Can a Christian Be An Agnostic?

Satan takes advantage of us when the watchman concept of prayer is not operating, as is made clear in the following verse: “So that no advantage be taken of us by satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes” (2 Corinthians 2:11). The context of the verse is forgiveness, but a general principle is also revealed, which is very applicable to our subject. Let’s analyze the verse more closely.

The word “ignorant” is from the Greek word agnoeo, which means to be “without knowledge or understanding of.” Our English word “agnostic” is derived from it. Technically, an agnostic is not a person who is unsure if he or she believes in God, although we now use the word in this way. In actuality, however, an agnostic is a person who does not know or understand, regardless of the subject. We also get the word “ignore” from the same root. In this verse, we are urged not to ignore or be an agnostic - without understanding - where the devil is concerned.

“Schemes” is from the word noema, which literally means “thought.” The verse is essentially saying, “Don’t be without understanding of the way satan thinks.” Noema came to also mean, “plans, schemes, plots, devices,” because these things are born in the thoughts of the mind. For greater insight, let’s insert all of these concepts into the verse: “Don’t be without understanding of the way your enemy thinks and operates - of his plans, plots, schemes, and devices.” There is also a subtle promise in this command. If God says we are not to be ignorant of satan’s schemes, obviously He is willing to reveal them to us. He doesn’t want us to be caught off guard.

What happens if we ARE unaware of satan’s schemes? The verse says he will take advantage of us. The word “advantage” is derived from pleonekteo, which is a compound word meaning literally “to have or hold the greater portion” (pleon - “the greater part;” - echo - “to have or hold”). It is easy to see why this is a word for “covet.” It also means “overreach.”

In boxing, the person who has the longer reach has the advantage and usually gets in more blows. The word pleonekteo is also translated “make a gain;” satan makes a lot of gains on those who are unaware of his ways. The Greek scholar, Bullinger, says pleonekteo means “to make a prey of, to defraud.” Let’s put all of these definitions together: “To the degree we are ignorant of the way our adversary thinks and operates - of his plans, plots, schemes and devices - to that degree he will gain on us, prey on us, defraud us of what is ours and have or hold the greater portion.” Wow!

The next obvious question is, the greater portion of what? Whatever! Our jobs, marriages, families, communities, money, government, nation, and more. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Church in America was without an understanding of what satan was planning, and he got the greater portion of our schools. The same could be said of our arts and entertainment, our government, and many of our churches!

Paul was taken advantage of in 1 Thessalonians 2:18. Satan “gained” on him in the ongoing war over spreading the Gospel: “For we wanted to come to you - I, Paul, more than once - and yet satan hindered us.” We know Paul won more battles than he lost. He was human, however, and at times satan succeeded in thwarting his plans. Please notice it does not say God changed His mind about where Paul was to go. It clearly says that satan hindered him. Those people who would have us think that satan can do nothing except what God allows and therefore, we can simply ignore him should reread these two verses. God does not ignore the devil, and neither should we. And satan certainly does a lot of things God does not “allow” him to do.

The only sense in which it can be said that God allows everything which occurs on earth is that He created the laws and principles governing the earth - sowing and reaping, cause and effect, and the free will of humans. We, humans, however, implement these principles and in so doing, determine what we reap and experience.

As we stated yesterday, in the 1960s the Church in America was not watching - she was asleep. Unaware of what satan was doing, he grabbed the bigger portion of American society and culture. The demise has been shocking. But watchmen on the wall are sounding the alarm - “There is a serpent in our garden! And it’s time to run him out.”

And we shall! Through the blood of the Lamb, the victory of the Cross, and the name of the Creator and Owner of the earth - Jesus - we shall overcome and expel the serpent.

“And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:11).

Pray with me:

Father, our ignorance of satan and his thinking, schemes, and plans, has been costly. He has certainly taken advantage of us and gained the bigger portion of America. He has outmaneuvered the church and overpowered unbelievers. It looks as though a generation has been lost.

Yet, You are the God of resurrection power. You are the God of grace and the Giver of mercy. Your mercy triumphs over judgment, and Your love and grace triumphs over the serpent. You love to redeem and restore. You’re the Great Physician, the Giver and Sustainer of life, the Friend of sinners and Lover of humankind. And You are coming to America!

So, we boldly ask for this appearance. Come with strength and power, come like a rushing mighty wind, come like the rain, flow like a river. Come to the poor and the rich, to black and white and yellow and brown, to the city and the country, to the young and the old. Come and heal this nation of the serpent’s bite. Free us from his deception and blindness, his lust and perversions, his hatred and murder.

Come to this nation - come quickly and come with a hurricane-force wind! In Jesus’ name, we pray this...Amen!

Today’s decree:

The serpent has bruised America’s heel; but through the victory of Calvary, we shall crush his head!

Portions of today’s post were taken from my book Watchman Prayer.

A Serpent In The Garden

Why couldn’t God have made women to like normal things, such as sitting in the woods for days in sub-zero weather waiting for a deer or elk to walk by? Now that is my idea of exciting watching. Or watching a college football game! Ceci does not always understand me in this area, but she is kind about it. “Who are you rooting for?” she sometimes asks.

“I don’t care who wins,” I often reply.

“Are these any of your favorite teams?”

“No, not really.”

“A favorite player or two, perhaps?”

“Naw, I don’t know much about these guys at all.”

“Then why are you watching the game?” she asks with a quizzical expression.

“Because it’s football,” I reply as patiently as I possibly can. Sometimes people cannot figure out the obvious.

I will tell you what puzzles me: why she and our two daughters like to watch stuff that makes them cry. Go figure!

Many kinds of watching take place: TV watching, parade watching, watching the clock, stock market watching, bird watching, and a thousand other things. I like to watch kids laugh. I hate to watch people cry. I have watched individuals be born; I have watched others die.

I watched a lady in San Pedro, Guatemala, look for a watch. It was her husband’s - he was killed in the earthquake of 1976. So were three of her children. All she and her surviving infant had left were the clothes on their backs. Their small adobe home was a mound of dirt.

When our interpreter asked her what she was digging for, she replied, “A bag of beans we had and my husband’s watch. He was sleeping about here when he was killed,” she said, pointing at an area of approximately ten square feet. “It would mean so much to me if I could find his watch.

We started digging.

Although it was like looking for a needle in a haystack, we asked God to help us and waded into the three-feet-deep dirt. Right then I would have charged hell for that watch. We found it an hour or so later.

“Muchas gracias,” she repeated through tears as she clutched the inexpensive watch to her breast.

Treasure is such a relative term, I thought as I wiped my eyes. I wish the world could see this. Maybe some priorities would change.

I watched another quake victim, holding her three-year-old daughter, walk away from a food line in which I was serving. She was the last in line for the soup. As she held out the jar she had found, we looked at her and said, “No mảs” (No more). Then through blurry eyes, I watched her walk away, holding her hungry child.

Things got all messed up at that point in my life. Neat little lists of needs disappeared. Certain important goals became strangely irrelevant. Things that mattered suddenly didn’t. Bank accounts were looked at differently; success was redefined. Funny how one glance into four eyes can bring such chaos. In many ways, order has never been restored.

Be careful what you watch.

Today’s post is about being a watchman (or watchwoman - for continuity’s sake, we will refer to the watchman which will mean either or both). It is an extremely important aspect of prayer, taken from the secular concept of a sentry, guard, or watchman. God wants you to be one spiritually. Students of scripture speak of a principle called “the law of first mention.” It simply states that the first time an important subject is mentioned in scripture is significant: God “introduces” it. He gives us important details or facts regarding the subject, which will, of course, help us understand the person or thing introduced, much like we do when “introducing” a guest lecturer, for example.

The first mention of a watchman in the Bible is in Genesis 2:15 where God told Adam to “keep” the garden. “Keep” is the Hebrew word shamar, which is one of the three Old Testament words used for a watchman. The main concept of the word shamar involves protection and preservation.

Adam was told to protect the garden, watching for attacks from the evil one, the serpent. Why do I assert this? Because first of all, it is much in keeping with the nature of God to have warned him. To have done otherwise would not have been consistent with God’s character. Second, neither Adam nor Eve seemed shocked when a snake talked to them! It evidently did not come as a total surprise. Third, what else could there have been before the Fall to guard, keep, or protect themselves and the garden from? Only the serpent. In keeping with the law of first mention, the first responsibility of watchmen is to keep the serpent out of their God-given gardens: home, family, city, schools, government, nation - our “garden” can be many things.

The watchmen in America (the church) were asleep in the 1960s and the serpent wreaked havoc in our garden. He spewed his poisonous venom in our government, schools, courts, media, families, entertainment, and even our churches. America bought it as surely as Adam and Eve did 6000 years ago. How bad is the venom?

  • We believe we evolved from monkeys...or a big bang.

  • We kill our babies.

  • We mock those who fight for them.

  • We don’t know the difference between males and females.

  • Truth no longer matters - only the results. In fact, to many, truth no longer exists. They’ve embraced relativism, the doctrine that knowledge, truth, and morality exist in relation to culture, society, or historical context, and are not absolute.

  • We now have a government whose political party boo’s God and won’t say His name in our pledge of allegiance.

  • We have churches that won’t preach the Cross and don’t believe the Bible.

We could go on, of course, but we need not. The point is obvious: there is a serpent in our garden - and it’s time to expel him. That’s why we appeal, and it’s why we must function as the ekklesia, enforcing God’s will on the earth. The blood of Christ is the only antidote for the serpent’s poison, and the name of Jesus is the only force that can expel him. We must use both - this we shall do!

“Then the sentry cries out, ‘I continually stand on this watchtower day after day for you, O Lord. I’m stationed at my post throughout the night.’” Isaiah 21:8

Pray with me:

Father, just as Adam did, we have allowed the serpent into our garden. He has spewed his poisonous venom into every part of our nation. Our government is defiled; they call evil, good and good, evil. They have eliminated You from their function and expelled You from their gatherings. Many of them want to expel You from this nation You founded and called according to Your purpose.

Our universities and colleges teach beliefs and philosophies that ignore You, mock You, and propagate doctrines of demons. Our entertainment industry promotes filth, perversion, and violence; our media is the voice of leviathan, promoting lies and suppressing truth. Much of the Church has become lukewarm, biblically ignorant, and powerless.

Yet, You have the antidote for this poison - the blood of Jesus and the gospel of the Kingdom. You are coming to bring the greatest revival America has ever experienced.

America shall live and not die! And the coming revival is not only for America, it

is to benefit many nations of the earth. And even now Your angels are preparing to distribute this healing serum. Holy Spirit is overseeing the endeavor and preparing to make it available to a billion people around the world. Millions in America will receive it and be saved. And though many hate this and will try to stop it, they fight against You in vain. You are coming and You will not be stopped! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Our decree:

We decree that the poison of the serpent will not be lethal for America! Jesus is coming to save her!

Portions of today’s post were taken from my book Watchman Prayer.

Honoring Three American Pioneers

Holy Spirit tells us in Acts 13:36 that King David fulfilled the purposes of God for his generation. This verse speaks loudly to so many who read it, seeming to “jump off the page.” Who among us would not be thrilled to hear those words from the Lord?

I want to share the stories of two of the first African American Congressmen. These men hold a unique role in history and definitely fulfilled God’s purpose for them in their generation. They were pioneers, stepping into governmental positions no black man had ever navigated. These forerunners decided they were going to live out their newly won freedom in every sense of the word, and help all other African Americans live free, as well.

They were not thinking of themselves when they ran for office, nor only of those in the districts they would represent. Hiram and Joseph knew they would be representing every black American living in their era, as well as the generations to come. They were navigating new ground, standing against long-held social mindsets and setting precedents. Both were selfless and brave – the hallmarks of every great leader.

Hiram Rhodes Revels was the first black member of the U.S. Senate. He was elected by the Mississippi State Senate to fill one of two seats vacated when they seceded from the Union in 1863. The remainder of the term was only a year, but Senator Revels filled it well. Hiram had been born free in North Carolina in 1827; he had later become a pastor. Senator Revels knew God had called him to the Senate, however, and had a unique purpose in doing so.

Once in office, the Senator realized he could not represent only Mississippi. He began receiving letters requesting assistance from black men and women across the United States. Jim Crow laws forcing segregation began being passed in 1870 and he fought valiantly against them. As one who knew God, he rightly determined America would not be blessed if racism continued, and certainly not if it was encouraged at the level of the federal government. Mr. Revels stood directly in the middle of the racial battle, favoring neither segregation nor forced integration - he called people to an even higher standard, that of love. Senator Revels once said, “I find that the prejudice in this country to color is very great, and I sometimes fear that it is on the increase….If the nation should take a step toward the encouragement of this prejudice against the colored race, can they have any grounds upon which to predicate a hope that Heaven will smile upon them and prosper them?”

Following his successful year in the U.S. Senate, this American pioneer served as the first president of Alcorn University in Mississippi. Revels then returned to his first passion – serving the Lord in full-time vocational ministry. Hiram Rhodes Revels served the Lord well in his generation.

Joseph Hayne Rainey was the first African American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, also coming into office in 1870. During his 8 years in Congress, Rainey realized he, too, was a representative of more than just his constituents. He was a representative of black men and women across the nation trying to navigate their transition from slavery and the era of reconstruction after the Civil War.

Rep. Rainey, who had been born into slavery, said, “I can only raise my voice, and I would do it if it were the last time I ever did it, in defense of my rights and in the interests of my oppressed people.” He worked on legislation guaranteeing equal rights under the law for African Americans. He also had a love for Native Americans and immigrants of all races. Mr. Rainey’s biography at tells us he had “vision for human rights, including not only civil and political rights, but economic rights for working people, immigrants, formerly enslaved people and others. He supported the sovereignty of Native American tribes and called on the United States government to respect existing treaties. He praised immigrants and opposed legislation that tried to limit the rights of Chinese laborers in the workplace.” Representative Rainey truly understood the value of all men and women.

Representative Joseph Rainey was a businessman who applied his skill and knowledge to help rebuild America after it was nearly torn apart. Set free from slavery following the great Civil War, he recognized that true freedom would not be seen until laws ensuring equality and justice for all were put in place. Congressman Rainey gave 8 years of his life to be certain it happened.

We have no documentation of Mr. Rainey being a believer, but it appears that the Lord chose him to serve our country at a critical time in its history. He did that well, and we applaud him for it.

Despite the triumphs these men won for America, African Americans and other people of color, no blacks would be elected to the U.S. Congress from 1901 until 1928 – nearly three decades! The spirit of racism taking root through the “Jim Crow Laws” prevailed for a season.

However, God in His great grace did not leave America during those years. In that 27-year gap, America would see one of the greatest revivals ever occurring on U.S. soil – the Azusa Street Revival – led by William Seymour, a black man. The Azusa Street Revival was attended by African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and Caucasians. It also transcended gender bias, led by both men and women. The government of man shut out African Americans for a season. God honored them, however, and entrusted a season of great Kingdom advancement to them. The Azusa Street Revival became the headwaters of a stream of Pentecostalism that touched millions of lives, including mine. We honor them. May we, like these great black leaders, fulfill God’s purposes in our generation.

“May He equip you with all you need for doing His will. May He produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to Him. All glory to Him forever and ever! Amen.” (Hebrews 13:21 NLT)

Pray with me:

Father, You place a very high value on honor. We honor You, of course, but we also honor the men and women in history who have given us examples to emulate. Some have pioneered paths for us to follow, others have paid great prices for that which we freely enjoy. We are grateful for the legacy they handed us.

It is honorable and right for us to give tribute to Congressmen Revels and Rainey. They were forerunners in one of the most tumultuous times in our nation’s history. We thank You for giving leaders like Lincoln the courage to end slavery, and for the thousands who were willing to fight for that cause. But we also thank You for the brave black women and men who overcame the prejudices of their day and forged ahead with dignity and strength. They are heroes and part of what makes America great.

And Lord, thank You for William Seymour and the grace You poured out at the Azusa Street Revival. Where would we be without that marvelous outpouring which became the spiritual bedrock for many of our lives? It was a great revival, yes, but it was also a movement of freedom within the Christian community. We honor this man.

And Father, we now ask You for a wave of supernatural healing to invade our nation through the coming revival. Tear down walls of racism and prejudice, and heal wounds from the past. We do as You instructed us in Matthew 16, and bind the evil powers of darkness that feed hatred and racism in America. We use the keys of authority You gave us and close that door; we forbid it to remain open.

We ask You to raise up healers - leaders with strong anointings to address this issue. Give them wisdom, revelation, and great authority. Cause their words to be so powerfully anointed that hearts are deeply stirred when they speak and write. Silence the voices that stir up division and strife, that keep wounds open and stir up violence. Take from them their influence. Let a literal movement of racial healing sweep this nation. Cause every race to drink deeply from the coming outpouring of Holy Spirit. Transform lives and communities.

May Your Kingdom come and Your will be done - on earth! - just as it is in heaven. We know our prayers enable You to do these things; they even activate angels. We ask for that now. You are well able to do this and we believe You will! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Today’s decree:

We decree that racial healing is coming to America and that all races will be loved and honored in our land.

1 Congressional Globe, Senate, 41st Cong., 3rd sess. (8 February 1871): 1059–1060.

2 "Joseph Hayne Rainey," Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–Present,; “The Legislature,” 23 September 1868, Charleston Daily Courier: 4; “The Negro Representative—How He Looks, Etc.,” 14 December 1870, Cleveland Plain Dealer: 2.

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Batesburg-Leesville, SC 29070

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