The Laodicean Church Leaves My Life Behind
by Patricia Backora
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How Church Has Changed
Some of My dearest children find themselves in a dry phase of their life when true fellowship is not to be found. For the most part, it may not even be their own fault. I have warned in My Word that in the last days, the love of many will wax cold.
In the height of the so-called Jesus Revolution of the late sixties and early seventies, when the movement was relatively pure and before a lot of crazy name-it-and-claim-it doctrines crept into My Church, there was love. Or at least, there was a great anointing of love from My Spirit upon young people and all adults who were open to the outpouring of My Spirit upon that particular generation.
We are one in the spirit, we are one in the Lord, so many of you sang. I saw so many instances of kindness and charity among the brethren, so many wonderful examples of caring and sharing during the recession of those years. Oh, it wasn’t as perfect as I would have wanted it, but it was a step in the right direction. If only young saints had CONTINUED in godly love and charity. How true, that your love and charity can be taken advantage of by irresponsible folks and that is wrong. But those who have grown cold toward Me with age have thrown the baby out with the bathwater, and have placed strict limitations on those who are worthy of their care and prayers.
The gifts of the Spirit used to flow in the meetings. People traveled together long distances to share the gifts of Christ within them, and likewise to be blessed by brethren they seldom saw this side of heaven. Christian young people prayed for one another from the heart. Even the older adults paused to reflect on how real My presence seemed, compared to the cold, dead, dry services they’d attended all their lives. Many would comment on the sweet atmosphere of the love of Jesus in places which once were devoid of life and unwatered by refreshing from above.
It was like being on a spiritual honeymoon with Jesus. You could discern the sweet Presence of the Lord in each person, and couldn’t wait to gather together to rejoice and sing and testify about all I’d done to help you and bless you that week. The Bible came alive for the first time in your life. It was like a love letter penned to you from the heart of God, and you felt closer to your Father than ever before. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit made your life as different as night is from day, from what it had been before you’d received this outpouring from heaven.
Over and over again you pledged your love to one another, as precious highly esteemed members of My body. You promised you’d always be there for each other, that wherever you lived in this earth, you’d only be a prayer away.
What happened? Many of those “Jesus People” were in it only till the thrill was gone. They grew up and lost their childlike innocence and lost sight of that simplicity which is in Christ Jesus (2 Cor.11:3). The Jesus Movement peaked, then faded slowly away, as subtle errors infiltrated My Church. Name it and Claim It, Blab it and Grab it, all kinds of King’s Kids rhetoric filled the minds of those who had once embraced the Cross of Christ as their way of life. Divisions between rich and poor grew in the church. The spiritual gifts fizzled out, or were heavily discouraged by “the leadership”, who became a class apart from “pew saints” and began to demand“tithes” of poorer people’s paychecks. Sing-alongs by the campfire died out, and the pastor took his proper place on a fancy speakers’ podium behind a glass pulpit. “Brother John”, wearer of jeans and driver of an old VW bug, used to drive a lot of folks to church and cheerfully accept their pennies to help with the gas.
As life got more complicated and the price of gas soared, so did Brother John’s ego. He became “Pastor Smith”, wearer of a fancy 3-piece suit and driver of a fancy Porsche. And if you can’t afford to get your own, that’s a sure indication you’re under some “curse” for failure to tithe. Whereas Brother John had once INFORMALLY fellowshipped around a kitchen table like Paul in Acts 20:7, his congregation grew until he rented a big hall, then constructed a white elephant cathedral to house a congregation of thousands. Whereas he’d been easily accessible before and knew his brethren by name, now Pastor Smith was so swamped by the incessant demands of a huge mob that he had to be surrounded by an entourage of ushers to protect his privacy.
“Church” changed from being a family of faith to a PRODUCTION OF MEN which was preprogrammed, polished and professional. No longer could some newly Spirit-baptized teenager share a word from the Lord. At first the pastor REGULATED (censored) the flow of My Spirit by making sure all prophetic utterances were few and delivered ONLY through a few favored individuals who would speak only a few, flowery words which would tickle people’s ears and never challenge anyone to greater holiness. And the time came when even that limited amount of spiritual gifts in the church was phased out, as if the pastor were weaning the congregation off something he felt was unneeded. In time, the pastor made sure the entire 90-minute slot allocated to the “service” was filled up with preprogrammed gobbledygook, to spare visitors any “embarrassment” from anything being said that was even remotely supernatural. And it came to pass that the institutional church made by men got too big for its britches and I had to leave it. My Spirit won’t play along with some manmade agenda, to gratify some controlling human ego. The Jesus Revolution fizzled out partly because of all the men who sought to build their own public profile in ministry and stole the spotlight away from Christ Himself. No, I will not bless that mess going on today in carnal institutional churches, and say it is what I’d planned for body ministry.
Even a lot of nominal “charismatic” churches shun the spiritual gifts because the pastor wants to be the one in control ALL the time, so he’ll get the credit and build a big respectable “mega-ministry” for himself. But the so-called supernatural is more than welcome when money can be made off it! Oh, the pastor doesn’t mind swallowing his kingly dignity so long as he gets his cut when the plate is passed around. So he’ll call in miracle fakers to wow the crowd and keep attendance high. People are strung along by clown characters in fancy suits going through their well-rehearsed paces. Emotional, syrupy choruses are sung over and over and over again to put people in a semi-hypnotic state, so as to butter them up to open their wallets, not just their hearts. The power of God is no longer emphasized so much as the power of GIVING “to God”. And why are My people so deluded as to think giving must always flow from the poor to the rich, when in Jesus’ day it was to be the other way around? Do you equate God with the preacher, and that is why you think you’re not giving to Me unless it’s to somebody wearing a nice suit and standing behind a pulpit?
If there is greed among the privileged leadership, there is also a certain amount of snobbery and self-seeking out in the pews. Many of those who once fellowshipped with former drug addicts and hippies became ten cent millionaires in My congregation, putting on airs and forming their own close-knit cliques with right-wing aristocrats like themselves. “Greed is good and greed is god” is now the mindset of many congregations. The Age of the Laodicean Church is here and now, and I’m about ready to spit it out of My mouth for its carnality, pride, snobbery, fruitlessness and foolishness.
That same pastor who once thrilled to the reality of Christ in him, the hope of glory, will now ruthlessly censure the poor widow unable to tithe TO HIM from her meager welfare check. And where do these thieves and robbers get off, demanding tithes of state benefits and food stamps? The American taxpayer has his hands full funding government programs for the down and out, and for the elderly and disabled. Surely it is DISHONEST for a fat, well-fed preacher to demand a tithe off of government benefits which were earmarked by Uncle Sam for the support of needy people? Isn’t that fraud, robbing the American taxpayer by diverting part of the money to preachers who don’t even need the money to live on?
Yes, it was once enough of a blessing for such preachers to be aware that Christ lived in their hearts through faith. They couldn’t stop thanking Me for filling them with joy and with the knowledge they were forgiven for all their sins. But now they’re not only robbing My sheep of earthly blessings, they’re teaching Christians to be selfish and competitive toward one another, to try to “get in the inner circle” closer to the pastor and his cronies, and to put pressure on one another to “give till it hurts”. Christians are pressured to work themselves half to death to bring in more dollars to build the pastor’s dream building, a tribute to his own glorious kingdom on earth.
Many disgusted people have quit church because after many months of attending some dead building, they feel no sense of My presence and are tired of the errors that are permitted in the church, even if they’re not actively promoted. No matter how godly the pastor might be, tithing is seldom, if ever, discouraged as being error, though it is NOT a New Covenant doctrine. Some sinister ministers are so mean they shove tithing down hungry people’s throats and threaten them with My severest chastisement if they don’t cough up more cash. Teaching Christians that you need to supplement My sacrifice on Calvary with painful sacrifice of any kind in order to receive some blessing from Me, that is also grave error.
Bottom line: I cannot and WILL not honor error, whether it is passively allowed to stay in a church or is actively promoted or taught. If I were to honor such a place with mighty signs and wonders and healings, the pastor (or others) might be deceived into thinking that their unscriptural doctrines are okay and I don’t mind them at all.
After being badgered to death about tithing, “giving till it hurts”, and being frozen out by snobby cliques, after all the stuffy, icy formality, no wonder so many of My sheep gave up on “church” and are now wandering in the wilderness, disillusioned and wondering where it all went wrong, wondering why their lifelong vision of a victorious church spreading My love and power throughout the earth came to so little.
I am with such people. When no blood-washed true believer in Christ (dove) seems to be available, I can sometimes bring some blessing through an outsider (a raven). The prophet Elijah often lamented that he was all alone in remaining true to the God of Israel, while everyone else apostatized (I Kings 18:22). His successor Elisha said the same thing But I let Elisha know there were seven thousand other men in Israel who had not bent the knee to Baal (I Kings 19:18). There were at least a few who did not go with the flow and get swallowed up by the error of his day.
When Elijah was in a time of famine, I sent him out to the wilderness and promised to take care of him. He was all alone except for Me. No other believers were present to minister to this man of God in his hunger and thirst. I sent the ravens of the air to feed Elijah as he rested by a brook (I Kings 17:1-6). There will be times when there will be no believer physically present with you to share a word in good season to strengthen you, and there may even be times you will have some material need. No believer will be around at that time, but some lost person might come along and say something helpful. They might tell you tough times don’t last but tough people do. They might say, “Here, have part of my candy bar.” They might even treat you to a cup of coffee and a chat in some café while the rain is dripping outside. There have been many times when some poor Christian felt like they were on the outside looking in but I used a so-called raven to sustain them and bring them in from the weather. Instead of using a fellow Israelite to meet Elijah’s need, I used a heathen Sidonian woman to keep him alive in time of famine (I Kings 17:8-16). I gave Elijah and his host family a continuous miraculous supply of provision until the famine ended. This woman ended up becoming a believer in the God of Israel and is in heaven today because of Elijah’s presence in her home to testify to her about Me.
Of course it isn’t wise to put your trust in every person you meet. I will give you godly discernment as to how close to get to people, whether they’re lost or saved. But some of the most caring people you might find will be those outside the faith. A sad commentary on the way things are with much of My church, but true.
No matter how dark the skies look, no matter how cold the atmosphere around you seems, draw on that burning light of the life of Christ deep down in your spirit to warm you and inspire you to keep going forward to gain the prize which awaits you at the finish line.
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