IT IS GOOD TO DIE YOUNG

One day on the way to a church meeting the Lord said to me, “it takes 20 years to make a man”. I had been counting in my mind how many years I had been in the ministry and how many years I’d been saved when suddenly I heard that phrase in my spirit. Whenever the Lord makes a statement like this, almost out of left field, I pay very close attention to it because it is a seasonal statement, meaning something is about to change…get ready…what you’ve been prepared for is upon you.

During this recent drive to a church meeting I was also rehearsing all the seasons of my life and ministry in my mind, and wishing I had learned certain lessons earlier. I was also rejoicing in the goodness and mercy of God shown to me. Then the thought hit me, “it is good to die young”.

Now I certainly don’t mean that literally, but spiritually. It is good to learn to die to your flesh and to your own will and ways when you’re young. You’ll make far quicker progress that way. Paul said he died daily.

How do you die daily? By making every motive of your heart like the Son of man, who said he came to serve and not to be served. A spirit of love and servanthood will keep you at death’s door to your own flesh and desires. This must be the first order in your life.

Without this foundation all you do will be in vain because it will have no eternal reward. There’s a reason why Jesus began his public ministry in Matthew’s gospel by teaching on the motives of the heart (Mt. 6). It is foundational to the kingdom of heaven. I wrote the book, “Purity of Heart” based on that revelation.

CEILINGS AND FLOORS

Concerning this issue of servanthood, years ago a respected minister ministered by revelation to me when he saw my tombstone. I was scared for a moment thinking I was going to die, but he told me a new Bert would be resurrected. He then saw a servant’s towel in my hand.

I have to admit I did not fully yield, receive, nor totally understand the magnitude of that vision. As a result, for nearly the next three years, I suffered needlessly because of my lack of meekness and a true servant’s heart. You see, I unknowingly was refusing to die, and be the servant God wanted me to be. Outwardly many close to me probably thought I was a true and humble servant, but God desired a far greater depth of it in my own heart and life.

Then in 2002 during a long season of prayer and fasting (that’s the quickest way to die) while I had been pondering a constant spiritual impression of a glass ceiling over my head, and of the glory on the other side, God began to speak to me about the floor. I had been mindful of the ceiling that represented increase, anointing, power, opportunity, favor, etc., but the Lord directed me to the floor. In other words, my foundation.

To tell you the truth, I thought my foundation was just fine. I had been in the full time preaching ministry for 15 years. I had been a faithful missionary. I had seen God work healings and miracles through my hands and my mouth. I had taught and trained thousands of people. Why was the Lord directing my attention to the floor and to my foundations? The ceiling is where I wanted to go. That is what I was thinking and praying about. If I had not been in a position of humility through prayer and fasting, I would’ve missed it again Thank God for His patience and long-suffering.

From early January to early May of 2002 I prayed in the Holy Ghost hours every day, starved my flesh, and fed my spirit on the Word of God. On March 24th of 2002 I entered another room of fellowship in the Spirit and have not been the same ever since. Revelation flooded my soul for the next several weeks…revelation about my character and revelation about my call. God talked. I listened and wrote. Over the years I have shared some of that experience but not fully until I put it in a book (The Journal Of A Journey).

In everyone’s life there are ceilings and doors, and rooms and floors. We’ll deal with ceilings in people’s lives that stunt spiritual progress and how floors determine our fruitfulness and longevity in life and ministry. We’ll also instruct you on how to enter into new doors and new rooms. Stay tuned…

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AN INVITATION TO A SOLEMN ASSEMBLY

My wife Carolyn and I would like to extend a special invitation to all our blog followers to join us for our Holy Ghost Fall Forum in Gilford, NH. The dates are Friday and Saturday, October 30-31.

WHAT IS A HOLY GHOST FORUM?

The Holy Ghost Forum is a five-fold ministry panel discussing the Word of God, not with enticing words of man’s speech, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of the power of God (1 Cor. 2:4-5).

It is a team of ministers moving in a 1 Cor. 14:26 format where each one has a psalm, a teaching, a tongue, a revelation, and an interpretation.

The purpose of the Forum is to light and ignite a passion for the moving of the Holy Spirit on the earth in demonstration and in power – in igniting lives that they might carry this to other places.

The Forum is a service to the body of Christ and to ministers.

Here is a Spirit-inspired utterance concerning the Forum:

“It was Your provision in that day to meet with God, to prepare for Him. And so shall it be in this hour. The Forum is a place to prepare for His return, for the marriage, to be filled with the Spirit, for the Bride to come and be equipped in the river – to be visited and experience the presence and power of God through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. For there are some who need a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit, and there are many wise virgins that You are awaking, foolish virgins who need to trim their lamps. I’m making a way for those wise virgins who gave all they had for extra oil. They paid a price to burn bright in the darkest hour – to hear as they heard John in the wilderness.You are a voice by the river of living water aiding and helping those who need fresh baptisms.”

COME AND JOIN US OCTOBER 30-31 FOR OUR HOLY GHOST FORUM!

For more information and to register please go to our website: http://www.holy-fire.org

I hope you can come!

Abundant grace to you!

Bert Farias

ABANDONING THE MACHINERY OF MINISTRY

Church needs to be a place where people seek God in faith, prayer, and expectation. There ought to be an awe and a reverence of coming together corporately into God’s presence. The Scripture tells us that even sinners should be convicted by the presence of God in our midst.

“But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you” (1 Cor. 14:24-25).

The apostle Paul lays out instructions for maximizing the power and presence of God in our gatherings. If things are arranged according to the Father’s order and will He will be present and in manifestation, and people will be drawn to Jesus. Conversely, nowadays church leaders study demographics and people’s preferences in order to make church more appealing to them.

When we try and make church appealing to man it actually detracts from the presence of God and what He wants. When we organize our church agenda and services toward pleasing God, it is then that men will be drawn to Jesus.

Here is a simple equation for this:

Please God – Draw people
Please people – Detract God

Building church to cater to people’s preferences does not draw the presence of God. God knows what people need far more than we do. Following His plan is what brings His presence and power into manifestation. The greatest meetings are those where we follow the leading and direction of the Spirit of God.

Years ago there was a far greater emphasis on making church appealing to God. There was a greater reverence for God and a caution not to grieve the Holy Spirit, or quench what He wanted to do and how He wanted to move.

Today it appears we are so busy curtailing the church experience to accommodate what we feel people want or what they will respond to. So much care and thought goes into not offending the people, but so little consideration goes into not offending God.

We tone down the Scriptures on sin and God’s demands for true discipleship.

We arrange the music around what makes people feel good and happy, loved and accepted.

We program our services so as to not go past a certain time.

The standard that determined early Church policy was pretty clear.

“If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Pet. 4:11).

We do demographic studies and research people’s preferences to make people feel comfortable and loved in church, to make them return, and to know we are relevant. But God’s wisdom is much higher and so much more effective.

What if God doesn’t want them to feel comfortable? What if feeling comfortable is the root of their problem. Perhaps if people were allowed to feel uncomfortable they would seek God for His comfort.

Instead of trying to show them that we care, what if knowing God cares is the only thing that can set them free?

And shouldn’t they return to church because they’ve had an encounter with God? And is relevance really that important when sin and spiritual blindness is the sinner’s main problem?

The more we try and build God’s house with our own efforts and in our own wisdom, the more we will labor in vain because we will only attract people to ourselves and our programs. But if we let the Holy Spirit build the house He will attract people to Jesus.

As I read in a recent post that I paraphrased from a Facebook friend,  we must abandon the machinery of ministry:

“There must be an abandoning by our preachers and churches – from what someone called the ‘machinery of ministry’. The status quo, hold-down-the-fort type of thinking is killing the Church. We are sorely in need of a return to a supernatural Church comprised of spiritual initiatives and radical faith. We need to slay this manmade ministry that has been born out of cultural and social compromise.

I believe we are headed for a time of ‘pastoral clarity’, where leaders are going to experience epiphanies of just who they are and who they are not. Pastors will quit trying to be all things to all people and instead will embrace being that ‘one’ thing to those called under their leadership. A radical move of God will be preceded by radical change, and I believe we are closer to that shift than ever before.” – Shane Philpott

I say a hearty Amen to that.

LOOKING UNTO JESUS (PT. 2)

The Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul gave this instruction to the Corinthian Christians.

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’ Therefore, ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty’” (2 Cor. 6:14-18).

God promises to live with us and walk with us, to be our God and we His people – and that is to be our motivation for being separated from the world and unto God. There is a condition attached to Him living in us and walking with us. Come out from the world! Come out from idolatry. Come out from darkness. Come out from all unrighteousness and all that is unclean. Then you will have the promise of His presence. This is not salvation. This is holiness and sanctification. God delivers us from the world and then He expects us to continually cleanse ourselves from the world.

Look at 2 Cor. 7:1:

“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

Again, the promises of God in 1 Cor. 6 are specifically that He would live in us and walk with us, and because of those precious promises we are to cleanse ourselves. It doesn’t even say that God would cleanse us or that the blood of Jesus would cleanse us. The responsibility is on us. We are to cooperate with the empowering grace of God, which “teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world” (Titus 2:12).

The grace of God will never teach you to live as you please. It will never teach you to love the world and all that is in the world. It will never teach you to follow the dictates of your flesh and your feelings. It will never lead you into sin. Anything that leads you into sin, loose living, and carnal behavior has nothing to do with the grace of God. But notice the next verse in Titus 2 (v 13), which is attached to verse 12 and still a vital part of the overall meaning.

Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

It is the “looking” that helps us in our walk of holiness and sanctification. It is the “looking” that aids us in overcoming sin and habits of the flesh. This is our responsibility. What are you looking at? Or better yet, who are you looking at? If there are two people standing in front of you and talking to you at the same time you are always going to hear the person who you look at. You can’t look at both of them and hear both of them. As a Christian you can’t have a divided heart. You can’t serve two masters.

We see this principle at work also in the life of Moses.

“By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible (Heb. 11:24-27).

Moses overcame the pleasures of sin in Egypt and chose to suffer with the people of God primarily because of what he looked to. He not only separated himself from the ungodly ways of Egypt (symbolic of the world), but he also “looked to the reward” and “saw Him who is invisible”. The looking and the seeing prodded Moses ahead and gave him godly incentive to move forward.

What are you looking at? Your sin or the Son?

LOOKING UNTO JESUS: THE KEY TO OUR SANCTIFICATION

Without a revelation of God’s love and an understanding of the process of transformation, Christians will go into each new day of their lives either trying to gain God’s favor, or throw in the towel because they failed to live up to Biblical standards.

Here is a great principle to help us in our weaknesses and struggles: When our eyes are on ourselves we sink lower; when our eyes are on Jesus we rise higher. Or to say it another way, when we are sin-conscious it genders more bondage to the flesh, but when we are Son-conscious it brings liberty and transformation.

There’s an old hymn the saints of God have sung for generations that serves to remind us of this powerful principle.

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.”

When the children of Israel were instructed to look at the brazen serpent they were healed of their leprosy (Num. 21:8-9). This brazen serpent was an angelic being and a type of Christ.

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up” (Jn. 3:14).

If we want to learn to walk in the Spirit and have victory over sin, habits, and temptation we must train ourselves to look on Jesus. He is the author and finisher of our faith. This means that the work He has started in us He will finish.

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:1-2).

Notice the two simultaneous instructions given here in this verse. We are to “lay aside” every weight and sin so we can run our Christian race with endurance, and secondly, we are to do this by “looking unto Jesus”.
Looking unto Jesus is the difference between trying to produce results in our own strength and effort, and trusting in God’s ability in us to do it.

The grace of God is His ability and empowerment to do what His truth demands of us. This sanctifying grace is accessed through faith. Faith is simply trusting the Lord.

In other words, stop tinkering with your flesh and your soul with all their weaknesses, shortcomings, and flaws and learn to simply look to the Lord –beholding His glory. Sounds too simple, doesn’t it? But in fact, it is a great truth.

“But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image” (2 Cor. 3:16-18 – NLT).

The veil this scripture speaks of is a blindness and a hardness that every man has before he comes to Christ. The verses before teach us that Israel had this blindness when they read the Law in the Old Testament. The Law only served to render every man guilty of sin. It exposed every man’s sin without the power to set him free from sin. The Law could only produce a sin consciousness. It was a veil that blinded Israel. But that veil is removed when a person turns to Christ or puts his faith in Him. When that veil is removed there is freedom to see the Lord and to reflect His glory.

The image of God that the heavenly Father has provided for us is Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “he that has seen Me has seen the Father” (Jn. 14:9). The more you see Jesus, the more you are changed. It is the Father’s will for you to be changed into the glorious image of Christ. His image is what creates grace in us.

How does that happen?

The seed of the image of Christ is planted in a man when he is born again. It is God’s gift of grace to man. It is then up to him to water that seed. As you read the Word of God, especially the gospels, see every attribute of Christ as your own. See His life as your own. Behold His glory as in a mirror, and as you do, His image is brought forth in you by the Spirit of God and not by your own works. Your work is only to see Him – to behold Him. This is how you begin possessing His image in your own heart and life. This is first accomplished by seeing Christ with a living hope. In other words fill your hope with His image for it is “Christ in us, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).

But here is a warning: His image in you will be distorted if you are not separated from the world. Being set apart from the world will enable you to see His glory. In other words, to turn to the Lord means that you’ve turned not only from the Law, but from sin and the world. Anything short of that will keep a veil over your mind to some extent where you are hindered from seeing the Lord as He is. That is the condition for seeing God and beholding His glory.

THE RAPTURE MADE SIMPLE – LET’S CUT TO THE CHASE

“Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days” (Rev 12:1-6).

In the account of the Sun-Clothed Woman and the Manchild that is caught up to heaven in Revelation 12, the rest of the seed of the woman is left behind on the earth. Now some may argue and say that the symbolism in this account is mainly dealing with Israel and Christ, but a closer look will reveal a fuller picture.

Spiritual Israel is certainly included in the Sun-Clothed Woman, but we must understand that she represents more that Israel. She is a heavenly sign which is more symbolic of the glorious Church than of Israel.

Most dispensational interpretations say that the Sun-Clothed Woman is national Israel, but how can that be? National Israel rejected Jesus Christ. Certainly Israel is represented in the symbolism of the Woman and the Manchild, but it is spiritual Israel.

It would be absurd to interpret that national Israel who put Christ to death is symbolized in the glorious Sun-Clothed Woman! The Christ-rejecting Jews are more clearly represented as followers of the dragon than the Woman (Rev 2:9). Even Jesus told the unbelieving Jews that they were of their father, the devil (John 8:39, 44). Paul himself said a Jew is not one outwardly, but inwardly by the Spirit (Rom 2:28-29).

The more accurate and complete interpretation of this marvelous symbol of the Sun-Clothed Woman is that she represents the people of God of all ages which does include Israel. She is the Church in the wilderness of the Old Testament whom Israel escaped when they fled from Egypt, but she is also the glorious New Testament Church. She is the Church of all dispensations of time who is depicted here in Rev. 12 in an age long conflict with the dragon Satan that began in the garden of Eden. Again, she does include spiritual Israel, but certainly not national Israel.

Notice that the great fiery red dragon has 7 crowns on his 7 heads, which in the symbolism, most Bible scholars agree, represents the entire period of human history seen in its 7 empires, the 7th being that of the Antichrist. The Manchild which has been interpreted as being applied solely to Christ is also incomplete because Christ did not escape death by being raptured, and secondly, Christ was born 100 years before this prophecy. All prophecy relates to the future and not the past. Certainly, in a general way, there is a parallel here with Israel and Christ in the symbolism of the Woman and the Manchild, but it is not the primary fulfillment of this prophecy.

Thirdly, notice in Revelation 12:5 that the remnant of the Woman’s seed is left behind and flees into the wilderness for 1260 days which is approximately 3 ½ years, the same duration of the great tribulation when the Antichrist comes into power. The expression “the remnant of her seed” tells us that a large number of her seed has been taken away in rapture. Again, this remnant also cannot be natural Israel because they “keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Rev 12:17)

There is a definite distinction between the saints at the end of the age. Indeed at the end of the Church age some saints are ready for the Lord’s return at the first phase of His coming called the rapture. Clearly, some are not. Some are taken, and some are left. Some are caught away before the great tribulation, and some go through it. The Manchild is not one person, but a company of those caught up to the throne, who are the firstfruits unto God. The remnant of the Woman’s seed are those left behind, who are the tribulation saints (this defutes both the pre-trib theory where no saint is left behind and the theory that the entire Church go through the tribulation).

A closer look at another golden clue identifies the time period of this symbolism. Observe the dragon has 7 heads and 10 horns. Notice that the horns are not yet crowned, but in Rev 13:1 they are crowned. What does that mean? Most Bible scholars agree that the 10 horns in this imagery represent the 10 kings who have power only when the Antichrist reigns. This means that he is not yet reigning at the beginning of Rev 12, but is in Rev 13:1.

Through this symbolism we can safely determine that the Sun-Clothed Woman and the dragon Satan are indeed portrayed as spiritual enemies throughout the ages with the moment of action marked by the travail, birth, and subsequent rapture of the Manchild. This is the glorious rapture of the Church for those who are watchful, prayerful, consecrated, and ready.

How thrilling of a possibility it is to be included in this company! It should be the supreme preoccupation and magnificent obsession of every saint.

WHAT DONALD TRUMP CAN TEACH TD JAKES AND HILLSONG’S BRIAN HOUSTON

“Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played? For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle? So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air” (1 Cor. 14:7-9).

Although the subject here is the gift of tongues and interpretation, the point being made is to speak in order to be understood. Too many preachers are not doing that.

GOP candidate Donald Trump is teaching preachers a lesson. Many may think he’s rude and harsh, but he speaks clearly and plainly and is quite difficult to misunderstand. Most of all, the people are responding to his message.

Perhaps we as preachers have robbed ourselves by being gray instead of black and white. Perhaps we’ve robbed the church of more converts and true followers because we think they don’t want to hear plain speech, when in fact, they do. Perhaps it is time to reconsider that in our quest not to offend them we are repelling them.

Ambiguity has no part in the gospel. There is to be a certain and clear sound coming from our pulpits. Political correctness has no part in the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. If a preacher cannot speak clearly about the tenets of the faith, especially as it relates to such a sacred subject like marriage he doesn’t belong in the pulpit. He needs to get out and find another occupation. A politician might better suit one of such cowardice.

“You be careful when anybody comes to you with a sugar-coated pill or with a slimy tongue. They are always of the devil. The Spirit of the Lord will always deal with truth.” — Smith Wigglesworth

The root of the problem here is money, friends, and influence. Many preachers who are in the limelight will seek to talk in such a way as to not lose money, friends, and influence. Such preachers need to be reminded that our loyalty is not to people but to the truth. I don’t care how many favors the people have done for you or how much of a friend they may be. I don’t even care if they are close relatives. To prefer them over Jesus and the Scriptures is to be a traitor to the highest cause.

Both Elijah the prophet and Elisha his successor coined this phrase, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand…” (1 Kings 17:1, 18:5; 2 Kings 3:14, 5:16). Paul, the apostle coined a similar expression, “For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ” (2 Cor. 2:17).

In both Elijah’s and Paul’s day, as it is today, there were many false prophets and apostles who peddled the word of God for money, favor, and influence. However, Elijah and Paul ministered in the sight of God. They were men of sincerity and truth, who feared God and hated covetousness. Such were the qualifications for leaders as far back as the time of Moses (Ex. 18:21).

What T.D. Jakes and other high profile religious leaders do when they are faced with a direct question in a public forum is they cower down and sugar-coat things they say to avoid offense and controversy. They say it is to keep the door open for the witness of the gospel and not cut the people off that they are trying to reach. But when do you tell these people the real, plain, clear truth? The way you win them is ultimately the way you are going to keep them. If you are going to win them with unclear speech and fuzzy doctrine then you must keep them by feeding them with the same. This is the reason we have so called gay “Christians” in our churches. They don’t really know where you stand because you’ve substituted influence for truth.

There is no question we are to love everyone, but there are certain standards in Scripture for membership in a church that professes the Lordship of Jesus Christ. “For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore ‘put away from yourselves the evil person’” (1 Cor. 5:12-13).

In case you didn’t know the subject at hand that Paul is addressing, here it is:

I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person” (1 Cor. 5:9-11).

Paul is addressing habitual sin, especially sexual immorality in the church. In this case, it was incest. Paul was commanding the Corinthian Christians not to keep company with sexually immoral people who call themselves a brother (or a sister).

Here is a shocker for many: Exclusivity is a part of kingdom culture. Say what? That’s right. There is an exclusivity in Christianity. That would include gay “Christians”. Our sympathetic views toward this celebrated group in our culture is a form of cowardice and low esteem for the standards laid out in Scripture. Yes, you will be called hateful and bigoted. But that has been our problem.

We want to blend in with the pop culture instead of stick out. We don’t want to be hated or misunderstood. But isn’t that also a part of our kingdom culture?

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (Jn. 15:18-19).

Yet in all this, we are not to exclude the world. We are to keep company with them just as our Lord and Master taught us (Lk. 15:1-2).

The issue of habitual sin is a church and kingdom issue, not a world issue. I trust that Mr. Jakes and Mr. Houston in attempting to love the sinner, in this case the LGBT community, will find the wisdom to do so without compromising the Scriptures. Love with truth, compassion with conviction, mercy with might – that is the certain sound that everyone should be hearing.

Anything else is speaking into the air.

THE SIGN OF CHRIST’S COMING: A VISION GIVEN TO ORAL ROBERTS

Continuing with a recent theme I’ve been sharing on, concerning visions and warnings of the times we are living in now. Men of old saw these days and were moved on by the Spirit of God to speak and share these things with us.

May these living words do the same in you and produce a consciousness of God that gives birth to a holy fear and awakening in your own life.

THE VISION

“In the midst of the turmoil, the fear, the anxiety that’s in our nation and in our world, as I was walking and meditating, I heard the voice of God. I’ve heard that voice many times. It’s too familiar to me, and there’s no way that I can fail to understand His voice because I’m familiar with it. And instantly I heard that voice and I heard it and then I saw with my eyes something I’d never seen.

Suddenly, in the clouds in the skies above New York City and the east part of the United States, and which hung there for quite sometime and then spread out across America, without touching the ground, and then God diffused it away from America and sent it out to the nations of the earth. And I saw and I heard. What did I see? I saw something coming down from above: Smoke and vapor and blood, or it looked like that to my eyes, to my spiritual eyes.

There it was hanging so huge until it almost blotted out the sky. Instantly I thought about 9/11, when the terrorists attacked the Twin Towers and through television all of us in America, and probably the world, saw those more than a hundred story high buildings crumple and heard the cry of thousands of people who were being either killed or wounded. I remembered the fear that struck my heart and knew that what I was feeling everybody else was feeling and remembered that never in the history of the world, and certainly not of America, that something of this proportion had struck the human race and was a preview of things similar to it that were going to happen through what we now call terrorists.

First, I saw this thing hovering and great changes coming in it to where I couldn’t miss it. And then I heard, something came into my ears, and it reminded me of what a friend of mine had said when the first space capsule was released into the sky.

He was a newsman in New York City and maybe half mile or more away from the capsule. And he said when that thing lifted off the earth, there was a sound, and the sound itself moved the weeds and the growth, and he said, “It penetrated my body.” He said, “As I talked to others, they felt the same thing.” He said the sound was so enormous that nothing had ever happened like it in the history of the world. Instantly, I thought of that because the sound that was coming into my ears was penetrating my whole being.

And then I heard God’s voice. He said,

“I’M MAKING A SIGN.”

This is a sign according to the second chapter of Acts, where the Apostle Peter, upon the giving of the Holy Spirit, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, said there’ll be signs in the skies.”

He said, “This is one of the signs of the end time because the world is not ready for the second coming of my Son.” He said, “My church is not ready for the second coming of my Son.”

He said, “The Jews, with whom I’ve had the covenant for thousands of years, they’re not ready for the second coming of my Son.” He said, “The nations of the earth are not ready for the second coming of my Son.”

He said, “America has been set aside by a special covenant that I made with many of the people who came to found this nation several hundred years ago, that this was My nation and the gospel was going to go out from it unlike any other nation and there’d be more gospel going out from America.”

And He said, not only would there be a powerful military presence in the United States unlike any other nation, but it would be the center of the gospel that I was sending out.

And He said to me, “You remember that I said in My Bible to my disciples 2,000 years ago, ‘Go into all the world and teach all nations, and when that teaching has reached the nations then shall the end come.’” And then he startled me. He said, “With all of the widespread force of my church in the world, but particularly in the United States, which is the source of most of the gospel that’s being preached in all the world,”

He said, “THERE IS A WASTING OF MY POWER, THERE IS A FAILURE TO GRASP THE END TIME. AND THE CHURCH, THEY ARE COMING TO CHURCH ON SUNDAY MORNING MOSTLY FOR THEMSELVES. AND THE PREACHERS, FOR THE MOST PART, ARE NOT REALLY CONCERNED ABOUT THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH.”

“THEY’RE CONCERNED ABOUT THE LITTLE GROUP THAT IS THERE, AND THEY SING THEIR SONGS AND THEY GET UP AND PREACH.” AND HE SAID, “WHEN 9-11 STRUCK, THERE WAS A FEAR THAT CAME INTO THE HEARTS, EVEN OF MY PEOPLE OF THE CHURCH AND OF THE PEOPLE OUTSIDE THE CHURCH. AND MILLIONS THE FOLLOWING SUNDAY OR TWO RUSHED TO GO TO CHURCH.”

“BUT THE PREACHERS WERE NOT PREPARED, AND MOST OF THEM DIDN’T EVEN PREACH ON IT AND DIDN’T EVEN TALK ABOUT IT BEING THE SIGN OF SOMETHING THAT’S COMING HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF TIMES BIGGER.”

He said, “When those planes of the terrorists struck the Twin Towers in New York City and they gradually came tumbling down, it was something bigger than people had ever seen, but it’s nothing in comparison to what’s going to happen in the second coming of my Son.” And so He said, “My church was not prepared to deal with that, and people came to church and then nothing much happened and they dropped back and many of them went back to their bars,” as I heard Kenneth Copeland say.

“And there I was with my whole creation that’s alive in the earth, not counting all those who have died—millions who have lived and died, all of whom will be resurrected at some time in the future, having to do with the second coming of my Son, some to everlasting life, some to live forever in their new bodies and some to everlasting shame and contempt forever lost.” And He said, “I love people. I created them. I love them by creation. I love them because I sent My only begotten Son.” And instantly I thought of the great show that Mel Gibson made of The Passion.

When millions upon millions went to see it and are seeing it now all over the world. I remember when I sat there with my wife, watching it, and how my soul was stirred and the tears sprang from my eyes and my body trembled as I saw something about the sufferings of Jesus, the Son of God, to save the human race and so that the devil would not destroy God’s creation. He would not destroy men, women and children that God had created and for whom Jesus had died and rose from the dead that we might be born again—we might repent of our sins and have salvation and come into a readiness for the coming of Christ. And He says, “As you know in the Bible, the second coming is in two parts. One is called the Rapture, one is called the revelation.

And first of all I’m going to rapture, or catch up, My people—the people who are born of my Spirit and filled with My Spirit and serving me. I’m going to catch them up in a moment of time and they’ll meet My Son in the clouds and come on into heaven, into My presence. And then not long after I’m going to bring that bride of Christ back with Jesus when He comes the second time to the earth, and that’ll be the beginning of the judgment of the nations.”

But He said, “The thing that is breaking my heart is that I commanded my people, I commanded My church to preach the gospel in all the world and to teach all nations. And while they are evangelists and pastors and prophets and apostles and all kinds of my workers in various parts of the world and in some of the nations of the earth, it’s just a drop in the bucket to what I commanded My disciples to do.”

“And I love people so much I cannot afford to let people go on like they are. And then He directed my attention to the book of Matthew, the 24th chapter, where He speaks in the 24th chapter and beginning at verse 35:

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my word shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only. What I’m talking about is known only to the Father. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as the days that were before the flood that there was eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came; and the coming—so shall the coming of the Son of man be.”

Now, He reminded me in the 6th chapter of Genesis that the earth was filled with violence and it was so full it couldn’t be any more full and it grieved the heart of God that He had made man and he decided that He would destroy man and begin over, and He established a remnant and it was a family, Noah and his family. And He commanded him to build a huge boat that would take two of every living thing in it so when the flood came—and they’d never had rain before in the earth, it had been watered by a mist.

But He said, when the flood comes and this boat with this family and two of every living thing gets in it and the flood lifts them up from the earth that’s being destroyed, or from the human race that’s being destroyed, the flood that lifts the ark, or the remnant of my people, in Noah’s day, will come down in judgment upon the people of the earth.

And He said…

NOW, THERE’S GOT TO BE PREACHING WITH FIRE IN THE BELLY!
THERE’S GOT TO BE AN ANOINTING OF THE HOLY GHOST. MY CHURCH HAS TO WAKE UP BECAUSE WHAT I’M REVEALING IN THIS SIGN THAT “EVERY” EYE IS GOING TO SEE, “EVERY” EAR IS GOING TO HEAR. THEY’LL SEE THIS THING. THEY WILL NOT NECESSARILY KNOW WHAT IT IS, BUT IT’S A WAKE CALL ABOUT THE SECOND COMING OF MY SON!

It’s not going to come and touch the earth. It’s going to be seen, it’s going to be heard, and people are going to become aware of the drama of the end time, of the second coming of Christ. When He splits the skies and comes back with His bride and takes over the reign of the earth and He destroys the Antichrist, who will arise at that time. He will destroy the followers of Antichrist and He’ll establish His kingdom upon the earth. And He said, “I cannot let anybody live and die without knowledge that my Son is coming back the second time.”

AMERICA’S LAST CALL: A KENNETH HAGIN SR. VISION

From time to time I like to share visions and prophecies that men of old received form the Lord concerning the times we are living in now.

The fear of the Lord comes on me each time I read such words that men spoke as they were moved by the Spirit of God. I am not frightened of such warnings because my heart is transparent before the Lord. I’ve allowed the searching light of His Word and Spirit to continually scan my life. I may miss it at times, but I’ve always endeavored to judge myself and be quick to repent and quick to forgive. I would encourage you to do the same so you don’t miss God’s plan for you in these end of days.

May these living words produce a consciousness of God and His holy fear in your life that gives birth to godly repentance, if necessary.

This vision was given decades ago. Think how much closer we are today to the more complete fulfillment of this vision. This is a great reminder and sober warning for all of us to heed and not just to admire the accuracy of this vision.

THE VISION

As I looked to the west, I saw what appeared to be a tiny dot on the horizon. It was the only moving thing I could see. As I watched, it grew larger and came toward me, taking on shape and form. Soon I could see it was a horse. As it came closer I could see a man upon the horse. He was riding toward me at full speed. As he approached, I could see he held the reins of the horse’s bridle in his right hand, and in his left hand, high above his head, he held a scroll of paper.

When the horseman came to me, he pulled on the reins and stopped. I stood on his right. He passed the scroll from his left hand to his right hand and handed it to me. As I unrolled the scroll, which was a roll of paper 12 or 14 inches long, he said, “Take and read.” At the top of the page in big, bold, black print were the words “WAR AND DESTRUCTION.” I was struck dumb. He laid his right hand on my head and said, “Read, in the Name of Jesus Christ!”

I began to read what was written on the paper, and as the words instructed me, I looked and saw what I had just read about. First I read about thousands upon thousands of men in uniform. Then I looked and saw these men marching, wave after wave of soldiers marching as to war. I looked in the direction they were going, and as far as I could see there were thousands of men marching.

I turned to read the scroll again, and then looked and saw what I had just read about. I saw many women —old women with snowy white hair, middle-aged women, young women, and teenagers. Some of the younger ones held babies in their arms. All of the women were bowed together in sorrow and were weeping profusely. Those who did not carry babies held their hands on their stomachs as they bowed over and wept. Tears flowed from their eyes like water.

I looked at the scroll again, and again I looked to see what I had read about. I saw the skyline of a large city. Looking closer, I saw the skyscrapers were burned-out hulls. Portions of the city lay in ruins. It was not written that just one city would be destroyed, burned, and in ruins, but that there would be many such cities.

The scroll was written in the first person, and seemed as if Jesus Himself were speaking. I read, “America is receiving her last call. Some nations already have received their last call and never will receive another.”
Then, in larger print it said, “THE TIME OF THE END OF ALL THINGS IS AT HAND”. This statement was repeated four or five times. Jesus also said this was the last great revival.

He went on to say, “All the gifts of the Spirit will be in operation in the Church in these last days, and the Church will do greater things than even the early Church did. It will have greater power, signs, and wonders than were recorded in the Acts of the Apostles.” I believe in visions we have seen and experienced many healings, but we will now behold amazing miracles that have not been seen before.

Jesus continued, “More and more miracles will be performed in the last days which are just ahead, for it is time for the gift of the working of miracles to be more in prominence. We now have entered into the era of the miraculous. Many of my own people will not accept the moving of my Spirit, and will turn back and will not be ready to meet Me at my coming. Many will be deceived by false prophets and miracles of satanic origin. But follow the Word of God, the Spirit of God, and Me, and you will not be deceived. I am gathering my own together and am preparing them, for the time is short.”

There were several other exhortations to watchfulness, to awaken and pray, and not to be deceived. Then I read, “As it was in the days of Noah, so also shall the coming of the Son of Man be. As I spoke to Noah and said, ‘For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.

“So today I am speaking and giving America her last warning and call to repentance, and the time that is left is comparable to the last seven days of Noah’s time” (Gen. 7:4).

“Judgment is coming. Warn this generation, as did Noah his generation, for judgment is about to fall. And these sayings shall be fulfilled shortly, for I am coming soon.” Jesus repeated, “This is the last revival. I am preparing my people for my coming. Judgment is coming, but I will call my people away, even unto Myself, before the worst shall come. But be thou faithful; watch and pray, for the time of the end of all things is at hand.”

WHAT THEY SAID THEN THAT MOST AREN’T SAYING NOW ABOUT THE DAY WE’RE LIVING IN

The following are key excerpts from prophecies and visions of recent times that I have shared over the past year. They serve to warn us and prepare us for the days we are living in. Do not merely admire the preciseness of some of their statements but make application of their words and prepare yourself for what is here now and what is yet to come. These excerpts when woven together add up to a longer read than I normally like to publish, but I’m quite sure you will find them well worth your time.

SMITH WIGGLESWORTH: A PROPHETIC MESSAGE FROM 1927

1.There will be many Christians who believe that they can do whatever they want and God will look the other way. People are tremendously afraid of this position because they have heard so much on this line: “Oh, you know you are the elect of God. You are sure to be all right (this is the once saved-always saved position).” That is wrong. The elect of God are those that are pressing forward.

2. It will be common for preachers to deny the existence of hell. Denying hell prepares the way for antichrist. What? No hell. The devil has always said that. No hell, no devil. They are ready for him. The devil has always said no hell, no evil. And these people are preparing, and they do not know it, for the Man of Sin.

3. It will be offensive to talk about the blood of Christ. When I spoke about the blood and when I spoke about this infernal thing, the whole place was upset. You be careful when anybody comes to you with a sugar-coated pill or with a slimy tongue. They are always of the devil. The Spirit of the Lord will always deal with truth. These people never deal with truth. They always cover up the truth.

Give the devil the biggest chase of his life and say these words: “The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all unrighteousness.”

4. The world will look to worship a man and will overlook his faults to get him into power. These people are determined to have a man. They know someone has to come. We know Who He is that is coming. They begin to make a man. So they find a man in India, they polish him up as much as they can, and they make him as—well, in appearance, but you know we are told by the Lord that there is soft clothing that goes onto wolves’ backs.

5. People will believe that certain preachers are of God simply because of their crowds and their buildings.

6. As churches turn away from the Holy Spirit many believers go to false teachers.

DR. MARK BARCLAY: A VISION FROM THE 1980’s

I remember in the vision that I asked the Lord “What is this? What is this evil, tempestuous dark cloud?”

The Lord said, “This is what I showed My prophet, Isaiah (Isa. 61:1-2). This is every evil thing you can name. It is every demon, it is every disease, it is sickness and bacterial attacks that haven’t even been discovered yet. It will cause humans to do things to humans that aren’t even human. It is filled with insanity, and many people will lose their mind and their faculties. It is murder, terror, rape, abuse, terrorism, torture, and much worse. It is filled with deceptions, heresies, perversions, and filth.”

Some things the Lord showed me I have not had permission to speak.
I also saw people – many, many people. Some were running into the dark cloud, and some were being sucked into it. It reminded me of this very powerful Shop-vac I have. It will not only suck up the dirt but also my tools, if I don’t pay attention.

I saw may people screaming with terror and actually being dragged into this cloud. Though they were refusing it and resisting it with all their strength, they still did not possess the power to stop it.

I was so disturbed when I saw a cross on someone’s pocket or jewelry. I remember saying to the Lord, “Who are those people being drawn into this filth and terror, wearing the Christian symbol of the cross? Who are these people, not even resisting? And who are these people, resisting with all their might but it does them no good? They just keep disappearing into this horrible, evil cloud of gross darkness.”

The Lord answered me and said, “Oh, these are those who do not have clean hands and a pure heart. They have been warned but ignored the warnings. Some even wanted this filth as their lifestyle.”

I asked, “Well, who are these wearing the cross?”

“Oh,” the Lord said, “These are the people who claim Me as Savior. Many of them have desired this filth and even fought for it. They make excuses but are not excused. The ones who are resisting thought My prophets were exaggerating and from the old school, and they denied the warnings. Now that this evil has come, they possess little to no power, and certainly not enough to resist and overcome this horrible onslaught of enemy power. Only those with clean hands and a pure heart will be able to totally resist this. It will cover the earth.”

AN OLD 90 YEAR OLD NORWEGIAN WOMAN FROM THE 1960’S

A lukewarmness without parallel will take hold of the Christians, a falling away from true, living Christianity. Christians will not be open for penetrating preaching. They will not, like in earlier times, want to hear of sin and grace, law and gospel, repentance and restoration. There will come a substitute instead: prosperity (happiness) Christianity.

The important thing will be to have success, to be something; to have material things, things that God never promised us in this way. Churches and prayer houses will be emptier and emptier. Instead of the preaching we have been used to for generations – like, to take your cross up and follow Jesus, – entertainment, art and culture will invade the churches where there should have been gatherings for repentance and revival. This will increase markedly just before the return of Jesus.

STANLEY FRODSHAM: 1965

Before I visit the nations in judgment; I will begin at My house. When I do cause My wrath to come upon the cities of the world, My people shall be separate. I desire a people without spot or wrinkle and such will be preserved by Me in the time of My wrath, which will be coming upon all iniquity and unrighteousness.

I am going to prepare you for the coming days by a hard path that will cause many to cry out continually unto Me. For when the going is easy men do not seek Me, but rejoice in a temporary blessing. And when that blessing is removed they so often turn this way and that way but do not come to Me. I am showing you these things in order that you may seek Me continually and with great diligence. As you seek Me I will open up truths to you that you have not seen before, and these very truths will be such that will enable you to stand in these last days.

The coming days are going to be most dangerous, difficult and dark for there shall be a mighty outpouring of My Spirit in judgment upon many cities and many shall be destroyed. My people must be diligently warned concerning the days ahead. Many shall turn after seducing spirits, and already many are seducing My people. It is those who ‘Do Righteousness’ that are righteous. Many cover their sins by great theological words. But I warn you of seducing spirits who instruct my people in an evil way. Many of these I will anoint that they in turn may purify and sift My people, for I will have a holy people. When I come I shall not find faith upon the earth but in a few, for when the time of testing comes many will depart from their Lord.

Many shall come with seducing spirits and hold out lustful enticements. You will find that after I have visited My people again the way will become more and more narrow, and fewer shall walk therein. Be not deceived, the ways of righteousness are My ways. For though Satan come as an angel of light hearken not to him; for those who perform miracles and speak not righteousness are not of Me. I warn you with great intensity that I am going to judge My house and have a Church without spot or wrinkle when I come.

LESTER SUMRALL

In 1987 the late Lester Sumrall in his book, I Predict, wrote about 6 things that would happen in our nation.

1. America would depart from Christianity.
2. America would endorse pagan religions.
3. America would embrace doctrines of demons.
4. Satan worship and human sacrifice would occur more and more (this is not talked about but is happening underground).
5. America would be consumed with rebellion and it would be like a tornado in our land. Anarchy would spread among our youth, schools, and colleges. In the home, on the job, and throughout the entire social structure there would be no more tenderness in the home, no love, no laughter, many marriages would fail, and children would not know who to love and who to hate.
6. There would be a tremendous tearing of America’s moral fiber, homosexuality would no longer be in the closet but be considered normal, and even bestiality would be seen more and more in our society.
I would have to say that brother Sumrall’s predictions were amazingly accurate.

After his 1987 prediction Lester Sumrall went on to say that all the evil he predicted would transpire just before a great awakening comes to America.

The evil and persecution in the world and in America now will separate the true from the false, the nominal Christian from the serious disciple, and the Lord will once again use a remnant to fulfill His end-time purposes.