By Janice Barlow

As we tumble and stumble down this slippery slope called life, we look up at God from many different perspectives, or not at all. But we all know one thing besides taxes is certain, and we must face the fact that each day brings us closer to the day when we stop breathing in and out. Depressing, isn’t it?

Well, not for those of us who have a grasp of the “Big Picture”, Biblically speaking. I’m not going into much detail about Who God Is, but I do wish to discuss Whom He inherently is not, and how that false image affected our last election.

God is not a genii in a bottle.

He is not an Entity Who grants our wishes (demands), especially material ones. It is not His desire for us to be happy. That is not Biblical. There is a tremendous difference between happiness and joy. Joy is Biblical. Joy is lasting. It is possible to have joy in the Eternal while being miserable in the here and now. Happiness is fleeting, shallow, and often ridden with carnality.

To grace the doors of a “church” where Hell is never mentioned; where the Bible is seldom preached from, and where people’s emotions are the target of the “preacher” is beyond false witness. It is actually a tool of Satan. We all know the story of how the Devil tried to tempt Jesus with all the riches of a massive Kingdom, and with food, while He was fasting for 40 days in the desert. Well, that’s what Joel Osteen, Robert Jeffress, Benny Hinn, and Paula White do to tempt their many sheep. They lure them with the material promises of earthly wealth while passing around the buckets and collecting lots of money from those sheep, who more often than not, cannot afford to give it.

The abundant Christian life has nothing to do with driving a $50,000 vehicle, but everything to do with serving the Lord with joy. Fulfillment comes from that joy of selflessness, not selfishness. But these prosperity gospel preachers, most of whom have no background or degrees in theology, would lead you to think otherwise, as they continue to do to millions of people across the nation.

The only ones who are getting materially rewarded in the long run in these religious Ponzi schemes are these preachers, with their multi-million dollar homes and private jets. And their followers are the ones who used to poke fun at Jim and Tammy Baker. Will someone please tell them that there is no difference?

In the presidential primaries, shocked pollsters watched their numbers go in the tank as evangelical voters in state after state, particularly in the South, cast their votes for Donald Trump. It shouldn’t have been a surprise at all. They valued materialism in their “walk with God”, so why not in their “walk with Politics”? They excused the sins of 3-times married Paula White to her 4-times married husband, believing with all their bless-their-hearts, that she had led the adulterous candidate to Christ. He got saved! Just like her! Well, if she put it that way, then maybe so — in how they believe God thinks.

So they forgave Donald Trump his sins, even though they were powerless to do so.

Only God and the victim of the sin can forgive a sinner. I cannot forgive the Menendez brothers for murdering their parents. It was wrong, but they committed no sin against me. My forgiveness of them is powerless. I am not God and I am not the victim. The same goes for those who tell me to forgive Trump. “What did he personally do to you?”, I always ask.

The bottom line is this: 

The Osteen/White/Jeffress/Hinn followers need to be separated from Christians. A Christian is a follower of Christ, who believes that Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, suffered and died for the sins of the world on a Cross, rose again, and is returning for those who have repented of their sin and put their full faith and trust in Him and ONLY HIM. He is EQUAL with God. He said, “I and the Father are One”. He has sent His Holy Spirit in His place until His return; the very Spirit of God, to dwell within believers. Believers are to lay up treasures in Heaven and spread the good news of the Gospel on Earth. That doesn’t mean we are to starve and go without things we like. But it does mean we are not to be gluttonous, selfish, materialistic people who put STUFF ahead of GOD and demand He gives it to us.

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