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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.

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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)

America – Ready To Be Judged!

October 2018

Whether Americans believe there is a Creator or not does not really matter to the existence of an All-Knowing, All-Powerful Creator God, who reigns in heaven and who is the Maker of all things and final judge of us all. What we know about the Creator is much like what we know about parental authority:  they were before us, they make all the rules and will render the final decision of our behavior to us.  The wisdom of King Solomon of the bible (Son of King David, a man after God’s own heart) told us: To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted… (Ec. 3:1-2).”

We all are familiar with the cycle of life that includes birth pains, birth, maturity and death.  Solomon identified many seasons and cycles within life but mostly, he expressed the beginning and the end of all things.  It is important to know that everything under the sun that has  beginning also has a predetermined end.   Solomon went on to declare, “I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work (Ec. 3:17).”  King Solomon’s wisdom, which was a gift from God, explored the purposes of all things and concluded that it is all vanity in the end. The man who had the highest position in the land and more wealth than all men, paused to consider those that were without any.

“So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.  Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive (Ec. 4:1-2).”

After examining the power of the mighty and the lack of power for the oppressed, he determined that death was better than life.  During his lifetime he had opportunity and wisdom above any man to evaluate every aspect of life and he came to a conclusion:

For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God. If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they. Ec. 5:7-8

Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart. Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Ec. 7:7-8

It behooves us all to take wisdom from someone who has had the best of wealth and wisdom and reap his lessons because few, if any, of us will ever gain his abundance  of wealth nor ever gain his wisdom.  How does Solomon sum up his exploration of life?  Here are some excerpts:

All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness. Ec. 7:15

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.  For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. Ec. 12:13-14

We see in this book of wisdom that God gave to the highest position of His chosen people the best of wealth and ability to consider all matters pertaining to life and then allowed him to relay it to all mankind in this book.  Even King Solomon, who had the ability to understand life, had to live it out and be judged for his actions in the end.  But wisdom’s road map is revealed by God for all to follow.  He shows us the right path and advises us to take it.  The lesson is that despite the highest abilities and greatest wealth that we all strive for; our work, soul and intents will be judged by God at a set time.

We know of America’s birth, the providence it experienced to be set aside for pursuit of life and liberty under God and all the declarations made to God by the founding fathers upon its inception: “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  It is those declarations made to God by men that America will be judged by God to determine if it has complied with those vows.  Vows are very important to God:  “Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay (Ec. 5:5).”  The declaration of unalienable rights for all men to enjoy life and liberty  within American borders in devotion to God are promises America swore to uphold and is what America will be judged for.  The nation made those vows and the whole world heard them, some of whom have sought to follow America’s example or crossed waters to enjoy them who will also sit in judgment against her treachery to those vows.  America’s actions against other nations and the immigrant prove that she has lost her way!

Creator God set out a plan and put it before His chosen people that He would bless the faithful with riches and wealth and America has received riches and wealth.  He also promised that the wicked would experience deterioration and horrible punishment before final destruction.  America is now somewhere in the process between punishment and final destruction.  The mercy and compassion of God cannot be overlooked.  Even in a sentence of destruction, God gives man time to consider his ways and change his mind. God actually fights for us and with us for preservation, not willing that any should perish.  Apostles Paul and John taught us about the loving forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ. The Book of Revelations, written more then two millenniums ago, reveal that the final judgment does not come without instruction, warnings, deliberations and then punishment poured out in sequential waves.  We are very familiar with the judgment of our courts but less aware of God’s judgment.  The judgments of our courts can be purchased and wrangled by wealthy men, but God cares for none of that.

At this hour where many have come to the rightful conclusion that the soul of America is being tried, there is still time to consider the nation’s sins and turn around.  “…What doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God (Mi 6:8)?  We saw that Old Testament prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Amos were sent by God to warn and declare the punishment of nations.  Prophet Jeremiah was ordered by God to pronounce judgment against Judah, Israel, and the gentiles, Philistines, Moab, Ammonites and Babylon.  But before the heathen nations were to be destroyed, God first reasoned with and judged the people of promise.

The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews which dwell in the land of Egypt, which dwell at Migdol, and at Tahpanhes, and at Noph, and in the country of Pathros, saying,   Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Ye have seen all the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, and upon all the cities of Judah; and, behold, this day they are a desolation, and no man dwelleth therein,  Because of their wickedness which they have committed to provoke me to anger, in that they went to burn incense, and to serve other gods, whom they knew not, neither they, ye, nor your fathers.  Howbeit I sent unto you all my servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, saying, Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate.  But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear to turn from their wickedness, to burn no incense unto other gods.  Wherefore my fury and mine anger was poured forth, and was kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; and they are wasted and desolate, as at this day. Jer 44:1-6

Jeremiah prophesied and grieved over his own people when he saw them fall into desolation as God promised for their disobedience.  All of these things that transpired thousands of years ago is well-known history for America who was established from the reigns and lineage of many kings but set free from bondage to follow God with her whole heart.  How has this nation fallen into the same sin when there was so much knowledge and teaching about this past?  It is because the wicked nature of mankind is unchanged even though many leaders call themselves “Christians.” Christianity has risen to the forefront in the world, where it is no longer considered weak and inconsequential and even been recognized by the White House and its presidents, where it originally found sovereignty in America.  However, it has been soften and diluted until it now oppresses the poor, immigrant, widows and children.  Some profess hatred for the foreigner, fatherless, and prisoners.  Some ranks of it call out some sin as being more hideous than others, contrary to the teachings of Christ.  They profess God while disobeying God and declaring others must obey the letter of the law they teach, much like the Old Testament Pharisees and Sadducees who Jesus declared were hypocrites.

Jesus was upset with the ungodly Jewish leaders and denounced them.  It was a just system corrupted and perverted to favor greedy rulers, who failed to guide society into justice and morality.   They had perverted God’s way and deceived the people.  Jesus rebuked these leaders in Mt 23:13 for not wanting to enter into heaven nor allowing others to do so.  He went on to accuse religious leaders for devouring the poor and widows while establishing their own self-glory.  The Jewish leaders had uncontested control over the people in governing, benevolence and spiritual matters.  They led corruption in all aspects of righteous living for the purpose of self-gratification.  For all these sins and more which did not follow God or the founding fathers, God sits in judgment to declare His verdict upon a disobedient nation.

As America has sat in judgment over nations and people, now she must stand or fall before her “Judge”.  America has long been ruled by affluent old white men “white fisted” with power that have chosen to devalue the disadvantaged that God has valued and scorned the weak, women, children, the poor, immigrants and widows.  In America, the affluent, with or without Christianity, have made a pact to stand in power against the underclass and devour them for their resources.  This is the same power of the nations judged by God before America was formed and it is the same force that Jesus came to defend the poor and disadvantaged against.  In all this, God allows America time to repent and turn around before final judgment. He appeals to the highest and least that someone might intercede for a nation gone wrong.

We see individual people and organizations pleading for America’s soul and to be relieved of its leaders’ hardened hearts.  Some white women and weak Christians who were complicit now also cry in outrage.  The conundrum we face is that leaders are appointed over people according to their nature or simplified: people get the leaders they deserve.  This dilemma reveals the requirement for the whole nation to repent.  As the people contend for the heart of leaders to change, they must also repent and change.  We saw in the story of biblical Nineveh (Jon 3:3), the whole nation repented of sin and was spared.  Daniel prayed for his people but he, too, had to confess sin.  This problem involves all of us because all of us are party to its ways and will suffer the consequences of America’s sin.  Judgment is imminent unless we turn around.  Now that God has pulled the cover off of America’s long hidden sins of genocide, slavery, abortion, prostitution, rape, greed, corruption, authority abuse in religion and government, religious idolatry or apostasy, pride, racial hatred, treachery, aristocracy, gender bias, lies, etc., and exposed it to all American citizens and placed them before the cameras of the nation and world; none can claim ignorance and must all repent and turn to Christ for salvation and deliverance.  “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved (Jo 3:17).”   I pray that the nation of America will see her sin, as we all must do, and receive the conviction of sin that God grants to those that would repent in their season.  May God save America!

INEQUALITIES AND IMBALANCES

May 2018

With a focus on the purpose of Pentecost, it is important for us to remember that Jesus Christ came to set the captive free. He did not come to give us another religion or purpose for social gathering.  Those people who were hopelessly in bondage to oppressors were now going to have an opportunity for freedom through accepting Christ as their Savior.  Powerful men of stature had used their power to bring the average man into bondage to their authority through debt, illicit transactions or coercion.   Neither did Jesus come to make void all of those illegal agreements.  Prisoners and criminals did not get released immediately from jail when Jesus came to Jerusalem.  Some believers that actually were free went to jail for the sake of Christ.  Jesus made it known to the people that His kingdom was not to this world.  Yet Jesus did come to do something important about the bondage of people.

Jesus came to Jerusalem when men, women and children could be enslaved to others because of debt and they were brought into captivity by an oppressive conquering army.  He came for the purpose of  liberating the hearts and minds of all people from captivity to the evil one who causes fear and oppression.  People motivated by greed for money were bringing others under their power in many illegal ways.  Citizens and the religious were unable to deliver themselves from the oppressive and illegal practices of the strong.  To liberate these people, a stronger power had to come on the scene and Jesus brought the power of heaven and Father God against the devil and his followers.  The rein of wickedness was to be broken by the all-powerful rule of God.  The wicked were to learn that there was a power greater than theirs.

Diminishing Christian values

America was established as a nation under God and it promoted righteous laws governing the people after being delivered from the tyrannical aristocratic rule of European monarchs and a corrupt and oppressive religious system.  Christian values and expressions of liberty were prominent in the making of America’s laws because of the oppression experienced in their previous homelands.  So the righteous rein of God and deliverance from oppression were powerful considerations in setting up fair laws that declared all men equal under God with a right to personal liberties.  God’s law had provisions for the release of debtors from servitude after seven years and the restoration of property.  As long as Christian values prevail in a nation, righteousness prevails and the force of law protects citizen rights.

With today’s diminishing Christian values and putting away of the Ten Commandments as a guide for correct behavior in the nation, corrupt opinions are establishing unfair laws that aim at again oppressing people.  Much like the people who were under the monarchical rule in European nations, America is experiencing similar times where oppression and corruption are prevailing against the average citizen and there is again a need for true Christian values to stand up against injustice.  The once-Christian nation is now giving authority to a new god, where wealth and elite status prevails as power supreme.  European-style aristocracy which worked secretly underground is now arising to control the once Christian, democratic, free nation. Where church leaders fail to hold up the standard of righteousness, God’s authority is weakened and wickedness replaces it with coercion and fear.  Godly religious leaders were expected hold on to and progress the mantel of righteousness that they inherited from their forerunners.  They, however, became relaxed and comfortable in a land of  ease and allowed the enemy to get the upper hand.  But God is still expecting His Spirit-filled believers to make a difference in their spear of influence and reclaim righteousness wherever possible in the land.  Pentecost brought the power of God in earth to believers to stand against all forms of evil through faith in the preached word, prayer and the believer’s intervention.  The small band of early Christian followers made an eternal difference in the known world.  They upheld a Christian standard in difficult times and were a challenge to unjust laws.  Previous believers established systems that their heirs are merely asked to uphold and maintain.  Every believer will have to answer to God for his or her own role and responsibility in holding up the gospel light.

Preferential Treatment to Those of Power

Inequalities and imbalances prevail in the land when gender, social status and wealth are preferred and granted power at the expense of others.  These practices have been know to progress into iniquity that causes the oppressed to cry out to God because the powerful will not alleviate their pain or show mercy.  While the powerful increase their gain through corrupt and evil practices, the poor sinks into greater poverty with little hope of recovery.  The cries of the oppressed are always heard by God on High Who is the Defender of the poor and afflicted: Job 34:28 “So that they cause the cry of the poor to come unto him, and he heareth the cry of the afflicted. “  God hates unjust balances and we can expect His intervention when the wicked of the land seem to prevail.

Eze 45:9-10  Thus saith the Lord GOD; Let it suffice you, O princes of Israel: remove violence and spoil, and execute judgment and justice, take away your exactions from my people, saith the Lord GOD.  Ye shall have just balances, and a just ephah, and a just bath. 

Psa 12:5  For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.

Lev 19:35-36  Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure.   Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt. 

The Overthrow of Wicked Power

We have seen recently on the world stage notable men who have been overthrown or exposed for their insatiable appetites that consumed the weak.  Many have been amazed at these exposures without considering that it is the Hand of God that pulls down the mighty to spare the defenseless.  Those in authority have the means and advantage to conceal their misdeeds and maintain their estate but there is a God Who is higher than the most powerful men on earth, who sees what is done in the dark and has the ability to pull down powerful curtains, move mountains of oppression and unleash burdens of captivity.  When God decides to move and show His power, no man can withstand it.  He moves by His  sovereign power to cleanse the earth and release yokes of bondage.

The bible remarkably records for our learning the overthrow of many powerful leaders and tyrants.  Foremost of these examples is the Egyptian pharaoh who oppressed the poor Israelites that put their trust in the God of heaven.  They went through generation after generation of abuse but God did arise eventually to miraculously deliver them.  Because God is an unseen Entity and can seem slow to respond in some situations, some people tend to believe that He does not exist, does not care or will not respond.  They count the long-suffering and merciful nature of God as indifference or inability.  Holy scripture tells us that God is not willing that any person should perish but is long suffering for the benefit of man’s repentance.  He sends warnings to provoke mankind to repent of sin before releasing His wrath.  Divine warnings are being given today through notable incidents that are brought to national and international attention.  God is showing us gross sin and arrogance at the top levels so that we do not put our trust in man that will ultimately fail us.  We marvel at the things that are breaking out in the land but does it merely cause outrage or does it cause personal repentance as we remember God promised consequences for individual and national sin.  In what are we placing our hope?  Devastations are causing some to declare that God must surely be coming soon while others are merely enjoying their liberties!  One prophet wrote:

It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. Lam 3:22

A Long-Suffering God

The long-suffering nature of God can cause the wicked to operate in assumption that there is no force capable of preventing their greedy pursuits.  This very nature of arrogance promotes the wrath of God to come even the sooner.  Prophecy tells us that times will continue as normal and men will be unsuspecting until Jesus comes:

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.  But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,  And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Mat 24:36-39 

The 23rd Psalm reveals the nature of God as a “Good Shepherd caring for the needs of His sheep.  Other scripture refer to Him sending rain on the just and unjust equally and being a caretaker of the birds of the air and the flower of the field.  God is known to be a loving and compassionate God but He also takes vengeance on wickedness to protect His inheritance in the land.  God will eventually judge the wicked for their offense against His word.  He is a just God when He blesses the righteous and when He brings wrath against the wicked.  Warnings that come to the believer and unbeliever gives mankind time to consider the consequences of their actions before wrath comes.  Arrogance and pride discounts even those warnings.  The long suffering and patience of God often causes the wicked to ignore God’s presence and power.  We are living in such days when wickedness is having free rein to do what it wants seemingly without repercussions.  These are the days that await the intervention and judgment of God to show up in defense of the weak because He is their Lord.  It is God who restores balance to the land and exercises His rule over all mankind.  Because God hates imbalance and unjust weighs, we can expect His intervention into the wickedness we see in the land.  But do we still have the ability to recognize when God is moving?  Evil ways have become so dominant that they are now being called normal and acceptable in our society.  Believers must make sure they are found doing the will of God when He comes rather than being caught in agreement with the wicked that are to be punished.  Remember Lot!

The long suffering of God in the preaching of Noah before the flood was intended to bring mankind into repentance but only eight people heard, believed and were saved from destruction. Too many of God’s ministers are failing to sound the alarm so we see God speaking through other medians of news reports, social media, unbelievers, the weather, economy, politics and challenging our own hearts to make a change.  God is showing His hand in the earth but many cannot distinguish the source of the power or know the reason because they do not know God’s word.  People heard and responded to John the Baptist’s plea for repentance and preparation for the coming King but in today’s society people hear and continue doing their sinful deeds because their ears are dull of hearing or hearts are hardened.

Care for the Weak

God is concerned about the needs of the poor, women, children,  immigrants, imprisoned, persecuted, widows and orphans. Because men are given authority over their home and lead in so many authoritative positions, they will have to answer for their use of authority, whether it is just or abusive.  They are given authority to defend the weak, not oppress them for personal gain or pleasure.  They are to represent the good shepherd practices revealed by the Father, who is to be their example.  They will have to answer for those that come under their authority:  Col 4:1  “Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.”

The overarching darkness and chaos of the earth caused God to create daylight and establish order in the earth before He made the first humans.  Shall the chaos of today’s earth escape God’s attention?  Jesus was sent to earth as an intercessor between God and mankind.  The love of God was so great for all mankind that He made a way of escape from sin and destruction through the atoning death of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.  The price has been paid for the sin of every man, woman and child that will accept the sacrificial punishment placed upon Jesus Christ as payment for our sin.  Believing Christ delivers one from the wrath to come upon a wicked earth.  The love of God reaches out to every soul to say come into the ark of safety and receive His cleansing love.  The prophets of old declared that even in the last hour, God’s hand still would be out stretched for mankind to repent and come into the ark of safety.  God is the great equalizer and He will give balance to our life and bring it into conformity to His will. We are totally set free from bondage and captivity through our relationship with Him.  God is too good to let evil prevail and His righteousness demands justice.  It is a loving God that teaches us His ways and allows each of us the opportunity to willingly choose whom we will serve and how we want our life to be rewarded. Joshua declared: “…but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Resurrection Sunday: The Mercy of God

April 1, 2018

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. Joh 3:16

The eyes of the Lord are always upon the earth because He made the earth and cares for it.  What about man? God made man and says every soul is His. So imagine God looking at the earth in its present corrupt state and how He must feel in seeing everything He made for His glory and left in the hands of man as caretaker.  If you are thinking anger, you are wrong.   Before the foundations of the earth God had redemption in mind (Ep 1:4) for His creation.  Looking through the portals of time God knew what man would do and set out plans for a solution.  He even looks at you and me in a perfected state like He saw fearful Gideon and called him: “thou mighty man of valour.”

What is it about a parent that looks at a child and knows it has done wrong and still sees his own image in that child and shows compassion toward it.  Before the foundation of the earth God knew.  He saw man sin again and again and yet had devised a way out for him.  He sent preachers like Noah, prophets like Elijah and servants like David to show His everlasting love for mankind. When none of these could restore His people to righteousness, God was still not through.  Determined to save His lost ones, God decided He would send His final and best to save His creation.

God, Himself, decided He would pay the cost of man’s redemption. He would pay the price to redeem lost man.  We are told that His word became flesh and we came to know of the man named Jesus who would save His own.  We read that Jesus went to the cross and was willing to suffer, bleed and die an undeserved death for our sins.

God had asked Abraham for the life of his only son, sacrificed by his own hands. As difficult as that would be for any human to do, Abraham was willing to kill Isaac in obedience to his God.  But God must have thought how can I let this one that I love suffer such hurt and so much pain.  He chose that He would endure that suffering and gave Abraham instead a ram to offer as a substitute sacrifice.

Unwilling to let Abraham sacrifice his own son; God, Himself, endured that pain as His only begotten Son made the supreme sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the whole world.  “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”(Joh 3:16).  That scripture may have become too familiar for some people and lost its meaning because of its familiarity.  But just imagine if it was you asked to kill your only child.  Regardless of how or why it was done; it would bring unbearable pain. God’s love spared Abraham that suffering and He endured it Himself.  God did it for all of us.

Neither Abraham nor his son could pay the price of the world’s sin because they were sinners too.  Just like you and me, he had no sinless life or blood to offer for redemption.  Jesus shed His sinless blood to make a pure sacrifice that was acceptable to God as atonement for the sins of the world.

Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.  Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,  I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. Ps 40:6-8

Not only does God command us to love but He has illustrated perfect love in His willingness to sacrifice Christ for a world full of sinners who were undeserving.  “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (Jo 15:13).  Now that He has paid the penalty for our sin, Christ only asks that we take His life and power to live in righteousness.  It is ours for the asking.

In this sacrifice is a valuable lesson for us: a lesson of sacrificial love.  If we only quote the scripture or celebrate the Easter holiday without meditating on what God did in Christ, we miss the whole purpose of Christ’s great sacrifice for us.  Not only that but we also miss the opportunity to help fulfill the work of Christ to restore mankind back to God.  Love is the weapon that defeated Satan at the cross and love is the weapon that defeats him in our lives as well.  When we look at the world and wonder where God is, remember that Christ died so that the Spirit of God could live in us.  It is now our job to dispel the darkness and bring God on the scene by letting Christ’s light shine through us.

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

Right or Wrong, Good or Evil?

Have your ever heard the expression: “It’s a gray area”? It means that something is difficult to define within a category or rule. That may indeed be the case when referring to colors neither purely blue nor green; neither black nor white, etc. But when it comes to truth, there is no gray area. One plus one still equals two, not 2.25 or 2.5, just two. Some things are universally accepted truth, an exact science. A matter is either true or not. If it is not true, then it is false. Some things have no gray area. If you are connecting a car battery, it makes a difference whether the post is positive or negative.

Things used to be simpler, more direct or specific. But today we have what are called gray areas: a person may not want to be considered male or female. In simpler days, this was not a gray area; either you were or were not. Ethical codes have changed too. In this new culture, some things are said to be neither right nor wrong; they are either politically right or politically wrong. It is a cultural expression; but does it change the true essence of right and wrong?

In America, we have gone from political correctness to political corruption. Political correctness put us on a sliding scale that slid progressively into what was obviously wrong without consequence or complaint. The conscience had become silenced to speaking out about things that were controversial and put into a numbness that fell into a deep sleep about speaking up at all. People that once practiced doing right were told they were wrong or inconsequential so they stopped speaking up. That, of course, made more room to fill up the void with what was actually wrong until it became the norm or status quo.

In American politics, the two political parties of democrats and republicans, liberals or conservatives, the left or right, were based on the political view of issues. The Republican Party, party of Lincoln, the “Right,” the party that sided against slavery in the south during the Civil War to set blacks free; had always been seen as the “moral” party or religious right. However, the Republican Party of today fights against the rights of blacks, immigrants and the poor; positions that oppose biblical guidelines. The Democrats now have a more supportive position for blacks, immigrants and the poor. The  political party positions are still evolving and it can be difficult to decide which party to support. Children born within the last several decades cannot depend on parents, church or the law to be the final authority on right or wrong because core values have changed substantially.

We have arrived at an alternate reality where what used to be wrong is now right and what was right is now wrong. There is no longer a general standard for judging anyone anymore because the foundation of our laws was founded on the moral value system derived from the Ten Commandments and Christian faith. With the rejection of the Ten Commandments and the bible as guides, there is no way to measure wrong or right; and anything and everything is rated by public opinion.

We live in an alternate reality now where things are spewed in the wrong direction and there is no way to turn it around based on its present trajectory. The bible tells of a time when every man did what was right in his own eyes (Jdg 17:6). “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts (Pro 21:2). Fortunately there are still some people around who are old enough to remember when things were normal and are bold enough to speak out. Those of us left from prior generations know the results of the present course because we have seen it before. Some of us are old enough to remember or have heard about the Stalin and Hitlers of former generations that were determined to have things their way. We know they got started by silencing the objections of those that knew better. We saw that regardless of how determined and powerful they were in their day, they were overthrown by a greater force than they. They failed to figure in that there is a “Right” that never changes and that will always overthrow the wrong in the end.

Many of today’s strong voices are discounting the power of a Righteous God, Who is still in control. Like some old folks who stand back in silence and watch for the change because they have seen it before; there is a God that watches and waits for His time to speak. He waits to see if anyone will stand up against wrong before He intervenes. Time is witness that He will eventually speak to all those that defy Him and their names too will be recorded in history books along with the Stalins and Hitlers of the past who fell to the righteous power of God. The “all-powerful” Pharaoh of Egypt, who declared that he was a god, had to bow his knee to the True God of heaven, who brought down Pharaoh’s kingdom.

In times of moral quietness, when people are afraid to speak up for what is right; there is a boldness that comes to the wicked that causes them to believe they can do anything and get away with it. There is little resistance to their assumption of power. They project evil and command others to follow. The land seems overtaken by the wicked with little hope of help. The people mourn and feel hopeless. It seems as if the wicked will prevail and overthrow every ounce of good. But there is a word that God has sown in the earth.

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: Psa 92:7

There is another word that God speaks to those that mourn at the wickedness in the earth while they wait on Him.

Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Psa 37:1-2
For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. Psa 37:9

When it seems wickedness has taken over; it is just a sign of God allowing the wicked time to seal its own fate. Even wicked men are given time to see themselves and repent. God is merciful even to the Sauls (Paul) of the earth who may not realize how wicked they are. Sometimes people cannot determine if a person is good or evil because good and evil deeds are intertwined. Some people may have thought Hitler had pure motives at first but his wickedness eventually blossomed almost too late to save onlookers.

God never changes His concept of right and wrong. When we choose to learn His ways and walk in truth, we will not be confused by the masquerade of wickedness. There is a discerning of good and evil that God gives to His children and they are taught to examine the fruit of a tree to judge what type tree it is from.

Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. Mat 7:17

People today seeing evil fruit are calling the tree good. They are foolish and do not know the word of God. We do not have to be deceived at this hour because the Word of God teaches us to discern good from evil and right from wrong. The foolish may fall into deception but the wise will know the truth.

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

Black History Month – February 2018

Black History Month – February 2018

The Cradle of Civilization

Black History Month is a celebration of the history and accomplishments of black people in America, a people descendant from Africans brought to America as a free labor force.  But to trace the history of these people back to only slavery or even to Africa does a disservice both to history and these people.   It is a tragedy that even in modern days the true history of black people in America is still hidden.  Descendants of African slaves now have the liberty and responsibility to promote their own history for future generations.

People from the continent of Africa were taken by force from their homeland and brought to America in chains in the year of 1619 to serve as a free workforce for white settlers in America. The biggest tragedy is not that they were stolen from their homeland or that they were forced to provide free labor and treated horribly.  I believe the biggest tragedy was the fact that the African slaves were stripped of their identity of name, family, language, traditions and native land.  They were forbidden by their slave masters to ever speak of these identifying traits under threat of punishment or death.  Many African Americans still today do not know their rich heritage.  The African people survived the cruelty of slavery and new generations were birthed in America without their ancestral identity.  Destruction of African heritage is why Black History Month is so important.  Lost identity stripes one of origin, destiny and purpose while leaving a terrible void in life.  The celebration of black history is an opportunity to recount the deleted history to our people and more important to provide for the children a stabilizing force of family identity, purpose and destiny for those lost without it.

 

As I mentioned above and the title suggests, there is much more to the story of black people then is commonly brought out in black history month.  The title, “Cradle of Civilization” is a reference to where mankind started its existence.  The continent of Africa is where the slaves were stolen from and the region where mankind originated.  This, too, is a fact that has been long hidden from the black population but that should be brought to the forefront for the healing and restoration of the souls of black people and the world.

Africa, sometimes called the Motherland, is the place where biblical history takes place and where today’s archaeologists, anthropologists have traced the earliest evidence of humankind.  From clay jars and skeletons to caves and discovery of ancient texts, the early history of the world’s people have been found and pieced together for a more accurate accounting of man’s origin.  The transition of people through lands, wars and through rising and falling civilizations has caused history to be a puzzle to modern populations.  Even though the stories have changed, the evidence continues to reveal the truth.  Bible references to African territories and scientific evidence proves the origin of the bible characters and fore parents of African American people. Just as interesting are the many nations and cultures that are derived from African people.

 

We do neither history nor religious faith any justice when we fail to disclose that bible characters were dark skinned people who found faith in the true God and started a religion that has circled the globe and is the foundation of multitudes of nations.  The very Christ that Christians around the world have expressed faith in was raised up in and around Africa. The lands popularly called Middle East or Israel are part of the African continent, the second largest of the seven continents of the world.  The Suez Canal waters separate Africa from what is now called the Middle East and is a man-made channel created for ease of travel through the massive land by water.  The dividing of Israel from Africa by this waterway has caused people to claim it is in the continent of Asia, rather than Africa. Illustrated below are early and current maps of the region which show land changes and division over the years.  The politics of nations have influenced and distorted history and territorial borders but truth is important.  Researching old maps will reveal that Israel was originally part of the African continent.  These facts are important because the history of African people is of necessity to the identity and cultural esteem of African American people who descended from African slaves, who were brought to America and stripped of their identity.  It is important because these people who were made to feel subservient can now know who they really are and rise up to fulfill their destiny.  Jesus came for the purpose of delivering all mankind from bondage and spiritual darkness. Black children must know of the great intellectual contributions Africa made to the world and the great learning centers such as the pre-colonial center of ancient Timbuktu.  The great knowledge of Africa was stolen by the invading armies from Greece and Rome and that knowledge evolved into the knowledge of the present day western world.  Struggling black students of today’s educational system must be told that this is their intellectual heritage.  They must not be allowed to believe that they are second class citizens who came from slaves that were classified as only 3/5 human.  Knowing their true heritage can elevate a deflated self-esteem derived from generations of degradation by a dominant society.

Biblical accuracy of scriptures must be restored for blacks who have been sold a bill of goods by white religion and educational systems.  The casting of an all-white bible is a lie told by the devil to rob black people of their ability to ascend from the bondage they have suffered far too long.  The truth hidden or denied will never bring our society to racial reconciliation.  Winston Churchill is quoted as saying, “History is written by the victors;” and it is true today because those that hold the reins of power over black people are distorting and changing history to their advantage.  Blacks must now take the truth and excel to their God-given destiny. Past black heroes such as Frederick Douglas, Langston Hughes and others have both spoken and written the truth of black history for their descendants but we must make sure these great works are read in the formative years by black children.  It is up to black educators, ministers, entrepreneurs and political leaders of our society to make sure these lessons are not lost to the black community.  We must remember that those who forget their history are destined to repeat it.

For the purpose of a progressive future for all, the truth must survive and prevail.  Booker T. Washington said, “You can’t hold a man down without staying down with him.”    It is in the best interest of all Americans to let the history of black people survive in our society.  The bible teaches knowing truth can make us free but the truth must be obtained and utilized to break the yokes of bondage.  Blacks must use every instrument available to promote our freedom as a people.  Black History Month is just one month of the year where we try to bring to the forefront of our society that which should be commonly known, accepted and celebrated throughout the whole year.  God has given blacks liberty in Jesus Christ, knowledge and opportunity to break every yoke and reclaim our rightful place in Him and we must not be fearful to use everything He has given to proclaim and sustain our liberty.