The Men of God

Recently I had posted [on Facebook], “Have you ever stopped and realized most of the prophets and New Testament writers would not be welcomed speakers in many churches?” Understand, I’m not trying to be cute or sound clever. I’m being quite serious, and stating something I think many churches—including Evangelical leaders—should consider.

Do you think my statement is exaggerated? Really? Have you read Jeremiah, Isaiah, or Ezekiel lately? Each man blasted the religious people—especially the priests, shepherds, and “prophets” for their corrupt and deceitful practices, and for profaning God’s name, putting their own preferences and desires ahead of God’s. The prophets then turn and blast the national leaders for all their greed, corruption, and injustices. Would many preachers today, who are so concerned about numbers and offending persons, put up with such prophets, although clearly men of God?

Have you read from 1 and 2 Kings, the words and behaviors of prophets like Micaiah and Elijah? Micaiah was hated by a notoriously wicked king because he didn’t prophesy “good” for him. When Micaiah was summoned, he mockingly said all would go well, go and be victorious. The king, irritated by the mocking flattery, told the prophet to speak the truth. Indeed, Micaiah then spoke the truth and was imprisoned for it—yet, his haunting warnings to the king came to pass with precision. Elijah taunted the prophets of Baal as they danced and cut themselves, trying to get Baal to consume their sacrifices. Elijah mocked them, saying, “Maybe he’s sleeping or on a trip. Or maybe he’s relieving himself!” Was this tactful or gracious of behavior of either prophet? Yet, who’s going to say these weren’t men of God?

Have you read James or Jude recently? Both letters are brief, but loaded with dynamite. James doesn’t hold back punches as he speaks to the Christian community about faith, double-mindedness, partiality, the tongue, and worldly wisdom. He gets straight to the points, never sparing the feelings of his readers. Still, there should be no doubt about his love for them. Jude goes straight for the jugular when discussing the dangers and slyness of false teachers who creep into churches to teach “damnable heresies” of sensuality and licentiousness. Were these men arrogant and insensitive? Be careful how you answer, because God chose these two men to write letters  to become a part of sacred Scripture.

And what about Brother Paul? He addresses numerous problems of sinful behaviors and false teachings in the churches. Then, in Galatians, he even mentions a time he had to confront Peter with hypocrisy to his face in front of everyone. If a man today had the heart of Paul, would he not be considered self-righteous and divisive?

A man of God is not determined by how pleasant his smile or how “nice” he is to others (“niceness” and kindness are not the same; “niceness” can be a result of cowardliness and false motives). Rather, a man of God will direct people to the Scriptures, to Christ and His atoning work, and to holy and loving conduct. Furthermore, genuine men of God will confront us with the truth and discomfort of our sins. Only by dealing with sin can we truly experience the hope God offers. Many don’t want to hear this anymore. This is not surprising. Yet, the Scriptures warn:

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions. ~ 2 Timothy 4:1-3

The Deeper Reality of Knowledge

“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:17

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” Proverbs 9:10

“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” John 17:3

In our scientific age, it is all too common to think of knowledge in terms of mere intellectualism. For example, this person maintains a 4.0 grade point average, he is very “knowledgeable.” However, in the Bible knowledge goes far deeper than merely “knowing” something with one’s mental capacities. It is to know something experientially. This is the reason knowledge of good and evil was forbidden: God did not want His creation to experience evil and its horrible effects. This is also why mere knowledge of God does not necessarily benefit a person. A person can go to church their entire life and know all kinds of wonderful things about God. Yet, in the end such a person might not know God. It is the person with the experiential knowledge of God as their Savior and Redeemer who will be welcomed into His glorious heaven at last.

What is the difference between knowing things about God versus knowing God?

(From the book, Pause, Hear His Whisper, by Geno Pyse, p. 23-24)

Lost in God’s Own House

There is a strange occurrence during the reign of Josiah, whom we are told was a good king who “did what was right in the eyes of the LORD” (2 Kings 22:2). It would be humorous were it not so tragic. It was on his heart to begin doing repairs to the temple. During this time Josiah had sent Shaphan to the temple to enquire about the money collected from the people, so the workers doing the repairs could get paid. When Shaphan was conversing with Hilkiah the high priest, the priest told him, “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the LORD” (vs. 8).

To many of us today, especially who live in the Western world, we take for granted we have printed Bibles in abundance and in various languages and translations. The people then did not have such luxury. The Scriptures were carefully, tediously hand-copied and were expensive. So, it is not surprising that most households did not have copies of the Scriptures. What is surprising, however, is the fact the Scriptures—God’s Word—should have had preeminence in God’s house; yet somehow, in the midst of all the activities and religious routines, the Word of God was lost.

Many churches today are experiencing something similar. Thankfully, we have copies of the Word of God; however, there is a crucial, vital doctrine that has been lost in many churches, although it is in plain sight if people will but take the time to look. What is this doctrine? Repentance.

I have heard it said, “Don’t give me doctrines, just give me Jesus!” While this sounds pious to some, it is quite foolish. One cannot have Jesus of the Scriptures apart from doctrine because doctrines are teachings and Jesus gave us His teachings.

 While not to be considered acceptable, the situation during Josiah’s time is, perhaps, more understandable. Maybe a person had placed the Scriptures in a place to keep them safe, then this person died or moved. Or maybe someone else had come across them and moved the Scriptures to another place without telling anyone. We are not told as to what happened for the Book of the Law being lost somewhere in the temple.

Today, we do not have a legitimate excuse for having lost the doctrine of repentance. Not only should this be a basic doctrine learned by those having gone to seminary (which includes most ministers), it is repeatedly taught in the Bible—in both the Old and New Testaments! Nevertheless, one will not hear this doctrine taught in many churches. You will not read about it in many of the books filling the bookshelves of Christian bookstores. In fact, many of the authors who fancy themselves as preachers and theologians scorn the doctrine, treating it as archaic and puritanical.

So, our sin of losing the doctrine of repentance today is greater than the sin of the people losing the Book of the Law during the time of the Jewish kings. For the sin today is not simply and mistakenly misplacing the doctrine. For it is not a losing or misplacing the doctrine at all. Rather, it is a willful, deliberate casting aside—rejecting—the teaching and commandments of God.

The church must recover this crucial doctrine, blow off the dust, and begin putting it into practice. The consequences are too severe for us to ignore!

~ from the book, The Lost Doctrine of the Bible: Missing in Plain Sight, by Geno Pyse, p. 13-17.

Prepare for Battle

Our nation is in serious trouble. The fact of the matter, if you read the first chapter of Romans, our nation is experiencing the judgment of God. While writing of the rebellious nature of man in general, the apostle writes,

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth….For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools. ~ Romans 1:18, 21-22

History bears witness to this. Anywhere Christianity has taken root, positive changes happened in societies (e.g., the value of children and women, the abolishing of slavery, healthcare, etc.). Opponents will say things like, what about the Crusades, etc. But we must understand the reality of the sinful heart of unregenerate men. As for the Crusades, Roman Catholicism is known for many corrupt popes, cardinals, and priests who were obviously not born again. Many of the Crusaders, too, were worthless men who loved violence and conquest. Corrupt men using religion to camouflage their wickedness is nothing new. We read about it in both the Old and New Testaments (e.g., the Pharisees and Sadducees). And we see it today in politics and in churches promoting the false prosperity gospel. Nevertheless, wherever a people are truly yielded to the authority of Jesus Christ and the Scriptures, these communities develop stability, as well as goodwill toward others. (For further study on the positive impact Christianity has had on the world, read How Christianity Changed the World, by Alvin J. Schmidt).

We also see the evidence of what Paul writes even in our own nation. Despite the good Christianity has done, godless men in our government, universities, and corporations seek to destroy such evidence by rewriting history, grossly editing original manuscripts, removing statues, etc. And what are many trying to replace all this with? Many of these men, with all their prestige, credentials, and forked-tongue rhetoric are promoting Marxism (socialism/Communism), which history repeatedly shows it strips people of dignity and value, and is known for its cruelty, violence, and genocides. They claim to be wise—far wiser than the ignorant masses—they have become futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts are horrifically darkened. They continually promise a golden age of utopia—without God—but all they will deliver is misery for the populace.

Further down, the apostle writes,

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie. ~ Romans 1:24-25

Immorality, infidelity, and perversion have always found safe harbor in the hearts of godless individuals. So yes, there has always been cases of adultery, child molestation, and the like. Nevertheless, even in our nation, these were once considered taboo. Pregnancy out of wedlock and divorce were once shameful. Then came Hollywood with all its productions and godless promotions, increasingly stirring the lusts within people. During the 60’s came the “sexual revolution.” A generation no longer wanted the constraints of godly living. So, God gave them over to what their foolish hearts desired.

But the depravity of the sinful heart is like the grave and is never satisfied. The apostle writes,

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their woman exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another. ~ Romans 1:26-27

During the 70’s and 80’s there became a push from Hollywood and universities to legitimize homosexual behavior. Today, not only is this behavior staunchly defended in Hollywood and Washington, but even many churches professing to be ambassadors of Christ. And there is a growing persecution (as evidenced in Canada) against those who would stand against the authority’s acceptance of this lifestyle. Nevertheless, we cannot nullify what God’s Word says, regardless of what side one chooses to stand.

The apostle then delves into the third wave of God’s judgment on a people.

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. ~ Romans 1:28-31

Our society laments the violence in our city streets, poverty, broken homes, and threats of terrorist attacks. Yet, it is offended when the name of Jesus Christ is proclaimed, or the Ten Commandments are displayed. Our schools fully embrace evolution and deny any Intelligent Design (let alone the Creator as declared by Christians). Lascivious and blasphemous celebrities are idolized, while manipulative and corrupt politicians are applauded. Child-molesters are being defended by those claiming their desires are legitimate. Abortion is defended, even applauded, by many, despite the fact footage shows the real brutality which takes place, as babies’ body parts are ripped apart. Planned Parenthood, which claims to be “non-profit,” is somehow a multi-billion-dollar industry. And speaking of multi-billion-dollar industries, let us not forget to mention the tragic reality of human trafficking—a modern slave trade supported by many of our celebrities, politicians, and businessmen. This is the reality of societies without God. Utopia is the myth believed by fools.

It is strange that so many are looking to politicians to fix the problems when they, and their policies and exchanging of money “under the table,” are a vital part of the problems. Understand, this isn’t to casually dismiss the voting process. Citizens must be wise in who they vote for. But what good is this if the citizens are unwise and godless? The church must understand the issues go deeper than politics. Far deeper. If there is to be any hope for our nation, then God’s people must pray. This means seeking His face, as well as confessing the sins of our nation—as well as our own (see Nehemiah 1:6-7). But it also means preparing for spiritual war. The apostle writes in the sixth chapter of Ephesians,

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. ~ Ephesians 6:10-12

While we are responsible for the choices we make, and societies are responsible for the ideologies and beliefs they hold to, there is the reality of evil demonic beings influencing the events of our world. Have you ever wondered why universities, politics, Hollywood, Communism, Islam, New Age Occultism, etc., are hostile toward Christianity specifically and directly? In any case, while not dismissing the wickedness of people, our real enemies are not the people but the demonic forces influencing them. Sadly, many churches are not only standing alongside the wicked, but many are just as influenced by the spiritual forces of darkness. Why else would the Cross and Blood of Jesus Christ be deemphasized in some churches—even despised? And too often Christians are so busy warring against one another, completely oblivious to the fact the real enemies are unseen and working behind the scenes, not only in the world, but in our associations, conventions, seminaries, etc.

The apostle goes on to write to followers of Christ,

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints. ~ Ephesians 6:13-18

The real battle does not take place on the streets of Washington, but on our knees in prayer. But we must have the complete armor on. We have a worthy adversary. Some don’t like it when I use the term “worthy,” thinking I mean he is worthy of some sort of praise. Still, others boast of the Victory we have in Christ, and mock the adversary as being a “toothless tiger.” But let us understand, while we are not told to be afraid of him, we are certainly to be aware of him. He is extremely crafty and manipulative. He knows our weaknesses quite well. In fact, Jesus tells us to pray for God’s deliverance from temptation and evil (Matthew 6:7). Peter warns us of the devil, who is like a lion seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). Again, we don’t need to be afraid, but we must be aware, and we must be willing to battle in prayer with complete dependence on God. We must be girded with truth. As Neil Anderson writes in The Bondage Breaker, the power of the devil is in the lie. We must conquer using God’s truth. We must be covered and protected with righteousness. Unrighteousness will only play right into the enemy’s hands to his advantage. We must have the shoes on, firmly rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The evil one is a fighter, and he will unleash lies and persecution against us. Whether through other people or whispers to our mind. We must lift our shield of faith in resistance to these fiery arrows. With this, we need to protect our minds with the helmet of salvation. Always remembering what Christ has done for us. We are saved by His grace and sacrifice, and not of our own works. And our weapon is the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, the Bible. Too often, people want to use the ideologies and trends of men, but these are like J. R. R. Tolkens’ golden rings described in his masterpiece, Lord of the Rings. These are crafted by evil, benefit evil, and enslave to evil. Our only true weapon is the Word of God in against the spiritual forces of evil. Lastly, we must be in constant prayer in the Spirit, in accordance with God’s will and ways, and praying for all fellow followers of Christ.

My friends, if there is any hope whatsoever for America, it will only come because of God’s mercy and power in response to the sincere prayers of His people. Only if we are willing to prepare for, and engage in, battle in prayer will be see hope and healing for our nation and world. But the question is, will we prepare for battle in the heavenlies?

Somebody Needs Your Prayers 

Somebody needs your prayers,

   Family, friends, and strangers;

Life’s full of hurts and wounds, 

   And so many hidden dangers.

Someone needs encouragement,

   Another needs a loving embrace;

Someone needs guidance and direction,

   So many are lost and need God’s grace.

Life’s full of disappointments,

   And so many burdens and cares;

Lift your voice and heart to God,

   ‘Cause somebody needs your prayers.

~ G. P.

Ours is a hurting, confounded, wounded, broken-hearted world. While some will be afflicted more than others, none of us is immune. All around us there are hurting people—our homes, schools, workplaces, businesses, and churches.

Each day we pass by persons who are weighed down by loneliness, grief, consequences, fears, and depression. All around are people who appear to have it all together but many are facing parental, marital, and financial problems. Others are hounded by physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual issues. Others are facing rejection and betrayals. Some are battling various addictions or disorders. Sadly, whether we understand or not, many lose hope and grow so tired of the hurting they take their own lives.

We are not called to fix everyone’s problems, and we certainly can’t heal everyone’s pain—but we can, and should, pray. Pray that they may turn to the Lord for His help and guidance. Pray that He will infuse into them His grace, mercy, comfort, and wisdom. Most importantly, that they may know Him, through His Son Jesus Christ. For what is all the healing and blessings of this world if one’s soul is not healed and redeemed?

Let us beware of three common pitfalls: 1) Apathy, indifference. 2) To speak truth apart from love. And 3) To love apart from truth. Too often, we pass others by without any thought or consideration of what they might be going through, oblivious to telltale signs they might be displaying. Sometimes we can hammer persons with truth while withholding any compassion and grace. Still, we sometimes make the mistake of cradling persons while minimizing the behaviors and attitudes which led them to painful situations they find themselves in. There are so many dynamics. We need wisdom. But something we can do, even when we lack love, truth, and wisdom is pray. For God is not lacking in any of these. 

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son, full of grace and truth. ~ John 1:14

But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man. ~ John 2:24-25

We don’t always know what to do, but we’re always to pray. Oswald Chambers wisely observes, “We pray when there’s nothing else we can do, but Jesus wants us to pray before we do anything at all.” Today, be open to the Holy Spirit, and know that there are many who need your prayers.