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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Everyday Heroes of Hurricane Harvey

This past week has been chaos for the surrounding areas. Flood waters from Hurricane Harvey have ravaged many lives. Thousands of people are without homes, without food, and basic necessities.

My Facebook feed is filled with images of pain and suffering. Despite all of the sadness, however, a group of every day heroes has emerged.

I have seen people clothing the naked.
I have seen people feeding the hungry.
I have seen people sheltering the homeless.
I have seen brave men and women volunteering their time and resources to reach out to others in need.
Through this darkness, I have seen the face of Jesus in my community.

Today, I went to a local church that is being used as a distribution center for evacuees, and I saw cases and cases of donated water. It reminded me of the verse,  "Indeed, if anyone gives you even a cup of water because you bear the name of Christ, truly I tell you, he will never lose his reward."

My heart hurts for those suffering, and yet my heart is full because the people in my community are shining their lights in the darkness. 


Throughout this hurricane, I have seen no racial divides. I have seen no denomination division. 
I have only seen people loving like Jesus.

And That is beautiful, my friends.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Gangster God and Jackpot Jesus (Money and Extortion in the Church)

The other day I watched a video on Youtube. The lady in the video proposed that God is often portrayed as a gangster in the church.  She showed a clip of a gangster movie in which a mobster extorts a local businessman. The mobster demands a portion of his income under the threat that "something bad will happen to him if he doesn't pay up." The definition of extortion is to take money by means of coercion or force.

Many preachers, some knowingly, and others ignorantly, extort God's flock every Sunday in millions of churches across the land. They threaten church members with the curse of Malachi, and demand money from God's children. It resembles a scene out of a classic mob film.  God's Word tells us that "we are not to give out fear or compulsion, and yet many pastors, in an effort to get a cut from your hard work, will threaten an old testament law that was written for ancient Israel. For a history of the tithe, click here.

What many pastor's won't tell their congregations is that it was the priests who were robbing God in the book of Malachi. The tithe (which was food and not money) was meant to assist the Levites, the orphan, and the widow. However, the priests in Malachi were robbing God by offering up sick, lame, and wounded offerings, and keeping the best for themselves.

Is that what we are seeing in some churches today? The model of Jesus was to share with flock, and yet many pastors are taking from the flock in order to "take the best for themselves." Many are living lavishly while the needs of the congregation go unmet and unnoticed.

The Biblical model for church, a we can see in the book of Acts was one in which the believers shared everything, and yet today we can see that today's sheep are often neglecting the needs of others in order to fatten the shepherds. Click here to read my article entitled, "Dream about a Fat Shepherd: Inequality in the "church."


The Youtube video of which I spoke, also showed a scene in which the mobster promised the businessman special protection if he paid the mobster a portion of his income. Many pastors today use the same verse from Malachi to promise God's blessing and protection for paying members.

Pastor's love to say that if you give to "them" and "their ministry" then God will bless you with great wealth, a happy marriage, health, and a life of ease.  This too creates a thwarted image of God. It creates the illusion that God accepts us when we pay Him. It creates a "works based" salvation that puts us back under the curse of the Law. Many pastors have gotten rich by selling God's blessings, but the Bible tells us that God's blessings are not for sale.

Tithing creates a Jackpot Jesus who operates, not as a King of Kings, but as a dealer at a casino. Put cash in, and hope for a payout. In the book of Acts, we can see Simon the Sorceror being rebuked by the apostles because he tried to buy the gift of God with money.

The Bible tells us that we are no longer under the "curse" of the Law. Curses do not apply to New Covenant Believers. The Bible tells us that Jesus became the curse for us. "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Old Covenant law, having become a curse for us." (Galatians 3:13). 

The New Covenant model for giving is to "give what one has decided in one's heart, not out of fear or compulsion, but out of joy. "

Notice that "what one has decided in one's heart has no certain percentage." Any pastor that demands a percentage of your income is operating, not as a servant of the Most High, but as  menacing mob boss or a dealer in a Las Vegas casino.

The bible never tells us to fatten the shepherds. Instead, Jesus tells us in His Word to give as the Spirit leads. He tells us to give to the least of these, and while I give to ministries that have helped me in my walk, I refuse to give to churches that use fear based guilt tactics to extort money from others.

Similarly, I refuse to play the Jackpot Jesus slot machine. The Bible says to "give expecting nothing in return, and yet believers play the Jesus lottery every Sunday in hopes of gaining a financial windfall. Jesus is being bought and sold in the temple. "My Father's house is a house of prayer, but you have turned it into a den of thieves." Matthew 21:13









Monday, August 28, 2017

The Teachings of Religion Vs. The Teachings of Jesus

A few years ago, I began to ask a lot of questions about certain practices in many churches. One time, I was speaking with an elderly gentleman. I simply asked a question about a common church practice, and showed a scripture as to why I thought it might be wrong. I was met with a lot of criticism, and told that I "needed to be schooled by a pastor." I was met with anger for even asking a question and called a "spiritual infant.". I'm not going to lie, it hurt me.

I forgave the words that were spoken to me by the gentleman, but I took my frustration and used it to write and make videos. I actually have a huge collection of videos that I made during this time, and I am just now getting the confidence to share them.

One thing I have learned is that, quite often, people will love you and accept you so long as they agree with what you have to say, and asking questions in many churches, simply is not permitted.

I am fortunate to have a family that accepts me for who I am. I am also thankful that there are pastors out there who are open to listening to questions, thoughts, and ideas, even when those ideas oppose the religious system.

It's nice to be able to discuss things with church leaders, such as tithing, the unbiblical system of hierarchy, and other issues without fear of rejection. I actually know and love lots of pastors. There is a particular pastor at a church that I once attended that has helped me in a lot of ways. I care about him and his family. I pray for him on a regular basis, and I know that if I talked to him about many of the things that God has shown me, he would still love me. He would still accept me. I know that we could have a peaceful discussion about things. I'm sure that we would disagree on issues, but that is ok too. We can still love one another.

I know that not everyone has that luxury. I do know that there are churches out there that discourage any kind of questioning. I have heard of churches that label people who question leadership as "rebels, backsliders" and a host of other names to "put them in their place." Some churches even threaten members who want to leave the church. It's manipulation, and it is much more common than you might think.

However, the purpose of this post is not to talk about spiritual abuse practices in the church.

I have been out of the institutional church system for three years. Even though I disagree with some of the teachings in many churches, and many church practices, I still have a deep love for people.

I love my family who faithfully attends church. I love our local pastors. I love people. I truly believe that it is important the we learn to respect where another person is their walk with Jesus. Similarly, I feel that those in churches should respect those who are in a different place. Sometimes, Jesus leads people outside of the walls and into the dark places.

The truth is that it doesn't matter where we are or what we are doing, if we don't have love, the Bible says that we are still nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:2)

Love is the test. If we are attending church, but don't have love, we still have nothing.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a ringing gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathomall mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have absolutefaith so as to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and exult in the surrender of my body, but have not love, I gain nothing 1 Corinthians 13:2

I write blogs and try to help others, but if I am not loving others as I should be, then I am still nothing.

Love is the litmus test for a true Christian.

Jesus never said, you will know that they are my disciples based on our knowledge. In fact, He says that "Knowledge puff up", and can lead to pride.

Similarly, Jesus never said, you will know that they are my disciples, by their church attendance record.After all, didn't the Pharisees have excellent church attendance records? Church attendance is no indication of a relationship with Jesus.

Jesus said, "You will know that they are my disciples because of their love for one another."

It is also important to remember that the Spirit of God led Jesus into the desert, John the baptist into the wilderness, and David into caves. The spirit of God often leads people into places other than church, and while I know that fellowship is important, I have found that it is possible to fellowship virtually anywhere. If we have a light within us, we can take it with us anywhere we go.

Church should be a way of life, not a once a week assembling in a service to hear a message.

The model for church in the Book of Acts demonstrated a way of life that was vibrant. To the disciples, church was "loving the least of these," breaking bread together, praying for the sick, displaying the power of Jesus through the casting out of demons, and meeting the needs of a community.

Throughout history, the concept of church has been systematically dumbed down into something that is scarcely recognizable, and a lot of what we are doing in church isn't even in the Bible.

I encourage you to read an article, called "Bread and Circuses" by Doug Perry. Doug proposes that a lot of what we are calling church is nothing more than entertainment for the saints. Click here to read the article. Even it you don't agree with what is written, I hope that it challenges you to a deeper walk with Jesus.

Also, Consider the following verse from Isaiah:

When you come to appear before me,
    who has asked this of you,
    this trampling of my courts?
13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
    Your incense is detestable to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations
    I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.

14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals
    I hate with all my being.
They have become a burden to me;
    I am weary of bearing them.
15 When you spread out your hands in prayer,
    I hide my eyes from you;
even when you offer many prayers,
    I am not listening.
Your hands are full of blood!
16 Wash and make yourselves clean.
    Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
    stop doing wrong.
17 Learn to do right; seek justice.
    Defend the oppressed.[a]
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
    plead the case of the widow.

In the verses, we can see that the people were following their religion almost perfectly. They were faithful to their assemblies, they met faithfully in the temple, they paid offerings, and even attended their religious festivals. The people also offered many prayers, but Jesus said that He wasn't listening.

Despite their outward show of holiness, Jesus said that they were doing wrong. Their lives were still full of sin and He tells them," Take your evil deeds out of my sight!" Stop doing wrong. Learn to do right. He then tells them that to do right in His eyes, they need to stop their evil deeds, seek justice, take up the cause of the fatherless, and plead the case of the widow. Jesus shows us in His Word that He is more concerned for the welfare of the poor, the widow, and the orphan, than He is with our "outward" displays of holiness. (festival, offerings, temple or "church" attendance)

Even the Bible says that many will have "a form of godliness" but that their hearts will be far from Him.

The mark of a Christian, according the Bible, has nothing to do with church attendance. Instead, Jesus tells us that we will know a Christian by their fruits. (love, patience, kindness, generosity, long suffering, peace)

The Bible also says, "out of the heart, the mouth speaks," If you want to know what is in someone's heart, simply look at their speech.

If Jesus is in our hearts, then we will talk about Jesus.
If money is in our hearts, then we will talk about money.
If religion is in our heart, then we will talk about religion.



Are we following Jesus? Or are we following a religion or a denomination? Take the test.

Teachings of Religion vs. Teachings of Jesus


1. Religion says "build huge buildings" Jesus said, I do not live in temples made with "human hands." Acts 17:34

2. Religion says put your faith in religious leaders. Jesus said "Trust in Me." Proverbs 3:5-6

3. Religion says the sermon will guide you into all truth. Jesus said, "The Holy Spirit leads us into all truth" John 16:13

4. Religion says put all of your resources (time, talent, and money into the religious system. Jesus said, "whatever you do for the least of these you also do for me. Matthew 25:40

5. Religion says that you must be taught by a leader. Jesus says, "The Holy Spirit will teach you all things." John 14:16

6. Religion says "Our ways are superior to your ways." Jesus says, Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up. James 4:10, also see verses on pride.

7. Jesus says go into all the world and make disciples.(Matthew 28:19) Religion says, go to church.

8. Religion says, love those only in your denomination. Jesus said, If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 1 John 3:17

9. Religion says "God wants us to be comfortable. Jesus says, deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me. Matthew 16:24-26

10. Religion says, "our wealth is sign of God's blessing" Jesus says, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, 
for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3-10


11. Religion says, "Come to us with your problems, questions or concerns. We long to direct your path." Jesus says, "But in ALL thy ways, ACKNOWLEDGE HIM, and HE shall direct your path.

12. Religion says, "Trust in our men of God." Jesus says, Trust not in Man, but in God. "For many false prophets and Christs will arise and they shall deceive many." Matthew 24:24 (The Bible says that wolves will be among us. They will be in the churches! For an important video titled, "How to Spot a Wolf" click here.

13. Religion says, "We long to mediate what the Spirit of God is saying." Jesus says, For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus  1 Timothy 2:5

14. Religion says, "Your leaders are more qualified, anointed, and important than you. Jesus says, "I am no respector of persons." Acts 10:34 and" He who is last shall be first, and he who is first shall be last." Matthew 20:16

15. Religion says, "Give me all of your time, attention and money! Jesus says, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:30


DO you see what is going on here? Many people are putting their faith in religion above Jesus.
Are we following Religion, or are we following Jesus?
I can only hope that no one is offended by this message. However, please Don't Shoot the messenger. These are words of Jesus, NOT ME.
The religious system hated Jesus so much that they had him killed!


“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." Matthew 7:13-14

"For a time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine but will gather around a great many teachers to tell them whatever their tickling ears want to hear." 2 Timothy 4:3

Jesus is the rock, the stone that the builders rejected. The church "eklessia" is those who build upon His teachings, not the teachings and traditions of man.


FINAL THOUGHT: Many people may think that this message discourages others from attending church. I have to say that church has helped me in many ways. It was in a church that I realized just how much Jesus loves me. It was people in a church who helped me greatly in my walk with Jesus. It's also just as important that we share the message. He loves us. He invites us to the banquet table. Are we sharing that with others? Others need that message. Thanks to all of the Saints who have helped me in my walk.







  This is a video that I made that is simply a call to get others to think. It is called, "Jesus did not       belong to a 501c3 Organization. I made this video a few years ago, and I am just now brave enough to share it.





                This video is called, "People are Freezing to Death while we play Church." Similarly, I made this video a few years ago...




Sunday, August 27, 2017

My Experience with Holy Laughter and the Demonic: Signs and Wonders in the Church

The Bible says that, in the last days, there will be many signs and wonders. "For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. " Matthew 24:24

Today, there is no shortage of "signs and wonders" in many churches. I have heard of tales of "gold dust and feathers" floating from the ceilings of church services. In several religions and denominations across the board,  there seems to be no shortage of "mystical orbs, crying statues, apparitions, gold dust, holy laughter, and many other "signs and wonders."

While I in no way want to discredit anyone's experiences or insult anyone's religion ,the Bible says that we are to "test everything against the Word." Also, Click here to read my article The Teachings of Jesus vs. The Teachings of Religion.

I firmly believe in miracles, but I question many of the displays of power that are present in many churches. The Bible says, "Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God." It is important to know and understand that just because we have had an experience does not mean that it was from God. 

In the book of Acts, we learn about a man called, Simon the Sorcerer. Consider the following verses.

" Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, 10 and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.” 11 They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery. 12 But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw."


14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

20 Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God.22 Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23 For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”

In the verse, we can see that people perceived Simon to be a man of God because he was performing "signs and wonders." However, Simon was using the power of Satan (sorcery) to amass a large following of people. Simon, later revealed himself by offering the apostles money when he saw the true power of God and the Holy Spirit. Click here to read my article about money and the church.



One thing that I have found is that people will often flock to places to look for Christ. People are willing to drive thousands of miles because they perceive that a move of God is happening. Consider the following verse: 

At that time, if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe it. 24For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders that would deceive even the elect, if that were possible. Matthew 24:23-24

If Christ is truly living in one's heart, one need not go on a quest to find Him at various locations. Christ is neither here nor there. Christ is a spirit that lives within us. If we seek Him, through prayer, the Bible says that we will find Him. He sends His Holy Spirit to us, and that Spirit lives in us.

There are many people today who are seeking a sign. Many people think that signs come in the form of "signs and wonders." However, Jesus criticized the Pharisees for seeking signs. 
In my experience, the greatest sign is that of a life transformed by the power of Jesus. When Jesus lives and dwells in us, the old is made new. He changes us and makes us into His image. To me, that is the most powerful and the most fruitful "sign."

I do believe in miracles, and I do believe in the power of God. Even the Bible says that God gives us a spirit of "power."  Consider the following verse, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. In this verse, we can see that God does give us a spirit of power. I can personally attest to experiencing the power of God. I have personally experienced demons for most of my life, but Jesus showed me that, as Christians, we have authority and power over them through His name. Click here to read about a few of my experiences.



Lately, I have been thinking about the book of Revelation. It talks about an "anti christ" who will rise up. People will have to get a mark on their hands or foreheads in order to buy or sell anything. One day I was thinking about what the anti christ will look like. I don't believe that he will be a hated figure, but rather a man "who appears as an angel of light." There is a good chance that he will perform signs and wonders. I am sharing this post because it is important that we have discernment and recognize that not all powers are from God. If we read Exodus, Chapter 7, we can see that there is a counterfeit. I will discuss this later in the post.

Earlier I mentioned that there are many powers in our churches today. I asked myself, "how could satan benefit from these powers? This is what I truly feel that Jesus showed me. I encourage you to test all things.
____________________

If I were the devil, I would create a religious system that places men above God. People would begin to place so much faith in their leaders, that they would forget to follow Jesus or to be "doers of the word, instead of hearers only.

If I were the devil, I would create religious systems that tell people that if they attend a service once a week and hear a message from a leader, then they have done their "christian duty." The people wouldn't realize that God speaks to them. If people realized that God spoke to them directly, then my kingdom would be in peril. Many people would continue to walk in lies, anger, unforgiveness, and sin, but feel as if their works can save them.

If I were the devil,  I would convince people  that in order to be accepted by God, they must first give Him money. This will distort their perception of the true God and diminish His loving nature. If I were the devil, I would create "goats" of God's children by telling them that they will be cursed by God unless they fund their pastor's lavish lifestyle. The people would give all of their resources to one man, and forget to clothe the naked, and feed the hungry, and to "bear one another's burden" (note: pastoral role in Bible is different that lots of what we see today)

If I were the devil, I would deceive congregations into believing that their leaders had "great powers." The people would be moved by "great signs and wonders" They would begin to put their trust in these "men of God." They would perceive that God was doing great and mighty things in their midst.  Meanwhile, in the midst of all of their fervor, their hearts would grow complacent. They would see that "god" was moving among them, and they would abandon reading their Bibles.

 If I were the devil, I would convince people that the men with the power are the "anointed ones." They would, in turn, forget that the Bible says that we are EACH anointed and, as Christians, we each have certain gifts. If I were the devil, no one would be using their gifts..If the Body started using their gifts, then That would be chaos for my kingdom... So, I would try to keep the Believers so caught up in revelry and in "movings and outpourings" that they would forget the words of Jesus. Instead, they would listen with open ears to anything that the man says, because they believe that he is a powerful man. I would fill entire stadiums full of people, and they would see such a great "outpouring" that they would forget to test all things against the word. All of the people's attention would be on the man in the front and center. He would preach a wide path message of hope, comfort, and prosperity and people would forget or disregard the call for self denial and the Cross would lose power among the people..

You see, If I were the devil..Once the people forget the power of the Cross, then  they are already mine. 

If I were the devil, I would use strange manifestations in the Body of Believers to create fear in the lost and unsaved world. I would distort the character of  God by convincing people that shaking, convulsing, and even barking like dogs is a sign of His powerThousands of the unsaved would laugh at such things and never know that the true manifestation of the Holy Spirit is in the form of the most perfect love. You see, if people knew that..then my kingdom would be in severe danger. People would start sharing and loving and my kindgom of hell would be doomed because people would grasp the great nature of the love of God.

If I were the devil, I would see to it that people were "puffed up" and prideful because they perceive that God is in their midst because they see these great powers. They would begin to compare themselves to other denominations, and hatred and division would increase. They would see that these "great signs and wonders" are only happening among their denomination, and they would perceive that their teachings are true.

Oh, and churches..ha! I would create thousands and thousands of churches. Trillions of dollars would be spent every year on brick and mortar buildings because the people don't know that the Body of Believers is about people! Meanwhile, millions of people around the world will continue to live in hunger and extreme poverty, and the needs of the other believers would go unnoticed and unmet.

If I were the devil, I would counterfeit miracles and other gifts of God so that people will more readily put up with unsound doctrines. Because you see, I disguise myself as something good. The Bible even says I appear as an angel of light. If I were the devil I would rejoice! Because it says that in the last days, that people would be vain, lovers of money, lovers of self, immoral, lovers of pleasure... and I would see that my Believers no longer follow the gospels, do what it says, or even read their own Bibles..Then, the whole world would look like chaos and millions or billions, who have fallen for lies, and do not carry the power of the Cross, will inherit my kingdom.

"For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 2  Timothy 4:3

For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible. Matthew 24:24


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Consider the following  exerpt that I wrote for a webpage. It's a little blunt, but here goes:


THINGS JESUS NEVER SAID

Go ye into the all the world and flock to laughing revivals featuring superstar preachers.

Do not worry about the homeless man on the corner. As long as you are rolling on the floor in uncontrollable laughter, you are in MY divine will.

One whose religion is pure is one who performs the most signs and wonders.
Friends, "do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God." 

There are many powers in today's churches, but the greatest power that the world has ever known is the Power of Love. When Christ fills our hearts, we become love. .

Don't feel the need to seek a sign. Jesus criticized the Pharisees when they demanded a sign from Him.

Many church leader's look powerful. Many claim to have "special" anointings. Some can knock you down with the wave of their coat. 


The Bible says the world will know that we are His "by our love for one another", not for our "signs and wonders" 

Many people who experience "powers" in churches are missing the gospel. Many are turning a blind eye toward the least of these, and focusing on the "men with the powers." 
They are giving their resources to the "men with the powers," and ignoring the suffering needs of those around them. 

Do not be swayed by powers. Simon the Sorceror in the Book of Acts had great powers and the people perceived that he was from God. He was not. Powers are no indication of "special" anointing"

Jesus said, You will know them by their fruits; patience, love, kindness, gentleness, long suffering, generosity.


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There are true powers of God. The Bible says that these signs shall follow those who believe:


Mark 16:17-18

17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

I have personally experienced some of these powers. They are real! 
For the next segment of the blog, I would like to briefly discuss real and counterfeit powers.
Consider the following verses from Exodus Chapter 7.
"The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Perform a miracle,’ then say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh,’ and it will become a snake.”
10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. 11 Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts: 12 Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. 13 Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said."
In the verses, we can see that there are true powers that are from God, but we can also see a counterfeit, Satanic power. 
Many believe that counterfeit powers are only in the demonic realm. However, I have experienced counterfeit powers in church settings. The Bible says that "even Satan appears as an angel of light," and I believe that there are "wolves in sheep's clothing"  in some churches that are showing signs of "power" but are not from God. 
Consider Matthew 22:
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in You rname, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.’…
In this verse, we can see that there will be those who appear to men of God. They will be performing miracles and signs and wonders. However, this verse clearly tells us that they won't be of God. 

Also, consider the following verse from Matthew 24:
At that time, if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe it.  For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders that would deceive even the elect, if that were possible.

Did you know that "Christ" means "anointed " one? Today, there are many that boast in their special anointing, but  the bible says that, as Christians, we are each anointed. We are all important in the Body of Christ. The apostle Paul referred to those who boasted in his day as "super apostles." (2 Corinthians 11:15) 

Today, we can see no shortage of super apostles, and it is important to remember that the mark of a true Christian leader has nothing to do with fame or popularity. Jesus only had 12 followers and was killed by the religious leaders of His day. Fame and money are no indication of good "leadership." 

Now for the discussion of real and counterfeit powers.

Prophecy vs. Psychic powers

Prophecy is described in the Bible as a spiritual gift. If is a gift of knowledge.  In John Chapter 4, Jesus meets a woman at a well. He begins to tell her that things about her life. He tells her that she had 5 husbands and that he knows that she is having an affair. The woman was amazed and knew that He was a prophet. Click here to read the verse. 
I have had many pastors and members of the Body of Christ tell me things about myself that there is no way that they could have known. Prophecy is alive and well today. I could tell you countless supernatural God stories of how Jesus used other people to tell me something at a particular moment in time that was an answer to prayer.

Similar to prophecy, but a counterfeit power is psychic power. Psychic power is real. I had a dream before September 11. I dreamed of planes flying through a city. I was in a plane and I could see smoke all around and buildings that were on fire. I don't know if my dream was "psychic" or prophetic but it was haunting, nonetheless. 

I have also had things said to me in church settings that almost ruined my life. It's a long story that I'm not going to go into, but I'm stating it for the simple fact the we must learn to test everything against the word. Not every statement said to us in a church is going to be true. 
Someone in a church once told me something that caused me immense fear. It messed me up for a very long time. However, the Bible says that "he has not given us a spirit of fear" so I came to realize that what was spoken to me was not from God. Wolves in sheep clothing are not going to look like wolves. The Bible says that they will be "among us" meaning that many wolves are going to be in the churches.

True healing vs. Counterfeit healing

I believe that Jesus heals. I have heard numerous stories of people getting healed from people I trust. I believe in the healing power of Jesus. Similarly, I once went through a time of demonic affliction against my body. (video coming soon) This affliction caused me physical pain, depression, temporary blindness, weight loss, and I could go on. However, Jesus showed me that what I was experienced was demonic. Now, every time I feel demonic affliction coming against my body, I cast out the demons in the name of Jesus. Jesus is real!

Just as there is real healing, there is Satan's counterfeit. People often flock to places like Sedona, Arizona because they say it brings healing. Sedona is a place that is rampant with psychic powers. I have been there and I can tell you that it is a very dark place. Very beautiful, but very dark. I also read a book by Corrie Ten Boom, called "Defeated Enemies." In her book, Corrie tells about her experience with demons and darkness and how we have authority over demons through Christ Jesus. In her book, she described a woman that was wearing an amulet. An amulet is a "healing" necklace. She said that the woman wearing the necklace was possessed by a demon but did not want to take off the necklace because it provided healing for her body. Corrie convinced the woman to take off the necklace. The woman became very ill, but Corrie, through the power of Jesus Christ, cast the demons out of the woman, and she was healed of her affliction. 


Real Tongues vs. Demonic tongues

I believe that there is a real gift of tongues. I also believe that there is a counterfeit demonic tongue. I once watched a video of a demon possessed woman who was speaking in what sounded like a tongue. I have even been in the presence of a demonic spirit that whispered to me in what sounded like a foreign language. At first, this experience frightend me, but now I realize that God is much bigger than Satan and his demons and we have the authority through Christ to cast them out.

Holy laughter
I was once watching a famous televangelist. I knew that many of his teachings were false, and yet there were many "signs and wonders" at his "revivals." People were experiencing "holy laughter." I truly believe that this was a false, demonic power that was present.

I once had someone tell me that they were angry at someone. They started praying and began laughing. The anger immediately left and they forgave the person. This leads me to believe that there could possibly be a real holy laughter as well as the counterfeit. 
I was once afraid to question these kinds of things, but now I realize that questioning our experiences does not mean that we are questioning God. The Bible tells us to "test everything" " DO not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see if they are from God."

I am telling you these things so that you won't assume that all powers are from God. I am telling you so that you might pray for discernment. 

Click here to read an article called, "Vision of True and False Revival." It provides some serious food for thought.

Click here to read an article called, The Danger of Strange Fire. It provides a warning for believers.

Click here to watch a video, called "What's wrong with Cessationism" Hint: the gifts of the Spirit are alive and well today

Please consider the following videos. It has been a long while since I watched them, but I remember that they made an impression upon me at one time.

This is Part 1 of my video, "My Experience with Holy Laughter and the Demonic



This is Part 2 of my video, "My Experience with Holy Laughter and the Demonic. The video appears to end, but I come back on for a short part 3.


My Experience -Conclusion and Final thoughts. Important vid

             This is a video by David Wilkerson called, "Weird Manifestations" in the church.



This is a video by brother Doug Perry, called "Chi Master? Slain in the Spirit? What is this?
I believe that there is a real slain in the spirit and a counterfeit. This video talks about this and shows a chi master causing people to fall backward.



This video is about a very dangerous counterfeit movement in many churches. The video is about the Python/Kundalini Spirit. Highly recommended video! Thoughts?




This video is about a very strange practice in the church, called "grave soaking."