Tiger Woods

Pray fiery prayers for Tiger Woods

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Woods is “lucky to be alive.”

My heart goes out for Tiger Woods who was involved in a tragic car accident today. With the gut-wrenching death of Kobe Bryant not far behind us, news like this hits the raw, exposed nerves of our rattled nation. Of course, as so many are communicating, we must pray for Tiger right now. Yet, I’m suggesting our intercession go far beyond a petition for his physical healing.

Fox Sports reports, “The sports community was rattled on Tuesday shortly after news broke that golf legend Tiger Woods was involved in a serious car wreck. Woods, 45, suffered “multiple leg injuries” after being involved in a “single-vehicle roll-over” collision on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes at around 7:12 a.m. local time, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and his agent Mark Steinberg.“

IT’S TIME FOR AWAKENING TO COME TO OUR NATION’S CELEBRITIES AND INFLUENCERS

I’m grieved in my spirit any time I hear reports like this. Just the other day I was watching a video of a celebrity dropping an F-bomb from her hospital room, clearly shaken as she was about go undergo major surgery. After a very short recovery period, she entered eternity. She was gone. Today she is very much alive and alert in her eternal home. I’m grieved at just where that may be.

I wish I could express how deeply such news impacts me. News of Tiger’s accident today should make it vividly clear that we are all mere inches and moments away from our spirit leaving our body and either entering into God’s glorious presence — or into the maddening torments of hell. I don’t know where Tiger is spiritually, but if he isn’t zealously in love with Jesus and wildly surrendered to him, it must happen immediately. Tiger, if you are reading this, I implore you to grab hold of God’s hand as he draws you into his heart. His passion for you is immeasurable.

Yes, prayer for physical healing is absolutely appropriate, and as Christians we know that God has quite a track record for stunning, miraculous, divine healings. He’s been delivering the shock and awe of his healing power for thousands of years. Yet, as incredible as a physical healing is, it lasts for but a time. We need to shift our focus from the temporal to the eternal. Every one of us will be living forever somewhere. One hundred years from now we will all be alive and alert either with God or with Satan. A million years later and we will be in the very same place. It’s a message that fewer and fewer preachers are sharing today, yet it’s critical truth that can’t be denied. Either heaven or hell awaits.

REVIVAL IS OUR ONLY HOPE

This is the church’s greatest hour, an opportunity to rise up in fervent intercession and supernatural faith for a massive move of God in our nation. Literally and without any exaggeration, revival is America’s only hope. It’s time that we see heart-wrenching repentance overwhelm all of us. There’s no way we can expect our nation’s celebrities to hit their knees and surrender all to Jesus if the church doesn’t push back the enemy and go to battle for their souls. We have been called to live pure and holy lives, to embrace radical consecration, to go deep in God and to pave the way for culture-shocking, earth-shaking revival.

I yearn for the day when we see celebrities overcome with emotion as they lift their hands in undone worship. I long to see Michael Jordan, Charlie Sheen, Tom Cruise, Oprah Winfrey, Nancy Pelosi, David Letterman, Adam Sandler, Tiger Woods and so many other influencers lifting their hands in passionate worship of Jesus as tears stream down their cheeks. I so deeply desire to see them free, alive and transformed by the overwhelming love of Jesus. Holy Spirit, move on them and bring an awakening to their souls!

A REVELATION OF JESUS

When Jesus manifests in a person’s life, everything changes. Of course, after experiencing the glory of God in my own desperate life it troubles and saddens me beyond words when others reject such a great salvation. There is nothing that compares to knowing God. Nothing. Fame, fortune, power and the lusts of life are pathetically devoid of what only God can give. Encountering such a holy, omnipotent, supernatural entity that fills his days with thoughts of love for me results in rivers of tears and oceans of gratitude that no human words could ever express.

If it hasn’t happened already, I so desire for Tiger Woods to know the lover of his soul, Jesus, like this. I want God to visit him, to transform him, to wash away the pain, to heal his body, to touch his heart and to overwhelm him with love. I pray the forgiveness of his heavenly Father will flood his soul as he gladfully surrenders all. A revelation of Jesus (not just knowledge about Jesus) will result in a never-ending tremble within. Something in the neighborhood of billions of pounds of despair, heartache, sin, fear and everything else that troubles mankind will dissipate in a split second at the moment we lift our hands, hit our knees and release control of our very short lives to God.

This is what I pray happens for Tiger, Michael, Oprah and the rest. One second in the presence of God is all they need. The first second in the fires of hell, however, will result in nothing short of regret, hopelessness and terror. The thought of people saying no to Jesus rips at my soul.

It’s time to be an outspoken, fiery, zealous and undignified worshiper of Jesus. Church, we must rise up in intercession. There are terrible accidents planned well in advance by the enemy. He wants to rip us to shreds. He’s bent on death and destruction. We can’t play games anymore. People are inches and moments from eternity. Let’s go to battle for their souls and see a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit hit Hollywood, the sports world, Nashville, Washington D.C. and our entire nation.

Photo credit: “Tiger Woods driver” by TourProGolfClubs is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Originally posted by The Stream.

From cancel culture to shadow bans to unbridled hatred for a man who makes pillows — a strange delusion has arrived on American soil.

“Just as they have chosen their own ways, And their soul delights in their abominations, So will I choose their delusions, And bring their fears on them; Because, when I called, no one answered, When I spoke they did not hear; But they did evil before My eyes, And chose that in which I do not delight.” (Isaiah 66:3–4, NKJV)

Sounds about right.

Welcome to America, 2021.

HAVE PEOPLE TRULY GONE MAD?

Daily I’m watching or reading stuff that makes me wonder if people have gone crazy.

The Washington Post reports: On Twitter, one owner said that although he couldn’t throw away his pillows because they help him sleep, he would punch them daily “to show my anger . . . then will not buy any new ones.”

Of course, this is in reference to MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell promoting the claim that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. Some, like the Washington Post writer, would call it a false claim.

This isn’t normal behavior. Someone is so upset that they beat their MyPillow brand pillow because the CEO holds to a common opinion that the election was stolen? Madness. Another customer threw her pillow in the trash and sent a photo to the company. Who does this? They are enraged simply because someone expresses an opinion? A strong delusion is hovering over our nation.

People have a right to boycott. However, it’s the strange emotional response that I’m talking about. People are getting strangely uptight about the most benign things. Who cares if Mr. Pillow questions the fairness of the election? In fact, any balanced, smart and wise person would at least entertain the possibility and consider the evidence. 

The Bible passage above is about God’s response to Levites who were worshiping improperly. If God will send a delusion to them, it shouldn’t surprise us that he would also do the same to an openly perverse culture. Madness is upon us.

“…because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,” (2 Thessalonians 2:10–11, ESV)

SOCIAL MEDIA IS LEADING THE WAY

People actually believe it’s a heinous violation to suggest that the election was stolen. Madness. Such a consideration is low level, non-threatening, perfectly legal water-cooler banter. There's nothing immoral about it. Yet social media is banning such discussion and cancelling those who refuse to comply with their restrictions.

Yeah, I know, it sounds like I’m talking about China.

In a report from 2010 about Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, a democracy advocate imprisoned for seditious speech, we can see very quickly how America is beginning to look a lot like this Communist nation. Author Brian Palmer wrote, “Not every Chinese dissident who speaks out of turn winds up in jail. Other penalties include a stern rebuke, losing your job, brief detention, or re-education through labor.”

Speaking “out of turn” is costing many Americans when they promote ideas that run contrary to today's controlled narrative.

If our speech wasn’t being controlled, we should be free to openly communicate on social media. We should be able to lie, to share conspiracy theories, to challenge narratives, to go against the grain, to provoke people to think, to gather a following and even to spur on a healthy, legal resistance to ideas we disagree with. I'm not saying it's all good and healthy, but I am saying it's what free speech looks like.

The sky is green, aliens have infiltrated Arkansas, the earth is flat, Donald Trump is still the President and our nation is truly free — all perfectly acceptable conspiracy theories that should never be banned by social media.

BE CAREFUL WHEN BRINGING UP THE NAZIS — IF YOU ARE A CONSERVITIVE

The Walt Disney Company became the top trending topic on Twitter when they fired actress Gina Carano from her role on The Mandalorian for simply sharing an opinion. Literally, that’s all she did. She exercised free thought. Publicly. Like the imprisoned Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner, she spoke “out of turn” by suggesting similarities between the hate-driven beliefs of the Nazis and the hatred many Americans have for those with differing political views. That’s all it took to end her Disney career. Cancelled. Shamed. Outed. Hated as if she were some vile criminal.

Ironically, liberal star Pedro Pascal used Nazi comparisons as well, yet he remains employed. In a now-deleted tweet in 2020, Pascal compared Trump supporters to Nazis according to a New York Post report.

The truth is, under Nazi rule, controlling the narrative was prime in their efforts of domination. They used propaganda to promote their beliefs about Jews in magazines, films and other media. They burned books and took over newspapers to ensure their message prevailed. How can you not compare what happened then to what’s happening now? No, millions of Americans have not been slaughtered (well, I take that back. #abortion), but we can’t help but to question the eerie similarities between the narrative controlling efforts.

It’s a good thing I’m not employed by Disney. I’d be out of a job after that last paragraph.

THE DELUSION CAN BE SEEN ON THE LEFT AND THE RIGHT

Before you presume this is an all-out assault on the left, I’ve been stunned at the level of madness on the right as well. 

Many pro-Trump conservatives have become unglued this election season. I mean, many of them are nuts! They are often more triggered than many liberals when their beliefs about Donald Trump aren’t affirmed. I’ve witnessed many a “solid, balanced, mature and Christian” conservative go off the rails at the mere suggestion that Donald Trump is no longer our President.

On one hand I can almost sympathize with the liberals. Most of the strange, crazy conspiracy theories that are being promoted as right-wing propaganda are ridiculous. I’d love for the world to be eradicated of them too. (Yes, I know I just supported the right to promote conspiracy theories in the previous section, but whether it’s helpful or not is another question.)

The delusion is strong and we can’t presume that it's limited to those on the other side. If we have become resistant to what God desires, or worse, if we are erroneously suggesting our unrighteous, unhealthy desires are endorsed by God, we are ripe for a spirit of delusion to overcome us.

“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” (Romans 1:28, ESV)

FEAR, DELUSION AND HATRED

…So will I choose their delusions, And bring their fears on them…

God brings the delusions. God brings the fears.

You might be thinking that I’m using biblical principles simply to make a dramatic point. You’d be wrong.

I am literally suggesting that God may very well have sent a delusion to America.

I’ve never seen fear overtake a people like I have over the last twelve months. Hatred is everywhere. People are shaming others for not putting a piece of cloth over their mouths. Those being shamed are lashing out in anger and sometimes violence. A customer slapped a grocery store worker in the mouth after being asked to wear a mask. Again, who does this? What normal person gets so agitated by others who won’t wear masks and what normal person goes mad when asked to wear one? Normal people don’t do this.

The only solution is to deeply repent, to surrender our lives to Jesus and to abandon our own sinfulness. God isn’t playing games. His passion is for mankind to turn to him. There is an amazingly simple yet costly solution to the delusion:

Humble ourselves. Pray. Seek God’s face. Turn from our wicked ways.

“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. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place.” (2 Chronicles 7:13–15, ESV)

If we don’t do this, the delusion will only grow stronger and the madness will overtake our nation. Don’t ever presume you are exempt. The times are dire. God help us.

Mark Zukerberg

In an era of muzzled speech and shadow bans, it’s time for Believers to wise up.

We need to finally admit what has been true for years. Jack Dorsey, Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai, Jeff Bezos and the rest of the liberal tech and media decision makers control the narrative. These are leaders who have the right to promote or shut down activity that they deem appropriate or inappropriate for their respective businesses. The fact that their businesses are vehicles for our media makes no difference.

What they don’t realize, as unbelievers in Jesus, is that they are being used. They are puppets of a wicked, devious spirit that intends to mold society as it sees fit. They are drones being manipulated and navigated to fly high above the culture so as to capture and punish unsanctioned behavior. This is the world we live in.

My heart is grieved mostly because Jack, Mark, Sundar, Jeff and the others have not encountered the shock and awe of God’s overwhelming, indescribable, supernatural love. Yes, the restriction of speech in our nation troubles me deeply. Yes, the rapid decline of godliness in our culture is gut wrenching. Yes, the corruption in the media, whether mainstream or social, can’t be ignored. We are living in threatening times.

However, none of that compares to the reality of eternity. Heaven won’t be the same without Jack, Mark, Sundar and Jeff. I can’t imagine the horrors of hell that await any human that rejects the ridiculously generous, loving and completely undeserved offer of forgiveness and eternal life. We need to pray for an invasion of God’s love to overtake the hearts of our nation’s leaders.

WE HAVE A PROBLEM

I’m also troubled by the muzzling of Christians and conservatives.

Jack Dorsey recently made the decision to permanently ban the leader of our nation, Donald Trump, from Twitter. Stop and think about that. Such an act is unheard of in America. A citizen shuts down the President? You just don’t cancel the voice of the highest ranking official in America, and one of the most powerful people in the world. Is treasonous too strong of a word? Yes, but it sure smells similar.

Other recent bans include Focus on the Family for the following:

The Daily Citizen, which is a part of Focus on the Family, engaged in “hateful” rhetoric, according to the social media platform, when they tweeted January 19: “On Tuesday, President-elect Joe Biden announced that he had chosen Dr. Rachel Levine to serve as Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of HHS. Dr. Levine is a transgender woman, that is, a man who believes he is a woman.”

Twitter has also banned My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell:

Mike Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow, was banned from Twitter Monday night, according to a Twitter spokesperson.

Twitter made its decision based on a new policy it enacted after the Capitol insurrection whereby people who repeatedly share election misinformation can be permanently banned.

“The account you referenced has been permanently suspended due to repeated violations of our Civic Integrity Policy,” the spokesperson told CNN.

Of course, Jeff Bezos’ Amazon along with both Apple and Android eliminated conservative leaning Twitter alternative Parler from their services.

It’s stunning that simply believing things and saying things can get you muted in our free nation. But, then again, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to discerning Christians. The persecution has barely begun, and we should have seen it coming.

THEIR PLATFORM, THEIR RULES

We need to remember, the decision makers for our nation are, by and large, unbelievers. They live by an entirely different code of ethics. What makes sense to Christians simply does not make sense to them. We need to understand this. Attempting to force our values on them will have no positive effect. Even if we are able to grab the reigns, their hearts will not be turned to Jesus by brute force. Their resolve to resist what we’d define as righteousness will only grow stronger.

Those who have followed my ministry know that I’m not adverse to dealing directly with issues. I don’t shrink back or surrender when the Lord is calling me to advance with unapologetic ferocity. Compromise is not an option. That being said, I believe it’s important to communicate something: Twitter, Facebook, Google, Amazon and the other businesses that have become largely indispensable in our daily lives make the rules for their own platforms. If we don’t like the rules, we can leave. Sadly, too many Christians are pouting and complaining about being singled out as they are poking the social media beast with malicious intent.

If I’m in a library and the librarian asks me to whisper, I whisper.

If I’m visiting a church, I don’t presume to be welcome to take the pulpit and preach.

The businesses we are visiting makes the rules.

If a restaurant doesn’t allow people to wear MAGA hats, they have that right.

Christian bookstores don’t have to order Harry Potter books for their customers and secular bookstores don’t have to stock Bibles.

Their business, their platform, their rules. Are their inconsistencies and lack of fairness at times? Absolutely. We have witnessed that several times, including a Christian baker's business being destroyed because they refused to bake a cake. We as Christians need to understand that the world will not be friendly or fair to us, and attempting to force them to comply may work at times, but in the end, we need to be ready for persecution.

But, as it stands, the laws of the land allow businesses to run things the way they see fit.

If Twitter doesn’t want certain things said on their platform, so be it. The same is true for Facebook and the rest.

Yes, I agree that such a position by a massive facilitator of communication does put our American values at risk. But, unless the laws change, they have that right.

Facebook can shadow ban, Twitter can suspend, Amazon can choose not to sell your book, Google can reject your app. They have those rights.

Again, their value system is radically different than ours. It’s humanistic instead of godly. It’s based on secular wisdom instead of divine wisdom as revealed in the Bible. It’s carnal versus spiritual.

A NEW GAME PLAN

Some consider me to be a bit provocative in my writing as I don’t typically hold back when communicating truth. Interestingly, while it may change at any moment, unlike many Christians on social media, I’ve never been in Facebook jail. I’ve never been shadow banned (to my knowledge). I’ve yet to be suspended from Twitter. Why is this? I believe it’s because I’ve attempted to use wisdom when posting while also refusing to compromise the message. I try hard to play by the rules of the platform I’m on. It’s their platform, not mine.

This is part of the new game plan that I’m suggesting. It does us no good as Christians to adopt the aggressive, bombastic and threatening disposition that so many on the political right (or left) have. The unnecessary conspiracy theories have to go. The mean-spirited accusations against our enemies (you know, the ones we are supposed to be blessing and not cursing) has to stop. The blatant rule breaking is unacceptable. We should be wiser. We can get the message across, in most cases, while honoring the place that gave us an opportunity to speak.

We are guests on the various social platforms, and they have the right to uninvite us at any moment. Using Facebook and Twitter and the others is a privilege not a right. Using these platforms foolishly will only cost the church in our nation.

Instead of feeding our addictions on social media by sharing every controversial, conspiratorial viewpoint that pushes you closer to the edge of a violation of their terms and conditions, why not play nice, stay inside their boundaries and advance the Kingdom of God? Preach truth. Exhibit love. Let that be what drives you instead of anger, complaining and vitriol over politics and other hot topics?

I think we need to tread carefully and use the media that's available to us responsibly. I'm not saying we cower or compromise. Never. I'm saying there's a wise way to deliver your message without going over the edge and triggering those who have the power to shut you down. Honestly, my personal opinion is that President Trump would have done well to follow this advice.

We should treat people well. Don't accuse. Don't be combative. Don't spread conspiracies. Don't ridicule. Exhibit the fruits of the Spirit. Love, joy peace, patience, kindness goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (You know, be Christians.)

MANY of the opinions people are sharing really don't need to be shared, or they can be reworded in such a way that it's much better received. That is the goal, right? For people to receive what we say?

But, as I said, we don't compromise. We speak truth in love. We also choose our battles. Social media is most probably going to shut down all Christians at some point. We just need to be smart by not expediting the process.

Am I saying we are silent on the hot topics? No. I’m not saying that at all. I’m suggesting we play by the rules of the platform so we can continue to have a voice at all.

Am I saying we should not fight illegal policies or unfair censorship in social media? Not necessarily. If we take up that battle, it needs to be in the form of something other than complaining and sharing supporting videos and posts on the very medium you are taking issue with. In fact, the conservative website www.louderwithcrowder is suing Facebook. Candace Owens is suing fact checkers retained by Facebook and USA Today. This will surely be more effective than incessant posting about our disagreements.

Do I believe our speech as Christians will be ultimately restricted even further in the near future? Yes, I do. This is why we must come up with a strategy of advancing the Gospel that takes this into account. The underground Chinese church has done it. Other restricted and persecuted groups of Believers have done it. It's time for a social media underground movement to emerge. Until that happens, we need to tread carefully and respectfully on the surface.

LESS FACEBOOK AND TWITTER, MORE INTERCESSION, MORE STRATEGIC PLANS OF ACTION

Honoring the rules of the platforms we are on simply requires that we monitor what we are communicating. I’m personally less interested in using social media for ministry than I have been in the past. I wonder just how more impactful we can be if we put our energies into fiery intercession instead. Pray with passion for the Jacks, Marks and Jeffs of the world. Contend for their souls.

My primary outlets will continue to be writing on my site and on other platforms that choose to publish my articles. I'll still use social media, but I'll be guarded.

I believe the fact that so many choose to take breaks from social media (breaks that typically last much shorter than announced!) is an indicator that we may need to take this desire seriously. We are addicted as a nation to Facebook especially. I would suggest a serious shift away from social media. Don’t look for conservative replacements. Don’t just take a short break. Consider eliminating it entirely or minimizing it greatly. If we do use it, use with great caution.

Just take a moment and consider the possibilities of intercession. If Jack Dorsey got radically saved, the entire world shifts. The same is true for Mark, Sundar and Jeff. The enemy is zealously working to keep them from the truth of the Gospel. If they find Jesus, the enemy’s schemes are shattered.

Attempting to force them to comply with our standards, however, will only cause them to fight back all the harder. Which path seems more effective? Let’s pray for passion for these men, precious people being pursued with passion by the Spirit of God. He loves them.

PRAY FOR JACK DORSEY

The most recent post at www.prayerteam.tv is about Jack Dorsey. You can add a 60-second audio prayer or a text prayer on the site. Here’s the prayer I included there:

Jesus, Jack Dorsey is known by millions as the founder of Twitter. What is most important, however, is that he is known by you. God, I ask that you touch Jack’s heart as only you can. Absolutely overwhelm him with your love. I pray he’d fall to his knees and cry out to you and surrender every part of his life to your leadership. This is a remarkable man who has a powerful calling on his life. In the name of Jesus I declare that he will fall desperately in love with Jesus, will become a mighty instrument in God’s hand and will impact millions for the Kingdom! In Jesus’ name! Amen!

Photo credit: “Mark Zuckerberg” by jdlasica is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Originally published by The Stream.

Unoffendable

Trump, right, wrong and a deeply divided nation

As Christians we have a sober responsibility to expose darkness, promote righteousness, preach truth and bring glory to God. Yes, when handled well, shining the light of truth on the darkness in our nation can bring positive results that will raise the water level of godliness. However, when handled wrongly it can bring death.

A bite from the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil most certainly will empower one with data that can be used against their opponents. The prideful indignation feels pure and righteous as they are, after all, promoting what is good and true. What they fail to understand is that fruit can bring nothing but destruction. It kills.

If your emotional health is dependent on you being right and others acknowledging that you are right, you will not last. You will not endure. As our end-time mission intensifies, we will have every opportunity to be offended, or to advance with our beliefs and ideologies in such a way that offense of others is all that results. You may be right about whatever you are attempting to communicate, but your tainted heart infects the hearers with the same bitter fruit.

IT’S NOT A MATTER OF RIGHT VERSUS WRONG

As I said, as end-time Believers, we do have a mandate to expose wickedness, to sound alarms and to do all we can to rescue the perishing. Sadly, too often this noble pursuit becomes compromised when the heart of the matter (whatever our cause may be) becomes more important than the heart of people.

The news media, for example, provides an endless source of information that is fueled by the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The intent of most in the media is not to nurture, encourage and bless those who are watching, listening and reading. As we well know, fake news is alive and well as biased people attempt to manipulate the national narrative. The media isn’t in existence for our benefit, it seems, but for theirs.

This same spirit has infiltrated many in the church. Flip on over to Facebook and try to stomach a barrage of finger pointing and accusations against any and all who disagree with their views, especially when it comes to Donald Trump, masks and other recent hot topics.

As Christians, we have a choice, We can live off of the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and be right about whatever battle we are fighting. Or, we can live from the tree of life where we still advocate for truth, but we do it from a heart of love and with a strong desire to bless others.

You see, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil masterfully pumps out the fruit of offense. It manifests often in blaming others for our ills.

I’m right, you are wrong!

You hurt me!

My pastor won’t affirm my ministry!

That politician is destroying America!

Those people are hateful!

This results in living as victims, professing that we are hindered because of the actions of another. The accusatory shout is, “You are ruining my life!” instead of blessing those who curse us and forgiving those who have offended us.

I’m dismayed by Christians who refuse to pray for President Biden, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Nancy Pelosi, Kamal Harris or other Democrats. Instead, they seek to call them out, to ridicule them, to shame them and to blame them. The fruit they are eating results in them unable to see them as future children of God, brothers and sisters in the Lord, and people who God deeply loves. No, instead they want to snipe all who threaten their concept of righteous American political viewpoints.

Take a few moments and peruse various news outlets. Take note of how many articles, quotes and opinions include blaming others for whatever problems they are experiencing. You’ll be stunned. Or, maybe not. Then, take what you have discovered and ask yourself whether you employ the same tactics in your own life.

Wives do it to husbands, and husbands to wives. Employees do it to employers and vice versa. Conservatives do it to liberals. The left does it to the right. Students do it to teachers. Church members to it to pastors. Blame, it seems, has infected our entire society. The tree of knowledge of good and evil is our nation’s buffet.

In this world of blinded eyes, dull ears and hardened hearts, the life of God isn’t imparted according to formulas, facts and carefully researched data, but rather by dynamic, life-giving relationships. We can and should deal directly with problematic issues while dealing in a life-giving, honoring manner with people, especially brothers and sisters in Christ.

A person living in the tree of life loves and serves in the spirit of Truth (Jesus) while those living in the tree of knowledge of good and evil are fueled by facts. If we become enraged by situations in our lives and then seek to accuse and blame others for our troubles, we can know we have been poisoned by desirable fruit from a deadly tree.

I don’t question people’s desire to stand for truth by supporting Donald Trump. Their determination to expose darkness and any fraud and corruption is good. Unfortunately, few have discovered how to do so without blaming and accusing and with a heart of love. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the quickest route to gathering facts and winning debates while losing the heart of God in the process.

THE DESIRE FOR GODLINESS

Much of the venom from Christians today is a result of their strong opinions about the election. Sadly, too many have not figured out how to stand for truth while also being life-giving in the process. Their heads are raised and fangs out when they come across anyone who isn’t in perfect alignment with their perspective on the outcome of the election.

Interestingly, most every time their aggressive retort comes in the form of facts, videos, conspiracy theories, interviews, prophecies and other supposed evidences. The goal is to shame their opponent with facts instead of honoring them as children of God.

Genesis 3:4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

Interestingly, Satan appealed to Eve's desire for godliness, but, while it resulted in knowledge, it was devoid of life.  A form of godliness but devoid of power. Eve was pursuing godly knowledge! This is such a powerful truth that can easily be missed. The problem was that God knew mankind would not know how to handle the information with humility, love and surrender.

Their recognition of their own nakedness was correct, but it was different than the revelation that God wanted for them. They were suddenly ashamed instead of free.

He wanted them to be childlike, but now they didn't have that capacity.

When they ate of the tree, which provided absolutely accurate knowledge, they became servants to it.

This same poison has infected much of the church, and certainly most all of secular society. A desire for “rightness” has resulted in division, hatred, anger, blame and shame.

THE BLAME GAME

Many Christians live in the tree of knowledge of good and evil their entire lives.

John 5:39 “You diligently study the scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”

Remember, we should be seeking out truth, not facts. We should be blessing, not blaming. Adam was compromised immediately upon eating the fruit.

Genesis 3:11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.”

Blame! Can you see it?

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil always causes us to point at somebody and say “I can’t, because they didn’t,” but living from the fruit on the tree of life causes us to proclaim, “I can, no matter what they do.”

This is a prime reason why I personally don’t get spun out because Joe Biden is our President. We as the church can advance the Kingdom of God no matter what policies a secular politician advances.

I’m not naïve either. I know it’s important to engage the secular, political system as light bearers. We should not stay silent. But, we shouldn’t be dismayed either. We engage, we love, we prophesy, we proclaim, we expose and we advance, but from a life-giving perspective. I absolutely can see Joe Biden and the rest as on-fire worshipers of Jesus! He doesn’t threaten me, we as the church threaten him with prophetic decrees of salvation, love and abundant life!

Someone called me a liberal hiding behind a pulpit because of my positive view about the election. I had to laugh. If anything, I’m not a liberal, BUT if my love for our new administration results in accusations of being a liberal, so be it!

Do you see the difference between being driven by truth instead of facts? The truth sets people free while facts have the power to imprison.

Jesus told us the truth must be written on our hearts, not our brains!

John 8:30-32 (NKJV) 30 As He spoke these words, many believed in Him. 31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Proverbs 3:3-4 (NKJV) 3 Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart, 4 And so find favor and high esteem In the sight of God and man.

Facts have the power to divide, but truth delivered in love, with mercy, as they are written on our own heart, will result in favor with man!  It's a powerful contrast!

The tree of knowledge of good and evil just grows and grows as we attempt to figure out right versus wrong. Again, remember, we have a duty as Believers to expose the darkness, but being fueled by facts in order to defeat another with arguments and accusations only results in the darkness growing more impenetrable.

The blame game must come to an end. If it doesn’t, the consequences are dire.

Matthew 24:9-13 (KJV) 24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

Will you endure to the end? Will you be blameless? Will you refuse to complain and dispute?

Philippians 2:14-16 (NKJV) 2:14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

I feel impressed to invite many of you who are reading this to consider repenting for the way you have responded to Joe Biden’s election to President of the United States. Then, pray a heartfelt prayer for him, his family, his Vice President and the rest of the liberal left. Don’t pray a haughty prayer of rebuke. Don’t stop short by only praying for his salvation. Don’t pray manipulatively (God won’t hear you). But, pray something like this:

Father, I thank you for the next four years in our nation. I trust you to be the Lord and leader as we see your Kingdom advanced in unprecedented fashion. I ask that you would powerfully and mightily bless President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and the rest of his team. I ask that you would visit him, speak to him and draw him close to you. Give him great wisdom to lead our nation. Touch his heart with your fiery love and transform him more and more each day. I pray the more he sees you, the more his leadership is modeled after the life of Jesus. I’m believing we will see this manifest in the years to come. I thank you for his life and I honor him as your established leader for this time.

This teaching has become one of my most requested. I’d like to offer the eBook, audio teaching and sermon notes for free when subscribing at www.burton.tv/free.

Originally published by The Stream.

Prayer Team | Intercession for Influencers

Why are so few talking about the one solution to the crisis and the chaos that can turn our nation?

As the never-ending election drama continues to play out, we are hearing from all sides a mix of opinions, solutions, emotions and irritations.

Those on the right are exhibiting passion at a level our nation has never seen. The clear and obvious answer to society's ills is the reelection of their man, Donald Trump.

The left has gone to great extents to protect our nation from the continued threat of mean tweets from the President. Their vision of a nation free from first amendment tyranny is within their grasp.

WHY DO THEY ACT LIKE THAT?

Like many of you, I feel so grieved, perplexed and saddened when I watch the interactions of today's cultural influencers on television or on social media. It's deeply disturbing when their ungodly agendas are promoted and celebrated. My stomach turns every time abortion is defended, sexual deviance is promoted and wickedness is celebrated.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted:

Abortion bans aren’t just about controlling women’s bodies.

They’re about controlling women’s sexuality. Owning women.

From limiting birth control to banning comprehensive sex ed, US religious fundamentalists are working hard to outlaw sex that falls outside their theology.

Katie Perry said:

“I don't believe in a heaven or a hell or an old man sitting on a throne. I believe in a higher power bigger than me because that keeps me accountable.”

Kathy Griffen, famous for holding a replica of Donald Trump's bloody, severed head in her hand, said this in 2007:

“A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus. Suck it, Jesus! This award is my God now!”

Social media dictators like Mark Zukerberg and Jack Dorsey are aggressively blocking Christian and right-leaning content.

Joe Biden is determined to restore funding to Planned Parenthood and Kamala Harris voted against a bill that would limit abortions to the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The fact that millions of supposed Christians affirmed the brutality of child-killing by supporting pro-death candidates in this year's election simply doesn't register. It's as if that knowledge doesn't have a place to land in my intellect. Why? It doesn't make sense. As far as I'm concerned, Christians don't do that.

I suppose a mean tweeter is more of a national irritant than those who unabashedly promote the right to slaughter children.

We could talk about the perverse and casual sexuality that permeates social media, movies, television, music and marketing. People like Miley Cyrus are doing great damage to the wholesome, godly fabric of our nation. To me, she is still Hannah Montana.

The abhorrent agenda of the political left merits discussion as does the legalization of heroin and cocaine in Oregon.

Don Krahel said:

The Democrat Party has betrayed our Founding Fathers! The Democrat Party has betrayed God!

To vote Democrat makes you complicit. The party of slavery is now the party of abortion. Jesus would not support their evil, anti-God agenda.

As the stench of the demonic vomit that is hacked up all over our nation very minute of every day hits my nostrils, I remind myself why it happens. These cultural influencers who are exhibiting such defiling evil (usually while presuming their beliefs and behaviors are at least positive if not righteous) simply do not know Jesus. That's it. That is why they act like they do.

THE HOPE

Imagine Kamala Harris, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Miley Cyrus, Mark Zukerberg or any of the other ungodly cultural influencers having a Damascus Road experience. Wow. Just think about it.

Check out the condition of Saul's heart in the moments prior to fire from Heaven consuming him:

“But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord…” (Acts 9:1, ESV)

We see this hateful, anti-Christian attitude at every turn we make in this nation (and the world). A threatening, murderous spirit is manifesting through many of today's infleuncers, and unless there is an undeniable, authentic, tangible and shocking invasion of God's glory into their souls, it will only get worse.

Two verses later in Acts chapter nine we see the answer to society's wickedness:

“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?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” (Acts 9:3–5, ESV)

Saul became Paul in a moment and he became one of Christianity's greatest and most important leaders. The very Word of God flowed through him in great measure as one of the most prominent divinely inspired human authors of the Bible.

I propose Joe Biden, Lebron James, Ellen DeGeneres, Anthony Fauci, Nancy Pelosi, Megan Rapinoe, Harry Styles, Cardi B, Beyonce, Jennifer Aniston, Billie Eilish, Johnny Depp and so many others can radically turn this nation, and fast.

A dramatic, life-altering encounter with glory will do that. The shock and awe of the fire of the Holy Spirit will send them to their knees. These people can shake our nation out of the wicked slumber it's in into full blown revival.

I'm thankful for God moving in the lives of influencers like Justin Bieber and Kanye West. Let's see God continue to invade Hollywood, Nashville and Washington D.C. with his love!

THE STRATEGY

For quite some time I've found myself suddenly interceding for one of our nation's influencers. Out of nowhere someone would drop into my spirit and my mind. Sometimes it would come in the form of a dream. Often it's an individual I don't think of regularly, if at all. This makes it more clear it's the Holy Spirit initiating my assignment to pray.

Simply, we need to contend with fervency and passion for today's influencers. This will be much more effective than trying to turn an election or to pass positive legislation (though those efforts are important).

I developed a tool that can help. Use it if you would like, but most importantly, intercede for these precious souls. If you want to connect with my specific strategy, visit www.prayerteam.tv. There you will be able to choose an influencer and then leave either a sixty-second audio prayer or a prayer in the form of text, or both.

This brand new project has already encouraged me as I've listened to the short yet powerful prayers of people I've never met. These intercessors are moved by love for the people on God's heart.

The rules are simple: pray with passion from an attitude of encouragement. This isn't the place for preaching or rebukes or snarky digs. Should an influencer stumble upon the site and hear someone going to battle for them in prayer, we want tears to well up in their eyes. We want them to feel love and encouragement as the anointing of the Holy Spirit washes over them.

That's the assignment. Head over to www.prayerteam.tv or just adopt the prayer strategy and make it your own. The most important thing is to pray.

There is a Damascus Road encounter awaiting many of our culture's influencers, and your intercession will help push back the demonic resistance in their lives. You can play a part in someone's great, eternal salvation. Your intercession is that important.

PHOTO CREDITS: “Jimmy Fallon” by ElizaPeyton is licensed under CC BY 2.0 “Vice President Joe Biden visit to Israel March 2016” by U.S. Embassy Jerusalem is licensed under CC BY 2.0 “Ellen DeGeneres” by ronpaulrevolt2008 is licensed under CC BY 2.0 “File:LeBron James (15662939969).jpg” by Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 “Taylor Swift 2010” by avrilllllla is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Originally published by The Stream.

ANNOUNCING A NEW INTERCESSION INITIATIVE: MOBILIZING FIREBRANDS TO CONTEND FOR INFLUENCERS

VISIT WWW.PRAYERTEAM.TV!

My passion is legitimate, authentic and indisputable revival. Interestingly, I often find myself burdened for people I've never met, and usually, people I know little about. Yet, more times than not, those who suddenly land on my spirit to pray for are influencers. Celebrities, politicians and others who are shaping our culture.

I'm convinced God is speaking to many others who have been awakened to the call to intercede for them as well. This site is devoted to serving people in Hollywood, Nashville, Washington D.C. and other locales known for national and world impact.

Satan surely rages against us all, and possibly to a greater extent, those who have great influence over millions. Let's contend in prayer for them together. Jesus died for them. Heaven wouldn't be the same without them.

John Burton

TODAY'S CALL FOR INTERCESSION: President Donald Trump

Please post your audio or text prayer for President Trump below. Please always keep the intercession life-giving, understanding the individual you prayer for is deeply loved by God. Consider that they may potentially hear or read your prayer.

I declare in the powerful name of Jesus that every enemy, every scheme and every force opposing our President must relent. God, we pray a massive angel army surround Donald Trump today and going forward.

Holy Spirit, fill President Trump with your fire. Give him rest and give him zeal for you and for our nation.

Let every instance of fraud in the election be exposed. Bring those who are promoting wickedness also be exposed, with an opportunity to repent and surrender to Jesus. I decree that justice will prevail!

Thank you God for the man of God who has been faithfully serving the United States of America for the last four years. As you will, allow him to remain in that position of leadership.

Amen.

Photo credit: “Donald Trump” by cornstalker is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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.

“This is your third time here, that means you’re a church member. I don’t care what anybody says. I love my president,” Pastor Marc Goulet said.

President Trump, encouraging and exhorting the pastor and staff, declared that he'll be back to the International Church of Las Vegas many times.

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.

Originally published by The Stream.

How could the NFL's decision to play the Black National Anthem at games promote unity?

For many Americans and die-hard sports fans, outrage to the NFL's decision to include the Black National Anthem in the pregame ceremonies during week one of the season was immediate.

Ted Cruz was among the outraged, calling the decision ‘asinine.'

“How many national anthems do we have??

“Is there an Hispanic national anthem?

“An Asian-American national anthem?

“This is asinine. We are ONE America. E Pluribus Unum,” he wrote.

He isn't wrong.

In fact, if we are going to slice and dice our nation into its various subcultures at sporting events, I propose another anthem might make more sense. A song for the millions of slaughtered unborn children should resound in stadiums all over the nation. Or, how about songs of justice for abused children and spouses? Victims of human trafficking?

After we finish singing songs to, for and about all of the maligned people groups, and handily created sharp division between them all, many hours later we could finally play some football.

THE DEEP GRIEF OF RACISM

It should be terribly grieving to every American, and certainly to every Christian, when any person is the target of hatred. My family and I live in Branson, Missouri, a stunningly beautiful tourist destination that's filled to overflowing with people of great character, faith, love and old-fashioned morals. Out of any place in the nation we could have chosen to live, we chose Branson, and we'd do it all over again. This is home.

I was saddened recently when a small, peaceful protest produced hate speech from one impassioned lady. Her disgusting message has since been blasted over media all around the world. This lady doesn't represent the legacy and culture of this supremely family town. Yet, her squeaky wheel received the attention. She wounded our town. She misrepresented Branson and the amazing pillars of our community. To her credit she did later apologize, but the damage has been done.

The point? The feelings, beliefs and actions of one person, or a subset of people, do not, by default, represent the whole. What we have in our nation today is barrels full of grease being shot super-soaker style toward those with the loudest voices. This is no way to defeat racism, division, hatred, inequality or any number of other negatives.

MANIPULATION AND CONTROL

Protests, when peaceful, can be fully appropriate. The problem comes when people start carrying a spirit of protest. (Read more about this in my article An Unholy Spirit of Protest is Overtaking our Nation)

This spirit of protest is overtaking our nation, manifesting in a diabolical cancel culture that seeks to defame, defund and destroy anybody who doesn't affirm that agenda.

The problem is, while people can certainly attack and assault those who don't step in line with their viewpoints, they can't change their hearts.

Manipulating people into buying into agendas and attempting to control the narrative will never produce good fruit. I've heard it said that the horrible killing of George Floyd was initially resulting in at least a measure of solidarity and empathy between the races. Then the riots hit. People aggressively attempted to force the nation to grease their wheels. The result? Greater hatred, division and years of progress toward racial reconciliation lost.

Just as a Christian can't force an unbeliever to understand the love and power of Jesus, we can't force or manipulate others to buy in at a heart level to what is important to us. It's impossible.

SHOULD WE TAKE A KNEE DURING THE BLACK NATIONAL ANTHEM? METAPHORICALLY, YES

This is where the twist in the article comes. I agree with Ted Cruz that playing the Black National Anthem may very well end up creating more division. It's possibly presumptive as it grabs attention away from other worthy societal ills. Many Americans are very probably going to become more stubborn in their positions as a result.

However, I'd like to propose something that many seem to be missing. The Black National Anthem is, at least in part, a cry, a prayer to God. It's a heart-wrenching plea for the Almighty to guide them and for them to stay true.

First, a little history on the song, “Lift Every Voice and Sing”:

Created by James Weldon Johnson, it was performed for the first time by 500 school children in celebration of President Lincoln's Birthday on February 12, 1900 in Jacksonville, FL. The poem was set to music by Johnson's brother, John Rosamond Johnson, and soon adopted by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) as its official song.

And now, the lyrics from the end of the song:

God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who has by Thy might Led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,
Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;
Shadowed beneath Thy hand,
May we forever stand.
True to our God,
True to our native land.

It's a prayer.

So, while on a political and cultural level, the playing of this Anthem may prove to be a colossal misstep, I believe we all can embrace the cry to God that will be sung by millions during week one of the 2020 NFL season.

Should we take a knee when the Black National Anthem is sung? I don't believe so. We should stand with the wounded Black community. By doing so we are, in effect, kneeling in prayer for them, for us and for our nation.

Originally published by The Stream.

When crisis comes, the church must respond with a fiery resolve to fan the flames of revival.

Revival or riots? It's clear which one is taking the nation by storm right now.

It's been said that wherever Paul went he'd kick-start either a revival or a riot. The sharp edge of the message he was bringing resulted in people either surrendering all to follow Jesus or in a mass resistance.

5  But some of the Jews were jealous, so they gathered some troublemakers from the marketplace to form a mob and start a riot. They attacked the home of Jason, searching for Paul and Silas so they could drag them out to the crowd. 6  Not finding them there, they dragged out Jason and some of the other believers instead and took them before the city council. “Paul and Silas have caused trouble all over the world,” they shouted, “and now they are here disturbing our city, too. Acts 17:5-6 (NLT2)

When the true Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached we can expect either revival or riots. However, the riots that are erupting in cities all over the nation as a result of the horrific and inexcusable death of George Floyd has nothing to do with a powerful message of truth. Love expressed through the truth of the Word will result in a rioting mob, but so will hate. Today's riots have everything to do with hate and nothing to do with love. All of this is happening on the church's watch.

RIOTING IS THE LANGUAGE OF THE UNHEARD

Pastor Eric Smith of Destiny Church in Dayton, Ohio saw a protester holding a sign that repeated the words of Martin Luther King: Riots are the language of the unheard.

Eric simply and profoundly said, “Time to get a new language.”

It's important to note that Dr. King was a fierce resistor of violent protest. His analytical statement, however, was true. When people are not heard, when they are pushed to their limits, it's possible to break. An uprising is to be expected. However, Pastor Eric was correct. If riots are the language of the unheard, it absolutely is time to get a new language.

WICKED SPIRITS OVERTAKING OUR NATION

Part of my grief over the death and violence that has erupted is due to a loss of discernment in our nation. I believe there's a mighty spirit of confusion that's settling over America right now.

Coronavirus exposed a severe spirit of fear that absolutely devastated millions, whether they were infected by the virus or not. Mobs verbally assaulted those who didn't wear a mask while shopping. Stop and think about just how fierce that demonic spirit of fear is.

Then a spirit of rage and, for many, hatred exploded overnight after another heart-wrenching and tragic death of an African-American at the hands of a police officer. A call to “kill cops” is being sounded by some in the midst of this crisis. As you watch the news and witness fires burning all over the nation, you can understand the power of this particular spirit of rage and hate as well.

Another spirit preceded our recent testings, and it's gaining strength today. America has been seduced by a strong delusion. Strange confusion has overtaken our culture.

Just a week ago, protesters marching against the lockdowns due to COVID-19 were called murderers by some because they weren't social distancing or wearing masks. Fast forward several days and a new set of protests emerged in the land for a very different reason. Where are the calls for social distancing and masks as peaceful protesters marched and as rioters converged in mass to destroy businesses and attack people including business owners and police officers?

Add to this the gender confusion that's been in the news in recent years. Men are women and women are men, so it seems, and you can be legally responsible if you don't address these people by their chosen gender. It's absolutely bizarre.

I could write into the night with example after example of strange confusion and delusion that has spread through society. Suffice it to say it's clear that a very wicked and very strong demonic agenda has been unleashed against our nation. Fear, rage, hate and delusion have blanketed the land and it's time for the church to finally rise up.

A NEW LANGUAGE

Some of you will be frustrated with my prescription in the midst of the virus and riots and madness. Most, it seems, are looking for governmental resolutions, legislation and penalties for those who don't comply. While appropriate new laws can certainly help, the truth is that we can never legislate away the assaults of invisible and very crafty evil spirits. Satan rages and he won't submit to man's laws. You can't create a law that eliminates hatred. You can't create systems that alleviate fear. Why? These are spirits warring against us and the only way to fight back is in the invisible, spiritual realm.

The grief that grips me is that most are looking for logical and natural solutions to a spiritual problem. While we can certainly take some steps in the natural, our victory won't be found there.

The new language that Pastor Eric was referring to, if I might suppose just a bit, centers around repentance instead of riots, love instead of hatred and spiritual violence instead of natural rage.

Simply, we must pursue full-blown, supernatural and overwhelming revival as our primary resolution. The new language, at its root, is passionate, aggressive and vein-popping intercession. We as God's government on the earth must rise up and pray!

This is the force the spirit of the age must feel coming against it in these end times. As we live a life of soul-ripping repentance and contend for revival in the land, we will be consumed with the desire for prayer. The need will overwhelm us. Tears will flow down our cheeks as we stand in the gap as spiritual warriors and push the enemy back.

It makes little sense to attempt to seek peace in the midst of war when the enemy hasn't yet been defeated. The enemy isn't a virus or blacks or whites or Asians or the police or politicians. To think so is laughable. The destruction of the adversary, of Satan's hordes, is the solitary key to winning this battle and driving out spirits of fear, rage, hatred and confusion.

It's the love of Jesus that will cause us to fight like this. From that place of intercession and spiritual warfare we will discern the enemies that those who are not living in the spirit can't see. We are God's secret agents and revival is our cry.

Imagine the cities that are burning today transformed by the fire of the Holy Spirit! We need millions to fall desperately in love with Jesus! The harvest is ripe! They are waiting for an otherworldly message that will shock them to their core and drive them to their knees!

Only then will we have the revival and riots that Paul experienced. As for the riots we are seeing today, they are the cry of the unheard. Yes, we must all listen to them, hear their pain and cry with them. I also pray their cry turns to intercession instead of violence. That's the language that Pastor Eric was really talking about.

It's time for a humble yet unapologetic and holy army to stand opposed to the unrighteous restrictions of human government.

Many politicians, police officers, judges and officials would be shocked to hear that the American government isn't the supreme authority in the nation. In fact, they would scoff at the higher ranking government they must yield to: the church.

God's government is based on the Word of God, is legislated through the church and is positioned higher than any other government, court room or human establishment on earth. Simply, if a human order, law or mandate violates orders, laws or mandates found in Scripture, the Bible wins. God reigns supreme.

When there is no conflict between man-made and spiritual ordinances, it's right and expected to obey the laws of the land. Doing so helps establish integrity and promote humility as we intermix with the world. However, there comes a point when civil disobedience is not only suggested but required if we are to respond obediently to the Lord, the highest power, the greatest governmental leader the world will ever know.

LOCKDOWN: A VIOLATION OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

12 Then they came near and said before the king, concerning the injunction, “O king! Did you not sign an injunction, that anyone who makes petition to any god or man within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?” The king answered and said, “The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.” Daniel 6:12 (ESV)

A 30-day lockdown was enacted in the kingdom and religious freedom was forbidden. Petitions and permissions could only be received from the lawmaker, the king. Daniel understood this was unquestionably the time for civil disobedience, and he also understood the consequences. His thrice daily prayer continued.

Daniel famously was instrumental in the establishment of this tyrannical government when he interpreted the handwriting on the wall for the previous ruler, King Belshazzar.

23 …And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored. Daniel 5:23 (ESV)

Daniel rebuked the king for dishonoring God, just as his father had. Where are the prophetic leaders today who are confronting today's governmental officials in the same manner? It's time for God's people to arise and to renounce the wickedness that's poisoning our nation and attempting to neuter the church.

Daniel went on to interpret King Belshazzar's supernatural encounter by revealing an end to the kingdom. It would be divided and given to the Medes and Persians. That very night the king was killed and the kingdom was given over as prophesied. Now, Daniel had to deal with the new ruler who was forbidding his intercession.

CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE

Members of an armed Michigan militia say they will stand at the door of a barbershop in Owosso to protect the owner from being arrested for allegedly violating the state's lockdown order.

“We are here to make sure he doesn't get arrested,” Daniel Brewer, a member of the militia, told local media on Saturday. “We're willing to stand in front of that door and block the entrance so the police will have no entry there today.” ~Washington Examiner

Once again the secular world is responding more courageously and speedily than so many in the church when liberties are threatened. While many Christians have been exposed as having dimmed and dulled discernment as they have surrendered their religious rights for the promise of health and safety, we see bold if not brash patriots standing in solidarity with a 77-year-old man who was simply trying to earn a living. Where are those who will stand up for the church? We are closer to going underground then any of us realize, and it because of a cowardly people who refuse to make the necessary sacrifices to ensure religious freedom remains.

I want to make it very clear: church leaders have every right to choose to forgo services, prayer meetings and other events if they deem it necessary based on their own unique situation. What is not allowed is a lower ranking government attempting to trump the greater authority, the Word of God. Mayors and governors have no right to mandate a ceasing or limiting of prayer meetings and other church gatherings. Many are arrogantly demanding the church petitions only them. The idea that Scripture has any authority in today's crisis is laughable to them. They have determined nobody else would dictate how the church should function. Not Christians, not pastors, not the Bible, not even God.

The truth is, the church isn't the only organization that outranks the United States government. The Constitution of the United States outranks local, state and federal governmental authority (when they attempt to establish rulings that contradict that document), and the Constitution is clearly on the side of religious liberty. The case for civil disobedience can be made.

The resistance should be done in an honoring, humble and appropriate manner, and shouldn't be fueled by anger or malice. As Believers in Jesus Christ, we must be driven by a resolve to honor God in the midst of unrighteous demands of society.

27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. Acts 5:27-29 (ESV)

GET READY FOR THE LIONS

We all must be prepared to face the repercussions of our actions. The government will do what it wills in the face of resistance. We've already seen both threats and action brought by ungodly mayors, governors and political leaders including filling skate parks with sand, arresting pastors, placing moms in handcuffs for taking their children to the playground, requiring churches and businesses to report the names of patrons and ticketing church goers at a drive in service. If we don't do something, it will get worse. Much, much worse.

16 Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!” Daniel 6:16 (ESV)

There will be a national taunting of Christians, and we as Believers must be ready both to face the lions and to stand in great faith as our God brings the accusers to shame.

NATIONAL REVIVAL

19 Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. 20 As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” 21 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.” Daniel 6:19-22 (ESV)

A blameless people will reveal God's miraculous saving power to a stunned nation. As we refuse to stop praying, respond to worldly authorities with integrity and honor and remain willing to pay whatever price necessary to obey God rather than man, God will move in undeniable and miraculous power. America will have no option but to take notice, and the very government officials that brought the angst to God's people will be instrumental in a sudden outbreak of revival in the nation. The process may be severe, and we must be ready to face lions, giants and the hordes of hell, but the resulting outpouring of God will make it all very much worth it.

25 Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: “Peace be multiplied to you. 26 I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. 27 He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.” 28 So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian. Daniel 6:25-28 (ESV)

Originally published by The Stream.