Saturday, June 28, 2014

Giving Heed Unaware

This video is from some time back. I saw for the first time a few years ago. A lot of the references are quite old. The thing is, it's still a timely message.

Every time I watch this, I think of how we fall into listening to "doctrines of demons" only because we aren't being discerning. This is a good reminder for all of us to start paying more attention.



Kind of makes you realize that we need to think of our spiritual life the way we think about food we eat. We can eat a nutritious bowl of soup without realizing that there may be particles of poison or rat droppings added in - accidentally or on purpose. We have to start watching for the poison.

Peace

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Timely Reminder (from Psalms)

A buddy posted a Psalm on G+ today that I really need to keep in my heart. I will use both the NLT that she posted and the KJ version - both with my (underlined) emphasis:

I will sing of your love and justice, lord . I will praise you with songs. I will be careful to live a blameless life— when will you come to help me? I will lead a life of integrity in my own home. I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar. I hate all who deal crookedly; I will have nothing to do with them. I will reject perverse ideas and stay away from every evil. I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbors. I will not endure conceit and pride. I will search for faithful people to be my companions. Only those who are above reproach will be allowed to serve me. I will not allow deceivers to serve in my house, and liars will not stay in my presence. My daily task will be to ferret out the wicked and free the city of the lord from their grip. Psalms 101:1-8 NLT

I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O Lord, will I sing. I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person. Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer. Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me. He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight. I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the Lord. Psalms 101:1-8 KJV

Wow.

I am still working on so many of those things, but I am not as blind to my weaknesses as I was not many years ago. I am trying to see more of what has to be fixed in myself than in others. This reading was a right-on-time kind of thing. It reminds me that I am supposed to live my salvation as much as I proclaim it.

For so long, I was comfortable in my sins and failings. I'm not talking about before I was saved, but for a long time afterwards. And even, sometimes, right now. I learn that fire is hot from touching the flames. It's sad to admit, but I have always learned my best lessons by surviving something.

After reading this, I made a list of things I need to work on:

  • Not to look at someone who is hurting from the comfort of my own peace.
  • To think twice as much as I open my mouth to speak - especially when I am mad or hurt.
  • Learn to not only count my blessings but to also share them.
  • Stop making excuses for avoiding changes I need to make in my life.
  • Start doing the hardest things first.
  • Have more action than intentions.
Yeah, so I have some stuff to work on.

Peace

Monday, June 23, 2014

Listening & Hearing & Paying Attention

In the middle of this huge and sudden move that I am making, I had a conversation with my roommate. We were discussing how we need to learn to trust God when we are trying to make important decisions.

My roommate said that she is trying to learn to hear God's voice in her life. She feels that it's hard to hear Him. I could only share what I have learned about listening for, hearing, and paying attention to God's voice. For me, they are three different scenarios.

Often times, when I am faced with a situation in my life, I will pray until I realize I don't want the right answer. What I usually want is the easy answer. In other words, I want what I want instead of what God wants for me. The right answers usually require my obedience in ways that I want to avoid.

When I got sick, I prayed for God's healing and guidance. Of course, part of my healing included taking the prescribed medicines and giving up some of my bad habits. I was like the You Tube character, Sweet Brown: "I ain't trying to hear that!"

Of course, I did finally listen and really hear what God was telling me. I paid attention and took the medicine that fought my sarcoidosis (but made me fat and sad); changed my diet (from fast and fried to greener and more nutritious); started getting more exercise (even though I had to join a gym to get through the winter months); and quit smoking a cigarettes (that I craved and would risk going into debt to buy).

It took months for the healing to began and, though I'm not out of the woods yet, I'm better than anyone expected so far.

In every single situation where I've followed my own voice, I've only found trouble - in relationships, finances and life in general. It's taken me years to figure out what I had been doing wrong: trying to build my own bridges and doorways.

In the past few years, I've gotten better at walking in faith. I no longer look at most problems without praying about them. And, when I pray, I try to listen for the right answers over the easiest ones.

While my roommate and I were having this conversation, I didn't have to heart to point out to her the most recent evidence of God making a way for me. Two Bible verses immediately came to mind:

First -
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11
And then -
 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
See, I would never be moving and getting an opportunity for a healthier and more affordable lifestyle if it wasn't for my roommate's temper. She got upset one day and said some things that were hurtful and caused us to end our co-living arrangement.

The thing that bothered me most was that I had been unhappy with our living situation for months, but didn't want to move out and leave her in a financial bind. I had put up with what looked like an ambush to my healthy changes; a lack of cleanliness and concern about the appearance of the home; and a few things I won't mention. I basically ended up paying half the rent to live in my bedroom.  Then, when we had our spat, she didn't consider the position she was putting me into with no warning. Or maybe she did. She's not a mean person at heart, so I think it was more of a temper tantrum/take my ball and go home thing. At any rate, it added a lot of anxiety at a time when I had so many other things to worry about. I was already sick and the stress made things worse.

Once again, God took something meant for harm and turned it into a blessing. I'm glad that I am learning to listen to His voice.

(This is a song I'm listening to today. I hope you enjoy it):

"I Call Him Love" by Kathy Troccoli
(Today, I call Him "Answers")

Peace

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Tribulation

I was watching a set of old videos of the late Dr. Walter Martin wherein he teaches on the post-tribulation rapture.

All my life, I was taught the pre-tribulation theory. To be honest, I'd rather that theory be true but, after some study, I am leaning towards the post-trib teachings. It's not just my recent Bible studies that are leading my in this direction, but it's also from personal experience with the current world society.

I truly believe that every Christian, at some point in their life, will go through a sort of personal tribulation. I'm talking about the persecution and suffering that we have to endure just for our beliefs. Maybe I am being dramatic, but look at what we Christians right here in the western world have to face almost every day:

  • If we say that we are against homosexuality, adultery, or other social lifestyle sins, we stand to be cast out by friends and family and society in general. Look at what happened to the guy from "Duck Dynasty".
  • Maya Angelou died today. What do you think would happen if anyone questioned the contrast in her new age beliefs with her claimed Christianity?
  • When we point out all the sin that's around us (and accepted by society in general), we are thought to be hysterical, nagging, un-Christ-like. You know, because the same Christ who taught against sin must love everyone. Yes, he loves everyone, but he hates their sins.
  • Because there are unrepentant sinners (and sometimes just plain liars) in our pulpits and congregations, we are told we are all fake. Some people even use these false Christians to "prove" that Christianity itself is false.
There are the extreme cases of persecution that we can read about in the news, like the woman in the Sudan who is being targeted because of her conversion to Christianity. My point here is that, besides the extreme examples, there are many cases of believers who are having to fight battles that don't often make the news.

We live in a time of many false prophets and wolves in sheep's' clothing. 

I used to wonder about the verse in Matthew 24:24 -
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
How, I wondered, could everyone risk being deceived? Then I thought of the Boiling Frog Syndrome:

The boiling frog story is a widespread anecdote describing a frog slowly being boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death.

Every day a Christian lives on this earth, he lives in danger of tribulation.

Dr. Martin made a beautiful point about the pre-trib/post-trib debate among Christians. He reminds us that while we are arguing over when Jesus is coming back, the important message is that he is coming back. Amen to that.

Here are the videos:









 Peace

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Piercing the Darkness?

Years ago, I read two novels by Frank E. Peretti: "Piercing the Darkness" and "This Present Darkness".

The other day, a story in the UK Daily Mail caught my eye that flashed me back to "Piercing the Darkness". (And, yes, I know the Daily Mail is a "trash rag", but it does reflect current society.)

Via Wikipedia, here is a summary of the novel:
It follows the journey of Sally Beth Roe as she tries to escape her past and slowly overcomes her constant struggle to discern the Truth. Also told is the story of another small town, similar to that of This Present Darkness and called Bacon's Corner, and a resident named Tom Harris. His kids are ripped from his home by Child Services. Seeming to have no connection with other events at first, a young police officer, Ben Cole, is convinced what is being brushed off as a suicide is actually a murder, and ends up losing his job over the issue... which brings him to the side of the embattled Christian school. Caught in the crossfire is a little girl who's been forced into a curriculum of "meditation techniques" and "inner spiritual guides" that control her moods, attitudes, and actions, the little Amber Brandon, and her mother Lucy who realizes this lawsuit and the people who are "helping" her may be much, much more than she bargained for. Before the paths that Sally Roe and Tom Harris [and the others] are on collide, the Ashton Clarion editor and his wife, Marshall and Kate Hogan (from This Present Darkness), make a return appearance as veteran fighters in this war against the powers of darkness that threaten freedom of religion everywhere. As the story unfolds, the lawsuit and its participants are soon locked in a struggle of ethics versus non-ethics, absolutes versus relativism, right versus wrong, and those with interest in this battle are shown to be even in the highest places of government.
Here is a piecemeal-summary of what Daily Mail, USA Today, NY Daily News, and CBS (local) says about what allegedly happened to some girls in Connecticut:
  • High school teachers recruited students into a "cult". The students "started acting differently while attending the school, becoming "secretive," "reclusive," and "distant"; having "fantasies of suicidal ideation and martyrdom"; speaking in a strange language; and gathering at Wellesley College in Massachusetts with other girls to perform religious "whirling dervish" dances through the night.
  •  There is a lawsuit ongoing which claims that Mastoloni (one of the teachers) and her peers taught: “… students religion and pseudoscience. Specifically, she taught her students to believe in superstition, magic, and a non-scientific, anti-intellectual worldview. She would discuss spirituality, numerology, astrology, dreams, mysticism, looking for ‘signs,’ angels, symbols, ‘synchronicity,’ ‘negativity,’ ‘seeking the truth’ and death. All of those topics are religious in nature, and none of those topics are included in the Avon School District curriculum.”
While I was reading the new stories, I kept thinking to myself that all this is going on while most schools are fighting tooth and  nail to make sure that Christian activities are kept out of schools.
That this kind of thing happened doesn't really surprise me. This instance is just a more blatant form of what's been going on in schools (and even some churches) as people accept anything but Christianity.

Yoga (which I posted about the other day) is one way that some of this dangerous religious doctrine is sliding into the educational system and churches. Christians get soothed and lulled by the dangerous and seemingly rational persuasion of things like this article on Yoga in public schools posted on "Teaching Tolerance". Anyone arguing against wanting the "benefits" of Yoga listed there would look like a crazy, raving, intolerant maniac instead of what they really are: a Christian who has been commanded not to dabble in other religions.

And do please notice that that "Teaching Tolerance" is a project under the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC is historically linked with poor people and minorities. I have come to notice how society often tries to link the issues of the poor and/or minority to any other group fighting for acceptance. For instance, whenever Christians who are poor or of a racial minority speak out against homosexuality, we are reminded of how we suffered under intolerance. I have two things to say to that: 1) The God I serve is not intolerant of color or race, He is intolerant to sin; and 2) As a Christian, I am suffer under as much intolerance now for my religion as my ancestors did for their color and race.

At any rate, this story of what went on in this one case is only news because of the lawsuit. Yoga, meditation, and other "religious" practices are going on in public schools everywhere. Except for Christian religious practices because, well, that just won't be tolerated.

I need to find out whatever happened in the case of this case in California dealing with Yoga being taught in schools. Maybe this is what happened. Someone at the LA Times had this viewpoint about it.

Mr. Peretti's books were fiction novels (written a while back) but, in my opinion, they are based on what really is happening all around us today.

I happened to see a graphic that is fitting to end this post with:
The general public average Christians doesn't know...
Peace