Chick Fil A Appreciation Day was a defining moment in world history.
While it is the right of American citizens to protest, remember, Chick Fil A Appreciation Day was not a day of protest.
The LGBTQ community will have their “protest” and they have a right in America to do so.
But just because they have a right to protest, it doesn’t exonerate them or justify them and the sin of homosexuality.
The Bible is still the same and the Lord is still the same about all sin.
One more thing.
The love of the Lord for homosexuals, lesbians, adulterers, fornicators (porn), bisexuals, and all sinners is the same too.
They may or may not believe that the Lord and true believers in Christ love them, but we cannot make them come to Christ just as they cannot make us accept the sin of homosexuality.
For the most part, we do see serious and egregious statements made by extreme radical LGBTQ people as well as extreme radical overzealous people that claim to be Christians.
Many people, carnal Christians too, believe that preaching and living against sin is inconsequential. And many believe that the maladies associated with sin is not going to happen to them but the numbers (which I will not get into) speaks for itself.
Christians were asked by former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee to show “appreciation” for a Christian organization to make a concerted stand on Biblical values that teach that marriage, as ordained by God, is between one man and one woman according to Genesis 2:24. And that the sin of homosexuality brings reproach and judgment upon a nation according to Proverbs 14:34.
This statement was made by Mr. Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-Fil-A and it resounded.
All across America, people came out to support, not protest, an organization that cherish and support family values etched and evidenced in their own personal family lives.
As a result of glorifying God, the benefits in a downturn economy is being reaped. Chick-Fil-A doesn’t work on Sunday so that the families that work for Chick-Fil-A would have a day of worshipping God and rest. As a result, records for their fast food chain were broken.
And yes, even residual tax revenue will be passed to some struggling city economies. God knows how to bless His people that honor Him and His Word, even in the face of fierce opposition from those that love their sin more than they love God.
Why was it necessary for a statement of this magnitude be made?
Take a look around you and you will see unemployment at 8.2%, for African Americans, 14% to 16%. And for Latinos, it’s around probably 10%, more or less. Drought is hitting the Midwest hard. The system of greed is still in place. The housing crisis is showing very small signs of recovery but banks, in their greed mode is not lending and they have tightened restrictions.
The existing homes in foreclosure is putting a damper on the economy. The property tax collections is hurting the overall state and local economies.
Europe is about to capsize, and you know it.
Going back to the banks, they still think that people will pursue credit and their system is rigged to swallow what little paycheck you have left in hefty interest rates.
Already, the Fed Chairman, is looking for banks to have 7% liquidity in the event of another financial crisis. Federal law require banks to have 2% liquidity.
This is only an indication that they know another recession is about to hit and Europe is about to go under with long term repercussions affecting the whole world, including the United States.
You can’t be the richest nation on earth with a 13 trillion dollar deficit with China holding the American economy hostage with our debt. It’s like a large cruise ship is taking on water and only one person has a bucket, trying to scoop the water out while saying, “We are not sinking.”
The abortion industry is still killing 1.2 million babies annually and their funding is evaporating rapidly.
Corporate jobs in the private sector is not flowing freely as before. Kids coming out of college will not find jobs for which they carry degrees for. Saddled with student loan debt and credit card debt before they could get a job, is forcing them to look at other alternatives unimagined. Cuts across the board in pay, pensions, medical, dental, and other benefits is hurting people all across the board and now you see the reason behind Obamacare.
Even the military has tighten restrictions on admitting below standard civilians and with reason.
It used to be easy to get into the military in a downturn economy but now, the nation’s military only want the best qualified candidates.
Here’s the reason. Less trouble. Trouble people in the military decreases military readiness. Trouble people in the military decreases “good morals, good order, and discipline.”
Isn’t this a joke now that DADT is repealed.
Trouble people is defined as the combination of out of shape and low education standards civilians.
The military spends billions on training and equipment.
The greatest resource of any military power is the soldier, sailor, marine, and airman. If they scrutinize more, it’s because they want to spend more time training the right mentally and physically fit person. There is no more under the radar civilians getting a free pass.
If you are looking to get in, do not try “Just barely.” The military is looking for civilians that will exceed standards to maintain the military edge over potential adversaries.
For the military, that means less jail time, less dropouts, less trouble people all across the board. So if you wonder why you didn’t make the cut, it’s because the military has raised its standards. And don’t even think that you may get to stay if you are in.
If you are below par, retention is not as easy as you think.
They will let you go in a heart beat if you are underperforming.
Even the drug trade is experiencing a significant decrease in revenue.
When you have major drug cartels fighting each other with ferocity, it’s serious. Just recently, a drug cartel beheaded three rival drug cartel workers on the border of Mexico. It is a clear indication that the United States is still demanding drugs on an unprecedented scale, but nonetheless, at a slower demand pace.
The competition for dollars is fierce. It used to be that they would negotiate and settle the issue amicably. Not any more. Greed is greed and there are no rules in covetousness on the depraved indifference level.
The combination of a downturn economy, and semi effective drug interdiction.
Record billion dollar deficits is hurting the states and they are looking for ways to squeeze every dollar, including obtaining concession from union workers as well as increasing work production rules.
Less money to staff first responders such as fire, police and other emergency service personnel. If a natural disaster were to hit in the United States, it would hurt no matter where the disaster takes place.
The state tax revenue that once was there, is gone. Just ask the mayor of Chicago. Right now, for him and any other mayor, God did him, and the other towns that have a Chick Fil A franchise, a favor. And they should be thanking God that the little extra tax revenue helped. Not to mention residual tax revenue.
Just take a look at Detroit, Michigan. Thousands of houses are empty and certain sections have become dumping grounds for murder victims.
The education system is more concerned about teaching children sexual acts of homosexuality cloaked in the “tolerance” teaching, subjecting innocent children to sexual perversion. Preparing the next generation of perversion.
Not to mention pedophiles, criminal sex addicts, child molestation, serial rapists, and other forms of lewd criminal behavior. This includes those that use their professional position to access vulnerable people and abuse them sexually. Including pastors.
Are we sure we want to educate children on the perverted ways of homosexuality? Knowing that this door is the door that further the moral erosion of families?
WHAT BROUGHT THIS ALL ABOUT?
Selfish Individual Needs.
Many want to lie to you and tell you that homosexual love is equivalent to heterosexual love. This is never the point. It is smoke in mirrors. It is about the commission of sin. A violation of the Word of God. The willful disregard of the Word of God. Sin is the blatant act of hatred against the known will of God. It is the transgression of the law. Sin is lawlessness. Sin is what Jesus died for.
THE DEFINING MOMENT IS THE ACKNOWLEDGMENT THAT MAN HAS SINNED AND COME SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD. AND MAN’S ONLY REMEDY IS THE CROSS OF CHRIST, REPENTANCE AND THE RESURRECTION POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, CALLED THE NEW BIRTH.
The late Dr. Lester Sumrall preached a message almost 10 maybe 15 years ago about the economic experiences and conditions of our time. That sin is inextricably connected to poverty. Scriptural authority for the statement, Romans 5:12.
The change of course in the morals of Christians and sinners in this nation demanded a defining moment.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012, was that defining moment.
The promotion of sin is never in the best interests of people. For sin is defiance of God.
The church didn’t help prior to this because of its dirty laundry of double standards that precipitated the homosexual agenda. For years, homosexuals sang, played keyboards, and preached without opposition. Not to mention the fact that adultery, fornication, porn, and self gratification is still rampant in the church today. Pastors are involved in more sex scandals than at any time in it’s history.
Internet accessibility has made it easier to tap into porn, masturbation, setting up sexual rendezvous, and other connected sins. Pastors are bringing the world of sin right into the pulpit from their homes.
The evidence is when they are asked to make a stand against the sin of homosexuality or any sin, they can’t, because chances are, unless you know them, they are in bed with Secret Sexual Sins.
If they aren’t in bed, they are preaching soft Christian messages that fail to challenge the child of God today to live sanctified, holy lives, free of sin. They are still preaching “Christian light” messages that fail to bring people to a place of conviction of personal sin and repentance before God.
Unless I am wrong, we have yet to hear these “heavy” preachers stand with Mr. Dan Cathy. But they won’t. A defining moment in history for the church must be taken advantaged of. Personal kingdom and empire building is for the dead birds. For once, we need to see these people stand for something meaningful and not for themselves to improve their legendary rock star of preachers status.
Some of them are so afraid of losing people that they steer clear of controversy intentionally. That’s so they don’t offend the biggest contributors that sit in their churches, giving away thousands. It’s tough preaching in an empty church but if you got a crowd of sinners, and you do not bring them to the altar in true repentance and giving their entire lives to Jesus, it’s no different.
It’s a shame when a known prostitute, based on a documented interview said that prostitutes sit in a known west coast mega church with ease. They sit near their clients and their client’s wives during service. Why? No conviction messages about the holy presence of the Lord. Why? Because perhaps, the pastor is a client. You never know these days.
Some of you know full well what your pastor is up to, yet, you still go to their church and listen to their hypocrisy. The worst kind of hypocrite is a pastor. Just read Matthew chapter 23 and Ezekiel 34 and you will see it.
What I am getting at is that the church has made a statement but if our statement has the hint of Secret Sexual Sins, we are hypocrites of the highest order. And that makes satan proud.
We must now look at ourselves through the mirror of the Word and make drastic corrections to bring our lives up to the standard of the Word of God and stop being hypocrites.
Many have accused the Body of Christ of not feeding the poor and sheltering the homeless. These accusation are powerful if we are not doing first things first. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” But I also find that statements about feeding the homeless and ministering to the needs of the poor are distraction statements designed to shift the focus of attention off this issue of sin.
Folks fall for it all the time and when we forget about sin, it doesn’t matter. God is concerned about your heart attitude toward Him and He can feed you any and every day. But when you die, which would you rather have?
The salvation of the Lord or a full belly going to hell?
Cold. Not really. Especially when you have an expiration date which make food and shelter almost a muted point.
We must seek God in righteousness first and then minister to the needs of others. And this could be done simultaneously. But we can no longer look the other way and sin at will as the world.
The worst thing that we can do is stop seeking God and seek to please LGBTQ’s accusation.
More defining moments are ahead of us.
What we do after this is the true defining moment. Will lives be changed by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ or are we satisfied with this one display of Christian camaraderie? Are we going back to our cubby holes or will be choose to be salt and light in the earth. And yes, would we be daring enough to invite sinners to sit at the table and feed them, clothe them, house them, and minister the gospel to them?
We should never be a social gospel alone. But we should never look the other way after we came out and made an open display.
Let’s work on our out of the spot light defining moments.
It starts with coming back to the Lord in true repentance. It continues in the true family nucleus. One man, one woman. Marriage. Not alternatives. Not substitutes.
It continues by teaching our children Biblical values that promote righteousness, not sin.
It is solidified, nurtured, and cared for within the local church.
Perhaps, by changing the way we do business, the church would once again be a place where God’s convicting power be ministered, lives would be changed, and God would be glorified.
Are we up to the challenge?
GCMWatch further explains this defining moment… please click this link.
Years ago, I would make reference about Ananias and Sapphira. As some of you may recall the story in Acts 5, they conspired to lie to the Holy Spirit. There were wealthy people in the church and they sold land to give money to the church.
It appears that everyone of them gave all of the proceeds of what was sold to the church.
Ananias and Sapphira did the same.
Except, they kept back part of the proceeds.
At any time, they could have told the apostles.
“We sold the property but we decided only to give you a portion.”
That would have saved their lives.
They intentionally conspired to tell a lie and it cost them their lives.
Death came for both of them because they lie about how much money they gave.
In the Bible, we do see that consequential judgment is serious.
However, we know that God is a God of mercy and endless compassion.
The end result of this incidence was that the fear of the Lord came upon them all.
In fact, verse 11 said,
“So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these sayings.”
The NIV said,
“Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.”
The Amplified Bible said,
“And the whole church and all others who heard of these things were appalled [great awe and strange terror and dread seized them].”
Today, we are not as fearful to walk into the house dedicated for the service of the Lord. I was in sin myself and I had no fear of dying. I thought that I could quickly “repent,” sort of mean it, and thought that God was pleased that I quickly got right with God.
It was like playing chicken with a train on the railroad tracks. It was like truth or dare.
Almost four years ago, the gig was up.
Not that God tolerated my stupidity, but He had mercy on me. Mercy prevents that which you rightfully deserve. And God had every right to fire me by way of death.
Every week, I brought my perverted self to the house of the Lord. Stood before the people to “preach.” Before Sunday, Monday through Saturday would be my time to occasionally watch porn (from 1998 to 2008), masturbate and then ask for forgiveness.
But it was more than that.
I would fill my mind with watching women lustfully. Committing adultery with my heart by watching flesh as I strolled the streets or ride in the car (see Proverbs 27:20, Matthew 5:28, and Job 31:1). I would get up Sunday morning, pray and preach, and return to business as usual.
1 John 1:9 meant little more to me than a “get out of sin and judgment” verse.
I deceived myself into thinking that God was pleased when I “confessed” my sin. All I was doing was lying to Him because I never really meant it. I loved my sin more than I loved my God and His Word.
Those promises. Empty promises to quit became the epitaph of my dead life. The calculated coldness of how I treated God with utter contempt didn’t mean nothing to me. And the complete disdain for my wife who faithfully prayed for my deliverance every night.
A sex addict is one that cannot control, stop, or manage his sexual urges and impulses.
In my one bedroom apartment, while my wife would be praying, I would gratify myself.
Such perversion was a regular thing in my life prior to God’s deliverance.
The utter disrespect of women and my daughter was nothing to me.
One night while watch porn and masturbating, the Lord said to me, “You know, you could be watching your daughter?”
I ignored Him, suppressed His warning and continued. Talk about running a red light.
At age 14, my daughter checked the history on my Directv receiver and discovered my porn addiction. The year was 1999. A year after I first started watching porn.
At any time, my greatest fear would destroy me. Thankfully, the Lord did my wife a favor because when you are in sin, your prayers are not heard according to Psalm 66:18.
I’m sharing this because all over the church world, we know that there are many pastors, music ministers, singers, preachers, bishops, and deacons, elders, apostles. You name it. We blatantly sin and bring our morally corrupt attitude with us before the presence of the Lord as if God didn’t mind at all.
We bring our Secret Sexual Sins as idols right into the temple. We bow down in obeisant worship to our Secret Sexual Sins and we disrespect God.
It would be a matter of time before the last measure of warning would come.
God said this to me.
“Come Clean or be exposed.”
That was no imagination. He was the voice of the Lord.
As a result, the Lord set me on a path towards the intersection of destiny.
Either come clean or you will not come this way alive again.
While I will never know what would have happened if I persisted, it is clear to me that I know that something dramatic would have happened.
Looking back at those days about four years ago, I should have resigned the ministry. At that time, I wasn’t thinking about resigning. But it would have been good if I would have taken time away to get my bearing straight.
However, a friend of mine, Pastor Roger Jamson, after I came clean about sexual sins, he recommended several places on the Internet to delve into to fortify my walk of sanctification in the Lord.
These last few years were very challenging to say the least but well worth the effort to be free forever. And like all men, we have our moments where relapse occurs. No, not into porn. No relapse there, I praise God to report. You really do not need porn to do masturbate. Just imagination.
But the Lord warned me again.
If you ever know what it is like to clearly hear God’s voice in sin, and to hear His voice after you come out, the difference in His sternness and volume is incredible. The grieving of the Holy Spirit is more intense. The holy attitude of God is more pronounced. The failure you experience, overwhelming. But His love is incredible. He doesn’t want to condemn us with the world and that’s why His consequential judgment varies.
And after all that, when you disappoint God, it’s kills you.
You begin to weigh the fact that you crossed God and He never tolerated it. Then He began to teach me all over again.
“Son, what are you doing with your moments.”
So that became uncoded. There was something that God was doing in me.
Do you want to be the same or do you want to be changed forever?
Several weeks ago the Lord shared this song with me. A song that led me to a song that set the pace for the next level was “Give Me You.”
Then the Lord shared this song…..
“I’ll Never Be The Same.” From the album “I Love You (Live),” by Shana Wilson.
It became the new level of challenge in my life. I no longer want to be the same.
Another song, prior to this one was…
“I Won’t Go Back” From the album “Arise,” by William McDowell.
Then the Lord brought something else that changed my life.
“Do you desire to sin?
You see, you cannot be for something that God is against.
So I had to decide that I no longer desire to sin against God. That meant controlling my urges and impulses to the degree that I no longer desire to cross God. To love the world is to be an enemy of God according to James 4:4.
There was something that the Lord was doing within me. Hence the next level.
Check sin at the door of the facility of Prevailing Word Ministries.
As I am led by the Spirit of God, those that serve with me will be challenged and confronted. Not to do them harm by embarrassment but to show the seriousness of approaching the things of the Lord with the level of holiness required to serve Him. It is not just to sit them down, but to get them help. The Lord was gracious to me and in that same graciousness, I desire to help as many as need His help (see Hebrews 4:12-16).
We’ve been playing church too long.
It starts with me, the pastor.
If I ever go down the path of porn and masturbation, I will resign the ministry on the spot.
The worst kind of preacher is a hypocrite (see Matthew 23).
It is not fair to God, His Word, and the people God entrusts in our care. We are a small congregation. Only 16 persons.
Been that size for the last 18 years. But it is still the work of the Lord. It is that serious. God and His people expect their pastor to be an example in word (speech), conduct, love, faith, and purity. If we can’t live right, we cannot expect people to live right.
This is not an “incentive” to keep me holy because it’s not about that. To please the Lord overrides any wild pomposity edict.
It’s about approaching the holy things of the Lord with the level of gravity required for the service that God deserves. If we are not prepared to do this church service on the same level, we are lying and we do not the truth, as John, the eyewitness apostle of the Lamb said.
The reason why LGBT don’t believe some of what we say is because we are great liars when we want to keep on sinning.
The time for lying and Secret Sexual Sins ceased with me.
WIll you choose to cease and desist in your operations to sin against God?
In Isaiah 52:11, the captivity prophet Isaiah said,
“Depart! Depart! Go out from there, touch no unclean thing; go out from the midst of her, be clean, you who bear the vessels of the Lord.”
I mentioned Ananias and Sapphira, because we will see this. When you take communion in sin, many are sickly among you and some fall asleep.
Whenever you take the next communion, in mockery to God, it might be your last.
Judgment is already in the house of the Lord but the degree and severity of the judgment of the Lord all depends on where you stand in your relationship with the Lord.
People will come to church a lie to the Holy Spirit about their sins. The Lord was warning me and because I know, first hand, what His warning to me is like, there is no question that pastors need to be put on notice.
Will you join me in checking sin in your heart first?
There is a difference between making a mistake and intentionally sinning against the Lord.
You can stop sinning because Jesus told that to the man at the pool of Bethesda and to the woman caught in adultery.
You can stop sinning.
If you dare to serve the Lord while habitually sinning, I admonish you to stop and think about what you are doing. If you are falling into temptation, it’s because, according to the parable of the sower in Luke 8, that you are not giving the Word place in your heart. You are on stony ground and the Word cannot penetrate a stony heart.
You need to change the texture of your heart from stoney to good ground where the Word could penetrate and produce fruit.
Oh. By the way. You will notice that AF followed LGBT.
The AF is for adulterers and fornicators.
It’s time for you to make something good happen in His church. Many of you are waiting around for someone else to make something good happen in the church you attend. It’s time to stop looking around for someone else to do what God called and ordained you to do, and get busy. It’s time to lay aside every weight and the sin that easily throws you off and run with patience the race that is set before you.
It’s not all bad out there in many of our churches. I know that for the most part, you have been reading the bad stuff. Not every church is caught up in the realm of sin and wickedness.
My point is that we do not need to allow ourselves to turn a blind eye to the obvious sinful actions in our local churches and spiritual leadership.
It is important that we take Paul’s admonition.
“lest satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.”
The New Living Translation says this,
“so that satan will not outsmart us. For we are very familiar with his evil schemes.”
This, of course, is 2 Corinthians 2:11.
Paul takes time to share his heart about the repentance of the brother that committed a sexual sin, so gross that the world expressed it’s displeasure.
Having his father’s wife.
The severe judgment imposed upon him got his attention. It also got the attention of the church at Corinth. The church became so sorrowful that they didn’t take action until Paul stepped in.
The outcome, by far, was better than expected.
To preserve the reputation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, they repented.
I believe that there are bad things happening in the church but there are also good things that is happening in the church. All over the world we are hearing tremendous stories of believers standing for the faith in conditions that far exceeds what the United States is going through.
While the economics and social ills of this nation is appalling, we still have a chance to see God turn it around. However, it must first turn around in the church. The churches that are examples of walking to please God need to put the Word out as to how they are doing it.
I mean, it is obvious how they are doing it. Strictly obeying the Word of God, but they also need to communicate to the other churches their level of staying above the fray of the activities of sin.
From martyrdom to poverty, Christians are stepping up to the plate and gloriously glorifying our heavenly Father. There are pastors in other countries that are making their stand for Jesus regardless of the cost to their lives.
Christianity is always at its best is when we love the brethren and we willingly sacrifice our lives so that others would benefit.
Selflessness is emerging on the level of Jesus.
Hosea chapter 4 is a disturbing mirror picture of the church in the United States.
We are seeing people that profess to know Jesus abandon the true teachings of the Word of God. It is a reminder of what Peter told us in 2 Peter chapter 3. There are many saints that transformed into ain’ts. In other words, they aren’t saints anymore or they are in an extreme backslidden condition.
Out of the backslidden bunch emerged apostates. In other words, they walked away from their salvation.
This is according to Hebrews chapter 6. They failed to produce fruit for the kingdom according to John chapter 15:1-10.
Why do they fail to produce fruit?
Luke 8:11-15 has the answer.
There are three types of grounds that will never produce fruit.
You will also note that these grounds are no where near the good ground which is in the middle of the field. Good things that happen in the church always happens when you are in the good or middle ground of the church.
If you are just hanging around, there is no way that you will be fruitful.
Do not get me wrong. Hanging around is bad but there is a better place.
Many of you do not want to plunge into the good ground because of the fear of giving something up in return. Yes, you will lose something. You are exchanging what displeases God with what pleases Him.
Yes, there is danger.
It will cost you more than what you are willing to pay.
The good that happens in church is according to the plans and purposes of God. When you are ready to get deeper in the Lord, you must realize that it is exactly what the devil doesn’t want you to do.
IF you decide to go deeper. IF you decide to get to the good ground, something good is going to happen in your church, in your family, and in your life.
You’ve been waiting for your moment.
Here it is.
It’s time to take the initiative and it’s time to take advantage of the season you are in. You’ve been waiting for a favorable, convenient moment. When it comes to making something good happen in your church, the opportunity comes and goes.
Lenard Ravenhill once said,
“Opportunities of a lifetime must be seized in the lifetime of the opportunity.”
Too many good things fail to happen, or at the least, they are delayed, or postponed due to human speed bumps and detours.
Sometimes, church hurt prevents a lot of people from stepping back out to do what God called them to do. Church hurt can come from pastors, their leaders, and church folk that do not know any better. Sometimes there are “well intentioned” believers that have only one intention.
To intentionally or unintentionally hurt others.
People that are hurt in church sometimes operate in such a way that they block others from succeeding. It is a demonic ploy of the enemy to infect others with being disgruntled according to Galatians chapter 5.
That’s why it is important to walk in the Spirit and walk in love. We must discern the motives of people. We must also be prepared to stop what we are doing to see what we are doing that may negatively affect others according to James 3:13-18.
But you have to fight through the indirect attack of the enemy just to get what God has within you out to others.
Because their victory over bitterness and their redemption, restoration, and salvation depends upon your decision to never let the enemy side track you with evil.
The devil knows that if you ever get connected and completely ignore those that trouble you, that God will use you to bring tremendous deliverance to someone in need.
What’s at stake.
At the intersection of life, people are waiting for the product of purpose that God placed within you. No one else is capable of putting that product out but you. No one else can do what you do so well. God is depending upon you to take a risk and put out that product.
Lives are depending upon it.
You do not have to have a calling to the ministry to get the product out. Unless, however, you were called to the ministry and you are reneging on your obligation to be used by God on this level. You’d be surprise as to how many undercover Christians stay under the radar when the Lord has need of them.
Failure is not an option.
You cannot be afraid to fail. You cannot be afraid of “small beginnings” (see Zechariah 4:10).
You cannot be afraid of the “day of adversity” (see Proverbs 24:10).
Failure is a stepping stone to success. Failure does occur but what are you going to do when failure happens? Failure is waiting on your decision to try again, discontinue, and or quit.
Failure is an imperative fact that speaks only two things to the pursuers of success.
“QUIT!” or “Keep trying until you get it.”
Pursuers of success are in pursuit of success. They know that failure will happen but they keep moving until there is a pay off.
As my uncle in law, Bishop Tom Johnson would preach…
“Pay day is coming, it will pay off after while!”
Nothing good happens when you decide to quit when one or two doors close. Sometimes you have to break down a door to get a break.
When you decide to come to prayer meeting, something good is happening in your church. When you decide to financially support your church, something good is happening in your church. When you decide to wholeheartedly support effective ministries, something good is happening in your church. When you give yourself selflessly to support the vision of your local church through effective evangelism, something good is happening in your church.
You must never wait for someone else to do what you should already be doing. If you procrastinate it is already too late. God created you with something to bless and benefit the church and you do not have a right to be selfish with a gift that God gave to you.
That gift within you is destined to be shared because someone was waiting for you.
Stop looking around. God is looking at you to get it done.
It’s time to step up and step out before someone steps away from Jesus.
Yes, it is that serious.
All good churches have initiators and risk takers. People that want to see the church blossom and bloom are always looking for ways to make something good happen in their church.
When the church is focused on making something good happen in their church, there will be no time for Secret Sexual Sins, or any other sins for that matter.
Is something good happening in your life and in your local church?
by Fred C. Rochester, Pastor. Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved.
The body of Pastor Zachary Tims was laid to rest. Such a sad thing. So young in life. Death has taken away the mighty at the prime of his youth.
It is not enough to say, “How the mighty have fallen.” We need to know and understand “Why The Mighty Have Fallen.” Saul didn’t fall from battle victorious. He fell from battle because of a life of disobedience to the Lord. Leaders must be obedient. As imperfect as we are, leaders must be obedient to the Lord and His Word.
As I was studying Solomon, there was a statement about him that stood out. The Scripture said that Solomon followed in the footsteps of his father, David. Except he burned incense on the high place (see 1 Kings 3:3).
It is clear that sometimes burning incense on the high place was unto the Lord, however, if you study the high place, it usually has a dual purpose. It is dedicated to sacrifice to the Lord but when the leadership of Israel operated in rebellion, the high place would be used to sacrifice to idols.
When I see the word “except,” that is a clear indication that a door is left opened that will eventually destroy a man if they do not cease and desist.
Many pastors must understand that if we leave backdoors wide open and do not close them, eventually the enemy will have a way into our lives to destroy it. “Give no place to the devil” is applicable for pastors too.
As we continue to mourn over the passing of Pastor Zachary Tims, it is important to reflect on the fact that pastors are the most targeted ministry gift in the fivefold ministry.
“I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered,” Matthew 26:31.
Of course, it is a prophetic Word about what the Lord God will do to the Lord Jesus from Zechariah 13:7-9, but the implications is the same.
If the sins of a leader remain unchecked, this verse of Scripture is not going to cease. The Lord desires to clean, prune, refine, and transform our lives, even in the midst of tragedy.
However, from a demonic standpoint, there is no question that the devil is looking to destroy every pastor. Or, let the pastor destroy himself. One of the things that we have to look very hard at is that it’s not just the personal sins of a pastor we are to pay attention to.
It is the very fact that the devil will either come at a pastor and directly destroy him or if there is unchecked sins in the life of a pastor, it makes the job of the devil very easy to destroy him.
“How the mighty have fallen” was part of a tribute from David when he was lamenting over the loss of Saul. David paid a tribute to the first king of Israel. However, Saul repeatedly disobeyed God.
Saul’s continued disobedience is How The Mighty Did Fall.
The outcome of the battle against the Philistines would have been different if Saul had obeyed God.
Anytime a leader is destroyed, the sheep is left in a vulnerable place. It all depends upon the heart of the people after a tragedy that will determine whether they will survive it, overcome it, or never rise again, and be scattered.
The ministry of a pastor is very complicated and complex. The dangers for a pastor range from bouts with loneliness to abrasive, pompous displays of pride and arrogance.
Pride and arrogance is not a reflection on Pastor Tims, but it is a reflection on my own life as a pastor.
It’s time to uncover the scandal before the scandal.
My life is the object lesson of any pastor that still desires Secret Sexual Sins. It is time to expose what we pastors do or have done in secret.
As I have preached before, the people only see a small part of the life of most ministers. That small life is the part that carries a high impact on the people. From the pulpit, he or she is able to communicate the Scriptures in the most dynamic way possible.
The goal is to change as many lives as possible so that they reflect the very life of Jesus from new birth to death. While a pastor is powerless to change a life, pastors certainly can impart into a life and, by the Holy Spirit, shape that person to reflect the very life of Jesus (see Romans 8:29-30).
This is what discipleship is all about.
Disciples are not just called upon to be taught. Disciples are called upon to take what is taught and implement it throughout the course of life. It is not enough to declare that you are a follower of Christ. Your life must now reflect your statement. Otherwise, you are operating under false pretenses.
With pastors, when it comes to living before God’s people, one statement comes to mind. One pastor told me as my wife and I were preparing to resume pastoral ministry is that, “You must have the smell of sheep on you.”
A pastor’s ministry is among the people of God. We are called upon to minister to the people as a shepherd ministers to His sheep.
This requires diligence, transparency, honest, integrity, holiness, and brokenness or humility.
Lives that reflect humility or humbleness of mind will always avoid humiliation.
This is important because when you are ministering to His people, if your life lack these basic ministerial ingredients, it makes living a life free of “contaminating influences” a serious problem for those in ministry (see James 3:1).
Getting back to “the most targeted ministry gift,” we are called upon, not just to minister the Word of God, we pastors are called upon to minister out of our lives. The devil hates any minister but in particular, the pastor that constantly points people to the rightly divided Word of truth and ultimately, towards Jesus.
Sometimes, the Lord calls us into ministry with busted, sin filled, broken lives. And we wonder “Why are you mindful of us? Why do you take the time to visit with us?” (see Psalm 8:4).
Usually, it’s because we should have found a way to overcome in our busted, sin filled, broken lives. He takes us and uses us as He pleases. Provided we do what He said in His Word and be faithful to Him.
God didn’t call us to try to be faithful. He called us to be faithful. He didn’t call us to try to live holy. He called us to be holy. He didn’t call us to try to have life and have it more abundantly. He called us to have life and have it more abundantly.
I’ll say it again. It’s not a reflection upon any pastor. It’s a reflection on my life as a pastor.
There is no question that pastors must live above the fray. We are called upon to live holy, honest, full of integrity kind of lives before God and the people. The Lord and the God of the Bible doesn’t give any exceptions. That’s why we must deal with issues that we may not want to deal with.
For many pastors living sinful lives, no matter how good our preaching game is, it is difficult to preach to people to live according to the word of God when we are not living the Word of God we preached for ourselves.
Such was my case.
Let’s try to understand the scandal behind the scandal. Not from Pastor Tims life, but from mine.
The worst sin a pastor could commit is the sin of hypocrisy.
Secret Sexual Sins is a scandal of hypocrisy.
WHY THE MIGHTY HAVE FALLEN?
1. Pride and Arrogance
When a pastor fails to walk in humility, the Lord has a way of dealing with you.
When I was in my life of Secret Sexual Sins, I was full of pride and arrogance.
Porn and self gratification, commonly called masturbation, was a mainstay in my life. One of the things that I knew was the Word of God but how to live the Word was a different story.
My personality and ability to project my persona was key to cloaking known sin in my life.
1 John 2:15-17 says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world will pass away and the lust thereof but he that does the will of the Father abides forever.”
In these three things, “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,” was my secret world of sexual sins.
Lust or the desire for that which is forbidden, drove my every move. My eyes would be in search mode to “file” flesh in my mind to gratify my flesh at night. The pride part was my ability to assume that I would never get caught because I would overuse and abuse 1 John 1:8-9.
However, the Lord would be the Only One able to look past my eyes and know what was in my heart and mind. There are many pastors that is unwilling to deal with this area because it is a revelation that need not be exposed.
Why doesn’t a pastor want his Secret Sexual Sins to be exposed?
One person once said on Focus On The Family, “If God exposes it, I have no job. If I expose it, I keep my job.”
Committing sin makes it seem fun up to a point, but we do not understand that when we sin, we break the heart of the Father, and we must be disciplined by Him. Sin hurts God like a child that run away from home.
Besides, that’s what the prodigal son was partly about.
Freedom to sin or freedom to be “human” by running away from home.
When we are dealing with our own personal hurts, pains, wounds, loses, and successes, sexuality is the greatest “pick me” up or rewarder known to man.
Dr. Archibald Hart, who wrote the book, “The Sexual Man” said, (paraphrasing) “No matter what kind of success or failure you have in life, sex is used as a rewarder.”
There are four basic chemicals that take place in men. Testosterone, adrenaline, vasopressin, and dopamine. The male sex drive is a very powerful drive.
The mighty have fallen because there is a lack of control of these hormones.
When failure or low times after a “mountain top” event is experienced in the life of a pastor, he will seek sex to reward himself.
Such was the case in my life. When the reward chemical “dopamine” enters the blood stream, it is very difficult to abstain unless you operate in the discipline of Romans chapter 6 and 1 Corinthians 9:27. To abstain from sexual immorality and live a sanctified life according to 1 Thessalonians 4:1-5, you must understand what is going on with you. You must identify your “trigger mechanisms” or events that start you down the path to fulfill the need for satisfaction.
The “urges and impulses” of the body will not stop. They are there as part of your physical make up. However, we must learn the “sexual discipline” of Jesus according to Hebrews 4:12-16.
Sin is sin and there is no excuse for it because of what the Lord has done for us on the cross.
Along with this, when a pastor reaches a level of success, he feels he need to reward himself apart from Christ. And even though he may be married, it doesn’t make a difference. If he is single or divorced, it’s a different ballgame.
The temptations are even greater when you are single or divorced. The reward of sex and getting that dopamine fix will drive a man to get that reward over and over again. And in some cases, escalate from fantasy into reality very rapidly.
Patrick Carnes’ Cycle of Sexual Addiction is a classic explanation that powerfully depicts the sexual addict.
1. Thoughts and Fantasy.
3. Acting Out.
How do you know that you are a sex addict?
When you cannot stop or manage your sex life. When you cannot stop masturbating or thinking about sex. When the urge is permitted to exceed your ability to say no and keep your hands from touching yourself sexually.
Pride and arrogance will bring a man to the 4 “E’s” of pride and arrogance.
Briefly, when a person feels that they have made it in life, there is a sense of accomplishment apart from humility called “elitism.”
Elitism takes you to “entitlement.” You believe that you are entitled to certain things, including sex for yourself, whether it is self sex, prostitution, or affairs. That’s why certain promiscuous pastors have many women in the same church to choose from.
Or, they go to different speaking engagements and make arrangements. Such as the saying in the Navy that I served in 30 years ago. “A woman in every port,” a woman in every church is not that far off.
Entitlement takes you to “empowerment.” You go after your pursuit of your reward and you will not be denied. Mind you, while all of these things are going on, there is only one thing that is driving these “E’s.” The male sex drive. Testosterone, adrenaline, vasopressin, and dopamine.
Finally, empowerment takes you to “expediency.” You will violate every ethical or principle you lived by to satisfy yourself.
Why is this important?
When you are dealing with the church culture, there is a “seamless connection.”
The “seamless connection” is drug and alcohol dependency, and sexual immorality.
The use of drugs or alcohol heightens the escape experience. Drugs and alcohol is a part of the escape from reality. Sex is used to feel some measure of intimacy.
Even in the church, there are people that come to church high or they are coming down from that high. Just go back to the days of the jazz world in Harlem, Broadway, and lower Manhattan, and you will understand some of the history of the drug, alcohol, and sex culture.
They were interconnected to provide a false sense of peace and escape. The volatile activities of the pressures of life that pervade the soul; coupled with demonic suggestions to search for places where these destructive tools were available, is more prevalent than we are willing to discuss.
Many will try to sweep it all under rug in the church because we do not want to expose the reality that these things are happening more often than we are willing to admit. Partly because we want to protect the image of our leaders and the people that we minister to.
This is what is not supposed to happen. If we are the children of the King, we need to come to the King of kings to get healed, delivered, and set free. To hide the true dealings of what happens in the church is only setting our selves up to see another leader or believer’s life destroyed. Concealing what we do as sin only makes us a co-conspirator.
“Touch not mine anointed” and “Do not judge” is code for, “Do not judge my leader because if you expose his or her sins, it will force me to deal with my sins.”
These tools reveal a known fact that people that fail or succeed are hurting within and will look to commit sin to find rest. It is silly because the God of the universe is the only One that knows all about us and can fix anyone (see Matthew 11:25-30).
But we do not believe our own preaching.
So we retreat to the secret place of sin instead of the secret place of the Lord to heal our wounds in sin ourselves. All behind closed doors so that our facade is preserved.
This is the hidden world of pastors, music ministers, praise and worship leaders, and male dancers.
The desire to feel affirmed, loved, accepted, and accomplished.
Hence, male orgasm is the one way to accomplish something positive in life.
How stupid and deceived I was.
The devil has lied to us and we have fed these lies with our desire to heal ourselves.
This is the hidden world of Christian believers in almost every local church, denomination and non denomination.
We are intentionally blind to MOAB, the Mother Of All Battles called sexual immorality.
The mighty will continue to fall until we pull back the veil and uncover the secret world behind every scandal.
If we don’t, we have no one else to blame, and we will see another tragedy unfold before our eyes.
We will continue this subject in the next blog.
by Fred C. Rochester, Pastor. To Tithe Or Not To Tithe? Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved
My point is simply not to manipulate you to tithe. Neither is it my objective to discourage any one from tithing.
My objective is to address extreme teaching and hopefully dispel the confusion by the Scriptures.
You have to decide whether or not you want to tithe.
According to Proverbs 3:9-10, when we give the Lord the first-fruits of our increase, we honor Him. While the word “tithe” is not used in these verses, it would be dangerous to draw a direct line and conclusively declare that these verses of Scripture specifically talks about tithing. It could be talking about tithing but it could be talking about any kind of giving as far as offerings is concerned.
Without question, first-fruit is about giving to the Lord your very best.
This Scripture talks about giving to the Lord the top and the best of what we produced as a result of our labor. We must remember, it is the Lord that gives us “physical strength” to get wealth (look up that word “power” in the Hebrew).
In the NT, we do not see a clear mandate as far as chapter and verse in the NT for believers to tithe.
When you read 2 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9, it is not about tithing. It is about giving. The circumstances surrounding the kind of giving that was to be done was about sending relief supplies to needy believers in the Lord.
Tithing wasn’t mentioned one time.
However, we have manipulated tithing and giving by including certain Scriptures in a failed attempt to bolster tithing. I called this “applying elasticity to the Scriptures.” In other words, people stretch the Scriptures beyond contextual boundaries to sell a false doctrine. Or at the very least, take a valid doctrine and use it manipulatively.
The economic times of our day is challenging many believers not to tithe.
Since the monetary crisis hit the world, the believer and the church is affected as well. It is estimated that giving is off by between 20% to 30%. All across the United States, believers are pulling back on paying tithes and giving offerings.
The obvious reasons is job losses, reduced salaries, personal debt, and high cost of living increases. Additionally, many of us have failed to take heed to beware of covetousness.
Many of us lived beyond our means and called it a “blessing.” Not realizing that a famine in “Egypt” was coming. A Joseph moment was in the atmosphere.
The Joseph principle (see Genesis 41) is clear.
In times of abundance, store up. Because times of leanness is coming.
Many of us didn’t pay attention and we “ate, drank, and were merry.”
Not realizing the the Lord was warning us, we went ahead and bought everything the world offered to us. Even pastoral empires bought more church than what they could reasonably pay for. This caused many pastors to be escorted off the property, or become very harsh toward people to give beyond their ability. Or, they become very crafty in their preaching about money. To command people to give when their personal bills were past due.
For many people, debt was a “blessing.”
Take out a loan and put it on a card.
Sarcastically, “It is God!”
Prominent preachers want you to buy their books and other paraphernalia. When they come to preach, they have their staff ready to accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express or other credit cards, putting you in debt for a product. Or when you know that you have a bill to pay, you write out a check or use your ATM card to buy some teaching. And sometimes people buy this stuff and they never apply any of its principles. Or it is so manipulative that you attempt to put it into operation but nothing happens. Just like the “no money down” real estate deals.
You use money to buy a book or DVD series instead of exercising wisdom to pay your tithes, utilities, rent, mortgage, groceries, etc.
Sadly, and pathetically, some preachers go home to their “mansions” while some of God’s people go back to their much coveted roach and rat infested, paint pealing, leaky ceiling apartments. Looking for that “hundredfold” return that seemingly escapes them every week.
Do not get me wrong.
There are many miracles out there when tithing and giving is done correctly and is not a result of manipulative means. There are many believers that have powerful testimonies because they’ve tithed and gave offerings. But with the right motive in mind from the pulpit to God’s precious people.
Some pastors have machines in the vestibule of most churches so you could pay your tithes and offerings by ATM.
The choice of payment and what you decide to give is totally up to you but we pastors should never be putting other believers into a system of debt to get them to purchase a product. A system of convenience is more costly than the old fashioned way of doing things. The wrong kind of convenience has long tentacles.
Jesus said, “Freely you have received, freely give.”
Sadly, some preachers do not believe in this any more.
While it is true that Paul said that the “Laborer is worthy of his hire,” we preachers should never be looking to “pull” on people to pay for every little thing. I still believe that God knows how to take care of His own.
I am convinced that when God stops paying for a ministry, it is time for its doors to close. It is time to transition into something else. What He calls for, He provides for, however, when the Lord stops the provision there is no longer a need for that vision. Pastors must draw the line and never place an unnecessary burden on the believer to take from them or to put them further into debt. When God speaks to a believer to give, it is always in accordance to what they have and never according to what they do not have.
Somehow, many preachers do not believe what Paul said, let alone what he meant by that.
It is the same at Prevailing Word. The moment the Lord stops providing for the vision is the moment Prevailing Word closes its doors forever. The work is His, not mine. Only God knows how to pay for it. And it makes no sense to try to make Him pay for something that He is discontinuing or never called for in the first place.
You give offerings, not because you want to be blessed but that the Lord blessed you with it to give. That blessing was enough to pay tithes, give offerings, pay bills, and to save some of it for another time of famine.
With credit, we were able to buy things now and pay later or pay the minimum over a long time. However, things got tight. Interest rates increased. We couldn’t resist the items advertised. We went and bought more than our paycheck could handle.
We all maxed out on all 200 of our credit and store cards. Like a boneheaded sucker, that “ten percent off” discount offer at the checkout counter was an attractive drag queen (I’m talking about the offer, not the checkout person at the register).
The discount offer looked like a lady but a closer look revealed masculine facial hair and a deeper voice than usual.
For the believer, it should have been a clear sign that something was about to happen to our financial system that would directly affect tithes and offerings.
Now there are many believers that question tithing.
When things weren’t tight, tithing was never a problem. Now that gasoline prices are beyond reason, buying food is beyond a normal bi-weekly salary. Financing a car is near impossible. Even with a great credit score of 780. Mortgages? Forget it. This is a system that is as dysfunctional as it gets.
Candy bars now are taxable in many states. Not that we need to eat them but the mere idea of taxing a food item is ludicrous. As it stands now, there is no relief in sight and the vultures are flying over head every day. Waiting to devour the next carcass.
As far as tithing is concerned, many believers are now walking away from tithing. The arguments for walking away from tithing are from the usual responses.
1. The preacher is taking the money and using it.
2. Tithing is OT not NT.
3. You won’t get cursed because we are not under the law but we are under grace.
4. Tithing is a manipulative way to finance a pastor’s church empire.
5. I can’t afford to tithe. I got bills to pay. I don’t want to lose my home.
In more cases than not, some of these arguments is valid.
However, you will never see God’s Word telling you that tithing was evil. That tithing was of the devil. That tithing is not the will of God. That there is absolutely no benefit in tithing.
You see the opposite.
Then there are those that do tithe that will argue that they tithe only the net, not the gross (see Proverbs 3:9-10).
They “shortchange” God.
There are clear Scriptures in the book of Genesis that declare that tithing occurred before the law of Moses. The argument that non tithing believers use is that tithing is under the Old Testament law.
It is true that in the New Testament, Jesus never mandated that believers in the church or assembly must tithe. However, we see Jesus instructing the Sanhedrin that they should be concerned with the weightier matters of the law while not leaving the other things (including tithing) undone (see Matthew 23:23-24). As a point, the four gospels is not the beginning of the NT. Remember, Jesus operated as the last OT Prophet. His death fulfilled the righteous requirement of the law (see John 19:28-30 and Romans 10:4).
Even the Lord Jesus told Paul, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35
Why didn’t the Lord Jesus mentioned that it is more blessed to tithe?
However, their argument continues…
I am a NT believer and I am not subject to tithing under the old covenant. The law was fulfilled in Christ and was done away with by His death, burial, and resurrection. Therefore, I am not under the curse of the law because Galatians 3:13 says, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us.” Therefore, the curse of Malachi 3:8-10 doesn’t apply to me.
This argument almost seemed plausible but let me point something out.
Remember, money is the issue.
Remember when Jesus was confronted by the Jews about whether it was right or not to pay taxes to Caesar (see Matthew 22:15-22)? They asked Him a very pointed question. But the Lord responded, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
If the inscription on the coin is Caesar and it is his money, what belongs to the Lord?
Where did the material that made up the coin come from? Who put the substance there so that somebody could make a symbol of value out of it?
Remember, it takes money to get things done. When the children of Israel returned from exile, they needed money to rebuild the wall and the Temple (see Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi).
So, how would this get done without money?
What happens when you do not give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar?
We all know what will happen. So what do you think should happen when we do not give to God what belongs to God?
Read Haggai chapter 1, Zechariah chapter 5:1-5, and Malachi 3:8-12.
You will note that the first incident of tithing occurred with Abram.
Well before the law.
It is clear that when a covenant is established before the law, it is out of a covenant relationship that we honor God. This is precisely what Abram did.
For argument’s sake, Genesis is one of five books of the law. However, the book, in and of itself, has no recording of the law. The recording of the law took place in the second book of the Pentateuch called Exodus. According to Nelson’s Bible Dictionary, Pentateuch is a Greek term meaning “five-volume”. In Leviticus and Deuteronomy, we see detailed instructions on how the nation of Israel is to tithe out of the law.
After Abram returned from the battle of the kings to rescue Lot, Melchizedek, king of Salem brought Abram bread and wine. Abram gave Melchizedek tithes or ten percent of the spoils of war (see Genesis 14).
Melchizedek gave Abram a test. “Give me the persons, and take the goods for yourself.” Abram answered wisely, “…I have raised my hand to the Lord, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth…that I will not take anything that is yours,”
Melchizedek served as the high priest. Abram recognized Melchizedek’s authority and right as high priest and rendered to God what was God’s to the high priest. When you fast forward to the book of Hebrews, you will see that the High Priest of the new covenant is the Lord Jesus and according to the writer of the book of Hebrews, it is declared that the High Priestly ministry of Jesus is like or patterned after the ministry of Melchizedek (see Hebrews 7).
In Hebrews chapter seven, the issue is not just about tithing. The main issue is about the High Priestly ministry of Jesus. I know that many well intentioned believers accuse pastors and preachers of using this Scripture in Hebrews manipulatively but there is no manipulation in the clearly stated fact that the Lord Jesus is our High Priest.
There is nothing manipulative if you choose to honor your High Priest by paying tithes to your High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ. If you believe you are in covenant with the Great High Priest, you choose to honor Him with 10% of all your earnings. By giving your High Priest what is His, you are rendering to God, what is God’s.
Some of you Bible scholars will note that there is a Biblical Hermeneutics Principle called “The First Mention Principle.” When a principle is mentioned for the first time, it becomes the standard all the way through the Bible.
Tithing was mentioned in Genesis 14. We see tithing again in Genesis 28:18-22.
These two incidences is the “Witness Principle.” When two persons say the same thing in two different places and at two different times, it becomes an unrehearsed corroborated witness, and it becomes an “established” word (see Deuteronomy 19:15 and 2 Corinthians 13:1).
It is impossible for Abram to get with Jacob to corroborate tithing.
So, you not only have two different witnesses, you also have the fact that tithing was clearly established before the Law of Moses.
The conclusion is simple.
Tithing is a matter of a man willfully entering into covenant with God to render to God what belongs to Him. Because Jesus is our Great High Priest, we honor Him with 10% of all our increase. We give offerings, not to be blessed but because God blessed us. This is called the law of reciprocity according to Ecclesiastes 11:1-6, Luke 6:38, and Acts 20:35. The rate of return is commensurate with how and what you give according to 2 Corinthians 9:6-9 and Galatians 6:7.
According to 2 Corinthians chapter 8 and 9, we give according to what we have and not what we do not have, and tithing is no where recorded or discussed in 2 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9. We operate in wisdom by giving to God what belongs to Him and then we exercise discretion in paying all our bills. Whatever is left, we store up for the season of famine that is to come and we do not overspend.
We do not look for the “hundredfold” on our return because there is no such return of 30, 60 or 100fold. We look only to be a blessing as a result of God blessing His people.
We must understand that if we fail to render to “Caesar” what belongs to him, we know what will happen. In the same manner, if we fail to render to God what belongs to Him, we know what will happen.
Now you have to decide what you want to do. I will not tell you what you must do.
In light of these Scriptures, you have the opportunity to tithe or not to tithe.
by Fred C. Rochester, Pastor. The Fastest Way To Grow Your Church. Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved.
Over the last few decades, many pastors are looking for ways to grow his or her local church. The Lord gave the apostles a blueprint to do just that.
During the 1980’s and 90’s the churches that came about were more or less “TRANSFER” growth churches.
In other words, people heard about a particular church and what they were offering. People “shifted” their membership from one local church to another.
Transfer growth is a part of church life but abuses on both parts unnecessarily takes place. It is frustrating for pastors because when you are trying to build on the momentum, sometimes people act funny after they make a commitment. Sometimes pastors act funny too and abuse the people that truly desire to be a part of the local church.
Sometimes people are led of the Lord according to the divine plans and purposes of God to go to a local church. Sometimes people relocate to certain parts of the city, state, or nation. Sometimes a church closes for whatever reason and they look for another place to fellowship.
Sometimes people are spiritually restless and they are looking for another place to grow spiritually. Sometimes people do not want to come to church and go to channel surfing church or they check out live streaming as opposed to leaving their homes.
Then you have believers that roam from church to church, having multiple memberships. They say that they are “led” and they call everyone their “pastor.”
Whatever the case may be, it is important for people to have “a” church home. Why is it important? Coming to church is about honoring God and hearing from the Word of God from competent spiritual leadership. It is about joining a community of believers to fellowship with each other and to help one another grow spiritually.
It is about meeting the spiritual needs of the community that the local church is assigned to. It is about people participating in the greatest work on earth. Building the kingdom of God on the earth to manifest the will of God on earth as it is in heaven.
God cannot make everyone go to church. He’d rather have a willing heart than a heart that grudgingly serves Him. Either you love Him or you don’t.
I do not agree with pastors using “spiritual manipulation” to get people into church. I do not condone pastors using “strong arm” tactics to keep people in the pews. I don’t believe that the local church was designed to be socially agenda minded to the degree that the original intent of the church is overwhelmed and lost.
If the people come and stay in His local church, it’s because they love the Lord and they trust the leadership. As long as the leadership follow the Lord, and the Word of God. Trust, honesty, accountability, holiness, and singleness of purpose must be the benchmark of the minister.
The pulpit, the pew, and the musician must endeavor to live holy lives. Without holiness, no man may see the Lord (see Hebrews 12:14). Without holiness, no man is anointed.
The church belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ. The people belong to the Lord. According to Hebrews 10:25, no one should intentionally “…forsake the assembling…”
As a side note, if you study out the book of Hebrews, you will note that the Hebrew Christians were challenged by the followers of angel worshippers and the law of Moses to walk away from Jesus, and return to Judiasm.
The Hebrew Christians were terrorized and harshly persecuted. Even to the point of death. This kind of persecution caused many of them to walk away from the Lord and the church. While Saul wasn’t a part of this persecution, Saul was a terrorist until he met the Lord on the road to Damascus (see Acts 8:1-3, 9:1-9).
Today, many believers have walked away from the assembly (church). Not because of persecution but because of many other church “options” such as live streaming, cable, satellite, and the Internet. Another alarming thing is that many denominations are closing its doors because there is no replenishment of young people to pick up the torch.
Sometimes, when church leadership and people do not move to where the Spirit of the Lord is, that church, it’s leadership, and people will remain trapped in its traditional setting. In other words, when the church started 40 or 50 years ago, the same hymns, preaching, and praying is done today.
They cease to be a movement because they have monumentalized or crystalized what once was a fresh move of God.
Then you have people in the church that is afraid to take risks to evangelize. They leave evangelism up to the pastor that is already overwhelmed with prayer and the ministry of the Word according to Acts 6:4. They leave the shepherd to have sheep when sheep is supposed to produce sheep.
It is ultimately the responsibility of the pastor to train and equip the people to do the work of the ministry according to Ephesians 4:11-12. Not to train and equip the people to sit after they are trained. The pastors must motivate people to take partnership seriously according to Romans 12:1-13. Church life is more than just filling seats. The vibrant life of the church has its foundation in the worship service but the people come to life in its extracurricular activities.
Many were a part of the local church until they’ve experienced pastoral and parishioner “church hurt.” Many people will not darken the doorstep of a church because of hypocrisy in the pulpit and in the pews. Many will not come to church because of clergy sexual sins. Many will not come to church because of sins in their own lives.
While these reasons is not a valid reason for not finding a sincere church to be a part of, we that declare that we are “changed” should never give saints, sinners, and backsliders a reason for not coming to church.
The imperfect church is a place where we mature as believers in the Lord. We learn how to walk in love and grace towards one another. In being the church, we have to depart and refrain from iniquity while learning how to have forbearance towards one another.
When it comes to sin, light and darkness cannot fellowship, associate, or have anything in common. It means that sin must be dealt with by making a quality decision to obey the correct preaching and teaching of the Word of God.
Teaching people how to live lives free of sin and satan’s devices. It doesn’t mean we prevent people from coming to church with their sins unless they are not producing fruit in accordance with John chapter 15.
We give all believers the opportunity to grow and mature in the things of the Lord.
Having said this, the church must return to the true Biblical reason why it exists.
The church is an assembly of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. The intent of the church is to be a place of God’s holy habitation through the Spirit.
The church is centered around seven things.
2. Prayer and Evangelism
3. The Doctrine Of Christ/The Apostle’s Doctrine
4. Fellowship Among The Believers
5. Accountability And Stewardship Among The Believers
6. Company Of Believers Becoming One In The Temple
7. Meeting The Needs of the Needy
John 4:24 says, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth.”
The word “worship” according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, comes from the Greek word, “proskuneo” and it is a compound word. “Pros” means “towards” and “kuneo” means “to kiss.”
Some of you will recall the Scripture in Psalm 2 and verses 11 and 12, “Serve the Lord with fear and rejoicing with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry and you be destroyed in your way.”
The Amplified Bible says, “Kiss the Son [pay homage to Him in purity],”
As an assembly of believers, our first intent is to provide an atmosphere of worship unto the true and living God. It’s not about the sound of music in the house. It is not about the praise and worship “experience” that makes a worship service.
In everything that we do, God is to be worshipped. However, the worship service is our weekly celebration of the true and living God through his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and to hear from the teaching and preaching of the Word of God by His appointed man or woman of God. In addition to paying homage or respect to God, we are loving Him. We love Him because He first loved us (see 1 John 4:7-11).
Matthew 22:37 says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
Therefore, our total worship is an expression of our heartfelt, genuine love to the Lord.
Expressing our love to the Lord involves everything in us. Our heart, soul, mind and body according to Acts 17:28.
When people that do or do not know the Lord come to your church, do they see that you love the Lord? Is the atmosphere filled with a heartfelt genuine love for God? Can they perceive the love you have for God? If they cannot see that you love the Lord your God, then your worship service is not a real worship service.
Many will see something going on inside the facility but nothing that you do is drawing them to where you are because God doesn’t draw people to a place where He isn’t loved. The Lord will direct people to walk right past your church, walk across the street to the other church, and fill that place up.
If you come to church with a bad attitude towards God, they will see it. If you cannot live holy for God, they will see it. If you have hatred in your heart toward one another, they will see it. They will visit and never return because they cannot sense the love you have for God. God will not bring people into a house that hates and disrespects Him.
2. Prayer and Evangelism
THE PRAYER OF FAITH
Hebrews 11:1 says, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Verse 6 tells us, “For without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him.”
Prayer is useless unless you come to Him with faith in Him and His Word. Even when it comes to worship. We must believe that He is God, the true and living God. The whole basis of faith involves our willingness to take God at His Word and believe that He is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power (faith and His Word) that works within us.” Ephesians 3:20.
THE PRAYER OF PRAISE AND WORSHIP
The Book of Psalm is the Prayer book of the Bible. There are 150 Psalms. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words defines the word “Psalms” as “a striking or twitching with the fingers (on musical strings), then, “a sacred song, sung to musical accompaniment, a psalm.”
So the combination of singing and instruments is used as part of the prayer service of the local church.
While there are several kinds of prayers to pray in the Bible, primarily, part of the worship service involves the use of the Book of Psalms.
Isaiah 56:6-7 says, “Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to the LORD, to serve Him, And to love the name of the LORD, to be His servants— Everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant— even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
While the facility is the place where prayer is to be made, the house that the Lord is referring to is the believer. We are the ones that do the praying, not the building. It is important that you come prepared to pray.
We must always come to praise and worship the Lord for Who He is and not just for what He can do. The things in His hands come after we touch His heart. For He longs to be with His people, to love and fellowship with us. This is the ultimate purpose of why we were created.
The whole premise of worship centers on these two prayers that are primarily in use in the worship service of the church.
Praise and worship and believing that He is God.
We are to pray that the Lord send us (laborers) to work the fields that is ripe for harvest (see Matthew 9:35-38 and John 4:34-38). We are to pray that the Lord draw people to Himself and pray that the Lord would draw us to the sinner to be a witness for Christ.
True numerical growth will only happen when we commit ourselves to be a witness for Christ and lead people to the Lord. The moment we commit ourselves to preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to the lost and win them to the Lord, is the moment we will see the kingdom of God expand.
Proverbs 11:30 says, “The fruit of righteousness is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.”
When the Lord said, “The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, for the violent take it by force.” He didn’t mean faith to believe God for something. He meant that the people grasped the message of repentance to the degree that people violently entered in. They pressed into the kingdom viciously.
The message of repentance grabbed them so badly that they violently and relentlessly pressured the kingdom of heaven to let them in. They got to the gates and the gates couldn’t withstand the assault.
Or, the amount of people that were pressing into the kingdom was overwhelming.
One of the most fascinating things that I have come across in many church growth conferences, books, and blogs is the reduced or lack of believing God in prayer for opportunities to witness. A lack of believing God to draw sinners into the house of worship. The lack of prayer to ask God to draw people to Himself.
The praying is twofold. Pray to go out and get them or to pray that God send them in to the house of worship to get saved.
We trust more in demographics, marketing, and targeting specific people. We trust more in our human ability to put out a product than putting our trust in the living God.
Do not misunderstand what I am saying.
It is important to recognize that as a local church, what you are specifically called to do, and to whom the Lord has assigned you to reach.
However, the moment that we minimize God’s divine influence, is the moment we keep the One Person responsible for bringing the people into the church building and ultimately, His kingdom out of the most important work of the church (see John 6:44, 12:32-33, and 1 Corinthians 3:5-6). The church is the ark of safety. It is a soul saving station. It is God’s house of redemption.
In places like these where prayer is minimized, it only reveals a deeper problem. A clear intentional reluctance to call on the name of the Lord for the lost. A sad lack of prayer to the Lord of heaven and earth.
There must be a balanced combination of the two things in order for results to manifest. We cannot afford to sit and pray all day when the Lord said, “Go, therefore…” And we must not “Go, therefore…” without receiving divine instructions on where to go.
In Luke chapter 5, after the Lord concluded ministering to the people, He told Peter to “Launch out into the deep…and let your nets down for a catch.” Peter told the Lord that he “toiled all night, nevertheless, at your word…” Peter didn’t pray a lick for fish. He gave up fishing after being out in one or several known spots all night long.
But perhaps Peter and the rest of the fishermen left one spot un-searched. Or the Lord withdrew the fish to assemble in the deepest part; undetected until it was time to catch them. Whatever the case may be, the lesson is clear. You cannot catch anything unless you rely on the only Person capable of drawing them to the net to be caught.
The Lord instructed them to go back out.
Three things that need to be shared.
One, it is important to understand that positioning had something to do with it.
Two, obedience, even after working all night long, is essential to receiving the manifestation of your prayers and efforts.
And three, no matter what, do not give up, is the final point. Persistence will pay off after while.
Methods and means will change but you have to be current with what the Spirit of God tells you to do. We do not have to compromise with the world to get God results. The world is competing against God for souls.
When the Lord moves, we must do so at His command. Therefore, do not seek just fill seats. Your church must be prepared to disciple those whom the Lord sends. This is what evangelism is all about.
We must remember that the Lamb of God came to take away the sins of the world. Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. Jesus came to die for the sins of man. He is the propitiation or appeasing sacrifice, satisfying the just claims of the Most High God.
Man is to be reconciled to God through the blood of the everlasting covenant. God was never in the wrong. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. However, we were justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
The ultimate reason for the existence of the church is to inform sinners that the price of sin was paid in full by the life, death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have victory over sin through the blood of His cross. Evangelism. True evangelism will always remind the sinner of the price the Lord Jesus paid to free us from the power and guilt of sin.
The pain and suffering of Jesus on the cross is what we must remember every single moment of our lives. He endured the cross and despised the shame. The joy that was set before Him caused Him to endure the suffering.
The joy that one day, we would be saved from our sins. The joy of being united in heaven with the Savior. The joy of being with those that made Jesus Lord of their lives. The joy of not being cast into the lake of fire, separated from the presence of the Lord forever.
True evangelism will never exclude the power of the cross.
If we water down this gospel, the true meaning of the gospel is lost or veiled to those that are blind and do not believe. Woe to the church if we fail to preach the cross of Christ.
Every time you go to a funeral or home-going, a soul’s name, written in the Lamb’s book of life is all that matters at the end of the day.
In Part Two we will cover…
3. The Doctrine of Christ. The Apostle’s Doctrine
4. Fellowship Among The Believers
5. Accountability And Stewardship Among Believers
6. Company Of Believers Becoming One In The Temple
7. Meeting The Needs of the Needy
by Fred C. Rochester, Pastor. Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved.
On Saturday, you retreat to the living room, pick up the remote and flip through channels. All of a sudden, a woman, or a man is on the screen that aroused you sexually.
That image wasn’t enough so you retreat to the privacy of your room to go on the Internet, or you go “pay per view” to watch porn. You go back to your bedroom to release sexual tension. Self gratification, commonly called masturbation, or use other forms of sexual perversion to release sexual tension.
These are some of the behind the scenes scandals that always lead to the big scandals.
Acting out sexually always begin in the secret places and then when it reaches it apex, the big story comes leaping out at the church, the Internet, and the world.
Sometimes we wait for a big scandal to discover a pastor’s secret perversion. Not realizing that there are many pastors that live perverted lives in secret.
No sex scandal is without this level of secret perversion.
I was one such pastor that live a life of sexual perversion. A level one sex addict. Having came clean about porn and masturbation, the Lord caused me to see a serious predictable pattern in my own life that may be somewhat similar in the lives of other perverted pastors.
LUST OF THE FLESH
For many preachers, we are mere humans. We succumb to the flesh. We know what the Bible says to others but we refuse to receive what the Bible says for us. We know how to minister to others but we dare not receive the Word for ourselves.
We love to hide our perversions behind the personality. You can’t hide sin behind the anointing because the anointing always leave where sin is present (see 1 Samuel chapter 4).
When we are in sin, we believe that there is nothing wrong with us. Saints, there is more to it than meets the eye. Sin is not a “train wreck.” Sin is defiance of God.
Man loves to fulfill the desires of the flesh and mind.
Perversion is “the curve that reverses the direction of something,” or “the action of perverting something (turning it to a wrong use).”
When it comes to fulfilling the desires of the flesh and the mind, you will do things to escalate or heighten the pleasure to achieve satisfaction. When the normal course of sexual satisfaction isn’t enough, the suggestions that come from ourselves or from the devil, if acted upon, sets the stage for experiencing perversions of the vilest kind.
One of the things that I am aware is that when it comes to the paths, means, and methods of achieving satisfaction, there is no end. In other words, we look for fulfillment in prescribing certain activities that add to achieve illusive pleasure.
Meditating on sexual thoughts, watching sexually laced movies, feminine seductions in music videos, porn, sports, exercise videos, sex filled books and magazines, Internet porn, sex filled chat rooms, prostitution, adultery, fornication, and homosexuality. Ultimately, we will cross the line into crime in search for that heightened sense to achieve orgasm.
It’s just a matter of time.
Cutting right to the chase.
It’s not just the orgasm that is important. It is the path, means, or methods used to achieve orgasm. This is what sexual perversion is all about. But what makes what we desire powerful is the path, means, and methods to achieve fulfillment. Our willingness to commit sin is what gives sin it’s power.
Hidden deep inside a pastor is several things that is evident.
The desire to be loved, affirmed, and touched.
But what we are really looking for is true intimacy with God. Sexual perversion has replaced God. Sexual perversion dethroned God from our hearts. Sexual perversion is the deification of man. Sexual perversion is false satisfaction. Sexual perversion is the carrot on the stick that will never be eaten.
Rejection, failure, loneliness, fear, disappointments, frustrations, anger, disillusionment, despondency, depression and other emotional “trigger mechanisms” are used to put us on a path to search for emotional healing of these wounds.
In a nut shell, we are all looking for true intimacy in false places.
We are looking for God but we refuse to come to Him because we’ve become emotionally attached to healing ourselves in the place of false intimacy. That’s why when a person is challenged to “flee sexual immorality” the fight is on.
Because we are spirit, soul, and body, we fail to keep these areas in their proper sequence. When we are out of sequence, it always begins with something perverted.
Body, soul, spirit. Hence, the definition of perversion, “turning it to a wrong use.”
We act like a little child. The body says, “I want this.” The mind says, “I want it.” The spirit is told to, “Sit there and be quiet.”
We must turn against all perversion and allow the Lord to help us to assume complete command of our spirit, soul, and body.
Our spirit man says, “Prayer and fasting.” Our soul is commanded to, “Agree. Resistance is futile.” Our body just goes along for the ride….in the hearse. Remember, we are dead to sin (see Romans chapter 6).
Body, soul, and spirit dictated my sexual perversion. Alive to sin, but dead to God. The secret perverted life of porn and self gratification, commonly called masturbation, was permitted to govern everything I did.
I was using the commission of sex acts as a means of “medicinal properties.” When a doctor self prescribes an anecdote, if it isn’t the right medicine, it could have devastating results and consequences.
I was a pharmacy. Prescribing my own healing solution or spell.
It’s the same with preachers.
To be honest, the pleasure was too intense to give it up. That’s the whole concept of sin. Satisfaction will never be achieved because you’ve grown accustomed to being satisfied with sin. Sexual perversion is soothing but deadly because you are cutting yourself off from the Author of life.
The book of James reveals why humans sin.
James 1:14 says,
“But each on is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.”
“Sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.”
Sin will never produce life. From the beginning, sin brought nothing but death.
James 1:14 is critical because it all begins with our “own desires.” These desires come from “urges and impulses” interconnected with our thoughts, emotions, and preferences.
Relapse has occurred in my life in the area of self gratification. There was never a relapse of porn. My declaration of freedom in December 3, 2009 was a date established as a reference point to herald my freedom from masturbation.
That date was violated.
I literally worshipped that date instead of worshipping God. It turned out to be another form of pride and arrogance.
I’ve found out that there were more than one way to achieve self gratification. This is when you can achieve self gratification by other means. Your hands may start it but you can have an orgasm another way.
You can argue all you want, but it doesn’t matter. I’ve tried arguing to justify sin but there is no justification of sin. Period! It is the job of the Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin (see John 16:8-11).
So where do I go from here?
I go back to the place where it all started. I start all over agin to re-establish personal holiness in the fear of God. I repent, all over again. I declare that I’ve sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. I ask and receive His love and forgiveness. Not for violating the date. But for violating the Lord.
I look to Him to forgive me of hypocrisy, selfishness, lust of the flesh, the eyes, and the pride of life. Sexual perverted thoughts in the slightest ways.
I look not to deliver but to be delivered. I look to the Lord to teach me, lead me not into temptation.
DOOMED TO SEXUAL PERVERSION
There are many pastors that feel doomed to their hidden sexually perverted desires. They feel that there is no way out. But like me and many others, we relapse because we haven’t found or fully intended to yield to true satisfaction in Jesus.
It is when you have declared Jesus Lord over every part of you, including your sexual organs, that you have to make a stand that freedom from sexual perversion is secured.
Paul said, “I beat my body” (see 1 Corinthians 9:27).
Breaking free and staying free is about beating the urges and impulses back before they rise above the limit of your resistance.
But you cannot break free and stay free on your own.
This is the mistake that I, and every pastor that desires to be free makes. Please do not assume for one minute that I remain perverted. To confess something that Christ delivered you from is error.
“He whom the Son sets free is free indeed” John 8:32.
However, if we practice sin, then our declaration of freedom is questionable, at best.
You cannot be in prison and be free at the same time. Either you are free or you are not.
If you are making a good faith effort to be free, the Lord will take where you are and build within you a stronghold of righteousness for His glory. Just leave the sin outside the door, and never look back.
When a relapse occur, you think that you are anointed enough to minister to you. You think you have enough Bible knowledge in you that you can “speak a word” to yourself and be delivered.
When you gain knowledge about how to stand and you stand a little while, there will come times of testing. Not just from the devil but also from your own flesh and mind. Sometimes we want to attract attention to ourselves for selfish reasons. We take pride before others in being “delivered.”
Not realizing that the fall is coming if we do not do what Paul said.
Paul said, “…take heed, lest you fall” (see 1 Corinthians 10:12).
When you take heed, you are carefully watching yourself. You are watching your tendencies, your thoughts, your actions, your ways. You are exposing yourself. You are giving yourself to God and His Word. You are talking to other men or women of faith to keep your heart pure before God. You are humble and contrite. You are fasting and praying. You are accountable to others in your circle of accountability.
This is all a part of taking heed.
Relapse may occur but it is not final. There is hope and victory. Lasting victory in Jesus.
You have to stop trusting your own independent ability apart from the ability of God. When you trust in your knowledge to deliver you, this is pride and arrogance. When you try to “help” other men or women be delivered when you are not ready, you will fall.
There is no question about your desire to be zealous to deliver others, but when you fail to grasp the Lord and the Word for yourself, with others watching your life, speaking truth in your inner man, it is just a matter of time before you will have a relapse.
There were times in my own life when the urge to fulfill the desires of the flesh and mind overwhelmed me. The porn could be played over and over again in the mind because of the sheer volume of porn introduced to the portals of the soul in our memory.
It takes time to dethrone each image. It takes time to identify the “trigger mechanisms” in my life. It takes time to dismantle each device and to guard my heart and mind with the Word. In my own life, these thoughts are constantly bombarding and attacking the Word of God in me every day. But every day, I must be found in the Word for me.
Then the flesh cries out to be self touched. The flesh cries to be touched instead of disciplined. The discipline comes when you reckon your flesh to be dead to sin but alive to God. When you tell your flesh that you cannot respond to the urges and impulses, the flesh will cry out more.
This is where prayer and fasting comes into play. You shut off the TV, DVD’s, and everything else that starts you down the path to arouse your flesh to fulfill its lusts.
Lasting victory is the will of God, provided that we “take heed.”
www.blogtalkradio.com/prevailingword1 (please listen to our Secret Sexual Sins Broadcast)
by Fred C. Rochester, Pastor. Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved.
From the time the Lord ministered healing in the earth to the present time, the healing power of God was always present. However, we have seen a waning of faith of the NT believers of today.
A general or gradual decline of teaching and participating in the work of God in the earth to minister God’s healing power occurred. Sometimes we lose our focus on believing what the Word of God said in order to believe more in the advances of medical science.
Or, we can be so preoccupied and mesmerized with the power of the storm that fear takes the place of faith, and we are found to be perishing. Storms are never designed just to distract. They are designed to steal, to kill, and to destroy. But Jesus is come to give life, and that you might have life more abundantly (see John 10:10).
The challenge to fight for your healing and receive divine health is upon us as never before. Years ago, the Holy Spirit gave me one of many reasons why God’s healing power and divine health was important to Him.
It is important to us because we need to be strong and healthy to do the work and will of God in the earth. It is difficult when we are subpar with our health, attempting to do the will of God.
Another thing that we need to do is stop calling the doctors the enemy. Do not get me wrong. Sometimes a misdiagnosis does occur or a pronouncement of death may be premature because the Lord always has the last say. But doctors are fighting against the same enemy we are fighting. They are only using natural means. Do not misunderstand me. There are some doctors that keep getting it wrong and you go back to them to get better, but nothing happens. That’s when you need to be a little more discerning and go to a reputable doctor.
Or, go to the Creator.
SENSIBLE EATING AND EXERCISE
There are many Christians that refuse to discipline themselves in this area. however, there are many Christians that have begun to take control of their eating and they exercise. There is a twofold benefit that if you remain active, longevity and an increase of the quality of life is achieved as we age.
Once the decline of health begins, and it will begin, the more active you become, the more you retain your independence.
While being active is not the “magic bullet,” it is essential that we do the right things to maintain our health. Regular exercise and eating the correct foods, and portions will go a long way to preserving our health for years to come.
There are certain natural vegetables that carry natural properties that attack some forms of cancer. Stop smoking. As a pun, you are burning the wrong kind of incense in the physical temple.
As long as we do the right thing, we will add years to our lives. Case in point. Rigorous exercise (3 to 5 times a week- cardio 30 to 45 minutes – running, walking) and upper and lower body strength or resistance training with weights may add two to three years to your life.
When you know that your physical life should have ended at 89, you lived to 91 or 92. That’s two or three more years to give the devil some trouble in Jesus’ name!
Before re-establishing an exercise routine, you should consult with your physician. Moderate to fast paced exercise routine over the course of time is beneficial. Rome wasn’t built in a day. So plan for the long haul.
HEALING: GOD’S MARKETING
Healing is the grace work of God to bring relief to physical maladies of man.
The healing power of God was used in conjunction with evangelism. In a way, it was the Lord’s “marketing” or “advertisement” that God was present and His power was present. When Jesus came, He healed those that had diseases, sickness, and He cast out demons.
As secular humanism of medicinal healing progressed, man’s dependence upon God decreased.
However, even with all of man’s medical technological advances and knowledge, they still are limited, whereas, God is limitless.
The only limit that is imposed upon us is called “our inability to produce results.” Prayer or our ability to entreat God in faith is our means of expressing our faith in God to request that He do what we are unable to do (see Mark 11:22-24, John 16:23-24, and Philippians 4:6-7).
Only God is able and willing to produce results. We can only believe that He is willing and able to produce results. That’s as far as it goes.
The limit is “according to your faith, be it unto you.” The limit is, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes.”
If a person declines to believe, then, sadly, that person’s fate is usually sealed.
We must also conclude that as long as Jesus tarries, death is inevitable. Healing is the postponement of an eventuality. This is not a bad confession. Life includes death. We live in faith and we die in faith.
Some will ask, “What’s the use, then?” The use is getting your allotted time in according to Psalm 91:14-16 (NET).
“The LORD says, “Because he is devoted to me, I will deliver him; I will protect him because he is loyal to me. When he calls out to me, I will answer him. I will be with him when he is in trouble; I will rescue him and bring him honor. I will satisfy him with long life, and will let him see my salvation.”
It is not the will of the Lord for man to suffer with sickness and disease. It is the will of God to relieve all people of sickness and disease connected to sin (see John chapter 5:1-15).
What also happened was that many “ministers” have fraudulently used the Bible for their own personal means. Sadly, they take advantage of people seeking God’s healing power. They take their money and the people leave with the same condition. These false ministers want you to believe that they have the power of God but their character and motives were wrong.
These charlatans brought a bad name to the genuine power of God. If you were to talk to most people and try to teach them about the power of God, they would not listen, let alone get healed because they were deceived and left hanging by these charlatans.
As a result, His power to heal is only noticeable in places where the hearts of His minister are humble before Him. Does it mean that the healing power of God no longer exists?
Just because many boneheaded false ministers, false prophets, and “fake healers” is out there, it doesn’t mean that the genuine power of God isn’t out there working through a few humble servants.
NO MIGHTY WORKS THERE BECAUSE OF UNBELIEF
Mark 6:5-6 says, “Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.”
Remember what Mark said, “He could do no mighty work there.”
Notice the word “there.” Now, notice verse 6.
“And He marveled because of their unbelief.”
“There”, in His own country, was their unbelief. The reason was they couldn’t believe that God’s power was working through one of their own people, namely Jesus of Nazareth.
Therefore, unbelief stopped the power of God from flowing out of Jesus in that city.
So it is in the church today.
If you have people in the church that refuse to believe that Jesus can heal, then it is “there” that no mighty work can be done. No mighty work to heal AIDS, cancer, grow or replace lost limbs, heal organs, recover physical sight to the blind, the lame to walk, the infirm to receive strength, leprosy to be healed, mental illness, restore skin conditions, and so forth.
One of the things that I am also aware of is that just because nothing happened, it doesn’t mean that God is powerless. And it doesn’t mean that God is not God.
What does it mean?
It means that the healing didn’t take place. There is no sense in blaming God if healing doesn’t take place. What is important is that you stay in faith regardless of what happens and refrain from complaining and finding fault with the Lord.
GOD CANNOT CHANGE
Malachi 3:6 says, “I am the Lord, I change not.”
God never changes. His purposes never changes (see Isaiah 46:10-11). His plans never changes because His plans stands forever (see Psalm 33:11). Just because there is a decline or even a temporary withholding of what He does (see Psalm 84:11), it doesn’t mean that God changed.
MEETING THE CONDITIONS
It only means that the conditions imposed upon man weren’t met, God couldn’t move.
It can’t rain if there is no water in the clouds. If there are clouds in the sky, and if no evaporation takes place, then water cannot be poured out of the clouds.
The conditions must be met for rain. If you do not believe, then your faith cannot draw the power of God out of God to heal.
GOD IS ALWAYS PRESENT TO HEAL
Luke 5:17 says, “Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them.”
In most of your Bibles, you will see NU Text. In the Critical Texts published in the 27th edition of the The Nestle-Aland Greek NT and in the United Bible Societies, hence NU-Text says this of the latter portion of that verse,
And the power of the Lord was “present with Him to heal.”
This translation makes Biblical sense because of what Luke 4:18 and Acts 10:38 says.
We must remember that “the Word became flesh and dwelled among us…” or “fixed His tent of flesh” (see John 1:14 AMP).
After being baptized by John, the Holy Spirit came upon Him (see Luke 3:21). Jesus had the full measure of the Spirit upon Him (see John 3:34-35).
The Amplified Bible or AMP says this of verse 34,
“God does not give Him His Spirit sparingly or by measure, but boundless is the gift God makes of His Spirit.”
Therefore, the ministry of Jesus required that He have the fullness of the Spirit. This doesn’t mean that Jesus was to do things on His own (see John 8:28-29). The purpose of sharing all of this is to get you to understand that the ministry of the Lord Jesus is unique. Only in the sense that He had the Spirit of God “without measure” or “not…sparingly.”
Individual members of the Body of Christ, those that God called to minister in the area of healing (or any other area), will always have the Spirit of God by measure or sparingly.
Did you catch the contrast?
Believers can only minister healing grace within the limits or measure of Christ’s gift (see Ephesians 4:7). Otherwise, Paul probably would have said, “unlimited, limitless, measureless gift of Christ, instead of “according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”
Did you get that?
Jesus had the Spirit without measure. Believers today, because of the ministry of Jesus, will only have the Spirit by measure. Therefore, the results will vary with us because we have the Holy Spirit by measure.
Having the Holy Spirit by measure is not a decrease in potency. It is a limit imposed by God because we are living in the dispensation of grace. We are not Jesus in the earth except that we are the Body of Christ. He is the Head of the Body (see Colossians 1:18). We are representatives of His ministry in the earth.
Therefore, we must always look to God for healing.
by Fred C. Rochester, Pastor Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved.
When will he come? When will he ask me the question? When will I get married? When? When? When? Why do men wait so long? Why don’t they commit? Why does everyone else find a mate and I am left all alone? Is it because I’m not attractive or beautiful? What’s wrong with me? Why won’t God answer my prayers for a man? I am about ready to quit? God I hate You for putting me through this waiting period! God. I don’t believe You any more!
If you haven’t asked any of these questions or made any of these or similar statements, then you are married or you have completely walked away from the issue of getting married.
While you probably do not care about the statistics, they serve as vital pieces of information that will help us to understand the current trends of today.
It was estimated that during the 1950’s and 1960’s that over 60% of families were married. In other words, the household had a male and female figure that were joined in holy matrimony. Today, that figure is significantly reduced to around 30% or 40%, or less.
A number of significant dynamics occurred.
DECLINE OF MORALITY
Males that claim to be men fail to uphold the standards of morality according to Proverbs chapter 5, chapter 6, verses 20 through 35, and chapter 7.
The moral fibre of those days were far better than today.
Then there is the immoral woman as recorded in Proverbs chapter 7.
It’s a two way street.
If you slept around in those days, the stigmatization applied to unmarried women of being a “slut” or an adulterous woman being called a “whore,” was once very damaging. Yet, it compelled some women to “save herself” for the right man and from having these negative titles applied to her.
For men, it was a badge of honor to be in adulterous or multiple relationships. There was little, to no negative stigma attached to men that engaged in adultery or fornication.
Completely wrong, inappropriate, sinful, shameful, and downright filthy of men. Equal responsibility belongs to both male and female that engage in sexual immorality according Hebrews 13:4.
As far as male dominion was concerned, sleeping around and scoring was normal.
Today, it is almost no big deal for women to steal “experienced” married men or to fornicate regularly. In fact, this game of sleeping around is now almost on equal footing. This means that women hunt for “booty call” just like the men do.
Single women play the field just like men do. It is also common knowledge that women engage in porn and self gratification, commonly called masturbation. In fact, one out of six women will watch porn, one in three will act out or “hook up” with a man for sex to feed an intimacy connection need.
It is already common knowledge that men engage in lustfully watching women, being Beyonce or Angelina Jolie seduced, watching porn, and masturbating more often than you think.
There was one article that was called “Cheap Sex.”
Cheap Sex was about the fact that some women no longer demand that a man marry them in order to have sex. It is now normal to text a person for sex.
They would use their electronic devices and set up a rendezvous for a sex romp. A one night stand. Maybe two or three, if the sex was good, and then they call it quits. More couples that aren’t married are still “kicking the tires” or “shacking up.”
They enjoy the benefits of marriage, but there is no legal contract or marital obligation. They can walk out from each other at any time. No commitment, no marriage, no real meaningful relationship except in the bedroom, if you call that “meaningful.”
Risky, non condom sex always end tragically.
There is no such thing as “safe sex” except between two married persons of the opposite sex.
Pregnancies, still births, miscarriages (they happen between married couples too), an abortion, STD’s (only happens when one of them cheats on their spouses of the opposite sex). Children born out of wedlock or arrange for adoption after birth. Both the mother and the child contracting HIV/AIDS. Even if there were no births or STD’s, the emotional emptiness is still there until it is temporarily filled with another sex romp.
Or is completely fulfilled in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ according to John chapter 4:1-27, John 8:1-11.
For the most part, most women desire romance and commitment in a monogamous relationship.
The search for real intimacy and relationship continues to end for the available single woman in frustration, anguish, despondency, and utter despair. A single woman’s needs go unmet and this cycle of frustration continues.
WHAT ARE SINGLE WOMEN FACING TODAY?
The variety of apparent negative dynamics.
Black men marrying White, and Asian women, and White women are marrying Black and Asian men.
In my opinion, when two persons of the opposite sex truly love each other, it should never be a problem. When it comes to population statistics, it is true that in the United States, African Americans make up 12% or 13% of the US population.
When Black males marry White women, it is a very serious issue that significantly decrease the chances for available Black women to marry Black men. There is no question that some Black women seriously object to Black men marrying White or Asian women, and they are hurt by this.
However, I find that White men cross the color line too.
My opinion doesn’t have to be accepted, but it is clear. When two persons of the opposite sex love each other and are willing to look past the shell for the person, that’s what matters the most.
There is no way to smooth this over because the realities are before us. There will be disagreements and anger because of what I said (this is I speaking, not the Lord), but we must be honest about what is before us and begin to look at the total picture. It doesn’t mean that you have to accept it. Just look at the facts with an honest and open heart and mind.
Even if I were say that God really brought two racially different persons together, for the person that isn’t married to object and take exception, I have to agree with you that there is very little comfort and solace.
My prayer to the Father, in Jesus’ name is that you do not be bitter about it. Be better about it by “walking in the Spirit” and “let love be without hypocrisy,” according to Romans 12:9. Resist and refuse to harbor resentment, envy, and jealousy according to James 3:13-18.
When you can’t do this, (that is walk in love about it), you have made a choice to refuse to do what Christ would want you to do about it. Anytime we refuse to do what the Word says to do, we are walking in disobedience, and we cannot expect God to do much to change our own situations when we willingly stuff our disobedience in His face.
There are things that must be broken in us if we want to see a breakthrough for us.
More men are incarcerated. More men are exploring same sex, self sex, or bisexuality to self satisfy sexual intimacy needs apart from women. More men are unemployed and are unable to financially sustain a family, let alone themselves. More males remain childish males mentally.
These factors significantly decreases the possibility of women getting married. What this means is that some of the men still see life as a game and sex is a part of that game they play. They must be broken, in Jesus’ name. Available single women are waiting for men to show up.
Which of you males are willing to put away childish things and become a man?
You know that men have a penis but they don’t use their brains first. Their sex drives compels their lower anatomy to do all their thinking for them.
Sexually only minded males will only view of women from a commodity perspective. The “sexual objectification of women” only for satisfying a sexually immoral desire. The male’s flawed thinking is that the body of a women is just a container to get off on. Use and discard a woman just like a condom.
Not realizing that the woman is a person with feelings, emotions, and is a human being. Worthy to be loved, honored, and respected.
With this type of immorality going on, men are no longer forced by single available women to commit to her and be in a meaningful relationship when “free tail” from immoral women is offered.
Then there is the flawed, at best thinking that, “If I don’t let him have me, I will never get him.” Or. “I’ll give him a baby, and he will marry me!”
That’s the whole purpose of prostitution or one night sex romps. Give a man only one thing and that’s it. All of the other stuff is not a part of what men pay for.
But deep down inside, the male will one day, be a man and come to the conclusion that they need feminine connection, relationship, and spousal affirmation. Not just from the bedroom but from life as a whole. Deep down inside a man, he is looking for a person that would accept him for who he is. And right now, all he is thinking about is to be accepted and affirmed from one selfish aspect.
The sense of physical sex and achieving orgasm for accomplishment, or job well done in the bedroom, is his only objective. It’s a cry for intimacy by relationship that he, himself concluded could only be attained through sex acts.
Why do men take so long to come to their senses?
Sex to him is incorrectly considered a sport. A “score.” A reward for winning. When everything else fails around him, he goes to the one place where it is a guarantee that he will be rewarded.
These are just some of the things that single women face as to why men do not commit to a meaningful relationship.
Then there are men that can’t get past wounds inflicted from previous relationships. He self determined that they are too painful for him to overcome to engage in another relationship. So he engages in meaningless sexual relationships for sex only because it requires no commitment.
This is very disparaging for single women.
For single women, the “competition” is fierce and intense. Even in the church. For the most part, the church is somewhat to blame because there is very little, to no teaching to men about dating, sex, relationships, commitment, connections, how to rightly treat women, and so forth.
Then the places where connections take place is more of a worldly culture than Christian.
The night clubs, malls, movie theaters, street hangout, private and semi-private parties are the common places where “hook ups,” are happening. Some “so called” Christian concerts is another venue.
Looking at the church scene, we see that not many men show up in small churches. In fact, there was one article that revealed that the place to go meet a man is in the mega churches or a fairly sized church. That’s because the chances for being noticed exponentially increases where more males show up.
But also in these mega or large churches, there is a lot of single available women waiting to be noticed. These women range from chaste, to extremely provocative. I find that for the most part in the medium and mega churches where there is a single male pastor available, more single available women will show in hopes of being noticed and get married to that pastor.
There is no doubt that marrying a pastor is on the list because the pastor’s personality, outspoken nature, possible good looks, power, influence, money, and other high end aspects is extremely appealing to single available women. There is no doubt that even married women will “get counseling” just to get in bed with that pastor. It has happened, so don’t be naive or fooled.
But for the most part, righteous single women just want a man that would be interested in her. She wants him to be successful, working, responsible, caring, loving, sensitive, fun, and above all, one that is serious about the Lord, as well as be serious about family values, and commitment to one woman.
She is looking for someone that will love her for who she is. A beautiful, attractive, intelligent, and a well grounded woman. Grounded in the sense that she lives by basic godly principles.
These virtues is very appealing to a man.
These principles is not about housekeeping, child bearing, and raising. It is not about being a “momma” to the man. It’s more about common relational connections that makes being around each other fun, exciting, and challenging. Challenging in the sense that you are learning each other and adapting or adjusting to make a relationship work.
It is in this aspect that women shine and the best is brought out of her.
All she needs is for a man to take a chance.
Finally, the risk is there. A man takes a risk. A woman takes a risk. In my judgment, mistakes are going to be made. Perfection is a fleeting thing. First impressions are lasting impressions but somewhere along the line, in making a choice, a hair or two will be out of place.
Men. Stop dawdling and accept her with that hair out of place. All she needs is a brush or comb to put it back in place.
Man. A piece of meat will be found in between your teeth when you put on your best smile after dinner.
What am I saying?
Men. You need to get off the sidelines and pick one. She is right there in front of you. Pick her. Compatibility is sometimes determined when you first set eyes on each other and begin to look past the skin, and see a person that desires your love.
And if you are in a relationship, how ready for marriage are you going to get? She is waiting for your proposal. She is waiting on you to get serious and pop the question. She is waiting to walk down that isle and give you everything you could ever imagine.
My brother, if you are reading this, perhaps you need a little push. You might be asking the question, “How will I know she’s the one?”
Sometimes you won’t know until she walks down that isle. You won’t know until you are on your sick bed and you look up, and she is right there. You won’t know until you can’t pay the bills but she willingly puts her resources together to help you. You won’t know until you wake up next to her after the wedding, and you see her smile across her face.
That smile is a smile of, “I thank God you picked me.”
Single women, do not give up on God.
Sometimes what you need to do is venture outside the normal. See new places and meet new people. It’s a risk that everyone takes. But you won’t know until you go. Sometimes you are waiting too long for the one that you think is to be your soul mate.
But he keeps you waiting and waiting. HE is a fool because he failed to recognize that God put you there for him.
It’s time for you to make a decision because you can’t let a male person that is known to go no where keep you from going somewhere.
There are many place where you shouldn’t go. God knows that you do not need to go to places where the dating is nothing more than going to clubs/brothels, or strip joints.
You are worth more than that, and you should never lower your standards to hook up with the wrong bozo/bonehead that thinks only about satisfying his other head.
www.blogtalkradio.com/prevailingword1 (please listen to our Secret Sexual Sins Broadcast)
Truth be told.
by Fred C. Rochester
Covetousness; Greed Is Good? Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved.
If you have many maxed out unsecured or secured credit cards, home equity loans, a mortgage on a house that is beyond your means to pay, car notes, personal loans, and other forms of debt, it is a clear indication that you are, or you were covetous.
In Luke 12, two brothers were fighting over their inheritance. The matter was brought before the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus told him, “Who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?” It seems to me that there was more to it than meets the eye.
First take note that the brother was standing in a crowd of people. He aired his sibling’s dirty laundry before the people. All in an effort to get the Lord Jesus to rule in his favor.
We do not know if his brother was present, but it appears that some people in the crowd knew these guys and word was to certainly get back. However, we see that it wasn’t for the Lord to rule because no one in the legal system made Him an arbitrator.
Then the Lord gets to the root of the issue.
“Take heed and beware of covetousness,” The Amplified Bible is quoted as saying,
“Guard yourselves and keep free from all covetousness (immoderate desire for wealth, the greedy longing to have more).
Immoderate is defined as “beyond reasonable limits.”
HOARDING; EXTREME COVETOUSNESS
There is a powerful series called “Hoarding.” It talks about people’s compulsive desire to accumulate things. Rat packing is a serious issue because when you have the ability to buy an item and then store it, you are creating a mess that becomes extremely difficult to deal with.
The sad part is that they grow emotionally attached to the various items in the house and will become very combative. The reasons for this kind of behavior varies from person to person but there is a consistent pattern common to most people that hoard.
1. An serious emotional event occurred in their lives that compelled them to shut down common sense and normal reasoning.
2. Accumulation was permitted to reach a stage where undoing what was done became unbearable. Not just for the person that is hoarding but for the family members that attempt to correct years of compulsive accumulation.
3. Emotional detachment ( a complete clean up) would mean death to them. In other words, each item gave them a warped reason to coexist and if a separation took place, they would freak out.
While I am addressing a total different subject, you do not have to be a hoarder to be covetous. Hoarding is just an extreme case of covetousness associated with traumatic events that immobilizes a person. The majority of their accumulated items become their memento to happy times before a tragedy or emotional trauma. It becomes for them their security or comfort. It is an extreme compulsion that has the potential to eventually kill a person.
One such case took place a few years ago. The man had so much stuff inside the house that it concealed his death for quite sometime. It was only until the mailman couldn’t put any more mail in his box that they decided to call the authorities.
When they tried to enter the front door, they could not go any further. It wasn’t the smell of his corpse that repelled the authorities. It was the accumulation of stuff that prevented access to the body. There was so much stuff in the house, they had to take it out, piece by piece before they could remove his corpse.
The parable of the sower is a classic example of where the hearts of people are. The most common place where people abide is among thorns. The seed, which is the word of God, is thrown among thorns where the Word is being choked with “cares, riches, and pleasures of this life.”
This is the place of covetousness.
STAYING FREE OF COVETOUSNESS
If God’s people want to stay free of covetousness, they must get to the place where the good ground is, where the seed will produce fruit. Those that are on good ground will always be content with what they have in life because of Psalm 23:1.
In Philippians 4:11-13, Paul gave us these powerful words.
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Paul didn’t permit his need to drive him to do things that would violate his relationship with the Lord and God’s people. He had a common sense approach to life. He went to work.
In 1 Timothy 6:6-10, Paul tells us,
“Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
When the love of money became the only pursuit in the life of a believer, there is only one result. You will stray from the faith in greediness. Once again, it is a depiction of a believer that is among thorns where the word is choked because of “cares, riches, and pleasures of this life.”
Hebrews 13:5 tells us, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you not forsake you.”
When everything runs out, the one thing that you will always count on is that God will never leave you nor forsake you. He will make a way so you won’t have to. It takes faith to trust God to get through in this life.
In none of these Scriptures do we see the Lord advocating that we do without, remain poor, or suffer lack. However, we do see that regardless of the conditions of our lives, we are to be content.
You will recall in 1 Kings 16, when Elijah walked up to Ahab and told him that there would be no rain for 3 and a half years (see James 5:17-18).
The Lord sent Elijah to Zarephath and commanded a widow woman to provide for Elijah.
When a nation refuses to repent of sin, dire conditions are released to nudge the leaders and the nation to the place of prayer to repent for the sins committed in the church and the nation.
If you carefully read the stories in the OT, you will see that the origin of these conditions began in Deuteronomy 28:1.
“Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God:”
The downside of conditions always have one conclusion.
Deuteronomy 28:15 says,
“But is shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:”
While this Scripture appertains to the children of Israel based on the law, we must remember that the principle of obedience and righteousness to God is applied to every nation on the planet. While “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law” (see Galatians 3:13),” it is not a blank check to “…continue in sin that grace may abound” (see Romans 6:1).
Jesus did not die for our sins so that we can continue to sin.
RIGHTEOUSNESS EXALTS A NATION
Proverbs 14:34 says,
“Righteousness exalts a nation. but sin is a reproach to any people.”
Please note that it didn’t say, “Righteousness exalts only the nation of Israel.” The New Living Translations says,
“Godliness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.”
It is interesting to note what 1 Peter 2:9-12 says,
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
Notice that Peter called the church, “a holy nation.”
So when the church is holy, it is a godly nation. God, therefore, exalts that holy nation, within a nation. The rest of Proverbs 14:34 is appropriate for the sinful nation, including the church. When we are in sin, we are a disgraceful nation. If exaltation uplifts a nation, disgrace is the downfall of a nation.
ONE STATE AT A TIME
If you have noticed, the governor of Texas called for the State to enter into a time of prayer with fasting. He’s been getting heat but it seems to me that it will go forward regardless of the may lawsuits and fuss.
In Oklahoma, the governor is setting out time to pray for rain. Let me tell you. I think somebody is getting the message. But it’s not coming from our prominent pastors and leaders. It’s coming from the politicians. Do not get me wrong. If the pastors are influencing the politicians, telling them that they need to pray, then we do not need to know their names.
What we need to be more concerned about is getting each state to come back to God. Who cares about who did the influencing so long as we are found on our faces before God. But I also find that some parts of the church isn’t getting the message. We haven’t put two and two together.
Immorality is still the business of most pastoral leaders and congregants.
How do I know?
When you see a lot of people leave their churches because you preach against sin, same sex unions, adultery, fornication, pornography, masturbation, bisexuality, pederasty, and other sexual sins, it is clear that they want to send you a message that they intend not to give up sins of the flesh.
If they leave because a pastor is found to be in sin, sadly, that departures will happen. That’s because the people expect their spiritual leaders to be held to a higher standard and be held accountable. The wrong message to send is for the leader to salvage his ministry.
What he is really doing is salvaging his empire at the expense of the kingdom of God. The godly thing to do is surrender the ministry, salvage his relationship with God, his family, and then to the congregation.
When you see that the prominent preachers are still peddling the prosperity message and the gospel of inclusion, we haven’t gotten the message. When you see elements of the world’s brand of “gospel music” in the church. When you see a rise in sexual immorality because of it, then you know the church is in trouble, let alone the world.
I mentioned the story about Elijah and the widow woman for a reason. The economic conditions in this nation is a direct result of covetousness, same sex unions, and abortion. These sins are evident in the church and in the world. We do not know how to be content with what we have and we desire more.
We desire intimacy with ourselves, same sex, and opposite sex, illicitly. When we conceived a child out of wedlock and then abort that child because we can’t afford the child or the conception was a mistake, these are gross sins that defile a nation.
With unemployment at 9.2 percent. With interest rates on credit cards and loans at an all time high. With a decreasing taking home paycheck. With the high cost of living to purchase the basic necessities; gas, light, phone, food, and clothing.
WHAT MUST WE DO TO REVERSE THIS?
Repentance, confess our sins, forsake our sins, live righteously before God. Sanctify the Lord in our heart. Seek the Lord while He may be found. Call upon Him while He is near. Weep between the porch and the altar. Set a time for prayer and fasting, with weeping and mourning.
God will honor the pastor that falls on the sword. That’s right. Crucify himself. God will honor the church that seeks His face. God will turn churches around and then turn a nation around. We must be serious about killing covetousness, sexual immorality, and same sex unions in the church, first.
When we judge ourselves, we will not be judged. Hence, we won’t be condemned with the world. If you want to see an outpouring of the presence of God, all you have to do is bring to Him what He requires. A contrite and broken heart. A heart that is sorry about sinning against God. Then, and only then will our sacrifices be acceptable in His sight.