Those in society presenting a risk will first be marginalized and then eliminated.
I'll never forget the terror I felt watching A Thief in the Night, an apocalyptic movie from the 1970's seen by over 300 million people. Christians who refused to take the Mark of the Beast were led to the guillotine. No resister was spared, not even small children. (Regardless of the timing of the rapture, Christians can and will exist during the Tribulation period.)
We are living in the final moments leading up to times of great trouble in the world. It's true that difficult times are upon us now, but, especially in America, what we are experiencing is paradise compared to the horrors to come.
Many believe once the end-time progression has fully matured, those who resist the mandates of a coming global leader will be mercilessly executed. This certainly includes biblical Christians and others who rise up with guns a blazin' in opposition to tyranny.
EVENTUALLY CHRISTIANS BE CANCELLED PERMANENTLY
“They came for me, be sure of it, they are coming for you as well,” he said warning U.S. audiences.
There will be consequences if Americans don't take a stand, he continued: “If you will not do it, you're next.”
This is where it gets interesting, and where we as Believers in Jesus must understand the larger picture. We must also use great wisdom when dealing with the spirit of the age.
News flash: When all is said and done we will lose this fight.
I'm not trying to demoralize anybody nor am I buying into any sort of defeatism. I've read the Book and I am fully aware that martyrdom is very much in the future for many of us. The final victory is not carnal or earthly. After the Great Tribulation period and then ultimately after the Millennial reign, Satan and his hordes will be eliminated. We win, they lose.
But in the not too distant future, we will be permanently cancelled. No type of right-wing rebellion against the tyranny will work. Resistance is futile. Scripture makes that clear. Does that mean we give up and give in? No. Contending for righteousness is always appropriate, and there certainly can and will be important short-term victories. We can and should fight the fight (again, with wisdom) by promoting righteous laws and challenging unrighteous norms.
WE ARE BEING CONDITIONED
Today, social media and politics are the primary tools the enemy is using to force his agenda. Cancel culture is here to stay and it will get progressively more punitive, restrictive and threatening. This is why our strategies must go much further than ranting on Facebook and wearing MAGA hats. God is preparing his church for great persecution and he needs us to accurately discern the signs of the times.
Social media giants are conditioning us, muzzling us and attempting to force us into compliance. What we say, what we believe and what we do will result in affirmation or cancellation. Resisters will resist, but those who are Spirit-driven will be prepared to respond rightly to the evil end-time strategy.
ELIMINATING THE UNDESIRABLES
Ultimately, the plan is for undesirables (you and me) to be fully eliminated. During the Tribulation that may come in the form of a guillotine. In the seasons leading up to that we'll see an increase in propaganda, conditioning, cancellation and shaming aimed at those who voice any measure of opposition to the societal norms.
Do we simply unleash the Ben Shapiro's and Donald Trump's of the world to rage against the machine, or is there another, better response? While I appreciate what Ben and President Trump have done, and I do believe God can and has used methods they have employed, we need to zoom out and look at the bigger picture. This isn't about saving America anymore. This is about preparing for an encounter with the greatest evil the world has ever known.
How many churches are strategically preparing the people for trouble? I'm not talking about stocking up on toilet paper, fighting against liberal lawmakers or sharing the latest memes about Dr. Fauci. I mean, is the church praying, fasting and contending in tears for an outpouring of God's Spirit? Are pastors teaching on the end times? What is the spiritual response to today's crisis?
The Bible makes it clear that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but that seems to be all the church is doing lately. Fighting politicians, fighting mandates, fighting Facebook. Satan is moving in the spiritual realm and manifesting in the natural. All too often, the church is a step behind, reacting in the natural, responding in the flesh and relying on human intuition with no grid for the supernatural.
A Thief in the Night had me disturbed as a child and the truth it conveyed has me disturbed as a 52-year-old adult, though the reasons are very different. Then I was concerned for my own life. Today I'm grieved at the response of the church. In the near future, Christians who are rightfully prepared will stand against the threats and refuse to align with the anti-Christ, even if it means certain death. Those who are not will easily give in to the pressures of being permanently cancelled. No food, water, medical care, electricity or other necessities will be too great a price to pay for many.
SO, WHAT DO WE DO?
Our primary and constant response must be fervent prayer, radical consecration, holy living and devotion to the Word of God.
In the short term I believe it's important that we do engage culture. We can win some of the current battles and push back the agendas of the enemy. If we use supernatural wisdom, we can see laws changed, social media transformed and tyranny confronted. It's a valuable and appropriate fight anytime we push back on darkness, especially when it's attempting to destroy our nation.
We must understand, however, that any victory in this realm will be short lived. Ultimately, the enemy will rage with such strategic precision that all who resist will be eliminated. Are we prepared to die as martyrs? Are we truly living and praying and walking in the Spirit? Are our children ready for overwhelming and terrifying persecution? If not, that must be our focus. It's about to get very interesting in the world, and we must do all we can to be ready to respond.
Photo credit: “Guillotine (musée des Souvenirs de guerre, Hô Chi Minh Ville)” by dalbera is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggests alternatives to end the life of your child.
President Biden recently admitted that he doesn't agree with the teachings of his church regarding the belief that life begins at conception.
“I respect those who believe life begins at the moment of conception,” Biden said. “I don’t agree, but I respect that. I’m not going to impose that on people.”
In a Tweet apparently responding to the new anti-abortion law in Texas, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez targets supposed “Christian extremists” for attempting to preserve the lives of pre-born children. She suggests laws and movements to force the birth (as she calls it) of a fully human, God-breathed person (as God calls them) are extreme. I would think dismembering and discarding unborn babies to be extreme.
She then shares options to destroy your unborn child through pills that can be discreetly mailed to your home.
LIFE BEGINS BEFORE CONCEPTION
The goalposts continue to move on the start date for children born into this world. The Bible clearly reveals that it's before conception.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5, ESV)
In fact, John the Baptist was already filled with the Holy Spirit before he was ever born.
“for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.” (Luke 1:15, ESV)
Tragically, most of today's activists and politicians are not filled with the Holy Spirit. Their worldview is radically, drastically and disastrously different than those who strive to promote godly agendas.
Today many believe children aren't full persons even in the moments right after birth. Killing children right after they are born (or partially born, whatever that is) is acceptable to a growing number of people. Don't be shocked when it becomes acceptable and legal to kill children under the age of two for no other reason than inconvenience.
Just as King Herod was threatened by a baby and ordered the death of all children under two years of age, these unwanted children threaten the dreams and plans of mom and dad. Exterminating them will very possibly be a viable option.
Extermination is a prime weapon in Satan's arsenal as we have learned in the Holocaust and other murderous movements. Any who oppose the killing? Extremists. Resisters.
The same accusations will be launched against all who refuse to take the Mark of the Beast as well. The propaganda and the overarching message is similar. Comply or else.
The narrative that AOC is promoting is not only shocking to Christians in America, it's terrifying. If I understood her Tweet correctly, that efforts to “force the birth” of pre-born life equates to Christian extremism is dangerous beyond measure. Her message is being received and her influence can't be denied.
Crediting her Catholic upbringing, AOC said, “We do know that the Earth is sacred. We do know it is a sacred gift. We have a responsibility to steward it and protect it.”
Many pro-Earth activists are also pro-abortion. They would agree with AOC that dirt and rocks are a sacred gift. Babies, however, can be dismembered and discarded. Somebody convince me full-blown delusion hasn't overtaken the far-left.
Ironically, in the same breath she said, “Are we willing to make changes to our present lives to protect a future for our children and life on Earth?”
Changes that include most anything except protecting the very pre-born children the future is waiting for, I suppose.
Alexandria must know that her accusation of extremism targets millions of Christians and Catholics. In fact, she grew up Catholic herself.
“I consider myself Catholic,” she said, adding that she “grew up in the Catholic faith.” Her mother, Blanca Ocasio-Cortez, is an evangelical Christian born in Puerto Rico, and her late father, Sergio Ocasio, was a Catholic and religious education teacher, Bronx-born from a Puerto Rican family.
WE MUST PRAY FOR OUR NATION'S INFLUENCERS
I earnestly contend for God to radically move in Alexandria's life. I envision a dramatic encounter with our holy, fiery God that will transform her in a moment.
There is no way to debate the issue of abortion successfully without introducing God into the scenario. In fact, I contend that it's nearly impossible to win this debate without people having an authentic, life-altering, supernatural visitation of God himself in their lives. A Damascus Road experience is needed for Alexandria and others who are aggressively fighting against God's truth.
While Alexandria is keeping her fight in the realm of activism and legislation (which is legal and protected), Paul (then Saul) took his fight against his own “Christian extremists” to another level when God suddenly overwhelmed him.
“But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”” (Acts 9:1–4, ESV)
After his encounter, everything changed. Read the rest of the passage below and pray for Alexandria. I can see her transformed, standing behind a pulpit in a fiery church preaching the truth of Jesus. Can you?
“For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?” But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.” (Acts 9:19–22, ESV)
A massive falling away from the faith will be a mark of churches devoid of supernatural power.
It's time for a dramatic shift from seeker-sensitive churches to remnant-sensitive churches in our nation. There is an army of supernaturally-minded followers of Jesus looking for their tribe, and there are few churches that pass the test.
All that is natual or done in human power isn't bad by default. Mankind whether Christian or not can do much good simply by, well, doing good. We can feed the hungry, serve sacrificially, give extravagantly, smile, hug, encourage, befriend and do much good for mankind.
In the church realm we can pray for the sick, visit shut-ins, teach the Bible, pass out Gospel tracts, attend small groups and much more that doesn't necessarily require the power of God to accomplish. Of course, when we add God's power to any of the above, the impact is dramatically different.
NATURALLY DRIVEN CHURCHES ABOUND
When church-shopping, if people were honest, they would commonly admit they are looking for a variety of things. Topping the lists of many in search of a new church home are good children's and youth ministries, dynamic and skillful worship, excellent teaching, the ability to develop new relationships and a welcoming environment.
In fact, church growth strategies tend to be natural versus supernatural as they focus on how we can meet the demands of the customers (current and potential church members). An article on the Smart Church Management website titled 7 Keys to Church Growth zeroes in on what is humanly achievable. Again, all that is humanly possible isn't unbiblical or inappropriate. Natural methods, secular strategies and ideals found in the business world can, at times, be applied in the spiritual world.
Some of the keys to church growth mentioned in the article include creating an inviting atmosphere, creating a welcoming experience, care for church members and providing opportunities to serve. There's not a thing wrong with any of this, except that what matters most wasn't mentioned. Nurturing the supernatural manifestation of the presence of God didn't make the list.
Naturally driven churches abound from coast to coast in this nation. You'll hear a lot about great coffee, vibrant community and programs for the entire family. In fact, many err on the side of caution by downplaying the supernatural. The risk of alienating visitors or conservative members is too high to allow it. Tragically, the risk of alienating God isn't often considered.
CRISIS WILL OVERWHELM THE NATURALLY MINDED
You'll know a supernatural church when crisis hits. Supernaturally driven Believers will respond radically differently to crisis than those who aren't living, walking, praying and governing in the spirit. Without developing a history in God that's marked by fervent intercession, intense devotion, great faith and openness to the moving of the Holy Spirit, people will default to what makes sense in the natural realm.
Without a supernatural mindset, it will be impossible to respond to crisis as God intends. Natural strategies won't work. Panic will set in. Fear will dominate.
This will be followed up by lost faith and angry fists raised to heaven. A failure to live in the otherworldly, supernatural place of signs, wonders and miracles will result in a devastating lack of spiritual tools in people's toolbelts when they are most needed.
The church's failure to equip people in the Holy Spirit is more eternally costly than we can imagine. Satan is raging and there is no natural response that will slow him down. A powerless church births powerless Christians who are primed to be easily devoured by the hounds of hell.
THE DEMISE OF THE SEEKER-SENSITIVE CHURCH
If we put on our marketing hats, it makes sense to target the largest segment of society. Coke, Nike, Disney and other companies want their products or services enjoyed by as many people as possible. Pastors want people in the seats. The quickest way to make that happen, one would presume, is to target the largest segment of those who are most prone to visit. Seekers are everywhere and some will show up on Sunday morning if the services are welcoming, comfortable and definitely not weird. Eliminate the supernatural and they may come.
This strategy must end. The end-time church is a church on fire, not a comfortable living room where we can put up our feet, eat some snacks and watch the show. The Holy Spirit isn't drawing seekers into a tepid environment. He's not looking to ease people into a new life in Christ. God is calling all to the cross, to full surrender and right into the furnace of his presence.
When seekers are introduced to God in a way that's naturally understandable, the dive into the often bizarre, intense, all-consuming activity of the Holy Spirit is nonsensical to them. Such an experience becomes unnecessary if they, after all, have alread “said yes” to Jesus in a costless, comfortable environment.
Hearing God's voice, dreams, visions, encounters, being baptized in the Holy Spirit, spiritual warfare, casting out demons, moving in the gifts of the Spirit and so much more becomes unnecessary to those who “got saved” in a comfortable, non-threatening, naturally-driven church.
CHURCH ON FIRE ARISE!
The end-time church is a remnant church. It's time we stop appealing to the general population to build kingdoms of man and start calling in those who are ready to make a total surrender and advance the Kingdom of God. The remnant firebrands are desperately looking for their home base. They want to find their fellow soldiers who are ready to move ahead with precision against the wickedness in our nation.
They aren't looking for churches with trendy youth ministries, the best coffee shops or even great worship or teaching. The remnant is looking for the fire of the Holy Spirit. They want to know if intercession drives the ministry. A specific, world-changing, divine vision is crucial. The pursuit of the wonders of God is paramount. An extremely prophetic atmosphere is non-negotiable. Great faith and extreme devotion to the Word of God are critical. These end-time warriors refuse to play games and they won't stand for lesser things getting in the way of the greater mission. Coffee, friendships and programs become laughable as foundations to build on.
The time is now for a massive reset to come to the church. We have Ichabod churches dotting our nation and many others that do have a heartbeat yet refuse to dive into the depths of the fire. We need an Acts 2 church that is volcanic, supernatural and radiating in immeasurable power.
How does this happen? Become remnant-sensitive. Gather in those who are ready to lay it all down and contend with tears for God to move. Pastors must shift dramatically and refuse, ever again, to make decisions based on how the people will respond. The idolatry of filled pews must be repented of. The fear of offending the tithers must cease. The focus on keeping everybody happy can't continue.
We need the supernatural church to arise in these dire end-times. Without a prophetic mantle and the ability to advance in extreme Holy Spirit power, we have no hope. However, if we start training people in the fire and advance as a burning end-time army, kingdoms of darkness will shatter. And finally, we won't have to function as time-share salespeople, giving gifts and promising all sorts of benefits to those mildly interested in God if they sign on the dotted line. The seekers will witness undeniable supernatural power and the Holy Spirit will overwhelm them as they hit their knees and cry, “Holy!”
Originally published by Charisma Media.
Six years away from full-time ministry has provided me time for evaluation.
ONE: The vision
THREE. The team
FOUR. The miraculous
FIVE. False expectations
SIX. Failure to address culture
SEVEN. A godless world
EIGHT. Strange Christians
NINE. Marketplace ministry
TEN. An exciting future
Many are getting vaccinated in secret because of the shame associated with it in their circles.
The Covid-19 vaccine has become so polarizing that some people in Missouri are getting inoculated in secret for fear of backlash from their friends and family who oppose vaccination, a doctor told CNN on Wednesday.
I've personally heard of this happening, so I don't believe it's obscure and I don't believe it's limited to Missouri.
Vax shame is alive and well throughout our nation and it is attached both to vaxers and anti-vaxers. This is an equal opportunity offense that is creating some of the most ridiculous and foolish division our nation has ever seen.
Controversial NBA legend Charles Barkley chimed in on the vaccine debate by saying, ““Yes, I’m vaccinated. Everybody should be vaccinated. Period,” Barkley said. “The only people who are not vaccinated are just [expletive].”
The shame is as intense for those who get the shot as for those who do not. No wonder people are going incognito through secret entrances during off-hours at their local doctor's office to get the vaccine.
CHRISTIANS MAY BE AMONG THE WORST OFFENDERS
It seems love, honor and civility have long been abandoned in this era of plagues and politics. The ability to share strong opinions while valuing other's positions seems to be rare today.
While I have an opinion on the matter (though I admit there are unknowns, I believe COVID could be neutralized in a matter of weeks if one hundred percent of Americans were vaccinated), my primary focus right now is the shame that is rampant among Believers.
Earlier today I posted the following to Facebook:
More than one has argued that getting vaccinated is sorcery. When asked if they personally refuse all medicine or if they would counsel cancer patients to refuse medical treatment, they didn't have an answer.
Others have questioned people's faith in God if they use medicine. Many are fully rejecting the statistics of those who have died or been hospitalized because of the virus. They are firmly suggesting it's all a hoax.
I've been called a liar for sharing the reasons for my position. I've been chastised for spreading fear. My faith has been called into question.
When I wasn't being personally shamed, I was entertaining common but bizarre conspiracy theories about the virus being a tool of manipulation, the injection equating to the Mark of the Beast and the vaccine killing more people than the disease.
Christians especially are turning to rogue news sources, doctors and others in their echo chamber that will report exactly what they want to hear. The tin hat crowd has gone mainstream.
Firsthand medical worker accounts like the following from Branson Tri Lakes News are rejected as fake:
“We’re the ones who see that look of fear in their eyes as they’re trying to breathe and know they’re going to have to go on a ventilator. They’re struggling with the bi-pap and they look at us so helpless and scared and desperate. It is like a prison for all of us, I think.”
The latest data about hospitalizations is being denounced by the religious right as propaganda.
Dr. Frank Courmier, a pulmonary critical care physician at Our Lady of Lourdes, tells KATC 99 percent of the new cases at the hospital come from people who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine.
Malcolm and Kris Ehresmann, the director of infectious disease prevention for the Minnesota Department of Health, say more than 99 percent of new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths are people who are not vaccinated.
In Texas, 99.5% of people who died from COVID from February through July 14 weren't vaccinated, per the Texas Tribune's reporting on preliminary data from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
In southern Missouri, an area that leads the nation as a delta variant hot spot, “almost every COVID-19 patient in Springfield's hospitals is unvaccinated,” the Atlantic reported.
“Over 99% of the COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths we are seeing (in LA County) are among unvaccinated individuals,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement Monday.
Apparently this is all propaganda and we should shame all who believe it.
WEAR A MASK, GET EXCOMMUNICATED
The shame doesn't end with the vaccine. Masks are back in the news and one pastor seems to be capitalizing on that fact.
MT. JULIET, Tenn. (WKRN) — The pastor of a Mt. Juliet church has threatened to kick out members of his congregation if they show up in masks amid a nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the delta variant.
During service on Sunday at Global Vision Bible Church, Pastor Greg Locke told the crowd, “Don’t believe this delta variant nonsense. Stop it! Stop it!”
Locke said, “If they go through round two and you start showing up all these masks and all this nonsense, I’ll ask you to leave. I will ask you to leave. I am not playing these Democrat games up in this church. If you want to social distance, go to First Baptist Church, but don’t come to this one.”
This is not Christianity. This is not pastoral leadership. This is madness.
I fully support people's right to make their health decisions without coercion. While I believe we must be free to evangelize our values in an honoring, healthy manner, I reject the idea that any of us should be forced to get (or not get) the vaccine. To shame people who want to wear a mask to church is insane.
It's not that I don't understand the passion to rise up against any sort of propaganda, inappropriate government control or false narratives. It's that too many have done so in rebellious, arrogant fashion that brings shame to the name of Christ.
THE OTHER SIDE IS NO BETTER
While my primary viewpoint is Christian society, it's important to note that the aggression from the other side is just as strong. The shame vomited all over those who choose not to get vaccinated is despicable.
We need to be able to share strong opinions without shaming. Oh, and we should also be allowed to wear a mask at church and, if we so choose, go to our doctors without donning a fake mustache and glasses.
Photo credit: ““Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.” Margaret Atwood” by katerha is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Originally published by Charisma Media.
There's a reason most prayer rooms are empty.
I'm a prayer freak. Nothing invigorates me like passionate, Holy Spirit-driven intercession that results in stunning and miraculous moves of God. Absolutely nothing compares to being both in God's presence and in his will.
I also understand why so many are staying far away from the dry, dusty prayer rooms. Too many of these supposed calls to prayer are marked by unbelief and apathy while being devoid of the fire and the wind that were made famous in Acts chapter two.
Yet, more than any time in this planet's history, we need firebrands who will take up the mantle of fervent intercession. Without it our nation is doomed.
“Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place.” (2 Chronicles 7:15, ESV)
IF PRAYER IS BORING, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.
Dastardly, wicked forces are overrunning America and too few are wielding our most potent and effective weapon, intercession. It will grant us dramatic victories that can come no other way. No measure of brilliantly crafted political talking points, well organized protests or grass roots uprisings against the various threats in our land compares.
We need to discover the wild wonder of fervent intercession. Hitting our knees, pacing around a prayer room or collapsing in desperation at an altar with tears and cries will have profound impact. Living in the very presence of God, hearing his voice and experiencing the shock and awe of his movement is enough to cause any of us to never want to stop. Truly, if prayer is boring, something is off. There is no way to become disengaged when the Creator of the universe is manifesting in the place of prayer. The interaction, revelation, healing and overwhelming love that comes from our passionate intercession cannot be described.
Imagine living under a promise of God to be attentive to our prayer. That would be a game-changer for our nation. Unfortunately, I don't believe we have done what is necessary as a nation to step into that. In order for God to truly hear our prayers, much must be accomplished first.
“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:13–14, ESV)
Boring, predictable prayer will never save a nation. Vibrant, fiery, zealous, faith-filled and unrelenting prayer, however, will.
The famous verse found in 2 Chronicles 7:14 is often repeated but rarely adopted and the chaos and crisis in our nation is the result.
THE KEYS TO VICTORIOUS INTERCESSION FOR AMERICA
While there are numerous scriptures and passages in the Bible that give us clear direction regarding effective prayer, we cannot ignore the undeniable instructions found in 2 Chronicles 7.
Failure to consider any of the following points will compromise the mission. America will grow darker and the hope for revival will become dimmer.
ONE. GOD AT TIMES RESISTS NATIONS.
“And at this house, which was exalted, everyone passing by will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land and to this house?’ Then they will say, ‘Because they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods and worshiped them and served them. Therefore he has brought all this disaster on them.’ ”” (2 Chronicles 7:21–22, ESV)
If we hold to a theological belief that God does not bring pestilence, disaster, famine and other judgments to nations, we will have no grid to begin our intercession. Many argue that God is the author of all that we would call good and Satan is the author of all that we would call bad. That doctrinal analysis, however, doesn't hold up to even an elementary review of Scripture. Others would say that all of this has changed in the New Covenant. While there were dramatic shifts after the death and resurrection of Jesus, God's role of judge hasn't changed. Justice has not been eradicated.
TWO. ARE WE TRULY HIS?
Verse fourteen starts, “if my people…”
If we aren't among the consecrated Bride of Christ, those who have filled their lamps with oil and who are radically surrendered to God, we must question whether we are his.
Regardless of whether we are saved or not, we must soberly consider if we are living a life devoted to Jesus. Are we embracing holiness and repentance as we pursue God with wholeheartedness? Or are we lukewarm and backslidden? The answer matters. Sin threatens intimacy with God which is instrumental as we contend for revival in our nation.
THREE. DO WE HAVE PRIDE?
If we are called by his name and if we humble ourselves we are on the right track. However, a lack of humility will stop us in our tracks. God resists the proud, and that's not good if we are attempting to have his ear.
FOUR. DO WE PRAY?
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16, NKJV)
If our life is marked by intense, continual prayer, we will see the wonders of God manifest in our lives and in our nation.
FIVE. DO WE SEEK HIS FACE?
Spending hours seeking after God is a glorious pursuit. Read the Word of God, fill the room with anointed worship music and talk to him as a friend. This single discipline will transform your life for eternity.
SIX. HAVE WE TURNED FROM OUR WICKED WAYS?
James tells us the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Again, holiness matters. Unrepentant, continual sin of all types will result in judgment. Whether it's lust, unforgiveness, pride, apathy or any other forbidden issue, wickedness will destroy our nation, not save it.
I do believe the turning of our nation is a simple as adhering to 2 Chronicles 7. Fervent, passionate prayer from a repentant, surrendered church will usher in revival that will set America ablaze with the love and power of Jesus.
A distorted view of love is causing followers of Jesus to renounce—or redefine—their faith.
“I love you guys, and I love all the support and friendships I’ve built here [Instagram]…I think it’s important to say that I’m just not a Christian anymore, and it feels really good. I’m really happy…I’m really happy.”
That's former Desiring God writer Paul Maxwell. He continues, “I love my life for the first time…and I love myself for the first time.”
Paul Maxwell comes across as an authentically kind and caring person in the article. His desire for connectivity and relationships is clear, In fact, it would do all of us well to grow in tenderness and passion for people. The problem comes when we elevate people, including self, to an inappropriate and unworthy level. Pastors, it would do you well to know that a focus on people isn't primary.
Paul Maxwell mentioned love and happiness repeatedly, revealing a problem that's both driving people away from the church and infecting the church at the same time. I'll state it clearly: love has been distorted and happiness is not God's primary goal for our lives. The Gospel message has become skewed and confused. We must remember that mankind, you and I included, is fully deserving of Hell.
People have been worshiping people for a long time. Rock and movie stars are both stalked and adored. Everyone from paparazzi to those who buy the photos along with tickets and merch are famous for elevating their admiration to an unhealthy level. People worship.
However, idolizing celebrities is no longer the prime concern. People worship has gone mainstream.
The Gospel message has morphed into a focus on people ahead of God in too many instances. Much of today's worship music has become entertainment driven as it focuses on who we are instead of who God is. Messages and entire movements are zeroing in on our great worth instead of our depravity. Churches are systematically wired to ensure visitors are valued, connected and comfortable in a sanitized, tepid, familiar living room environment.
Pastors are refusing to preach on holiness, hell, sin and repentance while favoring teachings on how much God loves us. They bend over backwards attempting to communicate human value while forsaking the revival-style messages that drove men and women to their knees.
The false-grace and false-love movements are infecting churches all over the world. Focus on the topics of identity and love is extremely valuable when handled rightly, and in the correct measure. However, an obsession with love and grace to the exclusion of judgment and fear of the Lord has resulted in many dabbling with the heresy of Universalism.
People I know are teetering on the edge of Universalism as they are becoming convinced that love demands we affirm others regardless of belief or behavior. People worship elevates mankind while intentionally dismissing their sin as mere weakness. If the sin isn't dismissed, it's often celebrated as a unifying trait that brings mankind together as a loving band of misfits. What is forgotten, or ignored, or rejected is that sin literally kills.
When we fully, radically and wholeheartedly surrender our lives to Jesus, his grace and mercy are overwhelming. The resulting peace, joy and abundant life are indescribable. However, today's people worship movement that is mirrored both in secular culture and the church attempts to relieve people of the struggle with sin by deeming it either benign or mildly concerning.
OUR HAPPINESS IS NOT GOD'S GOAL—AND IT SHOULDN'T BE OURS
Paul Maxwell's desire for authentic relationships is normal. However, this cannot be our goal.
Unredeemed humankind lives every moment seeking out the next pleasure, the next high, the next relationship. Those who don't know God are driven by a fervent passion to satisfy their desires. In fact, Christians who have merely made an intellectual or emotional decision to follow Christ are at similar disadvantage. This is why I unapologetically preach on authentic encounter with Jesus. Experiencing God supernaturally is the game changer.
While I appreciate the effort, I tend to cringe when I see goodhearted preachers addressing secular audiences from an intellectual perspective. Facts, figures, history, logic and arguments that originate in the human mind have a place. We simply need to know that an intellectual approach is woefully limited. A Damascus Road encounter, however, changes everything. When we are visited by an otherworldly entity that floods our beings with divine love, power and freedom, attempts at a logical interpretation becomes laughable.
When encounter comes, the Holy Spirit has phenomenal access to our lives. The Word of God then erupts in our spirits as we yearn for the truth it contains. It's at this point where human desires are dramatically calibrated to match God's. It's here where we understand that God's prime goal isn't to make us happy but rather to save our souls and to draw us into intimacy with him.
Deep friendships, sexual satisfaction, wealth, inner healing and other human desires become sanctified and reordered in importance. A life devoid of human friends stings less when our driving passion is to be a friend of God. A life of celibacy, should that be our portion, is a powerful sacrifice as we devote ourselves to knowing God more deeply. Again, our happiness isn't God's prime concern. Intimacy with him is.
THE GREAT LOVE DECEPTION
Consider this portion from one of the most important articles I've ever written, The Great Love Deception:
Keep in mind that false or tainted love doesn’t flow mostly from an evil, debased heart. It also doesn’t mean that there is nothing about the argument or viewpoint that is true. A person who craves pure love can, in their zeal or in their weakness, allow impurities into their expression of love that twists and compromises it. The reason I needed to say this is to encourage you if you’ve been hit by the false-love spirit. Your desire for manifested love is very probably true, yet the enemy can come in and confuse the process.
In fact, love most certainly doesn't always feel good. When we encounter love, we will be presented with a view of God that is quite different than what we previously understood to be true. God’s love can be expressed in a very direct, uncomfortable way that breaks you and you may even wonder how a loving God could act that way. God’s expression of love will often put you at risk, threaten you and trouble you. Jesus’ expression of love on the cross put Peter at risk of the same grisly death! How could Jesus do this? Peter was confused as he was presented with a side of Jesus he never saw—and he denied that expression of Jesus and his love for the world! I guarantee that Peter did not feel good as Jesus loved him by rescuing him from Hell by dying on the cross. Today, sharp, provoking preaching is rejected because it doesn’t feel good. They might say in their disturbed state, “That’s not the Jesus I know.” The risk is, like Peter, rejection of God when the feelings aren’t warm and intimate. This is one reason why being people of the Word is non-negotiable. We can’t afford to call good evil and evil good. We must learn about Jesus and how he functions so that our emotions don’t lead us astray.
People are not to be worshiped. We are all deserving of eternal torment.
God isn't here to satisfy our happiness. Friend, we are in a spiritual war. It's time to lay down our lives, to embrace the cross, to prepare for martyrdom, to develop deep intimacy with Jesus and to live our lives storming the gates of Hell and battling wickedness on the earth.
From that place, yes, there most certainly is opportunity for developing deep, holy friendships, in developing a healthy, godly identity and in enjoying the life God gives us. But we cannot abandon the faith when it doesn't satisfy. We can't reject God when he doesn't meet our demands. We can't quit when our intellect doesn't grasp God's methods. We must not redefine our faith to elevate the value of people to worship status. We aren't in it for our fulfillment, or happiness, our joy or our mental and emotional health. We follow Jesus because he is God, he paid the ultimate price for us and he is literally our only hope.
Photo credit: “Athiest bus advert” by thegreatgonzo is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Fear has been an unwelcome yet dominant spirit in the church over the past year.
According to Northwestern Medicine, fear is physical. Blood actually flows away from your heart and into your limbs, making it easier for you to start throwing punches, or run for your life.
This is what we have witnessed in this year of fear, the life-source flowing away from the hearts of Christians. Punches have been thrown as the fight or flight response has overtaken many who previously were known as people of faith.
When our hearts are compromised and focus shifts to protecting self, all sorts of wickedness has an entry point into our lives. What seems like common sense and wisdom is often the manifestation of the spirit of fear. One has to wonder which emotion is stronger, fear of COVID or fear of vaccines. Both are actually a manifestation of a fear of death. Isn't it interesting how crafty the enemy is, taunting and haunting us with the threat of death while dividing us over the issue at the same time? Anti-vaxers and pro-maskers both trembling over the threat of dying.
Fear is evidenced in many ways such as the impending doom that surrounds a loss of our American freedoms, churches being shuttered, elections being lost and our way of life being put at risk.
No matter which side people are on, punches are thrown as they furiously fight for their cause. It seems most everybody is threatened whether it's from a piece of cloth that covers our mouths or the loss of freedoms in the midst of lockdowns.
THE FEAR IS CLEAR
Will the heart-sick church discern how a spirit of fear has infiltrated and infected the body or will we continue down this path of reactionary, fear-based response to crisis in our nation?
I propose the lesson has not been learned yet. It's only going to get worse and the church clearly is not ready yet.
Personally, my greatest sadness from the pandemic is the response of many who have been highly regarded people of faith. Fear, not faith, has been the driving force of their lives over the past year, or so the fruit of their lives suggests.
I was shocked at how rare it was for me to find Christians who were declaring boldly that no weapon formed against us shall prosper. Instead, I'd watch people who had reputations as giants in the faith cower at the sight of a much larger Goliath threatening impending death. COVID was the beast that did them in, not physically, but spiritually.
I'd read Facebook post after post, have one-on-one conversations and witness all sorts of responses to the virus, and it seemed that 99 out of 100 of them were about mitigating COVID. What happened to the powerful people of faith who refused to cower at the threat of disease? Where were the devil-fighters who exercised Heaven-level authority? Where were the decrees and declarations of health, healing, protection and victory? COVID scared them away.
Then we have those on the other side of the issue, people who proudly proclaim their fearlessness as they arrogantly strut maskless and free down the aisles of Walmart. The blood has flowed out of their hearts too, as they punch back at people and policies that threaten their lifestyles. The fear is clear as they desperately fight outside controlling forces, ignore government mandates and avoid vaccines like, yes, the plague.
Speaking of the plague, maybe we should consider how John G. Lake refused to cower to the bubonic plague:
Lake suggested the doctor take a sample of the foam from the mouth of a victim and observe it under a microscope. Confirming the plague was very much alive, Lake took some of the foam in his hand and held it under a microscope. The plague bacteria instantly died in Lake’s hand. Why? Lake believed the Word of God is stronger than any sickness or any disease.
A CRISIS OF FAITH
Instead of bold faith and absolute fearlessness regarding viruses, vaccines, lost freedoms, political turmoil and other issues of the day, we are experiencing something much more deadly: a crisis of faith.
No, the spoiled brat method of refusing to wear masks while blaming any and all who threaten our supposed freedoms isn't the answer. Rising up in a political spirit isn't either.
It has been sad to watch Christians adopt an aggressive, flesh-driven political spirit. What looks like brash boldness is actually a manifestation of fear as the blood seeps out of their tender hearts and into their fists.
Many have shifted from an emphasis on faith, intercession, worship, revival and awakening to blasting opinions on politics and culture. Yes, we must not avoid confronting the spirit of the age with a sharp anointing, but that's not what we are mostly seeing today.
It's time to live, breath, walk and pray in the Spirit with great humility, lots of tears and unmatched faith that God is moving. We need those who walk in such an anointing that fear is chased out of every atmosphere they step into.
God is ready to visit his church with revelation on how to confront this dark, deadly spirit of fear in our nation. As we draw very close to him and capture his heart and stay firmly rooted in the Word of God, mysteries will be revealed and faith will again explode in the church.
Originally published by The Stream.
The science argument has neutered much of the church's potent, supernatural message.
“(Nancy Peolosi) suggested that some government officials and members of Congress were anti-science because of their faith.” ~The Blaze
Nancy, I'm sorry I used a trigger word in the title (trump), but I had to jump at the chance to address something you said. You were dismayed by “faith oriented” members of Congress who put more stock in God's healing power than in man's scientific advances. As a leader in this Christian nation, I'm stunned that you would have such a viewpoint. Sadly, many Christians have adopted similar faithless ideologies, straying so far from the wonders of supernatural, miraculous, shock and awe faith toward a natural, godless version of spirituality (if such a thing were possible).
The bible calls it a form of godliness. The problem? This style of religion is devoid of power. It's atheistic at its roots, only dressed up to appear just superstitious enough to pass as spiritual.
We are in the last days, and this issue makes it onto a very sobering list:
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” (2 Timothy 3:1–5, ESV)
Lovers of money. Proud. Arrogant. Heartless. Lovers of pleasure. To top it all off, an appearance of godliness and a denial of God's power.
Avoid such people.
As followers of Jesus, we should be living in the miraculous realm every moment of our lives. It's disheartening that so many professing Christians have fallen for the delusion that science is superior to faith. Scientific fact is the ultimate litmus test. If science proves something in Scripture to be wrong, then science is the clear victor. Nonsense.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE MIRACULOUS CHRISTIAN LIFE?
People have attempted to use science to silence Christian zealots for centuries. Christians have stumbled over their own arguments by attempting to agree with the opposition. Their debate is fueled by the thesis that what is found in the Bible will always affirm science. They declare that biblical truth will always affirm scientific fact. This argument is doomed from the beginning.
From cover to cover in Scripture we see science defied. It's everywhere.
Jesus walked on water. Science defied.
Lazarus rose from the dead. Science defied.
A sea split in half. Science defied.
A paralytic walked. Science defied.
The sun stood still. Science defied.
Thousands fed with a few loaves of bread and a few fish. Science defied.
An iron axe head floated in water. Science defied.
And, the Savior of our world was conceived without his parents having sex. Thank God, science was defied.
WHERE ARE THE AUTHENTIC CHRISTIANS DURING THIS GLOBAL CRISIS?
In an article I wrote titled Christians are Being Embarrassed By The Coronavirus, I dealt with the mostly natural, scientific approach so many followers of Jesus have defaulted to:
Are you taking the opportunity to show the lost you are fearless, full of faith and joyful? Or do they sense your anxiety about coronavirus?
A crisis of faith has been exposed. Coronavirus is embarrassing the church.
Have you noticed any difference at all between the godless world and those who are seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus, the Healer? Bold decrees of faith, not confessions of fear and worry, should be exploding out of our mouths!
Instead, Christians are hiding in caves, running from the battle and trembling not in the fear of the Lord, but the fear of the enemy.
Sure, take precautions, but don’t cower. Don’t respond like the world. Don’t allow the enemy to impact your life. Live! Be free! You are covered by the blood of Jesus!
An unmoving devotion to belief, to faith, to confidence that supernatural, divine healing is our portion should be the mark of every Christian. Faith trumps science.
In fact, when we gain more confidence in vaccines and other medical measures than we do in God's desire and ability to heal, we set ourselves up for judgment.
“In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet, and his disease became severe. Yet even in his disease he did not seek the LORD, but sought help from physicians. And Asa slept with his fathers, dying in the forty-first year of his reign.” (2 Chronicles 16:12–13, ESV)
King Asa's devotion to doctors to the exclusion of God resulted in his judgment. Death.
To be fair, what Nancy said isn't completely untrue:
“People say around here sometimes, ‘I'm faith-oriented so I don't believe in science' and I said, ‘Well you can do both. Science is an answer to our prayers and our prayers have been answered with a vaccine,'”
To be clear, I doubt the people around her who live by faith actually said that they don't believe in science. Gravity is real. So are germs. So is medicine. Nobody would debate any of that. My guess is they were saying that faith trumps science. That is what I agree with, and apparently what Nancy disagrees with.
However, she did point out that both faith and science can work together. Scientific discovery can be the answer to prayer. I agree with that. What I disagree with is that faith must align with science. If our faith must come under submission to scientific fact, then we'd be nothing more than full blown athiests. A people who deny supernatural wonders whenever they contradict with scientific proof. These people are rejecting the power of God and the Bible commands us to have nothing to do with them.
NANCY, I IMPLORE YOU TO REPENT AND TO DISCOVER THE GLORIES OF SUPERNATURAL LIVING
By giving science and the natural realm more credence than the invisible realm, we imprison ourselves to its restrictions. This is a terrible, disappointing and powerless way to live.
When we live our lives not by sight, but by faith, everything changes in a moment! Miracles are common! The impossible becomes probable! The presence of the Holy Spirit radiates all around us!
We can't live like King Asa, running to the physicians, the scientists, the logical intellectuals in search for answers. Our first and continual focus must be on our omnipotent God and his plan to work miraculously in our lives. From that place we can certainly take advantage of natural remedies. But, our faith must be extreme and it must be in a God we cannot see and his abilities that are far greater than any scientist that has ever lived. Yes, Nancy, faith absolutely trumps science. Every day of the week.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5, ESV)
Originally published by The Stream.
This is an unprecedented, historic and special season for Christians as we rally around an administration that is so zealously honoring of God.
I was deeply moved as I watched President Trump along with his team including White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany engaging with passion in a vibrant, Spirit-filled, prophetic church.
Deeply moved? No, that's woefully understated. The Spirit of God was burning and blowing through me as I watched. There was a tremble within that suddenly activated as I watched our President and those who surround him in the midst of a cyclone of Holy Spirit activity in Las Vegas. Tears filled my eyes.
NOT VOTING FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP?
I know many are already smirking and arguing that this was nothing more than an attention-grab. A photo-op.
First of all, I don't care, and I'll tell you why in a moment.
Secondly, if this was your reaction, and you consider yourself a true disciple of Jesus, you have no option but to repent.
As Believers we are to make judgment on others when done according to Scripture. What is inappropriate is a judgment of motive. Clearly, we are mandated to judge fruit. We are to carefully and lovingly analyze situations God brings before us.
“Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!” (1 Corinthians 6:2–3, ESV)
However, we don't have the license to judge motive. Such a judgment results in gossip, division and accusation. We align ourselves with the enemy. He is the accuser. In fact, Revelation 12:10 reveals he accuses Christians day and night before the Lord.
Others may say they have the gift of discernment and it's that gift that allows them to judge President Trump's motive. News flash: there is no such gift revealed in the Bible as the gift of discernment. It's not there. When people declare they have this gift it's usually an excuse to operate in some good old-fashioned charismatic witchcraft. Gossip. Manipulation.
“…to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.” (1 Corinthians 12:10, ESV)
The gift they are probably referring to is the discernment of spirits, or to “distinguish between spirits.” This is the gift that comes in handy when taking someone through deliverance. We know what spirit is manifesting (or hiding) and we are able to confront it with spiritual intelligence. This gift has nothing to do with judging the motives of someone else. This is God's job and his alone.
Now, the reason I said that I don't care whether President Trump's appearance was merely an opportunity to grab attention (which I don't believe it was) or not is simple: this man, in unprecedented fashion for a sitting President, has surrounded himself with authentic, fiery, devoted and uncompromising lovers of Jesus.
A vote for Donald Trump is a vote for Mike Pence, Kayleigh McEnany and the many reputable and anointed pastors and Christian leaders who have remarkable access to him.
Simply, this is the most Spirit-driven administration America has probably ever seen. More striking is the night and day (dark and light?) comparison between such an unashamed embrace of Jesus and the wickedness so many of the liberal left represent.
THE FOOLISHNESS OF REJECTING DONALD TRUMP
I want to encourage you to watch some of the videos from yesterday's church service. You'll witness powerful decrees, intercession and exhortation in an atmosphere marked by extreme Holy Spirit activity. I've wanted to visit this church for years, and I was thrilled to see our President placing himself and his team in the midst of that whirlwind.
We can all vote for anybody we desire. That's the American way.
That being said, I'm stunned that any person who names the name of Christ would even consider for a moment allowing the nefarious agenda that the left is aggressively promoting to become rule in our nation.
Like him or not, Donald Trump is be far the most pro-Christian, pro-church, pro-faith President America has ever had. Stop and think about that. The left? This year most probably represents the most immoral, anti-God political advance in our nation's history.
Have you witnessed the brilliance of Kayleigh McEnany as she runs her press conferences? As phenomenal as she is on her own merit, I'm sure she would agree with me that her poise, wisdom, boldness and effectiveness in her position is mostly the result of a weighty and unusual anointing of God on her life. She is in her position as a result of Donald Trump authorizing her, commissioning her and entrusting her as the spokesperson of the highest office in the land. If we remove Trump, our nation's next spokesperson will most certainly be anointed by a very different spirit indeed.
Consider Vice President Mike Pence. Again, like him or not you have to respect his fervent devotion to Jesus. I shudder to even ponder the comparison between this godly man and the current Democratic Vice Presidential candidate.
DONALD TRUMP IS A LEADER WHO HAS BEEN MARKED BY GOD
I didn't vote for Donald Trump four years ago. I wrote in Ted Cruz. I absolutely will be voting for him this time around.
I have watched this man transformed before our nation's eyes. He is a story of redemption, and at age 74, it's a story that is still being written. He's much different than he was in 2016. He'll be even better in the years ahead.
Is he perfect? No way.
Do I hope for the sanctification process to ramp up in his life? Sure.
Do I believe God has anointed him for this hour. Absolutely.
I'm disheartened by professing Christians who are wholesale rejecting President Trump simply because they believe him to be rude, arrogant or a jerk.
Listen closely: I'd rather have a flawed yet growing Christian who may be considered a jerk than someone who clearly exhibits rotting (and dangerous) fruit like many of those on the liberal left. There's no comparison.
In fact, many misunderstand the traits that mark many leaders, including those in the church. A mega-church pastor once said that he'd never hire a staff member with a strong spiritual gift of mercy. He explained that those people all too often refuse to make the tough and necessary daily decisions because they are too concerned about people's feelings. That may sound harsh and unloving to you, but the truth is that too many pastors refuse to lead with boldness today. So they compromise the mission to appease a few.
It takes an in-your-face fighter, anointed by God, to lead churches and nations today. Yes, we must be loving in our approach, but we can't be passive. I believe if more pastors followed Donald Trump's “You're fired” approach we'd have healthier churches and we'd be much closer to revival. Again, we can do so with love and tenderness while also being strong and decisive.
When is the last time you heard about a pastor following this mandate in Scripture?
“It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you… And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.” (1 Corinthians 5:1,2 ESV)
Isn't it interesting that Scripture calls those who are dismissive of sin in the camp arrogant? Today we'd presume someone who expelled them from the church to be unloving, harsh, accusatory and arrogant. Yet, that's exactly what God demands.
Brash leadership isn't by default ungodly. Yes, it can be, of course. We simply cannot look at someone who is offensive and deem them to be unrighteous or unfit for leadership. Often times godly leadership demands an offensive, aggressive and unapologetic approach. Donald Trump, while quite imperfect, exemplifies this.
So, just to make my point vividly clear, no I don't care about his aggressive, brash and sometimes irritating demeanor when he is making the tough godly decisions for our nation.
Am I saying Donald Trump is ready to lead a church? No. He's not. Yet, with refining he would make a modern day apostle unlike the world has ever seen. For now, I do believe, as a man in progress, even with all of his rough edges, he is clearly the right choice for the next four years.