The Trip So Far

06/18/2019

Die Offs

Filed under: Real Life Christianity — John Miltenberger @ 10:19

A time to give birth and a time to die; [Ecc 3:2 NASB]

In my life, it seems that the Grim Reaper is again at work. Every so many years he sweeps through and harvests some more of my friends and acquaintances, or others that have some part in the fabric of my life. The die offs seem to come in waves, as do infirmities. King Solomon stated that there is a time to give birth (and to live), and a time to die, but I’m sure he was writing that within the context of a “normal course of events”, or it would have been phrased, ‘An untimely time to die’. Death is natural in this dark world, but death from murder is not a natural death for God’s children.
The Bible states that one of the reasons Jesus came to earth was to show us the active will of God, and to provide us with an example to follow in our lives. As such, Jesus dived into His ministry by delivering human beings from demons and healing them from sicknesses and infirmities. In other words, it was obvious from His ministry that Jesus was showing us it was not God’s will that we be dominated by any form of sickness and disease. So why is it that so many church-goers don’t get it? There can only be two reasons: ignorance of God’s demonstrated and written word, or willful unbelief.
Not too many years ago I had a good friend (I thought), who by his own admission “had diabetes”. Whenever I heard him state that he ‘had’ diabetes, I always thought that in actual fact, the diabetes had him. Finally one evening after a bible study, he said he ‘had’ diabetes once too often, and I piped up, “Would you like to be healed from it?” His girlfriend, later his wife, who excelled at wearing the pants in the family, took extreme offense, and said loudly, “No!”, and from that time on she saw to it that our friendship was over. She even took some effort to herd us apart if we just happened upon each other in neutral environments. (By the way, that’s a great example of “Christian witchcraft”).
Biblically speaking, none of us has the authority to avoid ultimately dying. As long as we’re alive, we’re facing death at the end of it, but as Christians, Jesus made it quite clear we could refuse to be murdered, and sickness to any degree, is incipient murder. In fact, sickness is incipient murder even for unbelievers, they just don’t have the authority to refuse it.
If your doctor says you have cancer, for a child of God (not necessarily a church-goer), the obverse is the truth – cancer has you. Cancer is caused by a malignant being under the direct control of Satan, and he’s out to take advantage of our biblical ignorance and unbelief, and he’s good at doing so.
So here I am once again, outliving some more of my former associates and friends. The Reaper is harvesting (i.e.: murdering) once more. “Good” Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, AG, Episcopalians, and many other sects are currently being pilfered by the Reaper, and for the most part, it goes uncontested by the victims.
I’m thankful for doctors, but my trust is not in them, although I hope to find good ones as needed; my trust is in God, namely, Jesus, Who alone heals and restores. Anything less than Jesus is just management.
And let’s be honest, many do trust in Jesus and they die anyway. I can’t pretend to know why, but what offends me is the ones who simply give up and say thoughtless things like, “Well, it must be God’s will…” That kind of capitulation should offend any real Christian because it flies in the face of why Christ came and what He did. Our ignorance is killing us, and it offends me.
I’m sure many will disagree with me, and that’s their right, but personally, I think every sickness, every disease, every germ and every other killer, ultimately has roots in Satan and his demonic hosts. Even a cursory reading of Jesus’ miracles of healing will find deliverance from demons intertwined. We stand a much better chance of survival by resisting an evil personage, than we do by just hoping we’ll get lucky and live.
The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was so we, as His covenanted people, could live out our natural, God given lives serving Him, not dying untimely deaths and succumbing to murder.

John

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05/30/2019

Revisitation

Filed under: Real Life Christianity — John Miltenberger @ 14:08

I just got through watching a two and a half hour YouTube presentation of an old, 1999 Rod Parsley meeting. It was fascinating to me because I don’t recall ever hearing him preach or minister, and he’s not timid and demure by any stretch, and it was, even now, right on target. But I got something else out of it that made me reflect back on the time when I was a new baby in Christ, and it exposed the damage done to my soul since then. It exposed the contrast and the compromise that have systematically put me out of the game of life in Jesus. And I never even suspected I was damaged!
Because the meeting I watched, and the temperature of the meeting, thrust me back to my early times in Christ, I saw more clearly than ever how my fire’s gone out, or at least simmered to coals, from what it once was.
When I first came to Christ, I came after several decades of avoiding the call of God on my life. I never doubted God was real, or that Jesus was His divine Son; it never occurred to me to doubt, I just never concerned myself with serving Him in any way. And I was ignorant with regard to the Holy Spirit, for in the Presbyterian church I grew up having to attend, the Holy Spirit was like a divine zero – merely a place-holder, so we could pay lip service to the “Trinity”. In 1972 all that changed for me, and it changed in a whirlwind!
It was during the days of the Charismatic Renewal in St. Louis County, Missouri, that I came to Christ, and I need to say that nothing short of the Charismatic Renewal, with the re-ignited interest in the gifts of the Holy Spirit in operation, would have appealed to me. Realize that I had had over twenty years of Presbyterian “theory”, and theory never can compete with reality, and never was that more true than it was for me in 1972. I saw healings, real ones with no known attributable cause than that of the Holy Spirit. I saw deliverances, real ones, with real demons coming out of people, some of whom I knew. And to top it all off, I was healed from a blood disease that medical science to this day, can only “manage”. I was hooked!
The size and shape of the world I had known since birth dynamically and immediately changed, and it changed for the better. Elusive “why” questions I had always pondered, were answered as things fell into place through scriptures that suddenly became easy to fathom. Answers abounded and mysteries fell into place as the Holy Spirit shared His Wisdom. It was exhilarating, to say the least!
Those were good times indeed! And today, after watching the kind of meetings we used to attend, I wondered with a disappointed shock – what changed, and what caused the change in me, that life is no longer exciting and hope isn’t bouncing off the walls in our current church services? What happened to me, and how did it happen?
To be sure, ‘back in the day’, not everyone got healed, but many did. We knew when we used the name of Jesus, demons could not remain in place, and we knew that somehow, some way, God was going to put Himself on display…but not so much today. What changed? And there’s one sure bet…God did not.
Somehow, the warp and woof of time managed to throw dirt on my fire. I wasn’t aware of it because it happened so incrementally. It never appeared to me that I was cooling off until I watched a man on YouTube who was on fire like I used to be.
I am grieved. God is also grieved, but I suspect God and I have approached our grief from two dissimilar vantage points. I am grieved for what I lost; God is grieved for what He almost had. I am absolutely, dead-dog convinced that God wants to display His power on the earth once again, and in mighty, never before seen ways, but I’m also convinced He’s having trouble finding those He can fully entrust with His power.
God’s power, displayed on the earth, ‘made manifest’, as the church says, is the only thing that will put life back into the church in our day. Everything else is, no matter how logical or well reasoned, a false construct for just another round of fictional church reality. God’s raw power through His Holy Spirit, simply must be the only answer to the slow, spiritual suicide we see in our churches today. Only that and no other.
What must I do to get back to my first Love? What must I do to be one He can trust with His power?
Those are my questions; I hope they are your questions too.

John

05/16/2019

Maturity Through Persecution

Filed under: Real Life Christianity — John Miltenberger @ 11:44

Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death. And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. [Acts 8:1 NASB]

As long as the Church is composed of human beings, it will probably remain predictably Reactive to the prevailing social environment, rather than Proactive. That is one reason why the church in America reflects so well the current norms of American society. That also helps explain why so many of the churches in this country focus on entertainment rather than personal holiness and Christian maturity. American Christians are so incredibly ripe for emotional, financial appeals because we have little, to no discernment when it comes to delineating soul from spirit. We are sheep ripe for slaughter, and we seem to like it that way.
Maybe you can relate: The choir hit a homerun with their 100+ decibel songs, then the speaker ran all over the stage, successfully working up the crowd, and then money flowed into the coffers. Next, a great sermon follows, albeit devoid of any potential life changing biblical content, where we again learn that God loves us, and everyone goes home happy, and happy to be going home in time for televised sports. Nobody in the world does “church” better than we do it in America, but it is not necessarily the church seen in the Bible.
I believe there is only one sure-fired cure for the prevailing church “system”, for a system it surely is: Persecution. Persecution, and only persecution will put to death our attempts at “playing church” just as surely as marriage puts to death “playing house.”
It is persecution that forced the first century church to actually begin to obey Jesus’ command to “go into all the world”, or perhaps an alternate translation might be, “as you go…”
It is persecution that will cut the throat of the “Prosperity Gospel”, so widely proclaimed and accepted as normative in America today. Prosperity preachers harp on, “Jesus was made poor so you can be rich.”, but even though they caveat that it doesn’t strictly pertain to money, don’t we really know that it is? We are only fooled if we want to be, and most churches run on — money. Sure, many folks would say they would rather be “rich in the Spirit”, but as my old boss used to say, “Show me the money!”, and that’s usually the true, underlying thrust of the Prosperity message in America today.
And it must work, just look at the personal financial wealth of some of the prominent prosperity preachers! New jet airplanes, etc.!! Indeed, many of our poor brothers and sisters in other parts of the world are without clean water, but some of our preachers have fleets of jets! It’s an outrage, and we just keep the money flowing to them!
Yes, it’s better to give than to receive. I am a consistent tither and intend to remain one, but if ever I give money in order to get money, I hope some good friend will kick my rear quarters as an example of Christian love! There is nothing I will ever do that will put God in my debt. Ever, and anyone who infers otherwise, no matter the clever semantics they may use, is off track with the entirety of the Bible’s message concerning Who God is and what He wants.
God owes no one anything, (He didn’t even owe mankind a Savior!). He gives because it is His Nature to do so. It is indeed more blessed to give, because it mirrors His image, but it brings a curse if we try, however subtly, to put Him into our debt.
What will happen to the community or family aspect of our church congregations if the availability of housing and medicine is cut off because we are Christians? What will happen when we are singled out for hate crimes because of our faith? For that matter, what will happen if we actually have to live by our faith?
In early 1972, one of the first things God told me was to learn to live by faith – while I still had time to do so. He didn’t bother to tell me how much time I had….now that was sure an exciting entry into Kingdom living!
The Bride of Christ is a remnant of the folks who fill our pews on Sunday mornings. She is totally committed to only one Husband, and concurrently committed to breaking off every other hindrance to that one commitment. We’d all like to include ourselves in that description because we all have good intentions, but our intentions don’t have a bearing on our relationship with Jesus unless they motivate us to action.
Many of us Sunday-sitters are bound for hell and think we are not. If our church experience is more like attending and supporting a club for “good” people, it’s probably a good bet we will never see the streets of gold.
God will clean His own house first, and we may very well see it as persecution, but frankly, from what we see in the rest of the world, perhaps it’s about time.
Everyone called by The Name will take their turn at persecution. The Bride of Christ will be made mature for His coming, and considering our reactive natures, I believe only a healthy dose of persecution will cause us to grow into spiritual maturity. Just as exercise can be painful, but beneficial, persecution will bring maturity to the American church.

John

05/01/2019

Just Business As Usual

Filed under: Real Life Christianity — John Miltenberger @ 11:48

Re: Acts 3:1 – Acts 5:16

I’ve found the Book of Acts to be some of the most exciting reading ever since I was a teenager, and I’ve always wanted to see the same things happen in my life that I read about. Thankfully, and in spite of myself, I have seen much of it, but not nearly enough.
In fact, I’ve been dissatisfied with religious plateaus for most of my life.
When I was converted to Christianity in the early 70’s, in the days of the Charismatic Renewal, I was in close association with many people who had been miraculously healed of serious diseases, such as terminal cancer, and I mean medically verified healings. Although not all that we prayed for were healed, many did, and those times were exciting indeed. God’s Spirit seemed to be explosive in our midst on many occasions, and frankly, He’s a ton of fun to be around!
But gradually, the excitement waned, and the movement seemed to die a slow death, and I think it was due to men getting their hands all over what God was doing. In my opinion, the Charismatic Renewal was over-organized to death by well-meaning men. Consequently, the zeal we had enjoyed got parked on an endless plateau of religiosity.
I can’t weigh in on the evident power of God on other continents and countries, but I can say that in America, most of the so-called Spirit-filled churches (thankfully not all) suffer from a chronic lack of real spiritual power.
I’ve known several congregations where it would be extremely uncommon for anyone to actually get healed, rather they’ve been characterized by masses of sick and afflicted believers waiting and hoping to be the first into the pool ‘when the angel stirs the water’. And I can say, the angel doesn’t show up much anymore. Why is this happening?
My opinion, for what it’s worth, is that the lack of real spiritual power is in direct correlation to a pervasive lack of commitment, and holy fear of – Jesus Christ. It often is on open display in our lackadaisical attitudes towards the sovereignty of Almighty God. We think nothing of coming before God on Sunday mornings dressed in tee shirts, shorts and flip-flops. We think nothing of interrupting someone’s worship by giving them a hug, or talking to them…or both. I did say ‘interrupt’, and it’s an important word in the context of ‘worship’. Our so-called ‘sanctuaries’ are anything but, because we seemingly don’t know the difference, or care that there is one, between common and holy. And due to these attitudes, neither do our children….
Our lobbies are often too full of out-of-control children, who are out of control because their parents apparently aren’t in control. The children aren’t to blame. They are just doing what they can get away with, and they’re bored because absolutely nothing is apparently expected of them. Parents, here’s a headline for you: God did not give you children because He needed someone to run your family, but they will, as long as you let them.
Why are we so afraid to offend our children by being in charge of them, as God intended? Why do we abdicate that eternal responsibility in favor of being their “friends”? For many parents, that bill will come due in their children’s teenage years, if not before. Parents afraid to be parents, and kids running amok….sounds about like a normal Sunday church service in many of our American communities. Again, it’s not the kid’s fault. Let’s put the blame where it belongs.
There are aspects of church life that mandate a certain adherence to a business structure, but let’s not organize God out of the structure. As I read the reference in Acts 3:1 – Acts 5:16, church growth was instigated by outright displays of God’s power. The New Testament church was typified by the Holy Spirit being in charge of church expansion, not man. An objective view of church history will show it didn’t take long for man to get his dirty little fingerprints all over it – it never does, and now we have denominational blight all over our communities.
Denominationalism was not part of God’s plan – it was ours, and it came about as we lost the leadership of His Holy Spirit, thought we could do better, and substituted our ways of doing business instead of His, in our never ending desire for money and the control of it and people who have it.
So here we are today…stuck on this powerless plateau of religiosity while starving for His Presence and leadership. According to the Bible, we were supposed to have had our natural man crucified with Christ, buried and resurrected to our new lives through baptism.
Our plans only require conformity; God’s plans require obedience, and He doesn’t do ‘business as usual’.

John

04/29/2019

Endurance Is Survival

Filed under: Real Life Christianity — John Miltenberger @ 11:33

For some time, decades I would guess, we’ve heard prophecies concerning how God is bringing a ‘shaking’ to this world, beginning in His church (for He cleans His own house first). So how is it possible that we never think it’ll happen to us, or to our church? Many strong, anointed men of God have fallen to temptations, why would we assume it could not happen to us? Just what, exactly, makes us “bullet proof” to the world if not the armor of the Word of God? And just why would we think we don’t need it?
Behind our façade of strength, and behind our façade of righteousness, pride and arrogance lurk in the shadows, seeking whom to take down, and the ones who think themselves less likely to fall are the ones most at risk of falling. It works that way for individuals, and it works that way for churches. If the gatekeepers of our churches be blind, who will call out when the enemy reveals himself? There are none so blind as those who think they are immune to it.
The Bible tells us the truth about God and the truth about ourselves, but only if we are objectively disposed to listen to the truth. Otherwise what we “hear” about ourselves will always seem to be for someone else. We lose nothing by bailing out an empty boat, but we might sink if we always think we, above all others, will never need to bail out our own boat.
Many times God will set forth His plans and reveal them to us, at least in general ways with details excluded, and we set ourselves to wait for the fulfillment of His plans. We pray, and (horrors!) fast, and we wait….and we wait…..and we wait some more. Years go by, and then tens of years.
It usually seems to us, the fast-food generations, that our waiting will never end. We get anxious, second-guessing ourselves. Did we really hear from God? Can He really do the impossible in our lives? And like kids on a road trip, we cry out to God, “Aren’t we there yet?!” And God is silent – for His word has already been given. He has already done all He intends to do….He’s done His part, telling His prophets what is about to happen. It’s in the waiting that we drop the ball. And the waiting IS the test!
While we wait, we have two roads to choose from. We can let our faith be strengthened as we wait, knowing that every passing day brings the fulfillment of God closer, or we can let our faith drain away in discouragement and disappointment, second-guessing our guidance until we don’t trust any of it. And we, like Satan in the Garden of Eden, say to ourselves, “Did God really say….?”
In Hebrews 6:13-16, it seems evident that Abraham chose the road of strengthened faith. If Abraham did it, we can to. What the text does not tell us are the predictable ways Abraham’s faith was tested as he waited in his seemingly impossible situation, and I’m sure it was uncomfortable for him, just as it can be for us. In God’s economy, nothing cheap and easy is worth having, and faith not tested cannot be trusted in the Kingdom.
In the words of Jesus: “By your endurance you will gain your lives.” [Luke 21:19, NASB], and endurance is a survival skill for those who are called by His Name. Endurance is the product of faith tested, combined with a healthy dose of patience.
God is always faithful to His word, for any other course would abdicate his deity. He’s always, always faithful to His word. His faithfulness is our anchor in the storm, every time, but He’s under no obligation to be faithful to our words. And if we cling to His written word, and trust Him patiently, no matter what comes, His faithfulness will arrive right on time – on His schedule.

John

04/19/2019

Dumb And Dumber

Filed under: Real Life Christianity — John Miltenberger @ 09:30

“Think of how stupid the average person is, then remember, half of the people are even dumber.” George Carlin

I think Mr. Carlin may be a very unhappy person, or at least very disappointingly disillusioned, but to an embarrassing degree he may have a point.
Every now and then I make an effort to not take for granted the things I normally take for granted, and it’s interesting what things get caught out in the open. Today, I noticed that I normally only read internet news headlines, and I try to be very selective on what I open, but I usually have no overt realization on what the overall picture has become.
For instance, if the media didn’t have such an obsession with women’s anatomy, I think about 25% of the average headlines would cease to exist. Years ago I cancelled my television cable because I was increasingly offended by the male enhancement ads that would indiscriminately pop up while I was eating supper. Just something about it hit a nerve with me, but switching to internet news only helped for a few years. Now, I believe I’m back where I was when I had television.
For many years, I felt Fox News was probably a bit more objective than the other networks, but I don’t think so anymore. If it wasn’t for their never ending stories about “wardrobe woopsies” and topless NBA wives, I doubt they could maintain their market share. Apparently, they think so too, for the woopsies just keep coming, and back to Carlin’s quote, I wonder just what kind of sicko person(s) keep opening up that kind of soft porn? And that’s exactly what it is.
Good grief! The last time I personally had a wardrobe woopsie was when I found myself in church wearing a black belt and brown shoes! Seriously! Do you honestly think any uninstitutionalized woman in America would be thoughtless enough to have an honest woopsie? (I mean other than Walmart, of course, always an exception somewhere).
So here’s my analogy for these thoughts: If Chicago is hell, half the news media stories are driving there from the Left Coast and the other half from the East Coast – but they’re both going to the same destination!! Why can’t we see it?! Gosh, maybe Carlin was right after all.
Like most folks, I don’t like to fast because it cuts into my eating, and I often hedge on just what kind of fast to go on. I can survive on a “Daniel fast” because I can make up comfortable rules for myself concerning what Daniel actually fasted, i.e.: no doughnuts, no cake, and not much sugar, etc. But I’m wondering if it wouldn’t be healthier just fasting the media in this country?
I wonder what would change for the better if I gave up the steady visual inundation of soft porn headlines, along with the sheer drivel of the political, he-said-she-said garbage, presented to my eyes every single day? What if I just listened to music and talked to my cat? And since he doesn’t seem to mind the intrusion too much, I could also spend time reading, of all things, my Bible! Good grief!
What a novel idea, and the day is still young too!

John

04/17/2019

I Know I Need You, But Do I Want You?

Filed under: Real Life Christianity — John Miltenberger @ 12:10

One of the mysteries of growing old is found in the preponderance of our accumulated knowledge, contrasted with our decreasing physical abilities with which to enjoy it. It almost seems unfair, in a mystical sense. I’m not blaming anyone for the polarity in my abilities, mental and physical, it’s just that it seems so backwards! Who wouldn’t like to have again a twenty-year old body, full of seventy-year old wisdom?!
Looking back, I confess I took almost everything for granted in my early years. I never thought I’d reach a place where I’d be thankful for just being able to walk without too much pain, or see anything with my eyes, and even be thankful for (only) slightly blurred vision. My friend, take it from me…those aren’t small blessings!
Most of my Christian years I spent in denial of my own backsliding, and only as I got to where the end of the road was more clearly seen than the beginning, did I begin to appreciate biblical purity. It took me most of my life to fall in love with Jesus Christ – and that was after being “saved”. And now I find it’s a daily choice, and it brings about a daily journey, but I wouldn’t trade places with the much younger and more able man I once was. Not now. You see, I simply have too much invested into eternity to pull out now.
And as we age, our bodies tend to betray us to ourselves… I well remember how it felt to pitch a baseball with speed and accuracy, but when I try to do it now – “Look out downrange!” I’m also sure that slow jogging is about all the “running” I’d try to get away with! But hey, I will eventually get where I’m going. What I’m driving at is that as we age we become increasingly aware of “needing” God. We need healing in our bodies, health in our checking accounts, harmony in our households and most of all, I think we come to appreciate our need for God’s wisdom. And all of that is good and natural, that we recognize our need of God in our lives, but…Do we WANT Him?
One good reason that God made us in His image was so we’d be able to understand Him. If He had made us in any other image, we’d never be able to understand Him, and as such, it’s no stretch to say that God, like us, wants us to WANT Him. It’s childishly simple…He just wants to be wanted. And we should be able to relate, right? If anyone reading this has children that don’t want them, the correlation is quite clear, and so is the pain. God wants us to want Him; He already knows we need Him.
The problem with needs is that once they’ve been met, we no longer need them. Put God in that equation and you see where we often find ourselves, and He finds Himself there too. God loves to meet the needs of His kids, yes He does, but would it be beneficial for Him and His kids to be relegated to some kind of cosmic vending machine? I think not. Ultimately, God wants to be wanted by His kids, just like we do.
To spiritually mature, a great shift has to occur in our spirits, one in which we place our wanting God firmly in first place, and I think that “wanting” got upended at the Fall of man. We were created with our needs coming in second. If we can pull that shift off, all else will fall into the proper perspective. I know this is true because it’s that way in heaven, and when we arrive there, I suspect we will only have our wanting of God left – and our needs will be all met in Him.
Personally, I’d like to set that in order before leaving this earthly life. It can’t be done without Him, but it won’t be done at all if we continue to focus primarily on our needs.

John

04/11/2019

So, Just What IS Normal?

Filed under: Real Life Christianity — John Miltenberger @ 13:05

My title is a question few, if any church folks ever ask themselves. At least, it seems that way in my experience. For Christian and heathen alike, living on earth is somewhat like living with a death sentence hanging over us. Someone once said, “Nobody gets out of this life alive.”, and that about covers it. Of course, theologically, that statement only applies to our physical bodies on this earth. But there are, or should be, differences in how the Christians view life on earth and how heathens view it, but sadly, most of the time, and in most places, including churches, there is no difference at all in viewpoint.
I’ve been a member in good standing in three churches over the last fifteen years. (Well, good standing until the day I wasn’t!), so I have some few experiences with which to see a contrast. One church was so full of sick people that it was like being downrange without cover, just attending. When we finally had our eyes opened by the Holy Spirit, we couldn’t get out fast enough. That’s where we were attending when my wife had a dream in which she saw two spirits of death, portrayed as tall, thin, whitish women, circulating among the pre-service folks in the lobby of the church. They were hunting!
But the dream did not actually present us with new information as much as it took the lid off of things we had already observed and had not yet categorized. Both the lead pastor and associate pastor had wives with serious, incurable diseases, and the lead pastor took bottles of pain killers every day due to serious spinal issues of his own. In fact, his version of a “miracle” was his testimony of how he made it through a mission trip intact after forgetting his meds! (You won’t find that in the New Testament). I suppose I should admit to my own lack of discernment because the final catalyst in our leaving happened when we heard the lead pastor preach that since we already had the complete Bible, the supernatural ministry gifts of the Holy Spirit were no longer needed. It was my first eye-opening experience with Cessationism, which you might look up in Google. It’s a theological death sentence waiting for victims to happen, for sure.
Another church we attended was much smaller than the one I just mentioned, and I would typify it as a place that had good intentions and good people, but with some serious the top-down issues. When we first joined, it was a good church with good teaching and excellent preaching, but a major change in leadership doomed it to a slow, grinding death. After that, attending there was like visiting a cemetery every week and talking to the headstones.
We were asked to leave after asking too many hard questions pertaining to the body being obviously and chronically out of order. Later, after forgiving everyone involved in the subsequent ambush and dismissal, I figured out it was probably better for the leadership to dismiss two, than to dismiss everyone else – the numbers did make sense. Apparently, it’s ‘unloving’ to ask too many “Why?” questions.
It seems to me that numerous congregations in America are having an ignorance issue concerning the operation of demons. Most of us are happier being ignorant about unpleasant things, and I’ve always said we actually pay our law enforcement to keep us ignorant, and it’s probably the same in many churches concerning demons. But it’s also like hanging a “Demon Free Zone” sign over our sanctuaries to dodge the topic of demons, particularly as our country and our churches are in the midst of a spiritual demonic tsunami, and have been for some decades. What could go wrong?!
Ignorance allows us to remain delusionally comfortable behind the walls we’ve built between us and reality. And as we group together in our congregations, we tend to distill our delusions of reality down to a comfortable commonality. While one group finds demons under every rock, most find none because they don’t want to find any. Both are imbalanced. That only gives the dark spiritual forces encouragement, and they are usually more motivated to victimize us than we are to put a stop to it. But why is that?
We’ve accepted for far too long that to die old and sick is “normal”. I used to listen to a generally good bible teacher in California, but he openly taught that we all stood a great chance of getting old, sick and dead, and to him, with all his teaching credentials, that was “normal”. Wow! I guess only the “last” generation is the winner – whoever and whenever they are.
In 2019, as in centuries past, we’ve been left one true example of what “normal” is to Christians, and that’s the life and ministry of Jesus, and what He did in His ministry examples He did as a man, not God. There would be no point in giving His disciples authority over sickness and demons if He operated only as God. And He wouldn’t have been a proper sacrifice for us sinful creatures to have died as anything other than a human being, though ‘without sin’ Himself. He even said, ‘Greater things’ would we do than He did. So when does that happen?
Normal for Jesus, as it should be for us, was to loose a woman ‘bound by Satan’ for eighteen years, and heal her. She wasn’t sick; she was afflicted with a demon. The woman with the issue of blood had already used up all the medical advice available, but to no avail. She wasn’t sick; she was afflicted by demons. Well, just who else would have afflicted her? Without deliverance, she was cursed to be ‘unclean’ for life.
Some, perhaps many, will disagree with me on this, so I set it out as my personal opinion….that at the root of all sickness and afflictions there is a demonic source. I’m not turning a blind eye to germs, but I’m settled that if we dig far enough down to the root cause of all sickness and afflictions, we will eventually find a demonic mastermind.
Satan brought sin into our world, and we were dumb enough to open the door to it when God had already told us not to do so. The devil’s had too much of a free hand ever since, and to deny his existence, or try to delineate just how and where he’s involved in our health issues, is pointless. Doing that only ensures that we will not only die, we will live with sickness and afflictions until we die.
One example I learned from in the early 70’s I learned from a friend of mine. He was healed of (very) terminal cancer when he had twenty-four hours to live, and the doctors had sent him home to rather than clutter up their hospital. He told me many had prayed for him, with no tangible results, until a man in North Carolina cast out a spirit of cancer. My friend actually got worse after that, but God later healed him without any medical intervention, and in fact, the surgeons chopped him up so badly trying to heal him, that they did more harm than good. But that’s another story, and it’s not mine….
Quite honestly, sickness and afflictions are normal, yes they are, but they shouldn’t remain normal for Christians. It’s very clear from Exodus 15:26, and in many other places in Scripture. God didn’t create earth and call it ‘very good’, while germs, sickness, disease and afflictions roamed the surface. None of them should be “normal” for Christians, and we are stupid to believe for a moment that Jesus died and rose from the dead so we could remain victimized by Satan. Targeted, yes, but not victimized.
My personal favorite promise is in Psalms 34:19, which reads, ‘Many are the afflictions of the righteous, BUT (a really BIG, little word) the Lord delivers him out of them all.’ That’s normal for the believer, or should be.
If you or a loved one is sick or afflicted, and the medical doctors of our day have no answers, maybe it’s high time for the long-neglected deliverance ministry to re-emerge in the Church. We have our names written in the Book of Life, but the invisible jerseys we wear all have targets on the back of them, and if we don’t learn to use the same weapons Jesus used in His ministry, we could indeed, die old, sick and infirm. God will not take us “before our time”, but we have a common enemy who will.
Let’s take the “Demon Free Zone” signs off our church congregations. It’s too dangerous to have them displayed.

John

03/25/2019

Off With The Veneer

Filed under: Real Life Christianity — John Miltenberger @ 12:48

There are some prayers God seems to always answer, and most of them are not comfortable to have answered. Perhaps we pray them to assuage a vague sense of guilt over not having prayed them; I’m not sure about that, but it feels right. This happened to me very early this morning, and I’m still stunned.
You see, after church yesterday I prayed that God would reveal me to myself, and then I forgot about it. He did not. At about 3:30 am I awoke with a name of an old college friend on my mind, and I began to think back on some of the things we had done together. But the ambush God sprang at that moment arrived like this: as I recalled the things we had experienced, I suddenly began to experience them all over again, but this time I had my current mindset as a Christian man.
You might miss the poignancy of the moment I’m trying to describe, but for me, it was like being dragged across sandpaper, and the pain of the memories seemed to go on forever. As I saw myself accurately exposed under God’s microscope, I knew I needed to see it, but I hated every second of it! And the only thought I could find in my head was the question I asked Him: “Why, O why, did you ever save me?!” The second realization that came to me was a deeper perspective on not only His goodness and faithfulness, but His sheer, relentlessness in not quitting, and not giving up on me. To be honest, I still can’t quite come to grips with that, and frankly, I’ve never met anyone up to the present day as deserving of an eternity in hell as myself. It’s that simple.
At the very least, and I mean it sincerely with no exaggeration, I should have done time in somebody’s prison before I got out of college. No lie. BUT GOD – had mercy on me, and it’s a mercy such as I’ll never understand in this life.
On one hand, I regret ever thoughtlessly, glibly praying that prayer, but on the other hand, I know I should have prayed it a long time ago.
While it is said the ‘the truth will set you free’, nobody said it wouldn’t hurt – a lot.

John

03/24/2019

Oh, The Inconvenience Of It All!

Filed under: Real Life Christianity — John Miltenberger @ 15:44

“The truth? You can’t handled the truth!” [ A Few Good Men ]

One of the great movie lines to come out of the late 20th century came out of the movie entitled, A Few Good Men. The character played by Jack Nicholson aggressively and cynically stated, “The truth? You can’t handle the truth!” And in that one line, human corruption at a very basic level was abruptly and brutally exposed! It was a great expression of how uncomfortable and inconvenienced with the truth we humans often are.
I love Facebook for how it deftly exposes the truth about people; actually, people do it to themselves. People love to talk about themselves, and quite often what they hide in polite conversation, they’ll shamelessly divulge to the world at large via Facebook. Who needs the FBI? Just look at what people share about themselves on Facebook, and it’s free of charge for anyone in the world to mine and use in any way they please. It is truly amazing!
Have you just met a person you think may be “the one”? Go to Facebook and view what he or she posts. The truth is right in plain sight. Are their posts all about themselves? Red flag… Do they load up the posts with smiling photos of themselves? Red flag…. Do they proudly expose how the vast multitude of their hobbies and interests are shallow or worldly? Red flag….
Very seldom is a person with any realistic grasp of eternity or even the rudimentary fear of God found to be using Facebook. Yes, it’s extremely disappointing most of the time, but you probably can’t afford to pay for so much free intelligence information about your friends and associates. And even better, most folks never learn; they just keep posting stuff about themselves that totally exposes what they really value. And it’s all free for the taking! You just gotta love it. Who needs Russian collusion when they can gather all they need from publically available social media?
That said, I’m planning on posting this piece to my Facebook page later today, and I guarantee that most readers (the few I have), will drop it like a hot potato, because I’m going to talk about an inconvenient truth, and here it is: God hates it and holds us accountable when we kill His children. In fact, He judges it Murder, but because we ‘can’t handle the truth’, we call it Abortion.
Those who lost much during the Holocaust still smart over the extermination of approximately six million Jews, not to mention the Gypsies, the infirm, the old (useless), the mentally ill….and a very few (probably count them on one hand) Christian pastors. I’ve seen horrible photos of many of the German death camps, and I’m sure most readers have too. But Hitler’s “Final Solution” was indeed insignificant to the over sixty-three million lives we’ve exterminated just since 1973 in this country alone! By comparison, the Holocaust has been vastly overstated, while the incredible slaughter of the ‘innocent’, as God’s Word calls them, goes on unabated in this country even as I type.
And the really sad part, the part that makes me just come unglued inside, is that once again, very few Christian pastors are willing to stand up and publically condemn this ongoing infanticide. Worse, the rank and file of our citizen lemmings, seem content to also ignore it, for it is, after all, inconvenient to acknowledge it; we still ‘can’t (I will add: “won’t”) handle the truth’.
But why do I care about this? I wish I knew. I’ve never been a “kid” person, and I was very glad when my own grew up, but through no fault of my own, my heart is exploding when I think of the ongoing beat of the murder-machines in this country. I don’t begin to understand it, but there is a fire in my heart I did not put there, and I don’t know how to accommodate it, and the pressure keeps building!
I would be less than honest if I did not issue (again) this warning to our American churches: “Stand up and be counted while you still can, or you will face a judgment such as has never been seen.” Who am I to state this? Good question…I’m just one tasked with shouting from the walls, “Escape this great judgment while you still can!”
Pastors; you say you trust God, but do you? Are you corrupt with the tax exemptions and the favor of man? There is no room for hypocrites in the Kingdom of God, whether you wear a collar, a velvet robe, or the trendy skinny-legged blue jeans…stand up against this incredible evil in our land while you still can. Time is running out, and with every murder, our hearts are getting harder. Also, with every murder, at least one more adult is victimized.
If the church doesn’t lead, it will follow, and it’s followed like a meek lapdog of our society for far too long already. We the people want REAL from the church, not theology. We want to see your Saturday night lives reflect what we see on Sunday mornings. We want to see sacrifice, and not self. We want to see courage, not the cowardice that’s so epidemic from our pulpits in 2019.
If we don’t stand up now, we will miss a golden opportunity to recapture the moral high ground and thrust of God’s Holy Spirit. This issue is a gift to the church of today, and we’d be extremely negligent to ignore it. And we’ll dishonor Him if we continue on in our weak, self-centered corruption. Image of God indeed! Image of us, more like it.
If this piece seems convicting, then DO SOMETHING. If it seem condemning…get over it. And if it seems wrong – just where was it wrong?
What are you going to do about this great evil? I write about it, and I’m unconcerned about making friends. And I’m seeking God for what else I can do.
So here’s the bottom line: I WILL NOT BE JUDGED FOR REMAINING SILENT – WILL YOU?

John

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