Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Blind Bald Christians

What if we began drinking from polluted wells and began eating exotic foods that caused our eyesight to fail, hair to fall out and a host of other problems? What if it was brought to our attention that drinking from these wells and consuming these foods was causing us harm and could possibly lead to our deaths, if we did not make some immediate changes?  
   What if we simply could not or would not give these things up in spite of the warnings?
   We would eventually go blind and bald wouldn't we? We might even die.
  This is happening among Christians in alarming numbers. They are going blind (their discernment has become seriously distorted). They are going bald (their spiritual, and even physical, health is adversely affected). And some are even dying (departing from the faith), because after joyfully receiving the truth about the dangers of their various watering holes and favorite exotic foods, they make no significant changes in their drinking and eating habits.
   We have received a number of correspondences from those who thank us, profusely, for warning them about the unscriptural, dangerous, nature of certain beliefs and practices (they confide they picked up these erroneous ideas not only through churches they attend but also through television/radio ministries and online discussion groups as well). 
   They joyfully embrace the scriptural truth about these things and experience immediate improvements in their vision. Their hair begins to grow back. They loudly praise God for their deliverance and begin contending for the faith… for a time.
   We then watch helplessly as some slowly slip right back into the same mire they recently, loudly and publicly, praised God for pulling them out of.
   How does this happen?
   It happens because they refuse to stop drinking from polluted wells. They will not give up exotic foods. They stay in churches they know promote error. They continue tuning in to television and radio ministries and online discussion groups that subvert their faith. They continue reading authors who promote error.
   Before they know it, they seem to be given over completely to a lie—or at the very least remain in a state of confusion—constantly challenging us to prove--again and again--the things they publicly renounced just a short time before.
   What if Jesus told us something, and we then ran to Satan to hear his side of things? In addition to endangering ourselves, we would become seriously confused wouldn’t we? 
   Do the scriptures teach any such method for determining truth? Everything we say may not be truth. But God forbid anyone go to Satan to find out what he thinks about it—better go to the scriptures.
   The Bible says the double minded are unstable in all their ways. Instability is nothing to be taken lightly. 
   If the scriptures convince us we are drinking from polluted wells and eating poisonous exotic foods. Abandon those wells! Give up that food! Do not take another sip- not so much as another nibble!
   Immerse ourselves in the Word of God. Listen only to wholesome words. In the power of Jesus Christ (only do this if you know that you belong to Christ) bind, rebuke, and renounce spirits of rebellion, greed, covetousness and whoredom, anything that causes us to be dissatisfied with the simplicity of Christ, and seek after things He has not given. 
   Allow our hearts to become good ground where the Word of God can flourish, grow, and bear fruit—not rocky or thorny ground where the enemy can easily steal God's Word from us or bog us down with the cares of this world.
   The light of the body is the eye (spiritual/physical connection)--Let us keep our vision/discernment sharp and through having clear eyes. Walk in the light as he (Jesus) is in the light. Drink the sincere milk of the Word. Grown into healthy, mature, Christians who can handle the meat of the Word as well.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Instant in Season and Out: Answering Questions Sharing our Faith

   Why did Jesus curse a fig tree that was fig-less when it was not the season for figs? What did the tree do that was wrong? It was not the season for figs. The tree was exactly as it should have been. Yet Jesus cursed the tree and it withered and died in short order. Why?
   Our Lord obviously meant this as an object lesson of some sort.
  Compare Jesus’ interaction with the fig tree to Paul’s admonition for Christians to be instant in season and out of season. This is an important concept for God’s people to grasp and implement if we are to be effective in reaching people for Christ.
   Instant in season and out…Be ready—for what?
   Be ready to give an answer to all who ask of the hope that is in us. This suggests, not just prayer, but preparation and study. Study to show thyself approved…and don’t forget to pray!

Jocelyn Andersen, is Founder and Pastor of Hungry Hearts Ministries, since 1992. She teaches biblical truth without the limitations of culture or tradition, through preaching, teaching, her books, blogs, and through her 24/7 Bible Talk Radio station, She is the author of several Christian books, including the short but powerful booklet entitled, Jesus, God of the Burning Bush: Eternal Father & Beloved Son

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Microwave Faith

   Quick fixes are in.  
  As little effort as possible and instant gratification are in-things. Remote controls can operate almost anything. Microwaves heat food in seconds and cook it in minutes. Hi-speed internet eliminates almost all waiting when web-surfing. Due to impatient drivers, roads have become more hazardous. Waiting for anything has become almost unthinkable.

   Due Time...?!? When exactly is that?
   It helps to understand that there are some things that will simply never occur at the high speeds our technology-driven society has conditioned us to expect. Although modern parents do everything in their power to transform toddlers into miniature geniuses before age three, there is a limit to how fast babies will grow and mature. There are no shortcuts.
   Likewise, there are no shortcuts to growing from a baby Christian to an adult Christian.
  Spiritual growth requires a healthy diet of reading and studying the Word of God, along with obedience to the simple commands and gaining the experience to know how to rightly discern and respond to the rest. And that requires nothing less than . . . time.
   Most of us come to the Lord with baggage in one form or another: wrong ideas, unhealthy mental/emotional defenses, impaired emotional development due to attempting to deal with life's problems our way, or the way our parents taught us, or the way the popular culture teaches us. 
   Oprah and Dr. Phil do not have all the answers you know.
  Some of us come to the Lord with physical health problems, financial difficulties, relationship or marriage problems. God is able, even willing, to give us miracles in all these areas. That is always a possibility, and we should never--ever--rule that out.If we truly need a miracle--ask for one. But the probability is, that, in most things, God will allow us to work out our own deliverance-- with fear and trembling. 
   The Bible says. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Fear of the Lord is the only healthy fear. But even that must be tempered with knowledge of his Word and his love.
   When we acknowledge God in all our ways, so that he can direct our paths--that means obedience to what we understand about the Word of God, and making it a priority to gain more understanding  (Proverbs 4:7).
   We are talking about "prospering our souls" (3 John 1:2).
   Jesus said, "be doers of the Word and not hearers only." When he said that, he was clarifying the fact that he is no prescriber of quick fixes.There is no such thing as remote control, hi-speed or microwave faith. God moves fast. He travels on the wings of the wind, but faith must be developed. 
   And that takes . . . time.

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. But if we are hearers only and not doers, we cannot expect faith to grow . . . No matter how much time we give it.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Get Out of Your Judgmental Rut!

The church today cries, "Don't judge! Don't judge!" more than at any other time in history. Why?
Is it because there is more open sin among professing Christians today more than at any other time in history, and no one wants their sin exposed? 

This trend is reinforced, no doubt, by those who make merchandise of the church (sadly, the church loves to have it so...after their own lust, they heap to themselves....

And as the watchmen warn, these clouds without water cry, "Don't Judge!" Wolves in sheep's clothing carefully train the sheep they are fleecing to believe that using Biblical discernment is being critical and judgmental. The fleeced sheep, who have rejected the covering of the Holy Spirit in exchange for the emperor's new clothes parrot their predators in crying, "Don't judge!"

We once had the unmitigated gall to tell a Christian "sister" that planning "Christian" sacred circle meetings around the cycles of the moon and honoring the four directions was occult activity--not Christian--and that circles most certainly are not sacred (she claimed that God lived in her because she, within her physical self, was a sacred circle). When she was informed that God lived only within those who belong to Jesus, this love-everybody-don't- judge-anybody, woman immediately turned ugly and said we needed to get out of our judgmental ruts.

This response is quite typical among the peace-peace-love-love-dont judge crowd. The arguments of ecumenical professing Christians are thin, worn, out of context and repetitious. Don't judge, Judge not that ye be not judged, he who is without sin, cast the first stone.... That's about it.

But, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are commanded by the scriptures to judge all things by the Word of God. We are commanded to deal with sin within our ranks both privately and publicly. This is not optional to the true Christian, and the protocol on how to go about this is clearly laid out in the scriptures. The warnings are there as well, on the importance of keeping our hearts right in the process.

Do ye not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?(1 Corinthians 6:2).

Blessed are ye when men shall hate you and when they shall separate you from their company... (Luke 6:22-23)

Friday, February 5, 2010

We Have No King but Caesar

But they cried, “Away with Him, crucify Him! ...and the Chief Priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!

That is the moment the Jews, as a whole, and just a few days after rightfully hailing Jesus as their Messiah and King, made the tragic decision to trade God’s best for Caesar’s best. And even though the crucifixion of our LORD was in the plan of God from before the foundation of the earth, those who participated in the deed were held personally responsible for their choices in the matter.

How often, on some level or another, do we do the same? How often do we reject the marvelous provision God has for us in every area of our lives by forgetting His precious promises and running to Caesar, first, before running to our Savior, who says He is our provider, our healer, our comforter, and our avenger?

Before visiting the food stamp office, are we on our knees, first, acknowledging our LORD as the real source of all our material provision, asking our LORD, who promises to bless our food and water (If we love and serve Him) to provide that need in His abundance?

Before turning to health care providers, are we first taking our requests for healing to our God who says that His words are life to us and health to all our flesh (if we attend to His words)?

These are conditional promises. Are we reading our Bibles daily to learn of these things and to feed our minds and spirits with the Word and will of God which alone tends to life?

Before seeking to psychologists or anti-anxiety meds for mental health and emotional comfort, are we first running to the one who gives the Spirit of power, love, and a sound mind... are we willing to forsake anger, bitterness, self-pity, and a host of other sins which all take their toll on our general outlook on life and mental health? Are we willing to believe the promise that all things work together for good to who love the LORD? Are we, first, running to the comforter Jesus promised will be with us forever?

Before engaging attorneys to convince judges to avenge us legally, are we first bombarding Heaven and the Righteous Judge, our father, with our requests for judgment, or, as the apostle admonished, are we willing be defrauded rather than to take fellow Christians to court over material things?

A well respected, 19th century, preacher once asked if the Bible text means everything it says, he concluded that it never means less than what it says but always means more than what we understand it to mean.

While reading our Bibles every day… always picking up today where we left off yesterday, let us meditate on these things and develop the habit of running to our King, first, before considering what Caesar has to offer.

Caesar has his limitations, our King has none.