Wednesday, December 28, 2011

THE MINISTRY OF CONSOLATION

by David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 - April 27, 2011]

The apostle Paul said, “[The Lord] comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:4).

One of the neediest ministries in the church of Jesus Christ today is that of consolation—comforting others in their trouble and affliction. Many believers simply do not know where to turn in their hurt.

When I am really hurting, suffering deeply, I do not want to read a book outlining ten steps on how to find victory or go to a big-name evangelist who will zap me. None of these is the answer - because none will reach the root of my suffering! No - I want to talk to some ordinary saint who has suffered heavily, and yet has come through it all praising God, comforted and full of faith!

It is suffering people who receive the consolations and comforts of the Lord. They know the sympathy of Jesus, because His voice speaks true comfort to them in their hour of darkness. These sufferers become rich in spiritual resources. They develop a confidence born out of having endured tribulations and testing. Best of all, God gives them influence they could not have attained in any other way!

I think of Corrie Ten Boom and the wonderful experience it was for the thousands of people who sat and listened to her talk about Jesus. Many pastors and leaders all over the United States were comforted and encouraged by this once-unknown woman - because all her suffering had produced a wealth of knowledge of the Lord. She had an abundance of consolation and comfort from the Holy Spirit - and she used it as an influence for Jesus!

Paul was able to rejoice in all his tribulations because he knew his sufferings were for others’ benefit. He saw his trials as a kind of schooling he was going through. He could say, “God has a purpose in this because He is training me! There will be people who are going to need the comfort and consolation that I have received in my suffering!”

It is no wonder Paul referred to his heavenly Father as, “The Father of mercies and God of all comfort”
(2 Corinthians 1:3).

Friday, December 23, 2011

POWER BELONGS

by Gary Wilkerson
“Then he called his twelve disciples together and gave them power” (Luke 9:1).

Jesus gave his disciples power not because they were ambitious but because they were his. Belonging to Christ is a non-negotiable to receiving his power. Power is birthed out of belonging. Belonging brings real power.

So many Christians lead powerless lives—having habitual sin practices, a poor testimony, a weak spiritual life; lacking a fervent, radical prayer life and any answers to their prayers.

Do you feel powerless? This one short verse is loaded with words of power:

Called”—meaning, in essence, not our own agenda, direction, self-will or resource of power.

Disciples”—those who abandon all to follow the life, teaching and direction of the teacher.

Together”—that power is not to be contained in singular vessels but expressed in community, in work toward kingdom purposes.

Gave”—showing we can do nothing unless Jesus gives us power to do it.

Power”—it is not what we desire, work for or strive after, but comes only and exclusively through His giving it. We never outgrow this part of our history as Christians. Every follower of Jesus is commanded to wait until we are endued with (given) power from on high.

Are you lacking power? There is no other way to obtain it than to have it given to you by the One you belong to. Jesus has power to give to those who are totally and fully His.

Don’t strive for power. Desire to belong—fully, passionately, humbly, ambitiously, to the One your heart yearns for. Then power will come to you beyond what you can imagination.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Cup of Trembling

This is the word of the Lord concerning Israel. The Lord, Who stretches out the Heavens Who lays the foundations of the Earth, and Who forms the spirit of man within him declares, “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves” (Zech 12:1-3).

True, the ultimate fulfillment of this passage will come at the very end of the age, but a careful reading shows the progressive nature of the prophecy. First the surrounding nations will be sent reeling, with both Judah (West Bank) and Jerusalem besieged. Ultimately all the nations of the earth will be involved, and those who move against Jerusalem will wind up injuring themselves. And please don’t miss the way the Author identifies Himself: the One Who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth and forms man’s spirit within him. Not much doubt as to Who’s speaking, so we better pay attention.

When Will These Things Happen? It’s safe to say that all the nations of the earth are troubled over Jerusalem today. They realize the ease with which the whole world could be drawn into a conflict in the Middle East. And almost all are already aligned against Jerusalem. Remember, the prophecy is initially focused on the surrounding peoples and indicates that Judah and Jerusalem will be besieged. The degree to which this part of the prophecy is already being fulfilled is frightening. Much of the land bordering Israel has become little more than an armed camp, filled with troops at the ready. Hezbollah has been moving their rockets and missiles into position again with Lebanon’s full support, while steadily increasing their inventories of weaponry. Syria also has troops along Israel’s northern border as well as missiles set to fire upon Israeli cities. In the South Hamas and the PA are no less prepared.

Recent reports confirm that large numbers of rockets and missiles from Libya have turned up in Gaza. Together, these next door neighbors claim that every city in Israel is now within missile range. In it’s headline report on Dec. 5, 2011 Debkafile assessed the likelihood of war in the Middle East, including an Israeli attack on Iran, to be very high between mid-December and mid-January. The US and Russia have both stationed powerful fleets in the Eastern Mediterranean against this possibility. There’s still time for diplomacy but for now no one believes a diplomatic solution will be forthcoming.

Psalm 83 As a result, this is beginning to look like a run-up to Psalm 83, a battle that’s never happened, but involves all of Israel’s next door neighbors in an effort to “destroy them as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more” (Psalm 83:4). The Psalmist pleads with God to pursue Israel’s neighbors with His tempest and terrify them with His storm so they will perish in disgrace (Psalm 83:15-17). I believe his prayer will be answered because this outcome is necessary to set the stage for Ezekiel 38-39.

Isaiah 17, An Oracle Against Damascus We should also consider what could be a related prophecy from Isaiah 17. It was partially fulfilled in 732 BC when the Assyrians conquered Damascus (Aram). But never did Damascus cease to be inhabited as the prophecy requires (Isaiah 17:1). In fact to this day Damascus is described as the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, over 5000 years and counting. The fortified city in vs. 3 was Samaria, capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. It was destroyed by the Assyrians in 722 BC.

The Northern Kingdom consisted of the 10 tribes of Israel who rebelled in the religious upheaval that followed King Solomon’s death and was allied with Damascus against Assyria. Like Damascus it was defeated and its people carried off into captivity. Since Damascus was never destroyed and never ceased being inhabited, the world may have seen a partial fulfillment in history that points to a total fulfillment yet future to us.

Validating Prophecy This is not unusual in Bible prophecy where the complete fulfillment of a passage may unfold over thousands of years. You receive an example of this in the mail every Christmas. It comes in the form of a Christmas card that says,

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. And the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” (Isa 9:6).

The passage goes on to explain that He will sit on David’s throne and reign in peace forever. Only the first phrase of this passage has come to pass. The Child was born, the Son was given. The rest of the passage awaits His 2nd coming, but the fact that He was born confirms that the rest will take place as well. Partial fulfillment is the Lord’s way of validating End Times prophecies thousands of years in advance.The Oracle against Damascus is a lot like the one against Babylon in Isaiah 13-14, where Babylon is also described as being so totally destroyed that it would never be inhabited again.

For many years scholars believed this prophecy was fulfilled when the Medes and Persians conquered Babylon about 535 BC. It took the Gulf War to show us that Saddam Hussein had spent billions re-building Babylon, and to realize that Babylon was never destroyed in the manner the Bible describes. It has in fact been occupied almost continuously since its construction 2700 years ago. The City of Babylon will play a major role in world events at the end of the age before its final and total destruction, foretold in Rev. 18.

Back To Damascus Admittedly the Oracle against Damascus in Isaiah 17 is somewhat more obscure. Scholars who place fulfillment of this passage in our time rely on four things:
  1. The phrase in vs. 1 “Damascus will no longer be a city”
  2. The multiple use of the phrase “in that day” through out the passage (vs. 4, 7, 9) which often hints of the end times.
  3. Men will “Look to their Maker and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel,” see below,
  4. The mention of many nations in vs.12-14 would seem to include more than just Assyria.
Regarding point 3 there was a temporary revival in the southern kingdom under King Hezekiah that spared Jerusalem from the Assyrians, but nowhere is a revival in the northern kingdom or among the Arameans (Damascus was the capital of Aram) or Assyrians mentioned in history. And yet in Isaiah 19:23-25 Assyria is mentioned with Egypt and Israel as being called “My people, My handiwork, and My inheritance” by God in the millennium. This reconciliation with God is still in the future.
 
Soon And Very Soon The USA and Europe have been warning Israel that an attack on Iran would not only result in a wider war in the Middle East, but would also deliver a severe blow to an already reeling world economy. Because of this US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta recently said that Israel has to come to terms with a Nuclear Iran, an Islamized Middle East, and reliance on the US for protection. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said sometimes making a risky decision carries a heavy price, but the price for not making it would be heavier. Reliable observers interpret this to mean when the time comes to attack Iran, whatever repercussions it could cause will not be considered in light of the threat to Israel’s continued existence. We’ll soon know whether that time has come.You can almost hear the Footsteps of the Messiah.

Trials and Pain: The Back Side of the Desert

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.  - Exodus 3:1

We should quickly review here the kinds of preparation Moses had gone through for his leadership role under God. Reared in Pharaoh's palace, he had been educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. He had the prerequisites for almost any kind of career. In our day a man with his qualifications would be sought for election as a bishop or the president of any of the great church denominations.

Then, too, Moses had a most unusual but highly effective postgraduate course. God took him out of the activity and the noise of Egypt and placed him in the silence of the open spaces. He kept the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law. Tending the sheep, he learned lessons of meditation and observation that he
 could only have learned in the silence.

Probably more important than anything else, Moses learned to know himself. That knowledge was a part of God's preparation of the man for his future tasks. We, today, know everything but ourselves. We never really come to know ourselves because we cannot get quiet enough.  Men Who Met God, p.70

"Lord, I pray this morning for the hurting pastor who is languishing in 'the silence of the open spaces,' on the back side of the desert. Encourage him; instruct him; then show Him how You can use him mightily in Your way and in Your time. Amen."

Noblesse Oblige

Noblesse oblige is a French phrase literally meaning "nobility obliges".

The Dictionnaire de l’Académie française defines it thus:

Whoever claims to be noble must conduct himself nobly. (Figuratively) One must act in a fashion that conforms to one's position, and with the reputation that one has earned.

Noblesse oblige" is generally used to imply that with wealth, power and prestige come responsibilities. The phrase is sometimes used derisively, in the sense of condescending or hypocritical social responsibility.[1] In American English especially, the term is sometimes applied more broadly to suggest a general obligation for the more fortunate to help the less fortunate.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noblesse_oblige

What Does the Bible Say about Generosity and Duty to the Poor?

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. (NIV, Romans 12:6-8)

Each of us has something to offer. We can give our money and our time to charity, be a friend to someone who is sick or lonely, do volunteer work, or be a peacemaker, teacher or minister. We may give unselfishly of our time to our spouse, children or parents. We may choose a service-oriented occupation, or we may just do our everyday jobs with integrity and respect for others.

It would seem that the more we give to others, the poorer we become, but just the opposite is true! Service to others brings meaning and fulfillment to our lives in a way that wealth, power, possessions and self-centered pursuits can never match. As Jesus said, For if you give, you will get! Your gift will return to you in full and overflowing measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use to give -- large or small -- will be used to measure what is given back to you." (TLB, Luke 6:38)

Helping those in need is one of the major themes of the Bible and of Jesus' ministry. As far back as the thirteenth century B.C., the Hebrews' law institutionalized assistance to the poor:

When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the LORD your God. (NRSV, Leviticus 19:9-10)

Through service, we give others the things they lack, and we find meaning and fulfillment to our own lives. Both the Old and New Testament writings give many examples of the importance of service and charity:

He who despises his neighbor sins, but happy is he who is gracious to the poor. (NAS, Proverbs 14:21)
"Feed the hungry! Help those in trouble! Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you shall be as bright as day. And the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy you with all good things, and keep you healthy too; and you will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. (TLB, Isaiah 58:10-11)

And the crowds asked [John the Baptist], "What then should we do?" In reply he said to them, "Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise." (NRSV, Luke 3:10-11)

But whoever has the world's goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? (NAS, 1 John 3:17)

The Bible tells us to share generously with those in need, and good things will come to us in turn. We are not meant to live hard-hearted or self-centered lives. This is never made clearer than in Matthew 25:31-46. A greedy, miserly life leaves us devoid of anything but an empty craving for more possessions, more power or more status.

He who gives to the poor will never want, but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses. (NAS, Proverbs 28:27)

It is not necessary to be a wealthy philanthropist or a full-time volunteer to make a meaningful contribution. Rather, we should give generously of whatever wealth and abilities we have, no matter how small the amount.

And [Jesus] looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury. And He saw a certain poor widow putting in two small copper coins. And He said, "Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on." (NAS, Luke 21:1-4)

Finally, our good deeds should be motivated by a sincere desire to help others. Public recognition should not be the goal.

"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. "So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. (NIV, Matthew 6:1-2)

Each of us has something to give. Some have wealth, some have talents, some have time. Whatever gifts we have been given -- large or small - we should share generously. When we do, we make the world better for someone else and find true meaning and satisfaction in our own lives.

Source: http://www.twopaths.com/faq_generosity.htm

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

PRAYING SUCH AS THE WORLD HAS NEVER KNOWN!

by David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 - April 27, 2011]
A missionary spoke to our church of great awakenings around the world. In every case, the "spirit of prayer" is tied to the last harvest. In Vietnam, China, Siberia, the Amazon, Africa, and numerous other places, God's people are praying with fire and fervency—weeping and crying out to God, seeking His face, dealing with sin and turning to righteousness.

You cannot manufacture this kind of inclination to pray. It is the result of the Spirit of supplication-as God promised in Zechariah 12:10. And these believers are already experiencing it!

Not long ago we called for weeks of prayer at Times Square Church and we also have experienced a small taste of this outpouring of the Spirit. Indeed, there is a measure of fire and diligence in prayer throughout this nation. But we have not yet experienced the outpouring of the Spirit of supplication!

God is showing me that even the desire and inclination to pray must come from the Holy Spirit. Now my dilemma is this: God has promised to pour out a Spirit of supplication on His church, and I want to be a part of the genuine move of God. So, how can I make sure I receive this outpouring?

The answer is in Zechariah 10:1: “Ask the Lord for rain in the time of the latter rain. The Lord will make flashing clouds; He will give them showers of rain, grass in the field for everyone” (Zechariah 10:1).

We must ask the Lord for this Spirit of supplication! The flashing clouds in this verse speak of "lightning, thunderstorms." God has promised to give us showers! He is telling us in Zechariah, "Ask and I will give you this burden from heaven. But you must seek it from Me!"

It is time we started asking the Lord, "O God, pour your Holy Spirit on me that I may learn to pray! Open up the fountain. Let me be a part of Your final harvest!"

Once His Spirit of supplication showers down upon you, you will find yourself praying for holiness, godliness, purity. You will intercede for your lost loved ones and weep over this dying world. But you have to ask the Holy Spirit to do it in you—and then trust Him!
 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

PROPHECY - DECEMBER 1, 2011

by  Maurice Sklar
 “The LORD says:

The American dollar is about to lose 30% more of its’ present value.  This will be the second drop since the previous 2008 drop of 20%.  The dollar will then be worth half of what it was before September 2008.  This drop will cause great economic distress upon our nation.  The church will be shaken and many will wake up spiritually and cry out to ME.  There will be also looting, rioting, and terrorism in our land.

There is an even greater financial disaster that is falling upon Europe that will collapse the Euro, cause panic and chaos there.  Germany will refuse to prop up the euro any more.  Basic needs in the poorer European nations will be threatened.  Many will lose their money overnight as the stage is set for the financial takeover of the Antichrist system.  This is imminent, and the dollar will also follow, although it will survive for a season more.

The great revival will also begin.  God has hidden His Holy Apostles and Prophets for this present hour.  There will be great outpourings of supernatural provision, miracles, and healing in various places.  These areas will become cities of refuge and places of refuge for God’s people. 

There is coming an all out war in the Middle East as the neighbouring Arab nations will come against Israel with a sudden missile attack starting from the north with Hezbollah, Lebanon, and Syria.  Other Arab nations will join.  Israel will be hit from all sides at once and there will be deaths and partial destruction of settlements, smaller cities to the north, and some damage to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem as well.  Israel will respond with great force, and limited nuclear weapons will release devastation upon the neighboring countries, particularly Lebanon, Damascus, which will be destroyed completely, and the rest of Syria as well as military strikes into Iran, Gaza, and even northern Egypt/Sinai region.

The resulting shaking of the West will then release a tremendous movement of Jews making aliyah back to Israel.  There will no longer be security or stability as it has been up to now in America and Europe. Israel will emerge victorious from this war, but hurt. However, the devastation inflicted upon the attackers will be one hundred times worse. The spoils of this war will include much territory and will force the west to recognize the Holy God of Israel.  It will emerge as the only stable country in the region.  Many, even millions of Arabs will be killed.  Islam will receive a mortal wounding by the Holy God of Israel.

I am taking Billy Graham home to heaven soon.  When you see this, know that My time of grace for the Gentile nations is coming to a close.”

Prepare your hearts, the LORD is at the door to appear for His Bride, the overcoming church in this midnight hour 

Pray for those that are trapped in darkness that God will reach them in time. 

In our Messiah,
Maurice Sklar

Friday, December 9, 2011

"ICONOCLASTS" - An Insightful Word

-extracts by Robert I Holmes.

"Where, O where is the prophet? Where are the incandescent ones fresh from the holy place? Where is Moses to plead in fasting before the holiness of the Lord?...  the one with a terrible earnestness, the one totally otherworldly." - Leonard Ravenhill.

Ravenhill's words are reminiscent of a podcast I was listening to on my way to Sydney... It was a communication from the Banff Leadership Centre in Toronto Canada titled "Iconoclasts" outlining the role of men and women in organisations who shake things up. They gave this definition of iconoclast: The breaker or destroyer of images or idols set up for veneration. A person who attacks cherished beliefs, traditions, institutions and error. You might be familiar with its synonym: Curmudgeon.

This idea, this concept of shaking the house, shattering the idols, attacking cherished beliefs is very much the life blood of Christianity, of early Christians and indeed, draws from their long heritage as recipients of faith from Israel. Peter, in describing his fellow believers said they were "sons of the prophets" (Acts 3:25) - for Peter faith meant being like the prophets of old.

Enter Moses

There are many iconoclasts in church history, some as far back as Moses in the Old Testament. He, looking forward as far as Peter was looking back, said he wished "that all God's people were prophets and that the Lord would pour his spirit upon them!" (Numbers 11:29). Remember that Scripture defines Moses himself as a prophet (Deut. 34:10, Luke 24:27), and Moses prophesied of a time when one "likened unto Moses" would arise - Jesus himself (Acts 7:37).

So who is this man - this prophet after whom we are sons? Moses was the man: - who confronted Pharaoh - who split the Red Sea - whose enemies were swallowed by the sand - who saw God and lived - of whom God said, "Moses is my friend"!

This is the iconoclast. This is the prophet. This is Jesus all the way through his ministry. And where is the spirit of Moses in the church today? Where is the nature and character of Christ amongst Christian today? There are a number of facets to the prophetic that should be reflected in our lives including: being a forerunner; dealing with isolation; holding God's opinion above men's; going against the flow; dealing with rejection; being a recoverer and; driving for balance by being out of balance.

1. Forerunning
Prophetic people are forerunners. They come into things first. God deals with the church before he deals with the world (ref) and he deals with natural things before spiritual things (ref). Prophetic people in the church are even further ahead and as a result are quite out of step with the mainstream. They are often in the opposite phase. Happy when everyone else is sad, sad when everyone else is happy.

2. Dealing with isolation
Bring prophetic very often means having an unpopular message, and results in fierce isolation. You have to have a thick skin to say the unpopular thing. You might be a solitary figure rebuking a corrupt king. The one who rats out sin in the camp. The one who cares about what God cares about. However just because we are isolated does not mean we isolate ourselves. We seek out the brethren, we want companions. We resist being a loose canon or a law unto ourselves.

3. Holding God's opinion above men's
If we face heaven, and we care about heaven's opinion and perspective on things we will care more about God's opinion that peoples. We will seek to experience heaven's favour and not curry the favour of men. We will desire heaven's stamp of approval even at the expense of men's favouritism.

4. Going against the flow
Have you noticed that God has a very different set of priorities to us? He values integrity whilst the world pushes for sensuality; he desires honesty when the world wants duplicity; he aims for longevity when the world demands expediency. Prophetic people even find themselves going against the flow in church - and sadly sometimes even going against the prophetic flow!...

5. Dealing with rejection
Being out of step, being isolated, being a lone voice comes with rejection too. People do not just take kindly to your obstinate passion for truth and purpose, they buck against it. The donkey kicks against the goad, the horse bolts when spurred. So too people rebuke and rail against those who are prophetic...

However, we do not imbue the spirit of rejection. We do not walk around with a sour face, expectant of rejection - wishing it upon ourselves and provoking it from others. Rather we understand it is part of the call, a necessary companion on the journey. After all we are followers of Jesus: a man despised and rejected, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3).

Instead, Jesus came into situations expectant of finding the Kingdom at work, and his Father at work, with work for him to do there (John 5:17).

6. Being a recoverer

"The function of the prophet has almost always been that of recovery." - T Austin Sparks

The prophetic person is not a maintainer, they come in to repair what is broken. Recovery is required after an accident or injury - people need rescue and decisive action is needed for triage. Recovery is needed after a loss or fall - lost things need to be found, people adrift at sea need to be rescued.  Recovery is needed after a mop up campaign. The troops have gone through and the land needs to be restored. As a result, when all is well, prophetic people are quiet.

7. Driving for balance

"Prophets were not made for the status quo, they were made to bring things back to the middle. This means they stand for the extreme, to bring the church back to where she should be." -Brian Medway.

If the church gets imbalanced, or has forgotten a truth the prophet pushes back to recover it. They take an extreme view of stance, to bring the church back to centre. Which is why it seems that their message is unbalanced, because of necessity it is. But this contains a dilemma for us.

Once an issue has been championed, and accepted the church must move on, lest she camp in that imbalanced position. Nothing gets done when things stay the same. Movement is required - things grow by getting out of balance - but nothing remains if it stays unstable.

We quickly become false if we camp at and insist on an extreme.

Conclusion

This is the church, as sons of the prophets. This is the Christian following Jesus the prophet. They are...

-An iconoclast: standing for truth; standing against tradition.
-A forerunner: out of step and out of season.
-Solitary: but not a loner or a loose canon.
-Rejected: but without a spirit of rejection.
-A recoverer: to bring things back to wholeness.
-Unbalanced: extreme but not staying out there.


-Please comment on this article at the website below- http://www.johnthebaptisttv.com/

THE SPIRIT OF GRACE

by David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 - April 27, 2011]

The Bible says the Holy Ghost will be poured out as “. . . the Spirit of grace and supplication”
(Zechariah 12:10).

The book of Titus tells us that grace is given to us as power over sin, to enable us to live sober, holy lives: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13).

There has been a marvelous measure of this grace in God’s people since Pentecost. The Holy Spirit has sent conviction of sin on all nations, teaching believers of every race and tongue how to forsake ungodliness and worldly lusts. The result has been a people who live soberly and righteously in this
present world and who long for the coming of Jesus.

I believe Zechariah 12:10 prophecies that in the very last hour, the Holy Spirit will fall mightily on God’s people with a spirit of grace that turns them completely from all worldliness. It will produce in them a cry for purity of heart!

A dear brother in the Lord, the head of a ministry, called to tell me that leaders in his ministry had been gathering to seek the Lord. The Holy Spirit began exposing sin in their midst and several of the ministry team had to be dismissed. The brother told me, “Now that the Holy Spirit has come down,
there is a pressure to do right.”

His phrase struck me and I couldn’t shake it off: a pressure to do right. When the Holy Spirit comes down and exposes sin, those who have been lukewarm or in compromise become convicted. Ministers will wake up to true “grace preaching,” the kind that convicts people of every hidden thing in their
lives.

Beloved, the pressure to forsake sin and to do right is going to get hot and heavy in God’s last-day church!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Respecting the Boundaries

FCCI

A pilot flying an approach in clouds is faced with the “decision altitude”, where he must make the decision whether to continue the approach to a landing or break off the approach and go to another airport. In order to continue the approach he must visually see the runway. If he does not see the runway when he is at the decision altitude, he must break off the approach. The decision altitude is the minimum altitude that the pilot can descend to without visually seeing the runway. That minimum altitude represents the boundary below which the pilot is not to descend without visually acquiring the runway. The minimums for an approach are lifesavers for the pilot. They prevent him from flying the airplane into the ground in a situation where the fog or clouds descend to the runway.

Boundaries are very important in the kingdom of God for us. God, in His love for us, has given us boundaries beyond which we are not to transgress without incurring damage or discipline. Some boundaries are very clear and generally known, such as the 7th commandment: "Do not commit adultery". So many marriages have been demolished and lives deeply wounded by one partner in the marriage committing adultery. But God made it clear that is what would happen; He clearly defined the boundary we were not to cross. Adam and Eve crossed a boundary God had set when He said: "You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil". They transgressed that boundary and brought spiritual death into the world. We are still suffering from that transgression today.

You and I have more subtle boundaries set by God in our businesses. Your business is probably different, but our business is a black hole for time. It will consume all the time I can give it, and then cry for more. God set a boundary for me when He said "you need to go home at 5:30, no later than 6:00". That ended most late nights at the business. To my shame, I admit that I have transgressed that command a few times. And God has arranged for me not to accomplish anything of significance in that extended time.

There other boundaries He sets for us: He may forbid us from borrowing money, but rather insist that we trust Him to provide. He may tell us to not do business with a particular supplier or customer, because they are unscrupulous and He knows it would injure the business. He may tell us to not be in the office alone with an unmarried employee of the opposite gender.

The important thing is to respect the boundaries He sets for us. We need to continually study Scripture to identify boundaries of importance. We need to spend time alone with Him so He can impress upon our hearts other boundaries specific to us or to the business. His love for us is amazing and overwhelming (just look at the cross) and so we can trust His boundaries to be an expression of His love. But he gives us the freedom to disobey and cross the boundaries. That transgression can cause us and others great harm. Respect and trust His boundaries.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

DARKNESS CANNOT STOP THE LIGHT!

by David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 - April 27, 2011]

When I first began this ministry I spoke in churches all over America, warning of the moral landslide to come. I told people in Iowa, Oklahoma and all the Southern states that drugs would strike even the smallest hamlet. Pushers would appear in schools and on playgrounds. I warned of blatant homosexuality, with nude parades taking place in our cities, and I prophesied that nudity and
sexual acts would air on prime-time television.

Many people who heard me preach thought I had come from Mars. Pastors berated me and sincere Christians came to me saying, “No way! God will never let that happen in America.” Today, some of those people are grandparents. They sit before their TV watching the R-rated movies I prophesied about and their grandchildren are addicted to drugs and alcohol. The darkness I warned about
has now come.

Can you imagine how dark it is going to be ten years from now, should the Lord tarry?

Yet, I ask you: As you see the darkness deepening on all sides, do you believe it will exceed the light of the gospel? Are you afraid the darkness is going to squash it, snuff it out?

No—never! God’s people must never be intimidated by the darkness and fury of the enemy. The Bible says Jesus is going to rise and shine in the darkness no matter how dark the world becomes! “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined” (Isaiah 9:2).

We live in a time of widespread death and darkness. But God says that in such times He will shine His light the brightest: “I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, and not forsake them” (Isaiah 42:16).

No darkness will ever stop God’s light! So get your eyes off the darkness, off the sin, off the fury of violent people, and believe the Lord for the bursting forth of His shining, effusing light!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

BIRTH OF THE LAST-DAYS REMNANT
by David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 - April 27, 2011]

The prophet Samuel is a type of the last-days holy remnant—a prepared body of believers that rises out of the ruins of the old, decadent church.

Hannah, Samuel’s mother, birthed her son through bitter tears and much prayer. “And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish” (1 Samuel 1:10).

Try to imagine the scene: Hannah was at the temple every day, on her knees before the altar, crushed and broken because she was childless. As she wept, her adversary—her husband’s other wife—made fun of her. “And her rival
also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb” (1 Samuel 1:6).

There are three important things I want to point out from this passage:

* First, the remnant that Samuel represents is born in grief and intercession.
* Second, those who pray and grieve after God’s heart will be provoked by adversaries.
* And third, God’s remnant is always going to be misunderstood!

Note what happened to Hannah as she prayed: “And it happened, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli watched her mouth. Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk. So Eli said to her, ‘How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you!’” (1 Samuel 1:12-14). Eli and his sons represent the dying, corrupt church that has forsaken the Lord’s way. Eli was so out of touch—so dead in his spirit—he thought Hannah was drunk!

When Hannah was praying, she was filled with grief, burdened for the birth of a son. All she could do was move her lips because of her groaning in the Spirit. She prayed, “If You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and . . . will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life” (1 Samuel 1:11).

Here are two distinguishing marks of God’s holy remnant:

* They pray like Hannah. Their burden is deep and their heart is stirred because of the wickedness in God’s house.


* Like Hannah, they give themselves to prayer every day of their lives.

God wants to make you like that. He wants you to be able to touch Him and hear from Him. He wants to give you a ministry to others who will come to you with their burdens and trials. And as you pray for them, His Word will come forth!

Friday, November 25, 2011

GOD’S POWERFUL ARMY

by David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 - April 27, 2011]

Something very powerful and awesome is going on in the world today—something beyond human comprehension—something that will affect the whole world in these last days.

God is preparing a small but powerful army of Christians, the most dedicated army on the face of the earth. The Lord will come forth to command them to do exploits; He is going to close out the ages with a pure, devoted, fearless remnant.

All my life I have heard stories about our godly forefathers who hated sin. These men and women knew God’s voice and spent hours, even days, in fasting and prayer. They prayed unceasingly and had the power and ability to successfully stand up against immorality in their day.

These forefathers have long since passed on. But God is in the process of raising up another army and this time His warriors will not be made up only of elderly, gray-haired fathers and mothers of Zion. This new army will be composed of both new and seasoned believers, both young and old, ordinary
Christians who lay hold of God! A whole new realm of ministry is about to come forth!

The denominational church system appears to be in the throes of death. It has almost no influence in the secular world, no mighty power in Christ. Some accuse me of being “hard” on pastors. But I am in touch with many godly pastors who grieve as I do over the backsliding in the ministry today. There is
a holy remnant of godly pastors in the land, and I thank God for every one of them. Yet, it is still a fact that more and more ministers are racing down the road of compromise.

The Bible warns that we are not to fret! God has a plan and it is being manifested. It is put forth plainly in Scripture, mostly in the first four chapters of First Samuel.

The prophet Samuel is a type of God’s last-days remnant. The Lord chose him amid the worst of times and hid him away in training until it was time to bring forth His new thing. God told Samuel, “Behold, I will do something in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle” (1 Samuel 3:11).
What would so amaze and startle all who heard it? It was the judgment of God on the backslidden religious system and the raising up, training and anointing of a new, holy remnant!

What God did in Samuel’s day, He does in every generation. Indeed, in every generation there has been a remnant, a praying people after His own heart.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bankrupt church wants donations for pastor’s sick wife ferried in limo

By Zachary Roth

The Lookout – Fri, Nov 4, 2011
 
Some members of a bankrupt Orange County, Calif. megachurch are expressing outrage after fielding an email request for congregants to deliver food to waiting limos so that it can ferried to the founder's sick wife. The appeal comes weeks after a lawsuit charged that the founder of the Crystal Cathedral house of worship, Rev. Robert Schuller, and his family had been paying themselves lavish salaries and other benefits while the church was in financial straits.


"They've completely depleted the church's funds," one member, Bob Canfield, told the Orange County Register. "But they have shown that they have absolutely no remorse for what they've done. They're still being chauffeured around in limos. We, the congregants, have nothing."

An email sent recently by Crystal Cathedral administrators said that Schuller and his wife, Arvella, "would appreciate meals over the next three to four weeks." It added: "They are to be sent to the church in order to be transported to Arvella. The limo drivers could pick up the dinners or meet in the Tower Lobby around 4:30 p.m."

Arvella Schuller has been suffering from pneumonia, and the email asked that the food be low in sodium and include items such as fruit, meat, soup and eggs.

Crystal Cathedral Ministries filed for bankruptcy last month. A lawsuit filed by creditors alleges that the Schullers borrowed more than $10 million from the church's endowment fund, and used it for salaries and regular church expenses.

"R.H. Schuller used his control and influence to cause the [cathedral] to enter into the agreements that benefitted himself and his family, to the detriment of the creditors and in breach of his fiduciary duties" to the church, the suit charges.

A spokesman for the church, John Charles, said the food request was in keeping with the church's commitment to Christian charity. "As Dr. Schuller always says, 'Find a need and fill it,'" he said. "I think that's what we were trying to do here."

But Canfield sees things differently. "These are millionaires who have limos and chauffeurs," he said. "Why in God's name would they want the congregants to deliver meals? It's ludicrous."

Want more of our best national affairs stories? Visit The Lookout or connect with us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/bankrupt-church-wants-donations-pastor-sick-wife-ferried-182015520.html

Friday, October 28, 2011

It’s (Past) Time for a Charismatic Reformation

Long before there was an Occupy Wall Street, Martin Luther staged the most important protest in history. He was upset because Roman Catholic officials were promising people forgiveness or early escape from purgatory in exchange for money. So on October 31, 1517, Luther nailed a long list of complaints on the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany.

Luther’s famous 95 theses were translated from Latin into German and spread abroad. Like a medieval Jeremiah, Luther dared to ask questions that had never been asked, and he challenged a pope who was supposedly infallible. Through this brave monk, the Holy Spirit sparked the Protestant Reformation and restored the doctrine of grace to a church that had become corrupt, religious, dysfunctional, political and spiritually dead.

I’ve grown increasingly aware that the so-called ‘Spirit-filled’ church of today struggles with many of the same things the Catholic church faced in the 1500s. We don’t have ‘indulgences’—we have telethons. We don’t have popes—we have super-apostles.”

I am no Luther, but I’ve grown increasingly aware that the so-called “Spirit-filled” church of today struggles with many of the same things the Catholic church faced in the 1500s. We don’t have “indulgences”—we have telethons. We don’t have popes—we have super-apostles. We don’t support an untouchable priesthood—we throw our money at celebrity evangelists who own fleets of private jets.

In honor of Reformation Day, I’m offering my own list of needed reforms in our movement. And since I can’t hammer these on the Wittenberg door, I’ll post them online. Feel free to nail them everywhere.

1. Let’s reform our theology. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He is God and He is holy. He is not an “it.” He is not a blob, a force, or an innate power. We must stop manipulating Him, commanding Him and throwing Him around.

2. Let’s return to the Bible. The Word of God is the foundation for the Christian experience. Any dramatic experience, no matter how spiritual it seems, must be tested by the Word and the Holy Spirit’s discernment. Visions, dreams, prophecies and encounters with angels must be in line with Scripture. If we don’t test them we could end up spreading deception.

3. It’s time for personal responsibility. We charismatics must stop blaming everything on demons. People are usually the problem.

4. Stop playing games. Spiritual warfare is a reality, but we are not going to win the world to Jesus just by shouting at demonic principalities. We must pray, preach and persevere to see ultimate victory.

5. Stop the foolishness. People who hit, slap or push others during prayer should be asked to sit down until they learn gentleness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.

6. End all spiritual extortion now. Christian television ministries must cease and desist from all manipulative fundraising tactics. We must stop giving platforms to ministers who make outlandish claims of supernatural financial returns, especially when Scripture is twisted, deadlines are imposed and the poor are exploited.

7. No more Lone Rangers. Those who claim to be ministers of God—whether they are traveling evangelists, local pastors or heads of ministries—must be accountable to other leaders. Any who refuse to submit their lives to godly discipline should be corrected.

8. Expose the creeps. Churches should start doing background checks on traveling ministers. Preachers who have been hiding criminal records, lying about their past marriages, preying on women or refusing to pay child support should be exposed as charlatans and shunned if they do not repent.

9. Stop faking the anointing. God is God, and He does not need our “help” to manifest Himself. That means we don’t sprinkle glitter on ourselves to suggest God’s glory is with us, hide fake jewels on the floor to prove we are anointed or pull chicken feathers out of our sleeves to pretend angels are in the room. This is lying to the Holy Spirit.

10. Let’s return to purity. We’ve had enough scandals. The charismatic church must develop a system for the restoration of fallen ministers. Those who fall morally can be restored, but they must be willing to submit to a process of healing rather than rushing immediately back into the pulpit.

11. We need humility. Ministers who demand celebrity treatment, require lavish salaries, insist on titles or exhibit aloofness from others are guilty of spiritual pride.

12. No more big shots. Apostles are the bondslaves of Christ, and should be the most impeccable models of humility. True apostles do not wield top-down, hierarchical authority over the church. They serve the church from the bottom up as true servants.

13. Never promote gifts at the expense of character. Those who operate in prophecy, healing and miracles must also exhibit the fruit of the Spirit. And while we continue to encourage the gift of tongues, let’s make sure we don’t treat it like some kind of badge of superiority. The world needs to see our love, not our glossolalia.

14. Hold the prophets accountable. Those who refuse to take responsibility for inaccurate statements should not be given platforms. And “prophets” who live immoral lives don’t deserve a public voice.

15. Let’s make the main thing the main thing. The purpose of the Holy Spirit’s anointing is to empower us to reach others. We are at a crossroads today: Either we continue off-course, entertained by our charismatic sideshows, or we throw ourselves into evangelism, church planting, missions, discipleship, and compassionate ministry that helps the poor and fights injustice. Churches that embrace this New Reformation will focus on God’s priorities.

J. Lee Grady is contributing editor of Charisma. You can follow him on Twitter at leegrady. He expounds on these topics in his 2010 book The Holy Spirit Is Not for Sale (Chosen).

CARELESS WORDS

by David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 - April 27, 2011]

“But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37). We seem to think our words simply fall to the ground and die, or vanish into
thin air and dissolve into nothingness. Not so! Our words live on—they do not die!

You may say, “But I only told this gossip to one friend and he promised never to repeat it. It will end with him.” No, it will not! Every single word you and I utter is recorded, written down in eternity, and we will hear them all repeated to us at the judgment.

I recall coming under deep conviction after sharing a vicious bit of gossip with a friend. What I said was indeed true. It was about a moral situation I had had to deal with concerning a minister. His name came up in the conversation and I said, “Don’t trust him. I know something about him!”

Even as I mouthed off, I felt condemned. The Holy Spirit whispered to me, “Stop right there! Nobody needs to know that. Don’t say more, because there’s no purpose to it. Even though it’s true, don’t repeat it!”
\
What I had already said was bad enough. But then I blurted out the lurid details! I knew I should have been quiet and sure enough, I was deeply convicted by the Holy Spirit. So later I called my friend and said, “I’m sorry, that was gossip. I was out of order. Please don’t repeat it. Try not to even think about it.”

Is my sin covered by the blood of Jesus? Yes, because I fully acknowledged that I had sinned and I allowed the Holy Spirit to show me some of the legalistic pride left in me. I allowed Him to humble me and heal me! Now, whenever I begin to say something against somebody, I obey the Holy Spirit as I hear Him say, loud and clear, “Stop!”

Monday, October 24, 2011

DRY BONES CAN LIVE!

by David Wilkerson

Ezekiel 37 is all about God’s desire for us to lay hold of the promises of His new covenant—learning how to truly live by entering into the blessing of the covenant.

We have all heard the story of the “dry bones” that Ezekiel speaks of. It is important to note that these vessels lying lifeless on the ground were under the covenant. You see, the Lord had told them, “O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!” (Ezekiel 37:4). They had heard God’s covenant promise: “I will
put My Spirit in you, and you shall live.”

Yet, even though these dead bones had the new covenant promise preached to them, they had not yet entered into the enjoyment of its blessings. Many believers today know of God’s new covenant—yet they can hardly believe it, because it sounds too good to be true. They say, “I know God has given us the Holy Spirit to indwell us. And I know the Spirit takes it upon Himself to cause us to obey Christ. Oh, I want that blessing badly, but how can I obtain it for my life?”

There is something we must do. Ezekiel writes that God told him to prophesy, “Thus says the Lord God: ‘Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live’” (37:9). Then Ezekiel says he prophesied as God had commanded, “. . . and breath came into them, and they
lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army” (37:10).

Suddenly there stood before Ezekiel a great army, alive and breathing! The Holy Spirit had filled all those dead bodies with life—and now they were prepared to do battle. In an instant they had entered into the full enjoyment and blessings of the new covenant. God’s Spirit had taken His rightful place in
them—and He was bringing about all the promised changes.
 

ENLARGE MY TERRITORY

Jabez’ prayer requesting blessing and increase from the Lord might be described as:

·   A prayer of divine agitation i.e. it breaks the spiritual status quo, passivity and inactivity in our lives

·   A prayer of faith, hope and love in the goodness, power and authority of God

·   A prayer that is a choice for God in overcoming personal circumstances, problems or a past trauma and stepping into the new purposes and plans God has for each one of our lives.

When we pray for God to bless us and “enlarge our territory,” we are praying from the perspective of a lifestyle that has experienced the investment of God with the expectation of a supernatural return that releases fruit that will last for all eternity. The result of us receiving God’s blessing is (a) adoration to the Lord and (b) equipping and empowerment for effective service for God. When we ask God to bless us it releases His limitless power, goodness, love and favour. God’s blessings release His Kingdom!

It’s NOT a selfish prayer because it is a prayer that glorifies God because it is about asking God to enlarge our life so that we can make a greater impact for Him. This type of prayer will cause a paradigm shift in our thinking and appropriation of blessing as we walk with God.  It is a prayer that is released from the heart that believes in the God of miracle working power to bring transformation in the nations.

When we enter into the realm of increase and acceleration in our ministries by the grace of God, there are a few basic principles we need to understand:

1.  Resource – where our opportunities overtake our abilities - Our physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and financial resources are all stretched when we shift from the position of where we presently stand into the faith place of where we declare we hope to be. God is faithful to send us His Holy Spirit, angelic assistance, strength by grace and people and resource to enable us to fulfil the God-given assignment or mission before us. The prayer of Jabez for “enlargement” begins with acknowledging our need to decrease so that God might increase in us.

2.   Relationships – where God orchestrates divine opportunities, appointments and sovereignly ordained destiny milestones - It is important to acknowledge that Jabez’ prayer for spiritual enlargement encompasses the need for new and ongoing God-ordained relationships, strategic connections and Kingdom alliances as we interact with others both in the body of Christ and in society. There are certain people in our lives whom God has entrusted with keys to unlock destiny.

3.  Area of Influence - When God increases our “territory” for His glory, it is with the intention that we impact our sphere of influence for the Kingdom.  We will experience increased responsibilities, but we can rest in the knowledge that with the gift of “call” comes the grace to walk in the call and all that it encompasses.

4.   Surrender – surrender teaches us to trust God in a deeper way. God will not lead us where He is not willing to sustain us.  Surrender is a pre-cursor to sustenance = divine provision.

Enlarge my territory” isn’t a place where our training or past experience can take us although they may serve as a foundation for a new Kingdom building work. It is only out of the abundance of being enlarged by God’s grace that we gain the experience we did not have to fulfil the Kingdom task(s) before us. To ask God to enlarge your territory is another way of asking God, “Lord, use me  - give me more ministry opportunities to bring glory to  You!”

God teaches us how to manage the resource He has maximised in our hands.  Stewardship is the gift of wisdom and compassion in management of God-given resource for the purpose for which God intended it to be used ….. to bless and be a blessing!

In His great grace,
Catherine Brown

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Don’t Let Your Pulpit Be Defiled

Visiting ministers can be a great blessing to any church. But if you don’t do your homework, you could be inviting disaster.

A friend of mine recently told me that the leaders of a ministry invited a prominent American preacher to speak at a conference. During discussions about the engagement, the preacher’s handlers explained two of the terms of his visit: (1) he was always to be addressed as “apostle” by anyone who spoke to him; and (2) he was to be ushered out of the auditorium and into a green room immediately after he delivered his sermon, to guarantee that he would not have to fraternize with the audience. He needed his privacy.

If I had been on the other end of the telephone conversation that day, I would have offered this reply: “Please tell Apostle Arrogance that since he is so concerned about being bothered by the little people, never mind. Just don’t come. We don’t need the disease he is spreading in the body of Christ. God bless you.” Click.

I have heard horror stories of ministers who required their hosts to provide shopping money, certain types of exotic bottled water, limousines and manicurists. A childish rock star might be expected to ask for these luxuries, but such behavior is reprehensible for a minister of the gospel. Don’t cater to their appetites.”

That may sound harsh, but I don’t think there’s any other way to prevent the spread of this plague. The “celebrity syndrome” is still alive in 2011, in spite of the recession, and the only way we are going to stop big-headed charlatans from corrupting churches is to boycott them. We need to hand them a pink slip. I recommend these safeguards:

1. Investigate before you invite. There are many wonderful traveling ministers who carry genuine anointings and can bring great blessing to churches and ministry events. They have been called by God as evangelists, prophets, teachers and apostolic leaders—and those who walk in the anointing of the Holy Spirit will produce fruit wherever they go.

But there are also imposters on the preaching circuit. Some of them once carried the anointing and lost it; others actually entered the ministry as fakes and learned to prey on naïve congregations. Don’t give anyone a platform who has a questionable record. Always find out who they are accountable to. If they have no relationships, no oversight or no reference board, you are taking a great risk by having them in your church.

2. Slam the door on egotism. The celebrity syndrome is easy to detect. Does the visiting preacher have a servant’s spirit? Or does he come across as cocky and unapproachable? Any man or woman engaged in ministry should have the attitude of Jesus, who was willing to ride a donkey into Jerusalem and wash the feet of His disciples. If you allow a prideful, unbroken preacher in your pulpit, you are giving a spirit of Lucifer the opportunity to infect your congregation.

3. Don’t feed the spirit of entitlement. Every traveling minister appreciates a gracious host. You show honor when you provide him or her with a nice hotel room, meals and transportation during their stay. But you should be alarmed if a preacher demands celebrity treatment.

I have heard horror stories of ministers who required their hosts to provide shopping money, certain types of exotic bottled water, limousines and manicurists. One preacher who recently ministered in Australia demanded a certain type of steak that had to be flown across the Pacific Ocean from the United States! A childish rock star might be expected to ask for these luxuries, but such behavior is reprehensible for a minister of the gospel. Don’t cater to their appetites.

4. Don’t tolerate financial rape. I know of an American minister who traveled to a church in Canada and insisted that the pastor rent a civic auditorium that seated more than a thousand people. The pastor couldn’t afford the hall, but the evangelist said she wouldn’t come unless a large venue was provided. In the end, the evangelist canceled the trip because not enough people registered for the conference—and the pastor was left holding the bag. His church went bankrupt.

A true minister of the gospel would never push a church to go into debt just to satisfy his or her egotistical need for a big crowd. Jesus was just as comfortable preaching to a few disciples as he was to a multitude, and He didn’t base success on numbers. If you fall into the numbers trap you will be sorry.

Also, a shepherd who cares about his or her flock will never allow a visiting preacher to manipulate a congregation financially. Visiting speakers who spend 30 to 45 minutes begging for money, or making outlandish claims of “supernatural returns” for investing in their work, are sheisters who need to leave the ministry and find a job on a home shopping network.

5. Beware of strange fire. A minister imparts his life, not just the words of his sermons. That is why it is so important for preachers of the gospel to walk in humility, sexual purity and financial integrity. If a minister has allowed compromise in any of those areas, his anointing will be hindered and he may pollute your pulpit and leave a toxic environment in your church.

I talked to one pastor in California who had invited a speaker to his annual conference. But before the speaker arrived, the pastor learned that this man often used drug imagery in his sermons and even compared the Holy Spirit to marijuana. When he asked the speaker to refrain from such references, the man arrogantly refused. Thankfully the pastor did the right thing: He politely but firmly canceled the man’s visit.

It is possible for us to “just say no” to the charlatans, shysters, con men and rock star evangelists who have never submitted their lives to the discipline of the Spirit. Please heed the warnings, inspect the fruit and be willing to disinvite.

J. Lee Grady is contributing editor of Charisma. You can follow him on Twitter at leegrady. His latest book is 10 Lies Men Believe (Charisma House).

Sunday, October 9, 2011

THE CURE FOR UNBELIEF

by David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 – April 27, 2011]

I searched my reference books and found lists of ways to “cure” unbelief, but none of these dozens of things touched me. So I asked God for something simple and He gave me two thoughts on how I can rid my heart of unbelief:

1. Lay hold upon every worry, fear and burden. Take them all to Jesus and leave them on His shoulders!

“Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Beloved, this is God’s personal invitation to you, His request: “Put it all on Me! Do not carry it one hour longer. I care about everything that is happening to you and I am big enough to take it all for you!”

Not long ago someone in an extremely stressful situation called me seeking a word of encouragement. But I was overwhelmed that day by so many problems, I could not handle even one more, so I answered, “I’m sorry but you’ll have to call some other time. I’m too overloaded right now.” Thank God, He is never stressed out! He is never overloaded! His shoulders can carry the load of all His children! He urges us, “Lay it all on Me!”

“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved” (Psalm 55:22). Go down your list right now:

“God, I give You this, and this, and that. I give You this burden, this trouble, that relationship, that problem.” And be fully convinced that He cares!

2. Launch out in full faith on the written Word of God. Take up the Lord’s challenge to live by His Word!

“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). You must be able to say, “I’m going to live and die by God’s Word to me!”

I ask you: How is it that we can trust His Word for our eternal salvation, but not for our daily needs and problems? We can believe Him for the hardest part. Why is it harder for us to believe for help, guidance and power over sin? “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24). God promised this to you, so let Him take on the burden of keeping you! Go to the Lord and challenge His Word. Tell Him you are going to stake your life on it!

Show Him you trust His every word—and be blessed!
 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Do You Really Know the Father’s Love? by J. Lee Grady

Many people struggle to believe God loves them because of a dysfunctional mom or dad.

This past weekend I spoke to some students at a college in New Hampshire. Knowing that many young people today come from broken homes (more than 1 million children today are the victims of divorce), I felt I needed to talk to them about the fatherly heart of God. I wasn’t surprised when several people’s eyes got misty as soon as I mentioned the word “father.”

“What about you? Do you have emotional wounds resulting from your upbringing? If so, these hurts can block your understanding of God’s unconditional love.”

What about you? Do you have emotional wounds resulting from your upbringing? If so, such hurts can block your understanding of God’s unconditional love. I encourage you to not only forgive your parents but also to renounce unhealthy mindsets you may have adopted because of trauma. Make sure you believe the following:

1. Your heavenly Father will never abandon you. Nothing is more traumatic to a child than a family breakup. Children often blame themselves for divorce—and they experience acute feelings of insecurity. They can also develop the wrong idea that if their father or mother was willing to walk away from them, God will do the same.

Believe the truth: God says, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Heb. 13:5, NASB). Earthly parents may break promises, but God is always faithful.

2. Your heavenly Father will never verbally berate you. I recently met a girl whose parents wanted her to be a boy. As a result of their disapproval, they criticized her constantly, told her she was ugly and demanded that she stay in her room most of the time. As a result of this constant criticism she struggled to receive love and found it difficult to believe God could ever love her.

Believe the truth: The Lord is a loving Father who speaks tenderly to His children; and even when He must discipline us, it is for our good. James 5:11 says: “We … have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.”

3. Your heavenly Father will never abuse you. I have an African friend, Medad, whose cruel, domineering father beat him with the same stick he used to beat his mother. Medad still has scars on his back, chest and stomach from his father’s angry outbursts. Finally, his father piled the family into a car, drove them into a rural area and ordered them to get out of the vehicle. He cursed them and left them to die. His father’s behavior made Medad angry and vengeful until he found salvation in Jesus.

Believe the truth: God is not an abuser. He is a good Shepherd who protects us. If you were abused by someone, either physically, sexually or verbally, recognize that God did not approve of that behavior and He wants to heal you from the pain of that experience.

4. Your heavenly Father will never withhold affection from you. I’ve met dozens of men whose fathers never once said to them, “I love you.” Many of these guys struggle today with addictions to alcohol, drugs and other mind-numbing substances because they don’t know how to process the lack of security they feel. And women who never received healthy, non-sexual affection from their fathers often end up trapped in a promiscuous lifestyle because they’re searching for the love they were denied.

Believe the truth: God is crazy about you and He wants to shower you with love! Isaiah described God as a Shepherd who gathers His lambs and carries them in His bosom (see Is. 40:11). As a believer in Christ you always have access to the Father through the Holy Spirit (see Eph. 2:18). He wants you to be close to Him.

5. Your heavenly Father will never abandon you financially. A loving parent, no matter how small their income, can make a child feel secure by providing food on the table, a warm bed and clothes to wear. Unfortunately, in these days of deadbeat dads and struggling one-parent families, many people grow up financially crippled. God doesn’t automatically give people Cadillacs if they tithe, but any follower of Jesus can bank on God’s promises of provision.

Believe the truth: Jesus said the Father knows we need food, clothes and shelter. “Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:31-33). We serve a generous God.

6. Your heavenly Father will never act in an unstable manner. I have a friend whose father was a secret alcoholic. As a boy, my friend never understood why his father was nice one day and angry the next. He blamed himself for his dad’s erratic behavior—and to this day he still carries some of the pain of that emotional trauma.

Believe the truth: God is not unstable. He never gets drunk, high or out of control. 1 Sam. 15:29 says God “will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.” Circumstances never affect God’s nature. He will always, always, always stay the same.

No matter what fatherly wounds you may have suffered, and no matter how long ago the pain entered, God can heal your heart and fill in the gaps. Reach out and receive the Father’s embrace.

J. Lee Grady is the former editor of Charisma. You can follow him on Twitter a leegrady. His most recent book is 10 Lies Men Believe (Charisma House).

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Is Revival Possible?

Perhaps the question itself sounds skeptical. After all, don't we believe that "all things are possible with God"? But our culture is drastically different from cultures that have experienced great revivals. Isn't it?

Maybe we should first define what we mean by "revival". It's not a specific event, as when you see a sign on a church building reading, "Revival - June 20". A genuine revival is when people newly discover the truth of God's Word and are filled with passionate love for Jesus. It is a fresh wind of the Spirit of God blowing upon the people of God. It is a valley of dry bones made to live again. This doesn't happen in a single church or denomination. It may start with individuals, but soon it spreads to others, crossing denominational lines, like fire jumping from field to field.

There is a growing sense among many that revival is coming, simply because it is so desperately needed. It has been during such times of departure, hopelessness and sin that revival has come to those who earnestly sought God.

In the Welsh revival of 1904, God chose a young man named Evan Roberts. Born in a Christian home, at the age of 12 he left school to work in the local coal mine to help his injured father. The following year he joined his chapel, seeking never to miss any of the meetings. He became a Sunday school teacher at an early age.

When Evan was 26 he prepared to train for Christian ministry. Warned by his mother that this would be a hard life, he replied, "I am willing to work for my Redeemer till my dying day." On September 29, 1904, while attending a meeting with fellow student Seth Joshua, Evan heard him pray, "Bend us, Oh Lord!" This gripped Evan's heart for two hours till the next meeting when he prayed, "Bend me, Oh Lord!" It was here that he received the Power (the baptism of the Holy Spirit). Following this experience Evan was consumed with a passion to evangelize. During the month of October he sought God's guidance as to how to do it. He experienced visions confirming to him that God was about to descend in revival power. This was the beginning of an awakening that would not only impact the church in Wales but also would make front page headlines all over the world.

Much has changed in the world since then. The influence of church was central to society, whereas now it is on the periphery. A reversal of the situation would likely not happen overnight. Rather it will be a constant battle to win back Kingdom ground that has been lost to the enemy. It will be a struggle both in individuals and in the corporate life of the church for God's perfect will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Are we up for the challenge? Are we willing to cry out, "Bend me, Oh Lord?" We must be bent away from our will and conformed to His before revival can come.

For more information on the Welsh revival of 1904 visit their website at welshrevival.com.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Rob Bell Not the First Megachurch Pastor to Step Down

G. Jeffrey MacDonald   

(RNS)--For pastors with ambitions to reach huge audiences, there's often no better platform than the megachurch, which has given rise to powerhouse media empires from T.D. Jakes to Max Lucado to Joel Osteen and many others.

 But some high-profile pastors are opting to leave congregational ministry altogether to pursue publishing and other media ventures full time. And that, some observers say, carries its own risks and rewards.

 On Thursday (Sept. 22), up-and-coming pastor Rob Bell announced he's leaving Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Mich. in December. Bell's best-selling book, Love Wins, raised more than a few eyebrows with the premise that hell doesn't include eternal torment. Now he's moving on.

 "Our founding pastor, Rob Bell, has decided to leave Mars Hill in order to devote his full energy to sharing the message of God's love with a broader audience," the church said in a statement.

 Bell's resignation makes him the latest in a string a celebrity pastors who have said goodbye to weekly sermons, potluck dinners and other staples of church life. "A New Kind of Christianity" author Brian McLaren, "Crazy Love" author Francis Chan, "Deep Church" author Jim Belcher and the popular British Bible scholar N.T. Wright have all left their church leadership positions in recent years.

 Having left high-profile pastoral roles, these big-name pastors have become prolific publishers. But not all evangelicals are convinced the gospel is well-served when pastors trade a local flock for a global one.

 Within hours of the Mars Hill announcement, best-selling author and Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren was on Twitter, saying pastors who leave churches have less impact and no base for credibility.
 "Speaking tours feed the ego = All applause & no responsibility," said one Thursday tweet from Warren. "It's an unreal world. A church gives accountability & validity."

 It's not uncommon for megachurch pastor-authors to consider leaving church leadership, according to Rick Christian, president of Alive Communications, a Colorado Springs, Colo., literary agency that represents megachurch pastors. At a certain point, some feel more like a CEO than a shepherd, Christian said, and can be tempted to leave the headaches behind -- especially when they're making good money from royalties.

 But he encourages them to go slow and remember that "there's something inherently great about the accountability that comes with" leading a congregation. Authors who leave that world incur new risks, he said.

 "You can have somebody who leaves for the wrong reasons and becomes a lone ranger," Christian said. "They're just running and gunning for the Lord on planes, in hotels, zipping around at 30,000 feet. You can lose touch very quickly."

 Others agree parish life keeps communicators grounded. Elaine Heath, associate professor of evangelism at Southern Methodist University's Perkins School of Theology, noted a long history of leaving the parish for wider outreach opportunities -- even Methodism founder John Wesley gave up a settled pulpit to be an itinerant preacher.

 But in today's world, she said, book tours and online virtual relationships are not enough to sustain a pastor's moral authority.

 "Sometimes God calls someone like Brian McLaren to a `global parish,'" Heath said. "What I need to know in order for such a person to remain credible, is that they are still part of a local faith community with whom they pray, worship, and serve in ministry. ... Nothing can take the place of flesh and blood community."

 To be sure, many megachurch pastors still find value in sustaining congregational ties. Lucado, for instance, earns his living from various publishing ventures and the royalties on more than 80 million books sold, but he still serves without salary as minister of preaching at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio.

 "From a business standpoint, I just think there is a grounding that happens in the local church," Christian said. "It's not for everybody.

 Seasons can change; callings can change. But if you're called in (to church ministry), make sure you're called out for all the right reasons."

c. 2011 Religion News Service. Used with permission.
Publication date: September 26, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Your Pastor Is on the Firing Line—Please Pray!

by J. Lee Grady

This Sunday is Pastor Appreciation Day. Here are six specific ways to pray for your spiritual leaders.

Often when I speak to a group of aspiring ministers, I greet them by saying: “Welcome to the war.” I also remind them that when they signed up to join the front lines of spiritual battle, a bright red target was painted on their backs. Ministry can be wonderfully rewarding, but let’s not kid anybody: Most of the time it’s a thankless job full of headaches, disappointments, conflicts, loneliness, frustration, petty complaints and tight budgets.

And while we might assume all pastors lead megachurches and drive new cars, keep in mind that the average church in this country has 75 members and the average pastor makes less than $34,000 a year—and may work an extra job to feed his or her family. The statistics are alarming: 90 percent of pastors work more than 50 hours a week; 70 percent say they don't have any close friends; and 45 percent say they've had to take a leave of absence from ministry because of depression or burnout.

“It’s normal for leaders to have emotional highs and lows, but when discouragement becomes debilitating it can knock them out for good.”

My friend Eddie Taylor, pastor of Church on the Hill in Dalton, Ga., has faced his share of ministry pressures and has looked burnout square in the face a few times. He dug deep in the story of Elijah (see 1 Kings 17-19) to learn how to survive, and he recently shared with me a message about how to pray for people in leadership. I decided to share his main points since October is Clergy Appreciation Month.

I’m sure your pastor would appreciate a nice card next Sunday, but he or she would be doubly blessed to know that you were praying regularly along these lines:

1. Pray against witchcraft and manipulation. As soon as Elijah stepped into the fray and challenged Israel’s idolatry, Jezebel went into attack mode. We must never be ignorant of Satan’s schemes (see 2 Cor. 2:11). The enemy targets Christian leaders, aiming to pull them into immorality, deception or pride; or he dispatches human messengers to control or discourage them. You can expose these demonic plots through prayer.

2. Pray for courage. Elijah had guts. He not only got in Ahab’s face, but he also organized a public showdown to challenge Jezebel’s false prophets. Yet right after the fire fell from heaven in response to Elijah’s prayer, Jezebel threatened him—and the Bible says “he was afraid and arose and ran for his life” (1 Kings 19:3, NASB). Leaders are called to confront, but they can’t do it without supernatural boldness from God. Ask the Lord to make your pastor brave.

3. Pray against depression. After Elijah fled to the wilderness, he started acting like a burned-out pastor. He prayed: “It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life” (19:4). It’s normal for leaders to have emotional highs and lows, but when discouragement becomes debilitating it can knock them out for good. Pray that your pastor will draw fresh joy from the wells of salvation daily.

4. Pray for rest. After the intensity of Mount Carmel, Elijah went a day’s journey from Beersheeba and slept under a juniper tree. Sometimes what pastors need most is a day off—yet many feel driven to perform, either because of people’s expectations or self-imposed demands. What makes matters worse is that many pastors have not empowered others to help with the workload. Pray that your pastor not only gets enough sleep, but that he or she gets times of refreshing away from phone calls, e-mails and constant “emergencies” that can surely wait.

5. Pray for the touch of God. Elijah found supernatural strength after his wearying experience on the mountaintop—not just because he ate and slept but because the angel of the Lord touched him twice (see 19:6-7). Pray that your pastor receives a double portion of the Lord’s presence. It is only the Lord’s supernatural anointing that enables us to minister in the power of the Holy Spirit.

6. Pray for disciples. Even after Elijah heard God’s voice on Mount Horeb, he was tempted to think he was the only true prophet left. But the Lord told him there were 7,000 prophets who had not bowed their knees to Baal, and He instructed Elijah to anoint Elisha as his successor (see 19:15-18). God does not want leaders to do their work alone. We are called to a long-distance race that involves multiple generations! Pray that your pastor will arrange his priorities correctly so he can invest his life in younger leaders.

P.S.—Don’t hand this list to your pastor next Sunday and tell him or her that you are praying these things. (As in, “Pastor, I’m praying you will have the courage to confront the gossips in this church—especially Mrs. Clack!”) No one wants to feel manipulated by prayer requests. Instead, pray in secret—and ask the Lord to uphold your pastor with the same grace He gave Elijah.

J. Lee Grady is the former editor of Charisma. You can follow him on Twitter at leegrady. He’d like to hear why you love your pastor, or how your pastor has blessed you or your family. You can post tributes to your pastor in the comment section below.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Don’t Live Frustrated!

by Joyce Meyer

The key to a life of peace is accepting God’s amazing graceEmpower-Frustrated

I spent a lot of years being frustrated about a lot of things. But one of my biggest problems used to be the frustration I had about me. I didn’t like myself.

So I tried very hard to change. I didn’t like my personality. I felt like I was too bold, straightforward, loud and expressive. Along with that, it seemed that every message I heard at church (and we were in church a lot) just pointed out more things that were wrong with me. I remember at times wondering, How can one person have so much wrong with them?

I tried over and over to be like people I thought were what I should be like. And I tried very hard to be “good.” But all my trying just made me very, very frustrated!

Eventually, two things happened that helped me get a breakthrough. First, I came to realize the truth about who God created me to be. He was the One who gave me this personality—and He was not going to help me be somebody else! And second, I learned from 1 Peter 5:5 that my pride was keeping me from getting the help I needed from God to make the changes He wanted me to make.

Let’s take a look at this verse. It says, “Clothe (apron) yourselves, all of you, with humility. ... For God sets Himself against the proud ... [and He opposes, frustrates, and defeats them], but gives grace (favor, blessing) to the humble” (AMP).

It was very eye-opening to realize that much of my frustration was happening because God was frustrating my efforts to change myself in my own strength! My pride—trying to change myself instead of depending on God and trusting Him to change me—was actually keeping me from getting what I really needed.

Every time we feel frustration, it means we’ve stopped relying on God and are trying to make something happen on our own, in our own way. Pride says, “I know it all, and I don’t need any help, thank you.” And God hates pride. But He gives grace to the humble.

Well, I finally understood that God would give grace to me if I would humble myself before Him and totally depend on Him to change me. The truth is, I couldn’t change myself.

I had to say, “God, I’ll change if You change me.” And I had to receive the grace of God to trust Him and stop trying to do it myself. So what is the grace of God?

One common definition is, “God’s riches at Christ’s expense.” This is true, but there’s more to it.

Grace is also, “God’s power coming to us freely, enabling us to do with ease what we could never do on our own with any amount of struggle and effort.” His grace is available to us every day of our lives for every situation we have. We just have to receive it by faith—which God also gives us.

If we put our faith in God and really depend on Him, He will give us the ability to do what we need to do.

I really want you to get this, because we all have situations in our lives that are difficult—some more than others—and God doesn’t want us to be miserable while we’re in them. He wants to give us a special grace to go through these times with peace and joy. When we do, this attitude is what will minister to people around us and cause them to want what we have.

So what are you doing with your faith? Are you putting faith in yourself, trying to do on your own what only God can do? Are you trying to solve your own problems, change yourself, get your boss to promote or recognize you, make your kids do what you think they should?

Instead of frustrating yourself and putting yourself in opposition to God, put your faith in Him and trust Him to do what you can’t. When you do, His grace will come to you and enable you to do what you really need to do.

That’s amazing grace!

“Removing the Head of the Serpent” by Kay Winters

Recently I had a prophetic experience that clearly portrayed the condition of the church in America. My husband and I take evening walks that sometimes bring us through affluent neighborhoods. We enjoy viewing luxury homes with their beautiful waterfalls and fountains. Sometimes I venture to curiously peer into the backyards of these homes, finding exquisite pools, sports courts, fireplaces, and landscaping that mirror a Thomas Kincaid painting.
As we enjoyed our walk on this particular evening, suddenly my husband blurts out, “Snake!” After jumping in the opposite direction, I saw a three foot rattlesnake about a foot away from where we had been walking. Having been raised on a farm in Georgia, I am familiar with the behavior of snakes, especially poisonous vipers. Snakes react to ground vibration and I was mystified as to why the snake was not hissing or coiling to strike us. To our surprise, the snake ignored us, and slowly slithered in the opposite direction. The snake seemed to be right “at home” in the landscape of the neighborhood.

We decided to alert the homeowner regarding the snake. I rang the door bell and was greeted by a man in his 40’s. I said, “Sir, there is a rattlesnake in your front yard. Perhaps you might want to dispose of him.” He froze and didn’t respond. Knowing the snake could quickly escape, I continued, “Sir, this is a neighborhood with lots of children.” Finally, after another long pause, he replied, “Ok, give me a moment”. I could tell he did not want to be bothered, but my last statement provoked him to action. After what seemed like an eternity, the homeowner emerged from his garage with a six foot pole with a huge razor-like blade attached. I thought to myself, “I said ‘rattlesnake’, not ‘alligator’.”

As we approached the rattlesnake, I was amazed that it was still moving across the landscape at a snail’s pace. The homeowner looked terrified as he cautiously approached the snake from behind. He repeatedly raised his weapon high in the air, practicing his potential strike, yet hesitated to deliver the death blow. Not wanting to embarrass him, I kept silent, yet my thought was, “What is wrong with you? Remove that serpents head now”!

Serving God or Mammon

At that instant, I knew this experience paralleled the present condition of the American Church. The homeowner represents the Church and the rattlesnake represents Satan. Satan is not intimidated or threatened by the Church. In fact, he wanders in and out of the Body of Christ often without resistance or consequence. There is no need for Satan to hiss, coil or strike at us, since we pose little threat to him. He knows the focus of the Church at large is not Christ-centered, but instead self-centered. We have set our hearts on temporal treasures, in lieu of eternity, seeking the hand of God, instead of the face of God. Even our ministers have been deceived, esteeming the size of their congregations, offerings, and buildings as the measuring rod for success. A distorted “prosperity” gospel has taught us to use our faith almost exclusively to obtain larger homes, cars, and 401K accounts?

Our spiritual eyes have been encrusted with an infection that has distorted our vision. Blinded by materialism, we pursue Mammon, while Satan lies quietly at our feet. Our pursuits of pleasure have hardened us from not only the cries of the needy, but also the whispers of the Holy Spirit. We neither want to answer the doorbell, nor have our routine disrupted in any way. In effect, most of us are wearing a sign that says, “Do not disturb!” We have to be provoked to emerge from our comfort zones to serve at home, at church, or in our communities.

Like the church of Laodicea, the American Church has been deceived by riches, having become unaware of our spiritual poverty and blindness. As a result, many American Christians unknowingly worship the idol of Mammon. In His mercy, the Lord has used the downward spiral of our nation’s economy and monetary system to warn us not to trust in uncertain riches, but in Him who freely gives us all things to enjoy (Revelation 3:15-19, Luke 16:13).

Trampling on Serpents

We are destined to trample on serpents and scorpions, crushing Satan under our feet. However, one key element that enables us to triumph over the works of the devil is the depth of our repentance. Only profound repentance of our spiritual complacency and idolatry will cure our spiritual blindness, enabling us to identify the serpents in our lives. No longer ignorant of Satan’s devices, we can shake the kingdom of darkness, cause Satan to flee, and erect a “No trespassing!” sign on the landscape of our lives.

Luke 10:19 “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”


We must become a generation of snake killers, as our battle is against principalities, powers, rulers of darkness, and spiritual wickedness in heavenly places. As soldiers of the cross, we must exchange our cordial passivity for a violent militancy and remove the heads of the serpents in our lives. Indeed, His power working in us can break any yoke, cut through any chain, and His light in us can overwhelm any depth of darkness.

I John 3:8 “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil.”

The snakes we encounter will hiss, coil and strike in fear at the Greater One who lives within us. As we exercise our authority and God given power, many of these serpents will flee in fear. But what about those serpents who resist and refuse to exit our lives? We must say, “Off with their heads!” (James 4:7, I John 3:8).


Source: Prepared the Way International