Posts Tagged ‘masks’
Death Row, the Gas Chamber and America’s Grave Distractions
In this end-time hour, Christians are distracted by everything from politics, masks, American freedom, building ministries and seeking all sorts of pleasures.
“Leave it there, I'll finish it later.”
Standing in the gas chamber at the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City, Missouri, I overheard our guide's story of the last moments of a prisoner's life.
The air-tight capsule took the lives of forty people between the years of 1937 and 1989. The Warden would pull a lever initiating the process that combined sodium cyanide and sulfuric acid. The resulting gas would painfully and all-too-slowly end a human life.
A few short feet from the cramped gas chamber was a cell. This is where death row inmates spent their last few hours before being secured with leather straps to the last chair they would ever sit in. The cell was also the place their last meal was eaten.
As the story goes, after eating a portion of his meal, the unnamed prisoner was escorted from his cell toward the gas chamber. A guard took the unfinished meal to throw it away, which caused the concerned prisoner to say, “Leave it there, I'll finish it later.”
He wasn't joking. He didn't fully grasp what was about to happen. Eternity was not on his mind.
There was no need to save the food. He would not be finishing it later.
I propose the whole of America, and the bulk of the church isn't grasping what is about to happen either. Eternity is not on the mind of most.
DISTRACTED IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING
I received a text message several years ago that launched me into one of the most bizarre, sad and thankful moments of my life. The message contained condolences from a pastor in Branson, Missouri. My dad died. I immediately called my mom and she confirmed the unexpected news. My head was spinning as I immediately started mentally preparing for a sudden trip from Detroit to Branson. Suddenly the phone call with my mom dropped as another call was coming in. It was from my dad.
Dazed and confused, I answered the phone. My dad was alive. I asked him, “What in the world is going on?” His voice was weak as he explained that news of his death was premature. My mom was bedridden and was not able to be with my dad in the hospital. She heard incorrectly and shared the false status with friends and family. News spread and my dad, who was literally on his death bed, called all over town (where he was very well known) letting people know he was still alive.
He told me, “I'm still in the land of the living, but it won't be long.”
He was peaceful, thoughtful, still with a sense of humor and focused on his soon coming transition into eternity.
Our family made the long drive and I was able to see him, though he was sedated and unable to respond. He died that night.
Of course, I was deeply sad, but I was also thankful I was able to talk with my dad on that fateful phone call one last time.
Eternity is coming to all of us and it is of supreme importance that we talk about it. A lot.
Can anybody explain to me why it's so rare for pastors and preachers to prepare people for the end-times, much less eternity? Does anybody know why Christians are so distracted by the cares of life instead of staying intently zeroed in on the most dramatic moment of their lives, entering into forever?
We are distracted by lesser things in the land of the living while not understanding there is a transition coming soon and very soon.
I've never seen such passion from people as I have in the last year. Sadly, it's not because of revival. The zeal isn't a result of encountering the Holy Spirit. People haven't been provoked by the soon coming return of Jesus. No, people are shouting with ferocity about masks, elections, riots and politics of every sort. They are energized by the short-term, temporal issues of this lifetime.
Other passions people are exhibiting have nothing to do with the previous year in our nation. Many ministers have been drunk on growing bigger churches and email lists for decades. Christians are trying to live the American dream while forsaking their Kingdom perspectives. Idols, fears, desires and debates are distracting us.
I'm not saying we can't joyfully invest ourselves in the life God gives us. We can. We should. There's a right and good way to deal with politics, cultural issues, our jobs, family demands, dreams, building businesses and everything else that fills up the seventy or so years we are on the earth. However, the moment the land of the living takes precedence in our daily lives is the moment our lives become endangered. Everything we do must be in sync with preparing for the end-times and the coming trillions (endless) years of our eternity.
We are all on death row. It's a sobering thought, one that most of us want to shut out, but it's truth.
I wish I could explain the feeling I had as I was standing outside of the small out-building that contained the gas chamber. The left door was for spectators of the execution. The right was for the inmate, Warden and others directly involved with the process. I was overwhelmed, spiritually more than emotionally, as I envisioned demons all around preparing to escort one of the parade of souls into their version of eternity. This literally played out time after time in years past as unrepentant criminals vacated their bodies and entered the torments of hell. Only those who authentically surrendered their lives to Jesus prior to the gas overwhelming them would see angels instead of demons.
As I looked at the never-ending rows of claustrophobic cells in the main prison cell blocks, my feeling was only enhanced. Sadness struck me knowing the despair and hopelessness that possessed all who lived there throughout the years prior to the prison closing. While we are debating over Trump and Biden and viruses and vaccines, people are flooding into eternity. Imprisoned souls are hopeless as the church is distracted.
It wrecks me knowing the high majority of those inside that prison entered into madding torture that will never end. Friends, we must change our focus.
I'm troubled by how few are waking up every morning preparing for the end. We should also be preparing others. It's coming very soon, and the distractions in our nation are killing us.
Our life now is but a vapor. What we focus on everyday matters, and that focus must absolutely be eternity.
“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:13–14, ESV)
“…I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10, ESV)
Not only will we be full of life but others will be powerfully impacted when we are driven by eternity.
Our life in Jesus is not as much about finding satisfaction here as it is in living with eternity as our prime focus. It's about Jesus and ruling and reigning with him forever! It's about sounding alarms and warning as many as we can about the reality of hell and the hope of Jesus. It's about capturing the heart of God and preparing our families for the end season we are quickly moving into.
Let's reprioritize pretty much everything and look at politics, viruses, the church, our families, our dreams, our entertainment and all the rest through the lens of eternity. The flow to hell will slow and the church will be ready for all that is to come. Masks, viruses and politics won't be as important and will finally receive attention with a Kingdom perspective.
Both angels and demons are getting ready for our point of transition into eternity, not to mention billions of others all over the world.
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2, ESV)
Originally published by The Stream.
Is America Under A Witchcraft Spell?
Spirits of control and rebellion are hovering over our nation.
Take a half step back and gain a wider view of the epic clash that’s playing out in America. You’ll witness a supernatural assault that is fueled by mankind’s resolve to be in control. An unwitting alliance between puppet and puppet master has been working brilliantly in recent months. Invisible and extremely powerful demonic entities are the ones in control of the strings. The brilliance? They have convinced a culture that control is a desirable weapon, all while they are the ones truly in charge.
Opinions and actions concerning masks, politics, riots, the election and other trending topics of the last year are all too often manifestations of control and rebellion. It’s witchcraft. Has a spell been cast over America? Well, I question whether a spell is needed when so many of its citizens are so eager to embrace these extremely powerful tools of destruction.
As a pastor for many years I can tell you that witchcraft is an extremely powerful force. I’m talking about traditional witchcraft like I’ve experienced first hand many times. I’m also talking about what’s known as Christian witchcraft that manifests in gossip, manipulation and betrayal. I’m sure many pastors would agree that it’s easy to discern that evil spirit of control and rebellion even if there are no outward signs.
However, there’s an even more subtle form of witchcraft (control and rebellion) that even the most secular (or most Christian) person can employ. This is what we are seeing bring destruction to our once great nation.
CANCEL CULTURE IS A MANIFESTATION OF HATRED AND CONTROL
It shouldn’t surprise us that the largest population group in America would have the greatest influence. The non-Christian segment of our nation is leading the charge. This is detrimental to us all as they simply cannot exhibit leadership marked by true biblical love. Consistently producing fruits of the Spirit such as peace, patience, kindness and gentleness isn’t possible. It’s not because they are all terrible people, but rather because they don’t have the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. Christians have a tough enough time trying to walk in this life-giving manner. Without the indwelling of the Spirit of God, it just can’t happen.
Without the power of God, the strings of the puppet master become enticing. The veiled promise of control and power the enemy offers is too hard to pass up. The virtue signaling can then begin as the ungodly promote their agenda.
The ambitious goal of cancel culture is to eradicate hate, abuse, immorality and other national and personal sins. It will never work.
The threat of being canceled may, to a very small degree, modify the outward expression of hatred, but it will do nothing to cause someone to stop hating. In fact, it may have the reverse effect of adding fuel to their fire.
Only a radical encounter with Jesus can remove the wickedness of hatred and all of the other sins cancel culture is attempting to address from a person's heart.
Further, cancel culture is inherently evil as it loathes what is possibly the greatest expression of love and transformation: forgiveness. No, cancel culture thrives on punishment, shame, control and, yes, hatred. You can't eradicate hatred with hatred.
The cancel culture alarmists unilaterally determine what should be canceled and what should not. They are writing the rule book. They are controlling the narrative.
Why aren't they also canceling promoters of other national atrocities? Porn? Abortion? Drug use? Greed?
The model of Jesus is, yes, despising wickedness. It's also loving enemies, costly forgiveness and redemption.
I wonder if there's anything more contrary to the Gospel in America today than the hate-driven, punitive, shaming and life-destroying cancel culture.
In fact, if we saw the underbelly of cancel culture we’d understand their agenda isn’t at all about eliminating hand-selected American vices. It’s about control. They have been seduced by this strong and wicked spirit of witchcraft and will stop at nothing to gain control of the narrative. They eagerly destroy people’s lives in their pursuit of power. The seduction dilutes any sense of love and forgiveness as they rip to shreds any and all who stand in their way. Their picture of a perfect America is worth casualties and collateral damage. They destroy with passion.
A SPIRIT OF CONTROL HITS HOME WITH MASKS AND LOCKOWNS
If there’s a trigger word today it’s masks. Lockdowns would be a close second. I suppose Trump is in the mix too.
For the past year social media has been dominated by aggressive opinions, accusations, finger pointing and all sorts of rebellious behavior regarding masks and lockdowns. I’m convinced that many a politician enjoys a guilty pleasure when they enact mask laws. The rush of power and the satisfaction of controlling others are addictive. Am I saying nobody has pure motives in their mask and lockdown legislation? No. Am I saying the science supporting masks and lockdowns is entirely flawed? No, not entirely. However, it’s abundantly clear that many politicians and people of influence are capitalizing on the opportunity to gain greater control over the people they were called to serve.
I’ve often wondered why there’s such a clear divide on the issue of masks and lockdowns between the left and the right. It’s truly fascinating. Is it as simple as big versus small government? I don’t think so (though I do believe big government thrives on control). Is it because freedom-loving Christians are typically right-leaning conservatives? Possibly, at least in part. Could it be many on the right are marked by independence and personal responsibility while many on the left are more focused on systems that diminish personal responsibility and promote a sort of quasi-fairness for all? Probably. Could it possibly be that those on the right are often marked by their zealous love for America while those on the left tend to be less patriotic while focusing on the negative issues in our nation? While I understand these are generalities, we have to consider the possible nuances. Those on the left are quicker to identify issues by taking a knee while those on the right celebrate the positives while standing for the flag. Again, I understand there’s overlap, but these general ideas warrant consideration.
Regardless, it’s still interesting how it plays out. Many on the left are enraged when they can’t control others and force them to wear a mask. The rage may even be greater on the side of the right as they tend to become unglued when forced to wear a mask. Have you seen some of the fights that have broken out at shopping centers simply because someone was asked to wear a mask?
I’ll be direct: the invisible yet powerful evil spirit of control is manifesting in both the left and the right. Some people want to control others while others want to maintain control of their own lives. Witchcraft has seduced both with a wicked concoction of control and rebellion.
If a spirit of witchcraft is driving your beliefs and emotions, you will find yourself agitated, triggered and aggressive when control is removed from you. The threat of losing charge of your American experience is enough to cause you to adopt the puppet master’s tactics instead of being driven by the Spirit of God.
When we are led by our flesh we get agitated when people don't see things the way we do.
When we are led by the Spirit we love more deeply when people don't see things the way God does.
Freedom isn’t defined by the absence of controlling factors in our lives. It’s defined by refusal to lose our liberty in the face of oppression. Only Jesus makes this possible.
IT’S TIME FOR AMERICAN PRIDE TO DIE
Pride is what caused the fall of Lucifer. Pride is what will cause the fall of our nation.
We need mass repentance in America, and fast. It’s time to sever our ties with the enemy and renounce control, rebellion, pride and all forms of witchcraft. The spell of witchcraft on our nation was cast not by wicked witches, but by pure-blooded Americans who are fueled by their own prideful desires. It’s time to humble ourselves and to cry out to God for mercy on America.
Photo credit: “Witch” by www.metaphoricalplatypus.com is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Has the Judgment of Delusion Come Upon America?
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.
Is The Church Embracing Lawlessness? Civil Disobedience Versus Rebellion to Authority
Defying authority can either catapult the church forward or result in judgment.
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” (Romans 13:1–2, ESV)2002 has given the church an unusual opportunity to learn a critical end-time lesson. When is it time to defy authority, and when should we remain submitted? Choosing correctly can launch the church forward in the face of tyranny and persecution. Choosing incorrectly can result in God himself bringing judgment against the church. There seems to be a misconception among many Believers that God is cheer-leading a spirit of rebellion as we fight against the very authority that he put into position. News flash: We are mandated by Scripture to honor and obey all authority, be they good or evil, just or unjust. Yes, there are exceptions, but we don't start there. The exceptions are not the norm. By default, we submit.
“Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.” (1 Peter 2:18–19, ESV)I'm confident many will argue this point. That's okay, but I want to challenge you. Argue it with Scripture, not with your own emotions, intellect, common sense or ego. The Word of God is the authority, no matter if it makes sense to us or not. Remember, God requires us to obey both good and evil authorities, both good and bad laws. The Bible couldn't be more clear. Every person is required to subject themselves to (submit to) governmental authorities. Why? Because God placed them in position and granted them authority. Further, if we resist the authorities that God has empowered, we will (not may) incur judgment.
A SPIRIT OF LAWLESSNESSIt's easy to accuse rioters, for example, of operating from a spirit of lawlessness. After all, it's obvious to all that they are boldly breaking laws. I propose it's the same spirit of lawlessness that is driving the rebellion in many Christians who refuse to follow state and local mask and social distancing mandates. We don't have the option to reject an ordinance simply because we disagree with it. We are required by Scripture to be subject to governing authorities, and if they require masks in certain situations, we as representatives of Christ must respond with integrity and wear masks. I am personally not a fan of masks (though I must admit they may be beneficial in certain circumstances) and I believe there are some nefarious influences behind all that the coronavirus has unleashed. However, I also realize I am not authorized by God to defy the mandates. I'd be in rebellion both to man and God if I did. It's disturbing to see pastors breaking the law by allowing meetings, small groups and other events to take place without adhering to local mask and distancing ordinances. This rebellion invites God's judgment, even if we are convinced the masks are unnecessary or that the government is attempting to implement freedom threatening controls. By all means, do what's appropriate to have the laws overturned. Attend city council meetings, vote politicians and policy makers in or out of office and sound all of the alarms you can in hopes of drawing attention to the cause. But until the laws are overturned the laws must be obeyed. If we truly fear God, we won't play games, rise up in pride or arrogantly resist those he put into position.
THE EXCEPTIONSThe exception to all I have written above is simple: if the Word of God would be violated by us obeying an earthly authority, then, and only then, do we refuse to submit. We honor God and not men in this scenario. So, if the government mandates that churches remain closed and that Christians don't gather to worship, we can't comply.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24–25, ESV)The Bible clearly requires us to meet. If the government allows the church to meet, but demands we not sing, again, we refuse to obey that order.
“Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the godly!” (Psalm 149:1, ESV)When (not if) the time comes that we are told by lawmakers that we cannot preach certain truths of Scripture, we boldly reject their mandate.
“And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, 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.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:27–29, ESV)The principle should be quite clear and simple. If the Word of God would be violated should we submit to a governmental decree, we do not submit. If the Bible wouldn't be violated, we do submit. One response results in the favor of God and another the judgment of God. It's not about being a champion of what is right (in your own eyes). It's about aligning with God's commands. Many are shouting “Persecution!” in selfish arrogance simply because the government is requiring them to submit to laws that are merely inconvenient and that in no way violate Scripture. We see this truth played out in the Book of Daniel:
“He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding;” (Daniel 2:21, ESV) “If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”” (Daniel 3:17–18, ESV)God put the king in position, and then the king gives an unrighteous decree. The king was to be honored until he mandated worship to an idol. At that moment, the three Hebrews had no option but to refuse the command.
WHAT SHOULD THE CHURCH DO?The church should obey the laws of the land unless those laws are clearly unscriptural. Gathering together and worshiping as Believers has been instituted by God. So, gather, with masks on if the local ordinance requires that. In my city of Branson, Missouri we are required to wear masks in any public setting unless we are able to remain six feet away from others. Since this is a theater town, the law allows us to remove our masks when seated in an auditorium as long as we maintain social distancing. Public speakers, singers and performers can remove their masks when on stage. The same rule applies to the church. So, this means masks must be on at all times except when socially distanced in the sanctuary or speaking, singing on the platform. Prayer lines, altar time, greeting time and other times would require masks to be worn. Small groups and other gatherings should adhere to the same guidelines. We need to be wise and carefully choose our battles. Again, favor or judgment hang in the balance.
THE ARGUMENTSI've heard all sorts of extreme arguments in opposition to what I'm addressing here. “What about Anne Frank? Are you suggesting she should have obeyed her government and turned Jews over to the Nazis?” Several people have angrily blasted that argument my direction. Of course the the answer is no. Why? We'd be complicit in murder, and murder is forbidden in Scripture. “What about Rahab who lied to protect Israeli spies?” Rahab was commended for giving lodging to the spies, but not for her lie. I find it disturbing that Christians are becoming more enthralled with their own wisdom while at the same time looking for loopholes in the Bible so they can do what they desire. Many don't consider the Bible to be the final authority on a matter or to be the infallible Word of God. We are most certainly in the end times.
FAVOR OR JUDGMENTI don't want this point to be missed. No matter how convinced of how right you are or how righteous your position is, if you defy God's established authority, God's judgment rests on you. However, if you honor authority in every instance except when they would require you disobey Scripture, God's favor rests on you. Oh, and by the way, understand that the written Word of God is the final authority, not your own prophetic revelation. We can't use the God card here. If your local government requires you to wear a mask or a seat-belt or to pay your taxes or to wear pants in public, and you think God told you something different, you can know it's not God's voice you are hearing.
PHARAOH IN THE CHURCHAs I close, I want to encourage you to read an article that will give strategies to resisting tyrannical and wicked human governments. I understand the arguments about masks and lock-downs and control. Greater persecution (by far) was experienced in Egypt under the rule of Pharaoh. The strategy there wasn't to defy Pharaoh's authority, as God placed him in that place of ruler-ship. God sent a messenger and immense pressure to Pharaoh. The goal? For Pharaoh, the Hebrew's legitimate authority, to make the decree that they may go. He released them. It was at that moment in time that the authority over the Hebrews shifted from Pharaoh to Moses. This is why we must be living, walking and praying in the Spirit. Prayer movements and prophetic decrees will bring down unrighteous human systems. Pride, arrogance, anger and rebellion however will only strengthen them as God's fury rains down on us all. Originally posted by The Stream.
2020: A Toxic Season of the Soul
Functioning primarily out of our soul results in division, fear, recklessness and arrogance.Riots. Violence. Pandemic. Lockdowns. National Election. Social media has been distressing to my spirit this year. Really, all media has been, including the few sources that might be considered trustworthy. I'll be the first to admit it's easy to dive into debates at a soul level, arguing logic that seems so obvious while being legitimately confused at how anybody else just cannot see it the same way. Everything from masks to President Trump to racism has polarized our nation. The damage left in the wake of the raging debates has been devastating. More concerning, the church has been caught up in the exact same soul-level social battles. When our soul leads the way in our debates and decisions, the results can be quite toxic. We've seen fear and division overcome the people of the “home of the brave.” Arrogance has been masquerading as authority and recklessness as freedom. The soul is the center of emotions and logic, and without the anointing of the Holy Spirit, arguments initiated from that level are not to be trusted. Powerful emotions with the help of seemingly obvious logic will convince people they are functioning from a place of wisdom when in truth they are reacting in fear. Faith is eliminated from the equation. Wisdom (fear) trumps faith when we don't live, breathe, pray and walk in the Spirit.
25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:25-26 (NIV)
DIVISION IS NOT ALWAYS NEGATIVE
34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law– 36 a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.' Matthew 10:34-36 (NIV)The true church will always introduce division simply because of the topics we are promoting. There is an agenda. Jesus made it clear that ecumenical unity wasn't his goal. World peace wasn't the focus. We can expect division when the Gospel is preached. When revival hits, people will be split like the Red Sea with many running to the altar and many running out the back door. Many pastors today are attempting to avoid the very necessary schisms that clearly define the remnant and the pretenders. Truth rightly presented demands decisions. In the end the Final Judgment will bring the greatest division of all, separating the sheep and the goats for all humanity to see. Many Christians have attempted to apply this principle of biblical division to their own humanistic stubborn opinions. They celebrate as their pet positions cause others to get riled up and split off. They feel spiritual, but this is soul-level activity and it is grieving to the Lord.
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another… Ephesians 4:30-32 (NIV)Preach the Word of God and, often times, you can expect division. Preach masks, politics, the Constitution and on the racial issues of the day? We as Spirit-filled, blood-bought children of the King should speak with great love and grace. Is there ever a time to strike against wicked arguments with force and precision? Absolutely. But, not from our soul. This type of engagement must be led fully by the Spirit.
WHAT IS GOD SAYING?Church, it's time to come up higher. In this toxic season of politics, sickness, murder and distress, we need to resist the urge to function from our soul. It's time to minister from our spirits. We've heard all of the arguments about masks, both pro and con. We know all of the reasons people are going to vote for Trump or Biden. People are dogmatic about taking a knee or not. The memes and GIFS and posts and rants about all of these volatile issues and others have become predictable — and nauseating. Where are those who have emerged from their closets of intercession, those who have a clear word from the Lord? Where is the tangible anointing that pierces through arguments? In this critical, historic hour, where are the true prophets? Understand, this doesn't mean we can't discuss issues at a logical level. I'm not even saying the soul (emotions and logic) should be minimized. God gave us a soul and he will certainly cause us to speak intelligently and even passionately on secular matters, with wisdom, love and clarity. Debates and discussions can be beneficial. The critical call, however, for every Christian, is to do so with the mind of Christ. The greater the activity of the Holy Spirit in our lives, the more impacting our words will be. I would challenge you to disengage from the madness that has bewitched so much of the world and the church. Pull back. Stop functioning mostly from your soul. Don't get so excited about your logic. Be teachable. Die to your own opinions. Speak truth under the anointing of the Holy Spirit and people will be absolutely confounded. When the truth you speak causes both people and demons to react, you know you've moved from soul-level arguments to spirit-driven, authoritative declarations:
22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. 23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, 24 “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!” 25 “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” 26 The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. 27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching–and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.” 28 News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee. Mark 1:22-28 (NIV)
TAKE A BREAKAs I said above, it's easy to get sucked into the soul-level debates of the day. And, as I said, not all of these debates are unhealthy. However, a whole bunch of them are. They can distract those who are supposed to be functioning in the realm of the Spirit and cause us to fight in the flesh. If your revelations on the matters of the day aren't burning with anointing, take a break. If you aren't having dreams and visions about how to address the madness of this hour, take a break. Seriously. Resist the urge and stop posting to Facebook. I'm not talking about the infamous month-long breaks from social media that people regularly announce. Those folks are back and active usually in less than 24-hours. I'm talking about going deeper in God than you ever have. See the futility of your arguments. Humble yourself. Finally understand that nobody needs to hear what your soul has to say. Find your prayer closet and discover what God is yearning to reveal to our nation. The whole world will want to hear what you have to say then. Originally published by The Stream.
The Mask of the Beast? A Discussion on Faith and Masks
Should Christians wear masks or would that be an indicator of a lack of faith?My most recent article titled “Offended by Faith: The Pandemic has Exposed an Unbelieving Church” has created quite a stir among the pro and anti-maskers. Interestingly, the article really wasn't about masks at all. It was about faith. In fact, I made it quite clear that we should use both wisdom and faith in these treacherous times:
Wash your hands. Wear a mask if called for. Go to the doctor if needed. Do your due diligence. But don't put your faith in such things.It never ceases to amaze me how triggered people zero in on the narrative they want to attack, all while blowing past qualifiers and clarifiers that would address their concerns if they only took time to read them. I can't tell you how often people become unglued just by the title of one of my articles. They arrive at conclusions that are unfounded because they didn't read past the first sentence. Spoiler alert: I wear a mask if the situation demands it. Here's a pic to prove it. I'm not a card-carrying anti-masker. I'm definitely not a pro-masker either. I'm watching the carnage pile up all over social media as a result of verbal assaults, judgments on morality and ethics, crazy conspiracy theories (and some possible true ones) and accusations that pro-maskers are killing America and anti-maskers are killing grandma. It's ridiculous to point nasty, crooked fingers at the uncovered calling them selfish, unloving and reckless. Not only is that statement generally untrue and the motive fairly disingenuous, the logic behind it simply doesn't work. It's equally ridiculous to presume those who wear masks are fearful by default and surrendering to the anti-Christ. No, these aren't masks of the beast and no, America isn't going to become communist because we wear them. I would encourage you to read an article I wrote on the spiritual reality surrounding the 2020 crisis. Yes, I do believe witchcraft is behind it, but wearing a mask doesn't mean we are surrendering to that spirit. This bizarre conversation between pro and anti-maskers that has overtaken our culture must be refocused onto what is most important.
UNBELIEF HAS BEEN EXPOSEDI don't think anybody can deny that the entire world has been shaken by the virus. The purpose of my recent articles on the subject is to awaken the shaken to the supreme opportunity to shine our lights into a desperate and dark situation. Be honest. Christians are worrying, nervous, fearful and scrambling to do whatever they can to be safe from this invisible threat. This isn't true of all Believers, of course. It's true of a whole lot of them though. I don't know how often I hear blood-bought Believers urgently warning people to wear masks, to socially distance and to lock down while rarely hearing them proclaim the power of the blood that bought them. I'm dumbfounded. The lack of a faith-driven spiritual response is a problem. If our joy, peace and confidence in Jesus has been impacted, we must respond in repentance. In the midst of a threat, abundant life is still ours. Joy unspeakable and full of glory. Peace that passes all understanding. We are more than conquerors, the head and not the tail, above and not beneath. We trample on serpents and scorpions. We have authority over all the power of the enemy. That will preach. The sad reality is that a lot of Christians simply don't believe that Jesus heals or protects today. Some believe that he can, but they doubt that he will. Miracles are rare. Wonders of old can be taught in Sunday School but they really don't occur today. They boldly defend the power of the enemy by confessing that nobody is safe, Christian or non-Christian. What many Christians call faith is little more than hope. Hope is posturing ourselves by sitting back and waiting for God to do something we'd like him to do. Faith is altogether different. It's active. There's an attitude driving it. It's demanding. It's expectant. It's militant. Vibrant faith results in people speaking to mountains, shouting from rooftops, casting out demons, decreeing the Word of God and refusing to allow common sense, human wisdom or anything else to stop them. Faith crushes fear. Faith destroys worry. Faith demands results. Faith pleases God. Instead, too many default to hope (or hopelessness) and live pretty much the same way as the unredeemed do. Truths of Scripture are somehow dismissed as unreliable:
17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:17-18 (ESV)The sick may recover would be a better translation according to the belief system of many Christians. In fact, they tend to get quite mad at those who stand in faith on the Word of God, especially regarding healing. Accusations of “holier than thou” and “spiritual pride” are hurled at those who simply state they believe Jesus paid the price for sickness. There are many reasons people are not healed. This article isn't the place to dive into a deep discussion on the topic. Suffice it to say the reasons include one or more of the following: unbelief, fear, sin, lukewarmness, receiving communion in an unworthy manner, not understanding our authority, curses, lies we've adopted, ignorance of the Word, misunderstanding timing, lack of fervency, trusting in doctors more than God, etc. Another reason is what I call the treasure map. Healing is a hidden treasure that often must be sought after. The Holy Spirit will lead us as we discover truths, repent of wrong thinking and work to grow in faith. The treasure map is the unknown. It's the journey. There may be no sin, no doubt and no clear reason why sickness remains. So, we seek, pray and stand as God progressively brings revelation to our situation. Those who are sick should not live in condemnation, but they should be earnestly seeking the treasure of healing with joy and great expectation. If someone is not healed, it doesn't necessarily mean they are less spiritual. It simply means they are somewhere in the middle of their journey on their personal treasure map. That being said, please hear me. Faith demands that we stare sickness in the eye and fight. We can't allow the “chances” of healing or our own failed experiences with sickness to cause us to doubt, to stand down or to divert to other more natural remedies. No! We decree truth! We stand as warriors! We declare that Jesus took all of our sickness on the cross. We proclaim that healing is ours! It's this type of boldness the world needs to see!
THE CALL TO ALLIf you don't remember anything else in this article, please remember the following. This is what is burning in my spirit. This is the real purpose of my writing. Declare the goodness and power of God! Stop declaring the deadly power of a virus! The church should be commandeering the media, social and otherwise, with faith-filled messages to those who are haunted by fears of sickness and death!
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19 (ESV)We are anointed to proclaim good news, liberty and healing! Are you doing that every day on Facebook and Twitter? You must! Especially during this opportunistic season! The world should be witnessing a supernatural explosion as we radiate the power of the Holy Spirit and decree with passion that peace, freedom and healing can be theirs! Christians, stop with the faithless drivel about the power of masks or the threat of COVID. Ok, sure, make your point and be safe, but please stop giving the enemy more power than he already has. Speak life! If the world wants scientific data on whether masks are beneficial or not, they can do their own research. What they need from you and me, however, is powerfully anointed, deeply profound and supernaturally charged revelation! Preach, preacher! The call to all is to rise up in fearless faith, with smiles on our faces and fire in our eyes as we proclaim to a worried and dying world that Jesus has conquered death, hell and the grave! There is a love that eliminates all fear! This is the message. This is the cry of my heart. We should be preaching Jesus! Where are the social warriors who will share verses that ignite faith? Where are the Believers who truly embrace the healing power of Jesus? Where are those who refuse to be shaken by the enemy? Where are the firebrands who will push back the darkness and laugh at the threats? This is your mandate, Christian. This is your call. It's time you stop repeating all of the news stories and reports that spread fear. It's time to burn hot with the truth of the Word and show the world just what it is to be a sign and a wonder in the earth! Originally published by The Stream.
I Can’t Breathe: Witchcraft is Suffocating our Nation
Only two things can eradicate a powerful and strategic spirit of witchcraft that's kneeling on the neck of our nation: Deliverance or judgment.
“One purpose common to all forms of witchcraft is control.” ~Derek Prince, The Seeking of ControlIt shouldn't be surprising that Derek Prince also reveals that the fuel to the power of witchcraft is, in part, sacrifice. Animal sacrifice. Human sacrifice. With that in mind, we should not be at all shocked with the events of today. Human sacrifice in the form of abortion has given power to mighty demonic schemes in our nation. The sacrificial blood of innocents is flowing from sea to shining sea. The church has been given a chance to lead our nation in repentance in this time of testing. Instead, Christians are clamoring for church and life to return to normal. It doesn't seem mass repentance is going to happen in our nation. At least not yet. As people who are expected to understand the spiritual realm, Christians should be clearly discerning what's happening with the upheaval. We should be living, walking and praying in the Spirit, cued in to what wars invisible entities are initiating and what their end game is. Instead, a large percentage of blood-bought people are mostly seeking natural remedies just as those who have no advocate in Jesus. They would probably admit to “trusting God's will” while having no idea what his will is. Their relief doesn't come from knowing the Word of God or standing in their authority. It comes from closely adhering to the advice of media, medicine and magistrates. The obvious retort, especially in secularized, humanistic America, is to accuse me and others like me of overspiritualizing the crisis. After all, natural solutions will work just fine, right? Ridiculous. Don't overspiritulize? I'm dismayed at how underspiritualized COVID-19 and the rest of the 2020 crisis has been. All too often, Christians are mirror images of the world in terms of their response. The truth is that this leviathan will only be defeated in the spirit realm.
WITCHCRAFT IS DRIVING THE ASSAULT IN OUR NATION
There are three ways the desire to control expresses itself: manipulation, intimidation and domination. The goal is domination. ~Derek Prince, The Seeking of ControlIn his excellent article, Derek Prince says, “A main tool of manipulation is guilt.” The enemy will speak into our souls, convincing us that guilt will overwhelm us if we don't respond to his specific directives. The only obvious solution for those who haven't correctly discerned the source of the command is to obey the voice. We are watching manipulation, intimidation and the end goal of domination play out before our eyes every day during the pandemic and social uprising. Groups are intimidating through protests and riots. Politicians and reporters are manipulating their audiences. As Believers, we cannot allow ourselves to be seduced into seeking natural resolutions instead of (or ahead of) spiritual ones. We can attempt to treat the symptoms, but the wicked evil that has been unleashed upon our nation will not be deterred. In my decades of ministry I've had some intense encounters with witchcraft and one of the prime factors when under its influence is the feeling of suffocation. You can't easily breathe. Additionally, fevers, confusion, fear, sickness, hopelessness and other manifestations are common.
GEORGE FLOYDWe all know that George's life tragically came to an end shortly after he uttered the infamous words, “I can't breathe.” He was suffocated.
MASKSThe enemy clearly desires to control the people of our nation. I do believe, spiritually speaking, that the masks are absolutely symbolic of his scheme. As I've shared, key indicators of witchcraft are control and suffocation, and masks are physical manifestations of both. (Keep reading for my opinion on whether we should wear masks or not.)
VENTILATORSThe virus attacks the respiratory system. Suffocation is the goal, and a last gasp (almost literally) effort to save the patient from having the airflow stopped comes in the form of ventilators. They are simply another reminder that witchcraft is behind this deadly assault.
CHURCH CLOSURES/SINGING BANNEDIf you know anything about the strategies of witches you know they target churches. They infiltrate them, pray against them, curse them and do all they can to destroy them. I've had dramatic encounters with witches when leading churches. Threats of death and destruction were hurled at my family, my church and myself. Further, in certain places, the government has mandated singing in church to cease. While people must be physically muzzled with masks, this ventures into the spiritual, muzzling voices of worship to God.
PROTESTSWitchcraft and rebellion to authority go hand-in-hand. While respectful peaceful protests can bring appropriate attention to a matter, riots and violence cross far over the line. Interestingly the “I can't breathe” storyline continues as Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland confessed yesterday, “It’s hard to breathe, it’s a lot harder to breathe than I thought,” Wheeler told The Washington Post after he was tear-gassed. “This is abhorrent. This is beneath us.”
SOME PROTESTS EXEMPTEDAs outlandish as it sounds, mayors and governors have actually admitted to exempting certain protesters and rioters from mandated masks and social distancing. If the agenda matches theirs, they turn a blind eye. So hateful aggressors can spit and shout as a massive mob, but Christians can't sing? Do you see the enemy winning the narrative as Believers stand down? It's happening. Witchcraft has intimidated, manipulated and controlled and few are rising up in opposition.
FACEBOOK/TWITTER SPEECHAgain we see the suffocating muzzles, this time covering the mouths of people online. Shadow banning, deleted posts and cancelled accounts have become the norm as social media leaders are exerting control. The stranglehold on free speech is tight enough to threaten the very life of one of our nation's most sacred rights.
LOCKDOWNSSuffocating people's livelihoods and forcing people to shelter in place is further evidence of the restrictive, constrictive nature of this year's crisis. This has been an easy sell to a fearful people.
CANCEL CULTUREBe sure to read my article on this topic on The Stream. Manipulation is on display as people curse others who don't measure up, or who have failed at some point in their past.
THE RESOLUTIONWe must understand that our battle is mostly spiritual, not natural. This is a very important point to consider as it will directly impact our response to the crisis. For example, I don't believe the answer is to refuse to wear a mask. Sure, make your voice heard and your arguments clear in whatever setting is most appropriate. Stand opposed to mandated mask laws if that's what you desire. Communicate with your lawmakers. But, at the end of the day, a rejected mask isn't a tool in your spiritual tool belt. I personally wear masks when necessary. It's not a sign of defeat or compromise to wear a mask. My strategy against the spirit of witchcraft in our nation isn't natural. It's spiritual. Further, while it can be argued that lockdowns aren't (or are) necessary in a pandemic, the answer isn't to fight that fight in the natural. Opposing the symptomatic laws and social pressures will not result in victory against a very powerful, intelligent, wicked and invisible enemy. We must fight in the Spirit.
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 (ESV)So, just what is the resolution? I believe we have two choices: Deliverance or judgment. Deliverance of this suffocating, controlling, manipulating, intimidating demonic force on a national level will require mass repentance. I'm talking about full-blown revival from California to New York. This principality must be cast out. If revival and deliverance don't come very quickly, judgment is the next viable option. We can trust God's loving judgment to make wrong things right. His deep love for his people demands he take action when wickedness overtakes the nation. Remember, I firmly believe, at least in part, child sacrifice is to blame for the plague and protests. You can add to that the rampant, deviant sexual sin that has infected so many and blatant rebellion against God (which, as we know, is as the sin of witchcraft). I prefer deliverance over judgment, but if judgment comes, so be it. I trust God to take care of business and to bring justice to a people who have been cursed, manipulated and muzzled.