Posts Tagged ‘healing’

When I am visiting someone’s home for the first time, if their bookshelves are visible, I find myself irresistibly drawn to look over them… not just because I love books, but because what people read or collect tells me so much about their perspectives on everything.

This week I happened upon a collection of books from an estate.  Of course when I see bins of books, I can hardly wait to dig in and search for treasure, but this collection was different than I had hoped.  Every bin contained a monoculture of a specific genre of religious teaching, one that was unknown in Christianity until the last 30 or 40 years.  When I realized I would find only a handful of “old-fashioned”  mainstream material, I pondered the phenomenon of being totally given over to a specific teacher or religious movement.

Having been there myself at one time, I remembered what this was like, and how it affected my own library shelf for awhile.  I remember as a child  we did not have any books published by any authors outside of our denomination which claimed to have “special truth”.  I distrusted books from Christians outside our realm, and considered them inferior even if they did have some good points.  They didn’t have ALL the truth.  And not only did we have just one source for books, there were many of them.  Many.  Our publishing houses churned them out as quickly as people would buy them.

Here I saw these same characteristics with the singular type and quantity of books as I sifted through bin after bin… losing hope of finding treasure and becoming increasingly sick as I surveyed some downright astonishing book titles and author’s claims.  A few verses came to mind.

This verse speaks to the thirst for only one kind of teaching; something “new” or “restored” (if Jesus, Paul, and the other Apostles didn’t proclaim it, it doesn’t need to be restored),  and considering it superior to “that which we have received from the beginning… which was once and for all, delivered to the saints” (I John & Jude).

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,  and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 2 Timothy 4:3,4

I don’t know when I have ever seen a more clear example of this in a collection of books since I left home.  The sad, obvious fact:  the owner had no interest in anything unrelated to this new and exciting teaching.  Even books with subjects that seemed Biblical – such as “Forgiveness” – revealed chapter titles that brought this subject back around to the same falsehood.  Everything centered on the falsehood, not the truth.

As to the overkill in quantity, exactly how many books do you need that say essentially the same thing?  I’m sure the profits from book sales are intoxicating for these teachers.  Write the same thing, give it  a different title, repackage it 100 different ways, and people keep buying them!  Where can you find a better business model of repeat sales and residual income?  Rock stars maybe?

But the sad characteristic of feeding on spiritual falsehood is that you never have enough.  You never quite get to that place they promise, so you need one more book, one more DVD, one more reassurance that you have found the truth.   But this is not a new development.  We are told from long ago that the last days would be full of false teachers, and I find it interesting that this quality of a continuous stream of “learning” is described.

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.  For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.
2Timothy 3:1-7

False teaching is like junk food.  Once you start to take it in, you develop cravings and lose your taste for healthy food.  Broccoli and apples look boring and tasteless. (think…simple truth of the Gospel!)  The craving and addictions can become intense, but for all the quantity of food you consume, your body is not being nourished.  It seems the spiritual appetite can also be perverted in a similar way, with even worse outcomes.

In contrast, Jesus said..

Matthew 5:6  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

John 6:35  Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

John 4:14  but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Rev 21:6  And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.

Revelation 22:17  The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

Who are we thirsty and hungry for?
So much deception plays on our desires.  We are led away by them.  Someone dangles a carrot and we blindly follow an empty promise, because they are offering something we want.  This isn’t the whole picture, but most of it.  Eve began in this error, and most of us walk in it too before we find the Narrow Way.

If what we want most in this world is anything but Jesus, we are our own worst enemy, and the world offers us so many appealing alternatives.  This is why the FIRST commandment is to LOVE the LORD with all your being.

When we want HIM with our whole heart, it won’t matter what else we have or don’t have.  We WILL seek Him and find Him.  He has promised this.   These teachers love to quote the Bible, and their books are full of verses to prove out what they say.  But unless you are willing to prayerfully take the Word by itself, verse by verse, passage by passage, to see for yourself – any false thing can be made to sound “Biblical”.

My collection of spiritual books I will actually read is narrowing down, as I find the Word of God itself has more treasure than any human teacher can offer.  I do enjoy what the Spirit has taught through many great brothers and sisters through the ages, and it always resonates with what He has shown me through His Word.  But if all I had was the Word, it would be enough.  Jesus is enough.  His Word is enough – through the Book and His Spirit.

My hope is that the owner of the collection I saw this week also found that peace and Living Water in Jesus Christ alone.


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The last few days my perspective on what constitutes genuine Christianity has been sharpened so keenly.  Just when I think I “get it” the picture then gets even more distinct and new details come into view.

As I continue to delve into the words of Jesus, and His actions as well, I earnestly seek  the Heart and Mind of God who lived as a man.  A pattern then begins to emerge so vastly different than the one which now carries His name.  How can we hear Him, then look at what we have created, and believe this is what He intended or meant?  Where can we find the similarities?  Why do I only find opposites?

I was willing to follow the radical teachings of the Hebrew Roots Movement because I believed this is what God wanted from us as His followers.  I was seeking something real and radical, not status quo and dead.  But Jesus is that radical.  He is so vastly different than the wisdom we learn in this world, which Christians seem to approve as appropriate for church and ministry as well.

In “Commercial Christianity” I discussed the money/business focus that the church finds itself serving as an institution.  Lately I am seeing another contrast even more troubling; a characteristic so intrinsic to “church” and public ministry that we have come to accept it as completely normal.  We call it Christan while in reality, it is the opposite of Jesus.

I can’t quote scripture, because it would take nearly the whole of the New Testament to show you.  The picture is everywhere in the life and words of Jesus, and those who followed Him.  How can we read it, yet miss it?  In a word: humility.

Words from a *friend of mine, writing about the woman at the well:

Scripture said that this woman was anticipating the coming of her Messiah, “I know that Messiah cometh, which is called Christ; when He is come, He will tell us all things.” John 4:25    She was waiting for her salvation from God.  When Jesus told her that He was the Messiah, she LEFT HER WATERPOT to proclaim to her people that she had met the promised Messiah.  “Come, see a man, which told me all things that I ever did; is this not this the Christ?” she said.  She was searching and He came to her and this encounter changed everything for her!

God didn’t choose to reveal Himself first to the town mayor or the head of the city council nor the high priest of the top synagogue.  God chose the scandalous woman, the talk of the town, who most likely was the black sheep of her family, the one who disappointed her parents.  But God sees and knows the hearts of all (I Samuel 16:7, in reference to David, a man after God’s own heart according to Acts 13:22).  “Jesus saith unto them, ‘Verily I say unto you (chief priests and the elders), that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.  For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not; but the publicans and the harlots believed him.’” Matthew 21:31 & 32   “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world, to confound the things that are mighty.  And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea and the things which are not, to bring to naught things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.” I Corinthians 1:27-29

Jesus is GOD.  If anyone had the logical right to promote Himself or seek the high and lofty in human society, He did.  Instead, He sought out the outcasts that no one else would touch: lepers, prostitutes, tax collectors, demon-possessed, uneducated poor people, dead people, sick people, other ethnic groups, the evil Roman conquerors, and even a traitor.  Do you realize it takes humility to walk, talk, and minister to these people?  You have to see the value God gives them.  You have to be willing to get dirty with them and be touched by their infirmities.. just as Jesus did when he was born into this depraved human race.  He was not born with our depravity, but He was willing to be surrounded by it and take on its guilt in order to save it.

Over and over Jesus emphasized that God values sacrificial love that does not advertise its exploits for its own gain or fame.  Even if you do go out on the streets to find the lost sheep but flaunt your works before men, you are still not serving the Jesus that walked this earth.  God knows your heart.  He warned many would come to Him on the last day and say… “We did all these works in your name,” and yet He does not know them at all.  Most of these “healers and prophets” want the masses to come to them, and give generously.  They like to be on TV and they are all striving for fans and influence.

I have often heard critics of the big names in Christendom ask why the healers don’t go into the hospitals if they really have love, compassion, and the faith to heal.  But the same question could be asked of ANY gifting God has given us.  We train musicians to stand up and use their gift in the church for the weekly performance.  And yes, they may have hearts of true praise toward God, not motivated by the joy of having their gift “recognized”…  but are our hearts bleeding with the same grief, for the same people Jesus is seeking?  Or have we accepted a man’s agenda and his priorities over what Jesus said and demonstrated constituted “true religion?”  What did James say?  What is the witness of all the Apostles?

We were commanded to go OUT – not gratify, entertain, and magnify ourselves with our gifts and callings.  We make sure our buildings are pretty and comfortable so the upper middle class will feel comfortable.  We would not want to appear shabby or poor.  We seek to be known in our communities by other church leaders and civic leaders.  We have an image… a MINISTRY.  I am weary of men who are more concerned with promoting THEIR ministry with the world’s priorities, than following Lord they claim to serve.  He must increase, and we must decrease.  We can do far more good when no one knows our name.  We don’t need to brand our churches and make our own names known.  We need the humble Jesus to break our hearts and purify us for His work.

This does not begin to paint the picture I see, but I hope in some small way, someone will see in Jesus what is truly important to the heart of God.

* My friend I have quoted here is someone Jesus saved out of a lesbian lifestyle.  She now writes and ministers her testimony to God’s grace and restoration to the “outcasts”.   You can read more of what she has to share here: Sharing Light in the Midst of Darkness

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