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Yes – I know – it’s that old chestnut, but I’ve been reading Ezekiel, initially to take a look at ‘end times’ prophecies concerning the nations and Israel.

But in Chapter 18  God sets out the principle that everyone is responsible for their own sins and we have a choice to follow His Laws or not. Further v.24 : But when the righteous turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity and does according to all that the wicked man does, shall he live? All his righteousness shall not be mentioned, in his trespasses and in his sin he shall die. v.25: Yet you say the way of the Lord is not equal: hear now O Israel; is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?

Reading this set me to thinking and one thought led to another and I began reflecting on a curious mind set that I find among pre-tribulation Rapture advocates – namely that God has a different gospel for Israel than He does for the Church.

I was taught early in my Christian life that the Church is under Grace but Israel is under the Law; the teaching went something like this : while we are living in the Church age, under grace, Jews may be converted and become Christians, making them part of the Church; but after the Rapture, God begins dealing with Israel under the Law again via the Great Tribulation, so that he who endures to the end of this terrible time will be saved and enter the Millennial Kingdom.

It’s the ‘enduring to the end’ part that seemed to lead to the ‘keeping the Law’ conclusion, so therefore it couldn’t be referring to the Church. The conclusion must be [in their minds] that God has two gospels going on – one for the Church and another  for Israel. One by Grace and the other by Works! But I think it most certainly is speaking of the Church – especially in the light of James’ explanation of faith and works. James 2:20-24. verse 22 is particularly relevant in the context of ‘enduring to the end’ because our faith is made perfect by our works.

A further complication arises , because if we think we don’t have to keep the Law [ the ten Commandments etc] to endure to the end, then it becomes a matter of ‘once saved, always saved’ so that it doesn’t matter how we live our lives – we will be saved in the end….. otherwise it isn’t grace .

I think this belief leads to the farcical acceptance of scandalous sin among ‘evangelical’ Leaders : because we are all under grace and musn’t judge another Christian – especially not a Leader or God’s ‘annointed’ ! But Jesus said “He that has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me” john 14:21  and “If you keep My commandments , you will abide in My love; even as I have kept My father’s commandments and abide in His love” John 15:10

You only have to study Jesus’ parable of the sower to see what happens in real life when the gospel is preached. I do not see a ‘once saved, always saved’ scenario there! From personal experience I know that Christians can and do fall away – I had friends who were definitely saved but who turned away from it all. One even regarded it as her ‘period of madness’ !!

It is dangerous to assume that a Christian living in obvious sin, without repentance, is still saved. Yes – we all fail and are weak in certain areas – but this is the age-old battle of the flesh with the spirit that Paul talks about in Romans: chapters 7 and 8   and we must walk in the spirit, and trust in Christ’s righteousness to keep us from falling. But that is different to deliberately sinning without repentance.

To return to the question of two gospels – or one gospel split into two as some say [ likewise splitting the Rapture of the Church away from the Day of the Lord] – there is a danger of thinking too highly of ourselves, ie the Church, than we ought. A read of Paul’s coverage in Romans chapters 9 ,10,11 of how we should view ourselves and Israel – especially 11:17-27, should be enlightening.

The New Testament is consistent with the Old and if we read Hebrews 11, we see that the faithful saints of old were indeed saved by faith; however – linking with the truth of Ezekiel 18, Hebrews also emphasises works. Jesus didn’t abolish the law – He fulfilled it !  He took the just penalty for sin that we deserve, but we are still expected to live according to His righteous Laws. The Apostle Paul set out the Jewish ritual Laws that we are set free from eg eating meats etc, but the Ten commandments – which Jesus summed up in the first two – loving God and loving one’s neighbour – are still in force for us.

God doesn’t expect us to do the impossible –  He has given the Holy Spirit to indwell, help and guide us. Indeed , if we truly love God, then we are truly willing to follow His ways and love His truth. We are also encouraged to defend the faith , which means speaking out when necessary.

I hope this hasn’t come across as ‘holier than thou’ because  I am only too aware of my own shortcomings and struggles – but we press toward the mark do we not?

As always – these are just my thoughts and I welcome any comments , especially if I’ve made any gaffs – highly likely considering my age ! Fings ain’t wot they used to be ….

Bless you for your indulgent time,   Eileen

 

 

 

 

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In spite of the fact that so many people in our Post Modern age have rejected belief in the Creator God of the Bible and so many others [increasingly so] are turning to false gods – the One true God has not given up on mankind yet – His offer of eternal life hasn’t been withdrawn. It remains valid and in operation while this life remains.

No matter who you are, what your life has been, how old you are, what you have done, whether you follow another religion, are an occultist, are a complete atheist, humanist, or simply consider yourself an ‘ordinary’ person doing the best you can –  and that pretty much covers everyone I think –   God’s offer in Christ the Saviour is open to you.

‘Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; all things are become new. And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ and given to us the ministry of reconciliation, to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them; and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you, in Christ’s stead, be reconciled to God. For He has made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.’

So – the big question is – will you believe it?  Ultimately there’s that little matter of ‘Faith’.  Your choice – believe it and be reconciled or carry on ignoring it?

If you’ve read this far , you could well be thinking it simply boils down to personal preference eg ‘I’m not a religious person so I don’t need to bother myself with all this – God isn’t relevant in my life so this message is meaningless for me personally. What’s right for you isn’t necessarily right for me thank you very much. But I’m happy for you.’

Well – the reason it is urgent and applicable to every single person on the planet is because the Gospel addresses your eternal destiny when your life is over – what then?

My next post will cover the answer to this important question –  I do hope you will join me,

blessings,   Eileen

                                                                                                                                                                  

 

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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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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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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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