PASTORS and SHEPHERDS


“You have abandoned my flock and left them to be attacked by every wild animal. And though you were my shepherds, you didn’t search for my sheep when they were lost. You took care of yourselves and have left to starve.” says the Lord regarding His shepherds who were called to care for His sheep. Ezek 34 1-4

I’ve seen many examples of pastor abuse throughout 30 years in Christ. My own abuses left deep scars, but for God’s grace and kindness, He used these events to strengthen and groom me for His higher purpose. I grieve, meeting so many lost and broken people, mislead, taken advantage of or harshly treated by their former pastors. Most went out into the world battered and bitter, never to be heard from again. I want to encourage you who have been treated in such a way. Yeshua Jesus cares. He is not responsible for your hurt and He wants to restore you!

Jesus, Yeshuah is the healer. He will also hold accountable those in leadership who have been harsh, irresponsible and self-centered. Prophets Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Isaiah rallied against evil shepherds. Jesus especially blasted the haughty, arrogant Pharisees and Sadducees. They thought they’d arrived at spiritual perfection and demanded all their followers to follow suit. There are few things that irk God more than pride, arrogance and not being teachable, (as a child). Many pastors today are like old dogs that can’t learn new tricks. Many are immersed in legalism, religion and tradition.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” Mat 23:13

Nowadays, the requirements for the pastorate are more restrained. regardless, both the called and the self-ordained will still be accountable to God for their treatment of those entrusted to him. I’ve known many pastors who scrutinize, intimidate and demand perfection according to their own personal standards. They need a Holy Ghost spanking and fasting time to fine-tune their people skills.

Saint Paul reminded us to study to show themselves approved. 2 Tim 2:15. Diligent study of the Holy Scriptures, under the guidance and revelation of the Holy Spirit is necessary for spiritual illumination. The various translations of the original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic texts give a more accurate understanding of the culture and meaning of the scriptures. Too often, scripture is taken out of context when based on pastors own perceptions, experiences and biases.

Jesus was the epitome of the gentle shepherd, Rabbonni, (Hebrew for teacher) and was the prefect pastor/Rabbi!

I’ve also known some very young pastors who were ordained with only a few years under their belt!
Paul told Timothy, “Lay hands suddenly on no man, especially not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.”

Paul set forth precise parameters those seeking seeking leadership in the church.

Jesus said, “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent” Rev 3 19-20.

All who enter into the family of God is taken in as a son or daughter so God can train them in holiness and righteousness. One starts with baby steps of faith. Many years or decades are needed for pastors to be well-rounded. The training is challenging and there are many sacrifices.

I want to talk to you pastors and leaders about true anointing. The most fruitful pastors are soul-sculptors who nurture and equip their people for service and/or leadership. Any pastor who struggles with envy or is intimidated by gifted people is not a good pastor. Moses was an excellent pastor who was the humblest man on earth. He spent quality time in God’s presence and was highly intuitive about the needs and struggles of his people. Foremost, Moses was a friend of God! The more time a pastor spends in God’s presence, the more He loves people!The love walk, first with God and then with people, is most important.

I will never forget my early experiences as a three-year old baby Christian. I befriended a guy from college who was very nice to me. I told him I didn’t “date” men because of my faith, but allowed him to know me better. He was very persuasive about dating me and eventually won me over with his smooth words, French poems and flowers. I finally gave in and invited him to accompany me to a Terry Talbot Christian concert.

It was an amazing concert and the power of the Holy spirit swept across that theater. Many were healed and delivered from drugs, alcohol and abuse. My friend was so overcome by God’s glory that he couldn’t stand up! He sat down in his chair weeping, unable to drive us home. I deemed that experience God’s permission to date my friend. Our first month of courting was a dream come true, but it was short-lived. He had a problem with his wisdom teeth so his dentist pulled out. He was given a strong pain-killer. That evening, while resting, I saw a side of him I never saw before. he exploded in a rage and cursed me out when I told him I couldn’t spend the night.

For lack of time and space and to stick with my original topic, I will quickly describe the next year from hell. My beau suddenly had a Jekyll and Hyde persona, tinged with hatred, super jealousy, possessiveness and outright violence. Every Sunday, I would go to the prayer line and ask for healing for my beau. All of the elders laying on their hands availed no change in my beau’s torment. Midway into our fifth month of on and off dating and fighting, I discovered what the cause of his rage and torment.

One afternoon, I arrived at my beau’s apartment only to hear violent, ear-splitting music coming from his apartment. I marched up the stairs and stopped in my tracks to see a mound of in a pile in the middle of his living room. As I bent down to look at the pile, I was horrified to see witchcraft paraphernalia, a Ouija board and ripped tarot cards. This was the mysterious tormentor. I reported yet another incident to the elders of my church I was battling a monster. But they could do nothing to help me. I became severely depressed as my beau continued to abuse me mentally and physically. I couldn’t believe that God was also doing nothing about my suffering

I ended up being forced to marry my beau under the threat of death. His violence increased and I withered away. One day, after being barricaded in my apartment for days, my youngest sister came to my apartment to rescue me. I had the shock of my life when I reported this incident to my pastor and his assistant son. I told them I went to the police station and had a restraining order put on my husband.

“Anita, you shouldn’t have. You’ve dome a bad thing.”

After that day, I never returned to that church. I began a lonely fall into clinical depression and lost two years of my life and many ministry opportunities, as well as postponed my college enrollment. It took another six months to be well enough to work part time. The reason I share this story is to let pastor know the damage they do by not taking a stand against domestic violence and other issues with demonic possession.

Fast forward over 20 years. God is so faithful, for He used that nightmare to strengthen me and to teach me about demon possession, demonic footholds and strategy of the enemy which he uses to snare gullible or weak Christians. You can be sure my discernment and authority has stepped up quite a bit and I’m now considered a spiritual pit bull to those who know me. I encourage my dear sisters in Christ to recognize their spiritual gifts. God tempers all our trials in preparation for the culmination and perfection of His saints!

It was many years struggling with, shame, rejection and insecurity that I accepted Fathers chastening and learned from my trials. As we grow and heal from devastating injustices or tragedies, Our heavenly Father is grooming us as a spiritual warrior. That horrific tenure with domestic violence and demon-possession paved the way for me to seek Him even more, to delve more deeply into His word and especially to bask, sitting still in His presence to hear Holy Spirit’s voice of guidance and direction. It has truly been a miracle to go higher in His grace and in wisdom from a painful background of abuse. That painful time led to my next trial with another pastor.

This testing was very different from my past church’s spiritual impotency and inability to be my covering and protect me from danger. This time, my pastor scrutinized and questioned every small thing, from my dress, to the purchase of my first guitar, my ministry income to my struggles with depression, sickness and poverty, Though I felt beaten down spiritually, I continued to faithfully seek The Lord and accept the “constructive criticism”. Today, looking back, I see how God rewarded me for my obedience and submission to that pastor, (we are still friends). His scrutiny caused me to revere and take seriously every aspect of my calling and ministry. I thank God for this pastor! When we stay teachable and humble, God always blesses and promotes us.

Years later, sitting under yet another pastor, I find he has issues with women in leadership and especially women pastors and teachers. During one of his sermons, he lambasted that “It is a shame to see women pastors with their husbands sitting in the front pew. This breeds weak men and is a shame!” He lost control of his emotions and his rage clearly displayed that he would not support women in their high callings.

I word to you pastors about your disdain of female prophetic giftings. “Quench not the Holy Spirit.” The Bible is replete with examples of women who were prophetesses and queens who inherited His blessing. Deborah, Huldah and Quuen Esther were called and equipped with giftings that brought Glory to God and saved their people. You pastors will be held accountable when you stand before God when you allow your bias and prejudice to hinder God’s calling in a female vessel. You had better start studying the scriptures closely and ask Holy Spirit for revelation about women’s usefulness in ministry and leadership. An excellent book to read is “A Woman God Can Use” by Alice Matthews.

My eyes are wide open as i look around and see a large percentage of my precious Christian brothers and sisters who live and suffer, tormented. defeated lives. Their pastors are to blame and they will be very sorry and accountable when they stand before God!!! If you are a pastor or leader, I urge you to get fasted up, to spend hours in prayer with your prayer language and enter often into the Holy of Holies.

These “end Times” are wrought with spiritual landmines. Your adversary the devil is stalking about waiting for his next easy victim. He knows his time is running out and his rage is brewing seeing God’s remnant, His Bride, stand steadfast and immovable in the face of his every attack. He’s pulling out all stops to snare God’s people or keep them from being effective ministers! Pastors can be our shepherd leaders,but some can also severely injure those who are vulnerable. We must not idolize our pastors, for they are fallible also.

Jesus told of us of these last days were times will be so horrible, mens hearts will fail for terror. Pastors, it;s time to do some serious spiritual housecleaning. Start fasting, seeking God with all your heart and especially welcome Holy Spirit to move however he pleases! Get your flock ready! teach about successful spiritual warfare. Teach them how to pray and walk with the authority Jesus Christ gave every believer. There are too many churches filled with impotent Christians who satan is not afraid of. I weep in prayer every day, to see so many calling to Prayer programs like “You and Me” prayer network, facilitated by Pastor Janet. Many are victims of demon harassment and demon oppression. This should not be so!!! Pastor, it is YOUR fault your flock is being attacked and eaten!!

I’m thankful to sit under the pastorate of Pastor Sandra Gonzalez, Spirit-Filled Life Ministries. This powerful, godly women has adequately equipped me to walk in God’s power and love. She reminds us each week that Jesus is dead serious about taking a bride without spot or wrinkle.

I pray my experiences have awakened you to how to discern between a good and bad pastor. They will teach you to know what is worldliness, false doctrines, sexual addictions/pornography and other things that will keep you from entering heaven. Rev 21:8 tells us exactly who will not enter Glory.

“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

Be ready, dear pastor. I say “Be ready” Watch and wait for Him. For He is coming at a time you do not know.

LIVING UNDER the GUN and BREAKING FREE, Part 1


I awoke with a start to tough hands grabbing the hair at the back of my neck.
“Get up and make love to me,” my three-hundred pound husband growled viciously.

“No!”

Before I knew what was happening,  Steven threw his full weight upon my head and shoulders. He was trying to smother me. Something that I’d held in check for the  year and a half of his stalking and emotionally violating  me welled inside of me and exploded into a burst of energy.  My upper body arched upwards with a strength I’d never experienced and he was thrown off balance. I then jumped on his chest and grabbed his hair.

“If you ever touch me again, I’ll kill you.”

That ended the year and a half of courtship and marriage in hell. I will never forget that night. I’d endured demonic fits of rage and hatred directed towards me and anyone who was my friend or family member. Steven threatened to kill my sisters if they didn’t stay out of our business and reminded me  if I didn’t marry him, he would track me down to the far ends of the earth and kill me. I walked on egg shells everyday in fear of upsetting him. He forbade me to wear anything attractive and God forbid a man should lay eyes on me. They would also be threatened. Everything set  Steve off.

I got the shock of my life when after our wedding ceremony and dinner, he took every check and cash gift and deposited in his account. I never saw a dime.  His heartless control of every aspect of my life made me want to kill myself, but I had my two precious cats I didn’t want to leave behind. I was certain God hated me to put me in bondage to this monster of a man I was forced to marry.  It became more and more debilitating to daily deal with Steven’s  extreme  moods and equally traumatic to realize I was vulnerable and defenseless. Wherever I turned, there was no help. Even my pentecostal pastor and his elders were useless in their prayers to stop  Stevens violence and hatred. My weight plummeted and I lost all hope that God cared.

Looking back, I realize that even though totally unequipped and ignorant about demon-possession, God had a purpose in allowing such a trial. It was a lesson that would give me confidence and strength for the years to come.

My journey to spiritual freedom and confidence would take almost two decades.  As I share my journey with you, I pray that you can avoid unnecessary pitfalls of spiritual bondage and a defeated Christian lifestyle. I’m thankful to Yeshua, Jesus Christ, for His gentle healing and especially God’s word which have truly established my being and identity! I am forever grateful that I stuck it out with Him through my many blazing fiery trials.

How it came to the point of marrying such a disturbed man can be traced back to my early girlhood. I always had a very timid demeanor and was easily frightened by my mother and father’s  displays of anger and disapproval. I remember well two of my earliest traumas.

My father was trying to teach me how to tell time.  As my father repositioned the hands of the clock and I answered wrong, he knocked me with his strong fist on my forehead.  I cried each time and couldn’t wait for my lesson to end.  Though he didn’t criticize  me, I was still wounded with shame that I couldn’t understand how time worked.

Years later, when I was about twelve another devastating incident forever solidified my fearful temperament. My six-year-old sister was running around the house noisily and my mother exploded in a rage.  She lunged towards my little sister and  pushed her to the floor. I  screamed hysterically as she was stomping on my little sisters legs.

“Mommy, “Mommy, please, stop!”

I grabbed my little sister and dragged her to my room, where I tried to comfort her.  From that point on, I became easily nauseated every time I sensed my mother’s mood was  darkening.

When my father enrolled us in Catholic school, my younger sister and I had a  ten block trip each morning. A few times, bully girls from the bad side of town, saw us, circled us and asked us what we were doing in their neighborhood.

“Weird-looking, half-white bitches, get outta here,” they spat and kicked us hard in our rear ends. We hurried to school tearfully and when we got home to tell our mother, she just scorned us. “What do you want me to do about it? Tell your father.”

My fear of angry, disapproving people continued to establish itself, but one thing for sure, I was very creative. I learned to sew very well by watching my mother and designed beautiful costumes. Teachers also complimented me about my illustrating talent. I could draw anything. My first love though, was fashion and I made beautiful paper dolls with outfits of their native land. My mother wasn’t impressed though, for one night, while the family watched the Osmond brothers perform on the Ed Sullivan show, she looked at us with disgust, “Look at those talented boys…and all I have are stupid bums who play with paper dolls.” Her words stung like a bee bite and all of us realized we could never be able to please her, no matter what we did.

Another  memory  that shamed me happened on my first day attending seventh grade art class. I had transferred from Catholic school and was the new kid.  Difficult as it was to transition from being the teacher’s pet and having adoring friends, I focused on my creativity.

That day, my classmates were immersed in a painting project. As I admired my handiwork, a tall, dark-skinned girl stood over me with a piece of black construction paper. Her coal-black eyes, glittered as she sneered as I looked into her eyes. I sensed she did not like me and my stomach lurched with anxiety.

“You see this,  here?”she hissed with disdain, “You are as black as this paper and don’t you ever forget it'”

Her utter scorn for me took me by such surprise that I was never the same. From that day forward, I’d questioned my worth and wondered did I deserve to take space on the earth.

My parents relationship got worse as I entered high school. The tension was  unbearable as my sisters and I heard my parents yelling and belittling each other nightly. I doubted my moms sanity as she threatened to call DYFS, (Division of Youth and Family Services) on the grounds that daddy and I were severely disturbed! Ddaddy moved out and soon after, a social worker came by one day to pick my younger sister who was sixteen months younger than me for placement in a foster home.  A few months later, six months before graduation, my mother called the police on me and I was ordered out of the house. My whole life was unraveling before my eyes and there was nothing I could do about it.

Anxiety, fear and self-loathing followed  me through high school. Though I managed to graduate, I knew that I had so much more potential.  All the tremendous stress, rejection and hostility of my life squelched my desires to be a professional musician and fashion designer. I grew restless and depressed and over ate bread and pasta.  When I put on ten pounds, mostly in my hips and thighs, I despised myself even more. I developed a shame complex to the point of my heart skipping a beat anytime women (or men) stared at my shape or  gazed into my features.  I often wondered what was wrong with me that I was so disrespected and scorned.

I managed to find  some gainful employment, but found few encouraging connections with the women.  Usually the urban women would stare at my backside and laugh behind my back.  I read an article in a fashion magazine about some college women controlling their weight through vomiting, so I tried it after my starvation diets  made me weak and desperate. Some of us don’t like to admit such a thing, but coming out of the closet will help some precious young girl or woman heal from abuse.

By 1981, I was a desperate sad human being.  But God knew I was ready for a change!

I settled into a rut, sharing my apartment with my best friend and room-mate.  Our only excitement was  hustling pool games at the Race Place, with our favorite handsome pool aficionados every week-end.  We befriended a nice guy who always preached about Jesus. Every week, he’s asked us, “When are you gonna get saved?”

We laughed and said, “Soon.”

After graduation, my room-mate went our separate ways and lost touch.  One week-end, I went back to visit the Race Place and bumped into Billy. He invited me to his church.

That night Billy picked me up, he explained that church would be a little different that what I would expect at a Catholic mass.

To this day, I’ll always remember my first experience at a Holy Ghost, Pentecostal, foot-stomping’ church service that scared the  life out of me.  Billy was right, my stoic Catholic worship experience didn’t quite prepare me for my first evening at Pastor Fox’s service.

The former marine, with the Jesus tattoo adorning his huge biceps and southern drawl  made me tremble with fear. He slammed his fist on his wooden pulpit and screamed, “If you die tonight…are you gonna go to heaven….or hell?” His glittering black eyes bore into my soul. My head was bowed down as I timidly tip-toed to the front of the room. I said the “sinners prayer” and became born-again that night.

I must admit, it was a bumpy start, but after I got accustomed to the hooting and hollering and the special connections I made with my sisters and brothers, I settled in. For the first time in my life, I felt part of an accepting and loving family. I felt more secure. Several of the sisters were musical and invited me to be part of their music ministry to the areas nursing home patients. I was exhilarated singing three-part harmony with the church twins.  I was blooming like a rose and it seemed all the shame of my past disappeared. My life was so full and exciting, I had no interest in eating carbs. I soon lost fifteen pounds and was  delighted with my very slim shape.  So what happened?

A year into being a part of my new spiritual family, a church sister called me one afternoon to tell me that our pastor was in jail for child molestation of several children in our congregation. Our assistant pastor also charged him with adulterous relationships with several women and he was involved with  one of the twenty year old men. I was shell-shocked for a week. I loved and trusted my pastor. I couldn’t believe that while he preached holiness he was making love to a young man who himself bragged about staying pure until he married!

The devil must have had it out for me and/or God may have  groomed these traumatic incidents  I didn’t know. Something had to give.

Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion and how Jesus Christ intervened to begin transforming and establishing me to be His glorious workmanship. You’ll be amazed at the myriad  more trials that I had to endure before I finally became the spiritual Pit-bull I am today!

God bless you and if you’re in an abusive relationship, think about taking Jesus’ hand and letting Him heal you!