CHRIST OF CHRISTMAS:THE STONE THAT THE BUILDERS REJECTED – HE IS THE LORD

December 2015

And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? Lk 20:17
And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. Rev19:16

This is the time of year when we joyfully remember that God so loved us that He sent His only begotten son to be our Savior, born in a manger and wrapped in swaddling clothes. We rejoice at the miracle of His birth through a virgin and the promise of His reign in the earth. We rejoice because we know that this miracle was for our deliverance from sin and translation into the Kingdom of our God. The prophecy came forth from God in the Garden that there would be a seed from the woman that would bruise the head to the serpent and this was the beginning of its fulfillment.

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Gen 3:15

God continued to speak through time by His prophets that a promised Messiah would come:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isa 9:6

The hope and promise of the Jews was that this King/Messiah would come to save and deliver them from their oppression. Their religious symbols, service and worship to God reflected this hope of the coming Messiah. Yet when the promised Messiah did come to save and deliver them, He was not recognized nor honored by the devout religious leaders. How could they have missed this moment?

Architects design buildings with a strong foundation to enable a tall structures that will endure the times and adverse weather. They spend time testing and preparing the land for the footing. Strong enduring materials such cement or stones are used at the base of the new structure. Where stones have been used through the ages, choice stones are selected while defective ones are rejected or discarded.   The stones are examined to determine strength and detect any cracks or defects that would weaken the structure.   The stones are selected based on outer examination and a stone that looks weak and fragile would not be selected because of inferiority. A cornerstone holds a prominence place in the foundation of the building.

We judge people the same way: by their outward appearance. How many stones have we rejected because of outer appearance? Rich people in expensive apparel are preferred above people in poor apparel. People may be rejected because of appearance, language, place of origin, work, financial status or family. Many rich people now dress down in jeans and shirts and may drive economy cars making it impossible to tell who is really rich. Poor people sometimes buy and wear clothes and cars outside of their reasonable financial means. The wise counsel of Jesus was that we should not judge people by their outer appearance because it does not reveal the true value or worth of a person. Samuel, God’s prophet,  was taught that God does not see like man but that God looks at the inside of man, into his heart.

There may be people we have devalued that were God-sent blessing to us. We may have missed the very thing we were praying for because of disregarding someone based on outward appearance. God often tests the heart of his steward before sending a blessing as He did with Abraham.

And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;… Gen 22:16- 17

The Book of Hebrews has taught us: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares (Heb 13:2).” When Jesus came into Jerusalem He did not arrive as a rich man would in a carriage, on a horse or stallion. He came walking in sandals without a royal place to abide. The King of Kings was born in a stable because there was no room for Him at the inn. He was not born to a royal earthly family with the means to give him a palace in which to dwell. He could not be distinguished from the locals by his apparel or royal behavior. He ate and slept like the locals and yet He was higher than any rich man or king. Jesus came meek and lowly and He humbled Himself to the governing authorities of the land. Christians are taught through the teachings of Jesus to show no respect of persons but to love and treat every man as himself. Jesus walked the way that He commands us to walk: in humility and love toward everyone.

Our society today pays homage to men of wealth and status and place them above others of lesser means. And yet God is still sending great wealth in undesirable packages, undetected by man’s eye. Jesus, the Christ, was rejected by man but accepted and approved by God. Many people that God will use are still being rejected by man though approved by the Father. Jesus is still being rejected as undesirable even though He is now seated in heaven.  Those that determined that he would not rule over them will one day have to bow their knee to Him.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isa 9:6
Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. (1Pe2:7 -8)
And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? Lk 20:17

Today God’s church is built upon a sure foundation where the Corner Stone is Jesus Christ the Messiah and Redeemer. We, that believe, are likely stones built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone… (Eph 2:20).   Jesus came low and walked in humility until it was time for Him to be exalted on high. And now He reigns as Lord of Lords and Kings of Kings.

In this season where we traditionally celebrate how the Savior came low to identify with  and save us, we should remember an important lesson from the story: Do not judge people because they are a stranger, poor, homeless, weak or distressed in their present situation. We do not know the destiny God has put in anyone. If we obey the royal law to love everyone without respect of person, we could possibly come to a place where we witness that we have longed for as did Anna and Simeon at the birth of the Savior (Lk 2:28-38). Some may yet be entertaining angels, their breakthrough or miracle in disguise.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

THE SAVIOR IS BORN

 

 

Guns or Prayer?

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. 2Co 10:3-6

The nation of America is in a conflict today that few if any know how to prevail. It is difficult to fight a war where you do not know who the enemy is or what the battle is about. And even worst is when you do not know what your weapons are or how to use them. The tragedy is when you have the power to overcome the enemy but do not know it.

The greatest benefit that America has is Christianity and freedom of worship God. That benefit is in great jeopardy today and the enemy is attacking at America’s weak points: its faith in God (with fear) and its freedom (through divisiveness in the ranks for individual freedoms rather than national protection). In the origin of this nation people reached beyond their personal differences to fight for the wellbeing of the nation but today the focus is all about me and mine. The nation of America has compromised its foundation of faith and moral integrity and it has little defense against ferocious enemies. “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do (Ps 11:3)?”

The Corinthian scripture above, given through the Holy Spirit by Apostle Paul, is for the church. The church is God’s authority in the earth realm and Christ directs His church. But is the church listening to its Commander in Chief? God told believers they would be blessed if they obeyed His voice but believers have opted to ignore God’s commands and go after the material blessings instead. They will lie, cheat and steal for material benefits. They are like the many Jews born in the lineage of Abraham who refused to honor Christ and take on His likeness. America started out with God’s divine guidance and Christian principles. It has received many blessings but chosen a misguided path of reverting back to carnal and ungodly ways.

Just as God allowed the ungodly seed of Abraham to fall in battle and go into captivity, He has promised the same to all ungodly men who reject the truth. Outside of faith in God, America has no shield of protection, weapon or power to destroy its present enemies. It is because America is rejecting God, that God is also rejecting America. God is a righteous God and He sustains righteousness, not wickedness. Our Sovereign God is a destroyer of wickedness (Gen 13:13; Gen 19:24; Psa 7:11; Eph5:6). The sins of our nation have been thoroughly uncovered for all to see and we can no longer claim righteousness in the midst of open sin. As an African American I identify with America as an American, but the truth is that African Americans are still experiencing bondage in America. This is another one of America’s hidden sins.  American blacks want to believe they are free but all the evidence of unrighteous imprisonment, organized black infanticide, purpose-driven discrimination in all phases of life, and a history of deliberate hindrance of black progress in general all reveal racial oppression rather than liberty.

Despite all the wickedness of Israel, God still loved them and was open to their prayer of repentance:

Thus saith the LORD God of Israel; Behold, I will turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands, wherewith ye fight against the king of Babylon, and against the Chaldeans, which besiege you without the walls, and I will assemble them into the midst of this city. And I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, even in anger, and in fury, and in great wrath. Jer 21:4-5

People do not always know that it is God that is fighting against them and that they cannot prevail in a fight against God.

Therefore the Lord shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows: for every one is an hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaketh folly. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still. Isa 9:17

In the midst of great anger, God will still hear a repentant cry.

But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. Psa 86:15

King Solomon prayed that the people of God, in their worst hour, might be saved if their hearts turned back toward God. The prayer of King Solomon was received by God and that grace extends to his descendants by blood or faith.

And if thy people Israel be put to the worse before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee; and shall return and confess thy name, and pray and make supplication before thee in this house; Then hear thou from the heavens, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest to them and to their fathers. 2Ch 6:24-25

 Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house. And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the Lord. 2Ch 7:1-4

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2Ch 7:14

The way has been made for God’s intervention in our problems today not only through this prayer of King Solomon, but through the blood sacrifice and forgiveness provided by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.   Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; Eph 6:12-18

Paul, in this speech, reminds the believing saints that they already have the victory over any enemy through the power of God and the weapons He made available. But forgiveness must have the precedence of confession and turning from sin: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1Jn 1:9).”

God has made it clear that some of our fights are not carnal fights but spiritual ones and those we must fight in the spiritual realm, not the physical one. As ungodly people before salvation, we fought our enemy in the flesh.   But now after becoming spiritual children of God, we must fight in the spirit because we know our spiritual enemy is Satan who fights against our soul. Satan’s fight is always about control. Satan is the god of this world and he already has at his disposal the riches and the gold; but what he wants is power over men and God. We, that belong to God, are engaged in this warfare whether we want to be or not.

Our problem today is that we have carnal churches that do not know how to fight spiritual fights with spiritual weapons. Christ left His church all the weapons needed for the fight; but just as America regrets the unpreparedness of some foreign soldiers to fight their own war, also regretful is America’s unpreparedness to fight its own war. Our battle today is not physical aggression; it is spiritual aggression. Satan’s kingdom wants power over God’s kingdom. Neither legislation nor bullets will stop Satan-driven ideology but the power of God can change the heart of the worst enemy just like He changed Saul of Taurus. Some churches are caving in when they should be standing up, declaring the Word of God and making Satan and his peons bow down. Christ has already declared that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church and His word cannot fail. Physical engagement may not be advantageous to believers, but warfare, nevertheless, is required.

While America is concerned about conflict with foreign nations and whether or not to put boots on the ground, many churches are sitting back wondering what will happen and whether or not this is the feared beginning of World War III. But the church is the weapon that American should be unleashing in this battle! The government is not the protection for the church, but the church is the protection for our government. The people, church and believers existed before the American government was formed and the government was organized by God-fearing believers. Christ established the church with His authority to fight the spiritual enemies of Christ and His Church! Daniel defeated his enemies on his knees.  Christ has already put down all wicked authority through His crucifixion and ascension but we still have a role to play. Weak pastors are a detriment to us all if they do not do their God-given job and direct the arrows of faith against our enemies! This battle is not a physical one requiring guns and nuclear weapons. This is a battle that calls for a righteous church to stand up and decisively take authority over the devil and his work. God has already given us the ammunition.

Christ told His disciples to follow Him. Where Christ has gone, we must go. Christ has gone over the divided walls of communism and false religions to reach the hearts and minds of some that do not know Him. We must follow Him there. Christ is appealing to the hearts and minds of lost souls overseas and we must follow Him there. Christ is appealing to Muslims, Hindu worshippers, agnostics and sinners of all kinds and so must we. The great message of Christ to His church was: “Follow Me.” If the American church was steadfast in following Christ into unknown territories with the true gospel, we would not have to fight a physical war with physical weapons against unbelievers. The same power that the early disciples used to turn the world upside down for Christ is still available. Christ has compelled the church to love its enemies and give the Word to every nation. Where we cannot physically go, our prayers have no barriers that they cannot penetrate. And if they will not heed the message, Christ will be their warrior. Neither Congress nor the White House knows what to do with a spiritual war. Christian instruction and authority were given to Christ’s Church, not the secular government. Moses and Joshua was God’s men who led the warfare by God’s voice.  The church represents the mind of Christ; the government and military are simply arms that must be directed.

Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass, that the children of Israel asked the Lord, saying, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them? And the Lord said, Judah shall go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hand… And Judah went up; and the Lord delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand: and they slew of them in Bezek ten thousand men. Jdg 1:1-4

Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you. 2Ch 20:17

 And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands. 1Sa 17:47

The Lion of Judah is ready to be engaged against our enemy. Church, put on your armor; pray and go to war!

America – Responding to a Call for Repentance

 

October 2015

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  James 5:16

Literature Source:  http://theresponseusa.com/north-carolina/

“OUR NATION IS AT A CROSSROADS.

America’s issues are not primarily financial, political or moral. Neither does America’s hope lie in one leader or institution. Our hope is found in the One who desires for us to turn to Him with our hearts. This is our response – to call on Jesus on behalf of America, that He might hear our cry and heal our land.

The Response: USA is holding statewide solemn assemblies to gather people from all ages, denominations and backgrounds in prayer and fasting on behalf of our nation. This is the time for Christians to come together to call upon Jesus to guide us through unprecedented struggles, and thank Him for the blessings of freedom we so richly enjoy. Here are our upcoming Response events.

Why a Gathering of Prayer and Fasting?

In the Bible book of Joel, in Chapter 2, an ancient Hebrew prophet speaks to a nation in crisis and gives God’s solution when He tells them to, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning (contrition and humility)” (Joel 2:12).  In that day, the command was for everyone to stop what they were doing and gather for a “sacred assembly,” to turn to God with prayer and fasting.

Why did God desire fasting, weeping, and mourning from the people? It provided them with an opportunity to gather before God and acknowledge that their nation had drifted away from its foundations in morality and faith (Joel 2:15). Because of this moral decline, the people were not prepared to face the threats rising up against them and God wanted His people to understand that their moral decline was far greater than the threats of economic crisis or military invasion.

God ordained in that hour of history that prayer would serve as the only way of escape from their mounting troubles. Only God had the power to solve both a nation’s internal and external threats. All were unsolvable by human means and human solutions, but God had a solution that could be found in His great mercy.

Our Response

Sound familiar?  America is at a crossroads … and the root is not to be found in political agendas, economic doldrums, crime rates, or terrorist threats, as many believe. Our country is in crisis because we are a people who are no longer honoring God in our prosperity or humbly calling on Him in our predicaments. The Response is committed to activating a return to prayer by those with contrite hearts, to provide witness that the Church is taking a stand for righteousness and asking God for His mercy on the land we love.

As a nation, we must come together to call upon Jesus to guide us through the unprecedented struggles we face today, and thank Him for the blessings of freedom we have so richly enjoyed. The epic crisis facing our nation and threatening our future demands an epic response of repentance, prayer and fasting, asking God for mercy on us and on our land.

The call of God to His people in times of great trouble is to gather together and call on Him with one voice, one heart, and a unified desire to see great blessing and great glory come to our nation again. The power of unified prayer from a humble gathering of the saints is found in the hope that He might answer us once again, and turn the tide of our trouble and the host of threats that stand against us.

THANK YOU FOR ATTENDING THE RESPONSE: NC.

Thousands gathered together last Saturday and called on the Lord on behalf of their state and nation. We prayed for over 6 hours and we saw the Lord’s presence come into the Charlotte Convention Center. We thank you for your commitment to prayer and fasting and we hope that you continue to follow The Response events as they take place in other cities. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep in the loop.”

Source: http://theresponseusa.com/north-carolina/


The Real Meaning Behind the Jewish Feasts

September 2015

There has been a lot of interest lately in the coming harvest feasts celebrated by the Jews and whether or not it has any implications for us as Christians and Americans. There have been many attempts to answer and decipher its meaning. America has seen tragedy during this time of year and some people have determined it was judgment from God. Because we as Christians have not come into a clear understanding of God’s ways, His movements have often eluded us.

It was during these seasons that I received salvation and pursued a deeper understanding of God and events that occurred during these seasons. The untimely death of a loved one got my attention as I wondered why. I became angry with a God I did not know. God did not have to vindicate Himself to me but He did because He is just that kind of God. He wants us to know that He is always righteous and good. With God’s help I was able understand death and work through the grief process. I began to observe a pattern in deaths around the end and beginning of a year. As a new Christian, the Jewish feasts were unfamiliar to me until much later so it was attributed to some phenomenal related to the end of the year. For years I observed these times of unusual blessings and loss and sought to understand. This mystery was opened up further and further as I grew in Christian knowledge and searched out the ways of God.

God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He established patterns in the earth and patterns for His interactions with mankind. God’s laws are universal but His ways are to be understood by His people. There are those that can break down the Jewish feasts in ways that I would not even attempt. My intent is only to understand what God wants from us and how we are to give it. Recently I wrote out a paper of my own research in this area entitled “The Offering God Wants When He Comes to Meet With Us.” Through this research I found my answer and maybe my summary will suffice others as well.

The History of the Feast Times

To understand God, we always have to go back to what He originally instructed us and see the progression of this truth through the scripture. Because God does not change. What He originally wanted, He still wants. It is our sin that has changed the equation. God originally came to meet with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden on a regular basis (Gen 3:8). We saw in Genesis where the sons, Cain and Abel, prepared offerings for God (Gen 4:3). We are not told how these offerings began, just that they occurred. God was pleased with one offering and rejected the other. This story reveals that God expects to meet with His people at set times and that He wants us to offer up something of value to Him at His coming.

In the wilderness, we saw that Moses instructed the Children of Israel in the ways of God and how to please Him. The Israelites were told that several specific times during the year God would meet with them, how they would present their offerings, and that these would be times of a great celebration.

Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty: Deu16:16

The Israelites worked the land and were shepherds so their offerings to God were related to their labor during the year. God expected His people to recognize and bless Him at the end of their season of work where He had prospered them to have success. The combination of their work and God’s favor produced a crop or blessing of which God expected His credit, respect and reverence.

Man’s response to God’s expectation to be remembered at this time would show man’s appreciation and thankfulness for a good and gracious God. Cain, of course, did not show proper respect or appreciation and God was not pleased. What about us? Are we thankful? God has blessed America greatly. Are we showing thankfulness? God no longer expects animal sacrifice, but He does expect from His children thankfulness and reverence.

This coming season is about a tradition of God coming to meet with His children and bringing and receiving something of value in a time of thankfulness for all He has done for us. Will we have an acceptable offering? Certainly there will be praises and worship going up to God as we carry on church services but let us not forget other behavior.

America has recently thumbed its nose to God. The White House was lit up in rainbow colors to celebrate a practice that God hates. Our legislative branch is at war with each other. The Supreme Court has validated and made legal a homosexual life style that God specifically forbade. The nation has removed prayer and the Ten Commandments from public arenas, shunned the stranger, murdered millions of babies while the rich have decried the portion for the poor and many churches have rejected God’s truth and deceived believers. America that loves money and that has made money its god is now poised to elect a new president who appears to worship money. Shall God be pleased with what America has to offer Him when He comes to be celebrated in this season? I think not. America’s present state can be found in the book of Judges where the people were willing to say to anyone: “Come and be lord over us and take this mess under your hand.”

“Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian. And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you – Jdg 8:22-23.” (Read the rest of this chapter.)

“When a man shall take hold of his brother of the house of his father, saying, Thou hast clothing, be thou our ruler, and let this ruin be under thy hand…” Isa 3:6.

Perversion of the Season

Many false religious leaders have made a mockery of this time and required of God’s people a substantial money offering during these feasts. People looking for a blessing from God have been taken advantage of and some fallen into unbelief because of it. While God does expect us to give finances to the church that upholds His name and does His work, it is in the normal process of church obedience, not in a lottery to get future blessings. We must remember too, that there were some offering as mentioned by Isaiah that God did not want.

“To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.” Isa 1:11-14  

These verses were followed up with the truth of what God really wanted: Isa 1:17 – “Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.” God is more concerned about our heart and right behavior (New Testament Commandments) than our offering up vain offerings in an attempt to appease Him. So, like with Cain, an offering from impure or insincere hearts will not be acceptable to God. Malachi 3 helps us to see also that God will not be pleased with our refusal to give godly pastors the portion that is rightly due for the work of the Lord. The New Commandments that Jesus gave us refer to a changed heart. A right heart leads us to do right with our money.

The Expectation of God’s Coming

This upcoming season is about God coming to see what we have prepared as an offering for Him. Will it be good works, a heart of love, fellowship with Him and our brethren, an appreciation and thanks for His truth and blessings or will it be our disrespect? God will come to some in blessings for their good done toward His name but He will appear as a judge to others for their disrespect of His Word and Person. How will we meet our God?

Jewish Traditions Applied to Christians

The Jewish feast of Rosh HaShanah is September 13-15, 2015. It is the Jewish New Year and marks the beginning of a ten-day period of prayer, self examination and repentance. Jewish tradition teaches that during the High Holy Days God decides who will live and who will die during the coming year. It is a time of judgment for mankind and reconciliation with God.

The next significant feast is Yom Kippur – Atonement celebrated on September 22-23, 2015. This feast begins at sunset of one day and ends at nightfall of the next. During Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur and in the days leading up to them, the Jews begin to examine their lives and repent for any wrong doings committed the previous year. This repentance is called teshuvah. Yom Kippur is when the high priest went into the Holy of Holies each year to make an offering for the sins of Israel. The Jews during this time would make amends with those they have wronged and make plans for improving their lives during the upcoming year. Many Americans follow this custom but observe it at our New Year’s Day which starts in January. Where our calendar has gone through worldly changes the Jewish calendar is more exact. Yom Kippur is the deadline for making things right and by its end, God’s “Book of Life” is said to be closed until the next year. It is a time of fasting, repenting and cleansing to renew our relationship with God.

Even though some Christians may have difficulty with these holidays because they represent Jewish traditions, we must realize that our Savior and Christian blessings come through the lineage of Jews and that we must understand both the past and the present to get a full understanding of our God. These practices that we saw exercised in the Garden of Eden were evidently established long before Abraham. Though we do not follow the laws of the Jews, we do obey the spirit of the law and some principles are timeless as are some commands God gave to the Jews, i.e. honoring God and putting Him first. We are admonished through the word:

“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Pro 4:7

“But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.” 1Jn 2:20

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Joh 8:32

God can move at any time in the life of a person but we are told specifically about His expectations at this time.  Whether for blessing or judging, we would do well to be ready for God’s presence in love and preparedness. Christians are not Jews but we serve the same God and we have been brought into a better relationship with Him through our faith in Jesus Christ. Christ actually taught His disciples about divine visitations and how to be ready for them (Mt 24-44). This is a time when we should reach out to and pray for all souls. While God comes to bless and fellowship with the obedient, the ungodly will find His judgment of sin. There are yet deeper meanings to the season for the believer in fellowship with the Lord and they should diligently seek God for His purposes. We have a standing appointment with the Righteous God over the earth and it is always a good idea to take some time to examine our lives and prepare it to be a time of celebration.

Why White America Does Not Repent

August 2015

The Christian faith requires a confession of sins and commitment to the doctrine and practices of Christ. Those that circumvent these requirements, therefore, cannot be authentic Christians. The early apostles and Christ warned believers against following teachings contrary to what they taught (Mt. 16:11-12). However, many churches teach a derivative of the gospel that does not model what Christ practiced. Some professing Christians may not be indeed true disciples of Christ. Lack of understanding of the gospel explains why some religious people may not see the need to repent in a season where God is dealing with all hearts.

Christian Progress Incomplete

A study of Christian history reveals many phases of the Christian journey in the western world. It will reveal many wars and executions resulting from those who believed their religious method or practice was supreme to others they considered heretics. Christian history also reveals extreme and unnecessary practices that some were willing to endure to perfect their faith. Like them, many of our churches believe they have found the true ways of Christ and have set out to perfect that standard among their members. But are they more right than believers of prior centuries who risked life and limb to sustain their practice of faith? The present deterioration of Christianity in the western world argues that something is awry in our practice of Christianity.   Even as the Old Testament Jews never reached perfection through their religious practices, nor have many of us who have not rend the heart to find Christ. Christ walked out the faith that pleased God to show us the right pattern and yet it has escaped the understanding of many seekers.

Conflict with the Blueprint of America

When we examine the difference between the power structure of America and that of other democratic nations, we discover the uniqueness of this nation and gain further enlightenment on this question. This nation was formed by people who wanted to escape the tyrannical rule of religion and government. They wanted to lift up the voice of ordinary people to significantly impact what happened in their lives. With the help of God, the nation was formed to allow citizens religious freedom and exercise of a strong voice in the lawmaking process that ruled their lives. These systems have been in place for over 200 years but the nation has fallen into decline because people have disengaged their participation in governing and given rise to groups willing to reign over them. So America has not succeeded in its well organized system to evolve into the great democratic republic whose governing would be of the people, by the people and for the people, with liberty and justice for all.

Every organization, people or system is patterned after something that it has seen or envisioned for itself. America did not favor the old patterns of England and sought to find a new system that would be more just. They envisioned a governing system that would largely involve the common people in decision making. But more importantly this system was formed mostly by people with faith in God and who incorporated biblical ideals into this new system. What all of them may not have realized at the time was that God had a major role in setting up this new government. As the Master of the Universe, it was God who was guiding man to a system of government where all the people He created as equals, having equal value would have equal opportunities as well in the earth. The many forms of Christianity that united in the beginning of the nation later chose to divide by state; but the heart of the bible envisions a people who would follow biblical principles and arrive at a destination of heart that flows with love and compassion for all people.

The nation of America has never reached that destination of love and compassion for all people in its religious community. Having fought the Civil War and against civil rights for black people, America has been forced to accept the legal rights of all people by law, rather than by heart. The Law (Ten Commandments) was established to show people their sin and need of a Savior; and that Savior has come. Law never perfected the hearts or performance of any people. So what the Ten Commandments failed to do in man’s heart, the law of man cannot do. But God is still willing to work with America if America is willing to work with God.

Christianity’s Goal of Love

With the failure of religion to perfect the hearts of America and bring it into the plan of God for the people, it has left many seeking some other pattern to follow. We have seen America’s social engagement with the royals of England and a developing affection for the monarchal ways. The love affair with and lost of England’s Princess Diana (America’s Princess) broke the heart of America. The nation of America still flirts with the ideas of past European ways, travelling to foreign nations as royalty, establishing homes on several continents and developing an infatuation with foreign personalities and their speaking accents. We still see American elites trying to live the life of European aristocrats, some who maintain their status by oppressing commoners.

The nation of America must have a vision to imitate and a pattern to follow. If not Christianity, what? Ideals formed from Christianity and a pursuit of equal rights for all people is what made America different from other nations of the world. If it does not continue in this vein, it really does not have a purpose or destiny to fulfill. That is the reason why we see factions of its citizens trying to remake America into some other image. Some that were successful in removing the Ten Commandments from the courtyard recently positioned a demon statue in the courtyard in its stead. Because Christians and political leaders have lost their way, ad hoc groups are establishing their own control, i.e. the gay rights movement, the wealthy, media, conglomerates, and religious sects. All of these groups and their lobbying efforts that are also represented in other developed nations just add to the confusion of governing.

Backward Drift into Darkness

We are seeing America drift backward because it refuses to continue on a godly path. Legalization of hallucinogenic drugs and sexual appetites, breakout of violence and discord, confusion about moral values, as well as the breakdown of the family are all signs of the backward drift. As America condones the newly uncovered atrocities in the abortion industry and choosing instead to protest killing of sanctioned wild life, it does not seem to realize that this same type of hardened heart that endorsed slavery, killed the Jews, and thought it okay is the public heart of America today on display. Irony would have America to consider its deviant behavior that is being uncovered while it is busy judging the deviant behavior of other uncivilized nations and immoral groups. While some are cutting off heads to reach their goal, America condones cutting up babies for financial goals. While uncivilized and unprogressive nations are protecting the family, America is busy destroying the family. It is indeed a time for serious soul searching! But there seem to be no strong component to turn the nation in the right way because the right way has been rejected and the trumpet blowers are not alarmed.

Why is it that America will not continue in a righteous path? Churches have been content to have unregenerate pastors and congregations who follow religious paths leading down a road whose end does not resemble Christ. They have valued their social unity above relationship with Christ. Jesus met many people on this path in His earthy ministry and appealed to their hearts to change. America has arrived at a place where she must repent of past sins that she does not want to acknowledge. And yet she can precede no further until she deals with it in broken hearted repentance. The nation cannot deny its Christian founding, biblical foundation or past Christian leaders but it must continue its journey. It is fine to call oneself a Christian, but true Christianity requires one to accept the truth and repent of sins. White America, like during slavery, has been fine with having a form of Christianity that does not invade personal pleasures or privileges. True Christianity requires acceptance of every nationality of God’s people and bringing them into the commonality that is the Kingdom of God. White Christians have had their reign over all the affairs of the nation and refuse to release their control. But even the gay community has refused hypocritical religion and decided to guide its own way into politics and religion. America’s Christian white community has also established a gospel of prosperity that allows them to have elite rule from a different platform of privilege and self-righteousness, where commoners support their lifestyle with their dollars. It is no different than the British royals, except for the propagation of a perverted gospel.   We even saw recently the white political body of the right wing and Christian organizations rise up into a powerful political force to set up their own candidates for the office of president of the United States in hope of gaining more control toward hierarchy and aristocracy. This would have been America’s own religious controlled government with a bias against blacks and other minorities. Sovereignty prevailed though and the move was crushed to the amazement of its organizers. White Christians in America were willing to compromise or give up their God in order to increase their rule. We have already seen this modeled in South Africa and it failed.

The founding fathers and first settlers of America had had enough of monarchal rule and religious oppression. They were ready for a reversal of that path. But new Americans, accustomed to privilege and liberties, have no appreciation for the hardship and fear the founders had suffered under English rule. Nor has America learned the lesson from the Civil War: oppression is wrong. Slavery was wrong, but America has never fully repented or atonement for this sin. Repentance calls for confession of sin and reversal of the old direction. Some Americans are trying to move forward through that backward direction because the hatred and racial prejudice of America’s past has not been resolved. It has always continued in some other guise such as unjust laws or discriminatory acts that boils over from time to time. Healing never took place because it has never been properly confronted. The height of Christianity obtained to the present day in America has not inspired the white church to lead the charge of resolving inequalities toward to blacks in particular and other nationalities. The insidious nature of the prejudice that ruled in America over past centuries was a hatred that told whites their skin color made them superior to those of darker skin. This deception can be traced back to the prejudice of its author, the German philosopher Christoph Meiners (1747-1810) who coined the term “Caucasian” for the white race; denoting people he thought were more morally virtuous and attractive than others due to their pale skin color. And even the world’s condemnation of this belief, demonstrated through German Adolf Hitler’s prejudice and atrocities carried out against the Jews, has not alleviated this venom. White Christians have failed to learn this lesson from past mistakes and to avoid making the same errors in the future. Christ demands a love for man’s neighbor that looks beyond physical attributes, one that proactively seeks to show love to neighbors and strangers and that will not participate in stoning of sin, even the sexual sins of homosexuality.

America was founded at a time when Britain was denouncing slavery and yet the new nation of America launched head first into it, ignoring British evangelists who brought their message across the waters with great power and authority compelling the end of slavery. America’s white population, and especially white Christians, still must come to grips with the lie of racial superiority that science refutes with the resulting embedded prejudice of soul; and come to a place where they denounce this hatred before it destroys the nation of America. It is unconscionable that Christian love, racial prejudice and a spirit of superiority could reside in the same soul; and some that are looking for revival will not acknowledge this major hindrance in their hearts. Apostle John denounced this hypocrisy in his gospel message:

If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 1Jn 1:6

For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 1Jn 3:11

We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 1Jn 3:14

America must remember its past where many religious people, professing Christians, preachers and even the founders of the nation bought and sold black people as slaves, brutally handled and killed them, believing it was God’s will and that they themselves were righteous and followers of God. How was that possible except that they were unregenerate or churchgoers with consciences seared through hatred? This same hatred is blinding America from the ability to solve urgent issues pertaining to immigration, racial discord, homosexual demands and internal/external terrorism. Refusing to deal with the root of these issues in the heart only exacerbate the problems. The very definition of Christianity is a heart of love because God is love. This fact should cause every white professing Christian to search his own soul to see if his salvation is merely professed rather than possessed. They should ponder how it is possible to have racial hatred, a spirit of superiority and yet call oneself a follower of the very Christ who forbade these practices and Who taught a doctrine of love and humility.

Christian Churches Should Set the Example

Individual believers of Christ should inquire from spiritual leaders the soul-searching questions of the day and follow only those that truly follow Christ. True Christianity will save the soul and America. True Christians in the white communities must deal with diehards that refuse to obey man and God’s law for sharing this nation. If Arab nations can realize their responsibility why cannot white America and especially Christians? This is a conversation that white America must have with itself and with their religious leaders before America can move forward. Many white Americans, rather than looking inward, are spending their time dissecting other issues such as gun control, immigration, motivation for crimes, and the president’s action. They have concluded that the cause of the problems must be those other people. How can black Americans be the problem when they have been beat down, oppressed and discriminated against at every turn while whites have had the advantage of majority rule and liberty in America that comes through a history of over two thousand years of Christianity? Imagine parents who would claim their children are destroying the family when it’s the parents who are in charge of the house and who control the purse strings. How foolish! Everyone knows this would be the parents fault! White America must search its own soul. Their sovereign rule over the lives of others has not given them a peace that satisfies and they continue to search for it in other places instead of in true relationship with God. But the Word of God declares:

For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. Luk12:48

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2Ch 7:14

Note in these scriptures God put the responsibility of change on those who say they are His. What has always been at issue in America is how the white elites can control the wealth of the nation for themselves. Greed is the issue behind racial prejudice as it was behind the issue of slavery. The love of money is still the root of all evil…in church…in government. But these issues are all settled in the heart of a true Christian who has learned to love his neighbor as himself. So where white America and the Christian community have failed to succeed in God’s vision for America, they must decide if they will now pursue God’s way. The power to change is the mighty power of God that He gives abundantly and freely. The power to change has been provided and the alternative is devastating. Wisdom would advise America and white Christians in particular, to consider its own wicked ways, repent, and follow the nation’s founders and God’s plan for allowing the nation to grow into a united body, which enjoys equally God’s bounty in liberty. Reversal into the confusion of past mistakes will not help and God forbids that course!

America Just Does Not Work Without Christianity

Quotes from President George Washington

  • “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and Bible.”
  • “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained”
  • “It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favors.”
  • “No people can be bound to acknowledge the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency”

Great works are first visions in the mind of those who birth them from the invisible to the visible. The vision develops into a tangible form where others are able to appreciate it. What was a previous impossibility becomes a reality. This concept in manufacturing transfers the visionary’s idea into a workable model or product. Theories are developed into the physical components that make the product perform its visualized purpose. The theories of car manufacturers are worked into tangible products that come off the production line as cars we enjoy without concern of the behind-the-scene process that brought it together. If the car breaks down and we take it to a mechanic who uses substitute parts for repair, it could fail to operate as originally designed. What if an incompetent mechanic decided certain parts were not needed and left them on the shop floor, returning your key to you for continuous driving? Your car would not provide the same experience as the original design. The parts left out may have been key components with seemingly insignificant value but necessary for the smooth operation of the car. Competent mechanics would not be so foolish as to leave out parts of a car designed by the manufacturer. They would get the manufacturer’s guide for the car, find out how the original design worked and put the parts in their rightful places, knowing that every part plays a role in the design of the car.

Scholars from the science and faith communities still try to figure out how the world was created and how it continues to work. There are many theories being adopted and accepted by brilliant minds and then there is God’s answer recorded for all posterity in the bible. The resounding question is what or who created the earth? Everyone examining the evidence acknowledges that it was a miraculous process that brought about life as we know it today. Some agree that there was intelligent design involved in the process rather than the common theories of evolution or spontaneous combustion. Can a car question the manufacturer’s design? Can a bird figure out who made it or why it flies? No, birds merely trust in the Maker and continue to soar. The earth is wonderfully made in such splendor and magnificence that defies our understanding. One could spend a lifetime just examining one aspect of the earth and still have merely scratched the surface of its amazing design. How then can man probe the mind of its Manufacturer or defy His design?

The bible is the manufacturer’s guide for man and the earth. It clearly states that God is the Creator. Many that have tried to redefine or defy God’s creation have long disappeared off the face of the earth but God and His word still remain the same. Biblical Job was a man of enormous wealth and wisdom. He was a devout believer, trusting in God for everything. But in a time of severe trouble, Job found himself wanting to box with God. Here is the biblical account of his encounter with God.

Job said: “Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat!

I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments.” Job 23:3-4

After Job had fully laid out his heart in debate and anger, God responded to Job. It is important here to note that God was listening. This great man of fame, wisdom, wealth and faith in God ran into his Manufacturer who demanded to know why Job dared question his maker.

Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Job 38:4

Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said, Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it. Then Job answered the LORD, and said, Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further. Then answered the LORD unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous? Job 40:1-8

There are people today that are politicians, actors, preachers, scientists, educators, the wealthy, etc. who like Job want to challenge the wisdom of God. They would be wise to read of those who came before them that had similar desires and consider their end.

Not only are there individuals today that want to box with God but the nation of America as a whole has decided to box with God. It goes without saying that the battle is futile but we all have our times when we challenge boundaries. What would be of little impact for one person who wanted to challenge God, nevertheless, would be devastating if a nation took this destructive path. God allows some who insist on their own way to have it until it devours them. Paul called it a reprobate mind in Romans 1:28.

If God is indeed the maker of man and the earth, as the bible states, would He not respond to those that question Him as Job did? God beacons: Come and let us reason together? (Isa 1:18) The maker of an item always provides rules for the smooth and successful operation of its product. God provided rules as well for the successful life of man. These rules were clearly laid out in Deuteronomy 28 for the Israelites that Moses led. The Ten Commandments given by God to Moses for the children of Israel was to show them their sinful ways and their need for a Savior. The wages of sin is still death but Christ, the Savior, came and bore that punishment for all who put their trust in His sacrificial death. God, like any manufacturer of a product, provides His assistance and warnings for misuse of the product. Continuous misuse of an item’s intended purpose brings its own destruction in due time.

America was birthed through the miraculous hand of God as He moved upon God-fearing men and women to bring about development of this nation. Christian faith led many religious denominations and many with faith in God to work together in building a nation where all men could live under God. We have seen the wonderful results of those before us who worked together for the good of the nation. America has prevailed through many internal and external struggles because of Christian virtue in its people. God honored their faith even when they struggled through many opinions to find the right path. Christianity prevailed as an anchor to hold this nation together but yet some now feel that it is no longer needed. Some that have failed to reach their Christian goal no longer want to contend for it. There are senior leaders holding important positions where the baton should have long ago passed to younger warriors to carry on the battle. Refusal to let go of power when the flame of passion has ceased blocks the potential of others that are needed. Our society will always need elderly wisdom for experienced insight and consultation.

America has enjoyed great material success, worldly wisdom and matured to the point of reaching out to help others of lesser strength, but its worldly wisdom also reveals a spirit of arrogance that defies dependence on God. Men and women of great fame, wealth and knowledge have challenged the truth about God. Their own human abilities have risen to the place of false gods. The first of the Ten Commandments and the whole bible warn of this danger of putting God away. World and biblical history are replete with lessons that advise against this attitude.

America was founded with a deep-seated respect for God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Stories of George Washington, a general of war and the first American President, illustrate great faith and reliance on the God of the bible. Washington prayed intensely to God for direction in battle and for the young nation. History records his faith and a prophetic vision given about the nation’s future. Here is a brief summary of the message and where it can be read in its entirety:

“Son of the Republic, what you have seen is thus interpreted: Three great perils will come upon the Republic. The most fearful is the third, but in this greatest conflict the whole world united shall not prevail against her. Let every child of the Republic learn to live for his God, his land and the Union.” (http://www.ushistory.org/valleyforge/washington/vision.html)

The graduation of the nation of America to maturity should cause it to look back and honor the God who brought it through many struggles to its present success. However, disrespect of one’s maker does not entitle one to continuous blessings.

We have seen moral decline of Christian leadership in America as well as a general disrespect of Christian principles. Christian churches have refused to stand up for Christ and His ways and the nation is suffering as a result. Professing Christians have given over the reins of leadership to non-Christians who use worldly wisdom to lead while Christians have lain back to enjoy their rest and prosperity. Many believers have not been properly taught how to live the Christian life and serve the Lord. Too many have been led by institution-taught pastors with little true experience with Christ. Lack of true Christian leadership has brought us to a deteriorating nation, where sinful ways are dominating. Abrupt changes and deterioration have caused the ungodly to not only advance but also to disfavor and discredit the Christian faith that laid the foundation of the nation. Christians have only a short time to arise and turn things around before the nation lose the strength of Christian leadership forever.   Other nations have traveled a similar path where turnaround is not possible unless God sends a Christian revival. Many now are hearing the trumpets of impending danger but have not gathered the strength to reverse their direction. God said: “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 before finishing this proposition, He offers: “but these have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bonds (Jeremiah 5:5).”

Christian virtue has always caused people to walk in a godly way that respect others. America has prospered because she fought wars to uphold the weak and disadvantaged within its borders and without. Christ taught a principle of giving, where those who had plenty reached back to help those that did not. This principle of reciprocity blessed the nation during past years. Failure to continue in godly principles causes a nation to decline. Where Christianity has always promoted care and love for ones neighbor, the desire for wealth has led to greed where people connive and oppress others. The life lesson of wealthy Americans who failed due to corrupt ways has somehow escaped their knowledge. There are many stories of men of great wealth who had terrible results in their end.

America is experiencing a time where the wealthy are using any means necessary to gain more and the oppression of the weak is of no consequence to them. Ironically, Americans marvel at similar oppression used by those in foreign nations. But these types of situations cause the intervention of God to move on behalf of the oppressed. His defense of the oppressed comes at the detriment of the oppressors. It will affect all as God brings His correction. The Christian way of life laid the foundation for America and is the source of the American creed: “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…” Failure to maintain the Christian way and this solemn agreement before God will bring the consequences spelled out in Deuteronomy 28.

God’s call is for the Christian community to stand up and bring correction before He steps in with a radical correction that would cause many to suffer. The hearts of the wicked and unbelievers can be changed with the intercession of the Christian community if God’s people would arise and do the job they are called to do as Christian believers. “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15).” Correction of the wicked will without a doubt include some who are professing to be Christians but who in reality are not. God is calling for us all to consider our ways and make sure we are walking in obedience before He comes to settle the issue of disobedience. God, the Father as our Maker, paid the ultimate price of the sacrifice of His own Son to provide mercy and forgiveness for every lost individual. God sent Christ so that mankind could know the Way that brings life, liberty and His great joy.

George Washington: “I am sure that never was a people, who had more reason to acknowledge a Divine interposition in their affairs, than those of the United States; and I should be pained to believe that they have forgotten that agency, which was so often manifested during our Revolution, or that they failed to consider the omnipotence of that God who is alone able to protect them.”

Let’s remember the history of America and have a Happy Independence Day this 4th of July.

Correction of the Church

April 3, 2015

The world was established by God and He has always maintained sovereignty over it even after giving Adam and his descendants the authority to exercise dominion in the earth. The temptation and failure of the first family brought corruption to earth when they surrendered their dominion but God retained His Sovereignty. The serpent’s cunning deception gave him authority that shows up as war, corruption and confusion. God’s sovereignty continually brings defeat to earth’s corruption with a corrective force launched against mayhem that reestablishes order because the earth belongs to God.

Turning the World Around

God raised up Moses, the Law Giver, to lead the church in the wilderness and bring people back to God’s way. But today’s church is not that church. We are under a new covenant of grace through Jesus Christ and the harshness of the Law has been replaced by grace. Moses had a lot of problems trying to get the church in the wilderness to obey the Law and God has a lot of problems today trying to get His Son’s church to obey under grace. The tendency for people to do things in their own way has not changed. The church in the wilderness went astray time and time again; and despite New Testament grace and the Holy Spirit, churches are still going contrary to God’s word. Old Testament history reveals that man’s nature has not changed even if 21st century churchgoers believe they are smarter and would not make those simple mistakes. Though we are more modern, our sins are just as rebellious as the children of the Old Testament. The nature of man has not changed; nor has God changed His requirement for righteousness in the earth and holiness in man.

The wrath of God stands against all unrighteousness and demands that wickedness be overthrown in His earth (Rom 1:18). The Father sent Jesus Christ into the earth to save mankind and restore God’s order. Within the three years of his earthly ministry, Jesus brought correction (Mat 23), established order (Mat 10:5-39) and gave believers a new pattern for the worship of God (Joh 4:23). The old pattern of the Law was abolished as God showed us the more excellent way of grace through Christ Jesus (Eph 2:15; Rom 6:14). When Jesus ascended back to the Father, He left His church in the earth to exercise His authority using the Word of God, ministry of salvation and instruction in holiness with correction (2Ti 3:16).

Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: (Eph 4:8 -13).

The Mystery of the Church

This new way of serving God is revealed in the church, Christ’s body in the earth. Christ sits in heaven as the Head; and His body, the church, is to carry out and do His will in the earth. When His body in the earth, also called the Bride of Christ or church, becomes mature then Christ will unite with His bride, taking the church to live eternally with Him in heaven. In the meantime, Jesus trained and left holy apostles to guide believers into this new pattern by way of instruction and demonstration of His power. But the best laid plans can go awry when men use their own minds. Apostle Peter walked with Jesus and taught the ways of Christ. Yet the Catholic Church, which names Apostle Peter as its founder, directs its prayers to Mary, the mother of Jesus, contrary to teaching by Peter and Christ. The multitude of followers does not prove the accuracy of the teaching. Therefore, Christ both warned and instructed believers to search the scriptures for accuracy (John 5:39). Apostle Peter taught “And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of” (2Pe 2:2). Apostle John counseled the church: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1Jn 4:1).

History – A Teacher

When we study church history, we see that the church has evolved and wrestled with the bible and its true meaning over the past two millenniums. The first apostles saw Jesus teach and demonstrate the power of God and they continued in that right path. The teachings of Christ have been preserved through oral and written scriptures, even during world upheavals, to help us maintain right doctrine. There have been those who established their own church doctrines and said “this is the way” where multitudes have followed in error. Certain aspects of the gospel such as spirituality, prayer, sexual abstinence, government, meditation, separation, or holiness have been plucked from the gospel to form new religions that could never stand on those weak foundations. Enlightenment sent from God through the ages brought forth clarity on the Word of God. Truth would prevail for a season until division would come and lead some in a different direction. Without the continuous enlightenment of the Holy Spirit on the Word of God and true discipline, man’s best effort are but flawed. Satan’s goal is to defy God’s Word and destroy the unity of believers. A submitted heart is required to stay true to God and He requires our total surrender to Him. But man wants to preserve some, if not all, control for himself. We all have a sin nature that demands its own way. Our flesh man fights against the Spirit of God and the Spirit of God wars against the flesh (Gal 5:17). The old man of sin must die before the yielded vessel comes forth. It is a lifelong battle where denial of the flesh’s desires and sufferings are necessary parts of the Christian life, a price many seekers are not willing to pay. Therefore, some that are professing Christ may not be truly His.

It’s pretty visible to all that the church is out of line again as men do church in their own way. Dissatisfaction and dispute are front page news. The church is so out of whack that there has to be a major correction. Even the natural world knows that when the stock market is out of line, it has to have correction. Market decline of 10% to 20% causes many people to suffer lost for a time but correction must occur before normalcy is restored. Jesus has revealed in the Word of God a set path the church is to follow. The way is narrow, the gate is straight and not many are going that way. “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it (Mat 7:14). The straight and narrow does not leave much room for the input of man. The church and world are in a mess because of men trying to usurp God’s rule and take control for themselves. We serve an invisible God with all power but tyrants throughout time have arisen who wanted to possess God’s power for themselves and make others submit to them. God never fails to prove His ultimate control by overthrowing man’s manipulation. His divine intervention corrects and restores order and we are overdue for a correction.

The Book of Exodus reveals that Moses went up to Mt. Sinai where he talked with God, received a vision of the heavenly and was instructed to build a tabernacle on earth in that image. Moses was given specific details that had to be followed exactly as given. He obeyed the instructions and God came down to meet with the Israelites in the tabernacle. That should be the church’s goal today: an encounter with God every time we assemble. The tabernacle was a representation of Christ. Today, the believer is the tabernacle (Cor 5:1-6) where God dwells and the church building is a meeting place where the believer goes for instruction to learn how to have this type of communion with God.

The tabernacle that Moses built was just a temporary house for God that had to be put up and taken down as the Israelites moved from place to place. This was not a perfect example of God dwelling with man. Jesus came to earth to give us the perfect dwelling place for the continuous abiding presence of God in man through the indwelling of the Holy Ghost (Acts 1:8, Joh 14:17). Now the tabernacle of God is wherever the believer is ready to meet with Him.

Jesus told his disciples wherever they assembled together; He would be in the midst of them. The place that we call the church is just a building where believers meet for God’s instruction, comfort and power. Jesus laid out guidelines for our assembly while on earth and Spirit-filled church leaders were to continue unfolding the plan of God. The church is not the building but believers of Christ. Believers are members of Christ’s body on earth that Paul describes as being parts such as foot, hand, eye, ear, etc. (1Co 12:14). When brought together these parts work together as the body. It is imperative that the church remembers it is Christ who still reigns as Head to give instruction and guidance to His body (church) in the earth.

The New Tabernacle

God is no less specific about the latter tabernacle than He was about the first one that Moses was instructed to build. But many people have taken it upon themselves to remodel the tabernacle on earth to their own specifications, allowing and condoning what Christ forbade. Some religious leaders refer to the physical building as the church and give it more value than the people. The place for God’s dwelling has been so desecrated as to condone abominable practices that God condemned in both the Old and New Testaments. Churches have yielded to egregious sin that few true believers dare speak up against. Church leaders with celebrity status and who maintain sole leadership control have challenged Christian boldness against perverted teaching. God still expects true believers of Jesus Christ to challenge erroneous teaching, correct sin in the church and reach the world.

And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. Isa 35:8

Contrary to the broad way that many are traveling, God’s path is still through the strait gate and the narrow way. The Word of God exists to bring correction to the king’s house and to that of the pauper, from apostle to saint and for the entire world. When men divert from the Word of God, we get the confusion the church and world are in today. God is directing the church to alter its flawed course, but many still will not hear.

The Word of God clearly states that the church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets and that Jesus is the Chief Corner Stone (Eph 2:20).

Jesus told the disciples to wait on the Holy Spirit for empowerment to be witnesses and that the Spirit would lead and guide them into all truth (Act 1:4; Joh 16:13). The book of Acts gave a visible picture of the church as the early disciples and apostles interacted with each other. Just as it was important for Moses to follow specifically the blueprint for the first tabernacle, so it is required today that men follow the guidance of Jesus and the Holy Spirit to construct a tabernacle that God will live in. Men have changed the pattern, gotten bad results and yet wonder why it is not working. Bible scripture makes clear the ways of the first church; and though men mock the first saints and early church, God’s word has not changed. Here are some New Testament practices that today’s church should consider:

  • The church was established from the spiritual guidance of biblical apostles and prophets. These offices still exist today as written in Ephesians 4:11-13; Mt 10:41. Their purposes are retained in the church “Till we all come in the unity of the faith” (Eph 4:13).
  • Apostles are called and instructed by God (Luk 6:13, Act 10:20). They do submit to agreement with others as guided by the Holy Spirit (Act 13:2).
  • Prophets are needed today for the same reason they were needed in the Old Testament: to speak to a wayward church. Prophets receive their messages directly from God as described and defined in the Old Testament. New Testament prophets continue to receive their instructions from God with greater knowledge and empowerment through the abiding of the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:11). They work in agreement with the apostles and are subject to the Holy Spirit as are all other true spiritual gifts. Paul listed the godly order for their operation in the church in 1Co 14. Old Testament prophets served God under extreme penalty of punishment or death for disobedience (1Ki 13:11-24; Jon 1:17). True prophets are still made in the fire under the Hand of God (Act 9:16). They deliver a word that often runs counter wise of the church and world’s behavior.
  • Apostles are not pastors; they establish or oversee churches that others pastor (Php 1:7, 17, Acts 14:14, 21-22, 2Co 11:28).
  • Pastors are called shepherds because they reside with and maintain watch over the sheep of the flock for their protection. They are local ministers that guide local believers. By definition they cannot be pastors over global churches (Joh 10:1-14, Acts 14:21-23). Bishops and apostles oversee multiple churches and their powers and responsibilities differ from that of pastors. Church often referred people residing in any given city, i.e. Church of the Laodiceans, Thessalonians, Ephesians, or of the Cretans.
  • The apostles ordained elders and bishops to overseer local churches (Act 14:23).
  • Apostles are trained and gifted by Christ to work miracles, do spiritual warfare, healing, deliverance, etc. They instruct, protect and correct the churches of Christ (I Cor 5:4-5; Mt 10:7-8, 2Co 10:4-11).
  • Prophets speak words given by God for the benefit of maturing, instructing and correcting the church (Act 11:27-28, Act 15:32).
  • There are major differences between the operation of prophet, evangelist, apostle, pastor or teacher. They are not synonymous offices but are positions held by various people (Act 15:6,32).
  • Men do not appoint prophets or apostles, even though they may lay hands on them as approval of what God has already done (Act 13:2-4). These offices are God ordained, empowered, instructed and corrected (Mt 10, 2Co 12:21, 1Co 4:3-4, Eph 4:11). They are servants of Christ to the church.
  • Every local church of Jesus Christ should have in its leadership the office of apostle and prophet as a foundation (Act 8:14, Eph 2:19-22). The apostle is the master builder who hears from God, receives the plan, directs and corrects the church as it makes steps to reach its goal of maturity (1Co 3:10). The prophet hears from God and runs ahead in the Spirit, alerting the church of danger with path changes and correction. Without these two guides, the church cannot reach its goal because God is constantly speaking to give His visionaries the right turns and it must be heard and communicated to the church. Lack of this insight is why we see churches lost in the wilderness, stumbling in disaster without clear direction from God.
  • Apostles cannot and should not try to fulfill every office God ordained for church leadership. Contrary to the common practice today, the apostle cannot also be prophet, pastor, teacher and evangelist in the local church. Even though many are trying to do this, it is error. The manifestations of the Spirit are gifts given to and divided among all believers of the church. Consider the scripture: “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (Eph 4:11). When these gifts and offices are used correctly in the church, they will confirm and correct operations in the church. They are safeguards for the church intended to prevent religious monarchies that are so prevalent.

The Lord’s plan for ministry in His church is beautifully opened up in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; and it includes a share for every believer. All may have a part. Candid students of the New Testament are compelled to admit that the “one-man” ministry so generally prevailing among the churches today is not the divine order as therein revealed.(Concerning Spiritual Gifts by Donald Gee, Gospel Publishing House, l972, p25).

God is building a mature church that will look like His Son. Religious men and educational facilities are appointing and training men to build great churches that are not found in the Word of God. Christ seekers and the world are confused by these churches that are not God-approved or empowered. Church starters are not always at fault because true leadership may have never shown up to lead the body of believers in the right way as shown in Act 8:14; 10:29. Notice also that God set His approval on Jesus when he started out in ministry (Mat 3:17), during his ministry (Mat 17:5) and at its earthly end (Acts 1:9-11, Joh 12:28). Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers should demonstrate the power of Christ if they are indeed His ministers as Paul stated to Timothy: “… make full proof of thy ministry” (2Ti 4:5). Satan is a master deceiver and imitator but Christ gives His saints a discerning spirit that rejects the counterfeit.

Warfare Against the Saints

When we look at the troubles coming against the church, nation and world at this hour, we witness a lack of empowered Christian leaders coming forth to combat Satan’s strategies and defend the gospel (Php 1:17). The gospel is being defamed and major churches have simply observed these problems as worldly affairs for which they believe the church is not to interfere. Some, no doubt, have chosen not to disrupt the continuity of their church with these issues. However, the issues we face today (sexual misconduct, racial tensions, world hunger, orphans, poverty, sickness, public violence, dissolving marriages, and cultural clashes leading to war, etc) are all in the church domain. The early apostles clearly dealt all these matters (Acts 6, 15, 1Co 7, 2Co 9). The church response was silence when Hitler was rising up against Jewish believers. It was a Jewish problem until Hitler’s war made it a world problem. But what if the church had responded before Hitler became the monster that threatened the world’s safety? There will always be a major movement by Satan, with others waiting in the wing, to overthrow God’s kingdom. We have seen them rise and fall. Right now a major threat to Christianity is Muslim followers whose goal by doctrine is to take over the world by force to make it submit to their god, Allah. Christians must remember their history and that this is not the first time the Muslim religion has set out to take over Christendom. During the times of the Crusades, Muslims over ran many Christian territories.

It is the role of God’s apostles and prophets to see the storm arising and blow the trumpet for the church to rally in unity against Satan’s tactics. Church leaders should recognize the threat and prepare for spiritual warfare rather than expending their efforts for personal profit, mansions, cars and planes. Apostle Paul as a church father acknowledged that his job was to defend the gospel (Act 8:14). When godly leaders had died out or compromised, God used wee people like Esther, Gideon and Daniel to stand up against Christian threats and He is still calling for the saints to stand up to defend the gospel. An example of this kind of boldness ran recently in the news. A Christian woman in Germany (the home of Martin Luther, the Protestant founder) stood up against Muslim infiltration of her church and declared, “Jesus Christ alone is Lord of Germany…” Read the story here: http://www.charismanews.com/world/42705-german-woman-s-public-rebuke-of-islam-goes-viral. American Christians must also realize that the pattern of other nations that previously stood strong for Christianity (Germany, England, France, Italy), made concession of their faith, and who fell into Satan’s grip reveals the same pattern that America will follow if she does not come to the realization that the Christian faith is under attack once again by a perverted gospel and Muslim forces. We war not against flesh and blood but “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph 6:12). Nevertheless, as in Hitler’s plot, we must realize the devil operating behind the curtain. History is our lesson. A weaken church cannot sustain these attacks but it must gather strength and stand up against them. We must stand boldly like Caleb and say: “…we are well able to overcome it.” God has given His church weapons to pull down the strongholds of Satan and defeat Satan’s attacks.

Church Error and Correction

Martin Luther called out the Catholic Church’s mockery with the articles of protest he nailed to the church door and Christians were strengthened by the correction of the church through the Protestant Movement. We have evolved into a stronger body because of that correction. The Azusa Street movement started by an African American named William J. Seymour brought strong emphasis on the power of the Spirit and unity among races but churches later fell back into prejudice and divided into church sects.

The fight for racial and gender equality. Seymour was a very strong proponent of integrated worship. While there was a time where the races were segregated, Seymour was able to temporarily fulfill his vision when black and white Pentecostals worshipped together during the Azusa Street Revival. Women also played key role in his organization. (What We All Owe William J. Seymour; B.B. Robinson, Ph.D.; The National Center for Public Policy Research; https://www.nationalcenter.org/P21NVRobinsonSeymour90206.html)

The Charismatic Movement brought new insight and emphasis on God’s spiritual gifts to the church at a time when the church did not want to receive them. The Charismatic Movement instilled renewed hope to the church but has since taken on an infectious spirit of Balaam. The Prosperity movement brought truth regarding the rights of the church to receive its inheritance of wealth but now seem more driven by money than the search for God. Kenneth Hagin, the founder of this movement, warned his own followers of this sin before he died, addressed it in His book (The Midas Touch) and yet it continues.

Charismatic Bible teacher Kenneth Hagin Sr. is considered the father of the so-called prosperity gospel. The folksy, self-trained “Dad Hagin” started a grass-roots movement in Oklahoma that produced a Bible college and a crop of famous preachers including Kenneth Copeland, Jerry Savelle, Charles Capps, Jesse DuPlantis, Creflo Dollar and dozens of others—all of whom teach that Christians who give generously should expect financial rewards on this side of heaven.

Hagin taught that God was not glorified by poverty and that preachers do not have to be poor. But before he died in 2003 and left his Rhema Bible Training Center in the hands of his son, Kenneth Hagin Jr., he summoned many of his colleagues to Tulsa to rebuke them for distorting his message. He was not happy that some of his followers were manipulating the Bible to support what he viewed as greed and selfish indulgence.

Those who were close to Hagin Sr. say he was passionate about correcting these abuses before he died. In fact, he wrote a brutally honest book to address his concerns. The Midas Touch was published in 2000, a year after the infamous Tulsa meeting.

Many Word-Faith ministers ignored the book. But in light of the recent controversy over prosperity doctrines, it might be a good idea to dust it off and read it again.
Here are a few of the points Hagin made in The Midas Touch:

1. Financial prosperity is not a sign of God’s blessing. Hagin wrote: “If wealth alone were a sign of spirituality, then drug traffickers and crime bosses would be spiritual giants. Material wealth can be connected to the blessings of God or it can be totally disconnected from the blessings of God.”

2. People should never give in order to get. Hagin was critical of those who “try to make the offering plate some kind of heavenly vending machine.” He denounced those who link giving to getting, especially those who give cars to get new cars or who give suits to get new suits. He wrote: “There is no spiritual formula to sow a Ford and reap a Mercedes.”

3. It is not biblical to “name your seed” in an offering. Hagin was horrified by this practice, which was popularized in faith conferences during the 1980s. Faith preachers sometimes tell donors that when they give in an offering they should claim a specific benefit to get a blessing in return. Hagin rejected this idea and said that focusing on what you are going to receive “corrupts the very attitude of our giving nature. (Kenneth Hagin’s Forgotten Warning; J. Lee Grady; Charisma Magazine, https://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/churchandministry/Grady_Hagan_Prosperity.aspx).

One could say that because of visible corruption, these movements must have been in error. But God’s fresh breath upon the church is not wrong even when men err in carrying out God’s intentions. Christ stood in perfection among His followers; and yet many walked away, some distorted His message and one was a traitor. Satan will always try to divert God’s plan but holy men and women of God must stand strong preserving the truth while reproving error and the devil. We must each start with correcting ourselves through the Word of God and then proceed to help the lost and reclaim the truth. Daniel confessed his sin and the sin of his people and was used to save many. Without a God-fearing church and empowered saints the world would ultimately dissolve in corruption, if God permits. Religious leaders that use the Word of God for personal gain, set up their church monarchies and fight against Christ’s reign over the church are in error and should not be followed or supported by Christian believers. The office of apostle was set up by Christ as the highest office in the church under His disciplinary rule. But where church leaders deliberately practice error, we must demand truth or protest it with our feet. “Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry” (1Co 10:14). Here is additional wise counsel from the scriptures: “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation” (Heb 13:7). Matthew Henry Commentary clarification of the verse: “Consider the end of their conversation, how quickly, how comfortably, how joyfully, they finished their course!” God will stand with those that seek Him; but He will turn from idolatry. Christ will “…gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Mat 24:31). We must choose to be part of that church. Satan will not prevail against God’s True Church. Christ has more than enough power to defeat every enemy and lie that comes against the church but He expects His children to stand by the truth.

Spiritual Gifts Are For the Church

Over the years while in my time of communion with the Lord, I would ask many questions for understanding of the Word of God and church practices. During the mid-80’s, I gained greater understanding about the spiritual gifts through reading books like those of Kenneth Hagin. I questioned the Holy Spirit about spiritual gifts being exercised in a solo manner outside the church. Churches were being established that operated as healing churches, prophecy churches, church of miracles, or prayer houses. There were churches of evangelism. The gift of teaching operated a church. Gifted musicians, singers and praise leaders were out for hire. The answer I got from the Spirit was that it was because the spiritual gifts were not being accepted in the church. They, therefore, went outside their church home to freely exercise their gifts. God’s grace allowed it to be so for a period of time because the gifts are without repentance. They were His children and had a right to live in the liberty of His spiritual flow. I continued my questions about the strange behavior of the church. It is amazing but if we commune with God and ask questions, He will freely answer. As I traveled to various cities, I sat among and under some of the modern “greats” of the faith; but the Holy Spirit also showed me flaws in doctrine, ministry and operation. I was being schooled for a season and it was not time to voice my opinion. The point is that many of these people operating spiritual gifts given by God as “stand alone gifts” were and still are operating in error outside the perfect will of God. Previously the immaturity and rejection of the church did not acknowledge or accept the spiritual gifts as being from God for the blessing of the church. People operating in spiritual gifts in the mainline churches were once thought to be “freaks”. No doubt some gifts operated in error but it was the church’s job to teach and correct error rather than kill anything that looked different. Peter had to learn this lesson (Act 10:14) as did Paul (Act 9:1-5) and the early church (Acts 15:1-15). The Word of God clearly defines spiritual gifts and they are intended to be operated together with and for the church to bring the body of Christ into full maturity. Unfortunately, some spiritual gifts now operating outside the church have actually become something of a freak show and the church needs to correct them.

The Christian church needs the spiritual gifts to survive. It is time that the church embraced the spiritual gifts and that the spiritual gifts come back into the church so that the whole body is strengthened. Repentance is needed by the church and also by those operating their gifts in God’s permissive will outside the church as spiritual evangelists and some as hirelings. The Holy Spirit and Christ’s church are last hope for the world. The church needs to be healed and made whole to save the world.

America is the land where religions and churches have had liberty to exercise their beliefs. Having had this opportunity, all have failed to accomplish God’s ultimate purpose of a perfected church. The Catholic Church emphases on a holy city and the practice of abstinence for priests have yielded gay priests and abuse of young boys. The Episcopal Church broke from the Catholic Church but its spiritual journey has not progressed to acceptance of all New Testament grace. It has gone on to the endorsement of gay leadership. The Methodist Church’s love of God an emphasis on a disciplined Christian life has not embraced the Spirit’s empowerment and expression for the individual believer. Spirit-empowered Pentecostal churches have enjoyed the Spirit’s overflow but failed to target their empowerment for the improvement of the church and world. Many of them have been plagued with issues of leadership morality and accountability. The Charismatic Movement has gone off the rails with exploited gifts and the apostolic church is huddled in the wilderness, growing ministry offshoots without power. There are many religions, denominations or churches that claim Christ but who deny His deity and power. They must first accept the truth about Christ and then diligently seek Him. Some religions that have taken portions of the truth and run into a ditch with it, whereas the whole truth about Jesus Christ brings life and wholeness. Apostle Paul taught: “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1Co 3:11). The church of the Lord Jesus Christ will stand, even in this dark hour and the Christian church in America must prevail to light the world around it. There have been dark hours in the church before and these are times when we need to regroup and come out even stronger. God has given us all the pieces of our amour but we just need to pull them together in the love of Christ, build up the Kingdom of God and defend the gospel. The Christian church reflecting the love of God can unite people across denominational, cultural, gender, age and racial lines. Where that is not happening, we must confess that the true love of God is not present.

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? 1Jn 5:3-5

God is looking for His victorious, overcoming church and Jesus is expecting His bride to come forth without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.  Churches with leaders that are puffed up and prideful and congregations that follow without question are not that church. That is the church who needs to cry out in repentance and return to God’s overcoming power for change. Perhaps the fire of this dark hour is intended to cleanse the church of its imperfections and bring forth the purity of Christ’s bride. We can be that church!