Category Archives: African American

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GOD, THE FATHER

July 1, 2019

When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up. Ps. 27:10

The recent Father’s Day weekend was the time to talk about fathers and I wrote about it but there is so much more to this topic that it deserves much more time.  Much of what is wrong with us personally and in the world can be traced back to the wrong image of the father.  Men in our society as husbands, fathers and leaders are upset because they want to rule our world and they want women to sit down, learn from them and do what they say.  The problem is though if you do not have the right image or relationship with Father God, you are in no position to lead but God is faithful to send leaders help in various forms.  Even though Adam fell in the Garden of Eden, God had already instructed Adam regarding leadership, relationships and authority.  True knowledge comes from God (Pro. 2:6).

The nation of America today is in dire need of the Father’s image and the revelation of His love.  Though oftentimes men believe their problem is the women, they have held the reins of authority for millenniums and yet have produced world wars that destroyed multitudes.  God, as Father, has revealed Himself as, not only strength, but loving, caring, sharing, protecting and sacrificially giving of Himself.  So many men of our generation in top levels of society are reflecting God and authority as the complete opposite of His nature by emphasizing taking rather than giving, abusive of the weak rather than defending them, and demanding respect while revealing contempt rather than love.  Churches with better knowledge and spiritual insight promote a prosperity message with a wrong focus on spiritual leaders gaining their tangible wealth while promising wealth to others. We have a president as the head of our nation who is ill prepared to represent the concepts of fatherhood and family to society.  We have men in politics, businesses and churches who are trying to hold up his position as proper authority because he represents their authority as well; but it is an impossible task.  God is being misrepresented by many men of authority in our society.  How can the world be right if its teachers are in error?  Jesus’ mission to Jerusalem brought correction of the wrong image of God, showed proper authority and revealed the Father in truth.  We have a loving Father who rules in mercy and who Lords over every aspect of our lives with love; and He expects a proper reflection His image.

Our society is full of broken vessels trying to mend others when they do not possess a true image of God, family and wholeness.  God wants to heal the brokenness of leaders before they set a pattern for others.  The image of wholeness, as a person, family and society comes from the knowledge of God who created all these relationships.  When men who lead do not submit to God as their leader and instructor and then fail to receive the help and warnings God sends, that is a recipe for disaster.  Leaders with a broken image of life are still in position to demand conformity to their authority even against the better instincts of those they lead.  People tend to resist that which is unnatural and against their conscience of right and wrong.  This type of conflict produces causes a warring in relationships, families, churches, societies and nations as we are now seeing in our everyday lives.   But “when a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Pro.16:7).  Man out of alignment with God causes disruptions in our society.

 The cure for what ails us was provided from the beginning. God, who talked to Adam continually about how to be a husband, father and caretaker, has always been available to teach all men.  Men are expected to lay a sound foundation on which a home and family is built.  If the floors sink or the walls lend, it can be traced back to the man who laid a bad foundation.  Brute men may rise up to force their ways upon the weak in society and nations, but God, who defends the poor and needy, intervenes in family disruptions and wars between countries to pull down aggression and restore peace.  God watches over all our relationships intervening when necessary to preserve the meek that trust in Him and His creation.

 What if we understood that this is the missing link?  What if we understood that returning to the knowledge of God the Father would restore things in proper order?  What if fathers got saved, returned home and restored their families.  What if leaders heard the warning God sends and realized that they needed God’s help to lead?  What if we all woke up and experienced a longing to commune with the Father, accepted Christ and sought out restoration?

Do men realize that the longing for sexual love beyond their wives is a longing for the love of God?  Do they realize that their desire for power is a God-given gift to rule their portion of the earth in the right way?  Do they realize that their yearning for more and more wealth is a longing for recognition and approval that only Father God can give them?  Do they realize that the lack of appreciation they experience within the family is a symptomatic of their failure to love with the love only God can give for a reciprocal love?  What if we understood all these things that God, the Father, has been trying to teach us?  What if man, who is the head, obeyed his Head (God) and used authority in a fatherly love?

To broke vessels: God is reaching out to restore wholeness through giving us the right image of His nature.  I was a broken vessel (some may mock that I still am) but one day I met the Master, who has healed my brokenness by revealing Himself as Father.  When I heard God’s message and the sacrifice of Christ for my sins, I believed it.  I took hold of it like a hungry person stumbling across the desert finding a piece of bread. For those who know my life and wondered about certain aspects of it, just imagine again that hungry person and someone try to take that piece of bread away.  Imagine someone trying to take the life raft from someone sinking in the ocean.  God is our life raft in an ocean of trouble and we have to fight against all odds to separate us by holding on to the life raft. 

What’s wrong with the world is that some people are trying to repair it in their own way but have no knowledge of God.  It is very difficult to put a square peg into a round hole but some ministers, politicians, teachers, business leaders and other male leaders are trying to do just that.  They have changed the rules to reflect a wrong image and expect multitudes to follow.  When the head is properly aligned, the body will follow. Because men usually possess leadership positions, oftentimes there is no one able to tell them they are wrong and some leaders lack wisdom to ask or hear godly counsel.  The very natural of men causes them to persist in authority even when they are wrong or ill equipped. Hard-headiness is not the nature of God nor does it reflect leadership strength.  God listened to Moses and changed His mind when He was determined to destroy disobedient Israel.  When those being led rise up in agonizing protest because their lives are miserable, ruthless men try to shut them up.  That is not the way God modeled or designed leadership authority.  Not all men conduct themselves this way but too many do.  Jesus took time to hear, show mercy, instruct, and give examples to clarify messages to his followers.  Jesus is also the answer for followers caught up in bad situations.  I am so glad God restored my image of the Father against all odds.  I am glad I accepted Jesus Christ as Savior despite all attempts to lead me astray.  Father God is invested in us and our success and He will complete the work He has started in us.

Our nation and world is in trouble because of lack of knowledge and relationship with God, the Father.  God has been trying to tell us to turn around and do things the right way but people, set in their own ways, are refusing to hear.  Even the earth is crying out that it won’t work our way.  The nation’s farms, foods harvested from them and the very environment we live in are rebelling against what man is doing in the earth.  Mankind is substituting the artificial for the real to fill in gaps and voids to prolong their own false design that is destined to fail.  What if on Father’s Day men would renew a devotion to following the True Father?

God is still reaching out to all mankind and saying:   

“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.”  Ps. 32:8 

 Why won’t we listen?  Many people have become tone deaf to the voice of God that is still speaking.  For those that have no teacher, God promises to teach you.  Father God is available to all who will seek Him.  He will put away your sin and cover you with a veil of love.  When you have no father, God is Father (Ps. 27:10).  When you have no one to love you, God is love.  When you are in despair, God will pick you up.  He is the one that will never leave nor forsake you.  He has been trying to tell us individually and as a nation and world that He is still there for us and He loves us with an everlasting love.  He is willing to guide us through the storm and His arms are still wide open to receive us.  There is nothing wrong with the Father or His image but are we reflecting His true image?

And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 2 Co 6:18

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FATHER GOD GIVES LOVE BUT REQUIRES REPENTANCE

June 15, 2019

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Jo 8:32
The verse above may seem an inappropriate oneto discuss the topic of repentance but before one can repent some truth must be received. There is nothing to repent of if one has no knowledge of their sin. Notice that John the Baptist and Jesus both came proclaiming the need for people to repent. The prophets were being preached every Sabbath but the people did not repent. Like today many preachers teach about the coming Messiah or Jesus and performance of rituals. John taught the people that they had not obeyed the scriptures, while revealing the consequences of their sin; and they came running to his baptism in repentance.

Many preachers preach every Sunday, often without bringing conviction of sin or revealing the need to repent. They may preach the  love of God and make people feel like they are okay because Jesus loves everyone and they feel loved. A comfort message will not bring the sinner to repentance. Jesus does indeed love everyone but He will also punish the sin. The wages of sin (Rom. 6:23) has always been the penalty of death; just ask Adam and Eve. Death came to the whole world because Adam and Eve sinned against the Almighty God. God gave them and us a choice with warnings against disobedience. “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Gen. 2:17).” They were taught the truth but their disobedience brought the consequences of their sin. They were put out of the comfort of the garden and away from God’s presence.

Paul taught that we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). You have sinned and I have sinned and we are all destined for hell and destruction regardless of present comfort or wealth unless Christ’s atoning blood has been applied to the sin in our lives. There are consequences for our sin and we all must be told this convicting message at some point in our lives to escape eternal damnation at life’s end. It is the preacher’s job to make the listener aware of the truth about the salvation Jesus Christ provides and the consequences of sin and destruction.

Just as John came out of the wilderness and preached repentance, there is a time when people should hear the message of repentance and make a decision about repenting of sin. God the Father  both draws a soul to himself and grants grace for repentance.

No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. Joh 6:44

Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? Rom 2:4

When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. Act 11:18

And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Luk 24:47

In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 2Ti 2:25

For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears. Heb 12:17

And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. Mar 1:15

And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Rev 2:21

The scriptures above show God working repentance in the heart and drawing souls to Himself. There was a designated time of repentance in Israel before the appearance of Christ. Notice also that Hebrew 12:17 reveal that there may be a time when repentance will not come though sought with tears. Jesus taught of the bridegroom coming at a specific hour and the door was shut against late comers. There is indeed a time for repentance where God await our repentance.  While He is still drawing, we should respond.

The truth has been widely declared and people have seen both the good and the evil revealed before them and have been given a chance to discern the proper course. Even though there may be an temptation toward the wrong way (like Adam and Eve’s choice of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil), the right way is always the better choice.

We have seen in our nation of America, an open struggle between good and evil and it is still going on. People are everyday making decisions on which side they will walk and some of those decisions may determine their eternal destiny. There is a temptation to satisfy  immediate needs and not trust in God to work things out but, God has promised to be faithful.  God cannot lie. All souls belong to Him and He provides even for the birds of the air and the flowers of the field. How much more does he care for you and me (Mt. 6:25-31)? God is love and He will not forsake those that put their trust in Him. We will always go through tests and trials of our faith but it represents our time to glorify and choose God over evil, life over death.

One Old Testament prophet wrote about the multitudes that were making decisions in the valley of decision:

Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. Joe 3:13-16

Prophet Joel wrote about the time for the Lord’s return for his people and about preparing for His coming. Ripe fruit had matured and was ready for harvest. Mature saints ready themselves for the coming of the Lord. Decisions are yet being made as the time is quickly approaching. The grace of God allows last minute decisions; but once the door is shut, those outside are forbidden entrance. While the opportunity is available, people should make the right decision to serve and obey our gracious and loving God. While He sometimes seem slow in coming, He is never late and we should always wait on his arrival to meet every need.

The difficulty many of us find ourselves in is that of wanting to make the decision for provision where God has called us to trust in Him as a little child trusts in a good father. Not everyone has had a good representation of a father figure. When the earthly father fails, it may be associated as failure with our Heavenly Father, who is perfect and cannot fail. This Father’s Day weekend in which this article is being written, may be a good time for fathers to consider the type of representation they are giving their children about the Heavenly Father.

God writes about the nature of the Father in scripture and has sent to us a perfect image of Himself in Christ because too many fathers, men, leaders have failed to reveal Him properly in their leadership. Authority figures should give us the image of the Father’s authority.  Father’s Day may be a good time for fathers, leaders and men to feel a conviction of personal failure to properly represent God and then turn their eyes back to the Heavenly Father for guidance to properly guide their family and all other leadership responsibilities according to Father God.

There are crossroads in our lives where we have to make the right decision and we should carefully consider the choice while we can because eternity and destiny are at stake. The Father’s Day holiday causes us to look at the role of fathers and men as leaders and authority figures.  Do they portray the Heavenly Father’s love and authority to those under their leadership?  Even fathers need a father’s image for guidance in proper authority.  Whether our examples have been good or bad, God offers all of us an opportunity to choose Him for the best leadership model and example. He will be that perfect Father we have longed for. He gives all people the earthly example and the life of Jesus Christ to imitate and follow for examples of love, sharing and caring for others, as well as reference for divine order.   There is peace, provision and serenity in making the right choice. Father God has always offered us both the knowledge and the choice between life and death and advises us to choose life. Life is always the best choice and Father God awaits our choice of life eternal with Him.

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Lk 12:32

THE LEADERSHIP LIE

May 2019

I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.  Ps. 32:8 

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. Ps. 23:1-2

Changing Standards

This may be a challenging message to some because it could stretch the spiritual boundaries of some readers’ thinking while providing exposure to greater liberty in Christ.

The nation of America has devalued some important foundations that used to hold its people within the borders of reason, morality and decency.  Without these strong borders, people are freely crossing over normal lines of restraint and few can rein them in without being accused of phobias or narrow-mindedness.  Americans are so accustomed to concepts of inclusion and the comfort of being “part of the team,” until it has become unacceptable to call out an associate or team member for error.  A spirit of tolerance is deemed as a better approach:  We are all “okay.”  This is our current fallacy that is leading to destructive practices that have descended to new “norms.”  Where did we get this from?  When did the lines between right and wrong, good and evil become so unimportant or invisible?  When purebred animals are mated with a mixed-breed, we call them “mutts” because the value is lost and mutts cannot reproduce a purebred pedigree.  “Mutt” is a term of disdain and has no value in discussion of purebreds.  We can become just like that…without much value or worth because we have become contaminated with something considered filthy or disdained.  This can be a delicate subject and may appear to imply disfavor of people some would not call proper or whole; but Christ loves all kinds of people even when He rejects improper conduct.

Quality of Leadership

Leaders ought to lead followers in the right path because of their familiarity with the goals and standards necessary to reach the destination and they should possess above average skills. Moses had the blueprint to the tabernacle and guidance from God to lead the people from the wilderness to Canaan Land.  The Israelites followed Moses’ guidance from God because they saw evidence of God leading him.  When Moses began to follow his own mind and disobeyed God’s guidance, he was set down and new leadership replaced him.  God is still doing that today, but people are so accustomed to following the flesh of man even when divine guidance is gone. Believers should seek to follow the God in man revealed by the Holy Spirit, not his flesh.

Leaders ought to lead in the right way.  They are not right because they lead; but because they lead, they ought to do what’s right.  The bible painstakingly reveal in the books of Kings and the chronicles, the reign and result of good and bad kings.  God set up good kings and pulled down bad ones, often turning bad ones over to their enemies for punishment.  God grew weary of Israel’s bad leaders and decided to send us the perfect leader: Jesus Christ. The best possible leader and model has already come and shown the right way with empowerment to obtain levels of perfection.  Christ could not remain among us in fleshly form nor was that His mission.  He came to introduce a change that would improve our lives and world.  He corrected our wrong course and brought deliverance from the penalty of sin and entrapment to Satan.  He taught, empowered and established us on a better path for life in righteousness. 

Many see church as the path Christ gave and have submitted themselves to a lifetime of church guidance.  But is that what Jesus planned for the believer?  Isaiah 61 tells us the Messiah would come to bind us the broken hearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, opening prisons to the bound, proclaim the day of vengeance, comfort mourners, and to give joy and praise instead of mourning and heaviness.  Jesus came at a time when there was already the God-ordained temple with religious leadership consisting of high priests, local priests, Pharisees, Sadducees and scribes knowledgeable in the word of God and who stood as leaders and teachers over the Israelites.  With this vast knowledgeable religious leadership available, why was it necessary to bring in a new leader or change for God’s people?  It was because these leaders had become self-absorbed and corrupt leaders who abused God’s people and His law.  Prophet Isaiah records God’s summation of this problem:

His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.  Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.  Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant. Isa 56:10-12 

Wickedness in God’s leaders required Jesus to come as Deliverer.  At Christ’s coming, the Israelites needed deliverance from the bondage of Roman oppression and from the Jewish religious leaders working as accomplices to Rome and to their own religious heavy-handedness.  Jesus observed the wickedness of men as individuals and leaders and instituted a new system to set both free. Religious leaders were no longer to be the burden carriers for the people but rather a veil of love covering and instructing the believer. 

Christ’s Impact on Leadership

If Jesus was to come in the flesh today, the same type of bondage would be found in our nation.  Government bondage is not from foreigners but from our own people through unjust laws.  The universal and eternal story of Jesus Christ and His entry into Jerusalem can reveal a lot about our world when we take the time to explore it.  Jesus was sent to bring change, restore and atone for the morality of his day and ours.  His entry was the pivotal moment to change everything at a time when things were at their worst.  We are at a similar moment in the nation of America.  America has had the best opportunity with wealth, knowledge and liberty to provide its entire people the benefits of a good life but rather leaders pressed for more power, wealth and privilege for the elites.  Here are some of the markers of both times.

  • God’s people existed in bondage to oppressive government but Jesus brought liberty.
  • Ungodly government and idol gods.
  • Religious leaders in allegiance with the oppressive government hid truth.
  • Religious leaders conspired with oppressors for position and money and betrayed their own people.
  • The people of God toiled under abuse, extortion, ignorance, and poverty while their leaders were enjoying the benefits of wealth.
  • The people were at a pivotal moment to change everything and establish a new kingdom.
  • Opportunity to choose between two competing kingdoms (Christ or Satan) for eternal destiny.
  • Disciples of Christ were sealed and given a place in His eternal kingdom.

Leadership is still heavy-handed in churches and binds people to legalities for fellowship and experience with God.  People are burdened by both government and church without enjoying the liberties Jesus came to bring.  One of the devastations of today’s religion is that some people do not realize they are in bondage to a religion called Christianity.  The Jewish people at Christ’s coming were in bondage to Judaism because of corrupt religious leaders who ruled them.  John the Baptist released his pastoral authority over followers and directed them to the liberty of Christ.  Pastors today either do not know or refuse to release members into the liberty of Christ. They keep believers in a state of striving to obtain some mystical, unknown church goal.  Christ revealed their inability to lead anyone where they themselves had never gone. 

But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me. Joh 7:29 

Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. Joh 8:55 

Christ came to flip the script!  Now every man can know God for himself and escape the false requirements of leaders.  The veil has been ripped from top to bottom, the formalities have ended, and the tabernacle has been changed from a building to a body that is part of the Divine. Bondage has been broken and liberty has come.

And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. Heb 8:11 

Christ told Matthew and Andrew: “Follow me.”  John the Baptist’s disciples left John’s teaching and followed Christ.  But what if John had forbade them to follow Christ’s lead?  Many leaders are doing just that and people remain in bondage after learning of Christ. Christ admonished every believer to read the word for self and the truth would make them free.  Within every believer and especially Spirit-empowered believers is the power to change the world.  They are like “LEGO” bricks:  full of potential as singles but when united with others, they can become anything.  Christ came to give us the potential to do miracles as individuals and greater miracles in unity, but false leadership can squash that potential. Believers can be hindered under fleshly leadership rather than set free to mature and follow Christ into their destiny. 

While visiting a church, the pastor was heard telling the spirit-filled congregation:  “Before you make a major decision, come and talk to me.”  I was appalled at such a demand.  Wise counsel is always good but Christ never instructed believers to be led by the mind of their pastor or for the pastor to make the personal decisions of believers, crippling them to dependence on him.  Christ taught:

And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Joh 16:23 

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Mat 7:7-8 

But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. 1Jn 2:27 

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. Joh 16:13

Major Change in Spiritual Leadership

Christ taught believers to pray and seek God in the name of Jesus and follow the directions of the Holy Spirit, who would lead them into all truth.  Following Christ allowed the believer to ask any question, go anywhere, and be led by Christ into limitless experiences and maturity.  Christ came to take the cuffs off the believer so he could fellowship and work for Christ in the earth.  The weakness and wickedness of fleshly leaders led God to break the believer from spiritual and mental bondage to man that kept them impoverished and ignorant.  Even though authorities still rule over groups of people for compliance to laws and to keep order, Jesus set the mind and spirit of man free to follow Jesus, the righteous leader, into his God-ordained destiny and well being.  Man is no longer crippled in spiritual or mental bondage to any man and Christ’s power can liberate any other bondage or constraint.  There are many people bound by church or government where they could be freed through Christ’s power.  The bondage of mankind to the fleshly leadership of man has led many to submit their entire being over to another person.  This was never the will of God.  This type of bondage makes one vulnerable to Satan’s captivity if he subdues the leader.  Christ taught that once the strong man is bound then his whole house could also be spoiled. Satan’s entrance and control through a weakened defense can destroy whole groups that may be submitted to one leader. Christ came to release believers from that kind of bondage.  The power of man is limitless when he follows Christ.

God revealed in Old and New Testaments the wickedness in some leaders over multitudes of people.  Men have long enslaved other men like themselves for material gain.  One of the horrible realizations of slavery of Africans was that many of their own tribal leaders sold them into slavery to white Europeans for material gain.  Spiritual, mental and physical bondage of men can still be sold to oppressors by leaders without the group’s knowledge, but Christ came to give man a way of escape.  When the individual has a personal relationship with Christ, he always has a functioning alert system.

The reality of our current political dilemma in America has been the question:  Is the American President an asset of Russia?  Is it possible that a people who are willing to put away their God for financial wealth can be sold to an enemy?  The unrepented corruption of America is returning upon her head.  Our nation has long believed national superiority would last and outmaneuver other nations but it seems America’s highest office holder may have betrayed her to her worst enemy whom he calls friend.  God is showing America through her current trauma that we are not to give lordship to our fleshly leaders or put our confidence in any man.  God’s commandment to Israel was that they should have no other God and yet they made many gods, as has America.  One of America’s false gods is money, even though God forbade covetousness and the apostles taught the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6:10).  America’s love of money has matured and reaped a crop of trouble but each believer can still find personal salvation in Christ.

Israel was led from false gods to the true God but then turned back to idols and chose Caesar over the Savior.  Americans must understand their imitation of this flaw when they choose fleshly leaders over the leadership of Christ.  This choice offends our Sovereign God.  The grace of God has given each individual the right to be delivered from the group’s error of idolatry by personally accepting and following Christ.  Christ came to bring truth that God is the believer’s leader; and the believer who submits to His Lordship is set free.

New Leadership Makes the Difference

To be clear, all our church guidance and biblical history were intended to bring erroneous children back to God, the Father.  We are not saved to become bound to a fleshly leader, nation or idol.  Christ unites believers to Himself in a new family.  Our churches were never supposed to bring us under submission to an oppressive nation or leader. Failure to submit and adore our Sovereign God will not be tolerated by God.  Religious leaders should lead followers to Christ and He will direct us to the Father, who longs to love and protect us. 

As was said at the beginning, this is a challenging message and it is not written to everyone.  It is written to those that truly love the Lord. There is a deception going on to deceive multitudes and only the righteous will prevail.  When an oppressive power takes authority over a people, its presence will be revealed through the fruit produced in the people. God’s people show forth His love and truth while Satan’s people cannot contain their evil ways through lying or hatred.

America is set up as a republic where the people’s voice is spoken through representatives from local to federal offices.  Americans are accustomed to submitting to higher authority.  Our representatives have often sought out the moral council of ministers they value during times of crucial indecision.  Governments were established originally from moral religious leaders honoring God and His commandments and this truth was the standard it operated from.  Our national government has bound the hands and voices of many churches through restrictive tax laws.  We, nevertheless, see our government which should be an extension of God’s authority at times invoking the favor of God’s while adopting unrighteous positions.  If truth is forsaken by the government leaders, it does not annihilate God’s leadership and truth, which is higher.  When government decides to uphold a lie, truth still stands and God will judge the nations.  Salvation of the individual’s soul is a personal decision.

The leadership lie is that the believer cannot do anything without his religious leader. The truth is that Jesus is leader and Lord over the believer.  Jesus came to pull down the barrier between man and God. The believer is lifted above religious leaders to God, Himself.  Each believer has access to God, His power and truth. It is no longer solely the duty of religious leaders to enforce truth. Christ has basically deputizes every believer in His service with power and truth. We are individually empowered and responsible to God to stand in His service where He has assigned us.  God will stand in us to provide strength to uphold the standard where He has placed us.  And when we all stand together in our place for truth as a bulwark against evil, the devil or evildoers that stand against us will fall.  One mystery about America is that the God over the nation through Christ will empower any individual, like Gideon, that stands up for truth to restore and preserve righteousness.  History reveals many singular individuals who endangered their personal lives and freedom to help establish and protect America as a nation under God.  We saw individuals like Patrick Henry (“Give me liberty, or give me death!”) stand up alone and declare truth in critical times in early America.  They had an underlying faith, patriotism and indignation against unrighteousness.  Righteous change does not come easily and not without sacrifice.  Christ taught us to make sacrifices for good. Christ empowers any individual believer to stand boldly during crisis with the power of God to bring change.  Politeness is an instrument of compromise, not a weapon of war; and we must know when we are at war.  Heroes are born out of times of crisis and their stand is never easy.  That is the strength that made America and it is the strength that can save America.

. . .and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Mat 28:20 

GOD ASKS US TO JUDGE OURSELVES BEFORE HIS JUDGMENT FALLS

April 2019

For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.  But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.  1Co 11:3132 

Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?  1Co 6:2 

In Old Testament scripture, the God of Moses sent commandments to the Children of Israel to follow, where sin and disobedience would be judged with death.  The dire consequence of sin is cleared shown in the story of the rebellion of Korah (Nu. 16:32-33), who defied Moses’ authority and dropped alive with his accomplices into the open pit of hell.  In the recording of the prophetic service of prophets like Moses and Abraham, we see often an appeal to God of leniency for the people and God’s openness to appeal for mercy.  The book of Isaiah shows God’s decision to send an eternal intercessor to man for extension of leniency and Jesus’ ministry established the terms of that leniency.  Unfortunately, many New Testament believers have decided the mercy of God through Jesus Christ allows them to practice sin and receive no retribution for breaking God’s commandments.  They have believed the love of God revealed through Jesus makes God too loving to destroy man. However, God never did away with the punishment of His law against sin; He only allowed exceptions permitted through faith in Christ (Mat 5:17).  Those not found in faith through Christ are also not covered under the grace of Christ (John 3:18) and are still subject to the wrath and punishment of God’s anger (Rom. 1:18) against sin.  One of the failures of Christian ministry is neglecting to help churchgoers understand which group they are in.  One is not under the mercy of God through Christ merely by going to church.  One can be near food and still starve to death. Church is merely a vehicle to get one to the place of salvation. We must each individually take Christ’s hand for guidance.

Knowing that God will deal with sin in people of the world and the church, it is important to know how God deals with people in both environments.  That takes us back to the scenario of Israel’s relationship with God.  Sin will either receive the mercy of God through an obedient intercessor, as in Abraham’s intercession for Lot or Christ’s intercession for believers; or one will experience God’s wrath for disobedience like Korah (Nu. 16:32-33) and Paul’s reference in Rom. 1:18.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousnessRom 1:18 

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom 6:23 

Since we know through this discussion and scriptures that God will deal with all sin, it is imperative that we know where we fall on God’s scale of justice.  Americans seem convinced that they cannot come under the kind of wrath that the Children of Israel experienced time and time again for disobedience.  When we realize that our sin is either covered or not, we are able to determine where we fall in our susceptibility to judgment of sin.

   …Blessed are they whose iniquities [sins] are forgiven, and whose sins are covered… Rom 4:7 

There have been many intercessory prayers that add cover to America from the prayer of Solomon that appealed for all believers to Jesus’ prayer for His followers, and that of Christian believers and leaders who have prayed a blessing over this nation.  But there comes a time when all the evil of a people or their descendants excel any appeasement of intercessors as God recounted in the Old Testament.

Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble. Jer 11:14 

Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it:  Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD. Eze 14:13-14


The grace and mercy we receive under Jesus Christ provides intercession and forgiveness when sincere repentance comes through faith in Christ. As mentioned earlier, this exception from the wrath of God is revealed in the ministry of Jesus Christ. Church leaders and believers are instructed to pray in intercession for one another and those in authority (I Tim. 2:1-2) while reaching the lost with the message of reconciliation.  When the church and worldly government become corrupt, we find ourselves in the position Jeremiah confronted.  Let’s read what God had to say to Israel when no just man stood in opposition to the evil of the land and let’s read it as if it was written directly to America.  “[ ]” added to show references to America.

Jer 4:1-4(KJV) – If thou wilt return, O Israel [America], saith the LORD, return unto me: and if thou wilt put away thine abominations out of my sight, then shalt thou not [be] remove[d].  And thou shalt swear [say], The LORD liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory.  For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem [America], Break up [destroy] your fallow ground (evil), and sow not among thorns [stop sinning].  Circumcise yourselves to [obey] the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart [repent], ye men of Judah and inhabitants [America]: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings. 

Disaster from the North

Jer 4:5-11  Declare and say, Blow ye the trumpet in the land [ announce  throughout America]: cry, gather together, and say, Assemble yourselves, and let us go throughout the land.   Set up the standard of righteousness [re-establish the righteous way]: retire, stay not [do not rest]: for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction.  The lion [the enemy is coming] is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer from the nations is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate[coming to destroy]; and thy cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant.  For this gird you with sackcloth [so repent], lament [sorrow] and howl [cry]: for the fierce anger of the LORD is not turned back from us. And it shall come to pass at that day, saith the LORD, that the heart of the king [president] shall perish [faint], and the heart of the princes [government officials]; and the priests [ministers] shall be astonished, and the prophets shall wonder.  Then said I Ah, Lord GOD! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people [the church] and America, saying, Ye shall have peace; whereas the sword [your wrath] reacheth unto the soul.  At that time shall it be said to this people [to churchgoers and all America], A dry wind of the high places [wrath from God] in the wilderness toward the daughter of my people [toward America], not to fan, nor to cleanse,  Even a full wind from those places shall come unto me: now also will I give sentence against them [God’s sentence against America].  Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots [warefare] shall be as a whirlwind: his horses [weapons] are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for we are spoiled.  O Jerusalem [America], wash thine heart from wickedness [repent], that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts [evilness] lodge within thee?  For a voice declareth from Dan [the forefathers spoke], and publisheth affliction[they warned] from mount Ephraim[the Commandments].  Make ye mention to the nations [tell the nations]; behold, publish against Jerusalem [cry against America], that watchers [prosecutors] come from a far country, and give out their voice against the cities of Jerusalem [America].  As keepers of a field [as divine guardians], are they against her [America] round about; because she [America] hath been rebellious against me [God], saith the LORD.  Thy way and thy doings [America’s evil ways] have procured [brought] these things [evil] unto thee [against America]; this is thy wickedness[reward, punishment], because it is bitter, because it reacheth unto thine heart. 

Anguish over Judah’s Desolation {Prophet’s Remorse]

Jer 4:19-31  My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war.  Destruction upon destruction is cried; for the whole land is spoiled: suddenly are my tents spoiled, and my curtains in a moment.  How long shall I see the standard, and hear the sound of the trumpet?  For my people is foolish, they have not known me [God; they are sottish (stupid) children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.  …  Jer 4:27  For thus hath the LORD said, The whole land shall be desolate (empty); yet will I not make a full end.  For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it.  The whole city (nation) shall flee for the noise of the horsemen and bowmen (war); they shall go into thickets, and climb up upon the rocks: every city shall be forsaken, and not a man dwell therein.  And when thou art spoiled [when punished], what wilt thou do? Though thou clothest thyself with crimson [though still symbols of wealth], though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold though thou rentest thy face with painting [makeup], in vain shalt thou make thyself fair [attractive]; thy lovers [your friends] will despise thee, they will seek thy life.  For I have heard a voice as of a woman in travail, and the anguish as of her that bringeth forth her first child, the voice of the daughter of Zion [prophet foresaw the end], that bewaileth herself [America], that spreadeth her hands, saying, Woe is me now! for my soul is wearied because of murderers [sorrow at the end].

There is an evil in the land and there are few that will stand up for right.  Yet God can only be appeased through righteous intercession for an evil land as we saw in Jonah’s intercession for Nineveh whereby they repented.  Even though God said that the intercession of Noah, Daniel, and Job could not deliver some wicked people that He determined to destroy; Jesus is a better intercessor than Noah, Daniel or Job. Father God has chosen to hear Jesus’ intercession for us.  The righteous church should represent Christ’s voice in the world, but many churches have compromised with the world for worldly profit and some are immature.  In our day, believers are required to do more than just pray; we must repent and make change.  This is where we have an opportunity through our faith, prayers and democratic process to appeal to our nation for change.  Jesus authorized the true church to judge sin in the land and bring about change but when the church is corrupt, and unless the people stand up; God himself will judge all sin. 

Paul taught in 1Co 11:31-32 how we could avoid the consequences announced in Jeremiah 4.  Paul said we have the ability and commission to judge ourselves and prevent God’s judgment.  We, as individuals, are to judge our own lives during Christian communion even as we pray for our church fellowship.  As the righteous church, we are to judge our own Christian body first for sin and then we are granted authority to judge the land as Christ’s representative.  Many Christian churches have become corrupt because they failed to judge members or leader’s sin. So how is it that the church has fallen so short that the world has judged the church and found it corrupt and inept to decide the issues of the world?  How can God be pleased with this state of affairs?  It is important for America to know that God’s grace first allows us to be judged by those close to us that love us before He next brings our enemy in to judge us with His wrath, still with a hope for signs of repentance.  If America does not allow the worldly justice of its lawmakers to determine and judge the sin of corruption at the highest levels of our society then God will permit outside authorities, who do not love us, to judge us.  The mercy of God is at the final stage before turning our nation over to our enemies without to punish the evil deeds inside our nation.  Remember that He said, in some circumstances, not even Noah, Daniel or Abraham could intercede for some evil.  So we must, while we still can, judge ourselves and allow our just representatives to judge the wrong before we are turned over to our enemies in God’s destruction because God will not allow America’s sin to further corrupt the world and defame His name.  Judgment of the world always begins with those that claim to know the Creator and His ways.  This former Christian nation must be judged for turning on God.

I will get me unto the great men, and will speak unto them; for they have known the way of the LORD, and the judgment of their God: but these have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bonds [corrupt leaders].  Wherefore a lion out of the forest shall slay them, and a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them, a leopard shall watch over their cities: every one that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces: because their transgressions are many, and their backslidings are increased [enemies allowed to punish us].  How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots’ houses [even the youth are spoiled by their wealth and enjoy worshiping false gods].  They were as fed horses in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbour’s wife.  Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? Jer 5:5-9 

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. Joh 3:17-18 

God has shown us the evil of our nation and we have to judge the evil.  When Israel had evil in the camp everyone had to choose a stone and come out into the courtyard before the criminal and throw a stone at the evildoer until dead to put evil out of the camp.  Sounds cruel but evil could not be tolerated or allowed to contaminate and destroy the whole camp.  Righteousness had to rise up against evil and defeat it.  In the New Testament we are still required to put evil to death.  However, for those that accept Christ, God has put Jesus to death in our place. All our sin was rolled onto Christ, judged by authority, sentenced to death and punished on the cross until it was destroyed.  New life could only begin for us after the crucifixion.

America has sinned and corruption and evil runs throughout its body.  Sins of greed, lust, extortion, murder, treachery, pedophilia, pornography, abortion, adultery, lying, apostasy, false religions, political corruption, abuse, sexual dysfunction, rape, unjust laws, discrimination, prejudice, false leaders, witchcraft, false gods, and hatred are found in our nation and must be put to death.  Some have in error called our President a type of biblical Cyrus but rather he, as head of the nation, is symbolic of all that is evil in the body of our nation and his presidency represents the wicked heart of our nation.  Isaiah (1:5) announced “the whole head is sick…” All unlawfulness found and proven guilty in him should be judged and sentenced because it represents the guilt of our nation and our ability to still call sin as sin. Only after our judgment for sin and death can we be born again. Sounds cruel but evil cannot rein over the righteous.  It’s not political; it is law. Grace comes after the law is fulfilled.

No one wants to be the one who throws the first stone.  No one wants to be the one with the hammer or the nail nor the hand that holds it.  Few want to be the lawmaker, lawyer or judge but we all have to play the role God has given us.  Righteousness must always stand against sin, but it was God who sentenced Christ to the cross for sin so we could live.  We all died in Christ. Christ was guilty with our sin even though He was not a sinner.  He bore the guilt and it had to be punished for us to live.  Evil had to be judged.  God’s judgment told through Prophet Ezekiel was to spare only those that angels identified as crying out against the evil corruption of the land.  Every Christian has to acknowledge their sinfulness and that it was nailed to Christ’s cross. We must confess sin because it is our path to righteousness. Only God had the resurrection power to raise up Christ again and only God has the power to raise up America again.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Rom 5:8 



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

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)