petitioning of God in prayer.  The story and Jonah and Nineveh teach us that even the worst of nations can repent and be saved.

Americans have seen governments around the world trample on the rights of their citizens, denying their rights to religion, property, entrepreneurship and speech.  We recently saw government leaders in foreign countries travel into countries outside of their borders to kill opponents who spoke against their leadership.  American leadership cannot freely and openly do those types of crimes…yet.  America is headed in that direction though because right now no person in America has power of restraint to the highest office in the land when it promotes lawlessness.  The political problems of our nation now typifies the experience of a frog being slowly boiled to death.  The frog, which had the power to jump out at any time, became oblivious to the temperature change as it was being cooked to death by small increases in heat until it was too late.

God gives the church ability to recognize the enemy’s ways long before they are fully formed and the church should respond on first attack.   The devil used laws to first restrain prayer from American schools in 1962 and the church was silent, squashed the church voice through tax breaks in 1954/1987,  outlawed corporal punishment of children in 2014, removed the Ten Commandments from the public square in 2017, changed moral standards on marriage in 2015 with a silent church, contained individual Christian voices through erroneous religious teaching, divided the country by poor spiritual guidance and finally allowed hijack of the government through poor spiritual guidance and appointment of immoral administrative, judiciary and congressional leadership whose pursuits was enrichment rather than righteous rule that jeopardize American people by internal and external threats.  The mouth and hands of America have been tied in a knot and there is little help of saving her unless the church becomes convicted of sin, repent and cry out to God.  Politics cannot save America!  Jesus came as a spiritual Savior, not a political one.  Neither presidents nor congress have the ability to overcome their own lust for power and money to do what is right.  Righteousness must rise up against unrighteousness in order to restore justice.  Only the church was given”… power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy… (Lk 10:9).”  Only the church was told by Jesus that the gates of hell would not prevail against her (Mt 16:18).  That is why many churches had to be deceived and persuaded into following money rather than God. The bible teaches that the root of all evil is the love of money, which all Americans have been led to pursue at any cost (1Ti 6:10); but God is not mocked, nor defeated.

When the spirit of Satan infiltrates a soul, his characteristics will be manifested in those who are taken captive; so we must be able to identify the traits of Satan in order to understand his work in man and the atmosphere.  He hides his hand but we can still recognize him by his characteristics.  We can recognize the evil spirit that is Satan through his fruits as Jesus explained in Matthew 7:15.  Anger, hatred, lying, greed, disruptions and selfishness are some of his major tell-tale signs but he also deals subtly as well because the devil is crafty.  The book of Galatians gives us a list of the characteristics of the enemy at work.

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication (unmarried sex), uncleanness, lasciviousness (lustful/wanton/lewd/ girl-chasing old man), idolatry (worship of idols, not God), witchcraft, hatred, variance (inconsistent), emulations (envious/imitation), wrath (vengeful), strife(bitter/angry disagreement), seditions (inciting people to rebel), heresies(opinions contrary to tradition), envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Gal 5:19-21)

The book of Galatians goes on to tell us that the fruits of the spirit of God is love, joy and peace.  So we can identify what the evil one looks like in the high place and the low place.  Once an evil tree matures it cannot hide its fruit any longer and it has to manifest what type of tree it is.  Jesus taught us that a good tree does not produce evil fruit.  Once we know what we are dealing with, the children of God should know how to pray about this wickedness as taught in Ephesian 6.   We are the Daniels of our generation praying to God over the sin of our own life and that of our nation.

If the church waits for the government to overcome the devil and his work in our nation, then we give the devil free rein to do his work and gain control over the church Jesus died to establish.  If the church sleeps in apathy, apostasy, and continues its lust for material possessions, the devil laughs at Christ’s church as it sits powerless to fight.  The church cannot continue to preach a powerless gospel that has no conviction of sin because it wants to please the people who fill the coffers for prosperity preachers.  “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived (2Ti 3:13).”  Too many church leaders have fallen into Satan’s snare and been persuaded that their riches are proof of their success in God; when Satan, too, rewards with wealth temporarily those that will follow him.  It is temporary and it comes with a great cost eternally.

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way…And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Th 2:7, 10-12).

America appears roped and tied as it has fallen into the hands of an enemy hidden through the ages in the flesh and through the greedy power-seeking ways of man.  Satan’s great test to Jesus was the temptation of power and wealth, which all America craves.   Satan’s best temptation is the lust for material pleasures and worldly power, which Jesus freely gives to the obedient.  Jesus said that the people of this world are much wiser than the children of God and it seems to have proven true as Christians have sought wealth over God.    Have the children of God taken on a new lover and tossed aside the Savior of their souls for an evil ruler who will accompany them into eternal damnation?  Is it possible that the American Christian church can be revived back to God to save itself and the people from the enemy who desires the high place of God and Christ’s heritage for himself?

Jesus declared that the gates of hell would not prevail against the church and even when Elijah cried against the sin of Israel God replied that He had 7,000 that had not bowed to Baal.  Baal was a Canaanite false god known as an adversary to the Hebrew God.  Elijah defeated the Baal worshipers on Mount Carmel in the test for the True God (I Ki 18:21).  Elijah performed this test to show the people that it was the True God that they should serve, not Baal.  People cannot be saved until they repent of sin and they cannot repent if they do not know they have sinned.  The mission of the preacher and prophet is to show the people their sin and lead them to Christ for redemption. Jesus loved the sinner so much that He was willing to give his own life for their eternal soul.  Salvation has been purchased for the one who will turn his heart to Christ in repentance.   The devil has already been defeated through Christ’s death and triumphant resurrection.  Those who have been overcome can be restored if they cry out to God because He has promised to hear (Zec 13:9).  The earth belongs to God and Jesus has already purchased it back from the devil, but the people of God must be vigilant, rising up to fight for their own soul and for the nation wherever the devil has taken an unlawful position in the high places of God’s dominion.  The devil is a ferocious unrelenting adversary who will not easily surrender, but God will fight with us and for us with all power.  The victory is already won for those on the Lord’s side but they must stand in faith.   Victory is ours if we keep fighting until we overcome in battle.  It is a battle we are equipped for.  We are the children of the Most High God; and when we fight, we win.

America at the Precipice of Crisis or Victory!

November 5, 2018

The Astuteness of American Founders

The founders who established the nation of America were people who possessed biblical and world knowledge as ministers, lawyers, entrepreneurs, soldiers, inventors, doctors, and teachers.  They were scholarly, though not perfect. From their knowledge of the bible’s intent for governing mankind and the reality of man’s rule over people, they devised a government that was an amazing and unique cross-section between the two concepts.  Equality of rights, access to provisions and a land of freedom for all men is a God-idea found within the pages of the bible.  America would be a land where God would rule over mankind through the heart with governing laws guiding conduct toward each other.  The practice of various religious faiths derived from the Word of God with biblical instruction was the basis for continued growth that would provide moral guidance for proper relationship between neighbors.

We often say the founders framed the constitution, which implies a picture being formed within the frame.  If the founders were the framers, then their descendants are forming the picture within the frame.  Have we done a good job in forming the picture they framed for us?  They gave the ideas and principles that formed the frame of our nation.  They exercised the first government and congress that illustrated what they intended; and they believed our religion, laws and brotherly love for each other and country would guide us in maintaining the plan for justice and equality for all.

American Arrogance

The crises we have in America today reveal our understanding of their ideas and principles as well as our motives in handling the nation that the founders entrusted to us.  When we compare the original plan with the position we find ourselves in today, the difference reveals whether we are on or off course.  They designed a system for equality in access and provision based on people working together for the common good but we have turned it into a bounty for aristocracy like the countries the settlers fled.  An opportunity for fairness has turned into an organized conspiracy of greed for a ruling class.  God was to reign as supreme in this land, but now we have capitalism as supreme and God’s rule has been evicted.  The greedy desire for money and power has caused an evil underbelly to be revealed mirrored to those of past European homelands.  The great fear though is that the American zeal to excel over other nations will now lead her to destroy herself and other nations.   America’s greatness has the potential to corrupt the world because it embodies similar ego, knowledge and ability to Napoleon or Caesar in their day.

The advantage America held above other nations was its people ability to freely explore and imitate the character and deeds of Christ.  America had the liberty to freely experience God without restraint of man’s rules and laws.  The availability and benefit of all past scholarly knowledge has somehow led America to evict her God and choose man’s rule like other nations.

What happened to America?  It had all the advantages of past nations and more.  Where did America fail?  America’s failure was in becoming so great that she no longer felt a need for her God.  She replaced God with her own ingenuity.  The God that led Christopher Columbus across the waters and George Washington in battle against past tyrants and the God who established and supported this nation through many disasters, wars and uprisings is no longer needed because man has “got this”.

The difference between America and other nations has been the liberty to worship God in truth through Christ.  Why did that advantage fail us? Here is a biblical scenario to consider.   In pursuit of the Promised Land, some of the tribes of Israel arrived at a plot of land they wanted to occupy (Num. 32).  They wanted to sit down and enjoy their blessings before entering Canaan Land, but Moses had forbade it and Joshua refused to allow it.  It was important to the mission that the Israelites continued fighting until victory was won for the whole nation of Israel before they settled down and enjoyed their spoils.  In American land is available and wealth is obtainable but the God’s spiritual mission is still incomplete.  Moses instructed the Israelites to continue the battle until victory was won for all and then the tribes could return to their land for rest.  The American spiritual battle has not been completed.  The goal of equality of rights, access to provisions and a land of freedom for all men in America has not been achieved as long as the strong restrain the weak.  Moses, as a prophet of God, and his follower, Joshua, were spiritual leaders of the people who established the rule of equity for all the people.  Our Spiritual Joshua, Jesus Christ, which America chose to follow, gave the same command for equity for the people of God as Christ’s Church.  Jesus taught that the blessings were available for all God’s children and He came to defeat the idol worshipers and oppressors who downtrodden the faithful.  Jesus declared in John 3:16… whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  They could expect to have life and that more abundantly.  The message of the gospel that the founders promoted in this land was a message that God gave Jesus so all people should have equal access to the Father with blessings of inheritance now and in eternity.

Religious Error

American Christianity has promoted a gospel that is based on a leadership like past European nations where the poor support a leadership of wealth and power that is accessible only to the upper class and shuts out the lower class.  The lie of American Christianity is not the true gospel of Jesus Christ that promotes well being for everyone.  Some Christian leaders have obtained their portion of the blessings of God and have shut  the door to other seekers (Mt 23:13).  Some spiritual leaders set themselves up as the example of faithfulness through finances provided by the poor (Mt 12:40) and have joined in with governmental efforts that discriminate, oppress, overtax, and defy inheritance to poor citizens. This practice mirrors some past European governments who used spiritual and legal authority to oppress its citizens.

We have in leadership in America a hierarchical, unchristian society that exploits the people while claiming to be better than its neighboring countries.  It has turned the gospel on its head!  Even though this statement may appear to state corruption in every church, it does not preclude the minority of people who still choose to serve the Lord while a majority has cast a heavy shadow over the nation.  John’s Book of Revelations prophesied the error that would be found in many Christian churches who would not follow Christ’s ways.  There are variety of reasons leaders in the Christian church would defraud the people but here are some: greed, prejudice, ignorance.  All of us understand the nature of greed because it shows up even in little children that want more than their fair portion.  The bible wrote about the greed of the priesthood in Old Testament scriptures and it operates pretty much the same today.

Also before they burnt the fat, the priest’s servant came, and said to the man that sacrificed, Give flesh to roast for the priest; for he will not have sodden flesh of thee, but raw.  And if any man said unto him, Let them not fail to burn the fat presently, and then take as much as thy soul desireth; then he would answer him, Nay; but thou shalt give it me now: and if not, I will take it by force. 1Sa 2:15-16

This Old Testament sin was followed up even in the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. We see in the New Testament Jesus rebuking the religious leaders for greed and hypocrisy and casting out the tables of greedy merchants in the temple.  The nature of man to lust for unfair gain is prevalent in every generation.

We see in scripture God’s special people whom He would bless and shower with His inheritance and they were selected to the exclusion of other people and nations.  It was the ministry of Jesus Christ that opened up the rights and privileges of God to all that would accept Christ as Savior. The prejudice that kept one outside of the blessings of God was unbelief in Christ.  So as a Christian nation of believers, every person has a right to the blessings of God that He has so freely showered upon the nation of America.  Who would dare deny God’s children the benefits of His kingdom goodness?  America has dared to defy the very God of the nation His right to bless His children equally.  It is a prejudice that God has not authorized and will not long tolerate through unjust men any more than Jesus tolerated the treachery of the temple.  Apostle Paul taught the Galatia church about equal access to the blessings of God though spiritual inheritance and against fleshy prejudice.  All nations had access into the family of God and blessings through Jesus Christ.

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Gal 3:26-29

Lastly, one of the reasons that our religious leaders may have led believers astray could be a lack of knowledge.  Our society today believes that proof of one’s knowledge is a degree from one of their formidable learning institutes.  The more acclaim the institute had, the more esteemed the graduates of the institute.  However, Saul of Tarsus was a religious student of the highest degree taught by the teachings of Gamaliel, a Pharisee doctor of Jewish law held in great esteem by all Jews.  Yet when he became an apostle who received revelation knowledge from Jesus, Paul denounced all his Pharisaical teachings for the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith…Php 3:7-9

For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 1 Co 1:19

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty…1 Co 1:27

The experience of Apostle Paul reveals to us the priority of knowledge given by God through revelations over that which is taught by man’s knowledge.  Man’s knowledge and teachings come through the filter of other men’s choices and prejudice and cannot be compared to the value of pure revelation knowledge that comes from the mind of God.  Therefore, those that do not seek the advantage of knowledge revealed by God do not have the type knowledge that led the first disciples, who led the first church and believers in Christ.  That same knowledge is available today to all who seek it.  That is where, like the children of Israel, religious leaders must push beyond the material blessings that are immediately available and strive for the goal and high calling in Christ Jesus that brings liberty to the body of believers before sitting down to enjoy one’s own pleasure.  Many of our religious leaders in America have chosen the vanity of their own wealth above the necessary needs of the body of believers they were assigned to guide to Christ.  Because of the greed and envy covetous of worldly men, some leaders have pursued wealth and forsook following Christ.  They have changed the goal of church to the pursuit of wealth and promoted a destiny for the nation to one of capitalism and greed. There is still opportunity to pursue God in truth for those that seek Him, but the nation is quickly being turned over to a religious/monarchical abuse like past European nations, which hindered liberty and exercise of faith in God. This practice mirrors service of a god called Baal, where material wealth and sin is preferred over worship of the True God.

The failure of religious leaders to pursue God has caused the nation of America to go backward into darkness, rather than forward into the liberty that all men desire.  We know what the darkness looks like because it surrounds us in nearby countries where monarchs rule, oppress, extort, imprison and kill those who oppose their rule.  That is the direction in which the nation of America is headed…back into darkness, if she does not come to her senses before it is too late.  We see the hierarchical power in our churches and government as they have begun to lord over the people like past European governments and church leaders.  Jesus taught against the practice of lording over people in Matthew 20:25-27.  We also see today the combining of church and government rule through the evangelical leadership which advises, endorses, and directs the American presidency.  We see the empowerment of the rich over the lower class as laws are made to protect a hierarchy of wealth over the needs of lower class people. These are the types of traditions and ways of past European rulers that the first settlers of America fled and fought to prevent the reign of European authority.   Americans who have not studied its past history and the overthrow of past oppression or studied the scriptures to understand the liberty that it is available, may not realize the danger America is approaching.  Where Christ has had reign, any opposition to His reign becomes Antichrist in nature and draws us closer to a destructive end no one wants.

Blind Submission

The peasants of past European rule knew they were being robbed and oppressed and they knew who their oppressors were unlike Americans today who still naively believe America will always be fair, godly and lawful toward its citizens. The eyes of Americans have been brought into blindness by lack of knowledge, greed and spiritual ignorance.  This lack has shown up in American leaders at all levels as the pursuit of personal wealth has led its people astray.  Personal wealth was supposed to be the goal or reward for a life of obedience and service but some leaders have put the cart before the horse and ensnared themselves and others.  The crises we face every day in America are God’s way of giving us alarm of great danger ahead if we continue on our present course.  All the history that America has seen and read stands as a foreboding of where America as a nation is headed.  How can we not know of biblical Israel’s fall, the pride of Rome, the lascivious nature of Greece, or the tyranny theocratic government that sometimes led England?  How can we not remember past presidents, congressmen and company CEO’s that were corrupt toward the American people?  How is it that we cannot see the discrepancy between our church and the bible?  Because hearts have departed from the God, Who demanded to be first in our lives; a spiritual darkness and deceiving spirit has been released in America to bring the people into a sleep that slowly leads to inevitable death that comes to all who reject God.  As the cry goes out to “Awake” will any hear and heed the warnings that danger is ahead?  God never gave sole authority to leaders in our churches or in our civil government. Leaders were always supposed to be godly people chosen from among the best of us and answerable to God and the people.  Christ gives each believer the power of God operating inside his own soul for kingdom rule and authority.  The people of God are held accountable to pray for leaders and bring correction with the word of God in love.  Prophet Nathan corrected King David (2 Sa 12:1).  America’s submission and obedience to leadership could be her fatal flaw whereas Peter taught and illustrated that it was better of obey God than man.  A submitted an ignorant follower makes easy prey for gullible false leaders and the prophesied Antichrist and true leaders should warn God’s sheep.  The last days’ warning given by Christ and the apostles were of wayward hearts and false leaders.

False teachers will always use fear of their power to paralyze the believer. Where leaders have questionable behavior and cause for examination (See Jos 22), Jesus taught it was an opportunity for testimony.  Christ both answers for and defends His servants.  Paul chose to give a cheerful answer when questioned (Acts 24:10).  Apostle Peter’s behavior was checked by Apostle Paul because Peter showed prejudice and spiritual error.  We must always reserve the right to be corrected.  The Book of Proverbs teaches that wise men receive a rebuke and are made wiser but fools hate it.  God has given to the believer and His church “power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt” them (Lk 10:19). They are admonished to put away fear because Jesus delivered the believer from fear.  False leadership does not prevent the God of the bible from rising up to defend His people of faith but the people of faith must reject fear and rise up with the sword of their God to defeat the Goliath that comes against their soul.  God does not need an army to fight against the enemy.  Daniel prayed a heathen king and nation into recognizing his God.  Esther interceded for her people.  Gideon rose up and fought idol worship to lead his people back to truth.  Elijah put the nation to the test between their false gods and, Jehovah, the True God. Job held on to faith despite his persecution and Moses was willing to take the charge of God over his own perceived frailties.  What are you willing to do for your own soul and your nation?

And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. Dan 11:32