Record Numbers of Prisoners Now Escaping from Churches

escape

The prisoners have been bound up in chains for so long they have almost forgotten what it is like to be free. The prison guards have done their best to keep them locked away, but more and more are finding ways to escape.

The evidence is found in reading the comments posted on Joanie Stahl’s latest post, False Bridge Now Being Prepared to Embrace False Bridegroom. Person after person shared testimonies of their great escape. Most endured heartaches and wounds, but reported how it was well worth it because of how much they have grown and prospered in their new life as free men and women.

It is actually very heartbreaking to read so many testimonies of how people have been trampled on by prison guards disguised as church leaders, wolves in sheep’s clothing, even to the point where many have been forced to flee to avoid being devoured. It is very sad when we are no longer safe in our own sanctuaries!

I attended church faithfully for over 25 years, until the Lord told me to leave about 8 years ago. Like so many others have shared, my relationship with God began to grow like never before AFTER I left the local church. However, mine was a lonely and difficult escape.

Right after I left, my mind was struggling with how it could be right to be out of church. While I was praying one day, I saw a vision of the scene from the movie Shawshank Redemption when the man escapes from prison through a sewage pipe and comes up out of the water completely free. Then the Lord said to me, “Every now and then someone escapes.”

shawshank_escape

I could hardly believe He showed me that scene, but He did. He actually referred to my local church as a prison and my exit as an escape!

Now I am finding I was not alone. There are so many others. Rick Joyner saw a vision similar to what I saw, but his was much longer and far more detailed. I don’t currently have a copy, but I believe it was from his book, The Call.

I still struggled with leaving church because of so many years of hearing pastors quoting the well-known scripture from Hebrews 10:25 telling us, “We must not forsake our assembling together”. So I asked the Lord about it and was amazed by what I learned.

After all those years, no one had ever shared the whole verse, or the preceding verse, because the two verses together present a completely different message. All those years I was held in bondage by a misquoted part of one verse, not even one whole verse! When I finally took the time to read it, I saw it in a whole new light that set me free! The truth was there all along. All I had to do was read it.

24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,
25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Yes, Paul encouraged the Hebrews not to forsake assembling together, but he wrote that only for the purpose of achieving two objectives, which he stated as clearly as can be, which was:

  1. To stimulate one another to love and good deeds
  2. To encourage one another

Assembling together was important only as a means to achieve these objectives. Paul never intended to make assembling together the objective! He put the emphasis on the end result, which is so important because putting the emphasis in the right place produces liberty and fruit. Shifting the emphasis to the wrong place, focusing on how we achieve the objectives, produces bondage with little or no fruit. What a difference!

Now I know why they never shared the whole verses. It would no longer serve their agenda. We can’t have the prisoners hearing about so much freedom! So the guards use the first part of verse 25 to claim all prisoners must be physically present in a church building whenever services are offered. Being physically present allows us to check the box that says we fulfilled our prison duties, we did our church thing, but it means nothing unless we stimulate others to love and good deeds or find ways to encourage others.

We have been misled by a twisted interpretation, making us think we have done something to please God by attending church, when in reality we have done nothing yet. We have been misled into thinking we have displeased God by not attending church, when in reality He could be very pleased with us if we are stimulating one another to love and good deeds and encouraging one another. After years of misquoted scriptures, we now have prisoners chained to their church pew thinking they are right with God when in reality they are on their way to hell. At the same time, we have escapees still wearing shackles on their legs thinking they are not right with God when in reality they are earning great rewards in heaven. What a mess!

When Paul wrote his letters during the first century, the only way to achieve his two objectives was either through face to face contact or by writing letters. Paul actually reached far more people through his letters, including every generation since, than he ever reached by physically assembling together, which is further evidence of how Paul pursued these objectives. Today we have far more ways to connect with people than Paul did, including television, radio, and the Internet. So as long as we are pursuing the same objectives Paul pursued, we should never allow anyone to put us into bondage regarding the methods we use.

Anyone who tries to twist these verses for the purpose of controlling and manipulating others is nothing more than a prison guard, a false shepherd who does not truly care for the sheep. They are also hypocrites because they themselves are missing the mark by failing to act in love. How can they possibly be stimulating others to love and good deeds when they themselves are putting others in bondage? They should first remove the log from their own eye before worrying about the spec in anyone else’s eye.

As Joanie’s dream revealed, most of the prisoners don’t even know they are in prison. Only a small remnant has recognized the chains of bondage and succeeded in escaping to freedom, but I am glad to see the numbers are much bigger than I realized. I thank God for every person who escapes, but I also thank God for every pastor who is truly leading his people to liberty rather than bondage. Just as there is a remnant of faithful believers, there is also a remnant of faithful pastors. Anyone who has a pastor like that is truly blessed and has no need to escape. All of us need to be wherever God tells us to be.

The good news is God has exciting plans for His true church in the days ahead. I have been seeing it recently in dreams and I am very excited about what is coming. I have tried to share these dreams in blog articles, but they are just too long so I am now putting them together in a book. The short version is we are going to be united together as one body like never before. Big changes are coming soon. When God gets through, He is going to have the church of His dreams and we are going to feel right at home there.

Free at last, free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

James Bailey

Author: James Bailey

James Bailey is an author, business owner, husband and father of two children. His vision is to broadcast the good news of Jesus Christ through blog sites and other media outlets.

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Zandra Potter
Member
January 20, 2017 4:59 PM

James,
Thank you for sharing this and having it here for a time when I really needed to read it. My husband and I left our church last summer and we have have felt torn over our decision. I have not felt the Holy Spirit leading me anywhere else but my husband felt like we were forsaking “the gathering together”. However, in our jobs we see/serve a lot of people and are encouraging others and doing good deeds. We also have brothers and sisters around us that we can share our faith with and occasionally God brings someone new that we can share the gospel with.
Thank you for your testimony!

mike kasten
mike kasten
Member
February 5, 2016 10:10 AM

From 2008 to 2014 I attended 4 different churches, including a biker bible study. Then a brother gave a testimony in a homeless shelter bible study of a pastor who told him the exact words he had just told the Lord that week in his room. I had to go check that out as I was no longer attending church myself. Well, I went and I saw, and I left that church saying, “This is what I have been looking for.” It’s a small church of about 30 (when everybody shows up). The worship is led by the Spirit, prophecies flow, as well as the word of knowledge. Healing testimonies are increasing. In short, God is there. The Word is preached, convicting of sin. It has been my experience that I do better sitting under the Word that is preached than I do on my own. We are a warfaring church and have Friday night prayer meetings. God always has a people. Most of the time they are hidden, like the 7000 in Elijah’s day. Could be there is a home group or store front in your town where God is moving. The Lord designed his church that we meet together, as the early church did; and even as those in persecuted countries do, risking their lives, And why do they risk beatings and imprisonment just to meet together? For the building up of their faith and there is a tangible presence of God that is released when the church comes corporately together that is greater than in our own individual worship.We need each other. Be encouraged family,

J J
J J
Member
July 21, 2017 1:15 AM

Thank you for sharing this and having it here for a time when I really needed to read it. My own story makes sense now.

After years of attending church and serving, I had gotten cynical of church. I was thoroughly disgusted with the pretense, the social club, emotional blackmail, the general powerlessness, and scandals. I tried looking around several different churches in the area, but they all were pretty much the same. Then I just didn’t know where to run to, I wasn’t aware back then you could just stay on the outside and let God teach you.

In October 2016, God led me to this Spirit led church, under a pastor who doesn’t compromise with God. Repentance, confession of sin, love, and humility are central themes here. In everything they do, from scheduling events to tackling problems, they seek God’s guidance first rather than rely on own understanding or dead principles. None of the powerlessness, emotional blackmail or pretense! I could go on, but for lack of space.

And in this place God moves! We just had a wedding 2 months back, and even without any preaching, 2 people made the decision to get saved after seeing the wedding. We do our part as God directs us to, and God moves!

And then in January this year, God led me here. Both Z3 and this church are consistent in their message. Believe or not, although this church service isn’t in English, I even found some translated articles on Z3 being used in our prayer meetings!

Marilee Alm
Marilee Alm
Member
July 20, 2017 6:39 PM

HI, I am talking with my pastor this Monday to tell her why I am leaving. Please pray. It will be 7/24 between 2-2:30 pm est.

I am visiting another church for Bible study. They do seem to be on the right rack mostly, but the liberal world does influence so easily. We had a short discussion about divorce and their statement was it was not a sin. I understand that this by itself if you are handed the papers and do not want it, but there are always things in relationships we can repent from. I am the of the more conservative approach when it comes to adultery and divorce. I read the Bible literally…So my time there might also have to stop.

Mark
Mark
Member
July 22, 2017 7:50 AM

Don’t be ashamed to leave a church. I had become disenchanted with the church of my parents a long time ago and stopped going, something which has put me on semi hostile terms with a lot of the congregation and even my parents to an extent. The hypocritical nature of many there put me off and their reactions to me leaving affirmed this to me. As believers it is important we stay firm on forgiveness and acceptance, myself included and have had my own struggles trying to forgive them, but if you feel led away then act on it. I believe I will be led to a better church or maybe open my own someday. The word should not be compromised on – wish you best of luck.

Victoria
Victoria
Member
December 16, 2016 6:24 PM

Hi all, here is a link to donate towards a movie in the making that reaches out those called out of a “religious game” and into His freedom.
https//www.lifestream.org
Click on:
Making A Movie Of Jake’s Story
This site helps especially people feeling led out of traditional structured church. My hubs and I have been personally blessed so much by Wayne Jacobsen with his character, wisdom, and quick responses to our family when in need.
I believe and hope this movie will speak to our generation of so many being led out of this world’s system and into His freedom.

Jeff G
Jeff G
Member
February 16, 2016 9:14 AM

I’ve never been one to have dreams and visions but I had one of each this morning. The dream I am still waiting on the Lord for interpretation. The vision though I believe pertains to this article. I was praying that God would teach me how to wield the sword of Truth (the sword of the Spirit) when Psalm 91 popped into my head. I was thinking about Psalm 91 when I saw a tribal leader who could have been the chief or some sort of medicine man. He was wearing a headdress that stood straight up off of his head (more African than American Indian) and had nothing on other than a loin cloth (like the Indians wore in the old Western movies) and ankle bracelets made of feathers. He was holding a thick ornate staff in his hand, maybe four feet long, with caps at both ends. It had symbols all over the staff that represented Psalm 91.

I was thinking this is not the way God would want his Word represented, that He would want it represented with humility and shared by all. When praying about the vision further he revealed that what I saw was His word represented as a staff, but it is really a sword. While Moses used a staff, staffs were also used by Pharaoh’s magicians to trick people and as a symbol of power.

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Christina
Christina
Member
February 7, 2016 5:47 PM
This is something that “came” to me and I think portrays a picture of each of us and the Bride. Keep in mind definition of OF: to determine or identify the essential qualities/to show or describe. As I re-read this the part “He is Her essence” stirs me. What came to me many months ago is woman or man OF God.. “OF GOD” Woman of God, Man of God … What I sense and feel now even typing is a separation …. My spirit being drawn because I am “OF GOD”. Separated, as if a new creation being separated from the dust of the ground, formed, bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh, spirit of His spirit. An extraction, as if “OF” defines me. A oneness. Its so deep its as if my very essence will leave the shell of my body. A belonging. Intimacy and passion. A union. Its like an untainted bride in a passionate pure dance and her garments of love wrap and flow around her groom in desire and embrace. Intimate romance exchanging desire for one another in purity. “OF GOD” breathing each other in, unified. ONE. “OF God” They play each other like instruments making a perfect melody that beacons as He strokes her hair embracing all that she is because she is His beloved, the one He has waited to come into His chamber. “OF GOD” amazing love. A consummation long awaited of unity and oneness. One of Purity. Holiness. Everlasting. “OF GOD” A delicate, sweet surrender to her Beloved because HE IS HER ESSENCE. (I LOVE THIS!) The Bridal gown was the garment of her love and they were so one in the spirit, there was no separation. You couldn’t tell them apart. This encounter wasn’t with God, or Jesus, or Holy… Read more »
M Hill
M Hill
Member
February 7, 2016 1:14 AM

After 40 years of hard labor I got out early on good behavior from a life time sentence. You can’t imagine how your post made me smile. Loved the pics, too. I believe we all need to render and receive service to/from our fellow human beings; and we need to find a community in which to do that, but many of us have been in slavery far too long.

Christina
Christina
Member
February 6, 2016 11:07 PM
Hello all. I have been out of church for 9 years and like many others, it was the hardest thing I have ever done for many reasons. The biggest was because when alone with myself, before all I had been taught, since I was 5 (left church at 38) much of it was garbage from the sense of it being crutches and vices. I was brought to the place where I had questioned my salvation. All of this proceeded from one simple prayer that must’ve been right because it’s uprooted everything. “Father I want to serve you because I want to, not because I have to,” which resulted in “Then you are going to need to unlearn some things.” Unlearning made me feel insane in the sense of all I had known, all I was taught was taken away. Hence questioning my salvation. Pretty flipping scary to say the least. Reading my bible was uprooted, praying was uprooted. Going to church uprooted. Family unable to comprehend, and even questioned if I believed Jesus died, was buried, and raised from the dead, and because shortly afterwards I stopped celebrating traditional Christmas and Easter. Unlearning. Mind you, not in a glorious way, but with despair and anxt because those things were crutches and not from a true, sincere place. It was a “have to or this would happen or that would happen” and not because of seeking the Father. Some very profound, but truthful and not taught in church things started to emerge. Reading my bible, praying, going to church, tithing, Sunday school, CHRISTMAS doesn’t save me. IT’S THE BLOOD OF CHRIST ALONE! Not one thing else. It’s been arduous. Intense. Unraveling. Exposing. But one thing I have found, even when talking to others from different beliefs (Jehovah’s Witnesses for example) is… Read more »
Linda Clay
Contributor
February 7, 2016 8:41 AM

Absolutely amazing testimony, Christina. Thank you for sharing.
One of the things that has been something I must be mindful of, but very likely is a prophetic picture, EVERY time I want to write denomination . . . What comes out first
Demon . . . As in demon-nation rather than denomination. I have to consciously write it correctly and even then. . . Sometimes it still starts with demon when I type fast.

The point? All of these fractions and demon-nations within the professing “church” are part of satan’s plan to destroy that which has the name “Christian” on it. The TRUE Bride of Christ is NOT found in buildings, but are those who are fully serving and following Jesus, no matter what the cost. How many are in that number? Jesus said it Himself: “Few” (Matthew 7:13).

Karen Sue
Karen Sue
Member
February 8, 2016 11:10 AM

Hello Christina,

What a powerful testimony. I can’t even state how much this touched me.

“Unlearning made me feel insane in the sense of all I had known, all I was taught was taken away. Hence questioning my salvation. Pretty flipping scary to say the least. Reading my bible was uprooted, praying was uprooted. Going to church uprooted. Family unable to comprehend, and even questioned if I believed Jesus died, was buried, and raised from the dead, and because shortly afterwards I stopped celebrating traditional Christmas and Easter. Unlearning. Mind you, not in a glorious way, but with despair and anxt because those things were crutches and not from a true, sincere place. It was a “have to or this would happen or that would happen” and not because of seeking the Father.”~Christina

I want to share from a dream I had early this morning. It said, Zechariah 3. I have been reading different translations, and commentaries since I woke up. I have been blessed and in a place of no words, even shed tears due to the preciousness of God’s love through Christ, our High Priest.

Plucked as a brand out of the fire. Our righteousness, religiosity, as filthy rags hiding idolatry and pride, but for Jesus who gives us the garments of His righteousness, and sets us to minister to Him.

Leaving dead Churches, and dead works behind, stripping away the filthy garments, our death rags of religion, is a mighty work of the Holy Spirit and Word of God. Sweet sanctification.

“Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This [is] the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6

Christina c
Christina c
Member
February 8, 2016 9:41 PM

Ya know a couple things have run through my mind and I re-read certain things I shared. One is as I am sitting here, when the verse is quoted a man must lose his life to gain it, usually is said in the context is know, customary “sins” but not in the context of of the “religious” things. Interesting. ~selah.

I can’t say I fully understand this, but I am sure a believer we each can relate to Paul the Apostle on many levels and in going through what I did/am, I realized in just a glimpse what it must’ve been like for Paul when he encountered Christ on his journey. He became physically blind as we all know, but also spiritually blind in that all he knew, all he prided himself on being the chiefest of zealots, taught by the best, went right out the open window when he encountered Christ. For three days, like Christ in a sense, he was dead to what he was, and raised anew. Wonder what must’ve gone through his mind those three days. Questions? Despair? Revelation? After his encounter, he eventually went back to the people with a new message. My message is changing, our messages are changing as We encounter, not experience, Christ. Paul’s’ heart was turned toward the Bride, whereas before, it was one of persecution.

Karen Sue
Karen Sue
Member
February 9, 2016 4:09 AM
Christina, Very deep contemplation, even in a glimpse. Rather than a thought, it is a knowing. Yes, the word was with God, and the word is God. John 1:1-4 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. Each time we speak his word, new life enters. Self dies daily to make room for new life. I was thinking about trees yesterday. To keep a tree healthy, so that it produces fruit, it has to be pruned to increase the yield. Only a master gardener knows the branches that must be cut to make way for new life. I noticed sometime along the way that where major branches are cut that the place of it’s circumcision is covered with pitch to keep parasites and disease from entering it, like dressing a wound. If infection comes into a tree, the tree is at risk. The gardener knows what is required as not to lose one fragrant flower, and takes extra steps to insure that the coming fruit is a delight. He knows the soil and the climate it will thrive in. He knows that the inside wood is the life, and the outside the protection. When he plants a sapling, he has a vision of it’s future, and knows exactly where in the garden it will go, and grow best…to please him. Even the branches that have been cut away have value to him. He uses these for fire wood, and mulch. He knows that even the ashes have substance as the base… Read more »
John K
John K
Member
February 6, 2016 2:03 PM
Therefore thus saith the LORD, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth: let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them. Jeremiah:15:19 In pursuit of truth, and matters of faith, its ‘them’ who have departed from the edicts of faith. Its for these to return to God’s ways, and to the believer. The believer need not worry about returning to these ‘churches’ Its the one confrontation they will always quote, that we forsake not the assembling together. That, and that we ought to fellowship the ordinances such as the Lord’s supper commemoration and washing of feet. And that one cannot perform these deeds through the internet for instance. In this, they place emphasis on the activity rather than its reference. Washing of the feet for instance is about being of service to others. Sharing of bread and wine refers more to sharing in the word of God and on spiritual revelation. These we can do through modern fora such as the internet. The service we can do to all our neighbours. But as I encountered only last week, they will use such portions of scripture to seek our compliance to their churches and denominations. Their will is not our liberty but that we be enslaved in their uninformed legalism. And when we do join them for fellowship, they will to be many teachers, to teach us, but will not require or listen to our input. Fellowship is supposed to be interaction, that they share what the Lord has provisioned through them, and they listen also to what the Lord has provisioned through us. But that is not so in these churches. They have established… Read more »
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