- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 8, 2003

Excerpts from Carmen Lattimore’s sermon yesterday at Victory Church International in Fort Washington:

In the last few weeks we’ve been looking at the church, the bride of Christ. We’ve been examining reasons for her apparent inability to accomplish, to acquire, to achieve the greatness that she knows Jesus has called her to, the royal stature she is destined for.

According to Matthew 28:18-20, we know that all power was given to our Bridegroom in heaven and earth. And that He has given us His church, a ministry, a Great Commission to go into all the world preaching and teaching the Gospel. We know He gave us the power to do this. Luke 10:19 says He gave us power greater than all the power of all our enemies. Power to tread on serpents and scorpions. Power, according to John 1:12, to become the sons of God.

True. There are competing ministries in the world with opposing powers. Satan has the ministry of falling. These other ministries are “Pitfall Experts.” In Luke 10:18, Jesus said he saw Satan fall like lightning. And now he has many men and women, even Christians, falling. Falling for every wind of doctrine, falling into sin, falling short, falling behind on finances, falling into immorality, falling into holes they can’t get out of. So many are practicing this ministry. They call me on the phone crying, “Help, I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up.”

“You need power,” I tell them. “You need some Holy Ghost power.”

Last week we talked about agents who offend us and Satan’s Millstone ministry of falling into the sea with a boulder around your neck. The “Sopranos” would call this being thrown into the lake wearing a “cement necktie.” In Matthew 18:6-7, Jesus warns us about that ministry. Like the agents in the movie “The Matrix,” people can be overcome by enemy persecution and enlisted to war against God’s people using offenses.

And even God’s beautiful bride, if she’s offended, and doesn’t forgive the offenders the way Jesus taught us to in Matthew 6, she can develop “demon breath” and start to offend others. So, if you don’t forgive others their trespasses, you can become an enemy agent, too.

We looked at some of the methods and techniques Satan’s agents (his witches and warlocks, as I like to call them), use to war against God’s people. We looked at various manipulative, mind-control tactics, emotional and verbal abuse behaviors. I described them, and you saw the stuff some of your co-workers, your spouses, parents, neighbors, even your kids were using on you. And you got so excited, you wouldn’t let me stop preaching until 2:10 p.m., and then you forced me to hold an altar call. You were so hurt and abused, you cried and got delivered for another half-hour.

But this week I want to minister to the abusers. I want to minister to people who’ve been so hurt, who’ve fallen so far down that they’ve been hurting other people. Hurting them emotionally, saying mean things, trying to control and manipulate. I want to talk to those of us who got caught in the control bind, who are caught up in “the compulsive, obsessive need to ruin other’s lives” bind.

Or maybe others have just been accusing you of this unfairly. Maybe you’re not trying to control them. Maybe you’re just trying to steer them through their problems, to help them grow, to manage them — a little. Maybe you’re a witch and don’t know it.

You know who you are. You think you are so holy, and then you get hit by the Lord in church, especially when you are feeling self-righteous. “I’m not going to her program because she didn’t come to mine.”

Where would you be if someone hadn’t put that millstone around your neck? One moment you are Carmen Lattimore and in the next you are unrecognizable. Something has come over you, and the old you has come back. You think your way is more satisfying than God’s way.

We get overcome by enemy persecution, and we want to do something back. When that happens, we need to resist. Otherwise we offend others and become an enemy agent ourselves.

For abusers and manipulators, people who have been hurting other people under the guise of mentoring, leading or ministering, saying mean things and hurting others. You may be a witch and don’t know it. You may succumb to “civilized sins” and spoil the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Some of these “small” sins are jealousy, envy, pride, anger, selfishness, lying, exaggeration, impure thoughts and gluttony.

You can’t get to the next level in Christ unless you are obedient in all things.

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