Thursday, June 30, 2016

Why I am grateful for apostasy

If you listen to old time radio pastors from the 1930s through 1950s and later, each one at some point, has said that this generation of church-going Christians or this era of Christianity is going downhill. Charles Spurgeon famously published an anonymous article actually written by his friend Robert Shindler (with input from Spurgeon himself) addressing a visible downgrade in an 1887 issue of his magazine, Sword and Trowel. That article, and its follow up, famously brought the "Down-grade controversy" to the public's attention.

A hundred and fifty years before Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards wrote about the devil's triumph in squelching a religious revival in New England and a lack of religious affections that had become evident in the people.

We can trace the genealogy of apostasy back to Genesis 6, or to Genesis 3. So is it anything new to say that this generation of church-going Christians, that visible Christianity itself is downgrading itself in a compounding manner, faster and faster as we go? No.

Kay Cude Poetry: Desertion

Kay Cude is a poet whose sensitivity to the glorious salvation of Jesus Christ is uniquely expressed through poetry and picture. Here is her latest offering, in which she explains her thought process. Enjoy

-----------------------------Kay Cude-----------------------------

If you look closely at the tower, you'll see a tiny figure of someone, which refers to the statement, "As gazed I o'er the valley fair, to there below from tower high." 
That little figure caught my eye, as well as the city lighted up and the storm approaching from the left (approaching spiritual death). So I began to write. The city represents the safety of true salvation in Christ and understanding His Gospel. 
The people represent those captured by a "different gospel" suggested as the "real" place of safety. Even though they "know" God's truth -- they are persuaded to run to false teaching and reject Christ. 
Christ's refuge is known to them and still stands in its truth, but when extreme peril approaches, they are convinced by someone's whim (spiritual deception), to flee to eternal death and separation. Even the donkey digs in his heels against the "unknown" way," and the dog barks at their sudden rejection. 
Their end is eternal separation and eternal living death because they quickly deserted Christ's truth for a distorted gospel.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Introducing AutoBibleCorrect, the killer app of tomorrow

THE PIECE YOU ARE ABOUT TO READ IS SATIRE
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I know most of us are familiar with AutoCorrect. This is an application installed on cellular phones which automatically corrects misspelled words when the user sends a text. The AutoCorrect application takes it upon itself to correct items it believes are wrong, removing the user as thinking mediator.

Well now there is a new app! AutoBibleCorrect! Yes, all one needs to do is overlay the app on their online version of their Bible, whether it is on your phone or on your favorite website like BibleHub or BibleGateway, or on your tablet or even Kindle. AutoBibleCorrect works for all digital versions of the Bible.



Here is how it works. All Apps need updating. Yet, we know that the Bible has not been updated for over 2000 years. Some parts have not been updated for 4000 years! When an app isn't updated regularly, it becomes clunky and hard to use. It becomes difficult to understand. Then the outdated app become obsolete. Don't let this happen to your Digital Bible!

The old Bible has too many thees and thous and verilys. It commands things, it judges, and it's just not loving enough. And God is love, right?  We know that God has evolved over these thousands of years, so why not update His word! That's the genius of AutoBibleCorrect, or ABC.

Humans have advanced so very much since 4000 years ago, and we are no longer ignorant shepherds in the desert looking at the stars for information. Let's face it, we're smarter now. Some of the things in the Bible are just ridiculously uneducated. Donkeys that talk? A God who judges? Come on! Image is everything, and the last thing we Christians want to look like is uneducated. It is important to be hip, cool, and relevant, like the Buddhists. Everybody knows this.



How it works: You open your digital Bible (because no one has a dusty old tome they drag around anymore, do they?). Then click ON for the AutoBibleCorrect (ABC). As you bring up your verses, the App automatically corrects any text that appears on your screen. The texts are automatically updated it to modern language and even modern thought, removing the user as thinking mediator! Here are a few examples:

Luke wrote in the dim and irrelevant past, that Christians were to be faithful to Jesus when they "devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers," as Acts 2:42 reminded us. But that is so boring. We all know now that as Rick Warren said at this week's Purpose Driven Conference that "Unfaithfulness is not taking risks". AutoBibleCorrect is so handy to be able to update old verses saying that faithfulness is prayer, teaching, and fellowship to today's hip and fresh message of what faithfulness is really all about - taking risks.

Beth Moore also shows us the value of AutoBibleCorrect. In the stale and useless past, we would read that the Lord considers His Bride sanctified, holy, clean, splendorous, and without blemish as Ephesians 5:27 says. But when Beth Moore used AutoBibleCorrect, we learn that instead, the Bride is actually paralyzed and dwelling in unbelief! WOW!

Do you see the difference AutoBibleCorrect makes? It's critical for any thinking Christian to have this at their disposal, so they no longer have to be burdened with having to think. Questions such as "What does this mean?" or "How can I apply this to my life today?" become irrelevant as AutoBibleCorrect makes it all just so easy for you. How? ABC shows that it's all about you. We understand us way more than we can understand God, because we know now that He is a being who is past our figuring out, (except that we know he is too loving to be wrathful.*)

Another AutoBibleCorrect user is the prophet of perpetual pearly whites, Joel Osteen. Where we read in Genesis 12:3 that God uses words to bless people and curse people, using ABC we learn that the verse is actually that it is you who can bless your future with your words, or you who can curse it! Great update! I curse those who do not buy AutoBibleCorrect! HA HA just kidding!



Kenneth Copeland was one of our first ABC users. We discover that in the long-ago past of Exodus 3:14 God used to say He is the great I AM. However, when we use ABC, we discover that times have changed! Kenneth Copeland taught us the fresh understanding. In the updated Bible version using ABC, Copeland said, uttering these very words, "When I read in the Bible where he [Jesus] says, 'I Am,' I just smile and say, 'Yes, I Am, too!' How did I miss this?! I was not updating my Bible with ABC, that's how.

Our advanced technology brings out these truths to you. Techs have been working for years, emerging finally with the emerging truth, uncovered through using ABC updates. No more stale Bible, only the freshest word here. ABC is contextual. ABC reimagines the truth of God into a tribal narrative so fresh it practically leaps off the screen and runs down the broad road of happiness to the authentic village!



Here are some fake testimonials for AutoBibleCorrect:

Steven Furtick loves this App. "Are you underestimating what you can do with your opportunity?"

Mark Driscoll swears he uses ABC to “Study the Bible like a soldier on a mission, not a scholar on a sabbatical.”

Paula White after trying ABC for one month: "Remember, when something leaves your life, God is making room for something much better to enter! Get ready!"

Kenneth Copeland says that with ABC we can "Dream big, talk big, and turn your faith loose!"

Joyce Meyer says that without AutoBibleCorrect, "You are going to have to do the right things, sometimes for a long time before you get a right result."

Christy Nockels learned early about our Bible App, during pre-launch she said, "So, I couldn’t be more giddy to announce that this is going to launch in the next several days"

See what you would be missing out on, for not having updated your Bible with AutoBibleCorrect.

The community of believers using ABC urge you to get a fresh word now. Join the journey toward an authentic, subjective faith! It will work for you. Why? AutoBibleCorrect is missional, modern, and marvelous! Update your faith now with AutoBibleCorrect the true killer app.


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Note: False teacher quotes are not testimonials but are actual quotes.
Note: I used the emergent glossary *here
Note: This essay is satire. AutoBibleCorrect does not exist. No verses were harmed in the making of this essay.
Note: Photos courtesy Pixabay and Unsplash, free use.


False teachers dishonor the mighty name of God


"The early church was married to poverty, prisons and persecutions. Today, the church is married to prosperity, personality, and popularity." Leonard Ravenhill.

We are living in a plague now. It is a plague of false teachers. False teachers bring a different Gospel, or meld the true Gospel with a false one, and they try to make the people forget the True and Living God. Jeremiah had complained to God about the false prophets and their message.

"But I said, “Alas, Sovereign LORD! The prophets keep telling them, ‘You will not see the sword or suffer famine. Indeed, I will give you lasting peace in this place.’” (Jeremiah 14:13)

He was concerned that the falsely positive messages would dampen their fervor and alertness of the people. Any message that a person accepts that is not from God is inherently damaging. Paul referred to this process as gangrene. (2 Timothy 2:7). This is why we must insist on proper interpretation of biblical messages from our pulpits, read books that have proper representations of the Gospel and God, it is why we must study for ourselves so when a TRUE message of peace does come, we can rely on it.

Later, God answered Jeremiah,

"They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their ancestors forgot my name through Baal worship." (Jeremiah 23:27).

Jeremiah was broken by the false prophets' falsehoods and treachery upon the people and against our Holy God. Do we have that same attitude today? Do we simply say, "Meh" when learning this one or that one is a false teacher, and do we say say, "Well, let's be loving and not say anything negative about it" ?

Matthew Henry's explanation of Jeremiah's concern:
Because of the prophets and their sin, the false doctrine they preached, the wicked lives they lived; especially it filled him with horror to hear them making use of God's name and pretending to have their instruction from him. Never was the Lord so abused, and the words of his holiness, as by these men. Note, The dishonour done to God's name, and the profanation of his holy word, are the greatest grief imaginable to a gracious soul.
Do not forget the Lord's name. It is holy and perfect and exalted. It is not a tool to get money. It is not a cover to use for your sin. It is not a tennis ball to be bandied about by false teachers. Do not seek after false messages brought in another's name. DO ignore messages that the false ones bring. Don't listen even a little bit. The false ones dishonor the name of God, Our Mighty Jehovah to misuse His name.

Matthew Henry continues:
"He charges it all upon the prophets and priests, especially the prophets. They are both profane (v. 11); the priests profane the ordinances of God they pretend to administer; the prophets profane the word of God they pretend to deliver;" ... "God threatens to punish these prophets for their wickedness. They promised the people peace; and to show them the folly of that God tells them that they should have no peace themselves. They were very unfit to warrant the people, and pass their word to them that no evil shall come upon them, when all evil is coming upon themselves and they are not aware of it,"
Honor God's name by studying His word. Speak highly of Him and lift up fellow Christians, encouraging each other. Reject even the smallest amount of leaven, for it is dishonoring to His mighty name. Most importantly, do not let false messages creep in, for their design is to make you forget the name of God. Instead, say, "I will proclaim Thy name to My brethren, In the midst of the congregation I will sing Thy praise." (Heb 2:12).



Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Language of Death: Obituaries

Death, the final frontier. These are the lives of the starbaby Humans. Their 7000-year mission: to explore strange new hearts, to seek out new life and new religion, to boldly go where no man has gone before.
OK, a thousand pardons for re-writing that famous opening line from the original Star Trek television series.

Death IS the final frontier. All humans are eternal, death is just a passing over of the line between this life and the next. However, the life in the next is permanently and eternally fixed. One will either pass over the boundary into the final frontier into hell, or into heaven.

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, (Hebrews 9:27)




For the Christian, the anticipation of the next life is real and exciting. We believers are not so thrilled about the process of death, whether we drown or are in a car wreck or a tornado takes us or any of the other imaginative means under which our body expires and we're launched into glory. But the anticipation of being forever with Jesus, in His New Jerusalem, in glory...ahhh, it is a balm for the troubled soul dwelling in this strange land.

For the non-believer, death is terrifying. They do not know what the next life holds for them. They all do suppress the truth in unrighteousness, (Romans 1:18) and thus deny themselves certain knowledge about what lies beyond the veil.

I like reading historical papers from my area. It's fun to read an old newspaper from late 1800s to early 1900s about the town I live in. It gives me perspective and a peek into a way of life that is gone by. One thing that has passed into history is the flowery, poetic obituary. The History of the Obit is presented in short, bullet point form, and it's pretty interesting.

The difference in a Christians' obituary language and a non-Christian's obituary language is stark. Here are a few examples of Christian obits.

1911
At the home of Dr. B.W. Hall at 7 a.m. September 7, 1911, the spirit of Mrs. Teresa Ann Hall passed peacefully to that undiscovered land from which no traveler ever returns.

1895
Mr. Grimes Dead
News has just reached us that Mr. Gabriel Grimes, of Jackson county, formerly an honored citizen of Madison, has passed over the dark river into the great beyond. It is customary, whether deserving or not, to say, of this good man would be enough that he lived the life of an honest, Christian citizen, is known by all who knew him. A devoted father and husband, a man who believed in the religion of the blessed Savior, his death will be regretted by all who knew him.

1920
Sad indeed were the hearts of Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Hardman Thursday July 1, when they realized that little Aubrey, their only child, had left them in the world of trials and care to be at rest with the angels above.

1922
DEATH OF MRS. J.B. HENDRIKS
When God in his infinite wisdom called from this world to that celestial City above. Mrs. J.B. Hendriks of Danielsville a beautiful and useful life was ended. Yet we know that God knoweth and doeth all things for the best therefore we say his will and not ours be done.

1922
IN MEMORIAM OF M.A. JOHNSON
On Sunday morning March 12, his spirit took its flight to God, who gave it. A good man has gone. He was never heard to speak ill of any one, which was a good trait that we all would do well to follow.

1899
Felicia, daughter of Mr. James and Mrs. M. H. Jaenkins, died of fever Nov. 4th 1989, aged about 30 years. Felicia was a pure, noble Christian, and has passed over the cold stream and joined the might host, the redeemed of the Lord.

1923
Mary Boggs
Mary was a sweet bright baby, so affectionate that every one loved her. In the death of her another cradle has been emptied, another little angel has been added to God's great white throne. She was the joy and the light of the home which she was permitted to cheer for only a short period.

1893
DEATH MAKES ANOTHER CLAIM
Mrs Ruth Berryman
Her remains were interred near her home in Madison county, beside five of her little sleeping children, and her husband's mother, who only a
short while preceded her, there to remain a little while we think, until the "trump of God shall sound and the dead in Christ shall rise first."

The language is beautiful and reflects an assurance from those who lived under the commands of Jesus in redeemed, holy lives of the place to which the departed would be soon met. The Savior is mentioned. There is acknowledgement of who gave us our spirit. There is understanding of where the saved dead go upon death. They reference the throne, and show the contrasts of life on this earth with the peace that is coming in the next.

Death, the final frontier
The Bible makes reference to death as sleep over 50 times, which the final obituary in my list above makes note of. When a Christian passes from enemy to friend of God, death is no longer the person's enemy, either. In Jesus' resurrection, death was conquered by death. We know this. This is the hope we have, that our sins are forgiven and we are now in right standing before a holy God, and He will bring us to His home in heaven when we die for an eternal life of peace and joy. We are no longer separated from Him in this life due to our sin, nor will we be separated from Him in the next, where His wrath is unleashed in hell upon those die still in their sin.

The unsaved wonder. They seek knowledge of "the other side". They try seances, gobble up books about near death experiences, elevate any person they think has the answer. They ask burning questions about whether life goes on, or if we return to dust as we came from dust. When death approaches them they are forced to contemplate their own mortality, and it is uncomfortable.

The obituaries of the old timers were saturated with sadness, of course. We all miss someone who dies. Even Jesus wept for Lazarus though He knew He was going to resurrect him momentarily. Death causes tears. But death does not bring fears, not for us. Death comes to everyone, and when it strikes the saved family, it causes us to re-evaluate our lives. It does the same for the unsaved.  But you can see the difference in the attitude toward death in the old time obituaries. Death for the saved is a passage, and a hope. Death for the unsaved is not. This verse is so perplexing to them!

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24)

Our life is as nothing to us? How can that be? It is because of the surpassing treasure of infinite and eternal value. The exchange has been made: Jesus is our life now.

In one sense, we are all dying. My body is dying and it will die and it will disintegrate in the ground,or wherever these old bones happen to fall. We are called to preach life to the dying, both saved and unsaved. For us it is a glory to hear and re-hear the work of Christ and His cross. For the truly dying in flesh and in spirit, they agonize over their mortality. However, preaching life also brings life. For those who are going to be in the Lamb's Book of Life, we know not when our preaching to a sure election and calling will ignite the dead heart and hope will enter in.

As Ian Rush said in his The Master's Seminary article, London is Burning
All men are spiritually dead apart from this gospel, they stand teetering on the precipice of eternal fire and torment with no hope of rescue but Christ, and we are commanded to preach to them this rescue. Natural disasters and national tragedies (like the Great Fire of London) serve as powerful reminders of the brevity of life and the impending reality of eternity.
The memory of such events ought to motivate us, as believers, to live with eternity in our hearts and on our tongues (Rom. 10:13–15, 2 Tim. 4:1–5).




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Obituaries courtesy of the following site with its notice. Also fair use & public domain since pre-1923.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

It was an ordinary day, and the woman was thirsty

The woman was a harlot. There was a moral code and the woman fell far below it. So far below that she couldn't even see the underside of it anymore. Jumping from husband to husband, bed to bed, with or without benefit of divorce, man after man. She was a slut. Her sins were monumental, public, known to all, and she was regarded with disgust and hatred. She knew it. She didn't care. She did care.

She was loathed, and also lonely, marginalized, and excluded. The other women in town didn't talk to her, so that her taint wouldn't infect them. There were cliques, all right, and she was definitely not part of any of them. She wasn't invited to baby showers or to weddings or to sewing circles. She wasn't even welcome at the well, at dusk when the other women went to draw in the cool of the day. The looks...the turned backs... the whispers. Once, even that fight when they said those nasty things. She never went back.

She'd rather walk the extra half mile to the further well, at noon, in the heat, than face those women again. Sometimes she hated them for their calling out of her sin, other times she just felt ashamed. My life will always be like this, she thought. Her reputation preceded her. She was known as a harlot and she always would be. Harlot, whore,  prostitute, she'd heard them all. She was trapped in her town, in bondage to her sin, encased in her reputation, living out her days with a man she could barely tolerate, in an ever tightening circle of despair and self-loathing, no hope.

Shifting her water jug to the other shoulder, she shrugged. To hell with them, she thought. I don't care about them. At least I've got my man. He's no prize, either, but he's all I've got. What else is there? I can't go to synagogue, I've got no friends, except a few of the other loose women like me. She laughed bitterly.

The well was coming into view. Good, the woman was dusty and hot. It was so hot at noon, but she would rather walk the extra during the height of the day than to see those self-righteous harpies again. Sweat was trickling down her back, mixing with the dust on her neck where she held the jug. Dirt, dirt, dirt...she felt dirty both inside and out.

There was a man sitting there, against the well. He looked hot and dusty too. And tired. He didn't look familiar. Ah, he was was dressed as a Jew, that's why. Strange, Jewish men never walked into Samaria. He was all alone, no servants or anything. As the woman approached the well, the man spoke to her.

"Give me a drink"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Just like that, on a day like all the others, a dull, dreary, regular day, Jesus broke into the woman's life. SALVATION came to a women who had not expected it. Jesus burst in from beyond the veil to pierce the ordinary and make it extraordinary. Going toward the well, she was encased in sin. Sin defined her. Her reputation dripped with depravity and seeped in the very shadows on the stark and dusty road ahead of her. Though the day at noon was bright, her path was dark and hopeless. All she could see for her entire rest of her life were those shadows preceding her feet, one plodding shadow after another, dirt and dust and darkness.

Waterpots. The International
Standard Bible Encyclopaedia

Her joy and surprise caused her to leave her waterpot behind. This is a valuable possession. If you don't have a pot to draw water with, you don't have water in your house. Water of course is a necessity, for cooking washing, drinking. Yet the shamed woman approaching the well was no more, she left the well full of living water coursing through her veins, cleansing every spot and wrinkle. Each step back toward the village was a step away from her dark and haunted past and toward a clean and bright renewal. She'd left the pot behind. She left her shame behind, too.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Jesus does that today. He doesn't appear in body to us but He pierces an ordinary day with suddenness, speaking words of life. Salvation could come like that to any person you have been praying for, at any time. Jesus had an appointment with her. He had to go through Samaria. (John 4:4). The woman's sin was not too much for Jesus. After all, His purpose was to seek and save the lost. (Luke 19:10). He had a divine appointment with her since before the foundation of the world, because Jesus loves sinners. He loves to redeem. He loves to make a new creation for His glory and worship.

Any ordinary day could be like it was for the Woman at the Well (John 4:1-43). Your mother or husband or boss or friend could walk away from your conversation or head out the driveway or go into the living room and suddenly return a new creation. The walls of their heart holding in sin like the walls of Jericho, tumble down in an instant. Jesus has that power. When He creates a new creation in us sin is flushed away and His righteousness comes. It did for the woman at the well, it has for millions of people ever since.

Pray for the ordinary day to become extraordinary. Pray for the natural woman to become supernatural. Pray for the walls of her or his heart to tumble down and the conscience breached with righteousness. Pray for a gush of His living water to flood your loved one.

"Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did." (John 4:29a)
[And He loves me anyway]

"Could this be the Christ?" (John 4:29b)
[It certainly is.]

The ordinary day was suddenly saturated with joy. Because Jesus came.




Sunday, June 26, 2016

Truth is the inseparable ally of love



Have you noticed that satan has co-opted another word from our Biblical culture and twisted it to suit his own ends. We lost gay, rainbow, hate, tolerance, judge, and now love.
  • Orlando vigils: 'We will conquer that hate with love'
  • US Attorney General Loretta Lynch calls for 'love' in aftermath of Orlando massacre
  • Social media shows outpouring of love for Orlando massacre victims
  • Thousands Attend Orlando Vigil To Prove That Love Wins
  • After Orlando: Love Wins, But When?
The last one on the list is a 'Religion Dispatch' from Huffington Post, whereupon the author asks aloud how God could let such evil happen, and calls those who had been killed inside the homosexual nightclub martyrs of freedom. The inference is that they died for the cause of freedom, but it's only the world's definition of freedom... he meant freedom to live in sexual sin, which is abominable before the Lord.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The end is still near, still sharing the Light

I can't wait to see what you all look like when you are glorified! I can't wait to see the glassy sea, the angels who have helped me, the face of Jesus! I can't wait to be free from pain and shed of my sin nature. I can't wait to be in eternity! However, I will await His timing. We all must await the number of our days to be up and His determination of when we enter glory.

For now though, the Tribulation is still to come according to the Divine schedule.

The Tribulation is prophesied to be a period where many things will happen. One of them is that the earth and heavens themselves will be wildly disrupted. Landforms disappear. Weather patterns evaporate. Orbits cease. And more.

The outline of what Jesus will be doing at that time is presented to us in Daniel 9:24. The Lord will do 6 things:

Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city,
1. To finish the transgression,
2. To make an end of sins,
3. To make reconciliation for iniquity,
4. To bring in everlasting righteousness,
5. To seal up vision and prophecy,
6. And to anoint the Most Holy.

Notice several items. First, it is a period where though the times seem chaotic, it is actually orderly. It is all in control of God. The three series of 7-judgments apiece (Seals, Trumpets, Bowls; perhaps four sets if you consider the Seven Thunders of Rev. 10:3-4)  will be delivered in orderly fashion. The judgments unleash chaos, but their deliverance is orderly and controlled.

Another orderly aspect of the entire period, not just the Tribulation, is that He said it will take 70 weeks (70 bundles of 7 years, called shavua in Hebrew). This adds up to 490 years total for Him to perform the 6 things. The Tribulation is the time for it all to come to the conclusion and so it is a time of demonstrable wrath and the conclusion of the 6 things. In further orderliness, He stopped the clock at 483 years. Nowhere was it promised to be 490 consecutive years! But they should have had a slight clue, because the interruption was stated. In Daniel 9:25-26, a mere verse later, the angel told Daniel that after seven sevens and 62 sevens, Messiah will be cut off (vernacular for died) and the people of the prince who is to come (antichrist) shall destroy the city.

The Western Wall, Jerusalem. Free wallpaper
Jesus's entry into Jerusalem was 483 years to the day and then the clock stopped. Then Jesus took 2000 years to build His church, and when it reaches His quota of building the church with the exact number of believers in it, (Romans 11:25) He will snatch us away from this earth, and He will finish that last 7 years of the prophesied 70 weeks and accomplish the promised 6 things.

The angel also explained to Daniel that it is a time when God directs His attention to "your people" and "your holy city (Jerusalem). That does not mean He isn't paying attention to non-believers or non-Jews during the Tribulation, or that nothing will happen to them during the Tribulation. Not at all. Jeremiah 30:7 calls it the Time of Jacob's Trouble, though, and its point is for the LORD to finish His promises to His people. #1 is to finish the transgression, and #2 says He will make an end to sins. This making an end to sins is an event that will affect everyone on the planet. God always sees the world through the lens of His people the Jews and through the central location of the Holy City. But all the world will be affected.

Secondly, note the progression of the 6 things. At the beginning, He allows the transgression to have its full expression. By the end, the Most Holy is anointed. The Most Holy is Jesus. Ahhh, what a day that will be! The Tribulation is the cap-stone to the final age of man where He allows the total outcome of rejection of the Holy Spirit to have its course. Like in Noah's day, where all of man's thoughts were only evil continually, (Gen 6:5) so it shall be again at the end of days (Matthew 24:37).

The Daniel 9:26 verse also promises that the end will come like a flood. This does not mean that there will be a flood of actual waters as in the first global judgment. He promised Noah that he would never drown the world again. (Gen 9:13). However, as part of the cataclysmic geo-physical upheavals during the Tribulation there will be floods and tides and hurricanes and tsunamis. However, the verse uses figurative language. The Hebrew word in Dan 9:26 is "sheteph; from shataph; a deluge (literally or figuratively) -- flood, outrageous, overflowing." He means that SIN will have its outrageous overflowing.



This flood language mirrors the language in Revelation 12:15. Midway through the Tribulation, the antichrist tears up the peace treaty he had confirmed with the Jews at the beginning of the Tribulation. He then persecutes them with all unholiness and evil. He goes after the Jews with an evil vengeance that makes the WWII Holocaust look like a picnic. "And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood." Satan pours out his evil and sin flows over the world like a flood.

Floods have waters that rise, and rise and rise, eventually washing away all that is in its path. Even tsunamis which travel at jet speeds have waters that flow and rise accordingly. The end time began when Jesus ascended, but it has been 2000 years and we can see that the flood waters of sin are not lapping at our toes...are not sweeping against our waists...but the flood waters of sin seem like they are actually crashing over our heads by this point in time. It seems the flood of sin in the world since the beginning is rising and rising, and now even crashing over our heads. It is like the famous photo of the lighthouse and its keeper


But we are not destined for wrath! (1 Thessalonians 5:9). Though sin tries to engulf us, it will not prevail against His church! (Matthew 16:18). Notice where the keeper is: INSIDE the Lighthouse. Would you want to be anywhere else when the wages of sin try to engulf you? No. You would not survive that wave. Being in the Lighthouse is the only safe place to be, in ages past and in this present age.

What of us, individually? His word says that Hades will not prevail against His church, but what of each of us in the daily struggle against sin? Some days it truly feels like it will engulf me. Here is the remedy: 

The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1).

We are Light keepers, and our job is never more important than during the storm! We are in Christ as THE Light, but we keep His word hidden in our hearts. We are ambassadors of His glory and His truths. We keep His commands. We keep His flame alive on earth by staying in Him and close to Him. It is important to be brighter during the storm and so let us be bright, by being full of peace and joy in these stormy times. Let the waves crash! We have the eternal Strength of the Light in the Strong Tower. Let others see, and come to Him.


Friday, June 24, 2016

Encouragement: How many will be in heaven?

I've looked at the numbers and have been discouraged by the seeming few that will be in heaven. The proportions of saved to lost seems wide. All the world died in the flood...except for 8. All four cities of the plain were smote ...  only four people escaped ... and one of them turned out to be false. The road is broad and many are on it, while the path is narrow and few find it.

I've written about that proportion here

I'm looking at the numbers and they don't look good

and here

Many 'Christians' will be left out of heaven

I've also been discouraged by the lack of solid churches and the difficulty in finding them. Many of you have written to me about the same thing.

In listening to Justin Peters last night teach about child conversions, he said the encouraging regarding both topics. In his lesson he also named off a list of many solid churches he is personally familiar with.
It is easy to get discouraged when looking at the broad swathe of Christianity, and it is easy when we see so much heresy, so much compromise even from the supposedly good guys. It's rampant. But there are good churches out there God does have His people everywhere. They're not in the limelight, they're not in the spotlight.  ... There are good churches, it's just that they're in small places. They're hard to find, but they're out there.
He said this about numbers in heaven. I'm glad to know I wasn't the only one who gets discouraged. I'am also glad to know that I overlooked something. Children who have died will massively add to the number in heaven-
I believe that the best understanding of scripture holds that when a baby, toddler, young child dies, that little one goes to heaven. ... Have you ever thought about this? have you ever been discouraged at how few people go to heaven? When you look around the world, there's 7 billion people on this planet and I think it is safe to say that well under and only probably less than 1% of truly born again, there's a lot of people who say they're Christians but they're not. It can get kind of discouraging can't it? But you know what? Have you ever thought about how many hundreds of millions or billions of children have died? In a miscarriage, before they were even born? Or how many children have been killed in abortions? Or how many children have died at early ages? Do you know where all those young ones are? They're in heaven. There's going to be a lot of folks in heaven! It's going to be a busy place, with a lot of people in it! (Source)
In the lesson, Peters had previously explained from scripture why he and most others believe that infants, toddlers, and children will be in heaven. There was a biblical context for his statement.

In the United states alone, there have been 60 million abortions in the last 40 years. All those aborted children are in heaven. The worldwide infant mortality rate due to natural causes is also very high. It always has been.
The infant mortality rate (IMR) is the number of deaths of infants under one year old per 1,000 live births. This rate is often used as an indicator of the level of health in a country. The infant mortality rate of the world is 49.4 according to the United Nations and 42.09 according to the CIA World Factbook. The under-5 mortality rate of the world is 73.7 according to the United Nations. (Source)
Praise the Lord, the numbers of departed children I'd overlooked when thinking of heaven massively increases the number that will be there. Bless the Lord, and bless the children waiting for us there (whatever age they will be upon heavenly entry).




Thursday, June 23, 2016

VBS season, Child Conversion, and Baptisms

The visible church today is seeing a flood of false Christian adults. They profess Christ, but either by lack of fruit, a sinful walk, or outright eventual repudiation, in many sad cases it becomes obvious they never possessed Him.

One place that false conversions caneasily happen is with children. And VBS is the most dangerous season of all. Wikipedia gives a history of VBS, known as Vacation Bible School:
Vacation Bible School (VBS) is a specialized form of religious education which focuses on children. Churches usually hold the week-long events during the summer, though the lengths of such programs may vary, and they are sometimes held during other times of the year. he origins of Vacation Bible School can be traced back to Hopedale, Illinois in 1894. Sunday school teacher D. T. Miles, who also was a public school teacher, felt she was limited by time constraints in teaching the Bible to children. So, she started a daily Bible school to teach children during the summer. The first Bible school enrolled forty students and lasted four weeks. ...  
Today, many churches run their own Vacation Bible School programs without being under the umbrella of a national organization. Some churches opt to use themed curriculum programs from their respective denominations or independent publishing houses which provide easy preparation and include marketing tools. Modern programs usually consist of a week-long program of religious education which may employ Bible stories, religious song, arts and crafts, skits, or puppet shows which cater toward elementary school-aged children.
However either in sincere love for Christ and a desire to see people saved, or due to outright deception due to worldly church growth strategies, some churches are quick to accept a child's profession in Christ and they quickly baptize them thereafter- declaring them saved. Many VBS volunteers, without knowing the devastating consequences of a false profession, at the end of a VBS session with children, simply ask a few superficial questions such as "Do you want to go to heaven when you die?" or "Do you accept Jesus into your heart?" and then declare the child converted and even write the date into the Bible. Baptisms quickly follow, with pastors trumpeting the "success" on social media such as Facebook with lots of Woo-hoos, PTL's, and exclamation marks.

These children grow up believing they are truly saved, yet by the time they are adults, have not borne fruit, aren't growing in knowledge of the grace of Jesus Christ, have no godly sorrow over sin, care not for personal holiness etc. Some of them go away from the faith when they become teens or young adults, only to come back in their late 20s or early 30s to "rededicate their lives to Christ." As Peters says in his new teaching, he believes for most of these people, the rededication is actually the conversion.

Here is a wonderful teaching from Justin Peters on the "A Biblical and Theological Understanding of Childhood Conversion". He admits that the teaching goes against the grain of common practice. However, when he shows from scripture why it's wise to wait in declaring a person saved, especially children, the clarity of the teaching becomes apparent and foundationally attractive.

Many of you have sent me messages and emails concerning your children, asking questions about baptism, home devotionals, and VBS. I'm grateful that the Lord led me to this wonderful resource and I happily pass it along to you.

Do Not Hinder Them: A Biblical and Theological Understanding of Childhood Conversion

The link is the first time Pastor Peters delivered this teaching, he said, and he has since honed it into a book, upcoming for publication. Be on the lookout for the book. The link brings you to an hour and 21 minutes' teaching, but the first few minutes are recommendations of other books and the end is a Q&A. Peters as always is humble, kind, and delivers his teaching in a quiet but scripturally persuasive manner. If you as a parent have questions about the credibility of your child's conversion, especially during this energetic VBS season when child conversion is at the forefront of church activity, then by all means please check it out.



Consider the Supernatural: The invisible realms are busy

Did you ever stop to consider the supernatural in your everyday life?

I'd like to write something that will hopefully open your mind to the teeming activity in the supernatural realms which our current eyes cannot see. However the bustling activity is all around us on earth  and extends into the second and third heaven.

151,600 people on earth die each day. Each death releases a soul that had formerly been imprisoned in a body. Upon death, this soul is immediately catapulted into the supernatural realms. The soul either goes up or goes down. So if the 6,316 people die each hour, there is a lot of traffic going up and down. (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Satan is the prince of the power of the air, Ephesians 2:1-2 reminds us, as does Ephesians 6:12 which says there are "spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." In 2 Kings 6:17 Prophet Elisha's servant was cowed by the impressive number of enemy men encircling the camp. They were severely outnumbered. However Elisha prayed, 'O LORD, open his eyes so he may see'. Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. The air was filled with blazing angels at attention and ready to fight for God against the human armies.

Daniel also was given heavenly insight into the supernatural realms, specifically the second heaven. He prayed to God and God immediately dispatched an angel with a response. However one of the chief unholy angels of the nation of Persia caused a delay in the holy angels' progress and there was a fight. Michael the archangel had to eventually be sent to help the angel burst through the opposition in order to reach Daniel. (Daniel 10:12-14). Angel wars not only occur in the second heaven of the air, but they go on in heaven, also. (Revelation 12:7)

In another case, Daniel was visited by a mighty angel on earth, which only Daniel could see, but the men with him felt the presence of heavenly glory and trembled. Some just ran away. (Daniel 10:7). The same thing happened with Saul when he was knocked down on the road to Damascus. (Acts 9:3-7).

Revelation 5:8 and 8:3 give us a hint of the prayers rising from the saints' lips to the throne room of God, where much activity is performed regarding these prayers.

God sends His ministering angels from heaven to His people with tasks, messages, comfort, and other ministry. (Genesis 19:1, Hebrews 13:2 & etc.)

So we have recently released souls departing for their final destination, demons zooming around in the air, angel wars, chariots abounding, angels coming and going, and prayers rising...that is a lot of activity. We can't see any of it. But it's there.

When I sailed on the ocean, we were guided in navigation by a nautical chart. Cargo ships, cruise ships, pleasure boats...all adhered to the rules of the road. This what it's actually called, the rules of the road. The chart lays out the comings and goings of ships so they won't crash into each other, especially as they near the busy port. They are called shipping lanes. Every mark on the chart means something and ships obey them if they don't want to crash. It's all highly managed. It looks like this:

Chart mapping San Pedro Channel; Dana Pt. Harbor, Catalina Island, SoCal
The real sea in that area looks like this.



It's much the same with the supernatural comings and goings.

Consider the supernatural. To that end, my exhortation here today is:

1. Revisit the amazing supernatural life that you have in Christ. Every breath, every moment, is driven by a series of continuing supernatural events in us and around us that propel us forward into the Kingdom of Light, and;

2. God is completely sovereign. His omnipotence extends from heaven to earth and every area, realm visible and invisible in between. He is directing an expansive and magnificent plan that will culminate in His glory shown through a renewed universe and a multitude of redeemed humanity, all in obeisance and worship of Him.

-------------------------------------------
Further Reading

When a person dies, where does his or her spirit and body go until the Second Coming?

Does the soul cease to exist after death?

Entertaining angels unawares


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

"Study the Bible using stickers!"

A female blogger named Rachel wrote about Bible stickers. She wrote that there were 4 reasons you ladies need stickers in order to study God's word.

1. Studying a favorite passage using stickers provides quick visible images to help you memorize a verse
No, the verse is a visible image to help you memorize the verse. (1 John 2:27, John 14:27).

2. Using a tangible item that I can feel with my hands provides a sense of reality to relate to God’s Word.
If you don't already have a sense of reality to relate to God's word when you study, stickers are not going to help. (Romans 12:2).

3. Adding colored or designed stickers draws attention to how God is speaking to my heart.
No, obeying His word in life is how the Spirit draws attention to the Word He applied to your mind. Stickers are just stickers. (1 John 4:12, Romans 8:3-4)

4. Meditating on God’s Word while using stickers actually gives me a faith that sticks!
No, stickers don't give you eternal faith. Jesus does. (Romans 8:30, Romans 8:38-39)

You see all the methods and reasonings that are designed to distract you ladies from studying the word in a credible, consistent, Spirit-filled way. In the earlier part of the blog, the lady had said that she needs to frequently vary her studying methods in order to remember what she had learned. Hmmm. This lady's method is a method that turns you from the word to a purchasable item.

Can you picture yourself telling an aborigine Kimyal from Papua New Guinea that they need stickers to study the Word? Tell these people their faith isn't complete unless they buy stickers. Or maybe, they should tell us what it's all about:






PS: The reason I discovered the sticker lady is that BibleGateway, who sadly, claims they are the most read bible site, promoted it on Twitter. I've seen them lately promote some very uncredible teachers, sites, and ideas. I have to say now, of BibleGateway - use heightened discernment.



Sermon nugget: Seed of the Serpent

My pastor preaches/teaches like a mini-Spurgeon every week. I leave church with much to ponder and my notebook filled with insights from his teaching. The Spirit enriches these through my own thoughts extended from further investigation. This essay is one of them. From now on I'll call these essays sermon nuggets, because I can't take credit totally for the insight here, it was catalyzed by my pastor, enriched by the Spirit, and emerged through further study on my own. In effect, it is a praise to how the Spirit fills us with insights, teaching, and wisdom. You hear the Word, study the word, think about the Word in your heart, and somehow it all fits in like puzzle pieces, piece by piece enlarging the scene until one glorious day, when the trumpet sounds, the picture will come clear.



"I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." (Genesis 3:15)

Excerpts from Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (pp. 13–14) tells us--
1. The serpent is here laid under the curse of God: Thou art cursed above all cattle. Even the creeping things, when God made them, were blessed of him (ch. 1:22), but sin turned the blessing into a curse. The serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field (v. 1), and here, cursed above every beast of the field.  
But man is victorious over the serpent, and bruises his head, that is, gives him a mortal wound, aiming to destroy the whole generation of vipers. It is the effect of this curse upon the serpent that, though that creature is subtle and very dangerous, yet it prevails not (as it would if God gave it commission) to the destruction of mankind. This sentence pronounced upon the serpent is much fortified by that promise of God to his people,  
    Thou shalt tread upon the lion and the adder (Ps. 91:13), and that of Christ to his disciples,
    They shall take up serpents (Mk. 16:18), witness Paul, who was unhurt by the viper that fastened upon his hand.  
A perpetual quarrel is here commenced between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the devil among men; war is proclaimed between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. That war in heaven between Michael and the dragon began now, Rev. 12:7. It is the fruit of this enmity, that there is a continual conflict between grace and corruption in the hearts of God’s people. Satan, by their corruptions, assaults them, buffets them, sifts them, and seeks to devour them; they, by the exercise of their graces, resist him, wrestle with him, quench his fiery darts, force him to flee from them.
Heaven and hell can never be reconciled, nor light and darkness; no more can Satan and a sanctified soul, for these are contrary the one to the other.  
That there is likewise a continual struggle between the wicked and the godly in this world. Those that love God account those their enemies that hate him, Ps. 139:21, 22. And all the rage and malice of persecutors against the people of God are the fruit of this enmity, which will continue while there is a godly man on this side heaven, and a wicked man on this side hell. Marvel not therefore if the world hate you, 1 Jn. 3:13.
With that in mind, you remember that John the Baptist and Jesus both called the Pharisees serpents, broods of vipers.

John the Baptist: He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? (Luke 3:7)

Jesus: You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. (Matthew 12:34).

Jesus: You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? (Matthew 23:33).

By using this language, John and Jesus were telling us that the Pharisees belonged to the line of the serpent, they were seeds of the serpent. This is confirmed when Jesus said,

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44).

In verse 38 Jesus specifically denied that the Pharisees were Abraham's children (children of promised 'seed' or offspring) and in verse 44 He says they were of the seed of the devil (children of curse, the devils 'seed' or 'offspring').

Let's finish on an encouraging note. Matthew Henry says-
His victory over Satan thereby. Satan had now trampled upon the woman, and insulted over her; but the seed of the woman should be raised up in the fulness of time to avenge her quarrel, and to trample upon him, to spoil him, to lead him captive, and to triumph over him, Col. 2:15. He shall bruise his head, that is, he shall destroy all his politics and all his powers, and give a total overthrow to his kingdom and interest. Christ baffled Satan’s temptations, rescued souls out of his hands, cast him out of the bodies of people, dispossessed the strong man armed, and divided his spoil: by his death, he gave a fatal and incurable blow to the devil’s kingdom, a wound to the head of this beast, that can never be healed. As his gospel gets ground, Satan falls (Lu. 10:18) and is bound, Rev. 20:2. By his grace, he treads Satan under his people’s feet (Rom. 16:20) and will shortly cast him into the lake of fire, Rev. 20:10. And the devil’s perpetual overthrow will be the complete and everlasting joy and glory of the chosen remnant.

What a day that will be!




Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A Tale of Two Gods?



In this corner, with the wizened face and long white beard, God, also known as Ancient of Days and sometimes as simply I AM. Aged, ancient, and some say, outdated. Audience, give it up for God in the white robe, the Old Testament God!

In this corner, with the scarred face and hands, smallish stature and nothing beautiful or majestic to attract us to Him, don't underestimate this Humble Servant, the Man of Sorrows, whose name is Jesus! Give it up for the man in the crimson-stained robe, the New Testament God!

Through this playful anecdote I hoped to bring to your mind a vivid picture of what I see as a problem today in the mainline churches. They try to say that there are two Gods, an "Old Testament God" and a "New Testament God." This reveals a basic misunderstanding of who God is in both testaments. He is the same God. The Old Testament God as He has revealed Himself is a holy God concerned with sin, redemption, and righteous living for the sake of His holy name. In many, many OT chapters, He reveals His profound love for His creation, man, in promising a better future and adhering to those promises again and again.

In the New Testament, God as He has revealed Himself through Jesus is a holy God concerned with sin, redemption, and righteous living for the sake of His holy name. While throughout many, many NT chapters, His Spirit reveals Jesus's profound love for man, His creation, in promising a better future and adhering to those promises again and again by dying on the cross and resurrecting, He also promises wrath. Just read Revelation. It could be just as factually stated that the 'OT God' is a God of love and the 'NT Jesus' is a God of wrath. Think about it.

In the entire bible there is wrath and there is love. There are plagues and there is redemption. There are covenants kept by God and broken by man. There are prophesies made, fulfilled, and to come and there is a hope and a future. There is no Old Testament God and there is no New Testament God. There is just I AM.

In the New Testament we see that the wrath of God is still “being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness” (Romans 1:18). The God who came to earth and cleansed the Temple with a bullwhip (Mark 11:15-19) is the same God who in the Old Testament "abounds in love and exceeding patience" (Exodus 34:6).

Though the Jesus of the New Testament is depicted all too unfortunately as a meek and mild, politically correct good teacher holding love-ins on the hill while making daisy chains, He was not. He directly confronted evil, He pointed fingers, He spoke hard sayings, and when the people left, and they did, (John 6:66) He let them go.

God is the same God as He lovingly and compassionately reveals Himself throughout the 66 books of the bible. He is love, He is wrath, but utmost, He is HOLY. His concern for His people is of our sin, and repentance. There is no comparative religion, there is only the superlative religion (L. Ravenhill). There is no OT God and no NT God, there is only God. He is unchanging.

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change". (James 1:15.)

And deep down, aren't we relieved that there is no difference in our God from one covenant to the next?

He reveals Himself to us in various ways. We know of Him through the the creation (Rom 1:18), directly person to person (Gen 3:8, Gen 5:22, Ex 33:11; Adam, Eve, Enoch, Moses), through the prophets, (Heb 1:1), through Jesus (Col 2:9), through his Spirit (2 Tim 3:16), through the Word (John 1:1-5). But though He reveals Himself in various ways, the qualities inherent in that revelation of Himself do not change from covenant to covenant, testament to testament. He remains the same.

If you find yourself saying "Old Testament God" stop for a moment and ponder the gravity of those words. He does not change. He reveals Himself to us as He does and as He will. Is it fair to say 'OT God' and 'NT God'? Is it right? Does it send a good message to hearers? It doesn't. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hebrews 13:8). "I the Lord do not change." (Malachi 3:6)


Monday, June 20, 2016

#memeHeresies on Facebook, how to spot them and how to refute them

We're visual creatures. We love the beautiful. I don't think there is any person who says they prefer ugliness to beauty. Beauty has allure. Satan knew that in the garden, when he incited Eve to take another look at the fruit. (Genesis 3:6). Beauty can be used to exalt God, for He made everything beautiful in its time (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Unfortunately, beauty can also be used as a mask for the corruption within. (Matthew 23:27).

We all know what heresy/false doctrine is. It's a teaching about Jesus that varies with what the Bible teaches about Jesus. The Nicolaitans and the Judaizers were two groups mentioned in the Bible for going around teaching false doctrine. Alexander and Hymaneus were two named teachers in the New Testament who were teaching falsely and were rebuked by Paul. In the OT, Micaiah rebuked Zedekiah the false prophet. False teaching has been around as long as humans have been around. (Genesis 3:1)

For millennia, to hear a teaching, one went to a public venue like the Areopagus or Solomon's Porch, and listened to the teacher like Paul, then went home and compared to scripture as the Bereans did. (Acts 17:11). Nowadays, false messages disseminated more widely and more instantly than ever before. Just think of "TBN" AKA Trinity Broadcasting Network, founded in 1973. TBN is a place called "Unholy Trinity" by John MacArthur, where "religious quacks are actually multiplying at a frightening pace." And with the multiplying quacks comes their quackery, AKA false teaching.

Add to that, satan targets women to send his false doctrines through (Genesis 3:4), because we are weaker (1 Peter 3:7), and more vulnerable (2 Timothy 3:6) and this dissemination includes social media. I'm on Facebook a lot, I administer a page there (The End Time) as well as my personal FB page. Facebook is used mostly by women. This is an amazing statistic by Pew Research from 2015,
Fully 72% of online American adults use Facebook, a proportion unchanged from September 2014. Usage continues to be especially popular among online women, 77% of whom are users. 
What this boils down to is that Facebook is a place where satan has a wonderful time propagating his lies to the faith's most vulnerable who are rarely given oversight by husbands while she surfs among the Facebook walls and statuses riddled with beautiful false teaching. These are the meme pictures.

Many of these memes going around are satanic. When I say satanic, don't think of a black background and a red faced man with horns and fangs in the foreground. Satan is God's most beautiful angel, an angel of light, and his work is flowers and a cute saying and pretty colors and a Christian-y saying all aimed to seduce women. Like this:


Jessica Pickowicz ( @Jess_Pickowicz , @BeauThing146 http://beautifulthing146.com/) has created a hashtag called #memeHeresies . The above photo is a #memeHeresy. I asked her if I could write about memeheresies and use that term in this essay and she said yes.

HOW TO MAKE A #MEMEHERESY

Satan enjoys deluding women, so flowers are usually a go-to graphic. Women like those. I don't see many #memeheresies containing golf clubs, fishing tackle, or neckties.

So the first rule when a false teacher makes a false graphic of some kind of inspirational quote, it's to choose something beautiful as the background. Of course, that's a no-brainer. I mentioned above that beauty carries false teaching very well. Genesis 3:6a tells us that the lust of the eyes is a major part of sin.

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes,...

The second criteria for a false inspirational picture is to choose something that is human-focused but mentions God. This is tricky, but then again, Joel Osteen has made a gazillion dollar industry out of treading that thin line. The quote below usually attributed to Roman Catholic friar St. Francis, but probably did not originate with the medieval monk, is the kind I'm talking about:

"Preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words."

The quote mentions the gospel, and preaching, so it must be good, right? Wrong. The Gospel is Good News, and we are to proclaim it. With words. We can't BE the message. Only Jesus was ever the message. And in addition to living that perfect life, He used lots of words. That's because He IS the Word. (John 1:1). And besides, isn't preaching a form of using words aloud? You see the ridiculousness once you begin to think about the quote. Also, note the sly turning away from Jesus onto ourselves with that one quote? Suddenly Jesus and His Gospel isn't the message, human beings are the message.

In that exact same vein is the picture above, attributed to Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa was a Roman Catholic nun who hated the gospel of Jesus Christ, and lived under the delusion that her Catholic dogma was going to save her. Nonetheless, she allegedly said "I'm a pencil in the Hand of God", which is set on a beautiful flower graphic.

The reason that #memeHeresy seems scriptural and inspirational is because it mentions God. On first look, it also seems to put the person in a humble position. You think, 'awww, I'm just a meager tool in the hand of God.'

This would be a wrong interpretation of that meme.

The Apostles were pencils in the hand of God. The result was inspired Holy Scripture. If we put ourselves in that place, we are elevating ourselves beyond our position. Today no one is writing anything inspired by the Holy Spirit. Though, plenty of women are writing things inspired by satan. The most popular books of our day have been inspired directly by satan through the means of channeling. (For ex., When Godly People do Ungodly Things, Jesus Calling, &etc.)

If "Mother" Teresa meant that the metaphorical pencil is writing a metaphorical message through the the outward seeming goodness of our lives, then we have the same problem that we had in the St Francis quote. WE are not the message. We are ambassadors OF the message. (2 Corinthians 5:20). The message was proclaimed by Jesus. And by the way, we're not good.

Finally, if we are but helpless tools in the Hand of God, then we are excusing our part in our own sanctification. We must press on, slay sin, submit, obey...all those are active verbs showing that we have a responsibility to Jesus while here on hearth. We're not passive pencils, being used. We're to be active participants in our life of obedience and usefulness.

Sometimes a meme will quote a scripture, and the scripture isn't totally ripped from context as this one below shows. Did you know that a lot of times when you see a pretty photo with a verse over it, the verse address and the verse being quoted don't match up? This one quoted blow is the tail end of a verse and it's not twisted. So what's the problem? The organization or person spreading it. The verse is OK, but She Reads Truth is not. Passing along a meme in which the verse is accurate but is promoted by a false teacher is just as bad. Double check the verse, the address, AND the teacher or organization publishing it.You don't want to put a stumbling block in front of a sister and send her directly to a false teacher by your tacit recommendation of re-posting a good verse.


Same goes for this one below. The quote is not scripture but it's an accurate saying. It is something I say myself. I am not familiar with the person mentioned at the bottom, but I am certainly familiar with the IF:gathering and its women. Again- avoid. Re-posting an accurate quote but from a false bunch of teachers will only confuse those less discerning sisters. Every re-post you do is tacitly giving your stamp of approval not only to the quote but to the author and organization, in this case, Mabuni and IF:gathering.



HOW TO REFUTE A #memeHeresy

I liked what Jessica did with the side by side refutation here. The stamp of the word "FALSE" across the left side states the situation in no uncertain terms, and the correct verse which refutes the false one is placed on the right. The left side is the man-oriented one and the right side is what God actually said about man.




Here is another one from Jessica. Do you see on the top, the man-centered quote? It's refuted with scripture on the bottom. LOL. God personally sent an angel to bake bread for and minister to Elijah during his test. (1 Kings 19:6). Do we think that today that the promise of angels ministering to us ceases at the very moment we need it the most? Of course not! And as Jessica said in her #memeheresy busting photo, we always, always have God's word speaking to us. This is the Holy Spirit's eternal ministry of comfort.



In sum, how to spot the false memes is to check, think, wait. Before passing it along,

1. Double check the address on the verse (if there is one).
2. Double check that the verse isn't ripped from its context to say something it wasn't intended to mean.
3. Check the person or organization publishing the quote.
4. STOP. THINK. Does this quote that sounds so Bible-y really reflect a true teaching of God?

To refute them you can always do what Jessica did and create a side-by-side refutation. If you're not graphically skilled then simply post the scripture picture with a verse that refutes it and maybe a short explanation showing how one is man-oriented and the other is Jesus-oriented.

Well, some might say, doing all that checking, double checking, and investigating, at is a lot of work,. Yes. It's work. You remember I mentioned the Bereans at the top? They heard Paul then went back and checked that these things were so. They worked, and were commended for it! Just because we're living in a fast time doesn't mean we have to quickly press "Post" or "Publish". Stop. Think.

We handle the Bible's message with care, because it is the most important message in life. You don't toss a carton of eggs into the back seat of your car like you do your son's soccer ball. You handle with care. We don't toss around Bible-y sayings either. We take care, for the Word is precious. The false teachers toss around the Word carelessly, we believers don't need to toss it around as well.


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Why responding to a discernment essay by saying "only God knows the heart" is totally wrong and displays a total lack of discernment

When I do a discernment essay, I am often chastised and rebuked with an old chestnut of a comment that's becoming practically standard for those without discernment to post:

He alone is sovereign and fully knows all hearts!

God is sovereign. God knows the heart. But we do too.

If a teacher's doctrine has been proven false by comparing it with the Bible, then we DO know their heart! The Bible tells us this. Only God knows the hearts of the people, but if their teaching is not of the Lord, then the God who sees hearts has exposed those hearts to us by the verses of His word!

Their hearts are full of deceit. Colossians 2:8
Their hearts are filled with their own appetites. Romans 16:17-18
Their hearts are disguised with light. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15
Their hearts are full of greed. 2 Peter 2:3
Their hearts are ravenous. Matthew 7:15.
Their hearts are inwardly full of sensuality. Jude 1:4
Their hearts are full of secrets, such as destructive heresies. 2 Peter 2:1
Their hearts are full of intent to exploit. 2 Peter 2:3
Their hearts are full of fleshly passions. 2 Timothy 4:3
Their hearts are puffed up with conceit. 1 Timothy 6:4
His heart understands nothing. 1 Timothy 6:4
Their hearts are cunning and crafty. Ephesians 4:14
Their hearts serve the creature. Romans 1:25
Their hearts are slaves of corruption. 2 Peter 2:19.
Their hearts deny the Master who bought them. 2 Peter 2:1
Their hearts prophesy lies. Jeremiah 23:26

So whenever I expose a testimony as false or a teaching as false, or a teacher as false, using biblical proof, STOP saying that this is a bad activity because "only God knows the heart". He does, that's true, but He has shown us the heart of the false teacher in His word. He taught us this in His word for the purpose of being mature and discerning, and so we can learn for ourselves and also teach the younger to be edified and strong.




Sisters having a tough Father's Day, you are not orphans

It's Father's Day and Facebook is all aglow with well wishes for loving fathers and family photos vintage and current of dads with their happy families. I find this heartwarming. I love seeing pics of dads with daughters proclaiming their father's virtues.

My experience was different. I didn't have a loving father and he wasn't traditionally involved in my life to any appreciable degree. He was a good worker, and intelligent. He created a business from scratch and made a successful go of it. I'm so proud of him for that. He was a raconteur, regaling dinner guests with humorous stories he told in entertaining fashion. But as a father...his virtues take a little longer to discover.

He did provide us a home, and a nice one, too. He paid for my college, no strings, the best gift he he ever gave me. He did keep his promise to financially support us after he and his wife divorced. He helped me financially at periods through my early adult life. He usually remembered my birthday and Christmas with a check, signed "Love, Dad."

But in all his 81 years of life he never said the important words "I love you." Not once.

Neither did he show through action any love hidden deeply and unspoken. Despite invitations to personally come to Parents' Day at College, or the ribbon cutting of my new business or other celebratory things Facebook Fathers seem to enjoy, that was not my lot. Despite tragedies such as unwanted divorce or hospitalization, no father appeared by my bedside or at the lawyer's to give support. There simply was a great, silent, empty vacuum on the Interstate corridor between his home and mine.

It was kind of a blessing to learn late what kind of relationship other girls had with their dad. I was unaware for a long time of what I had been missing. For example, I had not known that dads and daughters spent time alone together, like having a picnic or going to the movies. I was shocked to learn this. I was never alone with my father, for any reason at any time, casual or scheduled. I literally would not know what to say to him if we ever had been.

He was a man full of laughter during dinner parties but with the family that was another matter. He had a low tolerance for many things, such as noise, questions, failing an unspoken standard, moving his remote control, sitting in his chair, and lots of other stuff. Anger eruptions would occur at any time and send us fleeing to separate quarters to escape the wrath.

As an adult things eased. There was a period of time we were socially friendly. Me and my husband and he and his live-in, long term girlfriend would go out to dinner, sail on his boat, swim in the pool. It was like we were his young friends, not family. I remember one time he was telling a story about kids and we were laughing and laughing at the foibles of this kid he was recalling and the story picked up steam and the laughter got more hilarious and unthinkingly at the end he wiped his eyes and blurted, "I'm glad I never had kids."

That was how far we were from his heart, so far that we weren't his children at all. When we were little, we were noisy inconveniences not usually tolerated. As young adults we were a financial obligation. As older adults we were a built-in social network to ease his loneliness. And as a senior, he completed his life-long rejection thus- with disownment.


He not only wrote us off but specifically made note that this was intentional. The last act of Mr Prata regarding his children is an act of bitterness. He wrote an ending to a relationship that wasn't over yet, but punctuated it anyway with a stroke of a pen.

I'm not writing this out of anger, just sadness. Sadness for him and of what he missed, and what he is missing now. I believe he died outside of the grace of Jesus, and that means he will remember for a punishing eternity the things written here and all the rest of his acts during his 81 years of life, forever. Nothing I could say or do about him is worse than that.

I hope that the silent daughters who are sad on this day looking online or in real life at all the happy dads and daughters would take heart. Coming up is an encouragement.

Daughters of Jesus, we know that the sweetness of a Father that will not reject us nor cast us out of His hand is a balm for the soul where the dad's love should have been. Sisters who are watching the Facebook wall scroll by with happy cries of well-wishes for dads alive and dads gone on to glory, if that had not been your experience, just remember that we have a Father in Heaven. He has said we cry Abba! Father! for all our needs and upon whom to pour out all our love as he pours out His upon us. He is perfect, having formed us and known us from heart to soul to mind to strength. He is a Dad who sees us, El Roi, whose eyes roam to and fro over the earth "to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him." (2 Chronicles 16:9a).

We are His children-

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, (John 1:12)

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. (1 John 3:1).

We are heirs to our Abba-

To redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. (Galatians 4:5-7)

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:14-19)

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. (John 14:18)

If you have lost your family due to the faith-

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. (Matthew 19:29)

All these promises and more are for us and in us and about us, those who believe. There is much to take heart over. There is everything to be encouraged by in our relationship with the heavenly Father.

If you are not saved by grace of Jesus, and you're feeling alone on Father's Day with no father in your life, my deepest empathy goes out to you. I don't know how you cope with the loss and not have the comfort of Jesus - the true Father - to turn to. If you would like to know something of this sweetness, comfort, and joy, email me. My email is in the "About this blog" tab up top.

With his seething pen, my father sought to obliterate the memory of his children from his heart and to puncture us with a long lasting wound. The irony is, the Lord causes those who reject Him to remember each and every sin of their earthly life, forever, while we, children of God, will not remember sorrows nor shall these things come to mind. (Isaiah 65:17). He will remember forever and lay in an eternal bed of anger and bitterness, while I will forget him and go on in joy and peace with my heavenly Father.
The former sorrows of the earth, under the fall, shall be so far from recurring, that their very remembrance shall be obliterated by the many mercies I will bestow on the new earth (Re 21:4-27). Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary on Is 65:17.
So take heart, sad or mourning or grieving daughters! I am happy to say that it has become my joy to rely on the love of my real Father and it will remain so all through eternity. I have a Father, and every day is Happy Father's Day. You do too.


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Having trouble slaying sin? Being unduly tempted lately? Check out these resources

Slaying sin is the daily responsibility of the Christian, in submission to the Holy Spirit, Who is the mechanism for its effectual execution.

John MacArthur said that if you are comfortable with your spiritual growth, that is a very dangerous place to be. Dear Sister, if you've grown lax or complacent, as I tend to be from time to time, here are some resources for you to help you revive the urgency in our daily endeavor to kill the sin within us and to resist the temptations that come with it. And as Dr Barnhouse reminded us, when you flee sin, make sure that you're running toward Christ.


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How To Slay Sin (Part 3) Essay by John MacArthur
Let’s take a look at step three in slaying sin: Fill your mind with Scripture. 
John Bunyan, author of the classic Pilgrim’s Progress, wrote in the cover of his Bible, “Either this book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this book.” Bunyan understood what many in the war against sin don’t—the Word of God is the weapon you simply cannot neglect. 
Have you ever considered some of the symbols the Bible uses to describe itself? Scripture is called a light, hammer, fire, rock, mirror, milk, seed and water. Each highlights a unique characteristic of God’s Word, but by far the most memorable metaphor of the Bible is a sword (Ephesians 6:17). Any idea why?
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Temptation and How to Meet It, Sermon by Dr Donald Grey Barnhouse. In this teaching, Dr Barnhouse gives three ways to defeat temptation. The Youtube review of the sermon states,
At the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship conference in Urbana 1957. Brilliantly useful teaching of a caliber seldom found in modern sermons.
You can listen to the full sermon below, or read it as a summary at Christianity.com



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Spurgeon on slaying sin, from his sermon The Old Man Crucified, #882:
if you will not have death to sin, you shall have sin to death. There is no alternative, if you do not die to sin you shall die for sin; and if you do not slay sin, sin will slay you. 
More here:
The Old Man Crucified, extended quote from Spurgeon's sermon #882

Even more here:
Full sermon The Old Man Crucified, Spurgeon #882


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JC Ryle's book titled Holiness is generally acknowledged to be one of the faith's top books on the subject. Buy it from this excellent publisher, Banner of Truth.

‘…this book is simply the best of Ryle the Puritan-type pastor. Real Christians will find it a gold mine, a feast, a spur and a heart-warmer, food, drink, medicine, and a course of vitamins, all in one.’ — J.I. PACKER 
BOOK DESCRIPTION-
Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots is perhaps J. C. Ryle’s best-known and, arguably, best-loved book. Although many things have changed since 1877, when this book was first published, one thing remains the same: ‘real practical holiness does not receive the attention it deserves.’ It was to remedy this attention deficit, and to counter false teaching on this most important subject, that Ryle took up his pen.

The sword is only good if your hand wields it, and we don't wield it with accuracy and precision if we are not studying it first.


One of Jesus' titles is "The Coming One". He IS coming again. Are you ready?

In listening to John MacArthur's series in Revelation, this sermon yielded some glorious truths, once again. The sermon is titled The Ce...