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Does God Ever Detest Your Prayers?

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God detests the prayers of a person who ignores the law. (Proverbs 28:9 NLT)

This is a very powerful warning in the Word of God. But before anyone jumps to the conclusion of why someone’s prayers don’t seem to be answered, let’s take a quick panoramic view of prayer:

First and foremost, God’s ‘will’ plays the most important role of whether or not a prayer is answered:

Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10 NKJV)

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. (1 John 5:14 NKJV)

Second, there are times when God may not think something that we pray for is best for us, but He may allow it as a lesson to be learned:

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted divorce only as a concession to your hard hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended. (Matthew 19:8 NLT)

That is why the Holy Spirit says, “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested me in the wilderness.” (Hebrews 3:7‭-‬8 NLT)

Third, God’s ways are infinitely higher than our ways:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8‭-‬9 NKJV)

Forth, not all afflictions and woes are caused by Satan:

Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. (John 9:1‭-‬3 NKJV)

Now when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever. So He touched her hand, and the fever left her. And she arose and served them. (Matthew 8:14‭-‬15 NKJV)

Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. (Matthew 8:2‭-‬3 NLT)

Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. Remember that nothing is certain in this life. (Ecclesiastes 7:14 NLT)

Fifth, sometimes we forget that things occur just because we live in a fallen world:

Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. (Romans 8:20a NLT)

Sixth, God Himself will use sickness, disease, and even death to chastise His people:

For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself. That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died. (1 Corinthians 11:29‭-‬30 NLT)

Seventh, God is able to do anything in His strength and nothing is impossible for Him:

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20 NLT)

Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” (Matthew 19:26 NLT)

Eighth, revelation is divinely given only when the Holy Spirit deems it necessary. We are never to speak or do anything presumptuously and claim it is God:

But when she came to the man of God at the mountain, she fell to the ground before him and caught hold of his feet. Gehazi began to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone. She is deeply troubled, but the Lord has not told me what it is.” (2 Kings 4:27 NLT)

And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour. (Acts 16:18 NKJV)

Ninth, faith is a key ingredient that must be exhibited:

And so He (Jesus) did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief. (Matthew 13:58 NLT)

Tenth, obedience must be exercised:

But his (Naaman’s) officers tried to reason with him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’” So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child, and he was healed! (2 Kings 5:13‭-‬14 NLT)

“But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you. And the heavens over your head shall be bronze, and the earth under you shall be iron.” (Deuteronomy 28:15‭, ‬23 ESV)

Eleventh, sin is an impassable road block:

We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but he is ready to hear those who worship Him and do His will. (John 9:31 NLT)

Twelfth, holiness is required for our prayers to have a sweet aroma in God’s nostrils. Along with Psalm 141:1-3, this also brings us back to the verse at the very beginning of this article:

God detests the prayers of a person who ignores the law. (Proverbs 28:9 NLT)

God, come close. Come quickly! Open Your ears—it’s my voice You’re hearing! Treat my prayer as sweet incense rising; my raised hands are my evening prayers. Post a guard at my mouth, God, set a watch at the door of my lips. Don’t let me so much as dream of evil or thoughtlessly fall into bad company. (Psalm 141:1‭-‬3 MSG)

So how should we go about praying?:

1. Making sure we are living a holy and sanctified life.
2. Making sure we are obedient.
3. Seeking Holy Spirit discernment and revelation of what we are praying for, making sure that we are never presumptuous.
4. Going boldly before God’s throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16).
5. Praying with confidence and believing God can do anything, no matter how impossible it looks.
6. Asking that above all, God’s will be done.
7. Praying persistently (Luke 18:1-5) until we feel release in our spirit (2 Cor 12:8‭-‬9).
8. Praising God in our prayers with thanksgiving, mingling it amongst our petitions in humility.

In conclusion, I am appalled by the lack of humility there is in the way prayer is portrayed by the showman ministers and circus ministries on TV and the internet. They reek with human presumption, rather than Holy Spirit discernment. They defend their antics by accusing those, who show by Scripture otherwise, as having lack of faith. They claim with brashness that someone will be healed and have prosperity in order to further their ministry, but in reality never are healed or get out of financial debt. These hucksters are fortunate that the punishment set forth in the Old Testament is no longer carried out:

“But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.” (Deuteronomy 18:20 ESV)

As we part, keep in mind:

“God does nothing but by prayer, and everything with it.” — John Wesley

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Thrill Seeker or Jesus Seeker?

There is a two-fold cancer that has invaded the church in these last days. First, the infiltration of False Apostles. Paul warns us of what took place during his time and what will be much more prevalent in our time:

But I will continue doing what I have always done. This will undercut those who are looking for an opportunity to boast that their work is just like ours. These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve. (2 Corinthians 11:12‭-‬15 NLT)

Second, the infiltration of Thrill Seekers. Paul is very adamant in his warnings:

You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths. But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you. (2 Timothy 3:1, 4:3‭-‬5 NLT)

Over the past 25 years I have had first hand experience with the False Apostles and Thrill Seekers that have invaded the church to the point that it is a literal cancer which appears there is no end to. The nucleus of the cancer was dubbed the ‘Toronto Blessing’ which spread the cancer world wide. Now Bethel Church and it’s pastor Bill Johnson have become a powerful means for the cancer to continue to grow explosively. It seems no matter where I turn, I see its invasion. People blindly latch onto it, or should I more properly say that people blindly allow it to latch onto them.

We are warned to test everything and be not sudden with the laying on of hands. Do you realize when we willingly allow others to lay hands upon us, we are actually spiritually submitting to this person and to what they are attempting to impart on us? If we know the person and their walk with God, it can be a good thing (as in James 5:14). But it can turn very nasty when we allow strangers or those whose teachings and/or doctrines are at the very least questionable to pray over us, lay hands upon us and impart ‘something’.

Maybe it wasn’t the intriguing teachings or the inviting laying on of hands. Maybe it was the seemingly innocent music that grabbed one’s attention. For example Bethel Church’s Jesus Culture music.

The Internet and YouTube are filled with warnings from Holy Spirit filled, God fearing men about the Toronto Blessing and Bethel Church/Bill Johnson. Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, and many other spotlight ministers have become of the same mold as Bill Johnson and Bethel Church. These warnings show how these False Prophets blur the lines of Scripture with enticement in order to promote their own perverted  interpretations to accomplish their ungodly agenda.There are more than enough videos that document the unbiblical ‘slaying’ of people, which in reality is the Kundalini spirit, not the Holy Spirit. Despite the documentation and warnings, people will continue to be Thrill Seekers and they will defend these False Prophets to the death under their delusion. I will state this, “You cannot be both a Thrill Seeker and a True Jesus Seeker.” One of the 9 gifts of the Holy Spirit to the church is ‘discerning of spirits’. It is amazing how all these false prophets pervert this gift, especially those who say that it is not for pointing fingers. In contrast, the truth of Scripture itself tells us that Paul was very quick to point the finger when he discerned through the Holy Spirit a false prophet or teaching. It is to protect the church and is absurd to say that it is not for pointing fingers!

So what kind of seeker are you? Are you a True Jesus Seeker who is always seeking His face and allowing Him to be the Lord of your life, even unto persecution and martyrdom? Or have you become the Ultimate Thrill Seeker who can be compared to someone who blindly jumps out of an airplane without a parachute? I have literally watched people travel the world so they could experience the latest thrill infiltrating the church in disguise of a blessing.

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I am especially writing to pastors as a warning in case you are willing to do anything (like Bill Johnson) to see your church grow. Just read the beginning of his best-selling book ‘When Heaven Invades Earth’ of how he went to the ‘Toronto Blessing’ and came back with something that latched on to him, which I can guarantee you was not the Holy Spirit. It took control of his body away from him (1 Corinthians 14:32 tells us the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets). Oh, you may see growth too, but if you latch onto the wrong thing, it may cost you for eternity!

I will remind you that it is supposed to be all about saving lost souls with the simple Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ, and not the frills. Yes, healings, miracles, prophecies, etc. are by-products of the atonement, but they are not intended for entertainment of Thrill Seekers. To set priorities straight, I will repeat the portion of Scripture I gave at the top of this article:

But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you. (2 Timothy 4:5 NLT)

And if you think you are too smart to be tricked, read Paul’s advice to the contrary:

That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting. (Ephesians 4:14 NKJV)

Because if you are fooled like some of the Corinthians, Paul has a double curse he lets the Galatians know there is as consequences:

You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed. (2 Corinthians 11:4 NLT)

But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8‭-‬9 NKJV)

So, in the end, because God is Judge, the big question may really be: What is the LORD seeking for? The answer is a sincere heart:

We are giving you a reason…… so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart. (2 Corinthians 5:12 NLT)

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Circus Christianity

Before I move into the meat of this article, I need to establish a base level. First of all I believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are in operation today. I am a living breathing example of a miraculous healing. I am saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of being able to pray in the Spirit (tongues). Second, I believe that the written Word of God is the guideline for everything that must be discerned. Third, visions and dreams, signs and wonders from the Holy Spirit are real, but they are not a flippant occurrence. They are for a divine purpose and are not for personal frills. Do not mistake the fact that it was not Peter’s shadow (Acts 5:12, 15) or Paul’s handkerchiefs (Acts 19:11-12) that healed — it was the Holy Spirit. Fourth, true advancements in the kingdom of God are wrought through humble prayer and fasting. Fifth, I believe in awesome worship music, but only as far as breaking up the fallow ground and not as entertainment. Sixth, so-called being ‘slain in the spirit’ is never recorded even once as a valid experience of any Christian in the New Testament. On top of that, some Pentecostals and Charismatics have gotten so caught up in their emotions that they allow themselves to overshadow the touch of the Holy Spirit and have done some crazy antics. Please read the following two PDF’S:

Slain In The Spirit

Slain in the Spirit Invalidity

With all of that said, I am very sad with what I see taking place on the so-called ‘forefront’ of American Christianity. I liken it to a circus. In this Circus Christianity you will find that most of their emphasis is on the sensational, spectacular, eye-catching, out-of-the-box signs and wonders. Their music is designed to appeal to the senses and emotions, not the very roots of one’s sin-sick soul. They want you to have experiences that will keep you coming back, but in reality they lead you in the wrong direction. Yes, you will hear the name of their jesus quite often. But know this, the real Jesus is not only the Living Word, but He is the Written Word. They teach that their jesus is a compass to roughly guide you in the direction you must go. But, the real Jesus is literally a road map that we must pick up our cross and follow.

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Let us never forget that the greatest miracle that can take place in any individual’s life is being Born Again. Let’s see what scripture has to say about it:

I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. (Luke 15:7‭ NKJV)

Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:‬10 NKJV)

Likewise, the greatest healing that can take place in any individual’s life is also being Born Again. Every other healing or miracle, sign or wonder, cowers to it, even someone being raised from the dead. Granted, someone being raised from the dead may appear much more spectacular because it is highly visible. Unfortunately you cannot see what’s going on inside someone’s spirit when they are born again. The following two verses make it clear that when they refer to healing, it talks about the spiritual and not physical, even though physical healing stems from what Jesus accomplished on the cross:

Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness— by whose stripes you were healed. (1 Peter 2:24 NKJV)

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5 NKJV)

Physical miracles and physical healings for the church are a secondary blessing. Remember, only after Jesus returned to the Father, did the Holy Spirit come and impart such gifts:

Now, dear brothers and sisters, regarding your question about the special abilities the Holy Spirit gives us. I don’t want you to misunderstand this. A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. The same Spirit gives the gift of healing to someone. He gives someone else the power to perform miracles. (1 Corinthians 12:1‭, ‬7‭, ‬9‭-‬10)

The following verse really puts physical healings and miracles into the proper perspective:

“If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.” (Matthew 18:8‭-‬9 NKJV)

Jesus even goes on to warn us not to be ‘signs and wonders’ seekers:

But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matthew 12:39‭-‬40 NKJV)

A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” And He left them and departed. (Matthew 16:4 NKJV)

During the heyday of circuses, when a circus came into town they would have a parade with blaring music and all of their acts and animals in procession down the main street to where they would set up their tents. This description so rightly fits what we see going on with much of the so-called Christian church today.

I’ve seen things called revivals that are not revivals at all. I’ve seen things called blessings that turn out to be curses. I’ve seen people call themselves prophets who are nothing more than con artists. They love to blur the lines of the truth of the Word and they do this because they find that this fascinates people and attracts them. But look what scripture says:

And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people. (Romans 16:17‭-‬18 NLT)

For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. (2 Timothy 4:3 NLT)

Paul was only concerned about reaching the lost. He was not concerned about attracting people to his ministry. He would be abhorred if he saw some of the antics that take place in the church today. I am sure that he would be casting out many demonic spirits that have infiltrated today and have appeared as angels of light. Paul shares where his heart really is in his epistles to the Romans and Corinthians:

And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation, but as it is written: “To whom He was not announced, they shall see; and those who have not heard shall understand.” (Romans 15:20‭-‬21 NKJV)

“Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:27‭-‬29 NLT)

It was not the unusual miracles that defined Paul (Acts 19:11). The heart of Paul’s ministry was that he would preach, the Holy Spirit would open up hearts, and the individuals would accept it in belief:

As she (Lydia) listened to us, the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying. She and her household were baptized. (Acts 16:14‭-‬15 NLT)

As I stated at the start of this article, I am very sad with what I see taking place on the so-called ‘forefront’ of American Christianity. The most toxic of all is contained in the following PDF:

Toxic Message of Bill Johnson and Bethel Church

Click on the following link that gets into more detail about the toxicity of Bethel Church:

http://www.piratechristian.com/messedupchurch/2018/2/10-reasons-why-bethel-redding-is-a-false-church

The Toronto Blessing was a breeding ground for the demonic kundalini spirit which has its roots in eastern religions. It masquerades itself as a false holy spirit in the West. Bill Johnson was enticed to go to Toronto and this kundalini spirit latched onto him. All that one needs to do is read the opening of his best selling book ‘When Heaven Invades Earth’ where he testifies of this. When I read of all this I can’t help but think of the following Scripture:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:21‭-‬23 NKJV)

A good friend of mine read over this article and said, “The power of the Holy Spirit was given for a very specific purpose, to enable us to be effective witnesses for Jesus Christ. It wasn’t given to us to make our lives easier; in fact our lives will become more difficult when we become a true witness for Jesus.”

I must agree. Any signs that accompany the salvation message are mainly for validity’s sake to non-believers, and only where the Holy Spirit deems necessary, not as a showcase for believers. The following two verses cements that specific purpose for the power of the Holy Spirit:

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NLT)

“I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me (the Good News). Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.” (1 Corinthians 15:3‭-‬4 NLT)

Where does all of this leave us? I can only compare it to counterfeit money. You try your hardest to verify that every bill that you receive is not counterfeit. It’s a shame that you have to live your life this way. But we must! If not we will end up with counterfeit bills that could cost us dearly!

The fact that there are many counterfeits out there does not deter me from carrying a bottle of anointing oil on me. If someone is in need of a miracle or healing, I will not hesitate when prompted by the Holy Spirit to pray for them, and believe.

May the body of Christ be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. (Ephesians 4:12b‭-‬14 NIV)

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Driven or Led by God?

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Do you ever feel over driven while in the process of trying to fulfill what you believe God has called you to do in life? Tragically it has become a common occurrence in the End Times we are living in. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I came across an article that gets right to the heart of the matter that I would like to share with you. It is by Gary Wilkinson of World Challenge and goes as follows:

Through my early decades, I was gripped by an orphan spirit, feeling driven to do the work of God, which created anxiety in me. It took me years to learn there’s a huge difference between being driven by God and being led by God.

Paul saw the Galatian Christians laboring under this kind of burden. He wrote to show them how different God’s way is with His children: “God sent His Son…to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that He could adopt us as His very own children. And because we are His children, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, ‘Abba, Father.’ Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are His child, God has made you His heir” (Galatians 4:4-7).

What a beautiful contrast. We’re not slaves to any system of performance. Instead, Paul says, God has drawn us to Himself tenderly, as His “own child.” Our heavenly Father doesn’t just legally adopt us, showing acceptance and approval. He gives us His attention, His affection, even His authority. And He blesses us with His own nature: “You have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:23, ESV).

This experience transformed my life, my relationships, and how I approached ministry. I don’t trust so-called spiritual experiences that aren’t grounded in God’s Word. But this one was.

Several years ago, I had what I would call a “waking dream.” The only way I can describe it is to say it was like seeing a dream unfold before me without being asleep.

In the dream, I was standing in the balcony of a gorgeous lodge made of magnificent timbers. The towering windows were made of beautiful stained glass, and inside, near the ceiling, lights sparkled with a natural glow. I thought to myself, “I’m not in the throne room of grace, but I know this is a heavenly place.”

Below me on the spacious wooden floor was a joyous gathering of people enjoying a grand, lavish feast.

Beyond the long banquet table was an amazing string band playing glorious music. The people bobbed their heads and kept turning their attention in a single direction. Finally, I was able to see what captured their gaze. It was Jesus—and He was dancing.

His movements were amazing—powerful yet graceful, the way I imagine King David dancing before the Lord. His arms were outstretched, and the movements He made emitted power, beauty, and authority. It was awe-inspiring.

Yet as I watched all this, a terrible felling rose up in me. I thought, “I’m all alone in this place. I don’t fit in. Why can’t I take part in this?” Feeling sullen, I trudged down the stairs. Then I felt someone take my hand. It was Christ—and He lifted me up and set my feet on top of His, the way a father would take his little child. He began to dance again, and suddenly I became part of the amazing movements He did. I was at the very center of his joy—and it was thrilling.

I marveled at what was happening, the sheer beauty and joy of it. Then Jesus looked at me and said smiling, “Gary, this isn’t about you. It’s about Me.”

With that, everything changed. “Wow,” I realized. “I see my whole life is about You, Jesus. It’s not about my problems. It’s a dance—and it’s about You. This great feast is about You. This song is about You. I get it now. Everything I’ve ever looked for is wrapped up in You.”

In that instant, my whole entire focus was transformed. My esteem, my value, my sense of worth were no longer things I wanted to pursue. I’d found them in Christ. And I realized, “I fit in! I can dance!  I can eat and drink and enter fully into this, because He holds me within Him.”

As the song ended, Jesus motioned for me to follow Him to two huge wooden doors. He opened them up to a valley scene dotted with villages. “You can’t just stay here and dance,” Christ told me. “You have to go and tell them about my love. Tell them about my dance. Tell them what awaits them. Don’t worry, I’ll be with you everywhere you go.

And He was present with me. As I headed for the villages, I felt His arms around my shoulders, as if He were still holding me in the dance. I thought, “This doesn’t feel like work; this is a gift. The burden I feel for these villages doesn’t weigh me down; I feel light, because Jesus carries the burden. I can go wherever He leads me, and do whatever He calls me to do, because He’s with me.”

 

Don’t you get it my friends? It’s not about us. It’s about Jesus. Even when Jesus says, “We have not because we ask not” and when He tells us, “Ask, seek, and knock.” All the promises God gives us are not to be centered around us. The focus must be on Jesus!

The Word of Faith movement breaks my heart. They will argue with you and tell you that what they pedal is about Jesus. But when you take a few steps back and look at everything they say, you will find that it is not really about Jesus. It is about YOU. They make you believe Jesus is there to serve you rather than you serving Him. JFK made a profound statement, “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” We can reapply this statement by saying, “Don’t just ask what Jesus can do for you—ask so that you can do for your Jesus.”

Here’s a typical example of what a Word of Faith Ministry tweeted, “What things you desire when you pray, believe you receive, and you shall have it. We have it now by faith!” YOU, YOU, YOU, YOU, WE is what is in this short two sentence example. There is absolutely no doubt that when I ask, Jesus will answer. But what is the bottom line? Is it me, or is it Jesus? The ‘Our Father’ contains the key, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

What is your bottom line? Are you asking only to enhance your life, or are you asking in order to glorify Jesus?

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Revivalism or Just Filling a Church

You have probably heard of the expression “Don’t put the cart before the horse!” But, to be truthful, that is what so many churches are guilty of doing today, especially the mega-churches. In reality, every pastor and congregation would love to see their church filled, but there are biblical truths that are there as guidelines. If they are not followed, the cart has been put before the horse. Worse yet, if programs and formulas replace those biblical truths, the cart becomes a stumbling block before the horse. The church may be filled just like any sports arena or entertainment center, but that church has become Ichabod (the glory of the Lord has departed). Yes, it is possible to have goose bumps from all of the sensationalism and hype, and have the glory of the Lord departed. Just because there are manifestations, doesn’t mean the Holy Spirit is behind it (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

Getting down to the nitty-gritty, the question must be asked, “Who is filling the pews?” Are they nominal Christians who were led to the foot of the cross and left there to only seek self-fulfillment through the sensational? This may be harsh, but I am reminded of the following verse:

And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” (Matthew 27:39‭-‬40 ESV)

Or are the pews filled with people whose lives have been dramatically transformed by going through the cross and never stopping there, but moving forward and impacting the world around them?

“These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also.” (Acts 17:6b ESV)

There are many mega churches out there where the masses flock to and fill. Within their church walls you will find people who are pumped up and coddled. But in the eyes of God, is this a legitimate reality for a church to have? Great music and singing, great programs, dynamic leadership, motivating speakers, a sense of euphoria when you walk out the doors, a feel good experience with no confrontation. Nothing wrong with any of that, or is there?

Listen to David Wilkerson’s warning of a dangerous last day’s deception (He calls it ‘The Gospel of Accommodation’) that has invaded the church in America. I’ve also included the PDF as it was delivered to the Assemblies of God at their Headquarters Chapel Service.

Last Days Deception

Gospel of Accommodation.PDF

So what is the Lord really looking for?

God is always on the alert, constantly on the lookout for people who are totally committed to him. You were foolish to go for human help when you could have had God’s help. (2 Chronicles 16:‬9 MSG)

But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at My word. (Isaiah 66:2 ESV)

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Now that we have moved on from the concept of filling a church to revivalism, what really is it?

A Christian revival, or revivalism, is increased spiritual interest or renewal in the life of a church congregation or society, with a local, national or global effect. It is often referred to as an ‘awakening’. This should be distinguished from the use of the term ‘revival’ to refer to an evangelistic meeting or series of meetings. Revivalism cannot be produced by human effort but requires a sovereign work of the Spirit of God.

No formulas or programs will bring about true revival. Only prayer wrought in humility, brokenness brought about by a contrite heart, and desperation for lost souls brings about true revivalism.

Click on the following URL that will take you to a must watch sermon that literally transformed me, my prayer life, and my desperation for a true revivalism in my church and the world around me:

http://tsc.nyc/app/share.php?q=48234

When true revivalism takes place, you don’t have to worry; your church will be divinely filled with no human manipulation involved, because the cart has not been put before the horse. Not only will your church be filled, your whole area will be impacted.

Will there be miracles and healings when there is a true revival? Sometimes yes and sometimes no but they are not necessary ingredients. The following condensed account of the Hebrides Revival that took place only 69 years ago gives us a proper perspective:

Hebrides Revival Background.PDF

Afterwards, please read the full account of the Hebrides Revival as documented from first-hand experience of Duncan Campbell himself. I beg of you to please read through all 8 pages. This single PDF document has transformed my perspective on what true revival is more than any other document I have ever come across:

Hebrides Revival Account.PDF

All of this teaches us that we must be very careful when it comes to human perspective because God’s ways are much higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). From a human perspective you would think that the prophesy concerning John the Baptist (Malachi 4:5) would be an Elisha rather than an Elijah who would pave the way for the Messiah and that it would be Elisha rather than Elijah who would meet Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:3). We are naturally drawn to this conclusion simply because Elisha was blessed with a double portion of the spirit that Elijah had. But, as we learn from scripture this wasn’t the case.

The whole point of this article is to get the message across that we need to stop trying to figure everything out and just simply move in faith by humbling ourselves with a broken and contrite heart as we pray desperately for a move of God on the lost souls around us. If we do, He will take care of the rest!

“I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land.” (Ezekiel 22:30a NIV)

To put everything in this article in a nutshell, it is as follows:

The word Jesus uses for ‘witness’ in Matthew 24:14 is the same Greek word used for ‘testimony’, which literally means proof of fact. Christ is speaking here of not just preaching the gospel, but of presenting it as a testimony. In short, the gospel we preach is effective only if it is backed up by a life that testifies to its reality. You would think that in America, a nation filled with thousands of evangelical churches, there would be a strong gospel witness. But many churches have compromised the true gospel of Christ and there is very little testimony of His lordship in the lives of the people. They are not true witnesses and the churches are not thriving. Too many ministers, young and old, run all over the world looking for strategies to produce growth in their churches. They attend seminars, conventions and ‘think tanks’ searching for the key to building a larger church. Still others flock to ‘revivals’ in the hope that they will learn new methods of how to have the Holy Spirit fall on their congregation. But it takes more than new ideas or strategies to touch nations for Christ. I am thankful there are exceptions, however, and God is moving mightily in churches where pastors catch a vision and spend time on their faces before the Lord. And they are leading their congregations into a deeper walk with the Lord. All our plans are in vain if Jesus is not enthroned in every area of our lives! (David Wilkerson)

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Revelation of God’s Grief

When it comes to success in the Christian walk, I have heard many Christians use the term “_____ is the key!” Depending on whom you listen to, it varies. Faith is the key! Wisdom is the key! Love is the key! Hope is the key! Patience is the key! Miracles are the key! Steadfastness is the key! Joy is the key! Peace is the key! Hope is the key! Prayer is the key! etc. etc. You get the point.

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I want to share something with you and let you decide if it is a “key” or not.

I have received David Wilkerson’s Pulpit Series (World Challenge) Newsletters for over a quarter of a century. Every third week I would find one in my mailbox. When I would see it there I would grasp it with trembling knowing that something written in it would convict me to higher ground in my Christian walk. I never really considered why it was so convicting. I never thought about the key or secret to it. However, I did realize that at the heart of his messages was sanctification which seems to be a forgotten word in today’s Christian culture:

Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. (1 Thessalonians 4:1‭-‬4‭, ‬6‭, ‬8 ESV)

The other day I plugged into YouTube “David Wilkerson Short Sermons” and listened to a bunch of them. Then as I was listening to one of them I caught something very briefly that jumped out at me in a most remarkable way. It is found in the following M4A audio file:

The True Christian

In this short sermon David Wilkerson very briefly mentioned how he asked God to show him His grief so that he could preach what is on His heart and on His mind (found between the 2:30-2:40 minute mark of the 7:54 minute audio).

Wow, here I am, a Christian who has intensely studied and tried to live out the Word of God for over 40 years, listening to countless sermons and teachings. My mouth was wide open. What would happen if I would ask the Lord for the same thing and not relent? “Lord, show me Your grief so that I can speak what is on Your heart and on Your mind!”

In my prayer closet, I have begun praying that. Outside my prayer closet, I am sharing it with every Christian I come in contact with.

I often wondered about the exchange of words between Elijah and Elisha just before Elijah was taken away:

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.” And he said, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so.” (2 Kings 2:9‭-‬10 ESV)

Elisha had asked for a double portion of the spirit that was upon Elijah. Why did Elijah say it is a hard thing when it is known that God can perform countless miracles where nothing is impossible? Here it wasn’t the miracles that were the problem. Elijah knew that a double portion of the Lord’s grief that Elisha would have revealed to him would go along with it. It is not recorded that Elijah wept, but it is with Elisha:

Elisha stared at Hazael with a fixed gaze until Hazael became uneasy. Then the man of God started weeping. “What’s the matter, my Lord?” Hazael asked him. Elisha replied, “I know the terrible things you will do to the people of Israel. You will burn their fortified cities, kill their young men with the sword, dash their little children to the ground, and rip open their pregnant women!” (2 Kings 8:11‭-‬12 NLT)

It must be noted that Elijah was the one who originally anointed Hazael to be king over Syria found in 1 Kings 19:15‭-‬17 and there was no mention of grief or weeping.

Today, our pulpits are flooded with those who are politically correct and have a formula for church growth that totes a gospel that is non-confronting. But I believe that the greatest impact we as individuals can have on this world is if we have a revelation of God’s grief and minister according to that grief. For Jesus Himself was known as the man of sorrows:

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. (Isaiah 53:3 ESV)

Are you praying for a revelation of what grieves the Lord? Are you acting upon that grief? Are you living a sanctified life that will back your actions with power?

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