CHARISMATIC CRAP (EXCUSE ME)

The Word tells us not to be lacking in zeal and encourages us to serve the Lord enthusiastically.

“Never be lacking in zeal, but serve the Lord enthusiastically” (Rom. 12:11 – Living Bible & NIV).

It is the zeal of the Church that will convert the world. Jesus was full of zeal (Jn. 2:17) and He wore it as a cloak (Is. 59:17). It is the zeal of the ministers and saints that will birth forth change and reformation in this hour.

Zeal is a godly jealousy. It signifies eagerness, enthusiasm, intense desire, and passionate commitment.

Many of the prophets were zealous for the Lord and His covenant. Elijah was such a one.

He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too” (1 Kg. 19:10).

Over and over in the Old Testament we find the expression, “the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” There are some things that will never happen in the Church and advances that will never be made in the kingdom of God without zeal.

Elijah was zealous because Israel had rejected the covenant of Jehovah. They had torn down the Lord’s altars and killed the prophets. In many instances in Old Testament times prophets such as Elijah were called to bring reformation and restoration to Israel. This often required tearing down the altars of Baal (Jud. 6:25-29).

We need a reformation of sorts today especially in Pentecostal/Charismatic circles. Much of the mistrust that some people have of ministers in this day has come because of the questionable and even abominable methods and practices of Charismatic and Pentecostal ministers and the lack of accountability in many of them. Allow me to get on my soap box for a moment.

A number of years ago at a Charismatic conference in an East coast city a pastor stood on a stage in front of a large crowd and smugly announced that the guest speaker was more than an apostle. Then the host asked everyone to bow down to the person, claiming that this posture was necessary to receive God’s power. “This is the only way you can receive this kind of anointing!” the host declared, bowing in front of the speaker. Immediately about 80% of the audience fell prostrate on the floor. Only a small percentage walked out or stood in silent protest. Can you believe it?

This, no doubt, is an extreme example of idolatry, but this attitude is prevalent in the West. These kind of practices prevail because of gullible, naïve, biblically illiterate people who have no spiritual discernment. If we would just look at the minister’s lifestyle and standard of living in comparison to most of the people he or she ministers to, we’d receive a big clue as to the real motivation of many ministers’ hearts. If you’ll observe many of the questionable Charismatic practices today you’ll see that most revolve around money, directly or indirectly.

After all, the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6:10) and many ministers have lost the anointing because they’ve become too money-minded.

As one of many examples, there is a sowing and reaping doctrine that has gotten so off base with, again, so many believers falling for it. This is the doctrine that tells you that your blessing from God depends on how much you give. I cannot go into this twisted doctrine in detail now, but suffice it to say, that if the birds of the air neither sow nor reap and yet the heavenly Father feeds them, what makes us think that we have to sow for our blessing and provision from God?

If our Father takes care of the birds, how much more will He take care of us (Mt. 6:26)? We do the same for our children. We don’t provide for them based on performance. This is a sowing and reaping doctrine that separates us from our son-ship with God the Father. It is a formula to fill the pockets of ministers. It makes us into hirelings instead of sons. It is another one of those Charismatic practices that steal from the sheep. Sowing and reaping is indeed a Scriptural principle, but it’s been twisted for the minister’s gain and personal advantage. Once again, this is a form of idolatry.

Personally, I can’t relate to people and ministers who are believing God just for more things and using their supposed vision from God to milk people for more of their money. The scribes used this doctrine to devour widow’s houses (Mk. 12:40). Think about this: Where in the Old Testament was it required for the widows to give their all to the temple (v. 44) and to the scribes? Jesus rebuked their fruitless religious system when He cleansed the temple. And this is what we have in many places and churches today.

I’m mindful of how the early apostles did not manipulate people for their money nor live above those they ministered to, which is another common problem today. I really can’t relate to ministers who think God’s stamp of approval is to live like royalty. It is very disturbing. Much of Christian television today has produced this image and made a mockery of these things. Reformation and change in the Church is not going to come from big name television preachers.

If you are looking for reformation or even mild change to come from the celebrity television prophets and big-name healing evangelists, you will be waiting for a long time in vain. Many of them are so grossly deceived and really have no concept of what the real gospel of Jesus Christ actually is. They should try a dose of this (The Real Gospel). Much of their training and inspiration comes from hearing some good motivational preaching, and parroting what they hear. This kind of preaching has made multi-millionaires out of many of them. These are not preachers of the cross but slick entrepreneurs and salesmen who are stealing from God’s people. I refuse to call them ministers. As one of my minister friends so succinctly said, “They are hirelings who have no reason to stop the gravy train as long as Charismatics continue providing such rich and endless gravy (money).”

Change and reformation can only come at the grassroots level from what we call the common people. It is not going to come from disqualified leaders at the top. The aforementioned minister friend of mine also made this observation: “What we are needing right now is being paralleled in the political arena of this country. People are fed up with the same ole, same ole corruption and wicked politicians who constantly lie for their own benefit and welfare. People are so fed up that an actual political revolution is taking place in our country.

“For example, Jeb Bush lived the high life and threw over $100 million at political advisers and pollsters. His pollsters and advisers raked in millions. But what did the voter get? Nothing. Bush didn’t get anywhere. Why? Because, excuse me, but people reached the point where they wouldn’t buy the same old political crap the Republicans and Democrats have been selling for the last 40 years. No amount of big money made any difference in the primaries. I see a parallel happening in ministry.”

There is so much waste and fraud in ministry today. The big celebrity TV preacher and mega slick pastor gets richer while the little guy who has the word of the Lord struggles. I’m not saying every “little guy” preacher is holy and every TV preacher and mega pastor is corrupt, but many are. False teachers, false prophets, and false apostles fill our land. It’s nauseating to see what passes for Christian ministry today.

No amount of hundreds of millions of dollars pouring into Christian television and many others will make any difference when Charismatics decide they will no longer enable and fund, excuse me again, the spiritual and theological crap that is being dished out by many of the major Charismatic ministries today. There is such a love of the world and a lust for power and greed in today’s Charismatic world. So many ministers live like kings in castles. Something needs to be said, and I’m getting old enough to say it (of course, I was never one for letting youthfulness hold me back).

My Bible tells me not to love this world nor the things in it, so I can’t relate to Christians just believing God for more things while they lack in zeal for the true work of the Lord. I’ve also been mystified and really sick and tired at how many so called ministers, really they’re charlatans, manipulate people for their money and live financially far above the people they minister to. The apostles did the quite the opposite. Once again, I just can’t relate to those who think God’s stamp of approval is to live like royalty. And yet, naïve people support these scoundrels! How can this be? Have some discernment people!

My wife and I have been in ministry for 30 years and have never had a fixed salary for most of that time. We lived by faith as missionaries for many years and now we live by faith as traveling ministers. On rare occasions we go to churches of 1,000 and 500 people, but the majority of the time we go to churches with less than 100 people – many times to groups of 20-50. I’m not complaining, just stating facts of the lack of equality I see in ministry today. Not only that, but most big name preachers have to have a certain amount of money guaranteed before they can even minister somewhere. Where in the world do we see that in the New Testament?! God help us! It is time for all of this to end. Stop filling the pockets of these charlatans and hucksters, people!

Too many in the Church are without zeal in this hour. As a result, we put up with falsehood, superficiality, heretical teachings, questionable and even abominable practices, and money grabbing preachers. We have much barrenness in the work of God today and souls not being saved, true disciples not being made, good works not being maintained, and the work of God suffers. In a recent Barna survey statistics reveal that 85% of American churches have flatlined or are in decline, and most of the remaining 15% are growing due to transfer growth with believers leaving one church and going to another. Only 2% of American churches are growing as a result of souls being saved.

Jesus has redeemed us and purified for Himself a special people who are to be zealous for good works (Titus 2:14).

There are many young people coming up today who are hearing a lot of, excuse me again,  theological crap from unsound ministers who lack proper Biblical foundations. I receive regular communication from readers who have very little basic understanding of the Bible. Many of them are in the dark concerning prayer and the will of God for their lives. They don’t know how to hear from God. They are not familiar with the Holy Spirit and His gifts and operations. They don’t know about healing and the baptism of the Holy Spirit because traditional churches have told them that these things are not for today.

On one side there is this ignorance, but on the other side there is weirdness and superficiality, especially among Charismatics. We need the demonstration of the Spirit and power of God along with soundness of doctrine preached to us instead of Charismatic myths, errors, mumbo-jumbo, and cunning trickery used to wring money out of people’s pockets.

So, how will change come to the Church in these things? If leaders don’t humble themselves and allow God to change them, there will be a grass roots revolution among the common people. It has already begun as many are leaving the structures and systems of men to pursue the Lord with those of like faith and pure hearts. Beware of Charismatic crap and hirelings who will never clean it up. We need a spiritual reformation that will arise among the common people led by humble shepherds and obscure apostles and prophets who cannot be bought.

Selah.

 

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WILL THERE EVEN BE AN ELECTION THIS FALL?

While we are debating and fussing over the two presidential candidates…while many so called prophets are prophesying the victory of their chosen candidate, even adding “thus saith the Lord” to their presumptuous utterances… while we concern ourselves with the peripheral consequences of what could or would happen if one candidate gets elected over another, the devil is plotting to steal, kill, and destroy us another way.

It’s almost like a special forces military operation in a time of war when they use the element of distraction in one territorial area to overwhelm with a surprise attack elsewhere. Do not be distracted by the strife and confusion this election is generating. Do not chase the enemy’s fires. Do not be deceived by the lies and false prophecies floating through the airwaves and cyber space. I have found that there are only a few who are speaking the true word of the Lord in this hour. Beware of the voices you are listening to. Hear ye what the Spirit of God is truly saying to your spirit. Judgment begins in the house of God (1 Pt. 4:17). And if you read that chapter in context it is speaking of suffering according to the will of God – suffering for righteousness sake, being reproached for the name of Christ, so that we won’t be judged with the world and with those who do not obey the gospel.

Amidst all the confusion and division in the Church over politics, the enemy is luring and working a hideous plan that could strike this nation suddenly and leave more death and destruction in its wake than we’ve ever known. If the Church doesn’t stop the argumentative rhetoric and give itself over to humility, repentance, brokenness, soberness, watchfulness, and a real spirit of prayer and intercession, we could see a fatalistic series of unprecedented events surrounding this coming election. There is even a possibility of martial law being declared because of the confusion and uproar it will create. Either way, there will be an uproar and there will be a level of suffering in it. How much? I don’t know. There are some things we can stop through prayer; there are other things we can only delay; and in some situations prayer will not stop or delay what is coming. For example, Jesus foretold of certain events, especially in the end of days, that cannot be stopped.

No American president can stop the things which have already been set in motion in this nation. There has already been a dishonorable sowing that we shall reap as a nation. But I believe we can short circuit the damage through prayer, and not through the election of any president. Remember, what God did with Saul of Tarsus He can do with either candidate (Acts 9). And what He did with King Herod he can also do with either candidate (Acts 12:20-23). Let us not forget that God did that during a time of great persecution and suffering in the Church (through Saul and Herod killed James etc.)

The most convincing argument many in the Church are making to vote for the lesser of two evils in Donald Trump is so that new conservative judges can be appointed at the Supreme Court level. This has caused fear, panic, and distraction in many believers. Even pastors and leaders are caught up in the fear and dissimulation of it. As important as the appointment of SCOTUS judges are, which have the potential to dictate the passing of certain laws that could further jeopardize and thwart our religious liberties, an element of it is masquerading a bigger plan of the enemy to get us off of real prayer, total dependence on God, and the advancement of His kingdom in the midst of national crisis.

I feel like we are living in a time similar to Jehoshaphat’s when Judah was surrounded by its enemies and had no might to stand against them (2 Chron. 20). Let’s face it; there is no human solution to the predicament our nation finds itself in in this hour. If Hillary Clinton is elected president there will an uproar and confusion. If Donald Trump is elected there will be an uproar and confusion. And if Obama declares martial law there will be an uproar and confusion. There will be riots in the streets and many will be killed. Regardless of who wins the presidency, Bible prophecy will be fulfilled in the world. Our answers are not in man. Our eyes must be totally and 100% on the Lord.

“O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You” (2 Chr. 20:12).

I don’t know about you but I have one president, One King, and He is the Lord Jesus Christ. My hope is not in the systems of this world but in God. Therefore, I don’t fear; I don’t panic. Our king has overcome even death itself and tasted death for every man (Heb. 2:9). Our kingdom is not of this world (Jn. 18:36). Why are we fighting over the kingdoms of this world? Why are we fighting over presidential candidates as if they are going to save the day? I have more faith in a child than I do over these liars running for office.

Do we really think that if Donald Trump wins the election our nation will be saved and our future in this nation secured? Who has bewitched you?  Say he does win, will the Church relax and be lulled into a deeper state of slumber and an even greater false sense of security? We got 8 years of Obama, but I dare to say as far as our obedience to the great commission is concerned, the Church is no better off than it was before he came into office. If you fear the consequences of a Hillary presidency then your motive is situational ethics and you are not even in the right state of mind and heart to pray or vote.

The essence of situational ethics is the primary concern over the outcome or consequences of an action. In this case, a Clinton presidency. I don’t want her to be our president either for she is a wicked and corrupt politician, but that is not my main concern. My main concern is being right with God and aligned with His statutes, precepts, laws, and plans and purposes. Let me ask you a pointed question: What unrepentant sin must a Republican commit before you stop rewarding them with your vote? Many are planning to vote based on situational ethics and not the righteousness of God.

For years God has been testing our free moral agency. For instance, I have many African American friends who voted for Obama. I pleaded with some of them about how their conscience could vote for such a wicked and corrupt man with the most unbiblical world view and antichrist spirit of any president this nation has ever had in its history. I know that statement alone will cause some to unfollow this blog and defriend me from their social networks, but I could care less. You who voted for Obama were judged by God for your evil choice, and if you haven’t repented yet you should do so now. Just don’t make the same mistake again. A vote for evil is a vote for the curse. Who you vote for reflects your values and affects your children. Yes, I believe a curse can come on your household and posterity because of who you vote for. I cannot vote for the lesser of two evils any more. I cannot vote for unrighteousness.

As a nation, we crossed a line when we voted a second time for Obama. Because of the unwise choice  of many we have reached a point of no return. But my concern is not so much for the nation as it is for the Church. I am now reserved to the fact that our nation will suffer and the Church will also suffer as a result. Just how much, I don’t know. But we must be prepared to suffer for the gospel, for the name of Jesus, and for righteousness sake in a way we perhaps have not suffered heretofore in this nation.

 

 

HEAVEN IS OUR HOME

The Bible calls heaven, our eternal home, and blessed hope. If we are more at home here on the earth than we think we’d be there, then we don’t yet have the revelation of heaven that God wants us to have. Our hope and faith needs to be enlightened with revelation and infused with a desire for our future home.

The hope of heaven is what has enabled me and my family to deal with my Daddy’s recent departure from such a positive eternal perspective. Though we miss my Daddy greatly, this eternal perspective is also what allows us to live our lives with greater joy and anticipation from surely knowing that my Daddy is among that great cloud of witnesses cheering us on in our own race to the finish line.

“Since we have such a huge crowd of men of faith watching us from the grandstands, let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us” (Heb. 12:1).

This huge crowd of men of faith or cloud of witnesses does not observe us from a mere natural standpoint. They are not concerned about our earthly status in the sense of our wealth, prestige, or reputation. They are not concerned about how many houses, lands, cars, or material possessions we own. They are mainly concerned about one thing: The condition of our spiritual lives, and the salvation of sinners and maturity of the saints.

For example, the late Kenneth E. Hagin had an Enoch-like experience he describes in his book, “Following God’s Plan For Your Life”, where he was taken up to heaven. There he saw his sister Oleta, who had died of cancer at just 45 years of age. Hagin was allowed to talk to her. She told him since her arrival in heaven that she had already seen several family members, while expressing concern for others on the earth who were presently away from God. She told Brother Hagin that he should talk to her eldest son about the Lord and that he would listen to him. These things are real friends. Heaven knows what goes on spiritually down here on the earth. What an incentive to run our race and fulfill God’s plan for our lives! What an incentive to finish strong! What an incentive to be about our Father’s business!

We can even suffer in this life for the gospel’s sake because of the future joy that is ahead for us in heaven, and the glad reunion with our saved loved ones who await our arrival. I can almost hear my Daddy’s voice now cheering me on from among that cloud of witnesses. “Go Bert! Go! You are doing well! Stay close to Jesus! Love and forgive everyone! Stay strong in your calling! Keep preaching the truth of the gospel! Run faster! Stay on course! Bring more souls to heaven! Keep reaching out to our family! Go, son go!!!”

I draw great strength from my Daddy’s life and greatness in God. He was a very imperfect man who had many shortcomings and made many mistakes, but he was never ashamed of the gospel. His greatness lay in that simple characteristic. That is why Jesus confesses his name before the Father and the angels (Lk. 12:8).

“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Mt. 10:32-33).

Death has truly lost its sting. The grave has truly lost its victory (1 Cor. 15:55). When we who’ve born again understand what death truly is, it loses its power and grip over us. We are no longer in fear to the bondage of it. Death is the beginning of our transition to heaven. Could it be that the reason so many people have a fear of death and such uncertainty about heaven be because of the lack of teaching and revelation on it? Could it also be that the reason people have such unsatisfied desires in this life is because they were made for another world that is filled with perfect joy, peace, and satisfaction?

Jesus paved the way to heaven for us. He wanted us to be with Him forever. He is not trying to keep anyone out of heaven, but He is working to get us all in.

“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me… “ (Jn. 17:24). He endured the horrific death of the cross and being separated from His heavenly Father for the joy that was set before Him (Heb. 12:2). That joy was you and I. Oh, glory to God! Jesus loves us so much that He chose to take on the sins of all mankind by offering His blood as the perfect sacrifice and suffer such a grueling death, so that He wouldn’t have to live without us! That should be enough to melt every man’s heart and submit to Jesus as Lord and Savior.

The apostle Paul had come to many revelations. One was of heaven. He’d been caught up there and witnessed some of its glories.

“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven” (2 Cor. 12:2).

Paul here is speaking of himself. His visit to paradise was so real he didn’t know if he was in or out of his body. His experience was so great and glorious he couldn’t find words to describe it (v. 4). This foretaste of heaven gave him a strong desire to return rather than to stay here on the earth.

“For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better” (Phil. 1:23).

Paul drew enormous strength from his visit and revelation of heaven. Such is the purpose for these last few blogs – to make heaven more real to each of us so that we will stay encouraged and never quit or give up, knowing what our final destination is. Heaven should have a major influence on how we live our lives on this earth.

If you are a sinner or a backslider, repent of your sins and give your life to Jesus. If you are saved, don’t ever quit or give up. I want you all to make it and have an abundant entrance into the joys that await us who’ve lived for Him. I can guarantee you that every trial, every pain, and every sacrifice you make for His glory will be worth it all in the end.

Jesus loves you and wants you with Him forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BRIEF HIGH POINTS ON HEAVEN WHERE MY DADDY JUST WENT

In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (Jn. 14:2-3)

They say when a loved one moves to heaven one feels closer to it. The hope of being reunited with that loved one makes heaven even more real. When enough of your saved loved ones move to heaven they say you can even become homesick, especially as the revelation of your eternal home grows in you.

My Daddy departed this earth on Friday morning August 5th at approximately 7:30 (you can read about the night and day of his departure in my last blog). The night before his morning departure I was in a meeting hearing a man speak on the glories of heaven. The man, Dean Braxton, had been clinically dead for an hour and 45 minutes and was taken to heaven where he saw and heard many things.

I knew my Daddy was close to his earthly departure and heavenly arrival, but I did not know that in less than 12 hours he would actually be there. The Lord used Dean to get me ready not only for his departure but for his arrival as well. In a certain sense, his description of heaven and what it was like to die and go there put me there ahead of my Daddy.

Here are some high points of Dean’s journey to heaven that he testified of on that imminent and preordained night of August 4th.

EVERYTHING IS RIGHT IN HEAVEN

Everything in heaven is right; nothing is wrong. Everything and everyone is glad you are there. Also, everything is alive; there is nothing dead there. True death is not having the Father and the Son or the Holy Spirit in your life. Not  having Jesus as your Lord and Savior and not being in right relationship with God is the death of all deaths. “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Mt. 22:32b).

It seemed that if you were not right with God you would be burned up by His brightness. Terror is what you would experience if you were not right with Him. However, those who were right with God could look at Him with a pure heart and they experienced perfect joy and peace. The feeling, however, was actually past peace because there isn’t anything in heaven to be peaceful from.

Everything is alive and in perfect order where Jesus and the Father are. They do not live with death. On the earth we live with death and decay all around us and become desensitized to it in thinking that there is an end to everything, but in heaven life goes on and on and never ends. The Father and Jesus are pure life, light, and love, and you become one with what they are.

Everything in heaven is light and life. The buildings, atmosphere, and landscape are all light-like. The buildings look almost like glass and they shine with the glory of God. They can also move around from place to place. The trees, flowers, bushes, grass, mountains, hills, valleys, lakes, rivers, etc. are all alive and cannot be described in earthly terms.

THERE IS AN INDIVIDUAL LOVE YOU EXPERIENCE IN HEAVEN

Our brother Dean testified that when you looked at any part of Jesus’ body you felt such an individual love. Everything about Him loves you. His feet, His hands, and His entire body love you.

“Jesus loved me so much that I did not have to look at His face to experience His love. His feet showed me love. If all I saw was His feet I knew He loved me. It was not only that He loved me, but it was like I was the only one He loved in all creation. I knew He loved others but it seemed like I was the only one He loved.” Dean Braxton

You can look at any part of Jesus’ body and know He loves you. By looking at His hands you know how much He loves you. You can still see the nail piercings in His hands and experience His overwhelming love that comes forth from them. They seem to say to each individual, “I love you and only you.” You know He loves others, but it feels like He only loves you.

I lost it when I heard that part. I cried and laughed and praised God with deep adoration. We cannot yet fully comprehend how much it cost in pain to His physical body so that we could have a relationship of life with Him (Is. 52:14-15). We love Him because He first loved us! (1 Jn. 4:19)

WELCOMING PARTY GREETS YOU UPON ARRIVAL

The final high point I will share on heaven is that there is a welcoming party that includes far more than those you knew in your earthly years. The party of saints who will greet you upon entering heaven go all the way back to every generation of your blood line who were saved. It is not a small number of people. God is a God of genealogies. We see in the Old Testament when the lineage of the prophets, priests, and kings were listed, and again in the gospels when Jesus and Mary’s genealogy is traced back through many generations of time (beginning of Matthew and Luke.). How wonderful to know that every saint and born again child of God will be greeted by so many with great joy unspeakable and full of glory upon their arrival in heaven!

An announcement is made upon every saint’s arrival I heaven, for just as the angels know and rejoice when one sinner repents on the earth (Lk. 15:7, 10), so too they know when one is about to arrive in heaven. It comforts me to know that when my beloved earthly Daddy was about to depart as I spoke by speaker phone into his ear just minutes before his departure that his name and coming arrival had already been announced in the annals of heaven. The angel came for him at that moment and escorted him home while his welcoming party rejoiced and ushered him into the glory of our heavenly Father’s house forever.

GRIEF TURNED TO JOY

For the first two days after his departure I grieved for the loss of my earthly Daddy. It hurt deep inside not to have him with us any more. We feel this grief because separation was not in the original design of God. It is a part of the curse. However, our hope and rejoicing must be centered in the glad reunion that awaits those who’ve tasted of eternal life. When I began turning my focus toward the reality of heaven and of one day being reunited with my Daddy my level of grief changed and took on a new dimension. Hope and joy sprung forth and my heart began to grow lighter. Of course, I miss him, as we all do our departed loved ones, but when I filled my mind and heart with thoughts of heaven my rejoicing in Daddy’s gain outweighed the sorrow of his loss.

Here is a poem I wrote and read at the closing of my Daddy’s memorial service that expresses this well:

Why should I cry? My Daddy is alive and in the midst of the glories of heaven

Why do I want to think of my loss?

Instead of my Daddy’s gain

Why should I wail in a pagan dirge of despair?

When my Daddy is with Jesus in the Father’s care

My Daddy didn’t die; he just went home

To the born again Christian death is not a defeat

It is a victory and a triumph of the highest degree

So can I be full of sorrow when my Daddy is so happy?

Should I be full of mourning when he is rejoicing with great joy?

You see, my Daddy didn’t die – he just went home.

Praise God! This is the lot and portion of every born again saint. Hallelujah! We are all homeward bound. Until then let us work for the Master and bring many more people to Him while it is yet day, for the night comes when no man can work.

 

 

 

 

THE NIGHT AND MORNING OF MY DADDY’S DEPARTURE

It was Thursday August 4th and our immediate family all bore witness that my Daddy’s days were numbered. His heart was failing and the end of his earthly life was very near. My prayer and working agreement that I had made with the Lord was that he not suffer or be in pain, but that when it was time for him to go he would go in peace and have an abundant entrance into the presence of the Lord.

At noon of that same day I drove three hours north to hear one of God’s choice servants share his story of death and the afterlife. In going I knew full well that my Daddy might pass while I was gone. That is not what I wanted and I was tossed on whether I should go or stay. I didn’t have a green light or a red light to do either one, so I asked the Lord to hold my Daddy here until I returned two days later. Somehow in making the decision to go I was still somewhat unsettled in my spirit while at the same time feeling a divine prompting to go. This is a little difficult to explain as I usually have either a green light or a red light on important decisions I make, which in this case was simply the witness of the Spirit to go or a check in my spirit to stay, but this time it was like a yellow light. To proceed with caution seemed to be the witness, and so I left.

Fast forward to the evening’s meeting…

My spirit pulsated with life and unspeakable joy from the words of the special speaker I’d traveled three hours to hear. I sat in the front row and laughed and wept through the entire meeting as the preacher described what it was like to die and go to heaven. At one high point in the meeting when he said, “everything in heaven loves you,” I lost it. From Jesus to every saint, to the very atmosphere and untold beauties and creation of heaven, everything saturates your being with the love of the Father and the Son.

In his visit to heaven, when he looked on Jesus’ feet those feet loved him, His hands loved him, every part of Jesus spoke love to Him. My own son Daniel had a vision of Jesus when he was about 9 or 10 years old, and said that His eyes were like deep pools of  love. I’ve heard that testimony repeated more than once by a few others who’ve had a vision of Him.

Knowing that my Daddy’s departure was ever so near this ministered to me immensely. It became clear that I was in this meeting by divine assignment. I was so happy inside with the overflowing love of God and fuel to take back to my family in the hour of our trial. The words from the preacher were filled with life and love and pure Jesus.

You see, this aforementioned preacher was not just another charlatan scamming people on a made-up vision he had to extract money from gullible and naïve hearers. You see, 10 years ago this brother had been declared clinically dead for an hour and 45 minutes (http://www.deanbraxton.com/). It was a miracle that he was allowed to return to his body without any repercussions and disabilities from such a long duration of lack of oxygen. I was riveted to his words with a living hope and expectation knowing that this was the realm my precious Daddy would soon be entering.

After being filled with the Spirit of God in this meeting I sat with the speaker and a handful of others in sweet fellowship around the things of God. As I listened to him I mused within, “this man is possessed with another spirit”. You would, too if you experienced the inexpressible beauties of heaven and the Father’s super-abounding perfect love that He has toward us. This man told us that he didn’t want to return to his body after he had died, and even now he emphatically restated that he doesn’t want to be here on the earth. “I’m on my way home!” he exclaimed.

Oh beloved, if we only knew what awaits us there, we wouldn’t be so caught up in the trivialities of this earthly life either! Could this experiential knowledge of heaven be the same reason the apostle Paul penned these words?

“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you” (Phil. 1:21-24).

The apostle Paul knew that it is far better to depart, go to heaven, and be with Christ than to stay here. He could speak such words because he also had been a visitor to heaven.

I was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether I was in my body or out of my body, I don’t know—only God knows. Yes, only God knows whether I was in my body or outside my body. But I do know that I was caught up to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell” (2 Cor. 12:2-4 – NLT).

Paul said heaven was so real that he didn’t really know if he was still in his body or out of it, and he heard astounding things that cannot be expressed in this earthly realm with earthly terms. His experience matched up with the man’s testimony I was now hearing. He told us that he doesn’t even rejoice in yesterday’s victories because he is so focused on the prize set before him.

I forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me. The goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13b-14).

After enjoying sweet fellowship with this man, I drove to the house I was staying in and went to bed. It was very late but I awoke early. Still unsettled in my mind as to my Daddy’s departure, but also still rejoicing within my spirit at the life giving words from the night before, I decided to call home to inquire of my Daddy’s condition. It was about 7:15 am. The news I heard seemed untimely. My Daddy was unresponsive. As I was on speaker phone encouraging my family and speaking almost prophetically to them my Daddy suddenly departed. Through the panic and tears I continued to speak releasing grace and life into the situation. It was difficult and gut-wrenching not to be there to help in my family’s hour of need. This is why I felt unsettled when I left. This is why I had a yellow light and not a green or a red. The Lord let me choose.

I cancelled my prior plans to spend another day with this preacher, and in a haste, headed home. With my spirit continuing to commune with heaven I inquired of the Lord. “Lord, why didn’t you hold my Daddy here until I got to the house. That was our agreement. He responded, “I was answering your first prayer and desire not to let him suffer or experience pain. He’d reached his end and he let go after seeing you and Daniel.”

Daniel is our only beloved son and my Daddy’s only precious grandson. He’s working a summer job in the south and can’t come home yet. Daniel had just spoken to him by video the day before in obedience to the witness my wife Carolyn received that he may not be here when he comes home next week. And I also had just returned from a 10 day ministry trip and was able to spend a good part of two precious days with my Daddy before leaving again.

As I continued listening to the Lord he said to me: “My angel was on standby to go and escort your Daddy’s spirit to heaven. I told him that you were going to call your family at 7:15 that morning. I commanded my angel saying, ‘when he calls, you go and bring my son home’. I was honoring your other prayer that you should be present when your Daddy departs. You had what you call a yellow light because you knew something was not quite right and that your Daddy would possibly depart when you were gone. I gave you a choice because deep in your heart you wanted to be at both places, and because your choices were based on the purity of your heart I gave you the closest thing to having both.”

When I heard and saw what the Lord had arranged for me I wept again in the car. What are the chances of my Daddy departing in a 10 minute window of a phone call? The Lord did that for me to answer both of my conflicting heart’s desires. He will move heaven and earth for those who trust Him and whose desires are pure and according to His wisdom and plan. He is involved in every detail of our lives. The way the Lord arranged my Daddy’s final days and departure were, in fact, a manifestation of His perfect wisdom and timing all wrapped up in His marvelous abounding love that He has toward each of us.

Certainly not everything is ideal in the departure of our loved ones, but those who’ve been born again and have come into a real relationship with the Lord can expect His best. Even when we don’t always understand we must trust in His perfect wisdom and plan. Certain things will be left a mystery for only our Sovereign God to know and or to be revealed to us in eternity.

Go back and investigate all the times the Lord moved in the details of your life. You will see that all the time He is working for us to answer every prayer and meet every need according to the will of God and His written Word.

Oh, how He loves us! And how excellent is His Name in all the earth and His ways past searching out!

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Note of thanks: We are so overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from you all during this time. This is the body of Christ – the family of God. I’ve often thought that our lives would be far better and richer if we could just love each other in life as much as we do in death. I know I’ve got work to do on this end.

My Daddy and I were very close. In-between my many constant ministry travels the last few months I’ve tried to spend as much time with him as I could. The Lord gave me the honor of sharing many intimate moments with him. We became like very close friends as he shared stories and secrets of his life. This has made me miss him all the more, and caused me to cry many sweet tears already. Yet I do rejoice knowing for a fact that he was born again of the Spirit of God (John 3:1-7) and is now in the presence of the One he loved and served.

My Daddy’s greatest wish and desire for his extended family, relatives, and loved ones is for all to truly and experientially know the wonderful Lord and Savior he had come to know. For him, it was not a religion for he had that in a denominational church for many years, but for him it was a loving relationship.

My family and I would like to once again sincerely express our love and gratitude to each one of you for your heart felt condolences and care in this trying hour of mixed emotions. Warm Jesus love and hugs to each of you. You are all so special and loved by the Lord, and it is our earnest prayer that you would supernaturally know the width, length, depth, and height of that love that surpasses our own understanding. Oh dear ones, He is so worthy of all our hearts and lives.

“Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of His saints.” (Ps. 116:15)

My precious Daddy, I love you so much, miss you so much, and await our glad reunion.
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THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THE ANSWER TO THE GROSS DARKNESS

Jesus told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit to come. He said this even after He breathed on a few of them and commanded them to receive the Holy Spirit (Jn. 20:22). This is another proof of the two-fold experience, measure, and purpose of the Holy Spirit; one in salvation, that is as a well of living water (Jn. 4:14), and one for power, which is likened to rivers of living water (Jn. 7:37-38).

Jesus told the disciples to wait for the power of the Holy Spirit implying that they were in no condition to minister as He did without this power (Jn. 20:21)(Acts 1:8). Much of the Church has missed that basic truth. All ministry starts and ends with the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself said He could do nothing without him. It was unthinkable for Jesus to attempt to minister without the anointing of the Spirit and without hearing instructions and counsel from His Father. The Holy Spirit is the one who endues us with power, anoints us with fresh oil, moves in us in worship, in prayer, in preaching, and in demonstration.

It was the Holy Spirit who moved on Peter giving him utterance at Pentecost that caused hearts to be pierced with the sword of the Spirit (Acts 2:37). That is how the Church was birthed, and that is how she is to continue – in demonstration of the Spirit and the power of God. Increased activity of the Holy Spirit is the answer to all our problems. Increased activity of the Holy Spirit is God’s divine response to the increasing darkness and gross darkness in America and in the nations.

The activity of the Holy Spirit continued throughout the book of Acts. Thus the reason for the much fruit and results they witnessed and the revival they experienced. We need to be reminded of this simple but powerful truth so that we can begin putting our complete trust in God and not in man.

We come against the direct commandment of God when we don’t move with the Holy Spirit. Let that statement sink in.

Do you understand how powerful the Holy Spirit is? Do you understand that He can do one thing that would catapult us into revival and awakening that we could not do in 1,000 years in our strength? Do you understand that it was He who transformed one of the greatest opposers of the early Church and turned him into one the greatest apostles and proponents of the Church there has ever been? And it all happened through the prayers of the saints – in Saul’s case it was the prayer of forgiveness that Stephen prayed at his stoning (Acts 7:57-60) that was instrumental in releasing the power of the Holy Spirit to transform Saul.

When great persecution came against the early Church and James was killed by Herod (Acts 12:1-3), then Peter was arrested and taken to prison, the Church prayed constantly (v. 12). In James’ case, the Church had failed to pray, but they prevailed in their prayers for Peter. And what happened? An angel was sent to deliver Peter from prison. Not only that, but I believe it was also the same angel that smote Herod (v. 23), another great opposer of the Church and he died an awful death. God knows how to deal with those who oppose His Church and His people if we would only pray and trust in His dealings and in His power.

This is what the Church needs to be reminded of today. Times are tough. Our nation and the world are in desperate need of God. No matter what things look like, nothing is too difficult for the Lord, and if we will only pray effectually, fervently and constantly the Lord will move. He will respond, and we will see His mighty hand moving upon our land.