June 23, 2004

Accountability in the Church

Is there to be accountability in the Body of Christ? Does the doctrine of Christ according to the truth in the Word of God need to be defended? Well, the Apostle Paul said that it did.

If we, as Christians do not stand up, voice our concerns, and allow the light of the gospel of Christ to shine in the darkness, what will become of the world we live in? The darkness will get darker, and the light of God's truth will be quenched further. We must allow the light of truth to be spread on deceptive and false teachings, or we can all count on one thing, all will be affected by these deceptions in one way or another. In the end, we will be lucky if the current spiritual deceptions that are being taught do not spread in a most uncontrollable way.

Having wanted so badly to be able to approach the subject of accountability concerning the Church of Jesus Christ, I now sit at my computer, struggling for words that would best convey to you my deep feelings on this subject. What am I thinking right now? I am thinking of the changes that I have witnessed in the body of Christ in the past few years. And yes, accountability by those in authority in the church is one of those changes.

What are they teaching? What do they base their beliefs on, in whom do they place their trust anymore?

At one time, there were numerous pastors that would instill in their congregation the fact that the bible is the final authority, but the number of pastors and teachers doing this have been dwindling. Now, it is easy to notice that the verse, "Let God be true and every man a liar", is not mentioned much anymore.

It seems to me that million-dollar ministries, fancy talking preachers or evangelists, and the latest "who's who" of the Christian top 100 is utmost in many Christian's minds. Don't get me wrong, I love nothing better than listening to a good sermon that is rooted in the Word of God alone. But really, I must say that times are changing. Also, I am thinking about the fact that there are many times when one can hear questionable and unbiblical doctrine and would dare to voice an opinion, yet what happens when we do? We are met most times with opposition usually in this manner:

"Do not judge, lest ye be judged". I agree with the Word of God, we are not to judge, but the word is the word! We cannot turn ourselves around, ignore, or bury our heads in the sand any longer. The reason why is simple! It is not biblical.

What are we told from the bible concerning false doctrine? I can go ahead now and tell you of instances in which the Apostle Paul instructed us as Christians to use discernment when faced with ANY doctrine.

First, let us pick apart this issue and start at Galatians 1: Verse 6-12 6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.

12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Now, we see that there are those who definitely have, would and do pervert the Gospel of Christ as Paul told the Church at Galatia.

But what do we do knowing that there are those that ARE indeed perverting the gospel?

We are to count such as would pervert or change the Gospel as if they were cursed! That is what Paul said. Now, we all know that there are true prophets of God and there are many false prophets.

There are so many false prophets today that it is frightening. It seems that some even view prophets of God as having the final say, that words of prophets are never to be questioned, even when that prophet would dare to prophesy something that is contrary to the Word of God. So what are we to do? Just take the Prophet's Word over and above what our Bible tells us?

No, a thousand times no. I know you're with me on this brothers and sisters in Christ. We must speak out before this foolishness totally engulfs every facet of Christianity.

These days it seems that EVERYONE has a "word" from the Lord. Many prophets speak more often than we have recorded prophesies in the Word of God! Do you agree with this?

What was it that Jesus said about False Prophets?

Matthew 7:15-20

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

I would like to accentuate the word "fruit" in the above scripture. We shall know them by their "fruit" Jesus said. Why would Jesus see the need to tell the disciples, the disciples then relay it to us, if we are not to know these things?
And here again, we have Jesus telling us of what it will be like for us in the last days when he warns once again of the false prophets: Mark 13:21-23

21 And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not:

22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.

23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.

Here Jesus tells us that false prophets and false christs will rise and will show signs and wonders.

Why? To seduce you, that's why. They seek to lead you away from the truth.

Jesus says that if it were possible, even the elect would be seduced! That is something to give a second thought to friends.

The fact is, that Jesus as well as Paul, as well as Timothy, Jude and many others felt the need to let us know that there would be false shepherds, false prophets, false teachers.

Here is a scripture in which Peter is warning us about dealing with the false teachers:

2 Peter 2:1-2

1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

Example? The Doctrine of Inclusion, preached and touted now by Carlton Pearson These are but a few warnings in the bible that deal with false teachers and false prophets, etc. I could go on and on. And also, I have given you portions only out of the New Testament.

So what do we do about the accountability issue?

People will do as they please. We are each born with free will and we can live our lives in any way we choose. But teachers of the Gospel are given a very unique gift and a special responsibility.

This gift and responsibility does however come with a price. Those that are put in charge of preaching the Gospel are going to give an account to God himself for what they have taught. We who are not teachers or those that are in a position of leadership in the church also have responsibility to those in leadership.

Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

Question about those who have the rule over us:

Are their hearts and their spirits crying out to God on their flock's behalf and are they watching over our souls? I know that there are many shepherds that do care for their flock (their congregation), but there are many more I believe that are not doing so.

It is sad and it is a shame.

1 Peter 5:1-4

1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

We cannot get around it, the plain truth is that many of the Christian leaders today are not feeding the flock, but are rather being fed by the flock, monetarily that is. Now, please, before I go any further, let me say that it does take money to get the gospel out. I just don't understand when I see multi-million dollar mansions owned by preachers and a very luxurious car or two, (or three perhaps) parked in the driveway. Doesn't make sense to me and actually, it hurts me.

There are now conferences that pastors, evangelists, even church secretaries can attend for a registration fee, and they can learn how to help their ministry make more off of tithes, offerings, etc. How do I know this? Charisma Magazine. I recently picked up a copy of Charisma magazine, was thumbing through it and found the two page advertisement for the conference to which I am referring to.

They (the leaders of the church of Jesus Christ) are to be ensamples, or examples to the flock. I for one have decided that when I witness unbiblical teaching that is being touted as truth when in reality it is against what the Word tells us, I will speak up. I will write about it. I will let all Christian brothers and sisters of mine know about the deception that is rampant, and then they can decide who they will believe.

Who will hold them accountable?
God will.
But until then, I personally am using discernment that God alone can give.

The Seven Deadly Sins

The Seven Sins Which are an Abomination to God

In the bible we read in Proverbs 6:

16. These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:

17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,

18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,

19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

It is interesting to note that we violate the law of Love that Jesus gave to us when we commit any of these particular sins.

To love our neighbors as ourselves and to treat others as we would have them treat us is violated when they are committed.

A Proud Look

Isaiah 65

2 I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;

5 Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.

Psalms 10;4 The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.

A Proud Look says: "We're not in the same league" or "We're not on equal ground" or "I am better than you".

The sin of Lucifer was pride. He was high and lofty because of his beauty and brightness. God cast him from heaven because of the sin of pride. Notice how God says "A proud look". If a proud person comes to you and doesn't say a word, you can still many times recognize the proud by the "Look" on their face. They roll their eyes, give you a downcast smirk, and you can tell by the expression on their face that they are letting you know "I am better than you". I noticed a person look at me a few weeks ago and she gave me that "Look". How did I feel? I could have let it bother me but didn't. But God sees it as an abomination because it is harmful to both those who have that look and to those who are "looked down on" by these prideful people. We're to have NO respect of persons, But a proud look says "I am one who has respect of persons. By pride, these people are deceiving themselves. They do not care that we are all equal in Gods eyes and there is not one of us above the other. These people carry around the sin of pride, it never leaves them until they are humbled. A proud heart shows that one is willfully taking opposition to both God and Man. They believe that they are better than others, yet they are not. Note that there are just as many in the Christian church that commit this sin as outside of the Church. We have all overlooked the destruction the sin of Pride has caused.

A Lying Tongue

Proverbs 12;13 The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips: but the just shall come out of trouble.

19 The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.

A Lying tongue shows that we do not care about truth. Lies and Truths are irrelevant to those who have a lying tongue. But much more important, a lying tongue reveals that we don't care about the giver of truth which is God. Just as the truth is irrelevant to liars, the God of truth is equally irrelevant to them. Those who twist or distort the truth by their lies are affecting not only their own soul, but those who they encounter in life. We should all take what's said to us with discernment and do not take everything said to you as truth unless you know the person and have your sources verified. All liars will have their place in the lake of fire that burns with fire and brimstone. The truth does set us free but lies will hold us in permanent bondage. Lies are darkness and death whereas truth is light and life. May we choose the truth and light above all else.

Hands That Shed Innocent Blood

Isaiah 59;7 Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.

Jeremiah 22; 3 Thus saith the LORD; Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place.

If we are willing to shed innocent blood, we have no regard for the innocent. To these people, the innocent and the guilty are equal. We read in the bible, "Woe unto him that calls evil good and good evil". We are to know categorically who the wicked are and who the innocent are and distinguish between the two at all times. We are also to work on the behalf of the innocent, the fatherless, the widows and those others who need our help and support. Those less fortunate are the very ones whom our heart should long to help and not hurt. Those who are known to shed innocent blood have no regard for honesty and truth. We are to be on the side of the innocent and those who are treated wrongly through no fault of their own but how many of us do this? These days we have wars in which much innocent blood is shed every day and nothing is said of it. We turn a blind eye. Who is on the side of the innocent? God is, and we as his children are to be as well. God will judge those who shed the blood of the innocent.

The Heart That Devises Wicked Imaginations
Jeremiah 17

9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

Romans 1;21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

There is no end to the wickedness the heart is capable of. It can be said that wicked imaginations that spring up and are born out of the heart are always the root which brings forth every type of sin. We can conceive and imagine all sorts of false presumptions about our life and others. Are these imaginations valid? Most are not because we cannot know the hearts of others with absolute accuracy. This is why the Word of God is of utmost importance to us.

Jesus said:

Matthew 15 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

Beyond a doubt, God knows the heart, we do not. The same heart that devises wicked imaginations causes us to do sinful, shameful acts. It is through the heart that sins have flourished and come to fruition. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. We are to instead allow God to dwell in our hearts and minds and leave off thinking thoughts that are evil.

2 Corinthians 10;5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ

When we allow wicked imaginations to spring forth out of our hearts, an evil act is not far behind.

Feet That Be Swift In Running To Mischief
Isaiah 59;7 Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.

There are many unrestrained people who are at the ready to leap into wicked acts. Reminds me of a person finding out a bit of juicy gossip and before an hour is up they've spread that gossip far and wide. Evil is inside of their hearts, a volcano is erupting and driving them to rush into mischief head long. Same can be said for murderous acts- unrestrained, hedonistic qualities in a person, originating from a wicked heart that motivates and pushes him forward to commit sinful and disastrous acts upon another. It is in the heart that sin and rebellion is born and in the end, the feet follow. Isn't it amazing that people are only too eager to get into mischief? They do not think of the consequences of their actions at all. Nor do they consider the pain they cause others with the evil they do.

A False Witness That Speaks Lies
Psalms 27;12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.

Psalms 35;11 False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not.

12 They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul.

Matthew 26;59 Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;

60 But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses,

61 And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.

This seems different than a lying tongue in the respect that this liar is a witness of something that has taken place between two or more people. The very thought conveys that of a courtroom setting. One, the witness is perhaps thought to be reliable, trustworthy and honest-but is not. These false witnesses are held in highest regard. When a question is put forth expecting honesty, lies are gained instead. Those hearing will then base their impressions of another's actions on the false witness. The outcome is devastating for both the accused and the accuser. A false witness slanders at will those who are innocent of all charges made against them. Slander is one of the worst crimes one can inflict on another human. If you have been the victim of a false witness and his slander- rest assured that the one "God" who knows all will set all things right for you. Hold your head high and allow peace to reign in your heart, because he that knows all knows the truth about you and that's the most important part.

He That Sows Discord Among Brethren
Proverbs 6;14 Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord.

He that sows discord *strife* among others is one who cannot be a friend to anyone. In fact, if this person knew what peace and friendship and brotherly kindness was, he would not attempt to destroy it among others. He would have a common love for the brethren and would never seek to sow strife. This type of person for whatever reason, is miserable in his own life and seeks to destroy and cause misery in the lives of those around him. Strife is his lifestyle. A lifestyle created by his own choosing. I cannot begin to understand the mind of one who gains from wreaking havoc in the lives of others by sowing strife except to say that at its root is pure evil. Harmony, peace and love is the opposite of discord and strife. We know people by their fruits. One that sows discord among brethren is obvious to all of us and should be avoided at all cost. If you have to be around a person I've described, speak little to them and watch your back and do not place your trust in them.

June 10, 2004

The Way of the Pharisees

We all like to think of ourselves more highly than what we truly measure up to.

That's why it's so easy to find fault with our brother. We all perceive others as if they walk to the same drum beat as we do. Our concern over others actions and how their life is panning out is often one sided.

Denial of our sins is always more comfortable if we have our eyes on other's sins. This was the way of the Pharisees. They could say proudly that they were not thieving, adulterous drunkards, but they could not say that they were hypocritical, condemning, hard task masters. Which is worse? All are bad, yet the Pharisees lived in perpetual self blindness-although they were not blind to other's faults-only their own.

Think about this: why would one find fault if a man was cured of his blindness? Because from the Pharisees viewpoint, a law had been broken, a law that stated that one was not to do any work on the Sabbath Day- and that included healing. They couldn't recognize the blessing because of their strictness and rigidness to Moses's law. But this wasn't all it was about, Jesus healed the blind man-it was not in the Pharisees to do what only God's son could do, HEAL, so there was an intense jealousy of Jesus among the Pharisees because his Light and power they could not have. They wanted nothing more than to put out- (extinguish) that light and power that Jesus possessed.

Jesus did possess what they did not, but did the Pharisees choose to learn of him and his Father's ways? No, sadly most of them did not. The Pharisees wanted the people's admiration-they desired the praise of men rather than the praise of God.

John 12:42 & 43

42;Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:

43;For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

And Romans 2;29

But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

When Jesus stepped into their territory, it angered them because the people held Jesus in high regard. Jesus was pointing them toward God's true nature and not that of man made religion.

The people were being drawn to Jesus, and drawn away from the Pharisees. Control was slipping away from them. Control they had held over the multitudes.

Now what is interesting is this- that control is at the very core of religious fanaticism.

Bondage/Heavy Yokes

Notice how Jesus did not seek to control the masses. He was not out to gain control by force, yet religious fanaticism is all about control and bondage.

When you think of bondage what comes to mind?

Tying one up so as not to allow freedom of movement comes to my mind, but the dictionary definition is:

1.the state of being under the control of another person

What was the method the Pharisees used to enforce this control? Moses's Law- Scripture.

Yet at every attempt to trick Jesus into error using Moses's law against him, Jesus never tripped up. Why? He answered them according to scripture and truth. Leaving out man-made rules (doctrines of men). This left the Pharisees flabbergasted and bewildered. The law was being misused by the Pharisees and the reason? To gain and keep control over the multitudes of people.

Matthew 15:1-9

1 Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, 2 Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. 3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? 4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. 5 But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; 6 And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. 7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

They had changed the law and scriptures to suit their agendas.

Whenever we as Christians form exclusive groups and try to seclude ourselves from other Christians or even the world, we haven't long before we've lost our joy, peace, hope and love-but most of all, our focus. And the Pharisees were nothing if not an exclusive "group".

The Pharisees were so completely blinded, that the ONE they were told to wait and watch for showed up and yet they didn't recognize him, Their long awaited Messiah.

38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.

39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

41 I receive not honor from men.

42 But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.

43 I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.

44 How can ye believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only?

45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust.

46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.

47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

No room...

The truth is, just as there was no room in the Inn for Jesus's birth, likewise, there was no room for Jesus in the Pharisees's exclusive group.

They had no room for the freedom from bondage that Jesus taught. Why would they? Because it worked to their advantage to have men in bondage to the LETTER of the LAW rather than living by the SPIRIT.

The Spirit they could not control. The letter of the law-THEY COULD.

When Jesus introduced a new and living way to the people, they reacted favorable, that was the beginning of the end. From the entrance of Jesus and the Disciples to Jerusalem, to the first act when Jesus overturned the tables of the money changers, the Pharisees knew there was no agreement between themselves and him. They had not one thing in common. They were on two different planes. Just as Jesus said "Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. , or "Ye are of your father, the devil, and the lusts of your father will do.".. Jesus and the Pharisees were so totally opposed toward each other, that not one point could be found to even begin to fuse them together.

Is it any wonder that in this life, a person that walks in the Spirit and a person that walks in bondage (Man made religion) can never be in agreement?

Those that walk in the spirit enjoy their freedom in Christ-all the while obeying God's commands. Knowing that they are justified by faith alone, while man made religion only recognizes what the man (flesh) can and does accomplish. The Spirit is irrelevant to them- they don't understand it.

This was the way of the Pharisees

But the way of God is clear:

It is not by might nor by power but by my spirit sayeth the Lord of Hosts.

When we are ready to give up the fight of the flesh and give over to the spirit of God and let go of our might, our power, our control, it is in that moment that we can become a useful tool of the Spirit.

June 9, 2004

The Bible

The Parable of the Sower:
A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.
And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it was withered away, because it lacked moisture.
And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.
And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?
And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing, they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.
Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
They on the rock are they which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, Keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick that they which enter in may see the light.
For there is nothing in secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.
Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.
God speaks to all of us through his Word, the Bible.

The Bible is God's Word to Mankind. Without the truth, which is the Word of God, we would be forced to rely on instincts, feelings, experiences and other people to tell us what they believe to be the truth in this world that is full of wickedness and deception. What kind of road would all of us be forced to take if it were not for the truth that God has made available to us through the Bible? I shudder to think. All throughout the centuries, man has always known that no matter how horrible the conditions on earth get, what tribulations we may go through, we still had the truth of God's word to fall back on. It is still that way today.

But there are less people depending on that truth today. The reasons? Well, perhaps it is because some are depending on their feelings, what other people tell them, experiences and manifestations that they are subjected to in their churches and in their personal lives. In my opinion, "feelings" or "experiences" are getting the best of the Church.
Although there is plenty of blame to go around, primarily the blame must be put on the shepherds, teachers, and others that are supposed to be taking care of the flock of God. They have a greater responsibility than those who are not in the ministry. Many shepherds today are false shepherds and do not care for the well being of the flock that God has put them in charge of.

I can't remember the last time I heard a sermon of "The Parable of the Sower". The time of great deception that Christ and the apostles spoke of is surely here. The falling away of the church. I think the falling away has been happening for some time now.

Together with the bible and the leading of the Holy Spirit, those in authority in the churches are to admonish us in the ways of the Lord. Shedding forth the light of God's truth and warning us of doctrine that is unbiblical in nature is the main duty of those that have been given authority in the church.

They are to admonish us to walk in the truth.
We read in John's Gospel, Chapter 10 verse 12&13, that there are hirelings who upon seeing the wolf coming, leave the sheep. That they will not look after the sheep, but will turn and run when they are needed the most.
The hireling is a picture of a false shepherd that will only be concerned about himself and will NOT care for the sheep.

The heart drought
I believe there is a drought of the truth in these last days, a drying up of the truth if you will. The drought is not brought on because of the inability to get the word of God, there have been more printings of bibles in these days than ever before, all with various translations to boot. The drought is here because there is a lack of the Word of God hidden in our hearts.

When the truth is not hidden in our hearts, it will show in our actions toward others. We will not bring forth fruits of the spirit such as acts of compassion and acts of love.
This is exactly what many in the body of Christ are experiencing today. Yet, many in the church are saying without reserve that the state of the Church is going through a mighty revival of sorts, and a great end-time harvesting of souls. Now I know that God works every day on behalf of his people and nobody will convince me otherwise. But a revival absent of the Word of God is fruitless.
The fact is that Jesus Christ wants nothing more than for all to come to the knowledge of his truth. So is this what is being taught in the majority of Christian churches and ministries?

There is a focus on experiences and manifestations, etc. But what about the truth? What about the Word being preached with boldness and without exception?
I have noticed many churches getting caught up in their "feelings" , but where is the faith? Is it there or does it get tossed aside in favor of man's theology and man's experience and knowledge?
Many times a person doesn't "feel" saved. Now we know we are saved by the blood and grace of Jesus Christ, not because we have a good feeling at last nights revival. Rather, we know we are saved because of what the Word of God says and the witness of the Holy Spirit.
The fact of the matter is that we are not saved by feelings, and we cannot expect to be kept on track in our Christian walk by feelings either.

Discernment and Deception
With discernment, many can see that numerous teachings that we have relied on for centuries are now being changed to accommodate those with a "new vision" or a "new divine revelation" in these last days.
We hear phrases such as "divine renewal" and "God is doing a new thing now, we must give into it and go on to this new paradigm in the Church or get left behind".

My question to those who say such things is this:
If we are to do this, where is it backed up in the Scripture?
I know that Jesus said in Matthew 24, in the signs of the end times, that the love of many will wax cold. Evil men and seducers shall also wax worse and worse the apostle said.
And God is always doing a new thing, this is true but his word never changes, his truth never alters.

I am not against revival at all. I am just against a revival that is being touted "of God" when in reality, it is often times not. Some of these moves are full of vanity and man's thoughts and ideals, not the truth of God..
If we should have a great and mighty move of God, I know that it will be because God saw our hearts and that we were solidly fixed upon his Word. I believe revival will come when we put God first place in our lives without compromise, and do not swerve aside to vain teachings that only serve to puff up his people rather than edify the body of Christ.

Relying on the Truth

The Bible is still here today, if we will take it and apply it in our own personal lives, if we walk in the truth as God commands of us, we can do nothing better during our time here on earth. When we get caught up with fads and new paradigms within the Church, Satan is never happier. But what really destroys Satan's lies is God's truth, his word.
His Word is Light and Life at the same time!
What about you? How long has it been since you've picked up God's truth which is his Word, and prayed that the Holy Spirit would help you understand what God is speaking to you through his divinely inspired Word?
Here are a few questions that are pretty commonplace about the Bible

Question #1.
How often should I study/read the Bible?
Answer: Every Day if possible, I know that these days we are all pretty much in the same boat as far as time constraints in our lives, but please take the time every day to study the Bible for at least 10-15 minutes. If you have to, turn off the television, radio and whatever else you have going on.
If you have more time, then by all means study more and the more you learn of God through the written Word the more you will desire him.
Our desire to know him more comes through faith and faith comes through the Word of God.
Question #2:
But I don't understand the Bible so what can I do? I also find it boring at times.
Answer: When understanding the Bible isn't easy to you, there is only one thing to do, Pray before you ever open the pages!
I can attest to this fact. Just simply ask God to help you to understand his Word and ask that the Holy Spirit would make the words alive unto you. The same answer which is praying beforehand will help with the boring part too.
Question #3
I want to know why I am so uninterested in the Bible and the things of God, I want to be interested.
Answer: The reason why you are uninterested in the things of God and in studying God's word is answered by Jesus in the Book of Luke chapter 8 and verse 14 which is a portion of the Parable of the Sower:
14. And they which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life and bring no fruit to perfection.
In other words, other things, people and places take priority in our lives over and above God's word, We all are very busy living our lives, but we must not allow God and the things of God to be put on the back burner of our list of priorities.
We must make a conscience choice to put God and his Word first. Our relationship with him is something that we can't afford to let suffer and put second place.
Question #4
I used to read my bible and I had a very close relationship with God but something happened.
I want to know why I cannot get to the place (relationship) that I once was with God. It scares me and I just want things to be like before, what's happened?
This is believe it or not, a very common issue with Christians in their walk with God. This has happened to me before as well.
Maybe it was SIN entering in that
has caused the relationship with God to suffer at one time or another. But if not sin, most likely it was things taking up our time, our lives filled with other things, people, issues, etc, that has caused us to drift and taken our attentions away from God. Go to the top of this same page and read the "parable of the sower" and it will give you some insights.

One thing is certain, God did not drift from you. And God is not mad at you. You most likely feel that he is angered at you or that he has turned his back on you because the closeness is not there now. That is not why.
You have drifted from God, yet he did not start this drift. You have, and the reasons are probably numerous. His hand is stretched out towards you STILL.
But you can still have even a better and closer relationship with God than you did years ago.
Here is what to avoid:
Do not attempt to lay hold upon the past! Remember what Paul the Apostle said:
Philippians 3:13;

13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

As we can see, it is forgetting everything which is in the past (behind) and looking toward our present and
future. If you have sinned and gone astray from God, repent.

He truly is ready for you to draw near to him, he is always there and he was ready "Yesterday" for you to come to him.

Start afresh with God NOW.
This is the only way. We are not to look back. First, if you believe in your heart that it was sin that has caused that distance , confess any known and unknown sins or any offenses that may have caused your relationship with God to suffer and then you can be free to have a close relationship with God. It can be so much better than it ever was before! After all, this is what God is waiting for. This is what he wants, he can not work in your life without honesty, and as I said before, he already knows what you've done if anything and He still loves you. Just don't get into bondage by what some may tell you concerning what used to be - your past experiences with the Lord. God is concerned with you in the here and now.
He does not want you to think that he doesn't care for you, because he does!

Discernment in our Times

Our discernment in these last days has to be sharpened with the Sword of the Spirit - The Word of God. We will be betrayed, we will be led astray from the light and living way if we do not apply God given discernment in these last days.

Picture it in this way - if we have not learned of it and utilized it, like anything else in life, it is useless to us.

Hebrews 5;14 But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

The Heart Factor

We gain discernment through an understanding heart - understanding and knowledge comes through truth- the word of God.

Solomon said to God: Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?


Our uncertainty can get us into a lot of trouble. I speak from experience. Uncertainty over something can be so disastrous at times. I've known of many tragedies that have happened, all because spur of the moment decisions were made that turned out bad in the end. It can always be seen as a weakness. There will be times we're all uncertain, yes, but discernment from God is used so that we can know the truth from a lie.

Have you been betrayed and handed a bill of goods at the hand of another?

How did it make you feel when you found out it was all a charade? You felt stupid, right? I know that I have. I can hear myself saying "How could I have been SO stupid."
It was a simple lack of discerning the truth from a lie.

To use discernment given by God, we are to discern or to detect by means of the spirit.

Not just any spirit though, it is the Holy Spirit who gives us discernment.

And if we have not been born again, we cannot have discernment

Here are a few Bible passages in which discernment is spoken of:

Deuteronomy 32;28 They are a nation without sense, there is no discernment in them.

Psalms 119;125 I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.

Proverbs 3;21 My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight;

Proverbs 17;24 A discerning man keeps wisdom in view, but a fool's eyes wander to the ends of the earth.

and from Jesus we hear Luke 12;56 "[Ye] hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?

There is also a gift of the Holy Spirit called the DISCERNING OF SPIRITS

In 1 Corinthians 12, when Paul is listing the Spiritual Gifts, discerning of spirits is one of them

1 Corinthians 12;10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another [divers] kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

In the bible we read where Paul turned around and rebuked an evil spirit- the spirit of divination, out of a girl (damsel) that had followed him around the town of Phillipi, a region of Macedonia.

How did Paul do this? He had been given the gift of discerning of spirits through the Holy Spirit

Acts 16;16

And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying;

17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, "These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation".

18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved (disturbed), turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.

19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the court unto the rulers,

20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, "These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city",

21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans,

What really had happened here? The men who threw Paul and Silas into prison were really troubled because God through Paul and Silas had freed the woman that was possessed and now these crooked business men could not USE her anymore to make money!

They were furious.

God spoke in Leviticus about spiritual possession:

Leviticus 20;27 A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood [shall be] upon them.

This woman was saying the Right thing, but the spirit driving her speech was from Satan.

She had been possessed by the Spirit of Divination.

How could that be? Satan many times will mix lies with the truth. Paul's spirit was troubled because of this woman, yet she was speaking the truth. This story in the bible should convince us of one thing right off the bat- that there are many inside the church and outside of it that say "many truths, yet their spirit just may not be right. We cannot simply rely on words, they are cheap. We need discernment. We need to use not the senses that are not physical, but rather the senses which are spiritually given.

There are a world full of people who are walking around thinking everything is fine with them and God when really it's not. They do not have any sense of the spiritual-it means nothing to them.

Didn't Jesus say that in that day that many would come to him saying, "Lord, I cast out devils in your name, preached, healed the sick in your name"?

What does he then say to the many who are deceived within themselves? "Depart from me you workers of iniquity, for I never knew you! We can lie to others, but never is the truth kept from God. Ultimately, nothing can be hidden from him.

The Holy Spirit from God inside of Paul discerned or SAW the Evil Spirit from Satan inside this girl.

Why is discernment in these last days important?

Because in evil days and good days alike, the choices we make in life affect us as well as others. We must have an understanding heart along with wisdom which we could use to counteract the foolishness and wickedness we see playing out and going on all around us.

If we have no truth-we will trust in lies. Discernment is priceless- just as wisdom is. Without being able to tell a truth from a lie, the light from darkness

a charade from reality, truth from fiction,
No, if we do not possess this quality of discernment, we are on a dark path, a rough road - on a slippery slope.
Here is a simple comparison of what God approves of and what the majority of society approves of- see the clash?

Can you discern these?

God says "Have no respect of persons" Society says "Rub elbows with the affluent in this world- those who could line your pockets"

God says "Feed the Hungry, clothe the naked" Society says "Give to all men freely??? NO, but we will give you help-At a price"

God says "Owe no man anything, except to love him" Society says "The massive debts that you acquire can be ignored"

God says "Thou shalt not kill" Society says "Sure, there have been casualties since the war, but it is worth the cost- this is the war on terror!"

God says "Thou shalt not lie" Society says "Lying is feasible when it serves a good enough purpose".

God says "Thou shalt not spill innocent blood:

Society says "These innocent deaths occur in war...What can we say?

May we in these last days ask God for wisdom instead of riches, knowledge instead of fame, truth instead of what we want to believe about ourselves and others.

June 8, 2004

God's Resounding Call

The many injustices in this world are soon coming to an end. God is going to make all things right very soon.
Our eyes are being focused on everything that brings pleasure, ease and comfort.

But very soon our eyes will see the misery that these things often produce. Into full view we will soon see the chaos that our being at ease has caused.
God is not mocked. Whatever we sow, we will reap. We here in America say often that the end justifies the means.
We shall see if that saying is true. We will in the end find out that it was only our wishful thinking that motivated us to believe that lie. Choices. They have been in our hands. We have chosen the path that we've journeyed. Each day we get up is another opportunity to make the right ones, the godly ones.

The chance for repentance is still there if we are breathing. We must anoint our eyes with eye salve so that we can see the truth of who we are, be not blind to the facts. We are increased with goods and have need of nothing- And that includes a relationship with Him who created us. We must search our hearts and not search out others to use for our own gain.

We must look to others well being instead of our own. We must walk a mile in another's shoes before we dare judge another's life. We must pray with sincerity and not pray the prayers of the Pharisees who stood in the midst of the people- God's people, in order only to be admired.

How can we think that the days ahead will go our way and there will be no consequences for our actions or inactions? Simple, we have had grace and mercy showered upon us yet we are still at ease and still repeating mistakes that should have been learned by now. We do not speak up because we have not been shook enough.

But there is coming a great shaking in the land. A great shaking for the earth. Everything that CAN be shaken, will be shaken. Everything that can be moved, will be moved. God will judge the nations and will show all men that they are just Men. Men that were and are created in order to bring glory to God, not Glory to man. We have become a nation of men-pleasers and not God pleasers. What a deception.

We are in need of God taking out the dross that is within us and molding us again into a tool to his glory and for his use. Woe and more woe will be multiplied upon mankind in order that he can be true to his heart and admit the truth instead of trusting in a lie of his own making.

What lie you might say? The lie that we can order our own steps in life. It is not in man to order his own steps. It is not in mankind to rule himself. It is only for the RULER Jesus Christ to rule man. But with the free will he gives us, we ultimately choose which ruler we will have rule over us.

Through all of this, still God is saying : Come, Let us reason together, though your sins be as scarlet, they can be whiter than snow. And as well: I council of thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire.

Wisdom is of more value than the most desired gold. More than the finest silver.

The time of all things are quickly approaching. A time of weeping and not rejoicing. The great day of God's wrath.

Do not be one who finds himself worthy of his wrath. Be one who finds himself worthy of escaping his wrath.