Archive for the ‘faith’ Category

Where Can We Come Together?

March 10, 2017

So many people are upset over the continuous rancor and hatred being spouted against the Trump Administration and their supporters.  I find myself turning off the news more often these days because it is getting much worse as the days, weeks and months go by since the election.

In the comment section of a previous post, my friend L wrote:

We all need to be honest, and quit name calling. Realize that both sides have valid points. Where can we come together?

I don’t have the answer.

However, I believe that the written Word – the Bible, has the answer; and our Living Word – Jesus Christ IS the ultimate answer!

As Christians, we are called to be pointers towards the Light – meaning Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that people are lost and enveloped in darkness. We see this all around us! There are millions with no hope of being found because they are wandering through life without a sense of direction.

Jesus said He is “the light of the world” (John 8:12); and when He left this earth He designated His followers to be that light: “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14).

How do we draw mankind out of the darkness and wilderness that they often reside in? I have found that the only way is to point them towards Christ where they can be rescued and saved.

Jesus also told us that we would be hated because they hated Him first. Not everyone is going to accept the message of the Gospel of Christ. Many hate the message and fight hard against it!

We are told by Paul that there will be times when we share the truth of the gospel and it will be soundly rejected. Therefore, we are to “shake the dust from our sandals (or feet) and leave that house.”

Mat 10:14

“And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.

Mar 6:11

“And whoever[fn] will not receive you nor hear you, when you depart from there, shake off the dust under your feet as a testimony against them.[fn] Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!”

Luk 9:5

“And whoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet as a testimony against them.”

This is not for the purpose of being mean. It’s just the truth that many will reject the gospel message of peace. Thus, they refuse to live in peace with those with whom they disagree.

The leftists (who are now raging because they are out of power and thus are utilizing the “shadow government” attacks against Trump and all Americans who voted for him) want to create a kind of socialist utopia here on earth. The trouble is, the elitists with that mindset want to rule and for all the rest of us to be subordinate. They will NEVER give up going in that direction (recall the term “Forward” being used in Hitler’s time as well as in Obama’s second campaign and term) and they will steal, kill, and destroy in order to achieve their goals.

You see, they don’t want to “come together” and never will! They are blind because they out rightly reject the gospel. Some may be “pulled out of the fire” as it says in the book of Jude, but many will always scream, accuse, rant and rave against Christians, Conservatives and their values.

Perhaps I can get my point across by sharing a quote.

A. W. Tozer is quoted as saying:

“The gospel is light but only the Spirit can give sight.”

Who Is Your Source of Hope?

October 1, 2016

Take it from me…it pays to pre-order books because sometimes you will get the book even before the national release date!  Yesterday, I received Dr. David Jeremiah’s latest book:

People Are Asking: Is This The End?

I read the introduction and the first few pages of Chapter 1 – “The Age of Anything Goes.” For an excerpt of the first chapter, scroll down the page at the following link and read Overview of Chapter 1: The Age of Anything Goes.

That excerpt is sobering, but now that I have delved into the entire chapter, the evil and depravity that is going on in the world today is so very discouraging, damaging and frightening!

I truly am saddened that the country that I grew up in from the mid-nineteen fifties through graduating college in 1977 has disappeared and been replaced with the “normalization” of the most egregious sinful secular-leftist and atheistic (even devil-worshipping!) kinds of immorality and death-cult beliefs that it is absolutely astonishing!

There was a time when Christian parents could shield their children from all of this, but no more.  The so-called “smartphones” that adults and children hold in their hands today are just a click away from pornography websites.

Excerpt from Chapter One:

Depravity in Our Minds

In January 2016, the Internet’s largest online pornography site released its annual statistics.  On just this one website in just one year – 2015 – consumers watched 4,392,486,580 hours of pornography.  Convert those hours into years, and it means those people collectively spent more than 500,000 years watching porn.

On this particular site in 2015 alone, people watched 87,849,731, 608 X-rated videos.  Over 87 billion!  That’s twelve videos for every man, woman, boy and girl on the planet.

The rate at which sexual depravity is being “normalized” is causing havoc upon many freedoms that Christians have enjoyed in the past.  Now, deeply held religious beliefs, freedom of speech, freedom to practice our faith in the public domain, freedom of association to reject the immoral cesspool around us, and most of all, the freedom to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ is actively being punished by “the powers that be” in government! This scenario is especially egregious in the liberal courts dominated by anti-Christian “judges” who decide to allow sexual immoralities described in God’s Word to trump the First Amendment rights of Christian believers.

I could go on and on…but most readers get the picture.

The saving grace in all of this is the fact that Christians know Who wins and triumphs at the end of days.  There will come a time when God’s mercy and grace will run out and the judgments will fall upon those who rejected God’s provision for salvation – the Cross of Jesus Christ!

This is probably the biggest reason why this blog exists.  To warn people about the schemes of Satan that are there to grab our minds, entice our flesh, and spiral us down into the cesspool of depravity through active sin;  in order to keep our minds, hearts, bodies, souls and spirits away from God.

God the Father,  who loves us so deeply that He sent His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross in our place and free us once and for all from the penalty that we all deserve for our rebellion and sin; gives us the kind of hope that can never be achieved on our own.

What will YOU do (and decide about God’s provision through Jesus Christ) on this side of eternity?

Dr. Jeremiah masterfully shares the truth that for many people, their source of hope is sadly misplaced.  He states that “the question you must address is not whether America and the world will regain their footing, but how you will respond whether they do or not.”

“That is what this book is all about!”

Dr. Jeremiah explains the four common responses to the growing fears about the future.  Three are wrong, and one is right.

Wrong:

    1.  Denial – Living in the illusion that nothing will change, refusing to heed the clouds gathering on the horizon.
    2.  Despair – Collapse is inevitable, all is hopeless, nothing can be done and we are doomed.
    3. “Eat, drink, and be merry.”  As Solomon (see Ecclesiastes 8:15) warned us, all the pleasure we can get because there is “nothing new under the sun” is not productive.  It doesn’t give us hope.  In fact, it is “all vanity and grasping after the wind.”  (see Ecclesiastes 1:14).

Ecc 1:14

I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.

Right:

The one right response is to look beyond the gathering storm to the one solid and certain source of hope–to God Himself.  Hope in the future of America and the stability of the world is little more than wishful thinking.  It is not reliable.  The hope God offers is the only realistic, absolute hope that carries the promise of a certain outcome.

The next three paragraphs in the Introduction are very powerful!

We do not know whether America will soon fall.  We do not know when the Lord will return.  But we do know that whatever our circumstances, God’s desire for us is to live without anxiety and with hope.  He offers you “thoughts of peace and not of evil.” and He wants “to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).

In this book I will show you how to find that hope.  It is a hope that is not dependent on whether America falls or recovers or whether world order stabilizes or disintegrates.  It is a hope that rises above trouble and chaos, enabling you to keep your focus on your future reward and endure whatever comes, whether good or evil, with grace and equanimity.

Had to look that last word up in the dictionary!

equanimity:

1.

mental or emotional stability or composure, especially under tension or strain; calmness; equilibrium.
Dr. Jeremiah continues:

The added benefit of this hope is that those who exercise it before others set an example that may just make a difference in the outcome.  Enough Christians exhibiting faith in God just might be the salt that saves America.

— Dr. David Jeremiah

San Diego, California

June 2016

Hat tip: David Jeremiah.org – “People Are Asking: Is This The End?”

Hat tips to all links.

Why Does God Require Faith to Please Him?

September 1, 2016

Have you ever contemplated why God requires faith to please Him?  We know from Hebrews 11:6 that it is not only a requirement, but that not having faith in Him makes it impossible to please Him!

Heb 11:6

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

That verse explains that God is also “a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

In Dr. David Jeremiah’s current series, “Ten Questions Christians Are Asking,” this past Sunday’s broadcast on faith was one of the best!

Readers can view it at this link:

David Jeremiah.org: What Is Faith?

When I come across skeptics, (seekers and/or outright deniers of Jesus Christ included) they often cite humanistic reasons for not being able to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. They use the same humanistic “wisdom” (minus the Wisdom of God in the Scriptures) to claim that any and all of their “reasons” for unbelief are valid. For them, the following verse either offers confusion or an excuse for their unbelief:

Heb 11:1

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Matthew Henry’s commentary explains:

1. It is the substance of things hoped for. Faith and hope go together; and the same things that are the object of our hope are the object of our faith. It is a firm persuasion and expectation that God will perform all that he has promised to us in Christ; and this persuasion is so strong that it gives the soul a kind of possession and present fruition of those things, gives them a subsistence in the soul, by the first-fruits and foretastes of them: so that believers in the exercise of faith are filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Christ dwells in the soul by faith, and the soul is filled with the fullness of God, as far as his present measure will admit; he experiences a substantial reality in the objects of faith.

  • 2. It is the evidence of things not seen. Faith demonstrates to the eye of the mind the reality of those things that cannot be discerned by the eye of the body. Faith is the firm assent of the soul to the divine revelation and every part of it, and sets to its seal that God is true. It is a full approbation of all that God has revealed as holy, just, and good; it helps the soul to make application of all to itself with suitable affections and endeavours; and so it is designed to serve the believer instead of sight, and to be to the soul all that the senses are to the body. That faith is but opinion or fancy which does not realize invisible things to the soul, and excite the soul to act agreeably to the nature and importance of them.

 

Christians would inevitably nod their heads in agreement with what Henry wrote in his commentary.  On the other hand, it is likely that nonbelievers might have the tendency to deem what he has written as “opinion or fancy.”

Why? 

Because he or she cannot (or refuses to learn) “the invisible things to the soul, and excite the soul to act agreeably to the nature and importance of them.”

Rejection of the Gospel truth in the Bible is often likely because of ignorance about the Scriptures and the Person in whom the Scriptures point to as Savior and Lord – Jesus Christ.  But what about those who claim to have studied Scripture and yet do not believe?  Henry explained quite well why they might reach such a conclusion.

Another way of putting it is the fact that no Christian can MAKE someone believe in Jesus Christ.  All we are to do is to point the way towards the truth of the Gospel.  The knocking on the door of the heart of the hearer of the gospel message is done by the Holy Spirit, who was sent by Jesus Christ to indwell believers.

Heb 11:2

For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.

Henry writes:

II. An account of the honour it reflects upon all those who have lived in the exercise of it (v. 2): By it the elders obtained a good report-the ancient believers, who lived in the first ages of the world. Observe,

  • 1. True faith is an old grace, and has the best plea to antiquity: it is not a new invention, a modern fancy; it is a grace that has been planted in the soul of man ever since the covenant of grace was published in the world; and it has been practiced from the beginning of the revelation; the eldest and best men that ever were in the world were believers.

  • 2. Their faith was their honour; it reflected honour upon them. They were an honour to their faith, and their faith was an honour to them. It put them upon doing the things that were of good report, and God has taken care that a record shall be kept and report made of the excellent things they did in the strength of this grace. The genuine actings of faith will bear to be reported, deserve to be reported, and will, when reported, redound to the honour of true believers.

Notice how Henry includes the word “true” when he describes believers.  This brings to mind the need to avoid those who have fallen into, ( and in today’s era, unfortunately preach),  the heretic and apostate beliefs as described in this Syncretism Stew post.

The book of Jude provides the warnings and signs about those who have “crept in unnoticed” and, “who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God[fn] and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

[fn] (1:4)

NU-Text omits God.

 

Heb 11:3

By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

Henry writes:

III. We have here one of the first acts and articles of faith, which has a great influence on all the rest, and which is common to all believers in every age and part of the world, namely, the creation of the worlds by the word of God, not out of pre-existent matter, but out of nothing, v. 3. The grace of faith has a retrospect as well as prospect; it looks not only forward to the end of the world, but back to the beginning of the world. By faith we understand much more of the formation of the world than ever could be understood by the naked eye of natural reason. Faith is not a force upon the understanding, but a friend and a help to it. Now what does faith give us to understand concerning the worlds, that is, the upper, middle, and lower regions of the universe?

  • 1. That these worlds were not eternal, nor did they produce themselves, but they were made by another.

  • 2. That the maker of the worlds is God; he is the maker of all things; and whoever is so must be God.

  • 3. That he made the world with great exactness; it was a framed work, in every thing duly adapted and disposed to answer its end, and to express the perfections of the Creator.

  • 4. That God made the world by his word, that is, by his essential wisdom and eternal Son, and by his active will, saying, Let it be done, and it was done, Ps. 33:9.

  • 5. That the world was thus framed out of nothing, out of no pre-existent matter, contrary to the received maxim, that “out of nothing,  nothing can be made,’ which, though true of created power, can have no place with God, who can call things that are not as if they were, and command them into being. These things we understand by faith. The Bible gives us the truest and most exact account of the origin of all things, and we are to believe it, and not to wrest or run down the scripture-account of the creation, because it does not suit with some fantastic hypotheses of our own, which has been in some learned but conceited men the first remarkable step towards infidelity, and has led them into many more.

    Hat tips to all links and graphics sites posted here.

Revisiting the “God’s Not Dead” Movie

August 17, 2016

Read an interesting review this morning over at James Bishop’s blog about the first movie, “God’s Not Dead – In 13 Quick Points.”

At the end of the post, James writes, “let me know your thoughts.” I decided to share mine over there and here!

Some people may choose to laugh at the title of the movie. They think that “God’s Not Dead” is a belief in fairy tales. They laugh at us because they see Christians as ignorant, unknowledgeable buffoons; unscientific, brain-dead…you get the picture. On the other hand, those who claim (and conclusively believe) that “God is dead” are so arrogant to say such a thing!  They are the ones who deserve to be laughed at for their obvious ignorance of God’s Word, their incessant rebellion against truth, justice, and morality; as well as their mindset that they absolutely and intentionally refuse to see their need for forgiveness for their sins through repentance at the foot of Christ’s cross.

This movie presents examples of what is stated in Psalms:

Psa 37:12
The wicked plots against the just,
And gnashes at him with his teeth.

Psa 37:13
The Lord laughs at him,
For He sees that his day is coming.

I agreed with, and enjoyed reading what you [James] wrote in your “good points.” However, many of the criticisms (which you are certainly entitled to believe and share) were not my feelings about the film. In the case of Raddison being “angry with God” because of the death of his mother at a young age, I can say that I know of people who once claimed that they “used to be Christian…now they are not” because of tragedies they had endured in their lives. Whether or not they were genuinely born again in Christ is between them and God, but typically those who know Christ (or once accepted Him) can, in near death instances, turn to Christ at the last minute and repent of their sins. My own father did just that several months before his death.

You did far more research regarding other reviews and opinions of the movie, but I only looked up two examples to use in my blog post about the film – one was positive and the other negative. Here is a copy of my post after seeing the movie for a second time. If you click on the link to my blog, then you can read the links that I placed within the post.

Talk Wisdom: Remaining Obedient to God

I watched the first movie, “God’s Not Dead” again last evening. I thought it was a good film even though many non-Christian reviews were negative. [See Wikipedia and scroll down to “critical reception” for examples.]

Plugged In had a good review of the film.

It was interesting to me to read Wikipedia’s opinion about the visit and verbal exchange of a son (Mark) in the movie (who previously refused to visit his mom who suffers from dementia) versus what is written over at Plugged In.

Wikipedia:

Mark at last visits his mother, only to taunt her; she responds that all of his financial success was given to him by Satan to keep him from turning to God.

Plugged In:

Mina’s dementia-afflicted mother serves to stimulate thought about how serving God doesn’t always iron out all of life’s wrinkles.

“You prayed and believed your whole life,” Mina’s brother says to their mother, almost as an accusation. “Never done anything wrong. And here you are. You’re the nicest person I know. I am the meanest. You have dementia. My life is perfect. Explain that to me!” Then, in a moment of unexpected spiritual clarity, she does. “Sometimes the devil allows people to live a life free of trouble because he doesn’t want them turning to God,” she tells her shocked son.

 

“Their sin is like a jail cell, except it is all nice and comfy and there doesn’t seem to be any reason to leave. The door’s wide open. Till one day, time runs out, and the cell door slams shut, and suddenly it’s too late.”

Indeed, in the face of difficulty, we hear a lot about God always being good, and having a plan for our lives.

It is interesting to note that after saying such a coherent message, the mom goes back to her dementia-induced state, turns towards her son and asks, “who did you say that you were?”

In contrast to the accusation-filled son Mark, whenever the daughter (a Christian named Mina) visited her mom, she patiently told her (as often as necessary) that she is her daughter.

At the end of the film, Mark (son of the mom with dementia) acts as arrogantly and detached as ever from what his mother warned him about being in the state of “their [his] sin is like a jail cell.”

The man obviously rejected the warning, but the Bible tells each of us that “your sin will find you out.”

Num 32:23

“But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the LORD; and be sure your sin will find you out.

In Matthew 4 (just after Jesus was tempted by satan for 40 days and nights in the wilderness) we find:

Mat 4:12

Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee.

Mat 4:13

And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali,

Mat 4:14

that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:

Mat 4:15

“The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles:

Mat 4:16

The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,
And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death
Light has dawned.”[fn]

Mat 4:17

From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Since satan had the gall to tempt Jesus, the Son of God, he certainly will tempt any and all of us! However, as we see in the case of Mark in the movie, living a life of ease (yet separated from God for all eternity) still fulfills satan’s goal of taking unrepentant souls to hell with him.

Plugged In’s review is more in line with what Jesus tells us in Scripture.

Jhn 16:33

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will[fn] have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

[Added here: The examples of the Muslim girl being sent away when her Sharia law father found out she was a secret Christian is an example of tribulation because of her rejection of Islam and sincere belief in Christ. The same could be said of the Chinese student whose father was obviously an atheist who wanted his son to reject God as well. Jesus told us that belief in him would often divide believing vs. unbelieving family members:

Mar 10:29
So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife[fn] or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s,

Mar 10:30
“who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.

*******

Mat 12:48
But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?”

Mat 12:49
And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers!

Mat 12:50
“For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”]

Speaking of experiencing tribulation in this world, God’s Not Dead 2 came out in April, 2016. I haven’t seen it yet but a blog I ran across describes a real life example of a situation that is depicted in the film.

God’s Not Dead blog: When God’s Not Dead 2 Plays Out As YOUR Story!

What is God’s purpose to allow us to go through tribulation (in whatever form it may arise) in this fallen world?

I think this paragraph explains it:

News of our legal case reached people all over the world, and some of them contacted me to encourage me and show their support. It’s amazing how God took a simple decision to remain obedient in my freshman year and turned it into a tool that reached the ears of thousands with the name of Jesus.

Remaining obedient often pits Christian believers against the secular worldviews that would have us shut up, sit down, and accept the immoral deluge that is afflicting our free speech, freedom of association, freedom of conscience, freedom of outwardly professing our faith, and freedom FROM having immorality forced upon our families.

I applaud individuals like Chase Windebank, who didn’t know what the ultimate outcome would be, yet pressed on about what he knew God would have wanted him to do. Stand up for his faith in Jesus Christ!

Chase concludes his post:

It took nearly eight months for my case to come to a close. The outcome? A victory on the side of free speech! Now, if any other public school student is refused the right to pray during their free time at school, they can use my case as an example to aid in their own victory.

God was faithful to sustain me, and all of those rich memories came flooding back as I watched GOD’S NOT DEAD 2. Even though I am now far removed from it all, it felt so real and present. There were times I literally stood up and jumped in excitement for the case being made on behalf of Ms. Wesley.

The thought and scholarly guidance that this movie undertook in order to depict the truth of what our nation is dealing with was phenomenal. Remember with me, for this is the foundation upon which our nation was built. Remember it well by going to see this film. Be Blessed!

Chase Windebank is a Colorado native who loves hiking through the Rocky Mountains, teaching Taekwondo, and writing. His goal in life is to stir up passion in his generation for the things of God, and to show people the true treasure of the Gospel in his everyday life.

Hat tips to all links.

About “Self- Identity…”

June 1, 2016

Found an excellent post via Truth2Freedom’s blog entitled, What Is Your Self Identity? – Biblical Counseling Center. It will be posted in full below, but I wanted to first write that the Lord is SO GOOD to have led me to read and share the post here!

Secondly…

Recently, a new commenter came to this blog railing against me because of perceived “insults” that I made in a previous post.

I’m not sure that I want this “John” having complete access to commenting here at my blog, so I will re-post his comment here so that readers can see what he wrote:

John:

This is one of the most ridiculous rants I have read in quite a while. First of all, I know plenty of high school and college aged kids who do know the meaning and significance of Memorial Day. Apparently better than you do! It is not about God and the Bible, it’s about remembering our fallen soldiers. They are well educated, savvy young people who would have gotten edited out of Jesse Watters’ Fox propaganda video. And guess what? They all went to, or are going to public schools and universities. None of them have been dumbed down by “liberal, leftist, progressive, LGBTQ “leaders” of the maniacal asylums…”. And I’m sure they know exactly what The Greatest Generation did for America and the world!

I also wonder how many brave and noble LGBT veterans you’ve offended by this screed. I know gay veterans from the Vietnam war and from both Gulf Wars since WWII, and they served along side their straight brothers in arms without questioning or caring about their sexual orientation.

Additionally, John also wrote:

What I said was Memorial Day is not about God and the Bible! It’s about remembering our war dead! And no! I am not totally ignorant about God’s word.

I think that the following post answers John’s screed against me and other Christians, as well as it also addresses his claim that  “[he] is not totally ignorant about God’s Word”  better than I ever could.

Big hat tip:  Truth2Freedom blog!

[Note:  Graphics within post added by Christine.]

What Is Your Self-Identity? – Biblical Counseling Center

Self-identity: With all the talk of self identity and gender nowadays, you may think this article is about bathroom choice. It’s not. Guest writer Joshua Waulk of Baylight Counseling in Tampa, FL, zeroes in on the “I am” statements we Christians often make about ourselves and suggests a better self-identity. His article appeared first here and is used with permission.

BCC logoI am ADHD.

I am bipolar.

I am depressed.

I am an addict.

I am [fill in the blank].

Within the context of counseling, it’s common to hear people use these types of phrases to describe themselves. To be sure, there’s a sense in which they’re simply using a modern style of communication in order to say that they struggle, actively, with this thing or that thing.

Self-Identity: Do Your Words Describe or Define?

But, my concern is that, too often, embedded deep within the heart of the person, is this subtle notion that, in fact, the thing they’re describing defines who they are. In other words, my concern for some people I meet with in counseling is that their language is not merely descriptive, but is definitive.

My concern is even greater when working with followers of Jesus.

One of my favorite verses in all of the Bible is found in John 8:58. There, Jesus said to the religious rulers of the day, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am [emphasis added].” This statement enraged the men who were persecuting Him, because they understood that Jesus was hearkening back to God’s self-identification in Exodus 3:14
 

Jesus wasn’t simply identifying himself with God, but was defining, or declaring himself to be God.

When we pause to listen to our own “I am” statements, and compare them with the words of Christ, might we reconsider how we use these seemingly self-defining statements? Do we mean to say, when we use them, that who we are is all that the thing, or the struggle, or the condition is? If not, then perhaps we ought to abandon our use of this language altogether.

How Does Jesus Define You?

The point is, in light of who we are in Christ, it would be helpful to temper our use of  “I am” statements, especially those used in connection with our particular sin or suffering. Too often, they simply do not square with our new identity in Christ according to Scripture, but find their roots in the disease models of secular psychology.

As Christians, as people who have died with Christ, and through whom Christ presently and  actively lives, we are no longer defined by the sins and struggles of this world alone, even though we continue to be affected by them.

If Paul’s words are true when he says in Galatians 2:20,

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.
And again in 2 Corinthians 5:17,
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Then we should carefully inspect how we make use of descriptive language.
How we define and describe ourselves should always be in keeping with Scripture. Sometimes, there will be tension. For example, it would be true for me to say, “I am a sinner.” But, because of the redemptive work of Christ on the cross, I cannot leave the conversation there.

Because of Christ, I am no longer defined by my sin or suffering, but am defined by Him. I am a sinner, yes, but I am also eternally forgiven, justified, and redeemed (1 John 1:8-9).

I may struggle with this thing or that, but that struggle no longer defines me. Like all things of this world, they are passing away, and who God is making us to be will one day be revealed in Christ (1 John 2:17; Hebrews 10:14).

Join the Discussion

[Note:  Graphics added by Christine.]

  1. What is your self-identity?

2.  How have your own “I am” statements affected your understanding of who you are in Christ?

3.  Can you think of any adjustments you need to make to better reflect a biblical understanding of your identity in Christ?

 

The post What Is Your Self-Identity? appeared first on Biblical Counseling Center.

Hat tips to all links.

Behold, I Make All Things New

May 20, 2016

While watching the Revelation Song music video,  I was reminded of the scene in the movie The Passion of the Christ where Mary, the mother of Jesus, came to him as He had fallen underneath the weight of the cross on the way to Calvary.  He looked at Mary and said, “Behold, I make all things new.”

That is a statement from the book of Revelation.

Rev 21:5

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me,[fn] “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

When I think about the evil, sin, and death that all human beings (including me!) have put forth and are guilty of on this earth, it deeply grieves me. God’s Word tells us why:

Rom 8:22

For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.

When Jesus started his earthly ministry, he said:

Mat 4:17

From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Those who refuse to repent:

Rev 21:8

“But the cowardly, unbelieving,[fn] abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

Without Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross for our sins, His resurrection to life, and subsequent ascension into heaven to be seated at the right hand of the Father; all of us would deserve that punishment!

Because of the sin we all bear upon our own souls, we either die with such sin or we repent!

Jesus Christ took the sins of the whole world upon Himself in the greatest act of mercy ever known, in order that we would not have to pay the penalty of sin ourselves in eternity! No greater love is there than for a Man to give his life for his fellow man! That is what Jesus accomplished when he obeyed perfectly the will of the Father in order to achieve redemption for those who would believe in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, and follow him!

Recall what the prophet Jeremiah wrote:

Jer 17:9

“The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?

None of us are exempt from that reality!  However, the very next verse tells us what the LORD searches for in each person who has ever lived!

Jer 17:10

I, the LORD, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings.

This verse gives us the hope of the coming Messiah:

Jer 17:7

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
And whose hope is the LORD.

Revelation informs us of Who Jesus is!

Rev 22:13

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”[fn]

Rev 22:14

Blessed are those who do His commandments,[fn] that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.

 

Who Am I?  by Casting Crowns reiterates this truth:

 

We are still given warnings in the book of Revelation:

Rev 22:15

But[fn] outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.

John identifies Who is speaking to him:

Rev 22:16

“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”

And those whose names are in the Book of Life are given eternal life with God!

Rev 22:17

And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

Back to Jeremiah:

Jer 17:13

O LORD, the hope of Israel,
All who forsake You shall be ashamed.

“Those who depart from Me
Shall be written in the earth,
Because they have forsaken the LORD,
The fountain of living waters.”

Jer 17:14

Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed;
Save me, and I shall be saved,
For You are my praise.

The cries of hope, healing, and salvation in Jeremiah are realized in Revelation:

Rev 22:20

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Rev 22:21

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.[fn] Amen.

Defining Evangelicals

March 17, 2016

Defining Evangelicals in an Election Year

Last week, I was asked a question from someone of another religion what the term “evangelical” means.  This young man could be labeled as someone who vehemently “dislikes” Donald Trump.  He also self-identifies as “progressive” and if I were to venture a guess, would most likely vote for Hillary Clinton.

I gave a brief answer, but after reading an article from Christianity Today entitled Defining Evangelicals in an Election Year it seems to me that my more “simple” explanation may not have been enough.  However, I have often found that if I get too “wordy” about it,  people’s eyes glaze over and they could easily tune me out.

Evangelicals CAN and DO have a lot in common. However, as Rush Limbaugh pointed out (sometimes quite humorously!) on his radio show back on March 9, 2016, there is a Ruling Class Disconnect on Evangelicals.

I didn’t know about Donald Trump’s connection with Norman Vincent Peale until I read The Theology of Donald Trump.

Read more about Peale HERE.

Excerpt:

Yet as a Christian minister he [Peale] denied that God was a being, saying “Who is God? Some theological being? He is so much greater than theology. God is vitality. God is life. God is energy. As you breathe God in, as you visualize His energy, you will be reenergized!” (Plus: The Magazine of Positive Thinking). As a Christian minister he told Phil Donahue, “It’s not necessary to be born again. You have your way to God, I have mine. I found eternal peace in a Shinto shrine … I’ve been to Shinto shrines and God is everywhere. … Christ is one of the ways! God is everywhere.” He denied the very heart of the Christian faith and replaced it with his doctrine of positive thinking.

When I was growing up, Peale could have possibly been labeled as that era’s Joel Osteen.

For me, relying on God’s Word, the Bible, His Living Word, Jesus Christ, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit is far better than man’s “power of positive thinking.”  The first Three are eternal; man’s “power” is temporary.

Donald Trump revealed a lot about himself regarding his brand of Christianity. The following portion of the article is what stood out most for me.

Excerpt from The Theology of Donald Trump:

2. Sin. Trump reveals that many evangelicals have come to embrace a different idea of sin than evangelicals have in the past. First, sin is now seen less a condition that renders us all “miserable offenders” before a holy God than mistakes good people make that fail to contribute to “our best life now.” Card-carrying evangelicals should have gotten it when Trump announced that he has never asked God for forgiveness because he doesn’t really do anything that would require it. This is problematic from a Christian perspective on several levels.

First, even if we were to reduce sin (a condition) to sins, the latter no longer include multiple divorces, significant past support of the abortion industry, lack of any church membership, and unabashed dedication to a “Me First” ethic. Widespread evangelical support suggests that we’re fine with these practices now—they’re normal.

Second, and even more troubling, “sinners” are now apparently the “others” whose very presence makes us feel afraid and disenfranchised. Deflecting sin from ourselves to others, we have helped to provide a foundation for whatever demagogue can rally people “like us” to self-righteous anger against outsiders.

As the graphic at the top of the page demonstrates:

 

 [When] it comes to statistical prediction, four belief statements in particular proved extremely helpful. We asked a representative sample of Americans whether they agree or disagree with the following statements:

1.  The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe.

2.  It is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.

3.  Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin.

4.  Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.

Those who agreed with all four statements were also likely to self-identify as evangelicals, thus bridging the gap between belief and belonging. They also attend church on a regular basis—meaning these four questions about belief also correlate with behavior (church attendance).

Though there are many other factors or belief statements many evangelicals would include here, these four, taken together, create a tool that predicts all the other things evangelicals could include.

[The] questions help us reliably identify which Americans hold classic evangelical beliefs.

Those four belief statements are the Gospel of Christ!  It is a good start when sharing who evangelicals are, and if a person wants more information, then we can share more details when they ask to hear more.

I also suggest having the Bible verses handy that support each of the statements.  For example.

Number 1:


2Ti 3:16

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

2Ti 3:17

that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

*******

Number 2:
 Mar 16:15

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

Mar 16:16

“He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

*******

Number 3:
 1Jo 2:2

And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

1Jo 4:10

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

*******

Number 4:

Jhn 3:7

“Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’

Rom 5:15

But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.

Rom 5:18

Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.

Hat tips to all links.

Does Your Church Pastor Preach Sound Doctrine?

March 1, 2016

Are YOU listening to sound doctrine from the Bible or what your itching ears want to hear?

Christians should take heed of Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 4:2-5 before making their choice of a candidate for president.

News reports are telling us about “famous” Christian leaders who are getting behind Donald Trump! I have always expected this of the leftist leaning Christians, but not the ones who are perceived to be born-again in Jesus Christ!

I pray that those who think that Trump is “the one” in this election to re-evaluate. If you need help doing this, please read THIS POST!  That post also includes evaluations about the Democrat candidates.

When Paul speaks of preaching the word “in season and out of season,” Bible commentator David Guzik tells us:

This tells us when the pastor should be ready to preach the word. He should be ready always. He should preach it when it is easy and preach it when it is hard. He should preach it when the fruit is evident and preach it when the fruit seems invisible. He should just preach it.

Furthermore:

It is important to realize that not everyone who opens a Bible and starts talking is preaching the word. Many well-intentioned preachers are actually preaching themselves instead of the word.

Unfortunately, I have seen pastors of three former churches where we attended (one was for 20 years before it went astray!) as a family as being guilty of “preaching themselves” in some way rather than preaching Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

One pastor decided to follow in the reprobate footsteps of Rick Warren.

Another pastor decided to follow in his own footsteps by badgering the congregation (and the guests there!) with statements like, “you are stupid if you don’t accept Christ TODAY” and/or “don’t wait to escape hell – accept Christ now!” I must admit that this was an uncharacteristic utterance from this mega-church pastor!  However, we had a guest with us (last Easter Sunday) and we all could not believe our ears when the pastor did such a thing!

Next, we started attending another church and that pastor was wonderful until he started preaching cult-like characteristics during a sermon on the book of Matthew. We were shocked by this development because we had been attending that church for several months.

Our new church (as of October, 2015) is holding to true doctrine.  I hope and pray that the pastor continues to steer clear of false teachings!

The book of Revelation describes Seven churches. Out of the seven churches, only two (Smyrna and Philadelphia) did not receive any type of reprimand.

I am seeing personal examples of churches falling into false teachings.  It is happening at a greater rate today.

Many churches have “lost their First Love” (meaning Christ) and/or have been guilty of noticeably falling into blatant sexual sin. The list of failings of these particular churches can be read in Revelation 1:20 – Revelation 3:21.

The warnings and condemnation of the five other churches at that time in history also serve as warnings for congregations of the churches of today! Be SURE that the pastor(s) of the church you attend are preaching sound doctrine!

David Guzik helps us identify them:

a. Preach the word! Paul’s emphasis on the word of God has been constant. There are some 36 references to the true gospel in this letter and some 17 references to false teachings.

i. This constant emphasis makes Paul’s point clear to Timothy:

Do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord (2 Timothy 1:8)

Hold fast the pattern of sound words (2 Timothy 1:13)

The things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men (2 Timothy 2:2)

Rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

A servant of the Lord must be … able to teach (2 Timothy 2:24)

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (2 Timothy 3:16)

Always remember that we are to “convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.”

There will be people who will NOT accept what we share regarding the gospel of Christ.  But we are to plant the seeds anyway; even when it is uncomfortable to do it!

This is how we fulfill our ministry!

I pray that this post will help readers during the trying times ahead.

In Christ,

Christine

2Ti 4:2

Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

2Ti 4:3

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;

2Ti 4:4

and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

2Ti 4:5

But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

For I am persuaded…

February 27, 2016

A blogging friend of mine on his private blog recently wrote about the fact that it seems as though politicians need to put on a disguise in order to appeal to the ideology of the voters that they want to attract to their campaign.

In a recent discussion with my 28 yr. old daughter, she told me that she doesn’t like any of the presidential candidates on either side!  However, she hasn’t studied their ideologies or campaigns yet.  I encouraged her to do that.  Sometimes it comes down to choosing the lesser of two evils.

When another celebrity (Arnold S.) ran for governor of California I could not vote for him.  Instead, I voted for Tom McClintock.  Tom didn’t win the election but I have never regretted that particular vote; especially with how horrible Arnold was as governor and the scandals he was involved in.

I have observed over the years that the same need for disguising oneself is often true of judges. We have found that the Supreme Court judges that were nominated and confirmed by Republican presidents in the past have often turned out not to be as conservative as they previously claimed!

Recently I read about a secret meeting between 0zero and Justice Scalia just hours before his death. In another blog thread (need to find it) there was evidence of a “cease and desist” order which threatened against people reporting this or blogging about it!

79% of Americans believe with great certainty that there absolutely was foul play involved! The criminality of this BADministration is so blatantly evil it hurts my heart, mind, and soul to even think about it anymore! What’s more, they don’t even hide their pact with Satan!

WND:
Obama picks side in ‘hail Satan’ abortion fight

Administration to argue on behalf of industry against safety regulations for women

We are certainly in the throes of the end times! The evidence is so clear and all around us! Thank God for Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior for we know Who wins in the end!

God’s written Word, the Bible, and God’s Living Word, Jesus Christ comfort us through all the pain and suffering in this fallen world!  Nothing can touch my spirit because Jesus Christ has promised me (as well as all those born-again in Christ) that He will never leave me or forsake me!


Rom 8:38

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,

Rom 8:39

nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Hat tip:  My friend Steve!

Hat tips to all links.

Recognizing Spiritual Delusion

February 18, 2016

Yesterday’s post is just one example of the difference between man’s human wisdom vs. “in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” (see 1 Corinthians 2:4)

When we read and study the entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 2 we see and understand “the spirit of this world” vs. “the Spirit who is from God that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” (See 1 Corinthians 2:12)

The Bible teaches us to “speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy [fn] Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (see 1 Corinthians 2:13)

Paul goes on to instruct us: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)

This is why those who are spiritually discerned can think that there is nothing wrong with homosexual behavior (or any other type of sin). It appears to be “foolishness to him.” And, as the verse above states, “nor can he know them.”

Paul concludes the chapter with:

1Co 2:15

But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.

1Co 2:16

For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” [fn] But we have the mind of Christ.

Having the “mind of Christ” means that the indwelling Holy Spirit enables us to discern good from evil. Even as Christians, we may not want to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit within on certain issues, but the guidance is there for us to behold and utilize if our free will allows it to sink in.

Years ago at my former blog I wrote a blog post entitled “Recognizing Spiritual Delusion.” It contains important information for every Christian believer who may be struggling with the secular tug-of-war between human wisdom vs. God’s wisdom in the Bible.

The essay discusses the rise of false prophets and the increase of spiritual delusion that will take place the closer we get to the end times.

Once born again in Jesus Christ,  it is ESSENTIAL for Christians to study God’s Word so that they will not fall into such spiritual delusion and thus be taken away into heresy and apostasy.

It is my hope and prayer that visitors here will take the time to read this essay!

In Christ’s service,

~ Christine

*******

Recognizing Spiritual Delusion

When it comes to studying and understanding the “shadow of coming events” predicted and prophesied in the Bible, no one does a better, more accurate job of communicating exactly what Scripture reveals than Dr. Ed Hindson. If you go to that website and read his impressive resume’, you will, without a doubt, see how knowledgeable he is regarding end times events, Scriptural truth, and biblical prophecy.

One chapter, in Dr. Hindson’s book Antichrist Rising, has stood out in my mind over the past few days. It is the chapter called, “Rise of False Prophets.” The Bible informs us that false prophets and teachers have always been with us. Knowing God’s Word is essential to being able to spot them. We are warned, however, that as the end times draw closer and closer, there will be a rise of false prophets in the world. So, how do we recognize them and most importantly, avoid being caught up in their deception?

According to the Old Testament (OT), we are told that true prophets of God must do three things in order to be considered genuine:

1. must speak in the name of the Lord, not some other god.

2. must have a message that is in accord with God’s revealed truth in Scripture.

3. must give predictions of future events that come true exactly as stated.

Ed Hindson writes:

One of the most scathing denunciations of false prophets in all of Scripture is delivered by the prophet Jeremiah. In his time, Jeremiah had to deal constantly with false prophets who opposed his ministry, contradicted his message, and even conspired to have him killed. They kept telling the leaders of Jerusalem that the people had nothing to fear from the Babylonian invaders, but Jeremiah knew differently. Jerusalem was on the verge of destruction, and the people were about to be taken into captivity for 70 years.

“My heart is broken within me,” Jeremiah confesses in his agony over these false prophets who “…follow an evil course and use their power unjustly” (Jeremiah 23:9,10). “Both prophet and priest are godless,” the Lord responds (23:11). Then He tells Jeremiah His opinion of these false prophets:

Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD (verse 16).

I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied (verse 21).

I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, “I had a dream! I had a dream!” How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds? (verse 25)

Yes…I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues….Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams….Because every man’s own word becomes his oracle and so you distort the words of the living God, the LORD Almighty, our God (verses 31, 32, 36).

Jeremiah could not make his complaint any clearer or his case any stronger. God is against those false prophets whose spiritual delusion causes them to invent their own message apart from God’s truth. The Bible presents these people in seven categories…

Before I post those categories, I want to mention a few things that are crucial to this message.

In OT times, the Holy Spirit of God would “come, minister, and then depart from” the prophets of old. Any basic study of the Bible would bear this fact out. The fact that God is depicted as “being with a prophet or person,” but then “leaving that prophet or person” shows this to be true. He is often called, “The Spirit of God” for “The Spirit of the LORD.” For example:

Gen 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Jdg 3:10 And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the LORD delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim.

Today, the Holy Spirit works both outside, in the world to influence the unsaved towards repentance and acceptance of Christ as Lord and Savior; as well as inside each saved believer. When a person is born-again (see John 3),  the Holy Spirit resides within the heart of each believer. According to the Bible, Jesus told us that on the day of Pentecost, He would send a Helper for the disciples (and for us today as well):

Luke 11:13   If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall [your] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Notice that Jesus mentions we must ask for the Holy Spirit to indwell us. After repentance of our sins, we ask Jesus Christ into our hearts and he resides there in the form of the Holy Spirit. Jesus refers to Him as “another Comforter.”

Jhn 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

Jhn 14:26 But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Jhn 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, [even] the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

Jhn 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

When Jesus was here, physically on earth during his 3 year ministry, he could only be present in one place at a time. After defeating evil, sin and death on the cross for the sins of the world, and His subsequent resurrection to life, he ascended to the Father and now resides at the right hand of the Father in heaven. The Comforter (Holy Spirit) can be in all places at all times and thus indwells each believer in Christ.
We are then promised that He will never leave nor forsake us.

Hbr 13:5 [Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

This is why, no matter what happens to us on this earth, we can have the peace that surpasses all understanding precisely because we belong to Jesus! We can have absolute faith in Him! He’s such an awesome Savior and Lord!

Now, back to the topic of this post.

I left off just before sharing the seven categories that false prophets and teachers can fall into:

Hindson:

1. Self-deceived. Some false teachers may be sincere, but they are still wrong. They have deceived themselves into believing their messages are true. As Jeremiah points out, their messages come psychologically from within their own minds and are not from God.

This is why I have stressed the point that the Holy Spirit of God will not lead you into thinking that contradicts Scripture! The “messages” may come “psychologically” from within one’s own mind, (or, even worse from demons), but they are not from God if it contradicts God’s Word!

Hindson:

2. Liars. Some false prophets are deliberate liars who have no intention of telling the truth. The apostle John says, “Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the anti-christ – he denies the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22).

Now, admittedly, deliberate liars are easier to spot. However, sometimes the lie is so subtle, that even Christians can be fooled if they don’t have a firm foundation in the truth of the Bible. Notice in Ed Hindson’s second definition of a true prophet, he states:

2. [A true prophet] must have a message that is in accord with God’s revealed truth in Scripture.

God’s revealed truth in Scripture is the operative phrase. Anyone can read, study and even teach from the Bible. But if their ideology does not match up with God’s revealed truth in the Scriptures, then beware! You may be led astray from a false teacher!

Hindson:

3. Heretics. These are those who preach heresy (false doctrine) and divide the church. Of them John said, “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us” (1 John 2:19). The apostle Peter said, “There will be false teachers among you. they will secretly introduce destructive heresies….These men blaspheme in matters they do not understand” (2 Peter 2:1, 12).

The phrase, “blaspheme in matters they do not understand” could refer to those under delusion and/or deception. We can all recall several examples of blatantly obvious heretical movements. The Jim Jones cult, the Heaven’s Gate group, and David Koresh. However, there are more subtle groups that would qualify as being called “heretical.”

Hindson:

4. Blasphemers. Those who speak evil of God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the people of God, the kingdom of God, and the attributes of God are called blasphemers. Jude calls them godless men who “speak abusively against whatever they do not understand….They are clouds without rain…trees, without fruit….They are wild waves of the sea…wandering stars” (Jude 10,12,13).

We even have a recent example of these types of people! Look no further than This debate between the “Rational Response Squad” and two Christian evangelists.

However, some examples of “blasphemers” are not always as obvious as the atheists who participated in that debate. The ability to subtly “speak abusively against whatever they do not understand.” can apply to false converts, as well. They are often referred to as “sheep in wolves clothing.”

Hindson:

6. Seducers. Jesus warned that some false prophets will appear with miraculous signs and wonders to seduce or deceive the very elect, “if that were possible” (Mark 13:22). Our Lord’s implication is that spiritual seduction is a very real threat even to believers. This would account for the fact that a few genuine but deceived believers may be found among the cults.

Did you catch that? It bears repeating:

A few genuine but deceived believers may be found among the cults!

Now, I am often accused by gay theology proponents of “being judgmental,” or “displaying hate,” or “not being willing to discuss our differences,” or “not living in harmony with,” or “not being willing to accept that which they are preaching,” or “not being willing to compromise,” etc. I could go on and on, (as one well-known blog is named).

But now, we have an example of someone in the gay christian movement who demonstrates, through his own words, his unwillingness to compromise. Besides, it is not written in the Bible anywhere that we should compromise on any issue regarding the Gospel of Christ!

Here’s Mel White’s “gospel”:

“I will sit down with anyone who comes to the table with certain basic positive assumptions about us: that we are here, millions of us, and have the right to be; that our sexual orientation, too, is a gift from our Creator who is pleased when we accept the gift with gratitude and pride; that on average we live productive and responsible lives; that we are perfectly capable of loving, committed relationships and are as equipped as heterosexuals to have families of our own; that uncounted millions of us are people of faith who serve our faith communities with creativity and commitment and patriotic Americans who serve our nation with courage and with honor; that we don’t seek “special rights” just the rights and protections guaranteed all Americans by the Constitution. Our dignity, our integrity, our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, our unqualified acceptance by our Creator are not up for debate.”

Gcmwatch quote:

(Our bold.) What is there to discuss, when he demands 100% concession from us?

Can you see, now, why groups like the “Equality Riders” cannot possibly reconcile with Bible-based Christian believers? Their leader unequivocally states that in order for us to do so, it would require 100% concession (a.k.a. compromise) to his ideology.

It ain’t gonna happen…people.

Why? Because there will always be a remnant of the faithful who will never compromise God’s Word! That’s why!

Hindson:

7. Reprobates. This term means “disapproved,” “depraved,” or “rejected.” Paul refers to those who have rejected the truth of God and turned to spiritual darkness. Consequently, God has given them over to a “reprobate mind” (Romans 1:28 KJV). They have so deliberately rejected God that they have become “filled with every kind of wickedness” (verse 29). As a result, they are “God-haters” (verse 30), whose behavior is “senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless” (verse 31). These people are so far gone spiritually that they know it and don’t care. In Jesus’ own prophetic message, the Olivet Discourse, He warned, “Watch out that no one deceives you….Many will turn away from the faith….And many false prophets will appear and deceive many people….For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles” (Matthew 24:4, 10, 11,24). Our Lord warned His disciples of the possibility of spiritual seduction by false prophets.

There are different levels of reprobation going on out there. From the most severe kinds of reprobation to the more subtle, and perceived “harmless” type like Mel White’s Equality Riders.

Hindson writes:

The Bible describes Satan as the “father of lies” (John 8:44) and pictures him as the ultimate deceiver. His name means “accuser,” and he is depicted as the accuser of God and His people (Revelation 12:10). he is opposed to God and seeks to alienate people from the truth. He misled the fallen angels (Revelation 12:3,4). He tempts men and women to sin against God’s laws (Genesis 3:1-13; 1 Timothy 6:9). He denies and rejects the truth of God and deceives those who perish without God (2 Thessalonians 2:10). Ultimately, he inspires the false prophets and the very spirit of Antichrist (1 John 2:18-23).

The Bible clearly warns us that in the last days people will “abandon the faith and follow deceiving [‘seducing,’ KJV] spirits and things [‘doctrine,’ KJV] taught by demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). These false teachings will come through hypocritical liars whose minds have been captured by Satan’s lies (1 Timothy 4:2).

Thus, the process of spiritual deception is clearly outlined in Scripture:

1. Satan – Father of lies
2. Demons – Doctrines of Devils
3. False Teachers – Messengers of Deceit

The term angel (Greek angelos) means “messenger.” God’s angels are His divine messengers (Hebrews 1:14; Revelation 1:1), and His true prophets and preachers are called the angels of the churches (Revelation 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14). By contrast, Satan is pictured as a fallen angel, the leader of other fallen angels, who deceives the world (Revelation 12:9). He is revealed as the ultimate power behind the Antichrist and the False Prophet who deceives mankind with false religion (Revelation 13:14, 15). Thus, the messengers (angels) of deceit are Satan-inspired false prophets and teachers whose messages are the very spirit of Antichrist.

A century ago, A.T. Pierson, the Bible teacher who often spoke for Charles Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, wrote,

“Evil spirits acquire their greatest power from their subtlety. They are masters of the art of deception, and aim to counterfeit that which is good rather than suggest what is obviously and wholly evil.

A Christian friend once wrote something that was quite simple, but extremely profound (paraphrased below)!

“The greatest deception is not believing that we can be deceived.”

So, as Christian believers, how can we be guaranteed not to fall into deception?

1. The first step, of course, is through repentance for all sin and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior over our lives.

2. The second step is to read and study Scripture; but the most important point in this second step is what Dr. Hindson stated, “we must have a message that is in accord with God’s revealed truth in Scripture.”

3. This leads to the third step. It is knowing and recognizing the seven categories (discussed above) and the types of people who could lead one into spiritual deception and delusion.

Hindson shares why we must be spiritually discerning:

The lure of false doctrine is that it presents itself as the truth. It appears as a corrective measure to established doctrine. It is propagated by those who are certain they have discovered some new revelation of truth or a better interpretation of old, established truth. Either way, they are convinced they are right and everyone else is wrong.

This is Satan’s oldest trick. He appeals to our self-conceit and leads us into self-deceit. When he first approached Eve, Satan questioned the integrity of God’s command and appealed to her selfish desire to be like God – the same desire that led to his own fall. And there is something selfish enough in all of us to want to believe that we can know what no one else knows. C.S. Lewis said,

“What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could “be like gods.”…Out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we can call human history…the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”

Today, the seduction is even more subtle than Hindson states here (IMHO). We could take one line from above and add to it:

“Either way, they are convinced they are right and everyone else is “intolerant,” or “hateful,” or “uncompromising,” or “out of harmony with,” or, as Mel White stated above regarding his non-biblical view that ‘that our sexual orientation, too, is a gift from our Creator who is pleased when we accept the gift with gratitude and pride,’ and ‘our unqualified acceptance by our Creator are not up for debate.’ “

In the second post on this topic, I will cover warnings that once spiritual deception sets in, it leads, ultimately, to spiritual darkness.

Some thoughts to preview:

1. Pride and arrogance are the sins that lead a person to become spiritually deceived.

2. Satan tempts us with our own self-centeredness and lures us into spiritual darkness with the bait of our own pride. The Bible calls this the “pride of life” (1 John 2:16 KJV).
3. Having been hooked by our arrogance, we are reeled in by our ignorance.

I know. All of this is so devastating and heart-breaking to read. However, there is hope!! It is found in none other than Jesus Christ and His Word, the Bible. Anyone can come out of spiritual deception and darkness! It’s happening every single day!!

I sincerely believe that some people just don’t even realize that they are being deceived. Others, however, know it full well. But for those who may be currently studying under any number of ‘sincere’ preachers who have gotten off the theological track because they don’t know enough theology to realize their errors, you can give them a “test” to see if they are worthy to be in the mission of preaching the Gospel message of Christ.

Just ask them if they are willing to be checked, according to the absolute truth of God’s Word, on the accuracy of a certain doctrine, point, sermon or message that they have preached.

As my pastor has told us several times, he is only human and can make mistakes. That is why our “plumb line” to stay on track when it comes to sharing the gospel and God’s Word, is to stay true to it (utilizing the proper apologetics tools of exegesis, hermeneutics, Sola Scriptura, and Scripture interprets Scripture), to the best of our ability.

If a preacher or leader says that they are not willing to do this, (and/or are also not willing to back up what they have said with Scripture) that could be a good indication that they may be in danger of being off of the proper theological track.

Bottom line? My faith has to be anchored in the truth if it is going to do me, and others, any good. The same is true for you!

In the next section, Hindson mentions that “once theological error falls into ‘ecclesiastical cement’ it is virtually impossible to eliminate it.”

Once a false doctrine is accepted, it can be organized and perpetuated by a religious body, then perpetrated by a false defense (apologetic) which is based upon a false premise. It is then when we see such groups fall down that slippery slope as they accept false doctrine [no matter how much biblical Scriptural truth has been shown to them and has exposed their error(s)] as their “new truth.” They can organize it, categorize it, debate it, systemize it, teach it, and/or demand it; but that doesn’t make it true!!

When it comes to false teachers, the real problem is that the love of their own, skewed, erroneous teaching may drive them to the point where they will refuse to repent of it, even when their error is exposed!

The Bible says, “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts” (Ephesians 4:18).

Quotations Source: Antichrist Rising by Ed Hindson Copyright 2003 Ed Hindson; Published by 21st Century Press, Springfield, Missouri U.S.A. pp. 40-48 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever or stored in any database or retrieval system without written permission except in the case of brief quotations used in critical articles and reviews.

 


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