Surviving a Deceitful World

“Hearing from God”

SOMETIMES I WATCH things unfold on YouTube. A couple months back, there was a young man making videos—early 20’s. He seemed meek and with a good attitude. He had been born again” about 6 months back and started “hearing Jesus” about 4 months after. “Word” after “word” of “Jesus’” undying, desperate love for us. “Words” about what a faithful and humble servant this yougod speakingng man was and for everyone to “listen to him.” “Words” to “put the puzzle together.” Quickly, his subscribers went from a handful to thousands. One day, he shared a “word” from someone else he knew that had a “word” to share. More gushy, feel-good love festing. Except. Except there was this ONE little sentence in there… stating that Jesus (the purported person dictating the message) sinned. Oh, but, not to worry, it was only once. He “sinned” at the cross, as He “doubted” for just a moment whether His Father was with Him. No biggie—just once. The very next day, “Jesus” told the young man that He would “get His Bride” before Christmas. The people cheered. After all, there were all these “words” going around that Jesus would “rapture His Bride” in 2013, anyway. Obviously, Christmas came and went. Oh, no, wait, Christmas “goes all the way to Epiphany,” so maybe He meant in January.

Eventually, the young man came forward and repented for having read the “word” about Jesus sinning. He said He had been deceived and that he should have known that his friend had a false message (though he prefaced that video saying that “Jesus” told him to read it). And, what do you know? “Jesus” gave him another “word” for the people, informing them that this guy was for real and the other was false, and stop picking on “His servant” because he was just deceived. To this day, I am certain there are those who will defend this as having come from God, but somehow, we misunderstood or He decided to change His timing, etc.

You know… there are A LOT of religions that were born of false revelations, false spirits. But we cherish them because it makes us feel good that God shared this special knowledge “just with us.” Case in point: When I was young, I used to be a Seventh-Day Adventist. Adventism got started with a prophetess that had received “special revelation from God,” about everything from the Sabbath, to dietary and lifestyle rules. I had never heard of any “church” having had a prophet, so clearly, this was special. Now we know that much of the “God-revealed” teachings came from other writers, contemporary to the prophetess… and that she suffered from some type of disorder from a head injury, associated with hallucinations.  Does that matter to the people? Not to the  majority of them—it is an entire culture, and they really work that Sunday-is-the-Mark-of-the-Beast angle, so people are in fear of there being “no more sacrifice for their sins” if they turn their back on “THE Truth.”  But this isn’t some kind of anti-Adventist rant.

Mormonism. Jehova Witnesses. Christian Science. Many groups that claim to believe in Jesus. YouTube. How many are actually based on “personal” revelation or interpretation? This is dangerous ground and we need to approach this with Holy Fear, making sure it is the Voice of our Shepherd and not a stranger.

The Lord Jesus promised us that the Holy Spirit would lead us unto all Truth. And herein lies the battle, because following any kind of spirit opens us up to deception if we do not have discernment and proceed with caution, testing the spirits. GOD IS ALIVE AND HE SPEAKS! But, make sure it’s Him.

Eating Crumbs

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TODAY MY SON learned about the value of a crumb.

We were sharing some leftover cake for a snack and I knew my 4-yr old son might be tempted to take some of his sister’s (20 mo. old), as she is not as quick to eat. So, I got up to do some dishes and told him: “If you take a single crumb from her, you will not have any more cake today.”

A minute later, I see him hovering around her and bringing his little finger to meet a crumb. The crumb stuck to his finger. I told him: “Remember, if you eat that, you will lose the slice of cake you have for later.”

 

Slowly, he brought the crumb to his lips and ate it with a smile:

“Okay, no more cake for you today.”

“Mommy, mommy, mommy… It was an accident! Can you give me one more chance?”

“I’m sorry, honey. You decided that crumb was worth it for you to lose your whole slice of cake.”

 

It made me remember when I used to live my life pursuing crumbs. Still paying the price for some of that… hmph…

>>The pleasure of any sin… it is no better than a crumb when it comes to the JOYS/GIFTS/PEACE/BLESSINGS of Jesus Christ. He is not just a slice: He is the cake! The Sweet Bread of Life. Don’t settle for the temporary feel-good pleasure of a CRUMB!!!

I’m not sharing this to show off my kid or myself as a parent somehow… but because it is a GIFT to see how the knowledge of the Love of God can move the HEART/MIND of anyone. 

I was reading an account from the Bible to my 4-yr old son and someone died (from old age):

“Mommy… why do people die?!?!?”

“Well, you have to think back to Adam and Eve… they were the very first people God made. But they sinned. And the wages of sin are….”

“…Death.”

“Right. So, I have to explain something to you. You know, the way God made us, we are programmed to inherit certain traits from our parents… for example… if someone is tall, short, has blue eyes, brown eyes, etc. God programmed this information in something called DNA, so we are similar to our parents somehow.”

“Also, I look like my sister.”

“Yes! Because you have the same parents! Good. So when Adam and Eve sinned, they acquired DEATH into that information they were passing down. So now their children had death, and their children’s children had death, and so on, until the whole world was full of people who had death in their nature.”

(At this point my son is looking pretty sad.)

“But!” I continued, “God so loved the world that He sent JESUS to BEAT DEATH! So anyone who believes, loves and obeys Jesus will not have the curse of death, and we will have new bodies and we will live forever with Him! But for now, we are born, we grow, we become old, and then we die. People are still dying because of sin. That is why sin is so bad—it separates us from God.”

And that was the end of my explanation. I thought our conversation was over, since I provided the information he was inquiring about. But then I see him enumerating something with his fingers, and saying things like:
-I hit.
-I took something without asking.
-I told a lie.
-I broke a plant that wasn’t mine.
-I had bad thoughts.
-I said words of curse.

Etc. Like 15 things… It took me a little while to figure out what he was doing. 

“D… are you confessing your sins?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Okay, that’s very good. Now you just have to ask God to forgive you and He will. The Bible says that God forgives us when we confess our sins.”

“Okay, I’ll be right back. I’m going to do it in my room.”

When he returned we hugged and praised Jesus for His Goodness and Love. 

Later, I hear him tell his dad during bath time that God forgave him and now he’s going to try to be good. ♥ ♥ ♥

ANGUS T. JONES, the young actor from the CBS show “Two anAngus T. Jones on "Two And A Half Men"d a Half Men,” recently made headlines for a video in which he gave his testimony after converting to Christianity and, shortly thereafter, to Seventh-Day Adventism. In it, he also called the show “filth” and urged viewers to stop watching it. The video went viral and there was no shortage of media implying or straight-out saying he is “young and confused,” “crazy,” “ungrateful,” and, most of all, “a hypocrite.” Why? Well, because (they keep quoting) he makes somewhere between $300 and $350k per episode and, if he was really sincere about his stance against “filth,” he would be giving all that money back.

So, I am going to give you my unsolicited two cents simply because I care about Angus as a Brother in Christ, and because I used to be a Seventh-Day Adventist.

I must admit that when I watched the video, I was very excited to hear his testimony. Then I cringed a little when “the Forerunner” said he could “really” call him brother because Angus had accepted…. “the Sabbath.” My jaw dropped a little bit (ok, a lot) because I was fully expecting to hear “JESUS CHRIST”…. not “the Sabbath.” But, you know what? I am truly rejoicing for him because He is choosing to go after God the best way that he knows. And that is what we should all be doing: Keep going, even if we stumble, even if we’re wrong in some area, KEEP GOING after the Kingdom of God, and trust that He will finish the work He started in us. 

REVELATION 12:10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.

It is to be expected that the world attack him, that they mock him, that they call him names. It’s “the world,” and it belongs to satan. He is “the accuser,” and it’s what he does through people. So, everyone of you out there flinging mud at Angus, now you know you are being used to do the work of satan. Think on that. 

But, see… I’ve also seen Christians attack Angus… saying he’s not a true Christian. Why? Because he’s still on the show as of now and not giving the money back? No. Because he’s become a Seventh-Day Adventist. 

“Seventh-Day Adventism is work-based salvation,” they say. “It’s a cult,” they say. “He’s deceived,” they say. Well, I’m certainly not going to stand here and tell you Seventh-Day Adventism is the best thing since sliced bread. Obviously, I would still be a Seventh-Day Adventist if I thought it was the truth. The truth is that Seventh-Day Adventism IS a religion. Just like many other “Christian denominations” are a religion. “Do this, or don’t do that (according to our interpretation) to keep God happy.” That’s religion in a nutshell. But you know something? There are plenty of Seventh-Day Adventists who love the Lord Jesus with all their hearts and who do these things they think are pleasing to God out of sheer love for Him. I know this for a fact first-hand. And it is OUR HEARTS that God is interested in. Not the correctness of our theologies. 

Do I think there is something better out there than Seventh-Day Adventism? Yes, but it’s not a different “more correct” denomination. It’s called seeking the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness. It’s called “My sheep hear My Voice; I know them and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them and they will never perish and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” That is the only Truth there is. Believe it or not, many Seventh-Day Adventists know this call from the Lord much better than other Christians with “more sound” theologies. 

The fact is, God has His people in every “denomination.” One day He will call them out Himself. 

In the meantime, let us not join “the accuser.” 

May the Lord Jesus bless and keep you, Angus, and may His Holy Spirit guide you always. 

Such a Fanatic

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I’ve heard the following explanation for the boldness of David before Goliath: David was very brave, but he was also very smart. He studied Goliath’s moves and David was able to determine Goliath’s weak point. He went into the fight with a carefully determined strategy–if all he had was faith, then, he would fall into fanaticism. (Explanation from a Catholic priest I heard.)

I have a lot of trouble accepting the validity of this theory for many reasons which are beside the point of this post–but the part which disturbs me the most is the implication that someone who is sold out for believing God (faith) is naïve, at best, but, mostly, a little off in the head.

And, even though, I think most of us who claim to follow Jesus Christ will say, “Oh, no, no, always believe God, blah-blah-blah,” when we look at things for what they are, we should be more alarmed by the wide-spread moderation, hesitation, and tentativeness to share the Gospel and do the things which Jesus commanded us to do.

We need to get fanatical, and I’m not kidding. Well… after all, we have a fanatical God.

 fa·nat·i·cal  (f-nt-kl)

adj.

Possessed with or motivated by excessive, irrational zeal.

Don’t get me wrong, but, think about this: God has given and continues to give without measure; without any reason for us to deserve; without any logical explanation for His Forgiveness and Grace unto ALL. He is a true fanatic of us. Why, then, do we hold back so much? Jesus wants to share His Glory with us. He gives us authority on this earth. Why do we hold back? We are promised to be partakers of the divine nature. We have victory of sin and death because of Jesus Christ. Why do we hold back? It’s not about us or proving ourselves to be correct. The blind need light. The fields need salt. The lost need Jesus.

We are told, “All things in moderation”… “Nothing is black and white”… “Who’s to say we’re right and others are not?”…. We forget it’s not about being accepted of people. It’s not about winning a philosophical argument. It’s not about converting people into “our church.” It’s about the reality of the Kingdom of God. Was it not “at hand” even 2,000 years ago? We need to get a little fanatical in our faithfulness. Being a fanatic is possessing a zeal for which there is no earthly, “logical” explanation. It’s not being “reasonable.” Do we really want to reason with the ways of this world?

Is this not a world of half-measures? Of fillers and imitations? All things muddled are presented as good and quiet compromise is the specialty of the champions of peace and harmony. But light cannot mix with darkness, can it? We need to get a little fanatical.

And here’s the thing: Truth be told, personally, I know one of the reasons I am tentative and hesitant is, not that I don’t believe that Jesus is True and that He delivers us from sin, no matter what, no matter who. But, for a long time I’ve felt like I don’t want to “do it wrong.” I don’t want to misrepresent. And, in my mind, I’ll some day find somewhere where people gather to edify each other and train and practice just how to bring the Kingdom and do all the things which Jesus commanded–heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, preach the Gospel.  And THEN I can do the work. But, I tell you what… I think I’m going to be sitting around for a long time if I keep waiting for someone to come a long to hold my pretty little hand through it.

God has already proven Himself to us. He has already proven Himself to me. Because of Jesus, the veil from the Temple is torn forever. We have access to the Father and He is willing and able to be our Almighty God. I think back to three yeas ago, when He pulled me out of the hole of death and lies that I had made for myself. When I have fallen, He has forgiven and comforted me. The same can be said for all of us in one way or another.  God is True and Jesus is Lord.

We have work to do, and I don’t want to let the voice of Doubt pipe up with its lies anymore. Let’s declare war on Doubt! Let’s declare war on lies! Let’s declare war on Fear of man, moderation, hesitation, and tentativeness! And let’s get fanatically faithful for our fantastic, fanatically faithful, Loving Father God!

I had this dream: There was a girl in an airport waiting room. She pulled out a tape recorder and a camera to record herself, and she started bashing the facility… complaining about everything that was set up wrong, or what could have been better.

Now, I’m no Joseph for dream interpretation… but there’s something here to ponder.
What would you do if everything you said was recorded to be reviewed by God? Would you change some of the things you say? Would you think twice before opening your mouth to complain? Especially when it comes to our brethren?

“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”–Matthew 12:36

God called all things into being through His Word.

We are made in God’s image.

Follow the logic there.

I’m not talking about some “the Secret”-tell-the-universe-what-you-want type of LIE. But, our words are important. Are we using them to glorify God or the enemy?

Let’s pay attention!

I’m kind of a foodie. No a big fan of junk food (not counting items from the French bakery, hehe). Anyway, a couple years ago, just before the conviction from the Holy Spirit to give my life to the Lord Jesus, I was starting to get into “raw food.” Well, it all made so much sense…. the horrible ingredients in processed foods… the benefit from the live enzymes… the detoxification… etc. I really enjoyed learning about how our health is so related to what we eat.

But, you know… I remechildren healthmber getting uncomfortable about all the talk about yoga, and “zen”, and “Mother Earth.” I left it alone for a while. Recently, I’ve been wanting to eat more healthy, as, in my everyday rush to feed the kids, change diapers, do laundry, etc., I’ve let my own food quality go to the wayside. So, I looked into raw food again. Who doesn’t want to eat “natural”?

Once again, though, I’m hearing things like, “the narrow road of raw”… “the kingdom of raw food”… “our bodies are OUR temples”.. world views, like “our closest relatives are primates”… even lifestyle advice, like, “men need to be in touch with their feminine side”… etc. I could go on and on about how raw food, or meditation, or living green… whatever…. can become our “answer” to what is wrong with this world. The point is, it really hit me how we can, too easily, turn something that is perfectly good on its own into our idol… our religion… our salvation.

You see, we all KNOW there is something wrong with this world! We KNOW things are not the way we are fed they are. We KNOW people are lulled into complacency, so they will live half-asleep. Only, the answer is not within ourselves.

Sorry, my dear raw foodies… no rawsome rawvolution will save the world, and it won’t save YOU. Because there REALLY IS something wrong with this world, and that is SIN. Sin separates us from God, who is True Life. Thus, we are separated, and living into death. It has been this way since the fall of Man. And it is only through His Son, Jesus Christ, that we can be reconciled unto God. Because He became flesh and lived among us; willingly took the punishment for sin that rightfully belonged to you and me, even though He was innocent and spotless; and He resurrected after 3 days, unto God’s Glory. Why? Because God so loved the world and all the people in it. Can you fathom this love for YOU?

Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for healthy eating. After all, it is our Good Father in Heaven who created nature and everything in it for our enjoyment, just because He is GOOD!  Is it even possible to eat a carrot, an orange, a coconut, a strawberry, a kale leaf…. without acknowledging that this delicious fare which we find in nature, that is perfectly suited to meet our nutritional needs, was designed by our Creator? Do you really, REALLY believe that all this fabulous, nourishing food just HAPPENED to show up on this planet? Really? Really???

If you are a raw foodist, I don’t need to tell you that life begets life. But what you need is the spring of Everlasting Life that only comes from Jesus Christ. If raw food is “your life,” it’s an idol you serve. If anything else besides the Lord Jesus is “your life,” it’s a idol you serve.  Yes, we should take care of our health–but your life is not in your hands. Eating healthy doesn’t guarantee you that you’ll live to 120.

 

Seek Jesus Christ.  HE ALONE has the power to save you and He LOVES you–you were made THROUGH Him… you’re part of His Creation. Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit. Only through His strength can you overcome this world. God is not against you. He is for you.

So, raise up that salad bowl and celebrate the living enzymes! But do it unto the glory of Jesus Christ, through whom all things were created.

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