Ministry Administration and Prophecy Newsletter

Stephen L. Bening
5720 Lakeside Drive, #619, Margate, FL 33063
(954)979 9916
Issue 2000-01
December 1999/January 2000

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Short, easy to read and replete with helpful suggestions for smooth ministerial operation. Timely reporting of current events and words of prophecy that effect your ministry.

I must admit to you that even though the Lord spoke to me in May, 1999, telling me that it would appear as if nothing at all had happened at 1/1/2000, I found myself checking things right after midnight. I logged on to the internet at 3 A.M. after ministering at a New Years Eve service. I was quite relieved to find everything working, computers in order and reports from around the world confirming that God was apparently working to insure that "it would appear as though nothing had happened."

All the prognosticators of Y2K doom were left dumbfounded. Some people were thankful. Some were mocking and scornful, feeling that they had somehow been hoaxed. There is no way that a hoax has been perpretated when hundreds of billions of dollars have been expended. The miraculous thing is that everything is apparently working.

I need to refer back to my July/August newsletter at this point to bring forward the prophetic words I issued at that time concerning Y2K: "

"Here we are, less than 100 days now from the end of the year and everywhere I turn: TV, Radio, pulpits, there is silence concerning Y2K. There has been doublespeak. It seems that people who speak for the Lord are reluctant to take a position. I only want to know one thing: What have the prophets said? Amos 3:7 states that "Surely the Lord will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." I am a prophet: The Lord's gift to the church. What has the Lord told me?

On May 9, 1999, I wrote the following: "Initially, it will appear as though the predicted problems will amount to nothing, then suddenly, problems will appear and quickly worsen. These problems will not necessarily center on the 1/1/2000 date that has been demonized in the media. Many of those who have prepared early will drop their guard and some will even dispose of items they have collected as part of their preparedness efforts. Then the trouble will come suddenly and unexpectedly." Additionally, I have spoken from the pulpit that Psalm 99:8 references the year 1999, when God "tookest vengeance of their inventions." This scripture is the biblical prophecy of Y2K.

What have other prophets said? Bill Deagle prophesied concerning Y2K on May 5, 1999. The July/August issue of The Prophecy Club newsletter published his word that was purportedly given by the angel Gabriel. Mr. Deagle calls himself a prophet. Deagle wrote "Look, here are the supplies that you need! They are in the garage of this man and many thousands of others who have prepared well for Y2K. They are not your Christian brothers and sisters, nor have they sought out the "Gold of His word". Therefore, when the crisis of Y2K seems to be over, they will put down their guard, and will not seek wisdom from the Father. They sought only to preserve their way of life, and when the imminent threat is over, they will lay down their guard. You, and those who hear and obey, will gain these great resources bought by rich men, who will sell them to you at 11 to 13 cents on the dollar. Tell the people of the Holy Covenant, they are to store up not only for themselves, but for many who will turn and be saved in the Days of Trial for the Whole world....Now is the time to prepare in a sacrificial way." I urge you to obtain this entire word from Prophecy Club. I have only printed key excerpts.

Finally, Apostle John Neuhaus of Fort Lauderdale, who walks with signs and wonders following as he ministers the gospel in the hard places of South America where no one else goes, said early in 1999 that Abraham had two visitations from the Lord in his 99th year, and that the 99th year is a prediction for 1999. The Lord visited Abraham to open the womb of Sarah: to make her fruitful. The Lord also visited Abraham to announce the judgement of Sodom. John said we are to expect two visitations after these types: That the Lord will come in the church before He comes for it.

The prophets are all telling the church to prepare, not selfishly, but sacrificially. I believe that those who prepare now will be blessed by the Lord after 1/1/2000 as the Lord quickly makes them aware of individuals who are selling their supplies. We must seek the Lord, especially after 1/1/2000 when it appears that not much has happened. Do not let your guard down."

Well, that is what I wrote eight months ago. What are we to make of what has happened. It is exactly as the Lord said. It looks as though nothing has happened. In fact, there is some evidence that God actually intervened to make sure that nothing serious happened. We are now in the waiting period, which always requires faith. Will you drop your guard?

When a new minister or church is referred to me, I advise them as follows with respect to 501 c 3 and IRS.

1) Churches and ministries that comprise a component part of a church or that perform an integral function of a church are already excepted under IRC 501 c 3. As a result, all churches and ministries operating in the United States are already dealt with under this code section. Legally speaking, all churches and ministries are already under the "watch and control of the IRS". Some believe that churches that elect not to voluntarily file for exemption under 501 c 3 are somehow not under IRS control. Nothing could be further from the truth.

2) There are advantages and disadvantages to going further by filing a voluntary application for exemption, form 1023.

First, the disadvantages: I advise the new ministry that the disadvantage of filing the 1023 is that you are required to disclose annually to IRS on form 990 the amounts of your revenue and expenses. You are also asked a whole host of questions on the 1023 application and annually on the form 990. You are probably more likely to be audited, but this is difficult to prove because the statistics relating to periods under new laws in effect are not yet in. Certainly, you are seen more by IRS. I advise people that if they won't use the letter for some tangible benefits, they are better off not spending the $1,000 dollars it takes to file. They are relieved to find out they are already excepted and that their members can donate to them and receive a tax deduction already.

The advantages of filing the form 1023 are that you get a letter, proving that you have satisfied IRS requirements for exemption. You can show people this letter. Your organization can be included in Internal Revenue Publication 78 as a charitable organization. Many donors will not donate to a charity unless it is in this publication. Some donors won't write you a check if you don't have the letter. You can't get food at the Daily Bread Food Bank or at Farm Share without the letter. So, it has it's advantages.

Now we get to the spiritual implications of being under IRS authority. My own opinion is that the purest form of biblically correct operation of a church is not as a US corporation but as "the church". An Indianapolis Assembly Of God church disincorporated in 1997. IRS attacked their changing of their operation and they appealed in tax court, where they lost and appealed.. The last I had heard, the Supreme Court had granted certiori to hear the case. Case law is a bit weak until this one is sorted out. It may have already been decided, but I am not aware of it, yet I have not researched it in the last six months.

I believe that the system of antichrist is in place and gaining strength and authority in our government. IRS represents the claws of that beast. Daniel J. Pilla in his book IRS, Taxes and The Beast eloquently presents how IRS is being and probably will be more greatly used in the future as the primary means of control by the beast.

The time is coming, perhaps very soon, when the church will have to submerge like a submarine. At that time, we will first have to legally submerge by forming "for profit Corporations" with non churchy names or simply operating without corporations and without bank accounts. Running the cash basis church seems to be where we are heading. How soon we get there is a question I currently have no answer for.

As of right now, I am still filing 1023 applications for ministries, with a good conscience, after I advise each one of what I have just shared with you. Some elect not to file. Some elect to file. All are advised by me to pray and seek the wisdom of God for their ministry. If there is any good news in this, it is that my initial advice to the churches is free. I am one of the few professionals who will tell them they are not required to file. It costs me financially when they elect not to file, but I know God is pleased when I look out for them at my expense. For those who pray and decide to file form 1023, I do the work for 1/3 of what the local attorneys charge, so that is good news too. And I do their corporations, articles of incorporation and bylaws for them for 1/3 of attorneys rates. They consider that to be good news as well. Then I try to help them any way that I can, preaching and teaching at their outreaches and sending them newsletters with prophecy and hints that are timely. They can review my web site at any time to see my latest newsletters. I am trying to be life to our master's church and to please him. I have not been perfect, but I have done my best.

Personally, my incorporated ministry, Freedom Chapel Ministries, Inc., has not filed form 1023. So I think that is an exhaustive response to the tough issues addressed here. With regard to control of the pulpit, each minister is required to be only under the control of God and serving him only. If God tells a minister to speak on a certain issue, he must decide whom he will serve. It might get him fired by his board of deacons or cause the church to incur a penalty or loss of exemption. It is happening all accross our land. Some are in jail because they have stood up for the unborn. A pastor in Connecticut spent sixty days in jail for spanking his son with a belt. He was obeying the word of God. I think that whatever our 501 c 3 status, whether exempt or excepted or in hiding, we had better obey God rather than man.

The "Convoy Of Love" outreach-tentatively to be held in July, 2000, Location to be announced. Food will be GIVEN away. We hope to preach the full gospel of Jesus of Nazareth to more than 10,000. The last event on December 16, 1999 reached 6,000. Volunteers and support are needed. Contact Lonnie Tolbert (305) 685-8568. WANT TO HELP? GO TO THE CONVOY WEB PAGES

What are the points of argument and what is the truth?

1) What is the source of disease? Not God! God has no disease in heaven. There was no disease in the garden of Eden, only perfection.

Everything God made was very good. (Genesis 1:31)

Disease, difficulty, sorrow, enmity, sweat, and pain came with the curse that accompanied the fall. Death also accompanied this curse. (Genesis 2:17, 3:15-19)

Every good and perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the Father of lights. (James 1:17)

Jesus went about doing good. (Acts 10:38) Did he make people sick? NO! He healed the sick. It is not good to be sick or to make people sick.

2) Satan gets the blame!

Since the fall, “Satan is the God of this world”. 2 Cor 4:4 “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill and to destroy.” (John 10:10)

Job teaches us that Satan can only operate within the parameters of God’s permission, but that it was Satan who afflicted Job, not God. Also, it was Satan’s idea to afflict Job, not God’s. Yet we cannot get around the fact that God gave permission and there was no reason given for this permission except that God was to be glorified by Job’s obedience. Job, however, did not know the reason for the affliction. This was part of the test.

3) Is God always willing to heal? Yes, unless it is God’s will that suffering be endured by a disciple. Not once in Jesus ministry did he turn anyone down who came to him for healing. But, not once did Jesus heal a disciple. The closest he came to doing this was when he healed Peter’s mother and also when he healed Lazarus. Each of the disciples, except for John, ended in a Martyrs death. On the other hand, no disciples apparently needed healing or deliverance after their initial salvation experience. They apparently walked in divine health.

“I came down from heaven not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.” (John 6:38) While on earth, Jesus did only the Father’s will. Not once did he refuse to heal anyone. He never prayed, “if it be thy will, Father” while healing someone or casting the devil out of them..

4) Does God sometimes wait to heal? Yes

“This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.” (John 11:4-6) Jesus waited two days to come and heal even though Mary and Martha sent a fervent request.

5) If death is a consequence of the curse and is enforced by Satan, should it be resisted? Yes

“The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” (1 Corinthians 15:26) Death is an enemy. The enemy is to be spiritually resisted. Death is part of the curse and Satan administers the curse. He is to be resisted because we are commaned to “resist the devil” (James 4:7)

6) Will death sometimes occur even when we have faith and resist? Yes

“And it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this, the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27)

7) Might fervent prayer delay the appointment with death? Yes

“Go to Hezekiah and say, Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years.” (Isaiah 38:5)

8) If God is always willing and ready to heal, what other reasons are there, other than the appointment with death, why men are not healed?

“Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17:21) The disciples were told that this condition, over which the disciples had no power, was not cured by the disciples because they lacked power. Jesus called their problem “faithless and perverse” and “unbelief”. He prescribed fasting and prayer as the cure to unbelief.

Delay, if it will glorify God. Previously cited.

Wounding allowed by God for the perfection of the saint. “It pleased the Lord to bruise his son.” Isaiah 53. We are called to walk in Christ’s footsteps 1 Peter 2. We are called to forsake all, to obtain the hundred fold and with it, persecutions. (Mark 10:30) In this case, the healing is simply delayed either until a later date or until death when the man becomes absent from the body, but present with the Lord. It may take the form of a thorn in the flesh, such as Paul prayed three times that the Lord would remove. (2 Cor 12:7) Also, Christ learned obedience by what he suffered. (Hebrews 5:8) If he learned obedience in this fashion, and he was theGod/Man, how much more will I have to learn in this fashion. Additionally, suffering makes the disciple perfect and entire, lacking nothing (James 1:4) Sometimes, we are called to be partakers in Christ’s sufferings (1 Peter 4:13) and to fill up what is left behind of the sufferings of Christ (Colossians 1:24) and to know the Lord and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. (Phillippians 3:10)

9) How then are we to pray for the sick if the person is not a Christian?

If the sick person is an unbeliever or not a disciple, we should FIRST OF ALL, PREACH THE GOSPEL, THE GOOD NEWS THAT THEIR SINS ARE FORGIVEN to them. Then “call those things that are not as though they were” (Romans 4:17), rebuke the storm or condition or foul spirit (Matthew 8:24, Matthew 17:18) and resist the devil (James 4:7) and cast him out if necessary and take our stand upon the word of God that “By his stripes we were healed” (1 Peter 2:24) If we have any difficulty due to unbelief, we should make certain that all parties in the prayer and illness are walking in forgiveness (Matthew 18:34) for this will cause a person to be delivered by God into the hands of demonic tormentors. If we still have difficulty obtaining healing and deliverance for the person, we should seek the Lord in prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:21). In this situation, since the person is either a lost person or a person needing conversion, healing should follow if faith is present, for God has promised that “these signs will follow those who believe” “they shall lay hands upon the sick and they shall recover” (Mark 16) We should not become discouraged and faint if results are not instantaneous. Jesus commanded us to pray and not faint. (Luke 18:1) Sometimes, results were slow to manifest even in response to Jesus’ prayers and he possessed the spirit without measure.

I believe that we can infer from the scripture that it is always God’s will to heal in this situation if a prayer of faith is offered. It is the faith of the person being prayed for that makes them whole. Jesus said, Your faith has made you whole. It is quite obvious that in order for the church to see and witness these types of signs, the church must be reaching out to lost, unsaved people. These signs will accompany the preaching of the gospel and they follow those who believe.

Since the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much, I think it does not do violence to the scripture to infer that open, unconfessed sin on the part of any party to the prayer may hinder the healing. This confession is encouraged for believers in James 5 and I think it applies here also. Additionally, this type of healing and deliverance should accompany initial salvation.

What purpose is there in casting a demon out of someone who has not received Christ. The person will only wind up seven times worse. Therefore the gospel should be preached. Ideally baptism by water and the Holy Ghost will quickly follow and healing and deliverance should accompany the salvation experience. Do we see this as common in church life? Where is the fault? With God, or with us? I think I know the answer. It lies in lack of faith, holiness, obedience, prayer and fasting.

10) How are we to pray for the sick disciple?

First, we must keep firmly in mind that Hebrews 11 teaches that some saints have been victorious through faith and some have suffered well through the same faith. It is impossible for us to know which outcome awaits the saint we are preparing to intercede for. We must obtain, if possible, the mind of the Lord with respect to the individual. We do not in any way want to convey the feeling to a disciple that we believe their prolonged suffering can only be explained because they lack faith. People who do so fall into serious trouble with God.

James gave us the first suggestions. James reveals in 1:2 that he was writing to “brethren”. “Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray....Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:14-16)

When we begin to pray for the sick disciple, we do not know whether or not God is willing to heal him or remove the thorn of flesh from him. Nevertheless, Paul prayed three times that this thorn would be removed and we should pray also, I believe, if we are not sure. The question then becomes, and cannot be answered by the ministry of Jesus, just how do we conduct the prayer for the healing of the disciple? Let us dissect the scripture. It can be by the elders It must be a prayer of faith They should anoint the sick with oil In the case of affliction, the afflicted one should pray All prayer should, of course, be requested in the name of the Lord. It is prayer, not yelling at the devil, at least at the start (that is my belief). We are not certain it is the devil. It might be the Lord. Wild rebuking of the devil is labeled unwise by Jude 9. We rebuke the devil in the name of Jesus when we identify him as the culprit. Faults should be confessed to a brother Brothers should pray for one another for healing Righteousness effects fervency and effectiveness

We must also listen closely for the voice of the Lord as we pray. In the case of my own divine healing, Blitz Robinson prayed for the healing of my dislocated finger during Hurricane Andrew relief in 1992. Four hours later, I heard the Lord speak to me, telling me, “You are healed, remove the splint from your finger.” It took an act of faith on my part to remove that splint. I was totally and miraculously healed and God was glorified in front of many witnesses and I was healed so that I could complete the work of service I had been called to do by God.

Before we hear from God, we should pray with as much faith as we can muster, calling those things that are not as though they were. We know that our God is a healing God and he is sovereign. He has commanded us to pray. He is then free to heed our prayers or perform his will if it differs from ours. Indeed if we are not praying in accordance with his will, he will not even hear the prayer. (1 John 5:14-15) I believe we should always ask for healing if we do not know what the root cause is. Some say that is presumption. I call it faith. If Paul did not know and prayed three times that it be removed, I think I am in good company if I ask to be healed, even if the Lord won’t remove the thorn. At least I have Paul to emulate in my failure to attain healing. I will have obeyed and prayed. Whom will you emulate? In any event, the disciple should finish by emulating Jesus in saying, “nevertheless, not my will, but thy will be done.”

Lord, don’t give me what I want, give me what I need!

MEMBER: AACML Association of Christian Ministers and Leaders-John Neuhaus, apostle. SPIRITUAL FATHER: Dr. George Fabre, pastor of Christian Life Restoration Center, Lauderdale Lakes, FL. COMPANIES: Stephen L. Bening Financial Ministries and Bening Consulting. DIRECTORSHIPS: GAP Foundation, Inc., World Salt Foundation, Inc., Christ Centered Life Ministries, Inc., Life Restoration Ministries International, Inc., Relief International, Inc. and Trees Of Righteousness Ministries, Inc.