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I am a
Pentecostal Christian, I believe the gifts of the Spirit are for today
and for the purpose of furthering God's kingdom here on earth. But to get
to that point, I had to completely lose all of my faith thanks to the
teachings of "name it and claim it" theology.
I was raised to believe in Jesus. As a teen I made a personal decision
for Christ, and was immediately indoctrinated into "word faith". I had
not believed it made any sense prior to my salvation, and even afterwards
it just seemed too good to be true that "whatever I wanted would be
mine"! But that was the discipling I had. As a result, I lost my faith
entirely after about five years of watching people treat God as a puppet.
It never made sense to me, if these two people over here agree for thing
A and another two for thing B contrary to A, who does God honor? The
people with more Faith? I don't want to serve a god who isn't sovereign.
The fruit that I witnessed in the lives of it's adherents were not very
attractive at all. I saw a great deal of anger, and a constant
focus on beating up the devil and demanding what is their 'right' from
I remember seeing people with headaches being told not to say they are
hurting, but to just "calleth those things which be not, as though they
were" and if they really believed they were free from pain, made a good
confession, stood on the scripture "..by his stripes you were healed"
they would be healed. Well, to be in pain and say you're not is to
lie. Would Jesus encourage us to lie? We should be encouraging
people in pain to seek help (as well as pray for healing), not deny their
Well then, where did that leave me? Maybe there is no God. But that can't
be true either, look at a tree! There has to be a God! So I decided to
research Creation Science, because everything I was taught to be "true"
about God made no logical sense at all. I began to read "The Genesis
Record" as a devotional. After a year of research I was convinced
of God's existence so I began to pray every morning in earnest that He
would reveal Himself to me as he truly is, and also I kept asking Him
"why?" "what is our purpose?". I couldn't stand the thought of simply
existing for existence sake. Unless there is a higher purpose, we should
be zapped into heaven upon salvation, and if we aren't, then we are here
for a reason. I couldn't buy into a completely personal God to the
exclusion of a bigger picture. There HAS TO BE MORE TO IT! This was my
prayer every morning.
God is so faithful to answer the prayer of people who truly seek His
face, not for personal gain, but to know Him.
Our cell group leaders at the time were "missions mobilizers."
People dedicated to teaching others about God's heart for the lost --
those who have not only never heard of Jesus, but have no opportunity to
hear and will never have that opportunity unless someone goes to them
intentionally. I became a volunteer with them. They
provided a course called "Perspectives on the World Christian Movement"
from the US Center for World Mission, an anonymous donor paid for me to
take the class and it answered many of the "why" questions for me (of
course as I have matured a bit, I have new questions...we never stop
What a thrill!!!!! To read the bible as a whole book, not just a
collection of stories! To see the Abrahamic covenant as God's promise to
mankind for redemption, repeated over and over...fulfilled in the heavens
as Christ died on the cross...to be completed on earth as all nations
hear the good news....so why aren't we zapped upon salvation? Because God
desires that all should come to know Him and in his mercy he tarries
before returning, that we should co-labor with Him to further His kingdom
on earth! How he loves us and desires us to fellowship with him, and how
His heart breaks for those who don't know Him!
This blows the entire word faith message completely out of the water.
God blesses us to be a blessing...and the blessing isn't always money, or
creature comforts, although God does bless that way. Our greatest
blessing of all is to be adopted into God's family....and we are
commanded to share that blessing over and over in scripture.
Then I read "Foxe's Book of Martyrs"....now why would a God who only
desires us to be "blessed" allow such persecution? Should we tell the
underground church to just have enough faith for their financial
breakthrough and healing? That if they rebuke the enemy...bind
Satan...they need not suffer anymore? That they simply don't have
enough faith to escape their desperate situations? More Christians
are being martyred today than in any other previous time in history.
How can we believe that God is here to make our lives comfortable if he
allows believers to suffer so? Could it be that there is more to
being a Christian than being blessed? These are questions that you
must ask yourself, and God, if you are an adherent to a prosperity
gospel. God will answer those prayers -- he loves us all and
greatly desires intimate fellowship with us, He desires to share His
heart with those who have ears to hear His plans -- rather than telling
God what He should be doing for us.
It's so difficult to be discerning when your spiritual leaders are
telling you that people will try to dissuade you and you are to stand
strong (or else you aren't "spiritual"). And frankly, I don't relish the
thought myself of being labeled "unspiritual" any more than the next
person, but I'm becoming less and less "spiritual" (tongue firmly planted
in cheek) all the time! A major red flag with any theology being
preached is when the man doing the preaching claims that if you don't
believe what he says, you are not walking in the Spirit. Just two
weeks ago I heard a preacher and I was in disagreement with what he was
saying -- and his next words to the congregation were "ooo I see a lot of
religious spirits out there, you don't like what I'm saying." Well,
if we don't question our leaders we become blind followers -- that's
never been God's intention for us.
I have learned, that I WILL NOT set my intellect aside, we are to be
transformed in our minds.
I would challenge you, brothers and sisters, to seek God for His plans
and purposes, not ours. If you find yourself spending more time
fighting the devil than you do experiencing the peace and joy of the
Lord....ask yourself "what's wrong with this picture?" If Paul
himself was unable to have the thorn in his flesh removed -- and I'm sure
he had a great deal of faith -- and yet be content in all his
circumstances, who are we to do any less?
Yes, God does have a plan for your life, his plan for your life is that
you would bring glory to Him, and therefore others would come to know Him
through you -- you are to be a conduit of God's blessing to others who
don't yet know Him. How you do that is the wonderful journey of
discovery that the Lord is just waiting to take you on, will you join Him
on that journey.....or will you insist he tag along with you as you go
your own way?