Tag: church

Class in a Church Bathroom

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(Originally posted as “Troubled Waters”, 3/20/2013)

Lots of life’s lessons happen when we least expect them.

It all happened about 30 years ago, early one Sunday morning.

As usual, I arrived at our church around 5:30 in the morning. I enjoyed having extra preparation time, time to pray and worship God, and time to relax a little before Sunday School classes began.

You see, I saw myself as God’s servant, full of faith and power; God’s man for the hour. Superman!

Some simply referred to me as the pastor.

Our church wasn’t very old at this point, maybe 4 years, and we met in a 30’x40′ metal building that used to be a laundromat. The building had a sanctuary which seated 65 people, 2 classrooms, a hallway, and a unisex bathroom. The bathroom was beautiful, having a marble-like sink, nice big mirror, decent linoleum floor covering, and an average toilet.

The toilet. The place it all happened, early one Sunday morning.

Before I continue my story, I need to explain a thing or three.

First, stuff happens. To me, to you, to whoever. It just happens.

Second, the greater one thinks he is, the greater the pain when he comes face to face with an important truth: “I’m not as great as I think.

Third, to learn such an important truth, embarrassing situations beyond one’s ability to control sometimes must occur.

It was to be my first time having class in a bathroom.

Okay. I had a morning ritual not unlike most people, which consisted of spending some time on the bathroom throne with some good reading material. Of course, on Sundays my reading material happened to be my morning sermon notes.

I really must interject one important point here. I usually preached between 45 minutes to an hour. Meaning what, you ask? I had a lot of notes to review…(I have since learned length of sermon doesn’t equate to degree of anointing)

Just about the time I was finishing up with both tasks (multi-tasker that I am), I decided to trip the handle on the toilet for a “pre-flush.” Thinking everything was fine, I continued reading and making mental notes while the water swished and swirled beneath me. I was “the man of God” and would dazzle “my” congregation with my ability to “rightly divide the word of God.” I was somebody special and my “Kingdom Stock” was rising.

My “stock” wasn’t the only thing rising.

I suddenly “sensed” something happening that brought me back down to earth; specifically, back to the classroom.

I was feeling water where water shouldn’t be felt!

That’s when things really began to happen. I quickly stood up (wouldn’t you?), turned around, reached for the top of the toilet tank, while keeping my eye on the whirlpool below me. I tried to reach the water shutoff valve while removing the tank top and guess what? I dropped the top onto the floor.

As it hit the floor, I witnessed it breaking into two halves. Nice!

Well, with water rising, me in a precarious position, toilet tank top in pieces on the floor, I finally got the water turned off. Great! Now I can get things cleaned up and get back to my “superman” mode.

I turned back around, preparing to take my rest for a bit longer, while I finished my interrupted job. I sat down and happened to glance at the floor. To my chagrin, I saw brown spots on the floor where I had just been standing. Little spots, trampled spots, lots of little, trampled spots – all over the floor.

And, on the bottom of my shoes.

You know what?

At that point, I forgot all about my sermon and becoming the next spiritual Clark Kent! All I could think about was getting the mess cleaned up before people started arriving.

That “classroom” experience gave me a whole new appreciation for Proverbs 16:18 – “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.” (NLT)

Or, “Pride Goes After The Flush.”

“Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.”(Romans 12:3 NLT)

Is there witchcraft in the Church? (sixth and final part)

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This is the sixth and final post dealing with witchcraft in the Church. Some of these points could probably be lumped together, but I felt it was important to be as clear and defining as possible.

At the end of this post I’ve listed seven things a person should do if they believe witchcraft is operating in their church.

8. Above correction (not above reproach). 

There are times when a person acts as though they’re infallible; they’re incapable of making a mistake. That should be a warning sign to everyone else.

It is a controlling spirit that demands submission even if clearly in the wrong. “Do as I say, not as I do” is not in sync with kingdom principles.

9. Word of knowledge/wisdom. 

The gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12) are given to benefit people. There are people who may tell you some secrets about your life, but that information isn’t necessarily an indication of the Spirit of God.

What else is going on? Does the “word” bear witness with your heart? Is the minister demonstrating the love, compassion, and character of Jesus?

A good safeguard? Make certain you are actively in fellowship with the Lord. Seek Him above everything. Don’t go around hunting for a “word from the Lord”. You can find that for the price of a Chinese meal.

10. Discerning of spirits. 

Is someone always telling you about the demons and evil spirits they see? Maybe they are, but maybe not.

According to my understanding of the Word, there are numerous angels in the spirit realm, as well.

A preoccupation with the spirit realm is an open door to deception. Although a person may be able to have such a vision, it is always as the Spirit wills; I’ve not seen anything in the scriptures that indicate it’s okay to seek a vision.

I may be wrong, but the only time someone was seeking such a thing was King Saul. That didn’t turn out so well for him.

Witchcraft, or seeking to manipulate through fleshly means, is something evil spirits love to accommodate.

11. Idolizing a leader, doctrine, etc.

Here’s where people like you and I can push someone toward witchcraft. How? By demanding so much from them, and not checking their message with the scripture.

Paul said to, “Prove all things, hold fast to that which is good”(1 Thessalonians 5).

Regardless of how wonderful a person preaches, or how many miracles they may perform, they are still human. They can miss the mark, just like the rest of us.

Esteem them highly for their works sake, but keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.

12. Misinterpreting the Spirit’s direction. 

One Sunday, probably ten years ago, while we were singing and praising God, I was at the piano feeling all frustrated. It was as though God was locked out of the room.

Suddenly I sensed the Lord saying, “Call brother Francis to the platform and have him lead in the shout.”

I called Francis up, and told him what I thought I heard the Lord say. He looked at me kind of funny, but started shouting praise to God.

In almost no time the whole church was shouting, and the dryness and frustration left. God’s presence filled the place that day.

Never happened before or since. I had learned not to do something simply because it “worked” before.

Here’s where I learned it:

At a previous church the Lord directed me to have a tent meeting. We rented a tent, called an evangelist, and had four wonderful meetings. People were saved and healed.

Well, it worked so well, I planned a meeting for the next year. Bigger tent, same evangelist, but I planned it all in the flesh.

What a flop! I was wrong, and operating by a wrong spirit, in the flesh.

I had to repent and yield to God’s direction.

13. Counterfeit spirit.

In Acts 16 you’ll read the story of the girl possessed with the spirit of divination; a lying, death dealing spirit. She said the right things, but was “inspired” by the spirit of darkness.

I knew a man twenty some years ago who had a terrible battle with depression; and I believe he was specifically bothered by evil spirits.

I had ministered to him a few times, and one evening he stopped by the house to give me a “praise report”. It was late when he stopped by, so the rest of my family was in bed.

He wanted to thank the Lord, so I took his hand and began thanking God rather quietly, so as not to wake up my household.

He started getting real loud, saying, “Praise the Lord, Pastor Grace. Praise the Lord, Pastor Grace!”

All of a sudden I sensed something evil and I said, “I rebuke you lying spirit!”

At once, he changed into a crazy man, walking wildly around the house, yelling and screaming.

I told him to sit down and shut up in the Name of Jesus, and then called my next door neighbor who was a believer.

When he arrived, as soon as I opened the door, the man stormed past me and took off.

Unfortunately, the man never was able to get free and ended up taking his life a couple years later.

14. Forcing a word from God, rather than relaxing and resting in His grace and ability. 

Sometimes people think there has to be a demonstration of a spiritual gift or two in order to “have a good service”.

Those who believe that are apt to be duped into operating in the flesh; i.e. witchcraft.

Why not simply seek the Lord, whether at church or not, and follow His direction? As long as His will is accomplished, what else really matters?

Besides, if we’re too busy looking and waiting for something “spectacular”, we just may miss the real supernatural move of God.

15. Desiring the show rather than the grow (Simon – Acts 8).

If you desire “the show”, rather than “the grow”, you will be fooled. If you’re only satisfied with hype, you’ll never be grounded in truth.

Paul said, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:1 – 12:3 ESV).

Throughout the New Testament Paul tells us to put away the old man. The old man is easily deceived, can be manipulated as well as manipulate others. It loves to be caught up in the excitement, attributing everything happening to God, even if it doesn’t pass any scriptural litmus test.

Witchcraft, misuse and fraud, which lead to deception and ultimately broken lives and churches, is breaking out in churches.

Is it breaking out in yours?

No, I’m not on some witch hunt, but I am hungry to see the genuine move of God I read about in scripture.

I’ve given a number of examples of where witchcraft could be showing up in the church, as well as reasons why.

But what should we do if we suspect things aren’t exactly right?

Try these seven things…
1. Examine the scriptures.

2. Examine your own heart.

3. Pray for the leadership.

4. Speak to leadership (pastor, elder).

5. Confused? God is not the author of confusion, but we don’t always see things God’s way. Give the leadership the benefit of the doubt.

6. Still unsure? Maybe it’s time to speak with another spiritually mature person.

7. Truth or error? When you’ve settled the question, act accordingly.

Please let me know if any of this helped you. I’d love to visit more with you, so please drop me a line.

Is there witchcraft in the Church? (part five)

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Throughout the last twenty centuries, supernatural and spectacular miracles have been used by God to not only authenticate the Word of faith the servant of God is preaching, but also draw millions to services where they hear and believe the gospel, and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Awesome!

But try and imagine a guy, let’s call him Brother I. M. Anointed, who seems to be used by God in powerful ways. His words are smooth as silk, and people are greatly blessed by God’s presence when the man ministers. He gets a reputation as someone God anoints with signs and wonders. Someone who always has a “word of the Lord” for a congregation, and maybe everyone in the church.

People are funny, church people even more so. When the “gifts are flowing”, so does the excitement AND the money.

It’s much easier to book meetings when you can draw a crowd. 

But what if the meeting takes place, the songs are sung, the shouting begins, and God doesn’t anoint as in previous services?

Sometimes the preacher gets used to the “flow”, that special feeling of being used by God, as well as the words of affirmation from those who have been helped. And if the feeling isn’t always present the preacher can “press in” more and more until the people receive the word they’re looking for.

Even if he has to rely on the flesh (Galatians 5:20) to do so.

Here’s where witchcraft can enter in undetected.

The preacher, Brother or Sister Anointed, can “hear” something from a familiar spirit (a false spirit), even information about someone in the congregation whom they’ve never met, and give a “word”. There is no life attached, but because the info is spectacular it’s swallowed up as coming from God.

Over and over it happens until the fake has overtaken the genuine.

Some have become addicted to what they call the anointing, but it could be something from a source other than God.

Don’t misunderstand me; there is a genuine work of the Spirit. God DOES anoint men and women with the Holy Spirit and power. Miracles DO happen, even in the twenty first century.

But God isn’t a genie, or a dealer at a blackjack table. As Paul wrote, “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.” (1 Corinthians 12:11 NKJV)

The Spirit distributes as He wills (WHEN He wills).

There is no magic formula or incantation that automatically opens the windows of heaven. There’s no song, shout, liturgy, or offertory that can push the “anointing button”. Loud or soft music, dim or bright lights, do not move Heaven.

Here are some more areas in the Church where witchcraft can be found.

5. Reliance upon gimmicks/mood setting. 

Somewhat like our first example, but I’m thinking more in the area of an actual worship service.

Lights up, lights off. Music loud, music soft. A specific order of service.

And let’s not forget the altar call.

Are these things bad? No. But why do we do these things? Is it because it’s the best way to move people through the maze of faith? Because it makes sense? Because we’re trying to appeal to their emotions and intellect?

Am I saying that whoever gives an altar call is involved in witchcraft? No!

But have you ever heard these phrases?

“I’m going to count to three, and when I reach three I want you to step out and walk the aisle.” Then, the preacher takes five minutes between numbers doing everything but toss a rope over the person’s head to get them to the altar.

“If you were to die tonight…”

“I’ll tarry just a minute longer…” Meanwhile the worship team plays something that draws on a person’s emotions.

Can people be talked into the kingdom of God?  Does an emotional experience equate with the new birth?

Manipulation is not the anointing of God.

There ARE moments when the Spirit says to sing a certain song, say a specific word, or prolong an altar call. Yes!

But this is what I’m trying to get us all to see: we’re either gonna be led by the Spirit of God, or we’re gonna develop our own fleshly way of doing kingdom business.

6. False prophecies (out of the flesh). 

Balaam, Numbers 22-24, had a business of blessing and cursing. He was known as a man who could conjure up a supernatural blessing or curse upon someone; for a price. People, especially leaders, from all over the known world had Balaam’s cell number in their phone.

But he was NOT a man of God.

If you read those chapters in Numbers, you’ll notice he tried everything he could in order to curse God’s people, Israel.

Why? He was after the money. 

It’s true, Balaam gave an appearance of having connections with the Most High God, but the true picture is found in Balaam’s character. He wanted Balam’s paycheck!

God had to override the message the evil spirits were giving Balaam.

How can I use such an example, claiming there are people in the church acting like Balaam?

Because the Word of God says so.

“They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;” (2 Peter 2:15 NKJV).

Also see Jude 11 and Revelation 2:14.

Again, not every supernatural manifestation is false; or true. If there are false prophets, there must be true prophets. If there is a real thing, there’s also a counterfeit.

It’s happening in the Church, and many believe everything spectacular is of God.

7. Extra-biblical/non-biblical experiences. 

I’ll not say much about this point, other than God’s Word is our pattern for living. Be careful, though, in judging someone’s experience. There were a number of times in both the Old and New Testaments when God had His servants do some wild things. Or, maybe it wasn’t anything THEY did, but God used some different situations to perform His works.

Examples? How about dividing the Red Sea, the Jordan River, Joshua fighting Amalek, the Walls of Jericho, the sun standing still, the floating axe head, etc.?

Jesus spit on the ground, made mud, and dabbed it on a blind man’s eyes. Peter walked down the street and people got healed as his shadow passed over them. Paul had a handkerchief ministry in Acts 19.

But here’s the thing we must understand. None of those experiences were designed to become “the formula”, or a “pattern”.

Jesus is the pattern. He’s the One Who will lead and instruct us as we walk with Him. He won’t lead us into foolishness and/or error.

By the way, if you haven’t read the other four posts in this series, I encourage you to do so.

Also, please comment below, or ask any question you’d like pertaining to this subject.

To be continued…

Is there witchcraft in the Church? (part four)

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Is there witchcraft in the church?

Here’s part four…

Witchcraft, as I’ve shared in previous posts, isn’t necessarily about hexes, potions, and Ouija Boards. It IS about seduction, manipulation, deception, poisoning, and medication for the purpose of control.

Galatians 5:19,20 mentions witchcraft as one of the works of the flesh. One doesn’t need to be a bonafide sorcerer or warlock to dabble in witchcraft. Simply giving in to certain fleshly tendencies is enough to open the door to the spirit of witchcraft.

Remember these words of Paul?

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:5 – 8:8 ESV)

Even seasoned, Spirit-filled believers must be aware of the continuous battle between flesh and Spirit. No one outgrows the desires of the flesh; if we are going to have victory we must crucify the flesh, training it to obey, instead of yielding to our baser tendencies.

And that brings me to this: ways witchcraft has made its way into the Church.

Nice, well meaning believers have succumbed to witchcraft without knowing it. Some preachers, worship leaders, Christian leaders and celebrities are dabbling in it.

Here are some areas I see it happening:

1. Hype, bigger and better advertising.

The need to build up, to promote in order to get a certain natural reaction, can be nothing more than manipulation, or witchcraft. It’s very essence reveals where one’s trust truly lies.

2. The wisdom of man.

Realizing God can give a person creative ideas is one thing. Yet scripture indicates the wisdom of man is foolishness to God. Touting one’s ability to “turn a phrase”, “preach the house down”, or use the right amount of voice inflection to “move a crowd” is NOT the anointing of God. It’s something else.

Paul said, “And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:1 – 2:5 ESV)

3. Rebellion toward God’s authority. 

God has set in the Church…leaders. Not the kind that lord their authority over others, but those who are called to a life of servant leadership.

However, when people fail to recognize the leaders God has placed into their lives, they are quick to either speak ill of them or step away from the proper relationship with them. In a way, their words are calling for curses upon God’s leader.

A manifestation of the flesh.

4. Manipulation/coercion of members.

On the flip side, there are leaders who aren’t clear about their calling, or are simply so stuck on themselves they abuse their supposed authority over their flock.

Peter warned against such actions (1 Peter 5), but sometimes people don’t recognize the difference between walking in the flesh and walking in the Spirit.

They “feel” the Spirit, and make demands of others because God has “given them charge of His flock.”

A favorite passage is “don’t touch God’s anointed”.

Too bad, because dictatorship isn’t the nature of the kingdom. We are supposed to submit to one another in the fear of God.

God’s way produces godly results. Fleshly ways may produce numbers and excitement, but the final tally may be lacking.

To be continued… (I’ll include another group of areas where I believe witchcraft has found its way into the Church. I have a total of 15. I’ll list them here, then explain them later.)

5. Reliance upon gimmicks/mood setting
6. False prophecies
7. Extra-biblical/non-biblical experiences
8. Being above correction
9. Fleshy “word of knowledge/wisdom”
10. Discerning of spirits
11. Idolizing a leader, doctrine, etc.
12. Misinterpreting the Spirit’s direction
13. Counterfeit spirit
14. Forcing a word from God
15. Desiring the show rather than the grow

Is there witchcraft in the Church? (part three)

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God has placed within the church not only ministry gifts (specifically Apostles, Prophets, etc.), but also gifts of the Spirit to equip the various ministries.

One group of gifts is what many refer to as the utterance gifts: tongues, interpretation of tongues, and prophecy.

Another group is known as the revelation gifts: word of knowledge, word of wisdom, and discerning of spirits.

The third group is the power gifts: gift of faith, gift of healings, the working of miracles (all found in 1 Corinthians 12).

What happens when a person is desirous of spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:31), but doesn’t take the time to study the word, or have the humility to allow others to judge what they say or the spirit behind their utterance?

Confusion and every evil work.

Sometimes it may not be the minister who is operating with a false spirit, but a person who is so hungry to hear a “word” (for guidance, assurance, or whatever), they open themselves to all kinds of issues.

Many years ago I attended a Full Gospel Businessmen’s meeting where a guy from Dogpatch, Arkansas ministered. The man taught (don’t remember the message at all), then had those who desired “personal prophecy” to form a line along one side of the room.

About half of the hundred or so in attendance followed the preacher’s instructions, including myself. I wanted to hear something from God, something pertaining to my job and financial situation.

I remember telling a friend, who was also waiting in line, “I don’t know why I’m standing here. God has been showing me what I’m supposed to be doing.”

But I stayed in line, anyway.

When it was finally my turn, the man of God placed his hands on my head, closed his eyes, and prayed a short prayer.

Immediately following the prayer, with eyes still closed, he said to me, “I don’t why you’re even up here. God has shown you what to do, so go do it.”

I about fell over.

I was at a critical point in my life. Greatly desiring to be used of God, I could have been told just about anything and would have probably believed it.

“One who is full loathes honey, but to one who is hungry everything bitter is sweet.” (Proverbs 27:7 ESV)

I was looking for something sweet.

But the scriptures don’t for a second teach we’re supposed to rely on personal prophecy for life’s direction. No, we have the privilege and responsibility to hear and know God’s voice, and follow His lead.

“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14 ESV)

If we don’t study God’s word and actively participate in a local church (for starters), we may wake up someday and realize we’ve been hoodwinked by the spirit of witchcraft. We’ve settled for the spectacular and missed the supernatural.

And it’s happening to many, many people.

In the next post, I’ll list at least 10 ways witchcraft has found its way into the Church.

Remember, witchcraft isn’t necessarily something involving omens and black cats. It’s much more deceptive than that.

To be continued…

Is there witchcraft in the Church? (part one)


Have you ever heard of such a thing?

Witchcraft? In the church?

“Man, you’re crazy! First of all, God wouldn’t allow it. And even if there was such a thing, we’d spot it right away.”

That sounds wonderful, but it’s a lot of ignorance and pride mixed in with a ladle full of hot air.

I didn’t say there are witches in the church, but then again, why wouldn’t there be?

Couldn’t there be?

Witchcraft, manipulating and controlling others by the use of familiar spirits, doesn’t have to be performed by some green skinned, large nosed woman the size of a toothpick, dressed in black, who rides a souped up broom to the neighborhood convenience store every night. No, that’s primarily for the cartoons.

Witchcraft, the kind the church should be concerned with, isn’t found so much in covens or satanic worship. And although it really happens, and people get sucked into that mess, it shouldn’t be an issue for the church.

Why? Because Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me; go therefore…” (Matthew 28:18,19 ESV). The Lord has raised the church, the Body of Christ, to the same place as the Head; far above ALL principalities and powers…(Ephesians 1).

If we’ll remember Whose we are, and that He lives in us, the devil and witchcraft are a non-issue. Curses and hexes cannot affect us if we walk with Jesus, in the power of His Spirit. 

However, there’s a way for the devil to affect believers, without using the Halloween costumes and special effects.

All he has to do is find someone who is more interested in signs and wonders than they are in holiness and integrity.

And, unfortunately, there are a number of men and women who’ll oblige him.

To be continued…

Church Of The Goofy Ideas

 Have you ever stopped to think about God laughing?

Here’s one instance: “but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming.” (Psalm 37:13 ESV)

I can imagine a few other things which may give God a chuckle.

Like His church.

Those leaders who are so caught up in titles and followings. People who pump up their own heels, and demand honor from their “tribe”. We’re supposed to honor one another, and receive the gifts God gives to His Body. But c’mon! Whatever happened to submitting to one another in the fear of God?

Oh, and what about the saint who has a “word from God” every time they turn around? It’s always at the same time in the church service, and it’s never positive or encouraging. Yes, the scripture does speak of prophesying and such, but it also says, “the one who prophesies speaks to people for their edification, exhortation, and comfort” (1 Corinthians 14:3). Of course, that wouldn’t be as spectacular or dramatic.

Here’s one you’ll enjoy. The group of people (and there are quite a number) who refuse to tithe or give on a regular basis because they believe the church places too much emphasis on money. I wonder how they’d feel if their employer told them they were going to get a 50% reduction in wages because they think too much about money?

Maybe we all should quit shopping at our favorite store because, in reality, the only thing the store is after is our money.

And what about the ones who handle snakes? Ick!

There are lots of things we do that could make our Father chuckle. I’m sure He gets a charge out of us playing “grownup”. You know what I mean? Like a little kid trying to emulate their father or mother by dressing like them, or walking and talking like them. Trying to wear their parent’s shoes, yet tripping because they’re far too big.

And we act like the Armor of God fits us because WE’RE so big and spiritual! Hah!

Yes, I can see my Father laughing. But He’s also trying to get His message across to every one of His kids.

“It’s time to grow up and get rid of your goofy ideas. It’s time to speak the truth in love, and grow into maturity.”

How will we know when we’ve finally grown up? When we aren’t so easily offended. When we don’t get mad if we don’t get our way. When we can take a back seat to someone else’s advancement, even though we think we deserve the promotion more.

When the Head, Who is Jesus, is able to tell the Body what to do and it does it, EVERY SINGLE TIME.

It’s one thing to see a little child play grownup. It’s really quite cute. But when someone keeps playing, clear into their twenties, thirties and forties, you and I both know there’s a problem.

It’s time to grow up. It’s time to disengage from the Church of the Goofy Ideas and grow up… “in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Ephesians 4:15-16 ESV).

No Longer A Christian Nation 

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I’d like to go on record as saying there’s at least one thing President Obama and I agree on. 

We are no longer a Christian Nation. 

Actually, he said, “We are no longer a Christian Nation; at least, not just…” 

Here’s more to his June 28, 2006 quote:

“Given the increasing diversity of America’s population, the dangers of sectarianism have never been greater. Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation; at least, not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.”

Gasp!

He said that? What an evil man! How DARE he say that! Why, he’s attempting to pull us away from our Judeo-Christian heritage! Who does he think he is?!

On and on whiners whine, complainers complain, ad nauseam…

Did you ever stop to ask yourself whose idea it was for this nation to be a Christian Nation anyway?

May I remind you that it wasn’t God’s idea?

Oh, sure. There are godly principles we all should live by, and His word is a great template to use in forming a new government. For in the bible are instructions on how to live as a society, and within a society.

However, it’s an error to believe God intended for the U.S., or ANY nation, to be a Christian Nation.

It just isn’t so. 

If it was, wouldn’t you think He would have intimated it somewhere in His book?

Instead, we find things such as:

Strangers and Pilgrims

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” (Hebrews 11:13 NKJV)

“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;” (1 Peter 2:11 KJV)

Citizens with the Saints

“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners (to God) but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19 NKJV)

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20 NKJV)

Now I’m just about as patriotic as the next guy. I spent four years in the U.S. Army, and am proud to have done it.

There’s no other nation on earth where I’d rather live.

And while I would just as soon see the former morals be upheld by our society, I’m not going to be surprised when they don’t.

Why?

Because I’m only passing through.

I’ve chosen to live for Jesus, and He’s promised that where He is, that’s where I’ll be.

Jesus isn’t an American citizen.

This earth is only temporal. My body is merely temporary housing.

No, this isn’t a Christian Nation. Yes, there were many God fearing men who helped establish the laws used to govern this great land.

Yes, as a follower of Jesus Christ I’m supposed to share my faith and His gospel, and make disciples everywhere I go. But, no, I’m not going to try and make this a Christian Nation.

Whether you’re a fan of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, or any else who’s an “authority” on every single subject; don’t get so upset when they say things that are not in line with God’s word.

Don’t get all bent out of shape when a politician says something, or a gun toting, flag waving, Glenn Beck wannabe touts their opinion.

You see, there’s a higher, more permanent calling on which to focus.

The eternal kingdom of Heaven.

And that’s where our allegiance really should stand, if we claim to be a Christian.

So don’t be misled; we are no longer a Christian Nation.

Prosperity Gospel

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You know what? I am really getting tired of preachers who hypocritically blast the “prosperity gospel”.

Prosperity gospel? That’s what they like to call it.

It’s true, there are definitely people who live for the buck. They treat the word of God like it’s their good luck charm. But that’s nothing new. Paul even had to confront that kind of thinking in his day.

“If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” (1 Timothy 6:3-10 ESV)

I said, “hypocritically” didn’t I? These preachers preach against the prosperity gospel (largely due, I suspect, to green eyed envy), and yet bawl and squall because their congregation isn’t giving like they should!

What should they expect? They should be excited because God’s Word is working right before their very eyes.

“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38 ESV)

“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7 ESV)

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8 ESV)

Here’s the truth about the prosperity gospel: God IS for you, NOT against you. He’s not against you having money and resources; He’s only against them having YOU. God tells us to give to whoever asks. That can’t be done unless we’ve discovered the law of giving and receiving (or seedtime and harvest). And it WON’T be done unless we trust Him with all our heart AND our stuff.

Did you read what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 9:8? Here it is again: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8 ESV)

All sufficiency, in all things. Does that sound like He wants us to just barely eke out an existence? Hardly.

He’s rich to all who call upon Him. In other words, He has more than enough to go around. He’s generous by nature; and we should be, as well.

Let’s drop the dollar signs when we think of prosperity. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation; for our spirit, soul, and body. When we receive God’s word and begin to act on it, our whole being prospers.

“And may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through [separate you from profane things, make you pure and wholly consecrated to God]; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved sound and complete [and found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).” (1 Thessalonians 5:23 AMP)

“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in every way and [that your body] may keep well, even as [I know] your soul keeps well and prospers.” (3 John 1:2 AMP)

God has never promised to make you or myself a millionaire. But He has given us everything that pertains to LIFE and GODLINESS. Every book of the Bible is a testimony of God’s faithfulness. And it’s a testimony for us.

There isn’t enough room in this post to share everything about God’s truths in regards to finances, etc. I have written a couple of eBooks on the subject, though. See them here:

http://tinyurl.com/pjbqjeo

I will soon have a paperback book published combining both “Breaking the Spirit of Poverty” and “Generosity” into one. It is titled “Breaking the Spirit of Poverty with the Spirit of Generosity”.

Please. If you need to address error, then do it biblically. Don’t act as though prosperity is of the devil. You know you really don’t believe it.

Coveting and selfishness IS from the deceiver. Prosperity is NOT.

The Pattern

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This line of thought all began as I wondered about animals in heaven. And don’t try to get me to believe you’ve never thought about it. I know better.

I am convinced that earth was a copy of heaven. Originally. Heaven was the blueprint God used to create all we see (and can’t see).

Do you remember this part of the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven”? Sure you do.

So I figure there are dogs and cats, birds and bees, in the beautiful land called heaven.

I still refuse to believe there are spiders, snakes, or bats, though.

Anyway, the word “pattern” stuck in my mind.

Pattern.

It’s more than the instructions God gave to Moses. For one thing, the tent of meeting wasn’t just a place where the Israelites, the “called out ones”, could have a place to do church. It was a picture of God’s redemptive story and a powerful portrait of the Redeemer, Jesus the son of God. It was the pre-Calvary place where God and man could meet for fellowship.

“And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst. Exactly as I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it.” (Exodus 25:8-9 ESV)

“And see that you make them after the pattern for them, which is being shown you on the mountain.” (Exodus 25:40 ESV)

“And this was the workmanship of the lampstand, hammered work of gold. From its base to its flowers, it was hammered work; according to the pattern that the Lord had shown Moses, so he made the lampstand.” (Numbers 8:4 ESV)

The pattern signifies the right way, God’s way, of doing something. Whether in ministry, family life, or on the job. It reveals the way we should treat others, entertain ourselves, and even leave this life for the next.

“Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 1:13 ESV)

We’re admonished, as Moses was, to do everything according to the pattern. Notice another word from Paul:

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17 ESV)

You see, when Jesus instructed us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven…”, it wasn’t an exercise in futility. God doesn’t give busywork.

It was a pattern.

It IS THE pattern. Whatever’s in heaven, let it be on earth.

It’s how things on earth are changed. It’s the way healing prevails over sickness. It’s how life conquers death. Man becomes a new creation in Christ, through faith in the pattern.

And it’s how the new, recreated child of God, is to live. Just like the pattern.

Jesus.

How can the pattern change your world? Care to discuss it?

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