Know Your Circle

Written July 21,2015

A lot of Christians make the mistake of confusing distractions from the enemy as blessings from God (2 Timothy 4:3). Likewise, many don’t take heed that “1 John 2:18 – …it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour,” and ignore the warnings of false teachers/prophets during these times (Romans 16:17-18, 2 Peter 2:1-22) 
Our enemy is smart. He’s not going to cause those he’s using to do his will speak things that blatantly contradict God’s Word. He will sneak in little lies mixed in to what we can easily identify as truth, thus building trust in the one relaying the word and planting a seed of lies to grow in believers. (Genesis 3:4-5)
When is the last time you measured up your pastor/leadership up against the guidelines provided to us in the New Testament? Even if this person is your husband/wife, mother/father, sister/brother, friend. We tend to excuse ungodly behavior in those we know even when we witness how these leaders damage God’s flock. “S/he would never do that”, when all evidence is clear; “The enemy is attacking”, when God has uncovered sin; “people are jealous of his/her success”, when they are slaughtering God’s people. Put relationship aside and ask God for revelation. Truth be told, most of the leaders in churches right now are doing a better job leading people to hell, than guiding them to heaven. That is because we are too gullible to see the wolf dressed up in sheep’s clothing, especially when we break bread with them. 
Matthew 7:15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”
Jeremiah 23:1-4 “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!” says the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel against the shepherds who feed My people: “You have scattered My flock, driven them away, and not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings,” says the Lord. “But I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking,” says the Lord. 
1 Timothy 6:3-12 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 


Children of the Devil

John 8:42-47

Jesus was speaking to the Jews. Earlier verses indicate He was in the temple courts (vs. 1). While some of the Jews believed in Him, others believed He was demon-possessed and lying about who He was and His purpose for being there. They sought to kill Him.

What’s interesting is these are seasoned, practicing Jews (including religious scholars). They KNEW the scripture and PROFESSED to be sons of Abraham, yet didn’t recognize the Christ right before them.

The other thing that stood out is Jesus calling them “children of the devil” (vs. 44). That reminds me of what I’ve encountered in some churches and what I’m sure we have all encountered or heard stories of; evil or hypocritical Christians. I think about how many Pastors and Prophets enter churches to tickle the ears of those who are seeking the things of God; a home, job, marriage, cars and of course…the money that’s always coming…that new “level” that is always promised. When looking over the teachings of Jesus and the prophets of old, they never did that.

If we are to follow biblical principles, we first need to learn them by opening our bibles and receiving the guidance given from God Himself. Do not trust just anyone because their charismatic ways capture your attention. Remember, Satan offered Jesus everything, “all the kingdoms of the world in all their splendor,” (Luke 4:5,6). Satan IS the ruler of this world (John 12:31, Ephesians 2:2) and He is smart enough to learn your true desires. Don’t you think he is able to give you all that you want, knowing that once you get that “blessing”, you’ll no longer have need to seek God? He is a liar and the father of lies (vs. 44)! The only way to know truth is to know God and line up everything according to His Word.

How many “children of the devil” do you entertain? Is who you entrust your spiritual teaching to actually a child of God, or of the devil? Satan is cunning. You have to seek the truth to find it. Who’s child are you? Remember, even the Jews in the text thought they had it right…

Many are called…

Since the time I accepted Christ as my savior as a child, I had regularly heard sermons containing the scripture that says, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” I had also come across this scripture in Matthew myself (Matthew 20:16 & Matthew 22:14). Each time I heard it spoken of, the “many” was taught as including all man-kind. Stating that we all have the opportunity of salvation given to us during our lifetime. It is up to us whether or not we accept Christ. The “few” were those of us who had accepted Christ as our Savior. Reading these scriptures myself for years never gave reason for me to look at it from a different angle.

Then about a month ago, I was reading through Matthew and came across this scripture. Immediately, I sensed a clarity about the message Jesus was teaching. The “many” who are called are we, the Christians. Unfortunately, only a “few” ever desire/seek/learn the truth and don’t walk in the authority that Jesus called us to. Accepting Him isn’t enough. Acknowledging that you believe He is real isn’t enough. This may have been common knowledge, but to me, it was a profound revelation.

I now attend a nice sized church, in terms of membership. After pondering on the meaning of the scripture, I thought about the thousands of people that are members of the church and just how many would lift their eyes in hell because they are blinded to the truth. If not for the grace of God, it would have been me. I was under the impression that I was doing enough. I was always in church. I was involved in various ministries and served God. I had no idea how wrong I was. God had mercy on me and showed me just how much more I am responsible for.

Jesus was our example of how to live and there was nothing about my life that emulated His. I realized that I was busy in church out of ritual or perceived responsibility, but I wasn’t in it because I felt God had placed me there. I never dug deeper, that is, until I needed something. I didn’t take into account the words Jesus gave to us, “Take up your cross and follow me.” I realized that I truly had no idea who God was or what He wanted from me. I still don’t know the whole answer and doubt I ever will, but with continued prayer and study, He will reveal it to me.

My prayer is that God would remove the blinders from those who either can’t see or choose not to. God deserves so much more than our sometime-y commitment and greedy ways. Do you do what you do for God out of love, or obligation? Is there something you are looking for that is encouraging your current commitment to God? If God did not provide the thing(s) you are asking for, would you be angry and fall away? Do you expect certain blessings as a result of your obedience? When is the last time you denied yourself in order to please God?

My First Blog

Good Day/Morning/Evening,

I decided to write a blog to keep record of the things God has been revealing to me through my Spirit and the reading of His Word.  I don’t have the greatest memory and find that writing helps me to get my point across, as well as gain a better understanding as I go.  I am just now getting back into my proper position with God and wanted to chronicle my journey from the beginning of my “fall”, to now when He has so graciously allowed me the time to be restored.

I had been out of church for almost 6 1/2 years.  From the ages of 9 through 26, I was in church between 4-6 days a week.  You would think having been in church, taught in a Christian school and by all appearances “grounded” in the Word of God, I would have had it together.  Well, not so much.  I even had myself fooled or should I say I was convinced that what I was giving was good enough.

I left the church due to a negative situation and I was angry.  I was angry at the church leadership of the church I was attending and I was angry at God because I felt that He hadn’t protected me and allowed me to be mistreated without coming to my rescue.  I left and for the next 6 1/2 years I complained, held on to my anger, quietly wished for the downfall of my aggressors and drifted further and further away from God.

A tragic event, one I never would have fathomed, happened a few months ago and shook me to my soul.  I never felt my soul until that day when it was pierced by the deepest wound it could sustain without being shattered.  I felt broken.  I felt confused.  I was hurt beyond measure.  The emotional pain was manifested in the physical.  A piece of me had died, literally and figuratively.  I was completely bottomed out and knew of no one I could turn to but God.  I cried out to my God and He heard me.  There was no comfort to be given, but I knew He was helping me through.  I’d hear His voice and feel His love surround me at my deepest moments.  And then I thought…He loves me SO much that even after I abandoned Him for 6 1/2 years, He answered me when I called out.  He heard me.  He had compassion on me.  Then He revealed the truth to me about what had happened years earlier at that church.  God had not abandoned me and has always protected me, but like Jesus and his disciples, I had to go through a trial to learn a lesson, just as all of His children must.  My immaturity and sin prevented me from seeing clearly.  But in my utter brokenness, I was finally able to see.

I saw God’s hand in everything.  I recall visiting churches (I think about 6 or so) and never feeling comfortable in any.  I had an uneasy feeling.  I have always believed that leaders should be held at a certain standard.  “To whom much is given, much is required,”right?  (Luke 12:48) I never felt as though the leadership of the churches I encountered, whether personally or many on tv, were truly seeking God.  I heard so much about money, prosperity, new levels and blessings, but very little of the absolute sacrifice that walking with Christ requires.

Well, I began attending church again and took time to fast and pray because I knew I needed God and I needed Him like never before.  I had no sense of direction and questioned everything.  I wanted to start over.  Start fresh and get rid of anything that was not like Him.  I have never had a Christian leader, pastor or otherwise, that I could say followed the principles that Jesus Christ taught; that showed love and compassion, kindness, forgiveness, but also walked in the authority of the gifts the Holy Spirit has bestowed upon all of us that are called by His name.  I decided that I wanted to know what my responsibility was from God directly.  I don’t want another man’s interpretation.  I wanted God to tell me who He created me to be.  I began attending a church I was previously a member of and found a place where I felt the leadership was seeking God.  They were taking care of God’s people both inside and outside of the church.  The pastor there teaches on a level that those who are have been weaned from “milk” can be properly trained for discipleship.  I learn at church, but most importantly, I spend time in God’s presence.  What I hear in church is a reinforcement of the things God reveals to me in our time alone.

I am a work in progress and only desire to know the heart of God.  I am happy to say that the transition has begun.  The posts that follow will detail my journey and if anyone reads this, I hope you find something that will help you on your walk.

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glor with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever.  Amen.”  Jude 1:24-25