Heart Transplant

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I read some time ago about the studies of a psychoimmunologist Paul Pearsall around the unexpected symptoms experienced by heart transplant recipients. Pearsall apparently researched the mental side of heart disease, gathering data and formulating theories. He wrote a book called ‘The Heart’s Code’ which documents these theories. Pearsall himself went through a life threatening cancer during which he became friends with others experiencing the same heart diseases and facing the need for transplants.

A certain number of them, around 15%……were known to report quite spontaneously that they know things about the person whose heart they received, or else their behaviour or preferences changed, and when it was researched, it was found that these changes were indeed in the direction of being more like the person whose heart they had received.”

(Strengthening your Decisions Through ‘Cardiac Exercise’ Elaine Aaron ‘The Highly Sensitive Person’ Comfort Zone Newsletter August 2005 http://www.hsperson.com)

The heart is the very centre of a person’s body,, the organ which pumps our life blood around. “It can communicate instantaneously with all of the body, 73 trillion cells, via the circulatory system. Pearsall thinks, in fact, that the heart in its central location and with its contact with every cell is constantly sending out ‘info-energy’ that every cell recognizes, so that each cell uses its DNA to become a sort of holographic image of the energy coming from the heart. “ (Elaine Aaron as above)

I should point out here, that while I appreciate Elaine Aaron’s research on the physiology and psychology of highly sensitive people, as a Christian, I am aware that this ‘research’ from Paul Pearsall and Dr. Aaron contained in the above article is highly humanistic and biased against a Christian understanding of our spirituality. I do not recommend this kind of ‘teaching’, but I was interested in the findings regarding heart recipients.

The ramifications for us as human beings are vast. As Christians, we know that God changes our hearts, but we also know that scripture tells us that He desires to give us a completely new heart. When he spoke to the prophet Ezekiel, he told him to tell Israel that He wanted to literally give His people a heart transplant. He wanted to take out the heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. How can a heart of stone beat? Clearly God is talking about their hardness towards himself. You can’t get any harder than a stone and in fact, a heart of stone is a dead heart, there is no life in a rock, it is the result of thousands of years of compression and resistance against great geological forces.

Ezekiel 11:19,20

Then I will give them one heart and I will put a new spirit within them and take the stony heart out of their flesh that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgements and do them; and they shall be My people and I will be their God.

In scripture, we see this concept of having a change of heart and a subsequent change of personality a number of times.

Saul is given a new heart when he is anointed King. All of a sudden he is able to prophecy with the prophets, he becomes literally a new man.

1 Samuel 10:6

Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man”

1 Samuel 10:9

So it was, when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, that God gave him another heart’ and all those signs came to pass that day”.

Saul changed to the point that all who knew him commented on the change in his behaviour. He had become a new and different man because God had changed his heart.

David prayed for not just a change of heart when he repented of the sins of adultery and murder, but he asked God to create in him a clean heart and to renew a right spirit. He needed to become a ‘new’ man so that he no longer wanted to sin in the way he had.

Psalm 51:10

Create in me a clean heart, O God And renew a steadfast heart spirit within me”.

Psalm 16:7

I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel; My heart also instructs me in the night seasons”.

God’s work on David’s heart had been such that he could trust the instructions from God which came from it.

In fact, we know that God called David ‘A man after my own heart’. This is a rare honour indeed.

The nation of Israel is also pictured in the book of Ezekiel as being the recipients of new hearts and God is the heart surgeon who removes the heart of stone to give them a heart of flesh. In all of these cases, the new heart results in a desire for the things of God and a new direction in their lives.

When we are born again, we receive a new heart. Old things pass away, all things become new. We now desire God himself and the things of God. Romans 12:2 tells us not to conform to the world but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind so that we can know the good perfect and acceptable will of God. There is a need to be changed to become more and more like Christ in order that we can know God’s mind, and also to know His heart.

God bless,

Steve and Anita

Searching For The Body

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Mark 5 (New King James)

36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.” 37 And He permitted no one to follow Him except Peter, James, and John the brother of James. 38 Then He came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and saw a tumult and those who wept and wailed loudly. 39 When He came in, He said to them, “Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping.”

40 And they ridiculed Him. But when He had put them all outside, He took the father and the mother of the child, and those who were with Him, and entered where the child was lying. 41 Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement. 43 But He commanded them strictly that no one should know it, and said that something should be given her to eat.

John 11 (New King James)

Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.”

When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. Then after this He said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.”

The disciples said to Him, “Rabbi, lately the Jews sought to stone You, and are You going there again?”

Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 These things He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.”

a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” 44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”

Luke 24

Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them,[a] came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly[b] perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen!

Have you ever noticed how many bodies are spoken of in the New Testament?

There is of course the literal body of Christ. We know that Jesus’ body was laid in a tomb, but on the third day, when Mary and the others went to the garden, the Angel asked why they look for the living among the dead. It must have been a wonderful and joyful shock to know that He whom they loved and had mourned for was now alive.

Then there is the body of Christ which is the body of believers both past present and future. We who believe, love and obey the Lord Jesus Christ are the temples of His Holy Spirit, and belong to Him. We are the ones Paul mentioned when he talked about each of us being members of one another (Romans 12), and that no member of the body can say to another ‘we have no need of you’. (1 Corinthians 12).

In both cases, the body of Jesus is a living and breathing being. It is not dead. The Spirit of God dwells in each believer and causes his once dead spirit to become alive to the mind of Christ, to the will of the Father and to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

There are of course other bodies.

The bodies of Jairus’ daughter and Lazarus.

It’s really interesting that both in the case of Jairus’ daughter and Lazarus, Jesus mentioned that these were not bodies, but they were people who were merely asleep. Nobody believed Him of course. They laughed at him in the case of Jairus’ daughter. But Jesus knew what he was talking about. A sleeper is someone who is in fact still alive. They are unconscious to the world around them and will shortly wake up and once again be ‘alive’ to the world. Dead people and sleeping people have much in common bar one important distinction. Dead people do not wake up.

Spiritually speaking, the dead are not ‘awake’ to the reality of God. ‘Let the dead bury the dead’ said Jesus to the young man who wanted to follow him. In other words, those who are not willing to follow Jesus, who do not come to Him and look to Him for salvation are dead to the kingdom of God. We who are alive in our spirits are no longer dead. So, those who believe in Jesus, those like the woman with the issue of blood, Jairus and his daughter, Mary, Martha and Lazarus do not die, they merely sleep. Paul also referred to those believers who sleep in 1 Corinthians and 1 Thessalonians.

Interestingly, in both the case of Jairus and Lazarus, Jesus delayed his coming. He saw the faith of those who asked him to heal, but he knew that in both cases it was God’s will that instead of a healing there should be a raising of the body to the glory of God. Many didn’t believe that he could raise a dead body. There were not just cautions from people who cared about Him, “Lord he has been dead four days”, but there was mocking laughter from those who thought Jesus was a bit loopy. Jesus answer to the mocking was to ‘put them all outside”. He removed the mockers and spoke to the family. This was their home. This was their daughter and he spoke with compassion and concern. After he raised their daughter to life, he told them to feed her. I think this is also significant. A body which has recently died and then resurrected needs nourishment and care in order to continue living. Jesus did not raise this little girl to see her fail from lack of food. The parents were probably so overjoyed that they forgot about the practical things. She had probably not eaten for days due to the sickness, and now here she was pulsing with new life, and ready to partake of the energy and goodness which sustenance gives us.

I find it really poignant that in this chapter, Jesus heals a woman with a flow of blood and who has a deep faith that even touching his garment will heal her. She had life flowing from her, for life is in the blood, yet her faith moved her to seek out Jesus, even after he had been summoned by somebody else for the healing of someone probably much more severely affected. This lady didn’t want to draw attention to herself, probably because she would have been unclean and she didn’t want Jesus to have to touch her and thereby become unclean himself. What she didn’t know was that Jesus would not have been unclean from touching her and it was her faith which drew power from Him in order that she should be healed. This is a beautiful picture of weakness and impoverishment from illness which is wonderfully healed by Jesus without even his conscious partaking in it. It was her faith which made her whole.

Later, He looks for faith from Jairus’ family in order that he might be able to raise their daughter from the dead. In my opinion faith is sorely needed in the church today.

The church in this country is sick and dying. It has an issue of blood. It is not only weakened by this flow of life, but it is unclean because of this flow, and it needs to come to Jesus in faith and be healed. Like the Jairus family, the church also needs to be regenerated.

We have been searching for the body of Christ for some time. He was raised from the dead by the Holy Spirit. He now sits at the throne of the Father, but his body, we, the sheep of His pasture, are all of us going our own way. We not only need to return to the lover of our souls and the good shepherd, but we need his resurrection power to return us to the place of true and genuine commitment to each other and to the ministry of the Holy Spirit through each and every one of us, that’s men women and children, in and through us.

The women of the body need to step out in their Spirit giftings. They need to know they are accepted as equals by their brothers, so that they may be able to preach the gospel, share what God has given them with the rest of the body and not tethered to the traditions of men and religion and forbidden with sour and bitter remonstrations not to preach or teach because Jesus doesn’t allow it.

Since when does Jesus not allow his sisters in the Lord to walk in the Spirit, to hear the voice of God and to speak the word which they hear in their hearts? If those words happen to be words of encouragement, prophecy, wisdom, teaching or edification, then such is the will of the Holy Spirit and he should not be blocked, or He will be offended. If a woman has a heart for the body of a carer and a helper, should she be stopped because of her sex and made to sit in the pews and wait while another more acceptable, male, member of the body do the ministering? None of this even makes sense!!

No, the body of Christ is less than what it is meant to be. Mainly because of the headstrong stubborn and wicked hearts of human beings who prefer to remain bound in their own doctrines and religious traditions. We are all one in Christ!!! The body is all around us, yet she is ill and needs to be not only healed, but risen from the dead!

Why Everybody Hates You

 

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John 7:7

The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify of it that its works are evil.

John 15:18

If the world hates you, you know it hated me before it hated you.

John 15:19

If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

John 17:14

I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

1 John 3:13

Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.

1 John 2:15

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

1 John 3:14

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.

For the last twelve years or so, Steve and I have spent long hours talking and making sense of the world we entered after leaving the cult.  The world has changed markedly and continues to do so at a rate of knots.  But even more disturbing is the fact that the church has also changed.  We understood that we came out of a place which was an exception to the rule.  Once we wrapped our minds around the concept of the term ‘cult’, we expected to find different behaviour in other churches.  We have been deeply concerned  to find that in fact, much of the behaviour we saw in the cult is being replicated in other Christian organisations; churches and schools.
We were used to being treated badly by cult leaders, but we were not expecting to encounter abusive behaviour from what might be termed ‘ordinary Christians’.  What we discovered was that our cult experience was the thin end of the wedge.  In fact, as we went back over our histories, two separate and disconnected paths, we realised that we had both experienced really horrible behaviour from church people most of our lives.
Why was this?  Were we at fault?  Or were we just unfortunate enough to have been the target of a lot of badly behaved Christians?  Was our experience unique? I don’t think so. In the last twelve years we have done a lot of research and found that large numbers of Christians are leaving the church and not for the reasons that the so called researchers, like George Barna, have suggested. More often the stated reason for leaving churches is because the gospel is no longer being preached.  Genuine brothers and sisters in the Lord are offended with the false gospels, the false teachers, and the false prophets who arise in their midst.  They are faced with the choice of attempting to change the church or leaving.  It seems many, even after years of trying to get the leaders to see sense, have simply given up and looked for another place to fellowship. What they are finding is that there are very few churches now which appear to preach the gospel. If the gospel is not being preached, people sitting in the pews are not getting saved.  We heard the testimony of one man who sat in David Wilkerson’s Times Square Church and said that it was the first time he had ever heard the gospel in 20 years of being a Christian.  It was then that he actually became born again.  This is not an isolated example.
On this note, one preacher we have found to be the epitome of a good solid bible teacher is a man called Charles Lawson.  He is a Baptist pastor in Knoxville Tennessee.  He is what you might call an ‘old time pastor’, but he has done his research and is willing to discuss things from the pulpit that most pastors will not.  He talks about end times, the rapture of the church, he talks about the one world government and the occult.  He is filled with the Spirit and is a genuine brother in the Lord.  We delight in listening to his messages because for 12 years we have looked to find something similar in our country and have failed.  He is surely not the only pastor who preaches the gospel, but he is one we have spent a lot of time listening to.
line breakGood teachers aside, I believe there are two issues intertwined in this matter.  On the one hand  you have the hatred of the world for genuine believers, and on the other hand you have people who identify as Christians but are in fact not genuine believers because they have not been transformed. They have either come into the church on ‘another gospel’ or they have not been born again. So they are in fact still ‘in the world’ despite the fact that they believe in God.  Now bear with me, this is not about being accusatory, it is about observing and recognising the false and discerning the true.
Peruse the above verses.  You will find that Jesus made it abundantly clear that the world hated Him.   The world hated Him because the world is not of God.  Since born again Christians are of God, then it follows that the world is going to hate you. This is not a maybe.  Jesus was not saying ‘if’.  This is a rule of thumb.  The apostle John also reminds his readers that it should not be a surprise if the world hates you.  Because you are of God.
If the above is true then why am I seeing a whole lot of love for Jesus from the world.  And why is there such a conflation of world and church now in so many denominations. Everybody from Hollywood to the White House are saying that they are Christians.  And its not just happening in America.  I live in Australia and for the longest time our Prime Ministers made a big deal of being church going folk.  The Queen goes to church and is the head of the Church of England.  Are they all born again Christians? No.  No they are not. How do we know this? Because the world loves them, the world embraces them and they are not suffering persecution. And of course, their behaviour shows they are not.
I think what is happening here is that they are worshipping another Jesus.  The Jesus that they worship has a different source, the world.  The Jesus who walked the earth two thousand years ago and died on the cross, that Jesus was hated by everybody. Nobody wanted that Jesus to rule over them. Has the world suddenly changed since then?  No, interestingly, just as God doesn’t change, evil doesn’t change.
I think a lot of Christians assume that just because other Christians believe in ‘God’ that we are all worshipping the same God.  Not true.  There are many ‘Christ’s out there, and Jesus said that this would happen in the last days. But there are also many who are sitting in church believing they are brothers and sisters of the Lord Jesus Christ, when in fact they have not actually even met Him.  They have not had a true conversion experience.  They might have been experiencing some kind of ‘spiritual’ experience, which it appears is a common thing even amongst pagan tribes.  We westerners tend to believe only in science and rational thought.  This is all well and good until you realise that much of what passes as science is rooted in pagan religion.  We have been fooled into thinking that there is no such thing as supernatural beings or supernatural powers.  Yet the Bible makes it clear that Satan is real, demons are real, angels are real, and they are constantly around us despite the fact that we cannot see or hear them.  Our religion has been influenced by such movements as the reformation – which in fact was simply a version of Catholicism and not true biblical Christianity (although it contained elements of it)  – and the charismatic/Pentecostal movements which were founded on various supernatural occurrences during so called ‘revivals’ over the last couple of hundred years. Many of those supernatural experiences were not of the Holy Spirit but were demonic in origin, and these experiences and the doctrines which support them have influenced our teaching and our expectations as believers.
We believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we are not cessationists.  We have prayed for and seen healings, miracles, baptisms in the Spirit etc.  But what we are looking for is transformation.  We need to see changed lives which are led by and bear fruit from the Holy Spirit.  That fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control. We tend to see the opposite in many Christians, or sometimes fake fruit.  Let’s look at that.
True Fruit                                                                          Fake Fruit
Love                                                                                   Affection
Joy                                                                                      High Spirits or Loudness
Peace                                                                                 Numbness
Patience                                                                            Inclusion
Goodness                                                                          Doing the right thing
Kindness                                                                           Tolerance
Gentleness                                                                        Psychology
Faithfulness                                                                      Prejudice
Self Control                                                                       Legalism
Christians in Western countries tend to believe that things should be a certain way.  We expect that Christians should act a certain way, generally according to the denomination we belong to.  Reformed churches behave this way, Pentecostal churches behave that way, Baptists do this, Presbyterians do that and so on.  What we have not really done is read our bibles, take note of what constitutes a changed life, the life of Christ within us, the life empowered by and filled with the Spirit of Christ.  We do not measure ourselves against scripture, we measure ourselves against the latest self-help book or teacher, not realising that these people are often not born again either.
A true born again Christian loves other true born again Christians.  You know when you have met somebody who is truly a new creation, you can see it in their eyes, the Spirit within you witness to the Spirit in the other person.  There is a unity which exists which does not need outward expression or conformity to a set of denominational rules or a set of rules which says ‘this is what a genuine bible believing Christian does’.  If the Spirit of him who raised Christ Jesus from the dead dwells within  you, then He who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies.  That same Spirit will empower you and that same Spirit will lead you and guide you.
Now obviously, Christians can be carnal.
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? … (I Corinthians 3)
 When Paul says carnal he is referring to immature Christians who are still spending most of their time walking in the flesh and therefore acting like ordinary men, unbelievers in the world.  We have obviously met a number of these.  The sort of behaviour though that we have experienced is more along the lines of people who don’t change at all over time.  They are not carnal sometimes and spiritual other times.  They really don’t have any Christian characteristics at all.  They are simply religious.
What we have to come to terms with in this so called post-modern society is that there is no longer a ‘church’ denomination which contains a bunch of born again believers.  True believers are now scattered.  Has it been this way from the beginning?  It is possible that this is so.  If true believers are salt and light then we cannot all stand in one clump, how can we salt the earth if we are sitting in one bunch every Sunday or weekday.  It is not possible for us to have a savoury effect.  Have you ever over-salted a soup or stew?  I have.  You can’t ‘unsalt’ it, you have to throw it out, you can’t eat it.  Likewise, we as believers are meant to be spread throughout the world and the so called ‘church’ on the earth.  We can come together to encourage each other, but I am starting to see that this coming together is going to get harder and harder, and we must find each other through other means than the local church organisation.  The church has now become like the world and the world like the church.  There is no longer any delineation, and the true believers are going underground.  Maybe it was always going to be this way at the end.
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We should no longer be surprised when we are hated both by the world AND others who identify as Christians.  IF the Holy Spirit is in you and not in the other so called Christians, you will be treated by them as you are by the world, because they are actually of the world.  Scripture tells us that there were believers in Paul’s day who turned away because of their love of the world; Demas (2 Timothy 4:10) was one of them.  We are told that if we are friends of the world we cannot be friends of God. (James 4:4).
The conclusion of the matter for us is that those who abused us and refused to change were not Christians to start with as they a) had no love for the brethren and b) were not transformed and c)did not have the fruit of the Spirit.  They were of the world and so hated us.  This goes for every other Christian we have not been able to communicate with or has treated us with disdain.  This is the only explanation that is viable.  Genuine believers may have bad days, or have some struggles with sin, but they do not habitually treat others with rudeness or disrespect.  Nor do I know anyone, who does not have a character disorder, even in the world, who would treat a perfect stranger with rudeness or disrespect.  But people who you know who habitually act coldly and arrogantly towards you yet claim to be believers and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ are not the genuine article.
It is in fact a huge relief for me to finally allow this truth to embrace my heart.  I do not have to feel bad that there are those out there who claim to be Christian who do not love me, despite the fact that I have striven to attain that love over the course of many years.  These ones cannot love, they do not have the love of God in them.
Only true believers can love true believers.
Only the world hates true believers.
And never the twain shall meet.

Last Christian Standing

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As I write this the vestiges of ex-cyclone Debbie have passed over Brisbane. For the last couple of days it has been a howling gale. This morning a peaceful composition of golden sunlight and cool wind gusts.  Brisbane doesn’t get cyclones thank God, but we always get at least a week of rain every time a cyclone hits the mid-east coast of Queensland.  It’s not normal rain, its a deluge. In fact on the radar you can still see the old eye and the clouds circling around it, much slower than before but the pattern is still clear.  These last few days have made me think of Noah and how it would have been to be the only Christian family in a world gone mad.  Genesis 6:5 tells it like this:

And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually

In the Mount Olivet discourse, Jesus told us that the last days, the days before His return, the situation would be very similar to the days of Noah.  People would be unaware of the coming of judgement.  They would be giving in marriage and feasting as though tomorrow would in fact come.  But their works would mark them out as evil.

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

This is what many are seeing now and are agreeing that we are in the end times before Jesus return. In fact, it is the reference to Noah’s day that makes me believe in a pre-tribulation catching away of the church into heaven for the marriage supper of the Lamb.  Who would be giving in marriage when the world is in intense trauma the like of which nobody had ever seen before?  You would certainly be looking for the return of Christ at such a time, or at least the appearance of a saviour, you would not be gaily planning the rest of your life.

Jesus is not the only one who spoke of end time falling away from the faith. Paul mentioned it to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3. In fact Paul’s words mirror those of Jesus.

 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

While Paul may have been referring to current events, and Christians since Pentecost would have been looking upward for Jesus return, the fact that 2000 years later we are seeing events take place which would not have been able to occur historically should give us pause.  There is a great deal written about end times prophecies on the internet, but I want to ask you this.  What would you do if everyone around you forsook Jesus and you were the last Christian left standing.    Remember Elijah?

And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?

14 And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.15 And the Lord said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria:

16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room.17 And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay.18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

Elijah was another prophet who endured climate upheaval and communed with God.  He had come to a place of utter despair because of the severe testing and opposition he had from demonic principalities and powers.  He felt he was in the last days himself, but God assured him that there were indeed seven thousand others.  That is quite a number. I would be more than happy with seven thousand friends who believed the same way I did.  Even if that number was worldwide. It would be much more comforting if they were in my city of course. But I have been asking myself the same question.  What would I do if everyone else I knew had fallen away?  Would I still stand firm?  You can’t just gloss this one over.  The situation in churches worldwide is desperate.  False doctrines which used to be just here and there now seem to be converging on the church at a rate of knots;  New Age philosophies, Seeker Sensitive watering down of the Word. Sin and repentance and the Cross are now just fairytales, as many so called Christian pastors are preaching a gospel which excludes biblical truths and focuses instead on narratives which only look Christian but are in fact kool-aide laced with cyanide.

white_cloud_sky_small.jpg

Jesus said that if we followed Him we would endure persecution. The problem for many Christians these days is that not only are we receiving persecution from the world we are receiving it from others who profess Christ as their saviour.  Historically, this is not uncommon. Protestants have been slaughtered by Catholics, Protestants have slaughtered other Protestants.  I even read recently that in the early days of America, the Quakers were persecuted by the Puritans.  Mind you in Cromwellian England, the Puritans persecuted just about everybody.  It is truly disturbing what some people will do in the name of Jesus.

However, for us, it is not so much persecution as peaceful protest.  We walk into a Baptist church and find that they are not Baptist at all, they are preaching a neo-liberal, post-modern, eco-gospel and going on about living in ‘intentional community’ with the urban poor.  We try talking to the pastors about this but have distractions thrown up in our face. They are not interested in discussing false doctrine, they want you to keep your concerns to yourself, they are perfectly happy being double-minded. Last year they hosted a ‘Friends of Israel’ meeting at their church, this year they are adamantly pro-Palestinian. WHY?

I was watching a video of US ambassador to Israel Nikki Haley explaining that the Trump government were now supporting Israel, the only democratic country in the Middle East. She reported that an attempt to place a Palestinian representative in a high ranking position in the UN was met with unmitigated opposition and apparently nixed.  This is good news to many supporters of Israel.  It concerns us greatly that a church should suddenly shift its allegiances.  However, when you look at the fact that they have taken on a new pastor couple who have recently graduated from a bible college which is pro-liberal and supports such speakers as Shane Claiborne, the picture becomes much clearer.  Claiborne along with many liberals is pro-Palestinian.  Why?  Because people like Claiborne are being used by the powers that be to introduce a world religion which is slowly but surely taking over the visible church.  What is deeply troubling is that so many are simply following the pied piper into destruction.  Actually now that I think about it, the Pied Piper wore a coat of many colours.  This new ‘religion’ of the Liberal left is one which conflates all the world religions into one, disparages the Bible as no longer the inerrant Word of God, and claims Jesus is not the only way to God.  The pipers, or seducers of this new religion are playing a tune which many people can dance to.  Yet it is the same lie the serpent spoke to Eve. You don’t need God, you can be like God instead.

tree-el0_small.jpg

An article on my newsfeed yesterday told me that in Indonesia recently a python was found which had swallowed the body of a man whole.  I won’t post the picture as it was pretty disturbing.  You can find it if you look for it.  But the thought of a python swallowing a human is profound. The python Spirit in scripture is the spirit of divination.  In Acts 16, Paul and Silas went to Philippi and met a girl possessed with the spirit.  She worked as a prophetess and told fortunes for money.

16 Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” 18 And this she did for many days.But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour. 19 But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities.

This is an extract from Wikipedia about the Python spirit of divination.

There are various versions of Python’s birth and death at the hands of Apollo. In the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, now thought to have been composed in 522 BCE when the archaic period in Greek history was giving way to the Classical period,[4] a small detail is provided regarding Apollo’s combat with the serpent, in some sections identified as the deadly Drakaina, or her parent.

The version related by Hyginus[5] holds that when Zeus lay with the goddess Leto, and she was to deliver Artemis and Apollo, Hera was jealous and sent Python to pursue Leto throughout the lands, so that she could not deliver wherever the sun shone. Thus when Apollo was grown he wanted to avenge his mother’s plight and pursued Python, making his way straight for Mount Parnassus where the serpent dwelled, and chased it to the oracle of Gaia at Delphi; there he dared to penetrate the sacred precinct and kill it with his arrows beside the rock cleft where the priestess sat on her tripod. Robert Graves, who habitually read into primitive myths a retelling of archaic political and social turmoil, saw in this the capturing by Hellenes of a pre-Hellenic shrine. “To placate local opinion at Delphi,” he wrote in The Greek Myths, “regular funeral games were instituted in honour of the dead hero Python, and her priestess was retained in office.”

The politics are conjectural, but the myth reports that Zeus ordered Apollo to purify himself for the sacrilege and instituted the Pythian Games, over which Apollo was to preside, as penance for his act.

Erwin Rohde wrote that the Python was an earth spirit, who was conquered by Apollo, and buried under the Omphalos, and that it is a case of one god setting up his temple on the grave of another.[6] The priestess of the oracle at Delphi became known as the Pythia, after the place-name Pytho, which Greeks explained as named after the rotting (πύθειν) of the slain serpent’s corpse in the strength of Hyperion (day) or Helios (the sun).[7

It is clear to me that the spirit behind the New Religion which is being forced upon the church is the Python Spirit. It is squeezing the life out of genuine believers.  Satan wants to destroy the true Christians of this age, and he will do this by bringing in the New Age as he has been doing for centuries, slowly and carefully.  This is a long game, and he is in no hurry, but currently, the changes are happening so fast it is our concern that believers are being overtaken without knowledge and without warning.

We need to consider what might happen if everyone we know turns against us to this new religion, and we are left the last Christian standing.  I don’t believe we will be truly alone, because just as God had his seven thousand in the days of Elijah, so he will have at present.

It is interesting that I heard a wonderful and stirring hymn the other day called ‘The Days of Elijah’.  Here are the lyrics.

Days Of Elijah

These are the days of Elijah
Declaring the word of the Lord, yeah
And these are the days of Your servant Moses
Righteousness being restored

These are the days of great trials
Of famine and darkness and sword
Still we are the voice in the desert crying
Prepare ye the way of the Lord!

Say, behold He comes, riding on the clouds
Shining like the sun at the trumpet’s call
Lift your voice, year of Jubilee
Out of Zion’s hill, salvation comes

And these are the days of Ezekiel
The dry bones becoming flesh
And these are the days of Your servant, David
Rebuilding a temple of praise

And these are the days of the harvest
The fields are all white in Your world
And we are the laborers that are in Your vineyard
Declaring the Word of the Lord

Say, behold He comes, riding on the clouds
Shining like the sun at the trumpet’s call
Lift your voice, year of Jubilee
Out of Zion’s hill, salvation comes

Behold He comes, riding on the clouds
Shining like the sun at the trumpet’s call
Lift your voice, year of Jubilee
Out of Zion’s hill, salvation comes

So while the world is being rapidly changed by agents of the enemy, we remain and we stand, having put on the armour of God.  We occupy until He comes.  We will ever look to the skies awaiting His return and looking for the blessed hope who is He who both sustains and keeps us in these last days. May all my brothers and sisters, the true believers who are not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ link together in the Holy Spirit and pray for endurance.  We will need it.

God bless you all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What A Successful Christian Looks Like

small man

Nobody Special

13 This wisdom I have also seen under the sun, and it seemed great to me: 14 There was a little city with few men in it; and a great king came against it, besieged it, and built great snares[b] around it. 15 Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that same poor man. (Ecclesiastes 11)

1. You are Not the Popular Guy

Most genuine ‘love-the-Lord-with-your-whole-heart’ Christians don’t have large crowds of people who love them unconditionally, constantly contact them and hang off of their every word.  We have been conditioned in contemporary western culture to believe that unless you have a large church or at the very least a ‘ministry’, then you aren’t really making it as a believer. Jesus himself was not the popular guy.  He had a following of 12 men plus a few others and all of them suddenly disappeared as soon as the situation hotted-up.

Now he did have thousands of people who regularly turned to listen to Him preach and hoped for a miracle or exciting healing, but few actually hung around because they believed in Him. Often Jesus’ words to those ones were ‘he who has an ear to hear’.  So Jesus knew who they were…most weren’t hearing.  And of the men he chose to be his first disciples,  Judas betrayed him, Peter denied him, Philip doubted him, most of them didn’t know who He really was, and when it came right down to it, most of these guys  didn’t really understand Jesus’ ministry.  It wasn’t until Jesus died, resurrected and ascended and the Holy Spirit came to them at Pentecost that the church really got going.  THEN they were imbued with power from on high and were able to preach the truth.  In today’s terms, even Jesus’ disciples would not have made it onto the ‘popular preacher circuit’.

2. You have a history of getting it wrong

There is a difference between being a false teacher with a history of getting it wrong, and a regular Christian who is seeking the truth and in the process actually ends up following a  false teacher.  Your heart is in the right place, but you keep coming across charlatans who make you think that they are ‘great men of God’ but are in fact, well, charlatans.  There are far too many of them out there. Deception is a spirit and many have been bewitched by doctrines of demons.  It takes discernment to get it right, and most of us don’t develop that until a little later in life; unless you have a gift of discernment. The real key to our Christian walk is if we are learning something in the process. If there is a marked upward swing in maturity levels because you have learned from your many mistakes you can rest easy.  I should add, it doesn’t matter how late in life that maturity comes, as long as it is there somewhere.

3. You have not got that many friends

Similar to number one but more about our personal lives than our public ones.  Just look at Facebook.  When people actually call faces on a web-page ‘friends’ in order to look successful, you know society is in peril.  A genuine man of God seems to have very few people he knows with a like mind.  True believers look for kindred spirits, those whose love for Jesus marks them out as being a little bit too zealous or intense to ‘just hang out’. He often has false friends, friends who walk away because he is starting to talk about strange stuff like the end times, prophecy and the rapture, phhht, WHO talks about that anymore? There are few like-minded people today who love the Lord their God with their whole heart, mind, soul and strength, and are willing to go against popular trends in the church let alone in society because they study their bible and know what God actually says on the subject. There is nothing more exciting than talking about what Jesus is doing in our lives or in the world.  Why do so few Christians actually want to?

4. People close to you tend to reject or betray you

When you are walking closely with the Lord, your friends tend to fall away.  The closer you walk, the more you lose people.  If you became a Christian at a young age, say in high school, you will find that there will be few who will agree with you or your beliefs, even other Christians. But as you age you realise that the majority of Christians are pew warmers,  non-thinkers who like to go to Church because it is the thing to do.  Young Christians often go to church to find a partner.  Then they stay in that church to get married, have children and settle into middle age. Then their kids do exactly the same thing. Christianity to many is simply a lifestyle choice not a commitment to a person, Jesus Christ.

If you hold your relationship with Jesus closely to your heart and are completely reliant upon Him, determined to obey Him and follow Him in every part of your life, then others who don’t have that same attitude will of necessity become less important. You get asked to a family barbecue, but you are more concerned about sharing the gospel with a neighbour.  So your family start to see you as ‘not there for them’ and the insistence that you make a choice will start to become more vocal.  So you make a choice.  Not because you want to but because you are forced to.  They won’t of course accept that choice, because you are not putting them first.  Even Jesus chose His Heavenly Father’s voice over his parent’s or family’s.  Jesus is described as a ‘man of sorrows’ despised and rejected by men.  He knew what it was to lose friends, and if we follow Him, we will too.

5. Few people agree with your views

It is exceedingly strange to me how many Christians follow after false teachers.  It seems that the more people love a particular teacher the less likely he is to be biblical.  Therefore, even in your own church, you can find that you will be on your own if you ask questions, challenge the accepted beliefs of the denomination or the currently popular author or speaker.  Emerging church and new age seeker-sensitive teachers are some of the most deceptive teachers in Christianity.  They are in fact preparing Christians for the coming New World Order in which the Antichrist will rule and reign supreme.  He will have a world religion and a false prophet and these Christians will be primed to join that world religion. Already, same-sex marriage,  accepting homosexuality as natural and God-ordained,  embracing other religions as legitimate paths to God and other errors are accepted freely in many pulpits.  If you don’t embrace these things you are seen as a ‘fundamentalist’ and are accused of hate crimes.  These accusations are not just coming from the world but the church.  We are facing a time when true believers are actually going to be in the minority. I think its important to expect this and prepare ourselves if we truly wish to stay the course.

6. People think you are weird

Have you found people avoiding you?  Do people say they want to spend time with you but somehow never actually end up doing it?  Do people even tend to hate you on sight?  I know this sounds extreme but we have found this happens to many genuine believers.  We believe that the spirit of Antichrist is stepping up his attempts to undermine the church and all true believers.  If you have decided to love the Lord with your whole life and not leave any stone unturned in your relationship with Him, odd things may start to happen.  You  might find yourself face to face with opposition you never thought possible.  It may just be something minor like slowly losing contact with certain ones. Or it may be really obvious like total strangers suddenly acting strangely around you.  I could write a book on this one.  We are truly convinced that genuine believers in the last days will be confronting principalities and powers in ways other so-called Christians won’t.  Genuine believers are the real threat to Satan, not the popular pastors or authors or speakers or the ones with books on the New York Times Bestsellers List week after week.  It won’t be the famous names in the end times who will be making the difference in the Kingdom of God, but the no-names no big deal types, the man in the street, the Christian next door.

7. Nothing terribly spectacular ever happens to you

Now I know I just said that weird stuff can be happening to genuine believers, but we are not having healing meetings, or tent revivals or even back yard revivals.  We are using up just about all our energy getting up in the morning, praying our way through the day and sitting around the table praying at night.  It is the authentic plodders, the person that most people would ignore on the bus who are living powerful lives.  You might not think you are doing anything fantastic or earth-shattering but there is nothing more important than the ordinary Christian, obeying Jesus Christ and being filled with the Holy Spirit.  There is no guarantee that ‘great things’ are going to happen to you, but you will be part of something truly inspiring.  We overcome the enemy by the blood of the Lamb and our testimony.  It is our faith in God which makes us great, not the great acts we do.  We can’t all be Moses, Daniel, Esther or Joseph.  But we are called to such a time as this to be steadfast witnesses in a dark and dying world.

8. Most of the time you feel like a failure.

If you add up all these things we have been talking about, it is bound to make you feel like a failure.  The problem with this is, you actually begin to believe what you feel.  This is why it is so important to get into the Word.  We are not failures.  We are normal.  Look at Paul.  He famously lists his many difficulties, trials and experiences here:

24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?30 If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity. (2 Corinthians 11)

Few people, unless you are like one of the ‘Red Letter Christians’ who don’t consider anything except Jesus’ words to be of any importance, would dismiss Paul as an unimportant and unsuccessful Christian.  He is one of the great saints and theologians of history.  He is not only famous, he is well-known, well-loved, well quoted, well read, every single day, by millions of believers.  You can’t call Paul a little guy, a man in the street.  Yet if we look at his example and compare it to our own, we can’t help but be encouraged.

Look at David, a similar situation.  In his own lifetime he was a king yes, but he messed up big time, he barely got into his kingdom with his own life, and he was betrayed by his own children.  Not exactly what you would expect from a ‘man after God’s own heart’.

No, I am sorry, but a genuine man or woman of God is not going to be anything like what popular authors and speakers in today’s church profess.  Only God counts our failures as blessings.  Only God knows how bad we could have been or how many times we could have messed up.  He works everything for good, even the failures.  So get used to failing, it is better than being puffed up with pride and stepping all over your family in God without even realising it. In fact, in my estimation, a man who fails frequently is more likely to be used by God than a man who is continually successful.  God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise and the weak things to confound the strong. (2 Corinthians 1:27).  Love that verse.

9. You get the blues, feel yukky and get minor illnesses more often than others.

One thing we have sort of expected as bible believing Christians is that we shouldn’t  feel bad very often. You should be feeling great!  Right?  We are blessed, loved and accepted by Jesus, we love others, we are filled with love, joy and peace!  But you know what?  If you are doing battle with the enemy on a daily basis, if you are getting victory over personal sins and you are confronting unbelievers with the truth of the gospel, you are going to feel pretty darn bad.  You know why? Because you are spending your energy – you are wrestling with principalities and powers and probably not even aware of it.  It drains you, it causes your body to fight harder to stay healthy, it creates poor sleep, bad eating habits and lack of exercise (unless you count getting down on your knees and up again on a regular basis).  You get headaches, colds, flu, aches and pains, hives, bruises, allergies and other stress related physical issues.

Let’s face it, you don’t spend all of your time down at the gym because you don’t worship physical fitness.  You don’t spend all of your time making sure you eat healthy foods and constantly go on diets because you are not worried about illness or focused on what you look like.  You don’t visit the doctor every other week having multiple tests just in case you might have symptoms of a serious illness because you are not afraid to die.  You just live your life, bless the food, go on prayer walks, visit your friends and neighbours to help them, tell them about Jesus and generally spend your energies serving others, not serving yourself. A genuine believer forgets about themselves.  In fact, good brothers and sisters will be the ones thinking about us and praying for us.  It’s a mutual experience.  Don’t be surprised when you get sick, and when you do, take it as an opportunity to pray and ask the Lord to heal you and watch how He answers the prayers of His faithful and obedient sons and daughters!  Bless the Lord and thankyou Jesus.

10. Sometimes you feel like God is out to get you – you KNOW for sure Satan is.

A genuine believer can sometimes feel that God is not as close-by as He actually is. In fact, sometimes, if you spend too much time examining your life, especially looking backwards, you can be tempted to look back in anxiety and wonder where your life went.  You can get discouraged by the numbers of failures, you can think God has abandoned you, you can start to actually believe God hates you or is out to get you.  But again, this is the deception of the enemy. Now you know you have heard that term before. You know Satan loves to lie to us and get us to believe those lies.  But maybe you aren’t really aware of just how powerfully easy it is to believe those lies. Maybe you aren’t really convinced of how real those lies can be, they actually convince you that they are true.  This is how people can be deceived, both in their own minds, and by false teachers.  Those lies sound just so real, so true.  And what is worse, those lies convince you that you are wise to believe them.  Not believing the lies of Satan makes you feel like a fool. Mainly because Satan’s lies are more often than not found in man’s wisdom.  When Satan convinced Adam and Eve of his lies, he began a career of spreading his convoluted and abominable lies throughout all history and to every human being on the planet.  So coming to us individually and whispering lies into our ears when we are feeling low is the simplest thing in the world to him.  He can make you think you are a total idiot for even believing God exists if you let Him.

We have to always remind ourselves who is our enemy.  And when those lies start to sound like truth, go back to Scripture and remind yourself of who your God is, and how much He loves you and how much Satan hates you.  God is not out to get you, but your enemy certainly is.  Stand firm in the faith that you confessed right from your birth as a son or daughter of God and persevere.

He who remains steadfast to the end will be saved!

Me Lost Me Cookie At the Disco

cookie monster

Cookie Monster: The lights were shining
The night was fine
And me was having a real great time
Then me got careless
Me don’t know how
But me had something me can’t find now!

(chorus) Me lost me cookie at the disco

Cookie Monster: The mood exciting
The music loud
Me just a part of that happy crowd
Me feet go crazy
Across the floor
But something made my sweetie not be there no more!

One Sunday over Christmas, Steve and I visited the sort of church we are almost never in.  We visited out of curiosity but also out of familiarity because the last time we were in the city we had been in this church and enjoyed our visit.  It was a couple of decades later however and a lot had changed.

The interior of the church was black.  We kind of expected that since we had checked out their internet site.  But we stayed to talk to the pastors at the door anyway.

Within about ten minutes of us being there, we noticed that the stage down the front was looking a little blurry.  I turned to the Pastor we were speaking to and asked him if that was a smoke machine down the front and he said that it was.  He put the blame on ‘them’ whoever they were and said that ‘they’ loved having the smoke machines.

As time progressed, we found a seat and waited for the meeting to start.  We generally, like the cowards we are, like being at the back just in case we need to make a quick getaway.  On this occasion however it proved useful.  As soon as the music started, the strobe lights began.  The whole building was dark, there was a stage with all the rock instruments you could want, there was a young woman wearing a very short skirt and holding a microphone and there was a smoke machine and strobe lights.  The only thing that could complete the picture was a mirror ball.

Why do churches do this?

I mean really, why?

Look at the logic behind it, it makes no sense.  Out in the world, people go to discos, or nightclubs or rock concerts to do one of three things – generally.  They are either there to hook up with somebody, they are there to buy or consume drugs, or they are there to hang out with their friends, switch off their brains and drink themselves to oblivion.  All in all, the intent is to forget their lives, which are meaningless, fear-laden and filled with dysfunctional relationships.  And if things are going well, they still go to the pub, club, or friends places to do the same things. Such is life in the world.

So the logic in the seeker-sensitive churches is – we will entice the unchurched into church by making a church look like a club or disco.  Because that’s where people go to ‘have a good time’ without recognising that the time they are having is not ‘good’ at all, it is perverse. But then you have to actually be saved from out of this perverse generation in order to recognise that. So once people are in the ‘church’, we will do the classic bait and switch. We will wham them with the gospel and they will get saved.  Maybe.  I mean would you bother getting saved if there was no difference between life inside and outside the church? What would be the point.  In fact, most seeker sensitive churches don’t preach the gospel or anything like it.  They waffle, they tell people that heaven will be a party, they refuse to mention sin, repentance or the cross because that might, gasp, be offensive, and then they wonder why their congregations have the maturity of three year olds.

The average person in the street is not that stupid. They do not think that a church looking like a disco actually is a disco.  Nor do they consider that they will be able to do any of the above disco related activities in a church because they will generally expect that a church would not encourage them – being a church, a place of worshipping God. Most people  know at some level that they are sinning by getting drunk, doing drugs, having sex and ignoring God.   What sinners are looking for is answers to life’s problems. And, being intelligent, they assume that because what they are doing doesn’t work, that what does work will be something different.  They just haven’t found it yet. Similar to the tenet that insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over in the hope that something will change.

The problem with seeker-sensitive churches is that they are announcing to the world that they don’t actually have the answer to life’s problems, and they are expecting the world to tell them what to do next.  This is a total abdication of truth, it is also a cowardly refusal to actually seek the Lord to know His mind on how to reach the lost.  They have sold their soul in order to be friends with the world, in order to save the world.  Nope, doesn’t work. Not only that, but scripture (James 4:4) tells us that if you are friends with the world you are an enemy of God. WOW.  How did the SS churches miss that one? They missed it because they don’t read their Bibles, nor do they have any genuine faith. In fact, I would have to say that most of them are either not saved, or are just baby Christians who have never grown up.

But back to our church visit. Well, we certainly did lose something at this disco. In fact, it wasn’t just us.  The church had lost its whole reason for being.  We didn’t stay to listen to any preaching, but really, we didn’t think that this would be an issue.  If this is how they believe churches should appeal to people in post-modern society, they really had lost the plot.  And I guess they also lost the Holy Spirit, because nobody had any idea how to worship the Lord in that environment at all.

 I was beginning to wonder if I was going to go blind because every time the strobe lights whirled around they hit me right at eye level.  I don’t know whose idea that was, but it was completely ridiculous.  You couldn’t concentrate on anything that was going on at the front, because you were continually shielding your eyes against the lights.  It was like being blinded by somebody’s car headlights on high beam at night, and just as enjoyable.

We stayed ten minutes and left. Just before we left, I disappeared to the bathroom, and Steve talked briefly with a young guy who came and sat next to him.  He told Steve he only came there for the music.  Which was a little sad, because frankly, the ‘worship leader’ couldn’t sing. What was interesting was that this young guy who just came for the music clearly wasn’t a Christian.  He was like a guy on the street who just came in to sit for a while and enjoy the free disco. So, yeah, to some degree their devious plan worked.  It got one guy off the street and inside.  But with nobody to tell him the gospsel?  He was sadly going to stay lost.

God’s Word is my Woobie

mr-mom

I came of age in the 80s.  So 80s movies kind of stuck in my mind.  And some things from those movies were also kind of memorable. The first time I heard the word was from Michael Keaton in the movie Mr.  Mom.  He was trying to convince his toddler to give up his comfort blanket, but he called it a ‘woobie’.  This is apparently a common term in the U.S.  I looked up the origin of the word however, and even Rambo figured his woobie was his best friend according to this article.  Here is an excerpt.

Ask any soldier or Marine, especially those in the infantry, how he feels about his woobie, and his eyes will light up and then mist over as he waxes lyrically over the virtues of this item. Hard-bitten combat veterans grow poetic and wistful, declaring their love for this piece of equipment. If you don’t believe me, read the Amazon reviews. It is perhaps the single most-loved item in the armed forces.

What is it, and why does it inspire this fanatical devotion?

The “liner, wet weather, poncho” as it’s officially called, consists of two layers of nylon surrounding a polyester filling, sewn up along the sides and crosswise to ensure a very tough and durable piece of equipment. Army logistics manuals fail to say what magic spells are cast over poncho liners when they are made to make them so efficient at trapping heat in and keeping the cold out. They were originally produced in the 1960s, during the Vietnam War, when U.S. soldiers and Marines were engaged in jungle fighting. The troops needed a lightweight poncho to keep them relatively dry in the wet jungles and rice paddies, but also something to keep them warm during the cool nights. Thus the poncho and poncho liner were born. While the poncho liner was almost an afterthought to the poncho, it was the liner that would steal troops’ hearts.

Human beings have always needed comfort.  This is something God honours.  I will never forget reading this scripture from Psalm 94  for the first time, it had a huge effect on me.

Who will rise up for me against the evildoers?
Who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?
17 Unless the Lord had been my help,
My soul would soon have settled in silence.
18 If I say, “My foot slips,”
Your mercy, O Lord, will hold me up.
19 In the multitude of my anxieties within me,
Your comforts delight my soul.

Verse 19 is the big revelation for me.

David confesses the multitude of his anxieties.  And David was the man after God’s own heart remember.  David is God’s favourite king, if I may make so bold.  His love for his people caused him to rise up against the enemy Goliath and fight  where not one hardened military man in Israel had the courage.  David was a shepherd and anointed from his youth to be King, yet he didn’t let this go to his head.  He just took his job seriously, wrestled bears and lions (no small feat) and then giants.  Goliath was not totally human, he was the result of a past union between fallen angels and humans.  So, this was not just a big man, it was a big demonic man.  Hence the unnatural fear of the Israelites. They were facing a supernatural enemy.  But to David it was “What? You are cursing our God? You have the cheek to come against God’s people?  God will smite you!”

Yet here is David confessing to a multitude of anxieties.  However, his first call is to his God.  “Your comforts delight my soul”.

I have a question to ask you.

Have you ever spent a day just putting aside all of your comforts, the things you use to make yourself feel better, whatever they are, and we all have them, and just let God’s comforts delight your soul.

I tried it once.  WOW.  That’s all I can say.  God’s word is true.  God’s comforts literally delight your soul.  If you cling to Him and Him alone, without your woobie, He will bless you with His comfort.  I am not going to tell you exactly how that works –  you will have to discover it for yourself. I don’t want to rob you of the delights God has in store for you!

Mr. Mom tried to get his little kid to give up his woobie, but the little guy was not ready to trust his dad.  It took the whole movie, and finally he let his Dad take his blanket.  Next step to growing up is to believe that you can get through life without the thing you are totally dedicated to, believing that this thing and this thing alone will save you.

We are not little kids.  But deep down, we still cling to things that God wants to take from us, lovingly, gently, so that His comforts will delight our souls.

Take my advice.  Let Him do it.  You will NEVER regret it.  AND, big bonus, you will grow up, bear fruit, bless Him, give HIM glory. And who doesn’t want to do what God has created us for!

The Watcherwoman Wises Up

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Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord! (Psalm 27:14)

and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion. Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night. (Nehemiah 4:9-8)

If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land. (Isaiah 1:19)

This is a follow-on from my last post which talked about predicting the future in order to prepare and protect yourself from evil.

When I was praying about this as the Lord showed me my own heart on this matter, the words Wait, Watch and Willing came to me.  These words I believe contain an antidote to the desire to predict the future so that you can avoid danger.

Waiting on the Lord (as in Isaiah 40:31) is mentioned a lot in scripture.

The Strong’s entry is as follows:

qâvâh, kaw-vaw’; a primitive root; to bind together (perhaps by twisting), i.e. collect; (figuratively) to expect:—gather (together), look, patiently, tarry, wait (for, on, upon).

The word ‘waiting’ gives the impression of a servant who is standing waiting for their master to give them an order.   But I believe ‘waiting’ implies more than just service, it is also literally about waiting, standing and not doing anything until…  You are not running around trying to control everything or ensuring everything is just so until..  You are actually literally quiet, patient and at peace while you listen for God’s instruction.  You are waiting for God to make it clear to you what you are to do.

Waiting on the Lord also involves watching.  I am reminded of the covenant between Abraham and the Lord in Genesis 15 where he had to wait for the Lord to come and ‘sign’ the covenant agreement as it were.  He had to fight off the carrion birds who wanted to feast on the dead animals he had just laid down, and it was a process of waiting and watching to see that the elements of the covenant were not disturbed.  This was holy ground, carrion birds represent evil, or satanic messengers who want to disrupt and destroy all that God wants to do in your life. They particularly like times in your life when God hasn’t given you a time frame for a promise.  They will come as doubts, fears, concerns, insistence that YOU do something about the situation NOW in your own strength.  This is where the divination thing comes in handy.  You can take matters into your own hands, you can do what is necessary to produce the outcome you deem acceptable to God rather than let God show you what is acceptable to Him.

Saul was particularly good at this from very early in his life.  He was always trying to impress authorities, especially Samuel, yet when God told him to do something specific he went about it in his own sweet way and then had the gall to explain his disobedience to Samuel as ‘just trying to help out’.  1 Samuel 15 has the story.

Willingness therefore to obey God is also a key part of the prescription.  You need to wait on God to find out the answer to your prayer, you need to watch that the enemy himself is not trying to deceive you as an angel of light and when you have tested the spirits and understand what God wants you to do, you need to be willing to do it.

This last I believe is pivotal to our success as Christians.  I hate that word, what I mean is living and walking in the peace which passes all understanding.  We can’t disobey God and live in peace it just won’t work.  You might think you have peace for a little while, but the Holy Spirit will always agitate your soul and conviction will come, if your heart is soft.  You will not be able to simply sin and walk away without knowing it.  So willingness to obey means that you are not in control of your own life and it is clear that obedience to God brings blessings (Deuteronomy 28).

And for me, the key to all of the above is loving Jesus.  To know Jesus is to love Jesus and we can’t love Jesus unless God first loved us.  So, receiving God’s love and responding to it with our own love in relationship will lead to a desire to obey God. Not because he is God and the ultimate authority, but because we understand God to be the author only of good and perfect works.  We know that any suffering or trauma that comes upon us which is not of our own making is a result of the sins of mankind and living in a fallen world.  Satan also is the author of a great deal of suffering of course.  But it is the fear of the unpredictability of difficulty which causes many of us, myself included, to work towards a solution of our own making.  If we can control the outcome, we are empowered against misfortune right?  Wrong.  As I said in the previous post, misfortune almost never comes in the form which we expect it to.  If it comes, it often hits us out of the blue, and sometimes from sources we would never have expected in a million years. So thinking we can control our futures is actually pretty foolish.  Satan makes us a laughing stock, of course he is the one laughing at us, not God.  He fools us into thinking we are ‘like God’ in knowing the difference between good and evil, when in actual fact, we don’t know the difference.

Scripture tells us that God makes all things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. (Romans 8:28).  That is such a great verse.  So if God can make even evil work for good, and here I am reminded of Joseph that great illustration of the triumph of the God-chosen over abusive relatives, then how can we, puny humans, think that we can know what is best for us.  We will never see the big picture as God sees it, but we insist that we know what is good.  We must never forget that we live in a world where every action has an equal and opposite reaction and that every human being’s actions have consequences, whether seen or unseen.  We do not live in this world encased in impenetrable bubbles.

Wait on the Lord, Watch for the enemy, be Willing to obey where God shows you what to do.  It’s far better than Predict, Prepare, Protect, which sounds more like the motto of a security firm than a child of the Father. There are two kinds of ‘watching’.  The kind that surveillance firms do and the kind that God’s people do.  This ‘watcher’ woman has spent most of her life doing the former.  Repentance is truly a beautiful thing.

By Hook Or By Crook

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You don’t have to be in Kansas anymore for bad stuff to happen. Just ask Dorothy.

16 Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” 18 And this she did for many days.

But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour. 19 But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities.

We all develop methods of surviving in a harsh world.  Divination should not be one of them, and I am not just speaking to Christians.  As you can see from the above paragraph, divination comes only by one source and that is Satanic.  You might have great powers but they are not yours and any power of this sort is usually got by illegal means (God’s law not man’s).  Satan’s power was given to him by God but he fell and now uses that power to attempt to destroy the church.  The whole world might be under the sway of the evil one, but he does what he does in his own name, not God’s. Therefore, his authority is illegitimate, and so is anything he gives human beings.  It will not be blessed by God, the righteous One.

Astrology and tea-leaf reading aside, we all have means to ‘predict’ the future, but unless God gives us a prophetic word we are engaging in divination.  Divination is witchcraft which is rebellion which is sin.  Scripture does not get any clearer on this.  Divination can be described as the premeditated choice to seek out means to know the future which are empowered by demonic forces. It is the fleshly desire to know the future which opens the door to the demonic. I should just point out that praying and asking God for clarity on a situation is not divination.  He is the legitimate authority, and James tells us if we need wisdom He will give liberally to all men and without reproach.  That is a very important verse. It means God knows we need help to live our lives and will give it to us.  It’s depending on anything other than God which is the problem. However, the means by which we can engage in divination can be fuzzy especially if we are well-meaning.  Let me explain.

I grew up in an abusive household. Every one of my siblings has the same problems because we had one parent who was a narcissist and the other who was an enabler.  Some of us grew up more like our parents than others, but all of us developed habitually  crooked ways of coping.  When I became a Christian, I continued using these coping methods because I had not developed my relationship with Lord enough to learn that this was not only unacceptable to Him, but was also sinful.  Some things aren’t obvious as I said, other things we keep doing because we just don’t know how to stop.  In my case, I kept doing them because my need to feel safe and in control was more important than trusting God.

God is trustworthy, men are not, and sometimes women in particular tend to conflate the two.  We put our trust in men; our husbands, our pastors, other Christian leaders and speakers.  And it can be a snare and a downfall to our relationship with God.  If you put men in the place of God you will inevitably stumble, and in fact this is idol worship by another name.  So it is one thing to talk about trusting God, but being able to trust God alone is something else. I needed a revelation of the love of God and His trustworthiness.

I developed in my childhood the habit of predicting what would happen that day and finding ways of dealing with it.  I was bullied a lot at school because I was a weird little kid and didn’t know how to relate to other little kids. I knew how to relate to adults (pull forelock and act like a suck-up) but I didn’t know about peer groups.  Therefore, going to school was a scary prospect.  I spent most of the first half an hour in bed in the mornings working out ways to deal with the various kids who I knew were going to pick on me the moment I got to school.  Sometimes all I could tell myself was ‘at least I can have marmalade on my toast this morning’.  Marmalade on toast was my favourite breakfast.  I learned ways to comfort myself, and food was one of them.

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If Toto can make it out alive anything is possible…

As an adult this translated into mentally preparing myself for what I thought might have been coming the next day, or far into the future.  For the most part it didn’t work, but for most of my life, I figured if I knew how to imagine myself getting it right then I would be better at getting it right when it actually happened.  This, in my experience, disproves all of the ‘name it and claim it’ messages that psychologists and life coaches like Tony Robbins have worked on for years.  You do not create your own future.  If you did, then my whole life should have looked like a Hollywood movie.  I certainly was good at directing them in my head.  “They will say this, then I will say that.  Then they will do this and then I will do that, and it will all end thusly”.  It never did.  Inevitably, I forgot the script, or they just didn’t do what I thought they would.

I was trying to predict the future.  It was not entirely accurate.  OK, it was not accurate at all, but the fact that I was trying to work out what was going to happen based on what I knew of the situation was still prediction.

You might say, ‘but wait a minute didn’t you just define divination as using methods which are empowered by satanic forces?  Imagining what would happen is not satanic is it?”.  I know right?  It doesn’t come across as evil or wicked or engaging in witchcraft.  But wait…

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. (2 Corinthians)

Paul is talking here about not warring in the flesh.  In Ephesians 6 he talks about the fact that we war against spiritual forces.

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[c] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand

I might also add here my favouritest verse of all time Romans 12:1-2

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God

All of this tells me that our minds need to be transformed so that we can deal with the flesh and also the spiritual battle which comes against us.  If Satan is encouraging us to mentally prepare for the future by rehearsing events which may or may not happen then we are not walking in faith. Scripture tells us to take every thought captive.  It means every sinful thought.  It is impossible to take every thought captive per se. So spending hours (and I did) mentally rehearsing events, conversations and outcomes is not taking every thought captive to God.  If our minds need to be renewed its because our minds are the place where sin is conceived.  If we sin habitually through mentally trying to control what happens, which is witchcraft, then we need to repent and deal with life a different way, God’s way.

When you come from an abusive background, whether that is from a family of origin or from another source such as marrying a psychopath (and I say this with respect, the internet is full of testimonies from partners of deranged humans), or from being exposed long-term to abuse from pastors or bosses or others, the thing you want the most is to ensure that this NEVER happens again.  So you do what you need to do in order to avoid it. For many of us, it is controlling the outcome.  Of everything.

We PREDICT our futures, in order to PREPARE for any future abuse or pain and thereby PROTECT ourselves and stay safe.  It makes perfect sense when you are in there.  But living like this is walking in the flesh, it is NOT trusting in God, it is trusting in your own ability to prepare for the next onslaught even if there isn’t one.  You think you are doing yourself a favour, but all you are doing is setting yourself up for failure.  Nobody ever gets divination right every time.  You only have to fail half of the time in a situation like this and you make yourself crazy.  WHY, you ask yourself, did I not see that coming?  You end up getting more and more and more distressed which in turn gives you even more energy to try that much harder next time to prepare for the next crazy turn of events.

Let’s face it.  Life is unpredictable, it is getting even more unpredictable as the world turns.  Or not, I personally believe we live in a geocentric universe.  Finding that out actually changed my life, I am not kidding.  Have you ever seen or felt the earth spinning?  I won’t go on, that would be a whole blog post on its own.  Anyway, even realising that God made the earth first because of His great plans for us and His great love for His people and that He will also make a new heaven and earth for our future enjoyment didn’t stop me from trying to plot for my own success.

Look, it doesn’t matter why we do it.  You don’t have to have come from an abusive background.  Every human being wants to know the future.  It’s why we talk about time travel. The thought that this might actually be scientifically possible (it isn’t and will never be) gets us all excited.  Knowing the future is not the answer.  Preparing for possible difficulty pain or trauma is not the answer either. As anyone who has ever paid for insurance for years and then found out that the insurance company won’t pay up because the fine print said that this particular disaster wasn’t applicable finds out….you can’t cover every eventuality and the odds are that the thing you never even imagined is the thing that eventually happens.

Having said that, we still need to deal with that very human need for preparation and protection right?  Look at Noah.  He prepared as God told him to and was protected from God’s wrath.  God knows the end from the beginning and He will tell us what to do in every eventuality.  We do not need to run around as the rest of the world does as though we have no God, and as though God isn’t in control but expects us to somehow know what to do because we have intelligence.  I actually heard a very young pastor say that once.  He said where scripture doesn’t tell us what to do specifically, then we ‘have the freedom’ to do whatever seems to be good to us at the time because that is why God gave us brains.  Somebody needs to tell this young guy that stuff not specifically covered in scripture leaves out about 50% of the issues of modern life.  That is NOT the gospel.  We have been given the Holy Spirit who is our GUIDE, counselor, comforter and teacher and will lead us and help us as Jesus helped his disciples when He was on earth. Added to this, while scripture may not specifically address issues such as, say, birth control, scripture still gives us the markers for our spiritual and moral compass.  God loves children, children are a blessing, some people can’t have children, God heals barrenness etc.  You get where I am going with this.  I hope. The generalities are there even if the specifics are not.  God wants us to know what His will is for our lives (Romans 12:2) and therefore it is not up to us to determine our futures.

It’s when we act as though this is not the case, or simply forget that this is the case, that we end up getting ourselves tangled up in knots literally and figuratively.  If you are suffering constant headaches and anxiety or even panic attacks because your stress levels are through the roof,  you might consider that you may actually be trying to manipulate and control your life, and other people’s, for their own good of course.  This may well be a common problem for women, but it is NOT a godly response to life.  We walk by faith, NOT by hook or by crook.

Next post, I will talk about the antidote to this PREDICT, PREPARE and PROTECT problem.

Preach The Word.

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2 Tim 3:10 – 4:5

10 But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance,

11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystrawhat persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me.

12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.

14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them,

15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

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

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

4:1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:

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

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;

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

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

This morning there was a post that came up on my Facebook news feed and it went something like this:

EVERYBODY THINKS I AM CRAZY.

THEY SAY, ” YOU TAKE THE JESUS THING TOO SERIOUSLY.”

WELL, I DON’T KNOW ABOUT THAT, WHEN YOU CONSIDER THAT CHRIST TOOK ME PRETTY SERIOUSLY WHEN HE DIED ON THE CROSS.

I freely admit that I take my walk and life with Jesus very seriously. My relationship with Him is more important than anything else on this planet or anything this world or physical life can offer. What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul?

I felt strongly this morning that I needed to read Paul’s exhortation to Timothy again.

Paul wrote some very strong words to his son in the faith. Here he speaks about what Timothy needed to do in the face of opposition and or persecution, he points out to Timothy this:

‘But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, long suffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra – what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me.’

Paul started by commending Timothy for taking note of what had been going on, but more than that, Paul says that Timothy had been watching him as a role model and that his life was being influenced by what Paul himself had been through. Paul said to the Corinthians and I am sure at some stage to Timothy, ‘Imitate me as I also imitate CHRIST’ 1 Cor 11:1. Paul was acting as a roll model to Timothy.

Paul then goes on to warn him of potential trouble:

v13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.

Paul warns Timothy to be aware of these ‘evil men and imposters’ who could come in and deceive.

How does Paul encourage Timothy to proceed? He reminds him to ‘continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures.’

Paul exhorts Timothy to go to the scripture for therein is his safety and protection.

Earlier in this letter Paul had said to Timothy:

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

The Old King James puts it this way, ‘study to show yourself approved unto God’.This is all about studying the scriptures, being able to rightly divide the word of truth. It is scripture and scripture only that we are encouraged to study, why?, because in the scriptures we have the Word of God.

Look at chapter 3:16,

“16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life.’ Jesus is the Truth.  Jesus is the Word of God. Paul says to Timothy, ‘Preach the Word.’ How could Timothy preach the word if he did not KNOW THE WORD. The Word is life, it is bread to feed on,

John 1:1- 14

“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God……

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us….”

John 6: 35

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst…”

John 6: 53 – 58

“Most assuredly , I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on me will live because of Me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not as your fathers eat the manna and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”

True life and sustenance comes from feeding on the Living Word, Jesus.

Why were the scriptures given? “That the man or woman of God may be complete”.

Paul was pointing Timothy to the Living Word.

Have a look again at the portion of scripture I started with from 2 Tim. Smack in the middle of two warnings to Timothy Paul writes, ‘Preach the Word’.

Warning number one is in verse 13 of chapter 3, keep an eye out for evil men and then in chapter 4:3 – 5, he warns Timothy of a time when men will no longer endure sound doctrine but we heap up for themselves (other) teachers and will turn away from the truth.

Chapter 4 starts out saying, and may I remind you that there were no chapters and verses in the original letters so this next verse is still part of the theme Paul is addressing in Chapter 3, ‘I charge you, therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ…….

I remember when I was at bible college one of the lecturers saying that whenever you see the word ‘therefore’ used you need to ask yourself, what is the ‘therefore’ there for?

In this case Paul is pointing Timothy back to the previous verse and saying that If men are to be fully equipped for every good work and made complete, they need to be hearing the preached Word of God. Paul says to Timothy, he must preach the Word.

Paul tells him/us to be ready in season and out, in other words, when it suits and when it doesn’t suit. Be ready, preach the word, convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and teaching.

These are tough words from Paul. He is not pulling any punches. Why? Because the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires (lusts), because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth.

We are in days like this. Have a look at chapter 3:1-5,

‘But know this, that is the last days perilous times will come; For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, u thankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.

Hello? We are in those times now and Paul was not talking about the unsaved here. He was talking about believers, those who were considered christian but betrayed by their own actions.

Paul said to Timothy that there was only one way to deal with this issue,

PREACH THE WORD.

This dear friend is for all of us.

Are you doing the work of an evangelist? Are you fulfilling your ministry? Are you preaching the word? Or are you hiding behind a world driven doctrine called political correctness?, having a form of godliness but NO POWER?

We must stand up and preach the word because one day we will all give account as to what we did with Jesus Christ and the gospel that has been entrusted to us.

Amen

Steve Brady