When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name 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. -- 2Chronicles 7:13-14 (ESV)
God uses everything for His purpose. I know it is hard to see it in these days when we just passed 100,000 infected with COVID in this country and 600,000 worldwide. As Christians we need to see His infinite mercy in that more have not perished. Sickness and disease entered His creation through the fall. Through His permissive will He allows us to suffer and often is trying to get our attention. Sure these cataclysmic events often are used to draw the unsaved to seek God but do not lose sight of the sifting of the church because that is exactly what is going on.
Every generation before has always thought they were living in the end times and we are no different. We feel the beginning of the birth pangs and this COVID plague is only another sign. Through it God wants to sift the remnant of true believers from this false apostate system that we have seen masquerading as the church for the past few decades. This NAR dominionist version of the bride of Christ. It is time to come out from among her beloved. The last time we felt this desperate was after 9-11 when churches were full. The problem was the majority of those churches were trending apostate and people were soon disillusioned with religious institutions that only sought their money and their flag-waving during the Iraq War. Fast forward ten years and those churches are now fully apostate. Andy Stanley no longer believes in the sufficiency of scripture. Joel Osteen is now the most popular preacher in America and he does not even preach the Gospel. The great falling away is firmly underway as we see churches more concerned with preserving their way of life on this earth than saving people from it.
The key verses today, or more specifically verse 14, is often cited by NAR dominionists during times of crisis. The problems is first of all the context does not make this a prescriptive text as it is meant to be historical narrative. It is God speaking about Israel. However, the second error often made is that these admonitions are not given to the fallen world. The NAR has this fantasy they chase called "revival." Of course to revive something infers that at one point it was alive. The unsaved masses were never eternally alive. The dominionist does not truly seek their salvation as much as behavior modification. If the unsaved would just behave better -- stop being gay and having abortions specifically, then God will heal our land as the key verse says and we can experience this holy grail of revival. All false beliefs however are rooted in false teachings. Even if we allow the application to the church today of the key verses they still are not dealing with the pagan. It clearly says if people called by my name -- Christians. Let us unpack what we are supposed to be doing if we truly expect healing in this land.
The church is supposed to be humble. There is nothing very humble regarding the apostate NAR church. The spiritual advisor to the president, Paula White just begged for people to sow $91 seeds to her in order to rest in the promises of Psalm 91. Kenneth Copeland, who has stolen over a billion dollars from Christians, just said that you better keep tithing even if you lose your job due to the virus crisis. Humility means so much more than not being Paula White and Kenneth Copeland. It means a return to God being God. It is calling for an end to the "friend of God" generation. For decades now churchgoers have been taught that Jesus is their buddy and their wingman. We sing songs about how special we are to God instead of how special God is to us. We hear sermonettes about how God wants us rich, successful, powerful, and happy. Nothing about carrying our cross or dying to self daily. There is no humility within the apostate church. Here is today's deep theology -- you are not God's friend. He is your creator and He is your Lord. Yes, He called His disciples friends but let's examine those verses:
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. -- Matthew 15:13-15 (ESV)
The NAR apostate church leaders love quoting verse 15 but not so much with verse 14. Let me spell it out for us -- you are my friends if you do as a command! Does that sound like a typical worldly friendship? What would you tell someone who said that in order to be friends with them you had to do everything they commanded? Do not chase earthly friendship with God beloved. Chase His majesty through His Lordship. That is what it means when His people humble themselves.
Secondly from the key verses we must pray. Now I am sure this seems as an obvious point but again we must analyze what prayer has become within the apostate church. Prayer has become a validation of self either through wish list requests or prayer intended to confirm our political world view. Instead of pursuing the will of God, we assume we already know it and pursue that with blind zeal often devoid of facts. We see that with this COVID crisis as well. Take the sad case of Pastor Landon Spradlin of Virginia. A self-described traveling musical evangelist, Spradlin decided to go to New Orleans recently to "wash it from its sin and debauchery." He refused to be concerned about the viral outbreak declaring that COVID was just an "anti-Trump plot of hysteria." Pastor Spradlin contracted COVID on this trip and died from it on his way home. While we mourn with his family and any senseless loss of life this also reveals the dangers of following the NAR political agenda. The danger of dismissing fact-based issues as "hysteria" or "fake news."
Our prayer must be devoid of our agenda. I recently heard someone praying for "the godly pastors" surrounding the vice president. Huh? If you think that the people surrounding Mike Pence and Donald Trump are godly pastors, then you are in a lot of trouble because they are voracious wolves. Our prayer must follow the same pattern as our relationship with God -- He is Lord. He knows better. We can always pray for what we want but in the end it must be not my will but Yours be done. The NAR apostate church has sold a Jesus in servitude for too long now. Jesus is not your cosmic bellhop and busboy. He is not your blessing dispenser. He has a plan and I am relatively sure it is not for us to ride down to New Orleans to scream sinner at the people who think the things of God are foolishness. It is not His plan for us to play the role of fool on this earth by handling snakes in service, scamming people for money or denying the reality of a pandemic that has already infected over 600,000 people and killed nearly 30,000. Denying reality is not faith -- it is ignorance.
The final instruction in the key verses is that those called by the name of Christ must turn from their wicked ways. I know that is a tough teaching but it is high time we stop calling evil good. For people who brag about being pro-life we have heard some dangerous, unchristlike beliefs being espoused recently. It started with Lieutenant Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick, who intimated that older people should be willing to die in order to save our economy. This is absolutely Satanic beloved and it comes from a "pro-life" champion who has made it known how Christian he is. Not to be undone, another darling of the apostate church, Glenn Beck, backed up the whackadoodle statements of Patrick on his radio show.
"I want to have a frank conversation with you and ask you where you stand. I mean I'm in the danger zone. I'm right at the edge, I'm 56. In Italy, they're saying if you're sick and you're 60, don't even come in. So I'm in the danger zone. I would rather have my children stay home and all of us who are over 50 go in and keep this economy going and working even if we all get sick. I'd rather die than kill the country. 'Cause it's not the economy that's dying, it's the country." -- Glenn Beck
Wow. Now I do not even understand why Christians like Beck, who is Mormon, but this statement is absolutely bonkers. Not only that it peels back the dark underbelly of the right-wing politics the apostate church has gotten into bed with. They pay lip service to God while serving and worshiping mammon. An editor of a conservative Christian publication recently said that Satan would approve of the atmosphere of crisis and that "the mass shutdown of society to fight the spread of COVID-19 creates a perverse, even demonic atmosphere." Christianity does not have to be the beacon of everything moronic in this world. We should not be upholding such idiotic and dangerous views. Views that beyond a doubt will kill people. Lastly among these folks we have Fox uber-conservative commentator Brit Hume who recently opined that it was "entirely reasonable" that the elderly would be willing to die to save the economy. No Brit, it is not. It is not even remotely reasonable. I in fact have not heard a more unreasonable statement in a long long time.
Beloved, if you have found yourself shaking your head in agreement with these sentiments recently you really need to look at who is teaching you. The Gospel is not an exercise in denial. Let me be very clear -- it is simply not Christian to believe that we should sacrifice anyone, let alone our elders, in order to possibly save the economy. Money is not more important than people. I think somewhere deep-down people like Patrick, Beck and Hume know this but they are all in for an administration that believes everyone can go back to work by Easter, as the body count grows. This is exactly how a cult works. The leader says something horrifically wrong, inaccurate or in this case, simply horrific and everyone must try and make it sound more reasonable. More palatable. The apostate church sold its soul to this cult a long time ago but as we see in the events today -- God is sifting His remnant from among them.
While on this subject let me be absolutely clear. This devotional is not political. It is not about politics. It is about reality. There is a global pandemic killing tens of thousands of people that has not even peaked yet. Anyone suggesting we should all just stroll back to work is an enemy of humanity. Anyone suggesting that we should line our grandmas and grandpas up for a Logan's Run Carousel moment to potentially make a few extra bucks in the future is out of their minds and depraved beyond the point of help I am afraid. I included verse 13 in the key verses to remind us of who God is. While sickness and diseases entered the world through Adam it is not beyond God to use such to get the attention of His people. He commands the locust to devour the land and sends the pestilence among His people. Do not rule out the fact that is just may be what is happening today. He has sent the plague among us and closed the doors of so many apostate churches. Real believers still meet. I met with several last night for prayer through Skype. The apostate church closes their healing rooms, stops their leg growing tricks and continues to seek a revival that is not coming. But God?
God is sifting. May we realize, repent, and return to Him as our Lord and Savior.
Reverend Anthony Wade -- March 28, 2020