Spiritual Warfare Prep

Spiritual Warfare Prep
We Are In The Lord's Army

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Life Is Painful - Earth Has No Sorrow That Heaven Can't Cure!

  One of the hard things about life is that life is painful. Why do things have to be so painful? Can't we have a life without pain or hurt?

   I am going through one of those painful times. About seven months ago, my beloved parrot, Petra, died. I spent a couple of weeks playing hospice nurse to her, hoping she would recover. But she died in a seizure while I was holding her. I still haven't recovered from that one.

  We lost our cat last night. He got sick on Wednesday, and I took him to the vet on Thursday, and he died Saturday night. I didn't know that the nap I took on Saturday afternoon was the last nap I would take with Frankie.

  This past year, I think I have seen more people die, who I know, some were young too, than I ever have seen in my life. Friends died. A couple of men became widowers. It is very sad to see.

   Sometimes people go through grieving and become bitter toward God. They misunderstand Him and think that either He is punishing them, or that He is unaware of what they are going through, or that He doesn't care.

   Last year, I talked with a Salvation Army bell ringer. I enjoy talking to them and when possible, sharing the Gospel message with them. As soon as I asked the woman if she had any children, the thought came to mind that perhaps she had a child who died. I almost wished I didn't ask the question after I had that thought. She began to tell me her story. She told of each child, then she told me that she had a son who was killed almost a year before this.

   Great. Just what I feared. But the lady continued. She went through the whole story of what happened to her son, who was in his early 30s at the time of the accident. She was at a neighbor's house, early in the morning, and the people who went to tell her about the accident went to the neighbor's house trying to find her house. When they realized she was there, they told her she would need others around while they explained what happened. The woman fell to the ground reaching out to Jesus for help,  she says. She continued on with the story of how God provided *everything* for the funeral, and how the Lord helped her as she learned to cope with this tragedy.

   I was the one crying when I listened to her story. What impressed me was that she did not become bitter or angry with God because of her son's death. She didn't mention anything vengeful about those who were responsible for the accident. She really praised the Lord concerning this whole incident.

  What I learned from this is that we all have difficulties with some kind of pain in life. Pain can make us bitter and angry. But, that is the default, and we do not have to follow the default pattern for pain. We can trust God in pain, because nothing takes Him by surprise. He feels our pain, even though we don't understand that. When we become bitter or distrusting of God, we are the ones who suffer.

   I believe God wants to heal us. We will not see Him clearly when we are distrusting or angry at Him. He allowed the pain, and will use it as part of His plan as He works in our lives. Pain is not a punishment for us (unless our pain is a result of our disobedience to God) and God will comfort us if we allow Him to.

   If we are grieving, God wants to comfort us. If we are suffering, God will carry us through. God never promised us a painless life. But He promises to be with us and to give us the strength to go through the season of suffering. He also wants to heal us of the pains we have. Please give your pain and suffering to the Lord. He will be with you to comfort you, give you strength, and heal you if you allow Him to.

Here are the words to a song that I heard on the radio this morning. The song is called, 'Come As You Are" by David Crowder

"Come As You Are"

Come out of sadness
From wherever you've been
Come broken hearted
Let rescue begin
Come find your mercy
Oh sinner come kneel
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can't heal
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can't heal

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You're not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are

There's hope for the hopeless
And all those who've strayed
Come sit at the table
Come taste the grace
There's rest for the weary
Rest that endures
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can't cure

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You're not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are
Come as you are
Fall in his arms
Come as you are
There's joy for the morning
Oh sinner be still
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can't heal
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can't heal

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You're not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are
Come as you are
Come as you are

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Is God Really A Bully?

There is a lot of talk about 'Bullies' these days. Sometimes, when I talk to people about the Gospel, the person I am talking to says that God is a 'Bully'. But is that true?

Here is an internet definition of a bully: a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.

synonyms: persecutor, oppressor, tyrant, tormentor, intimidator;
tough guy, thug, ruffian, strong-arm;

So, why would people say that God is a bully? Does God use His power and strength to harm us? Does He use His power and strength to intimidate us?

First, we have to decide if God is bigger and more powerful than we are. Second, we have to decide if God is good and desires to bring good to His people. Third, if God is bigger and more powerful than we are, and if He desires to bring good to His people, we have to determine who His people are. Fourth, if we have determined who His people are, and we realize that we are not counted as one of His people, then how can that change?

First, looking at evidence around us, we can see design, order, and even artistry in creation. There is no question about God being the creator of everything. He created all the germs and bacteria as well as all the stars and galaxies out there. He created human beings with all their unique individual traits and characteristics. "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth..." Genesis 1:1

Second, although life can be very hard at times, God promises to be with those who are His. He promises to take care of them and will use everything for the good of His people and for His glory. He is in complete control of everything going on, and knows about every detail that happens to His people. "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified." Romans 8:28-30 ESV

Third, who are those who belong to Him? The Bible makes it clear that we do not belong to Him until we put our faith in Jesus Christ and turn from our sins. We have to understand that sin separates us from God and we are under a curse until we respond to Him. Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life on earth and died to take our sins completely away. When we trust in what He did on the Cross for us, and leave our lives of sin, we can be made right in God's eyes. Not only that, but He will give us power to say 'no' to the temptations of sin, and to say 'yes' to Him and live a life of obedience to Him. Those who refuse to respond to God belong to the devil. 
"Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.  Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 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 8:42-44 ESV

Fourth, the Bible says that we all must be born again. We must be born into God's family in order to have God as our Father. "Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3 ESV

So, is God really the Bully here? Here is the story in a nutshell:
God created people and His creation was good. The devil was thrown down to earth because he rebelled against God. The devil lied to Adam and Eve about the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve listened to Satan instead of obeying God. God placed a curse on the earth, on man, on woman, and on the devil. But, God also promised the man and the woman that He would send Someone to rescue us and destroy the works of the devil. 
Ever since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, the human race has been in chaos. The earth has been in turmoil. God promises that all the will be restored one day. 
Every human being born since that time has been born with a sinful, selfish heart and needs to be redeemed. Throughout the Old Testament, God gave clues about the One He would send to redeem us and to eventually restore the earth and creation. Around 2,000 years ago, God fulfilled that promise by sending His Son to earth to live among us. His Son lived a perfect life, but was killed by sinful men. He died willingly in order to take the punishment for all of our sins, upon Himself. God the Father placed every sin on His Son, when Jesus died on the cross. Jesus did not stay dead. He was buried and arose from the dead on the third day after He died. He is alive today and will return to earth to receive the people who are His. 

The real bully in this situation is the devil. Just as he lied to Eve in the Garden, he still lies to us today. He would like for you and me to believe that God is a bully. The devil has some control over you and me. Whenever we choose to believe him instead of believing what God says in His word, we have fallen prey to the devil's desires. 

Remember, a bully isn't an all powerful being who desires good for His people. A bully is someone who has some power and takes advantage of those who are weaker. The bully doesn't desire anything good for those he is bullying around.

If you choose to continue to reject God and what He has done for you, you will be subject to Satan. There is no other way around this. You can call God a bully all you want, but in the end, you are doing Satan's will, not God's. By threatening God with your rejection of Him, puts you under God's curse, by default. God is not a wimp, nor is He a Being who can be swayed by our manipulation. God calls the shots. We don't. But God is good and wants good for all His people. 

We are either inside God's boundaries or we are inside the devil's boundaries. Which one will it be for you?

Friday, December 30, 2016

Will Heaven Have Memorials Of Missing People There?

In the book of Acts, there is an interesting event that happened. Peter was going up to pray and he fell into a trance. He had a vision of all kinds of animals, and God told him to rise, kill, and eat the animals. Peter refused at first, but then God reveal to him that He had cleansed the animals and that Peter could eat them. God had prepared Peter, along with other men, to meet a man named Cornelius, whose heart God was also preparing for receiving salvation. Cornelius was an outsider, a Gentile, whom Peter was not supposed to have anything to do with, but like the wild animals that God had cleansed, Cornelius was one who God was preparing for salvation.

"At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort,  a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius.”  And he stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God.  And now send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter.  He is lodging with one Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea.” When the angel who spoke to him had departed, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among those who attended him,  and having related everything to them, he sent them to Joppa."*

What was interesting was that Cornelius was a man of prayer and also a man who was charitable. What he did actually reached heaven! His prayers and alms ascended as a memorial before God. Yet, this man was not yet a believer in Jesus Christ. 

I was reading a book called 'Revealing Heaven' by Kat Kerr. First, I do not have a final evaluation of this book. She claims to have seen heaven in visions and describes what she saw. Secondly, as I read through the book, everything she wrote in this book points to the Lord, and seems very Biblically based. She covers the Gospel clearly, so I am not going to criticize this book. I will continue to evaluate it in my mind, but at this point in time, I do not have a final opinion on it. 

In this book, she covers many things that she saw while she was having these visions. One was very interesting. She saw memorials of people who did wonderful things for God, but they were not in heaven themselves. They never came to know the Lord. They were missing from heaven, but the memorial of their work was in heaven.

Kat Kerr brought up the story of Cornelius in this part of the book. The point I would like to make with all this is simply that we can be very moral people, and even prayer warriors, but we could still miss salvation because we have not repented of our sins and turned to the Lord. 

There were a lot of God fearing people who were the founders of our nation, but it is hard to say if they actually knew the Lord. We pray that during their lifetimes, the connection was made. But many of them did not have the kind of fruit we would expect from a true believer in Jesus Christ. I wonder if there will be memorials in heaven with their names on them, but with their presence missing in heaven?

I am sure many people have a level of the 'fear of the Lord' but perhaps they don't know Him yet. We need to check our own hearts and see where we are at in our relationships with God. It would be very sad for any of us to have a memorial in heaven recognizing our work, yet still be missing from heaven.

For more information on the Gospel and our need for salvation, please go to The Gospel Conversation

* Acts 10:1-8 ESV

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Are Special People Groups Entitled to Entitlements?

This whole thing of entitlement really bothers me. I remember growing up and my dad would make references to certain people, usually young ones or college age, and would say, 'They need to go in the army'. My dad was in the army and the Korean War ended the day he landed there.

Years ago, people worked hard for what they got. There was a lot of suffering and difficult challenges that we don't have today. We do have suffering and challenges today, but they take a different form because we have so much more, and much of what we have has created more problems for us.

My dad did not get to go to college after he graduated from high school. First of all, his parents did not have the money to send him to college and he was drafted in the war. He got a job and got married when he got back. Then he went to college. He graduated with honors and ended up with a good career many years later.

Another thing my dad would say is that certain people, usually the younger crowd, think that they are born with a silver spoon in their mouths. Something else interesting to ponder.

My dad had a lot of good common sense and could make connections in life situations. Today, the thinking of the younger generation in my dad's day is the prominent way of thinking in our culture. And it is disturbing.

Everyone thinks they have special rights today. And this is very confusing to me. In America, we live in a free country where we do have rights guaranteed to us in the Constitution. It is true that some have not acknowledged these rights when it comes to other people or groups of people, and that is unjust.

For example, if two people are applying for a job, and both have good qualifications for that job, but only one gets it because of the color of their skin or their gender, then that is unfair. We know that that has happened.

God made everyone unique. He made all the people groups and cultures. Although each one has their own characteristics, none is better than the other, and no one group should receive privileges that the other groups do not get.

Now, I will make an obvious exception here 😀. Because men and women are different in form and function, men don't have babies. They cannot go to a hospital and get the privileges extended to a woman who has just delivered a baby! On the other side of the coin, men who do combat in battle get medals and awards for their acts. They deserve those rewards. Women should not even try to do those feats (although I am sure some women think they can do them!).

Today, I am confused. I think it is because people have the mindset that everyone else owes them a living. There is this 'entitlement' attitude that comes from people, mainly the younger group but not always.

I am confused on this whole thing with the Black Lives Matter situations. Of course, black lives matter. So does everyone else's life matter. I am looking at this situation and it isn't making sense. In some cases, black cops kill black suspects and then the black people are angry and feel discriminated against because they suspect that the cops were against them because they were black? Confused here.

But today, I am even more puzzled except that I have taken this whole entitlement concept into consideration. In a conversation on Facebook, one person, obviously black, has complaints about our new president elect because she says Trump (in response to someone else's question) is pro-life, but not for Muslims, blacks or Latinos. Not sure what that meant until I read further. Someone was trying to explain to her that color doesn't matter. All races are equal in value, and if they are not, that is racism. The black person responded by saying that one should recognize her color and don't hold it against her. So far, this makes sense in itself. But in another statement, I am seeing an angle that I didn't see before. One the one hand, she is saying to not hold her skin color against her. But in another statement she is saying that he (Trump) should see her skin color. Her skin color tells a lot about who she is and where she is from. Then she makes this statement: 'Being color-blind is just as dumb as being racist'. OK. Now I think I see where she is coming from a little more clearly. It is not an issue of being discriminated against because of her skin color, but it is an issue of thinking she is being treated unfairly because her skin color is not recognized by Trump. In other words, I *think* she is saying that she (and all other black people) should be treated in a special way because she is black. Black people, according to her, should be recognized for their specialness. Perhaps they should be given special rights because they are black. Doesn't this tie in with this whole subject of entitlement? She is not accusing Trump of being racist. She is accusing him of not focusing on the special rights that she thinks belong to black people, Muslims, and Latinos. That is a whole different subject for another blog sometime.

I personally believe that many people voted for Hillary simply because she is an enabler. She will cater to the special groups and give them entitlements that Trump doesn't give out. She is not discerning and would even see homosexuals as a minority group of people, as if they were some kind of special race of people, rather than a group of people who live by a different standard than others.

I have one more example of this happening in the election. A while back someone was explaining why they were supporting Trump. It had to do with Trump's stand in supporting what the people want vs. what big government is doing. The specific example given was Monsanto. Monsanto is a group backed by the government, that is recreated food and changing the whole food industry. This could end up being a disaster and it could affect the whole world. This person was explaining that Trump would stop Monsanto (I don't know much about this but it wouldn't surprise me). We know that Hillary supports Monsanto, even if it is just with words. She supports everything that will end up harming us as a people ultimately. But, she will also support Planned Parenthood and groups like the LGBT. She will see to it that laws will be passed to help these continue.

On Tuesday, I was going through my email and one of many which pertained to natural health was interesting. This man explained in his email, that he voted and encouraged others to vote. He voted for Hillary because of her supposed stance on natural health issues. He said that Hillary is supportive of the things we hold dear concerning our food freedoms. Here is a part of the email he sent:

"But whatever you think of the candidates – this election really does matter. And as someone who wants healthy, sustainable, humane and delicious food for everyone – I know that my vote counts.

So I’m voting. I’m voting for healthy people, and for a healthy planet. And the best way that I know to do that, is to vote for Hillary Clinton – even with all her considerable faults.

Now some of you might be furious to hear me say that. And before I go on, let me be very clear that I love our democracy and I honor and respect that everyone should vote their highest conscience.

And I fully recognize that Hillary Clinton has historic and disturbing ties to Monsanto, Walmart, Tyson Foods, and other companies whose practices I find at times abhorrent."*

But here is the interesting part of this; he recognized that Hillary has ties to these places which oppose what we believe in, concerning food. And that doesn't matter to him. Here is another part of this email:

"if you want a president who eats a mostly plant-strong and healthy diet and will be a role model of healthy eating to our population... Then, based on their positions, their party platforms, the policies of the people they’ve chosen as their closest advisors, and their own personal lifestyle choices – this isn’t even a close call.

In my view, Hillary Clinton is a vastly better choice."

Here is what I want you to see; he is choosing Hillary in spite of the sharp disagreements he would have for her because of her ties to Monsanto, etc. The reason he is willing to sacrifice all this is simply because of the entitlements Hillary offers, if she had won the election. This man is an avid homosexual (who claims to have a 'husband') and if you didn't catch that in his introduction on a webinar, you might misunderstand why he is so strongly urging people to vote for Hillary. It all goes back to entitlement. Hillary gives entitlements to people who she deems worthy (like homosexuals and transgenders). Notice the words 'lifestyle choices'. That is very telling.

The Bible is very clear that we are to love all people. We are to treat people with respect and honor. But the Bible is also clear about boundaries. Having boundaries does not contradict loving people. You and I can love people and still have boundaries. Entitlement removes those boundaries. It takes away freedom from some people and gives it to another group. It is unjust. 

God loves the people He made, no matter what the color of their skin is, and no matter what the culture is or gender. But He does not give special favors to people who are in certain groups. He does not give special privileges to certain people because they had a bad rap in life. He does not make exceptions for certain people groups to sin or continue in sin. However, God does break chains that hold people down and keep them in bondage. 

The Enemy of our soul tempts us to sin or believe a certain way that is wrong, then we end up in bondage. But we stay in bondage because we think we are experiencing freedom. The Enemy has lied to us and we need to separate the truth from the lies. To hate someone or treat them in a less than human way because of their skin color, culture, or gender is wrong. At the same time, to treat people with special entitlements because of their skin color, gender, or cultural background is wrong. 

We need to grow up spiritually and see things from God's perspective. If you are a white male, you are not better than anyone else. If you are a black woman, or a Muslim or Latino, you don't receive special favors from God because of your status. God wants us to help the poor and educate those who need training for a lifetime career. He never intended for us to live on handouts from the rich, nor be beggars. God has a special plan for each one of us. Each person is unique and given special skills and talents to use for his or her lifetime vocation. We need to encourage each other and love one another so each person can be everything God wants them to be. 

* Ocean Robbins (Food Revolution)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

God Is The Great Physician

I am writing this because we really do need to know what God is like and what His characteristics are. So many times, we have some idea of what God is like, but we finish our belief system based upon what we think He is like or how we think He should respond to us. Then when the real times of testing come, which they will, our faith fails, or we just turn to another god to believe in. We do this without even realizing it.

So, it all started when I was a toddler. My parents and grandparents were big on going to the 'seashore' as they called it back then (today it is called the beach). Although I loved the beach, I hated the car ride that we had to take in order to get there. I would get sick to my stomach every time, and the car had to be stopped many times. The adults would try different things to make my stomach feel better such as orange juice, tea, and one time, spearmint.

Well, we didn't go too many places once we moved down to Florida, but after I got married, my husband and I would make trips to where his relatives lived, which was about 2 hours away. I don't remember what it was like at first, but then as I began to have children, I couldn't be in the car anymore, without getting sick to my stomach. I blamed it on being pregnant, but then after many trips to Georgia or other far away places, I had car sickness, even without being pregnant. Memories of having car sickness flashed back into my mind and after many of these trips, I gave into the fact that I still had motion sickness, for which no one yet had found a cure for.

About two years ago, I noticed that I was feeling sick to my stomach in the mornings. The stomach sickness became every morning, and it wasn't morning sickness this time! I am not sure what it was, but when we went on a long trip, it really was not fun.

When we were in Georgia that December, I was still feeling sick and having car sickness as usual. I prayed for God's help with all of this. The thought of going back in the car was sickening in itself. I prayed to get well from it all. I committed the situation to the Lord. If God were to not help me, this would be a trip most miserable!

I didn't have the car sickness on the way home. The sick stomach I had went away during the day. I have been on several trips since then and have not struggled with car sickness. It is great. I am thankful to God for taking it away!

The reason I want to write this is because I think that our faith is so small. We want to believe God is there and is for us, but we gauge our understanding of Him based upon our life's experiences instead of on His word. We pray for something and it doesn't come to pass, so we give up on praying. We need a bigger picture!

Here is what Jesus says about prayer:
"If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples." John 15:7 ESV

Here is what James says about this:
"You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions." James 4:2 and 3 ESV

And here is what the psalmist says about it:
"Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4 ESV

The key is to abide in Christ. Let His word dwell in us richly. Our hearts' desires will be in line with what God wants. If we aren't abiding in Christ, then we are acting independently of God. 

God still heals people today and brings glory to His Son by doing so. God still reveals Himself to people to and invites those who see their need for Him to come to Him. If you have not come to know Him yet, this is the time. If you are interested in responding to God's invitation, and if you would like more information on that, please go to http://thegospelconversation.blogspot.com

Thursday, September 22, 2016

What Is A Racist?

There is a lot of talk on the Internet about racism, and many are being called, 'racist' due to the problems we are facing in our country today.

But what exactly is a racist, and why do people call others 'racists'?

Another word for racist would be 'bigot'. It has the connotation of superiority over another group or bias toward a group or race of people.

Here is the dictionary definition of racist:

rac·ist ˈrāsəst/ noun 1. a person who believes that a particular race is superior to another. synonyms: racial bigot, racialist, xenophobe, chauvinist, supremacist More adjective 1. having or showing the belief that a particular race is superior to another. "we are investigating complaints about racist abuse at the club"

What we are facing today has to do with the question of boundaries. Is it wrong to have boundaries? If one does have boundaries, is he or she a racist?

The implication is, if we have boundaries (which everyone should have and use properly) then it means we are separating ourselves from another group. By default, according to many, that means we are superior to the group we are placing boundaries around.

What I really think this means though, is that, if we don't have boundaries and if we don't use our God-given boundaries, then we can be 'tolerant' of others and they can take advantage of us, if they choose to do so. In other words, we have to give up our boundaries in order for us to be 'tolerant' of others. Does God want us to be a doormat and let others walk all over us? Did Jesus have boundaries while He was on earth?

This whole idea of separating ourselves from others and being superior is quite interesting. I am not sure that separating ourselves from others means that we think we are superior to others. But that is exactly what our culture teaches. If we are inclusive, then we are bigoted. At least, according to the culture.

Why is this though? Well, could it be partly due to what the culture believes about truth? Our culture today will tell you that truth is what you want it to be. If you believe you are a dog, then, that is your truth and your truth tells you that you are a dog. If you are a male, who wants to be a female, then your truth is that you are a female. That is what culture believes. So, if Jesus says that He is the only way to heaven, people will say that that is His truth, and whoever want's to believe in Him, it is their truth. At the same time, the culture will say that Jesus is being bigoted because of His claim.

Listen, this goes on and on. Young adults who profess to believe in Jesus being the only way will say that that is true for themselves, but it might not be true for a Muslim, for example. They believe that when a Muslim dies, and if that Muslim never turned to Christ, that he or she will be ok before God because that is their truth. Do you see the dilemma here?

It goes back to having no absolutes. If there is nothing concrete, then we can believe whatever we want to. But what if something is concrete? What if God is concrete and His word is final? Whether that is truth to us or not, we will all stand before Him one day and give account of our lives. Now that is truth!

Back to the culture. Years ago, I helped out with a business phone book that was being put together. It was for Christian businessmen (or women). You would not believe the reaction of the world concerning this upcoming phone directory. We were looked at as bigoted and bias, and of course, inclusive. People assumed that because it was a phone book for Christians, that it was excluding everyone else, and they didn't think that was fair.

If a Muslim group were putting a business directory together for Muslim business men, I would have no desire to be listed in it. Why should I feel like they are bigoted against me because their phone directory was only for Muslims? I would have no right to complain about that. They have every right to put together a phone directory for their community.

So, why is it that a person who has standards and one who sees danger and warns others is called a bigot (or racist)? It's making a stretch out of something that doesn't necessarily exist. It's creating a 'straw man' or a false theory that is taken to be fact.

We can't judge what is in a person's heart. We don't have the right to say, so and so did that action because they were ............ (fill in the blank). That is why we have court systems. The judges try to figure out the motives of the person who did the crime. But we think we know people's hearts. Our hearts are so deceitful that even the person who does wrong doesn't necessarily understand why he did what he did.

We have a presidential candidate who is being called a 'bigot'. I wondered why, for a long time. But then I remembered, it was because he wants to put up a wall in our country, separating us from Mexico. I also remember that it is because he doesn't want to have tons of refugees pouring into our country with no accountability on them. But I have to ask, is that really bigotry?

Maybe the whole thing goes back way deeper into another belief system. Perhaps some really believe that people are good. Maybe some have overlooked the incident at the Pulse night club in Orlando, Florida. Maybe some have forgotten about 911. Could this be why people believe that the Holocaust never took place?

This may truly be the reason why people think those who have set boundaries around them are bigoted. Because, it is like saying, people really aren't that bad. You don't need to lock your doors at night. You are judging people. It's ok that pedophiles are in our neighborhoods. They probably don't mean to hurt our children. What are you so down on them? Most people are trying to be good and nice.

I like the Bible verse that talks about how Jesus did not entrust Himself to man, for He knew what was in man. There were times when Jesus hid Himself from people who were trying to kill Him. Was Jesus wrong in doing that? Wouldn't that be assuming that people are bad and dangerous? Hmmm.

Yes, we need boundaries around us. We need protection from other people. That doesn't mean that we can't get to know people and learn to trust them. Trust has to be earned. You wouldn't trust your newborn baby with someone walking down the street that you don't know, would you? You wouldn't trust your 10 year old with the car keys, and you wouldn't leave your children at the beach or an amusement park all day by themselves. We all know what could happen when we do such things.

Everything must be done with humility. When we point out a wrong or potential danger, if we have a superiority about it, then those who don't appreciate boundaries will accurately accuse us of being superior. We are to be like one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.

The truth is, all of us are on the same plane. We are in the same boat (excuse the puns!). There is a God who is way bigger than we are, to whom we will all give account of our lives. We are small and flawed. We all need Someone to rescue us from our sins. There is no race or group that is an exception to this. To believe in the One who can rescue us is not an act of bigotry. God is inviting all to come to Him. When someone rejects the invitation, he is excluding himself from the kingdom of God. He or she will have no one to blame but himself/herself on that Day.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

False Teachers Or Ignorant Teachers?

I was reading an article by one of my favorite Bible teachers and example. I liked what I read, but there was something troubling in this article.

In much of my reading on Facebook, I see a lot of posts that lead to articles describing false teachers. It is an interesting dynamic, however, I personally think this has gotten way out of hand. For example, CARM wrote an article on a woman Bible teacher, and the evaluation was that she was a weak Bible teacher (for reasons I am not going to cover here). Well, because so many trust and respect the ministry of CARM, this object of evaluation ended up being a false teacher on the websites of many who are hunting down false teachers. Many have ripped her to shreds and the poor woman may not even have any idea of all those new haters of hers that she has out there now.

Back to the article, the person who wrote the article that I am explaining about, I greatly respect. However, any of us can be wrong. Not just that we are not perfect, but we live in a darkened world and we see through a glass dimly. We are all (hopefully) growing together in love and truth.

The article mentioned a well known Bible teacher who has said that regeneration precedes faith. In other words, there is no faith available until regeneration has taken place in the person. When I read the quote, I did not agree with it. The person who wrote the article did not agree with it either. Up to this point, it is not a big deal. That is, until I read the next paragraph.

The following paragraph made a reference to the well known Bible teacher and others who were teaching error in some form. But it also made a reference to those people as 'false teachers'. You have to understand what a false teacher is.

First of all, a false teacher, or heretic, is one who appears to be on the same page as everyone else, but secretly has an agenda that will pull people away from God. A false teacher is not one who is preaching a watered down Gospel, necessarily (although a false teacher may indeed preach a watered down Gospel). There is a lot of ignorance in the body of Christ. Some really think they are serving the Lord with their teaching. But they haven't been discipled properly or they haven't learned correct doctrine.

We have to ask ourselves, what is the goal of the person preaching something erroneous. Is the goal to win the people over to another cause or is it just basic stupidity or ignorance on the part of the speaker? Could it be that the person sees something in the Bible in a way that we don't see?

We are not all going to agree on everything in the Bible. We need to be on the same page when it comes to the Gospel, salvation, God, Jesus, Holy Spirit and the authority of Scriptures, but when it comes to other things that are not the main issues, we aren't going to see eye to eye. That is ok.

Sometimes, people miscommunicate, or even worse, they are bad communicators. They might even say things that sound heretical, without realizing the seriousness of what their words sound like! Yes, they need to be confronted and helped. That is where good relationships come into play. But that doesn't mean that they are in there to bewitch people into believing another Gospel. This happens a lot and we need to be gracious. It is not wrong to let the person know that they are communicating in a bad way.

So, how do we treat people we disagree with? Should we call them false teachers? Have we judged them and decided that they are definitely in there to lead people astray?

Here is a link to a message taught by Ligon Duncan concerning whether the church fathers got the Gospel right. The early fathers had many different views on things, but the one thing they did agree on was the message of the Gospel. That is much like us today. We have a lot of different views on things, even in the Bible, but all who know the Lord will agree on the Gospel message.

So, I have to disagree with my respected Bible teacher on calling this well known Bible teacher a 'false teacher' because he said that regeneration precedes faith.

How do you handle well known Bible teachers who teach things that you don't agree with? Do you call them a heretic or false teacher, or, do you see them as men who have been enlightened by the Lord, but are in the process of growing and changing continually in the ways and knowledge of the Lord?

Here is an article I wrote yesterday on this subject. It goes a little deeper concerning how to treat those whom we do not agree with.