So many of my children are like a high-powered plane taxiing the runway, hour after hour, frustrated that they can’t seem to reach the heavenly places. The power is there, the desire is there, but something (or someone) is hindering the release of that power to enable them to triumph over insurmountable problems which require a miracle.
It’s not that I have lost any of My power, far from it. The vast majority of congregations worldwide teach, ever so subtly, that when I spoke of healing or miracles in the Bible, I promised only SPIRITUAL restoration to wholeness. Even My Son, when challenged by hostile enemies over the healing of a crippled man, told them it is far easier to verbally impart a spiritual blessing (forgiveness of sins) than to confidently speak physical healing over someone, expecting, literal, VISIBLE results (Mark 2:9; Luke 5:23).
Many, many pulpit thieves, rake in lots of money teaching healing. Then when it fails to materialize (after your best offering), they cover their bases by telling you to “keep on sowing”. If there’s a complete absence of outward results after a length of time, the preacher will say only spiritual healing matters anyway, so you still didn’t lose out with God after donating all that money to them.
How many preachers are honest enough to preach on this verse?
Prov.22:16: He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.
Is your pastor rich? Does he have everything he could possibly want to make himself comfortable. Or does he still gripe that he doesn’t have this or that? Does he live in a gated community while you struggle to stay safe in a seedy, run-down neighborhood? Does he even own one or more mansions? Does he drive a fancy car while you can barely afford the bus to work? And he still expects YOU to give to HIM? What sort of fool does he think you are? My Word cannot lie. Give to such a rich preacher, and you will only get poorer for your efforts. Not just materially, but spiritually as well.
There are many SILENT KILLERS of faith in today’s churches. Legalism and false doctrines based on twisting My Word are just two of them. It takes only a very slow drip of strychnine in a pure stream of truth to taint life-giving water and turn it into deadly poison.
Legalism is based on human pride, not on any desire to please Me. Ultimately Pharisaical legalism exalts human ego instead of Christ. People who don’t do this and don’t do that brag about it to others who see nothing wrong with a questionable thing (television, general audience movies, jazz or country music, unconventional clothing styles, foods, drinks, etc). These types of things are MY bailiwick, where it concerns showing each individual believer where to draw the line. Christ turned water into wine (John 2:1-11). In Acts 15 Peter forbade the drinking of blood, not booze. But if you’re in an area where the occasional glass of wine gives offense and tempts weak souls to violate their own conscience, I just might order you to abstain completely for the sake of these precious souls.
The same goes for women’s clothing. I am deeply offended by styles which allow men to see too much, or whet their appetites for further stimulation. If one my daughters can’t sit down without worrying that her skirt is sliding too far up, something is very unholy about her clothing choice. The same goes for large armholes in sleeveless tops which give a clear view of the body underneath the garment, or plunging necklines and sheer fabrics which leave little to the imagination.
A pastor who corrects a woman who (obviously) is trying to draw male attention to her glamorous figure with revealing clothing is well within his rights to do so. But this business of dictating color choices and hair styles, or banning jewelry is another matter. So long as the body is properly covered up and the clothes aren’t skin tight, leave women alone. There is a wide diversity of personality types and ethnic types in My body. Some women (and men) will have more of a flair for color than others. Not everyone has to look like a high-powered business executive, or a sour-faced funeral director, to be pleasing in My sight. It is not a sin for a woman to wear a colorful bandana to church, anymore than it would have been for My mother to wear her veil. A few women are of the persuasion that they ought to wear some type of covering on their head in the assembly. If so, don’t get bent out of shape about it. What she wears is none of your concern, so long as she isn’t tempting you to lust after her. A tie-dyed T-shirt will not send a man to hell. Dressing like a penguin will not get a man to heaven faster than the poor farmer in bib overalls.
As far as celebrating birthdays or so-called holidays, that’s a matter of personal liberty, to be settled between believers and their Lord, not by ham-fisted preachers who want to control other people’s lives. Remember how mad the Pharisees got at Me for partying with sinners and tax collectors. I mingled with them and enjoyed their refreshments. I conversed with them and even laughed with them. But I did not sin or transgress against My Father in any way.
And have you ever wondered just WHY certain legalistic sects ban birthdays and other festive occasions? Not necessarily out of any zeal for holiness, but the notion that if you don’t celebrate any particular day, you automatically save money. Money which could make preachers’ lives a whole lot merrier. While you fast and eat beans, they dine richly on T-bone steak and other delicacies… at your expense, of course.
Does your pastor take frequent holidays to the so-called Holy Land to “get closer to Jesus” while there are many in your church struggling to keep a roof over their head? What crass hypocrisy, this failure (or refusal) to see Jesus in the face of the poorer believers! How does it minister to MY need to have “tithe money” spent at seaside resorts and lavish restaurants and pricey tourist traps, while so many church members must get their basic subsistence from secular food banks? Until every last widow is fed and every last family DECENTLY housed in your church, that man has no RIGHT to such a luxury! Let my poorer children eat first before the “spiritual leadership” of the church comes back with their begging bowl demanding more dessert!
Many pastors pay mere lip service to the central doctrine of grace by faith in how believers relate to Me. Tithing ties My grace up in knots. In My sight, it is just as bad of a sin to HARBOR a dangerous doctrine as it is to overtly teach it. Many preachers are straddling the fence, where tithing is concerned. They’ve been to Bible school, studied their Greek and Hebrew and examined the Book from one end to the other. If they were honest they’d be the first to admit that NOT ONCE is tithing on money taught anywhere in My Word, in either Testament. Only farm produce or livestock was ever required as tithes, and only from ISRAELITES LIVING IN THE LAND OF ISRAEL (Lev.27:30-34). Moses did NOT give this commandment to other ethnic groups in the earth!
Even preachers who can’t quite bring themselves to ACTIVELY enforce unscriptural tithing will PASSIVELY enforce it. They will turn a blind eye to the PRESENCE of the serpent in their midst which is biting My gullible, ignorant people. These greedy men will ALLOW this false tithing doctrine to stay and thrive in their church, after it has been introduced by someone else who “did the pastor’s dirty work” for him. The most cunning preacher won’t comment on it one way or the other because he might turn people off. But he’ll still profiteer from tithing by allowing other “ministers of the word” to beat the sheep over the head with this devilish doctrine until they’re eaten up with guilt over it. It won’t bother the jackboot hireling pastor that his flock are feeling bad for not acknowledging their “need to tithe”. Many BONDAGE ENABLERS in pulpits keep mum and “leave it to the Lord” where it concerns giving, and they feel they can afford to. Why? Because they hold special conferences every few months where visiting tithing teachers will reinforce this deadly doctrine with no objections from the pastor. By the time poverty strikes tithers who fell back under the Law and its resultant curse (see Gal.3:10) the pastor comes out smelling like a rose because it wasn’t HIM who actively taught this false doctrine. The guilty culprit has split with his cut of the fat offering, and won’t be back to teach these battered sheep again for many months, if ever.
These preachers think they can have it both ways. By keeping silent they can continue to rake in the proceeds from this false doctrine while thinking I let them off the hook because they didn’t actually ACTIVELY teach tithing themselves. If some Christian were to come up to them and say, “Brother, I don’t think I can afford to tithe this week”, the compromising preacher might reply: “You really ought to put God first in your life, brother. Invest in His Kingdom before taking care of your other bills.” Thus satan sneaks some subtle lies (it’s not so important to take care of your own family, see I Tim.5: 8) into a little bedrock truth (investing in God’s Kingdom and putting the Lord first). The real danger here is that by his incessant demands for money, the browbeaten pew saint begins to confuse the Lord with the preacher.
The believer’s love for Me is questioned (and jeopardized) by such callous, cold disregard for his well-being, both materially and spiritually.
Only a hireling shepherd will disregard the snake in their midst and allow his flock to be bitten by false doctrine which he does nothing to get rid of. Grace is swapped for grievous legalism, a binding chain which prevents the saint from rising up to sit in heavenly places with Christ Jesus his Lord.
Achan hid a gold bar and goodly garment in his tent, which I had expressly commanded the Children of Israel not to do. So long as that Accursed Thing was in their camp, I could not give them victory over their enemies, and thus, they were beneath their circumstances and not above them.
Joshua 7:13: Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.
Only after this sin was dealt with and the forbidden thing removed was I able to move in power on behalf of the Children of Israel. Today, the illicit doctrine of tithing is that forbidden thing, along with other manifestations of man-centered idolatry (preacher-olatry). I cannot put My seal of approval on any church which harbors sin in the camp. I never gave anyone permission to distort an Old Testament ordinance so men could get rich off it. Contraband doctrines of deceit allowed by the leadership deeply offend Me. I did not send My precious Son to sacrifice His life blood in order that rich thieves might get richer by destroying other people’s lives. And the time has come when I not only rebuke the false shepherds for sanctioning false, destructive doctrine, but I also rebuke Christians for allowing themselves to be fleeced, after they’ve been repeatedly warned by My Spirit that they’re giving gifts to evil men and not to God. Once you’re thoroughly aware that this is wrong, it makes you an idolater to continue to give “sacrificial gifts” to rich, deceitful preachers.
Whenever some man (or woman) tells you to give your best sacrificial gift to GOD, they really mean themselves! I have no need of the fancy fixtures preachers buy FOR THEMSELVES with YOUR money. To presume to stand in place of God to tax My people in My Name, that’s the most depraved sort of idolatry and blasphemy. That’s the spirit of ANTICHRIST (instead of Christ), where some man presents himself as My vicar on earth to tax you on My behalf. This was NEVER taught to any apostle by My Son!
Certain mega-ministries splash out on 5-star hotels, eating the finest cuisine and wearing fancy clothes with money “given to the Lord”. Well, I decree that this century will not pass before most of these men (the unrepentant ones) will find themselves in the HELL-ton Hotel eating flames of judgment fire. Instead of fine clothes, they will wear moth-eaten garments. Instead of fine gold their treasures will be rotted away and a witness against them at My Final Judgment Seat.
James 5:1: Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.
3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.
4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.
5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.
My dear children, do not be moved by the rants of those fools in the pulpit who threaten My wrath and judgment on you for failure to give them “tithe money”. Neither be envious of them because of their so-called wealth, because it is all the paradise most of them will ever have. Today they live in delight with a dead conscience, tomorrow they’ll be fuel for the fire of hell. Rather than wish you have what they have, you should fear for them, and pray that as many of them as possible will wake up and smell the smoke from the judgment fires coming.
Lack of love stops the flow of My miracle-working power in congregations. Simmering factions of ill-concealed hatred often proliferate in churches. The deacon might be jealous of all the attention the pastor is getting. The other sisters might envy the lady who is often called upon to perform musical solos in front of the church. The poor might be truly unwanted in a so-called rich church. They are made very aware of the fact by bellowing, tithe-collecting, “conservative” preachers who consider them as being just dead weight in the church taking up space in the pews.
Does it really help to substitute “house churches” for institutional churches? Sometimes, but it all depends on whether you purge out the leaven you picked up in the bigger church instead of carrying the leaven of the big loaf into the little loaf. Just like you can carry cold germs from place to place, so you can get out of the institutional church, but you can’t get the institutional church out of you. Even tiny little groups are often just smaller microcosms of much larger churches’ problems. I have seen small groups of less than ten souls quarrelling and bickering over trivial issues instead of resolving their problems in love. Even in the smallest groups, satan can sow seeds of contention and strife, causing one or two people to want to dominate the others, instead of letting Christ alone be Lord. Some establish their own religious groups just to gain attention for themselves, or to make a name for themselves in this world. It has nothing to do with building My Household of Faith.
Allowing false doctrine, legalism and spiritual abuse to flourish unchecked in churches strips Christians of an awareness that they are all one in Christ, united to Him by faith, seated with Him in heavenly places. The devil isn’t afraid of religious clubs anymore than he is scared of your local garden club or Boy’s Club. It delights him when you spend all your time and energy spinning your wheels in a dead religious rut instead of going on with God.
Be not deceived, My people. There are wolves out there wanting to make cheap merchandise of My flock. They’re out to fleece, skin and rob My people, taking their spiritual as well as their natural treasures.
So long as you exalt false shepherds high above yourselves and place them between you and Christ, you will never fully realize your exalted position in Christ, sitting with Him in heavenly places (Eph.2:6). So long as these evil thieves and control freaks keep you under subjection to themselves, your spiritual plane will never get off the ground and your strength will be spent in vain.