The Stink Will Dissipate Eventually
The more I learn about God, the less use I have for preachers.
I suppose that sounds trite; lots of people use their complaints about the religious as justification for refusing to attend church. It may also sound proud, as though I’m saying I’m better than the preachers I know of.
Sometimes when you’re right, you sound a lot like people who are wrong. When Jesus stood up in the synagogue in Nazareth and announced that he was the Messiah, his friends and neighbors immediately tried to murder him, because he sounded like the many impostors who had come before him.
People who don’t know God make guesses about him, or they repeat the guesses other people have made. Eventually this garbage becomes doctrine. Then if you come to know God personally, you find that he is not much like the God other people described to you. Then you look at the people who believe nonsense, and you marvel at their willingness to pass it on to others.
My last church had a “house prophet.” I have probably written about him before. The pastor gave him the title. I’ll call him Carlos so I have a temporary handle for him other than his real name.
Carlos is a nice guy. He is nice to the extreme. When he “prophesies,” he almost invariably says nice things. He says the pastors are on the right track. He says the new building is about to be given to them. He tells people great things are about to happen to them. A couple of years back he took me aside and told me about the wonderful wife God was about to give me. He told a childless couple they were going to have twins.
If he comes out with anything that sounds corrective, it’s always about staying the course, supporting the pastors, never saying anything critical, and so on. In short, it’s a lot like the stuff the communists used to say in Russia and China. “Keep your head down. Do your job. Say everything is wonderful. If you complain, you are an enemy of the people.”
The reason he sounds like a socialist mouthpiece is that he gets his material from the same place: Satan. Satan loves controlling information. He loves making people afraid to tell the truth. He loves convincing them they’re doing everything right, so they stop looking for the correct way.
I used to think Carlos was the real deal, but I kept praying in tongues every day, and revelation kept coming, and I realized he and the pastor “prophesied” a lot of things that didn’t happen. I also realized they had serious pride issues, and that they hated correction.
Carlos shows up to church late. He misses services. He misses prayer-line sessions. But he is honored nonetheless. He is always ready to ask for the microphone, and once he has it, he hangs onto it for quite some time. The pastors love him because he always tells them they’re wonderful, so he gets lots of stage time.
Why pick on Carlos? Because he’s an example of a person who speaks for God without getting to know him.
Carlos does a lot of harm. He prevents people from examining themselves and asking God what they’re doing wrong, so he encourages them in destructive error. He predicts nice things that do not happen, so people who hear him come to distrust prophets. He is probably also convincing people God isn’t real, and that church is just a social event where people go to make themselves feel good on their days off from their menial jobs.
Carlos also “corrects” people when they’re right, so he is making them drop the treasures God gives them.
The harm he does justifies criticizing him on my blog, no matter how nice he is. It could be worse. God told Moses to kill people like Carlos.
I’ve learned a lot of things from prayer, and they go against the craziness I heard from preachers. Let’s see if I can list a few things.
1. God is not your fairy godmother, and he has no obligation to make your life wonderful. In fact, the only major obligation he has ever had toward you was the obligation to kill you and put you in hell. There was no way around it, so he took the punishment on himself. Now you think he has to make you rich and help you do stupid things he didn’t tell you to do? Think about that.
2. The purpose of prayer is not to make you feel good; it’s to transform you and help you do what God wants done. It’s very common for people to think prayer went well because they felt good when it was over. That’s not right. It didn’t go well unless you were improved. Sometimes prayer is unpleasant, because it requires confession and repentance. God will open your eyes to your horrible deeds, words, and traits. You’re supposed to admit fault and work through it; that’s the correct path to peace. Simply bathing in God’s presence as though it were a hot tub is not helpful.
3. The presence of God is the best thing there is. We need it. But we limit it by allowing the presence of other spirits. It’s not enough to know you love God’s presence. You should also hate, hate. hate Satan’s presence and the presence of lesser spirits that serve him. Their presence causes things like worry, depression, fear, and disease. God’s presence is peaceful and healing. God removes stress. If you’re not fighting the spirits that compete for space inside you, you are limiting God’s presence and his help.
4. We owe God, and we are far, far beneath him. We are ugly and vile. We are not his buddies. We have to approach him with respect and patience, not an attitude of entitlement. Sometimes we have to wait on him. You wouldn’t go to the Oval Office and demand to be seen instantly, and God is infinitely better than a President. If you’re treating God like your best pal, you’re pushing him away.
5. We have to praise God in order to approach him. You don’t just open your mouth and start begging. He is humble, but he is still God. He has to be honored, just as you would honor a judge. If you spend time praising him before you get into the rest of your prayers, the power will jump up a notch.
6. God does not want your money. He will not reward you for giving backward preachers money. Your prosperity offerings are gone forever. God wants all of you, starting with your heart and mind.
7. God wants to do the heavy lifting for you. He will help you in ways you wouldn’t expect. You can ask for faith. You can ask for humility. You can ask him to help you spend more time in prayer. He knows you’re a bad person; he does not expect you to do everything with your own strength. If you’re striving every day, I have good news: you’re doing it wrong. He wants to put you in a place where his strength goes before you and makes things easier. He is more interested in your submission than your hard work.
8. God lets evil spirits deceive people and destroy their faith. Look it up. The Bible says he sends the spirits. You may wonder how that can be true, if he isn’t willing for anyone to perish. The fact that he wants you to avoid hell doesn’t mean he can abandon justice. A rebellious person is subject to all sorts of curses, and unbelief is a curse.
9. God does not want to help you accomplish your own plans. God is like a husband or father. If you have a wife, you will understand this: part of a man’s job is to show his wife what she actually wants. Women are more confused than men, and they get crazy ideas. A man can help a woman channel her desires correctly so she doesn’t waste her life. We do this for kids, too. God does the same thing with human beings. He knows what will really please you; you don’t. He wants to show you, through the Holy Spirit. Once you’re on his program and not your own, he will start to help you. You can’t expect him to assist you with your own bad ideas. It’s like sending your son to college and then agreeing when he asks for money to quit and become a drug dealer.
I learned things like this by going to God repeatedly, over a period of years. I didn’t read it in a book some preacher wrote to make money. I didn’t pay Rod Parsley to tell me. I didn’t ask for the Pope’s advice. I didn’t read the writings of St. Augustine. I did not consult poor Mary, who must be horrified at the worship she receives. God is here right now; you don’t have to go to intermediaries.
Jesus came to me a couple of times, and I knew who he was. I could not see him, but I knew exactly where he was; I could sense his location and feel him near me. I knew he was not the Holy Spirit. For a long time, I’ve wondered why he would feel different from the Holy Spirit.
This week, I realized something. I knew he wasn’t the Holy Spirit because he was not inside me.
The presence of Jesus, when he’s in the room with you, is a field of peace, joy, love, and protection. It’s indescribable. The Holy Spirit is not as intense. I believe I know why. It’s because the Holy Spirit is supposed to be inside us, and very few people have cleared out sufficient room for him to manifest with any kind of power.
You’re full of other spirits. The Holy Spirit has to take a number. When you start to get delivered, his influence increases. Eventually, what you feel inside you starts to feel more like the presence of Jesus. This is what we should be shooting for, instead of begging for money and healing.
I experienced this by myself. I have never heard a preacher talk about it, and the reason is that it hasn’t happened to them. They keep pushing false doctrine. They don’t have faith in God; they have faith in uninformed people who have told them about God.
So yes, I have less use for preachers than I used to. They pull people backward and waste their time. They don’t fill people with knowledge; they fill them with lack of knowledge, which causes them to perish. Crazy.
If I were “submitted to authority” in a church, I would have to give all this up. Everything God has built up in me would have to be abandoned. No way am I going for that deal. Benny Hinn will just have to find someone else to buy him helicopters and purple suits.
Don’t quit. Get to know God personally. Don’t be discouraged if things don’t go your way immediately; you should expect to wait on him. Be glad he’s willing to deal with you at all. Maintain your prayer life. Ask for God to correct you. Praise him before you pray. Confess everything you can think of.
This stuff works. If you don’t like it, I’ll send back every penny you paid me for it.