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Posts Tagged ‘truth’

Truth is simple
but simple doesn’t sell.
We complicate God
making converts for hell.

The business is easy,
we just say it on T.V.
People fill their eyes
and believe what they see.

God’s words are lost
in the mass of men’s lies,
changed into something
that never satisfies

But gives us a reason
to not trust our Lord
can teach us his Truth
from knowing his Word.

So we give our minds
over to some leader
forgetting God promised
He’d be our Teacher.

The fruit is plain
and it brings great pain.

We carry His name
but bring Him shame
acting like
He never really came
we and the world
act just the same.

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The context for this discussion is not cults, but what commonly passes for genuine Christianity.  The climate in Christianity today completely squelches discernment in the name of tolerance and “not judging”.   Some verses are consistently used as a fallout shelter for anyone seeking to justify their false position.  Nowhere does the Bible instruct us check our brains at the church door and abandon discernment.  Quite the opposite in fact.

The “If you can’t say something nice…”  mentality has taken us over.  I wrote about this in a much earlier post “My Apologies to Thumper’s Mom”.  But I would like to go deeper into why it’s so important to practice discernment and to contend for the truth.

Anyone who has a belief system of any kind will have some way to define what they consider truth, and what they reject.  A Christian should be able to explain why he is not a Hindu and an atheist will be happy to explain why he does not believe in a God.  Even the relativist has an operating system governing his decisions – professing “there is no absolute truth”.  This ironically becomes his absolute truth.  Sadly, we are now trained to be tolerant of everyone, except for those who say there is something they can’t tolerate.  Those individuals must not be tolerated under any circumstance.  As goes the world.. so goes the Church.

I don’t expect  everyone to agree with me here, but more importantly to understand where I am coming from and why. I fully acknowledge I am not always going to apply this correctly – but knowing we all have a margin of error does not prevent me from seeking to be grounded in truth as solidly as is humanly possible.

Two things I try to avoid are this:  1 – Rejecting every ministry or teacher which holds to some point at which I disagree with them.  2 – Accepting any teacher as valid simply because they claim to be Christian and are widely acclaimed.

I recently heard a pastor who believes a popular teaching I consider extremely unbiblical.  However…  while most teachers who follow this line of thinking make this belief the central focus of their ministry, this man in contrast preaches the true, bedrock gospel and is reaping an amazing harvest for the Kingdom.  I would never speak a word against him because he is a true brother, in spite of this point of contention.  His first and foremost desire is to see people repent and be born again into God’s family, and God is using him greatly.

On the other hand, there are many false prophets, apostles, and teachers IN the church – not just in cults.  We were warned there would be by Jesus and the apostles.   They described them for us so we could clearly see the contrast between the true and the false.  I have found two short litmus tests for these:

1.  Proclaiming Jesus is the Son of God – a true gospel focus.

1 John 2:23  No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.

1 John 4:14, 15  And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.  Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

Anything that DISTORTS or DISTRACTS (replaces the rightful focus) of Jesus Christ and His gospel is not from God.  (“Indeed.. there are many antichrists in the world”)  The word “confesses” here is not a one time thing – it’s an ongoing activity. (I checked this verb tense with a language scholar.)  It must be the main point and goal of a true Christian ministry.  We can do many great things but if Jesus is not at the center of it, we are not drawing people to Him but to a philosophy or our own agenda.  This may sound simple, but it’s not.  People replace Jesus with many good things.  We can talk about “God” all day long and not ever train our eyes to see Jesus and His words.  Even Paul with his vast wealth of knowledge said he had known nothing among his pupils but “Christ and Him Crucified”.

This test requires more than a correct doctrinal statement.  It demands an eye with a single focus.  Jesus said Follow ME.   He said anyone who is ashamed of Me and MY WORDS, I will be ashamed of him.  Those are hard words!   Jesus said many hard things that few people have the courage to actually preach in this day in time.  His Grace doesn’t give us an excuse, but should give us a desire to stop making them.  We must fall broken and humble at His cross and agree with Him that we can’t do anything at all without Him, both as individuals and corporately.

2.  Right relationship with money.

Matthew 7:15  “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

Ezekiel 34:2  “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord GOD: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep?

Isaiah 56:11  The dogs have a mighty appetite; they never have enough. But they are shepherds who have no understanding; they have all turned to their own way, each to his own gain, one and all.

2 Corinthians 11:1-4  I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me!  For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.  But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.  For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.

2 Corinthians 11:19, 20  For you gladly bear with fools, being wise yourselves!  For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face.

It seems that the falsehoods change little over the millenia, yet they still succeed.    I couldn’t write a more accurate description of what I see going on in some ministries.  I would really urge every believer to make a serious study of EVERYTHING Jesus and His true Apostles had to say concerning money.  Write it all down and read it all together, then use it as a plumb line.  These are not cultural, outdated exhortations but foundational to the walk Jesus Himself described.  Did you know that greed is listed right up there with sexual immorality in the New Testament?  That seems often overlooked.  We will condemn the homosexual and keep our greedy leaders because they promise us we can have all that too!  This should be to our shame.  False teachers would have very little success but for the willing audience and financial support.

False teachers love to quote scripture, but are they hearing what God is really saying or what they want to hear?  Every deception is cloaked in many great statements of truth.  This is the element that disarms the listeners and gains their trust.  Satan comes to us as an angel of light, and speaks truth!  Almost.  But I would assert this:  The truth when misapplied is more dangerous than the lie.

So this is the WHAT…  but what about the WHY?

Paul qualified his ministry against the impostors based on his sufferings and sacrifice for the gospel, as well as the power demonstrated by the Holy Spirit.  He had not exalted himself, asked for pay, or lorded over anyone.  I on the other hand can only say that I am worse than a nobody.  I have been a false teacher deserving of the double curse Paul uttered in Galatians – not in the aspect of seeking greedy gain, but in the sin of exalting something other than Jesus as  my focus (idolatry).  I did not have a formal position (being female I would never take one), but I did attempt in many ways to share and spread a false message.  I and my husband both deserved to be discerned as false and confronted, but we weren’t.  Either no one could see the problem, or they lacked the resolve to speak up.  I don’t pretend I would have received it well at the time, but I believe that both of these elements are desperately needed in the church today.  We have lost our ability to identify divergent gospels and humbly give or receive correction.  It’s now a taboo!

In the public arena of thought and discussion, I have a burden to be one small voice  available to speak the truth in areas where lies and half -truths have comprised our foundations in Christ.  Because He is worthy!  We are dragging his name through the mud in so many ways and turning the world off with a false Jesus, not giving them the true, Life-giving Jesus.  He said “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me.”  Instead the church as decided to lift up idols and draw all the other Christians in town to our new and improved brand of religion, to empty smoke and mirrors.  People go from church to church, some looking for Life, then get derided for “church hopping” when they can’t find the genuine article.  True seekers (not the kind who want to be tickled and entertained) are bailing out in droves.

If you think the American Church is “okay” you really need to look at the latest lab results.  The statistics tell a very different story.  It’s going the way of Europe’s Church which has almost disappeared.  Having been delivered from a false religion, I am now confronted with a reality so depressing that if I did not believe in the words of Jesus, that the gates of hell would not prevail against His church, I would completely lose hope.  I do believe He will save it from itself, and it will not be pretty.  Hard pruning hurts.  A refining fire burns.

But will He save it in America?  That remains to be seen.  Nothing says He has to.  The parable of the wedding feast, while given to the Jewish nation, I believe would apply to any group of people too busy or distracted to accept His invitation.  Revival comes first with the gift of eyesight- seeing our need, then with humble, earnest prayer and fasting.  It comes with total consecration.  It comes with a willingness to surrender and follow the truth at all costs.  I don’t see that willingness in very many places, even people who have all their facts right.  Their minds are fortified in doctrines and their hearts are in the world, or held up in  their own efforts apart from the power of God.  Truly we believe we are rich and in need of nothing, not even the one who gave us Life.  To be a Christian in this country and not be sucked into this is almost impossible.  I don’t claim to have completely escaped.  Just because I can see where we need to go doesn’t mean I have arrived there myself.

I speak out for those who are seeking truth – but not to start arguments with those who have already made up their minds.  I will not and cannot be silent.  My heart is broken for the church in America and just as Jesus lovingly calls His church to repent in Revelation 3, his Spirit is yearning now with many to speak this same message.  I am one tiny voice among many.  If my words do any good anywhere, it is only by His design.

If you are a friend or family member and have taken offense at anything on this blog, I am sorry and have not directed anything here to anyone personally.  I love you all and am happy to openly discuss anything.  I enjoy and appreciate open, honest dialogue.  The friends I value the most are the ones who love me enough to be honest, even when we don’t agree.  I would rather be confronted than patronized any day.  So don’t just say something nice.  Jesus deserves praise but we are tempted in it.  Be willing to see the Truth, and speak it in love.

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This came to me from Andrew Strom’s list.

THE MOST EXTREME MAN or WOMAN in the CHURCH

The most extreme man in the church today is the man is the one who
stands on God’s Word alone.

He is the “voice crying in the wilderness” of modern churchianity

It is he who dares to ask not, ”Is this okay? Can we “get away with
it”?”, but “Is this honoring to God Almighty?”

Here is one who refuses to engage in frivolity while the world slides to hell.

Here is the man who isn’t afraid to stand before men and be laughed
at; he is afraid only of standing before God and being condemned.

He stands for truth in a time of compromise.

He constantly searches out the Word of God and demands a “thus saith
the Lord” in a time of me-centered, watered-down, cotton candy
teachings.

He believes that there is one way, God’s Way, and he is willing to
give up home, income, reputation…indeed, he is willing to give up all
that he has, all that he is…in order that it may be taught.

Here is the one who knows “doing for God” must grow out of “being with
God” and not the other way around.

Here is the preacher who isn’t afraid to “step on toes” or make
someone uncomfortable when the need arises.

He is one who will preach boldly against sin in all of its manifestations.

He is a man who constantly invites his Lord to “search me…try me…see
if there is any wicked way in me”.

He is one who knows Jesus wasn’t just “meek and mild” but also the
Lion of Judah Who was zealous for God’s house and he tirelessly seeks
to follow his Master’s example.

He is the husband, the father, who leads his family to go against the
world–no matter how unpopular, how uncomfortable the position–rather
than ride the flow that leads to hell.

Here is the young man who seeks out a woman of true loveliness, one
who loves God and shows much growth in godliness, rather than one
whose beauty is only skin deep.

The most extreme man in the church is the one who unfailingly takes
God at His Word and then, believing, acts on it.

He teaches truth even when persecuted for it.

He sees the times and, understanding the dangers ahead, beseeches God
on behalf of the people who are failing Him.

Here is one who will lose sleep to “stand in the gap” for his family,
the church, the nation.

He is not afraid of censure, of unpopularity,of ridicule but only of
displeasing his Lord.

He is one who has obviously ”been with Jesus”.

He knows intimately the throne of grace and lives at the foot of it.

He knows the Cross of Christ for he makes his home in its shadow.

He loves God and thus loves the unlovely–even those who would cause
him harm for his “extreme” positions.

Here is one to whom praying is as natural as breathing.

He is known in hell and hated for his prayers aren’t prayers for
personal comfort but for God’s will to be done–and then, when the
prayers are momentarily complete, he gets up and makes himself
available to be the instrument through which God’s will can be
accomplished.

One who knows sleepless nights spent crying out to God that He may be
known and honored among men.

A man who has absolute faith in God that His Lord is able to do all
that He has promised.

Here is a man to whom the thought has never occurred to not “accept”
Jesus as His Lord.

One whom, knowing his own sinfulness, is humbled by the grace-filled
opportunity to serve His Lord in any and every fashion that God
bestows upon him.

A man to whom God Himself is more important than any other gift that
God could bestow.

Author: Anna Wood from the blog “The Cross is all”

http://annawood.wordpress.com/

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As I wrote in an earlier post,  A Simple Faith, endeavoring to find the line of truth in Christianity at large after coming out of a cult system is incredibly frustrating. A person suddenly becomes aware of all the infighting and denominational barriers the body of Christ has toward one another. To join one faction one must often deny some element of teaching from various other factions.

Where can anyone find a group of believers that are committed to deeply knowing the Word of God as the anchor of truth, living pure and holy lives, AND who also walk in the powerful reality of a Living God, not just a theoretical one – living the fullness of a direct connection to God Himself which is our birthright as sons and daughters of the New Covenant? For now we have had to pray for contentment in one or the other. But both sides are lacking such an essential element it’s almost like going to a wedding where either the bride or the groom is missing. Seems pointless, and of course, fruitless.   We found false signs and wonders equally as troublesome as those who teach God’s powerful presence and gifts were only for the early church.  My husband and I have often longed to see people worship in Spirit AND the Truth of God’s Word.   For a long time we allowed the confusion and static around us to cause us to doubt the simple truth in the Word of God.

Imagine my excitement of recently finding others with this same yearning. I want to share the following which was recently sent out by Andrew Strom to his email list.  (He has given his recipients permission to pass along the following information.)  I realize the author he quotes may be contrasting those who have maintained the holiness focus of the earliest Great Awakenings to the later focus of the Pentecostal/Charismatic movements.  However, I personally believe this can apply to a much broader scope of division within the Body of Christ and I hope and pray these walls can start to come down.

NOTE ABOUT the WORD & THE SPIRIT JOINED:
The world awaits a move of God that truly brings together
the strong, piercing preaching of the word along with miracles and
healings. For too long these have been separated into rival camps.
Smith Wigglesworth prophesied about a last great Revival- “There
will be evidence in the churches of something that has not been
seen before: a coming together of those with an emphasis on the
word and those with an emphasis on the Spirit. When the word
and the Spirit come together, there will be the biggest move of the
Holy Spirit that the nation, and indeed, the world has ever seen. It
will mark the beginning of a revival that will eclipse anything that
has been witnessed within these shores, even the Wesleyan and
Welsh revivals of former years…”

The piece below makes some interesting points about this:

THE WEDDING of PURITY AND POWER
by Paul Holdren.

The wedding of purity and power is a concept that the Holy Spirit
is promoting among believers in these latter days. As stated
earlier, in the late 1860s after the Civil War, a wave of the Holy
Spirit came like a mighty wind moving across the land bringing a
fresh awareness of the requirements of God to live a life pleasing
to Him. This was to be accomplished by the baptism of the Holy
Spirit. In the 1906 Azusa Street outpouring in the City of Los
Angeles, the church began to be reawakened to the powerful
manifestations of the Holy Spirit. This too was to be accomplished
by the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Since the advent of the Azusa
Street outpouring, the body of Christ has been divided into the
purity and power camps.

For the past 100 years the Body of Christ has gotten as much
attention from its wild fires as it has from its Holy Ghost fire. For
the power camp the emphasis upon purity was almost anathema.
For the purity camp the emphasis upon power was almost
anathema. This was because each camp expressed doctrinal
positions that were unacceptable to the other. They vehemently
rejected each others’ positions. The power camp noticed that
purity expressed without power became both legalistic and
limiting. The purity camp noticed that power expressed without
purity became both carnal and limiting. Only by the wedding of
these two beautiful doctrines can the Spirit of God gain full
authority and appreciation within the Body of Christ.

In the present time, the Spirit of Christ is calling the Body of Christ
to be reunited in a mighty outpouring of His Holy presence – the
Spirit’s wedding of purity and power. Each doctrine has something
the other needs to hear, a compliment to and completion of God’s
design for the wholeness of the church. The power camp needs
to know of an exclusive holy love that is expressed out of a pure
affection for the Holy ONE. The purity camp needs to know a
holy power being expressed out of a manifestation of the Holy
Spirit’s gifts. The purity camp needs to share the beauty of
holiness in the spirit of humility. The power camp needs to share
the gifts of power in the spirit of humility. The purity camp needs
to exercise the power of Christ in “signs and wonders.” The
power camp needs to exercise purity in “laying one’s life down”
for another. With a discerning spirit, each can benefit from the
other, for these are perilous times in which we live.

Ezekiel added this dimension when he wrote of the prophecies
involving the requirements of how the priests were to keep the
holy law of the temple (Ezekiel 44-45) and when he wrote of the
river flowing from under the threshold of the temple (Ezekiel 47:
1-12). The purity of the priests was revealed in that they were to
have a certain appearance, conduct themselves in a particular
manner, and serve others in a specific way. Everything about
the Holiest of All is pure: pure oil, pure clothes, a pure man
placing the lamb’s pure blood on the pure gold of the mercy seat.
This was to be a pure presentation of righteousness, given to a
pure and Holy God. The “Holiest of All” is the place of purity. It
is here that the river of life has its head waters, emanating from
the holiness of God.

The power of the river of God continually increased. The farther
away from the temple it flowed, the deeper and wider it became.
As the river flows, healing comes to everything in its path. Notice,
however, it is the purity of the waters that allows it to contain
healing virtue. It is the river’s purity that allows the river to be
saturated with holy power. By comparison, only powerful men
can serve, but powerful men must serve with a pure love for God
and their fellow man. It is time for a wedding of purity and power.

-From “The Wedding of Purity and Power” by Paul Holdren.

To read about Paul Holdren and his testimony, click here

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