I rejoice to notify our readers about the roll out yesterday, July 30, 2022, of this Ministry’s latest Strong Man Of God Online Rally on its dedicated YouTube Channel.1 The theme of this Online Rally is Reconciled To God! The audience this rally seeks to reach is primarily males born between 1993 and 2009 which takes in the latter end of Generation Y (Millennials) and most of Generation Z. I have children in Generation Y, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in Generation Z. I am greatly concerned for Generation Z that has suffered most of the many mass school shootings and from which lately has also come the male shooters--recently at a school in Uvalde, Texas.
Besides the mental health issues such as depression many experience due to the unsettling worry and fear about their safety at school and out in a world filled with hate and lawlessness, Generation Z is caught up in the midst of cultural turmoil created by morality and values confusion and conflict. Additionally, as I wrote about in a previous post this year, Generation Z is deeply troubled about their future on a planet that is polluted and undergoing destructive climate upheaval.2 The generation is not keen on religion either which does not bother us in our cause to proclaim the Gospel to them since we through it are not preaching religion, but reconciliation with the living God!
While in its opening, this Online Rally acknowledges the raw negative feelings of the young persons it reaches out to, it boldly asserts there is a positive answer from the overflowing love of the God who wills to connect to and be reconciled with those that are willing and proved it by sending Christ to die for us as “sinners” and His “enemies,” (Romans 5:6-11, NKJV)! Being reconciled to God provides comfort and an anchoring hope for the soul through His promises in Christ beginning with salvation that go beyond the foreboding realities of this world present and future (Hebrews 6:13-20). A born again believer of any age can effectively cope in this world through faith and hope in Christ!
This is my firm conviction from God’s Word as it is written, my own experience as a born again believer since 1977 and apparently even some in the generation behind Generation Z represented as an example by nine year old Uvalde shooting victim, Eliahna (Ellie) Garcia. She had posted a brief video to her social media platform talking up the Lord Jesus shortly before she was martyred. Though the biblically foretold trajectory of the world toward God’s wrath cannot be averted, we can and this Ministry will continue to proclaim His call to be reconciled to Him and saved through the Gospel to all mankind young and old. For truly age has nothing to do with the ability to receive it.
Indeed, what matters for anyone that will have an open heart to the Gospel is hearing the pure message from the Bible even from an aging Baby Boomer like me (Romans 10:13-15) as the Holy Spirit does His work (John 16:7-11). Since 2006 I have seen Him bring many young males to Christ and salvation through our youth outreach, Strong Man Academy.3 Without compromise on biblical propriety, this Online Rally presents energetic worship, a testimony from a Generation Z male and features a pre-message rap song holding up Christ as “the perfect sacrifice.” After this the Lord uses me to preach His message of reconciliation and present an invitation to salvation and rededication!
I urge every fellow parent and grandparent of Generations Y and Z as well as those coming after who might engage for thirty minutes to encourage them to watch this Online Rally. Watch it with them if possible so, you might answer questions generated or discuss any issues that are raised. Know that if nothing else, something in the Online Rally presenting God’s call to be reconciled to Him will serve as seed planted in their hearts for the Holy Spirit to cultivate at a later time especially if now, they are put off by church or religion in general. Otherwise, I ask all of our readers to watch the rally and put the word out about it as far as your social media and other means of influence extends.
1 View the rally and subscribe to the channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwOtdk7KRwcQG0tOpZGI7-w.
2 See the March 27, 2022 post, No Baby Boomer Free Lunch, under the categories, Biblical Worldview and Call To Repent.
3 Learn more about Strong Man Academy on our Web Site.
How different the messaging of the risen Christ to the churches at the end of the first century and now, nearly twenty centuries later. Seven messages to seven churches of Asia and only two were fully commended back then. Yet, in contrast, if you listen to many Christian media personalities to include mega and other church pastors today, Christ has hardly anything negative to say about what is going on in churches supposedly devoted to His Lordship. The ratio of five messengers and churches called to repentance to two fully commended has amazingly flip flopped in these latter days despite all of the same issues Christ raised being evident and far worse in countless churches!
As the Lord has had me write many times, it is as if He were in fact dead and not risen for all of the effect His written Word and living presence has among churches that profess to be Christian.1 Or else, how can you truly believe Christ is in your midst and sin in disobedience with impunity to His face as many do? Or are you actually believing the lie He has changed since what John recorded in His Revelation in spite of the fact it is written He is “the same yesterday, today and forever,” (Hebrews 13:8, NKJV)? His judgment among the churches is intensifying in these latter days because He has not changed nor abandoned what He inspired His apostle Peter to soberly write (1 Peter 4:17-18).2
Thus, Jesus Christ remains as He spoke to the messenger of the Laodicean church, “the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God,” (Revelation 3:14, NKJV). He is consistently and forever the standard and measure of truth so that those that know Him cannot help but say, “Amen” to whatever He says! Too, Jesus Christ is the standard and measure of faithfulness to God to the death; the ultimate “Witness” to what God requires in those faithful to Him! Finally also, He is positioned at the preeminent Head of creation and His Church as Creator, Savior, and Redeemer to the glory of God as the apostle Paul also declares (Colossians 1:13-18)!
Jesus Christ perfectly knows what a local church is supposed to look like as His design of the Church He assembles that transcends cultures, times and trends; reaching as she does into eternity (Ephesians 5:25-27)! For this reason, knowing the works of the church at Laodicea, He announces because they “are lukewarm,” “I will vomit you out of My mouth,” (Revelation 3:15-16, NKJV). This church was neither “cold” from lack of love for Christ as the church at Ephesus (Revelation 2:4) or “hot” with fervor and activity, but not through the Holy Spirit as the church at Sardis (Revelation 3:1-2) which were both painfully obvious in their need for correction and without repentance, judgment.
However, in being lukewarm the church at Laodicea like many large and suburban churches today are totally oblivious to their indifferent condition and are so sickening to the Lord in the manner of a stomach disturbance, He will violently vomit them out of His mouth! The cause of their lukewarm indifference toward the Lord and the faith is wealth. They were monetarily and materially well off and needed nothing they thought. And while being rich does not have to undercut the typical sense of dependence on Him most believers have who are not rich, the Laodiceans had allowed this to be the case for them. They could not see themselves as Christ did (Revelation 3:17).3
Speaking in the authority and infinite wisdom He presented Himself to this church, the Lord offers them “counsel” to obtain from Him “gold refined in the fire” so they might really be “rich” and other items to reverse their spiritual condition (Revelation 3:18, NKJV). Refined gold represents the faith-filled hard, but abundant life of one of His self-denying, cross bearing faithful disciples (Luke 9:21-26, 12:13-21, 18:18-30; John 10:10; 1 Timothy 6:6-16; 1 Peter 1:3-9)!4 As sick to the point of vomiting them out of His mouth as their self-satisfied indifference has made Him, the Lord acts to “rebuke and chasten” this church in “love” as He does all. He then charges them to be “zealous and repent;” to hear Him outside knocking and open “the door,” (Revelation 3:19-20, NKJV).
Once more too, the Lord speaks to him that would overcome and affirms one of His consistently made promises to reign with Him as a reward for faithfulness; the one who overcomes “granted” by Him to sit on His throne with Him as He “overcame” and sat down with His Father on His throne (Luke 22:28-30; Acts 5:27-32; 2 Timothy 2:11-13; 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:4-6, 3:21, 5:5-10, NKJV). He then issues His standing directive to those in the church at Laodicea and where you attend with “an ear,” “to hear what the Spirit says to the churches,” (Revelation 3:22, NKJV). Clearly, a wealthy church flush in money, but spiritually indifferent does not impress the Lord. The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 Read my February 9, 2014 post, Is There No King Among Us?, under the category, Call To Repent.
2 See the June 10, 2018 post, God’s Judgment Upon His House, under the category, Bible Prophecy and God’s Creatures.
3 While spiritual indifference may produce the busy works of religion, it never produces righteousness! This is why God can never be pleased with spiritual indifference
as He spoke through the prophet, Amos, to the eighth century B.C. ten northern tribes of Israel including specifically and harshly, wealthy women and judged them
(Amos 3:9-4:5, 5:10-15, 21-24, 6:1-8). It is also why Christ speaks in an attitude of revulsion toward it manifested in the first century A.D. church at Laodicea and all
that would follow them in guilt to the end. Such churches with thousands of dollars in the bank (in many cases for nothing but a rainy day to spend lavishly on them-
selves) have looked smugly at needy ministries like this one from our inception and refused to support us not realizing in their blindness that Christ ever looking and
booking, is going to judge them for this!
4 I write about the way of biblical disciples of Jesus Christ in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. Get a print copy or digital download of the book at
major internet booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com and Apple (digital only). You can also get a print copy in the Strong Man Store.
If the cities or names of the seven churches of Asia addressed by the Lord Jesus Christ have any importance at all as to why He chose them, surely, the church at Philadelphia does as a name. Most commentators translate Philadelphia from the Greek as “brotherly love;” a name given to the city by an ancient king to honor his brother. Consistent with this, the Lord’s message to the church there was to His faithful Christian brothers that included those of His Jewish heritage. This is clear to see in the message that would have excited a Jewish Christian more than any Gentile given its quote of Scripture with Jewish specific application, experiences and prophetic references.
The Lord opens His message: “These things says He who is holy, He who is true....” Though all Christians would (or at least should) perk up with a message from the Lord opening like that, the Jewish Christian with joy immediately understands Him to be authenticating Himself as the promised Holy One of God, His Anointed, Son and Himself true God (Psalm 16:8-11, 20:6-9, 89:19-37; Isaiah 7:10-14, 9:6-7, 10:20, 12:4-6; Luke 1:30-35, 2:8-11; John 1:1-9, 14-18, 17:1-3)! Further, to ensure His identifying credentials were not missed, He quotes from Scripture: “He who has ‘the key of David,’ He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens,” (Isaiah 22:22; Revelation 3:7, NKJV).
In quoting from Isaiah’s passage originally spoken about the man that controlled access to king Hezekiah, the Lord instantly affirms its prophetic application to and fulfillment in Himself as the One who exclusively controls access to God His Father (John 14:6). All Christians are supposed to understand why He is the only way to God, but only Jewish saints painfully appreciate how important this is when their own heritage is attempting to block access to God through their common historical and traditional means such as worship at the Temple (destroyed by this time) and the synagogue.5 As in all of the churches, the Lord knew the individual works of those at Philadelphia.
The Lord greatly encourages the individual saints and especially His Jewish kindred of this church by setting “an open door” before them He says, “no one can shut” in applying His quote from Isaiah 22:22. He is doing this He says because they “have a little strength, have kept My Word, and have not denied My name,” (Revelation 3:8, NKJV). As I wrote earlier, historically, the wide river of the Jewish “remnant according to the election of grace” the apostle Paul wrote of (Romans 11:1-5, NKJV) narrowed to a tiny brook with very little influence in Christianity after the 1st century as the Lord here acknowledges and appears to prophetically forecast as their foreseeable future.
The historically oldest of Christians, though tiny, faithful Jewish saints were and would be dogged in displaying spiritual strength, keeping the Lord’s Word and not denying Him through the unimaginable pressure of persecution from family, community and the Gentile nations into which they were scattered with their unbelieving fellow Jews. In what should stagger no one, the Lord lets the Jews that believe in Him know, He sees and is watching them! As a result, His encouragement turns to rewards for faithfulness: future vindication and reversal in the form of former persecutors being forced in the manor of Haman of old to worship His faithful saints (Esther 3, 5:9-6:14; Revelation 3:9).
But His rewards do not end there. The Lord says “Because you have kept (past tense) My command to persevere, I also will keep (future tense) you from the hour of trial (testing) which shall come upon the whole world, to test those (all others) who dwell on the earth,” (Revelation 3:10, NKJV).6 I concur with all that interpret the “hour of trial” the Lord speaks of here as one and the same as “the great tribulation,” (Matthew 24:15-21, NKJV). This being so, His promise of protection cannot be “the rapture” as is taught since Christians are foretold to go through and many suffer martyrdom during it (Revelation 7:9-14).7 In context and consistency with who He is addressing, the Lord’s promise of protection is intended for Jewish Christians primarily living back in Judea at that time!8
Though the Lord’s promise of protection during the hour of trial speaks to the proven Jewish faithful believers in Israel at the time it occurs, this does not preclude Him in sovereignty extending it to select other faithful followers likewise proven throughout the earth. Together they will form the small number who are “alive and remain” at Christ’s Second Coming (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, NKJV). For this reason, the Lord warns He is “coming quickly” and exhorts the faithful to tightly grasp what they have in strength, obedience to His Word and loyalty to Him, so, “no one may take your crown;” unmistakably asserting that even with protection, there will still be persecution pressures (Revelation 3:11, 16:15, NKJV).9 The Lord’s rewards are still not done for those that overcome.
With yet more Jewish significant implications is the Lord’s promise to make him that overcomes “a pillar in the temple” of His God adding, “and he shall go out no more.” Also, He declares, “I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem...And I will write on him My new name,” (Psalm 48:1-3, 137:4-6; Isaiah 66:5-11; Revelation 3:12, 21:1-22, NKJV). Contrary to the lying deceit of these latter days, keeping His Word as it is written remains a critical part of the faithfulness Christ rewards! Those who are not doing so, put themselves in grave peril since disobedience is nowhere rewarded in the Bible (Revelation 3:13). The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
5 Jewish persecution had led to those that were Christians being barred from entering or cast out of the Temple in the 1st century and it will be so again briefly when it is
rebuilt (Acts 21:15-30; Revelation 11:1-2).
6 The Lord led me to proclaim a timely six message series, The Hour Of Testing, now available in the Strong Man Store that instructs Christians on God’s biblically
taught purposes behind why He tests His people and fully explores the prophetic implications tied to the coming hour of trial our Lord speaks of in this post. Listen
to the series sample.
7 Faithful to the death as those at Smyrna, having overcome they will not be touched again by death; raised as they will be to eternal life and glory by Christ at the first
resurrection (John 5:28-29; Revelation 2:11, 14:12-13, 20:4-6, 11-15)!
8 What an amazing affirming prophetic disclosure by the Lord to Jewish Christians and all the church at Philadelphia, His faithful! Dispersed to the nations, as the Old
Testament prophets and He foretold, the Jews would one day return to their land and among them would be those that are followers of Him as Messiah (Matthew 24:
15-16; Mark 13:16). This prophecy of a return to the land became reality in 1948 when Israel once again became a nation with Jews from all over the world streaming
home since. Here again is the immutability of God on display to the world before our eyes (Malachi 3:6)! During this period of the return, growth in the number of
Jewish followers of Christ--many calling themselves Messianic--in Israel (still with hostility and persecution) and around the world has exploded though, their numbers
are still relatively small compared to the larger number of all Jews and their professed Gentile Christian brethren (Psalm 118:23-24)! Thank you, my brethren, for
your millennia long perseverance under trial in obedience to your Messiah--longer than any other ethnic group and an example to all in His Body! We who love you
rejoice in His righteousness of rewarding you in every way He will! Stay faithful through all that is yet to shortly come. To learn more about them, type “Messianic
Jews” into your favorite search engine.
9 Those who doubt the Lord can protect and preserve His people during times of persecution as well as His own acts of judgment should again acquaint themselves
with His Word as it is written (Exodus 8:20-24, 10:21-23, 12:21-23; Psalm 5:11-12; Joel 3:16; Matthew 2:7-15; Acts 12:1-11 as samples)!
As the Lord led me to write in the two-part post, Revelation’s Seven Churches In Time under the category, Bible Prophecy, starting January 5, 2020, He fully commended only two of those churches whose faithful individual members had stood and would stand to the end. Besides having the Lord’s full commendation, these two churches also share in common persecution stemming from the same source He identifies as “those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not,” (Revelation 2:9, 3:9, NKJV). However, one church He urges to “Be faithful until death” to gain a crown while the other is to remain faithful so no one takes theirs (Revelation 2:10, 3:11, NKJV).
In the midst of another growing wave of irrational anti-Semitism around the world, because of love for my Lord Jesus Christ who as I stated in a recent post is Jewish forever (Matthew 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-38; Revelation 5:1-5, 22:16) and His people the Jews,1 I confess some discomfort at the prospect of being lumped in with those who hate them just for the cause of putting this post into its proper historical context and trumpeting the glorious prophetic end that results. Nevertheless, it is in the pure joy of celebrating that near at hand glorious prophetic end that I proceed; trusting that the Lord who has set me on this course will vindicate me in motive and His purpose.
Indeed, as the resurrected Lord Himself presents in messages to His two faithful churches, the Jews were vigorous persecutors of 1st century A.D. Christians. This is as He foretold and warned His Jewish disciples about when He was persecuted and about to be put to death by their religious leaders in Israel (John 15:18-16:4). Though the Gentile Roman Governor, Pilate, gave the order for His crucifixion, it was the Jewish religious leaders that had plotted, instigated and advocated for it (John 11:45-53, 18:1-14, 28-19:22)! Even so, He voiced His love for them all from the cross (Luke 23:34). After His death, Jewish leaders sought to cover up His resurrection (Matthew 27:62-28:15).
In fulfillment of prophecy, the risen Lord commanded His disciples turned apostles to proclaim the Gospel about Him “to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” which He reiterated just before His ascension back to Heaven and after being queried by them about the restoration of Israel’s kingdom (Isaiah 49:5-6; Luke 24:44-49; Acts 1:4-8). Only a short time after persecuting Christ to the death, the Jewish religious establishment started in on His apostles to root out and destroy the growing number of Jews becoming Christians if at all possible (Acts 4:1-22). The whole rest of the Book of Acts documents the persistent opposition of Jews to the Gospel across the Roman Empire.
By the time of Christ’s end of the 1st century Revelation that gives us the one and only post-ascension description of Him in His glory (Revelation 1:9-18);2 after the Temple and Jerusalem were destroyed and they scattered to the nations in A.D. 70 by the Romans as He foretold (Mark 13:1-2; Luke 21:20-24), Jewish opposition and persecution of Christians is still strong as the Lord’s messages to the faithful churches at Smyrna and Philadelphia demonstrate. Part of the reason for their opposition to this day is divine judgment and part is the unbelief common to all mankind until the illumination of grace and salvation through faith (John 6:41-45, 12:37-41; Romans 9:6-11:10).
In declaring that those opposing the Gospel and Christianity “say they are Jews, and are not, but lie,” the Lord is not denying their natural descent from Abraham. He echoes what He spoke while on earth and later taught through the apostle Paul that a Jew God regards for now is one spiritually through new birth by the Holy Spirit of first importance (John 8:37-43; Romans 2:17-29, 4). Labeling them in their opposition to the point of blasphemy at Smyrna and Philadelphia as “a synagogue of Satan,” identifies its ultimate evil source and portrays their base of operations (John 8:44-47; Revelation 2:9, 3:9, NKJV). That opposition would stir up and be joined by Gentile authorities leading to the suffering, arrest, imprisonment and martyrdom of many Jewish and Gentile Christians.3
Dominant in the first generation of Christianity as it was spread by the apostles, Jewish Christians in the centuries that passed thereafter seemed to nearly disappear so small did their numbers become as a minority among Gentile churches.4 Many, of course, tried to maintain ties to their Jewish community to include the synagogue, but to this day continue to endure the hostility and rejection the Lord Jesus apparently addresses in His message to the church at Philadelphia. For while all of what He says is encouraging to any Christian seeking to be faithful under similar circumstances as I have personally experienced, the Lord’s message to the church at Philadelphia I am convinced of Him has special significance to those of His Jewish heritage.
1 See the February 2, 2020 post, Ethnically Diverse Mankind Is Of God, under the categories Black History and God’s Creatures.
2 Not only do we have an amazing description of the glorified Jesus Christ in His Revelation, but an objective reading of it puts more of His Lion Persona on display than
in the Gospels. This is because His first coming as the Lamb (gentle and lowly) was about being approachable and sacrificing Himself to take “away the sin of the
world,” (Matthew 11:28-30; John 1:29, NKJV). Mission accomplished, glorified and reigning seated on His Father’s throne at His right hand, Lord King Jesus is a Lion
(strong and a warrior) firmly in charge; ruling, judging and about to bring the Kingdom of God to earth in power, great glory and divine wrath at His Second Coming
(Revelation 2:5, 16, 21-23, 3:3, 14-19, 6:12-17, 19:11-16)! He is that Lion and Lamb composite (Revelation 5:5-6) the Father wills to make us over to be in Christ’s
image as aspiring strong men and great women of God (Romans 8:29)! Learn more about this in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. Get a print copy
or digital download at major internet booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com and Apple (digital only). You can also get a print copy in the
Strong Man Store.
3 Severe persecutions by Gentiles would continue until in a few centuries, Christianity became accepted in the Roman Empire and a growing number of Gentile nations
beyond though, they would not cease entirely; continuing somewhere on earth to this very hour to the end and shortly to go global as the Lord Jesus foretells (Matthew
4 To learn more about Jewish Christians after the 1st century read this Wikipedia article. Life in predominantly Gentile churches was difficult for the tiny remnant of Jewish
Christians over the centuries especially when in the arrogance of manmade religion, many of their ostensible Gentile brothers turned on, mistreated and persecuted
them as anti-Semites. Persecution became all the more intense when professed Gentile Christians joined with their wider community of unbelievers such as during
Spain’s inquisitions, Hitler’s ovens and Stalin’s gulags. To the world, a Jew was a Jew whether a Christian or not. Fear of certain reprisal is no doubt why in part Jewish
persecution of Gentile Christians became rare.
As the 25th Year Anniversary of The From Slavery To Victory Education Project (FSTVEP) conducted by the organizational parent of Strong Man Ministries, Open Door Communication Ministries, Inc. (both of which I have been blessed to lead) draws near on Juneteenth this year, I am filled with excitement and gratitude to God.1 I write this post as the Lord leads in obedience to the instruction of the ancient Psalm writer He commissioned to exhort “the redeemed” above all to give thanks to Him for His goodness (Psalm 107:1-3, NKJV)! As well, with that Psalmist’s heart, to express the spiritual “what for” of the FSTVEP to the children of men among fellow black Americans.
Talk about amazing confluences. I write this realizing that it will be fifty years ago this upcoming September that I was asked by my no longer standing Fremont Junior High School, Seaside, CA, English teacher, Mr. Earle Rosenberg, to write a column reporting on our flag football teams. I have not stopped writing since and am overjoyed to have done so in the Lord’s cause for nearly forty of those years! As it turns out, 1969 was also another of a long string of great years for Rhythm and Blues or if you will, Soul Music. On September 23rd that year, the Temptations released their Temptations Puzzle People on Motown’s Gordy label with a number of impressive songs.
One of those songs composed by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong was entitled, Message From A Black Man. Arriving as it did just over a year after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the bold and yet reasoned lyrics of the song directed to white America were delivered deftly by the singing of the Temps as well as the catchy, forceful rhythms of the band. Bold were such lines as, “Yes, my skin is black, but that’s no reason to hold me back…I have wants and desires just like you. So, move on the side ‘cause I’m comin’ through. No matter how hard you try, you can’t stop me now.” Call to action words for a thirteen year old who had been angrily watching the revolution on TV.
Even today, it is hard to honestly refute the logic in the lines, “Black is a color just like white. Tell me: how can a color determine whether you’re wrong or right?” Whitfield and Strong wrote and the Temptations delivered Message From A Black Man as decent “every black man” who were still coming out of the shell shocked silence of intimidation caused demoralization to firmly, yet, peacefully stand up to their oppressive and abusive intimidators. This is not unlike women today who are applauded for standing up to their abusers. While the message from a black man was certainly cathartic and necessary at that moment in 1969, it needed to also be given biblical feet and built on.
I carried the raw message throughout the rest of my secondary education and the first two years of college; leading out as a Black Student Union President giving speeches, helping to organize events, engaging white authorities, publishing materials and writing editorials. At Monterey Peninsula College (MPC) I also began to take the many newly rolled out Black Studies Courses offered and did well because of my intense interest. A desire to attend historic Howard University in 1976 was fueled by my interest in all things black. But as I have testified in other places,2 my passion for pursuing an education began to lose steam as I lost my way at Howard--itself a serious reality check.3
Coming to Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord who redeemed me from a life that had become empty, without purpose and meaning began to change me as a person to include my thinking and worldview after full surrender to Him. Now, for example, nobody could ultimately stop me from being who God created me to be and doing what God wanted me to do with Him working on my behalf (Romans 8:28-39; Philippians 4:13). Moreover, being black skinned in the human skin color spectrum was not a curse or something contemptible, but a blessing because God made me this way (Acts 17:26). Indeed, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” by God (Psalm 139:14, NKJV)!
After receiving the Lord’s call to serve Him in broadcasting in August 1979, I returned to school at MPC that spring, then San Jose State University in San Jose, CA in fall 1980. There, I celebrated God as the inspirational, sustaining hand among black Christians in a radio documentary on the history of Black Gospel Music I wrote and produced. Inevitably, though, even after seminary studies I was stuck attempting to understand why the black American experience beginning with slavery was so in the first place. I had all of the major facts of our historical experience, but of themselves, they brought no satisfying appreciation for why. Instead, as is the case for so many black Americans, the painful facts of our history alone brought nothing but hopeless futility, grief and anger.
1 Too, I am grateful to the 1993-94 Ministry Board of Directors, Rev. Ira Gay, Jr., Rev. Richard Young (with the Lord), Rev. Ron Oliver and Mrs. Linda Beard that gave
unanimous approval for the project and the 2018-19 Directors, Messrs. Alvin Johnson, Richard Anderson and Philip Lovings who also in one accord approved this
year’s anniversary celebration. Not to be left out is my wife, Mary, and our three daughters Sherie, Roberta and Patricia at home at the time as youth and having to
bear with my very involved work on the project. You can learn more about the FSTVEP along with its flagship national Radio Special and now Webcast, From Sla-
very To Victory: One Man’s Journey, to be rolled out Juneteenth 2019 on its newly revamped Web Site, https://fromslaverytovictory.org.
2 For my most recent sharing on this aspect of my testimony, read the February 17, 2019 post, Surrendering All To Jesus, under the category, Glory To God!
3 Howard brought me face to face for the first time with the full mix of socio-economic classes, their divergent political thought and corresponding worldviews in what I
soberly learned was truly not a monolithic black community. Among other sobering realities, I especially had my conscience awakened to the contradictions inherit in
my chosen field of Marketing and the black struggle after spending an afternoon giving away free, addictive and destructive cigarette samples in Southeast DC--its
most economically challenged section. I also had to face my own hypocrisy in personally contributing not to the uplift of my community as I loudly called for, but its
destruction through abusing drugs and alcohol, sexual promiscuity, mistreatment of our women in that lifestyle and practical abandonment of two children I had
Because Jesus Christ and His message are an offense to a hostile world, His faithful preachers have suffered as He from the 1st century (John 10:31-39, 19:1-22; Acts 4:1-3, 5:17-32, 7:51-8:3, 12:1-4, 26:1-29). Suffering in some measure up to and including death for His Word as absolutely spiritually, morally and ethically true is the lot of God’s appointed faithful preachers who would rather suffer than compromise or corrupt God’s Word as it is written (John 15:18-16:4; 1 Corinthians 15:29-34)! Indeed, willingness to endure even severe persecution for the Word preached is one of the sharp differences between faithful preachers and those that are not in Christian history.
Faithful preachers of the Word of God beginning with the Gospel have themselves first been brought to salvation and spiritual regeneration by it! They intimately know and love the indwelling Person of the Word, Jesus Christ (John 1:1-5, 14-18), the Holy Spirit and Father with all submission and obedience (John 14:15-24). As a result, they also love and keep God’s written Word (Psalm 119). Their obedience includes confessing and repenting from their sins as they occur so they might continue to enjoy unbroken fellowship with God (1 John 1:5-10). The apostle Paul was greatly humbled by the magnitude of God’s grace and mercy to save him and all sinners. His faithful and diligent service to God as His appointed preacher was a manifest token of eternal gratitude (1 Corinthians 15:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:12-17).
It is out of such a spirit of humility and gratitude for personal salvation that the apostle Paul exemplifies and is God’s enduring template for the zeal and service He expects from all of us as aspiring strong men and great women of God in the image of Christ and His appointed preachers. His faithful service as a preacher of the Gospel is one reason he is so passionately direct about God’s authorized declaration of destruction for the one who preaches another gospel other than the one God has given (Galatians 1:6-9). The other reason is his question of whether he (and by implication all Christian preachers) are preaching to persuade and please men or God (Galatians 1:10)?
If it is true with God and men that one appointed is to serve to please the one who appointed him as surely it is, then Paul and us after him appointed by God to preach His Word in the Gospel and otherwise are to please Him with the mind of Christ to the point of even considering ourselves His slaves in all faithfulness (Philippians 2:5-8). And right here is where the wheels have come off for many genuinely God appointed preachers throughout history to this very hour. For to their disgrace through any number of motives not the least of them being men rather than God pleasers, many Christian preachers have willfully compromised and corrupted God’s Word in all falsehood and deceit.
A perfect example of this in action is the not so subtle satanically inspired transformation of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday into a day of good works in this 21st century. No accident or product of natural progressive community evolution, it has come about as the polite, but purposeful effort of secular individuals and morally tolerant professing Christians and preachers to separate King from the offense of his spiritual roots as a Christian preacher of biblical morality; the ground on which he stood to call white America to do right by its black and other disenfranchised citizens. While King did preach service to humanity, he did so explaining the biblical motives of Christians to serve and his own in stepping up to help his people and others hurt by America’s failure to live up to its ostensible Christian heritage as he did in a message he preached two months before being assassinated.1
To morph the totality of Dr. King’s biblically rooted cause and message into only a day of do good works in the community is to white wash over the deeply oppressive and blatant evil of American racism he challenged as an appointed preacher of God. No, King and his preaching in the matter of Civil Rights for black Americans cannot be successfully surgically removed from its biblical moral underpinning anymore than the preaching of John the Baptist who rebuked Herod for his adultery and other evils or the Lord Jesus who preached against the hypocrisy of Israel’s religious leaders (Luke 3:15-20; 11:37-54), Martin Luther who called the Catholic Church to reform its corrupt practices or Europe and America’s abolitionists who advocated slavery’s end.
Not so subtle either in this King Day service emphasis is the growing wider effort to spin “real” Christianity into a salvation by works which is very plainly not taught in the Bible (Romans 3:21-4:4; Ephesians 2:8-10). Yet, many preachers have embraced this false gospel of works undergirding the King Day and other assorted heretical doctrines applauded by the world. Moreover, a great number of preachers even trample on God’s Word in rejection after preaching it by leading the people to disobey it in practice seeking to please them rather than God. This latter thing is especially prevalent among preaching pastors in the tradition minded churches of manmade Christianity the religion in spite of God’s rejection of such folly (Mark 7:1-23; Luke 6:46-49; James 1:21-25, 4:17). The guilty should immediately repent!
While I could wish too with some of his godly black American preaching contemporaries such as Rev. Howard O. Jones that Dr. King and other preachers around him had preached the Gospel as intensely as the biblically rooted moral imperatives of the Civil Rights Movement,2 nevertheless, faithful preachers in these latter days understand we must do so with the “whole counsel of God” as was done by our example, Paul, in the 1st century (Acts 20:17-27, NKJV). And like him too, we must be ready in what is shaping up to be the closing opportunity to publicly preach unfettered in the West to suffer for it to the end, not being ashamed of Christ, the Gospel about Him or the whole counsel of God in His Word (Matthew 10:16-39; Mark 8:34-38; Romans 1:16-17; 2 Timothy 1:8-12); in the power of the Holy Spirit, pleasing God in preaching to lost and wavering souls so that many may be saved (Jude 20-25). The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, “Who is on the Lord’s side?”
1 Dr. King preached a message entitled, The Drum Major Instinct at the Ebenezer Baptist Church on February 4, 1968 in which his text and content regarding serving hu-
manity was taken from Mark 10:35-45. The sermon can be heard as a sound recording and easily found for purchase online.
2 Howard O. Jones, For This Time (Chicago: Moody Press, 1966), 59-61.
So now, some may want to know why the Lord has allowed me to be afflicted with Prostate Cancer. Has the one always crying “judgment” finally gotten his; proving to be just as guilty of sin and worthy of it as everyone else? Surely, only haters of biblical Christianity in and outside of churches who are also “enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame--who set their minds on earthly things” are thinking this way (Philippians 3:18-19, NKJV). However, they are right about me with everyone else being under divine judgment through trials in these last days and as a result, I righteously fear God (1 Peter 4:12-19)!
Without apology or regret in the leading and power of the Holy Spirit I have sought to be faithful to God’s calling upon my life from Ezekiel 33:1-9 formally begun in the spring of 1986. Not from a posture of self-perceived perfection have I been sounding the Lord’s trumpets of warning, alarm and preparation among professed Christians and their churches, but obedience and again fear, since woe is me according to Ezekiel 33:6-9 if I were not obedient! The messages are His and I have been humbly and joyfully pleased (since the Word is “like a burning fire” and “honey in sweetness” in my spirit--Jeremiah 20:9; Ezekiel 2:9-3:3, NKJV) to deliver them as His messenger boy!1
Thus, being afflicted with Prostate Cancer has nothing to do with any failure in ministry. It is not tied to any disobedience to or rebellion against God’s Word as it is written either since I keep very short accounts with Him as He has led me to teach others to do as well (Psalm 32:1-5; 1 John 1:9). For I most certainly have previously experienced affliction among other consequences the Lord has brought upon me for correction after disobedience and learned my lessons (Psalm 119:65-77)! I know all about that so, Job’s friends can back off this as a reason for having Prostate Cancer or the other serious afflictions I have spoken of too, Coronary Artery Disease and High Blood Pressure.2
Keeping it real, my Coronary Artery Disease is in part by my own hand through a lifetime of unhealthy eating habits that caused High Cholesterol. The High Blood Pressure is inherited. Humbled by the experience of having stints placed in two almost totally blocked arteries in 2015, with the Lord’s escape from death and help to adopt healthier eating, exercise and walking these conditions are now, under control--all praises and glory be to Him! No, the Lord has allowed me to be commonly afflicted with Prostate Cancer as a temporary war wound from Satan like Job for His glory and my good with all of His sons as chastening (Job 1-2:10; Hebrews 12:3-11; James 5:11).3
So caught up in the pursuits of their mortal lives, many Christians fail to grasp our spiritual family is in a state of war with the powers of darkness as enemies of our souls (Ephesians 6:10-18)! They marshal any of numerous ruinous works of sin and death to come against and oppress mankind Christ delivered from (Matthew 4:23-25; Acts 10:34-38). Being saved does not give us Christians any special privilege to avoid being touched at all by the trials, tribulations, hardships, persecutions and afflictions of illness Satan and his wicked hosts muster against us. Indeed, Satan is the originating source of persecution upon “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus,” (2 Timothy 3:10-12, NKJV)!
There is nowhere for born again believers to hide from the demonic hosts arrayed against us since we are distinctly marked out as belonging to God by the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). We encounter them on the Master’s mission or they confront us and we take our stand (Luke 10:17-20; Acts 16:16-18). As an obvious war strategy they go after leaders. Even armored up fighting “the good fight of faith,” He allows some of us to be taken out or wounded in action since ‘“We through many tribulations enter the Kingdom of God,’” (Acts 12:1-4, 14:19-22; 1 Timothy 6:12, NKJV). The wounded suffer permanent or temporary affliction of some kind. God is glorified and we rewarded by how we handle our business when afflicted (2 Corinthians 6:3-10, 12:1-10; 2 Timothy 4:6-8).
As part of God’s chastening in allowing my affliction, I am being stretched spiritually for my good in many ways. For example, perhaps like many of you reading this, I have struggled with faith failures during my journey in the Lord, some of which I have posted about in this Blog.4 Despite this, God in mercy has worked some mighty deliverances for me! While I wait for Him through this experience with Prostate Cancer, I see God at work continuing to grow my steadfast faith in Him; faith He will deliver me as He promised (Psalm 119:49-50)! His judgment as examination (testing) and chastening through trials is God’s standard conduct toward all of His sons not only for our good to share in His nature, but to prove our fitness for the glories to come (2 Thessalonians 1:3-12).5
1 Since the messages delivered by me in this Blog and every other means of communication are the Lord’s, they will serve as a witness against those that have refused to
give heed to them (Ezekiel 33:1-5; Acts 18:4-6).
2 See footnote three in the July 17, 2022 post, Prostate Cancer Reflections, under the category, Glory To God!
3 Read about how mortal Christian males and females are ultimately viewed by God as eternal sons in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. It is available with
the companion Strong Man Of God Men’s Group Study and Great Woman Of God Women’s Group Study in the Strong Man Store, at your favorite internet bookseller or
brick and mortar bookstore.
4 See the March 2, 2014 post, The Testing Of Our Faith, and followed on March 9th by Praying For God’s Solutions, under the category, Instruction. Once again the Lord puts
me on public display to be a humbled example as the man He had to write a book (beginning on page 122 for those who have it) presenting faith as the foundational char-
acter trait of the aspiring strong man of God in the image of Christ!
5 For a more in-depth presentation of God’s glory and chastening as good ends in allowing His sons to be afflicted, watch the new and first Bible Instruction message He gave
me to proclaim on our Strong Man Virtual Institute Channel, Afflicted For God’s Good Ends!
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