Are there prophets in the New Testament church?


I am reminded – far too often – that my blogs are long. Although, it grieves me, I reduced ten pages down to two. What I am doing is answering a question in my mind and hopefully yours, about the reality and validity of the prophetic.

The short answer is yes, and you will never convince me otherwise. Prophets are given to the church body – according to the measure of Christ – to build it up.

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says, “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.” (Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.) And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;” (Ephesians 4:7-14 NASB)

We cannot and should not argue with truth. The book of Revelation is not written to the Old Testament Jews, but to the New Testament church. In it we find this word:

And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (Revelation 19:10 KJV)

Paul attests to the validity of prophets in his first letter to the church at Corinth by telling us that God has placed them in the body.

Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God has set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:27-28 KJV)

We also find the prophets affirmed in 1Corinthians 14.

If anyone considers himself a prophet or gifted with the Spirit, let him understand that what I write to you is a command of the Lord. Anyone who disregards this will be himself disregarded. To sum up, my brothers. Set your heart on the prophetic gift, and do not put any check upon speaking in ‘tongues'; but let everything be done decorously and in order. (1 Corinthians 14:37-40 Moffatt NT)

1 Corinthians 14:1 KJV Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.

1 Corinthians 14:3 MKJV (3) But he who prophesies speaks to men for building up, and exhortation, and comfort.

Take the time to read 1 Corinthians 12:1-11. I will only point out that it is making clear that the prophet is a legitimate spiritual gift, and along with the others, is speaking by the Holy Spirit.

but it is the same God working all things in all”; “For through the Spirit is given..”to another prophecy”

The Holy Spirit testifies that Philip’s own daughters were prophets.

..and started next morning for Caesarea, where we entered the house of Philip the evangelist (he belonged to the Seven, and had four unmarried daughters who prophesied). We stayed with him.” (Acts 21:8-9 Moffatt NT)

Also within the frame-work of the New Testament we have Agabus. Led by the Holy Spirit to Paul, he testified that hard times would come for Paul.

While we were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is how the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.‘” When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 21:10-13 ESV)

The Holy Spirit affirmed the prophetic in the New Testament church as Peter addressed the crowds of Jewish worshipers on the day of Pentecost, quoting a portion of Joel chapter 2. I will leave it up to you to look up the original and its context.

But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; (Acts 2:14-17 ESV)

Not only is it a valid and active gift, but God gives the prophetic a place of prominence.

And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:28 ESV)

We are told to desire the higher gifts and prophecy  is one of them.

And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way. (1 Corinthians 12:28-31 ESV)

The gifts, including the prophetic, are given for the edification of the body.

He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. (Ephesians 4:10-14 ESV)

Just to clarify a point here. Prophecy, does not necessarily equate to being a prophet. The book of Revelation tells us that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Since the testimony of Jesus and his word is one in the same, then speaking his word – in his authority – would constitute the deliverance of a prophetic word.

Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
(Revelation 19:10 ESV)

Call them what you want, cynics, pharisees, or grouches who just like to fight, I do not really care. I just know that it grieves my spirit to hear them come against God so adamantly. They will answer for their choices, but in the mean time we need to become more educated. You will only do that by spending time in His word.

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Rak Chazak Amats!


remso:

A powerful word from a newly found friend.

Originally posted on The Warrior Anointing:

Be strong and of a good courage! Rak Chazak Amats!

Deuteronomy 31:6-8 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them:for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the Lord hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it. And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

http://www.ellerslie.com/bravehearted-thots/ancient-war-cry

We are so much more than we realize. We are so much more valuable than we realize. We are the ‘called out’ ones. We…

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The Lord began to awaken me with – tell them that I need them to stand down


Sunday morning, February 22, 2015, The Spirit of the Lord began to awaken me with some rather vivid dreams. In these dreams he said, there are mighty and upright men that are willing and able to remove the corruption that controls these United States. Implore them that they are to stand down, for this situation is of my design and for my purpose. Over the course of an hour, the same dream kept coming back to me. I finally figured out that the Holy Spirit was trying to tell me something so I got up and started typing.

May I be honest; I have some serious concerns about our government monitoring everything we do on the Internet. I believe that if I get to descriptive about what I saw men’s lives would be in danger, and I would have someone knocking on my door with evil intent. I wish to avoid that for as long as I can. If you are not aware of it, our government has deemed those who have strong religious convictions, voicing their opinion about wrongs in the land, to be a greater threat to this nation than Islamic terrorists.

I am calling out to thewatchmen upon the wall

watchmen upon the walls;

those who will not rest

until there is peace.

Isaiah 62:6

I consider myself a watchman upon the wall. I truly believe that God called me do that, and therefore holds me responsible for giving out what I hear and see. When you consider the origins of the watchman, there was really no Holy Spirit involved in the process; it was a job that provided for the safety of the city. In math you learned the term extrapolation, do that with a statement like this, contrasted against God’s word and you will find that we are that city. I learned a long time ago to not slap a qualifier to the things I hear in my spirit, and then speak out of my mouth. The reason is that you cannot take the man, the things that influence him, and his brokenness out of the prophetic word. It stands to reason then, that anything said can be motivated by current and past issues. If you followed me on Facebook, then you could easily understand where I am coming from.

The dream reappeared over the course of several hours. In it, I saw determined, angry, and righteous men, covered in camouflage, and heavily armed. In the dream, I understood their purpose, and God made it clear to me that they would successful. The dreams kept repeating and I tried to shake them off and go back to sleep, thinking they were motivated by the things I give too much attention.

The Spirit of the Lord said, tell them that I need them to stand down. For now I am asking you to, “Put your weapons away. for Anyone who lives by fighting will die by fighting. (Matthew 26:52 CEV). I do not need you taken out of the fight prematurely. The day is coming soon when I will come and extract my church and take them home, but until that day comes your weapons are spiritual and of more use than any earthly weapon.

For although we live in the world, we do not wage war in a worldly way, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. They have God’s power for pulling down of fortifications, destroying counsels, and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God. (2 Corinthians 10:3, 4, 5a CJB; ESV)

He continued, “there are dark days coming and you would be foolish to long for them, for the battle is already upon you. When those days come it will be time for the mighty to rise and lock shields. It will be the time to put on the face of war and determination, and yet it will still be a time of prayer and power; this is what I was telling you when I had my prophet Joel declare what the end will look like.

“Blow a ram’s horn in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain; let all the inhabitants of the land tremble. For the day of Jehovah comes, for it is near at hand; a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread on the mountains; a great people and a strong people; there has not been ever the like, nor shall there ever be again, even to the years of many generations.” (Joel 2:1-2 MKJV)

As believers you are being asked to take the role of a Para Jumper, a person whose primary purpose is to give aid, recover victims, and still be a serious threat to the enemy. Ready and willing to move in PRAYER at a moments notice.

What I am asking you to do, with the same determination and purpose, is Pray.”

“At a moments notice Pray.”

Pray as if your life depended upon it.parajumpers

Pray as if your family was in jeopardy.

Pray, trusting that God will come through.

I am speaking to the mighty men, men who hear the cry and call in your spirit; men who will respond to me, just as they did to Moses.

Therefore take to yourselves the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13 MKJV)

If you are familiar with this event in scripture, then you know that Joshua, who had been at the bottom of the mountain waiting for Moses, reported that he thought there was a battle going on. If you understand Joshua, then you know he was ready to charge into the melee. Moses, on the other hand heard the sounds of a big party, and in many ways, it was. Pushed by the people, Aaron had made them a calf out of gold, at least that is the childish way it is described. Stephen, in the seventh chapter of the book of Acts, told the Sanhedrin court that was about to have him killed, that what Aaron made was the god Moloch. Moreover, Aaron had made a temple for the gods he made. No one on that panel of learned Jewish scholars challenged Stephen about his statement, because he was correct and they knew it. A little research indicates that what Israel did that day was so detestable, that they would not speak of it. Moloch was a half calf, half man creation that had outstretched arms. It would then be heated and they would lie their babies on the heated arms to roast as a sacrifice to a god they had adopted. The following verse is in response to the horrors they committed in sacrificing upon this piece of garbage.

“And when Moses saw that the people were unruly and unrestrained (for Aaron had let them get out of control, so that they were a derision and object of shame among their enemies), Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Whoever is on the Lord’s side, let him come to me. And all the Levites [the priestly tribe] gathered together to him.” (Exodus 32:25-26 AMP)

Yes, The day is evil, but it is going to get worse.However, there is hope, and it comes on two fronts.

Those of us who have Christ living in us, are in Him, and therefore living in the promise of His salvation from that seven-year period of intensifying sorrow and death, coming upon the earth. Many call it the great Tribulation; it is not called that at all, but is called a time of wrath and judgment. Clearly, during that time there will an a time of great tribulation, bad enough to where all men in opposition to the ungodly world leader, we call the Anti Christ, would be killed.

That sounds pretty dismal and inescapable, and for some that will be the case. And yet, there are some who will come to Lord during this time and rise up in a power like unto the prophets like Elijah, who called down fire, or like unto Samuel who called the lightning down upon the Philistines, and by his word caused the ground to open and swallow many. We see the directive and evidence of this happening in Joel’s prophecy to end time believers.

You need to understand something; you do not want to take that chance, not when we have God’s grace extended to us now. Thanks to His Son’s sacrifice on the cross, we are covered by the blood of Jesus, and our sin (an unfortunate, permanent aspect of who we are) is paid for. We are not being judged for sin, having the advantage under grace to receive Jesus Christ into our lives. At that point, we are immediately accepted into the kingdom. People who come to God during the last seven years, have missed that opportunity, and now must prove their allegiance to God (that is the best way I can explain it).

“Later, I will give my Spirit to everyone. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will have dreams, and your young men will see visions. In those days I will even give my Spirit to my servants, both men and women. I will work wonders in the sky above and on the earth below. There will be blood, fire, and clouds of smoke. The sun will turn dark, and the moon will be as red as blood before that great and terrible day when I appear. Then the LORD will save everyone who faithfully worships him. He has promised there will be survivors on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and among them will be his chosen ones.” (Joel 2:28-32 CEV)

I grieve over the fact that while the people who go through the wrath are those that were not raptured, and must endure horrors comparable to what ISIS is dishing out in the Middle East. There is a sense of excitement, because I always wanted to walk through this earth, with strength, as I perceived the prophets did. That is the complete opposite of how I have perceived myself.

I think I am the exception and that no one else struggles internally. Truth is, these prophets were really no different from you or I, but there is one thing that set them apart, they chose to believe in a God that can and will come through.

Yes, we are in the last days. The signs of His coming are all around us, this is one of the reasons I write. This is my shofar and I am blowing it. Sadly, as believers, we have to be on our guard, because deception will come, and unfortunately, it will come from people you thought you could trust. Pastor Rob Bell has been busy lately selling out the church to Oprah Winfrey. An aspect of what he is saying is that the church must cave on its ideas about what sin is, or we will lose our relevance. I have news for you, our relevance is already lost; we gave that up when we pushed the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit out of the church.

Look at what Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica.

Do not let anyone deceive you in any way. For the Day will not come until the final Rebellion takes place and the Wicked One appears, who is destined to hell. He will oppose every so-called god or object of worship and will put himself above them all. He will even go in and sit down in God’s Temple and claim to be God. Don’t you remember? I told you all this while I was with you. Yet there is something that keeps this from happening now, and you know what it is. At the proper time, then, the Wicked One will appear.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-6 GNB)

I am telling you that the time of His return is upon us. I am not ignorant of how long people have said this; I am just choosing to ignore those that merely whine all the time. We have a mandate to live in anxious anticipation, and in so doing I preach a gospel of repentance. Do you know what repentance means, simply this, turn around and go in the opposite direction? Since we have the freedom to choose what gods we want to follow, we tend to follow the ones that make the fewest demands upon us. This allows us the freedom to act as selfishly as we choose, doing our own thing. That’s heavy. Christ clarified with a few simple words to a bunch of Jewish detractors, love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor as yourself. Is that really so hard?

If you are a believer, this passage in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-6, tells that the Antichrist will oppose everything godlike and all worship of anything but himself. I strongly suspect this will be Allah, it sort of fits the common theme among Muslims these days. On the other hand, did you notice that there is something holding this “world” leader back, keeping him from the free reign he desires? Here again I think I know the answer to that also. It is those of us who pray against the enemy’s advances.

A short story and then I am done. At a time when I was going through a divorce from a cheating wife, I rented a room from a friend down the street. Was I living successfully for the Lord at the time? I would not say so, but I was trying desperately to hang on. One night I stopped in the living room, where he was watching the news. They talked about a hurricane that was going to slam into the Texas coastline in a matter of minutes. With an unusual boldness, and the knowledge that he had an Episcopalian background, I said, scripture tells us that God made the sands as a limit to the waves, and in the power of the name of Jesus, I command this hurricane to turn back out to sea. A few seconds passed and then the newscaster said, they are telling me that the hurricane just turned and is headed back out to sea. My friend, with his mouth hanging open just turned and looked at me. I would love to be able to tell you that he fell on his knees, repented and turned his life over to God right then, but that did not happen. He seemed to look at me in awe after that, but nothing really changed, except in me. God became bigger in me that day, kind of like the Grinch.

The LORD is his name, and he is a warrior! (Exodus 15:3 CEV)

We are those warriors!

The 300 spartans

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Blood Moons, and how they might affect me.


I purchased John Hagee’s book, Four Blood Moons – Something Is About To Change, after watching Pastor Hagee and three prophecy teachers on TBN recently. Several gave Pastor John’s book the thumbs up, and I felt like I wanted a singular resource that would bring me some understanding about the blood moons. Having read it, I think they were just being polite. I will say this about the book though – once he got to the facts and stopped selling himself, I found it fascinating. Pastor John did make mention that he got his inspiration from Mark Biltz, and then followed that up with an Internet search at NASA.org.

Because I wanted to give you some scientific background information without the obligatory religious spin, I went to earthsky.org and obtained some information from an article by Bruce McClure and Deborah Byrd, entitled, “What is a Blood Moon?”

What is a lunar tetrad?

Both astronomers and followers of certain Christian pastors are talking about the lunar tetrad of 2014-2015. What is a tetrad? It is four successive total lunar eclipses, with no partial lunar eclipses in between, each of which is separated from the other by six lunar months (six full moons)”

The authors, whom I used to catch on NPR years ago, explained,

Meanwhile, both astronomers and some proponents of Christian prophesy are talking about the ongoing lunar tetrad – the series of four total lunar eclipses – which began with the total lunar eclipse on the night of April 14-15. We at EarthSky don’t have any special knowledge about the Blood Moons of Biblical prophesy. But, since they’re moons, and since people are asking us, we wanted to provide some info.”

The way I see it, they are not promoting this for religious purposes, and therefore I should not be inundated with drama. I am not denying that there may be drama involved, and that is likely if it coincides with God’s word as significantly as it has in the past (I will try to explain how earlier events coincided with God’s word, as we go).

Even the authors made note of Mark Biltz and John Hagee.

Blood Moons in Biblical prophecy. We’re not experts on prophecy of any kind. But we’ll tell you what we know about the new definition for Blood Moon that has raised so many questions recently. From what we’ve been able to gather, two Christian pastors, Mark Blitz and John Hagee, use the term Blood Moon to apply to the full moons of the ongoing tetrad – four successive total lunar eclipses, with no partial lunar eclipses in between, each of which is separated from the other by six lunar months (six full moons) – in 2014 and 2015. John Hagee appears to have popularized the term in his 2013 book Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change. Mark Blitz and John Hagee speak of a lunar tetrad as representing a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. After all, the moon is supposed to turn blood red before the end times, isn’t it? As described in Joel 2:31 (Common English Bible):”

I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, Blood, fire and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. (Joel 2:30-31 NASB)

 “That description, by the way, describes both a total solar eclipse and total lunar eclipse. Sun turned to darkness = moon directly between the Earth and sun in a total solar eclipse. Moon turned to blood = Earth directly between the sun and moon, Earth’s shadow falling on the moon in a total lunar eclipse.”

eclipse_total_espanek_10-27-2004-e1358526755212

I suspect that much of this blood effect is due to the haze and pollutants in our air. Nonetheless, it is dramatic, and coincides with the description scripture gives us. I was thinking about that aspect of the sun turned into darkness. Are you aware of the smog related conditions in China?

smog in Bejing India also has its fair share of smog pollution.

New Delhi smog

New Delhi, India, has the worst air pollution in the world, according to the WHO. All that smog is altering weather patterns around the world. Altaf Qadri, File/AP

I have often wondered if God showed images like this to the prophetic writers and gave them the freedom to explain what they saw. Rather apocalyptic isn’t it?

SUMMARY OF THE FIRST 7 TETRADS SINCE CHRIST by Steve Fletcher

“There is a recurring theme we need to see… a very important recurring theme in each and every Tetrad. Did you notice? It has to do with…”

 ISRAEL, ROME & ISLAM

 162 – 163       Persecution of Jews and Christians… by Rome

 795 – 796       Rome and Islam battle for dominance

 842 – 843       Vatican attacked by African Islamic invasion

 860 – 861       Islam unable to advance into Europe

 1493 – 1494   Jews expelled from Spain, Birth of the New (Western) World

 1949 – 1950   Rebirth of Israel, freedom from the Arabs

 1967 – 1968   6 day war, victory over their Arab enemies

 Another important detail we need to consider with the tetrads… when you look at each one you will see that key events can happen before, during, or after the tetrads are completed. The Tetrads are a heavenly confirmation of major events that will occur, but the exact timing of those events are not revealed by the Tetrads. By looking at the chart above with all the Tetrads together you can see the key events before, during or after.

So, the pattern of all Tetrads shows… the Epic Battle for world domination between Israel, Islam, and the Roman Catholic Church has been played out at each and every turn. Based on this fact alone, we can know that this upcoming Tetrad will also be focused on this Epic Battle of the ages, the final battle for world domination… and for the inheritance of the Earth!

One more thing I wanted to show you is a graphic showing the moons in their tetrads, the years in which they happened, and the significant event. Some people are more visual learners like myself, and this may make the point more clearly. seven tetrads after Christ

We are in the middle of the last tetrad to be seen in this century. If you think about what has gone on for about a year now, I think you might agree that ISIS could be one of those significant things. I might also mention Hamas. Based upon statistics from the Israeli Defense Forces, since 2001 there have been over 15,200 rockets and mortars fired into Israel.

On July 7, 2014, the IDF launched Operation Protective Edge in order to restore quiet to the region and stop Hamas terrorism. The single goal of the operation is to stop Hamas’ incessant rocket attacks against Israel’s civilians.

The operation is ongoing, and since the start of the operation over 1000 rockets have been launched at Israel. Of those, 754 have hit Israel and approximately 201 were intercepted by the Iron Dome Missile defense system.

Hamas has fired long range rockets at cities across Israel, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Rockets such as the M-302 – the same missiles confiscated from the KLOS-C weapons seizure – have long range capabilities and endanger the majority if Israel’s population. Rocket sirens have sounded non-stop across Israel, sending civilians running for shelter.

http://www.idfblog.com/facts-figures/rocket-attacks-toward-israel/

I am not so different from you. I have heard about the blood moons for a while now, and to be painfully honest, I was wishing they would shut up. I was taking the attitude that we were making far too much of this, and acting like this was going to be a literal event in terms of blood. The Holy Spirit eventually spoke to me, telling me to put the attitude away and pay attention. That is how this journey, a recent one, began. I felt I needed to start with what I think is ground zero for blood moons – Joel chapter two, and I started reading.

And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
(Joel 2:30-31 KJV)

As followers of Christ, we have an admonition about the truth setting you free. However, that will happen only if you allow it. I like to think of this as yielding to the leading of the spirit. Confronted by the truth, God’s truth, have the choice to respond correctly. I do not wish to act foolishly by saying things like there are no prophets today, in the church age. A statement like that goes in total opposition to God’s word.

As I began to share what I had learned, my acquaintance who leans so heavily upon Hank Hannegraf’s Equip.org web site to tell him who he can listen to or not, turned his swill toward me, saying, John Hagee is a false teacher with some notable, date setting errors. My friend also included Hank’s declaration that there are no prophets today. If you are a bible teacher, reading your bible with an honest heart (as my acquaintance is supposed to be), how do you make a statement like that? As you will see, Mr. Fletcher addressed this very thing. (As a side note: I tend not to tell people that God called me to be a prophet. I am not even sure what that means anymore. I just do what he tells me and it has worked out really well when I have been obedient.)

The following is from a website by Steve Fletcher which addressed the blood moons and end times events. Mr. Fletcher took his conversation one step further by addressing the prophetic nature of the information and the people, including himself, who are delivering those words. Sadly, we have far too much drama and that makes the world look at all of us as idiots. Mr. Fletcher even took this in a direction I did not wish to share with you.

Ephesians 4:11

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers…

If I were to tell you I was a pastor, would you be offended or upset by me saying I am a pastor? What about an evangelist, would I be speaking too highly of myself if I said I were an evangelist? The church is full of people with titles, ministries, callings. It is not offensive or upsetting at all to know teachers and to call them teachers. But what about PROPHETS? It’s not offensive to say I am a pastor, evangelist or teacher. But one mention of the word Prophet and everyone gets all upset by this. Didn´t Paul admonish us to seek the greater giftings, especially to prophesy?

I Corinthians 14:1

Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.

God has given me a prophetic gifting. This is not exalting myself, its simply stating my calling. Its no different than your pastor saying he is a pastor, or a teacher saying they are a teacher. Did not Moses desire for all the elders of Israel to be prophets?

Numbers 11:29

Oh, that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!

“Old Testament prophets brought New Revelations that ended up canonized in Scripture. The apostles were also prophets that spoke of things to come and their writings were canonized. Paul, Peter, James and John were not only Apostles but also Prophets. They Prophesied of things to come, and the light we enjoy today comes from the words of these prophets to help guide us as thetimes of the end are upon us. At least one third of the Bible is written as prophesy… even promises are prophetic as we trust them to bless our future.”

“After the apostles day, the role of prophets changed, but continued to exist. As the scriptures were sealed, no new revelations have come that will add to the written Word of God. But Prophets still speak of things to come and confirm the scriptures… it requires a prophetic gifting to correctly interpret the signs of the times.”

While we have a historical record of earlier events, and we can correlate them with the Jewish calendar of holidays, you should be aware that there are still two blood moons left, and like all the other events, they fall within the same two Jewish holidays – Passover and Rosh Hashana.

My critical friend asked if there are specific dates that he should be aware. The answer is no, but I am not stupid and quickly spotted that as a trap meant to debunk not only John Hagee, but me as well. The next question was, “then what do you expect me to do with this information?” I responded with pay attention to what is going on around you and keep your antennae up. I have come to live in expectation, because for one, that is a mandate for the believer, and two, due to the admonition to watch the signs because they tell you that his arrival to catch his church away is imminent. As Steve Fletcher, and history have pointed out, key events can happen before, during, or after the tetrads are completed. God is not constrained to a calendar, but He is making sure that we pay attention by aligning events with it.

You need to think outside of the box and not get so whiny about the statement, “no man knows the day or the hour”. Consider the precision with which God has used the day and hour. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a precise day and hour. As a man he either had to figure that out, as Daniel did, or he just trusted what the Father told him to do. The temples were both destroyed on the 9th of Av. How would you have planned that out? And yet, God did. Is it possible, that even though we are not to know the day or the hour, we can certainly know the season? That is exactly what Jesus was talking about when he said,

And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed. (Matthew 16:1-4 ESV)

While some will tell you that social media is evil, and I have to come believe it is a venue for evil, I use it to pass along “signs of the times” to those that will listen. We are in the season of his return. Yes, I understand that followers of Christ have said this for over two thousand years, but a reader of the scripture will tell you, that is what He expects from us. Here is a scary thought from the book of Hebrews.

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:28 KJV)

What if your animosity toward the prophetic, and end times events and teachers, has scarred you to the point that you are not looking for him; what then?

2014-2015 lunar tetrad

The first total eclipse in this lunar tetrad was on April 15, 2014. The second was October 8, 2014. The next two will be on:

What hugely significant thing will happen on these dates, I do not know. What I do that is that this event time, started almost a year ago, and if I consider the 1492 Tetrad, history demonstrates that the events surrounding the Jewish ghettos, slaughter, and expulsion, actually started long before the tetrad that coincided with Columbus searching for a new land.

You see, what is happening around us now is much like cooking a lobster. The temperature keeps rising, along with its deadly effects, but we are not paying attention, and before you know it, we will be dead. On the plus side, that puts me in heaven, but what about those that must endure the seven years of hell on earth (God’s judgment and wrath). Thirty years ago I would have never guessed we would be dealing with Islam as we are now. If you do not think that they are capable of controlling the earth, you are a fool and deserve what is coming.

 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

(Revelation 1:7 KJV)

Something else makes this information about the blood moons important.

The biblical Feast of Trumpets, also known as the Jewish New Year, began at sundown on Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014. It also marked the appearance of the new moon. However, this year on the Hebrew calendar is not just any new year. It is the Sabbath year or “Shemitah” year.

From the website chabad.org:

As soon as the Jews settled in the Holy Land,1 they began to count and observe seven-year cycles. Every cycle would culminate in a Sabbatical year,2 known as Shemittah,3 literally: “to release.”

The year following the destruction of the second Holy Temple was the first year of a seven-year Sabbatical cycle. In the Jewish calendar, counting from Creation, this was the year 3829, 68–69 CE on the secular calendar. By counting sevens from then, we see that the next Shemittah year will be the year 5775 after Creation, which runs from Sept. 25, 2014, through Sept. 13, 2015.

At the end of seven years you will make a release. And this is the manner of the release: to release the hand of every creditor from what he lent his friend; he shall not exact from his friend or his brother, because the time of the release for the L‑rd has arrived. (Deuteronomy 15:1–2)

Deuteronomy 15:1-2 ESV “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release. (2) And this is the manner of the release: every creditor shall release what he has lent to his neighbor. He shall not exact it of his neighbor, his brother, because the LORD’s release has been proclaimed.”

The Shemittah year waives all outstanding debts between Jewish debtors and creditors. The Jews created a way around lenders not being paid, people not wanting to lend, and people trying to take advantage.

This problem has been around for over 2,000 years. Hillel saw that people were avoiding lending money as the Shemittah year neared. In the first century BCE, Hillel the Elder saw that people were avoiding giving loans as the Shemittah year neared. This posed two problems: 1) The wealthy people were transgressing the Torah prohibition against withholding loans out of fear of Shemittah. 2) The poor people who desperately needed loans had no way to procure them. He came up with a novel solution.

Hillel noted that the Torah tells us that only private debts3 are canceled by Shemittah: “He shall not exact from his friend or his brother.” If, however, one owes the court (i.e., the community) money, Shemittah does not affect the loan. Based on this rule, he instituted the pruzbul: a mechanism by which debts are transferred to a beit din (religious court).4 By making a pruzbul, you make your private debts public—and therefore redeemable.5

Isn’t this a loophole devised to circumvent a divinely ordained law?

The Talmud6 explains that nowadays the Shemittah loan amnesty is no longer in effect according to biblical law.7 Thus, since the Shemittah that we observe today is a rabbinic injunction, Hillel was empowered to circumvent these laws due to pressing need.

Virtually all of Matthew 23 demonstrates Jesus disgust with the Pharisees because they made their own rules and tampered with God’s law.

Matthew 23:24 ESV You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

Take a Break from Farming

You shall sow your field six years, and you shall prune your vineyard six years, and shall gather its produce. And in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest to the land, a sabbath to Jehovah. You shall not sow your field, and you shall not prune your vineyard. You shall not reap that which grows of itself of your harvest; and you shall not gather the grapes of your unkept vine; it shall be a year of rest to the land. And the sabbath of the land shall be to you for food, to you, and to your male slave, and to your female slave, and to your hired one, and to your tenant, those living among you; (Leviticus 25:3-6 LITV)

During the Shemittah year, the residents of the Land of Israel must completely desist from cultivating their fields. They also relinquish personal ownership of their fields; whatever produce grows on its own is considered communal property, free for anyone to take. This aspect of the Shemittah year is known as shemittat karka, “release of the land.”

I realize we are not under the law, but God has never changed, and his laws have ceased to be honored. If abundance was the reward for honoring God’s law (the Shemittah) what happens when we do not, judgment.

Johnathon Cahn, in his book,  “The Mystery of the Shemitah” points out what has happened during several of Shemitah years.

From the World Net Daily website, wnd.com : http://www.wnd.com/2014/09/get-ready-shemitah-begins-this-week/#bqSTZL8X87liQbDU.99

  • Germany, for instance, began its Third Reich with the annexation of Austria in 1938, a Shemitah year, and it ended seven years later when Adolph Hitler committed suicide in April 1945, another Shemitah year.
  • The Russian, Japanese, Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires also fell in accordance with the Shemitah.
  • In 1945, a Shemitah year, America emerged as the uncontested leader of the free world following the surrender of Germany and Japan in World War II.
  • 28 years later, in another Shemitah year in 1973, America lost its first war, Vietnam. America fell victim to the Arab oil embargo and saw its dollar weaken as a result of President Nixon’s decision to remove it from the gold standard two years earlier.
  • 1987 there was a sign in the heavens, a supernova that could be seen with the naked eye. That same year the U.S. stock market crashed once again.
  • On Sept. 11, 2001, Islamic terrorist attacked the U.S. with the attacks on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon, killing nearly three thousand people. A few days later we again suffered a historic stock market collapse, all during a Shemitah year.
  • Seven years later in the Shemitah year of 2008, another historic market collapse happened. It was the greatest one-day decline in the history of Wall Street.

Some quick math moves you forward seven years to the year 2015, and this is where we find the last two blood moons of the 2014-2015 tetrad. The point, God does everything by a set timetable, it operates on His clock, and there is nothing coincidental. As Pastor John Hagee says, something is about to happen.

On Rosh Hashanah it is customary to blow the trumpets once each day as a type of a warning, and the sound of the shofar is a symbol of alarm and judgment throughout Scripture.

“Yes Elul is all about warning, it’s about trumpets, it’s about getting right with God and it’s about repentance,” Cahn said. “Sundown comes and then comes the Feast of Trumpets, the blowing of the trumpet. The day of the judgment, or the day of the warning. All these converging on this exact precise day.”

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A conversation in my head.


I am sure I have said these things many times. Sadly, it may have only been a conversation in my head. Before I go blowing off steam at someone I love, I have to ask myself if that was the case; if so, then I feel the need to reiterate. This was the case just recently, as one of the members of our bible study made a comment describing his puzzlement over God’s approach toward man immediately after the fall.

But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9 ESV)

Allow me to recap.

“Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” (Genesis 3:1-6 KJV)

 Adam was standing right there. He heard everything. He knew what God had told him, and he had no reason whatsoever to doubt God. He had the same relationship with God that Jesus did. It was an intimate communion, like what you see in a good marriage. It was what Enoch had, and if you do your homework, you will find that Enoch walked this earth at the same time as Adam. Prior to the flood, it is not recorded that anyone, other than Able, had that kind of relationship. I guess that Enoch asked Adam what that was like, and Adam told him. Enoch proceeds to live like that, and walks off the earth.

What is the point of my rambling?

Then the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves apron like girdles.

(Genesis 3:7 AMP)

Adam was very much aware of the ramifications of eating the fruit off that tree. Standing there, watching his woman shove something in her mouth that he knows will kill her, what does he think? That we can only imagine. It is a little easier having experienced something rather like that (it is one of the reasons that I started admitting that I am co-dependent.) Death was immediate, but Eve did not drop at his feet, as he expected. He had no idea what just happened on the inside of her. All he understands is that God promised a death and he was going to be alone. (For a man who had the ear of God at a moments notice, it is hard to imagine that Adam would not have had a complete understanding of all things, but maybe you just do not need ask how and why all the time, when your creator withholds nothing from you.)

We do not know how long it took Adam to bite into that fruit, but when he did, the impact was immediate. Death happened immediately from the inside out. We have such struggles with, how could a loving God even consider making a place of eternal torment, in which He would throw people who SIN like Adam did. You realize how horrible and restrictive that is to my life style. God did not make that horrid place for you. It was made for Lucifer/Satan a fallen angel, and all those who follow him. While there is an eternal torment involved, it is really all about separation from God, and that is exactly what Adam experienced the moment that he ate the fruit.

However long he roamed this earth, with his wife, acting as God would, dominating the “wildlife”, he never experienced any of the emotions and pain he was feeling now. What does Adam do? He tries to hide from God. Are you serious? How could you ever hide from God, and what makes you think he does not know where you are. Can you see how much the man has “died” on the inside?

And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” (Genesis 3:8-10 ESV)

 What does God do?

He asks the man where he is as though he does not know, allowing the man to make the move back toward God. I suddenly realized that this is what we see when Jesus sat on the shore cooking fish, and Peter jumped out of the boat to get to him. It was all about showing respect for the man He loved and created. A man who is broken all the way down to his DNA, and will have to be reminded until the day of his redemption that he is loved beyond measure.

Let us go back to that aspect of eternal punishment.

Why on God’s green earth would he make a hell to eternally punish the man he created, and then be willing to put his only Son through an indescribable torture; have him hung openly upon a disgusting cross meant to humiliate, and then put all the sin of the world upon that Son he loves so dearly? Only one reason, if it gives all of mankind the opportunity to restore the man’s broken relationship brought on by the original sin of Adam.

God is still showing respect for the human, YOU. The good is still there crying out for a restoration of your brokenness, a restoration of communion with the one that made you. Once again, hell was not made for you, only for those who follow Satan, their lord. All it takes is for you to choose the life that Jesus offers you. No, you will not be judged for your sins, and by the way, just sitting there in your rocking chair, you are riddled with sin, whether you know it or not. Unfortunately, in the end, it boils down to, what did you do with Jesus.

 

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What do you see there?


This was the lead in question at a bible study I go to. We had only the week before been assigned a small part 1 Corinthians chapter one to read. To be honest I did not read it, but next week is coming and we will start at verse 10.

How quickly we forget the beginnings of the church. I am not as interested in history as I should be, but it might play into Paul’s angst. You quickly notice the fact that Paul is troubled by what he heard. You can make an assumption based upon the overall context of this letter. The problem with an assumption like this is that you may not have read the entire letter. The other aspect of history would be environment. That is great if you have the resources to assess that, but you may not have a study bible, or a good commentary. Without resources, how would you determine the motivation behind Paul’s writing? You have to pay attention to details.

Paul founded this church, assisted by two Jewish believers, Priscilla and Aquila, with whom he lived for a while. Eventually Silas and Timothy joined them and Paul begins preaching even more intensely in the synagogue. When most of the Jews resisted the gospel, he left the synagogue, but not before Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, his family, and many others were converted.

Because I have recently pondered this idea of “calling”, I see where Paul spoke along the lines of circumcision being a calling too. I had no choice, and it was common for babies to be circumcised, but circumcision falls under the category of law (legalism) and has nothing to do with your relationship with God. Christ became the law, freeing us from it, because it did not bring life. We are free from the law; free to no longer live according to the desires of the flesh and operate contrary to the law.

Note the variation between these two translations. While they may be conveying the same idea, one gives the idea of being robotic in actions, while demonstrates the possibility that they are not getting along.

1 Corinthians 1:10 NET.   (10) I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to agree together, to end your divisions, and to be united by the same mind and purpose.

1 Corinthians 1:10 KJV Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

I opened this comment by noting the Jewish influence that would have played heavily in thought and deed, even if they had been converts. I sometimes wish I had received a deep understanding of Jewish thought and tradition and then come to know Jesus. There are things I read now, that I know would make so much more sense to me.

Sadly, I think because of a Jewish acquaintance and her non-thinking responses based in a Jewish tradition that by admission she barely clings to, I would be horribly resistant to someone telling me to throw aside things that have such depth and beauty to me. I do not believe Paul did that. The man was like a Doctoral candidate; he knew the Talmud and the Torah inside out and backward. However, he did not know the Messiah. It does not take much thought to figure out that he walked with the Pharisees as they confronted Jesus. Why he may have been the most vocal of the group, God used who and what he was to flesh out all the freedoms that we believers hold so dear.

When I look at John McArthur’s commentary, he is saying, Paul is emphasizing the unity of doctrine in the local assembly of believers. John McArthur goes on to say, “Doctrinal unity, clearly and completely based on Scripture, must be the foundation of all church life.” I agree, doctrine, based in scripture, makes for our foundations, but most of us really do not have a clue what our doctrine are. Having looked these up, I can tell you that there are no two that agree. Some foundational truths that are shared are that Jesus Christ is the Son of God; he died on the cross for our sins, and he rose again to give us life. I have moments when I think these are the only things that should be taught, because, based upon conversations, most do not even know this. If they do, they do not act like it.

Doesn’t it make you comfortable knowing that Paul was able to rely upon the scriptures to convey these truths to the newly forming church. I am being facetious, because, as you should know, the closest thing Paul had to scripture was the Talmud and Torah on scrolls. These were so time-consuming to create that they were treated as sacred and kept in the synagogues. No one had a copy in their home, and learning was primarily done on an oral basis. This oral tradition, memorized, was the basis for Paul’s doctrine, and the basis for what he passed on to the church.

For me to read McArthur there is an immediate sense of legalism. This is enforced by a friend of mine who loves to use the term as well. With him, it is always used as a ploy to avoid talking about things he apparently does not understand or makes him uncomfortable. When he uses the term “doctrine”, it is always with volume and emphasis. I guess that is supposed to make us feel small and guilty, as though what we are talking about is not a part of church doctrine.

Webster’s dictionary defines doctrine as: 1. In a general sense, whatever is taught. Hence, a principle or position in any science; whatever is laid down as true by an instructor or master. The doctrines of the gospel are the principles or truths taught by Christ and his apostles.

Church history records that Paul spent over a year in Corinth; he taught in the synagogue. That may mean he was there every Saturday (Sabbath). However, it can also mean that he was there at other times as well, using whatever venue was available. What he taught then was considered the principles or position of our freedoms in Christ – the God-man that fulfilled the law, because he knew we could not.

I talked about how Saul/Paul exceeded his brethren in learning and zealousness for the law. Goofing around I said, he was a Doctoral candidate. Perhaps, in a sense, he might have been the equivalent of a Doctor of Theology, and yet he did not know God. Having been knocked off his horse, and blinded by the light, he asked who was talking to him.

I do not know if you are aware of this, but you do not have to receive the baptism in Holy Spirit to have God talk to you. I suspect you could even know whom it is that is talking. Having read testimonies of converted Muslims, many have said that Jesus came to them in a dream or a vision. They have never seen Jesus, and if they had, he most likely would have presented himself in a manner that fit their understanding. Did he do that? Not at all, Jesus shows up dressed in white and blazing with light; and they know immediately whom he is. Did you get that? They recognized him.

Does that seem odd to you; perhaps this will help with your understanding. When Jesus was transfigured on the mount and Moses and Elijah appeared to him. Peter saw this and knew it was Moses and Elijah. Does that make any sense? Surely, someone must have painted a picture of the two that truly captured their profile and essence. Hogwash, all Peter has is a verbal learning of the law and prophets. At best, his mind has created images, just as mine has, and yet he knew who they were.

Let us get back to this idea of doctrine. Therefore, Paul teaches them freedoms, pulled from the only place known to a Jew, the law and the prophets. If you take the time, you will find that everything Paul taught can be traced back there. Paul told us that Jesus himself taught him. Be it ever so brief, Paul describes a time he was caught up into heaven. What I am trying to convey, and I am struggling to paint it, because I am not grasping it, is that the magnificence and character of God emanate from his word. This is what Paul taught. This is what the keepers of the covenant were missing, a relational and true image of God. Adam knew this kind of relationship and he taught it Enoch. Enoch took this understanding and walked off the earth, into God’s presence.

Doctrine, doctrine should give us the entire basis for light and life, but what do we do? We scrap with each other; deny others their freedom; accost those that live in freedom; and lambaste any one that is not an attendee of the same denomination as them. We use the term like a baseball bat. We use it to control and subdue; we use it to divert people from truth.

Were we there when Paul spoke? No, we only have the letters that he wrote encouraging believers to stick with the truth. What was truth? What Paul had delivered to them. God must have entrusted Paul with the souls of the world if that is the case.

Paul emphasized that they all speak the same thing. Foundational truths were only the things he taught them, but in those foundations were hidden mysteries pulled from the law and the prophets. We are told that had Satan known these mysteries, he would not have slain the Son of God. This tells me it is all there like that pearl of great price, but who do you know that is willing to buy the field in order to find it? Did Paul teach heresy, going off script, pointing people to things other than the truth found in scripture, no way? I have to wonder, are we pulling people off track, and teaching heresy when we shut them down because we do not like what they are saying, while we adamantly berate them for not sticking to doctrine.

An acquaintance of mine, because of a moral lapse, that only had conversational aspects to it turned into him being forced to step down from a leadership position at church. He was now, over a year later, there at one of our Band of Brothers boot camps. He saw me in action, not integrating well and isolating, and almost a year later had to make a comment to me about it. He said, I noticed how you did not assimilate. Having enough Star Trek to understand how the Borg operate, I take assimilation as a bad thing. Ponder the definition of the word with me.

ASSIM’ILATE, v.t. [L. assimilo, of ad and similis, like. See Similar.]

To bring to a likeness; to cause to resemble.

Because of the dysfunction within my home as a youth, I have essentially no knowledge nor interest in football. I used to be up on baseball, but that was twenty years ago. Because of my own failures, I have lost everything and never been able to regain any aspect of it again. I am not successful, I am poor; I was shy as a teen, and yet I come alive now if you give me a microphone; my weakness has only proven to now be my strength, because I can get real excited about the changes God has made in me, and should you want to hear about those changes I will be glad to talk to you. All I know is Jesus Christ and him crucified.

Assimilate, no thank you, but I would love to have a few good friends that will not turn their backs on me, especially when I am hurting. Jesus is all I know. If you think about how well Paul was initially received by those that knew of him, what kind of conversations do you think he had?

There is only one thing that matters to me, my hope in Jesus.

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God’s call.


God decides what he wants to do with our lives; we often refer to that as God’s call upon our lives. Having heard this terminology all my life, I still struggle to understand it. You see, the problem is our massive brains think that the path we are on (hopefully a good one) was all our doing. How wrong we are.

As I start to write an image of the bumbling television spy, Maxwell Smart, popped into my head. America was involved in the “cold war” and what we perceived, as Communisms push to take over the world. Each week Maxwell Smart, otherwise known as Agent 86, would save the world, at least until the next episode, but only by accident. You could count on 86 having to call the office by using his shoe phone at least once each episode. He had to pull off the sole of shoe to expose a rotary dial, an earpiece, and he flips down the heel of the shoe to talk. I cannot imagine that any of us thought that something like this would become an everyday occurrence.

The Apostle Paul too had a calling upon his life, but the call came in a much more dramatic way. While riding into town, with the intent of persecuting Christians, just as Islam is doing today, God knocked Saul off his horse with a bright light. Try wrapping your head around that for a moment. Saul, now lying on the ground, unable to see, begins to hear God’s voice talking to him. When Saul asked, who are you? The voice answered with, I am Christ, the one you are persecuting. Just moments before, Saul actually thought his calling was to persecute those who seemed to be in opposition to the “Jewish” faith.

Saul went about persecuting any of “the way”; he did much more than persecute people. I say that because our general understanding of persecute is to harass. Bullies that go about harassing people, fulfilling some sick internal pleasure, can eventually kill you. For the most part, they try to cripple you with words, but some heartlessly leave bruises and vicious scars on their victims. Somehow, Saul, the religious bully, thought he was doing the right thing.

We find it recorded in Matthew 24: 5-10 when Jesus, speaking to a Jewish crowd, warned that there will be deceptive and harmful people coming, and they think they are doing the right thing.

“For many will come in My name, saying, I am Christ, and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled, for all these things must occur; but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in different places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you up to be afflicted and will kill you. And you will be hated of all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, and will betray one another, and will hate one another.” (MKJV)

Not even the Modern King James translation does this passage justice. Having looked at many translations, I do not believe that any of them do. However, here is one that is close, and yet it misses it.

Matthew 24:5 GNB Many men, claiming to speak for me, will come and say, ‘I am the Messiah!’ and they will fool many people.

The King James version puts it this way: “For many shall come in my name” Our assumption is that Jesus (Yashua) is telling them that those coming will represent themselves as Christ, using that name (the reality is that many have done just that. The result of an in-depth relationship with these people has typically ended in a violent death for the followers.) If you are a student of the bible, then you should know that Yashua was a common name, and the Greek version of Joshua.

If you look up the Greek for the word name, as it is used in Matthew 24:5, you get onoma, and it merely means – a name, or authority figure. To say, “a name”, implies that the name itself carries weight, much like a president with the backing of a nation or military force. Our assumptions have misdirected us and caused us to look for incorrect definitions of end time’s events.

Since we are trying to comprehend what is being said, the next thing I want to look at is the idea of these people saying, –

“I am Christ;”

Yes, the Greek word is Christos, and it is the word used to define Jesus as the anointed one. Why then am I having a problem with it? The meaning of the word Christos is anointed (presumably with oil); by implication to consecrate to an office or religious service. Webster’s dictionary defines anointed as one set apart. Well, that is exactly how Islam feels about it. You can add Boko Haran to that list as well. They believe they have a calling or mandate from the Qur’an to carry out Allah’s plans with violence.

If I do a rewrite of Matthew 24:5, using the definitions and origins of the wording, we get this: Many, claiming to speak as god’s authority figures, will make bold statements like, I am the anointed or chosen, and will cause many to roam from safety and truth. (Me)

This suddenly causes a shift from religious tradition, and allows us to consider looking at Islam as the ones that most closely fit this prophetic word; for they commit brutal acts while claiming that they are surrogates for a god, Allah. The Qur’an teaches them that they have the favor and blessing of Allah, as they wantonly slaughter people merely because they are not Muslims.

Saul, turned Paul, now finds himself standing before the same Jewish council he once worked for as an enforcer. Trying to defend himself he said, “Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day.” Paul admitted that in his role as a ranking Pharisee, that he stood there, not only approving, but holding the cloaks of those who threw the stones at Stephen. This would not be something you brag about, unless you were a fool, trying to impress fools. No, he was trying to make this Jewish council understand something deeper.

By the time, we get to Acts 26, Paul has appealed up to king Agrippa, a man who understood Jewish tradition and ways. He had asked to be here. In contrast to killing Christians, this was definitely an aspect of God’s calling, for he is not only defending himself against the Pharisees, who were falsely accusing him, but he showing them that Jesus is the fulfillment of the law.

Questioned now by governors and a king, Paul responds:

Acts 26:8 GNB Why do you who are here find it impossible to believe that God raises the dead?

Had Paul come to understanding that he had been the dead man? The only dead man mentioned, several chapters earlier, had been Stephen. No, Paul is talking about himself, and, by logical conclusion, every other believer.

What does it mean to be dead? Paul used the Greek word nekros – a corpse. Therefore, Paul now understood the true condition of his life before Christ, to be dead.

An aspect of the discussion at Monday morning’s bible study, had one of the men saying; “I know I am a sinner”. In reality, this sin is an aspect of our broken lives, but brokenness does not equate to dead. Having spent some time in recovery, I have come to realize that this brokenness is an aspect of our life and unavoidable. That old, dead man, riddled with sin that kept us separated from God, was replaced the day we accepted the life of Christ within us. What a strange irony, because the world thinks accepting Jesus strips all the enjoyment of life out of you;  The reality is, Jesus Christ brings you life. While Jesus can and does heal the brokenness, in reality it is more of a process over time. What we look for as healing is more like you replacing your broken behaviors with Christ like qualities.

Paul, in his letter to the Roman church, wrote:

“as Scripture says: “I have made you a father of many nations.” Abraham believed when he stood in the presence of the God who gives life to dead people and calls into existence things that don’t even exist.” (Romans 4:17 GW)

You can attest to the fact that you are breathing, and yet without Christ in your life, you are dead – spiritually. The sin and disobedience kills you. Again, Paul writes, but this time to the church in Ephesus. In this letter, he defines what he means.

In the past you were spiritually dead because of your disobedience and sins. At that time you followed the world’s evil way; you obeyed the ruler of the spiritual powers in space, the spirit who now controls the people who disobey God.” (Ephesians 2:1-2 GNB)

He goes on to explain how you gain life back. (A clue, it has everything to do with having Christ in your life.)

“Actually all of us were like them and lived according to our natural desires, doing whatever suited the wishes of our own bodies and minds. In our natural condition we, like everyone else, were destined to suffer God’s anger. But God’s mercy is so abundant, and his love for us is so great, that while we were spiritually dead in our disobedience he brought us to life with Christ. It is by God’s grace that you have been saved. In our union with Christ Jesus he raised us up with him to rule with him in the heavenly world.” (Ephesians 2:3-6 GNB)

Let us take this back to the origin of man’s death.

“Therefore, even as through one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed on all men inasmuch as all sinned:” (Romans 5:12 MKJV)

There is hardly a person in the civilized world that does not have a comprehension about the Garden narrative. Having been told not to eat from “the tree”, Adam stands there watching as the serpent tempts his woman, and there are no replacements, as far we know. He just stood there, saying nothing in rebuttal, as a multitude of thoughts raced through his mind.

Knowing what God said, I cannot even imagine what he was thinking as she sunk her teeth into that fruit. You cannot almost feel him tense up, holding his breath, waiting for her to drop dead at his feet, but that did not happen.

What does he do in response when she extends her hand with the fruit in it; he takes a bite. That is when he feels it, a sudden surge of strange new emotions: feelings of fear, separation and inadequacy. He had never experienced these things before, because was made in the image of God, untainted. He had been the dominant ruler.

For untold years, he had an intimate closeness with the Creator of the universe, and now he feels anything but close. Oh sure, the death of the body was a part of the deal, but for Adam, it took 900 years. It was far worse than that, the serpent had killed the man from the inside out, exactly what he had wanted. It was almost as though in that one moment of time, Satan had affected the man’s DNA, because Adam passed it along to every one of us.

Keep this in mind as you ponder what happened that day. Man partook of a tree called the knowledge of good and evil. While the choice of man in general, was to pursue the evil, there is no doubt that the good is still evidenced occasionally. Sadly, God had spelled out the result of man’s bad choice, and it was death – or should I say, a separation from God.

There you have it, much like a massive Tsunami, and all because of Adam’s actions. Mankind, from that day forward, was born into sin, and death. That seems like an extensive, all-encompassing effect, and it is. Now how does this equate to God’s plan? This makes plain the problem we humans have, but we are not God, and we do not see things as God sees them.

However, there is hope.

“But from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, death ruled over all human beings, even over those who did not sin in the same way that Adam did when he disobeyed God’s command. Adam was a figure of the one who was to come. But the two are not the same, because God’s free gift is not like Adam’s sin. It is true that many people died because of the sin of that one man. But God’s grace is much greater, and so is his free gift to so many people through the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ. And there is a difference between God’s gift and the sin of one man. After the one sin, came the judgment of “Guilty”; but after so many sins, comes the undeserved gift of “Not guilty!” It is true that through the sin of one man death began to rule because of that one man. But how much greater is the result of what was done by the one man, Jesus Christ! All who receive God’s abundant grace and are freely put right with him will rule in life through Christ.” (Romans 5:14-17 GNB)

I do not know how that hits you, but for one man’s actions to essentially affect every human, down to a genetic level, from that day forward, is huge. Yet, Paul tells us that the action of Jesus Christ on the cross is even greater yet. This is understandable as I read the passage above, and yet I know that some can and will stumble over it. The key words are “All who receive”.

Allow me to reveal a little secret to you. It may allow you to see how much greater and freeing Jesus actions were. It is not known with certainty who wrote the book of Hebrews. However, what I do know is that the writer understood some of the same concepts as Paul. Here is one:

“. we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10 KJV)

Christ put himself on that cross. By putting himself there, he paid the price, purchasing us out of the bondage to the penalty for that sin we carry. Moreover, Jesus never has to do it again. According to Hebrews 10:10, we were made clean through a purification process that only the priest could do. Jesus was that priest. This has everything to do with that sin-damaged chromosome we all carry. He covered the price demanded and we do not have to pay the sin tax anymore.

You are not free and clear yet; but you clearly do not have to stand before God, trying to make up excuses for a nature that wants to break away from God. You are however, responsible for what you do with Jesus Christ. That becomes a problem doesn’t it?

Paul and the Father want you to know what your calling is. Scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit leads us and guides us into all truth, and shows us things to come. Perhaps some of those truths are your calling.

In the letter to the Christians gathered at Ephesus, Paul wrote:

“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.” (Ephesians 1:16-21 ESV)

If I based my search for a definition of my calling on what this says, this letter would have me believe that it is all about hope. Sure, hope will motivate to move forward, but does little to define the plans I have for my life. I gave you much more than you required, only because you needed to know that Paul, a man dearly loved by God, was praying for this body of believers to understand their calling. Paul’s actions demonstrate God’s heart toward you.

What do we see in the passage above?

  • An understanding of the riches of our inheritance,
  • A working knowledge of the immeasurable greatness of his power, which he imparts in and toward us who believe.
  • All this works because of the great might that he fashioned in Christ, when he raised him from the dead. (You are aware of that correct.)
  • God, seated His Son at his right hand in the heavenly places. (While Christ remains our great high priest, making intercession for us daily, he is done. He is done fighting with the enemy because he defeated him. I know that is hard to swallow because we still struggle, but he has handed all that authority over to us who believe, and what do we do with it? Argue with him, as to why he is not fixing things.)
  • That heavenly place where he sits is: “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.” (He did not go on a well-earned vacation. Can you begin to understand why the world seeks power?)

In the seventh chapter of Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth, Paul is continuing a theme by talking about the choice to be married, how to treat each other in marriage, and the pitfalls of abusing this trust relationship you have been called to. Paul, a man who should have been married (I say that because it would have been traditional for a man who held his position as a Pharisee.) However, Paul is either not married at all, or because of his becoming a follower of Christ, his wife divorced him. This is not defined for us, at all.)

While we tend to perceive marriage as just a course of life, it is apparently a calling. Paul goes on to talk about circumcision. While it falls under the law and not necessary, it is still found as calling.  Slavery is mentioned in the same breath with calling. How one would volunteer to be a slave as an aspect of God’s directive I do not know, but allowing my mind to think about the conditions in India, where a caste system would exclude you from having an education or significant job, might force you sale yourself. Perhaps, you are a lucky one, and the owner treats you fairly; then by all means, live your calling as unto God.

I had always understood God’s calling to be one that directs you to go do mission work, or something along those lines and that may be the case.

What if we just saw needs and tried to meet them? Filled with all that power, what if we just followed Jesus example and healed the sick, etc?

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I am on a journey


Well, I am on a journey; I have been for some time. We all are, most of us do not realize it. Now that I am sixty-one years old, and missed what I think are life’s best opportunities to take advantage of these phases life throws at us, what am I supposed to do?

I think I am fortunate, in that several years ago one of our men at church stumbled upon the writings of John Eldredge. He pitched his excitement to the men’s ministry leader about the changes that he began to see in his own life, and is now one of the driving forces for change in the hearts of men in our church.

I have been through several of these book studies and I can tell you that change does not happen overnight; it is a process, and I can see changes in me since this aspect of the journey began. We just started the next session of small groups, and mine is reading Fathered by God. Allegedly, we are not supposed to read ahead, but it was recommended that we obtain the free download of the study guide. The immediate admonition in the study guide is to read or reread the first chapter. That makes sense; for how do you answer a question, about which you have no comprehension? I suspect I may have been the only one that did that based on the depth and direction of the conversation at the end of the meeting, as most seemed to focus on how the woman affects their lives and how we need to understand them. This did not even rear its ugly head as I read the first chapter, except that Eldredge points out that we men mistakenly go to the woman to answer the question. In this case, the question seems to be, do I have what it takes.

What I came to realize, once again, was how painfully damaged I am. Every page brought about painful visualizations of childhood interactions, or the lack thereof, that formed me. This is not new information to me, but I have never had a good grasp of how to deal with the damage life has thrown at me.

I recently spoke to the man who leads the mental health ministry in my church. He is a licensed therapist, and I told him about a couple of things that I had recently become aware of in my life. He responded surprisingly fast, saying, you need to get trauma counseling. We are talking damage on the level of PTSD as he described it, and I have never been involved in combat, unless paintball counts. I do not say that to discount PTSD, but I saw a side of myself playing paintball that I never wanted to see again. Thankfully, they were only paint balls. Think about those letters for a moment – Post (after the fact) Traumatic (that can come in so many forms) Stress (the physical and emotional way we react to an experience. Sadly some stresses can be sustained over years for many people) Disorder (I suppose that is a polite way of saying you are messed up. I think I knew that, some people do not. Denial is our worst enemy, but we think it is our friend). This is precisely why I put myself in Celebrate Recovery. I realized I was out of control.

I hate admitting this, but as I read the first chapter, I felt hopeless. I am just saying! I have to believe that being honest and owning who I am or how I feel, is that smartest thing I can do right now. I have heard all the religious garbage I can stand. I understand that God is on my side; not only is He on my side but Jesus is living inside of me, and some day, in the twinkling of an eye, I will be changed as he calls us home. I can hardly wait, for in that moment I will know what sane feels like, finally freed of self-doubts, monetary worries, and the pains of failed relationships.

Next week, chapter two.

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On winning the lost


 Senior bible study is still on the theme of winning the lost. They should be asking my dad, he would put Pastor Greg Laurie to shame, and he seems to have a come back for everything. What they do not seem to understand is that it is not mandatory, nor necessary to lay guilt trips on people. Jesus never did, unless they were spewing religious garbage at him. Religious folk are more than willing to not only spew, but also validate their feckless lives by tradition.

For weeks now it seems that we are being asked the question, how do we win the lost? I can tell you what does not work:

  • Pounding on a table or nearby object only seems to intimidate and irritate people, me included.
  • Leaning upon religious tradition is ineffective for most. Religious tradition restrains more people than it leads to life.
  • Screaming at them only conveys an angry God, and misrepresents Him. Considering that God sent his son because he loved the world, and that includes you, should make some sort difference in what you say and how you say it.

Salvation is only found in Christ.

Because of my faith in Christ, I no longer have to rely on the law for my righteousness (tradition often gets substituted for law – do not go there). Do not allow yourselves to think that this was exclusive to the Jews. Every church is filled with bylaws and demands. To this day, some churches will not allow women inside the church building without their heads covered. Christ came to set us free, free to live for him and to the Father.

Romans 10:4 ESV For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

There is a catch to it though, this freedom only applies to the believer, and if I were pitching salvation to you, you would not be there yet.

All right then, get me there.

John 3:36 ESV Who ever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

In effect, I am trying to sell life to you. That may seem like an odd way to put it, but it is true. The opposite of life is death, but we all have eternal spirits, which scripture tells us are more real than the physical world around us. What is death then if I live eternally? Adam had the same dilemma, for God had told him (Adam then passed that info along to Eve) that eating from that one particular tree would bring death. Satan’s ploy then, and play on words, was meant to get around that logic. Really, did he really mean that? They had no reason to not believe God, and yet standing there, hearing the arguments of the serpent, and then watching his woman bite into the fruit and not drop dead instantly opened the door to doubts.

Adam would not have been aware of the difference until he bit into the fruit, and he did. Instantly the realization of his separation from God hits; he may have said, I have never felt this before, as a rush of emotions and fears wash over him. It took over nine hundred years for his body to die, but the separation from God was immediate.

This separation was one-sided. The creator of life and knowledge was very much aware of where they were in the garden, and yet he does something brilliant, he calls out to the man who has hid himself in the bushes because of the shame he now feels. God treated his creation with respect. Do you now realize that the death we carry, an aspect of God’s wrath, has everything to do with separation?

Do you need me to tell you that everything around you is dying? I think your wise enough to know that. The problem is that you are comfortable in your hot tub. Look around you, and then look at yourself. Everything is going downhill fast. There is a day coming, sooner than you wish to believe, in which Christ will come back for believers. For those that chose not to follow Jesus, the time that follows will be a living nightmare.

One of the guys sitting there said, “John 3:36 only has one demand.” Is that the case? It does say that who ever believes in the Son has eternal life. Now you really have to start asking questions.

What does believe mean?

Believe - To credit upon the authority or testimony of another; to be persuaded of the truth of something upon the declaration of another, or upon evidence furnished by reasons, arguments, and deductions of the mind, or by other circumstances, than personal knowledge. When we believe upon the authority of another, we always put confidence in his veracity.

So the answer is no! This is not a simple, one-part agreement. You are persuaded by the truth of something. When Jesus said this, he had spoken, and acted out what the Father had shown him. He had shown them life and the life emanated from the Father.

The people hearing him say this understood what he meant. It was no secret, no mystery.

Jesus it seems was intentional about giving evidence. Things meant to convince them and move them toward belief. If you have read the Old Testament, where it talks about the early days of God’s relationship with Abraham, God knowing that Abram was just a man, demonstrated His commitment to Abram with “as for me” statements. God then proceeds to do what he said. This increases the validity of a man, making him believable.

Apparently, the Jews had standards for believability, and Jesus fulfilled them all. This begins to come clear as you look at Matthew 8:2.

Matthew 8:2 And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”

The Jewish New Testament Commentary states:

By the first century, Judaism had developed a list of major signs the true Messiah could be expected to give as proof of his identity (see Matthew_16:1-4). Healing a leper was one of them. Another was casting out a deaf, dumb and blind demon (Matthew_12:22-23). Other Messianic signs and references to them are found at Matthew 11:2-6 and John_6:25-33, John_9:1-41, John_11:1-52. The comments for Matthew 16:1 are: Sign from Heaven. A triple wordplay: (1) the appearance of the sky (heaven), which foretells the weather; (2) a sign from God (Heaven); and (3) “signs of the times” (Matthew_16:3), where “times” evokes both weather seasons and where we stand in the flow of history. See Matthew_3:2.

John the baptizer, sitting in prison at this point, wants to know if Jesus is the Messiah they are looking for.

The JNTC continues with: Having instructed the Twelve and sent them away, Yeshua continues his itinerant healing and preaching; the narrative joins up with Matthew_9:36. The disciples of Yochanan the Immerser come to Yeshua with a message “in code,” which he also answers in code (Matthew_11:2-6).

Here is how Matthew’s gospel describes the exchange.

Matthew 11:2-6 NASB Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM. “And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.”

If they were looking for signs that Jesus was the Messiah, he did not miss one of them. He verbally lays out the menu for John’s disciples. You have to know that others saw this as well, especially the religious folk, as they were looking for evidence to have him killed.

In response to the adamant way in which the “teacher” laid this out for us, one of the men, an older, contentious, marine said, “why should I waste my time with Romans 10: 9-10? It demands I do two things. I am sticking with John 3:36, it only has one requirement.” I believe I covered the word belief of John 3:36, but perhaps I am missing something.

Romans 10:9-10 gives a bold contrast to John 3:36, or does it?

Romans 10:9-10 NASB that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;   (10) for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

“. if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” It seems like two parts are necessary.

Confess – To own, acknowledge or avow, as a crime, a fault, a charge, a debt, or something that is against one’s interest, or reputation.

Taking this at face value, we simply acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus over our lives.

Wait a minute here. Standing on the street corner, trying to save some person from the pull of hell, before the next bus comes, did I fail to mention the commitment involved in this decision?

If I think in terms of restraint, then a yoke would certainly do that, but restriction seems to be the general idea people have when you begin to present Jesus to them. However, Jesus told us his yoke was easy. I cannot say that I have not felt it, but it has never occurred to me that it was ever a burden. I do believe that most of the burden ensued by putting on this yolk, has more to do with constraints religion places on us. Jesus was the freest man I ever met. Certainly, he fulfilled the law, but he constantly broke it. I so wish I could dance before the Lord without restraint. I did it a couple of times when I was sure there was no one watching and it was so liberating.

Just the idea of someone being lord over our lives infers subservience, and our broken nature fights the idea of submitting. Did Jesus ever convey dismay at being God’s Son? No, there was a pride and knowledge that he was representative of the Father’s authority and power. The Greek word for Lord is kurios and undeniably conveys someone supreme in authority. If I am going to confess Jesus as my Lord, then I am clearly giving him a supremacy over me. That may be something that needs to be understood in the course of time.

Is it possible to confess without belief?

I suspect we did it all the time as children. Remember when, as children, we said the pledge of allegiance to the flag. Seriously, a flag, how about some strong moral conviction or goal, but we were just kids and did what we were told. To be honest, there was an implied punishment for non-compliance.

To believe also carries the definition: to expect or hope with confidence. How do you get to that place without some deeper explanation? It is not the mere pronouncement of eternal judgment for those outside of Christ that moves people toward God. Again, my mind goes back to Abraham. How effectively would God have promoted the life he had in store for us, if he started his pitch talking about the fiery damnation that awaits those who reject him? I might have responded affirmatively, merely to escape some future pain and not have a stitch of sincerity about me.

Have you ever noticed that eternal condemnation comes upon them that “take the mark, AND worship the beast?” Children are the most susceptible to tactics like this because their hearts are tender and do not want to see a family member beheaded because they did not give the right answer. Here in America, we opened our borders and if nothing else allowed some hideous diseases back into the country that had not been seen for over 30 years. How do we do handle those diseases now? We excoriate doctors and parents who refuse to comply with voluntary inoculations. Did you catch that, voluntary? So ask yourself, how many people will be coerced into taking a mark and then suddenly realize that the next step is the selling of your soul?

We should be able to see that there really is no difference between what Jesus said in John’s gospel, and what Paul wrote to the Romans. They both imply a conviction, based in hope, which moves you to follow the one who gave his life and then rose from the dead so that you could live with Him. I do not have to concern myself over the judgment that is to come upon the earth against those that have rejected Christ, for that does not apply to me (We mistakenly call this period of judgment or wrath, the great tribulation. While there is great tribulation associated with the judgment, that time of tribulation is specific to the last half of that judgmental period, and is so great that Jesus stated, that no one would survive if God did not stop it.) What does apply to the life of every believer, is tribulation; for it is the thing, that Jesus said you would have plenty of. For many Mid Eastern Christians recently, it has been deadly.

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On the subject of false teachers


I am currently not working . That may turn into a permanent situation soon, but until then, I try to make the best use of my time. That means that I am involved with several bible studies during the week, and I hang out with some of those same guys for coffee. Lately the subject keeps coming back to false teachers.

By myself, in a calm atmosphere, I want to see if I can sort this out and understand how to decide if someone is a false teacher.

According to my acquaintances’, the point of origin is 2 Peter 2:1. A quick read on the background of Peter’s letters gives you an understanding of the church to which he is writing. These churches are all Mediterranean and he calls them aliens. In 2Peter 3:2 he tells them to remember the words of the holy prophets. When we consider that God tried to get Peter to, not only accept the Gentiles, but go to them also (Picture the whole Cornelius incident), and how we do not see that happening beyond that, these must have been primarily Jewish believers. That for me brings no condemnation, but an understanding. A Jew, steeped in learning and tradition would have knowledge of characters like Balaam, or the sons of Eli. It also implies a basis for understanding and a solid foundation of traditional learning – the law.

One of my acquaintances repeatedly stresses the importance of teaching the “foundational doctrines”. I suppose they are like a return to the law for him. That is easy to assume, as he is more of a legalist, often setting aside grace. Each time he rants about doctrine, I find myself thinking, I am not even sure what those are. In essence, these are the “We believe” statements of the church. It is really our living apologetic, the basis of what and why we have a hope, the promised eternity with the Father (The one who first loved me). My lack of understanding prompted me to look up doctrines. There are many and few agree, but I get it. This is foundational stuff – the bread and butter of our faith. How do I come to Jesus Christ, in faith, and receive what he is offering, if I do not know what he is offering? I suppose many do, but shortly afterwards, someone should be teaching them the basics. I tend to see it as the cement upon which the large building is supported.

Assuming I know the basics, I should then be able to spot a false teacher. Have you seen any those doctored photos that has a wolf covered in sheepskin, standing among the sheep. Much depends on how good the person was with the photo-editing program, because in one case the wolf is covered in a ragged, hanging sheepskin. There is no doubt he is a wolf waiting for a free lunch. However, some blend the fur so well that you have to study the facial features to convince yourself that this is a wolf standing there. The second example scares me the most. In either case, my reaction is, someone is going to be eaten. Maybe that is Peter’s concern. I am not terribly concerned if the wolf is feeble and has no teeth, but just that it is standing there tells me that it is on the hunt. Consider this though, if a sheep were eaten, though they cease to be on earth, do they cease to be a sheep? Even in our reference to them in the past tense, we still call them a sheep. There is a point to this. Jesus told us, and John’s gospel recorded it, I lose none of them. Is a consumed sheep then lost? It does not sound like it. Now what we do not know is if that was really a sheep? You see we all have the same clothing on (skin), but none look-alike, and I cannot see into your heart, only God can do that. The only thing I have that tells me you are a sheep is your consistent conversation and the fruit you bear; chew on that for a moment.

2 Peter 2:1 KJV But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

The word false is the Greek word pseudodidaskalos and means: a spurious teacher, that is, propagator of erroneous Christian doctrine: – false teacher.

See how that works. I try to figure one thing out and I am forced to momentarily pursue another. What does spurious mean?

SPURIOUS, a. [L.] 1. Not genuine; not proceeding from the true source or from the source pretended;

Therefore, the 100,000-dollar question is what is the basis for truth. I am not an apologist, but I have listened to people who are, and they have discussed the idea of truth in-depth. Essentially God is truth. He is the basis for all that exists and all things were formed by his word. God’s word is truth.

John 17:17 Jesus praying said, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”

In John 18:37 Jesus answering Pilate stated, “for this cause I came into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.” If that was not enough, he added, “Every one that is of the truth hears my voice.” However, this was Jesus testifying about himself, so what else do we have.

Luke’s gospel tells us of Peter, and others, seeing Jesus on the mount with Moses and Elijah, and hearing God’s voice testify of his Son.

Luke 9:32-36 NASB Now Peter and his companions had been overcome with sleep; but when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him. (33) And as these were leaving Him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles: one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah”–not realizing what he was saying. (34)   While he was saying this, a cloud formed and began to overshadow them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. (35) Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!” (36) And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent, and reported to no one in those days any of the things which they had seen.

This was not the first time God had acknowledged Jesus publicly, but this time the witnesses could understand what was being said. That was not the case when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan.

If you know the story behind Balaam, then you may understand when I use the word absurd to define him as a witness. He would not be described as righteous man, or a defender of the faith. We assume that the word prophet and God were synonymous; apparently, that was not the case, as Balaam was a hired gun – a prophet for hire. Because Balaam’s motivation is other than religious, I perceive his testimony to be a little more credible. Here is a portion of what happened and what God said to him.

Numbers 23:16-20 NASB Then the LORD met Balaam and put a word in his mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and thus you shall speak.” (17) He came to him, and behold, he was standing beside his burnt offering, and the leaders of Moab with him. And Balak said to him, “What has the LORD spoken?”   (18) Then he took up his discourse and said, “Arise, O Balak, and hear; Give ear to me, O son of Zippor! (19) “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? (20) “Behold, I have received a command to bless; When He has blessed, then I cannot revoke it.

Now, if there were an example of a false prophet, it would be Balaam. He was definitely spurious. Although the excerpt makes it sound like he is a noble guy, he is not. Balaam ignored God’s warnings, went after money and gave the enemies of Israel intelligence that allowed them to be destroyed from the inside out. A clear defiance of God’s will. Notice that Balaam understood the serious nature of what was said to him. You see this in, “Behold, I have received a command to bless; When He has blessed, then I cannot revoke it.”

God defined his character to Abram.

Genesis 17:4-5 NASB “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, And you will be the father of a multitude of nations. (5) “No longer shall your name be called Abram, But your name shall be Abraham; For I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.

This was not the first time he had done this. Abram could not reciprocate with an irreproachable nature; he had none. God made his statements, and then he backed them with action. God followed through; this dominates any study you might do about God.

Jonah might be one of those that people will read and then say, this proves that God lies and changes his mind. Do not be so narrow-minded and foolish. Even Jonah understood the character of God for he said you are going to relent. Why is that important to the story, because Jonah hated these people, the Assyrians/Ninevehites, and wanted them dead. God relented when they repented (I had to do that), but make no mistake, their sins did catch up with them and the remains of that metropolis was discovered in mounds outside of Mosul, Iraq. Therefore, God followed through.

Now, since we understand that God is believable, we should have a foundation of belief. How then does this wolf approach us and with what do they deceive?

John McArthur says, “The greatest sin of Christ-rejecters and the most damning work of Satan is misrepresentation of the truth.”

Misrepresentations may end up being big stuff if they go on long enough, but it is typically subtle and small in the beginning. Those same guys that squawk so loudly about false teachers have introduced things of late that really irritated me. One example: a guy pulls an article out of his pocket, that he printed about “that boy” that went to heaven, and has since told his story, and got a book published. He and the family, are now recanting his epic tale. Ironically, the family name in this article is Malarkey. I attempted a challenge because you cannot merely say, “that boy” as it is misrepresentation. You have to distinguish between this Malarkey and Colton Burpo, whom I happened to value.

It is not the information on the paper that is bad, and could easily have been used to make his point about false teachers, but it was his adamant, overbearing, one-sided delivery. Coming from the mouth of a trusted teacher, he is going to be listened too. However, the manner in which he  delivers it creates a false understanding about God.

Come on now, what are you trying to say when you say, a false understanding about God. Because, those same doctrines, which my friend rants about, tell me that there is a hope of an eternity with the Father. Jesus declared these things repeatedly – I will come back and take you to the Father, with me. Why would he have to say this so many times, because we are rock heads and easily swayed I suppose. Perhaps we are not so quick at recognizing the well-cloaked wolf among us.

My other friend leads a bible study. That fact alone should show some skills and knowledge that I wish I had. Recently, in an effort to define grace, he sets up a quick visual in front of him. If you are operating on the truth that Christ died once for all, and that sin is covered by his blood, then you can probably agree that God, looking down upon us (that means everyone, even your Muslim neighbors) sees nothing but forgiven people. The visual display represented that, as he acted as if his hand was God and he was looking through a bottle of water (Jesus blood) at the bell on the table, which represented people. All well and good to this point, but then he added a twist, which befuddled me and pushed us back into having to work for our salvation. He essentially said that this forgiveness is not yours until you come out and ask God to forgive you. Now which is it? Did Christ die for no reason and all this is a lie, or is God’s word true. This is an in-depth discussion and is precisely what Paul talked about in his letter to the Romans. (This discussion goes far beyond bread and butter does it not, and yet it seems to be essential. It demands that you get your understanding clear, which lessens your ability to be deceived.) God is not judging the world for sins any more. He is judging based upon what you did with Jesus. It is that simple. Allow me a simple example from the mouth of Jesus:

John 12:47 ESV If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.

Therefore, what that bible study leader did was a misrepresentation of the truth, and, he was loud, and adamant about it. He was even challenged about some of the things he said and seemed unwilling to yield to the truth, and, I can tell you from first hand experience that this happens repeatedly. Is it deliberate? I will say no, but what is it when you have the potential to understand the truth and yet refuse it because it does not fit within your doctrinal scheme?

Most of us know about the blatant ones, the false teachers that have their own television shows. One in particular has apparently stated the he is a motivational speaker. Those tend to be easy to spot. When the studio set is lined with gold, you should know that you are about to be fleeced.

One of the techniques for studying scripture is to let the scripture define itself. I just went through pages of what some might call a rant. I admit I am put off by false teachers, but at the same I need to watch myself so that I do not fall into that same trap. Many will read this and do what I do, build a false image about the person doing the writing, for I may come off as having all the answers. That is not the case at all. I struggle with a bad memory and self-esteem issues all the time. It makes me think of Paul as he spoke about his perceived presence in one of his letters,  compared with the reality of how he actually presented himself and looked. I, because of my internal bad image, would put on the persona of an angry bear. It seemed good at the time because I thought it kept me safe. I was wrong; it kept me lonely. I have to fight that desire and imagery all the time. I think about a song done by the group Mercy Me, which states, “the last thing I need is to be heard, and the funny thing is, that’s okay.” I believe it the Holy Spirit keeping me in check because I know me. If I could have pulled an array of scriptures out of my memory, against the recent misrepresentations, I would have used them like a club, and God does not want that from me. It misrepresents him.

I am compelled to give you one more example of misrepresentation. Moses was told to speak to “the rock” because the people were whining for water. Now they may have needed water and God noticed that, but it seems that God wanted the people to see the  loving, caring side of him, so he tells Moses to speak to the rock. Moses is mad, no doubt about it, and he slams his staff against the rock. Yes, water came out. Thankfully, we have a merciful God, but Moses paid for his disobedience, which misrepresented God, and he was not allowed to enter the Promised Land; what a drag that would have been.

As I looked at Second Peter, it became obvious that this explanation of false teachers and prophets is intertwined all through the chapter. Again, I run long, sorry.

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. (2 Peter 2:1 ESV)

 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. (2 Peter 2:2 ESV)

Jesus defines blasphemy for us nicely. It is the attribution of the things of God to the devil.

 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly (2 Peter 2:3-6 ESV)

 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (2 Peter 2:7 ESV)

This is vague because you may not see what God saw.

 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard);  then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, (2 Peter 2:8,9 ESV)

This verse brings hope for the believer surrounded by wolves, and condemns the false teacher, which he labels the unrighteous.

 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, (2 Peter 2:10 ESV)

“Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme” What do you suppose that means?

 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord.  But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, (2 Peter 2:11,12 ESV)

This is a bit overwhelming. I do not see much of what is done as being so intentional. Maybe there is more to people like this. I am thinking about Paul telling the church body to turn so and so over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh so that his spirit might be saved. The more I think about things like this, the more I am glad that I am not the judge.

 suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. (2 Peter 2:13 ESV)

There are more of them intertwined among us. I suspect that this is the tares Jesus spoke of.

 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! (2 Peter 2:14 ESV)

Wow!

Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, (2 Peter 2:15 ESV)

“They have followed the way of Balaam” Remember that name? I brought him up earlier.

but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness. (2 Peter 2:16 ESV)

The day will come when they will be rebuked. It may not be so pretty. Sadly, Balaam only paid a minimal amount of attention.

 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error.   They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. (2 Peter 2:18,19 ESV)

We use this passage in Recovery. The emphasis for recovery is “whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved”, and so many are enslaved. I am not sure that I can recall any freedom that was set forth in the teachings of my acquaintances.

 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.   (2 Peter 2:20 ESV)

Who is the “they” here, the believer. In recovery that is what you hope to see, escape from defilements of the world. However, the misrepresentations did not bring freedom, they become more entangled.

 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. (2 Peter 2:21 ESV)

How is that possible? A statement that says it was better to never know Jesus, the way of righteousness, all because of misrepresentations. Do you realize how destructive this is.

 What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” (2 Peter 2:22 ESV)

 I reading the John Eldredge book, Beautiful Outlaw, he points out that too many of us, go to church, but only allow Jesus/God to work within our limits. Really? Was it misrepresentation that created this in us?

 

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