My heart has been grieved and vexed for the past 20 years concerning a matter that was nebulous and elusive at first; but not anymore, not after this morning.
I had had a hernia operation at the Veteran’s Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico and was discharged to return home to Pagosa Springs, Colorado, a trip of some 200 miles. The doctor suggested that if possible, a couple more days of recuperation with friends in Albuquerque would aid in the healing process. When friends invited us to stay with them in their luxurious home, we gratefully accepted. To me and also to Rebekah, the invitation seemed a God-sent. We were not aware at first that there was a “hook” in it.
Our friends were eager to have us meet some of their friends and invited them while I was recuperating. I was not eager to meet or fellowship with anyone else. Recuperating from a hernia operation is always painful; and when in pain, one tends to avoid people, but especially strangers. But our host insisted that meeting this special group of friends would be a good thing for everyone.
I smelled a rat, but could not see it at first. Well, the reason for inviting these “friends” was to introduce Rebekah and myself to the pyramid marketing program used by “AMWAY.” Some 20 years ago AMWAY products and the AMWAY marketing method was very popular and well-known. Many had gotten involved and according to hearsay, the financial rewards were substantial. For some, going to AMWAY meetings and pep rallies was the next best thing to going to church or at times, a substitute for church. We were told that the Word of God was quoted in many of the meetings. We never signed up and were offended by the devious way our involvement was solicited.
I am permitted to name the company because today AMWAY is no longer in existence. Disgruntled, disappointed, betrayed employees and competition have torpedoed the company. Although many of the products were excellent, the pyramid or multi-level marketing strategy created only a few superstars and a great deal of hype and many disillusioned salespeople. Since then, other companies have imitated AMWAY with varying degrees of success. And it is “success” only as defined by this world’s definition of success: “Money, prizes, and prestige.”
Ten years passed before another person approached us to become an AMWAY representative. This individual had been a close and wonderful friend for many years. He had gotten burnt out in his field of endeavor, sold his business and threw himself with a passion into AMWAY. Before AMWAY confiscated his soul, the presence of the Holy Spirit was always present when we talked on the phone or visited with one another. I recall the time the Holy Spirit was so abundant that we had to pull off the freeway and park the car. Neither one of us were safe or sane drivers.
The moment my friend signed up with AMWAY, our relationship changed. He felt rejected because I would not participate in this wonderful opportunity to make a lot of money. Our friendship became superficial because his conversation sooner or later always included AMWAY. He could not stop talking about it and trying to get me to sign up. Intimacy was gone and so was the Holy Spirit. I never sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit again. Although AMWAY is no longer a part of his life today, becoming financially secure seems to be an obsession and a high priority.
There have been a few others in my life with whom I enjoyed great intimacy and in whose presence the Holy Spirit was a frequent guest. But the moment these special friends signed up in a pyramid or multi-level marketing program, there was no more intimacy. Conversations became superficial. I suddenly traded my position of friend with the role of a potential customer or sales representative. And that put me on guard. Although the products that are sold can be helpful and healthy, the underlying motivation for selling the product is flawed. I can sense this most of the time and refuse to use or recommend it when I do.
What grieves my heart even more is that instead of bringing Jesus Christ into the market place, the market place is being brought into the home and is even invited into the sanctuary of God. Whenever this happens my spirit freezes up and I quietly remove myself from that particular home and House of God. Whenever I cannot sense the presence of God in a place, I know that there is something terribly wrong.
I do ask the question, “Lord, is the problem with Peter or is the House of God being defiled?” And at times there is something wrong with Peter. None of us are squeaky clean all the time.
In the Book of Revelation Jesus spoke to the seven churches through the apostle John. He said, “Write down what you have just seen, and what will soon be shown to you. This is the meaning of the seven stars you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks: The seven stars are the leaders of the seven churches, and the seven candlesticks are the churches themselves” (Revelation 1:19-20). And then Jesus speaks with both compassion and severity to each church and warns each church that unless it repents, their candlestick shall be removed.
Jesus is speaking through many of his apostles and prophets today. Unless we speak what He tell us to speak; unless we write what he tells us to write, we will not be able to sleep.
Two nights ago I had a very clear dream in which I attempted to present the above words to a small audience. One person in the audience was very disrespectful and insisted on having a disruptive and loud conversation with another individual. I clapped my hands to get his attention and woke up. I am clapping my hands! Jesus is clapping his hands – not because He is applauding; but to awaken those who have been beguiled by glory and glamour.
Tonight I shall sleep. I have been obedient and shown you my heart and the heart of the Father.
Please visit Peter and Rebekah Laue's wonderful ministering website.
Rebekkah is an amazing artist as shown below in “The Sword of the Lord -
Strongholds are Coming Down”--one of her many works available at their gallery. Peter is a wonderful writer and has several help books available with messages in them that are straight from the Lord.