Testimony & Triumph

It has been quite some time since I have published any posts. I’ve taken the last year to focus mainly on my own family’s transitions.  The time that I have had to dedicate to the Bitter Belly over the last year has been dedicated to encouraging ladies in a private set of groups we’ve created to support women leaving fundamentalist religious groups.

I am so very pleased with the pace of transitions and new found freedom these ladies are experiencing. It’s absolutely beautiful to watch them blossom into the lovely individuals they were called to be. We feel as though we are picking up the broken pieces and building anew, putting our very selves back together. We’ve joined hand in hand sharing our struggles, heartaches, and our accomplishments. We laugh, cry, and share each and every step along the way lifting one another up as we go.

I thank God I am not alone.

Being able to share this experience has blessed me tremendously. When we reach the point where we find our voice and get past the initial shaking, an inner strength is born. We like to refer to this as flying.

Today I share one such voice who has found her wings, stepping forward with courage, she has shared her own experience with us. It’s often when we speak aloud these thoughts, from the confessions to the joyous achievements that true healing is recognized and acknowledged. That healing is very much needed for all.

I proudly give you one voice of many yet to come, Grace Henson.

Why I Choose To Be Modest In Pants, Skirts Or Dresses

Modest adj[1]

  • not very large in size or amount
  • not too proud or confident about yourself or your abilities : not showing or feeling great or excessive pride
  • of clothing : not showing too much of a person’s body

The very definition of modesty provides explanation that modesty cannot be accomplished by simply putting on a skirt or a dress. Attitude and one’s demeanor play a significant factor alongside one’s apparel. Considering many men find a skirt far more sexually appealing than pants, I asked the question, “What is at the root of wearing skirts?”

The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.

Deuteronomy 22:5[2]

I grew up understanding this scripture as the answer to why I wore only skirts or dresses. However, as I grew older and began working jobs outside of the home with women of like faith (only wearing skirts and dresses) the opportunity to observe the reactions of men presented itself. Their reactions of absolutely disgusting commentary concerning the actions they desired to have with these women caused me to consider:

  1. There simply had to be more to modesty then wearing a skirt.
  2. In the Biblical time frame the scripture was written “pants” and “skirts” weren’t even optional garments.

I decided this scripture had to have more depth to its’ interpretation and as I looked into the original Hebrew, my discovery was quite enlightening.

I began to realize I only held to that interpretation of scripture’s verse never considering the entire chapter or it’s context. It contained a long line of things I was not supposed to do such as wearing clothes that are of mixed materials[3]. Why take one rule but not all of them?

It was at this time I desired to understand and search deeper for what my motives were for wearing only skirts. I asked myself, “Is it because I am proud”? I knew in my heart I would be just as modest in jeans but the concern of everyone I loved and held dear to me viewing me as less of a person overwhelmed me. My fear was that they would regard me as a sinner. My resolve was strong. For three more years I continued in this “holiness standard“. Feeling more confident and liking myself better in a skirt kept me from feeling any loss.

The Events That Convicted and Changed Me

My Husband and I began attending a church with “those people”. You know, the ones that wear pants to church? I wore my dresses proudly because, after all, it was more appropriate and I felt I looked more “holy”.

Approximately eight months into attendance at this church I recognized a family who faithfully attended each week. Every service the lady appeared in her raggedy jeans and t-shirt. I would think to myself, “Really! This is church, doesn’t she know better?”

This particular service as I noticed her was the first time I felt conviction for that thought. As God would have it, I sat directly behind this woman on that Sunday. The pastor asked us congregants to pray for one another. As she took my hand, tears began rolling down her face as she asked God to help me though my week.

I don’t know that I have ever felt more humbled. I realized in that moment that I was the proud Pharisee in the temple belittling others[4]. I was determined to change.

Our pastor’s sermon was on Abraham and Isaac. God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac because that was the one thing that he possibly put before God. At the end of the sermon he asked us all to bow our heads in prayer considering what the “Isaac” was in our own lives.

As I was praying and thinking that there really wasn’t anything that I would not give up, I was reminded that I would not give up my religious traditions. I felt that was the one thing that God was asking me to give up.

I left church in tears. This wasn’t just asking me to give up traditions. This was asking me to give up pride; to give up any lasting respect that I had from my family. This was God asking me to virtually become an outsider to follow him.

That moment when I surrendered and said, “I will give it up for you” was the hardest decision I have ever made in my walk with God. All said and done, this has been my journey.

It may seem strange to some that in my walk with God I was actually convicted about wearing dresses. I strongly believe wearing dresses had nothing to do with my clothing, yet it had everything to do with my attitude, pride, and my thinking that wearing skirts or dresses somehow had something to do with my salvation instead of completely trusting in the blood of Christ alone.

But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

Samuel 16:7[5]

My prayer for not only myself but for each and every one of my friends is that when God looks at our hearts he likes what he sees.

Contributed by Grace Henson

[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/modest

[2] King James Version

[3]Luke 18:11 King James Version

[4] Deuteronomy 22:11 Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together.

[5] King James Version

Love Me Anyway

I think we all may be able to relate to a moment in our lives where a sharp pain prevents us from breathing deep enough.  Our short quick breaths leave us gasping for air, wincing with pain, overwhelmed and unable to rationally deal with our surroundings.

These were moments I anticipated.  I thought about them a lot.  They would tumble and bounce through my mind interrupting sleep and causing my mind to never slow its pace.  No matter how many times I would play out the situations in my mind, no matter how well I thought it through; in the back of my mind I knew… better brace myself, because I knew it would knock me off my feet.

Choices aren’t always easy and certainly not always clear, but never the less, they must be made.  Leaving the message has opened a world of new choices.  It has actually made things so much more complicated.  

It may seem a simple task, but I assure you it has been one of the most complicated and difficult  things I have attempted.  It challenged my comfort zone, my pride, my upbringing, but most pointedly; it challenged my relationship with others.

Of course when one chooses to dress differently than they have their entire life, it’s bound to cause a reaction of which my personal favorite would be, “You know better than that.”

Do you? Do you really “know better”? Being told one thing all your life, I would say you have conformed to a standard, but convicted? More than likely not.

Sometime around age 13 or so I remember a visiting minister or perhaps it was at a church camp calling out specifically to us young girls.  He seemed to understand how hard it was to always be so different. To be singled out in school and never fit in, to never feel like “the other girls.” His soothing, kind, and understanding voice assured us of our purity, our love of God, and His word. We were predestined and called to perfection, set aside and Holy Ghost filled. All who looked upon us with our clean faces, uncut hair, and long skirts would see Jesus on display. This outward appearance clearly stated that we had something they did not.  You see, he told us, we could go out and cut our hair, wear make up, throw on a pair of pants, run around with boys…. why, we could be like them in five minutes.

“They” however, they could NEVER be like “us”.

I cannot begin to describe to you the mental separation that continued to take place in my life. It amplified what was already there. I was keenly aware how different I was at a very young age. This, though, seemed to bring a sense of pride in that separation. It made everything better and acceptable in my young mind. It wasn’t that I wanted to look like them or even that I disliked what I was wearing. It was the loneliness. It was somewhat easier to allow one’s self to believe they were just the true believer, the odd ball, that’s of course why you don’t fit in. It would seem the more secluded one became the more spiritual they felt. It was the excuse, the bandage that made “everything better”.

Pride, pride, pride.

My choice to wear a pair of pants was not because I desired it, I didn’t find them attractive, I didn’t even know how to find my size, let alone explain to a sales attendant I had never worn pants before. It was all so embarrassingly uncomfortable.

I’ve really had to challenge myself on modesty. It’s been a long tough road for me. One not so clear as it had always been before. That was a struggle in and of itself. The most difficult of all though, was allowing myself to dress differently around my family still in the message.

It was something that weighed heavily on my heart. No matter how clear my conscience felt, no matter how I prayed and talked to the Lord about it, I knew my family would be deeply hurt.

I would love to tell you that it blew over and they told me it wasn’t a big deal. I would love to tell you they told me I was beautiful to them even still, that clothing couldn’t separate their love for me or my children.

Sadly, I cannot.

What I can tell you is that I saw their tears, their disappointment, their heartache, and it hurt me deeply. I hated seeing their pain. Even though I tried to continue to act as though nothing had changed, we all knew it had. It grew silent, gazes dropped to the floor, and I felt like I had grown a third eye. 

Days have not healed this moment. Nights have not closed this new separation. Conversations attempting to bring closure have only resulted in regrets and hurtful words. Apparently, for message believer’s one’s choice of clothing differing from another is a result of “what is really on the inside”. Not looking the part is a lack of a holiness standard and a lack of the Holy Spirit in the life of the individual. This new choice of behavior or change in one’s appearance is the cause and reflection of any struggles or problems one may be having. After all, these things didn’t occur until after you left the message.

Yes, your choice of clothing now questions your salvation. And, just so you know, until you come “back”, you should continue to expect bad or questionable things to happen to you. God has removed His hand from you, you cannot be blessed, and all hell must be set loose for you to find your way “back”. Back of course meaning the confines of their interpretation of the holiness standard and of course what is modest. “Back to the word” “Back to the message.”

They have said, time heals all wounds.


For now, this one is open and still hurting.

Allow me to clarify that fear has not entered into my life. Nor sudden found conviction. If anything, their words have further confirmed my decisions. If one garment of clothing can halt love so abruptly that it disrupts a life long relationship in a matter of moments, something is dreadfully wrong.  If one garment causes you to treat me differently and change your previous thoughts about me, then perhaps your love was more shallow than I realized. 

I have read the Apostle Paul’s words over and over, they state:

Romans 8:35-38

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?

As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.  No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

For too long I have separated myself from all that I considered unholy. I separated myself from this world and all who partook so freely in it. I was a stranger waiting to be called to a better place. I am ashamed to say in that same mindset of separation, I claimed to have more of God, to have been more revelated, and blessed of God than most. I claimed to be His bride, to have so very much of Him inside of me that I mustn’t blemish my spotless garment.

I now grimace at this thought. I cringe with regret. To be so full of God and refuse to share the love of God cannot go hand in hand. If I cannot reflect His love for all others, if I cannot love equally and unbiased upon my own convictions, I am nothing but a hypocrite.  How can I be the hands and feet of Jesus if I can not go near enough to make a difference?

Outward appearance has dominated the placement of one’s spirituality far too long. It is an absolute misconception to build one’s self up while pushing another down all based upon a garment. This judgmental attitude is a true reflection of not having the love of God to express in the first place.

We were taught to strive to a rapturing state of perfection. This teaching has brought condemnation and a “better than you” mentality. It neglects to tell you, you are human, created to be redeemed. Created to need a Savior. You were designed to be weak. Designed to fall down so He can pick you back up again. He is strong when we are weak. It is in our weakness, that we call out to our Savior, “Lord, help my unbelief.”

We have strived to achieve perfection, taught to be “little g-o-d-s”. Perfect love, perfect faith, speaking the word and creating our desires into existence. All that is holy outwardly expressing the inward working of revealed truth for our day.  I find this “perfection status” a ridiculous notion knowing these same holy temples neglect the basic simplicity of Christian expression: Love.

1 Corinthians 13

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

The love of God should unite us, unfortunately we have been far too busy allowing our garments to separate us from any form of unity whatsoever. Our garments declaring our spiritual status and modesty, have done nothing more than become a garment of separation drawing a line in the sand from you and all who could possibly need a little something we are all called to give. We are meant to express the same grace extended to us, and the same love. Love and grace that is unconditional, love that cannot separate or divide. Love that never fails.

A More Excellent Way

“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

      Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

      Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”   – 1 Corinthians 13


Commandments of Men

“This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”  -Matthew 15

Why is it a norm in the message to travel so far to church every Sunday and Wednesday?  Often driving two or three hours one way sometimes twice in a day.  Goodness, don’t miss, whatever you do, don’t miss a service.  Your spirituality depends on it. Or more pointedly- your reputation does.

You dare not darken the doors of those “denominational churches”.   It is simply not an option to go to a non-message church.

I know people who pack their lunches to stay for the evening service.  They nap in their cars, the nursery floor, or wherever they can.  Some go without food until they are home.  Arriving back home on a Sunday can be as late as midnight just to get up for work and send the children off to school the next day.

Just recently I have read of message believers stating their loneliness and lack of connections in their churches.  Something is terribly wrong.  Those who don’t think so are more than likely in the ministry and on the “receiving” end.

Most sacrifice much to attend each service.  They might sing a song or two, smile, nod, shake a few hands, drop off their tithes, and then they go home.  The majority quietly asks within themselves, “What did he say?”

Those who “Amen!” the loudest every single service and sit on the front row (generally as their wives are in the nursery) are like the babbling brook.  They make a lot of noise, but they just don’t go deep.

They have fallen into a routine of the same songs, same sermons, and same quotes.  Guest ministers are invited on occasion for “special” weekend services.  I call this stirring the pot or pulpit swapping.  To make it more enjoyable a potluck is often held in between a set of services.  More than likely, it’s the most fellowship the people have had since the last “special” meeting.

Another favorite is the beloved camp meetings.  As a young vulnerable teenager there is nothing quite like a minister counting to ten calling everyone in the room to the alter attempting to strike fear into you.  But you go, look your best, and hope to meet “the one” before the week is over.

Message ministers preach for hours.  They take off their jackets, loosen their ties, take a swig of Gatorade, and off they go.  You know you have a while to go; he just isn’t loud enough yet. At least when they choose to play a tape you can count to see how many pages are left.

If you happen to attend a smaller church, you have the opportunity to view the tithes being dumped into the pastor’s wife’s purse for her to total the moment her car door closes.  The larger churches are a bit more discrete about it.  They receive a hefty salary and then hire family members to collect the rest.

Afraid to ask questions or doubt, concerned they didn’t “feel anything”, no one says a thing. They dare not, after all they should have come “expecting.”

“Brother, sister, what you need is a genuine refilling of the Holy Ghost!”

“I’m not sure when He left?”

When was the last time you left church and said:

“Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” -Luke 24

Growing up I only heard the negative concerning churches of the “world”.  We were taught they were harlots. They didn’t worship Jesus, they rejected the true word.  Imagine my surprise when I got over my bias and heard a sermon from one of these “foolish virgins”.  I got more out of their 25 minute sermon than many, many, many three hour message sermons.

There are ministers, which are true students of the word, who actually know how to explain the scriptures.  No quotes, no handed down pulpits of family ministry.  God called men with a true heart for His people.  They serve the people without making themselves authoritative.  Rather it was prayed, “Let my tongue be as the pen of a writer.”

Tapes have been played and used to pull quotes, topics, and context to inspire message minister’s sermons for nearly 50 years.  People no longer study their Bibles; instead they listen to regurgitated words.  And you wonder where the anointing is?  The voice?  The tapes?  If that’s so, tell the minister to step down and save your 10%.  You’ve got your stored up food. You’ve got your mp3 carcass.

What then do you do with Jesus’ words telling you to take care of the widows, the orphans, or feed the poor?  You can’t even agree on the interpretation of the tapes, let alone minister to the body.

“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” – 1 Peter 4

More than likely this concept of ministry is foreign to you.   The body of Christ is many members in one body.  Gifts are for the building and encouragement of the saints.  The body does not consist solely of ministers nor is the ministry the head of the body.  Christ is the head.  At least He should be.  But you allow a man to replace that.  You sit under a ministry that tells you not to speak.  Just say “Amen”.  You are told it is blasphemy to question the prophet.  

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.”  – 2 Timothy 2

“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”  – Acts 17:11

Facebook and the internet is the undoing of those ministers.  It’s giving the people back their voice.  It tells them to reason and searching of the scripture is not only encouraged in the Bible, but they are admonished to do so.  Perhaps you should listen to your ministers: “Stay off of Facebook” and do not venture onto the websites full of material for your benefit.

Sunday service, a time we have traditionally set aside to worship, to be refreshed, to be encouraged… it has become a defense mechanism.  A taxation upon the people, a burden on their wallets and their time, all while the minister spends all of his time unsuccessfully defending William Branham and neglecting the call to  ”Feed my sheep”.

People are frustrated.  They are in a fog of confusion and lulled to sleep with a soothing voice.  They’ve lost their absolute.  Rather than the edification of the body, commandments of men are preached.  Rules, standards, regulations, a law without grace.

Sure, they will tell you they do not worship a man.  They will say, “We don’t pray to Jesus via Brother Branham!”  Maybe not.  But you take his words over Jesus’.  So who’s your mediator?

Stream into any message church, you will hear the defense of this message spoken with loud words and red faces.  The topic is what not to do, who is doing wrong, and who you shouldn’t be listening to.

You challenge the ex-message believer and you ask, “Where can you go now?”  You say, “They left to be free to dress any way they want and live any way they want.”

Allow me to clarify a bit of that.

We go to church, we worship the living God…. we are encouraged.  We look forward to the next service because we did leave and say: “Did not our hearts burn within us?”

No, we didn’t leave to be free to wear pants, cut our hair, or have a drink.  The freedom we speak of that we have found in Christ- that freedom allows us to be led of the Spirit and hold the Bible as our Absolute.  It allows the man to be the head of his home and Christ to be the head of His church.

You think you have that?  No.  Your head is your minister.  It’s the tapes.  It’s the words of a man and another private interpretation of it.  Those words are your standard.  They are your absolute.  Your understanding is based upon indoctrination.  Remember, “Just say what the tapes say.”

You think you are respecting authority.  That’s not respect.  It’s fear.  Don’t believe me?  Try challenging it.  It was said, “To find out who rules over you, simply find out who you’re not allowed to criticize.”

Sunday services should hold joy.  They should be looked forward to with anticipation. Worship should be enthusiastic.  You should leave edified, encouraged and refreshed.

I’ve experienced the message churches far too long.  I was told denominations and their membership was the mark of the beast.  Miss American church twisting to rock and roll attending her social club.

I’m amazed, those songs you are so fond of singing, who wrote them?  That “Christian” radio station you like, wonder what Jesus they serve?  The Christian book store you like to shop at, I wonder, who inspires all that they sell there?  Those authors you may like to read… just what God are they serving?  The movies you deem clean to watch, surely those are not ‘true’ Christians, no.  Sort of saved.  Almost.  But… you know… just not bride.

I am sure you are very familiar with those words.  How many times have you sang them? These words touch the heart.  You cannot help but sing them with great emotion.  It cries out for every believer.  It speaks for the redeemed.  You sing this song.  It moves you.  And yet, the man who wrote it, you would say: “Is he saved?  Oh, Yes.  Sure. Bride?  No, no.  Not bride.”

One body, one Spirit.  Many members.  All through the blood of Jesus.  All by grace.

Christ is the head of the church.  His church is not contained within the walls of a building. Its not a select group of people with a secret revelation for their day.  The body of Christ is whosoever will.  If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior then you are a part of His body.  You are His hands and His feet.  Go, and minister unto the needs of His body. Build up and encourage.  Speak life.

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” -Hebrews 10


A New Life Has Begun

So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!  – 2 Corinthians 5

As a child, I never dreamed it possible to have come so far in life.  I never imagined my self a teenager, let alone a mother with children,  Each New Year’s Eve from as far back as I can remember I have closed out the year in prayer on my knees.  From a little girl I would be found in the living room with each family member kneeling over a chair praying.  My prayers consisted of reflection over the year, repentance of any wrong, and a promise to pray more.  After all, this would more than likely be the year of the rapture.

A memory from about the age of eight or nine years old comes back to me, kneeling in prayer attempting to pray and not to fall asleep; I placed my head on my hands with eyes closed letting my mind wander. A loud gunshot went off jolting me back to reality and fear settled over me,  I began to pray with great fervency. Repentance for being lax and pleading, “Please dear Jesus, take me too.” Tears streamed down my little cheeks as I peeked around making sure my daddy was still there.  His gentle voice praying uninterrupted soothed me somewhat as I waited for us to finish.

As the years have passed I have kept the family tradition of praying out the year.  I’ve not missed once.  As 11:30 rolled around I would quietly sneak away and find a place to kneel and pray. I wanted to be ready for the new year, I wanted to be found prayed up and conditioned for the coming of the Lord.  While I believe my heart was sincere, this year I have stopped to re-evaluate this tradition.

There is no better way to start the New Year than with prayer, however, my motives have changed.  This holiday season I have spent much time reflecting on this last year and just what this new year will be to me. 2013 was certainly a year of discovery for me.  A year of searching, study, and change.  As I reflect on where I was at last year and where I now stand I have to confess I am not the same person.  I have let go, I have learned to bend while standing.  I have accepted that I am complete in Christ despite any circumstance I may find myself in.  There is no super power that comes with hidden knowledge, revelation, praying one’s self up, or anything one might attempt to do to draw themselves into a higher spirituality.  It simply is not earned.

The love of God is immeasurable.  His grace is sufficient.  His blood covers all sin.  You don’t need an extra dose of blood for one sin or less for another.  He won’t love you more if you belong to one group and less if you do not.  He loves me because I am His.  I can’t earn it, I can’t do anything to deserve it, I can only accept it and lowly confess I am nothing without Him. “Oh God be merciful to me a sinner!”

I have let go of all the old doctrines and in childlike faith I have come to Him and said, “Lord my hands are empty, my heart is broken, I am lost, and I need you. Be merciful to me Oh God, forgive me, and teach me Lord. Fill my heart’s desire to know you in all truth.”  I have started over.  I am teachable, willing to learn, bend, and change.

Change I have, I am stronger in many ways.  I have acquired a boldness backed by confidence in His word.  I have learned that I will disappoint those I love, but I can love them all the more.  I have learned that through His unmerited favor and grace I can be who He called me to be and do what He has called me to do.  I do not belong in a box. I am no less or any more than anyone else.  I am who I am because that is who He made me to be and I need Him.

This year is a new year full of new beginnings.  Old things are passed away and I am being made new.  A new heart full of love, concern, and a burden for people like never before.  A new mind: teachable, willing to learn, and change.  A new Spirit: Christ’s alone.  I am a new creature.

Last night I made a conscious effort to break my tradition.  I did not pray as the clock changed to midnight.  I was not found on my knees.  I didn’t  pray out the old year and condition myself for the new.  As the clock ticked, my mind reflected back on everything I had been through this year and what I wanted for the new year.  I was handed a card to fill out my resolution for the new year and I couldn’t think of one thing.  Not one.  I had Jesus and He was enough.  Lord I can’t ask for anything, I can’t vow to be more than I am.  My friend saw me pondering my blank card and laughed, telling me she hadn’t meant for it to be so difficult. I smiled, if she only knew.

Embracing the changes of 2013 and all that has been made new to me, holding all who were dear in my heart, I wrote down one word.  For me it represented everything drifting through my mind, continually spinning and refusing to stop.  In that one word I took all of it and placed it in a promise and a request,  God give me strength to take the next step.

If I were to make a New Years resolution I would say I will no longer allow myself to be influenced by the thoughts and opinions of a particular person.  I will not base my decisions upon their ideas.  I will not let them influence me or persuade me.  I will not look at the ministry as some type of mediator or “higher calling” above the laity, but rather, as another part in the body of Christ through which we can be edified and blessed.  I will look for the Spirit of Christ and I will seek the scriptures. No longer will I allow a standard of law to be placed in my life that removes grace.

Be disappointed, be hurt, cry.  Unfriend me, stop speaking to me.  Call me an apostate, tell me I can’t be bride; I’m over it.  I’m following Christ.  If it’s not in His word [the BIBLE] it is of no concern to me.  Keep your quotes.  Keep your revelations, keep your ministry… anytime the ministry is placed above the people instead of for the people I will run from it.  This year, I will be me in honesty and and authenticity.  I will strive to find the place to not offend my brother and yet stand firmly and boldly in truth.  This year… I may ask, “Just who is my brother?”

Jesus replied, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then he looked at those around him and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”  – Mark 3

Welcome New Year.  Welcome 2014…. I’m embracing it with peace knowing I’m walking in His grace.  Yes, the old life is passed away and a life has begun.

What Does the Sheep Say?

“As a pastor I have proven to myself for 20 years that the best sheep are those who consume the prophet’s message’s on a daily basis. They are the lowest maintenance, easiest to teach, Word abiding sheep I can have.”   – A Message Minister

What is wrong with that statement? The “best sheep consume the prophet’s [message’s] on a daily basis.”  In other words, heavily indoctrinated by tapes.  Not much left for him to do, but reinforce the tapes.  Obviously that is low maintenance.  I think though, my largest problem with his statement is that fact that he refers to them not only as sheep, but ‘his’ sheep.  Rather than see himself as part of the fold, he emphasizes that the ‘best’ sheep are ‘lower maintenance’ and easier for him to teach.  He is not among the sheep, but separated from them, and in so placing himself as this ‘head’ emphasis on the true shepherd or head is then lost.  So much for “Follow me as I follow Christ.”  It’s certainly low maintenance when someone else does all the work.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.” -John 10

“Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”
“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.
Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”
“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.
A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.” -John 21

Jesus called himself the Good Shepherd.  He likened his people to sheep, not because they were stupid or without reasoning.  He likened them to sheep because He cared for them.  Follow me, and I will feed you.  Come, and follow me and I will teach you.  Follow me, and I will provide for you.  I am all that you have need of.

Jesus said, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” I believe it is important for us to realize this ‘Comforter’ is a WHO and not a what.  He will teach us ALL things.

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

It is very clear that Jesus not only taught His disciples, He told them He wouldn’t leave them alone.  He would send them a helper.  This ‘helper’ is a WHO.  He is the Holy Spirit.  He lives inside of each of us and leads us in our daily walk as we learn to listen to Him. This seems like a very simple and uncomplicated matter.  However, when Jesus spoke with Peter, He told Peter to take care of His sheep, to feed them.  If we have the Comforter leading us into all truth, never leaving nor forsaking us; what then is this role Peter is given?

“Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord GOD: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep?”  -Ezekiel 34

Thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them. “For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.   -Ezekiel 34

I find it ironic that in the message we are told to listen to “the voice”.  Just “say what the tapes say”.  You will fall in love with the voice, it will soothe you. You can listen to tape after tape, you can read it, search it, quote it, and live by it.  Ah yes, “He said it, I believe it, and that settles it.”

“Amen to every word.”

Yeah, you don’t have to understand it.  It doesn’t even have to make sense, just believe it.  Throw your reasoning out the window, your Bible too for that matter, and press play.

I have yet to find a scripture that instructs the ministers, pastors, shepherd(s), or any man for that matter to lead and guide the people into all truth.  Nowhere does it say to look for a man to tell you what is right or what is wrong.  Nowhere is it recorded that a man is to come and reveal mysteries to us. 

It is recorded, however, that Jesus was going to the Father.  He would send us the Comforter, and HE would teach us all things and remind us of what He previously (as in already, a long time ago) said. There were no gaps to fill in.  No blank spots, no editing necessary.

Jesus spoke it.  I believe it, and…… THAT settles it.

No interpretation.  No opinion.

Here’s the thing.  If you are a Christian, and you believe the Bible is the written, inspired, unadulterated Word of God, and it is without error, then tell me, please; Who’s voice are we supposed to be listening to?

Jesus said, He would send us the Comforter to teach us and remind us of what He said, and all these years people seemed okay with that, until 1947.  Then they needed to record the voice of a man, and ‘store up food’ for us to hear after He was not so graciously called off of the scene in 1965.  Really?  Was Jesus’ voice not good enough? Did the Comforter go on vacation?

  “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  “I am God and I change not.”  Jesus spoke the words “It is finished” on the cross.  Prior to that point, He spent three years ministering and preparing his disciples. Then He sent forth the Apostles, and we have their firsthand accounts of it.  I wasn’t there, but they were.  There is no lack of understanding, it is written down for us and brought to life by a God that dwells in the hearts of His people.

Yet, we have chosen to believe that after 2000 years God decided it really wasn’t finished, and needed to send another prophet….

A gentile one.

From the United States.


Adding to the Word and interpreting it.

And record his sermons on tape to call out a bride.

Yes, follow the voice of a man, let it soothe you, and lull you to sleep.  Press play.  Evidently the Bible isn’t enough, Jesus’ words aren’t enough.  Take the voice of a man, who is dead.

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn-bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”  -Matthew 7

I choose life.

Jesus, is risen, He is alive.  He speaks for Himself, His mouthpiece is the Comforter.  He didn’t die 50 years ago.  You don’t hear his voice on a tape, there are no “blank.spots-ed” and he isn’t buried under a pyramid tombstone.

He’s alive.  He’s Christ IN YOU, the hope of glory.

Jesus told us He was the Shepherd.  There is one Shepherd and one flock.  His sheep know His voice and they will not listen to anyone or anything else.

 Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”

The Rapture of Fear

“If there is only one person that makes it into the rapture, you believe you will be that one.”

I sat with wide eyes as a child listening to that statement.  I squirmed in my chair looking around to count all the spiritual people that would make it before me.  How could the minister not make it?  His wife certainly would have to, and surely the song leader and the deacon.  It was going to be such a small number, how would there ever be enough room for me?

Nightmares of coming home to an empty house with no mommy or daddy met me night after night.  Vivid images of hideous beasts and demons haunted me.  The sermons of concentration camps and the terrors of the tribulation made their way into my little thoughts as I drifted off to sleep.

Tribulation.  Hell on earth.  The bride was to be such a small number.  Brother Branham always seemed to emphasize the number eight, just like Noah’s ark.  I began to count again: Brother Billy Paul, Brother Joseph, Brother Billy’s wife, Brother Joseph’s wife, their kids… I ran out of fingers.  Confused, I wondered just how many would be in the rapture.  Surely all of Brother Branham’s family, after all he said anyone who loved him would be there.  I began to reason that perhaps because they were family, I didn’t have to count them.  I started over: Brother Byskal, Brother Green, Brother Reagan, my pastor, the song leader… I ran out of fingers again.

I thought about Brother Branham’s horse and his green chair.  His dog was there.  Surely, just surely I could go too.  Night after night the nightmares came finally sending me crying to my parent’s room where my dad led me to the Lord at the very tender age of six.  I didn’t want to miss it.  I didn’t want my mommy and my daddy to leave me behind.

This was the beginning of fear.  Once I voiced this fear aloud and was told that the fear of the Lord was the beginning of wisdom.  This taught me that fear was okay.  It was normal to be afraid.  My nightmares followed me to into my adult life.  They changed from coming home to an empty house with no family, to my children being taken away from me and me being placed in a prison for not denying my faith.  I would wake up scared, everything was so vivid and real, often I rose to check on my babies and pause to listen to their steady breathing.  They were so peaceful and so unaware, just as it should be.

The Bible tells us “Do not fear” and “Do not be afraid” at least 365 times.

As a child I was taught demons were real, when someone was prayed for you were to bow your head so the demon did not jump on you.  I was told about the mark of the beast, the great tribulation, and the many imagined things that it would bring.  No food, prison camps, torture, be-headings, giant bugs eating women who cut their hair, numerous details I really don’t care to remember.  I was taught fear.

With this fear was the act of conforming and obedience to all that was said to be right.  You wanted to do what was right, what did the prophet say about that?  Quotes; they were beloved, spoken like scripture, recited, and ingrained in your mind from childhood.

“If there’s just going to go, be one, that’ll be me (Amen.), ’cause I believe.” See? That’s the way you want to believe it. “Be me.” 63-0320

Yes indeed, if there was only going to be one, you believe you will be that one. How?  How could you possibly make it with all of these spiritual ministers and people around you?  There wasn’t enough room; the number was just too small.  Doubt always lingered, and the plans of survival set in.  As a small child I kept a backpack in my closet with plans of escape. Looking back on that, it makes me sad.  No child should have to live in that fear.

There was always a statement that I held onto:

Just then, a voice spoke and said, “All that you ever loved, and all that ever loved you, God has given to you. We’re all here together.” Oh, my, my heart just melted within me. “All that you ever loved, and all that ever loved you, is gathered here with you to meet God.” 60-0608

That’s it? I just have to love Brother Branham and I’ll be there?  I love Brother Branham, I can do that.  I think perhaps this is the beginning of my veil between me and Christ.  I can remember prayers where I said something like, “Lord I believe, your prophet Brother Branham said…”  Why on this earth would God send His only Son to die in our stead to be the ONLY mediator between God and man for us to be sent a “prophet” to take his words and rely upon them above Jesus’? As though Jesus was not enough?

The elitism, the attitude that I was special; I was “one of them”…. I had a prophet.  How privileged I was to be called to the message, to know God sent a prophet in my day.  After all, it wasn’t for everyone, but it was for me.  This attempted to silence my doubts.

“If only one makes it, you believe you will be that one.”

I thought of all the people I would leave behind.  I was told not to worry about that, that it was just to build my faith.

Reflecting on these teachings from my childhood, I hesitate to share them.  I don’t want to hurt my parents or the people I grew up with.  I don’t think these are thoughts they intended me to have.  I honestly don’t think they even knew I had them.  I think had they known, they would have reassured me and done everything they could to relieve me of those fears.  If you can take anything away from me sharing this portion, perhaps you can relate, perhaps you cannot, but can you ask yourself, “What did the children grow up hearing?”  Children are so impressionable, what are they hearing?

Brother Branham said Noah was supposedly a ‘type’ of the bride that went in the ark.  In another ‘type’ Enoch was the bride and Noah and his family went through the tribulation.  This never made sense to me.  In my study, I’ve thought about Noah preaching to the people telling them what was coming.  They didn’t believe him.  They ignored him.  Many probably thought he was crazy and steered clear of even crossing paths with him.  I thought about Noah and his family walking into the ark and looking outside one last time to invite the people to come in.  Perhaps his sons pulled at his sleeve and said, “It will be okay Dad, just come in and sit down.” Noah didn’t shut the door.  I don’t think he could have.  Not because it was heavy or cumbersome, I think as he looked out on his family, friends, and neighbors, the people he had known all his life, grew up with, went to school with, worked with them, he knew them… how could he close the door on them?  Do you think that perhaps just maybe he wanted to drag them in by the hair of their head, bind them, and gag them until it was all over?

Or do you see him clinking glasses with Ham, Shem, and Japheth; “It was for us, it wasn’t for them anyway. Look! There goes another one!”

I imagine after the door shut they sat in silence with tears streaming down their faces listening to the cries of the people being washed away.  They sat there helpless.  Mothers with babies were washed away, small children, their family.  You realize Noah had in-laws.  His son’s wives had family. They left people behind.  They went into the ark full well knowing they would never see them again.

“If there is only one…”

I can’t help but see children running around in a circle playing musical chairs.  Too many children and not enough chairs.  The music keeps playing and the children eye the chair.  They are not about to give up that chair.  I’ve decided to walk away before the music stops playing.  More than I want the chair, more than I want the prize at the end, I want someone else to have the chair.  I want someone else to have the prize.

As I walked away the fear that had haunted me my entire life evaporated.  I no longer wanted to “escape”.  If there is a rapture, and I could offer my place to someone else, I would.  If there is a rapture, whether I go or stay no longer matters.

The “bride” so full of faith and the word was to leave the weak to die for their own testimony.  This baffles me. The word says there is just ONE body.  If the “bride” leaves how can the body be divided?  Will we take the hand and leave the foot?  Or are we actually saying those who aren’t bride aren’t His at all?

Further, if there is one way to heaven and that is through the blood of Jesus, why do these people need to seal their testimony with their own blood?  The ‘Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ’ clearly says they were washed in the blood of the Lamb and given white robes.

No, I don’t understand this.  I don’t understand how I can leave one of His behind to fight just when the battle gets worse.  I can’t. I will be with them, I will encourage them.  I will tell them they are not alone, they are loved, and that He loves them.  We will fight unto the end together.  But I will not wait until the end to do so, I will tell them now.

The fear has left. In its place is a love I have never felt before; a love for all people and all creation.  I no longer see myself separate and apart from them.  No longer do I wish to be taken away from it all.  I feel like Abraham, “If there be one more Lord?  Can I help just one more?”

Every kindred. Every tongue. Every Nation.  His creation. His people.  Who are we to divide and say “It wasn’t for you.”

God said it was.

The rapture of fear has taken place. Do not fear.  Do not be afraid.  He is our rock, He is our portion, and He is our strength, our hope, our refuge.  He is everything.

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, what can stand against us?”  -Romans 8:31

“Don’t call everything a conspiracy, like they do, and don’t live in dread of what frightens them.” – Isaiah 8

Isaiah 43
But now, O Jacob, listen to the LORD who created you.
O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.


I reached a place in my walk, where I became broken.  I felt so vulnerable.  I was scared and I couldn’t see what He was doing.  At that time, I just wanted answers.

I first wanted answers that lined up with what I knew, my own thinking.  I wanted God to back me up.  This was the beginning of my brokenness.   Desperation set in.  I couldn’t find what I was looking for, so I began to ask for anything.  “Lord, you told me to ask and you promised to answer, you told me to knock, and you would open the door.”

I had to be in a place that when He answered me, I could receive it, whatever it may be.  He prepared me to receive an answer despite what I wanted the answer to be or thought it already was.  I couldn’t see what He was doing, but as His answers came they brought peace and the courage to face another day.

I asked for truth.  He gave it to me.  It wasn’t what I was expecting, and it was hard to accept it.  I can’t say I didn’t try to push it away or reject it, I did.  But He kept bringing it back to me over and over. I started to feel like a child at the dinner table.  It wasn’t what I wanted, but when you get hungry enough; you will eat it.

I guess being human we can’t help but ask “Why”?  Sometimes we don’t know, but we just believe there is a purpose.  We don’t understand but we trust Him.  We know trials help us grow; they build our faith and mold our character.  This trial, seemed to have no end in sight and my question of why grew stronger each day.  I prayed, “Lord, I can’t see what you are doing.  I don’t understand but, I trust you and I know you are with me. I believe your word, help my unbelief.”

That was my prayer for months.  All the while things were surfacing and coming up before me.  Feelings of anger, bitterness, past hurts and heartaches, memories of things I hadn’t thought about in years.  Words would tumble out and catch me completely off guard, “Where on earth did that come from?”

When God breaks us, everything we are holding inside of us begins to spill out.  It’s a flood of emotions and they rise up one by one.  Circumstances and words that hurt us, the moments that we buried deep inside of us never wanting to think about again begin to tumble out.  Sometimes they come as an emotional outburst; other times it’s something someone else is going through that you are relating to.  However they may come, God is bringing them forward in His time and He tells us, “I want to heal that”.

Broken.  Let it all spill out, empty everything you’ve held inside.  Let go of the weight you have carried.  You might try to hold onto it, but He steps in and takes it from you.  You may think you’ve got this- I’m here to tell you, you don’t.

God does.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.”                                                                                                                                        Jeremiah 29

You think you understand.  You think you know.  You think you have it all figured out; you in your own understanding.  You have all the answers, you already know what is right.  You begin to walk and push forward and your weight gets heavier and heavier until you are so bogged down you can’t go any further.  All the while, He has been walking beside you saying, “Let me take that, let me carry that for you.”

But you aren’t listening to Him.  You are too busy giving all the answers, making your point, defending your stand, you can’t hear Him.  Did He not tell us to be still, that we might know that He is God?

Pride holds all that inside.  Pride speaks back and says, “No, I got it.”

Grace walks beside our pride and waits for us to fall.  It picks us up and carries us.  It takes all of our broken pieces, heals us, sets us back on our feet, and goes before us.  With each shaky step it’s ready to catch us like a safety net.  It surrounds us.

With each step strength finds us.  Not our strength, His.  We couldn’t go any further.  We fell.  We cried out, “God! I can’t do this.  Please, take this.  Help my unbelief.”

Courage brings another step.   This is just where He wants us.  Broken.  Dependent upon Him, and in need of all He wants to give us.  He can’t fill you up and set out His plans for your life until He empties you out.  We are so full of ourselves there isn’t any room for Jesus.  We have our own path, our own ideas, and our own plans.

“For I know the plans I have for you!”

Jesus set this example for us, “Not my will but Your will”.  Jesus was broken.  He gave everything; He submitted His will to the Father completely.  Jesus demonstrated what we are called to.  God can’t use us when we think we are strong.  God can’t move in our lives when we are so full of pride and callused over with hard hearts.  We must be broken and emptied out.

In that emptiness and vulnerability we can say, “What do you want for me?”  We can offer Him everything we are, all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  What do you give a God who has everything?  He wants you, all of you; broken and empty, and ready to be filled with His plan for you.

When you can say to Him, “Lord I have nothing to give you but me, I am nothing.  I don’t deserve you, but I need you.  I can’t do this without you.  Lord, I’m human, I’m weak, and I need you.  I don’t want anything but you.  Be real to me, reveal yourself to me.    I’m so unworthy Lord, I have nothing to offer you but me, use me Lord.  Let me serve you.”  You are just where He wants you to be.  You are weak, that in your weakness He can be your strength.  You have nothing, that He can be your supplier.  You give Him you, that He can use you as He desires and planned from the beginning.

You are called for this moment to be placed into His body, under His headship.  You are called to serve Him.  You are called to be an active member of the body of Christ.  If you aren’t active, you aren’t living.  There isn’t a part of your body that would want to see inactive or dead.  I don’t care if it’s your toenail.  You think that’s insignificant?  Go ahead and rip it off.

You are His that He might use you.  Let Him be glorified in your life.  Surrender to all He has for you and serve Him.  Become broken before Him, let Him empty you out and heal you so He can fill you up again.

You aren’t happenstance, you aren’t an accident, you aren’t insignificant; you are created for a purpose.  He knew you before the world began; He has called you by name.  “For I know the plans I have for you.”  There is no age discrimination with Christ.  You are neither male nor female.  You were created for a purpose; He has a plan for your life.

David said, “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”

If you are asking why, if you are feeling broken; this is the beginning of healing.  This is the beginning of restoration.  This is the beginning of an awakening.


It is Impossible for God to Lie

So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie.   – Hebrews 6:18

The Bible said a tongue is sharper than a two edged sword.  Words hurt and cause much damage.  Words are hard to forget.  They leave an impression upon you in their attempt to sway you and influence you.  There are words of affirmation.  They will build you up and lift your spirits.  Words can be spoken in love.  Love is patient, kind, and gentle.  Then there are words that hurt you.  They oppress you and surround you with the darkness of a lie.  They will attempt to defeat you, and never allow you to know the light of grace and mercy.  They hide the truth from you, separating you from light, they weaken your faith.

Light will drive darkness away.  The Bible tells us His word is a light unto our path.  Faith comes by hearing the word of God.  In Him is life and that life is the light of men.  There is love, mercy, and grace.  These are not found in darkness.

“For we cannot oppose the truth, but must always stand for the truth.”  – 2 Corinthians 13

So all this here pretty and beauty stuff, that comes from the devil.  65-0221

 “It is impossible for God to lie.”

By her beauty and her sex control, her shape that was given to her by Satan.  65-0221

 “It is impossible for God to lie.”

She is a perversion of the original creation.  65-0221

 “It is impossible for God to lie.”

Only a piece, scrap, made of a man, to deceive him by; God made it, right here has proved it. That’s what she was made for.  65-0221

 “It is impossible for God to lie.”

Every sin that ever was on the earth was caused by a woman. 65-0221

 “It is impossible for God to lie.”

So all this here pretty and beauty stuff, that comes from the devil. That’s exactly right.  54-0620

 “It is impossible for God to lie.”

But beauty is one of the most deceitful things there is.  57-1006

 “It is impossible for God to lie.”

There is nothing designed to be so deceitful, as a woman that’s deceitful.  57-1006

 “It is impossible for God to lie.”

Look at the stars and their brilliance.  Listen to the ocean waves clap their hands.  Remember the hues of crisp autumn leaves, snow capped mountain peaks, watch a glowing sunrise and sunset.  Look at the leopard’s spots, a tiger’s stripes, and all of the exquisite patterns and designs of His animals.  They not only look different, they sound different, each given a unique sound all their own.

There are thousands of species of delicate flowers, their fragrances unique.  The brilliant variety of tropical fish, the living coral of the deep ocean, the beautiful shells washed up on a beach.  Now, think of the tiniest micro-organism, a machine man cannot duplicate.

Each fingerprint and snowflake different, not one is the same.  See the peacock’s feathers, the iridescent wings of an insect, the brilliant colors of all creation in its variety and complex design; came from a Creator.  Each and every piece of creation was imagined, hand painted, and given life by God.  This intricate design of creation, it’s so vast and wonderful, our human minds are too inadequate to take it in.

Now tell me the woman was not a part of God’s plan.  Tell me she was an afterthought.  Tell me God made her from scraps.  Tell me Satan designed her beauty. Tell me Mary was just an incubator.  Tell me in the beginning God didn’t know man would need to be redeemed, and He would use the womb of His creation to carry the Christ child born of a virgin.  The womb was there all along; it was CREATED to hold the developing child so fearfully and wonderfully made.

Mary, a woman, carried the baby Jesus.  She birthed Him, she nursed Him, wiped His tears, and held Him in her arms.  Mary! A woman!  So low she was only created for sex?  Was she just a byproduct?  My God knew all the while, He knew Mary from the beginning, He called her by name.

 “It is impossible for God to lie.”

Her womb carried my SAVIOR! Tell me God didn’t plan that, it was just happenstance.  No!

 “It is impossible for God to lie.”

I think of all the discrepancies in the message, things that I have tried to pass off as humanity.  The nurse’s name, when Hope died, how his father died, three different birth dates, when was he commissioned?  Was there a cloud?  Was he standing under it?  Did 16 men lose their lives on a bridge?

His stories changed every single time.  I wanted to say they were not lies, he was bad with dates, he was mistaken.  He was human, he made mistakes.  Mistakes yes, telling untruths, exaggerations, misconceptions, or lies without correcting them?  No.

“For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.”  – 1 Thessalonians 1

Conviction.  Conviction tells me when I have done something wrong.  Conviction tells me I need to make it right.

Did God truly use him as a mouthpiece to my generation, to interpret the Word for me?  Did God use his voice to tell me I was low, a byproduct made from scraps to do nothing but deceive?

God created the woman, and as a woman you were in His mind from the beginning.  From the beginning God knew He would create man, man would fall, and man would need a Savior.  From the beginning God knew you, you were in Him, and He loved you.

“….even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world”  – Ephesians 1

He knows my name.  He sent His only Son to die for all creation.  He has a plan for my life.  I am not separated from the rest of creation.  Jesus loved me, He died for me too.  When all of creation was redeemed and they cried out praise to the Lamb, woman was not separated from them.  She cried out too.

“And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”  – Revelation 5

Jesus spoke to the woman at the well.  She had 5 husbands and was yet living with another. He offered her living water.  He did not condemn her, He didn’t judge her, He offered her living water!  She went running, come and see a man, is this not the Messiah?

Mary Magdalene was possessed with devils.  Jesus loved her.  He healed her and she followed Him.  How ironic, she was was the first to proclaim the Good News.

No, God can’t lie.  God didn’t say those things.  Neither would God’s mouthpiece.

Proverbs 6

There are six things that the LORD hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers.

Every sin that ever was on the earth was caused by a woman.” 57-1006

 “It is impossible for God to lie.”

Satan is her designer. 65-0221

 “It is impossible for God to lie.”

Look, a woman is not even so low. She’s not even a creation in God. She’s a by-product.  56-0715

 “It is impossible for God to lie.”

It was you was the one done it. You presented yourself that way, so you are the guilty one. And you, no matter how virtuous and pure you’ve lived, you’ll be guilty before God of committing adultery with a sinner, just the same as you’d went through the act.  56-1002

 “It is impossible for God to lie.”

You see a woman with a lot of paint on her face, you know what you can call her? Say, “Hello, Miss dog meat.” That’s what she is, like dog meat.  52-0900

 “It is impossible for God to lie.”

She is designed, alone, for filth and unclean living.  65-0221

 “It is impossible for God to lie.”

There is nothing designed, in all creation, that can stoop as low as a woman can.  65-0221

 “It is impossible for God to lie.”

Why didn’t He make her like that in the beginning, like the rest of His females? Because it would be unbecoming to Him.  65-0221

 “It is impossible for God to lie.”

But she is designed to be a sex act, and no other animal is designed like that.  65-0221

 “It is impossible for God to lie.”

Look, a woman is not even so low… She’s not even a creation in God.  56-0715

 “It is impossible for God to lie.”

She’s a by-product.  56-0715

 “It is impossible for God to lie.”

She wasn’t even considered in the original creation.  56-0715

 “It is impossible for God to lie.”

When a woman gets out of the kitchen she’s out of her place.   56-0715

 “It is impossible for God to lie.”

You’d never look at a woman going down the street and tell what’s in her heart. But I wanted to say these things so that you could see why that Satan is her designer.  65-0221

 “It is impossible for God to lie.”

It started with the woman. It’ll end with a woman.  60-1113

 “It is impossible for God to lie.”

Joseph, he said, “Daddy, is there such a thing as a witch?” I said, “Oh, sure.” He said, “Does she have a long nose, and she rides on a broom at nighttime?” I said, “No. She has a painted face and rides in a Cadillac to a–a cocktail party.” That’s the new modern version of it. And he said, “Is that a witch?” I don’t know whether I should’ve told him that or not, because every time on the street he sees one, he says, “Daddy, there’s a witch, isn’t it?  60-0301

 “It is impossible for God to lie.”

“They’re not worth a good clean bullet to kill them with it.” That’s right. And I hated women. That’s right.   59-0419

“You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” – John 8   

Another Gospel


I sit here staring at a very full bookcase. It is neatly lined with large red volumes stamped with golden logos of eagles.  A second and third shelf are filled with yet another set of dark leather bound volumes that took years to collect.  There are multiple copies of several paper bound books and rows of media as well.

I can remember two tape libraries over the years.  The first set was brown, and the last set was grey.  Before they finished the grey set, compact discs became available.  Next, there were MP3s and DVDs.

I now own “The Table”, complete with both formats which replaced my “Ebook player” and other software formats.  I have purchased “Stories” and Owen Jorgenson’s series.  They all fill multiple rows of shelving and now sit, gathering dust.  Occasionally they are pulled out for reference, but not very often.

When something from the “message” came out, I made certain to buy it.   I’ve ordered things from Cloverdale, Tuscon, VOGR, BC Fellowship, and others.  Upgrades, new found sermons, booklets of quotes, photo books, devotionals, story books for kids, anything that came available, to support the ministry.

Mentally adding up the amount of money spent, paying royalty fees again and again over the years for the exact same sermons, I can’t help but feel a little empty inside.  It wasn’t something I had considered before, it was just the appropriate thing to do at the time.  I half smile remembering the long lines Easter weekend at the VOGR waiting to purchase more items.  It was always a treat bumping into someone I knew to say hello.

I’ve been pondering on these things for a while.  My heart has been heavy with regret. In one way,  I always considered purchasing all of these various items a way to help support the ministry.  But now, when I think about it, I know… that just isn’t the sum of it.

Over the last few weeks I’ve encountered circumstances that have stirred me and challenged me to reconsider missions and what missions were for.

I’ve began to ask myself just what the Gospel was.  What does it mean to spread the Good News?  Missions before were shipping tape libraries and books.  Translating the message into the next language, watching slide shows of believers somewhere far away.  Missions were for message outreach.  Didn’t we feel the excitement knowing we could now hear the voice of the prophet in even the remotest of jungles?

As a youth, I volunteered at the VOGR to help package books.  I felt privileged to be a part of spreading the “good news.”  When I toured the VOGR and saw the thousands of books printed in multiple languages, it was exciting to see what God was doing.  This was the “Message of the Hour” and God was calling out a bride across the world.  The call was sent out, “Come out of her My people and into the Message of the Hour.”

The “Good News”.

The “Gospel.”

“And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” – Luke 2:10

“Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God.” – Luke 8:1

“And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm,

“‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’

And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way,

“‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’

Therefore he says also in another psalm,

“‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’

For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. Beware, therefore, lest what is said in the Prophets should come about:

‘Look, you scoffers, be astounded and perish; for I am doing a work in your days, a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.”

For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 13

I am asking myself, when did the Gospel become so complicated?  We used to go and spread the good news mouth to ear.  God found it fitting for the Bible to make its way from a printing press and into the hands of His people.  Today it is printed in over 2,530 languages.

The message of William Branham has managed to take the simplicity of the Bible (one book, the written inspired word of God) and add over 1200 sermons, multiple books, and various other “products.”  Prior to MP3’s the cost of shipping the tape and book libraries was phenomenal.

People were poor, hungry, sick, and without clean water.  People lived in trash dumps scavenging for things to sell to buy food to eat.  Children are orphaned as infants when their parents died of HIV.  Here in our own communities, there are poor and needy.  We have homeless and widows.  Yet, we feel that spreading the “good news” was placing a message book in their poor and empty hands.  Excitedly, we asked them, “Do you know God sent a prophet?”

Life stories of the prophet, photographs, videos of his hometown are printed and sold all over the world.  One man’s sermons gives the Bible a back seat, pushes Jesus to the side, and preaches a different gospel.  These 1200 sermons are the focus of the message believing community for spreading the gospel. 

A different gospel is a strong statement to make, when most message believers claim William Branham pointed you to Jesus.  Branham.org indeed points you to a man, but it is not Jesus Christ.  The photo at the top of this post, is the photo they have inserted into the Bible, commemorating the 100 year anniversary of William Branham’s birth.  They are dedicated in spreading the news of a prophet.  Jesus wasn’t enough for them.

These 1200 sermons point you to a prophet, they tell you to look for another Elijah.  They tell you the word is incomplete and a prophet must come and divinely interpret the Bible for you. These 1200 sermons and their author have became another veil between God and His people.  They supply you with the voice of a man with quotes to lead you and guide you in your every decision.  This takes away the very purpose and intent of the New Covenant.

Without these 1200 sermons, you have an incomplete, un-restored word.  The idea, that you need more than the Bible, the teaching that the word needs to be “restored” is heretical. What part of “it is finished” did Jesus not mean?

“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”  – 1 Timothy 2:5

The Bible says it is of no private interpretation, it tells us we are not to add to it or take away from it.  Most Christians hold this Bible to be the written inspired word of God. They hold it to be their standard and their absolute.

Message believers have replaced this absolute with the books and tapes of these 1200 sermons.  They search it, quote it, and live by it.  Should you bring something William Branham said to them that is not found within the Bible, or disagrees with the Bible, it makes no difference.  “He said it, they believe it, and that settles it.”

What is the good news?

It never changed. It never got any more complicated, Jesus Christ is still the same yesterday today and forever.  His word never changed.  There is no need to insert 1200 sermons, splice verses, or interpret the word to say something it does not.

God’s word says what it says and we say Amen.

Our traditions have bound us into the walls of a building, the confines of a select group of people, neglecting two words: The Gospel.

“And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” – Mark 16

The gospel is not 1200 sermons, another Elijah, the seals, or mysteries and secrets.  Jesus said, there was nothing in secret.  It was for children who would learn.  Children. The same children that sat on his knee, and He said suffer to bring them to me.  Why?  Because, it’s simple, it is love.

““For God so loved the WORLD, that he gave his only Son, that WHOEVER believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

Upon leaving the message, I have been told “It just wasn’t for me”.  They told me, “It isn’t for everyone.”  What message are we spreading?

My Bible tells me it is for everyone.  The whole world, all of creation, every creature, every tongue and nation.

They want you to believe they are another book of Acts.  They drive fancy expensive cars, live in beautiful homes, and stand behind a pulpit with expensive suits.  They swap pulpits and go on vacations.  They set a higher standard that every member of the congregation strives to achieve.

“And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.” – Acts 4

Where are the poor, the desolate, the orphans, the widows, the hungry?  They are being cared for by those harlot denominational churches.  The ones we have been told Jesus is standing and knocking at the door trying to get in to.

“For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ – Matthew 25

We sat with our bellies full, spiritual gluttons claiming to be the body of Christ.  Our hands have fed only ourselves and lined the pockets of wolves in sheep’s clothing.  We confined our giving to a box, a box that God does not fit inside of.

We drive past the homeless and the hungry.  When disaster strikes our thoughts are to the message believers only.  We cast off all of the other life that God has breathed into to say, it is only “birth pains” judgment upon them.  Where is our charity, the love that is the greatest of faith and hope?

God commanded us to love our neighbor as our self.  I highly doubt we even know their name.  You cannot close your eyes and pretend not to see the hurting.  When you are a new creature in Christ, saved by grace through faith, you cannot place it in a box for safe keeping.  You must pour it out and empty it, so He can fill you up again.

“And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.”

When was the last time that your message pastor encouraged you to volunteer at a homeless shelter, food bank, or other local outreach?  When has the leadership in your message church stood shoulder to shoulder with other Christians in your local area to bring relief to orphans and widows, or those affected by natural disasters?  When you sponsored tape libraries, did you also sponsor programs to bring clean water, food, and other basic services to believers AND unbelievers living in poverty?  Are we really living out the great commission and writing a new book of Acts?

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13