Thursday, January 31, 2013

Colorless Christianity

Many people who will end up in heaven will discover something they could have had on earth.  Jesus said: "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." John 10:10b  and   "I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!"  John 15:11

If you look at the iteration of the word for abundance, it is overflowing, all that you could ask or expect. Surplus.

Many people quote these scriptures related to prosperity, the abundant life is soooo much more and is our portion.  We have no idea until we live there.

When you get to heaven you will experience extreme joy.  Hilarity.  You will see colors you never knew existed.  You will have a sense of emotion you never had on earth.  You will see miraculous things you thought were impossible.  You will in short have complete fullness of abundance.

What if I told you that was possible right here right now. Maybe not to the fullness you will have on the other side of the veil, but real fullness.  Joy unspeakable and full of glory the old song said.  It's true.

Yet so many Christians who have bought into a colorless Christianity that has been told them who are robbers of joy.  In the first part of John 10:10 it says "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;"  There are those who see it as their purpose in life to steal your joy.  Some do it by legalism.  Some by tradition.  Some by ritual.  Some by simply telling you what you believed is all wrong.  I have people come to my door to tell me that all the time.  Jehovah witness, Mormon.  When it really gets insidious is when the joy killers are very close to being in the camp.

What does that abundant life in God, colorful Christianity look like.   Here's some things I know that are a part:

  • Expectation of the Glory of God to appear
  • A sense that the miraculous is or will occur
  • Goodness and mercy will follow me
  • Joy that overwhelms sometimes.  It happens in our emotions. Sometimes laughing, sometimes weeping.  But if you have the joy of the Lord, you know it.  You do.
  • A manifestation of the Love of God inside and towards others
  • A fullness's of the spirit with all 9 of the gifts operating at one time or another
  • A deep desire to tell everyone what God has done in your life, bubbling up out of you
  • A recognition that when people are gathered together in unity will shake a place

Things come and go.  There are times when all of that is huge.  Other times will be some less.  BUT this is the nature of colorful Christianity. 

Don't let people steal your joy by telling you that things are or are not scriptural.  It's a hoax.  They don't know.   Real Christianity cannot be explained.  It can only be experienced. When you do, you have just a little bit of heaven.

It's a colorful life. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

To Jim who wants to Be FILLED with the Holy Ghost


you asked for some understanding of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  How it comes about.  What it's all for.  Why some embrace and others do not.  I won't get into the debate of it all.  That is long since settled for me.  Experience trumps any theological argument. 

What you said was true. Every believer when they are first saved receives the Holy Spirit. He is poured into them.  They carry HIM with them.  It is a seal, an earnest (like earnest money) of the promise.  A deposit.  It's ours.  HE seals our salvation with the deposit of the Spirit. 
The Spirit is God's guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.  Ephesians 1:14

So every person has a measure of the Holy Spirit.  They are like a glass of water,  The glass contains the water.  It's in there.

The disciples were given that measure. He breathed on them and they rereceived the Holy Spirit as a guarantee;
As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”22And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. John 20:21-22

Yet, there is more.  It is the promise of the Father. 
"And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven." Luke 24:49

Jesus had taught a great deal on the Holy Spirit during his ministry.

Suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he?12“Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he?13“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” Luke 11:11-13

When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”  John 16:13-15

Jesus explained what would happen when people received the Holy Spirit.

Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.38“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’”39But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
John 7: 37-39

John the Baptist talked of what would happen when the Baptism of the Holy Spirit came:

I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.12“His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”  Matthew 3:11-12

So some kind of Change must come when someone is Baptized in the Holy Spirit.

Paul the Apostle wrote about Holy Spirit Baptism. 

Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.  1 Corinthians 12:31 

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. I Corinthians 13:1

1 Corinthians 14 (which is worth reading in full from Verse 1-25.  It is an exposition of the purpose and gift of tongues and prophecy.  In this passage Paul says:

Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit
Anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit.

Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves
I would like every one of you to speak in tongues

If I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15 So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding. 16 Otherwise when you are praising God in the Spirit, how can someone else, who is now put in the position of an inquirer, say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since they do not know what you are saying? 17 You are giving thanks well enough, but no one else is edified.
18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.

When we pray in the Spirit, we communicate with God in a way only He can understand.  Spirit to Spirit communication.  Also the Spirit of God when we pray in the Spirit will intercede for us in unique ways.  It's why it's a good thing to do. 

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;27and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  Romans 8:26-27

It also builds up our faith:

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,  Jude 1:20

SO, how does that work?  How do we enter into this? 

Salvation comes first.  You can't be Baptized in the Holy Ghost without being saved.  When you are saved you get the Holy Spirit.  That was the condition of the Disciples as Jesus ascended into heaven.  He said to them as He did:

4 Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

IF you read the whole of Chapter 2, you will see the disciples (120 including MARY the mother of Jesus) were acting in ways that caused many to think they were drunk.  Yet they were changed.  Emboldened.  Filled. Empowered.  Just as Jesus said they would be.  Peter who denied Jesus a few weeks earlier now stands in front of thousands and boldly declares the truth of God. 

Many would teach that that was that... but scriptural evidence says this is not so.  The baptism of the Holy Spirit went on for years afterwards. 

The idea that Pentecost Baptism of the Holy Spirit was a one time event is wrong.

Peter went to Cornelius house Acts 10 three years after Pentecost:

44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.

He was called to account by the Jerusalem council.  He reported this:
Acts 11:
As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning.16“And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’17“Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?”18When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”

The evidence of the Holy Spirit Falling on them was what??

Then there is an event at Ephesus:
ACTS 19 Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John's baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. There were about twelve men in all.

This is at least 15 years after Pentecost. 

When we look at the instructions Paul gives to the believers in Corinth in Chap 14 and this  we start to see that being baptized in the Holy Spirit was a normal experience in the early church.  The question we must ask is how did we get away from that normative?
When did that become shunted to the background?  The epistles of Paul to the various churches overflow with references to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

It was evidently something that was quite stunning and caused some to think they wanted to "work" this for themselves.  This years after Pentecost: Acts 8

    14Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John,15who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.16For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.17Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit.18Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money,19saying, “Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”20But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!

When Peter and John laid hands on the people, something happened.  They were changed. So much so that SIMON wanted to pay to get this ability.  What was happening that was so obvious? 

Years later:
How is it that Paul the Apostle came to know what he did ABOUT the Holy Spirit?  After his Damascus Road experience he comes to the House of Ananias: 
Acts 9:17   Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again.

From all this and much more there are some truths that come from the Scriptures:
  • God wants us to be Filled with the Holy Spirit.   It is HIS will.
  • Jesus said we could.  He also said it was something we needed beyond salvation.
  • Things change when a Person is Filled with the Holy Spirit
  • There are manifestations and gifts.  1 Corinthians 12 lists them.
  • Paul Admonishes us all to speak in tongues and prophesy
  • It happened all over the place after Pentecost for years.  It still does.
  • One must want the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  It is not given without asking.
  • Many times it happens with the laying on of Hands... not always, but many times.
  • It is more than an emotional experience although it does have emotion connected to it.
  • One can expect a great change when one is filled.  There is a  before and after.
  • The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is distinct from the salvation experience.

Tongues may NOT be essential but they are part of the deal.  You don't HAVE to speak in tongues to be Baptized in the Holy Spirit, you just will.  It's the gateway gift to all the others.

Many people pray to receive and nothing seems to happen... Then sovereignley God comes upon them in a time of prayer or worship and suddenly the full manifestation takes place.  That's what makes it so wonderful, no one DOES this to you, God does it.
We have to make the sound.  We have to speak.  God then fills our mouth.  Psalm 88:10.

The last question you asked Jim is can one lose it?  The Baptism?  You can cause it to go quiet.  God's best is that we stay connected by praying in the Holy Ghost.

Paul writing to the Church at Ephesus instructed them to keep on being filled with the Spirit: Ephesians 5:
   15Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise,16making the most of your time, because the days are evil.17So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.18And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,19speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;20always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;21and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

That instruction was active, keep on doing this. Keep on your Guard. Keep on giving thanks and keep on being filled.  It's water in water out of your belly..

One last image is the Sponge.

If you have a dry sponge and squeeze it, it will not give water.

That is what we are like before we come to Jesus.

If you take a dry sponge and pour water over it, it will absorb some, but only some.  That is the Holy Spirit coming on us at salvation.  We need more to stay wet enough.

If you take that Sponge and plunge it into the water for a while, it will become so full that even picking it out of the water will cause it to drip.  If you squeeze it at all, much water  pours forth.  That is the BAPTISM of the Holy Spirit.  Baptizo in the Greek means to Immerse, Submerge.  You go where the water goes and as you pour out you are constantly refilled. 

Jim, I pray that you will diligently seek him.  He wants to reward you will all of Himself. 

Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6

Holy Spirit is fully God.  Here is
The Athanasian Creed.   A bit complex but a challenge. God rewards your hunger with HIMSELF.    WOW.  What a wonderful gift.


“the cult of the heresy hunters”

It doesn’t really matter what you call them – I prefer the term “heresy hunter” (HH), others like “Online Discernment Ministries” (ODM’s) or even “apologists”. These are not people who see a theological stance or movement, disagree with it, discuss it where necessary and move on with their lives. These are people whose sole purpose in life is to attack and sow discord among the brethren using whatever means they feel is necessary – lying, blaspheming the Holy Ghost, manipulation, fear tactics, etc.

I have taken some heat over the years because my position is that these people are not saved and/or have forsaken their salvation. Could I be wrong? Sure. Only God knows a person’s heart and only He knows what names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. But Jesus said that by their fruits we would know them, and the fruit of the heresy hunters is more poisonous than an unripe ackee.

Let’s look at what the heresy hunters use as a working definition of the word, “cult”.

Sandy Simpson of the “Apologetics Coordination Team” (Deception in the Church) writes,

“Any system of belief that desires to call itself by the name of a religion, but by its own beliefs teaches and promotes either explicitly or implicitly against the core beliefs of the religion whose name they desire to associate with, is rightly termed a “cult” of that religion.” (Sandy Simpson, Defining Terms) [source]

Sandy also quotes Alan Gomes (on the above site)

“A group of people, which claiming to be Christian, embraces a particular doctrine system taught by an individual leader, group of leaders, or organization, which system denies either explicitly or implicitly one or more of the central doctrines of the Christian Faith as taught in the sixty-six books of the Bible.” (Alan Gomes, Unmasking The Cults, Zondervan, 1995)One of the marks of today’s fanatical “discernment” witch-hunters, which include divisive Watchbloggers, overly-zealous “apologists,” and rabid Online Discernment Ministries (ODMs) is their common knack for isolating certain words, phrases, comments, or terms in hopes of painting someone as a heretic/apostate (or New Age/Liberal deceiver of some kind).

Their targets of choice are usually well-established/high profile authors, pastors/teachers, or church leaders. And if anyone seeks to defend their chosen targets (or attempts to stand for truth, as opposed to lies), then those individuals are subsequently targeted as well—and they are attacked with a level of hate and suspicion similar to that which was used against the original witch-hunter’s target.

There are two ways the heresy hunters operate in falsehood: theologically and sociologically. They mislead people into believing that God is hateful, grace is inaccessible, and the Spirit of God is powerless. They further mislead people into believing that God wants them to be suspicious of everyone and everything, that the way of Christ is hatred, that lying is an acceptable practice, and that if one does not toe the line (as defined by the heresy hunters) that one is in danger of condemnation. They exercise fear and manipulation – attempting to convince people that they are hell-bound or even unsaved if they listen to certain teachers or engage in certain BIBLICAL practices. They go to great lengths to convince people that their way is THE way and that all churches (other than their own) are suspect – no one has the truth like they do.

There is a cult in the modern Christian church – the cult of the heresy hunters. They hate God’s people and, if He shows up and does anything, they hate God Himself. In fact, one cult member state that he would rather burn in hell than serve the same God that John Burton and I serve. Given that John and I both adore our risen, living Lord and Savior, the Jesus Christ the Bible talks about, the Jesus who is the same yesterday, today, and forever… that is a disturbing statement. I cried when I heard it.

“Do not spread false reports. Do not help a wicked man by being a malicious witness.”
Exodus 23:1

“A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will perish.”
Proverbs 19:9

“Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret, him will I put to silence …”
Psalms 101:5

“Remind the people to … slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.”
Titus 3: 1-2

“Therefore rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind.”
1 Peter 2:1

The original enemy they singled out from the crowd must be exposed and destroyed for God—and all those who dare to stand in God’s way are of the devil and must also be destroyed. This was the mentality behind the Medieval witch hunts and the Salem witch trials, which is partly why such activities went unchecked. People were afraid in 1692, for example, to perhaps step up and say, “Wait! Goody Osborne be no witch!” Because if they did so, they’d find themselves on trial as well. This is what we see happening today.

Challies hits the nail on the head with these comments. The Online Discernment Ministries (ODMs) that now litter cyberspace have become a quick fix for troubled hearts and minds seeking a daily dose of negative, rancid, hate-filled rhetoric that is fed to them under the guise of ministry, spirituality, godly correction, biblical rebukes, and being on fire for God. Challies offers two exquisite scripture and some godly words of advice:

I think of Paul’s words near the close of the book of Romans where he says, “I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil” (Romans 16:19b). He wants these Christians to invest their time studying not what is evil, but what is good. When they have confidence in all that is good, the evil will become ever-more apparent.

This is not the first or only time Paul has given this exhortation. In 1 Corinthians 14:20 he wrote “Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.” And in saying this he echoes the words of Jesus who exhorted His disciples and warned them of the persecution that would come, saying “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16).

Such advice goes hand-in-hand with my most recent posts about these accusers of the brethren and the division they are causing within the church (see Don’t Believe Everything You Read…On the Internet, as well as ODM Update: Another Apologist Speaks Out, and ODMs: A Cult is Born?). We are in an era of great spiritual deception, and ironically, some of those dispensing the destructive deceptions are the very ones claiming for themselves the “We Are God’s Defenders of the Faith” label.

Tragically, today’s ODMs—who fancy themselves “contenders for the faith,” “watchmen on the wall,” Spirit-led “discerners,” and a kind of remnant of true Christians—have rushed headlong with reckless abandon toward the extreme end of the “negative” side of apologetics (see above) instead of the “positive” side of apologetics (see above).

Rather than being most concerned with defending their own faith against attacks, they have become fixated on finding error in others and correcting it. Heresy and apostasy is spun out of all kinds of non-doctrinal comments innocently made by someone or weaved out of non-doctrine-related methods of preaching that the ODM simply doesn’t like.

In other words, Walter Martin’s approach to apologetics/discernment—which had always centered on pure doctrinal assessments that focused on essentials of the faith—was perverted into heresy-hunting. The goal for today’s ODMs is no longer defending the faith. It something far more tantalizing—i.e. making sure to find error/heresy in a chosen target, using whatever means possible.

Rooting out heresy, even where it doesn’t exist, has become the prime directive.

Finding doctrinal errors in others has become the excuse for attacking others who do things slightly different and/or who might preach/teach in a way that make some uncomfortable.

Intense scrutiny of words, terms, and phrases mixed with a paranoid level of suspicion has become the modus operandi of choice.

The ODMs are nothing less than a modern, hi-tech version of the infamous Inquisition—minus the power to extract confessions and render punishments, thank God.

In my opinion, ODMs have repeatedly shown themselves to be what psychologists call pathological antagonists. This psychological disorder, more commonly used to describe individuals attacking churches/leaders with whom they are personally involved, was discussed in a highly informative article by Frontline Fellowship titled “Pathological Antagonists.” It reads, in part, as follows:

“These are not normal people, average complainers, critics and typical dissidents who are generally unhappy about life itself … they are deadly and have a knack for gathering a following of ordinary folk with common complaints and disagreements in the church. They can easily create the illusion that there are hordes of people against the pastor. They are masters at using the tyrannical they in their comments: ‘They are very unhappy about …’ or the illusive people: ‘people are saying that ….’ These are verbal instruments in the arsenal that they use to destroy a minister.”

Dr. Greenfield describes pathological antagonists/clergy killers, as persons with “a very mean spirited disposition … they are destructive. The damage that they want to inflict is intentional and deliberate. They are not out simply to disagree … they want to inflict pain and damage persons. … clergy killers are determined. They are headstrong and will stop at nothing. They may pause for a time, change strategies, even go underground to reconnoitre, but they will come back with a vengeance to continue the intimidation, networking and breaking all rules of decency to accomplish their destructive objectives. For them, their plans have priority over all other programs of the church.

These persons are deceitful … masters of manipulation, camouflage, misrepresentation and accusing others of their own atrocious deeds … experts at twisting facts. … maybe mentally disordered, but they do not yield to patience or love, nor do they honour human decency. Apparently clergy killers carry around a lot of internal pain, confusion, anger, and even rage. Spiritual leaders … become available scapegoats for this pain and confusion, which is unidentified and untreated.”

“Clergy killers are masters of intimidation, using it to violate the rules of decency and caring that most Christians try to follow. Intimidation is a powerful weapon … therefore, ministers and their supporters are easily intimidated by these persuasive and charming religious assailants. Clergy killers are experts of disguise when they see it would be to their advantage. They are able to present themselves as pious, devout and spiritual church members, who are doing their destructive work ‘for the good of the church to advance God’s Kingdom.’ They can convince na├»ve church members that they are raising legitimate issues. These religious monsters often hide among their allies of opportunity … they openly intimidate any opposition by making it clear that they will fight dirty and use any tactic to accomplish their goals. Gentle and peace-at- any-price church members are quickly sidelined by such threats, leaving ministers and those who support them to cope with the problem the best way they can.”

“Clinically speaking, … they may possess distinct personality disorders … anti-social, borderline paranoid, narcissistic … others have learnt to throw tantrums to get their selfish ways. They’ve learnt how to distract, confuse, lie and seduce to do harm to the vulnerable.”

“Clergy killers wound or destroy either by direct attacks or by inciting others to inflict the wounds. Sometimes they induce victims to self-destruct, by harassing them to the point of frustration and anger. … it only takes one or two in the church to create havoc and bedlam. Because these people live in denial as to their true nature, they would not see themselves in this chapter, even if they were to read it. Clergy killers have surrounded and insulated themselves with a whole array of defense mechanisms and justifications for their actions. They firmly believe that what they are doing in harming and terminating a minister is the right thing to do. For them, it is the will of God. Nevertheless, they are sick and mean people.”

There is a tremendous and fundamental difference between the two. As Christians, we can hold differing opinions and disagree – but  Jesus Himself commanded us to love one another (and show it. And MEAN it!) and to maintain unity. When we feel we must correct a specific person, we must follow biblical guidelines. We’d best be about His business building the Church, not tearing people down, chewing them up, and spitting them out.

We should take care ONLY to exclude those from fellowship who are clearly in error, unrepentant/continuing in their sin, and who show a shallow, casual attitude toward sin. We should also take care to note that those who presently must be excluded from the Body should be welcomed back with open arms immediately upon their repentance.

Yes. I do consider some of the heresy hunters to have crossed that line. That is my personal belief and I’ve taken some heat for it. I don’t stand in the place of God. But I do take Romans 16:17, Jude 19, and Titus 3:10 to heart.

Which brings me back around to this blog I was interacting on. Great blog, great guy who loves Jesus. Currently attacked by heresy hunters because he  accepts that Todd Bentley has repented and believes we should give him and the restoration team room to work. Of course, this makes him a heretic supreme. I’d posted a few comments, including the text of 1 Corinthians 13, especially the passage on “does not behave rudely”.

Now, whether He meant that the person is actually demon-possessed, or whether He meant that as destroyers of unity and attackers they have the same mind-set, I’m not sure. I’m not particularly sure that it matters. Regardless of whether they’re demonically influenced or simply operating from their own hearts, they are doing satan’s work.

What does God’s Word say about it?

But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another… Therefore, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another, even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts… Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. (Colossians 3:8,9,12-15, 4:6 NKJV)

It’s often not what you say… it’s the spirit in which you say it. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34) – Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. (James 3:10).

Let me be very clear: THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH ACCURATELY, LOVINGLY, BIBLICALLY, AND TRUTHFULLY defending the faith and the Gospel by pointing out the errors of public teachers/preachers (or churches and organizations). We are not only to defend our own personal faith when asked (1 Peter 3:15), but when necessary, we are to preach the word of God, as well as “reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction” (2 Tim. 4:2).

But these ODMs are not speaking the truth, let alone speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). They are not defending the faith. They are not engaging in actual apologetics. And they are not using biblical approaches to sound doctrinal critiquing. They are dividing the Body of Christ. They are falsely accusing the brethren. They are spreading fear, hate, and slander.

Rather than showing themselves to be legitimate apologists, they have proven repeatedly that they are actually torch-bearing witch-hunters seeking targets of opportunity—i.e., public figures that they can conveniently mold and shape (via false accusations and misrepresentation) into some heretic/apostate using cult-like psychological manipulation tactics on those who read their cyberspace venom. Their modus operandi is much like the one used by Commie-hunters during the infamous McCarthy Era of the 1950s and its so-called “hearings,” wherein innocent persons were accused left and right of being Communists based on false evidence, groundless speculation, and trumped up charges (see the semi-documentary movie

have now begun to tread dangerously close to becoming a “cult” not only from a psychological perspective, but from a theological perspective as well. An good argument can be made for this observation based on the apparent willingness of these ODMs to add extra-biblical conditions of salvation to the pure Gospel, which is salvation by grace alone through faith alone. In fact, there is an ever-growing list of conditions being attached by the ODMs to the Gospel that include:

• the “biblical”/”Christian” way to think about politics and/or political candidates;
• the “biblical”/”Christian” position on certain theological issues over which believers can legitimately disagree;
• the “biblical”/”Christian” method of preaching from the pulpit;
• the “biblical”/”Christian” judgment of a specific pastor/teacher
• the “biblical”/”Christian” songs (or music styles) appropriate for worship;
• the “biblical”/”Christian” stand on what is appropriate entertainment for Christians (i.e., what music one can and cannot listen to, what movies one can and cannot watch, etc.);
• the “biblical”/”Christian” perspective on the end-times;
• the “biblical”/”Christian” take on debatable points of non-essential doctrines;
• the “biblical”/”Christian” limits on associations/friendships a believer can have with unbelievers;

The list goes on, and on, and on……..and on. The bottom line for them seems to be that if a person does not share THEIR exact mindset regarding one or more of the above, then that person is unregenerate, heretical, unsaved, lost, in need of repentance, apostate, or a deceiver. Such an attitude, of course, tramples a number of biblical verses that deal with freedom(s) in Christ (Rom. 14; Gal. 2:4) and passages indicating that Jesus is our Lord/Master before whom we stand or fall (Rom. 14:4). Also relevant are Christ’s words: “‘If you abide in my word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’” (John 8:31-32).

In other words, we are free in Christ from the “yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1), which is not only a reference to the slavery to sin, death, and the world, but also any kind of slavery to rules/dos-and-don’ts (or the Law)—i.e., the kind of slavery that Pharisee-like religious leaders and misguided religious zealots invariably place on the backs of those seeking to follow God in humility, peace, joy, and spiritual freedom.

More importantly, and more obvious, is the fact that none of the items in the aforementioned “biblical”/”Christian” checklist are part of the pure and simple Gospel of Jesus Christ, which Paul clearly outlined in (1 Cor. 15:1-4):

“I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…”

It is the height of irony that these ODMs would add anything to the pure and simple Gospel because by doing so they are actually compromising the very Gospel that they are claiming to defend! And this is also what makes their words and actions so tragic.

When ODM people make such strident & narrow charges against other Christians, even against pastors & other Christian leaders, they are guilty of breaking the commandment about not bearing false witness.

They don’t even have to say anything false, they just have to say it with rigidity & condemnation & they stifle their target’s ability to be used by God—flaws & all—in extending the kingdom through the preaching of the simple gospel.

When ODM people demand their own brand of sophisticated, theologically complex ‘orthodoxy’ to keep them from denouncing anyone else, they also prohibit young & growing Christians from candidly sharing their faith in their own unsophisticated, simple way from fear of intimidation by those more articulate.

Finally, when ODM people demand completely precise & complex theological jargon from every Christian who speaks or writes about his faith, they abort any candid theological development through discussion; “iron sharpening iron” becomes “knives slicing bloodily through the sheep.”

There would never have been lay evangelism or theological development or common martyrdom if the early church had been cursed with the high-handed judgmentalism of the ODM community.

Most tragic is how so-called “Christians” are contributing to this proliferation of misinformation and disinformation throughout cyberspace. It’s almost beyond belief that individuals supposedly indwelt by the Holy Spirit could be partakers of such activity. But the facts show that a significant number of “Christian” blogs & websites have indeed become dedicated to attacking others; more specifically, dedicated to attacking other Christians!

And such attacks are not just limited to simple assaults on other points of view, but penetrate into the realm of questioning another person’s Christianity, misrepresenting the faith of others, and deliberately seeking to destroy the reputation of various public figures (i.e., fellow believers). These persons have actually formed a new “cult” of sorts. This “cult,” which I have termed the “Cult of Online Discernment Ministries (ODMs),” has demonstrated that its real mission/ministry is the destruction of fellow Christians with whom they disagree. Ironically, they do it under the guise of defending the faith against cults and false doctrine via apologetics/discernment.

The result has been a great division within the church—unnecessary division because their attacks are based on things that have NOTHING to do with doctrinal teachings or whether or not a person is in the church. They base their attacks on:

- political views,
- methods of preaching,
- preferred styles of music/dress,
- different perspectives on various non-essentials of the faith,
- positions on eschatology,
- public friendships/associations they enjoy with certain believers/unbelievers
- certain verbiage used to communicate biblical truths

The targets of these Online Discernment Ministries (ODMs) are summarily labeled heretics, false teachers, deceivers, conspiratorial players in some Antichrist scenario, apostates, fake brethren who lead fake churches, compromisers, New Age sympathizers—the list goes on and on. Unfortunately, the way these people/ministries make their charges stick is by use of:

- half-truths,
- false information,
- outright lies,
- faulty reasoning,
- unsubstantiated assumptions,
- quotes taken out of context, and
- manipulation of facts

As a public figure, I myself have been enduring this kind of persecution for years—as have several of my friends and associates in ministry. It’s been discouraging, frustrating, and painful to witness. So, for the sake of all that is good, right, true, just and biblical—don’t believe everything you read on the Internet:

- Test all things, and hold fast to that which is good (1 Thess. 5:21).
- Verify information before you simply believe it.
- Go to the actual sources of isolated quotes that sound damning (they’re often taken out of context).
- Contact, if you can, the person being attacke and ask them for confirmation of what you’ve heard.

And for those of you who, like me, have had unkind/untrue things said about them on the Internet, hang in there. JUDGMENT WILL ONE DAY COME.

I close these word of warning/caution with a quote taken from someone who, in my personal opinion (as a professional apologist for over 15 years), is one of the worst of the worst ODMs. This ODM has posted her attacks repeatedly against God’s people and encourages others to do likewise (very much like Jezebel encouraged false charges to be brought against God’s people, see 1 Kings 21:10). She stated the following in one of her recent posts:

“Technology affords so many opportunities now to communicate with others and the world that can be used for good. It also offers us many new snares and opportunities to sin. . . . [W]e need to be ready to examine ourselves and honestly look at our motives and behavior in light of God’s Word. If we can’t control the temptation a technology brings, we need to do rapid surgery and get rid of it so that Satan does not gain a foothold in our lives. If we can use a technology for God’s glory with a clear conscience, we need to carry on and thank God for the opportunity.”


“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”
Exodus 20:15

“Do not spread false reports. Do not help a wicked man by being a malicious witness.”
Exodus 23:1

“A perverse man stirs up dissension and a gossip separates close friends.”
Proverbs 16:28

“An angry man stirs up dissension.”
Proverbs 29:22

“A truthful witness gives honest testimony, but a false witness tells lies.”
Proverbs 12:17

“A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will perish.”
Proverbs 19:9

“Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow is the man who gives false testimony against his neighbor.”
Proverbs 25:18

“Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret, him will I put to silence …”
Psalms 101:5

“He who conceals his hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool.”
Proverbs 10:18

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”
Ephesians 4:31

“Remind the people to … slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.”
Titus 3: 1-2

“The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire and is itself set on fire by hell.”
James 3:6

“Therefore rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind.”
1 Peter 2:1

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Garris Elkins: A Vision of His Defining Light

Garris ElkinsWe have just come through a moment in time where the Church has been repositioned into a new place. Few of us really understand this new position. Something has changed. This new place is not yet fully defined, but will become more evident with each passing day as we seek God's face.
As I prayed to understand this repositioning, I began to see an image. In the image we were standing in a dark room. I could sense this was a room of transition. I could see someone standing at a dimmer switch that controlled the level of light allowed into the room.
As the dimmer switch was moved up, the level of light within the room began to increase. Those of us in the room started to see dimly lit objects around us. Things that seemed fuzzy in the low light level now began to take shape and definition. As the room became fully illuminated, four objects in the room became visible – a box, a boat, a sword and a journal.
I Saw a Box of Expired Methods
As I looked across the room, the first object I saw was a box. It looked like one of those antique wooden steamer trunks used for travel a hundred years ago. Across the face of the box was a large label that read, "Expired."
God was letting me know that some of the methods of ministry we have used in the past would no longer be used in the future – they had expired their season of usefulness. Methods that worked in the past had become, for some, a place where faith was no longer needed. The methodology linked to the known methods had now replaced the vulnerability of stepping forward in faith.
I Saw a Boat With a Punctured Hull
In the side of the hull of the boat was a large hole, just below the water line. It was obvious this boat would not be able to float if launched. This hole was defined as "Self-promotion."
Self-promotion had punctured the hull of the ship where ministry was allowed to become an industry. Industry in the natural requires promotion and advertising in order to survive in the marketplace. I felt the grieving of the Lord over this issue, when He said to me, "If I be lifted up – not what you do in My name – I will draw all men to Myself." I began to repent of this very sin in my own heart.
I Saw a Sword With a Dull and Chipped Blade
This sword was large, like a medieval knight's war-sword. The dulled edge of the sword was also chipped. I got the sense that it had been used to strike objects in its dulled state and was chipped because it had lost its ability to cut.
I knew this sword represented the Word of God. At first, I tried to understand what this meant since God's Word is described to us as "active, alive and sharp." The Word of God is a powerful weapon, so why was it not cutting?
I began to understand what I was seeing – this was an image of the Word in our hand unused, not the Word in its purest sense. The Word in the hands of some has grown dull because of the lack of use. Our opinions about life, ministry and the Kingdom had replaced the Word. As a result, it was easier to try and use the sword as a weapon to motivate people toward our opinions.
I believe God is asking some of us to navigate this new place through a return to a Word-based understanding of life and calling. As these images and words came to my mind, the blade of the sword began to repair and glisten in sharpness under the reflecting light in the room.
I Saw a Journal Covered With Dust
This journal was titled "Principles." There was a layer of dust covering the journal. This journal of principles had not been handled for a long time. I began to understand that principles we discovered in the last season had become slogans for our lives in the current season. These principles had lost their power because they had not been used. They had only been spoken, observed and recorded. The dust had gathered on this journal of principles because they had not been handled and had not come in contact with our inner man.
As I continued to view this now fully illuminated room and its contents, I realized God was calling us to see clearly and to make adjustments that will yield abundance and fruitfulness in this new place. The Early Church did not walk in assumption, nor did they follow intricate and developed long-term plans. They lived in the moment, dependent upon God to illuminate each step they took. This dependence on Him kept the room of their lives clear and uncluttered so they could move freely into the new and unchartered future of faith.
Father God, turn up the light of Your presence in the room of our lives. Show us the clutter. Show us what we need to reactivate. Make Yourself known to us in this new place so that we can move forward into the full light of Your presence.
Garris Elkins, Senior Leader
Living Waters Church – Medford, Oregon


The Marks of GLORY

I treasure the GLORY OF GOD when HE shows up. I will chase after HIM till I encounter the true and living God's Glory. Tuesday night at Crusaders during the prayer time the minstrels were playing and singing in a spontaneous symphony.  Apostle John Eckhardt was crying out to God to Send HIS Glory.  Suddenly HE showed up.  His Glory Came.  Not the whole night, but in a kairos time. You can't manufacture or gin these things up, they come in response to hunger.

I am sensitive to these things because I have been there before. Not often enough. Once you have been in the Glory, you know it, you smell it, you feel it, it's tangible, it has weight. We hit that place for a brief time at Crusaders. God IS the rewarder of those who diligently seek him.  He rewarded us Tuesday night. 

When the Glory Comes I have a sensation that washes over me.  It's the "come up here" sound.  I feel like I may just float up and fly around the room. It happens so seldom that I can almost remember every time it has. Twice at First Assembly in Fargo: Once in the Old building during a late night prayer meeting, once in the new building during a Sunday evening meeting.   Then there was a meeting with Rodney Howard Browne at the Bible Camp during a men's retreat.  Once at Faith Center at one of the Praise Nights. And again Tuesday Night at Crusaders. There may be a few others, but too few in any case.  When it happens, it's amazing. Stunning.

People need to experience the Glory of God. They need to know what it is like. Experiencing the Glory creates hunger. There are too many saints not knowing spiritual hunger because they don't know what it is like to be filled.... They believe that there is nothing more then the starving emptiness of the Christianity they experience now.

Once a person has truly been in that place you are changed forever.  You are Marked by Glory.  The imprint on you is permanent.  The Apostle Paul tried to talk of it.  The marks of an Apostle.  He spoke of it in 2 Corinthians 12: 1-6.  He speaks of being called up into Glory, how it changed him and how he now struggles to get there once again.

IF we are going to see people change, they are going to know the Glory of God.  There are a lot of episodes in the Bible where the Glory came and people responded to it, the real question is,  were they changed?  Every person who had a true encounter with the Living God in Glory according to the Scripture was never the same again.  Never.  For the rest of their lives they sought to get there once more.  At the end of their life as they stepped from time into eternity the Glory manifested forever.  When you have once truly been there, in Glory, you will have a permanent longing to stand near the throne of God on the Crystal Sea... Revelation 4.  You know the reality of Revelation 7.  Nothing else satisfies.  That is being Marked by the Glory of God.  All this can happen on this side of the Veil.  You can have Glory HERE.  But you will long for the Crystal Sea.

I know a Pastor, a decent man, when I first met him and considered partnering with him, I asked him about his encounters with God.  Tell me a bit about what you have known and seen.  He had lots of book knowledge.  He knew the word.  He had heard good preaching.  He had participated in some good worship. I waited to hear him talk about that time when the Glory of God had overtaken him.  Like a Paul the Apostle Overtaking.  It never came.  Even when I pushed, and gave an example of how others had been so marked, he couldn't relate.  Today he is the pastor of a large church.  Not yet a thousand but well on the way.  He knows more about church growth than anyone I know.  He knows how to gather a crowd.  BUT, he hasn't yet been marked by Glory.

I don't think he is a bad man.  He will get to heaven.  He will have a good life.  He will grow a mighty church.  He will have a powerful ministry.  He will have just missed the Glory... on this side of the veil.

For that he is to be pitied.  In this spiritual climate in the USA we must have our leaders, ministers, prophets, Evangelists, apostles, pastors and teachers have a genuine encounter with the Glory of God.  Marked by the Holy Spirit.  Ephesians 1:13  "Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit".  It's more than speaking in tongues, it's more than the Gifts of the Spirit, It's a visitation... OF GLORY.  Without it as this, when revival (with persecution) comes, those who have not known this will falter.

I pray that every person who reads this will be stirred to seek First His Kingdom... for it is a Kingdom of his GLORY.  You will be marked forever,  never to be the same.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Kim Clement: Two Giants Will Be Brought Down and Two Forces Will Be Released

Kim ClementDecember 31, 2012 - From Israel:
Two Giant Spirits Will Be Brought Down
Let me tell you the things that I saw when I was praying, especially today, this morning as I was praying, that there are two giant spirits that are going to be brought down. There are a lot of forces that control generations, that control cultures, and that control even seasons. A lot of people think because there's so much evil going on that there's no good going on. We don't understand and realize that there's something powerful emerging, and very few people actually get it, because you have to perceive it.
The one spirit that I spoke of earlier and that I've taught you on was the spirit of pythos or python. Remember, when I had my vision just about the time of the election, I said that there's a python (that speaks of a spiritual force that strangles, as you know). A python suffocates its victim. And most people don't even know this – that a python can barely see or barely hear, but it has a tongue that senses the chemicals and the dust, so when there's a lot of dust, it gets its victim that way. I taught the people that this force wants to strangle us, and many of you felt that suffocation.
But the Spirit of the Lord spoke clearly to me and He said within the first 80-100 days, the birthing of more of these spirits is going to be crushed and destroyed. We know that, and a lot of people are saying, "But what's going to happen in the first 80-100 days starting in January?" That's what's exciting about the prophetic. God will say something or speak something and we've got to work it out. That's the problem; we want everything to be handed over. The thing He spoke to me about was the thing that He's dealing with – the spirit of pythos, or python, which speaks of suffocation. Religion is the thing that suffocates a lot of people.
The second thing He said that's going to happen is He's going to destroy, or bring to an end, a spirit of impenitence; in other words, impenitence, which means not being remorseful. People are not remorseful; they're obstinate, they're unpersuaded, they're callous, they're shameless; they're unrepentant. I want you to know that's going to come to an end. Now, of course, there'll always be people that are callous; that are unpersuaded to do good – evil is happening all the time. We understand that. But He said that particular force is going to be dealt a severe blow so that there'll be an openness from the people to change, an openness to be sorrowful.
You watch how that happens. We've had preachers trying to get people to repent and to get them to get on their knees, and to force them down and say, "If you don't, hellfire and brimstone are going to come," but that's not what it is. The goodness of God leads a man to repentance.
David said these words – he said, "Your gentleness has made me great." Where are these virtues? Where are these characteristics that the Church used to hold close to them – good works? You watched how we've done good works; we met with the mayor this week, and you're going to see all that happened this whole week. We went to see an orphanage, and beautiful things happened.
Two Forces Being Released
He spoke about two things that are going to happen as we step into 2013. Number one is a force of acceleration. I was praying in my garden the other day and He used the word "Swift," and He said to me, "I want you to say that word over and over and over – swift, swiftly" – that's what He said to me. "Say it over and over because this is going to happen; you're going to be swift." I didn't understand it and I thought, "What does that mean?"
When I was praying today He said, "Tell the people that there is going to be a force of acceleration and of swiftness." I looked up the word "swift" and this is what it means: capable of moving with great speed or velocity. It means no further delay. I want everyone watching me all over the world to say it – no further delay! No further delay! No further delay! What does this mean? It means that what is yours has been delayed because of the enemy slowing you down, suffocating you.
Listen to me – pythos, what does it do? It suffocates you and you begin to fall down and you cannot go any further. Some of you have felt the life drained out of you. Some of you feel like you cannot wake up in the morning. This is going to be declared null and void if you will accept it today when we go onto that mountain. Listen to me – the force of acceleration is going to be released to replace the force of pythos, which is the strangulation taking your breath away, so that you have life.
The second thing He said was He's releasing a force of lightning. I have a lot to say about this but I cannot do it now, and I want you to know that Code Breakers has worked out something so close to Firepointe, that I got this morning, which I'm going to share with you as we go into the New Year because it's a very clear word about lightning and how resources are going to come through this and it's going to be released during the year of 2013.
Now listen what the Spirit says: "Get ready, prepare yourselves for days of celebration. I told you that there are forces that have held on. Watch Greece; watch Europe as you see things changing, as I loosen the grip of your enemy. America, you have said, 'More evil has taken place,' but," God said, "I'm going to take you into a place of complete victory. For those who would believe it and those who would say it and those who would receive it, I will shake the enemy. But today you have to join in and say, 'Starting right now,' because," God said, "it's starting this very moment," says the Lord.
Kim and Sunil are talking about the natural gas fields in Israel and how they are now forecasting they are big enough to sustain Israel for 150 years, not 40 years as originally thought, and how other nations are beginning to invest (Australia).
Sunil: Kim had a word this morning as he was preparing for Masada, and he actually sent this to me and I'm just going to throw this out there so that you can research.
Kim: This was this morning when I was praying; I got this word. Actually, what was happening was I was praying for synchronicity. I was praying for us to be synchronized, and suddenly this word came out and I thought, "What is this word that just came out of me?" Please listen; everybody listen to this, because you've spoken about Firepointe and you've said, "What's going to happen about it?" It seems like the Heavens are opening up for this to happen so that there will be many people debt-free in these next few years starting now in 2013. That's an important issue, because if God gives us a key, like He's going to now, and we keep our eye on it and we invest in it, many of you can be debt-free. You may be saying, "Kim, I don't even see that." Well, you're going to see it today because you're leaving 2012 and we're going into 2013 with a new perception and with some new thoughts the Spirit has given to me. Now, [Sunil], read to them what I wrote to you so they can see how special this is.
Sunil: Kim wrote to me: "I heard the word synchroton. The Spirit has been telling me that during 2013 there will be two forces released which would affect the medical field as well as weapons which would protect America and other nations against the imminent attacks from Russia, North Korea, and these Middle Eastern nations. He gave me two forces, angels and spirits, that would be released: 1) acceleration, or swiftness, and 2) lightning and light."
Kim Clement
Prophetic Image Expressions


When someone tries to set you straight, be careful who you listen to

But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don't need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true--it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ. 1 John 2:27 NLT

When someone tries to teach me that something I know by the Spirit is true or discounts what I have experienced, I find myself wondering why they think they have an edge in this area? How did they come to some understanding that the Spirit of God in ME rails against? One of us is wrong, his teaching or the Spirit of God that lives in me. I know where I will place my bet. Lean not on your own understanding....

There is a place to be taught, there is a place to learn, but when you come to a certain place you ought to be the one teaching and discipling, not ever learning. We have this wrong in the western church. A sermon should be an anomaly among the mature Holy Spirit filled saints of GOD. Not-
"always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth". 2 Timothy 3:7.

The writer of Hebrews says it best and it's an indictment on how we do church:
Hebrews 5:12 By now you should be teachers. Instead, you still need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word. You need milk, not solid food. 13 All those who live on milk lack the experience to talk about what is right. They are still babies. 14 However, solid food is for mature people, whose minds are trained by practice to know the difference between good and evil.

Let's grow up saints, and stop listening to every wind of doctrine that tries to knock us off the solid rock.  I don't know if that is prophetic, but it is what the Spirit of the Lord is saying today.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

On the Godhead... See if you can get your head around this

The Athanasian Creed.

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled; without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons; nor dividing the Essence. For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is; such is the Son; and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreated; the Son uncreated; and the Holy Ghost uncreated. The Father unlimited; the Son unlimited; and the Holy Ghost unlimited. The Father eternal; the Son eternal; and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three eternals; but one eternal. As also there are not three uncreated; nor three infinites, but one uncreated; and one infinite. So likewise the Father is Almighty; the Son Almighty; and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties; but one Almighty. So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord; the Son Lord; and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords; but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity; to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord; So are we forbidden by the catholic religion; to say, There are three Gods, or three Lords. The Father is made of none; neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created; but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten; but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is before, or after another; none is greater, or less than another. But the whole three Persons are coeternal, and coequal. So that in all things, as aforesaid; the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved, let him thus think of the Trinity.

Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation; that he also believe faithfully the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess; that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; God, of the Essence of the Father; begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the Essence of his Mother, born in the world. Perfect God; and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; and inferior to the Father as touching his Manhood. Who although he is God and Man; yet he is not two, but one Christ. One; not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh; but by assumption of the Manhood by God. One altogether; not by confusion of Essence; but by unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man; so God and Man is one Christ; Who suffered for our salvation; descended into hell; rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into heaven, he sitteth on the right hand of the God the Father Almighty, from whence he will come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men will rise again with their bodies; And shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire. This is the catholic faith; which except a man believe truly and firmly, he cannot be saved.

Matt Sorger: 13 Prophetic Insights and Decrees for 2013

As I waited upon God, going into 2013, I received these words from the Lord. Some came in the form of impressions, others came as visions and some came as Scriptures that God was breathing on for this season. Prophetic words are an invitation from the Lord. I sense the following 13 prophetic insights are to be decrees that we aggressively pursue for 2013. They are invitations for us to lay hold of.
13 Prophetic Insights and Decrees
1. Stagnant waters will be stirred in a fresh way. I saw pools of Bethesda stirring again and a fresh healing stir being released. God wants His people to lay hold of the divine healing anointing in a fresh way this year. I saw deep seated, lingering disorders being healed, even down to the chromosome level. I saw stubborn areas within the soul and flesh being healed that people have battled with for years.
In John 5:2-5, 9, Christ performs a healing on the Sabbath. Jesus never did anything by chance or accident. He was very purposeful in His intention. God is calling His people to access His healing and power from a place of rest. The Sabbath is more than just a day of rest. It's a spiritual position of rest. In Christ we enter into the Sabbath. We receive because of the finished work Christ has done on the Cross. Rather than begging God for what He has already done, we are to simply step in and receive the finished work. A new level and substance of faith is coming into the heart to receive the finished work. God is highlighting the spirit of faith and understanding the finished work of Christ. Living from the Sabbath position will be crucial in obtaining all God has for us.
2. A prophetic ear will be given to not only hear but to also listen and comprehend. This hearing will also occur from a position of rest in His presence. Key Scriptures are 1 Samuel 3:3, 10. In a time of no widespread revelation and where the eyes of the high priest Eli were growing dim, the light was still burning in the temple near the ark. As Samuel rested before the ark in the presence of God, the voice of God speaks to him. After several times of hearing but not understanding, Samuel is instructed by Eli to say, "Speak Lord for your servant is listening."
There is a big difference between hearing and listening. God is refining the prophetic ear and the prophetic movement. He is calling His prophets and His people to come into a place of rest in His presence in the light of revelation. From that place the voice of God will speak. Not only will His voice be heard, but it will be listened to and comprehended. A new clarity of hearing and perceiving God's voice is coming. It will not be by self-effort or striving; it will be from resting in His presence. Not by might, not by power, but by the Spirit of the Lord.
3. New language will be given by God to properly and clearly communicate truths God is highlighting and speaking. For example, the term "soaking" was not used until the outpouring of God's Spirit in the 90s. This term helped explain the concept of being filled with God's presence. New language will be given by the Spirit to more deeply and clearly understand truths God is bringing forth of spiritual realities.
4. God is giving the blueprints for the new wineskin He is forming. In Joshua 3:3-6, the people were to follow the ark into a way they have never gone before. As we follow the moving of the presence of God, He will lead us by His Spirit into places we have never gone before. The walk of sanctification will be vital in preparation for the wonders God will do. God is saying to be ready to pull the tent pegs up. When the cloud of His presence moves we need to move with Him. We have to be willing to fold up old structures and ways of doing things in order to stay current and fresh with God. God's marching orders will be given. There will be new alignments and relational structures to facilitate the move of God.
5. We will not continue to do things the same way. The cloud of God is moving and with that our activities will shift. Our focuses will shift. Some old structures will have to adapt and morph with the new way God is moving. There will be fresh Spirit-led activity. God doesn't want us to be busy. He wants us to be fruitful. Forms, structures and even activities we have done in the past may shift as God moves in new ways. Be prepared to let go of some things and to embrace and step into some new things you haven't done before. It will be vital to go where the Spirit is breathing. Don't hold onto something God isn't breathing on any longer. Be fruitful by moving and being led by the Spirit.
6. God will be highlighting and deepening within His people an understanding of the true identity of the Believer. Revelation of how to live out of union with God will come forth. We will understand our oneness with God and live out of our inner spirit man. For those who are one with God are one spirit with Him (1 Corinthians 6:17, 19).
7. God is going to bring revelation into foundational, spiritual truths. Things we thought we knew and understood, God is going to have us look again and He is going to give us deeper revelation and understanding into things we thought we knew for years. Look back upon foundational truths, and new light and revelation will be shone upon them bringing the manifestation of true spiritual realities.
8. The understanding of spiritual warfare is shifting. We are moving from "warfare" breakthrough to a "decreeing and establishing" breakthrough. This will occur with a deeper revelation of who and where we are. Rather than fighting into the second heaven from being under, we will rule and reign from the third Heaven being over. I understand that we wrestle not with flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12), and that even Jesus experienced personal warfare when He was tempted by the devil and overcame by the spoken Word of God. This warfare will not be fought to obtain victory, but will be fought from a place of victory.
Christians will live from a third Heaven reality, understanding how to establish on earth as it is in Heaven. A new perspective, a new revelation and with it a new manifestation of Kingdom authority will be released. God is bringing people into a new level of spiritual authority. Ephesians 2:5-6 are key Scriptures. The Church will shift from an Old Testament model of spiritual warfare (Daniel 10:13) into a New Testament revelation of establishing what has already been won (Colossians 2:15).
9. This is the season of the fulfillment of dreams. Many are being brought from a time where the word of the Lord tested them. The second dream to Joseph was highlighted to me in Genesis 37:9-11. In it Joseph sees eleven stars and the sun and the moon bowing down to him, speaking of his promotion into a position of authority and influence. Eleven plus two is thirteen, the number of this year. People are going to step into the manifestation of unfulfilled dreams. The warfare of the last season is being washed away and a new heavenly perspective is being granted. Just as Joseph's betrayal and trial maneuvered him into his assignment and destiny, so will the trials and testings in our lives propel us into our destinies. Key Scriptures are Genesis 37:9, Genesis 45:5-8, Psalm 105:17-24.
10. God is delivering people from burdens. But it's not just the removal of burdens. As Psalm 81:6-7 says, He will remove our shoulder from the burden and bring deliverance. This is different than the burden being removed from us. It's us being removed from under the burden. Get ready for divine shifting that will maneuver you out from underneath burdens into a place of deliverance. In other words, situations or people may stay the same, but you will be maneuvered out from underneath them. It's a season of deliverance for those who call on the name of the Lord.
Psalm 105:37-44 show 10 promises accompanying this deliverance. These include financial provision, divine health, fear of the Lord on the enemy, the covering of His presence, light in the darkness, food, dry places refreshed, joy, lands and nations, and reaping where you haven't labored. Lay hold of these promises for you, your family, church, ministry and business.
11. There is a generational convergence taking place. It's a season for new, young leaders to be mentored and raised up. Generations are converging together and will function together in relationship for the purpose of multiplication. Generational wells and new wells will open together. Fathers and mothers will take their place and sons and daughters will come into their place. Those that have not been fathers will now step into a fathering role. Genesis 26:18-24 are key Scriptures for this.
12. I saw a vision of an open door. This is the year of the open door. As we run through it we will come into divine acceleration. New favor, new opportunities and new advancements. Key Scriptures are Revelations 3:7-13. God will keep us from the hour of trial coming upon the whole earth. It's time to hold fast what you have so no one robs you of your crown. Have patient endurance. The name of God will be upon us.
13. I saw a vision of the Lord blowing upon a flickering flame. Usually when someone blows on a candle the flame goes out. But as God breathed upon the flame within us it got brighter and hotter. It will be a season of renewing our first love for God (Revelation 2:2-7). God is bringing both an encouragement and warning that if our works are not done from the place of first love, the candlestick can be removed. Ministry work must be done from the place of first love for Jesus. God is calling people back to the simplicity of worship and living a life in His presence. This will also bring deeper consecration, holiness and divine fire as a result. A key verse is Matthew 12:20, A smoldering wick He will not snuff out.
I encourage you to pray over these 13 prophetic insights and decrees. Meditate on them and apply them to your lives as the Holy Spirit leads you.
Matt Sorger
Matt Sorger Ministries


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Righteousness is NOT what you think, Generosity is not expressed in your Tithes and Offerings

People do NOT truly know what it means to be righteous.  They think it has to do with being sinless, being upright, decent, honorable.  While that maybe part of it,  there is one key issue regarding righteousness.  Read these passages then YOU tell ME what it means.  It will answer a question, are you truly Righteous?  Or simply saved by the blood of the Lamb.  They are very two different things.  I know many saved unrighteous people.  Time to get real about our righteousness.

Matthew 6:33 Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Psalm 37:25  I have been young and now I am old, Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken Or his descendants begging bread.

Proverbs 10:3 The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.

Matthew 6:1-2 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

Psalm 112
Blessed are those who fear the Lord,
    who find great delight in his commands.
2 Their children will be mighty in the land;
    the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches are in their houses,
    and their righteousness endures forever.
4 Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
    for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.
5 Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely,
    who conduct their affairs with justice.
6 Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
    they will be remembered forever.
7 They will have no fear of bad news;
    their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
8 Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;
    in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
9 They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor,
    their righteousness endures forever;
    their horn will be lifted high in honor.
10 The wicked will see and be vexed,
    they will gnash their teeth and waste away;
    the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.

Proverbs 11:24-25 Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. The generous (Righteous?) will prosper;those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.

I'm going to allow the text to interpret the text.  We can have all those things added unto us IF we seek first the Kingdom AND HIS Righteousness.  A little heart check.

I heard the Lord say this morning, "You cannot Winnow without Wind"

Most people in urbanized America don't know what winnowing is.  They think they do, sorta.  As one person said in a Bible Study, "I think I know what wheat is, but I don't know what a winnowing fork is".  This in response to the passage where John the Baptist speaks of Jesus:  "He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”  Luke 3:16b-17.
Since we have a dearth of knowledge about things agricultural there are a few things we need to know in order to grasp the critical truth of this passage.  I got this from the Lord early this morning.  It is the result of a spirited discussion I was having with a man who is exploring the things of God and believes he has cornered the truth.  I was trying to help him see that much of what he believes is absolute truth so much chaff.  Many people have strongholds that have been erected against the knowledge of God.  They are not all sin based.  Some are traditions, theologies, beliefs and doctrine that have trampled underfoot the shed blood of Jesus.  Certitude is the enemy of Faith.

The Lord said to me, "You cannot winnow without wind".  I love when He speaks in a simple word like that.  It all became clear in a split second.

I grew up in windy North Dakota.  I was a farm kid.  We grew wheat.  We used machines to combine and separate the wheat from the chaff.  Sometimes our machines didn't do very well and we ended up with a lot of chaff in the wheat.  When the wind was blowing, We would take a scoop shovel of dirty wheat, throw it up in the windy atmosphere and watch the wind do it's thing.  What came back to earth was clean; wheat alone.  The chaff was gone with the wind.

Back in Jesus day, they didn't have harvest machines.  The wheat, straw, and everything was gathered from the field.  Shocks of wheat.  Bundles.  Then they were brought to the threshing floor.  Either an animal would tread on the wheat to crush it out of it's head (Ox perhaps) or someone with a blunt instrument would beat the wheat heads until the grains would release and fall to the floor.  The result was you then had wheat and chaff (including stubble) laying on the floor.  Mixed.  Not yet good for making bread.

IF the wind would come up of sufficient velocity the farmer would take a fork designed to lift and throw the chaff and wheat from the threshing floor up into the air.  The steady wind would blow away the chaff leaving only the clean wheat on the floor ready for storage in the barn.  It was only that which was useful.  It was only that which could be made into bread that would sustain life.

This process would accumulate a pile of chaff and stubble near the threshing floor.  It had no value.  It was actually an eyesore and presented a danger.  If the wind stirred around it could re infiltrate the cleaned wheat on the ground.  So, once it was separated it was burned to avoid this re pollution.

I explain all this in detail because the spiritual truth in it is profound.  Look at what John the Baptizer said, he said Jesus would come to baptize with the Holy Ghost and with Fire. A thresher man winnows with the wind and the useless chaff is quickly burned up in fire.  The metaphor is made.

This verse has often been interpreted to talk of believers and unbelievers.  It of course can be applied that way somewhat, but the Holy Ghost didn't come to condemn people to eternal fire.  It came to blow away false doctrine, chaff like beliefs and the traditions of men.  John the Baptizer also talked of how the Axe was already laid to the root of the tree.  That was also about cutting away false traditions, not about killing trees.

Here's the difficult truth.  You can't separate the wheat from the chaff without wind.  You can't discern empty theology and beliefs without the wind of the Holy Spirit.  The Mighty Rushing wind at Pentecost swept away centuries of false belief systems.  He is still doing his winnowing work today in the lives of men.  We are suffering under the oppression of false belief systems that are strongholds erected by the enemy to keep us from the knowledge of God.  It is insidious.  Properly applied wind can tear them down.  Late last night the wind blew thru.  It was so intense that the doors of our house shook from the change of pressure.  Stronghold shaking wind.

Yet, many churches keep trying to teach and preach to develop pure wheat in their people without the power of the Holy Spirit.  They are stuck on a windless threshing floor going thru the motions of tossing up the wheat and chaff together and ending up with the same wheat and chaff on the floor after it's all done.  Lots of effort, no results.

Powerless preaching means the chaff remains.  No wind no wheat.

What does the wind look and sound like? You can't see it. You can't describe it. You might hear it's sound. But scripture says that even if you don't see it, you can still see it's effect.
  "The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."  John 3:8

When worship is pure and powerful, when the prophetic word blows thru a place and sets things in order, when the evangelist comes to stir up and release Holy Ghost power of conviction and repentance, when healings, deliverance, restoration happens, demons are are cast out, dead people are raised, people cleansed and hearts turned from stone to flesh.  Those are the effects of the wind blowing.  If that's not happening, chaff and wheat are still on the floor.

Everything you thought you know about God from your Sunday School class as a child, from your Bible College training, from your seminary, from the books you have read, from the sermons you have heard live, on the radio and on TV is subject to change.  The wheat will survive the wind. The chaff is blown away and burned.  IF you refuse to subject your personal theology to the Wind of the Spirit you will live in a useless wheat chaff mix, going thru the motions but never getting the pure grain you desire.

Your barns will remain empty.  You will starve to death.

Blow away everything that is NOT of YOU Lord.

Let the WIND BLOW.  Let the WIND BLOW.