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topics of interest


The Call of God

We read in the NT of Jesus calling individuals to follow him.  Peter, Andrew, James, and John, fishermen of the Sea of Galilee.  Matthew, the tax collector. We read of Jesus praying on the mount all night and then choosing twelve apostles.  In more modern times we hear of individuals like Hudson Taylor, D.L. Moody, and Billy Graham being called to ministry.  Missionaries, evangelists, and many others.

In my own experience I believe that there is a call today to a prophet ministry. One day I was praying downstairs in the basement of our family home.  During those earlier times I was trying to pray an hour a day.  I was not working in a job.  I was a stay-at-home mother of two young children.  Suddenly, during my prayer time I heard a voice that was not audible in the room say ‘prophet’.  I heard it inside my head, or my heart, so to speak.  I was stopped short.  This voice had interrupted my prayer.  I began to cry.  This calling of prophet was confirmed several months later by a visitor to our church.  He laid his hands on me and declared my calling to me.  I had not mentioned my experience previous to this in the church or to my family.  After the service he invited me to go with him to Russia.  He was taking a small group of young prophets to minister to believers there.  I chose to not go because of my young family situation.  This may have been a grave mistake on my part.

What does this mean exactly?  I’m thinking that for me it means something like Jeremiah’s experience in the OT.  He tried to stop being a watchman or give warnings to the people of Israel, but as he watched the Israelites in their error(s) he was compelled to speak out and exhort them.  This caused him a lot of trouble.  Jeremiah had so much trouble that he lamented before God that he had ever been born.  The apostle Paul states that God has placed the apostles last.  It was while they were being beaten down and trodden upon that the church in his day prospered.

I have difficulty when I hear someone in a Christian teaching ministry say that the time of apostles and prophets has ended.  To me, this teaching is just not true.  I think this is due to my own experience and reading in the Bible that the ministries spoken of in the NT are to build up and encourage the saints.  In the book of Ephesians it says that the city is built upon the foundation of the prophets and apostles.  We cannot decide that we will accept some NT ministries and make a decision that others listed within the same sentence in scripture are not for our day.

The prophet is never going away as we see demonstrated today.  Many false prophets are abounding in influence and power in the church, in Christian TV, or in other ministry.   This can be partly attributed to the false teaching of our day that we believers cannot judge those among us.  We read in the NT that  believers and elders in the church are to judge and test the spirits of those who lead us.  We read in I and II Corinthians that we are to execute discipline upon the sinful behavior of those in the church.  In Corinthians Paul’s instructions concerning  the gross sexual sins of an individual were to put him out of the assembly.   When and if repentance is demonstrated by the offending individual the church can then go forward with reconciliation.   Today Christian leaders seem to be saying that we don’t need to do this.  Instead, we are to encourage this individual who is committing gross sexual sin to stay in the church. God’s grace has covered over his sin in God’s eyes, and hopefully someday his thinking and actions will change when he sees what a great bunch of people we are.

 


I Corinthians 15:1+2

The first and second verses say, “Now I would remind you brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word that I preached to you– unless you have believed in vain”.

1. ‘by which you are being saved’
2. ‘if you hold fast to the word that I preached to you’
3. ‘unless you have believed in vain’

This scripture and many others are examples given to us in the NT and the OT confirming this idea that we are in the process of being saved, even though we have been placed into the Body of Christ. There are conditions. We must hold fast to the word. The Bible says that the Jews in the time of Jesus and Paul were in error about what they believed. They believed that as long as they confessed that they were Abraham’s children they were fine. Jesus clarified to them that their father was the devil. Their deeds were disclosing their real situation and condition.

The Bible tells the parable of the wheat and the tares being together in the kingdom of God. Growing together until the harvest. The admonition in scripture that there are wolves among the sheep, that there are wicked men who feast on the people of God. In the OT we have the picture or type of God’s people not entering into the promised land. They were rebellious, disobedient, complaining, double minded people, people who looked back and wished they could return to slavery after they had been freed at great cost. They died in the desert. It was their children who entered the promised land.

How is it that religious leaders say that we only have to confess Christ and then our salvation is secure. Our sin doesn’t matter, our behaviors don’t matter.


The Sufferings of Christ

The Bible declares that the believer will partake of the sufferings of Christ.  That this is in their best interests. That the believer will partake of the glory when they have also suffered like their predecessor Jesus.  Jesus has gone before us, we are to follow him.  Job declares that he knew of God, he had heard of him previously, but when Job suffered he stated he then saw God, gained understanding, and abhorred himself for his complaint against God.

Job suffered when he stood alone in his faith.  His friends contradicted him, his wife encouraged him to curse God.  Job experienced the loss of his family, his children, his friends, his possessions, his standing and respect in the community.  He stayed faithful to God, and afterward was richly rewarded by God in this life, and I am confident, in the life to come.  In the kingdom of God.  How could Job be happy with what God gave him after he had experienced such devastating losses?  God makes it possible.  Our further understanding makes it possible.  God’s work in us makes it possible.  The Bible says that with God nothing is impossible.

The New Testament says that we need to arm ourselves with this knowledge of the believer suffering.  It is happening in the world today and believers in the western nations don’t understand it.  Arm yourselves with this mind, the Bible says.  Christ suffered, and so you can expect that you will suffer as well.  Are you greater than your teacher, the Bible says?

Do we suffer in a vacuum away from God?  No, God is with us.  He makes it possible.  He provides.  It is not easy, but the suffering will end.  Paul states that if it is God’s will that you suffer for a period of time endure it like a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  These are teachings that are lost to the western church doctrines in our day.  It should open our eyes as to who is a true leader of God’s people in our day and times.

 

 


What God Requires

Micah 6:8
He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

What must we do to work the works of God?  We need to implement justice, morality, and rightness, today in our own lives.  God is clear in his Word.  What we do in our lives, and how we do it, matters to us, and to God.  He has requirements of us. We need to do certain things in order to prosper spiritually and physically in our lives. We are told repeatedly throughout scripture that judgment from the Lord is coming.  That God will judge the just and the unjust according to their works. He will judge the nations and peoples of the world.  He will judge his own people.

Immorality and corruption are increasing in the environment where we live.  We need to be looking to God for the ability to refuse temptations.  Western governments and nations are rejecting God and his commandments today.   Lying and deceit are everyday occurrences with those we deal with in business and everyday activities.  We see this in the news about our financial organizations defrauding and deceiving their banking customers.

What are we to do?  It’s not going to be ok for us to participate and do business the same way as the world around us.  God has given us his commandments.  They are laid out extensively in his Word.  The ten commandments being the scaffold of what he requires of people.  His Word is what we must follow.  God has not left us defenseless as his people.  We do not have the old nature that powerless against sin.  We have choices as God’s people to do what is right.  How do we do this?

Through  the Holy Spirit. We need to be asking God for his Holy Spirit to be given to us in a measure that is responsive to what is happening today in our world and what is happening where we are living.  This is individual, and also corporate, for us as God’s people.  We are in a struggle and we need to overcome through God.  Western Christians are  experiencing opposition from their government leaders, education institutions, judicial legislation, and popular culture.  What to do?

Stand with God, and do his will.  Keep his commandments. Ask him to help you to do this.  He will.  Guard your heart, your mind, and do what is right.  Avoid and rebuke temptations in the power of Jesus Christ.  You will be richly rewarded in this life and in the eternal life that you will enter.  ‘Well done thou good and faithful servant’.

 


Postmodern, Emerging Church?

My current understanding of the postmodern and emerging church is its desire to reject traditional Christianity and Christianity’s historic doctrines and teachings, even to the setting aside of biblical scripture, if necessary. The church services in the postmodern and Emerging Church are designed and intended for unbelievers. Places where people who don’t normally attend a church can come and be entertained and encouraged by self-help and self-esteem teachings and philosophies.

If Christianity was simply a belief system, where there is no true and living God, then it would have its place in our church systems. However, from my own experience of over thirty years of being a devout Christian, I can testify that Christianity is a transformation that comes about through the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and minds. One of the main avenues for this transformation is the Bible scriptures. Christianity is about following Jesus Christ into eternity. Christianity is about being reconciled to God the Father through the Son by the perfect sacrificial atonement on the cross provided by the Son. His sacrifice releases the believer from the Mosaic Law of death, so that we can then live to God in newness of life. Christianity is the power provided by God to remove sin from our lives. To achieve a new creation in us that has been purposed by God through our obedience to him. Christianity is slaying the old man and his wickedness, and putting on the new man who is created in the image of Christ. Christianity is the embracing of light and love and the rejection of darkness and wickedness in our own lives and in our world. These are just some of the things that are taught in the Bible concerning Christianity.

The postmodern and Emerging Church teaches none of these things to any extent. The leaders of these churches criticize believers who want more in-depth teachings about their faith and what God requires. Believers are told that the church is not for them but for the unbeliever. This is untrue. Believers are the church. There is no church without believers who have been reborn by the Spirit of God. The postmodern and Emerging church is not a true church, but rather an organization that is doing business in the name of Christ. Based on the knowledge that I have at this time, I would say that there is nothing to fear from these leaders, and to leave these organizations who are impersonating Christianity in our day.


The Modern Church and It’s Structure

In reading about the apostles and prophets in the New Testament,and how they taught about Jesus after his ascension, we see that they went to the synagogues outside of Jerusalem and initially to the temple itself in Jerusalem to proclaim their message and teach their understanding about Jesus. I think of Paul on his missionary journeys entering into the synagogues, standing up by invitation from the synagogue ruler, to speak openly to the assembly if he had something that he wanted to say. This custom or system provided a way for Paul and for others to speak to the Jewish people in the synagogues.

Our modern church does not have a good system or custom for those attending congregations (never mind visiting guests) to set forth their understanding of scripture openly to people, or to challenge leadership concerning their teaching. Today’s church leaders think of this provision as rebellion and division against them and against their organizations. We have very controlled religious establishments in North America today. Church is a highly structured and controlled event on Sundays and leaders are not open to having anyone other than select and chosen persons minister. The average believer cannot exercise their Holy Spirit gift under this kind of system.

Believers are truly under the control of these religious leaders whether they are good or bad. The system we have for churches in North America is a protective womb for cultist like errors and false teaching. People are now questioning more and more about how much ‘truth’ is actually being taught in our churches today.


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The Bible, is it correct information?

I read some regular news mostly from CBC here in Canada. I also read some alternate media sites on the Internet. What I have found for myself is that there appears to be error in both camps of news. On the Internet there are opportunistic web sites, propaganda sites, gossip sites, false teaching sites, exaggerated and hyped up sites, and so on. We have ongoing nuclear disaster problems in our world that are not mentioned in regular news broadcasts. We have important news that happens in the world and in our governments that is not covered by regular news outlets, we have news that is reported incorrectly, and so on. Where can someone get reliable trusted information in our day?
In my mind the Bible is the only correct information that we can rely on and depend on in our day. There is so much confusion, disinformation, false teaching, biased propaganda, deception, and outright lies in our day. The average person is changing into thieves, liars, and brutes. Scripture says this about the Cretans during the time of Paul the apostle. There comes a time in society when things are turned upside down and inside out. I think this is what is happening today. We in the world are being shaken. Everything we’ve known and believed in the past is being dismantled and questioned. Someone recently said that you read what the left news is saying, then you read what the right news is saying, and choose something to believe that is in the middle somewhere. I don’t think this is where a person finds truth either. This position is just more moderate thinking about untruths. Is everything we hear and read a lie? No. But how does one know what the real truth is? We don’t know. This is the reality in our day and time.
The Bible is also being questioned and dismantled in our day. This assault is coming from Biblical teachers,and preachers. The Bible’s truthfulness is being questioned today. We are being told that we can believe some of the Bible, or maybe even most of the Bible, but some parts of scripture are unreliable. Scholars say that there were wrong translations made in the past and so what the Bible says today can be questioned or set aside. I believe it is the Bible that will keep the believer on the correct path and will teach the believer what truth is. We absolutely need the Holy Spirit in our day, but we absolutely need to trust what the Bible says as well. Jesus says in the Bible that he is the TRUTH. Where else could we find this information other than the Bible?


Legalism

Legalism, in my view, is relying on the Mosaic Law for our righteousness. The Bible says that the law was good as it was originally given. The issue was that the hearts of men could not be changed by the law. If righteousness could have come through the law the scripture says it would have been done that way by God. Man needed to be reborn into righteousness after the fall of Adam and Eve. This was accomplished through Christ, a righteous man, dying on the cross and being raised again to new life. The Law was instituted as a tutor of righteousness until the appointed time of the birth of Jesus Christ. God’s requirements have not changed in Scripture. Beginning in the OT and then into the NT God teaches us about his requirements for right living, right thinking, and right hearts. What Jesus did was to make our transformation in these areas possible. We can now do through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit what we could not do under the Law. We can become a new creation in Christ. The scriptures teach us how we are to make these changes.

Today’s modern teaching on legalism has made it about overlooking God’s requirements for righteous living. That we have no choice but to continue to sin. This teaching denies the new birth in Christ. It puts believers in the camp of the unrighteous, with no real power, and at the control of sin. This is false teaching according to the Bible.


Two Covenants meaning Hagar and Sarah

Galatians 4:21 begins a teaching about the two sons of Abraham. The story in the OT of the two sons named Ishmael and Isaac tells of how Ishmael and his mother Hagar were sent away by Abraham. In Galatians the apostle Paul says that we can look figuratively at the mothers of Abraham’s sons as representing two covenants, one of the natural, and one of the promise through the power of the Spirit. Paul clearly teaches that the present Jerusalem is of Hagar. She will not share in the inheritance of God. Paul declares that there is a Jerusalem that is above and that she is the mother of those who are in Christ.
Today we have many teachers and preachers who make errors in dividing the word of truth. They teach one part of the Bible as full and complete truth, but when other parts of the Bible are read their teaching is contradicted by other Scriptures. This means there is error in what they are teaching.
The present church system that we know of in North America does not have checks and balances. There is alot of control implemented in the majority of churches. We can be certain that this type of control of people and of what we are being taught is not of God. We seem to have a mishmash of teachings related to both Hagar and Sarah. On the one hand we have freedom in Christ, on the other hand we are subjects and children to these church systems. The Hagars of our day.


Prophecy and Visions

What do the saints do with the many prophecies given and the spiritual visions claimed as seen by others? The saints must judge these by the Spirit. The Bible declares that we have something amazing living inside those who are in Christ. The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit knows the mind of God and is able to search out the heart of the person He inhabits. He knows what God is saying to his people in the present day. As the believer interacts with God through prayer, devotionals, spiritual messages, and in their daily walk with God, the Holy Spirit speaks to them. The believer gets ‘a sense’ of what the Spirit is saying through the Word and their own experiences with God. When a prophecy is given the believer judges it by what they have been ‘hearing’. For example, if a saint senses that God has been talking to believers about overcoming sin and a prophecy comes forth about believers going out to conquer the rulers of the world, then the saint can disallow that message given. It is likely not from God. The same applies to visions for this day and time. This same judgement applies to those who are prominent and respected leaders as well as to a member of the congregation.

In the Scriptures we don’t read about prophecy happening or being given outside of a gathering together of the saints. The Holy Spirit is present tense in the congregation. He speaks for that moment and time when the saints gather. This is not something that can be prepared beforehand by someone who prophecies. The prophesier cannot predict the message ahead of time. There also needs to be an ‘unction’ given with the prophecy that the Holy Spirit applies so that the saints can ‘hear’ the voice of Jesus. These messages or prophecies are given for several reasons. To encourage, correct, comfort, plead with the saints, etc.

There is misuse of prophecy in the Church today. Many saints are following ‘a man’. This man is not Jesus. Moses was a man of God. The scriptures declare that there is only one other ‘Man’ besides Moses that God has given for eternity, and that is Jesus. The saints are to grow into the full measure of this ‘Man’.