FROM A DEN OF THIEVES TO A HOUSE OF PRAYER: ARE YOU A BUSINESS OR A MINISTRY?

“Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them” (Mt. 21:12-14).

The first century money changers were in the temple, but they didn’t have the spirit of the temple. Much like it is in a large segment of today’s Church, they were preferring prosperity over prayer, trading holiness for hype, and preaching a gain-is-godliness message and a God-will-bless-you-with-riches gospel. They loved money more than God. They loved business more than prayer.

Ministers who are in it for the money are a business, not a ministry. They’re in the ministry to make monetary profit thus disqualifying them from the high Christian calling and making them unprofitable servants. This attitude is prevalent and is the root cause of the evil system that has entangled a part of today’s church.  

    

“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon… Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him…Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery (Lk. 16:13-14, 18).

For years I could never make sense of vs. 18 that speaks of marriage and divorce. How does that fit in with everything Jesus is teaching on money? I believe I found the answer. Here it is: God was married to Israel by the Law, but the Pharisees divorced Him when they married money or silver.

Notice how they were  referred to as “lovers of money”, which translates better in the original Greek as, “lovers of silver”, which is the most accurate definition of covetousness. That is very sobering, but it lines up with the truth that we cannot serve God and mammon. They were guilty of using money as a substitute for their lawful union with God.

The Pharisees began to get very upset when they realized that Jesus was speaking about them. The word “deride” means to stick their nose up at, or scoff. They were guilty of using religion and their position to steal from the people to benefit themselves–exactly what the Scriptures forbid ministers and shepherds to do.

Tend (nurture, guard, guide, and fold) the flock of God that is [your responsibility], not by coercion or constraint, but willingly; not dishonorably motivated by the advantages and profits [belonging to the office], but eagerly and cheerfully…” (1 Pt. 5:2).

Here’s how it reads in another translation:

“Just as shepherds watch over their sheep, you must watch over everyone God has placed in your care. Do it willingly in order to please God, and not simply because you think you must. Let it be something you want to do, instead of something you do merely to make money (1 Pt. 5:2 – CEV)

These Pharisees were totally out of sync with the whole purpose of the Father’s house. The Father’s house is not a place to conduct business and make a buck. It is a house for calling on the Name of the Lord. It is also where the blind and lame come and are healed by the power of God (Mt. 21:14).

The atmosphere in the Father’s house is to be one of reverential prayer. The aroma from the incense of the golden altar before the throne of God is that of the saints on the earth opening their hearts in worship, intercession, and supplication (Rev. 5:8, 8:3-5). It is this incense that produces holy fire that will never go out, manifests the power of God, and releases Divine activity on the earth.

This is an excerpt taken from my new book, The Cleansing Of The Temple: From A Den Of Thieves To A House Of Prayer. Look for its release sometime in the Fall of this year.

NOTE: Our books and articles are forerunners to the move of God and personal holiness. The fire of God and the fear of God is attached to them. If you feel like this article is valuable, please use the social media buttons below to share it. Also, this ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those who believe in the mandate and message of revival that this ministry carries. If this article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible contribution through our Paypal button to help? 

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Thank you, and may God’s richest and best be yours.

 

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FROM MY HEART: I AM A LEVITE

When I made a consecration as a single man to leave the comforts of America to be a missionary in the impoverished nations of West Africa many years ago I vowed to trust the Lord with all my needs. I had read how the late John G. Lake did this, and it inspired me to do the same, albeit in heart, not in form. The devil has tested that consecration in various seasons of my life, but I keep going back to it and putting the Lord in remembrance that it is He who called me and chose me for a work. He alone is my portion and I’m gladly employed by Him.

Basically, and in a word, I made a consecration as a minister, similar to what a Levite of the Old Covenant did to make the Lord their inheritance and their portion.

“The priests, the Levites—all the tribe of Levi—shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel; they shall eat the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and His portion. Therefore they shall have no inheritance among their brethren; the Lord is their inheritance, as He said to them” (Dt. 18:1-2).

I thank God that he’s kept me from a desire to chase money or the pleasures of this world all these years. I’ve seen how this desire has caused many Levites (ministers) to stray from the faith and pierced them through with many sorrows. The perfect will of God has evaded them for most of their lives and kept them at minimum effectiveness. The deceitfulness of riches and love of other things has robbed many of them of their primary inheritance and portion, who is the Lord.

Here are some other Scriptures that verify the Lord being the inheritance or the portion of the Levites (Nu. 18:20; Ez. 44:28; Dt. 10:8-9). Translating this consecration into New Covenant language we see it in the life and ministry of Jesus as His priority to prayer and communing with the Father was the oxygen of all He said and did (Jn. 5). “I have food to eat of which you do not know” (Jn. 4:32), He said. We see it in the selection Jesus made for His apostles to first of all be with Him and then to be sent out to preach and minister (Mk. 3:13-15). We see it again in the devotion the early apostles made to the Word and prayer (Acts 6:4), and to minister to the Lord (Acts 13:1-3). They made the Lord their inheritance and portion. This means they depended on Him for everything they needed.

In those early days of ministry my wife and I opted out of government benefits such as social security and Medicare, made no provision for any of it nor retirement funds, medical insurance, and such. We are not opposed to any of those provisions, but this was our conviction as Levites that we would trust the Lord for everything. Please do not do this unless you are a minister and are led this way.

Since that day more than 30 years ago God has met our needs, occasionally by His miraculous Divine intervention and frequently through His Church and His people.

To encourage myself through the years I’ve meditated on scriptures such as those found below in the book of Deuteronomy and the service and the “holding fast to the Lord” that should be the biggest part of our lives.

“You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him(Dt. 13:4).

Dt. 10:20 and 30:19-20 are others:

“You shall fear the Lord your God; you shall serve Him, and to Him you shall hold fast…”

“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”

If the Lord is indeed our portion we must cleave to Him. This means to stick to Him like glue.

LOW VISIBILITY, HIGH IMPACT

Because we write for Charisma magazine, have published many books, and have been on popular Christian television programs (Sid Roth and Christ For The Nations), or now have an Arabic program of our own, many of our readers and followers think we are a large well-funded ministry. But that is simply not the case. The way we like to refer to our ministry in a spiritual sense is one of low visibility and high impact.

Oh yes, financially, compared to most of the world, we do live comfortably and within our means, but it’s week to week and month to month. Without an extensive travel itinerary we would not have a sustainable ministry income. After all, this is our work, and we do it joyfully as unto the Lord, and we’ve never lacked. To God be the glory.

God has provided for us every step of the way, and recently after my daddy’s home going we were even left with an inheritance, which we did invest toward our latter years. Praise the Lord for that provision derived from my parents’ extremely hard work ethic and life. Aside from this provision, we do not have one church, one organization, or a denominational backing of any kind that pays our salary or  has committed to care for us in our latter years, if we so need it. There are no annuities or pensions to collect, no full coverage insurance for medical bills, no paid vacations, or other fringe benefits that some pastors and ministers with a fixed income receive and enjoy. I’m a firm believer that true ministers of the Lord should be well taken care of, but I’ve mainly witnessed this on a pastoral level in larger churches and ministries. Missionaries and itinerant ministers as well as the small church pastor often do without in their latter years when their strength to minister has abated them.

Thank God that we have our life, our health, and our strength. Our faith and consecration is that we will minister the holy things of the Lord until we die. When we are of no more use in this way, we’ve asked the Lord to simply take us home.

It is in this regard that we’d like to let everyone know that we not only depend on God for our provision and ministry needs, but also upon those He moves upon to support and sustain our life and work. Your partnership and gifts to this ministry are much appreciated and new partnerships and contributions are always welcome, for there are many things the Lord has laid on our hearts yet to do.

 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Phil: 4:10-20).

NOTE: Our books and articles are forerunners to the move of God and personal holiness. The fire of God and the fear of God is attached to them. If you feel like this article is valuable, please use the social media buttons below to share it. Also, this ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those who believe in the mandate and message of revival that this ministry carries. If this article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible contribution through our Paypal button to help? 

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Thank you, and may God’s richest and best be yours.

 

IF ENOUGH OF US DO THIS WE CAN CHANGE THE NATION

Following 14 years of harsh imprisonment for his faith, Richard Wurmbrand was asked why we don’t have to deal with communism here in America. Much like the Lord Jesus often responded to curious inquirers, he was not direct in his answer, but spoke to the root of America’s issues.

“You don’t have communism here, but you have something far worse. You have materialism.”

The witness of even other religions makes this indictment very unsettling.

As an example, radical Islamic leaders do not consider the Church or the gospel as the greatest enemy to the spread of their religion. Christians are not the primary target of their Jihadist warfare ideology. Western worldliness is their most formidable foe. After all, they do refer to America as the great Satan with Europe a close second. But the unsettling thing is that Muslim clergy believe America is a Christian nation, and they see nothing in the Church that distinguishes us from the world.

These Muslim clergy cite our exportation of godlessness, immorality, pornography, perversion, our gross preoccupation with entertainment, worldly fashion, fleshly indulgences as proof of our materialistic lifestyle and worldliness. Although we know Islam is a false religion and we are all appalled at the unthinkable, murderous and heinous acts of terror its adherents commit in the name of their god, we must realize that their feelings of American Christianity are equally justifiable as our moral outrage of the rotten fruit of their religion.

When the religious Muslim world looks at our brand of Christianity, it sees a worthless religion that does not make a profound and marked difference in the lives of those who profess it. They hear our profession of Jesus and see our worldly lifestyles compared to theirs and conclude that their faith is superior to ours. Yet we know that their faith engenders bondage instead of liberty, death and destruction instead of life and peace, and fear and guilt rather than true fellowship with the living God. But how do we get past their view of our hypocrisy? Does it not concern you that their view of commitment to God and morality is more of a reflection of the Scriptures than ours is?

If they saw a greater allegiance to Jesus among Western believers they might consider otherwise, but as a whole, they are not seeing it. They refute all worldliness, but we embrace it. They even oppose other Muslims in their own camp who are worldly. In spite of all that is wrong with Islam, shouldn’t it disturb us that their allegiance to a lie is greater than our allegiance to the truth? Isn’t it chilling and afflicting to our souls that they die for their beliefs, but we in America can’t even live for ours?

MORE HEART SEARCHING QUESTIONS

Could it be that many American Christians have been greatly deceived and entrapped by the materialism/worldliness in our nation? Could it be that worldliness has infiltrated into the church to such a degree that it has rendered our witness to the world ineffective? Could it be that the materialistic environment many of us have been raised in has dulled our senses to its real influence over our lives? Have we been lured away from what is eternal and spiritual and given ourselves to the temporal and fleshly? Do we realize that there are tens of millions of professing Christians in our nation who make zero impact on the various spheres of their influence? Who never testify of their faith? Who don’t even practice their faith? Have we ever given thoughtful consideration that the lifestyle of millions — not thousands — but millions of professing believers in America is contrary to the Scriptures and commands of Jesus Christ and indistinguishable from the rest of society?

Let’s face it: Our foundation is faulty; therefore, our house cannot stand. We need such a purging in the Church today that calls itself by Christ’s name. We have become professional hearers. We don’t really believe the Bible and what Jesus said. Consider some of the first words Jesus spoke to the multitudes who sought to follow Him. His witness and that of the other apostles speaks clearly and emphatically against all worldliness, complacency, and compromise. Yet we continue on living contrary to what they said.

“If anyone will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:24-26).

“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple … So likewise, any of you who does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26, 33).

Christianity is a whole-hearted commitment to follow Christ. Many of us have forgotten that. We cannot live in the flesh and please God, but instead, through the empowering Spirit of God, we are to put to death the deeds of the body, bring it under subjection and crucify the flesh.

“For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if through the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Rom. 8:13).

“But I bring and keep my body under subjection, lest when preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:27).

“Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts” (Gal. 5:24).

For the most part, except for a consecrated remnant, we are a materialistic and worldly Church because we don’t heed or understand the message of the cross. A few years ago, I heard a media consultant say that the reason for the lack of substance and weighty messages on Christian television today is because it doesn’t draw viewers. The average viewer only has an appetite to hear messages that tell them how wonderful they are, and how rich, happy, and blessed they can become. The bottom line with most television ministries is ratings and funds. How sad and tragic it will be for them when they give account to God at the judgment.

We must recover the true message and ministry of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, especially here in the West. Ministers must return to the altar and crucify works of the flesh. We don’t need a new message, a new manifestation, a new program, or another conference to tell us how to grow our churches and ministries. All we need to do is return to the old-fashioned gospel and obey the commands of it. God has demonstrated His great love for each of us in that while we were yet sinners He died for us. His Holy shed blood has cancelled out our death and given us new life.

There is now available an abundance of His empowering grace to obey all of His commands.

If enough of us do so it will change the nation.

For more on this theme refer to the following books: The Real Gospel, The Real Salvation and The Real Jesus, The Real Spirit Of Revival).

NOTE: Our books and articles are forerunners to the move of God and personal holiness. The fire of God and the fear of God is attached to them. If you feel like this article is valuable, please use the social media buttons below to share it. Also, this ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those who believe in the mandate and message of revival that this ministry carries. If this article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible contribution through our Paypal button to help? 

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Thank you, and may God’s richest and best be yours.

THE SPIRIT OF REPENTANCE IS THE KEY TO TURNING THE CHURCH AND THE NATION

I have a friend named Jim in my home town that I shared the gospel with several years ago. At first he was confused about Christianity to such a degree that he wasn’t even sure who Jesus was. He is highly intellectual and couldn’t see how God could make Jesus the only way to salvation. He would reason, “How could God allow good human beings who have another religion to perish and go to hell?” I talked to him several times and eventually asked him to read the gospel of John so that he could see that the loopholes he was trying to find in the person of Jesus Christ and the gospel just aren’t there. 

Finally, the light came on and he began to understand that there was no other way to God except through Jesus. Still, he struggled with the need to change his lifestyle saying things like, “Nothing is broken in my life. Nothing needs fixing.”  He believed that the guiding principle of his life to do good to others was enough. In other words, although he now believed that Jesus was the Son of God, that He shed His blood for his sins, that He was raised from the dead, he was not yet convicted of his sins. What if I had told Jim: “Don’t worry about your sins, Jim. Jesus paid for it all. Just receive God’s payment and confess Jesus, and you’ll be saved.” That is the common gospel you hear in the marketplace of Christianity today. It is a travesty and the root of where the axe needs to be laid. 

I’ll tell you what would’ve happened if I preached this version of the gospel to Jim. By ministering a false comfort to him and rushing him to a decision to pray a prayer of salvation when conviction wasn’t working, deception would’ve been birthed in his life. He would’ve believed he was saved without really being saved. This is what has been done with multitudes of sinners everywhere, and that is the key reason why such a small percentage of them continue to walk with the Lord and bear fruit after supposedly receiving Jesus. We think we can bypass the cross and use other methods to bring people to salvation, and in so doing we become guilty of preaching another gospel and leaving so many in deception.  

The more I talked to Jim the more I began to locate the root of his problem. He felt he would be unhappy with a different lifestyle than the one he had. His lifestyle included regular Friday or Saturday night parties at his house where he and his friends would drink booze and carry on until the wee hours of the morning. That’s what the Holy Spirit was pressing and putting his finger on. So now there was conviction, but Jim was resisting the Holy Spirit in the process. It was all an issue of repentance and surrender.

DESTRUCTIVE MINDSET: SERVING GOD IS NO FUN

There is a destructive mindset in carnal professing Christians today that is at the root of this great deception and keeps them from going “all in” for Jesus.

They believe that there can be no real enjoyment in life if they stop sinning and pursuing happiness and carnal pleasures. They honestly believe that life would be a killjoy if they repented. These people do not seem to realize that the person who has truly repented has no desire to sin, and that the grace of God changes a person’s desires and empowers him to live for Christ. It is an inward transformation. That’s the miracle of salvation. Once truly saved, serving Jesus becomes a great joy to the earnest believer.

I dare to say that if the desire to sin is still in the heart of a professing Christian then he has not yet tasted of the real salvation. New life has not yet begun. Regeneration has not taken place.

Listen to the voice of one of the great revivalists of the past:

“Christianity does not make the believer unhappy by keeping him away from the sinful things he loved because the believer has changed his opinion on those things.” —Charles G. Finney

Finney defined repentance as a change of the ultimate preference or choice of the soul and of action. He taught that repentance is a change of will, feeling and of life in respect toward God. Finney believed that true repentance involves more of the person’s will and conscience than his natural feelings. Feelings are involuntary and have no moral character except what they derive from the action and the will. He would admonish sinners to submit and commit their entire being to God at once, obey their conscience and the feelings would soon follow (for more on this theme refer to the following books: The Real Gospel, The Real Salvation and The Real Jesus).

The spirit of repentance is the missing ingredient in much of the American church and in our society that will save us and restore the glory of the Lord in our lives, our churches, and in our land.

NOTE: Our books and articles are forerunners to the move of God and personal holiness. The fire of God and the fear of God is attached to them. If you feel like this article is valuable, please use the social media buttons below to share it. Also, this ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those who believe in the mandate and message of revival that this ministry carries. If this article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible contribution through our Paypal button to help? 

DONATE 

Thank you, and may God’s richest and best be yours.

FALSE CONVERTS AND WORLDLY “CHRISTIANS” BIGGEST PROBLEM IN AMERICA

In the mid-90’s I received this Spirit-inspired utterance. I believe the fulness of this word is for right now.

“America will come upon hard times. Many hearts will open, and the gospel will penetrate into the cities of America. Revival will sweep the land even as it is being judged. Young men who will be trained and ready will be as special forces, and they will run with fire in their feet and in their hearts. They will be free of care and family ties and at a moment’s notice will respond to the Spirit’s call and go. When the enemy unleashes his onslaught on the cities of America these shall be ready. They will be sent to the battle equipped as troops for the trenches where victories are won. Unconventional wisdom and special skill shall be given them for conquest, and they will go armed to suffer for their Lord and Commander in Chief.

“These special forces shall be men that have no desire for their own glory, but only seek the glory of Him who sends them. They are men with no hidden agendas or secret plans, but only to advance the kingdom.”

Praise the Lord!

Think about how different America has become in just the last 10-15 years ago. Go back even further to the mid-90s when I received this word. As a nation we have reached the boiling point. Something has to give.

The country is divided. The Church in many ways is divided.

For years now, the Democrats have been moving farther left — more pro-abortion, more pro-LGBT activism, more anti-Israel, more anti-Bible, more radically socialist. Even professing Christians have been caught up in this leftist ideology. On what basis can God-fearing Christians be a modern democrat or even vote for them? In my humble opinion, they are the biggest problem in our nation. That is the reason I say that the Church is divided. Just before he went to be with the Lord the late prophecy teacher Hilton Sutton administered altar calls for Christians who voted for Obama. Yes, no joke, he called them to repentance.

CHURCH FULL OF FALSE CONVERTS

“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Lk. 6:46)

I believe many of our churches today are full of false converts or they are just miserably backslid.

You want to know what the greatest opposition to the truth is in these last days? Forget about these university professors, atheistic leftists, false religionists, and skeptics and so forth. The greatest liability in the Church of today are those inside the church. The passive, lukewarm “Christian” who remains in his neutral closet and never engages others in evangelism and in being a living witness for Christ is the leaven that leavens the entire lump.

In a recent George Barna survey 25 percent of those who lay claim to a born-again experience do not even adhere to the basic and elementary tenets of the Christian faith. It is that particular group that are like a cancer in the church. A significant change in them would mean a significant change in our nation, too.

The curse of our nation is the presentation of the “free gift” dimension of the gospel without the Lordship factor and the surrender and submission component. It’s the gospel on our own terms. This contemporary gospel is a huge factor in the moral erosion of our culture, especially as it relates to social issues. Among the number of non-evangelical professing “born-again” Christians, only slightly more than 50 percent identify as social conservatives, and even that number is suspect, based on recent elections. Additionally, on the abortion issue, 37 percent are not pro-life, and 27 percent advocate gay rights. Remember, these are the people who claim to be born again and who say they are good people and never hurt anyone. The absence of a true moral compass in their lives is glaring. The salt has lost its savor. The light they claim to have is great darkness.

Although there is a godly, committed remnant that is alive and well in our nation, imagine if just this 25 percent group were presented and practiced a gospel that included a solid commitment to Christ and biblical values, how much more faith would be interjected into the American culture? Visualize how different of a nation America would be.