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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 

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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)

 

 

When the Curtain is Drawn Back

January 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHY THE FATHER OF THE PROSPERITY MOVEMENT REBUKED HIS DISCIPLES

December 13, 2018

How it Started

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

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

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

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

Error Detected and Addressed

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

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

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

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

Distorting the Bible Authority

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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