Readying for Battle

As a younger adult fresh out of the Word of Faith cult-movement, lingering ideals still prevailed. That religious group even taught at their school that the strongholds we must overcome are rooted and grounded thoughts and ideas. To them, you as an adherent were to replace YOUR thoughts with THEIR thoughts. Any deviance from their doctrine constituted correction.

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In the information age that we live in, we are faced daily with thoughts and ideas that may line up with ideas we have already in our minds or we may be challenged with new ones. As Christians, we should hold absolute only Gods word and the person of Jesus Christ. Not only do we see a war between the flesh and spirit as mentioned in the previous post, but we also see a war of ideas, even daily.

I have learned through time to become independent in my thinking and to speak against things I disagree with especially dealing with religious situations and doctrines. Other instances that warrant my opinions are in business. Being opinionated does have its disadvantages. Often when I expressed opinions I was met with strong resistance immediately. Other times I would get the brunt of lingering emotions held onto for decades. With each confrontation or rebuttal to my words I was faced with this decision FIGHT or FLIGHT. Some situations require a fight. Others require “cooler heads”.

1 Corinthians 6:6-8

King James Version (KJV)

But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.

Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?

Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.

It is a natural reaction to lash out when challenged or confronted about our words or actions. Naturally we do not want to just let something go. Turning the other cheek or walking away is not what justifies us or so we think.

Romans 12:17-19

King James Version (KJV)

17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

We must choose our battles.

Coping with Paralysis

At age 35, I made a huge personal discovery. I liken it to the discovery that the Apostle Paul came to as he described a war occurring within his body.

Romans 7

Common English Bible (CEB)

21 So I find that, as a rule, when I want to do what is good, evil is right there with me. 22 I gladly agree with the Law on the inside, 23 but I see a different law at work in my body. It wages a war against the law of my mind and takes me prisoner with the law of sin that is in my body.

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Before I begin to alarm friends with my subject line, I must describe the paralysis I am referencing. This paralysis is a mental one stemming from irrational fear. It paralyses good thoughts and actions both from being given and from being received.

Another blogger, Tim Gallen, of    http://dailygallen.com, writes :

“the ironic thing about living in constant fear is that it’s not really living at all.

when fear rules your heart and mind and soul, you don’t live. you merely exist. i’ve dubbed this existence via fear floating through life. and i have done plenty of floating through my own life, just existing. failing to live.

fear is powerful. this isn’t too surprising, considering it is a tool of satan’s to keep us separated from god’s love and the true life he offers us in jesus.

but even if you’re not a believer, fear still burrows deep inside and establishes a foothold in your heart. fear paralyzes you from living.

i used to believe in fearlessness.

i used to believe that you could get to a point where fear could never touch or affect you again. that you could be fearless.

all you had to do was conquer fear. overcome it. vanquish it like a knight slays a dragon.

i used to believe all that.

but that’s not the way it is.

fear never goes away. ever.

it skulks around your heart and mind, always waiting for an opening to dig inside. and it will. eventually. it always does.

but we can keep it from establishing a foothold. keep it from moving in for good. keep it from paralyzing us. keep it from killing us.

what we must do is play the landlord of our hearts and minds and evict the bum as fast as we can.

but how do we start the eviction process?

by doing exactly that. starting. acting. doing. living.

it is so simple it’s silly. we simply ignore the fear that tries to shake us and proceed with doing what we want to do anyway. proceed with living.

is this easy?

hell no. but it’s possible. i’ve done it. it’s taken several years, but i did it.

so have everybody else who followed their dreams despite that little whisper in their hearts.

fear is powerful. and though we cannot truly overcome or defeat it, we can push past it, ignore it, and succeed in spite of it.”

For myself, fear was produced by or during times that were undesirable. Instances such as when my business venture took a turn for the worse, learning of my ex wife’s infidelity and looming divorce, etc. Other instances were when I was confronted about my opinions, faith, words, or actions.

Early in life somewhere I began to allow myself to fear the worst so I would not be disappointed with life’s situations. If I feared the worst, it likely would not happen that way and I could be happy with whatever came. This rationale seemed good at the time, but has allowed a foothold to fear. It has altered my outlook. Hope seems out-of-touch.

Proverbs 13:12

New International Version (NIV)

12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

If i had back all of the years lost in worry and fear, wow. I choose to live , truly live.

Psalm 42:11

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/connortarter/4754231502/”>Connor Tarter</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Soaring with the Crows

As I get older, I find myself fashioning more towards independence. My earlier years were more geared to following the ideas of strong personalities around me. I had plenty of “friends” but clearly could not think freely. To think freely is have opinions and be vocal about them.

 

I love the quote of Dan Collins(http://powip.com/2010/05/why-people-hate-the-opinionated/)

“Most of my friends are “difficult” personalities. In fact, most of the people I like to spend time with are as well.

Of course I find them curious… these difficult people… I love to be around them. I love to argue with them. I love to observe them. These agitators, troublemakers, pot-stirrers… these forceful people who will not suffer the fool. These awful people who won’t just STFU. People who would rather lose everything and retain their dignity than gain everything and lose their independence. I love those that refuse to comply for compliance sake.”

I was once trapped in a dangerous way of thinking called the Word of Faith. As I began to see inconsistencies between the doctrine and the whole of scripture, I spoke out my findings only to be met with resistance. You see it is easier to follow the crows or the geese and get wrapped up in a group mentality.

    It is no wonder that God often referred to his own as eagles and likened our actions to be similar to the most majestic of all birds. We are called to an independence based lifestyle that is both dependent on him and that ultimately spreads peace and love.

Romans 12:18

King James Version (KJV)

18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

 

Escaping Reality

What a tangled web we weave. Beyond a cliche, the statement is true of humankind. We look for ways to avoid reality. Consider this. We all have an out. A fix, if you will. Some turn to narcotics or alcohol. Some over-indulgence in eating. Some in hobbies. Others into their careers. Some turn to pornography or sex. Some indulge in holy-ghost charismatic meetings that appeal to feelings.

All of these indulgences are ways to escape reality. Before I begin to sound like we should not enjoy anything, Relaxation or enjoyment is something that God inspired as long as it is in the right context. Over-indulgence of anything can and likely will become at some point detrimental. Some of the above-mentioned things are illegal because they alter behavior dramatically. Others like pornography and false doctrine imprison the mind and hinder.

For myself, escaping reality comes naturally. I am a visionary or a dreamer. Be it conquest, materialism, arrogance, or what have you. These are the workings of the human mind. It is fabricated by what we see. Images build the persons we are or the people we will become. Daily we must remember to check our feelings or our thoughts with the ultimate reality- The Bible.

Hebrews 4:12

King James Version (KJV)

12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Romans 12:1-3

New International Version (NIV)

A Living Sacrifice

12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Humble Service in the Body of Christ

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

So then reality for us as Christians is determined by the Bible

 

Dealing with Bitterness

As humans we are programmed to respond to pain. In most cases we simply avoid it. In others we fight what hurts us. Some just learn to not respond to pain and live desensitized. In my first few years post WOF, as you will read on my “About” page, I simply suppressed the feelings I had towards those I knew had let me down. As time progressed, I met many wounded soldiers. These Christians had also been damaged by the false teachings and actions of those in WOF groups. Had the damages come from coworkers or bosses in the workforce, we would have forgotten them as time passed. We were let down by those who promoted themselves as God’s generals. The simple fact that when a man or woman attached the God factor to their life or ministry or calling, changed how we viewed them. In a sense they were placed on a pedestal. Also in a sense we idolized them. I remember when I was in the WOF we accumulated books, audio, and video of a mass of preachers. Had trading cards been available, we would have collected them and rehearsed their stats. Old ministers such as Charles Parham, the infamous Smith Wigglesworth, and the like. Their lives dissected and their claimed miracles remembered.

The fact of the matter is that we as humans are drawn to other humans. We as Christians should idolize only Jesus Christ. He is the only savior. The only answer. The only choice of God. He is the golden child, not you or me or some fancy pompous preacher or athlete.

So idolatry was a fault of mine. Bitterness would also be. Because I placed faith in man and was let down, I chose bitterness. I felt like it was my right. Indeed my mentors let me down. They chose money over truth. A gospel of greed and pride over a gospel of humility. I officially left the WOF in Dec. 2000. I kept in contact with several WOF friends until 2003 or 2004 we were continually hashing and rehashing the doctrines. I started a side business in 2001 which took up most of my time for the next several years. I had all but forgotten my old WOF friends however refused to affiliate with them because of their beliefs. In 2009 I would be confronted with some false doctrines about money and in my research I began to meet many new friends that had also come out of the WOF. I revamped an old website I had created warning about the dangerous Word of Faith gospel. I decided at this time that I wanted to delve into the doctrines rather than the preachers. The Word of Faith and similar teachers are controlled by the Puppet Master. He leads them to teach their doctrine with 3 lusts in mind. These are the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. These were the same lusts Satan tempted eve with in the garden.Gen 3:6  King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Once again in 1 John 2:16 King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

So in essence, the Word-of-Faith appeals to the lusts of man.

  1. Lust of the flesh- How I can feel good. Food, drink, creature comforts, total health

    Luke 12:18-20

    King James Version (KJV)

    18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.

    19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

    20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

  2. Lust of the eyes- How I can amass things. Money, possessions such as cars, lands, livestock, trophy wife or consecutive wives,                                                                    Luke 12:15
    And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
  3. Pride of life- Special revelation knowledge. Also self-importance based on that knowledge or a gifting or financial status.                                                                                   Romans 12:3
    For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.                                                

    James 2:3-5

    King James Version (KJV)

    And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:

    Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?

    Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

    It was because of these things that deceived me that I had left the WOF. It was just in the last few years that I was, once again, defending my position against the WOF. Old WOF friends surfaced with questions and challenges about their beliefs.  I left the website up but became weary of being bitter and just simply did not care anymore. I had made my opinion known and backed it up with ample scripture. Several refuse to walk away from WOF. Some are in too deep. They have family, wives, in-laws, etc they are obviously intertwined with, preventing or at least making it more costly to escape.

    It was only a year ago that I would be challenged to truly forgive. Forgive myself for being deceived. Forgive those who were and are deceived. To come to the realization that there are no “men of God” amongst the Christians. Those who wronged me are mere men subject to flaws just like myself or any person. We who are believers and born again are all equal and all under Christ’s covering. The playing field positionally, is level.

    I cant express how great it actually feels to know in my heart I have truly forgiven.

 

 

Been some time…..

It has been awhile since I posted. It seems like I am reminded of the dangers of the Word-of-Faith when I am confronted with it. If  I am perusing channels and come upon some spiritual sludge that a WOFer is vomiting. I am reminded often at church of how far-reaching this WOF false gospel goes. My current church is a Grace church and I really enjoy it. The message is righteousness by faith and focus on the work of the cross and on loving people. Unfortunately many of my fellow church-goers are enamored by a new WOF guy that teaches righteousness much like our pastor. He has charisma and captivates with every word. Most do not go about researching every preacher/doctrine like I do. (1 Pet. 5:8) We are to be diligent. Further looks at his website reveal that although he preaches “righteousness by faith”, he also mixes in WOF doctrines. Making the Word-of-Faith palatable is in my opinion one of the strongest tools utilized by these false teachers.

I was given the opportunity to speak at a local church recently. This was not something I’m familiar with anymore. It had been 9 or so years since I had spoken before a congregation prior to this. I really enjoyed it. I was able to speak to the group about a situation I had shared with them some 15 years ago about the same time as my Rhema experience. A con-man had been invited to the church to speak. No one knew who he really was although he had performed short series on TBN. He had a fancy suit and rolled $100 bills through his fingers like a casino pit boss. His limousine dropped him off at the front door. He made unbelievable promises to the congregation and raised $16,000 for himself that night. A very hard-working man in the congregation spotted him from afar and made the statement “this man has never worked a day in his life”  No truer words had been spoken.

His promises stated that within 30 days a great number of the congregants that gave would see unusual and rare financial blessings greatly exceeding the gift amounts. After the 30 days were up the pastor spoke to all those present and not one had a miracle of any type done. The pastor repented before the congregation and vowed to never allow another WOF conman to return.

Situations like this are all too common in the WOF realm. Those that gave are warned that if they question God or man they will lose the promises they once believed God for. Blame is always placed on those at the bottom and those at top positions never share nor apologize. These are the ways of the WOF. They love other people only for their money, the hours they volunteer, or so they can count numbers of those people in their ministries.

Thankfully amidst all of this garbage, a true people of God exist spreading the love of God abroad. If you are reading this and you are involved in the WOF and recognize the improprieties or doctrinal inconsistencies, you are not alone. God has brought many out and will continue to do so.