While I sometimes enjoy the content of a number of Youtube channels run by certain pastors, I got to wondering when they have time to shepherd their flocks, considering all the TV watching, Youtube watching, and preparing their content that’s involved, equipment, etc., so they can critique pseudo preachers and the like, and heaven knows they need exposing. Not to mention prayer life! Yet some things just don’t stack up. Ministry functions are “… to equip the saints for works of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, as we mature to the full measure of the stature of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed about by the waves and carried around by every wind of teaching and by the clever cunning of men in their deceitful scheming.” Ephesians 4:12-14. Focus on what’s important, literally for Christ’s sake! Or is Youtube monetization more important? I dunno. Maybe I’m behind the times, but what if things were being taken care of at home in the local assembly, the family of God, along the lines of maturing the saints, then just maybe the saints could discern for themselves who the charlatans are!
… about my other “blog” ImaginEquine!
Ain’t it time for you to saddle up, hit the trail, and take a look? And it’s time for me to get busy and create some more of these ponies!
So head on over, and tie up to the hitchin’ post, and c’mon in! We’ll spend a little time solving the world’s problems. Well, not really. Plenty folks workin’ on that, or so we’re told. Maybe it’s time just to pass some time.
Sometimes it pays to stay with the simplicity that is Christ. What was important to Jesus? People can spend all sorts of time discussing and challenging one another’s lofty ideas, while at the same time failing to grasp and to practice what’s important to Him, biblically speaking – which is where the buck stops.
One thing that comes to mind and is so often overlooked is something that has been coming into focus a great deal of late: “And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.” 1John 2:3.
1 John 2:4-6 clearly informs us, “Whoever says, ‘I know Him’ but does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps His word, in him truly the love of God has been perfected. By this we may know that we are in Him: whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked.”
Christianity is meant to be an “evidence based” faith, the evidence being a growth in Christ likeness – love and holiness. 1 John 4:13 – “By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.” This is where the “can do” comes from, not of ourselves, but of God the Holy Spirit Himself!
It’s not about the right church or the right pew. It’s not about the religious traditions or commandments of men. It’s not about the latest church trends. It’s not about the politics of the land. It’s not about your favorite televangelist. It’s not about your best life now. It’s not about miracles, gifts, signs and wonders! It’s not about what your priest or preacher said last week – unless he’s in agreement with what Jesus teaches about the evidence. And the evidence is everything, per Jesus!
Here’s a key: “If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31b,2. The only way we can be sure about that is to become intimately acquainted with Holy Scripture. Read it. Pray it. Study it. Meditate on it day and night. Talk about it. See Psalm 1 and Psalm 119 for details.
It boils down to what Jesus taught, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15
That we have been talked out of this by “can’t do” preachers of every expression of Christianity is a great tragedy. Why? Because Jesus says, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35. It’s how the world knows we are His own! Love like His is the fulfillment of the law! The “can’t do” preachers love to dwell on how much we love sin and how impossible it is to live as Jesus calls His disciples to live. Certainly that is true up to a point – without the Holy Spirit we cannot, for that is the natural state of fallen humanity. But with God, the Counselor and Comforter, what He asks of us is possible. So how about setting our sites on something higher, according to the way Jesus sees things?
A way must be made for this to happen. Might this be why Jesus very clearly directs His followers: “What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” Luke 11:11-13. We are to ask and keep on asking, or as the Amplified Classic Version states, “… how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and continue to ask Him!”
And “Blessed are those hungering and thirsting for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6. How hungry are you? How thirsty?
“If anyone says, ‘I know Him,’ but does not keep His commandments, he is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone keeps His word, the love of God has been truly perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him: Whoever claims to abide in Him must walk as Jesus walked.” 1 John 2:4-6.
It is also true that “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8,9.
There’s a balance here. It’s not either or. When the Holy Spirit is bestowed, this begins the process whereby we are made more and more Christlike on a continuing basis. If this is not happening, some serious, prayerful self examination is in order. So, check into the Holy Ghost Hokey Pokey Clinic and turn yourself around!
We need to abide and to grow in grace and in knowledge of the Lord. This is the way of a normal Christian life, with its ups and downs. But to think that we should abide always as “poor miserable sinners” forever, or live as we please in our sin, since grace abounds, is an eternally fatal error – not only for ourselves but possibly as well for all to whom we are a “witness.” There must, therefore, always be a continual surrendering to the Holy Spirit by way of godly sorrow for sin, confession, and repentance. And then, in receiving forgiveness, “With my lips I proclaim all the judgments of Your mouth. I rejoice in the way of Your testimonies as much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts and regard Your ways.” Psalm 119:14,15.
So, KISS – Keep It Simple Saints.
And LOVE – Let Others View Emmanuel.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it. Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7:13-15.
Plenty of pop televangelists “give their regards to Broad Way”. Flash, flair, show, big mansions, private jets, living the high style life. Where’s the cross in that?!
Ephesians 2:3 (context verses 1-10). Among them (referring to those dead in trespasses and sins, the sons of disobedience under the prince of the power of the air) we too all (“we” – clearly Paul includes himself, although he had been quite “religious”) formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
At times it can seem like life is giving us a beating. The following are some thoughts about what this might be about, if we love Jesus and are truly desirous to follow Him. It helps to get some clarification on how things work in this relationship with Him.
When we are born of the Holy Spirit, or “born from above”, there is a difference between what we were by nature and what we have become and are becoming in Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit. There is nothing short of a spiritual sea change (a transformation) – in thought, attitude, word, deed, worldview, and more. Everything of the self centered, self absorbed life decreases as Christ increases. That includes self righteousness appealing to human pride. Sometimes this is fast and drastic; at other times the pace is very slow. It depends on what God is doing and what He has in mind for the individual.
Locally along the coast of Lake Michigan, where the Great Lakes are sometimes referred to as the “Inland Seas”, we are being given a glimpse of this by the powerful forces of nature – if only we have eyes to see it. There is much of the “sea” rising up against the shore – sand, dunes, bluffs, trees, flora and fauna, trees, and even a few houses of those who have built on the sand are being washed away. The dirt and rocks are no match for the power of ever encroaching wind and waves combined. A sea change is being imposed upon the land by the forces of nature.
Could this be a lesson God has placed in front of us through His creation? As the purpose of the water and wind will have its way, so shall the purpose of God!
The soil, sand, and whatever is growing from it, or is built on it, is being washed away by the power of the water. The “dirt” must go. It stands in the way of God’s plans and purposes for our life, to remold and reshape us into His likeness. We cannot move what stands in the way of that of our own volition. We are part of it in fact. But it cannot stand against the Holy Spirit, represented by the strong wind and relentless waves. Once this process is occurring, it reconfigures everything, never to be the same again. This is God’s kind of “re-formation”. It may mean a dismantling of how things have been entirely, followed by a restart.
This analogy might be a poor one. When we ask and keep on asking for the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:5-13), He does not damage us irreparably. He demolishes within us that which keeps us captive to the prince of this world, the works of the devil in us which Jesus came to destroy (1 John 3:8), his “hooks” of the world, and the flesh. He does not damage us like the waters beating against the shore, but He does “storm” the kingdom of darkness within us which has established a beachhead and a foothold in His kingdom! This occupation of His Kingdom by darkness is not to be allowed. Our body and being are God’s holy temple, and His will is to remove all within it that has been set up by the prince of this world (with our complicity!), that stands against His good intentions for us, which is His love and blessing. That is what brings brings Him glory.
At the same time He restores and rejuvenates us, evidentially validating all of God’s promises, which are yea (sure) and amen (firm) in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:20).
If one is born from above, the process goes on to which we surrender, like the sands must surrender to the invincible sea – to His grace which changes us, causing a sea change within us. At times God’s love must be tough and persistent as a maelstrom. So it is good to understand that this can be a possibility.
“See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.” Deuteronomy 32:39.
If anyone is experiencing God’s sea changes, the evidence will be that we will see changes in that person. This witnesses to the reality taking place, in a living relationship with Christ Jesus. The old heart – core of the being and its motivations – is replaced by a heart that resembles Jesus, because His transformation is taking place within. What takes place on the inside is seen on the outside. At some point. Sometimes quickly. Sometimes very gradually.
For truly, we are His workmanship! (Ephesians 2:10).
More poking the stick at the bear, saber rattling, drum rolls, threats, global bullying, and assassinating as the beat goes on. This world must be a bad dream. May a brighter day arrive soon, when we can awaken.
When will we turn our swords into plowshares, and our spears into pruning hooks? When will the time come when we learn not to make war anymore?
When the hearts, one by one, of every person – regardless of rank in society – have surrendered themselves fully to the Prince of Peace, and thus are no longer at war with God Himself, when we are willing to learn of Him, and remember that we are to reveal His likeness in our own character on Earth while still in a body. Then surrendered to His Way, and loving one another, as if the other is ourself, we can be at peace.
Conflict has so long terrorized this planet that one wonders if we could stand it if we actually did experience a lack of it. It’s not just political and military, but domestic and personal. It’s riding hard that person who cuts us off in traffic. It’s everywhere from grandiose political posturing to the minutiae of daily interactions. Is there anyone who is not in conflict with someone else on some level?
Don’t you ever wonder about that?
That is the question which should be asked in this linked article, which is supposedly about words that “don’t exist”.
This article is in some cases correct; others not.
Mostly it’s about word usage, not whether a word actually “exists” or not. “Snuck” is an example. Snuck is listed in the online dictionary that I use (It’s an app on my laptop) as an “informal, chiefly North American past and past participle of sneak.” There’s much more, as it links to Wikipedia, dictionary, history of the word.
Does it set my teeth on edge when I hear it? Yes. But that does not mean “snuck” does not exist. Hearing the word “sneaked” also sets my teeth on edge, possibly because I grew up with snuck.
Unfortunately. I know of a news commenter who absolutely has a tantrum if he hears the word “snuck”. (Oh well, get over it.)
The one that drives me nuts is the use of the word “concerning” as it’s come into vogue. Appropriate usage: “I’m writing this letter concerning that which you brought up.” Inappropriate usage: “That trend is very concerning.” Better stated, “There is great concern over that trend.”
Personally, as a word nerd and punster who likes to make up and play with words all the time, it’s OK to have fun with them. Words are the color palette of language.
Word nerds and grammar snobs are not necessarily the same animal, and if they should attempt hybridization, it will probably result in some sort of crazy chimera!
Always remember, the dictionary is your friend. 🤓
Signs? Wonders? Phenomena? Apparitions? Prophecies? False teachers? So called wisdom? Philosophy? Eastern mysticism and meditation? Prosperity and success gospel? Everything from dead works religion to extreme liberal antinomianism. (And more…)
What says the Word of God? There are plenty of warnings. The following are but a few. Pray for the Holy Spirit. Pray for discernment. Stay in God’s Word. Embrace the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ alone! These are times of great apostasy, and there is “something for everyone” of it in every branch of Christendom. It is time to not fall asleep at the post, but to watch and pray always.
“And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will slay with the breath of His mouth and annihilate by the majesty of His arrival. The coming of the lawless one will be accompanied by the working of Satan, with every kind of POWER, SIGN, and FALSE WONDER, and with every wicked DECEPTION directed against those who are perishing, because they refused the love of the truth that would have saved them.” 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1
“Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7:15
“Now there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them -bringing swift destruction on themselves.” 2 Peter 2:1
“At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There He is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and PERFORM SIGNS AND WONDERS THAT WOULD DECEIVE EVEN THE ELECT, if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything in advance.” Mark 13:21-23.
“The prophets are prophesying lies in My name,” the LORD replied. “I did not send them or appoint them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a false vision, a worthless divination, the futility and delusion of their own minds.” Jeremiah 14:14.
“For since in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know Him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks search for wisdom, but we preach CHRIST CRUCIFIED, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.”
1 Corinthians 1:21-23.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13,14.