For the past months, I have felt a
grieving; a painful, deep sorrow coupled with a "sickened" spirit as
I have observed prominent Christian leaders preaching out of what
seems to be less than pure motives (money as a "key" to receiving
miracles, healing, deliverance, for example). (I know, "what's
new?"). In one instance, a
certain well-known personality declared that God has given him the
“secret” to deliverance from perverse and pervasive spirits of
addiction. This man declared that he would divulge the secret to
each person who would call the television station and pledge a
certain amount of money for the next twelve months. As I listened, I
thought, “Since when is God’s deliverance for sale?” I thought of
people who have no money, who cannot possibly “pay” the required
amount for their deliverance from addiction. I thought about God's
Word, "Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money
and without price" (Is. 55:1). I thought about Simon the sorcerer,
whom Peter warned, "May your silver be destroyed with you, because
you thought the gift of God could be obtained with money!” Acts
I am not opposed to financial blessing: However, the profusion of
what appears to be an imitation of Hollywood-success-appearance
among God’s ministers troubles my spirit.
Purpose-Driven or Spirit-led?
At the risk of offense and misunderstanding, I need to say that I
believe we have it "upside down" in much of the teaching that fills
the airwaves and hearts. We've become so fixated on being
"Purpose-Driven" that we have neglected the biblical mandate to be
Spirit-led. [For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are
sons of God (Ro. 8:14)].
I am hearing as never before the "self-esteem" message being
promoted, the "feel-good" message, the "I can do all things through
a positive attitude" message all the while I have heard and felt the
Spirit say "What about the cross? What about the pain? What about
the cost? What about the price?" Whole portions of the Western
Church appear to be sliding head-long into a "Cross-less
Christianity" that offends no one, least of all the devil.
I hear the Spirit saying, "It's about the cross. It's about the
price He paid, it's about the horror He experienced - the costly,
costly, costly act of love and compassion He exhibited on that
WHERE IS THE MESSAGE OF THE CROSS? Where is the truth of the passion
of My Son? Where is the "crucifying of self?" Where is the death of
ego and pride and passion and earthly, earthy desire? Where is the
laying down of your life? Where is the picking up of the cross?
Where is the bearing about in your body the marks of a price paid?"
"In this hour, many will be deceived. Many will look here and there
and will be confused and frustrated because to slake their spiritual
thirst they look to wells that have been dug by men and not by God.
To satisfy their hunger they look to fields planted by men and not
by God. So they will drink the putrid, death-infested waters of the
flesh and they will eat that which does not satisfy. Oh, if only the
cross would be lifted up again in this hour. Oh, if only My people
would return to Me, I would heal them and forgive them and release
them with My fire and with My power and with My anointing."
The Bible speaks of a coming "falling away." If we would open our
eyes, we would see that falling away even in the sanctuaries, in the
church halls, in the pulpits, in the very places that cry "religion"
and cry "freedom" and in the places where mouths are opened to
praise and to worship, but self-promotion and fleshy pride are the
motives instead of broken and contrite spirits.
I am not judging anyone. I am no judge. I am merely a man. I am
filled with blackness and evil without His grace and His mercy. The
only thing within me that is of any value or of any good is of Him.
Without His mercy and grace I would be utterly cast away. How could
I ever judge another human? Yet I hear the Spirit clearly. I tremble
as I tell you HE IS CALLING US (ALL) TO HIMSELF. He will not have us
chasing false gods - ADULTERY! FORNICATION! Making our beds with the
comfortable and the easy, giving ourselves to the acceptable and
that which pleases the flesh. Neglecting the poor and the aged and
the widow and the orphan while living at ease and squandering His
blessings. AWAY! Cast off these false idols as we would cast off a
coat that has been soiled with stinking, putrefying dead flesh and
He will forgive, heal, fill, empower, enable us to become beyond
what we ever imagined, dreamed or hoped.
I have heard over and over in the past days, "We have learned our
lessons from Katrina. We are ready for Rita." Would that we should
learn our lessons from the pain He has allowed that we might avoid
the pain that must come as He shakes everything that can be shaken!
We did not learn our lessons after 911. We have not learned our
lessons after Hurricane Katrina. We have heaved a collective sigh of
relief that Rita did comparatively little damage. We think we've
escaped, but there is no escape without repentance.
This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in
it, and you will find rest for your souls. (Jeremiah 6:16).
In His Amazing Grace,