The Knowledge of Good and Evil is Killing America

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.

Joe Biden Is NOT My President! (Actually, He Is)

Hocus Pocus, Conspiracy Theory, Vigilante Christianity In A Post-Trump America

Post-Trump America. If those three words have you screaming from the depths of your agitated soul, “Joe Biden is NOT my President!” you have stumbled upon the right article.

I voted for Donald Trump and I am quick to shout from the rooftops that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have teamed up to create a terrible disturbance in the force in our nation. The first several days in office have proven this as they are aggressively and without apology promoting the immorality and wickedness that the liberal left is so famous for. Christians should be deeply grieved, yet so many are actually celebrating the ousting of Trump and the establishment of our new President and Vice President. In fact, I’m sure many who are reading this are among those who are rejoicing over the new administration. I honestly am more troubled and grieved by professing Christians supporting such a devious political party than I am the fact that the left is now leading our nation.

Based on what I’ve seen on social media, there are millions of professing Christians who are vigorously applauding Joe Biden’s election. I’m talking about radical Believers who are known to be deeply devoted to Jesus. I’m stunned.

I don’t believe it’s a stretch to suggest that the blood of millions of future dismembered children will be on the hands of those who voted for a pro-death politician. As I’ve often asked, if a political candidate admitted they would promote legislation to make the killing of any child under the age of two allowable, would you vote for him or her? If they believed parents had the right to tear off their toddler’s arms and legs as they bled to death if caring for them became too inconvenient, would it be right to support their candidacy? Of course not. It would make both the politician and the supporter horrid monsters. This is why Christians (or any sane person) supporting a pro-death party simply makes no sense.

This among many other disturbing “values” of the left including an alleged stolen election should be enough to make any support laughable.

JOE BIDEN IS OUR PRESIDENT

It would seem, given what I have already written, that I would be right along side those who are plastering all over social media that Biden isn’t my President. I’m not. In fact, I don’t believe any honest Christian who lives a life of integrity can. The truth that cannot be debated is that Joe Biden is the President of the United States of America. He’s living in the White House. Donald Trump isn’t. You might argue the “clear and obvious” voter fraud, the corrupt courts and all sorts of other accusations of illegal activity, and you may be right (and you may be wrong). However, none of that has changed the legal outcome of the election. Joe Biden is our President.

Left-leaning George Stephanopoulos said the following:

No election is perfect. But there were 86 challenges filed by [former] President [Donald] Trump and his allies in court. All were dismissed. Every state certified the results.”

He also insisted that former Attorney General Bill Barr even said that there was no “evidence of widespread fraud.”

I’m personally disappointed by the #notmypresident mantra that so many Christians have adopted. Well, not adopted, it was borrowed from the left.

Check out this from the Washington Post:

Hillary Clinton dismissed President Trump as an “illegitimate president” and suggested that “he knows” that he stole the 2016 presidential election…

And, from another source online:

“They are clapping back with the trending hashtags #NotMyPresident and #ImStillWithHer, simultaneously decrying Trump’s win and showing support for his opponent, Hillary Clinton.”

A post on Twitter summed it up:

I refuse to accept that a racist, homophobic, pig is going to be president. #NotMyPresident #ImStillWithHer

— Brennyn (@UnicornsSlay) November 9, 2016

To employ such a juvenile attack strategy by kicking feet, pouting and whining and slapping #notmypresident all over the interwebs is embarrassing, especially for God’s holy church. Christians, shame on you.

HOCUS POCUS PROPHECY

As a Charismatic Christian who strongly believes in the importance of embracing legitimate prophecy, it’s easy for me to admit that we need reformation in today’s prophetic movement. So much of it has become bizarre hocus pocus released by unleashed ministers without any of the weighing and judging that Scripture demands.

You might be shocked at the personal attacks I’ve experienced simply because I am doing what the Bible mandates we do by weighing and judging prophetic words. One lovely Christian told me that God has turned his face from me. Others have accused me of not having faith. Some have let me know that I don’t know how to stand in the midst of trial. Someone called me ignorant and accused me of perpetuating the lies of the left. My agreement with the Hell’s agenda makes me complicit, said another.

Why is there so much vomit coming out of the mouths of Christians over this election?

An intense, negative reaction to the results of the election should terrify you. It reveals where your hope rests. It exposes your lack of readiness for the end times. It opens the door of your soul to the anti-Christ spirit and, in the near future, the anti-Christ himself.

Understand, I'm not talking about being passive or not being aggressive against the enemy. I'm talking about triggered people. Depressed, angry, mean, rude, divisive people. Those who have become unhinged and nearly hopeless. Those who will shame, assault and divorce anyone who doesn't join them in their emotional crisis.

In fact, I’ve called people to pray for our new President, and I’m so disheartened by many people’s replies. Some refuse outright to pray for him as he’s an “imposter.” Others refuse to pray anything but God’s judgment on him. It’s madness! The state of the church must be very bad indeed if this type of response to a call to lovingly pray for someone is so common.

I believe a key reason for this intense, unrighteous reaction is partly due to the unbalanced, unrestrained prophetic movement that had such an influence on gullible people during the election.

Remember, I’m a promoter of healthy, biblical prophecy. We need more, not less of it. A holy prophetic spirit must emerge in the American church if we have any hope of surviving the vicious wickedness that is both here and on the horizon. But, too much of what has been labeled prophetic in this current season is either flat out wrong or it was handled wrongly.

Mario Murillo said:

“There were true prophets and false prophets. And, while their messages about Trump seemed the same, there was a stark difference. The true prophets rightly coupled the promise of Trump’s victory with a call for the Church to repent. But the false prophets spoke as if we were entitled to an automatic victory.”

Mario’s point is extremely important. Prophecy is conditional. It must be presented with the conditions so the hearers know how to respond. This is part of the prophetic reformation that is so necessary today.

CONSPIRACY THEORISTS AND CHRISTIAN VIGILANTES

Has anybody else noticed the morphing of recent prophetic words about the election and the QAnon style conspiracy theories? In one breath someone is declaring they are standing on the words of the prophets about Donald Trump’s reelection, and in the next they are attempting to prove their positions by sharing various videos and left field news stories.

Am I saying all of these reports are false? Of course not. Do I believe there is no fraud, secrecy, corruption or illegal and unconstitutional activity surrounding the election? I actually believe there may be.

The problem comes with the way Christians are handling their suspicions.

Does that mean we can't keep hunting for fraud? No.

Does that mean we can't be hopeful for a dramatic, miraculous turn of events? No.

But, let's do so honestly and with integrity. Joe Biden is our President. Saying he's “not my President” is simply false and those who are saying it are surrendering their credibility.

All you have to do is consider what is required for someone to be legally elected President of the United States. Joe Biden fulfilled every obligation.

Many of you remember the trial of the century as OJ Simpson was accused of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. Many (most?) would argue that the evidence that OJ Simpson was guilty was absolutely overwhelming. In fact, some would suggest you’d have to be a fool to believe he didn’t kill them. However, in our nation, in our judicial system, little matters other than the verdict. The verdict is superior to the facts. No matter how convincing the evidence was, OJ Simpson was found innocent. Not guilty. That was the judgment. He was a free man. It doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not or whether he did it or not. It doesn’t matter what the evidence was. He was free and he could never be tried for those crimes again. It was settled.

The same principle applies with the election. Once the verdict has been delivered, the evidence doesn’t matter. What we believe doesn’t matter. The suspected fraud doesn’t matter. The courts refused every single case. Of course, you might argue that the courts are biased or even corrupt. You may be right, but it doesn’t matter. The decision of a biased or corrupt court is still the only decision that matters. All we can do is take it to a higher court. And, as Christians, it sure would be nice if we stormed the courts of heaven over this instead of hurling accusations against everyone who doesn’t dance to the drum the conspiracy theorists are incessantly beating.

The vigilantes are out in force. Cross them with any suggestion that we should move ahead under the leadership of Joe Biden and his administration and you will be outed, mocked, shamed and assaulted with all sorts of conspiracies and supposed proofs. Get ready for your Facebook Messenger to be flooded with stories and videos that prove their point. This is no way for loving Christians to act.

Remember, I believe there may have been some improprieties, I agree there may have been fraud. But conspiracies and goofy prophecies have hijacked too many people. They drank the Kook-Ade (I meant to type Kool-Ade, but I think I’ll leave it as I wrote it) and they have lost their balance as if what they were drinking was spiked with an intoxicating and wicked potion.

Dr. Michael Brown wrote regarding the failed election prophecies:

What you prophesied did not come to pass.

There is not an alternative, spiritual reality in which Trump is still functioning as president.

Nothing is going to change in a month or a year.

It’s over.

Even if there was massive electoral fraud, the results of this election will not be overturned.

Donald Trump will not serve a second, consecutive term.

Face the facts, be accountable before God and man, take the hits that will be coming, and humble yourself before the Lord and His people.

This is not the time for excuses. This is not the time to concoct spiritual myths. And this is absolutely not the time to blame others.

If you prophesied falsely, you and you alone are to blame.

More than any other Christian voice today, in my opinion, Dr. Brown brings wisdom and biblical balance to this volatile situation.

He also said:

So many of God’s people are hurting, and the world is mocking us, thinking that our faith in Jesus is just as false as these failed Trump prophecies.

He’s right.

Leaders like Mario Murillo and Dr. Michael Brown are needed more than ever today when conspiracies and divisive Christians are multiplying every moment. Sadly I’ve heard Christians proudly declare they have stopped following Dr. Brown because of his stance. I’m sure many will unfollow or block me too.

Oh, and by the way, if the conspiracy theorists are correct and the election is somehow overturned and Donald Trump is restored as President. I’ll celebrate, but sadly too many of the Christian vigilantes will be filled with pride, pointing fingers and puffing themselves up as spiritually superior. How do I know this? Nonstop I’ve heard from them predicting their victory in this strange, divisive battle. “You’ll see!” “Your faithlessness will be exposed!” “Just wait, the prophets are right!”

Well, I hope those who are prophesying God’s heart are right. I’m ready to celebrate with my vigilante brothers and sisters in Christ. Break out the confetti.

Photo credit: “Lunch with Joe Biden” by jurvetson is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Originally published by The Stream.

Is Today’s Prophetic Movement Fake News?

No matter what ultimately happens with the election, we need reformation in today's prophetic streams.

I've hesitated writing this article for several weeks. The reason? I'm placing myself right in the crossfire of the prophetic zealots (of which, ironically, I am one) and those who are fed up with the mystical, self-serving foolishness that's rampant today. I'm in that group too.

Truly, it's a no-win situation. However, ministry isn't about winning. Ministry is about communicating truth so the Kingdom of God can most powerfully advance. So, onward.

It's important for you to understand that I have been embracing the prophetic for years. My entire life has been marked by strange and glorious supernatural occurrences. God's leading has been nothing short of remarkable and miraculous. I'm humbled and in awe.

I believe that God speaks, moves and interacts with every Christian who has an ear to hear. The wonders that so many experience on a consistent basis are not only dramatic, but they are required if we are to move in the direction the Spirit of God is leading us.

Without hesitation I admit to endorsing the often bizarre, sometimes confounding and always stunning biblically-based prophetic ministry. Honestly, it would be impossible for me not to. I've written about my personal, humanly impossible, logically indescribable prophetic happenings in several of my books. I can't doubt.

FALSE PROPHETS!

With that, I'm also disturbed by the butchering of prophetic ministry today.

Before you attempt to offer me a high-five in celebration of finding another who is bent on exposing today's false prophets, you need to hear me.

Let's deal with the elephant in this article. Several high profile prophetic leaders have boldly predicted another four years for President Trump. You need to understand that I personally know some of these people, and I've been following the ministry of several others. To call them false prophets based on the current state of our nation's affairs alone would be ridiculous.

These men and women of God are so pure, so passionate about Jesus and radically locked-in to God's heart. They are also imperfect.

Let's settle something right now. Missing a prophecy does not deem one a false prophet. As I stated above, that is ridiculous. There's a difference between false prophecy and poor prophecy. False prophecy is demonic while poor prophecy flows out of imperfect children of God at times (just as poor teaching, poor pastoring and poor evangelizing does).

Of course, at the writing of this article, the election isn't settled. President Trump could very well be re-elected, even at this late stage in early December, 2020. This would, I suppose, vindicate the prophets. But do they need vindication?

NEW TESTAMENT PROPHECY

Old Testament prophecy and New Testament prophecy are markedly different.

In the Old Covenant, a small handful of prophets received occasional, clear, precise messages from God.

In the New Covenant, every Believer in Christ, including those who hold the office of Prophet, can hear God's voice. However, while Old Testaments prophets received messages, today we perceive God's messages. Today, prophecy is intuitive, often abstract and, in most cases, it must be learned.

Quite often, prophetic signs, dreams, visions, impressions and other spiritual data must be interpreted. It also must be weighed, analyzed and prayed through. The Holy Spirit brings the understanding to the precise parts of the divine message entrusted to us.

That process can result in accidental errors.

Prophecy is tricky. We need to exhibit both faith and humility. Admitting there is a chance we might be wrong either partially or completely isn't exhibiting a lack of faith. I don't believe we should ever give a “thus sayeth the Lord” when prophesying. We should say, “I sense the Lord saying,” or “I have a strong impression that…” Why? We can miss it.

Prophecies in Scripture are absolute. Prophecies today are not. Further, prophecies not found in the Bible are conditional. We have a role to play in the outcome.

All of this is why I believe declaring a prophecy that is not found in Scripture to be one hundred percent certain to come to pass is inappropriate and irresponsible.

FAKE NEWS PROPHECY

This brings us to the necessary reformation.

Are there foolish, self-satisfying people growing a pseudo-prophetic ministry that's fueled by the enemy? Absolutely there are.

Are there others who are immature in their understanding of the prophetic, and as a result are out of step with true biblical prophecy? Yes.

Has the prophetic become way too dominant in some people's lives, to the exclusion of basic, orthodox, historical Bible truths? Most definitely. (Though I'd suggest there are way more who have excluded a true, biblical, prophetic lifestyle in favor of dry, dead religion.)

Simply, is much of today's prophetic ministry that's flourishing all over social media fake news? It is.

I'll introduce some sub-points that should at least get us thinking:

PURPOSE

Predictive prophecy (foretelling) often leaves me asking a question: why was it necessary to share that message? What is the purpose?

Understand, it's just a question. There may be a legitimate answer. Of course, Scripture is filled with predictive prophecies. Yet, there must be a reason God would reveal this information to us.

Why did we need to know that President Trump would supposedly win the election? What is that purpose? On one hand, it could be to bolster a prophets resume of successful predictions. Is there another hand? Maybe. But we really need to know what's in that hand. What is our role in response to the prophetic word?

STRATEGY

I personally believe all prophecy not found in Scripture is conditional. I believe it was designed this way by God as a catalyst to rally the troops.

For example, if the prophets are revealing that Trump was God's choice, what must the church do to advance that agenda? Prophecy that is devoid of a strategic call to action is at least suspicious.

Prophetic messages should provoke a response, whether it's a warning or revelation of God's heart or an uncovering of the enemy's plans, we as hearers of the word need to know how to proceed.

FORTHTELLING VS FORETELLING

Personally, I am significantly more impressed with prophetic preaching, forthtelling, than I am with foretelling, revealing future events.

Understand, I affirm and value both, when handled well. But, give me a Leonard Ravenhill any day over one of today's pop prophets. Forthtelling always has a fiery, urgent and unapologetic call to action. Unfortunately, too many of today's foretellers are more excited about their ability to craft the perfect fortune cookie message than they are revealing the depths of God.

THUS SAYETH THE LORD

I dealt with this above, but I wanted to put it in the list of thought provokers. When I hear someone declare that “God said” and that what they heard is perfect, complete and guaranteed to come to pass, I change the channel.

We prophecy in part. We see in part. We understand in part. And, guess what? We are fallible humans. We can miss it.

Again, New Testament prophecy is intuitive. I'm not saying it can't have a measure of clarity. It absolutely can. I'm not saying it can't be overwhelming, weighty and convincing. It can. In fact, we need to live in the realm of the weighty much more than we do today. The prayer rooms should be soaked with sweat and tears from the brows of the prophets.

However, we aren't privy to an unmistakable voice booming out of a burning bush. The Holy Spirit is the one brooding and impressing upon God's people mysterious and often illogical messages that require discernment, prayer and interpretation to grasp.

PROPHECY IS CONDITIONAL

I posted the following to Facebook recently:

What percent chance do you give Trump being reelected at this stage of the game? (If you say 100% or 0%, you are delusional. I'm sure you are nice, but still delusional.)

Needless to say, a bunch of delusional friends responded! (I say that with a friendly smile on my face.)

There are so many factors at play in the prophetic that we can rarely if ever proclaim that a prophetic word is certain to come to pass. Remember, prophecy not found in Scripture is conditional. It's an invitation, not a guarantee.

Several promoted the idea that thinking anything less would be a violation of faith. This is not true. We have a part to play.

This is what happens when “thus sayeth the Lord” style prophecies are accepted as the norm. They can seduce people into a false sense of comfort as they sit back and wait for it to come to pass.

THE ENEMY

Anybody who has adopted a prophetic lifestyle knows that prophetic words must be warred over. Simply receiving and believing is far from enough.

Satan is exceptionally skilled at disrupting the plans of God in our lives. When we simply receive and believe, we are playing right into the enemy's hands. We must go to battle! Presuming a prophecy will come to pass without a sword in our hands is akin to wishing upon a star.

FINAL THOUGHTS

There are many other factors at play including timing, sin in the lives of the prophets, fear, doubt, presumption, etc.

I feel some great first steps in reforming the prophetic would include:

  • Prophesying from a place of fervent, Spirit-driven intercession.
  • Considering the purpose of the word.
  • Majoring on forthtelling, minoring on foretelling.
  • Communicating prophetic strategies, not just a prophetic word.
  • Inviting the word to be weighed.
  • Admitting when you missed it.
  • Giving grace to those who missed it.
  • Avoiding presumptive prophetic guarantees.

Photo credit: “Fake News – Person Reading Fake News Article” by mikemacmarketing is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Originally published by The Stream.

Prayer in Schools: Thanks, President Trump. Now Can You Restore Prayer in Churches?

President Trump heroically affirmed school prayer. Maybe he can help return prayer to the church as well.

Claiming that “there’s a growing totalitarian impulse on the far left that seeks to punish, restrict and even prohibit religious expression,” Trump guaranteed that while he’s in office, “we will not let anyone push God from the public square. We will uphold religious liberty for all.” (NYDAILYNEWS.COM)

Of course, President Trump is referring to the issues of religious freedom and prayer in schools, but if that quote was ever-so-lightly reworded, one might think he was talking about the current expression of church in America.

Of course, nobody would balk at somebody offering up a prayer during a church service in most local churches today, but the spirit of intercession is certainly quenched, restricted or even fully rejected in too many places with the word church etched above the doorposts.

“It is a culture war,” Trump said. “You have two sides and you have a side that believes so strongly in prayer and they’re being restricted and it’s getting worse and worse and I think we’ve made a big impact,” he added. (NYDAILYNEWS.COM)

Now, that statement by President Trump could even more easily be applied to the church. There most certainly is a culture war and those who are contending for an atmosphere of Spirit-driven prayer on Sunday mornings are being restricted by those who would be uncomfortable by such an atmosphere. It's the remnant versus the religiously curious.

Understand, I'm not talking about saying prayers. I'm not referring to prayer requests or telling God about our ailments. When I say prayer I mean a furnace of intercession where people throughout the congregation are decreeing, declaring and pounding Heaven with fiery zeal that would wake the dead. Literally. The sleepers must arise and the comatose must be shaken out of their slumber. A corporate spirit of prayer does just that.

PRAYER IN SCHOOLS?

Let's bring it back just for a moment to the news of the day. President Trump is proving himself to be a champion of religious freedom, and that should be applauded.

The president announced from the Oval Office that his administration was taking “historic steps to protect the First Amendment right to pray in public schools.” (NYDAILYNEWS.COM)

I'd like to present a question. Does this proclamation carry any weight, will it have any impact, if it doesn't result in prayer movements being launched in public schools? If nobody is praying, is this announcement a wasted effort? No, I don't believe it is, but let's unpack it just a bit. The analysis can also be applied to the church.

I do believe affirmation of prayer in public schools accomplishes one important thing. It officially acknowledges God and everybody's right to worship him, both privately and publicly. It authorizes students and teachers to bring deity into the conversation. I believe President Trump's decree has authority in the spiritual realm and you better know the enemy is going to fight against it hard, just as he did in 1962 when prayer in schools was outlawed. So, instead of a vehicle for actual intercession, this move by our President accomplishes something else—it establishes authority for Christians to publicly declare that Jesus is Lord.

Here's another question. Is it better for prayer in schools to be authorized yet the schools are devoid of a spirit of prayer or for prayer in schools to be banned which results in an underground movement of intercession? Of course, the right answer would be for prayer to be authorized and for the spirit of prayer to overtake our classrooms. We want both. Consider this as we leap from the school system to the church.

PRAYER IN CHURCH?

Prayer has not been legally banned in the church in America, for now at least. Sadly, generally speaking, the first scenario I presented above seems to be manifesting in the church. Prayer is allowed yet churches are devoid of a spirit of intercession.

I propose that if most people in a local church are only attending one service a week, most probably on a Sunday morning, that service must be a strategic, passionate and supernatural prayer meeting. The power of prayer is too great to relegate it to an off day at an unusual hour in a side room. Prayer is too important to shelve it in favor of a little music, unnecessary announcements and boring public speaking.

The best prayer meetings are filled with decrees, declarations, spiritual songs, proclamations of Scripture and prophetic revelation. Yes there will be anointed preaching and yes there will be explosive worship but they will be driven by an atmosphere of intercession. Church cultures will change from natural to supernatural and people will finally, many for the first time, have a personal encounter with the One they decided to surrender their lives to.

I suggest it's actually a bit embarrassing that a leader of a secular society, our President, is doing more to advance the cause of prayer than many leaders of Christian congregations are. Are the parallels perfect? Of course not. I understand that. However, I invite you to think about this. Is there freedom of intercession in your church or is it minimized? Are intercessors shunned? Are there passionate cries of fervent prayer on Sunday mornings or is the spiritual temperature kept at a comfortable level so the lukewarm won't grow uneasy?

I made a promise to every person I had the privilege of giving leadership to over the years:

I refuse to tone down the activity of the Holy Spirit out of respect of those less hungry.

Prayer must be front and center as the driver of the culture of every church. Let the visitors be uncomfortable and the pretenders get convicted. It's time for the burning ones to awaken and for pastors to lead people into passionate, heart-wrenching, wonderful prayer as the foundational expression of their local assemblies. We must stoke the coals in the furnace of intercession in our churches. President Trump is doing it for us in the schools.

14  if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV)

Is it possible that God could move more powerfully with Hillary Clinton as President?

Would God’s grace be a result of Hillary Clinton being voted in as President? Before you answer, read on.

Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. Romans 1:32 (ESV)

In this most contentious election season, it seems that we've been strong-armed into believing we must choose one of two candidates. It’s either Donald or Hillary. Approval of one or the other is mandatory. And, yes, it’s probably true that no other person has a chance at winning. Voting for a third party is nothing more than symbolic and principle driven for those that choose to do so.

I'm extremely well versed in the reasoning behind the belief that it must be either Trump or Clinton. It’s true that we effectively have a two party system in our nation and the most basic common sense reveals that we must function within those limits. With this in mind, some say that while we are choosing the lesser of two evils, it's a necessary strategy so Hillary doesn't make it into office. Others say the upcoming picks for the Supreme Court are what really matter, and that we must choose the candidate that will give us the Justices we need.

Of course, I wholeheartedly agree that Hillary stands in opposition to much of what we as Christians so deeply value. She is pro-murder of children, just as King Herod and Pharaoh were. She is a sure danger to our nation for many reasons. So, blocking her victory should be attempted at all costs, right?

In the natural, using human logic, that argument makes a lot of sense. Again, common sense would dictate that the clear choice is Donald Trump. I understand why people can get so frustrated with me. They don't understand how I can’t see it the way they do. However, I do see it…in the natural.

In the spirit, I see things very differently.

LEAN NOT ON OUR OWN UNDERSTANDING

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. Proverbs 3:5-8 (ESV)

The instruction is to refuse human wisdom and understanding while rejecting evil. Only then will God make our paths straight.

While we see only two options, God’s options are limitless. It’s an indictment on the faith of the church; a church that tends to embrace common sense, to lean on their own understanding and that is unfamiliar with the immeasurable supernatural realities of the Kingdom. Donald and Hillary are definitely not the only two possibilities. God’s wisdom is much deeper than that.

Throughout Scripture we see God calling his people to advance with seemingly ridiculous, nonsensical methods. Supernatural people are not limited to natural analysis or human wisdom. In fact, we must actually be quick to dismiss the obvious in favor of the wisdom of God.

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! Romans 11:33 (ESV)

For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 1 Corinthians 1:25 (ESV)

Since we are not limited by only two candidates, we have to expand our plan of action to include clear, biblical instructions. The Word of God is clear that we must not promote those who walk in darkness, even if our only two choices are both living that way.

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:11-17 (ESV)

We must awaken as a supernatural church, refuse to promote immorality by coming along side those who take part in the unfruitful works of darkness and we must reject foolishness. We are commanded to know what the Lord’s will is.

THIS IS HOW HILLARY’S PRESIDENCEY MIGHT RESULT IN FAVOR OF GOD RESTING ON AMERICA

My belief is simple: I am not limited to the two obvious choices for President if both of those choices would require I affirm them in their immorality. If I embrace, affirm and vote for someone who embodies immorality, perversion, arrogance and pride (no matter if they are ‘in process' or not), I will reap the consequences.

More-so, our nation will reap the consequences. It's a spiritual issue. What I endorse is what will manifest. While we might gain the Supreme Court appointees we are hoping for and we could make progress on other conservative issues, the fact remains that the nation will be ripe for judgment. Ignoring unrighteousness as a ‘lesser evil' will come back to haunt us.

And the LORD said by his servants the prophets, “Because Manasseh king of Judah has committed these abominations and has done things more evil than all that the Amorites did, who were before him, and has made Judah also to sin with his idols, therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing upon Jerusalem and Judah such disaster that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. And I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line of Samaria, and the plumb line of the house of Ahab, and I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. And I will forsake the remnant of my heritage and give them into the hand of their enemies, and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies, because they have done what is evil in my sight and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came out of Egypt, even to this day.” 2 Kings 21:10-15 (ESV)

Manasseh was driven by a deviant sexual appetite, human sacrifice and other detestable practices through the worship of Baal. His leadership AND the agreement of those in Judah who sinned with him resulted in judgment.

Both candidates have various character/sin issues similar to what we see in Manasseh. So, where does that leave us? A non-vote or a third party vote becomes valid. Voting for a righteous person who doesn't win will result in greater favor for our nation than voting for a lesser of two evils who does win.

I am stunned that so many Spirit-filled, faithful Christians are dismissing the behavior of Donald Trump, both eleven years ago when he made it clear he was in favor of behavior that many suggest equates to sexual assault and more recently with vile comments about women and others. Christians are actually buying into the diversion tactics that Trump’s comments were nothing more than locker room banter. I don’t know about you, but if I was in that locker room I’d walk out and be appalled at what I heard—not dismissive.

Many are quick to remind me of Donald’s profession of faith as a Christian, but it’s a profession that the public has never heard. I have yet to find one video or article that includes Donald discussing his passion for Jesus, from his own lips. If you know of one, please send it to me. I would be so happy to see it. There are third party accounts, but even those are extremely shallow. Of course, I pray Donald has fallen in love with the lover of his soul! At best he’s a baby Christian, and the fruit and character and consecration has yet to measure up. He’s in no place to be the leader of our nation. He may be forgiven. I hope he is. But while that qualifies him for heaven, it doesn’t qualify him for office.

Simply, we need someone with character that won’t invite judgment.

When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan. Proverbs 29:2 (ESV)

RIGHTEOUSNESS—NOT A CANDIDATE—EXALTS A NATION

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. Proverbs 14:34 (ESV)

A church that stands in and for righteousness is what will exalt our nation. We can put more hope in voting third-party and standing in righteousness as a national church than in a single, flawed candidate who affirms some of our positions through his or her policies.

If we vote for Donald Trump (or Hillary Clinton) we endorse extreme immorality and we will absolutely open the door to God’s judgment. It won’t matter what pro-Christian policies Donald advances, who he appoints to the Supreme Court or how appealing he is for national security. The church will be guilty of wrapping its arms around an idol of perversion and it will be the first to be hit with judgment.

For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. 1 Peter 4:17-19 (ESV)

Instead of trusting a two party system, we must do good, stand for righteousness and trust God.

If the church embraces Donald or Hillary, we will abdicate our right to govern and very possibly will invite terrible judgment. However, if the church rose up in humble solidarity and refused to endorse the radical immorality that’s represented in our two candidates, God’s favor would rest on us and the church would function in supernatural authority in this great land. It will matter little who’s in leadership as God will have liberty to bring revival and bring change not from the White House but from God’s House.

I firmly believe if the church was unified around righteousness as Christians refused to vote for Donald or Hillary AND Hillary Clinton won the election as a result, America would again function under the favor of the Lord, be authorized to lead and advance in righteousness. Again, in the natural that doesn't make sense but in the spirit, it does. If we take a stand, though Clinton may win, God's protection and favor will return to America.

WE MUST DISCREN SUPERNATURALLY

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14 (ESV)

We cannot default to our intellect or common sense when making decisions. God’s wisdom will seem like foolishness. It takes spiritual discernment to understand what God would have us do.

So, to clarify one more time, my opinion is that a vote for Trump in the natural might make sense, but as a Christian, and in the spirit, it can quickly lead to judgment.

If the church stood for morality and righteousness and refused to endorse anything less, Hillary Clinton might win. In the natural that may look like a massive blow, but God would have much more room to work in our nation…not because of Hillary, but because of a church that stood for holiness and refused to be strong-armed into compromise.

Only then would the church regain it's rightful place as supreme governing body in the United States of America.

If that doesn’t happen, we will be in trouble as a nation. A shaking will come. At that time, we can only pray Donald or Hillary and the people of this nation will do as Manasseh finally did after their nation was invaded by a foreign army:

The LORD spoke to Manasseh and to his people, but they paid no attention. Therefore the LORD brought upon them the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria, who captured Manasseh with hooks and bound him with chains of bronze and brought him to Babylon. And when he was in distress, he entreated the favor of the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God. 2 Chronicles 33:10-13 (ESV)

Isn’t it just like our God to use the extreme force of judgment to victoriously woo a leader and a nation to him. It would be better if judgment wasn’t necessary though, wouldn’t it?

We Need a Pastor in Chief to Lead our Nation Now More Than Ever

We can’t afford someone leading our nation who does not hear God’s voice, honor his principles or love his people.

Though I’ve heard the statement time and again, for the life of me I cannot stop shaking my head in the midst of the confusion it creates. What statement is that?

“We don’t need a Pastor in Chief to lead our nation.”

That crazy decree seems to be the rallying cry of people who are dead set on rejecting more godly candidates in favor of one who is continually bearing extremely bad fruit.

Proverbs 29:2 says, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked rule, the people mourn.”

The celebration surrounding Donald Trump zeros in on his secular problem solving abilities and his rejection of any measure of political correctness. The problem? The situation in America requires someone who applies biblical principles, not human principles; biblical wisdom, not human wisdom.

“The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country.” ~ Calvin Coolidge

Again, I just sit back and shake my head when Christians so eagerly support someone who has owned casinos and strip clubs and whose wife appeared nude in a magazine. Am I actually typing that? Christians are campaigning for a man who has owned casinos and strip clubs and whose wife appeared nude in a magazine. Wow. Yes. I did just type that. Twice. I’m flabbergasted.

Please, fellow Christian, explain yourself! How can you ignore that and the many other violations of decency that Donald Trump has committed—and continues to commit?

If my own son or daughter was campaigning for the office of President of the United States and was living similarly in an ungodly way, they would never receive my vote. My love, yes. My vote, not a chance. I couldn’t allow the blood of our nation to be on my hands. No amount of charisma, leadership ability or education could convince me to vote for them—unless they embraced a repentant life and developed into a mature follower of Jesus.

The reality is that we are absolutely electing someone to lead our nation who must be first and foremost a servant of God. If they don’t intimately know Jesus Christ, what god will they be receiving their inspiration from? The principalities and powers are drooling at the chance to be that god—the one who gives leadership to the President of the United States of America. If we don’t have a God fearing person in office, one who exhibits the traits of a true pastor, the alternative should terrify us.

“We recognize no sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus!” ~ John Adams

“The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which heaven itself has ordained.” ~ George Washington

PASTOR IN CHIEF

For all of those who are adamantly arguing against electing a Pastor in Chief, please let me know which of the following attributes are improper for the leader of our nation.

1 Timothy 3 1-7 reveals the qualifications of overseers of the church. I propose that these must be minimum qualifications for one who would desire to lead our nation:

  1. Above reproach—This means to be blameless. No evil should be able to be proved against any candidate of public office. This doesn’t only mean any illegal activity, it means to be free of evil, of sinful practice. How can a President lead our nation via righteous means if he isn’t living righteously his self?
  2. The husband of one wife—This mandate has become so diluted in our modern society. It’s shocking that we would hold to a position that divorced people disqualify themselves from leadership (unless the divorce is supported by Scripture).
  3. Sober-minded—Adam Clarke translates this as “having the complete government of all his passions.” This is talking about a mature person who isn’t given to anger or emotional responses to the issues of life.
  4. Self-controlled—Sometimes candidates for office are referred to as appearing Presidential. They are self-controlled, steady and not swayed by the challenges in front of them. They are confident and solid in their position.
  5. Respectable—A candidate’s reputation will precede them, and it must be squeaky clean. At the least, they must humbly admit their previous failures and be believable going forward. They must be genuine.
  6. Hospitable—Will a candidate get into the trenches with common people, serve them with passion and connect with them as a friend? It’s something very special when this happens, and I believe we should expect it. It’s a part of the office.
  7. Able to teach—It might be easy to dismiss this as pertaining specifically to pastors. I would disagree. We must have a leader who can communicate clearly, understand his subject matter and connect with the people of America so well that he gains our trust and that we are properly informed.
  8. Not a drunkard—This should go without saying. No leader, spiritual or secular, will be able to fulfill his duties if he drinks to excess.
  9. Not violent—Violence in a pastor would be truly terrible. Violence in the leader of our nation would literally put our nation at risk of nuclear war.
  10. Gentle—A non-violent leader is mandatory, but we have to expect even more. They must be gentle. Do you perceive a gentle, tender heart in your candidate?
  11. Not quarrelsome—Do they play dirty? Do they call people names, act like a bully or threaten? If so, putting them in the land’s highest position would be a cataclysmic mistake.
  12. Not a lover of money—This should be absolutely non-negotiable for any leader, much less the President of the United States. A love of money is the root of all evil, and if that attribute is in our leader our nation is put at extreme risk of being overtaken by evil.
  13. Manage his household well—Does the candidate have a reputation of being a stable family leader? Do his children respect him? Are they submissive? This is more important than we may realize.
  14. Not a recent convert—This may be the most important attribute for the leader of our nation. Having anybody other than a seasoned Christian leading our nation should be unthinkable.
  15. Be well thought of by outsiders—Is the candidate an honorable person? Do people respect their character?

The question I’m presenting is simple: why would we not demand such a code of ethics for those who are running for office? What is unreasonable about it? Why would such a list of qualifications be rejected when seeking to elect someone for the most powerful and influential position in our great (or once great) nation?

The obvious defense would be that no candidate passes the test. That’s debatable, but regardless, we must elect the person who scores the highest. We can’t throw out the standards simply because of a lack of perfection. Look for the humble person, for the mature Believer, for the one who walks in the fear of the Lord.

Donald Trump is clearly not that person. I pray someday he could be.

10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Psalm 2:10-11 (ESV)

Could the God Card be the Trump Card?

Christians are playing the God card during this election season. Could it be the Trump card?

WATCH A VIDEO BY JOHN BURTON ON THIS TOPIC:

The American Christian church has ventured into dangerous ground over the last several years. This current political season is making that quite evident.

The number of Christians who are using the God card to support their personal endeavors today is troubling. I’ve been in some form of Christian leadership for over 25 years, and I never stop being shocked at how casually someone can attach the name of God to their own opinions and desires.

Doing so is a serious violation. Stating that God endorses our personal desires when he in fact does not is taking his name in vain.

When immoral preachers announce that God said you’d receive a blessing if you sent them money, that’s taking the Lord’s name in vain.

When we prophesy over someone by saying, “God told me to tell you…” when you are selfishly advancing your own agenda, you are taking his name in vain.

Before you dismiss me as one who is opposed to the prophetic, I need to make it clear that I believe we need to hear God’s voice much more regularly in the church today. God absolutely is talking to us and we not only have the opportunity but the responsibility to know him intimately and receive what he is communicating to us. I am unapologetically a prophetic minister and I actually believe it’s quite impossible to follow God in fullness without being a prophetic people.

From my book Revelation Driven Prayer:

To default to human logic in neglect of the present voice of God Himself is a very average, not to say dangerous way to live.

The issue we have today is not the fact that we need people to dive deeper into a prophetic life, it’s the way so many are jumping in.

GOD SAID.

I'm hearing more and more people saying they are following the leading of the Holy Spirit, or that God said this or that…while ignoring truth that's already revealed in Scripture. It's time we stop using the God card and get back to the timeless principles in the Word of God. If Scripture doesn't support our mystical revelations, we have to throw them out.

I don’t know how many times in my life I’ve heard people attach a nearly indefensable excuse to a decision they are making: God said. That’s it. We are expected to accept their decision or behavior simply because they declare that, “God said.”

Except, so often, he did not.

I know, it’s extremely offensive to be challenged on our ability to hear God’s voice, but we have to be okay with some scrutiny for the sake of the health of the church, our nation and ourselves. We must stop stating what God is telling us to do unless we have firm biblical support to back us up.

People that use the God card to accomplish what they desire are very often the same people who barely have a prayer life, aren’t in the Word of God as they should be and who rarely hear God giving input on anything other than what personally benefits them.

God told me it’s time to leave my church without the blessing of my pastor.

God said it’s okay to leave my wife.

God said it’s okay to watch immoral movies since I’m mature enough to handle the smut.

The Holy Spirit wants more freedom in my church, and he chose me to give this information to so I can tell the pastor.

God said I don’t have to do this.

God revealed I can do that.

God said Donald Trump is his man of the hour.

If I lost you, I’m sure I have your attention again.

THE TRUMP CARD

I need to make a point extremely clear so there is no confusion whatsoever. God has not told me that Donald Trump is the one he has chosen to lead our nation. God has also not told me Donald Trump is not the one he has chosen. I think we must come back to sensibility regarding one of the most important decisions we as voting Christians will make over the next four years. We must be based on the Word of God as the plumbline, not a subjective sense that we call prophetic. Is it possible for God to speak in the moment to us personally about this issue? Of course. However, he will do so with clarity and without compromising principles in the Word.

Quit using the God card when it comes to the political future of our nation. Doing so just may be the trump card for Donald Trump’s campaign.

It’s a sad, revealing picture of today’s church when some truly amazing children of God are absolutely ignoring or dismissing clear and troubling issues just so they can promote the person they want for the office of President.

“Men acting under the belief and awe of God as their inspector and judge, to whom they consider themselves accountable for their conduct and whom they fear to offend.” Matthias Burnet, 1803 election sermon

“Nothing will so surely, so rapidly bring on the dissolution of society, and the loss of the liberties of a people, as a want of virtue and integrity in their rulers.” ~Chandler Robbins, 1791 election sermon

It's shocking how many Christians are using the excuse that we aren't electing a “Pastor in Chief”. What a strange argument! How can we be so eager to elect someone who does not know God? Would it not be preferable to have an anointed pastor running our nation? What a glorious four years that would be!

Prov 29:2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked rule, the people mourn.

We have a duty to choose godly leaders. How is it so many are using the God card by saying that we are to ignore that scripture by choosing an ungodly authority? It’s been said that Donald Trump may be the most vulgar man ever to run for President! How can anybody not see the conflict? We had two Christian men in Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio to choose from, but the evangelical church has rejected true children of God for a more popular secular leader.

So many are presuming God will work through an ungodly person, a Cyrus as it has been stated, more effectively than through a godly one. That, friend, doesn't hold scriptural muster. It's nonsense.

Our Forefathers must be turning in their graves. Why would we not want a godly man or woman in the nation's highest office?

I don't believe anyone can rightly govern without a legitimate relationship with Jesus Christ. I don't think it's possible. Yet, it seems millions of Christian men and women of God are rejecting that reality in favor of one who has achieved success by secular, worldly means. We can't afford an ungodly person leading our nation no matter how brilliant, bold or innovative they may be.

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
– George Washington

“Americans should select and prefer Christians as their rulers.”
– John Jay, The first Supreme Court Justice

“There are a good many problems before the American people today, and before me as President, but I expect to find the solution to those problems just in the proportion that I am faithful in the study of the Word of God.”
– Woodrow Wilson, 28th President

God said to vote for Donald Trump? If he really told you that, simply back it up with Scripture.

I would agree that God may want Donald Trump in office, and that he may desire to establish him as authority over our nation, but it would most probably be as a means of judgment, not blessing.

God has done that in the past. Scripture reveals that quite clearly.

On the contrary, God may one day move powerfully on Donald Trump’s heart and we could have quite an amazing leader.

However, that has yet to happen, and voting for him in hopes that it does is irresponsible, in my opinion.

After the election is over we will all have the opportunity to serve our leader with passion. That will be an honor.

For all of those who oppose Donald Trump as President, you better be ready to become his biggest advocate and servant in intercession should he get elected. That won't be a time for arrogant pouting, but rather for undergirding and prayer. Does that mean you should vote for him? No, not if your values would be compromised. But you must love him and go to battle for him for the sake of his soul and our nation. Pray with such humility that your position of opposing him is proven to be wrong.

In closing, in the midst of this unparallelled political season, we must remain humble and full of life.

If you aren't able to honor and bless others while discussing politics, you should stop the conversation. If you lose your joy, get angry, get offended or want to divide away from another brother or sister in Christ if they disagree with you, something's not right. Keep smiling. Rejoice always. Stand for truth. Love deeply.

Three Critical Responses to Homosexual Marriage and our Current Crisis

At a time of national crisis, the church must respond in a way we haven’t in recent memory.

The current crisis of legalized homosexual marriage and the attack against Christian business owners who are standing up for their faith is resulting in a lot of uproar, strong opinions, Facebook and Twitter wars and even confusion and fear for many Christians. Ten years ago the reality of what we are facing today was unthinkable. The thought that a Christian baker would be fined $135,000 because they refused to provide a cake for a homosexual wedding would have been absolutely nonsensical and unbelievable. Yet, this is where we are today.

Dell-000050162In 2008, President Obama said, “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix.”

It’s highly doubtful our President really believed what he said in that campaign season. Just seven years later he lights up the White House in rainbow colors and declares:

This ruling will strengthen all of our communities by offering to all loving same-sex couples the dignity of marriage across this great land.

In my second inaugural address, I said that if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. It is gratifying to see that principle enshrined into law by this decision.

This ruling is a victory for Jim Obergefell and the other plaintiffs in the case. It’s a victory for gay and lesbian couples who have so long for their basic civil rights.

This ruling is a victory for America. This decision affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts. When all Americans are treated as equal, we are all more free.

If President Obama only understood how erroneous that statement was. The result isn’t a freer America. It’s an imprisoned people who are now validated and locked into an identity that will bring devastation and spiritual death.

The Church Must Respond

All of this is taking place on the church’s watch. It’s our fault for refusing to do what’s necessary to see revival and a spiritual revolution come to America. Our reckless slumber is resulting in millions of people falling deeper into the hopelessness that sin and a Christ-less lifestyle brings.

Pastors, nobody wants to come to our churches anymore when they are devoid of passion, power, depth and a consecration worthy of the King of kings. The answer isn’t inviting friends to our church services, it’s finding those who are serious enough to contend in tears for a move of God.

We can’t be surprised that, as Pastor John Kilpatrick says, “America is now an apostate nation.” As with Israel during the time of Gideon who was given into the hand of Midian for seven years, America is experiencing the early stages of judgment—and our response must be quick and fervent.

Judges 6:1-2 (ESV) 1 The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD gave them into the hand of Midian seven years. 2 And the hand of Midian overpowered Israel, and because of Midian the people of Israel made for themselves the dens that are in the mountains and the caves and the strongholds.

The enemy has escalated his attack against the church in an attempt to completely overtake this culture and to destroy our provision, overwhelm us with fear and cause us to cower as the roaring lion threatens to devour.

Judges 6:3-5 (ESV) 3 For whenever the Israelites planted crops, the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East would come up against them. 4 They would encamp against them and devour the produce of the land, as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel and no sheep or ox or donkey. 5 For they would come up with their livestock and their tents; they would come like locusts in number—both they and their camels could not be counted—so that they laid waste the land as they came in.

While there are a diversity of reactions that are appropriate, I propose the following three to be non-negotiable:

STEP ONE: Cry out.

In a time of desperation, it’s time to cry out.

We must see churches embracing reform and becoming prayer meetings again. Solemn assemblies should start popping up in every city in our nation and every blood bought Christian should be in attendance. No longer can we offer up the “good excuses” that have crippled the church. Gather together and repent. Pray. Burn. Contend. Cry out.

Joel 2:15-17 (ESV) 15 Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly; 16 gather the people. Consecrate the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber. 17 Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep and say, “Spare your people, O LORD, and make not your heritage a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”

How’s that for shutting down excuses? How often do we think it’s okay to reject the call to gather and pray because other activities seem to be more demanding? The call is to gather the congregation and the elders. Every Christian, every pastor in the city should be together. But, certainly if the solemn assembly doesn’t have child care then moms would be exempt, right? No. Obviously someone who has spent a great deal of time, energy and money preparing for their wedding day would be excused, right? It depends on what’s more pressing, I suppose. How serious are we? How desperate is the situation?

I suppose the question is, what must happen in our nation before no excuse is powerful enough to steal our attention from the call to cry out as a church.

Ask yourself an honest question: What is different in your life as a result of the onslaught of the enemy against Christianity and the church? Are you gathering together continually to contend in prayer with other remnant Christians? Are you broken and repentant? Are you waking up everyday burning hot with passion for advancing the Kingdom? Are you calling for solemn assemblies? Just what is different? Or, are you attending church services just as you always have, focusing on family life, pouring energy into entertainment and saying a nice bedtime prayer?

I want to challenge you to CRY OUT! Embrace such a radical shift in your daily life that people around you are stunned. Become a burning, shining lamp, a blazing, searing force that ignites atmospheres!

The threat of the enemy will only grow more terrifying if the church doesn’t discover its end-time purpose.

For Israel the threat was so fearsome that they retreated into hiding in caves. Will the American church wait for that to happen before we repent? Will the church of this nation have to go underground as is the case in China and other nations where Christianity is forbidden before we lay our American dreams on the altar?

Christianity is already becoming illegal. Christians in business cannot adhere to their faith anymore as they are at risk of bankruptcy inducing government fines as was the case in Oregon:

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry (BOLI) awarded $60,000 to Laurel Bowman-Cryer and $75,000 in damages to Rachel Bowman-Cryer for “emotional suffering.”

“This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage,” the final order read. “It is about a business’s refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal.”

According to the BOLI, the lesbian couple suffered great angst. One of the women “felt depressed and questioned whether there was something inherently wrong with the sexual orientation she was born with.” They said she had “difficulty controlling her emotions and cried a lot.”

Apparently if our faith results in someone having difficult controlling their emotions we are operating our business illegally.

It’s time to cry out, church.

Judges 6:6 (ESV) 6 And Israel was brought very low because of Midian. And the people of Israel cried out for help to the LORD.

STEP TWO: God sends a prophet.

Too often we presume our prayer, our cry, should result in God flipping the switch from bad to good, from crisis to help. This is rarely how it works.

After we rend our hearts and cry out to God he most often sends clear instructions to us. We need to resolve the issue that resulted in the crisis, and God will grace us and empower us to do so.

Judges 6:7-8 (ESV) 7 When the people of Israel cried out to the LORD on account of the Midianites, 8 the LORD sent a prophet to the people of Israel. And he said to them, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: I led you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of bondage.

Through a prophet God encourages the Israelites by reminding him of his faithfulness and his ability to rescue and redeem. Even though they aren’t out of the crisis yet, God is so loving that his first reaction is to comfort them—even as they are still suffering and hiding in the caves.

His encouragement then continues, along with a clear indictment:

Judges 6:9-10 (ESV) 9 And I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 And I said to you, ‘I am the LORD your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.’ But you have not obeyed my voice.”

The reason they were cowering in caves, being plundered by their enemies and fearing annihilation was not because their enemies refused to honor God or to establish laws that are scriptural. It’s because they were disobedient. Similarly, we can’t point the finger and blame a corrupt, perverse, godless society for our troubles! The legalization of homosexual marriage is the expected outcome in our culture! Don’t be shocked. More is coming—unless the church figures things out quickly.

STEP THREE: Obey.

Now is the time to hear God’s voice and obey!

Judges 6:11-13 (ESV) 11 Now the angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor.” 13 And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

Gideon was complaining that things were bad, that things weren’t changing, but he didn’t realize that he was the reason! It was his fault and the fault of the Israelites that things were bad…and it was him who must turn things around.

God refused to listen to his complaints. He was done with the excuses. He called Gideon according to his true identity!

Judges 6:14 (ESV) 14 And the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?”

It was time for Gideon to obey.

His excuses continued, and God gave him one more striking vote of confidence:

Judges 6:15-16 (ESV) 15 And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” 16 And the LORD said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.”

Gideon proceeded to tear down his father’s altar, form a remnant army and advance against the enemy as one man!

This is your calling, friend. You are called to cry out, receive prophetic instruction and obey the command of the Lord as you route the enemy of the church and our nation as one man!

Our call to cry out will have some pretty powerful results. The cry will shift from the people of God to the enemy as they run for their lives:

Judges 7:20-21 (ESV) 20 Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the jars. They held in their left hands the torches, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow. And they cried out, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!” 21 Every man stood in his place around the camp, and all the army ran. They cried out and fled.