Leslie A

Beware the Bridgers (revised)

Imagine you are building a house. You have carefully chosen your builder based on referrals, reviews, and personal interviews. During the project, your builder recommends and uses different subcontractors to finish the house. You do not know anything about these subcontractors but you trust them because you trust your builder.

Your builder is a bridger. He is bridging you to the services of someone else that you don’t know, have never heard of, but will choose to trust because of his recommendation.

Now if he is connecting you with a subcontractor that is dishonest or unqualified, you will find this intolerable and demand a change be made. I doubt you would be satisfied to allow the poor work to continue on the house in which you are investing so much time and money.

I’d like to submit to you that growing in Christ is just a tiny bit similar to building a house. We are intentionally trying to grow spiritually and we choose “builders” (preachers, teachers, authors, etc) to help us with this. Along the way, those builders recommend other subcontractors (or builders). We choose to trust because of the recommendations of our favorite “builders”.

For example, if I see that my favorite author is favorably quoting another author in a book I am reading, I will naturally think that quoted author is someone I can trust. Why else would he be quoted?

Or if my favorite preacher is hanging out with other preachers, I will naturally assume that they are trustworthy preachers. I can hardly expect someone of integrity and truth to “hang out” with those who just don’t care very much about either.

But what seems so cut and dried in the physical world (builder-subcontractor-dismiss if they don’t do a good job), gets very sticky and complicated in the spiritual world.

There are so many “solid” spiritual leaders that are bridging their followers to those who are deceptive and unqualified. It’s been a very interesting dynamic to watch, particularly over the past thirty years or so (although the beginnings of this go back way earlier.)

I have watched men and women I trust recommend and join with word-of-faith preachers (which preach a false gospel), Bethel and Hillsong (which are fatally compromised and without the gospel), social justice warriors (which preach a social gospel), and all sorts of other compromised and spiritually twisted leaders. I have seen them recommend and join with false religious leaders that preach a gospel that demands works (Catholicism, Mormonism, etc.) and call it “unity”.

These people are functioning as bridgers. They are giving validity to false religion and false teaching, bridging you to a different way of thinking, even changing how you think—probably without you even realizing it.

So you may be thinking: That’s all well and fine but what is your scriptural basis for what you are saying? Does it really even matter?

I’m so glad you asked! Let’s turn to scripture to explore this specifically.

There is a small verse in Romans 16 that I find many Christians are simply ignoring. Paul is ending his letter with loving greetings to specific people of the Roman church. And then he gives these instructions to the church in verse 17–

Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.

Here Paul makes it abundantly clear that we are to have nothing to do with those who would preach anything contrary to the “doctrine which you have learned”. I think we could easily say this means anything contrary to the Holy Scriptures.

Let’s turn to one more passage but, first, let’s talk about darkness and light from a spiritual perspective. In His Word, God tells us that we once walked in darkness but are now in marvelous light. How did we end up in that marvelous light? Let’s go to I Peter 2:9-10 to find out–

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

God called us. He called us out of the darkness and into his marvelous light. There is a vast difference between walking in darkness and walking in light. Now, let’s go to Ephesians 5, where Paul talks a bit more about this idea in verses 8-11–

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the [b]Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather [c]expose them.

Again, we are told not only to have no fellowship with those who walk in darkness (which most certainly would include those who preach a false Gospel, teach heresy, etc.) but to actually go a step further and expose them.

Now compare these scriptures to what you see happening in those who I will call “platformed Christians”. These men and women have a grave responsibility to lead their followers circumspectly and to lead them away from (rather than toward) false teachers and heretics. And, yet, is that what we are seeing? I’d suggest we are seeing the very opposite of this. Not only are we seeing these platformed Christians bridging believers to those who preach a different gospel, but we see those same believers refusing to acknowledge the dishonesty and lack of qualification of these false teachers. Their spiritual welfare is being undermined and so few seem to care. Instead of saying “halt the work”, they are embracing these false teachers recommended by the men and women they trust.

I’ll give you one clear (and rather extreme) example before I wrap up. Several years ago now, I heard R.C. Sproul in an interview. I had a fairly decent view of this guy going into this interview and had appreciated some of his writing. However, in this interview he talked favorably of Alice Cooper. Now, I grew up in the days when this rocker was known for his satanic and disturbing concerts. Sproul claimed that Cooper had changed and was now saved. I was surprised but took him at his word. However, something inside me needed to know and I started researching. It didn’t take me long. Cooper’s own website showed that he most definitely had not made any changes in his life.

This is one of the most disturbing partnerships I have ever witnessed (even to this day, I am so disturbed by this and can hardly stomach hearing the name of Sproul). Why would Sproul speak positively of a satanic rocker who was still satanically “rocking”? I will honestly never know. But can you see how Sproul assuring us that he is a “brother in Christ” gives him validity in the eyes of Sproul’s followers?

There are a plethora of much less obvious (and, therefore, often more dangerous) bridgers who are busily at work leading their followers astray by their partnerships, recommendations, and connections.

We each need to personally decide how we handle these bridgers. I am not here to tell you to never read or listen to them (although that is generally my own personal response). I am not here to tell you what to do. I am simply warning you that it is happening. And that we must beware these bridgers.

How do we do this?

We pay attention. We pay attention to who our favorite speakers and authors are partnering with in conferences. We pay attention to who they are quoting. We pay attention and we research.

However you decide to respond to a bridger, I hope that it will lead you to trust that person just a little less. At best, they are completely ignoring God’s Word in a very important area. At worst, they are intentionally, if subtly, leading their followers astray. Either way, they are either ignorant of the scriptures they are supposed to be so well versed in or they are nefarious in their purpose. Neither option is great, is it?

Bridgers are here to stay. This has become a popular thing to do, under the guise of unity. But this is not and can never be true unity. Jesus tells us He is the way, the truth, the life. True unity only comes when we are united in the true Gospel, which is the person of Jesus Christ and His work on the cross. Any teacher that adds to, takes away, or otherwise changes the Gospel must be avoided.

So please beware the bridgers. They are everywhere now. And, in fact, I would venture to say that most platformed Christians function as bridgers. View this as a red flag and keep your eyes open.

 

Please note: Everyone makes mistakes and sometimes point people a direction they later find out was wrong. I myself have done that. Watch for patterns and long-time connections. And watch for those partnerships with those that are so obviously heretical and false. And then give a bit of grace to those who may just not know and simply watch and be aware. Because we can all be deceived at some level. The key is to be willing to admit it and then make changes.

 

And another note: A few hours after I wrote this I received a very insightful comment from a reader that I believe is very important and needs to be included in this post. Here’s what he said–

Noteworthy is that if a subcontractor messes up or is just bad, the contractor is responsible nonetheless.  Also, my favorite go-to verse on this is 2 John vs 10-11.  We are not to greet false teachers or even invite them into our home– or you, in fact, share in their evil deeds.  I would elaborate on this and explain it that if people see you greeting them and even inviting them into your home, they assume the person is okay.

I believe that what he says is absolutely true and I wish I would have thought of these things myself! We must remember that 1) We most certainly are responsible for who we lead people to (which means we should take it very seriously before promoting anyone) and 2) We shouldn’t even greet or invite someone into our home who does not share our doctrine (again, this is the Gospel and the key doctrines that make up biblical faith). Please keep in mind that the reference here is regarding those who claim to be of the faith but actually and clearly aren’t.

 

Responding to Critics and Attackers

When one starts publicly comparing the current Christian world to what the Bible teaches, all kinds of criticisms and attacks accompany it. Whether it’s on a blogging platform, in a church business meeting, on social media, or in a weeknight Bible Study, there is always someone who will be offended if you point out that someone or something is false or compromised when compared to scripture.

Why do Christians have such a hard time seeing these false teachers and the false doctrines they are promoting? I personally believe it is because they are not in the Word, studying to understand it with humility and submission to it. It is truly and LITERALLY our ONLY protection against deception. I believe that most who claim to be Christians are actually not reading and studying the Word. I also believe another reason is PRIDE. The unwillingness to admit we were wrong about something or someone is difficult for all of us.

There are a few types of attackers–

The Condescending One— these are difficult because they are so very judgy and think they know so much more than you do (which they might). They have a very high opinion of their opinions and refuse to even contemplate anything you say. There is no possibility for even a thoughtful discussion because, in their mind, there is nothing to discuss.

The Mean One— these are the ones who call you judgy while calling you names and judging you. It would almost be funny if it wasn’t so tragic. They are hypocrites at the highest level but, truly, they can’t even see it. They are blinded in their false philosophies and hatred for anyone who doesn’t agree with them. It doesn’t matter how lovingly you state the truth, they hate the truth. And they hate you for speaking it.

The Diverting One -these are generally genuine believers who claim to believe the Bible is true. They can’t respond to the biblical argument you are presenting so they change the subject and try to get you off topic.

The “Holy” One–these are the ones that claim that God showed them that you are the wrong one. They will say they heard His voice or that He led them to a special song or conversation that “proved” you are wrong. Instead of the Word, these people rely on experiences to determine their truth.

The “Attack the Messenger” One–these also tend to be genuine believers and, when they can’t answer the biblical argument, they just start attacking you personally. They call you names and make painful remarks. Sometimes they even gossip about you or slander you.

The Silent One— these are the toughest and contain the largest group of our critics. These are the ones who will never say a word but just disappear because they don’t agree. They won’t even be willing to have the discussion and they hate conflict so they just disappear.

Oftentimes, our critics are a combination of these listed above. If you speak up about the truth with regularity, I’d rather guess that you have experienced all of those mentioned. It can be very painful–especially when coming from fellow believers.

But this will be the price we pay for speaking the truth. We must prepare ourselves, praying for courage and boldness to speak up in a time when speaking the truth is vilified by the world and the church. (There’s a reason for this. This belief that speaking negatively is an unloving and unchristian thing to do didn’t just happen. It was a very intentional thing that started many years ago and has finally reached it’s peak. It’s a stunning and shocking thing to research this belief that we should only “speak the positive” historically. It’s so clearly not of God.)

So for those of you who are brave enough to stand for the truth, in spite of the darts and arrows that come your way, let’s talk a bit today about how we best handle it. No matter the type of attacker or critic, I have been learning some things we should always do if we want to handle this in a way that is honoring to God. (And–just to be clear–I don’t have this down. In fact, I am not even close. I am still working on this and praying to grow in this area of responding to my critics and attackers.)

Here are six things we should each consider when responding–

1. Give time to prayer before responding. I have to confess that I am learning this from a dear friend. She has been experiencing a bit of kickback regarding something and, instead of responding immediately, she took a few days to pray about how best to respond. I do this sometimes but in watching her respond to these attackers, I realized that I need to do this all the time. Before I ever open my mouth or put my finger on a key, I need to pray. Pray for wisdom, pray for the person who is attacking me, pray for help in loving that person instead of being angry at them.

2. Give humble and honest evaluation to what they are saying. Does their comment or thought have any merit at all? Oftentimes, at least in my case, I won’t post something until I am 100% sure regarding the compromise and there is no doubt that this person or doctrine is false. That being said, I did learn a hard lesson years ago when I posted something on social media without knowing the whole story. That was a good lesson for me. I was even more thorough after that mistake. But, even in my carefulness, it is important to take their words seriously and evaluate them rather than getting all worked up and defensive. We must remember that we can easily be rendered ineffective if we get all worked up and refuse to listen to their side of the discussion before responding in a thoughtful, loving manner.

3. Point them to the Bible. Seriously. I can’t say this enough. My opinion doesn’t matter. Your opinion doesn’t matter. Every argument needs to be defended using the Word of God. If it can’t be, then just stop arguing. I realize that this can get confusing because people twist and warp the Word to suit their own lusts and desires. Something that has been super helpful to me regarding this particular thing is 2 Thessalonians 2:15–

Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught,

whether by word or our epistle.

 

This reminds me that if the (true) church taught something for 2000 years, it didn’t just change ten or twenty or fifty years ago. If someone is trying to twist scripture to match this current (debased) culture, you can be sure they are not speaking the truth. While there have always been attacks on the Bible, our biblical understanding of doctrine has remained pretty stable within the genuine church for thousands of years. It’s only recently (last 100-200 years) that these attacks started in earnest on the Word and the traditional beliefs regarding the Word and its interpretation.

4. Respond lovingly and firmly and gently and humbly. We cannot be responsible for how people respond to us but we are most definitely responsible for how we respond to them. We must do so in a way that honors our heavenly Father.

5. Know when to walk away. We live in a culture of debate. Everyone wants to tell people their opinion. There is a lot of anger and ugliness when this happens. People no longer are willing to agree to disagree. Even in my own church, there are people who set themselves up as my enemy simply because I don’t agree with them (nothing breaks my heart more than this.) We must stand out as different in this area. We must point people to the Word and then, if they are unwilling to have a thoughtful discussion, we must walk away. Not only must we walk away but we must walk away without grudges, without bitterness, and without anger. We must walk away with love, with prayer, and with forgiveness in our hearts.

6. Recognize that it is the Holy Spirit who changes people’s hearts and minds. It’s such a relief to know that I don’t have to change any minds or hearts. I just speak the truth and then let the Holy Spirit do the rest. We can’t change a mind. And so we speak up and then we pray for that person.

____________________________________

This is a tall order. We are all naturally defensive, prideful people. Only the Holy Spirit can make these things possible. Only the Holy Spirit can ensure that we do this the right way. If we rely on our own “intelligence” and methods, we will fail every time. (I am personally familiar with failure of this nature!)

Oh, my friends, don’t get discouraged. IF people are persecuting you, know that they persecuted Jesus before you. IF they are upset with you, know that we can and should expect it. IF you are 100% committed to God and His Word, taking the time to meditate and study what He has told us in His Word while humbly desiring to submit and obey everything within its pages, and this is happening to you, then these attacks are simply proof that you are on the straight and narrow road of LIFE.

Keep your heads up! You are not alone! And one of these days, the battle will be done and we will be together in heaven!

 

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be

compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Romans 8:18

 

 

A Warning: Sean Feucht

There are two sides to what is happening right now. I’ve warned you of both because both the Great Reset side and the Great Awakening side are clearly NOT movements of God. We can know this only one way and that is through evaluating what is taking place through the lens of scripture. One is harder to discern because it uses biblical terms and throws Jesus’s name around as if He approves of what they are doing. Let me assure you, He does not. I know this only because what they are saying, teaching, and who they are joining up with just doesn’t align with the Word of God. And, again, I want to mention here the Bible is our only anchor. Without immersing ourselves in it and knowing it, we will grow confused and we will be deceived. Hang on to the Word of God as if your life depends on it. Because your spiritual life does depend on it.

One of the leaders of the Great Awakening side of things is a guy by the name of Sean Feucht. If you’ve been paying attention to this movement at all you will recognize his name. If you haven’t, then he may be unfamiliar to you. I first became familiar with him when, last year, an acquaintance mentioned she was going to one of his gatherings. I researched him a bit and knew that something was off right away.

Because he continues to grow in popularity, my daughter, Jess, decided to feature Mr. Feucht on her “Warning Wednesday” over at Anchor for the Soul (find on Facebook here and on Instagram here.) Because it’s hard to find information on those platforms, I am also sharing what she wrote here on the blog where it can be linked to, shared, printed, and filed.

Hope you find this helpful as you search out what is truth in a world that is overcome by falsehood. Here’s what Jess discovered about Sean Feaucht–

Sean Feucht (pronounced Foyt) is an up and coming leader and celebrity in mainstream Christianity. If you haven’t heard of him, I’m sure you will in the near future. He is an alumnus of the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry and a worship leader at Bethel Church in Redding. He is the founder of Burn 24-7- “a global worship and prayer movement” and Hold the Line- “a movement seeking to rally the church to vote and stand up for causes of righteousness and justice in the governmental area.” He is currently on a “Let Us Worship” tour to various cities in the US. These events are supposedly worship sessions that bring miracles, healing, and revival.

So why am I warning you about him? In a dark world where most want nothing to do with the things of the Lord, isn’t it good that people are attending these worship sessions and supposedly getting saved? Well, no. Because the Lord requires us to do things His way. We have to worship His way. We need to share the gospel His way. We have to look at miracles, healing, the Holy Spirit, God’s presence, and revival through the lens of Scripture. So let’s look at the ways Sean instead does things his own way and in complete opposition to the word of God.

𝐇𝐞 𝐩𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐭𝐨𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐥𝐯𝐞𝐬. Sean Feucht calls people like Beni and Bill Johnson of Bethel his spiritual parents and Mike Bickle of IHOP his hero. He has ministered alongside other false teachers such as Shawn Bolz, Cindy Jacobs, Lou Engle, and Kris Vallotton. If Sean Feucht adhered to Bible Christianity, he would not be pointing his followers toward these blatantly false teachers and movements.

“He that is not zealous against error is not likely to be zealous for the truth.” – JC Ryle

𝐇𝐞 𝐠𝐞𝐭𝐬 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐩 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐞𝐭𝐞𝐥𝐲 𝐰𝐫𝐨𝐧𝐠. Sean bases his ideology on worship on passages from 1 Samuel 16:1, Amos 9:11, and Acts 15:16. In Samuel, Saul was troubled by a distressing spirit and David was called into Saul’s presence to play his harp. The distressing spirit departed whenever David played. Amos 9:11 is a prophesy about the restoration of the tabernacle of David, when the Messiah will personally reign over the nations upon the Throne of David during the Millennium. Acts 15:16 quotes the the prophecy from Amos. Sean twists the meaning of these passages to fit his own misconstrued idea of worship.

He wrongly assumes from the passage in Samuel that David “changed the atmosphere” over Saul when he played. He recently posted: “I felt this SO STRONG yesterday. The Davidic worshippers were playing…and you could literally feel fear, heaviness and oppression falling off people in that moment!⁣ ⁣Could this be the hour the worshippers and musicians were born for? Is this our hour to write, play, sing and create sounds like David did that changed the atmosphere over Saul? ⁣I SAY ITS ON!”

Sean then reads extra-biblical meaning into the prophecy in Amos and Acts. He claims his worship movement is a direct Biblical fulfillment of the restoration of David’s tabernacle. God “told” Sean that worship will unlock the key to revival in this country. Apparently that revival will come through a kind of restored worship that purportedly occurred in the tabernacle of David.

Beyond the fact that his interpretation of these passages is flat-out wrong, the repercussions of this type of teaching is dangerous and far-reaching. He (and other charismatic leaders like him) believe that worship actually accomplishes something in the spirit world. Rather than worship directed to God simply to express praise, Davidic worship is practiced in order to produce a so-called spiritual effect. It attracts God’s presence and therefore results in manifestations of His power- miracles, healing, and the immediate deliverance from demonic oppression and addictions.

This is NOT worship according to the Bible. God is always present with His children. The Holy Spirit dwells in us. We have no need to pursue His presence. Worship does not unleash some kind of power for miracles and healing and other nonsense. God will heal according to His will. He breaks down the power of sin through the Gospel and transforms lives through the power of His Word, not through some sort of hours long worship service.

𝐇𝐢𝐬 𝐦𝐞𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐬𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐠𝐨𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐥 𝐢𝐬 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐰𝐫𝐨𝐧𝐠. Apparently the gospel is shared at these worship events. That’s good, right? But here’s the thing. God’s Word is clear on the way we are to share the gospel: through the preaching of His word and the Holy Spirit working in the hearts of those He calls. I watched one video of an altar call at his worship event and it was all I could stomach.

It was all emotional manipulation. I saw the leaders on stage singing and shouting and jumping around. They counted to 3 then yelled at the crowd “runnnn! come down, come down, come down!” over and over as swarms of people ran to the altar to be saved or healed or delivered. The leaders shout that these people are being delivered from their oppression and addictive behaviors miraculously and instantaneously. They lead them in a quick and simple salvation prayer. They state that thousands of people are saved at each event. It’s revival! But is it?

True saving faith doesn’t occur as a result of emotional manipulation from people shouting, jumping around, and playing music that makes everyone feel some spiritual high. None of that is from God. It results in most of those people saying a prayer or having some type of spiritual experience and then walking away thinking they’re headed for heaven when in reality they’re still headed straight for hell. Did they repent? Did they realize they’re sinners? Did they hear the full and complete Gospel? Were they reminded (as Jesus, Paul, Peter, and James and so many others reminded people over and over again) that the gospel will cost them? That Jesus didn’t come to fulfill their dreams and make them happy? Before these people go home, are they connected to a church that will disciple them and help them to grow? The answer is no.

𝐇𝐞 𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐬 𝐚 𝐰𝐫𝐨𝐧𝐠 𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰 𝐨𝐟 𝐫𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐯𝐚𝐥 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐀𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐜𝐚. Sean is convinced that revival is coming to the United States. He claims that Donald Trump is the Christian leader that will bring America back to its Christian roots and purpose. He believes in the “7 mountain mandate” – the idea that the church will take over the various realms of the Earth and bring heaven down. Government is one of those realms. And so he’s patriotic and conservative and anti-leftist, anti-woke, and anti-government oppression. He’s attracting lots of people from the right side because of this stance. But he completely ignores what the Bible says about the last days and the return of Christ. It’s not fun to say, friends, but we shouldn’t be expecting some great end time revival or for things to be looking increasingly better. Heaven isn’t coming to Earth. It’s not what the Bible predicts. Can the Lord save souls in a revival during this time? Absolutely. He can do whatever He wants. But it will be with the true Gospel and through His prescribed method. And it will likely never be a revival of the masses because He promises the way is narrow, unpopular, and that there are only few who find it.

I could go on but those are the main reasons I’d warn you stay far away from Sean Feucht and anyone like him. These worship movements aren’t harmless. God isn’t in heaven just waiting for a worship event to manifest His power. They are simply giving people a spiritual experience- one that leaves them feeling good for a moment but leaves them trapped in sin. Stand on His Word, my friends. Compare everyone and everything to its standard. As the christian world gets crazier and crazier, it is truly our only anchor.

 

 

What Color Is Your Sky?

If I tell you the sky is blue on a bright summer day, you will probably agree. But there may be some out there who simply disagree. In their world the sky is purple or pink or chartreuse. Years ago, we would have recognized that this is a wrong answer. But now, we are supposed to give credence to any answer. No one is wrong. In fact, the greatest sin you can commit is to tell someone they are wrong.

We can see how this belief that there is no absolute truth has eroded the culture to a point of what I believe to be no return. The world we live in and the world that is our future (if the Lord tarries) will not be the world we grew up in. That is becoming clearer every day in a myriad of ways.

But this belief is also eroding the church. We can see this when someone points out error according to scripture and the messenger is attacked rather than the error dealt with. In the minds of most Christians, which have been molded to worldly thinking, it is more wrong to point out the error than the error itself. This response happens so often to those who stand for the truth and there is so rarely support or defense from even like-minded Christians, that eventually those who speak up often lose courage and just stop. The attacks are just too painful to bear alone.

And so I want to address this problem from both sides today. From the side of the hearer, as well as from the side of the speaker of the truth. How should this actually work from a biblical standpoint? Both sides have responsibilities if the Church (all believers) is to function well. And all of us should find ourselves on both sides on occasion. (May we never be found only a hearer or only a speaker. That right there will lead to serious dysfunction within the church body.)

According to scripture the hearer has some responsibilities–

➊ We are to test all things. No matter what it is, we are to test it and determine if it is true or false (I Thessalonians 5:21).

➋ We are to avoid those who teach a doctrine contrary to what we have learned; we are to abandon anyone who would not be teaching the truth (Romans 16:17).

➌ We are to recognize that there is but one true Gospel and that, sadly, many are trying to pervert that Gospel, yielding a multitude of false gospels. We must keep our eyes open and be a bit of a skeptic when something is called “Christian” (Galatians 1:6-11).

➍ We are to compare all things to scripture, following the example laid out for us in scripture by the Bereans (Acts 17:11).

➎ We are to be humble and teachable and willing to hear what someone has to say before getting defensive (I Peter 5:5).

➏ We are to recognize that God gave some the gift of discernment –literally the ability to distinguish between the spirits– as a gift to the Church; we should be thankful for this gift and pay attention when they are brave enough to speak up (I Corinthians 12:10).

➐ We are to be kind and loving to the speaker, even when we don’t agree with them. A Christian sibling speaking something we don’t like or don’t agree with is not our enemy (I Corinthians 13:4-7).

➑ We must recognize that it is our duty to protect the truth and that sometimes we must call out and break from those who call themselves a part of us when they show themselves to be wolves in sheep’s clothing; not all who claim to be Christ’s are genuine (I John 2:19, Ephesians 5:11, 2 Corinthians 11:14).

➒ Even if we don’t feel knowledgeable or brave enough to speak up ourselves, we should offer support to those who are; we must love and protect and support our brothers and sisters in Christ who stand for what is right (I Peter 1:22).

 

According to scripture, the speaker of the truth also has some important things to consider before we ever open our mouths (or set our fingers to typing)–

➊ We must be humble and teachable and, in fact, even more so as we try to correct or call out those who are in opposition to the truth (2 Timothy 2:25).

➋ When addressing false doctrine and false teachers, we must stick to the facts of actions and words, rather than attacking the person of whom we are speaking (Titus 3:2).

➌ We must acknowledge that we don’t know everything (this goes back to being humble but it is SO important that it bears repeating). We dare not be wise in our own opinions. Arrogance is just…ugly (Romans 12:16).

➍ These things that God has opened our eyes to should break our hearts. We must have so much grace for others, constantly remembering our own sinful hearts and always remembering that “but for the grace of God, go I”! (I Corinthians 15:10).

➎ We must speak and act in love always, understanding that if we speak up without love we are like sounding brass or a clanging cymbal (I Corinthians 13:1-3).

➏ We are to love those who just can’t see. Those who are blinded and have set themselves up as our enemies. The saddest thing of all is when these come from within our local churches and sometimes even our families. The pain of this can be almost unbearable sometimes and yet we must choose to love (Matthew 5:43-44).

➐ We must forgive. We dare not grow bitter or hold a grudge against someone who has treated us unkindly or condescendingly. This will yield very bad fruit–not only in our personal lives but also within the church body (Matthew 6:14-15).

➑ We must continue to pray steadfastly. Praying that God would open the eyes of those who are blind (recognizing that He is the only one who can!); praying that He would give us wisdom when to speak and when to just keep quiet; praying that He would give us love for others that supersedes their treatment of us; praying for courage and boldness and fortitude to say what others are too fearful to say (Colossians 4:2).

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We are ALL either hearers or speakers of the truth. Ideally, we are both of these things at various times. May we both hear and speak as scripture would have us do so. The world would tell us to get angry at and ugly with those with whom we disagree. It would tell us to speak up indiscriminately and without forethought. Basically, the world would have us do both things all wrong. We can see this all around us–on social media, by the water cooler at work, on the sidelines of athletic events, and anyplace the world hangs out.

If the world is doing it one way, we will want to do it another way. And that way is found in the Bible –where we can find clear principles for both hearing and speaking that will pave the way to purify, build up, and unify the Body of Christ.

 

P.S. The sky IS blue on a bright summer day. 2+2 always equals 4. And all babies are born as a girl or as a boy. Let’s not get caught up in the lie that there are no absolutes. It is a deadly lie that has many casualties. But that’s a post for another day…

 

 

Must We Defend the Bible?

A few weeks ago, my youngest daughter, Marissa, casually mentioned that she had had to write a blog post for a school assignment. While this young woman is artistic, she tends to use a paintbrush rather than a pen to express herself (She recently opened an Etsy store, which you can find here). But I have to confess that, after reading what she wrote, I can’t help but wonder if she may end up as a writer, as well.

I believe what she wrote for her school assignment is an important message that believers need to hear. We can get so mixed up by the noise and cacophony that comes at us from all directions and sometimes we lose our perspective. This short post reminds us of some very important truths. I hope it serves as a wonderful reminder and an encouragement, too.

Here is what she wrote–

Do science and the Bible go hand in hand? Must we have science to believe in Scripture? Must we use science to give proof for the Scriptures? These are all questions that have come into discussion in recent times. There has been a scientific push in this day and age. Everything must be be “fact based.”

I contend that the answer to the questions above is an absolute no. This is an unpopular stance to take. However, let me give my reasoning before you discount my claim.

#1) God never needs man to achieve His purposes. While God can use His people and circumstances to reach a soul, He is never dependent on them. The Holy Spirit can change a heart and give faith as He wills and pleases. To say that an individual needs to know the proof of the Scriptures before they can place their faith in the Bible, is giving absolute discredit to God’s power.

#2) Humans are fallen. This intrinsically means that science is fallen. There have been numerous scientific claims that were proven false years down the road. Pharmaceutical companies give false information for the sake of money. Governments make false claims for the sake of their own agendas. News companies spin stories to receive the reaction they want. As long as sin remains on this earth, science will inherently fail. Why should we rely on misinformation from secular sources to prove the Bible given from a holy and perfect God?

#3) The element of faith. Salvation has never been about knowledge. A person coming to faith doesn’t need to know how the creation is backed up by science before they make their decision. They choose to follow Christ based on faith. They choose to follow Christ because they understand the Gospel and its message. To say that science is needed cheapens the Gospel.

#4) The danger of pride. When we say that science is needed to prove Scripture, there is a larger emphasis on man’s knowledge than on God’s Word. Suddenly, humans have the responsibility to prove the Bible based on human knowledge and findings. It’s important to recognize who God is versus who we are. We are His creation. It’s as if the potter’s clay works to prove that their creator exists. How incredibly foolish. We know the Creator exists because we see His workmanship so clearly and evidently. We believe that He exists because He has given us all that is necessary to do so.

Now listen, I’m not saying there isn’t any purpose for understanding how science and the Bible work together. There are times when scientific proof serves as a great confirmation for a doubting believer or the cynical atheist. God can use science for His purposes. However, even if science and the Bible contradict, I will choose to believe that the Bible is the infallible Word of God and remember that earthly knowledge is fallen and a result of a depraved society. His ways are always higher than ours.

 

What to Expect When You are Expecting

There’s a popular book for pregnant women called What to Expect When You’re Expecting. It was actually very helpful to me thirty years ago and it must be fairly timeless as I see the 4th revised version is still available today. But this post isn’t about expecting a baby. It’s about our expectations of this life and what we should expect when we are expecting.

But, first, a story.

Last fall, our youngest daughter, Marissa, decided to take a semester off of college so that she wouldn’t lose her senior year playing soccer. With that in mind, she restarted in Spring and this fall is her final semester before she graduates in December. She was really looking forward to a her final soccer season and things were going well. She was expecting a great season.

But that all came to a flying halt a couple of Saturdays ago when her foot made contact with someone else’s shoe and shattered two of the toes on her right foot. With a trip to the doctor and a boot on her foot, the expectation for a great soccer season faded away to nothing and left only bitter disappointment in its place.

It’s been a hard couple of weeks for her because this girl loves soccer. I know God is growing her and teaching her because she loves Him and He has promised us in Romans 8:28-29 to use all things in the lives of those who love Him to conform them to Christ’s image but–as we all know–some of those “all things” can be very painful.

As I was reflecting on the past few weeks yesterday, I was thinking how my daughter’s disappointed and unfulfilled expectation mirrors what we are all experiencing to some extent. Prior to March 2020 we all had expectations for our lives. They were reasonable expectations (for most of us). Things such as: Have a happy family whose needs are met; Enjoy spending time with those we love; Travel and vacations; Good health (and wonderful healthcare should we need it); buying anything we need (or want) and getting it in a timely fashion; financial security; etc, etc, etc.

While we knew (and had probably already experienced) the hard facts of life (such as disease, death, betrayal, broken relationships, financial difficulties, etc) the world around us always remained stable in the midst of those terrible trials.

But within one week in the year 2020, all of those expectations came crashing down. Suddenly, our world wasn’t so stable after all. We recognized in such a short time that we aren’t really free, after all. We recognized the stranglehold on the information flow. And we recognized the outright deception being played out on so many levels. It was disconcerting and frustrating. And as time marched on after that pivotal week, our expectations became less and less likely to be fulfilled.

And we were reminded in a more vivid way than ever before of what can we expect when we are expecting in this life on earth: We can expect disappointment and disillusionment.

But, just like my daughter will need to work through her unfulfilled expectation for her life, so, too, will we need to do the same. We need to release those expectations we had and rest in the Lord’s will for our lives. His will is not our will and we need to trust Him as we move forward.

The wonderful thing is that we can trust Him. Not only has He proven Himself over and over again in our own lives and the lives of those who have gone before us, but we are seriously watching what was prophesied two thousand years ago getting set up to come to pass right before our eyes. If that doesn’t confirm scripture for you, then I don’t know what will.

And we finally realize: There is one expectation that will never go unfulfilled. One hope that will never dim or fade away.

And that is our hope in Christ.

He made a way for us to be reconciled to God through His sacrifice on the cross so that we could live in His presence forever (learn more about this here.) Our expectations for a future with God in heaven will come to pass.

Unlike this old earth that is fading away, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever and we can count on Him to fulfill His promises.

So instead of tentative, precarious expectations based in this unsettled, strange world, perhaps it’s time we base our expectations in the rock of Ages. Perhaps this is part of what God is doing–moving His children’s hearts from this world to the one to come (Colossians 3:1-4); deepening our understanding of our role as pilgrims and sojourners in this world (I Peter 2:11); and helping us understand that our hope for this life and for our future should lie in Christ alone (Ephesians1:18-21).

Oh, my friends, let’s move our expectations from this world to the God of the universe. Let’s move them from the tentative and unsure to the certain and the definite.

And, in so doing, everything will change. Instead of being driven by discouragement and disappointment, we will rest secure in our eternal hope. Instead of being self-absorbed we will turn outwards, bringing hope to the lost souls around us and emanating the peace and joy that only God can give.

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If I look at myself, I am depressed. If I look at those around me, I am often disappointed. If I look at my circumstances, I am discouraged. But if I look at Jesus, I am constantly, consistently, and eternally fulfilled! ~Author Unknown

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(Yeah, that sounds so wonderful, doesn’t it? And I do know that what I wrote above is true. But that doesn’t mean I always live it. Like you, I am trying to grow and learn in this strange new world we are living in. It’s a real challenge some days. The most important thing that has helped me is studying and memorizing the Word. If you are saved and just don’t know where to begin in moving your hope from this world to an eternal hope, start there. Open Ephesians 1 and read what God has said about His own. Read Philippians. Read John 10, John 15, Colossians 3, Psalm 37. And on and on. God has given us so much in His Word from which we can draw strength in these difficult days.)

 

 

The Light and the Map

I awoke this morning to see a thick, murky fog all around. It was a bit depressing. But as I went outside to take the photo above I also found it beautiful—in its own way.

Unless it’s nighttime. It’s one thing to drive in fog during the day when there is a hint of light but when it’s dark outside and it’s foggy it can be downright dangerous and a bit scary. This can really get terrifying if you are on a narrow mountain road.

I’d imagine that most people feel like they are driving in dense fog at midnight on a dangerous mountain road right about now. No light, no guide, no way to know if they are going the right direction or heading towards a cliff.

This is the real difference between someone who is saved and someone who isn’t. We are in the same circumstances, we endure the same murky fog at midnight… but we have been given a light and a map.

Fog only allows us to view one step at a time. It is impossible to look very far down the road and see where we are headed.

But God has given us a light (Jesus—John 1:4-5) to guide our steps and a map (the Bible, God’s Holy Word) of where we are going. We can see the next step (submission and obedience to God’s Word) and we know exactly where we are going (Heaven).

Of course, if surrendering our will to God and obeying His Word had been our priorities all along, what’s going on in the world wouldn’t have us so rattled. We talked about being pilgrims, we talked about persecution in vague terms, we’d lightly talk about heaven being a better place.. But now…well, now, we really mean it, don’t we?

And so we travel in this alternate universe one step at a time with our light and map in hand showing us the way to go, recognizing that not only are we pilgrims in a foreign and very strange land but we are hated pilgrims in a foreign land. Very few want our light and even fewer have any interest in our map.

But here’s the thing: That light and map we have—we are supposed to share it with others. We aren’t responsible if they choose to continue in darkness rather than to grab hold of the light. We aren’t responsible if they get angry and toss the map back in our face.

We are just responsible to share.

So let’s not be discouraged. We only need to take one step at a time and God has given us exactly what we need for that duty. He has told us exactly where this world is headed. While we may not know the exact layout of the land nor can we predict each curve or mountain, we do know where it’s going and where the road ends. In that, we are so blessed.

So share that blessing with others. Share your light and your map with those walking beside you. At work, when you are shopping, in school, sometimes even in our churches—so many are traveling without these invaluable tools to navigate this murky, dark time.

They may not want them but may it never be said that you didn’t offer!

False Teacher Friday: Jen Hatmaker

Jen Hatmaker looked so good there for awhile. She seemed to say things that seemed biblical. That were almost…right. And then she started veering off to the left. Ever so slightly and subtly. Until eventually she landed at where she is today– an absolute heretic when we compare what she is teaching to what the Bible says. It seems almost pointless to show that this woman is a false teacher, given how clear she makes it for us..BUT if you aren’t in the Word on a regular basis, you may be fooled by her twisting of the Word and her silvery tongue. She sure does make her poison sound like honey. And so my daughter, Jess*, did some digging to give some hard evidence to what this woman is really teaching, comparing it to scripture–

Jen Hatmaker has been around for quite a few years now. She has authored many books, hosts a popular podcast, and has a huge social media following. She has a very likable personality and people love her writing style full of humor and candor. She made headlines in 2016 when she came out in support of the LGBTQ community and received both applause and ridicule as a result. She claims to have reconstructed her faith and now offers “a new kind of christianity” that is really just paganism slightly disguised.

Honestly, Jen is so obvious in her blatant disregard for Scripture that I almost didn’t feature her. However the idea of deconstructing and reconstructing your faith, sometimes called a de-conversion story, is one that is gaining traction and popularity. And so I thought it might be helpful to break down her story so we can see where she gets it wrong according to the Bible. Not because I find joy in calling people false teachers or because I have fun defaming popular “Christian” figures. It makes my heart hurt. But her message is so dangerous that it demands we chime a loud warning bell. And if I can help just one person steer clear of her false ideology, it will be worth it.

The first thing Jen shares about her de-conversion story is the negative aspects of the traditional, evangelical church. She claims that the church doesn’t let people ask questions, never acknowledges gray areas, doesn’t allow for uncertainty, and are unaccepting of certain types of people. That church is outdated, racist, unloving, misogynist, naive, oppressive, and too dogmatic.

The second thing she does is portray herself as the victim of this big, bad church. She simply decided to ask the questions nobody else would. She started seeking and embarked on a journey for answers. And when the answers she found didn’t line up with historical & Biblical Christianity, then she was “mistreated in ways that were scary, disorienting, crushing, devastating.” But her conclusions were in complete opposition to the Bible. So just because some people told her that she’s wrong and the Bible’s right, she’s a victim?

And finally, Jen shares with her audience a new belief system her journey lead to. When she was finally brave enough to ask the hard questions, she found freedom and light and acceptance. She invites them to go on the same journey. Here’s just a few of the conclusions she came to:

𝐖𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐜𝐚𝐧’𝐭 𝐛𝐞 𝐜𝐞𝐫𝐭𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐁𝐢𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐬𝐚𝐲𝐬. “For a season that sense of certainty was wonderful…but of course upon scrutiny it breaks down because, as always, we come to Scripture and the things that we say are certain are obviously not certain to other people…certainty really only works in an echo chamber.” She is insistent that if we really scrutinize our beliefs, we’ll find that we can’t really be certain about anything at all. She claims that when she struggled to find clarity, the Bible “just wouldn’t cooperate on perfect clarity.” I’m confident it wasn’t the Bible that wasn’t cooperating.

𝐖𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭’𝐬 𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐞 𝐛𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐫𝐮𝐢𝐭. One may wonder how we can know what’s true if we can’t be certain about anything the Bible says. Ironically, she twists the meaning of Jesus’ parable in Matthew 7 to answer this question. She says that “[Jesus is like] when there’s something, be it a relationship, or a person or a doctrine, whatever, that feels ambiguous, or it feels contentious, or there’s tension around its interpretation, look to the fruit…a good tree is gonna bear good fruit, and a bad tree is gonna bear bad fruit…that’s a clue that I feel like Jesus put into the hands of future believers, as we were going to do our generations work of pressing on Scripture and finding the threads of truth, and how do we interpret it and apply it to our lives at this time.” Yes, she did just say threads of truth. Actually, Jen, the entire Bible is true and it applies to our lives the same way for all of time.

𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐡𝐮𝐫𝐜𝐡 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐚𝐜𝐜𝐞𝐩𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐋𝐆𝐁𝐓𝐐 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐲. Her theory of good and bad fruit is what convinced her of this fact. She said the fruit of the “non-affirming Christian tree” was rotten (depression, self-hatred, broken families, loneliness) while the fruit of the “affirming Christian tree” was universally good. “And so that gave us the confidence to continue pressing until we felt convinced that God would have us open our arms wide to our LGBTQ friends and neighbors, and welcome them into the church, as they are” she concluded in an interview. (Given her view of scripture this would make sense, would it not? No passage regarding this would matter because it isn’t a “thread of truth” in her world. She is the one who gets to decide what is true and what isn’t. ~lda)

𝐃𝐞𝐧𝐢𝐚𝐥 𝐨𝐟 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐟𝐮𝐥 𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞. “That question you are asking, that dream, that need, that buried anger, that delicious desire, it can all live in the open, and its unveiling can be your liberation song” she writes. She encourages her readers to believe that “I am exactly enough” and “I deserve goodness.” She writes that even the worst evildoers “have something precious at their core.” She believes that if we but uncover our inmost being, we’ll find great and glorious good for the world. But the Bible says that our inmost being is utterly sinful, that there’s nothing good in us, that we deserve hell, and that our fleshly desires lead only to sin. And since she misdiagnoses our sinful condition, then there is no need for the Gospel. Which makes sense, I guess, since she never mentions it anyway.

𝐂𝐡𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐚𝐜𝐜𝐞𝐩𝐭𝐬 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲𝐨𝐧𝐞. “Everyone belongs” she says “and until everyone belongs, we’ve replaced truth with a lie. This the world Jesus envisioned.” She begs us to ask “what feels and sounds like actual good news, instead of who is in and who is out?” Is that really the world that Jesus envisioned, though? He talks countless times about the narrow way, about people being in and people being out, about the wheat and the chaff, the true and the false. Does it matter what feels like good news to us?

𝐑𝐞𝐝𝐞𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐬 𝐁𝐢𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞. “When loving God results in pain, exclusion, harm, or trauma to people then we are doing the first part wrong. It is not God in error but us.” She makes it clear that if we tell anyone that they’re wrong or sinful then we aren’t loving. But that’s her definition of love, not the definition we find in the Bible that never rejoices in iniquity.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. She completely negates the need for church since she figured out this new Jesus “lets me watch CBS Sunday Morning instead of church without shame.” She never shares the Gospel. She never talks about sin or repentance or the Bible. She makes Jesus exactly who she wants Him to be. It amazes me that she can say all of these things and still be accepted in the “Christian community.” There’s nothing Christian about her. She throws out the Bible, the Gospel, the church, and the true Jesus Christ and then expects to be accepted by the Christian community? How have we come to this place? She followed her lusts straight into a pit of heresy. I pray that she goes on another journey that leads her back to the Bible. Because if we can’t be certain about that, then what’s the point of faith at all?

 

 

*Jess is wife to Seth and mom to three active boys. She loves to research and write (like her mom!) and can be found at Anchor for the Soul on both Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

An Analysis of Disintegration

You may be wondering what is pictured in that photo above. And that would be a great question. 

This past weekend my husband decided to clean our garage. It was a bit long overdue and there was quite a bit of “stuff” in there that we hadn’t seen for rather a long time. (You know those photos of picture-perfect garages with bins placed neatly on shelves? Yeah, not us.) Anyway, one of the things he found was an old blanket. I didn’t even recognize it so I have no idea where it came from. My husband brought it into the house and threw it in the washer.

When my daughter went to the washer, the above photo shows what she found. Thousands and thousands of tiny pieces of that blanket. The whole thing had literally disintegrated into nothing.nothing.

What a wonderful spiritual lesson we can learn from this. I couldn’t pass this one up! Actually there are two. I won’t spend a lot of time on the first one but I do want to touch on it. 

First, blankets get old and disintegrate. Everything gets older and weaker. Think of something you bought a year or two ago. Is it getting better? At the very least it looks the same. It doesn’t grow shinier and stronger as the years go by. This is a basic law of science. Things disintegrate as they age. Now think of this in light of evolution. Do you notice that it goes completely against this established law? There is no logic there whatsoever. It is my opinion that this illogical belief in evolution set the people up for the great deception we are seeing at work today.

Don’t let anyone intimidate you into thinking there is merit to the theory of evolution. They may try to intimidate you with their big words and degrees but the bottom line is that no one alive today was actually there in the beginning and what you believe is based on your starting point.

And this is just one way evolution goes against basic and tested scientific laws. It takes more faith to believe in evolution than to believe that God created the world. Just saying…

But I’d like to take this morning to consider this blanket in a different light. When my kids were little three out of four of them had a “blankie”. Their blankets were a form of security. They wanted them to relax and sleep with (and probably would have taken them everywhere if we had let them).

You see, we all have those things we turn to for security. We have those things we turn to that feel comfortable. Or help us escape from the real world. 

But when I looked at that trash can filled with those tiny blanket pieces, I was struck by the fact that all of those things will disintegrate, too. 

No love of the world will matter in the end. Sports; entertainment; hobbies; cars or boats or planes; temporal goals to make money or to climb a social or corporate ladder (and even fighting for freedom); buckets list full of daring (or average) things to do–none of this will matter. They will disintegrate like dust. Those things we obsess about–those things that gobble up hours of our time–those things that consume us, they will disintegrate just like that blanket.

There was once a man who wielded great power in a small church. But guess what happened when he got old and decrepit? Suddenly, his opinion didn’t matter that much anymore. You see, none of those things last. None of them. 

While there is nothing wrong in enjoying the good things of life, they shouldn’t consume us. I believe this is the number one way Satan distracts and renders the believer ineffective–wrap them up in the things of this world that don’t really matter. 

But let’s also take a look at that blanket in light of true vs. false religion. Worldly priorities aren’t the only thing that will disintegrate. So, too, will false religions.

You see, Christianity can be thrown in any washer, rung out a million times, hung out to dry in the fiercest of weather, and still come out strong and looking like new. It stands up to its promises.

All other religions disintegrate under pressure. Eventually, they leave people feeling hopeless and lost. From demon and ancestor worship to the “health and wealth” or “social” gospels, the blame is on you if things go wrong. It all comes back to something you need to do or didn’t do. It’s a horrible way to live. Oh, many are pleasantly deceived for a time but if you talk to those caught up in other religions, you quickly realize that the majority of them are not at peace. They really don’t know if they are good enough or if they’ve done enough to warrant heaven. 

What an amazing contrast we have in scripture–

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. 18 Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. John 3:16-18

Only biblical Christianity teaches that there is nothing we can do. Do you realize that this is the only religion that doesn’t teach that man needs to DO something in order to be right with God? It is one of the ways to know that it is the only true religion. It’s unique among every other world religion in that way. 

So why is it so hated? Why do people cling to their disintegrating blankets? The next verse in John 3 gives us a little insight to that–

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. John 3:19

People love darkness. They are completely disinterested in walking towards the light. What does that darkness consist of? I John 2:16 tells us–

For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.

You see to follow Christ, we must give up everything. We must first give up our pride. There is NOTHING we can do. NOTHING. We are lost sinners without hope. That’s a hard pill to swallow for most people and is the greatest hindrance to accepting that gift that Jesus freely offers.

And we must give up our lusts. The sins we love. The sins we enjoy. The sins that call us so enticingly. And, instead, we must pick up our cross and deny ourselves (Luke 9:23). That does not look very appealing to a world obsessed with self.

Only the saved person can understand the peace and joy that comes from a life lived for God. Only they can understand that, in losing our lives, we find them! (Matthew 16:25) This makes NO sense to the world.

And so, dear Christian, recognize that you have the blanket that will never disintegrate. While others around you are holding on to things that are fading away, disappearing, and turning to dust, you have something to hold on that will never diminish in its glory.

Let’s share this truth freely and often and with enthusiasm as God gives us opportunities.

Favorite Trees Topple and So Do Favorite People

I am writing a quick post on this holiday weekend because I have begun to notice a very disturbing trend of which I want to warn you. Keep in mind that I am making no statement about motives here. I have no idea why people are doing what they are doing. But we all need to be aware that many are doing it.

I believe that it is extremely important that we do not align ourselves with either side of what is going on here on earth currently. Both the Great Awakening and the Great Reset sides are evil to the core. One may sound more appealing and even more “Christian” but if you start digging just a bit, you will find it’s pretty ugly. If you don’t believe me, please just do some research. Both sides are clearly being used by Satan to bring in his antichrist system.

Which leads me to why I am writing today. I have been more than a little troubled to see many pastors, ministry leaders, and authors choosing to align themselves with one side or the other. Please beware if someone does this!

Last week two willow trees stood strong and tall side by side on my in-laws property next door. And then the other day Hurricane Ida blew through and brought 7″ of rain. As the ground became more and more saturated, the shallow roots of one of those willows loosened until the whole tree finally just toppled over.

When my grandson saw the tree he was so sad. “But that was my favorite tree.” Now I don’t really think it was his favorite tree. But he doesn’t like change. And this was change. I don’t think he’s very different from the rest of us. None of us love change. But change is here. And we can’t ignore it.

I am convinced that we are watching many “trees topple” just now. Some of them may even be our favorites. Ministries and people that we thought were sound and solid are toppling over into one ditch or the other and getting caught up in unbiblical arguments, bullying, and even “marketing”.

Honestly, it’s just…weird. And more than a little disturbing. 

I can’t believe the amount of people I have trusted who are attacking people for their beliefs about different issues. Should any Christian condescendingly attack another Christian about anything? If someone accuses a whole swath of people without knowing those people personally, I’d be very suspect of that person or ministry.

Beware of anyone who comes out strongly on one side or the other in a spirit of attack. It is one thing to share things kindly because you believe what you are sharing is important. This can very much be done out of spirit of love—no matter which side you find yourself on.

But when you can feel arrogance and condescension oozing from someone you have trusted, take a step back. If someone thinks they know how everything works, stop following them.

The bottom line is that NO ONE knows except God how this is all going to go down. We can do research, we can find some pieces to the puzzle, we can perhaps even see the overall big picture– but no human KNOWS what is going on behind the scenes or how the future is going to play out.

Strong trees topple and so do seemingly sound Christians. Don’t be fooled. Don’t be so loyal to someone that you miss their “toppling”. Examine the fruit of the Spirit of those you follow as you are able. Evaluate their words and attitude when someone disagrees with them. These things are very telling. Don’t blindly follow anyone (including me!) Only Christ deserves our unwavering loyalty.

We must keep our eyes on Jesus in this unprecedented, strange, and wildly wicked storm. We must stay in prayer and be in the Word. May we pray for discernment and for a heart and eyes open and willing to see the truth–whatever that is.

And expect to be disappointed. I hate to even write those words but I believe it’s true. It’s been a disheartening and incredulous year and a half as we have watched rampant compromise and the bizarre u-turns of people we have trusted. If this isn’t the beginning of the great delusion, then it must certainly be a foretaste of what lies ahead.

Keep your head up, my friends. Our redemption has to be drawing so nigh!

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