Friday, June 26, 2015

The Beginning of the End

And so it begins. The end I mean. Yes, I truly believe that the Supreme Court's decision today marks the beginning of the end for this once-great nation. It is true that we have been on this path for some time now, but to shake your judicial activist's fist in the face of Holy God and decree that His first-created institution, marriage, is something to be toyed with.... The "law of the land" has just finalized our positioning as a nation in the most devastating game of chicken ever. You remember the game, I'm sure -- where drivers race toward each other at high speed only to see who will be the first to turn away. I feel that all three branches of our government have just challenged God, and I guarantee you that He will not turn away.

The Old Testament speaks a great deal about "cups/bowls of iniquity." The idea is that God has some great container into which the sins of a nation are deposited. While the bowl is filling, God is patient, and as a loving God He is sending His messengers to the people of that nation begging them to return to Him. As the bowl grows more full, He sends disciplinary actions to get their attention. Sometimes it is financial difficulty. Sometimes it is a natural disaster. Perhaps an attack by ungodly people. Maybe an epidemic or two. God can and does use anything to get their attention. You see this all throughout the Old Testament. Sometimes the people responded. They cried out in repentance. God forgave their sin and healed their land. Other times they continued to shake their fists in God's face declaring that they no longer needed Him. And when the bowl began to overflow, His judgment poured down. His wrath was released. And the people were no more. It happened to the Canaanites. The Moabites. The Assyrians. The Syrians. The Israelites. The Judahites. There are many others in the Old Testament, but there are many more in the history books. Every nation that has turned away from God has suffered His wrath.

For some time now, I and many other preachers have proclaimed that God was trying to get our attention. We have witnessed financial calamity, natural disasters of biblical proportions, terrorist attacks, horrible diseases, etc. Every once in a while, there is a slight repentance, and God responds as He promises. But we have continued down the slippery slope heading faster and faster into the abyss of immorality and godlessness. Today's decision by our Supreme Court may very well have been, in my opinion, the sin that has caused the bowl of our iniquity to overflow. God's wrath is coming. I know it. The signs are clear. You may not believe in the blood moons that drew everyone's attention for a little while. You may not accept the teaching of the Shemitah -- perhaps you consider all of the disasters that have accompanied God's timetable as coincidental. (For more details, Google Jonathan Cahn's teaching on the Shemitah.) But know this. God has always been faithful to His Word. What He says, He does. He has promised to judge the nations for their sin, and if the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah were enough to cause Him to rain fire and brimstone from heaven, the sins of the United States of America will surely draw His wrath.

When we heard the announcement of the Supreme Court's decision, my heart skipped a beat. I couldn't breathe. I felt sick at my stomach. I believe a righteous indignation/holy anger filled my heart. My thought was, "How can this world be so stupid?" And literally, God spoke to me. No, I didn't hear an audible voice, but in my heart, I heard Him say, "The god of this world has blinded their eyes." Satan has deceived them with his lies. They have given in to doctrines of demons, seduced by the pseudo-sciences of our day. They do not know the truth. So how do we respond as Christians? With love. With truth. With a lifestyle of holiness that says, "I will obey God no matter what." We must continue (and for some of us that means that we must begin) to be the salt and the light that Jesus said that we are. We must keep proclaiming the Word of God, demonstrating the love of God, and living in the power of God so that the world will see that our only hope is through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Call to Prayer Pt. 5

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV) says, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” There is no other discipline in the Bible that better fulfills all of the requirements set out in this verse than fasting. As a result of that, God promises that He will hear our cries, will forgive our sin, and heal our land. I don't know about you, but that sounds like what we desperately need today.

And yet, we don't fast much. We don't even talk about fasting much. But in Numbers 29, God proclaims a fast one day out of the year for the Day of Atonement -- a day of humbling oneself, seeking God's forgiveness and healing. In 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast because a mighty army from Moab and Ammon came together against Judah. He was afraid. He knew that he needed God's help. So all of Judah came together to seek help from God. As a result, God heard their prayers and in verses 16-17 said, Go down against them, but you won't need to fight. Just stand and watch the salvation of the Lord on your behalf. Don't be afraid. God answered their prayers.

In Ezra 10, we read that Ezra fasted over the unfaithfulness of the exiles to God. They held a holy convocation in Jerusalem. And in a pouring rain they gathered and listened to the man of God, and God's Spirit brought conviction and power and change to the people's lives. In Nehemiah 9, the people of Israel assembled themselves with fasting and in sackcloth. They separated themselves from all foreigners, and stood and confessed their sins and the sins of their fathers. For 1/4th of the day they listened to the word of God read, and for 1/4th of the day they confessed and worshiped the Lord their God. At the end of it all, the people of Israel made a new commitment to the Lord. That sounds to me like what we desperately need today. In the book of Jonah, the entire city of Nineveh faced destruction at the hands of God because of their wickedness. When they heard Jonah's message, the power of God's Spirit came upon them, they called a fast, put on sackcloth, humbled themselves before God and repented of their sin. God forgave them. Judgment was averted.

You say, “Preacherman, that's all Old Testament.” Okay, then. John the Baptist fasted. Jesus fasted. The apostle Paul fasted. The early church fasted, and we know the results of those fasts. Listen to me. We could spend hours talking about biblical examples of fasting, Old and New Testament. All I know is what I read in God's Word, and as I read example after example of fasting, there begins to emerge a principle. It answers the question that perhaps some of you are asking: Why should I fast? I'll tell you. You and I need to fast because we want God to do something great. Because we want Him to purify our motives and our enthusiasm. Because we are desperate for God to do something supernatural in our lives, in our ministry here, and in our nation. And the fact is, the length of our fast should be determined by the magnitude of that desperation.

And the church ought to be desperate today. Like the church at Ephesus in Rev. 2, we have left our first love. Our love for God isn't what it used to be, and because of that, the church in general is sorely divided. Instead of being an oasis in the middle of the desert and a haven of rest for those who are spiritually weary, our churches have become battle zones for the spiritually carnal. And my friends, God is not pleased with division within His family.

The church ought to be desperate today because of the image we are portraying to the world. We are supposed to be the salt and the light. We are supposed to influence our morally bankrupt society. Instead, many Christians have lost their savor and are leaving a bad taste in the mouth of society. Instead of portraying the image that we are more than conquerors, Christians are struggling to survive in the world and are not working to preserve it. When some are confronted with the world's conditions and the call to Christian action, many just say, "Jesus said it's going to get worse, so why worry about it?" Instead of being motivated to help spread the gospel and share their faith, they live for the rapture, for the great escape.

The church ought to be desperate for God to work in our midst, but know this. God’s response to our cries for help comes as a sovereign act of God as the result of His people meeting His conditions by responding to the Holy Spirit. Do you know what that response is? Revival! Revival is God's answer to sincere, prevailing prayer. Revival is bringing to life that which was dead, and when God sends revival, He will grip His people with deep conviction, repentance, forgiveness, and deliverance from personal sins. God will fill His people with the Holy Spirit and will manifest in them the fruit and grace of the Holy Spirit. God will fill the church and community with His presence and power. God will ignite in His people a passion to bring the lost to Christ. God will cause the lost to earnestly seek Him. That's what God will do in revival, but we must catch the vision of God's call to revival. We must heed the call to repentance, fasting and prayer. Before God will hear from heaven, forgive our sin, and heal our land, believers must humble themselves and seek His face in fasting and prayer. And when we do, God will send a spiritual awakening as His people obey His call and yield themselves in repentance to the Spirit of God. As the psalmist says, a broken and contrite heart will always find favor with God.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

New Blog Location

At the end of this week, I will stop using this site for my blog. If you have followed me here, go to, click on the link for Preacherman's Blog and follow me there. Thank you.

Call to Prayer Pt. 4

Please note that this is continued from yesterday’s post. and is a little longer than normal.

What we need to understand as the church of the Living God today is that there is much that we can accomplish and much that we do accomplish outside of the realm of God's supernatural power. We can build buildings without God's supernatural power. We can plan successful programs without God's supernatural power. We can see our children baptized without God's supernatural power. We can call staff members without God's supernatural power. In fact, churches can and many do function completely without God's supernatural power. Just as the disciples went out healing many, but when the real challenge came, they were powerless.

Now, let me explain what I mean by God's supernatural power. I am NOT talking about excitement, emotion, or even enthusiasm. I am NOT talking about tongues, talents or even trances. I am NOT talking about publicity, popularity, or even profession. I am talking about humility that leads to holiness in living, hope for the future, hallelujahs for the present, healing of spiritual diseases, and Hell-assaulting ministries. I am talking about prayer that's more than words, proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ that leads to not only profession of faith but possession of faith. I am talking about power from on high that leads us to exalt Jesus and evangelize the lost. I am talking about God manifesting His presence in our lives and in our churches so that His supernatural power works in and through us in an extraordinary way -- in a way that cannot be accomplished outside of His power.

Have you ever wondered why prayers aren't “answered.” Oh, some of our prayers are answered, but I am talking about prayers concerning our lost friends and loved ones. I am talking about the gang problems, race issues, drug and alcohol abuse, child abuse, abortion, and so many other things that have become prevalent in our society. I am talking about a young man going into a church in Charleston and killing 9 people and wounding others all because they are of a different race. Why are these things happening in record numbers? Because this kind does not go out but by prayer and fasting.

What we need to understand today is that these things are only the symptoms of the problem. The problem is plain old-fashioned Satanic wickedness that possesses, overpowers, and controls. It is the same story from the Garden of Eden to the Garden of Gethsemane. And the solution, the cure, is God's supernatural power.

In the midst of the mundane, mediocre, same-old, same-old, half-hearted praying without much expectation, imagine the excitement of experiencing a fresh touch by something out of the ordinary. Consider how shattered the dull routine of average "everydayness" would be in the presence of Almighty God. My friends, I am telling you, if we would allow God to infuse us with His living secure hope, every desperate, fearful, confused moment in life would disappear.

You say, Preacher, how do you know that? Because God is still God. He hasn't changed, nor will He ever change. The God of the Bible is the same God who is waiting and willing to work in the lives of His people today. And people, when God comes, circumstances, situations, things and people change. When God moves, reality shakes and lives are transformed. When God works, He often does things in ways that are out of the ordinary and defy natural explanations. His power is above and beyond anything we can think, imagine, or expect. That is God's supernatural power, and that's what we need today.

How do I know that? Because Is. 58:6 tells us that God honors the kind of fasting and praying that looses the bands of wickedness, undoes the heavy burdens, lets the oppressed go free, and that breaks every yoke, destroys every stronghold that Satan has established.

How do I know that? Because II Chr. 7:14 says, If my people which are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. There is only one spiritual discipline that includes every one of these requirements: fasting and prayer. The purpose of fasting, and it's always combined with prayer, in God's Word has always been humility before God. Fasting is to seek to know God in a deeper experience. Fasting is to show sorrow over sin, and issues itself in confession and repentance. Fasting calls us to dependence on God for strength and renewal. Fasting prepares us to receive God's leadership, His guidance, His message for our day.

Fasting, true fasting is a bowing down of the soul and submission to God that leads to moral action. But like anything we do, it is worthless if it does not come from a sincere heart. Fasting is not a way to manipulate God or to fulfill selfish desires. Fasting is not done in order to draw attention to yourself. Fasting is improper while you continue in sin or harbor ungodly attitudes.

Times come when every Christian needs a fresh touch from God. Whether we drift from God, become distracted by competing interests, or become overwhelmed by the struggles of life, we need to reconnect with God. Sometimes we are overpowered by circumstances, intimidated by challenges, or suffer the pain of deep wounds. At those times our need for God becomes obvious. Our energy is exhausted, our plans crumble, and every remedy has failed. When the reality of who we are and who He is sets in, it's time to humble ourselves, cry out in desperation, lift our hands, and place our hope in the only one who can save us. And He is waiting to do it. Waiting to deliver us. Waiting to bless us. Waiting until we humble ourselves and pray. Waiting until we commit ourselves to radical obedience and absolute purity.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Call to Prayer Pt. 3

Many years ago, I joined with thousands of other Southern Baptist pastors and laymen, kneeling on the floor of the Georgia Dome. Unprecedented in the years I have gone to the convention, Ronnie Floyd, Pastor of FBC Springdale, Arkansas, offered an invitation, and literally thousands responded. On that day, I committed myself to fast and pray for personal revival, for revival in my family, for revival in my church, and revival in this nation. And I wish I could tell you that the weeks that followed were the most wonderful time in my life. I wish I could tell you that it was easy. But it wasn't. You see, I'm addicted to food. Gotta have it. And every time I would try to fast and pray, opportunities to eat arose. When I would go without food for a day, the headaches came. Pastoral responsibilities, family responsibilities beckoned. But I am convinced that all of this was the carnal, fleshly, unspiritual man inside being empowered by Satan to defeat me in my commitment to my Lord.

And I failed. First, I thought of every reason why I couldn't and why I shouldn't fast. My health. My family. Baptist's don't fast. I even thought it might become a source of pride. But I quickly learned that in truth, true fasting doesn't bring pride--it destroys it. Suddenly, in the midst of fasting and prayer you suddenly become aware of how weak and insignificant you really are. Suddenly you realize that all of your ability, all of your strength, all of your organization and planning is nothing without the power of God in it.

You say, "Amen!" And most of us acknowledge freely that without God's strength we can do nothing, but my friends, it's one thing to say it; it's another thing to know it, believe it, and live by it.

I said earlier that I failed, but I pray that all of us could have the kind of failure that I experienced. Understand, I am not boasting. I have nothing to boast about. I failed to fast for the length of time that I committed to. But for the first time in my life, I fasted and I prayed. That was 18 years ago. And my friends, I want to tell you what a wonderful time spent with God. Looking to Him constantly and fellowshipping with Him for hours at a time, growing in His presence. That experience changed my life, and understand, it was not what I did but what God did in me and for me. In one sense I failed, but in another sense I realized for the first time what Jesus meant in our passage of Scripture. "This kind does not go out but by prayer and fasting." Why? Because as Dr. Floyd describes it, prayer and fasting is the gateway to God's supernatural power flowing into us and through us.

Look at a story in Matthew 17:14 – 21. By this time in the gospels, the disciples had heard Jesus' teaching, they had seen His miracles, and according to Mark 6 and Luke 9, they had already gone out on their own preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. You can understand their confusion. A father had brought his demon-possessed son to the disciples for healing. Perhaps he had heard of the miracles they had performed. Perhaps it was simply because of Jesus' reputation. He assumed the disciples could do the same. Whatever the reason, this father believed the disciples could heal his son. The disciples believed they could heal his son, but everything they tried failed.

The Word of God says that Jesus spoke, rebuking the devil and the child was cured. And look at what the disciples did. They came to Jesus and said, "Why couldn't we do that?" And Jesus said, “The number one reason is lack of faith.” And it's incredible because faith the size of a mustard seed is enough to move mountains. Look at what Jesus says in v. 10: “Nothing shall be impossible for you.” But notice the next thing Jesus says. “This kind does not go out but by prayer and fasting.” Why? Because prayer and fasting is God's gateway to supernatural power.
More tomorrow!

Monday, June 22, 2015

A Call to Prayer Pt. 2

As I promised, I will share some of what I know about fasting and praying this week – even though no one agreed to join me in doing this. I know several of you retweeted, shared, and liked my post about calling us to prayer, but no one agree. Perhaps that is because it was so open-ended. At least that is what I am hoping. No one wants to commit to a 40 Day Fast, so let me explain what I am thinking. You can tailor your fast to whatever meets your need. You can fast for one meal, one day, multiple days. Depending on your physical health and medications you take, you may need to design your fast for something other than skipping meals. That is okay. The purpose of fasting, as I understand it, is to deny yourself of something meaningful and spend the time that you would normally do this activity in fervent, focused prayer. Biblically, fasting was focused on abstaining from food and water, sometimes from sunup to sundown and sometimes around the clock. Often, God would direct His people to avoid other activities. The point is that you make a commitment to God for a period of time and then spend that time praying and reading Scripture. Here are seven basic steps to consider before you make your decision about fasting.

Seven Basic Steps for Fasting

1. Set your objective. Why are you fasting? Is it for spiritual renewal, for guidance, for healing, for the resolution of a problem, for special grace to handle a difficult situation. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead and clarify your objectives.

2. Make your commitment. Pray about the kind of fast you should undertake. Some fasts are total abstinence from food and water. This would be a short fast, usually from sunrise to sunset. Others would fast for a longer time not eating food but water is allowed. The longer fasts would require juices as well as water. But decide what kind of fast God is asking you to partake. The truth is, every believer could fast. One meal -- take the time for preparation and eating and spend it before the Lord. Fasting will require you to change your schedule, spend more time with the Lord, and reduce physical activities.

3. Prepare yourself spiritually. The very basis of fasting and prayer is repentance. Unconfessed sin will hinder prayers. Do this: Ask God to help you make a list of sins. Confess those sins to God. Accept God's forgiveness. Seek forgiveness from those you've offended, forgive all who have hurt you. Make restitution as the Holy Spirit leads. Ask God to fill you afresh with His Spirit. Surrender your life fully to Jesus Christ as Lord and Master. Choose to reject your worldly nature. Meditate on the things of God: His love, grace, power, sovereignty, wisdom, faithfulness, and grace. Fast with an expectant heart. Be prepared for Satanic opposition: problems to arise, temptations, etc...

4. Prepare yourself physically. Talk to your doctor if you take prescription medication or have a chronic sickness.

5. Put yourself on a schedule. Set aside ample time to spend with the Lord and to rest.

6. If you fast for a long period, end your fast gradually. Don't eat too much too soon.

7. Expect results. God will work.

Some of you are saying, “I can’t go without eating for a long period of time.” You don’t have to fast for weeks. Some fasts are for a period of several days and others are for a period of hours. You can fast from sundown to sundown, from sunup to sundown, or for one meal. The key is that for whatever period you choose to fast, you use that time to spend in prayer before the Lord. As one pastor put it, “If there were a $5 million check taped to the ceiling, you would be willing to miss lunch to get it, wouldn’t you?”

Friday, June 19, 2015

A Call to Prayer

I'm sorry I haven't been able to blog this week. I have been pretty busy with ministry responsibilities and trying to balance that with caring for my wife who was ill. I am thankful that she is feeling much better, but she is still suffering the side effects of having had a fever and the medications she took for that fever. The doctor said that it was a reaction to the travel vaccinations we took two weeks ago. Even though I confirmed that possibility with a pharmacist and my own personal physician, I am still a little skeptical. Yes, I know. They are the doctors, but two weeks? And she had a productive cough and sore throat. And the doctor gave her an antibiotic and cough syrup. Okay, okay. I know. They are the doctors.

And then it hit me. I have a doctorate. Yes, it's the kind that doesn't make any money, but I have spent my life (yes, my life) studying the Bible and struggling to live out its principles. I have spent 30+ years preaching and teaching it to believers new and old. I have seen many people come to know Christ. I have seen many being discipled. And I am now seeing many who are saying, "Yes, I know what you are saying is biblical, but...." From homosexuality to church polity, they are agreeing that my teachings are biblical, but for some reason, they no longer apply. Their explanations range from the culture in which we live to the traditions to which we have become accustomed. The interesting thing is that those who push back about homosexuality probably agree with the teachings of church polity and vice-versa. It is as if we have taken the "have it your way" philosophy and brought it into the Bible. As if we have the right or the intellect to pick and choose which parts of the Bible are correct and still applicable to our lives. We don't, and we aren't! Folks, Christianity is an all or nothing lifestyle. Jesus made that perfectly clear. "If anyone wants to follow me, " He said, "He must deny himself, take up his cross and come after me." That doesn't sound like a pick and choose kind of statement. It is all or nothing. That's why He also said, "Many will say, 'Lord, Lord,' but I will say to them, 'Depart from me, for I never knew you.'" I fear that many professing Christians have been deceived or have deceived themselves because of the easy beliefism that has been taught in recent decades. We need to get back to the Bible and become New Testament Christians and churches again, and we need to do it right now.

As you read this, I hope you know that what I am saying is borne out of a heart filled with love and compassion and a spirit that has a sense of urgency that I have never known before. I believe with all of my heart that our time on earth is short. I believe that in the very near future that the church in America is going to face severe restrictions on what we say and do with potentially powerful consequences. I believe that we are losing the battle for the souls of men and women because we have become powerless in the battle. Why are we powerless? Because we have gotten away from the truth of the Word of God. We say we believe it, but we do not apply the Word in every aspect of our lives. We are not living holy lives so we are not serving as the salt and the light that has the power to transform the hearts and lives of men. People see no difference in us and feel no need to be converted. Converted. That means changed from what we are to what we need to be. Another good word is transformed. That biblical word comes from the word we translate as metamorphosis. Like caterpillars turning into butterflies, our lives as Christians should be drastically different from our lives as non-Christians. But the only way that will happen is if we get back to the Word of God. Would you be willing to join me in this quest? Would you be willing to fast (yes, fast) and pray fervently with me for God to transform our lives first and then work through us to transform the lives of others? If so, would you reply in the comments to this blog or comment on Facebook.  If you agree with what I have said, would you share it, retweet it, and e-mail this to all of your friends? Over the next few days, I will share a little about how we fast and pray and how it can make a difference in our lives.

Father, bless this call to transformation. Use us for your glory. In Jesus' name, amen.