Legalistic

This will be more of a venting post than anything else. I just can’t really post this on my social media, it’s more blog appropriate.

So, where we live is Southern Illinois. It is referred to as “Little Egypt” and I am not really sure why, nor do I care enough to look it up. We have things named after Egyptian towns, and a Lake of Egypt. That is just a little side note. But anyway, this area, especially in the church unity, lacks. People church hop like crazy, get offended, go to this church, go to that one, and make a life out of hopping from church to church. I am sure that’s common in a lot of areas, but here it is specifically bad. We have some independents, some organized, and some falling away from the rest of us. All that said, there are a lot of Pentecostal’s here. And a lot of ex-Pentecostals, including an very large church. All that is fine and really is whatever. But what I can’t understand is the amount of people that literally, for no reason, not even part of the conversation, tell us that we are legalistic. I mean, I understand why they think that, albeit not true whatsoever. I know that people twist it to be something that it isn’t, and that really isn’t the subject of the post. But a certain lady from a certain church came into our business and was talking about how she got to know of our place and started talking about church. Then, out of knowhere, she says “Pentecostals are legalistic.” I have no qualms with people that think that, but I just can’t believe that people say that. It’s literally equivalent to me saying to someone “you’re worldly.” No one would put up with that. I have another lady that consistantly would call us legalistic or Pharisees. Granted these people are backslidden Pentecostals and go to a church where the majority, including the leadership, used to be Pentecostal. The first lady mentioned even said after she called us legalistic, that that is what her pastors says. So is he saying this from the pulpit? It just boggles my mind. I don’t get it. When the lady said that we were legalistic, without hesitation, nor even realizing it was coming out of my mouth, I said “I love this legalism.” And that shut her up.

The Worst

I am. I think I have probably mentioned it quite a bit, but I am the worst at keeping up a blog. I haven’t written a post in a while, so this one may be long. I am not sure. My last post was December of 2019. Lol. I guess social media has taken precedence until as of late. Maybe not. Anyway, I digress.

There is an entire year of a pandemic that I could cover, which I may at a later date, but there is one thing I do need to address. I left off with my wife possibly having MS, to possibly not having MS, to having it, etc. Up until last Sunday, June 27, 2021, this has been our life. I wrote about it in October of 2019, but have since not updated it.

We basically spent the next year and a half going from doctor to doctor, specialist to specialist, city to city, prayer to prayer, with no luck. No relief. Spinal tap after spinal tap. Blood drawn, hospital stays, long trips, overnight stays, all for not. Even up until last Sunday, we had no answers. But God.

We were having a normal church service, but Leah and I were asked to open the service with a song. Then our pastors wife took over and we began to sing. We weren’t far into the singing when I hear a war cry, and look over and it is Leah. Right after that war cry, she began to dance and shout. Now, this may not seem that far out for us, but remember, this has been going on since 2019. Leah has lost mobility in her legs, constant seizures, driving privlidges taken away because of the seizures. I had to basically become 2 parents a lot of the time. Leah always pushed herself until she couldn’t anymore, way more than I think I could have.

I look over, and she is dancing and shouting and it hit me that it was the first time that I had seen her shout and dance in the duration of this sickness. I didn’t know why she was shouting, nor did I care, but I shout with her. Even if she could only shout for that moment, that alone was a miracle. We calm down a little and are off the platform and Leah testifies. She testifies that she has no pain anywhere. She could lift her left arm all the way up, which wasnt a possiblity. Her eye balls have constantly non-stop hurt this entire time and for the first time they didn’t hurt. Of course we all blew up!

So, you know how the enemy is. He creates doubt. So, I decided that everytime that came into my head I would rebuke it. Monday, she woke up, and felt fine. People texted and asked how she was doing, and I said healed! Tuesday, same thing. He we are a week later and she is still sympotom free! God is a miracle working God. Don’t give up.

Choices

I have been in this thing for a while. I have had the Holy Ghost for 20 years, this year, and never regret one moment of it. While I am an Apostolic Pentecostal, the older I get, I find that there are some majorly differing opinions on many issues among Apostolic churches. We do agree on (some sort of) holiness standard, the Oneness of God, Acts 2:38 as the plan of salvation, but something else has crept in, sadly.

I go back and forth on how I feel about material outside of Pentecost. We do have many Apostolic authors that write on a slew of different topics, which makes me question why someone would go outside of doctrinal boundaries to read non-Apostolic material. But then again, I have/do. Definitely not on doctrine though. But all that aside, now, and I believe that outsourcing is one of the major reasons for this, you have doctrines creeping into the church (2 Timothy 3) and leading people astray. Here are some of the doctrines I have seen in some of the churches:

  1. Hallowing of Hell
  2. Prosperity
  3. Easy believism
  4. Name it and claim it
  5. Guaranteed healing
  6. Generational curses

Along with some of these very damaging doctrines slipping into the churches, it seems there is a lack of holiness, both inward and outward. Nowadays, it seems among ministerial circles (the younger ones) discussing standards is a VERY bad thing. It is almost impossible to even talk about it. You have churches that are focusing on programs more than advancing the kingdom. These would be the “liberals” for lack of a better word.

But the other side of the coin doesn’t really make up at all for this. The “conservative” side of Pentecost is definitely not without its problems. I haven’t seen a lot of these false doctrines or lack of standards come in, but I have seen a very ugly spirit:

  1. You’re not holy enough (looking)
  2. Our camp is the only camp – I’ve literally heard a radio commercial for a conservative Apostolic evangelist claiming that the “First Apostolic church in (city) is being born,” while they have a complete established work in this country.
  3. Pastors abusing their authority
  4. The other side is losing everything
  5. Control/dictatorship

Now, before we go any further, ALLLLLLLLLLLLL people groups on this planet have drama. All of them split off when they get upset, as this isn’t just for religious folk.

Justifying not being a part of God’s kingdom because of drama isn’t legitimate. Paul and Barnabas couldn’t get along, so they separated from each other. So even in the Bible, there was drama. I could go into a lot on that but won’t.

I hear the complaints of saints, both young and old. I hear a lot of people, including myself, say: “I remember when…” And we all talk like those days are over. And like I said before, people groups are drama.

It comes down to a choice. Do I go the way of the liberals or the conservatives? Neither is wrong (in my opinion) foundationally. But the attitudes and slander from both sides get tiring.

I go to an independent Apostolic Pentecostal church. We are not “conservative independents” and we aren’t “charismatic” either. I’ve heard people say that our church doesn’t have standards, preaches trinity (LOL) steals saints, etc. None of which is true, but since we don’t subscribe to a certain organization, we are out in limbo. When people leave their local churches that are in an organization, they usually stop by our church, because of the disconnect. In all honesty, the reason I ended up at my church 5 years ago, was for that very reason.

Be Glorious!

There are two portions of Scripture that have been on my mind quite a bit lately. The first is 1 Samuel 4:21:

And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken, and because of her father in law and her husband.

The Bible says that Ichabod means: the glory is departed. The Hebrew word for Icabod is אִי־כָבוֹד and has a definition of: having no glory, inglorious.

What a name to be named. Poor Ichabod, named after such a tragic event. The Philistines captured the Ark and this was the response in grieving of the mother over the loss of the presence of God. She created a memorial for when the presence of God left them. What a sobering situation. I never want to grow complacent about God’s glory.

The other portion of Scripture is found in Revelation 3:1:

And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.

Sardis was a booming city, claimed to be one of the oldest cities in the world. Sardis translates to “the red ones.” It is believed to be the first city in Asia Minor to be converted to Christianity under the ministry of John. Sardis was also believed the first city to revolt against Christianity, the first to lay in its ruins and now is churchless and has no ministry. Very sad.

Jesus told the church of Sardis that they have the reputation of being alive, but in reality, they are dead. Very very dead. They somehow gave the impression that they were lively and had the Spirit of God in their land. (I remember something about having a form of godliness and denying the power thereof?) Jesus goes on to say that they need to strengthen the things that remain. They were good on doctrine, but they were dead. I love doctrine. Anyone who knows me, painstakingly knows that I love our doctrine, ie the doctrine of the Bible. I will do anything to keep the doctrine. But what good would that be if I only love doctrine, and never experience the power and things of God? This is the situation the Sardis church found themselves in.

I find it interesting that Jesus said to strengthen that which remains. I take that as, they had doctrine, but it wasn’t strong. They had the right things, but they were weak and lose.

Verse 4 says that some remain clothed in white. There was a remnant that hadn’t gotten their garments spotted by the world. When I first read that, it broke my heart. Could you imagine being in a church that claims to be Apostolic, but the Holy Ghost isn’t anywhere to be found?

How do these connect?

It seems like I have two separate thoughts going on here, and I do. Let me try to wrangle them together to make some sort of sense.

The Goal

Our goal as Christians is to get to heaven and take everyone we can with us. (Matthew 28:19) How can we do this if we are fighting over standards or allowing false doctrine to come in? As people of the Name and holding the Truth of God’s Word, we have a charge to go unto all nations preaching and baptizing them in the Name of Jesus. The two components to have revival are:

  1. Unity
  2. Truth

Outside of that, we have no accord. Inside of that lies right doctrine, fellowship, right living (righteousness), etc.

I hope to encourage you today, that if you find yourself in a church situation where you aren’t “good” enough for the churches around you, that we have an obligation to our lost and our saints. We must have the glory of God in our churches. We must have unity among the True body of Christ. I don’t care what organization you do or don’t belong to, these are Scriptural truths that we MUST adhere to. Let me never be found labeled  Ichabod. Let me never be found among the church of Sardis.

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. Jude 1:3

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 2 Timothy 3:5

We are closer now than ever to the return of Jesus Christ. This is no time to give up what remains, but we must strengthen what remains.

Principles

As time moves forward, and the Lord tarries, the more and more “open-mindedness” is increasing. People these days can talk themselves out of anything. They can run through rabbit trails to justify anything and everything, leaving all rational reasoning behind. And the Church is certainly not exempt from this. But the Lord has been dealing with me in the area of principality. The definition of principle is a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or a chain of reasoning.

I tend to be a wordsmith and an amateur at that. But, I digress. The definition states that it is a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation of a system. Obviously, it says that, you just read it. But that is the portion of the definition I love. FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH. Fundamental is “of central importance.” Can you see where I am going with this?

Many people today like to say “well, I feel…” and then you can insert anything at the end of that sentence that has anything to do with a difference of opinion. Let me give an example. “I don’t feel like I need to go to church to be a good person” or “I don’t feel like God cares about the way I look on the outside.” I literally can not handle a sentence that begins with “I feel” or “I don’t feel.” The problem in those sentences is I. That leads to a very narrow and narcissistic view on anything that would follow. What it comes down to, the things of God are not contingent on how I feel about them. They aren’t contingent on my feelings, my thoughts, my opinions or how well it fits into my agenda. They aren’t contingent on my loved one’s status with God (saved, not saved, believer, atheist.) But what the things of God are contingent on is principle.

As of late, I have heard many Apostolic’s and former Apostolic’s using these sentences. I’ve watched many leave the faith over things that they couldn’t feel this way or that way over. Or they feel that certain things aren’t necessary anymore, even though a couple of years ago the preached them. They use excuses like, the Bible doesn’t say that in black and white. Or, God won’t send me to hell over not wearing a skirt. Or, the Bible doesn’t say you have to wear skirts, everyone wore dresses back then.

The list goes on and on. But it’s time to keep the main thing the main thing. People can ask every question, foolish questions, sincere questions, and at times, the answers aren’t always comfortable. “Can I go to heaven if I don’t get baptized?” That isn’t a comfortable question. “Why did God take my child?” That is a very uncomfortable question. To answer either of those, you would have to base your answer on principle. Consider the following verse.

Isaiah 28:10 – For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

A precept is a general rule intended to regulate behavior or thought. Other words for precept are command, ordinance, oracle, injunction.

We are given precepts and lines all over the Word of God. Here is an example: The Bible does not say that you can’t smoke Camel cigarettes. But as Christians, Apostolic ones at least, we believe smoking cigarettes is wrong. Why? The Bible doesn’t say its wrong. Well, you are correct, but it does say that our body is a temple of the Holy Ghost and that it doesn’t even belong to me (1 Corinthians 6:19.) So the precept is that our body belongs to God and is a temple of the Holy Ghost, and the line is that I don’t damage my body with cigarettes. God gives the precept, and He gives us the power and authority to draw the line, and He HONORS the line.

Consider Moses. He had to go up Mt. Sinai to get the commandments from God, and God told him to draw a barrier so that the people wouldn’t follow him up the mountain.

Exodus 19:23 – And Moses said unto the LORD, The people cannot come up to mount Sinai: for thou chargedst us, saying, Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it.

God told Moses to draw bounds (lines). God did not tell Moses where to draw the lines, He just told him to draw them. So Moses did. And God honored those lines. That’s the same way for us. We are His servants.

Lines aren’t placed to keep people in, they are placed to keep the enemy out. Lines aren’t placed to hinder people, or to keep us from “living life,” they are placed to keep up set apart and unblemished from this world. It is up to the pastor to place lines, that has been God’s fundamental truth since the beginning. When you don’t understand the importance of precepts and lines, and how they are unmovable, then you will be easily swayed by the voices of this world and the enemy. Draw your lines, and keep those lines! Because God is.

Music Ministry

I read an article recently that has bothered me. I have tried to not write about it but I am going to have to. The article was entitled There Is No Such Thing As A Music Minister. 

To understand that music ministry is, in fact, a ministry, let us define ministry/minister:

Minister – Properly, a chief servant; hence, an agent appointed to transact or manage business under the authority of another; in which sense, it is a word of very extensive application.

Ministry – Agency; service; aid; interposition; instrumentality. Ecclesiastical function; agency or service of a minister of the gospel or clergyman in the modern church, or of priests, apostles, and evangelists in the ancient. Acts 1. Rom.12. 2 Tim.4. Num.4.

Both of these definitions come from AV1611.com (KJV Dictionary.)

To further define ministry, we turn to the Bible. For this instance, I am using 2 Timothy 4:5 (which is referenced in the KJV dictionary)

But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

The word for ministry in Greek is διακονίαν, transliterated to diakonia. In which Bro. Strongs defines as:

  1. service, ministering, esp. of those who execute the commands of others

  2. of those who by the command of God proclaim and promote religion among men

    1. of the office of Moses

    2. of the office of the apostles and its administration

    3. of the office of prophets, evangelists, elders etc.

  3. the ministration of those who render to others the offices of Christian affection esp. those who help meet need by either collecting or distributing of charities

  4. the office of the deacon in the church

  5. the service of those who prepare and present food

Ok. I really don’t even feel like I have to go any further, but I will. Not only am I an Apostolic preacher, and apologetic, but I am also a musician. I play the organ and sing every service our church has. Not only do I play the organ, and sing, but I also play the piano. So I feel that I have somewhat of a platform to speak on.

The first thing I want to make clear is this: Ministry is service. To be a minister is to be a servant. The pastor of a church is a servant to the people of the church. The children’s minister is a servant to the children. Servanthood is the first and foremost characteristic of a minister. In all the above definitions, service is the common denominator. If you wash the toilets at church, YOU are a minister. If you turn on the lights and mow the lawn, you are a minister. So, by default, music is a ministry. I am not sure about your church, but at my church, not one musician is paid. We all do it out of service to the Lord and to our church. The posts that are referred to in this post go on to say that apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teachers are the only true ministers (Ephesians 4).

We pray, we lead, we exhort, we talk, we sing, we praise, we worship, we serve, so who decided that those things aren’t ministry? You can quote scriptures and divide them up until you can’t find anything true, but that doesn’t mean that you are right. The kicker in the post is this line:

If you are a musician or singer, do not try to perfect the saints, build up the body, or minister.  It isn’t your job.  Your job is to praise the Lord by singing/playing, and that is all.

Let’s consider these verses:

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart. (Ephesians 5:18-19)

And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. (Acts 16:25, 26)

If a singer is only supposed to sing and not perfect the saints or build up the body, then why did Colossians 3:16 and Ephesians 5:18 tell you to? Paul said just as much as you admonish one another in all wisdom, sing! He even equates being filled with the Holy Ghost and singing as the opposite of drunkenness and debauchery. So, music MINISTER, keep ministering!

Encourage WHO?

We live in a very tough world. Some would say worse than any other time, some would disagree. But one thing is for sure, it can be hard to adult at times. I see many saints allowing the enemy to wear them out. It isn’t necessarily big strikes against the saints, but he will use situations and people to plum wear you out, keeping you busy and your mind off of the prize. 

And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. Daniel 7:25

I am guilty of this as well, so I preach to the choir! The attack is real, and sometimes it feels so heavy, and you can’t get a break, but take courage! Consider David:

And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. 1 Samuel 30:6

David was greatly distressed! They wanted to kill him! But when all falls apart, you have to encourage yourself. As easy as it is for me to type that out, it is much harder to apply it. Over the past couple of years, I have found myself greatly distressed, trying to get through life without losing my breath. I run and run the race, and at times it feels like the finish line keeps getting moved miles and miles away. But that is when you have to encourage yourself in God. How do you encourage yourself you say? I am so glad you asked! 

  1. Read His Word! Read His Word! Read His Word!
  2. Talk about His Word!
  3. Pray

Anytime someone tells me that they have been going through a hard time, and they feel defeated, I always ask “how much time are you spending in His Word?” 99% of time time, the answer is “not as much time as I should.”

We have to be in the Word, daily. If you want to hear from God, read His Word. If you need an answer to something, read His Word. It seems as Christians, that we spend less time in our “religious book” than other religions do, and that is saddening. We have to know it, we have to read it, we have to talk about it, we have to proclaim it.

I head a saying one time: “Make prayer your first response, not your last resort.” I would add “Make His Word your first response, not your last resort.” There is nothing that can take the place of God’s Word in your life. It is alive, it can and will speak to you about your situation and comfort you in your trouble.

I don’t buy into the whole Prosperity Gospel. I do not buy into the fact that once you become a Christian, everything is right in the world. No! Have you ever opened a Bible? We are promised peace and joy, but the presence of peace and joy doesn’t mean we have it all together. That doctrine only makes YOU feel bad when something goes wrong as if you didn’t have enough faith, and now you’re punished. Our promise is that IN the turmoil, we have peace and joy. THAT is much more admirable than just getting a free pass from the problems of this world. God gives us tools in His Word to combat the enemy. So today, as you go through this life and deal with the troubles of this world, encourage yourself in God’s Word. 

Fearless

I am giving it a good effort on blogging more. My blog doesn’t necessarily have a theme, it’s more of a look into what is going on in my head. Which should worry some people.

I last wrote about MS. It turns out, after my wife had her lumbar puncture, that the tests came back negative for MS. For this, we rejoice. But that still leaves us with “what is going on?” I hate seeing her in such an awful place. But she remains faithful to God, and we both know that God is going to do something through it. We are ready for what He wants to do.

Sirius-ly?

I was listening to a radio program in my car on the way home from work yesterday called “Speaking the Truth.” It is on the Family Talk radio station on Sirius XM. I had never really listened to it because I can’t stand the speaker’s voice. But yesterday for some reason, I didn’t change it. Actually I know the reason. Here it is!

She was discussing the verse found in John 14:16, 17:

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

What I came in on was her saying that this verse is the promise of the Holy Ghost (She used Spirit). She said that somehow this verse represents the trinity. You the Son praying to the Father to send the Spirit. Three separate persons. She didn’t say how this represents the trinity, she just said somehow it does, like she doesn’t know how.

I just don’t get it. You have this archaic doctrine started primarily by Constantine and what later became the Catholic church. How they came up with the trinity and introduction of the Universal (that is what Catholic means) church just blows my mind. The majority of Christianity, that is evangelical and non-liturgical, abhor most of Catholic doctrine. Christians don’t pray to Mary, don’t confess to priests, do not believe in transubstantiation, deny the office of the Pope, etc., but the one thing they take from them is the doctrine of the trinity. Why is everything else wrong with their doctrine, but that is acceptable to keep? I have never understood that.

Just in case you are reading this and do not know what the aforementioned scripture is saying, I will tell you. Jesus told His followers that He had to go away to prepare a place for us. In that, He informed them that He will no longer be with them, but HE (Jesus) will be in them. So, if Jesus says that it is HE that will be in them and that HE is sending the Comforter, then simple arithmetic would incline anyone to understand that the Comforter must be Jesus! But what about Jesus praying to the Father? So glad you asked! Jesus, before any introduction of trinitarian doctrine, was known as the “God-man.” That is because He is both God and man at the same time. His (God’s) SONship, is the part that is man, according to the flesh. The Spirit in Him is God or for this cause, the Father. The Bible says that God is a spirit, and no man hath seen him at any time (John 4:12). I really do believe that the Oneness of God is a revelation, and at times I get a little discouraged because it isn’t the mainstream belief and people have it so ingrained in them that you must believe something orthodox. But, people do eventually get the revelation. One thing I find funny, a lot of trinitarians don’t actually believe in the trinity, they believe in Oneness, but call it the trinity. Anyway, back to the subject at hand. 

The one thing I find it hard to wrap my mind around is that trinitarians proclaim that the trinity is so vast and complex that it is beyond human understanding. Anyone who has any understanding of Scripture would remember what Romans 1:20 says:

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

That is pretty sobering. His Godhead is fully understood from the creation of the world, and because it is fully understood, you do not have an excuse to understand that God is One. What is more sobering is the fact that it says His power and Godhead are clearly understood. That nullifies the trinitarian doctrine. God is One. Period. That’s pretty easy to wrap your mind around. I could go on and on about the Oneness of God, but the point of the post was just to address what this woman said on the radio program and the fallacy of that thinking. I hope I have educated someone somewhat. If you feel that the trinitarian doctrine may not be Truth, then ask God to show you the Truth. He will. The word says to ask for wisdom and He gives it. 

Many Scars

Life is insane. I told my wife the other day that I thought that the older you get the weirder life gets. I think back at things over the past 5 to 10 years and things are just odd. Things happen to people you would never guess it would happen to. People die you thought would be around forever. You think you know someone and you don’t. This list goes on.

Back Pain

This all started when my wife and I moved back from the hurricane ravaged Panama City. I had started a grooming shop in the local town we had settled into, and she was given a job as a manager at a local department store. At first, it wasn’t too bad. But she came home every day complaining of back pain. It grew worse and worse, and we chocked it up to standing on concrete all day and a pulled muscle. She went through some agonizing pain to which she wasn’t even able to move, and eventually it got better.

Doctors, and more doctors

One day, about 3 months ago, she went to the doctors and her doctor ordered physical therapy due to some upper back pain and shoulder pain. She went to about 5 or 6 sessions only to realize that it was making the pain worse, and per her physical therapist, she ceased physical therapy. After going back to the doctor, and getting a referral to a spine surgeon, many ER visits and debilitating pain, she finally received an MRI. When she went into the spine surgeon’s office, he informed her that her issues were not bulging discs pressing on nerves as they thought. He told her that there are two kinds of nerve issues: surgical and disease. And she didn’t have the surgical kind of nerve issues. He informed her later that it is definitely disease. Disease. DISEASE.

He told her that she is showing symptoms to a couple different neurological diseases, one including multiple sclerosis. Up until this point, our lives were pretty normal. This changed a lot.

Over the next couple days, my wife dives into studying the disease. Not WebMD or Wikipedia, but the actual MS Society’s webpage and first hand accounts with people with MS. The surgeon seemed more convinced that it was MS than the other diseases, but it takes a battery of tests and MRI’s to actually determine that, so we were gearing up for our journey through this together.

Emotions

To say we were emotional is an understatement. The day she came back from the doctor, she wasn’t really too informative on what he had said. She didn’t want me to worry. I understand that and don’t fault her at all. She did let me know very gently. At first I wasn’t too cognitive of the severity of the situation. I was just kind of stunned and wandering in my thoughts. What did this mean? Will my wife be paralyzed? It wasn’t until the next day that it really hit me. My wife is really good at hiding her emotions from me, especially in instances like this. She only does it so I don’t get more sad or worry. I understand that. But I wasn’t able to hide it. We cried. We prayed. We accepted what God had allowed as our journey, knowing that He would do something through this. What it is, I don’t know. But with out sickness, how can you know He is a healer.

Cliché

Before we ever told a single person, I told my wife that I knew it would happen. Granted it usually comes out of the kindness of someone’s heart, but it’s kind of like when someone dies, people try to say the right thing, and after a while, it just gets annoying or old. Now, where this hits with me is doctrine. Go figure, eh? The first thing that was said when I told someone about this situation was: “Don’t claim it!” Now, I do understand the intentions, but I know that nothing comes to me if it hasn’t went through the hands of God first. We aren’t guaranteed physical spontaneous healing. I believe God heals that way. I also believe He uses things to bring people back to God and to show Himself through our weakness.

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10

This verse doesn’t say that my infirmities are automatically taken away. It says that in those infirmities, I take pleasure, because when I am weak God is strong. It goes with that whole denying yourself thing. NO narrative of any Scripture is about us getting the glory. It is all about His glory.

If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 1 Peter 4:11-13

This should go without explanation. But again, people forget these verses exist I guess. A self-absorbed doctrine would forget they exist.

I do get afraid that my adamancy against name it and claim it/blab it and grab it will come off as faithless. Nay nay. I believe that God is a healer. I know He can heal my wife. I know He will heal my wife, but until that healing comes, this is where we are. Consider the following:

And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.

And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,

And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse 

She had the issue of blood for 12 years! But her situation made her desperate. How many lessons in 12 years did she learn about life, herself, and God. I am assuming she had some sort of faith in order to seek out the Messiah for healing.

When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.

For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.

And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. Mark 5:25-29

She sought out Jesus Christ. She went searching for her Healer, and said if I can but touch his clothes! Her faith in God is what healed her. We have faith. God is going to do something.

Where the road leads

Where will the road lead us from here? I do not know. We haven’t gotten an official diagnosis yet, but soon, October 21, we will know if it is for sure MS. I titled this “Many Scars” because multiple sclerosis translates to many scars. The scars form on your brain and spine and are called lesions. From the MRI’s she has many on her spine and one on her brain. This would lend to the primary progressive multiple sclerosis, being the worst. But I do believe God is going to do something. What, when and where, I do not know. But whatever it may be, I know that it is only going to bring glory to His Name. We are adjusting to the way life is with this at the moment, but with treatment, have the hope that some things will be easier to live with and do. But until then, we pray. We pray and pray.

Bitter Waters

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Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? James 3:11

I am the worst when it comes to keeping up with a blog. But I mostly use it to get out my frustrations, or thoughts, that are bigger than social media. Or I just don’t want to cast my pearls before… swine. Life has a funny way of speeding you up and slowing you down. And sometimes, when you think you’ve attained a certain mountain, you’re kicked all the way down the mountain to the deepest pit you can imagine. Sounds great huh. So much for positive thinking! 🙂 Anyway, I decided that I was going to write a blog about this past year. Well, what has happened since the last time I posted in JANUARY OF 2019! The worst, I told you. If you don’t like reading, then you probably should skip over this post.

Ancestry

Around March of 2018, my wife bought an ancestry DNA kit. It came in the mail, and she was very excited. She spit in the tube (kinda weird) and sent it off. After what seemed like an eternity, she was able to see the results of who her father is (VERY long story behind that, but I will save that for another time). We finally received the results and it was exactly who (through other family members) thought it was. It wasn’t who she thought prior was her father, but this was the second option. She was able to get into contact with the man listed as her father, and began building a relationship with him via phone. Other people from her family knew this man prior to my wife being born, so we went forward with their great opinion of his reputation and decided to move to where he lived. One, we didn’t like where we lived (Southern Illinois) and two, she had always longed for a dad, and the man she thought was her dad died when she was 2, so I wasn’t going to stand in the way. We went carefully, prayerfully, and moved to Panama City, Florida, in May of 2018.

Churchish

I have been raised in and around church my whole life. I am Apostolic from the top of my head to the soles of my feet. I guess I either missed something along the way or didn’t get taught it, but it did lead to major heartbreak and bitterness. I told some friends at the church we were attending that we would be moving to Florida soon, we just didn’t have a date yet. One of the friends asked if I had asked our pastor if it were okay to move. I responded with, “ask?” He informed me that there are people that don’t even buy a house before they ask him. This was the first time I had ever heard of this. I have moved, I have talked about with my pastor before, but I never knew to ask for permission. I told the friend that I hadn’t said anything to him yet because we didn’t know a date, and even in one day, things can change. So, with that conversation in the back of my mind, I messaged my pastor (we will call him PW) and told him that we were making plans to move. He said “are you kidding me?” I responded with “no.” His response was “give me a call when you get time.” I had time right then and called him. He asked me why were wanted to move. That was the only question. There wasn’t a “when” or a “where?” When I told him the reason, I became silent and listened to him rip me up one side and the other for 30 minutes and it ended with him hanging up on me. I never said a word. I listened. 

The next day, I messaged him and said that I didn’t want to leave on bad terms or with him mad at me. He then immediately called me and asked me if I thought he was tough on me. I responded with yes. He then informed me that he wasn’t even mad, to which I said “I’d really hate to see you mad.” After he hung up on me, I felt horrible. I didn’t really understand what was even going on. He told me that I didn’t need his permission, but I should have talked to him about it. I agreed and told him that I was going to once we had a plan, because we weren’t even sure if we could do it. Anyway, back to the second call. I had asked him if he would recommend a church where we were going and he told me he would not. He asked me “what would I tell the man of God there? I don’t have anything good to say about you.” This was a hard blow. I was involved in the church, paid my tithes, went to everything I could, went to PEAK conference as a chaperone, prayed, went to extra events and services at other churches, and I didn’t understand why he had no good thing to say about me. Until this point, this man acted like he was my best friend. He would call me and talk to me on the phone for over an hour at a time, pouring into me scripture and encouragement. This second call didn’t end with that low blow. No, he went on to tell me that my wife was rebellious, and she is rebellious because of me. (Us moving was apparently rebellion.) My wife had missed quite a bit of church because we had an infant, and lived 35 minutes from the church. Wednesday night church started at 7:30 and would be out after 9, sometimes 9:30 and we had to drive 40 minutes home, and Sunday started at 6 but would get out at 9 or so and it was too much for our infant. Long story short, we were both rebellious and he told us that if Jesus comes back, we won’t be going, and that this move will end in disaster (keep that fresh in your mind.) He never asked when or anything. He was done. So off we went to Florida.

Fast forward to October of 2018. We woke up one Monday with the idea that there may be a tropical storm brewing in the gulf. We lived less than half a mile from St. Andrew’s Bay in Panama City, and as this storm started developing we decided that we needed to evacuate because we had a 2 year old and didn’t want to chance anything at all, and it would give us a chance to see family that we hadn’t seen since May, which was way too long for me. We left on Monday night, with the intention of coming back on Friday. I called my work and told them and they didn’t even know a hurricane was coming. 

We got to Illinois on Tuesday morning. Wednesday, October 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael made land fall. We watched the hurricane on FOX News, only to see coverage of Panama City Beach, not of Panama City. We thought this strange, especially since we lived in the City side. Come to find out, the reason that there was no coverage of the city was that they were hit so bad that they couldn’t get any signals or anything to go out of the storm. Over the next couple days we were told that our town house was gone and we had nothing to return to. So we started making plans to stay. 

Through the grape vine, I got wind that the unnamed pastor that told us we weren’t rapture ready was telling everyone that his prophecy of our Florida move ending in disaster had came true. And also, that my wife is my pastor. He tells people that apparently on a regular basis. 

When we left for Florida, up until now, not one person has asked about us or called or anything. Which is fine, I don’t really care, and it makes it easier, but my thought is they know why we left, like so many others leave. 

I haven’t named the pastor, and some people, if anyone reads this, can figure out who the pastor is and what church. That’s fine if you do, fine if you don’t. So many Pentecostals will jump at the opportunity to say to not speak poorly of the anointed. I’m not going to go there with anyone. As much scripture there is for not speaking against God’s anointed (and in this case, that term is used very loosely) there is also as many scriptures about not ruling over God’s heritage and marking those that cause division. That is a debate that I don’t really feel is applicable here. Now that that is out of the way. 

I don’t believe in going around and telling people’s business or gossiping, but this entire post is about this event happening in my life. I am still Apostolic, and I know that just because someone is a pastor they aren’t perfect. I know many good people who have been hurt by unbiblical teaching and dictatorship. By the way, when a pastor says they aren’t a dictator, usually that means they really are in the form of narcissism.

The above encounter left me very bitter and confused. This man had shown interest in helping me grow my ministry. This man poured into me on a number of occasions. This man put me behind his pulpit to exhort. This man asked me to be in certain things. My respect for him was one I hadn’t really personally given a man of God, and I think the reason that I revered him so much was because he took time for me and acted like he was my friend. This was no small church. 200 or so members, and 100 additional children were bussed in on Sunday mornings. The services were hot, God moved in ways I haven’t experienced anywhere else. There was drama, of course, but I wasn’t there for that. My wife and I had visited OFTEN on a regular basis for 2 years prior to going there because they had people our age, married, that we could hang out with, as our other church didn’t. After the 2 phone conversations, I had told my brother in law, who was my previous pastor, and is now currently my pastor, what happened only to find out horrendous things. 

I received a phone call from the aforementioned pastor (PW) randomly one day. He was informing me that he had talked to my brother in law (PM) about another person that was bouncing between the two churches. He said that I had been brought up in the conversation and was talked about pretty harshly. After the proverbial lashing had happened, my brother in law told me how that conversation really went down. For the sake of my energy and time, it wasn’t good. It was more damage, and wood added to the fire. 

To The Bones

I had put so much faith and hope in this man, that when he failed, I was left wondering if God really was in Apostolic preachers anymore. I know that Apostolic doctrine is right, so I wasn’t interested in going to another kind of church, I just didn’t know if I could trust anyone else again. I questioned my ministry and my calling. I questioned if I was a reprobate or if God could even hear me. I was very wounded. And then came the question of how to get rid of the bitterness and distrust. I knew the scripture is against bitterness. 

But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Proverbs 5:4

I had tried so hard and put so much effort into doing what was right only to be let down. How could I trust anyone. 

Well, to their demise, they lost a lot of good people from their church. I had taken a friend to church that wasn’t Apostolic. He had went with me quite a few times and the Lord was moving on him. The pastors (PW) daughter thought he was good looking and wanted to get in contact with him. Well I knew better and I didn’t get her in contact with him but since he was tagged in some things on social media, it wasn’t too hard to get his info. She did. And she sent him vial snaps on Snapchat, things a Christian should never send. Later, she was a part of almost ruining a new converts marriage after being caught making out with the husband during our Easter drama practices. The pastor never did anything about it, tried to cover it up, and literally lost every minister on his platform except for two young ministers. I say that to say: don’t be a hypocrite! 

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Galatians 6:7

I don’t glory in the fact that this happened on any end. But I did come out stronger. I came out stronger in who I am in Christ, what the Bible says regarding abuse of power, and knowing that the Lord can keep you even when you are confused and groping in the darkness. My confidence in the ministry is being restored, with caution. But I will say this, no one under the sun can ever tell any human that they are going to hell. Yes, the word says certain things will send you there, but no one is allowed to tell me that my soul will be in hell for moving to another town. No body has that authority and scripture never gives anyone the authority to send someone to hell. 

Bitterness held me bound. Bound to doubt. Bound to pain. Bound to hopelessness. But God got me through it. If you are struggling with bitterness from a church hurt or any other thing, God can get you through it. It seems it isn’t overnight, but it will happen and He will restore to you the joy of your salvation!

OCD

I have an issue with wanting to be organized, trying to be, and then, in the end, I am completely unorganized because I can’t get to a place of satisfaction of organization. With that being said, I have a blog with hardly any posts haha. I start out wanting to blog and then not following through. But here I am, trying again. If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Here we are.

The year of 2018 will go down in the books as one of the most eventful years yet. So many things changed and happened that are forever stepping stones to a better us. I plan (fingers crossed) on extensively writing some posts about these events this week.