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Posts Tagged ‘Christian discernment’

 

I feel I must apologise for the delay in writing a follow-up post as promised [God’s reconciliation]. My only excuse is that age-related ailments again are unpredictable and sap one’s energy – so things tend to take a bit more effort ….. plus, I’m not as efficient as I used to be!

I find that the false teachings in the Church do not affect me in such a ‘personal experience’ way since not being involved in a local Church – that lack of involvement not being out of design or desire on my part I assure you. So I do not have specific things to write about.

My connection therefore with all things spiritual comes through Christian friends,  on line Ministries and of course, my own personal walk with the Lord, prayer and Bible study.

I have found many really good ministries, sermons, articles and videos that are faithful in preaching the Gospel and nurturing believers in the Faith ‘once delivered’ and they are also not afraid to speak out against all the ghastly practises and teachings that are rampant in these Last Days.

I’m convinced though, that the Gospel and the true remnant of believers will, by God’s grace and certainly by His will, grow stronger as tougher  times go on. God is faithful to His word and as we rely on Him more and more- so accordingly He will never leave nor forsake us. Indeed – His strength is made perfect in our weakness. 2 Cor 12:9

Since my husband died suddenly nine years ago, I have lived alone and been fairly restricted by my circumstances. It’s been lonely and difficult at times and if the Lord had ever failed me, I would be in dire straits I can tell you! My flesh and my heart fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever’ Psalm 73:26

So – to return to the purpose of this Blog – my writing has been very intermittent for some time now and I had thought with what few posts I write, maybe I should focus on the unsaved – however – my audience likely are people who already know the Lord. So I’ve decided [I’m loathe to claim guidance from the Lord!] that I’ll take a slightly different tack.

When I read my Bible, I tend to write notes about things that occur to me and I try not to bring any of my own pre-conceived ideas to a passage. What I read can often make me question things I’ve been taught in the past and  it sets me off on a little scripture reccy. So my idea is that I will sometimes pass these thoughts on here. Whether this would be of help or of interest to anyone else remains to be seen!

My other bright idea is that I will now be  re-blogging  other peoples’ posts – having only just realised I can do this on WordPress at the touch of a button …  neat eh?  This will I hope introduce fellow believers to Ministries of mutual interest. These Ministries tend to have their finger on the pulse of what is currently happening in the Church/false church scene, as well as Bible prophecy fulfillment and Israel. I’m doing this because they write things so much better than I can and are much more qualified to do so. They seem to say exactly what’s on my heart too ….

May the Lord bless and keep you,   Eileen

PS: No promises from now on about the frequency of my Posts !!

 

 

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A very Happy New Year to everyone !

Sad to say – it won’t be for this world, but for we who believe, the Lord tells us to ‘fear not’ as we look to Him. Psalm 27 is good to read when going through trials and tribulations. v14: Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

The ending of an old year and the leading into a new inevitably brings a mood of looking back and looking forward and WordPress is no exception. They kindly supply me with my statistics for the past year, and I must admit I was somewhat surprised, not to say disappointed with myself to see I’ve only managed to post three times !

However – because my advancing age seems to be bringing a change in my ability to write as often as I would like, plus the lack of stamina to do the necessary research, I feel maybe it’s time to hang up my pen and call it a day …..

I have been toying with the idea of changing direction and maybe just writing comments on current events in the world’s politics/news, but I would have been without proper direction. After all – I started writing this blog because I was so concerned about false teaching within the Church and the tolerance of it by those who should know better. But now I believe many more Christians are concerning themselves with these matters and are studying the Word of God for themselves instead of simply relying on their favourite preachers, not because of my own writing of course, but because  many Ministries and individuals are doing an excellent job in pointing Christians to the Word of God and away from false prophets and their deceit, and are not afraid to name names and call things what they truly are.

I think more Christians too, because of their study of the Bible, are seeing the falseness of the Pre-trib Rapture doctrine, with its emphasis of escaping what is to come upon this earth. We need to be prepared for persecution and we can only do that by knowing the Truth and being filled with the Spirit of God and Comfort.

When Jesus walked upon the Earth, the limitations of His physical body meant He couldn’t be with all of His followers all of the time and in all places. He told them that He had to return  to Heaven so that the Holy Spirit could come and do that very thing – for them and all those believers who come after, throughout history ! He said the Holy Spirit would be with them and in them. see John 14:16-18 and  John 16:7   These two chapters give us a lovely picture of how the Godhead [Trinity] works in co-operation and purpose. It is our privilege and joy that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit make themselves known to us through the Ministry of the indwelling Spirit, revealed to us by His Word.  Jesus is the Living Word, the Logos. The Names of the Holy Spirit are so appropriate to our needs as weak and fallible human beings.

Oh how we are going to need the strength, guidance and  comfort of the Holy Spirit in these times, whether it be within the bigger picture, or in our own personal struggles in life. Our Father in Heaven knows our needs and sees every sparrow that falls. Jesus is faithful and true and will never leave us nor forsake us.  Maranatha !!

 

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Since my original post I thought I needed to add and clarify something that I’d taken for granted every Christian would do. That is that they would be grounded in the basic, historic and traditional doctrines of the Faith, once delivered to the saints [Jude 1:3]  The Apostle Paul especially tells us that we should follow his teaching and example – what he wrote he had received directly from the Lord.

Every Christian should know what the Gospel is of course. When I was born again I knew that I was saved, but a complete theological understanding of what that meant came gradually with study of the scriptures. I knew God the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in a truly personal way, but understanding of how the Trinity doctrine was formed, again came with study. I was fortunate enough after moving from London to Crawley, to join a newly formed Elim church where the emphasis was on the Bible and not on our ‘experiences’ – except that of our salvation. The choruses and hymns for the most part were doctrinal too. It was while there the Pastor loaned me a book called ‘In Understanding be Men’ which set out all the historic Bible doctrines. [As a sad little note – Elim as a denomination has now strayed far – and imagine my shock and sadness to see that my old Elim church has been rebuilt into a Mosque!! If we could have seen into the future, we wouldn’t have believed it…]

I was brought to the Lord in a high Anglican church so my initial grounding in the faith, fortunately, was in the repeating of the Apostles’ Creed every sunday. However, although I believed it, there were many there who didn’t – it was simply just trotted out as a ‘tradition’. More attention seem to be paid to the Book of Common Prayer than to the Bible. The sermon was usually based on explaining away Jesus’ miracles eg. the feeding of the five thousand was simply that Jesus had made those in the crowd who had brought food with them, feel guilty so they shared their sandwiches with everyone else!!

Anyway – the point is that we really need to know what the great Christian Doctrines are to be able to refute the teachings of Cults eg – their favourite is to attack the Trinity doctrine, so we need to know exactly how the scriptures describe the Godhead. Yes – the cults may well use the names Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but their meaning is totally different to ours.  I think I may have taken that grounding for granted, when I advocated that believers should always check out what they hear from their Leaders – especially their latest revelations and prophecies and what they all claim God has ‘laid on their heart’ or has outright ‘told’ them. Time was when I naive enough to believe them and give them the benefit of the doubt if I had any.

If we don’t know really what Bible truth is, then how can we tell truth from error? We will be ripe for deception because we are impressed with man and his ‘ministries’.  The worst deception of course is when we think the Leader/Preacher must be so close to the Lord that he/she couldn’t possibly lead us astray. Being Christian believers, we are loathe to criticise or ‘judge’ anyone [ a misapplied term if ever there was one] , let alone a respected Leader – so the false is allowed to fester along with the true … and that is precisely why things have got so bad in the Church today.

Because Doctrine is considered dry and almost a dirty word now, it gives the green light to relative truth … the teaching that if something works for you then that is your ‘truth’ – mine may be different to yours but all truths are valid. So if there are good testimonies coming out of certain questionable ministries, then God must be in it, and if it’s good enough for God it should be good enough for us too. How dare we question God’s anointed? We should just eat the meat and spit out the bones [ a saying I find really horrible]. I’m not saying that in His sovereign grace, God doesn’t ‘work’ in an individual heart and circumstance – but that doesn’t mean His overall approval of what is going on.

Anyway – enough of all this seeming negative stuff. You can only discern and stand your ground if you are confident in your own scriptural foundation. There is plenty of help out there if you look in the right places. A google search for the historic, traditional doctrines of the Christian faith [ not Roman Catholicism] will be profitable I’m sure. Of course – it goes without saying that we first and always look to God for help. It is He who guides us and if we feel we lack incentive and desire to to study His word, He will instill a love for His word in us if we but ask Him.  It is our food after all and He doesn’t give us a stone instead of bread.We need the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment as we read and we should ask for wisdom in our reading and application. In 2 Tim 2:15  Paul’s advice to Timothy was ‘Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  See also 2 Tim 3:13-17

Never doubt God’s words – always doubt man’s if they are bringing ‘new’ revelations and teachings – search the scriptures.

till next time, Maranatha!     Eileen

 

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1 Cor 12:2     You know that you were Gentiles carried away to these dumb idols. even as you were led.

We are in the world and of the world when we are not born again by the Holy Spirit. We belong to the Devil’s kingdom and are led by him – albeit unknowingly and ignorantly. But when God saves us, we are translated [moved] into His Kingdom instantly. We are His new creation with His Spirit dwelling within us. Our lives are transformed as we believe and obey His word.

However – we can still be influenced by, deceived by and led astray by false teachers and prophets. Our best safeguard against that is to bring everything to the light of God’s word and ask the Lord to reveal the intents of our heart to us. [Heb 4:12] I learned a long time ago not to simply trust my own feelings and ‘leadings’ – which from experience could easily turn out to be either right or wrong.

In Heb 5:13,14 the writer [Apostle Paul] addresses the issue of believers who live on the milk of the word and do not progress onto the meat of learning to discern between good and evil. And we have ended up today when it is considered bad form and unloving to do just that when it comes to church leaders, so that the sheep are fed the milk of excitement, signs and wonders and entertaining ‘worship’. Doctrine is considered to be dead religion – the exact opposite of what the Lord Jesus and His Apostles taught.Who should we follow do you think? Shouldn’t it be a no-brainer for us?

Of course, many believe that they are ‘into’ their Bibles and check things out – but are they – or are they just ‘into’ the bits that their favourite preacher is giving them – his own slanted revelations? It all seems so Biblical and true ….  But – does the said preacher’s anointed, impressive ministry supersede any doubts there may be, so that it no longer matters if what they say is true or not?  Particularly pernicious are the Dominionist/Kingdom teachings that are at the root of the social gospel now taking over the true gospel. Do they even bother to search out the roots of any teachings they are hearing and believing? Or is it simply too thrilling and exciting to even consider the possibility that there may be deception at work here? Oh – so what if their foolish prophecies don’t come to pass? well that’s ok – they’ll get it right next time maybe. Is that what God’s word says??

It grieves me to say that I have Christian friends who are not yet discerning evil from good in their enthusiasm to see God ‘work’ in the signs and wonders ministries they support. Please don’t think that I in any way am questioning their sincerity, love for the Lord or their salvation, but I am questioning their lack of wisdom. I can do this because I was once exactly the same.

Often they will share their latest experiences, churches they have visited or the latest prophecy. They will also promote favourably books [The harbinger, Jesus Calling etc] that they couldn’t possibly give credence to if they had any Biblical discernment. I’m afraid I can’t rejoice with them and feel at a loss to tell them why without causing hurt or anger on their part.

Even when I’m as diplomatic and gentle as I can be, the outcome is usually ‘we have to agree to disagree’ or they avoid any future contact. Some, mistakenly thinking I’m either a ‘know-all’ looking down on them or that I’m a complete apostate!  I find this very frustrating and unsatisfactory, but I take a step back, knowing it’s all in the Lord’s hands.

Many times Christians get involved in certain ministries and practises because they are sincerely seeking to be ‘closer to the Lord’, want ‘more of God’, or are seeking a ‘deeper’ Christian life or the ‘Presence of God’. They think they will find this by going to where they believe God is doing something wonderful, something new, or to experience uplifting ‘worship’. Some, in the Emerging church, follow mystical practises that were once the domain of Roman Catholicism, for the same end.

I agree with this quote from a recent article by Sandy Simpson :  ” Apparently the “love of God” is not complete in those who want more,more,more. They want more excitement, more manifestations, more signs and wonders, more ability to do a transferable impartation, more money, more false prophecies, more titillating mythological stories passed off as truth that have no basis in actual, provable fact.    True believers have fullness in Christ, persevere in faith and obey the written word.”

I would add to that – they also have contentment …..

It is by reading and studying God’s word that we learn discernment and the false will become as clear as a pikestaff to us, as we do so. Deliverance from all the dross we’ve been drowning in will come with that first decisive step to lay aside all that we thought we knew, our experiences, our favourite preachers and admired prophets etc and commit to reading the Bible and seeking God’s truth. The scales are guaranteed to fall away from our spiritually blind eyes if we do. 1 John 2:26-28  In practise, it doesn’t happen all at once but in a gradual ‘dawning’ on us. 

If you are thinking ‘nobody has a monopoly on the truth’ or ‘you can’t cross every T and dot every i’  – my reply would be – because we fall short of the mark, does that mean we set our sights lower? Haven’t we the promise that the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth – so shouldn’t that at least be our goal?  No – we haven’t yet attained Phil 3:13-18 and we are told to earnestly contend for the faith. Jude 1:3  

And no – we do not defeat the object and  get ‘puffed up’ with ourselves. We should always esteem others better than ourselves , for whatever we are – it is by the grace of God and given to us to rely on Him and help others, not to glory in ourselves and our perceived spritual ‘achievements’.

Believe me – the more you read, the more God’s word cuts you down to size. My rightful position before God is as a forever-grateful sinner, saved by His grace through His wonderful gift of faith. Thank God my righteousness is in Him and not in myself! Amen.

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Well folks, I guess I’m going to get political in this post …. with all the biased reporting going on in the media, I felt the need to register  my support for Israel and the truth.  I’m really glad to see that the voices that are pro-Israel are getting louder in the continuing conflict . However, I’m also grieved when naive and uninformed christians condemn Israel on the say-so of  Islam.  Anti-semitism is in full flow again it seems.

The media in general and the BBC in particular have always shown their dislike of Israel. For years now Jeremy Bowen has been demonising Israel in his reporting. And apparently the BBC among others will be broadcasting an appeal by DEC  [Disasters Emergency Committee ] for Gaza today, having previously refused to do so.  Today the BBC stated ” The BBC will continue to report impartially in our coverage of the story in the Middle East”   – are they kidding?  Their idea [or deceit] of unbiased reporting is to show one-sided graphic images and distressing scenes from sometimes ‘staged’ events together with voice- overs giving statistics, comparing casualty numbers as if that all proves Israel is the aggressor and guilty party- deliberately terrorising the innocent.  In the interests of ‘balance’ and BBC non-partisanship , a token Israeli family or govt. spokesperson is tacked onto the end or beginning of the reports.  No real, serious attempt is made to understand or report accurately the true situation. it is all taken at face value, which suits Hamas just  fine.

The world is ‘up in arms’, ironically, because of the reported loss of innocent lives and the appalling suffering of women and children. But has the media been fair and honest in it’s reporting? An Israel Defense Forces[IDF] spokesman says of the casualty figures: ” the UN numbers being reported are by and large based on the Gaza Health Ministry – run by Hamas”  and ” when militants are brought to hospital, they are brought in civilian clothing, obscuring terrorist affiliations”.  There also appears to be video evidence on youtube of ‘staged’ dead body scenarios by Hamas – so who would we rather trust?  Mosab Hassan Yousef, now a Christian, said in an interview :” They don’t care about the lives of Palestinians, or of Israelis or of Americans – they don’t care about their own lives”

Before I ever became a Christian , I too used to believe what the media said about the State of Israel and it’s supposed oppression of the Palestinian people. I always wondered why Israel, themselves so terribly terrorised and persecuted ,would act in the same way towards others – they of all people should show compassion shouldn’t they?  But, like the rest of the world I never understood the absolute deception that engulfs the world and the satanic influence behind it all.  Why would a tiny democratic country like Israel command such hatred ?  Why is the world anti-Israel and not anti-terrorist? Who is the true attacker or defender here?  Has Israel not the right that every country has to defend itself against attack?

Hypocrisy is at it’s height when we make one rule for ourselves and another for Israel!  Would we expect our own govt. to take appropriate action if another country bombarded us with rocket fire or would we just sit back and let rockets fall where they will?  Did we do that when Germany attacked us?  Israel would be very foolish if she ignored the situation – it would be suicide !

Now, the US President is authorising air strikes on Iraq – but hey, that’s ok isn’t it – because ISIS could threaten US interests and Personnel in that country ….  BUT – the US wouldn’t intervene in Syria, even though the ‘red line of using chemical weapons’  had been crossed.  So – self interest is the crossing line after all then? US assets etc must be protected at all costs.

It is well documented that Islam seeks the destruction of Israel, but they also want to build an Islamic Caliphate everywhere in the world – hence Muslims entrench themselves in democratic countries that they really despise. Where they gain local political power their aim is to impose Sharia law for all. They would force all people to become Muslim if they could. And why were they allowed to block the Blackwall tunnel with their Gaza protests? And Tower Hamlets seems to be a Muslim enclave these days….

Israel is a tiny democracy in the Middle East and poses no threat to anyone – she is in a land historically given to her by Jehovah God [ see my previous Post], the God of the Bible, Jews and Christians. Islam follows the ‘god’ Allah  and the religion of Islam where love and mercy do not exist.

Our country’s collaboration with the madness of political correctness reared it’s ugly head again recently with the arrest of Paul Weston, [Liberty GB] because he publicly quoted from Winston Churchill’s book, The River War, published in 1899. It set out Churchill’s views on Islam and it’s threats to societies. How times have changed eh?  I daresay eventually quoting from the Bible will be banned , because it speaks truth and is far removed from ‘political correctness’.  But then , the Christian gospel has always been an offense to those who have no love of the truth.

I admire those who are of a high public profile who are willing to speak out in defense of Israel’s position eg Melanie Phillips and I’m so pleased to see that Rev.TV is  making a stand too – good on ’em I say!

Although I haven’t put any specific links here – an appropriate google search will find most of what I’ve stated if you want to check anything out.

Thank God we know the end of the story and evil will not triumph over Israel … primarily because God will fulfill His own purposes and bring glory to His name with the return of Christ.

May God bless and keep you in these troubled times,    Eileen

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Lately I’ve been feeling very down and, having suffered a couple of bouts of severe anxiety and depression in the past that really incapacitated me , I found myself dreading that it was happening all over again. But I cried out to the Lord and He heard me!  I reminded myself that God hasn’t given me a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind.[2 Tim 1:7]

When you live alone and you’re getting on in years it’s so easy to go down in a spiral of dark thoughts, pessimism and fear, because it brings its own stresses and strains. And you can feel particularly guilty if you are a Christian; so your self- condemnation only adds to your misery!

I have always been prone to not wanting to burden others with what I know can only be resolved by my walk with and trust in the Lord Himself. Everyone  has enough illnesses and problems of their own anyway ….     Over the years, unfortunately and very sadly, I found that ‘Church’  wasn’t always as helpful as you would have expected – indeed, it could even add to your stress, so that, instead of being an oasis from the world and personal trials – it was the exact opposite.  I am not complaining about that as it simply threw me more on the Lord’s grace and mercy – I’m just stating facts.

So it was I learned to take my woes to the Lord and cry out to Him. His word taught me to bring my thoughts captive to Christ, wait upon Him and trust in His care.  It can be very much a difficult learning process though, but He is faithful and answers our prayers in the perfect way for us.

While recovering from a particularly bad bout of depression some years ago, I’d gone into a shop and the title of a book jumped out at me from the shelf. It was ‘Peace From Nervous Suffering’ by Dr Claire Weekes and it was just what I needed!

I am always wary of self-help books based on psychology and psychiatry as they can be full of humanistic philosophies and occult practises, but this book was as practical, insightful and helpful as it gets, and apart from the Bible it turned out to be the best book I could have read, as it speeded my recovery with understanding.

So, having for so long been fine , it came as something of a shock  the other day to experience the return of those same old familiar, but horrible symptoms. however – I was more able to deal with them this time. After crying out to the Lord, I dug out some notes I remember I’d written from Dr Weekes’ book and refreshed her advice.

Out of curiosity I did a google search to see if her books were still available so that I could recommend them, and yes, they still are.  Not only that, I came across a Blog written by Peter Stone  http://cornerstonethefoundation.blogspot.co.uk   He has an inspiring testimony and has written very helpful posts, plus an excellent Forum.

I can guarantee that fellow sufferers will be greatly enlightened and helped by both Dr Claire Weekes and Peter Stone ‘s insights.

The morning I was feeling so down, I read psalm 18 and I will close with verses 28-33 followed by  Spurgeon’s commentary on it.

” …. For you will light my candle; the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. For by Thee I have run through a troop; and by my God I have leaped over a wall [ at 77 yrs old that’s some feat! lol]    As for God, His way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: He is a buckler to all those that trust in Him. For who is God save the Lord? or who is a rock save our God?   It is God that girds me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and sets me on my high places”

Spurgeon’s commentary on verse 28:     ” It may be that my soul sits in darkness; and if this be of a spiritual kind, no human power can bring me light. Blessed be God! He can enlighten my darkness, and at once light my candle. Even though I may be surrounded by a ‘darkness which might be felt’,  yet He can break the gloom and immediately make it bright around me.

The mercy is that if He lights the candle none can blow it out, neither will it go out for lack of substance, nor burn out itself through the lapse of hours. The lights which the Lord kindled in the beginning are shining still. The Lord’s lamps may need trimming, but He does not put them out.

Let me, like the nightingale, sing in the dark. Expectation shall furnish me with music, and hope shall pitch the tune. Soon I shall rejoice in a candle of God’s lighting. I am dull and dreary just now. Perhaps it is the weather or bodily weakness or the surprise of a sudden trouble; but whatever has made the darkness, it is God alone who will bring the light. My eyes are unto Him alone. I shall soon have the candles of the Lord shining about me  and further on in His own good time I shall be where they need no candle, neither light of the sun. Hallelujah!

You are most welcome  to leave  comments, testimony or advice and help for other sufferers.

see you next time     God bless, Eileen

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“But speak  the things which become sound doctrine” Titus 2:1

“Holding fast the faithful word, as he has been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers – for there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers ….” Titus 1:9,10

In my previous post I mentioned my belief that so much deception has been allowed to invade the church because of a lack of trust in and obedience to the Word of God. Of course, I recognise that church Leaders would not agree with that suggestion because they all , without exception, say they use and take their authority from the Bible  –  but the question is – which one?

I think, as a result of all the many different versions [and paraphrases] now in use, the green light has been given for preachers and teachers to make the Word of God mean just about anything they want it to mean. Who’s to say anything is truly right or wrong when what it all comes down to is a simple matter of man’s interpretation?

I write this as a lay person with no authority or qualifications – it is just my humble opinion, drawn from my own observations, experience and research. My contention being that we need to have the utmost confidence that the Bible we read is indeed the infallible, inerrant Word of God, preserved and protected by Him and not a hit and miss exercise of translation and interpretation.

If we don’t have that confidence, it inevitably de-stabilises our firm foundation, so that we then turn to other sources for our spiritual security. Our ‘leadings’, experiences and trust in personal prophecies become on a par with and even supersede Scripture in our daily walk…..   it’s miraculous, it feels right – so it must be right.  The danger is that we can then be led by seducing spirits and doctrines of demons. 1Timothy 4:1

I was first alerted to a ‘problem’ with the Bible when I began to hear preachers throwing out casual comments that a certain word or passage in the KJB was a ‘mistake’  – it either was translated wrong or it shouldn’t be there at all.  It bothered me then and it bothers me now that the reliable Word of God wasn’t so reliable after all!

So, gradually, the KJB has fallen out of favour, not simply because its language is now considered [wrongly I believe] archaic and hard for people to understand, but because its accuracy has been discredited [ironic when you consider the errors and cumbersome language in the other versions].  So -it’s goodbye King James – welcome The Message ! [For a Defense of the King James Bible see my Blog archive.]

Add to this the sentimental/mystical RC inspired tv series ‘The Bible’ and the latest portrayal of Christ in the film Son of God [not to mention The Passion of Christ] and the vain imaginations of man are complete. Naive and gullible Christians fall for it hook,line and sinker!

Anyway – I digress …..    To illustrate what I mean by preachers making the Bible say what they want it to say, I will give just three examples of what I came across, almost incidentally, while looking up other things.   I have named the last one as he is so well known.

The first was a sermon on Healing by a young visiting preacher on an Australian AoG church web site.  He claims the Holy Spirit is his friend and quoting from the Message Bible, apparently when Jesus returned to Heaven after his resurrection ‘ the Holy Spirit greets Him with ‘Great job!’ and Jesus replies ‘Now it’s your turn’ and gives Him a ‘high five’![my summary]

He relates [correctly] how in a certain place Jesus could do no miraculous works because of their unbelief, but then goes on to advocate prayer and taking authority over that unbelief to ‘break’ it. But where did Jesus ever do that?

Regarding Jesus telling some people he healed not to tell anyone, he seems to impute manipulation on the Lord’s part by likening it to when God said to Eve – ‘Don’t eat that’ – she went ahead and ate !  In other words – Jesus knew what people are like and that they would do the exact opposite to what He told them, so He could be certain of  their publicity ….   How much of that idea this young preacher got from The Message , I don’t know, not having read it myself. Maybe I should enlighten myself ….

Anyway – as I see it in John 2: 23-25  the reason the Lord told people not to publicise their healings was because he knew men’s hearts and that they were just seeking after ‘signs’ and not commitment to Him.

My next example happens to be another AoG preacher – this time a young woman. Her sermon was titled ‘The Great Involvement’  – immediately changing the commission for the church to preach the gospel of repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ into ” go to hurting humanity” – a Humanist Social Gospel.

She relates the story of Paul and Silas [Acts 16] , quoting from The Message Bible and using the ‘visual aid’ of a young lady from the audience and wrapping a rope around her.  She says Paul ‘bumped into’ the slave girl but chose to ignore her. So ” this chick says, ‘ok – you’re gonna ignore me, so I’ll follow you. Not only that  – in her messed up state she yells out: ‘ He knows the way’ –  I’d like him to help me find my way – but – he knows the way!”

She goes on to say – ” This went on for several days. I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around that. Paul – do you not see that this girl is troubled, she is possessed, she’s messed up, she needs someone to involve with her? But Paul went about his way”

She continues – ” after following them around for several days – finally- fed up with her [ruining his nice, polished sermon] – I love it – it wasn’t even spiritual!  The fact is – God doesn’t care how you get there – just get there! He doesn’t care.

After saying a few words about us getting involved in other people’s lives, she refers to ” a few verses earlier, when Paul came across a woman called Lydia, who asked him if he’d stop, get involved and come to her house, Paul said ‘yes’ to Lydia, but ‘no’ to the slave girl. Lydia was a wealthy woman and didn’t look as messy as the girl. She had a nice home and food she could give to Paul- she had benefits attached. Sometimes we have selective involvement. If I involve with you there’s a benefit here for me. There was no benefit with the slave girl”

Well, I hope you are as appalled as I am at this imputed partiality of the Apostle Paul – what a hypocrite she makes him out to be!! She also appears to rejoice at his supposed lack of ‘spirituality’!  Her complete lack of understanding is aided and abetted by her use of The Message.

My last example is notorious Mark Driscoll. He claims his ‘Resurgence’ movement is anchored by a theological foundation of

1.  Jesus -centred  Theology  2. Jesus – modelled Leadership  3. Jesus – empowered living  4: Jesus’ Mission

Sounds impressive doesn’t it? Till you hear his preaching…..  I won’t go into detail here but would direct anyone  interested in his treatment of the Scriptures to visit http://www.driscollcontroversy.com  where you can read his take on Gideon and Noah. Talk about turning the truth into a lie!!

must sign off now – please – if you see any mistakes, inaccuracies , untruths , I would welcome your correction. If you simply want to comment or add anything else relevant – feel free to do so.  God bless …. Maranatha!

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The ‘church’ keeps changing and metamorphosing into something else – as fast as I think I’ve got a handle on what’s happening – it changes again , to go along with the latest fad. It’s scary that so many are now following church growth patterns [ all under the supposed guidance of the Holy Spirit] without even bothering to question or compare it all with the early Church pattern.

Rick Warren’s philosophy has invaded the church at large now , traditional, reformed or evangelical – it makes no difference, so that whereas at one time you could at least separate false doctrine from true, it has become almost too much to unravel ,  a mish-mash of influences that are affecting the very preaching of the Gospel itself.

I’ve known for some years about Marxism and what is called the Dialectic Process, but always associated it with politics, as I suspect most folks do. But I’m prone to search out the truth of a matter when faced with teachings/happenings that come across my path. I don’t like being in a fog [how well I remember being in those good old London, thick pea-soupers!] and the mental ones are even worse…..

So it is that I was able to learn more about the Dialectic Process [Diaprax] and it’s infiltration of the Church – hence everything has to change as the old ways are discredited and the new is in. The old sin- convicting Gospel has gone – enter the new Social Gospel. Even the faithful [to the Word], legitimate Churches seem to feel shamed into being more socially and politically active in the world, afraid maybe of being thought too ‘narrow?  The focus  is on ‘relationships’ with each other and the world – ultimately leading to another Jesus of course. 2 Cor 11:4

For a good understanding of what is going on, please take the time to visit the web site of Dean Gotcher  http://www.authorityresearch.com  He is also on You Tube, and Berit Kjos’  web site  http://www.crossroad.to/articles  for insights into the machinations of the UN.

I know there will be many Christians who will find it too burdensome to investigate for themselves, but it’s good to get into the habit of checking out things you hear or read with a little personal Bible study – especially if you have that little nagging doubt that something isn’t quite right.   It’s imperative that we become lovers of the Truth of God’s word – how else will we know if we’re being deceived?

Some will say – the Gospel is simple and following the Lord Jesus Christ and living in harmony with sincere fellow believers is all that God requires of us – he wants us to be as little children.

That is true initially – but God also requires that we mature and grow in our understanding and obedience of His word. [although 1 Cor 14:20 is said in the context of ‘tongues’ , I believe it applies to all spiritual things …]

The Lord gave Ministry gifts to the Church – Eph 4: 11-15  so that we needn’t be children who are tossed about by the false doctrines of cunning men. Sadly, today those Ministers are often failing us in that they tend not to want to be ‘negative’ and believe the Scriptural warnings are for others, not them – after all, don’t they pray to be led by the Holy Spirit ? Haven’t they done many wonderful things in His Name? mmm ….

I always try to approach my re-search with an open mind. I do not want to be prejudiced against any ministry or preacher because of what I’ve read or heard. This has been my position since the very earliest days of my Christian walk. I listened to what the JWs and Mormons had to say and read the literature they gave me, some of which sounded legitimate until I investigated further. I often discovered that the rank and file members , had the truth about their Leaders and origins hidden  from them. BUT – these enthusiastic cult members enjoyed the love and fellowship they had with each other and were convinced their respective Leaders could do no wrong, plus – all their thinking was done for them and even false prophecies didn’t appear  to bother them. {sounds a familiar pattern doesn’t it?}

Later, I came across an ad. by the Catholic Enquiry Bureau for anyone interested in finding out about their beliefs to sign up for a series of booklets – which I promptly did.  Again, my interest was in not wanting to dismiss them on hearsay.  Well, as you can imagine – it was even worse than I’d thought because the authority of the Pope and the church superseded anything the Scriptures might say, so they felt free to add all sorts of false ideas and commandments. Now I had it from the horse’s mouth.

It’s much easier and quicker these days to use the internet to look up the Horses’ Mouths web sites and You Tube videos of actual preaching. Plus of course the enormously helpful discernment ministries articles.

The huge deceptions that have arisen within  Christian churches are, I believe, the result of a lack of trust in and obedience to the Bible as the inerrant and  infallible word of God, together with a faulty view of eschatology [end time things]. I will enlarge on this in my next Post.

see you soon,   Maranatha!

 

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I don’t like to think that I am being overly critical and seeing error where there is none, but in the course of researching the obvious questionable teachings and practices in the current church scene, I come across what appear to be genuine, sincere ministries, committed to the gospel and to the Bible , and I have to re-examine myself and the scriptures to see if I’m wrong after all, because on the surface all seems well …..  they don’t appear to be following or part of any extreme groups.

These churches’ websites show they are very active in evangelism and almost all are proclaiming great blessings, over-flowing congregations, together with prophecies, visions and the like telling of revival in their midst and spreading throughout the whole world.  Undergirding all this is a huge desire for change – as one ministry puts it  – ‘to turn the tide of anti-christian pollution in our society’.     So why – instead of rejoicing with them – do I get an uneasiness that compels me to dig a bit deeper and look behind the scenes so to speak?

This uneasiness is usually triggered by noticing what a high opinion they tend to have of themselves. There is certainly no lack of ‘self-esteem’. Of course, I suppose you could say that their confidence comes from the belief that God is ‘showing up’ at their meetings and in answer to their prayers, sometimes over many years of lean results.  I can so easily find myself confounded in the face of so many testimonies of wonderful changed lives and miraculous moves of God,  which seem to be the proof that God is indeed at work. BUT – I have to return time and again to the solid ground of God’s word and it’s warnings of deception by seducing spirits.

Church growth seems to be what it’s all really about. They may disassociate themselves from the teachings of Rick Warren, but they nevertheless pick up on his ideas, consciously or unconsciously.

The mission these days seems to be less about saving individual souls, than ‘impacting’ and making a difference in your locality and christianising the world. The main aim is to show non-churched people how loving and friendly we are as God’s family and what better way than via a social gospel that will meet their emotional needs.

To that end also, we have to break down the old denominational barriers to achieve unity and co-operate in our common cause  –  no separation from the world for the truths sake allowed here!

Don’t they know the Church needs to be doctrinally sound to be in God’s will?  The Holy Spirit led the Apostles and the early Church into all truth and as we follow their New Testament example, so we will be led too. It’s just as important to follow the right practices and methods of evangelism too.

There is much targeting of young people – they are much easier to manipulate and influence – especially if music is made the attraction. Disturbingly, I came across this quote by James Ryles who had a dream in 1989 : ‘ And I remember the dream thinking to myself, wow – this is like the Beatles music was new. The Lord spoke to me and said, ” What you saw in the Beatles – the gifting and that sound that they had – was from me. It did not belong to them. It belongeth to me. it was my purpose to bring forth through music a world-wide revival that would usher in the move of my spirit in bringing men and women to Christ” [ Harvest Conference, Denver 1990]        I can see no Biblical precedent for using music in preaching the gospel , or ‘worship’ as a means of evangelising the lost, or    for entertaining anyone!

I don’t know when the title ‘Worship Leader’ crept into the church , but it has always made me cringe.  It misuses the word worship and in actuality is simply a ‘churchy’ name for a Musical Director.    I always thought that worship was something from the individual, redeemed heart to his/her Saviour and Creator. My Bible tells me that is the only true worship that God will accept.  ‘ But the hour comes and is now, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in TRUTH: for the Father seeks  such to worship Him.  God is a Spirit and they that worship Him MUST worship Him in spirit and in TRUTH’. John 4:23,24

        Christians are told to  ‘be filled with the Spirit; speaking to YOURSELVES in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord’. Eph:5:18

        The gospel of Christ needs no extra trappings to make it more palatable – the gospel itself is the power of God to save. ‘ For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek’. Rom 1:16    Genuine gospel preaching will produce genuine conversions and teaching the truth of God’s word will produce true disciples.

           What are all these new converts taught I wonder?  Most likely that they must submit to their Leaders , attend as many church meetings as possible, find their ‘ministry’ in the Lord [ what an asset if they are a musician!] ; but will they be taught to check everything out with scripture? will they be warned to treat any ‘leadings’ with caution? will they be warned of false prophets and teachers and deception in the church? Probably not – we don’t want to be too negative do we??

          So – if todays prophetic utterances are correct and God is moving by His spirit , bringing great revival to the whole earth, in answer to  all the dedicated ‘prayer ministries’ and spiritual warfare activity – then logically, we cannot be in the Last Days – for we are told of a great falling away of the church before the Lord’s return.  And yet – the world is certainly fitting the pattern of ‘as in the days of Noah’ and it is getting increasingly difficult to live as a Christian in our sin-sick world.

           I have known great anxieties and fears in my life and some very stressful situations over the years that have almost overwhelmed me  – but it has always been the word of God that I’ve turned to and it has kept and sustained me.  Christians have been taught to run to other Christians for help, but they are not always the answer and some will let you down. Don’t live your Christian life off the faith of somebody else  – be strong in the Lord. It is the Lord and His word that we need. It is only through the scriptures that we know His will, how to follow Him, how to keep from deception and how to pray.

        I have been fortunate in having to deal with cults and aberrant Christian teachings from the beginning of my Christian walk, so I have been aware, by God’s grace ,when things haven’t been right scripturally. And now that the church at large is falling away , in spite of my own temporary doubts and sometimes confusion  – I have to be true to my own convictions and my prayer to the Lord, as always, is that in His grace and mercy He will use what I write to help others  – just as I myself have been helped by the many articles written by other concerned believers. Their insights and experiences have been of enormous value, often simply confirming what I’d only suspected.

May God bless and keep you,      Eileen

 

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Before getting into specifics about William Branham I will give a bit of general background to my own experience.

It seems to me that one of the easiest ways for a Christian to be led away from Bible truth is when their admiration for or interest in a particular preacher, ministry or place becomes their main focus.  Add to that the erroneous belief that a true Christian cannot be deceived and you have the potential for a shipwreck ahead – hopefully not permanent!

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that when my husband and I were very young in the faith, we joined the local Elim church and were taken under the wing of a very nice man, David, who came regularly to our home to teach us from the Bible.

We were enthralled as he related stories to show us that God  was still doing miraculous things , just as He did in the early church, in the ministries of the great healing Evangelists around at that time [late 60s -70s]. He explained that God was restoring the five-fold ministries [Eph 4:11] to the church and fulfilling Joel’s prophecy as on the Day of Pentecost in Acts.

We were not sufficiently knowledgeable in the scriptures ourselves at the time to question, nor did we see the need to challenge anything we were being taught. He was a lovely Christian man, we got on well with him and he knew his Bible inside out [it seemed to us] –  so what could possibly be wrong? It was years later that we learned these were the heretical teachings of the Latter Rain movement. He also was a member of the Full Gospel Business Mens Fellowship who also believe the same.

Well –  the Pastor of our church did not approve and forbade David to meet with us anymore. There was no explanation why , so the inevitable happened and we eventually departed the Elim church and became a small house fellowship. We later met in a small building as our numbers grew.

Then – I think through David – we began to have connections with a church community in Chard, Somerset,  which everyone got very excited about because of the wonderful things that were happening there.

A preacher came from Chard specifically to teach and encourage us all in the gifts of the Spirit. But something he said set the alarm bells ringing. His words were: ” If the [first] voice you hear isn’t the Holy Spirit – then who are you being led by?”  This seemed very unwise counsel to my husband and I – especially as no mention was made of the need for conformity to the scriptures.

Needless to say, things began to happen in the meetings , including being ‘slain’ in the Spirit, as discernment and caution flew out the window in this newfound confidence and freedom.

When we tried to voice our concerns we were faced with anger and the general caution was not to ‘quench the Spirit’ because this was all part of God’s end time outpouring and restoration of signs and wonders to His church.

During our association with David the name of William Branham cropped up regularly. He was much admired and held in almost reverential awe by his followers. We were impressed by the ministry God had given him. We were completely ignorant about him and listened in wonder to the accounts of miraculous healings by this great ‘man of God’.

I am always willing to be objective about people and not to simply accept what may be personal prejudices about anyone , so to that end I read accounts both for and against. I am amazed now at the true picture that emerges from some of those who were close to him and  that William Branham was so accepted [and still is] in pentecostal/charismatic circles without question. There are some enlightening and very interesting videos and articles on line and I’ll put links at the end of this post.

One of the first things I came across was a video by Ed Byskal[?] . It’s titled ‘I Am A Witness’ and begins with a quote from Luke’s opening words to his gospel account. So – you would think it’s a witness to the Lord Jesus Christ wouldn’t you? But NO – it’s his witness to William Branham!

A young looking Ed B. explains that he wants to share his personal experiences so that “you may know with certainty the things of which I am a witness” Luke 1:4   So, the whole video is a defence of and excuses for WB’s many false prophecies and heretical teachings. It seems WB was a humble servant of God with faults and failings, but so exalted and blessed by God with the miraculous, that it made any false teachings and prophecies of no account!  EB , tragically seems to have made it his life’s calling to defend WB – unless of course the selective videos are giving me an unfair picture.

WB had psychic phenomena happening at his birth and throughout his childhood. These included voices, visions and angel visitations, which always frightened him .  This is not surprising when you read that his extremely young parents were not Christians and believed in  fortune telling.

If WB’s followers were/are aware of all this – it doesn’t seem to phase or bother them because they place God’s ‘anointing ‘ above His word. I came across this quote from the FGBMF  ‘Voice’ mag 1961. ‘In Bible days, there were men of God who were Prophets and Seers. But in all the sacred records, none of these had a greater ministry than that of William Branham.

I will end with a concerned appeal to those who think that Christians cannot be deceived – you are in a danger zone if your focus and admiration is on a particular person, ministry or ‘revival’ location  – however spectacular the signs and wonders and however humble and sincere they may be.  Your focus must always be on the Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostle’s teachings as they are revealed in the Bible.  ‘Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path’ Psalm 119:105

And don’t let yourself be put off, if, when you think something is wrong and unscriptural, you are told not to ‘judge’, not to ‘touch God’s anointed’, ‘not everything God does is in the Bible’, ‘you have a critical spirit’, or that Bible believers ‘worship’ the Bible or are legalistic.

These are just fear tactics [probably because they are in fear themselves] to keep you quiet and in bondage to their authority.  Don’t be afraid to follow up your doubts and be a good Bible searching Berean.  Read everything in context and get an overall view of what verses are actually saying and don’t let others do your thinking for you. 2 Tim 2:15 and 2 Tim 3:16,17  seem appropriate here.

NB:

For articles on William Branham I would recommend http://www.Letusreason.org.  If you go to the left side bar on their home page you will be able to scroll down to Latter Rain and click to see them.

A You Tube search will find Ed Byskal’s video titled I Am a Witness. There are several other interesting and informative videos there too.

Another ministry that concerns me is The Healing Rooms  and John G Lake.  Let Us Reason has some excellent articles on him too.

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