Risking All Kinds Of Freedom
Happy Sunday to you. I know, some of you are wondering, “What’s with all the preaching all of a sudden?” It’s really not all of a sudden. I am who and what I am. I always have been. I’m a “Christian” for the lack of a better term, but I have MAJOR problems with organized religion. I am a Conservative, yet I tow NO Party line. I believe in the Biblical teachings of a one on one relationship with God. I do not “Preach.” I talk about, and tell you truth according to The Word of God, when asked, the situation calls for it, or when appropriate. We all have to make our own choices as to what to believe and the deeds we do. I will not try to control what you do, what you believe, or attempt to brainwash you. If God gave us all free will, then who am I to tell you what you HAVE to chose. In the long run, and at the appropriate time, we all reap what we sow. We all answer to our choices we made along the way.
But it is things like this, that REALLY set me off from time to time. So I HAVE to share the Truth on these matters. It’s in the news, hence I am going to talk about it. What I’m talking about today, is the risk of us, as a nation, losing all kinds of freedoms. I do not believe it is Constitutional, nor do I believe that Congress has ANY authority on this at all. Nor do I agree with the teachings by some of these people, who I KNOW, the way some have been teaching them. So let’s get a little bit into it, shall we?
According to the AP on Thursday, Dec. 27, 2007 `Gospel of wealth' facing scrutiny, By ERIC GORSKI, AP Religion Writer.
The message flickered into Cindy Fleenor's living room each night: Be faithful in how you live and how you give, the television preachers said, and God will shower you with material riches.
Not exactly true.
And so the 53-year-old accountant from the Tampa, Fla., area pledged $500 a year to Joyce Meyer, the evangelist whose frank talk about recovering from childhood sexual abuse was so inspirational. She wrote checks to flamboyant faith healer Benny Hinn and a local preacher-made-good, Paula White.
Only the blessings didn't come. Fleenor ended up borrowing money from friends and payday loan companies just to buy groceries. At first she believed the explanation given on television: Her faith wasn't strong enough.
"I wanted to believe God wanted to do something great with me like he was doing with them," she said. "I'm angry and bitter about it. Right now, I don't watch anyone on TV hardly."
This is why I HATE talking about this, VERY REAL Spiritual Law. People get the wrong ideas.
All three of the groups Fleenor supported are among six major Christian television ministries under scrutiny by a senator who is asking questions about the evangelists' lavish spending and possible abuses of their tax-exempt status.
To bad there is NO Constitutional Right for Congress to interfere with Religion. They have NO power over Churches and Religion in this country.
The probe by Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, has brought new scrutiny to the underlying belief that brings in millions of dollars and fills churches from Atlanta to Los Angeles — the "Gospel of Prosperity," or the notion that God wants to bless the faithful with earthly riches.
Which is Partly true. But not as some teach it.
All six ministries under investigation preach the prosperity gospel to varying degrees.
Proponents call it a bucolically sound message of hope. Others say it is a distortion that makes evangelists rich and preys on the vulnerable. They say it has evolved from "it's all right to make money" to it's all right for the pastor to drive a Bentley, live in an oceanside home and travel by private jet.
Well it is. The root of all evil is the LOVE of money. Not Money itself. Money is a tool. Like with all tools, it can be used for good or evil purposes.
"More and more people are desperate and grasping at straws and want something that will alleviate their pain or financial crisis," said Michael Palmer, dean of the divinity school at Regent University, founded by Pat Robertson. "It's a growing problem."
The modern-day prosperity movement can largely be traced back to evangelist Oral Roberts' teachings. Roberts' disciples have spread his theology and vocabulary (Roberts and other evangelists, such as Meyer, call their donors "partners.") And several popular prosperity preachers, including some now under investigation, have served on the Oral Roberts University board.
Grassley is asking the ministries for financial records on salaries, spending practices, private jets and other perks. The investigation, coupled with a financial scandal at ORU that forced out Roberts' son and heir, Richard, has some wondering whether the prosperity gospel is facing a day of reckoning.
Which he has NO RIGHT to do.
While few expect the movement to disappear, the scrutiny could force greater financial transparency and oversight in a movement known for secrecy.
Because it is based in truth.
Most scholars trace the origins of prosperity theology to E.W. Kenyon, an evangelical pastor from the first half of the 20th century.
Not true. You have to go back to the time before Christ.
But it wasn't until the postwar era — and a pair of evangelists from Tulsa, Okla. — that "health and wealth" theology became a fixture in Pentecostal and charismatic churches.
It is taught in many Religions. Not just those.
Oral Roberts and Kenneth Hagin — and later, Kenneth Copeland — trained tens of thousands of evangelists with a message that resonated with an emerging middle class, said David Edwin Harrell Jr., a Roberts biographer. Copeland is among those now being investigated.
"What Oral did was develop a theology that made it OK to prosper," Harrell said. "He let Pentecostals be faithful to the old-time truths their grandparents embraced and be part of the modern world, where they could have good jobs and make money."
Complete Bunk. It has always been alright to prosper.
The teachings took on various names — "Name It and Claim It," "Word of Faith," the prosperity gospel.
Prosperity preachers say that it isn't all about money — that God's blessings extend to health, relationships and being well-off enough to help others.
They have Bible verses at the ready to make their case. One oft-cited verse, in Paul's Second Epistle to the Corinthians, reads: "Yet for your sakes he became poor, that you by his poverty might become rich."
That is a distortion. I do not know if it is by this writer, or if it was really being taught by some preachers. More on that and more REAL verses that deal with this a little bit later.
Critics acknowledge the idea that God wants to bless his followers has a Biblical basis, but say prosperity preachers take verses out of context. The prosperity crowd also fails to acknowledge Biblical accounts that show God doesn't always reward faithful believers, Palmer said.
The Book of Job is a case study in piety unrewarded, and a chapter in the Book of Hebrews includes a litany of believers who were tortured and martyred, Palmer said.
NO IT ISN'T! You know, I really wish some of these Idiots,,Huh, I mean experts, actually read and understood, the things they talk about. It might be useful for an intelligent debate.
Yet the prosperity gospel continues to draw crowds, particularly lower- and middle-income people who, critics say, have the greatest motivation and the most to lose. The prosperity message is spreading to black churches, attracting elderly people with disposable incomes, and reaching huge churches in Africa and other developing parts of the world.
One of the teaching's attractions is that it doesn't dwell on traditional Christian themes of heaven and hell but on answering pressing concerns of the here and now, said Brian McLaren, a liberal evangelical author and pastor.
THAT is TRUE. And sad.
But the prosperity gospel, McLaren said, not only preys on the hope of the vulnerable, it puts too much emphasis on individual success and happiness.
That is also true in some cases.
"We've pretty much ignored what the Bible says about systemic injustice," he said.
The checks and balances central to Christian denominations are largely lacking in prosperity churches. One of the pastors in the Grassley probe, Bishop Eddie Long of suburban Atlanta, has written that God told him to get rid of the "ungodly governmental structure" of a deacon board.
Some ministers hold up their own wealth as evidence that the teaching works. Atlanta-area pastor Creflo Dollar, who is fighting Grassley's inquiry, owns a Rolls Royce and multimillion-dollar homes and travels in a church-owned Learjet.
There are those that abuse their positions in Churches. As well as there those in Businesses, Government, and anywhere else. Good Doctors, bad Doctors ETC. We are all Human and susceptible to temptations of all types. Some fight those temptations, and do the right thing, some fail and go their own way. That is life.
In a letter to Grassley, Dollar's attorney calls the prosperity gospel a "deeply held religious belief" grounded in Scripture and therefore a protected religious freedom. Grassley has said his probe is not about theology.
But even some prosperity gospel critics — like the Rev. Adam Hamilton of 15,000-member United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in suburban Kansas City, Mo. — say that the investigation is entering a minefield.
"How do you determine how much money a minister like this is able to make when the basic theology is that wealth is OK?" said Hamilton, an Oral Roberts graduate who later left the charismatic movement. "That gets into theological questions."
There is evidence of change. Joyce Meyer Ministries, for one, enacted financial reforms in recent years, including making audited financial statements public.
Meyer, who has promised to cooperate fully with Grassley, issued a statement emphasizing that a prosperity gospel "that solely equates blessing with financial gain is out of balance and could damage a person's walk with God."
OK folks, here is the TRUTH.
The Word of God DOES teach giving and receiving. It IS a Spiritual Law. It DOES Work. But not in the way that some like to teach.
One of the Ten Commandments is Thou Shall Not Steal. One of the ways God see you as a thief, is NOT Tithing. In Malachi 3:8-10.
8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
This WORKS. What it means is 10 percent of your salary. You make $200.00 a week, your tithe is $20.00 If you make $1000.00 a week, your Tithe is $100.00. ETC.
Now what it says is, "that there may be meat in mine house." Which is to say, there will be the ability to help those in need of things. Food, cloths, shelter, ETC. It does not mean that you HAVE to give to a Church. The way I see this, is if you want, and you feel lead to do it, you can give to any church you want. Or you can go down to inner city USA, and buy $100.00 dollars of food and feed the homeless. Give them blankets. Help someone personally. There is nothing saying you cannot give to a food pantry, Goodwill, or just buy cloths for a poor family that might even live next door to you. You are still tithing and still doing God's will. Anything more than your ten percent, is what is called offerings. STRICKLY your choice to give more.
If you are in a church, and you see them doing NOTHING to help those in need, yet the Pastor is driving a fancy car, wearing gold and silver, and preaching to give him more money, not only would I not give to that church, I would leave all together.
Jesus DID talk about Tithes and Offerings, but not just money. Matthew 6
1Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
2Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
3But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
4That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
5And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
6But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
7But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
8Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
9After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11Give us this day our daily bread.
12And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
14For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
16Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
17But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
18That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
19Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
22The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
23But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
24No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
25Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
27And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
28Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.
29And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's,
30But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
31But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.
Now remember when someone came to Him and said that His Mother, brothers and Sisters desired to see him? He looked around and said "THESE are my Mothers, Brothers, and Sisters," meaning all the people there. If you give up your selfishness and all you you hold to yourself, you gain all those that are in God's Family. You receive THEIR families, houses and lands. These are all material things here, not that much of a concern for God, he is more concerned in what happens with your Soul.
Then Luke 11: 9-13
9And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
10For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
11If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
12Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
13If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
The Holy Spirit that will Comfort you, guid you, help yoy, and remind you of all things.
28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
There is one of the main keys. God calls you. You have a plan and a purpose. He guarantees that He will make sure you have all things you need for that plan and purpose.
He promises your NEEDS will be met. But, sorry, God is not the Lottery. He is not the Stock Market. You SHOULD give your 10 percent. That is a Spiritual Law. If you chose to, you can give more of your own freewill. He WILL reward you. He may not give you Millions of dollars, He KNOWS what you will do with it. But He WILL bless you in many ways that are beyond your belief. It may not be the way you expect, but it will be the way you need most.
So the next time you hear a Preacher get up on a stage, behind a TV Camera, or on the Radio, with a Bible in one hand, and a mic in the other, and start telling you that you MUST give thousands of dollars to him and his Church, sit back, think about it, and know that NOW you know the truth. Just like many other things, we do NOT need government protecting us from ourselves. You chose to give all you have, it's YOUR choice. No one else's.