"Only one life, 'twill soon be past
Only what's done for Christ will last."

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Treason

https://youtu.be/I-kzQAvlwsM

Jan's Program goes hand in hand with my post:

Strange Fire

In the Old Testament book of Leviticus, chapter 10, something frightening happened.

The sons of Aaron took fire and attempted to burn an offering to God, instead of letting God Himself burn the offering.

God burned Aaron's sons. Completely.

God's response:

"Among those who approach me I will be proved holy."


As someone who wants to glorify God in everything (and who is painfully aware of the dark spots in one's person) I must continually ask myself if my thoughts, motives, beliefs, actions, life itself is right to God.


Lately I've seen many references to apostasy in the church. Discernment ministries usually come off sounding harsh and judgmental, and each different organization, denominational or missions oriented, has differences of opinion about what is right, what is false, what is true.


In my last post I wrote about truth and how we can filter it out by having a Biblical worldview. I couldn't be more convinced of this.

I have been a believer for 50+ years. I have had this question of discernment in my head  since I knew what the word was.

I have an opinion. I think that God works in mysterious ways to draw all men unto Himself. I think that there are levels of knowledge and discernment. I believe God directly speaks to some people about sin in their lives! Conviction is a wonderful thing. It's also terrible.

I think that God is merciful, but there are absolute standards regarding faith.

Holiness is perfection, and we should all be obeying the command of Christ, "Be perfect." I loved Bill Gothard's explanation of that command---It had to do with being a mature and ripened believer. The image in the "Commands of Christ" book was a "perfect" apple hanging on a tree.

We cannot be perfect, because of our sin nature, but we can be ripe and mature believers, understanding what holiness is and making that our goal.

That said, back to strange fire.

In this age many self-identified Christians believe that you can take practices from other religions and use them to honor and glorify God.

I like to think of Sadhu Sundar Singh, one of my favorite people of all time. (No, I'm not a fan of Todd Bentley, who also loves Singh!)

Here is a person who met God and became completely devoted to Jesus in his own culture. It's an example to me of a pursuit of holiness within a non-western climate.

We must be aware that we are influenced by western things, like Catholicism, Paganism, Deism, patriotism, nationalism. These ideas creep into our faith.

So does the New Age, Hinduism, Buddhism, Zen.

I do like Japanese gardens. They are so tranquil. Did you know that each element of the garden has symbolic meaning?

Is this "strange fire?"

Would this garden be pleasing to God? It's worth asking. It's worth getting to the core of being holy and and understanding what truly pleases God.

And if I'm not sure, would I simply follow my desire to enjoy a Japanese garden despite the ramifications?

I'm using the garden as a metaphor for many, many other things that really could be deemed "strange fire."

Our whole lives should be lived in a pursuit of holiness. AW Tozer wrote a book about that, and I think he is one of my favorite theologians. He writes so clearly about the believer's walk. So much of what he wrote resonates in my spirit.

He wasn't perfect. His wife "accused" him of loving Jesus more than he loved her....

Some of us would say that that was right and good! Others would say that it wasn't showing Christ's love.

And that is what it boils down to, really. We know that the mountain top of holiness is our pursuit, but we may get dirty with serving others in Christ's love down here below at the same time. That's life as a follower of Christ.

But offering strange fire, once you understand it, is unacceptable. God is holy. He doesn't need you to practice yoga (a spiritual discipline). He doesn't need you to become involved in energy healing or Reiki. He doesn't want you to become a Gnostic, or pursue wealth like the Prosperity Gospel folk. He wants you to test the spirits and not be sucked into things like the New Apostolic Reformation. Watch out when a person or preacher holds the reins on everything in a follower's life!

Only God should be doing that.

All week I've been thinking of that horrible illustration about the pan of brownies. You know it. I almost hate to bring it up, but it's so true, so helpful in understanding strange fire and discernment.

Here goes; You make a pan of fresh brownies (chocolate cookie bars.) All the ingredients are perfectly fresh----the flour, the eggs, the chocolate---but you put a teaspoon of cat feces in the mix.

WOULD YOU EAT THE BROWNIES?

You can't see the feces. You can't even smell it. The brownies smell wonderful.

I couldn't eat them.

That is what a tiny fraction of strange fire does to your holiness. It pollutes the entire thing.

God understands us better than we understand ourselves. He is asking us to pursue HOLINESS.

He knows that we struggle with sin in our hearts and minds. He understands! He works in all sorts of ways to draw each and every person on this earth to Himself. Some come through extremes, some through deception, some through a direct (but narrow) path. He's working on people!

We can't be condemning judges, but we MUST be discerning! Don't get upset with discernment ministries when the spotlight comes too close to something you have okay-ed. Take it as a word from the LORD GOD that you need to discern yourself if this is STRANGE FIRE that you are offering to God.


Perhaps you are entirely okay with meat offered to idols. Paul says give it up so that others won't stumble.

You can give it up, can't you? Must you have your way?

Why keep something in your life that is only a hindrance? It may be "legal," it may be harmless, but do you need it to glorify God?

Give it up.


Please, give it up.

Holiness is something we all need to pursue, and God requires it.


Here comes the spotlight!



Thursday, July 19, 2018

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

John 8:44 King James Version (KJV)

44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

As we navigate this tempestuous world we are increasingly aware of the elusiveness of Truth.


I watched a testimony this morning from Germany on "MenschGott" from a young woman who was delivered from a "Sucht" of Lying.

A "Sucht" in English is a compelling spirit. I always think languages don't exactly translate, but we can try to get the feeling of words. It conveys a sense of being driven, of compulsion, of addiction, of dependence, of lust, of besetting sin.

This woman was a pathological liar.

The story ends happily. She's delivered from this spirit by Christ Himself. Total transformation!

Truth.

"What is Truth?" asked Pilate of Jesus. We don't know the answer He gave, if given.


We know that Jesus declared Himself the way, the Truth, and the life. Jesus is the truth.



This is a key piece of information. We need it to survive and serve in this life.


Lying politicians are a given. We all know this. We never know who or what to believe from the mainstream media. 


I'll give you some helpful advice that has never failed me in my search for truth. NEVER FAILED ME----


If Jesus is the truth, and he is, whatever He says is truth, and anything that contradicts His truth is a LIE.

This shapes a worldview that can handle just about anything. Build your life on a worldview of trusting Jesus and you can't lose.

If people lie to your face and you believe them you are in the hands of a loving God who will use that lying evil for good in your life.

That's His promise.


This is a worldview that works. God takes care of you.

It's also a worldview that assumes most things are a lie, or partly a lie, EXCEPT the truth from God's word.

Hmmmm. 


Don't believe that statement without reservation---
Don't believe that news story without reservation---
Don't believe that book without reservation---
Don't believe that textbook without reservation---
Don't believe that friend---
Don't believe that one who is beloved----


You see, we are all sinners, and we all have a temptation to stretch the truth. We see things from our own perspective, for our own good (We are all selfish. If you don't believe that you are believing a lie!)
We can selectively share the truth, or part of the truth to our good.

It's really a lie.

I have a better half who likes to make sure whatever I'm saying is the absolute truth. His mother always said he had a hatred of gossip from the time he was a very young child. He's really commendable. 
He likes to re-say whatever I say, certainly in my best interest. Most of the time he just says it for me!

It really keeps me thinking! I'm constantly thinking about my words and whether or not they are true. It's a gift from God. I must tell the truth. I must not shade the truth. I must state exactly what I know to be the truth, and I must tell only that, no embellishment.

As a self-stated "artist" that can irk someone like me. Artists do see the world through rose-colored glasses. We can leave out the garbage dump in the foreground, the cemetery to the left...

We like the world to be only beautiful.

But that isn't the truth, and I acknowledge that to my truth-loving husband.

I can choose to admire all the good President Trump is doing to promote good things and choose to abhor the things Obama did without paying attention to the negative or positive each one represents too. Politics are so polarizing.

It's about truth. It's about what you WANT to believe, isn't it?


My truth is different from yours, right?


(Well I hope not, but it certainly appears to be so.)

That is where we MUST have an objective filter to find absolute truth. 

Enter Scripture. 

The Bible is either truth or not. It claims to be the Word of God, and God is truth. It's circular, and one must embrace all or nothing.

When you pick and choose what to believe you are placing yourself on the throne of your life and committing idolatry. The Bible is true, or it is not.


We can get into reams of arguments about the authority of Scripture, its origins, its veracity, its inerrancy. We can talk about manuscripts and councils, tradition and evidence. Believe me, I've looked into all of it.

I am content to believe that the Bible is God's Word. All of it. I'm content to trust the translations of Scripture (I do like the KJV) and believe the text as inspired. I'm willing to "argue" that the Holy Spirit speaks through Scripture to all things yesterday, today, and forever.

I trust the truths that God has shown me through His word. I trust the Holy Spirit to guide me in paths of righteousness for His name sake.

This helps me navigate the truth about life, this existence, the morals I must hold, AND it puts the searchlight on SIN in my heart and life.

Because God is holy, and He doesn't like sin ruling our temple, our bodies. He's going to point it out.


Gently, yes. But if you want to serve God you will eventually have to clean out the closets of your heart from immoral behavior. It's a process, but it's happening.


IF you think that God tolerates sin of any kind (and just open your Bible to Romans 1 for a pretty good list) you are believing a lie.


God is working on you to repent from sin.


So, when you have a Biblical worldview you can spot lies from a million miles away. It's just so clear. If you are duped by a "friend" or even a loved one who is trying to protect you from the truth, NOT a problem. God will see to it that the truth always comes out. I think this verse may apply here:


Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops. Luke 12:3


I think there will be an ultimate truth filter that will sift out the lies. It's coming, and I look forward to it.

I think we all know this, if we trust in a Holy, perfect, truthful God.

The God who made everything, He made the world we see in six days. He said so. Truth, or not?

Truth.

OR else He IS A LIAR, LIAR....


I don't think so. I'm going with the God of truth.
He hasn't failed me yet, and He never will. 








Snark

ALWAYS read Greenfield