Is it OK for Pastors to Be Rich–and Fine? Let’s Rev’ up!

“He’s so fine.” I heard a young woman sitting behind me say of a certain pastor who arguably looks like Leonardo DiCaprio. He’s full of charm and charisma, slick hair, decked in shirts that tease some chest and flaunt buff biceps, tight Kim-Kardashian-for-guys jeans, I couldn’t deny I, too, found myself having to fight off similar thoughts and focus instead on what he was saying.

This incident happened over six years ago, and it wasn’t even a year before I packed up my spiritual bags and left that club-like environment that initially drew me because of its youthful “passion for Jesus,” but eventually left me hungry for a more authentic reflection of what it means to have a relationship with the Holy, Holy, Holy, God Almighty described in the book of Revelation, of whom often, when He’d appear to believers, would cause them to drop almost dead in fear and awe of Him.

The Church says we want a revival of those coming to Christ, and that is great, but what about those who have already confessed Him as Lord, but are wallowing and drowning in sin? Reverence has become taboo at best and downright offensive and altogether avoided by many in the Church. But sisters, if a Church tiptoes around or evades entirely the topics of holiness, sanctification, hating evil and loving good, then you are on a spiritual diet that is highly lacking in necessary and beneficial nutrients for growth. Please indulge me a little longer.

Is your character stagnant? Do you find yourself struggling with the same sins, feeling very weak, vulnerable, tempted, etc.? What are your Christian leaders like? Is everything “positive and uplifting?” Is Church service this fun time that’s full of inspirational jargon?

Encouragement isn’t evil–but in the wrong hands it’s deadly. In fact, what you’re hearing at many pulpits is actually flattery and deception. We are not even close to being worthy of God and His forgiveness and love. It is by His grace, which means “UNDESERVED FAVOR” that we have been saved. There’s nothing we can boast about regarding ourselves yet many pastors will parade on a stage like they’re all that and tickle your ears or flat out tempt you with their “spiritual” sensuality. You know, those pastors who are evidently very concerned with their outward appearance because they spend hours in the gym, always have their hair cut and styled on point, and “dressed to kill” as my grandma says.

Do you know what Paul said about himself and the other Apostles, the head honchos of the first church?

For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us—and indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you! For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! 11 To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. 12 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; 13 being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.”-1 cor 4:7-13

So many pastors are living like kings–and far from being “poorly clothed–spending a million dollars on a home when they could still very comfortably live off quite less and give more. These career pastors often “preach” messages that are universally accepted, easy to tolerate, and relatable to the majority. Yet biblically, we see the gospel and the standards for Christians as taught in the bible are focused heavily on living for God, pleasing Him, loving, serving, and honoring others. And how can you know if you’re pleasing to God or “acceptable” to Him if you aren’t reading His Word much, but heavily relying on your pastor’s word? How can you know if your pastor is teaching you how to please God, or if he’s teaching you how to please yourself?

See, these pastors and teachers enjoy making the bible seem secondary and optional at best. They love this because then, in your hunger for spirituality and positivity, instead of finding it in the Bible, you’ll buy their books. Think about it: they make a profit off of teaching you “spiritual truths.” If, in your search for answers, you relied heavily or solely on Scripture, then you wouldn’t need their books and then there goes their millions.

These guys are smart. There is a successful business model in pursuing a pastoral career. Make yourself look good, be charismatic, don’t preach or emphasize the bible too much, be as cool as possible, as positive as possible, flatter as naturally as possible, give out free coffee, and your church will grow. When you’ve got a big following, then you pump out and market your books to them and bam, your chances at becoming a millionaire are deliciously accessible.

Caveat: Recently, I pulled my own spiritual books off of Amazon, leaving just my fantasy novel, and posting the relationship advice ones for free on Wattpad. I’m just not comfortable selling spiritual advice. The apostles said it was okay to survive off of the gospel, but that’s for missionary men and women to have their needs met, that wasn’t an affirmation for inspirational “pastors” to become rich off of the gospel, teaching and making disciples, and then living lavishly. In fact, Paul said specifically in his day there were many peddling the gospel and preaching for “dishonest gain” (2 Corinthians 2:17, Titus 1:11). And, there’s still lots of them today who hypocritically say, “Well, I got rich off of my books, not church tithes, so it’s okay if I spend this money lavishly on myself.” Can you imagine what Paul would say to some of these men? And many of them come out as having some serious sin or accept really, greedily high salaries.

See, there’s no reverence. There is no fear of God, which the bible says is the beginning of wisdom. Many in the church are walking around just as Paul warned us not to: foolishly, when he told us to be wise, knowing what is acceptable to the Lord (Ephesians 5:10). Many don’t even know these warnings about walking worthily (Ephesians 4:1; Colossians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:12), seeking if you’re behaving acceptably to God, even exist in the bible. I make my case: these men don’t want you to know they exist! Because then you might become “woke” to their fake-ness and greed, having the biblical discernment to see right through them and then totally pass on buying their books and other goodies.

God wants us to, “work out our salvation with fear and trembling,” (Philippians 2:12) because it’s “a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God,” (Hebrews 10:31).

Jesus said the path to destruction is wide and there are MANY who travel it, but the road leading to life is, “narrow and difficult” and there are “few who find it,” (Matthew 7:13-14).

I pray in Jesus’ name that you–and myself–are among the latter.

Dear Ex, I Never Really Loved You

Worldly “love” comes natural. It’s that Eros “love.” It’s erotic, sensual, and highly appeals to the flesh and the emotions. I’ve fallen in this kind of “love” with several guys. And the more physically and emotionally intimate I was with the guy, the more “in love” I thought I was.

No no. I didn’t think I was in love. I was convinced I was in love. But praise Jesus, His Spirit taught me what real love looks like.

See, the Eros love is how people who don’t truly know Christ love. They do not have His Spirit within them, so they love in a purely human and unspiritual way. This love is broken, limited, and extremely harmful. This love is desperately selfish, even when it looks like it isn’t. This love craves what the other person has to give; their attention, their affection, their adoration, their body. This love stems from the heart that is consumed with Self. A heart that is concerned about its own happiness, not the other’s true well-being. And that is why it is dangerous. Because it is not pure love. It is earthly, sensual—dare I say—demonic.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?-Jeremiah 17:9

If before surrendering to Christ, the human heart is deceitful and desperately wicked how on earth can it deny its true nature and love another in a pure way? A godly way? The answer is simple: it can’t.

But when a heart is given to Christ and regenerated by the indwelling of His Holy Spirit, now this heart can love in the agape way. The unconditional, selfless, pure, sacrificial way.

Firstly, the regenerated heart is no longer seeking to please Self, but God. This new heart prompts the Christian to delve into the Scriptures and get to know God’s heart. This heart is powerful because the Holy Spirit now lives within it and causes it to be like and obey God.

Before I surrendered my heart to Christ on February 22nd, 2009, I truly thought I loved my ex more than anyone. I believed that because I felt such intense burning desire for him, thought about him often, and wanted to see him all the time, I loved him.

This wasn’t love. I was like a human leech, sucking whatever I could out of my ex because it pleased MY flesh. It made ME feel good. I was addicted to him, not in love with him, because like a drug, he gave my flesh a good high.

But after giving my heart to Jesus, things changed. I’ve been married for almost four years (September 10th <3), and hubby and I don’t fight anymore. I mention this first because in so many worldly relationships fights are natural and usually often. Outbursts of wrath is a fruit of the flesh. You get upset because in that moment, your boyfriend isn’t making YOU happy. Your Self acts out because it’s currently not getting a good high.

But with hubby, now of there’s ever any tension, one of us lovingly submits, and the one who was thinking selfishly at the moment quickly repents and there is immediate peace, which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. I give in to him, he gives in to me, and without a fight. We just lovingly give ourselves and this evades conflict. It’s not all about what I want to do and it’s not all about what Jonathan wants to do. We understand one another and are 99% of the time, gentle toward each other, which is another fruit of the Holy Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (‭Galatians‬ ‭5‬:‭22-23‬ NKJV)

When two people have the Holy Spirit, and are letting Him lead, this is the outcome. Real love doesn’t have moments of feeling good, it is good. Sacrifice isn’t this painful, horrible notion that is never even conceived of. Sacrifice is given freely because we seek the well-being and benefit of the other—not ourself.

It’s extremely tragic when Christians are in worldly relationships. It begs the question: do you really have the Holy Spirit in you, because the fruits of your relationship are fleshly. They look just like the world, except maybe they attend a weekly service or two together.

My prayer is that Christians in a worldly relationship will repent. It will certainly hurt their selfish flesh, because the relationship can be so pleasing to it at times, but in the long run, they’ll spare not only their souls from judgement (because being in sinful and hurtful relationships isn’t pleasing to God), but will be free to experience true love, agape love. And when you begin loving someone in a Christ-like way, and he or she loves you likewise, you’ll understand what you’ve been missing all this time.

Ladies, Who Should You Fight For?

Sisters, do you view Jesus as someone totally worth living for, worth listening to and obeying, worth spending time with; worth loving? 

We love because He first loved us. Love literally is not possible in a world where Jesus does not exist. He showed us what love is and it’s Him! Plain and simple: God is love, Jesus and God are one. Outside of them, there is no perfect love. (1 John 4:16-19)

That means there isn’t a single human being on the planet–including yourself–who can “complete” or fulfill or love you sufficiently. 

True love paid the price to forever love you perfectly. Jesus died so if you stopped looking elsewhere for love, and instead trusted in His love, you can be forgiven for every single sin you’ve ever done or thought, and be freely welcomed into heaven where He will faithfully love you for all eternity! 

If He isn’t worthy, then who or what is more worthy than Him? What or who deserves more devotion and attention? 

I’ve been getting this conviction more and more to live to please Jesus. The world, movies, books, TV shows, music, it’s the most popular message out now: you should be pleased, you are number one. Humanism is really all about the human and his or her goodness and worthiness. The problem is, who in the world decides what’s good and why, and who is worthy and why? 

God is the whole reason behind morality. Without God, morality will eventually crumble and decay until there’s nothing left of it. Don’t believe me? Take a look at our society and how much we’ve fallen. We are now becoming evermore what this biblical prophecy described would happen in the last times:

You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!They are the kind who work their way into people’s homes and win the confidence of vulnerable women who are burdened with the guilt of sin and controlled by various desires.(Such women are forever following new teachings, but they are never able to understand the truth.)-2 Timothy 33:1-7

Today I will fight the devil and my own selfish desires that shout, “Live for you! Do what you want!” And instead, I will fight to love and please Jesus. Will you?

Is Modesty the Best Policy?

There’s a new phenomenon in American fashion: super-duper, bottom-of-butt-cheek short-shorts and midriff-exposing shirts. To many of us ladies, it’s all just cute. We walk around like baby unicorns rather than the enticing mares we are. We are, after all, women, not little girls. (Click to Tweet)

However, I’m preachin’ to the Christian woman.

Girl, I first of all commend you for professing Christ in a time where it is beyond taboo to do so. There’s so much mockery and disrespect out their toward Jesus and His children. It takes guts to claim Him as Lord so again, for that, I commend you, sister. Keep it up, for He who confesses Christ before others, Christ will likewise confess before His Heavenly Father on the day you face them (Matthew 10:32-33).

Remember how deeply Jesus loves you and how patient He is with you. But He’s patient because there’s something He’s waiting for: our sanctification. God doesn’t save us just so we can go to heaven as is. He saves us as is to give us access to heaven, but He also transforms us in the process. But it’s a relationship that goes both ways.

There’s things I’ve done to annoy my husband and displease him. And there’s things my husband has done to annoy and displease me. What looks like greater love: if I say, “Well suck it up and take the good with the bad.” Or instead, “I hear you, love, I’ll work on it because I want to make you happy.”

If Jesus says, “Immodesty displeases Me, but modesty makes Me happy,” what would your response be?

And Jesus DIED FOR YOU. He gave us everything so if He wants us to cover up some, will we die? Well, Jesus did command us to take up our cross, deny ourselves and follow Him (Matthew 16:24-26). And the Bible speaks of “crucifying our flesh.” (Galatians 5:24)

There will certainly be many times as a daughter of God where Heavenly Daddy will say, “Don’t do this, don’t do that. I want you to do this, I want you to do that,” and those commands will be hard; they will take some sacrifice–sacrificing our pride and our desires.

It’s preached incessantly by the world, “Do what makes YOU happy.” But as a daughter of God, as a Christian, we are commanded the opposite: deny yourself, crucify your selfish desires, don’t just look out for your own interests, but for the interests of others as well (Philippians 2:4); love even your enemies (Matthew 5:43-48).

Still wanna be a daughter of God?

Did I tell you JESUS DIED FOR YOU? If someone dies for you and will literally take you by the hand and pick you up whenever you fall, countlessly forgiving you and taking you back, and then lead you to heaven’s gates where He will love you for all eternity with a perfect love, is it really too much to ask to live a life that’s devoted to loving Him back?

“If You love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.(John 14:15-17)

Did ya catch that? Jesus tells us to obey His very difficult commandments, but then immediately after, He promises that He will give us a Helper to help us obey! And this Spirit will show us the truth and literally live inside of us so we can walk it out!

Ah, indeed, there is no God like our God. And that, my sweet sister, is why you should pursue modesty.

 

Know your worth,

Natasha ❤


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Me and Sir Jonathan’s TRUE supernatural love story is now on Wattpad!

I quickly tossed the bags in a bin by the counter as Chris did the same, and then turned to leave.

“Wait,” he said.

I halted, my heart beginning to pound, and then slowly faced him. He stepped forward, his deep, brown eyes rapt on me. And without any more warning, he took my face in his hands and pressed his supple lips against mine. My muscles tensed and I froze. Is this really happening right now? I closed my eyes, even though doing so felt like a crime. His kiss held much of the same weakening effect it had on me last time, but anxiety combated some of it. The fear of getting hurt again gripped me just as much as his kiss did.

After a very long moment he released me. “I really like you, Natasha…a lot.”

I blinked at him, my tongue still frozen. Thoughts fumbled around my mind in a drunken stupor despite having not drank. Did he just say-but how-I thought he-Heat filled my cheeks as I smiled. Maybe now isn’t the time to process Chris’s antics. He returned the gesture. But surprisingly, it wasn’t that pleased/amused smile. It was…different. It looked tender, genuine…


“You scared me,” I said.

“I’m sorry.” Dace slid his hands onto my hips and kissed me.

I caressed the back of his head, my heartbeat slowing as I pressed my body closer to his. His warm torso felt like stone. I pulled back and peered into his eyes.

“There’s something so mystical about you.” Dace stared with a passion that seared into the depths of me.

“Mystical? How so?”

“Just the way you move or don’t move. There’s a charm about you that I’ve never seen before.”
—-
The Phantom Lover, the Dark Angel, and the Dream Prince.

My name is Natasha, and this is my true, supernatural love story.

The way me and Jonathan came together is nothing short of supernatural. It sounds like a YA fiction novel so I decided why not write it in the style of one? It’s written in first-person point of view, and you’re experiencing my relationships as I experienced them. You get to be in my teenage head, and as if watching a Netflix show unfold, you’ll go on a journey from my first love at seventeen-years-old to meeting my true love at nineteen. But before you get to enjoy my happy ending, strap on your seatbelt, because I take you through the rollercoaster I experienced in the two relationships leading up to my last and present one.

Are you ready?

Start reading my ongoing, true, supernatural love story absolutely free on Wattpad now.