Category: The Will of God

Clouds Without Rain

A few days ago I heard a self-proclaimed preacher say Isaiah 43:19a is a scripture promising a miracle coming in 2019 for everyone who will sow a seed by sending him $43.19 before the end of this year. One hundred or more people are supposed to send him $119.00, and nine people are supposed to send him $1019.00 (the more dire your circumstances, the more money you should send). He said the Holy Spirit was speaking to these people through his mouth, after which he insinuated that to not send him this money would be an act of disobedience to God. He then took it upon himself to declare and decree these miracles to come in 2019 (as if he were some kind of god). I also heard two other men, both claiming they are apostles, saying nearly the same things on two other programs. 

Yes, I watched a little so-called Christian TV. It’s the first time I’ve watched it in well over a year, and I’m sorry I did. It left me once again feeling that there just might be a special place in Hell for these phony peddlers of God’s Word who speak lies and take advantage of naive people. 

These pompous, arrogant self-proclaimed preachers seem to believe their own lies, and have thousands upon thousands of followers who also believe their lies. As Paul wrote, “But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived,” 2 Timothy 3:13.

May the Lord keep His chosen remnant safe from these thieves who use the Word of God for personal gain, and leave people grasping for straws, and trying to make things happen by speaking words, and by their supposed authority the arrogant have told them they have. They teach both the naive and greedy that they don’t have to pray and ask God for things, they can just declare and decree what they want, and God will make it happen. And, if you can’t make it happen yourself, you can send them money and they will declare and decree it for you.

These thieves are not confined to TV, they are in pulpits all across the Christian world. You will know them by their fruits. “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit,” Matthew 7:18. Verses 22-23 tell us that even though they cast out demons and perform miracles, they do not belong to Jesus because they practice lawlessness.

“Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness,” 1 John 3:4. It is evident these people practice lawlessness; for rather than submitting to God and becoming bond-servants to Him and His Son, they instead make themselves to be as gods and declare and decree as if God was their servant. They have formulas for how to do this and how to do that, and they’ll send you pamphlets with instructions to do what they do for a so-called ‘donation’. 

Dear ones, those who preach and teach these things are not of God, they are clouds without rain, clouds that float around as if they are spiritual guides for the masses, but their end will be their removal from the Kingdom when Jesus sends forth His angels, Matthew 13:41. Be on guard. 

Many people spend their lives chasing preachers and reading books, looking for answers and formulas for their problems when, in fact, there are no answers or formulas. There is only Jesus. Consider a true servant of God:  A true servant of God knows that all things are from God and through God and to God. A true servant knows that God is the creator and would never even suggest that Christians can create things with their words. A true servant of God would never lift himself up to the level of God, or tell anyone else to do so. A true servant of God would never preach about how to work miracles, or how to receive healing. A true servant of God preaches Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. Rather than giving instructions and formulas on how to do this and that, a true servant guides the flock to the feet of the Good Shepherd in whom we live and move and have our being. 

Dear friends, “For as many as may be the promises of God, in Him [Jesus] they are yes…” 2 Corinthians 1:20a. The key words in this verse are ‘in Him’. The promises of God are yes ‘in Him’. Fulfillment of each and every promise of God is found, not in formulas, or books, but ‘in Him’. Submit to Him, abide in Him, and you will find yourself saying, “Amen,” to the glory of God.  

Rev. Jon Banks

P.S. Please weigh everything I say on the scales of the Word of God before you discard them. May the Lord bless you.

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Preaching Satan and Calling Him Jesus

I was nearly brought to tears recently when I heard someone preach that in the beginning God spoke words to create things, “Let there be light,” etc, and then referred to Ephesians 5:1 that begins with, “Be imitators of God…”, and taking it out of context, said we are supposed to imitate God and speak things into existence. He also took the first part of Proverbs 18:21 out of context, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” and used it to prove his point. He was not speaking metaphorically, he was speaking physically. He was telling people who had gathered to worship and learn from God that they should raise themselves up to God’s level and be like God. I’m so grateful the Lord’s sheep will not follow a stranger, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers, John 10:5.

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You don’t have to join a satanic cult to follow Satan, you can simply follow the doctrines of most TV evangelists and many nondenominational preachers and be smack-dab in the middle of the will of Satan, and call him Jesus while you’re there. They preach the very things Satan spoke to Eve — you don’t have to listen to God, you can call your own shots, and to Jesus, you can take authority and make the promises come true. The devil’s end game for both Eve and Jesus was to have them bypass God and exalt themselves to His level. This is the same thing the word of faith movement and many nondenominational churches preach today. They are literally preaching Satan and calling him Jesus. 

If you disagree, try to stop your mind from running for a few minutes and listen to the Holy Spirit. 

Rev. Jon Banks

P.S. Please weigh everything I say on the scales of the Word of God before you discard them.

A Caution

Last Sunday I looked at a NRSV Bible and found a preface to the letters of Paul. It explained a little about each letter he wrote. At the end of its description of 2 Corinthians, it said, ‘Chapters 3 through 5 are a meditation on what it means to be an apostle.’ This Bible was published by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and used by permission of the National Council of Churches. I believe it was published in 1990. 

Years ago the Lord revealed to me that 2 Corinthians chapters 3-5 spoke of the call of an apostle. I have written a few things concerning certain verses in these chapters in the past year and was ridiculed because of what I said. The verses that seemed to bother people the most were Chapter 4 verses 7-12, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the death of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you.” Another verse that was troubling to some was chapter 5 verse 20, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” Paul was speaking of the call and the life of an apostle in each of these verses. 

All these years I have had only two witnesses to the truth of what I’ve said about these three chapters, the Word of our God, and the Holy Spirit. Now I have two other witnesses, the National Council of Churches, and Thomas Nelson, Inc. 

Why am I saying this? I have been ridiculed and lied about quite a bit this past year. One pastor called me a false apostle from his pulpit, and said that I’ve been saying there is no such thing as sanctification. I never once said anything like this. He deliberately made it up to build a case against me.

This gentleman spoke against me because I said there is nothing in the Bible concerning dying to self. Another minister had taught him we must die to self, and so he took issue with me. Since there is no mention of dying to self in the Bible, he couldn’t call me false because he had no proof he was right, so he twisted something else I said about sanctification, and used it to attack me. I said sanctification is not a second work of grace, but a work that begins when we are born again. He turned that statement into my supposedly saying there was no such thing as sanctification. I have never said that either. 

Dear friends, I can put up with a lot of things, but when someone lies to the children of God, I draw the line. God is a jealous God, and when someone tries to entice His children away from Him, or belittle His truth, He also draws the line. This was not just a difference in opinion; this man literally told a church full of God’s children something he knew to be a lie. He did this for one reason, — to belittle me. He didn’t stop there; he also posted his lie on the internet for others to see. 

It’s a small thing to me when someone questions things I say, but when they lie about things I say, I take offense. And I take offense, not on my own behalf, but on behalf of Christ, and for the sake of those who read what I write; on behalf of Christ because He is the One who ordained and sent me, and for the sake of those who read what I write because they are the ones He sent me to. 

Please understand this letter is not meant to justify myself, but it is meant as a caution to each of us; that we must test the things we see and hear by the Word of God through the Holy Spirit. 

In closing, let us turn away from those who subvert, or twist, things people say. Let us also turn away from those who subvert, or twist, the Scriptures to mean what they want them to mean. Those who do such things are dishonest. But let us instead be true children of God, and not dishonest impostors. The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth; let us be honest, and steadfastly follow Him.

There are many dishonest preachers today. Guard yourselves.

Rev. Jon Banks

P.S. It is my sincere hope that everything I write be tested, not by what others have said, but by the Holy Word of God. Please weigh everything I say on the scales of the Word of God before you discard them. May the Lord bless you.

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Some more thoughts:

In Colossians 2:2-3 Paul speaks of all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, and a true knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; wealth and treasures worth more than all the earthly wealth and treasures combined; worth so much that anyone who gets a glimpse into its beauty will sell everything he owns just to partake of that beauty.

Oh, yes, dear friends, this is the prosperity gospel that I preach. This is true prosperity. This is biblical prosperity. This is prosperity that is worth losing one’s life for. This prosperity is found in the kingdom of the living God. This is true wealth, true riches, true treasures, and it is freely given to the meek and lowly by the One who loves us beyond comprehension. This is Christianity.

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When you pray — consider this — who is there to challenge? Who will deny our quest? Already we are more than conquerors: We are heirs of our Father; our Father is God; God is love; love never fails; — our triumph is sure as the dawn.

He comes to us like the showers, like the spring rain watering the earth — refreshing, renewing, providing — rewarding our faith in His love. His coming is with power in ways unencumbered by thought — ways that only angels (and perhaps small children) recognize.

Deeply touched by the vulnerability of our human frailties, He shields each trusting footstep from snares that lie in wait — leading, guiding, protecting — providing ways of escape. Surely we may always pray and not lose heart. Surely we are children of a most wonderful and magnificent Father!

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Little things, like staying within the speed limit and observing all traffic laws, cleaning up after ourselves in public restrooms, and even opening doors for our wives, help us to learn obedience to God. If we do these things and other things like them out of respect for our heavenly Father, because His Word tells us to be respectful of others and to obey the authorities which exist, we will find ourselves coming closer and closer to an intimate walk with Him. He will begin teaching us the secrets of walking by the Spirit.

You see, one cannot walk by the Spirit and disregard the speed limit. It’s impossible; the Holy Spirit won’t allow it (with the exception of maybe emergencies). One cannot walk by the Spirit and be disrespectful of, or to, people; the Holy Spirit will not allow that either. So the more we press forward and maintain an obedient attitude in little things, even seemingly insignificant things, the closer we will find ourselves to the Lord; for we are obeying His Holy Spirit. And the more we obey His Holy Spirit, the more He will entrust to us. Self will ultimately find itself diminishing, and the image of the Son of God will begin shining forth.

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If a Christian sits in judgment of someone, and that someone senses the judgment, the one being judged could possibly be devastated to the point of self-condemnation and thereby lose his, or her, salvation. As Christians, we have more influence on others than we are aware of and we must be careful to let our love for others keep our tendency to judge at bay. We must never put a hindrance between any one and the love of God.

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When you’re trusting God for something, don’t stand on the Word, or claim the promise, simply endeavor to trust Him within your heart. When doubts arise apologize to Him and ask for help to overcome your doubts; He will move heaven and earth to help you.

Standing on the Word and claiming a promise are not in the Bible; trusting the Lord is. Circumstances sometimes hinder, or cloud, trust (faith) and the Lord understands this; He will most assuredly help us when we are honest with Him.

Never speak to your problems or your circumstances; instead, depend on the Lord to lead you through your problems and circumstances; persevere and learn the lessons contained in your journey. The Lord is truly our Shepherd, and we shall not want.

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Men of God and Ear Ticklers

A true man of God reveres the word of God and approaches it honestly, treating it with the utmost respect. He knows the word of God is sacred and refuses to form his own opinions; what he doesn’t know, or understand, he leaves in the hands of God, trusting the Holy Spirit to reveal what He wants to reveal, when He wants to reveal it. He simply trusts in God and speaks of things the Lord has shown him and leaves questions to be answered when God wills. A true man of God faces reality, that is, he faces Jesus at all times, knowing that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Him; he would never go outside of Jesus to find an answer to any question concerning God or His church. A true man of God is just that, a true man of God.

in contrast

Many preachers today use clever clichés, and/or add to, or take away from, verses of Scripture to make them mean something that people want to hear, rather than what they actually say. They seem to prefer popularity with people, rather than the perfect will of God. This has left the church with the task of separating one preacher’s viewpoint over another’s viewpoint; and this has subsequently left many Christians choosing one preacher over another. All this has unfortunately produced misguided souls following men and doctrines, rather than following Jesus.

These things were foretold by Paul in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.” We are most assuredly in those days now. 

conclusion

The time has come for us to awaken from sleep and walk in soberness of mind, redeeming the time. We must weigh all we hear on the scales of God’s Holy Word, being careful to lay aside any preconceptions we might have. We must approach the Word with humility of mind and soul, and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal its truths to us. This is the will of God.

Rev. Jon Banks

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Will there be faith?

Jesus  asked the question, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” This may have sounded strange the day it was asked; however, today it sounds like a reasonable and logical question. Consider what has happened to the church through the years:  For a long time the Catholics sold what amounted to atonement for souls they swore were stuck in purgatory. Breaking from this terrible wrong, the Protestant Reformation was born. From there came denomination after denomination, each with different beliefs and different interpretations of the Bible. 

In the 1880’s D. S. Warner and others misinterpreted Isaiah 52:11 and, believing it to be speaking of the many denominations, they tried to remedy the diversity by preaching, “Come out from among them and be ye separate”, saying the church was comprised of all true believers, and free of creeds, believing only the Bible. From this the Church of God, Andersen, IN came into being, with only one requirement to be a member, that of being born again. They claimed to believe and adhere to the entire Bible, however, I know of at least one Church of God minister that was defrocked because he spoke in tongues. There are most likely many others. So, the Church of God also ultimately became just another denomination. And now, here we are, with people still breaking out claiming to be non-denominational, only to be found as nothing more than another denomination. Merriam-Webster says a denomination is ‘a religious organization whose congregations are united in their adherence to its beliefs and practices’. 

But, are different denominations really so bad for those who truly follow Jesus? One who walks by the Spirit walks by the Spirit everywhere he goes, whether it’s to a grocery store, or to a church. To walk by the Spirit is to walk by the Spirit, period. I believe Christians are Christians regardless of which church they attend. I go to a Methodist church and I disagree with some of their beliefs and practices, but that doesn’t prevent me from worshipping God there. I am a Christian wherever I go and in whatever church I attend. I am not a Methodist; I am a Christian who attends a Methodist church.

There are many who are Methodist first, and secondly Christians, or Baptist first, and secondly Christians, etc. etc. etc. In other words, they are united in their adherence to their church’s beliefs and practices. But all who find their life-blood in the Vine of God are always Christians first. It matters not where they go to church, or whether they are members, or not; nor does it matter what others believe; they are simply followers of Jesus, — nothing more, nothing less. They cannot be coerced into believing something the Lord hasn’t revealed to them, nor can they be hindered by someone who believes something they know to be untrue. 

Jeremiah 29:7 says, ‘…seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare,’. 

Finding a church whose beliefs we can completely agree with is most likely impossible. It is most likely impossible because so few have been yielded to the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to lead them into all truth. There has always been an abundance of scholars, and those who consider themselves to be scholars, who interpret Scriptures with their own understanding; thus all the different doctrines and denominations. But, in spite of all this, whichever church we choose, we should seek the welfare of that church, regardless of whether or not we believe everything its organization believes.

Seeking a church’s welfare does not mean we promote its doctrines; it simply means we   do our best to make it a better place. We do this by loving all people with the unconditional love of God that flows in, and through, our hearts. We make it a better place by our actions and reactions that stem from our obedience to the Holy Spirit. In short, we make our church a better place by sharing the fragrant aroma of the Son of God with all whom we come in contact. And, in so doing, its welfare becomes our welfare.

So, will there be faith on the earth when Jesus returns? I believe so. God has always kept for Himself a remnant who have stayed the course. I believe He will also have a remnant when the end comes. And each person in that remnant will, without exception, be a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, — nothing more, nothing less, — regardless of where they went to church.

(At the end of the age angels will separate the tares from the wheat. We are to allow them to grow together until then.)

Rev. Jon Banks 

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Some thoughts:

Too often Christians become overly concerned with a certain belief, or something that’s dear to them, and concentrate on promoting, or defending, what they think is right. And, in so doing, they find themselves walking in a realm of thoughts and words pertaining to their passion. They get caught up in working to become proficient in their knowledge of what they feel passionate about. 

They believe in Jesus, they use His name, but they no longer walk before Him as a little child. They have left their first love. They didn’t mean to, it just happened because they got caught up using the Scriptures to prove their points, rather than allowing the Scriptures to lead them to the feet of Jesus.

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The Lord, our kind Shepherd, guides us in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. He does this because He will not share His glory with another, nor will He allow His name to be profaned, Isaiah 48:11. This is a wonderful, wonderful truth.

By His doing we are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, (I Corinthians 1:30). He will fulfill His Word and accomplish His will for His own name’s sake. All we need do is believe and obey Him; He will do the rest.

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“Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having an abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me,” Philippians 4:11-13.

Paul said he had learned the secret of being filled and going hungry; the secret of both having an abundance and of suffering need. Whether he was being filled and had an abundance, or if he was hungry and was in need, he was content; for he had learned that he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him. There was nothing he couldn’t bear, for he was a child of the King.

What does that say about those who continually seek and pray for prosperity? It appears they just can’t learn the secret — that a child of God can do all things through Christ who strengthens him.

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Dear friends, every once in a while take a moment to listen to the trees and the flowers and the birds; listen closely, for we all worship the same God.

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Ambassadors for Christ

There is a difference between the truth of having been crucified with Christ, and the truth of carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus; they are completely different. All Christians have been crucified with Christ and raised a new man, but not all carry about in the body the dying of Jesus. All are called to take up their cross and put off the old nature of sinful man, and to put on the new nature created in the image of Christ. Only a few are called to carry the dying of Jesus, and those few are the apostles of Christ.

Decades ago the Lord showed me about the call of an apostle of Christ, and since that vision I have always thought that no-one in his right mind would want to be one. It is the most lonely walk on earth, and the most misunderstood; it is a path no-one would choose for himself. It is completely different, in all aspects, than the walk for everyone else. Death is at work in the life of an apostle of Christ, while life is at work in everyone else, (2 Corinthians 4:12). Some of you have known and been taught by an apostle of Christ, and if you could get a small glimpse of this truth, you would appreciate and cherish much, much more than you already do, the walk of that humble servant. He carried in his body the dying of Jesus, in order that the life of Jesus might be manifested; and he shared that life with you; he received by giving. 

His ordination came directly from heaven by the laying on of the hands of Jesus, the Son of God. This fact alone speaks to the depths of the separation of himself to God, for the calling of an apostle is not just a calling, it is an appointment, an appointment to be an ambassador for Christ, (2 Corinthians 5:20). That is why Jesus chooses and appoints His apostles Himself (John 15:16), because they are to be His ambassadors. One does not choose, or seek, the call of an apostle, or to be an ambassador for Jesus; one is both chosen and appointed by the Lord Jesus Himself to be His ambassador.

Many have misunderstood the writings of Paul and think that all Christians are ambassadors for Christ. They think that because they preach and/or witness to people they are Christ’s ambassadors. They seem not to understand that an ambassador is a representative and does not speak of things he chooses, nor does he express his own thoughts on a matter; he speaks only the words and thoughts of the one he is representing. So it is with ambassadors for Christ, and therein is the loneliness of the office. 

I have not written these words to lift up the office of an apostle; no apostle would want to be lifted up and praised; for an apostle is nothing in himself, he is simply a representative of Jesus, and a  servant of all. I have written it to bring attention to the subtlety of Scripture distortions, and how they cause people to form false beliefs. This may seem like a small thing to some, but to our Holy Father, it is sin; and it is a dangerous one. We can find the truth of this in 2 Peter 3:16, where Peter is talking about the letters of Paul. He states that some things in Paul’s letters are hard to understand, and that the untaught and unstable distort them. Peter also infers that if one would distort one Scripture, he will most likely distort all Scriptures, for he says, ‘…some things are hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do all the rest of the Scriptures,’. He goes on to say they do this ‘to their own destruction,’. So we see that distorting Scriptures leads to one’s own destruction. It is a very dangerous sin.

Dear friends, The Lord our God will not share HIs glory with another, and He will not allow His name to be profaned. We must guard our tongues at all times, and walk with reverence and honor in our hearts towards the Lord. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

May God bless all who have read this with a sincere heart and an open mind.

Rev. Jon Banks

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The Lord our God is One Lord

The mystery of God is the mystery of God; the revelation of Christ is the revelation of Christ; there is only one mystery, and only one revelation. For this reason there are no different interpretations of the Scriptures in the kingdom of God or in His Holy Spirit. There are, however, different interpretations in the minds of many people, but not in the Holy Spirit or in God’s kingdom. The Scriptures bear witness to this, II Peter 1:20-21, ‘But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.’ So the Scriptures are from God, and revealed by God; there is no room for one’s own interpretation.

There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. And He has given the church apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ, (Ephesians 4). 

As we travel this journey we are to speak the truth in love, and grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ.  Notice there is only one truth in that last sentence; there are no different truths for different people; there is only one truth for all. There are no different interpretations of Scripture in the Holy Spirit, for He testifies of one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. May the Lord lead and help us to attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God.

The Lord has shown me that one of the greatest tragedies in the church is the belief that everyone is entitled to his, or her, own opinion. The thought that everyone is entitled to their own opinion sounds cuddly, cutesy, and even benevolent, and I suppose it could be true in the kingdom of darkness (the world), but it is absolutely abhorrent in the kingdom of light (God’s kingdom). I’m not speaking of matters of conscience; I’m speaking of  the revelation of Jesus; I’m speaking of the Word of God. The Lord our God is one Lord, and there is no other; and He is not a God of confusion, but of peace. There is one Christ, and one revelation of Him; and God forbid that the church continue to distort, and twist, that revelation until it becomes something that tickles their ears, something that pleases them and makes them feel spiritual, and corresponds with their own opinions. I have confidence this will come to an end when the awakening comes. It will continue among the lawless and those who think highly of themselves, but it will not be found among the chosen of God; for they will respect the Word because it is the handwriting of God. 

Rev. Jon Banks

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For His Name’s Sake

The Lord, our kind Shepherd, guides us in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. He does this because He will not share His glory with another, nor will He allow His name to be profaned, Isaiah 48:11. This is a wonderful, wonderful truth. 

Dear friends, our Father does all things for His name’s sake. He raised up Pharaoh to demonstrate His power in Him, that His name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth; as it is written, ‘For this cause I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power, and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth,’  (Exodus 9:16). And, ‘Then the Lord said to Moses, ”Pharaoh will not listen to you, so that My wonders will be multiplied in the land of Egypt.”’ (Exodus 11:9).

Our God uses vessels of wrath prepared for destruction to demonstrate His wrath against wrongdoing and against all sin, and to make His power known, (Romans 9:22); Conversely, He makes known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called…’ (Romans 9:23-24). He uses vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy to accomplish the same thing, to proclaim His name throughout the whole earth.

As vessels of mercy, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, whom we have from God, and we are not our own, (I Corinthians 6:19). ‘…For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people,”’ (II Corinthians 6:16). God jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us, (James 4:5). He has given us the Holy Spirit that He might help us, comfort us, and be our guide into all truth. Surely our Father will accomplish everything He has said; surely He will keep His Word. Of course He will; and therein lies our faith, in the integrity of God; He will fulfill His Word for His name’s sake, that He might not be found a liar.

The mystery of God is unfolding upon the earth and in the heavens. It has been unfolding since the beginning of creation, and will continue until the end of all created things; then will come a new heaven and a new earth, when the first heaven and the first earth have passed, (Rev. 21:1). Then the mystery will no longer be a mystery, for we will know fully just as we have been fully known. But, for now, we are a part of His mystery.

Beloved of God, we are a chosen race in this glorious mystery, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession; and He has called us unto Himself in order that we might proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light, (I Peter 2:9). And, in proclaiming His excellencies, we demonstrate that He will not share His glory with another, nor will He allow His name to be profaned.

Jesus said, “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day,” (John 6:37-39).

By God’s doing we are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, (I Corinthians 1:30). For this reason, that we are in Christ Jesus by the will of God and by His own doing, we may always have confidence that He who has begun a good work in us will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus, and that He will guard all that we have entrusted to Him until that day; for just as Jesus said, “This is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day,” (John 6:40). 

For His own name’s sake God will fulfill His Word and accomplish His will; all we need do is believe Him, and obey Him; He will do the rest. It is an absolute certainty that from Him and through Him and to Him are all things, (Romans11:36), and that He will not share His glory with another, nor will He allow His name to be profaned, Isaiah 48:11; what a wonderful, wonderful truth.

Rev. Jon Banks 

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We are called to follow Jesus

When Jesus was being tempted in the wilderness, He became hungry. The devil then used His hunger to tempt Him by essentially saying that if He was the Son of God He could get rid of His problem by commanding some stones to become bread. In other words, if He was who He thought He was, He should use His authority and command the stones to become bread, thereby getting rid of His hunger problem.

Rather than turning the stones into bread, as the devil suggested, Jesus quoted Scripture and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God,’”. Jesus actually refused to use what the devil was saying was rightfully His by virtue of His being the Son of God, — His authority.  

Why didn’t Jesus use His authority and do what the devil was telling Him to do; why didn’t He turn the stones into bread and satisfy his hunger, or His ‘mountain’ as some would say in today’s vernacular? He didn’t do it for one simple reason — because He did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped. Although He existed in the form of God, He chose instead to empty Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, being made in the likeness of men, and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient… (Philippians 2:6-8). 

We, dear friends, are now in a form of God: We are the body of Christ and His Holy Spirit dwells within us. Should we do any less than Jesus? Rather than speaking to problems and so-called ‘mountains’, should we not instead be submitting to our Father, and our Lord’s Father? Shouldn’t we follow Jesus’ example and empty ourselves and take the form of bond-servants? Should we not be obedient?

The manner of some is to raise themselves up to an equal level with God and take authority over their so-called ‘mountains’ and problems. They, unlike Jesus, regard themselves as being equal with God in that they have all authority (or so they think). This belief comes not from the Holy Spirit, but from Satan himself. He tempts us as he tempted Jesus — he tells us that if we are who we think we are (children of God) then we should take authority over this, and that. But, God forbid that we follow the leadings of Satan; God forbid that we follow the teachings of those who have followed those leadings, and also teach them, swearing they are gospel. And, yes, they really are gospel, they tell us what not to do!

In Matthew 17:20 Jesus was speaking of a specific mountain, the mountain of transfiguration, vs. 9. He referred to it as ‘this mountain’. In Luke 17:6 He was speaking of a specific mulberry tree, for He referred to it as ‘ this mulberry tree’. In each mention of speaking to a mountain and/or a tree in the New Testament Jesus referred to them as ‘this mountain’ and ‘this tree’. Never once did He designate mountains, or trees, as problems. This concept originated in the minds of men who listened to Satan. It is not Scriptural.

The Scriptures tell us the Lord wants us to persevere through our problems and difficulties, not speak to them; He wants us to submit to suffering; He wants us to count it all joy when various trials come upon us; He wants us to learn perseverance and endurance through our problems and so-called ‘mountains’. And how long will we have to endure — until we receive the crown of life, James 1:12. The teaching that we can take authority over our problems and/or ‘mountains’ is preventing people from having a relationship with Jesus and comes dangerously close to robbing them of the crown of life. It is very serious. 

Dear friends, we are called to follow Jesus, not remedies. The next time you are tempted to command your so-called ‘mountain’ to be cast into the sea, say this instead, “It is written, ‘Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him,’”James 1:12.

Rev. Jon Banks

P.S. I hear people all the time saying, “Don’t tell God how big your mountains are; tell your mountains how big your God is.” The Bible never hints of anything like this. May I suggest that we, instead, talk to our God and tell Him how much we love Him and appreciate His sending Jesus to take away our sins, and to give us an inheritance with the children of God, and a promise of eternal life. 

I also suggest that we cast our cares upon Him and praise Him for His lovingkindness and mercy. Rather than get caught up in a boxing match of words with the devil, I suggest that we steadfastly look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, for our deliverance from every problem or so-called ‘mountain’ is in Him.

We are not saved by any authority we may have; we are saved by the gift of God, His only begotten Son. We are saved by His obedience and His sacrifice; for in Him we live and move and have our being.

So rather than run from problems or try to find a way out of them, I suggest that we refuse to lift ourselves up to a level with God and that we become obedient, enduring our problems and so-called ‘mountains’, which is the will of God. 

I also suggest we stop falsely calling speaking to our ‘mountains’ Biblical, and call it what it really is— an exercise in the power of the mind.

P.P.S. After writing this letter I saw the following on a Facebook post:

Now this is what you want to do all the time. Don’t place your attention on any difficulties at any time. Look only to Jesus through every circumstance. Keep your eyes fixed upon Him constantly. Maintain praise and adoration in your heart even when you don’t feel like it, when it is not easy to praise. We will never be able to work out a single situation ourselves anyway. Leave the working-out to God and simply keep your eyes on Jesus, who is the Answer to every need and every problem.

Rev Loran W. Helm

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Through All This Absurdity

In the past few weeks the Lord has burdened me with the condition of the church. Many preachers are still preaching their own thoughts about Scripture, rather than the thoughts of God, and they are influencing many other people. Members of churches are being told that God sees them as perfect children, and to think of themselves as such. But Revelations 2 and 3 prove this to be wrong. Even so, ministers continue tickling the ears of their congregations, not giving any thought to the grieving of the Holy Spirit.

Couple this with the word of faith movement started by E. W. Kenyon and carried on by people like Kenneth Hagin, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Andrew Wommack, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, and others, and things have escalated downhill fast. People started believing that, along with being perfect in the eyes of God, they had unbridled authority in Jesus’ name and applied it to any situation they wanted. I don’t know which came first, being perfect in the eyes of God, or having unbridled authority in the name of Jesus, but the idea that we have been empowered to control our lives by faith, and its ability to make things happen, took the world by storm because nobody wants to submit to another. This is something the flesh craves, the ability to control its own destiny. (If anyone believes in this word of faith hypocrisy, I challenge you to study its origin.)

Those who espouse these beliefs have created a generation that has no idea what conviction of the Holy Spirit is. They don’t know Him. They are so entangled in their mind games, deciding which formula works with which problem, and whether they should declare and decree, or name and claim, they have no idea of their need for the Holy Spirit. They do, however, claim to follow the Holy Spirit. However, what they claim is the Holy Spirit is just a psychological and emotional stimulator that leads them on their quest to be on a level with God.

Again, study the origins of this hypocrisy; study their beliefs. They actually believe we were created to be mini gods. This is the rationale behind their belief that they can speak things into existence; we are like God and therefore can create things with our words. This began as a metaphysical project concerning “the Power of the Mind”. It was quickly changed to “the Force of Faith”. They take the Word of God and add whatever they want to it, whatever will attract the masses; more people, more money. If you doubt that money is what they’re after, check their net worth. Each and every one of them is in it for the money; they’re liars and thieves, robbing the poor via their outrageous lies and their pompous and arrogant doctrines. And beyond this, their filthy tentacles have reached as far as the true church. Immature Christians have latched on to some of their teachings such as name it and claim it, declare it and decree it, speak this and that over a brother or sister, etc. It all started with a study of the power of the mind.

Paul said the day of the Lord would not come unless the apostasy comes first, II Thessalonians 2:3. Dear friends, I believe the apostasy is staring us right in the eye. Those who have ears to hear: Consider the man of sin, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God, verses 3-4. All who follow the teachings of this so-called word of faith movement are treading on dangerous ground.

The Holy Spirit leads us in the ways of God. He is our Comforter, our Helper, and He teaches us the very depths of God. When we make a wrong turn, He convicts us, and we turn back to the Way. But those who have fallen prey to these false beliefs, and have lifted themselves up in their own minds never hear, or sense, the Spirit’s convictions. Consequently, they just keep running from one mental ritual to another, in a constant search for formulas that make them feel good; formulas that bring them instant gratification. These people hold to a form of godliness, and deny its power. (Some will say, “Miracles happen at their meetings.” To that I say, “They also happened at the hands of Pharaoh’s magicians,”).

I am so thankful to God that through all this absurdity He has provided for Himself a remnant of humble believers who follow the Lord Jesus and continually forsake their own will and submit themselves to Him, and to the Father’s will. They realize they’ve been called for a purpose and they seek that purpose, forsaking their own wants. Humble believers still hear the Holy Spirit when He convicts them, and they follow where He leads. Humble believers find themselves a new creation where Jesus is their wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; He is their all in all. They need no authority; they have a Savior.

Rev. Jon Banks

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Faith in the Name

Peter told the lame man at the Beautiful Gate of the temple (Acts 3) that he had no silver or gold, but what he did have he would give to him, and then said, “In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene – walk.” Peter then grabbed the man by the hand and lifted him up and the man walked for the first time in his life.

In verse 16 Peter went on to say to the crowd that gathered that the man was healed through faith in Jesus’ name, and that it was His name which strengthened the man, and the faith which comes through Him had given the man perfect health. It all began and ended with the name – faith in the name — strength through the name – perfect health through the name. It all came through the name, and Peter’s faith in that name.

The kingdom of God has come; we were born into it. The veil of the temple has been torn in two; we can now all go before the throne of grace and be greeted with the embrace of our loving Father. He will listen to our requests, and if we have good motives and faith in Him through Jesus, and if what we ask is according to His will, He will give us our requests.

He does this, not because we have authority, or because we have a right to the things we ask; He does it because we believe in Jesus; we believe that every knee will bow to His name, and that His name is above all other names. We believe that He loves us and that we have been raised up with Him into the kingdom of His Father and our Father. He will give us our requests for the same reason He healed the lame man at the Gate Beautiful, because we, like Peter, have faith in the name of Jesus.

Many people think they have to use a combination of faith and authority to rebuke the devil and make him run from them. They have been taught this and similar things by preachers who give them what they want to hear. People don’t want to endure fiery trials; they want to walk in power and authority. They want to be able to command finances to come their way; they want to heal people with a word. They don’t want to wait on God; they want to be God. And in comes a boat load of preachers who tell them they actually have the authority of God. And they will follow these preachers to the moon because their words are so pleasing to their ears.

These preachers tell them they don’t have to put up with anything. All they need do is use their authority in Jesus and whatever they want will be done for them. It seems that every generation has had a formula to pass this attitude off as the truth. The last generation added to the Scripture that said if we ask for something, believe that we receive it, and we will have it, and, taking it out of context, came up with name it and claim it. This generation is using the Scripture where four people spoke of things they didn’t understand (Job 42:3) and, taking Job 22:28 out of context, they are passing it off as truth; thus declare it and decree it.

Dear friends, the truth is – the Lord leaves us in our trials that we might learn endurance and strengthen our faith. We must run from formulas and from preachers who tickle our ears. We must run from the desire to have authority, and, instead, rest in the arms of Jesus, the One who loves us beyond comprehension; the One who gave Himself up for us; the One who is interceding for us at this very moment; the One for whom and through whom all things were made and exist. We must run to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. We must love Him and appreciate Him, not use Him. We must look to Him and follow wherever He leads, without question.

Rather than looking for a way out of, or around, trials that come our way, we should submit to the Lord and endure each one, knowing that hidden within the process of learning endurance is the melting away of dross, dross that hinders our faith. And, as this dross is melting away, our faith will gradually begin to shine forth as pure, unblemished gold. There will be no need for authority; our faith in His name will sustain us, as it did Peter and the lame man at the Gate Beautiful.

Jon Banks

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Yielding 100% to God’s Will

It is a known, but seldom preached fact that the devil uses Scriptures in his dealings with Christians. He uses them quite often, and apparently, quite efficiently. He tells Christians, “If you are a child of God this, or that, promise applies to you; make it happen.” This is where name it and claim it, decree it and see it, stand on the promises, etc. comes from; from listening to and heeding the very words from the very mouth of Satan. Many well-meaning preachers tell us these same things from the pulpit, not realizing they are practically quoting the devil. People who follow this practice are actually following Satan. To follow Jesus one must adopt His attitude and refuse to put God to the test, for it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’

I’ve heard very few people mention that Satan used Scripture to entice Jesus. Most dwell on the fact that Jesus used Scripture to withstand the devil’s temptations. The devil used promises of God that applied to Jesus, in order to tempt Jesus, trying to entice Him to lift Himself up to the level of God and make those promises come true. Satan, just as he did with Jesus, uses promises that apply to us, in an effort to entice us to lift ourselves up to the level of God and make those promises come true.

So what are we to do? We are to do the same as Jesus did, wait on the Lord our God. Consider the outcome of Jesus’ wilderness experience: Angels came and ministered to Him. And so will God send aid to His children who trust in Him, rest in Him, and wait on Him. He will never fail. He is our loving Father, He loves us and He keeps us and He watches over us and covers us with His wings. We are His portion; we are His chosen. We need only dig deep and find the courage to cast our cares upon the Lord and wait on Him with a trusting heart, and watch as He rewards us for seeking Him. He will most assuredly do it. This is the rest Hebrews speaks of; this is walking in the works that God prepared for us beforehand.

When our son was going crippled with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis the devil kept telling me things like, “Your son is in pain, claim healing for him now and stop his pain. Stand on the promise of healing and make his pain go away now. Don’t let him continue in pain. His pain is constant and it’s very bad.” Thanks be to God, I never once lifted myself up against God and put Him to the test. I trusted Him with all my heart and when the appropriate time came the Holy Spirit led me to say, “In the name of Jesus be healed, be whole, be well.” My son was healed in an instant. Dear ones, our Father will come to our aid, and I will testify from now to eternity that He will never fail us.

Our hearts and our minds must be right; we must simply be in submission to God, under His authority. We must not be supposing or thinking that we have the authority of Christ. This attitude comes from a heart filled with haughtiness and selfishness, and it’s hard to tame; for the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. We must be devoid of our own will and yielding 100% to God’s will. We were bought with a precious price and we no longer belong to ourselves; we belong to God. We must empty ourselves and walk in submission to Him, as did Jesus.

I have seen many things in God’s kingdom; just recently the Lord healed a burn on my granddaughter’s hand; a few months ago my wife’s jaw was out of place. I prayed for her and the Lord put it back in place without so much as a pop. It was out of place at the beginning of my prayer; it was in place at the end of my prayer. This was verified by a dentist.

Several times I’ve stood and watched the elements move in accordance to what God was revealing to me in prayer; the latest was just last spring. We had been waiting on a storm for 10 to 20 minutes; it had been broadcast on TV. A tornado was on the ground headed for our town. Warning sirens went off and as people in our little town were scrambling to shelters, the Lord revealed to me that it would not cross our path. I told my wife we would be OK and I stood outside and watched the tornado lift up from the ground and turn to the west just as it was reaching the outskirts of our town, exactly as the Lord had told me.

I have also seen a dead man come back to life after being dead for about 30 minutes, and he did so after the Lord revealed to me that my prayers for the man would be answered. I’ve seen angels, I’ve seen demons; I’ve heard trees praising God; plants and flowers have spoken to me; birds and frogs and butterflies kept me company and comforted me for approximately two years during a period when friends were nowhere to be found. I could go on and on but this should be enough to make my point.

Am I bragging? Absolutely not! I am saying that God is everything and I am nothing. I am saying that every time I’ve been involved in a working of God, I have walked away with an attitude of humility and tremendous gratefulness that the Lord would allow me to witness His immense love for people. Each time, I have walked into the situation and away from the situation fully aware that nothing was of me, all was of Him. I may have prayed a prayer; I may have spoken a word, but the end of the matter was always, I am nothing, He is all in all; I am just a piece of clay in the Potter’s hand, He is the Potter.

My friends, I know my call. Jesus ordained me with His own hands; He has given me authority; but I would never even consider using that authority on my own. I am only an ambassador of Jesus; I have been sent by Him to help His chosen people by speaking the truth to them. God forbid that I should ever lift myself up as equal to God and demand His promises be given when I want them to be given. I am nothing more than a spokesman for the Son of God. And, as His spokesman, I am obliged to follow His example and work only as the Father works. And each part of His body should do the same.

This is very serious. We must learn to submit to the Lord. We must learn to empty ourselves and walk by the Holy Spirit. Only those who do the will of God will enter the kingdom of heaven, and, all who are being led by the Spirt of God, these are sons of God. All the others will find themselves standing before Jesus saying, “We did this in your name and we did that in your name,” only to hear Him reply, “Depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness, I never knew you.” (Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.) We must forsake lawlessness and humble ourselves and learn discipline, and become obedient children of our Father. We must resist Satan and, if we do, he will flee from us.

The Lord bless you,

Rev. Jon Banks

P.S. The devil tries to entice Christians to believe they have a right to the promises of God. This belief is the catalyst to name it and claim it, decree it and see it, and all such haughty tactics.

I believe our Lord’s promises are beautiful and wonderful gifts He shares with us because of His immense love for us. Our God is good and His love is beyond comprehension. We need not claim or decree what we think are our rights. We need only lose ourselves in Him and trust Him for everything. We need only ask and we will receive. 

 

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The Lesson in the Book of Job

The church has been in a state of sleep for approximately 1900 years. During this time there have been revivals and great moves of God, but the church has remained asleep. Soon the Lord will awaken her from that sleep. When He finds 2, 3, 30, 300, maybe more (God knows how many) people who love Him and honor Him to the extent that they rely on Him for everything, including their ability to understand Scripture, He will send the Spring Rain, which will awaken and prepare the wheat for harvest.

I don’t know if these people will be in one place, or scattered throughout the world; I just know they will be humble and have so much respect for God that they wouldn’t dare speak out of turn; they wouldn’t dare utter a word to the children of God without being absolutely certain their understanding of what they are speaking of came from God.

The ability to speak only what God reveals has been missing from the majority of the church during the time of this sleep. God has always had a few who walked with Him and have spoken only of things they have heard from Him. However, for the most part, men have been as Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar and have spoken of things they didn’t understand, and have misrepresented the Lord by not speaking of Him what is right, (Job 42:1-7). The many denominations are a testimony to this.

Men of God today need to follow Job’s example, who, in the end, acknowledged and confessed his sin, (Job 42:6), and, in so doing, spoke what was right of the Lord, (Job 42:3,6,7). (Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar did not acknowledge or confess their sin and the Lord, being compassionate and merciful, (James 5:11), and not wanting to deal with them according to their folly, (Job 42:7,8), had them offer up a burnt offering for themselves and had Job pray for them. [So there is hope for all of us]).

The Lord is looking for people who will embrace the lesson in the Book of Job, that of humbly enduring all things, resisting the temptation to conjure up reasons and solutions for their trials and tribulations, which is folly in the eyes of the Lord, (Job 42:8). He is looking for those whose gaze is on Jesus, the author and finisher of their faith; those who speak as the Father speaks, and follow wherever He leads, regardless of the cost. May the Lord find those people and may the heavens thunder the coming of the latter rain.

 

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