MODERN DAY CHARISMATICS AND WOF CHRISTIANS HAVE FORGOTTEN THE “IF”

As a product of the Charismatic and Word of Faith movement in the early 1980s, I will be forever indebted to ministries who brought much light to the body of Christ through their teachings.
I learned how to pray, exercise my faith and authority, resist the devil, walk in victory, and minister to others by listening to those classified as Charismatic/WOF ministers and reading many of their good books. I was also inspired by the personal life, integrity, and consecration of spiritual fathers like the late Kenneth E. Hagin who laid a tremendous foundation in me at his Bible school. The older I get the more grateful and appreciative I become for the life long blessing of having attended his school early in my Christian life. What a difference it  has made in my walk with the Lord! I shudder to think where I would be right now if not for being influenced by Dad Hagin’s ministry and other solid WOF ministries. By the way, the bad rap that Hagin received in many circles were from people who did not know him personally, and who were entirely ignorant of what he believed and taught. I also know that Dad Hagin never approved of some of the abuses, excesses, and extremes that came out of the WOF camp—especially regarding the unbalanced teachings on prosperity that came from some of his followers.
Having said all of that, I want to touch upon one area of imbalance that I’ve observed in Charismatic/WOF circles that is hindering many people from receiving God’s best in their lives. Modern day Charismatics and WOF Christians can quote the Word, but many are not walking in the fulness of the blessings that God has provided for us. For example, most know that healing is provided in the atonement and in the covenant God has made with us, but so few seem to be able to appropriate it in their daily lives. It’s even worse for those who are not in the full gospel movement and do not have light on such areas as faith and healing.

Ironically with more knowledge and more resources available on faith and healing today, there are actually more sick people in the Charismatic/WOF churches now than there’s ever been. That shouldn’t be. Something is awry. The large gap between what we believe, what we say, and what we actually possess needs to be narrowed.

Just the other day my wife and I were conducting a weekend of meetings, and we made a call for the sick to come forward to be ministered to. To my amazement, every single person in that place came forward. These were, for the most part, full gospel, tongue talking Christians. And this is the pattern we are seeing in most full gospel churches we’ve been to. Something is wrong. It is not the will of God for His children to be sick and diseased. This has troubled me and become a present burden. My heart goes out to so many who are struggling with their health. I’m actually praying and contemplating doing a faith and healing webinar to help the body of Christ make adjustments and receive healing. It is not God’s fault that so many Christians are sick and diseased. There are causes and there are hindrances to people receiving healing in their bodies.

Think about this: There was a day in the old covenant era when there was not one sick and feeble person among 3 million Israelites. How much more ought this to be the standard under a new and better covenant established upon better promises by the precious Blood of Jesus?

“He also brought them out with silver and gold, and there was none feeble among His tribes. (Ps. 105:37).

I’ve ministered healing to people for most of my ministry life. My wife and I have conducted healing schools and healing centers in the nations and in America throughout our many years in ministry. This is an area we have some knowledge and experience in, and yet we are ever growing and learning. As I stated, there are reasons Christians are sick; there are hindrances to them receiving healing. Many pray, and ask, and plead with God to heal them. They say they are believing God and they are confessing the Word, but it’s not working. Something is not right on their end.

We must understand that God does not change. His will and word is forever established in heaven. His will is always healing and divine health for everyone all the time right now. There are so many traditions, false beliefs, and erroneous mind-sets in the Church today concerning healing. For example, many Christians believe that whatever happens in life is God’s will. Some even have the audacity to say that God works in mysterious ways and you can never know what He’s going to do. Where is that in the Bible? What you will find in the Bible is the character of God and the revealed will of God for every area of life including divine healing and health. What you find in the Bible is God’s compassion for the sick and diseased in operation through the ministry of Jesus. Never did He send anyone away who came to Him for healing or a miracle. Never did He say that it wasn’t His will to heal or deliver them.

Sickness and disease is a curse. There are many old testament scriptures that clearly reveal this. The entire chapter of Deuteronomy 28 is one of my favorites. How much more true is it under this present dispensation of the new covenant. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13). The curse cannot come upon God’s children unless there is an open door for the enemy to have access.

Check this verse out in these two different translations:

“As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come” (Pr. 26:2 – KJV).

Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse will not land on its intended victim” (Pr. 26:2  – NLT).

This verse tells us that the curse without a cause cannot come. In other words, there are reasons that new  covenant believers are sick. It is not God’s fault. The problem is not on the sending end with God; it’s on the receiving end with us.

I’ve been around Charismatics/WOF people and Pentecostals for most of my Christian life, and too many of them are failing to appropriate the blessing of healing and health for themselves. It has been my experience in observing them and in working with some of them that there are two primary hindrances to receiving healing and walking in divine health. Unbelief and unforgiveness. We will write or speak more on these at another time. For now I want to share with you what the Lord made known to me specifically about modern day Charismatic/Pentecostal people especially in the WOF camp (word of faith).

He said to me, not in an audible voice, or out here in the physical realm, but on the inside of me in my spirit. He said that one of the big problems with many modern day Charismatics is that they’ve forgotten the “if”.

“…If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that health thee” (Ex. 15:26).

There is a condition attached to healing and health. It is obedience. In Deuteronomy we find the same condition.

And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God (Dt. 28:1-2). 

Although the blessings of God encompasses the totality of our lives, two of the main areas it covers are divine health and financial/material provision and prosperity. And this chapter also outlines the curses that will come upon God’s people if they do not hearken to the Lord’s voice and obey Him.

“But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee” (Dt. 28:15).

This is what I wanted you to see. There is a condition attached to the blessings of God that is not only seen throughout the old covenant but carries over into the new covenant as well. This is where many modern day Charismatics and WOF people have missed it. The Lord showed me that it’s a mind set. To them it sounds like works. In other words, if we do everything just right we will be healed. No, that’s not it. No, no, no! The issue is walking in the light that you possess. The issue is obedience to what you know to do or not to do – obedience to both His written word and what He says to you by His Spirit.

Oh, there’s so much more here, friends, that we will have to continue this in our next blog. Until you’ve heard the rest of it, don’t unhook or judge unrighteously.

Stay tuned for more…

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THE AWFUL SIN OF PRESUMPTION

When Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil He had to contend with wild beasts.

“And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him” (Mk. 1:13).

I’m not even completely sure why this verse is in the Bible. None of the other gospel writers mention it. Perhaps Jesus needed angelic ministry to not only help Him overcome Satan, but to also to overcome the distraction of these wild beasts. The CEB translation states it this way:

“He was among the wild animals, and the angels took care of him.”

These temptations and distractions were early lessons in Jesus’ anointed ministry. He had to set a standard for the coming Church. As I said, in addition to facing great temptations, it appears that these wild beasts were also a  distraction. When I think back on my own journey there were many distractions and early lessons, that had I failed to learn them, would’ve stunted my spiritual life, growth, and calling.

For example, I learned that if you can’t win in your personal life and home you can’t win anywhere else. If you can’t overcome there, you can’t overcome in any other place. How are you going to conquer the world if you can’t even conquer your home? How will you serve others if you haven’t overcome your own issues? Many Christians never conquer their bad personal habits and demons. They never learn to cooperate with the grace of God and discipline their body’s appetites and crucify their fleshly lusts. The Spirit of God works with us and helps us, but we cannot override His principles and the laws He set in motion.

For example, here’s a qualification for an overseer that actually applies to all ministers:

“If a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?” (1 Tim. 3:4)

Simply put, you can’t lead a church if you can’t lead your own house. Many are disqualified from a ministerial leadership position right there on that note.

Ruling your corporate house is one thing, but ruling your house, as in your physical body, is yet another.

“I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:27).

The apostle Paul wrote that he would be disqualified if he didn’t rule and discipline his body. It’s the same principle today.

Here’s another one:

“He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation.” (v. 2)

COMPROMISE, IMMATURITY, AND DEFICIENT CHARATER

Most ministers are deficient in this character area, aren’t they? Such imperfect men we are, but as I said, the Spirit of God helps us in our infirmities as we cooperate with Him. He has chosen to use redeemed men, not necessarily perfect men. However, He will still not override His own character qualifications that He has established in His Word, especially for overseers and deacons. Maturity in character is a definite non-negotiable in the ministry. Why do we continually compromise it?

It is because of the sin of presumption. One of the definitions of this word is “transgressing the limits of what is permitted or appropriate”. The Word of God outlines boundaries and limits to what is permissible or appropriate. It is getting more difficult to find ministers who qualify for ministry based on these character qualifications. The epistle of 1 Timothy 3 lists them.

I’ve been in ministry a long enough time to see that we have greatly compromised this area. And this has led to so many of our problems, issues, and scandals in the ministry. It has been embarrassing and brought great reproach to the work of God and the Name of Jesus. The ministry road has been littered with casualties of men and women who were taken out because they could not overcome their flesh, the world, and the devil in their lives and ministries.

None of us are above temptation. None of us can claim to be perfected or invincible. We are ever learning and ever growing. All of us have feet of clay and are subject to weaknesses and the flaws that are common to man. But none of that changes what the Lord has laid out for us in His Word. This should encourage us to avoid excuses such as, “nobody is perfect”; “God understands”; “everyone does it”, “it’s not that bad”; etc. There is forgiveness but no excuses.

Maturity is a must for serving in ministry. If you’re quick to repent and quick to forgive, and also quick to believe, you have a great advantage over most. That means your heart is soft and tender. It means you’re humble and teachable. It means God can work with you. You are workable material. But my experience has been that many ministers do not possess these qualities, so they are an easy target for the enemy. They don’t repent easily and quickly, they harbor unforgiveness and offense in their hearts, and they’re full of doubt and subtle unbelief.

Due to some of these issues, the truth is too many ministers live and die and never reach the first phase of their callings and ministries. That shouldn’t be. Why is it? What’s the bottom line here?

One of the big reasons is the lack of personal consecration. If we assume we can make it without that we are in presumption. Self gratification and a self pleasing spirit will greatly hinder your consecration and cut the maturity process short. We are infamous for taking short cuts. There is an old African adage that says: “Short cut kill deer.”

It’s the cross that we are always dodging and attempting to skirt and avoid. No one wants to die, but this is what the Spirit comes to help us with.

“For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Rom. 8:13). You cannot bypass the cross of Jesus Christ and its application in your life. All of us must return to our Christian roots and the message of the cross. I believe it is the greatest need in the Church today that would distinguish the Church from the world. And it must begin with leaders and ministers everywhere.

OVERCOMING THE WILD BEASTS

“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts” (Rom. 6:12).

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Rom. 13:14).

“For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Gal. 5:17).

“That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” (Eph. 4:22).

The Word speaks of many kinds of lusts, but I can’t remember the last time I heard a message concerning putting to death these lusts in the members of our bodies. It seems like there’s been a diabolical silence on it.

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

These lusts are a part of our wild beasts. It’s time to stop feeding them. It’s time to stop transgressing the limits of what is permitted or appropriate. It’s time to stop being presumptuous. Obey the Word of God. Be led by His Spirit. Do what He says.

 

LETTING YOU INTO OUR PRAYER CLOSET

Since the beginning of 2013 my wife Carolyn and I have prayed together on a regular basis. At that time a new stream of revelation began to flow, and the anointing to pray continues to grow, and with it, the spirit to see and the spirit to know.

Usually I will record our prayer sessions either on my iPhone or in a notebook, so we don’t miss the revelation and utterances the Spirit of God brings forth. If on my iPhone, I will then transcribe it to a notebook. Here is a sample of just one very recent prayer session from the  100’s of pages we’ve compiled since we started.

Remember, this is prayer that sometimes flows from earth to heaven and sometimes from heaven to earth. It’s spirit to Spirit and Spirit to spirit – more conversational. We usually begin with praise and thanksgiving and then Carolyn moves quickly into the spirit of prayer where revelation flows. It is different every time, and sometimes there’s not as much revelation or prophecy but just prayer. We pray in tongues and we pray or interpret with our understanding. This is perfectly in line with Scripture.

“Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding” (1 Cor. 14:13-15).

I’m not sure how many people will grasp this or even appreciate it. If you already know these things then you will be encouraged and admonished. If you don’t know them you’ll be taught and you’ll learn.

“For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged (1 Cor. 14:31).

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Col. 3:16).

Let us know what you think. If it’s understood and appreciated and a blessing to you we may share more of these prayer jottings in the future. Most of the time what I do is write from the revelation we receive in prayer, attaching scripture to it as I’ve done here and as the Lord said to do below.

Praying this way brings great blessing and edification. Your spirit is renewed, satisfied, and fulfilled. If you’re not used to praying this way it will take you some time to cultivate it and develop your spirit to where you can move into it. Much of it comes by praying in tongues at length and being full of the Word. 

Here then is the prayer session:    

Men of old turned away from the gods of their world and from the one who steals, kills, and destroys.

And so I came by fire and I came by light, a cloud by day and a fire by night.

It’s no different when you came to Christ.

Your life became a sacrifice of praise and you turned away from evil.

And you turned yourself away from the wicked one, and you bowed and humbled yourself before Me

And then the hope of glory was seen upon thee.

Only then shall He receive glory (when Christ is seen and exhibited).

And so you’ve read, and so you’ve studied, and so you’ve seen the ones who turned away from the gods of this world that their lives were changed to glory.

And then I was seen upon them, then My power came through their vessels, just as you preached concerning Maria Woodworth-Etter and the people who froze like statues and became stiff as a board within miles of her meetings…

That was Christ in her, the hope of glory.

So when My Church comes into the same stance… instead of standing for that which has no everlasting life…when My Church stands for Me in righteousness and they subject themselves to the Spirit of God within them and they remove themselves from the wickedness of this world, so shall My Spirit flow in glory through them, and so My ministers will be able to stand in a new place and a new glory.

It’s inside now, not out here; Christ in you, the hope of glory.

So put these things into words that I’m showing you right now.

Think of those scriptures that I’ve commanded for the Church to walk in and so it shall be then that My Church will carry Me (My Spirit) and I shall flow through them in a greater glory.

So as it was with Rees Howells in that day… so it was with Evan, my beloved, when they sought Me with their whole heart…

Then I could move through their world, I could change their cities, and touch their region.

So My Church must realize that I am now in them and they’re responsible for how they walk, how they talk, and how they live in Me.

For only then shall My glory be seen upon thee.

It’s a type and shadow from the Old Testament.

This is the missing ingredient in the Church of America — the sacrifice of their lives upon the altar.

So sacrifice is done in the individual life just like the dream of 2/11/13:

DREAM

“Narrowing the boundaries of the flesh so the glory can increase (Rom 12:1-2).

Carolyn’s dream of 3-4 body-sized grills with actual full bodies on the grills being rolled – all brown and charcoaled; slow death. Behind the grills were luscious fruit trees.

Death leads to the bearing of much fruit.

In proportion to your life of prayer and fasting is the degree of the impact and fruit of your life and ministry on others.”

GLORY SHALL INCREASE UPON THOSE WHO LIVE THIS WAY

So shall My glory come forth from those who walk in Me in this way, so shall the glory of the Lord be seen upon them.

Why would it be any different? Why would it be a different principle? For the Lord is the same today as yesterday.

We hear Your words, we hear Your voice.

We make our lives a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto You.

Thank You for the Blood of Jesus Christ.

DIRECTION FOR OUR HOLY GHOST FORUM

For some reason I’m seeing communion being served.

That’s the way to remember Me and set the heart free.

That’s the way to acknowledge what I did at the cross.

That’s the way to set your heart at liberty.

Thank You that You’re drawing a people who are hungry and have not bowed their knee to Baal.

Draw husband and wife together where one is not serving You well.

A return of those who’ve left the truth of the Word and Spirit.

The small and seemingly insignificant churches coming into glory and a fresh anointing.

Those who’ve grown weary and tired must be revived again.

This move causing them to return to the altar.

A SPIRITUAL SONG

(I sang a song of the Spirit here)

This heart of mine, oh this heart of mine
A brand new heart I could not give,
A brand new kind of love I could not give,
A heart to obey You,
In and of myself I could not give,
But by the life that was sacrificed You put this new heart in me,
By Your holy Blood that was shed, the love of God was, too shed in me,
And the will to obey was given unto me,
The things that You love I now love,
And the things that You hate I now hate.
I hate evil, and I turn from evil,
And I humble myself and pray and seek Your face,
This is the desire of my heart,
It is You who put that within me,
You know that in my flesh I could not,
I had no power within to resist the enemy,
But by Your Blood I now reign,
Sin shall no more have dominion over me,
Through Your grace and by Your Blood I’ve overcome,
Thank You, thank You for this new and living way,
Thank You for the Blood of the Lamb,
Thank for the new and better Covenant,
Oh how privileged I am to live in this time and in this era
That the prophets could not see,
That the angels desired to look into,
But only you and I possess completely.

(Singing in the Spirit…and then more singing in our understanding)

Thank You Father, thank You Lord, thank You Holy Spirit of God,
For what You’ve done is great and marvelous,
It is past searching out,
Only by the Spirit within us can we know and understand these mighty things,
Lord, we give you praise; Lord, we give you praise,
Out of the darkness we have come, in Your marvelous light we now stand.

PRAYER

We surrender afresh today Father,
We thank You for the altar that we can come boldly to the throne of grace,
Forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness by the Blood of Jesus Christ.
Father, we put ourselves on the altar of sacrifice today,
We thank You that this is the new and living way, and its not death to our spirits, but death to our flesh
It’s death to the things that do not bring life,
But its life to us and those around us,
And its the door to the glory.

And we thank You for showing us that this morning,
That just as the Old Testament men of faith had to go through a process of cleansing and sacrifice in order for the glory of God to come and for You to be there,
We thank You that in Christ You were able to come.

We thank You that we have ears to hear what You’re saying by Your Spirit concerning Your glory in the Church and what is to come.

Thank You that You’re setting us up to be wise virgins fully equipped and ready.

TESTIMONIES FROM OUR TRAVELS FOR OUR PARTNERS, FRIENDS, AND FOLLOWERS

Today I thought I’d share some of the fruit of the love, prayers, and giving of the faithful core of partners, friends, and followers we have. Normally we’d send a report like this in our newsletter format, but so many on this blog are not on our newsletter email list.

The sustaining strength of our life and ministry are the prayers and giving of our partners and friends. Much to the surprise of some of our readers, we are not compensated for our writing – be it from our weekly Charisma blog, or from our personal blog here. Neither are we being paid for our Arabic satellite program, which is also broadcast weekly to many nations. Rather it costs us to be on television. It is you, our faithful followers and friends who undergird us with your prayers and giving.

Thank you for the monthly gifts and also for the one time gifts that occasionally are sent to help us. We are deeply appreciative as this entire ministry totally runs by faith in God’s miraculous provision through His obedient people.

We are always encouraged by testimonies of people who are helped and blessed by our ministry. It would be hard to keep going if we didn’t know we were bearing fruit and making a difference in people’s lives.

Here then are some recent testimonies, to the glory of God,  that testify to the fruit of your prayers and giving:

1. “You have a message of truth and purity that effected those of us present here today in such a way that I see movement towards the light taking place in ways we could never fathom.”

2. “I’ve been wanting to sow into the Lord’s work at Holy Fire Ministries for a long time now. I’ve been reading Bert’s blogs via Facebook and have been impressed with your journey in the Lord and all you are doing for His kingdom and Church.”

3. “Thank you for your faithful service and your uncompromising stand and teachings. They have blessed me, reset my perspective, and continue to encourage me to grow in my relationship with the Lord – hearing Him more clearly, surrendering to His will and ways with more abandonment.”

4. “You left a great spiritual blessing of confirmation and agreement in the atmosphere of our church and in our hearts.”

OTHER TESTIMONIES FROM A SERIES OF RECENT REVIVAL MEETINGS:

“Tanya, this was so amazing!” (Richard and Tanya oversee this work)

“Thank you for hosting Bert and Carolyn. It was a blessing!”

“I couldn’t take my eyes off Bert, I wanted to hear every word.”

“The services were good, Friday night was the best. The power was really there for me then. I could feel it filling up my hands.”

“The message was really good.”

“I like it!”

“It was fabulous.”

“I have been restored.”

“The messages and the praying was very good. Please let me know about more meetings.”

“I was touched in so many ways. My praying in tongues flourished. I couldn’t stop praying for days.”

“It was great! When Carolyn was praying over you Tanya, I was sobbing. I know we will have revival. We’ve been praying for so long.”

“It was wonderful! I was overwhelmed by the prayers, the speaker, and the revival song. I know God is doing something in this area.”

These are just a few responses that the overseers of this work shared with me. She said, “I saw over the four nights how God was moving among His people. It was a joy to see the waves of His power and glory move within the sanctuary, touching so many hearts and restoring lives.”

HOME WORK

Since returning home, we’ve been preparing for our upcoming Fall Holy Ghost Forum this weekend. We will be receiving our panel of ministers and look forward to rich prayer and fellowship with them as well as flowing together in the Spirit in the public forum.

We hope you will make an effort to join us. Normally we don’t like to charge a registration fee, but it is necessary to pay for the expenses of bringing our guests in and for our luncheon on Saturday afternoon for all attendees.  We are not a church and have no church or denominational backing, or general fund we can draw from for such events, thus the registration fee.

Prayerfully consider being with us. You can find details and registration here at the bottom of this page: Holy Ghost Forum

TELL MY CHURCH AND THE NATION TO REPENT: THEY ARE NOT SINCERE

Urgency and sincerity are two words that are rolling around in my spirit as I write this. With yet another historic event – the senseless killing of now 59 people in Las Vegas – we are being warned as a nation.

At the end of last year I wrote that 2017 was going to be a bad year for the world. I had a sense of darkness in my spirit. I was troubled and disturbed about the state of the Church and the nation. 2018 will be worse. 2019 even worse. 2020 is very bad. I can’t see past that right now. Time is running out. The call of the hour is for repentance. Sincere repentance. Not lip service. Not self-justification. Not procrastination. But a whole-hearted, renouncing of your evil ways, and a permanent forsaking of sin and self.

And no, I am not a doomsday preacher. I am a prophet-hearted servant of the Lord and a preacher of righteousness. I am a voice crying in the wilderness, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord! Make His paths straight!” I sincerely believe the real Church will shine in this day. I sincerely believe this is our finest hour. I sincerely believe we will have revival and awakening in our nation. How could I believe any differently and be a preacher? I have hope. But I also believe the present state of things in general in both the Church and the nation is very corrupt.

This Las Vegas tragedy comes on the heels of one of the worst storms in American history. It comes on the heels of record temperatures and raging fires in the West. It comes during a time in history where our national sovereignty is being threatened, where every kind of authority is dishonored and disrespected (especially the highest office in the land), where multitudes of university students mock God and celebrate filth and perversion, where hate and rebellion are everywhere in our society. Never has there been a time like this in the history of America and the nations.

Meanwhile in houses of worship there is no real worship. People stand in congregations, move their lips, and sing their praises, but their hearts are far from God.

These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me…” (Mt. 15:8-9).

Actors and pretenders they are with no sincerity. This lack of sincerity marks the church culture today.

Much of what we do is just for show. There is always an insincere agenda behind it. Butts int the seats, bucks in the offering, and buildings that must be paid. Another program, another project, another event, but there is no sincerity in many people. It is the spot and the blemish in our feasts and festivals.

How many more tragedies and casualties must take place before our attention is arrested and our insincerity brought to light. How many of those who were killed in Las Vegas were right with God? How many were ready to meet their Maker? How many were even conscious of Him? My guess is not very many. It is heart-breaking. The way to death and destruction is always far wider than the way to life that is always narrow.

Study the blessings and curses of Deuteronomy 28. It is obvious to even the casual observer that our nation, and many of our churches are under the curse of disobedience. Yes, I am aware that God has a remnant, but I am not talking about the remnant. I am speaking of the masses of lost people and the multitudes of insincere professing Christians who praise God with their mouths but their hearts are far from Him. Insincere.

The dictionary defines insincerity as not expressing genuine feelings; false, fake, hollow, artificial, feigned, pretended, put-on, inauthentic. Are you getting the picture? This is such an accurate description of our culture. The Church is full of false converts and pretenders. They live double lives. Hypocrisy is their most glaring feature. They are living only for themselves. They do what they want and when they want. There is no fear of God in their hearts.

The judgments of God are real. Heaven and hell are real. Most people live without that sense of reality. Their eyes are dim and they cannot see. Their ears are dull and they cannot hear. Their hearts are layered with their own lusts and vain imaginations. Their minds are full of contradictory thoughts and destructive reasonings. Their mouths are full of excuses and self-justification. They are nowhere near ready for the Judgement. They are not prepared to die and face God. They are nowhere near ready for the coming of the Lord. What will happen to them if they don’t change? They will die and go to hell. Does that concern you at all?

I’ve given my life to the Lord and to His work, but I constantly search my heart nearly every day. I don’t want to be insincere. I hate that in myself. I don’t want to be wrong anywhere in my life. I want to dwell in the holy fear of the Lord. I want to love and revere Him always. Because I understand the nature of deception I guard my heart with all diligence. I ask myself over and over again, “Am I sincere? Are my motives pure? Will they stand God’s own inspection?” (See Purity of Heart)

The opposite of insincerity is genuine, honest, open, real, truthful, upright, and trustworthy. These should be qualities found in every believer, but pride blinds us. And that is the root of where the axe needs to be laid to. Pride. Self-admiration; self-glorification; egotism; and self-love are some of the definitions. It is the opposite of humility. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (Jam. 4:6). That is our greatest need right now in the Church and the nation. Humility and repentance.

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chr, 7:14).

If…if…if…just one condition and the Church would be revived and our nation would be awakened – our sins forgiven and our land healed. What a marvelous promise? What a glorious remedy to all the death and darkness in our nation? What a grand solution to all the complacency and apathy in the Church? And there is only one condition. If.

We need an overwhelming response to the if. Let it start with me and you.

My tetralogy of books speaks to these vital themes and the turning of the Church and America back to God. If this article and others on my blog of this nature stir your love for truth and righteousness I highly recommend our books: The Real Salvation, The Real Gospel, The Real Jesus, The Real Spirit Of Revival.

By purchasing and circulating our books and articles you are helping to fulfill God’s plan for this ministry to carry the spirit of revival to the Church and the nations through the proclamation and publishing of His Word and the demonstration of His Spirit and power. Please help us to fulfill this vision by sharing these truths with others. Thank you and God bless you.

HUGH HEFNER’S OBITUARY IS FULL OF LIES

Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy magazine and Playboy mansion is dead at 91. The world is now a far better place.

The greater tragedy than the death of this one wicked man is how many minds and hearts he corrupted, marriages he ruined, and doors of perversion he opened to millions. He is now in full reality mode as He faces His Maker and gives account for his life of filth and debauchery.

I can hear the “thou shalt not judge” police sirens already. Excuse me, but true believers of Jesus Christ are called to judge all things. Educate yourself by reading 1 Corinthians 6, especially this part.

Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?” (1 Cor. 6:2-3).

Let me be clear. I do not rejoice over the death of the unrighteous. God wills that no man perish, but that all come to repentance (2 Pt. 3:9). The chances are very slim that Hugh Hefner called out on Jesus in his dying moments. If he did, God heard him and saved him just as he did the criminal on the cross in the hour of his death. What mercy! And let’s not forget, that this wicked and perverted man lived to a good old age of 91. Oh, what rich mercy God had on this man to allow him so many years to repent!

However, we should not be fooled. We live in a society that does not understand the gravity of sin and the universal state of the fallen nature man. Sin steals, kills, and destroys. Unless we repent and forsake our sin now, it will keep us separated from God both now and forever. We cannot afford to trifle with that thought and make light of sin. It always plays for keeps.

Hugh Hefner was a very wicked man. Much of America will laud a man like that as they do all their darling celebrities. It doesn’t matter if the celebrity is a chronic adulterer, a lifelong sodomite, or God forbid, a sick and twisted child molester. It doesn’t matter what kind of slimy  and lowlife character they are, man will find a way to celebrate them and say nice things about them in the end. That is what’s wrong with America. We defend sin. We justify wickedness. We put up with every kind of filth and vice. We’ve lost our moral compass and have made God our Almighty Servant.

I love my nation, but this is the one sore spot in her character that is very bothersome to me. It is like the rotten core of an apple that looks good and shiny on the outside, but once you bite into it it is gross, and you spit it out. So is America. So will Jesus do to us when we do not live for Him.

“I will vomit you out of My mouth” (Rev. 3:16b). Read the entire account of the church of Laodicea in context. The vomiting is a result of the Church losing its salt and savor, losing their ability to influence society, being lukewarm and good for nothing. When we side in with the world and their ideology (such as the aforementioned “thou shalt not judge” but it’s a false judgment; such as “the love and be nice to everyone” mantra, but it’s a love that tolerates and celebrates evil, is completely void of true wisdom and discernment, and will never minister correction and reproof).

AMERICA HAS BEEN KISSED BY THE ENEMY

I watched a commercial recently where athletes were making a case for being nice to everyone, speaking kindly, tolerating everything, celebrating our differences, avoiding racism etc. It’s the popular American thing to do now. I abhor it. The only thing wrong with that line of thinking is that the kindness and niceness extends to wickedness. You can’t tolerate and celebrate sin and a man like Hugh Hefner who is probably more responsible for the propagation of sexual perversion for the longest duration of time than any other human being.

In many cases being nice, talking sweet, avoiding conflict, and never being confrontational is hateful and deceitful. Open rebuke and the faithful wounds of a friend is true love.

“Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Pr. 27:5-6).

America has been kissed by the enemy. She is cooperating with him and he likes that. Our nation has been kidnapped and held for ransom. The ransom has been paid by the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, but most don’t know it. Satan has blinded them and deceived them (2 Cor. 4:3-4). The pure Blood of the spotless and sinless Son of God was shed, not so we could just be forgiven and be nice, but so we could be free from the sin, filth, and wickedness that abounds in our society…so we could be a shining light that is set on a hill that cannot be hid…so we could be salt that preserves our culture. The true grace of God not only forgives us but frees us from the power of sin, so we no longer allow it to rule our lives.

CALLED TO COEXIST: NOT!

Have you ever seen the popular bumper sticker that says, “Coexist”? It’s propaganda for the tolerance of all religions and genders. It contains symbols for love, the peace sign, liberalism, Islam, transgenderism, the Jew, China, the  Buddhist, and  Christian. One sticker even has “Trump sucks” on it, which exposes their utter hypocrisy and double standard. I hate that sticker. It’s everything that’s wrong with America. We’ve become a nation of wusses and pansies with no moral compass for right and wrong, evil and good, light and darkness. Hugh Hefner’s death and obituary is another sober reminder of how far our nation has fallen from common sense and sensibility. And the saddest part of it is that much of the Church just blends in. Silence is not golden but yellow in these evil times.

If you always run from confrontation and conflict and enjoy peaceful coexistence with the wicked, and shallow friends who never tell you the full truth, you are really a liability and not an asset in the Church. You are walking in the fear of man instead of the true fear of the Lord, which the Scriptures say is the beginning of wisdom.

As my new pastor friend, Cary Gordon, so succinctly states:

“Wisdom requires the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord produces discernment. Discernment sees through the crowded field of shallow poets, singers and sages, and avoids horrible decisions.

Wisdom is rare and precious. Few have it. Most hate it when they hear it, because in order to become wise, one must see and recant their own follies. Very few are willing to see and turn from their own follies.”

Blogger Matt Walsh might have had the truest obituary of Hefner today:

“It’s unfortunate that we must point out the fact that Hefner was a pornographer and a pimp. That his life’s work was to amass a collection of desperate women who were willing to be used and exploited. But we must tell this truth in order to combat the untruths that people are now saying about him.

We live in a country where men like Hefner are immediately canonized upon death. I’ve seen Hefner described as a “hero” and a “role model.” These are lies, and we must call them lies. The fact that Hefner is dead does not change the fact that he was a peddler of filth. If a man wishes to be remembered as virtuous and decent, he must live virtuously and decently. We don’t become virtuous and decent when we die, as if death itself washes away every bad thing we’ve done. Quite the opposite, actually. Death is when we reckon with the bad things.”

Don’t wait until death to reckon with your sin. Do it now. Hugh Hefner is dead and without hope, but there is still hope for you whilst you have breath.

May the spirit of repentance, true love, and the holy fear of the Lord make it’s way back into multitudes of churches everywhere who call themselves by Christ’s Name. If that happens, be sure that our nation will awaken from the depths of her death and demise. It’s our only hope.

My tetralogy of books speaks to these vital themes and the turning of the Church and America back to God. If this article and others on my blog of this nature stir your love for truth and righteousness I highly recommend our books: The Real Salvation, The Real Gospel, The Real Jesus, The Real Spirit Of Revival.

By purchasing and circulating our books and articles you are helping to fulfill God’s plan for this ministry to carry the spirit of revival to the Church and the nations through the proclamation and publishing of His Word. Please help us to fulfill this vision by sharing these truths with others. Thank you and God bless you.

ORPHANS IN OUR PULPITS

We have a serious ministry problem, worse today than its ever been. Fake ministers. Fake love. Fake faith. Superficiality and a lack of transparency.

Years ago I would’ve spoken out strongly against this, but now my heart breaks and weeps when I see how some got this way.

Through abuse, rejection, disappointment and lack of validation many project an image they want others to see – an image of a strong and confident leader who knows the Word of God. Often their resume contains a list of accomplishments and achievements that belie the real truth of who they are.

Some ministers and leaders need constant validation and affirmation. Their peers must know how great they are. Their peers must honor and respect their gifts and ministry. If not, they will exalt themselves in self-aggrandizement to hide the real issues, insecurities, and fears of their own hearts. They are spiritual orphans in our pulpits.

These orphans can never be wrong. They can never admit their mistakes. It is difficult for them to receive correction. Their leadership or personal life can never be challenged even by friends. They defend their right to be who they are, and justify their actions. To me, more often than not, these are symptoms of orphan hearts.

I was one, so I know of what I speak. In 2002 the Lord delivered me after I surrendered all. In an inward vision I was looking up through a glass ceiling at all the things I wanted in ministry – power, anointing, favor, significance, influence, etc. but the Lord directed me to the floor and my foundation. He spoke to me at length about my character saying such things as:

“The reason I have not opened the doors you’ve wanted me to open to you in ministry is because if I did, you would have ceased to be a man after my own heart.”

I broke down and wept when I realized He was keeping me from greater ministry opportunities, power, and influence because of His love and protection for me.

He also said this:

“Take away ‘ministry’ over the last 17 years and what do you have?  Your character has not been sufficiently dealt the death blows that it will take to properly develop it to where I can impart to you the mind of Christ.  You need more mortification to receive the mind of Christ.”

When I heard this I realized He was requiring crucifixion and death to what I perceived I wanted and return to Him as my first love.

Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Rev. 2:4).

Let me ask you a question: Is Jesus enough for you? If you didn’t have a ministry, a vision from God, an esteemed occupation and reputation, a list of achievements you’re proud of, riches and possessions, how would it be with you? And if you don’t have those things why are you so desperately reaching for them? Have you found your fulfillment in Him alone? And how would you know if you have?

More heart-searching questions: Why are you always talking about yourself? Why are you always defending who you are and what you do? Is it difficult for you to recognize the achievements of others and the honor they receive? Is it painful to celebrate a friend’s success and accomplishments because you don’t have much? If so, you may be a spiritual orphan. You are insecure, and need so badly to find your security in the love of the Father. When you’re secure in His love and who you are in Him you want to lift up everyone else except yourself. You can wash others’ feet as Jesus did when your security is in Him alone.

You don’t need further validation or the affirmation of friends. All that has done is cover up the real issues of your heart and life, and cause the deception to become thicker. You need the outstretched hand of the love of the Father God to deliver you from the bondage of your mind and soul, and fill your heart with His glory. You need a fresh revelation of His deep love for you. You need to hear the words, “this is my son or daughter in whom I am well pleased.”

Full healing and restoration in a man or woman happens when they receive this revelation, and then have no need to be honored or affirmed by anyone. The honor of God will be enough. Jesus will be your all sufficiency.

When they asked the people of the Yoido Full Gospel Church, in Seoul South Korea, the largest church in the world, what they loved the most about their pastor Dr. David Yonggi Cho, they said it was his humility. When he makes a mistake or misses it with God, he stands in front of the congregation and asks for forgiveness. How rare that is today especially among leaders of large churches and works.

Why am I saying all these things? Because as I grow older I not only want souls to be saved, but my heart grows increasingly burdened for ministers who are called to save souls. They should be the primary agents for change and reformation in the Church, but often they are the main hindrances. If change doesn’t happen in them it won’t happen in many others because leaders transmit and impart what they are to others. In other words, if you save a ministry gift you save souls.

Real deep and lasting change begins in all of us when we begin seeing things as God sees them. Full restoration in a man begins when he truly repents, asks for forgiveness, and surrenders all. Then there will be nothing for the enemy to hang on to. You will cut off his access into your mind, life, and heart. You will be free from the accuser and your past. Once you repent and die to your own reputation the devil will have nothing to hold over you. You will be completely and permanently free.

The Lord saved the gifts in my wife and I from defilement in 1995 for her and 2002 for me. We humbled ourselves and came under the dealings of God. Sometimes there is a season of pain we must endure to lay everything down at the altar. As ministers, we have to even be willing to lay down our ministries and churches for a season, and be willing to reveal to the people where we went wrong.

Orphan hearts are everywhere. They fear the disapproval of men because they have not embraced the approval of God that comes when they humble themselves in His sight. Come to the Father and allow His Spirit to anchor you in His love. I can testify that many old lifelong  burdens will be removed off your shoulders and you will enjoy a newfound freedom and rest you’ve perhaps never had before.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Mt. 11:28-30).

“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father’. The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom. 8:15-16).

My full testimony of my own deliverance is in my book, The Journal Of A Journey To His Holiness. Also, Soulish Leadership and Purity Of Heart are two other books that have helped many leaders get free from pride and insecurities. 

THE SMOKESCREEN OF MINISTRY HIDING REAL ISSUES

I’m not going to mince words, but get right to the point on this blog, specifically addressing ministers.

Are you really paying close attention to your spirit and personal life, or are you caught up in the natural things of life, the world, and the smokescreen that ministry tends to produce? Look within and examine yourself to see if you are really in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5). Are you honest with yourself and living in the sight of God? Do you have sufficient communion with the Holy Spirit to even do that? What do I mean?

TOO MANY MINISTERS ARE HIDING UNDER A FALSE PRETENSE

Many ministers are like spiritual orphans standing in their pulpits and instructing others in spiritual things while not having much spirituality themselves. They are hiding behind the cloak of anonymity where their real character is kept hidden and unknown to the public – actors with dual personalities using the stage of ministry for a cover up. Even sadder is that their spouses are compelled to cover up their failures at home and their real character issues while feeling trapped in a world that must continue to put up a front for the ones they minister to. What a prison that must be!

Not everything is as it appears. We have learned that in ministering to many people in many places over the years. Nearly everyone has a front. Nearly everyone puts their best face on and their best foot forward in public. Nearly everyone in their conversations with others will place themselves in the best possible light. Everyone wants to look good in man’s sight, and so often at the expense of defiling ourselves in the sight of God. We have personally been there, and have left there, and don’t ever wish to return.

God is extending His hand to help many leave this place. It is an awful burden and yoke to carry. I believe it is the biggest part of being burdened and heavy laden, and never having any inward rest as Jesus said in His invitation to come to Him.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Mt. 11:28-30).

BEING FREE FROM THE BIGGEST HUMAN BURDEN

I believe the greatest burden that all humans carry outside of sin, is the pretension and projection of what they want people to think they are. This rules the lives of so many.

Jesus extends His invitation  to be free from these yokes of man and the law, but many refuse it because it would be too costly to have others know who they really are in private. No one likes that kind of transparency and vulnerability. All want to be loved, liked, and accepted by others.

But if you come to Him and humble yourself under the mighty hand of God He will restore all things where the enemy would no longer have a handle or grip on your soul and access into your life through these false perceptions, pretensions, and projections. Through learning of the love of the Father from Jesus you will be free from the fear and approval of man. You will learn of the meekness and lowliness of the Son of God, and you will no longer fear abuse and rejection. After all, Jesus was the most abused and rejected of all men. He is very familiar with this state of suffering in man.

We’ve got to learn to commune with God from our spirits. In order to do this you’ve got to come clean and surrender all, especially the public perception of your life and ministry. Die to your own perceived public image, and put on the image of Christ. You’ve got to come under the dealings of God that will lead to years of burdens being released from your shoulders and freedom like you’ve never known before. In plain speech, you’ve got to stop living a lie.

Transparency is difficult for many because they don’t like who they really are and don’t want their flaws, weaknesses, and imperfections made known. That would only lead to abuse and rejection. It hurts to be open and honest with yourself and with God, but it is the true pathway to true peace, freedom, stability and wholeness.

You will never really learn to commune with God from your spirit until you pay attention to those things He has put His finger on that keep coming up when you pray or talk to Him. It takes time to learn to commune with the Lord effectively where there is little mixture from your soul and emotions.

This life change was done in my wife in 1995 and in me in 2002 where we died to pride, selfish ambition, and the honor and approval of men. This led to a great transformation where we began to operate in the Spirit much more than we had before.

On our current three week ministry trip the Lord has greatly helped us to encourage ministers and pastors of smaller works. He has also downloaded many things to aid ministers in moving in the liberty of the Holy Spirit and flowing in worship out of their own personal spirits and gifts. Many of God’s ministers have used their impressive resume of achievements and accomplishments to hide their personal insecurities and true character. Many must become honest with themselves and come out from hiding behind that facade and come under the dealings of God.

LEADERSHIP IS OVERRATED

We have met too many ministers in our lifetime who are stuck in the pride of who they are, or in the defensiveness of who they are not, and justifying their position. Big leaders want to remain big, whatever big means, and little leaders, whatever little means, are striving to become big. It’s such a merry-go-round in a circus. Everyone wanting to be a success like the world counts success. And most of our conferences and seminars feed that awful ego of man.

Think about the time and money spent on such conferences and seminars. It’s a billion dollar industry even in Christendom. Do we really need another book on leadership development? Can someone please point out clear Scripture references where we are to emphasize leadership, leadership, leadership? What about following Jesus, what about being His disciple, what about servanthood alone, not as a stepping stone to leadership? Aha! But it is leadership that sells. Submission, servanthood, and sacrifice don’t. We are to raise up faithful followers, not faithful leaders. There’s been much error in the way we train and lead others through overemphases on leadership. Frankly, it feeds the ego and pride of man.

Must you have your title always attached to your name? Is your first name apostle or prophet, or doctor, or bishop? With all due respect for those who have earned or truly function in what these titles entail, must you flaunt it? Are you not happy just to be known or called by your first name? It makes me want to vomit when I see the excess in what has become the pomp and pageantry of modern day ministry.

The truth is you are a orphan in your own pulpit making feeble attempts to lead others when you are in such a broken state of confusion yourself and mired in your own image and success. But I love you and want to help you as God helped me.

Stay tuned for part 2…

 

HOW WATCHING NUDITY AFFECTS YOU

“I will set no wicked thing before my eyes. I hate the work of those who turn aside; It shall not have part of me” (Ps. 101:3).

There are a growing number of professing Christians today who believe nudity is more of an art than pornography. They see nothing wrong with watching it. They are “Corinthian” believers who’ve allowed the promiscuity of their culture to influence their lives and weaken their morality and spiritual witness. This is the reason there’s been so much controversy among Christians concerning movies like Game of Thrones and Shades of Gray. Many want to defend their right to view such filth. Others need to cooperate with the grace of God to overcome. When I was younger this is one of the areas I struggled with, but thanks be to God I have overcome. I stay vigilant in this area or else tendencies are to digress.

Here are some reasons why watching nudity is impure, ungodly and evil:

If just watching it was OK, why did Jesus say this?

“But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. And if your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away. For it is more profitable that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body to be thrown into hell” (Matt. 5:28-29).

Watching nudity is disobedience to the command of Jesus to cut off your eye or hand, die to self, lose your life and take up your cross and follow Him.

Some may say, “Well, it doesn’t affect me like that; it doesn’t cause me to lust.” That line of justification is more dangerous than you actually watching it. The fact that you believe it doesn’t affect you means your spiritual senses have already been dulled and your conscience seared in that area.

Others might say, “Well, Jesus did not state it was a sin to look. It’s the lusting that He forbids.” C’mon now! Do you really think, oh man, that you can watch nudity and not lust in your heart? Again, such justification is a big red flag, and all it means is you are fighting for the right to keep on watching nudity.

Justifying sin is one of the biggest tricks of the devil. He wants you to watch people take their clothes off, and he likes what it does to you.

The devil also knows that watching nudity blinds you to God. It is an impurity that keeps you from seeing God as He is. It severs your intimate fellowship with God, just as it did in the garden in the beginning. Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened to see their nakedness, and thus, they were made blind to God and the blessed union they formerly enjoyed with Him. Instead, for the first time in creation, they were filled with fear, guilt, and condemnation. Only the pure in heart can see God (see Matt. 5:8). If you’ve been truly born again, Christ lives inside you. Try talking to Jesus while you’re watching someone other than your spouse or child take their clothes off.

Naive women need to know how nudity affects men.

Men are more easily moved by the sight of a nude woman than women are by the sight of a nude man. That is elementary. God has designed it that way. Nudity sells because it leads to pornography and sex. It is mainly the male sexual appetite that drives the sex business. If you are a woman, you need to be distinctly aware of the seducing power you can wield over a man with your body. Must you show cleavage? Must you wear such tight, skin-grabbing clothes? Are you really so naive to think that it’s just beauty or art?

Let the Word enlighten you.

“And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes” (1 Tim. 2:9, NLT).

Women are not even supposed to draw attention to themselves by wearing elaborate or expensive jewelry or clothes, much less display any measure of nudity. Now ladies, I’m not suggesting wearing plain and drab clothes, knotting your hair in a tight bun and not putting on any jewelry, but if the Word of God admonishes women toward cultivating this kind of modesty, is there any room at all for showing cleavage and wearing tight-fitting apparel? And shouldn’t the example of modesty be upheld first by ministers of the gospel? Then why is there such an all too frequent immodest and inappropriate display among female ministers or spouses in their dress?

Watching nudity places you under the control of another and subtly enslaves you. King David watched Bathsheba bathe herself one evening and desired her (2 Sam. 11:2). Watching nudity increases your desire to have sex with someone other than your spouse. It causes you to fantasize, which Jesus said is equivalent to the act of adultery. What you feed grows. The desire to watch nudity will grow as you feed it. Then you wake up one day and find it so difficult to stop. It’s become a habitual practice and you’re now a slave to it, and you need deliverance.

Here’s the Problem:

The problem is that most believers today are not taking Christ at His Word, and making holiness a serious enough matter, especially when it comes to their sexuality. They are burning with lust because they are feeding it. I’m a man. I know. I preach this message to myself all the time, so I won’t fall into temptation. We must put a restraining order on our flesh. Let’s be watchful in the right way, prayerful and cultivate an awareness of Him who lives in this temple of ours, for we are not our own (2 Cor. 5:15).

Know that Jesus didn’t just die to forgive us of sexual sin and immorality, but to purify us from the power that enslaves us to it, or in this case, causes us to watch it. He was crucified and shed His holy blood to set us free from all impurity and to make us pure (Titus 2:14).

Watching nudity makes us unholy and impure. It defiles our minds, our desires and then our bodies. It’s a vicious cycle that gratifies the flesh and then fills us with fear, guilt and condemnation. It is a violation of Philippians 4:8, which admonishes us to think on things that are good, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report.

Stop watching nudity that leads to pornography and illicit sex. Go to the throneroom of grace to obtain mercy and find grace to help in your time of need (Heb. 4:16).

Men, let’s smash this idol and purify our hearts as we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12).

For only the pure in heart shall see God (Matt 5:8) (see my book, Purity of Heart).

These books are forerunners to the move of God and personal holiness. The fire of God and the fear of God is attached to them. By purchasing and circulating our books please know that you are helping this ministry fulfill its mandate for restoration and revival. 

LOST SPIRITUAL GROUND NEEDS TO BE RECOVERED

Smith Wigglesworth spoke prophetically decades ago before he died and said that the greatest move of God would be in the 1980’s when solid teaching of the Word would be combined with the gifts and the move of the Holy Spirit. He knew he wouldn’t live to see it, but the younger generation would. I cut my teeth on that move of God and personally benefited greatly from it and enjoyed it while it lasted. That move of the Word and the Spirit laid a solid foundation in both me and my wife that we have carried these many years.

We were also privileged to be a part of a very fruitful Word and Spirit missionary movement in West Africa that took us into three different countries before transitioning in the 90’s back to America. Here in our own homeland we were privileged once again to be a part of a great outpouring known now historically as the Brownsville revival (1995-2000). In a 5 year period, 4 million visitors came from around the world to that revival with 150,000 experiencing first time salvation. We were part of the faculty of senior leaders of the Bible school that spawned from that revival. There we helped to establish students in the Word of God and their ministry callings.

Since that era, however, I have witnessed a declension in both the Word of truth and the Spirit of truth in many churches. It’s not the same. Something is lacking. What should’ve continued to grow in might and strength has actually declined. What has happened to cause this declension and diminishing of both the Word and the Spirit? Mainly two things.

FIRST REASON FOR DECLENSION

First, the lack of prayer and the lack of power has resulted in fewer conversions and the decline of church attendance. To offset this, church leadership has created a new church model.

This newer model was largely shaped by such men as Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago, and Rick Warren of Saddleback Valley Community Church, south of Los Angeles. Their influence is stunning. For example, years ago Willow Creek formed its own association of churches, about 9,500 of them, with 100,000 church leaders attending at least one conference. In its beginnings more than 250,000 pastors and church leaders from over 125 countries also attended Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Church seminars, and more than 60,000 pastors initially subscribed to his weekly email newsletter. Those numbers may be much higher now, just to give you an idea of the scope of the influence of just these two men and this new church model.

This new church model has bred multitudes of churches called “seeker friendly” or “seeker awareness”. Their main philosophy is evangelizing through application of the latest marketing techniques. Typically, it begins with a survey of the lost or unchurched. This survey questions the unchurched about the things that interest them and offers things that would motivate them to attend a church. Results of the questionnaire indicate areas of potential changes in the church’s operations and services that would be effective in order to attract the unchurched, keep them attending, and win them to Christ. Those who have developed this marketing approach guarantee the growth of churches that diligently follow their proven methods. As far as numbers, this method is working, as many churches are exploding with growth. But is it Biblical-based or is it a gross compromise of the real gospel (The Real Gospel)?

Though it is noble and praiseworthy to reach more people for Christ, let me show you why the means and methods are clearly corrupted. As a result, the end must be corrupted also. Let’s begin with marketing as a tactic for reaching the lost.

Fundamentally, marketing has to do with profiling consumers, identifying what their “felt needs” are (btw, this has been the number one reason publishers have rejected most of my books – not a “felt need”), and then fashioning one’s product (or its image) to appeal to the targeted customer’s desires. The desired result is that the consumer buys into the product. George Barna, whom Christianity Today calls “the church’s guru of growth,” claims that such an approach is essential for the church in our market-driven society. Evangelical church growth leaders are convinced that the marketing approach can be implemented without compromising the gospel. I’m afraid that this has been a great deception, and in my own humble opinion, the number one reason for the declension and diminishing of the power of God in many of our churches.

A.B. McMahon explains it so well:

“First of all, the gospel and the person of Jesus Christ are not “products” to be “sold.” They cannot be refashioned or image-adjusted to appeal to the felt needs of our consumer-happy culture. Any attempt to do so compromises to some degree the truth of who Christ is and what He has done for us. For example, if the lost are considered consumers and a basic marketing “commandment” says that the customer must reign supreme, then whatever may be offensive to the lost must be discarded, revamped, or downplayed. Scripture tells us clearly that the message of the Cross is “foolishness to them that are perishing” and that Christ himself is a “rock of offense” (1 Cor:1:18; 1 Pt 2:8). Some seeker-friendly churches, therefore, seek to avoid this “negative aspect” of the gospel by making the temporal benefits of becoming a Christian their chief selling point. Although that appeals to our gratification-oriented generation, it is neither the gospel nor the goal of a believer’s life in Christ.”

Truth be told, this new model is now a monster that is breeding a second generation semi-believer who lacks passion for God, and discernment in the things of the Spirit, and is unskilled in the word of righteousness.

This is the sad result of man flexing his own muscles and building churches with the strength of the arm of flesh. We have been wise in our own conceits and placed our trust in man’s wisdom and ability.

Secondly, if you want to attract the lost on the basis of what might interest them, for the most part you will be appealing to and accommodating their flesh. Wittingly or unwittingly, that seems to be the standard operating procedure of seeker-friendly churches. They mimic what’s popular in our culture: top-forty and performance-style music, theatrical productions, stimulating multi-media presentations, and thirty-minutes-or-less of positive messages. The latter, more often than not, are topical, therapeutic, and centered on self-fulfillment and how the Lord can meet one’s needs and help solve one’s problems.

What I have just described at length is the product of man’s own wisdom and the first reason for the declension and diminishing of both the Word of truth and the Spirit of truth.

SECOND REASON FOR DECLENSION

Lack of solid Biblically based teaching of the Word of God and accurate demonstrations of the Spirit of God has created a void for people to chase spiritual experiences, thrills, and sensationalism outside of the real truth. In our travels, we see much of this. Many who are weak in the foundations of the Word are hungry for an experience. That is a risky combination as it leads to chasing mystical things and the false prophetic.

Some examples would be the obsession with receiving personal prophecy, the abuse of the laying on of hands for everything – for faith, for financial breakthrough, for deliverance, to impart ministry anointing; the gross overemphasis on warfare and deliverance etc. etc. etc. Many of these blessings come through the Word, personal disciplines to walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh, and praying and being led by the Spirit of God. People need to be taught these things.

You can’t lay hands on people for everything. And personal prophecy is not the main way you receive from God. Even misguided pastors fall into the trap of either being too heavy handed and restrictive in their leadership style, which will also cause its own set of problems, or being too loose and letting things be a free-for-all.

Good shepherds are good gatekeepers and they watch at the gate of people’s lives for thieves that would steal, kill, and destroy them. Good shepherds warn their people of wolves in sheep’s clothing that would destroy the sheep. They warn their people of false teachings that will make them spiritually sick. The primary way they do this is by teaching and demonstrating the truth – the same way bank tellers can spot a counterfeit bill by being so familiar with the real. This is also the reason God has given us the Ephesians 4:11 ministry gifts – so spiritual children won’t be “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitfulness plotting” (Eph. 4:14). Good shepherds are like good parents who watch what comes into their children’s lives through their associations and lifestyles.

I’m also finding a growing number of older Christians who are not really  grounded in the Word of God. They are like those the Word describes who ought to be teachers by now, but have become “dull of hearing” and need someone to teach them again the first principles of the oracles of God (Heb. 5:11-12). Oh, some can quote the Word, and rejoice about the Word, nod their heads and shout Amen at the preaching of the Word, but they are spiritual babies who have need of milk and cannot handle solid food yet.

The true anointing of the Spirit must be your Teacher, for it is a day and an hour where many are being led astray. Foundational things must be taught to solidify people’s lives. Knowing the Word, learning the true anointing, and being led by the Spirit must become the emphasis. Understanding their personal authority as a believer, walking in faith and love, learning to enter into the prayer life by putting on the armor of God should be a high priority for every saint. These foundations should never get old, but need to be rehearsed and renewed regularly. Even as athletes or musicians or other occupational workers must continually practice the fundamentals of what they do, so should the earnest Christian do.

Through a process of time hearkening to this practical instruction will turn the tide again and cause a groundswell of power and effectiveness in the life of the Church that will once again distinguish it from the false and carnal church.

We’ve lost spiritual ground that needs to be recovered.