Monday, April 25, 2011

Answers


A word from the heart –
Many of you have been roaming the dessert.  In desperation you have cried out to God.  Wounded by wild animals, battered and bruised by the elements, and parched and famished by the absence of nourishment, you have begun to cry out for a move of God.
For some of you, God will answer this:
My child, help is on the way.  Your cries have reached my ears like nails on a chalkboard and I will not allow it to continue any longer.  Your salvation is at hand and I will not allow my children to be put to shame!  Trust that you will be brought to a place of rest for you to recover for a season.  For a season you will rest and take comfort under my wing.  It is not the promise land but it is a place of rest.  You have a great work to do and there are promises I must fulfill in you and through you.  So, my son, my daughter, rest and take comfort that my hand is upon you.  Mercy unfailing and love that will not be swayed is yours.
For others, God will answer this:
My son/daughter, I have heard your plea.  You have suffered and fallen.  You have taken circumstances into your own hands instead of waiting upon me.  You have made choices and are enduring or will endure consequences that I never intended you to endure.  Be assured and take hope in knowing that I will never leave you or forsake you.  You are my child when you rise and you are still my child when you fall.  Humble yourself before me and turn over the control, the pride, and the arrogance to me.  I cannot intervene for you if you cling to these things that I despise.  It breaks my heart to see you suffer.  Let them go so I can take you to a place of peace.  I cannot take you to this place unless you let them go.  I cannot take you there without your consent.  The things you are clinging to are nothing compared to what I want to give you.  Let them go!  You have grown accustomed to being in the dessert so that when I want to take you to a land of rest, you resist because you have learned to survive.  So what was the cost of survival?  Your peace, your mind, your love?  Come away with me.  Let all else go and run away with me!
Finally, some will hear this:
Who are you?  I am not your father and you are not my son/daughter.  I am not a bank to make a deposit or withdrawal as you see fit.  I am not the lottery that you play once a week and hope to “hit it big”!  You cannot entertain my enemies and expect me to accept your invitation, no matter how loud you cry out.  Your cries are in vain and mostly for show.  You entertain jezebel, lust, greed, witchcraft, hatred, bitterness, envy, unforgiveness and the like.  None of this will I socialize with at any point.  You choose to live in filth and despise the things I love.  You choose to defy me at every turn and you take advantage of the very people I send to help you and leave them wounded.  I know because I have had to mend and heal them so they could continue.  I am so tired of hearing your voice that I have built a sound barrier so that I no longer have to endure it.  If at some point, you realize that you need me and are ready to fall out of agreement with the things I despise, I will save you.  Until that day, you are still not mine and I am still not yours.


Added 11/15/11 by Mary J. Runion
 I challenge you to ask God to reveal to you where you stand.  If you are reading this and you are ready to get to know Jesus and start a relationship with Him, then this is what the Bible says.
1 John 1:8&9 (The Message) says "If we claim that we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. 9 On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing."
It is not because of anything we have done, but the change in our hearts.  He loves you so much and wants to have a real relationship with you.
I encourage you to seek Him.  Invite Him into  your daily life and let Him be real to you.  He loves you more than anything!
God bless you as you begin to follow Him!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Truth!

 


In our search for God, the one and only living God in whom we live, and move and have our being (Acts 17:28), there will come imposters who appear to offer the same benefits with a “less costly price”. I am here to tell you that you will only pay a much steeper price!

What am I referring to? False religion, false prophets, false miracle workers, imposter pastors, all of whom will tell you that they operate through the gifts of God, but are ONLY out to glorify themselves or their true masters, the demons that operate through them. They claim to have no affiliation with witchcraft, voodooism, the occult, or any other red flag that we look for, but they are not deriving their powers from Jesus Christ who operated ONLY to the Glory of God the father!
Mark 13:22 (The Message translation) “22Fake Messiahs and lying preachers [false prophets] are going to pop up everywhere. Their impressive credentials and dazzling performances will pull the wool over the eyes of even those who ought to know better.” (*brackets added)

Jesus says here in Mark that this is going to happen so don’t be surprised because I have already told you. Yet, why do so many of us fall for the tricks and traps set for us? Maybe because we are not patient, do not want to “pay the price” that we think we will have to pay, or maybe we are just stuck in the pride of wanting to do it “our way”.

2 Timothy 4:3-5 says "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."
Whatever the reasons, I want to call out to you right now.
Jesus is the only answer to your problems; the only way to pure peace in your mind, heart and body; the only source of permanent results and lasting solutions! Spells cannot fix your problem! At best they can only give you false hope and wishful thoughts. Familiar spirits are only out to do one thing. Destroy you. (John 10:10)
Short blog today but if you still feel the need to search for your relationship problem, weight problem, insecurities, career issues, or simply need peace, start here…
 


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

Ezekiel 33:12-16 (TMSG)“There’s more, son of man. Tell your people: ‘A good person’s good life won’t save him when he decides to rebel, and a bad person’s bad life won’t prevent him from repenting of his rebellion. A good person who sins can’t expect to live when he chooses to sin. 13It’s true that I tell good people, “Live! Be alive!” But if they trust in their good deeds and turn to evil, that good life won’t amount to a hill of beans. They’ll die for their evil life. 14“‘On the other hand, if I tell a wicked person, “You’ll die for your wicked life,” and he repents of his sin and starts living a righteous and just life 15—being generous to the down-and-out, restoring what he had stolen, cultivating life-nourishing ways that don’t hurt others—he’ll live. He won’t die. 16None of his sins will be kept on the books. He’s doing what’s right, living a good life. He’ll live.”


Friday, April 15, 2011

The Next Phase

We are at the beginning of a turn, twist, or shift (however you would like to call it) in the physical and spiritual world.
     I believe that we are about to see God pour out His spirit like never before.  This will be a new concept and experience for so many people and may even strike fear into the minds of many.  However, just as ever revolution eventually comes to an end (i.e. farming era to industrial revolution, to the technological age and beyond), so has the age of the traditional church.
     What I see happening is that people are tired of the status quo.  They are tired of being fed milk and soft food spiritually, and are, in general, sick and tired of the "pastoral role" rising and falling all around!  On average, you could talk to almost anyone off the street and they will tell you that they do not trust the clergy in the church and that they would rather seek God on their own.
     Personally, I am tired of "service as usual" as well.  If I have to sit through 3 songs, announcements, offering, preaching, and closing prayer again, I will probably go into a spiritually catatonic state of boredom!  Why do we who remain continue on this repetitive path of assumed "righteousness"?  Is it because that is "how we were raised"?  Or, could it be, that we feel strongly about "not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is" (Heb. 10:25 KJV).
     See, we are tired of being fed fake food.  You can only give so much time and resources to a "ministry" without being refilled.  Try pouring a pitcher of fruit punch into more than 20 cups without refilling it!  It gets empty really quick and that's where you see burnout!  The prosperity preachers only offer so much, but the promises of these leaders can only go so far.  We pay big money to go see them but not once have I seen them hand out keys to Mercedes' or mansions.  No, they talk a good talk and live what they preach because of the people who pour into them.  However, very few (if any) pour back out!  It's "buy my book and God will bless you!"  Or "Sew a seed and watch prosperity follow!"  My favorite is "Call now and for a donation of $20 or more, we will send you your very own personalized prophesy, straight from our dedicated prophets.  Yes, your very own message from God!"  I saw this one late at night on BET!  All this fake food looks good but when you test it and bite into it, it is repulsive and the body cannot digest it!  In fact, sometimes it makes people down right sick!
     So what is the thing that we're looking for?  Most people don't have a clue what it looks like.  They just know what it doesn't look like!  We have all seen the mega-pastors rise and fall.  We've seen the rise of Tele-evangelists and then their duplication like wild-fire.  And now-a-days, there is an endless supply of internet preachers with YouTube, podcasting, Facebook and the like.
     I can tell you, though, based on God's word, what the next phase is.  Pure, undiluted, uncompromised, untainted, passion for Jesus Christ and Him alone!  No more inflation.  No more self-glorification.  No more dying stars.  And above all, no more fakeness!  If you can't walk the walk, then don't talk the talk.  You may have had a shady past, and that's okay.  God is forgiving and so are his people when it comes to the past lives of passionate, anointed leaders.  That part makes them relatable, and gives them a testimony about how God saw them through.  But the leaders of today and tomorrow cannot walk the double life and expect to maintain a position as the head of a body!
     Do you want to know what will happen?  Here it is.  The outcry for a righteous Shepherd will be so persistent and loud that God will have no choice but to respond!  As the wounds and pain, inflicted by each bad choice the "shepherds" choose, become deeper and deeper, God will stop weeking for ihs people and begin avenging them.  Ezekiel 24 (see below) is God's reply to a generation full of bad shepherds who commit every sin known to man including the classic trio; lying, cheating, and stealing!  Rest assured, if you see one of these displayed, underneath is the other two!  (That little tid-bit is for free!)
     As you begin to read Ezekiel 34, you will see that God is a God of order.  He always starts at the head and works his way down the ladder of leaders.  To the shepherds he deals very harsh punishment.  It is hard because it is not a swift and quick judgement.  It is a state of punishment and consequences that leaves a lasting effect!  Its a period of suffering.  In the Bible, God lists the shepherds' faults so that it is clear why He is angry, and then he says (reader's digest version), I'm going to take away your flock, the ones you prey on.  Ultimately, I believe this means they can no longer make a living being a "shepherd".  They are cut off.  (Imagine not only being fired but also having to struggle without provision, and favor!)
     Then God turns his attention to the "fat sheep" that have benefited from the bad shepherd's tyranny.  These are the pious gas-bags who like to warm the pews and gossip; backbiting and stiff-necked, manipulative and luke-warm.  They can preach and teach but where are they when it's time to visit the jails, the nursing homes, the hospitals and the people hurting and impoverished mentally, physically or spiritually!  They're too busy looking for the new robe or clergy suit at Murphy's or being fitted for the over priced suit that is about to be commissioned!  They're worrying about which chain to wear on Sunday and if there is enough special juice on the pulpit for them.  They are lining up "spiritual sons" to chauffer them from one engagement to the next, spewing out "thus saith the lord" when really it's "thus saith me".
     See, these sheep are no better than the shepherds that God just dealt with before, but God deals with the fat sheep more swiftly than he does the dirty shepherds.  In verse 16, God says He will destroy these sheep.  Not just take away their provision, he will destroy them!
     To the remnant sheep; God promises restoration.  Binding up the wounded, feeding the hungry, seeking for the lost and scattered, and bringing back the ones who have been run off and left as prey for the "wild animals, God will be the Shepherd!  In Joel 2, the prophet tells of God bringing His people to a place of restoration.  Joel 2:18, 19b (KJV) says, "Then will the Lord be jealous for his land, and pity his people...and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen."  Finally, when restoration has taken place, the order is restored, God promises in verse 28 that he will pour out his spirit upon all flesh!
     People of God, we are about to see God pour out His spirit like never before.  The little wildfires that sprung up here and there over the past century are nothing compared to what is to come!  We know that the signs and wonders will follow and that there will be a great outcry all over the world for God!  We will see God move in ways that we never thought possible and in people we never thought would come to God.  Even now, there are reports of remote tribes in African countries and Asian countries that are seeking out missionaries because God has spoken to them or appeared to them.  They didn't need and evangelist to hear God, just a willing heart!
     People of God, it is time to fall on our faces and repent and do right.  Ezekiel 33:12 says “Therefore you, O son of man, say to the children of your people: ‘The righteousness of the righteous man shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression; as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall because of it in the day that he turns from his wickedness; nor shall the righteous be able to live because of his righteousness in the day that he sins.’”
     What this means is that there is still hope for the "fat sheep" to repent and come back into alignment.  However, in the same verse, there is also a caution to those who have been righteous and then decide to repel out of frustration, pain, and resentment.  Stay on your face before God.  Stay humble and obedient, righteous and seeking His face above all else!
     In conclusion, God has not forgotten His people.  He is a gracious God and a merciful one!  Cry out to Him!  Give Him your pain and your wounds.  He is Jehovah Rapha, the healer!  He is Abba, Father, and loves his children!  Call out to him and he will answer!!!!
______________________________________________________________________________     



Ezekiel 34:1-31 (KJV)
1And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. 4The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. 5And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. 6My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.
7Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; 8As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; 9Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; 10Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves anymore; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them. 11For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. 12As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. 13And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. 15I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD. 16I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.
  17And as for you, O my flock, thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he goats. 18Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? And to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet? 19And as for my flock, they eat that which ye have trodden with your feet; and they drink that which ye have fouled with your feet. 20Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD unto them; Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle. 21Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad; 22Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle. 23And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. 24And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it. 25And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods. 26And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing. 27And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them. 28And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid. 29And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. 30Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord GOD. 31And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD.”

         

Friday, April 8, 2011

Cover, Not Cover-Up

The cause of the fall of many men (and women), kingdoms, governments, religious leaders and influential role models alike; throughout time and not confined to one race, culture, company or denomination. What is this deadly sin?  Pride.
Proverbs 16:18 is the verse that is most often quoted by those who profess to be Christians or otherwise. Pride goeth before destriction… Pride goes before a fall… But there is so much more that goes unnoticed or ignored which then causes us to enact the same sin that we as God’s people must avoid if we are to remain upright and righteous.
I would like to point out the obvious before all else, since it has already been seen my so many people.   The religious leaders that begin to think themselves “untouchable” as the “man/woman of God” are the first to fall.  As they rise to fame and fortune, the “yes-men” swarm and the “spiritual-children” multiply and yet it begins with small indiscretions that are “covered” by the people around them and go unchecked by the people closed to them.
On a side note I would like to say, there is a definite difference between “covering” someone in prayer and intercession and covering up for someone so that their deeds go hidden and unchecked!  We as children of God, MUST keep leaders accountable.  Repentance is a must as a leader and we must be the first ones to remain humble enough to accept that we will say, publicly, “I’m sorry” the most out of all the people in the church.
We've seen this happen recently, and there’s no point keeping names hidden by now, with the outing of Eddie Long, and even all the way back to the scandal in the 80’s with Jimmy Swaggart, to the small local leaders content to stay low-key while having affairs with both men and women, stealing, cheating, and lying.  However, when all of this comes to light, as it always will, the followers are so surprised!
Isaiah 29:15 “Woe to those who seek deep to hide their counsel far from the Lord, And their works are in the dark; They say, “Who sees us?” and, “Who knows us?”

Luke 8:17  “For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light.”
Who is to blame?  All of us.  There is a threefold answer to this staggering pandemic.
1.     Repent!  People of God, we must repent, cry out to God to forgive us and restore us.  Even the remnant that stands firm must begin to cry out to God.  It’s not about us any way!  It’s all about Him and His glory!  There is a bigger picture that is damaged every time we neglect this simple act of humility.  We stand and blame everyone else for problems that are growing bigger and bigger, yet all the while, there are hurting, dying people waiting to see compassion, hear a Rhema word from God and cry out “what must I do to be saved?” We must be in alignment so that they can see the God in us!  Lamentations 2:19  “19   “Arise, cry out in the night, At the beginning of the watches; Pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord. Lift your hands toward Him for the life of your young children, who faint from hunger at the head of every street.”
Joel 1:14-15  “Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly; Gather the elders And all the inhabitants of the land Into the house of the Lord your God, And cry out to the Lord. 15Alas for the day!  For the day of the Lord is at hand; It shall come as destruction from the Almighty.” 
2.     Be Accountable to God.  The Bible set out order for keeping ourselves accountable.  Think of it this way.  If we are associated with the sin we will be associated with the punishment as well.  I for one do not want my destiny to be tripped up by the sin of someone else.  The best example of this is in Joshua 7, when the people of God were given specific instructions to destroy the enemy and don’t keep anything!  Achan hid clothes and money in his tent.  One man’s disobedience cost him and his family their lives as well as many others who died in battle because God will not grant victory without purity and obedience!  Did anyone hold Achan accountable?  There had to be people in his household who could have kept him accountable and in order? The Bible doesn't say, someone had him come forward and repent…it says they killed him and his family for the sin.
As a family, we are all responsible for the deeds done among us.  Jesus set forth specific instructions for keeping each other accountable to God, in Matthew 18:15-17.  “If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. 16If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. 17If he still won’t listen, tell the church. If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love.”
It is less painful to keep ourselves accountable and move on than to put forth a “cover-up” and wait for God to deal with us later…and I promise you, He will!
3.     Cover, Not Cover-Up, the Man/Woman of God.  Noah was a righteous man of God, whom God saw fit to save from total annihilation!  Even this man of God had flaws.  In Genesis 9, the Bible describes how his sons covered him in an instance of shame.  This story intrigued me as I studied the actions of Shem, Ham, and Japheth (the sons).  When Noah was passed out naked and drunk in his tent, Ham found him.  Instead of stopping the indecency, sin and shame, he left his father there and ran off to tell his brothers. 
I want to stop right there for just a moment.  Isn’t that what a lot of us do in the church?  We would rather go gossip about sister Blue Bird or Elder Gray Goose than go and deal with the problem head on.  Why?  Because we think that it will make ourselves look more holy and righteous?  We can’t be a hero and upright unless everyone sees us save the day?  For whatever reason, we allow the indecency and shame to continue for the sake of another good story!
Back to the story.  When Shem and Japheth heard this, they took a cloak (Genesis 9:23) and, out of respect for their father, walked into the tent backwards with the cloak over their shoulders, and covered Noah’s nakedness and did not look upon his disgrace.  This was not a “cover-up” as I originally assumed when I first read the story.  A “cover-up” allows the sin to continue as Ham did.  The “cover-up” looks to see how they can benefit from keeping the sin alive.  To cover someone is to acknowledge that we are all human but the sin must cease if God is to be glorified.  Since Noah was chosen by God to do his will, we can safely say, he was anointed. 1 Chronicles 16:22 says “…Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.”  They were obedient to God in covering the anointed man of God while killing the active sin!  That is completely awesome to me!
People of God, there are anointed men and women called to serve, but they are not being covered in the way that we as followers are called to cover them.  Where are the watchmen, the gatekeepers, the prayer warriors and intercessors that will stand in the gap or on the post and declare that “No weapon formed against us will prosper!” (Isaiah 54:17)  We must plead the blood of Jesus over them, their families (Yes, satan will get in any way he can.  Front door, back door, window, or even a leaky ceiling!)  Let’s be the Army of God that we have been called to be and start protecting our generals, commanders, and leaders serving in the front lines of battle.  No more shooting our wounded, but picking them up in love and helping them heal so they can fight the enemy alongside us once more!