Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Heroes and their Battles

San Jacinto Battlefield with modern Houston in background
One of my favorite places in the world is the San Jacinto Monument on the east side of Houston, between Baytown and Pasadena. It is the memorial to the battle that won Texas from Mexico in 1836.

Being a native Texan, I have visited the monument and the battlefield several times in my lifetime, but it is only as I have grown older that I have been more and more in awe of what it represents. When I pass through Houston, I like to ride the little Lynchburg Ferry across the Houston Ship Channel and have lunch or dinner at the Monument Inn seafood restaurant in the shadow of the monument. The restaurant affords a mesmerizing view of the ships and barges going to and from the Port of Houston into Galveston Bay, as well as an overview of the battlefield where Texas' independence was won, almost 180 years ago. As I dine, I have a panoramic view of both the waterfront and the adjacent battlefield where 630 Mexican soldiers were killed, and Santa Anna, the President of Mexico, was captured. It is an awe inspiring story.

The events surrounding the birth of the Lone Star State. 

Under the entrepreneurship of Stephen F. Austin, American colonists moved into what is now south Texas, and had favored relationships with the Mexican government. But when Santa Anna overturned the Mexican Constitution of 1824, and became the harsh dictator of Mexico, the colonists felt betrayed and endangered. In 1826, the "Fredonian Rebellion" near Nacogdoches was the opening salvo in the Texas Revolution, or the Texas War for Independence. But those first moves to secede from Mexico failed.

In the early 1830s, Stephen F. Austin spent months in Mexico attempting to persuade the Mexican government to grant Texas statehood. Just as it seemed he had succeeded, Santa Anna had him arrested and imprisoned without a trial for more than a year. The colonists' animosity toward Santa Anna fomented until the fall of 1835 when Santa Anna began sending armies to drive out all the Anglo-American colonists from their settlements.

A number of skirmishes and clashes took place between the Mexican Army and the Texas colonists. Two major confrontations - one at Goliad and one at San Antonio - were devastating setbacks for the Texians. The Alamo was considered the Texians' last stronghold against Santa Anna west of the Sabine River, and was thus vital to Texas' future.

At the Battle of the Alamo, more than 3,000 of Santa Anna's soldiers laid siege on the walled mission where only 100 Texians were garrisoned under the leadership of James Bowie and William B. Travis, and with the help of Davy Crockett. The Texians didn't have a chance. In dire circumstances and near-freezing weather, the Texians were greatly outnumbered and out-armed.

On March 6, 1836, Mexican troops finally advanced on the tiny fortress. Travis was one of the first to die, shot on the front line. The fighting began at 5:30 AM, and by 6:30 PM, all the brave, heroic Texians were dead.

But during that 13-day siege, 41 elected delegates from around Texas were convening at Washington-on-the-Brazos, drafting the Texas Declaration of Independence, severing ties with Mexico, and officially establishing the REPUBLIC OF TEXAS, making Texas a sovereign nation!

News of the tragic massacre at the Alamo only fueled the flames of independence that were already burning. Hundreds of men joined with Sam Houston and moved eastward to prepare for another battle with Santa Anna.

On April 21, Sam Houston's little army took Santa Anna's army by surprise while they were encamped near the Lynchburg Ferry on Buffalo Bayou. Hundreds of soldiers, crying "Remember the Alamo!" opened fire on Santa Anna's troups, and in only 18 minutes, the Battle of San Jacinto was won. 630 Mexican soldiers were dead, and 730 were captured. Only 9 Texians died.

The next day, Sam Houston took Santa Anna into custody, and forced him to order all his armies back to Mexico, giving the new Republic of Texas a much-needed reprieve.

Buffalo Bayou is now the Houston Ship Channel. The city of Houston is one of the world's largest metropolises with a sprawling population approaching 7 million people. Houston has one of the strongest economies of all the cities in the world. In 2014, Houston became the most culturally diverse metro in the United States.

The city of Houston is the Number 1 job creator in the United States, and home of 26 of the Fortune 500 companies. Its Texas Medical Center is the largest medical center IN THE WORLD. Its hospitals alone are larger than downtown Dallas.

Texas, with a population of 27 million, is the second most populous state in America. It is as large as the nation of Iran, and outproduces both Iran and Iraq in oil output. Texas is the sixth largest oil producer in the world (Aschere Energy News, 8/19/2014), outranked only by OPEC, Russia, the entire United States, China and Canada. Texas is home of the Space program.

I could go on, and on, and on.

But I have told you this story for a reason; and that reason is a spiritual reason.

In this blog, I speak to Christians who understand that the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.

The BATTLE that won Texas from Mexico in 1836 was won by Sam Houston and a small band of freedom-minded soldiers against a formidable opponent.

I want to compare that to the BATTLE that every true Christian wages every single day for Truth, righteousness and holiness, against all the demons of Hell, against sin, sinners and Satan himself.

Sometimes it seems to be a hopeless battle. It seems we are grossly outnumbered and out-armed.

But I want to remind you of the Power of One. One soldier. One commander. One general. One pastor. One Christian. One believer.

In the name of Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Ghost, ONE MAN, ONE WOMAN, or ONE YOUNG PERSON CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. CAN CHANGE THE WORLD.

San Jacinto Battlefield with modern Houston in background

The next time you take a stand for God, for the cause of Jesus Christ, for TRUE DOCTRINE, for holiness and godliness and righteousness in this world, remember Sam Houston. And remember Houston, Texas, 178 years later.
The day will soon come when Jesus Christ will resurrect all the righteous dead and all the living saints to take them with Him to the great and final battle of Armageddon, where He will defeat every evil empire on earth. In Daniel 2, the prophet saw a great stone as it was hewn out of a mountain, and it crushed all the kingdoms of men, then became a great mountain that filled all the earth.
That prophetic allegory depicts Jesus Christ conquering all the great governments of the world when He comes. And the saints of God will be with Him. Afterward, Bible prophecies tell us that the saints of God will "rule and reign" with Jesus for 1,000 years on this planet earth.
In Jesus' teachings about the parable of the Mustard Seed, He said that it "is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof," Matthew 13:32.
Jesus also spoke of the power of leavening which, when placed in a lump of meal, would leaven the whole lump.
All these allegories are reminders that SMALL things, SMALL events, SMALL people can and do have enormous influence over time.
"Who hath despised the day of small things?" Zechariah 4:10.
"Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong," Joel 3:9-10.
Sam Houston fought for Texas. You and I are fighting for the eternal Kingdom of God.
That little battle near the Lynchburg Ferry in 1836 changed the world.
The little battle that you and I are fighting today will someday TAKE POSSESSION of the entire world, and make changes for all eternity.
FIGHT ON! Be valiant!
Do not be afraid of the enemy. He will soon be defeated, and you will be so glad that you fought on the right side of the battle!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Saving Them From The Fire

If you think the world will ever see a major spiritual revival without stirring up a tsunami of demonic attacks, or the animosities of worldly, carnally-minded men, you need to put your thinking cap on.

Men who are entrenched in false doctrines and intertwined with the countless devils that propagate those false doctrines will not be converted without some real-time spiritual warfare.

You are going to HAVE to be willing to march into Hell.

Men and women and young people who are bound in Satan's delusions will not be set free until some saint of God rises up and challenges the status quo. SOMEBODY has to rebuke the devil and cast him out. SOMEBODY has to preach the only Truth that can make them free. And that is the Apostolic Pentecostal Holiness message.

One of the reasons why we see so few people dramatically converted in our time is that we are so reluctant to offend anyone or provoke controversy. Well, Jesus caused controversy literally everywhere He went, and so did His Apostles. Their message was never apologetic, bashful or reluctant. It was straightforward and to the point. People either loved them or hated them. That was an indicator of how well they got under peoples' skin. And when the hatred boiled, their lives were imperiled. Again and again, they literally had to flee the conflict, because the holy Gospel they preached was in fact offending rebellious carnal minds and stirring up whole nests of devils.

Go ahead and remind me here to "speak the Truth in love." 

Is it love to remain silent while your loved one perishes in flames?

Many years ago, I pastored a man who had long resisted the call of God. On a particular Sunday night, I pleaded with him to come to the altar and get right with God, but he would not budge.

Only a few days later, a terrible explosion at a local refinery killed and injured several men. I received a call to come to the Burns Unit in Hermann Hospital in Houston. When I arrived, there lay the man I had begged to get right with God only a few days earlier. He was burned over 100% of his body. He was swollen twice his normal size, to the point it looked like he would burst. He was unconscious. When I spoke to him, huge tears began to roll down his cheeks, but he could not respond in any way. He died shortly after I walked out of the room. 

On another occasion, I preached in a church on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. A group of teenage boys sat on the front row. One of them had a history of rebellion and misbehaving. At the conclusion of my preaching that night, I did my best to get him to the altar to repent of his sins, but he stubbornly resisted. Later that night, after I had gone to my room and was in bed asleep, I was awakened by the sound of ambulances screaming up and down the beach highway. I learned the next morning that the very teenager that I had pleaded with the night before had been involved in a fatal accident after midnight.

Save them from the fire.
Don't talk to me about coming on too strong with the Gospel. I've seen too many people die and go to Hell. We have lost our sense of urgency. We have forgotten how hot Hell is and how long eternity is. ANY ONE of your loved ones could be called into eternity before you ever see them or speak to them again.

If I saw one of my children, grandchildren or any of my loved ones engulfed in a house fire, I would scream, cry, run, kick down doors, or break out windows to get them out. I would NOT say, "they have a right to believe what they want to believe." I would NOT say, "it is their choice to remain in the fire." I would NOT say, "I might scare them if I come after them too aggressively." And I would consider them to be completely delusional if they argued, "I'm OK! This fire is not going to kill me!" I'm too smart to believe that. I must not be put off by their delusion.

I would just move heaven and earth to get to them and pull them out of the fire. Then, if they literally fight me off and demand that they have the right to die in the fire, or if they want to hate me for the radical approach I used to save them, they will be free to hate me.

But I will have shown MY LOVE FOR THEM in the highest form I know how to show, by confronting them shamelessly with God's Truth; AND I will also have delivered my soul from their blood.

But that will be precious little consolation.

I will forever wish I had done more.

"And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire;
hating even the garment spotted by the flesh," Jude 1:23.

We have dignified the devil and his heresies and heretics by respecting their point of view. We mock God by tolerating damnable lies that send multitudes to Hell in the name of Jesus. We have surrendered to the enemies by tolerating the very people and devils who entrap and enslave the ones we love more than all the world in their wicked self-serving false gospels. Why should I show even one ounce of reverence to any preacher who lies to the people I love, and snares them with false doctrines, deceptions, delusions, lies and heresies that will damn their souls to Hell for ETERNITY?

(Do we still believe in an eternal HELL?)

Is that not all the reason we need to raise our voices against every false gospel on earth? Is there not a CAUSE?

What kind of LOVE is it when I pat them on the back and bless them, and kiss and hug them while they are already in a free-fall into the Bottomless Pit?

This is no time for pretending that all is well. 

It is time to preach the fear of God and the only Truth that can make them free.

What will you do when you stand at their casket and realize that if you had only said something more, they might have been saved; but because you did not intercede, they will be forever damned?

You will be ready to scream and kick down doors then.

But it will be too late.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Evil Spirit from the LORD

I am in slack-jawed wonderment at modern pseudo-preachers and singers who can dupe their followers with big talk of being "SOLD OUT" for Jesus, while they spend enormous blocks of time obsessed with sports, movies, carnal, worldly materialistic lifestyles, immodest dress, secular entertainment, irreverent mocking humor, and emulating celebrities, athletes and this secular, sinful culture. The hypocrisy of it all is suffocating. It's like a drug dealer preaching sobriety, or a prostitute preaching abstinence.

The whole lot of them are under a Heaven-sent strong delusion. 

Their delusion and self-deception is reminiscent of "the evil spirit from the Lord," that troubled rebellious King Saul in 1 Samuel 16:14 and again in 1 Samuel 19:9.

God dealt with Saul on several occasions to carefully obey His Will, but Saul was stubborn, petulant and rebellious. Saul hated David and would have killed him, although the anointing of God was on David. And when God told Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekites, Saul kept the most valuable spoils and gave asylum to the enemy, the King of the Amalekites. God was furious - and cursed Saul for that.

"But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them," 1 Samuel 15:9.

This is the IDENTICAL syndrome that we see in Christianity today. When God says, "Come out and be separate," they never actually come out. They never actually separate from the world.

"Love Your Life"
preachers are everywhere.
Where are the "deny yourself" preachers?
They keep back "the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, ...and would not utterly destroy them."

"Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying, It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments."

So God looks at modern Christianity, sees the same kind of disobedience, and repents again that these men and women are in power.

But like Saul, modern preachers and modern Christians defend their silly behaviour, saying, "I HAVE PERFORMED THE COMMANDMENT OF THE LORD!"

And the prophet answers, "What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?" 1 Samuel 15:14.

If you are a truly consecrated Christian, what is the meaning of all these worldly obsessions? What is the meaning of all this love for money, love for worldly things; worldly music, worldly movies, worldly sports, and worldly entertainment? Why have you not separated yourself from these things? Why have you not put away these things as I have commanded?

These pseudo-Christians HONESTLY BELIEVE that God does not object to their carnal, worldly, sinful obsessions. But they are wrong. DEAD wrong.

Consequently, an "evil spirit from the Lord" came upon Saul, and Saul came to ruin. God took his kingdom from him, and pronounced judgment on him. Saul was killed in battle forthwith.

The deception in modern "Christianity" is also of the same kind as "the lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets," that led to the death of King Ahab in 1 Kings 22 and 2 Chronicles 18.

If you are not familiar with that story, you should study it. King Ahab and Queen Jezebel were both stubborn, self-willed shepherds of Israel.

The prophet Elijah prayed down fire from Heaven on 800 of their false prophets, but it did nothing to sober up Ahab or Jezebel. Elijah pronounced a horrific death on Jezebel, yet Ahab sinned on. Ahab ignored the counsel of the Lord. He spurned God and the prophets, and pursued his own selfish agenda.

Ahab set out to conquer a neighboring kingdom, when the Word of the Lord was against it. He called in four hundred false prophets to preach prosperity to him. But a TRUE prophet named Micaiah prophesied his doom, and declared exactly how it would come to him.

A lying spirit FROM GOD in the mouth of all his prophets.

"And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee," 1 Kings 22:21-23.

Ahab had 400 prosperity preachers who told him to go and prosper. They told him that the Lord was with him. But one TRUE prophet said, "I see all Israel scattered ...as sheep that have no shepherd," 2 Chronicles 18:16. He prophesied Ahab's death. Ahab died on a battlefield within 24 hours of that prophecy.

Far too many professing Christians have NO IDEA
that Almighty God DECEIVES people
who are insincere, hypocritical or rebellious
against His Word and His Will. 

If you mess with God, He will mess with you.

God STILL sends lying spirits to rebellious men today.

If you rebel against God long enough, He will send a lying spirit to deceive you, and you will be damned to Hell.

It's in the Bible. 

"And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness," 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12.

"And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;" Romans 1:28.

The deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that PERISH...

DELUSION is more than mere delusion. It is DEATH.
Delusion from God is a sentence of death.
Once DELUSION overcomes you, you will not be saved.
Delusion leads to death.
God destroys those who despise His Truth.

At the end of time, the prophesied Man of Sin will come in the power of Satan, "with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved," 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10.

These are the days that forebode the rise of the Man of Sin. These are days of lying wonders. These are the days of the deceivableness of unrighteousness.

will deceive you! 
("the deceivableness
of unrighteousness")

Former Christians who reject holiness and godly living will fall into GOD'S TRAP of the deceivableness of unrighteousness. Even YOUR PREACHER WILL DECEIVE YOU.

The man you think is your man of God is actually your GRIM REAPER. 

There is no way out of that trap except radical repentance and change of heart - renouncing sin, unrighteousness and unholiness.

There is not enough money in the world to make me join up with that phony, deluded, double-minded crowd. Their actions speak louder than their words, and what their actions say contradicts what their voices say. Such hypocrisy exceeds that of the ancient scribes and Pharisees. It is a self-righteous generation, not the righteousness of Christ, which comes by complete obedience to the teachings and commandments of Christ and the Word of God.

Living for God requires a great deal of affection for God and His Word, and a die-hard commitment to live by His Word no matter what the cost may be.

Living a holy life means separating yourself from the world, rejecting and renouncing the world's entire agenda, and completely giving your BODY, MIND and SOUL to be molded like clay on the potter's  wheel, consumed like the wick in a candle; and conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, while utterly dying to self and self-will.

God's people are to be identifiably different in every imaginable way. SOLD OUT actually means SOLD OUT. Everything. Everything in submission to Him. God wants the world to see that HIS PEOPLE have set their affections on things above, not on things below. When you really sell out, the things in this world dim and lose their value, and the things of God, His Word, His Will and His Kingdom become your consuming desire and obsession.

You need an Apostolic Pentecostal Holiness Church and preacher to lead you in the way of the Word of God. Oneness. Jesus' name baptism. Holy Ghost baptism. NEW BIRTH of the water and the Spirit. And HOLINESS, without which NO MAN shall see the LORD (Hebrews 12:14).

Nothing less will get you to Heaven.  Phony religion will NOT save you.