Tuesday, April 16, 2024

What Is the Real Deception?

Many of us have seen all the videos and posts on Facebook and YouTube about Mark Driscoll confronting Jim Lindell at the Stronger Men's Conference for using provocative worldly stunts to draw a crowd in.

 This morning, I listened to a few bible teachers, and it came down to this: The issue is not really Mark’s confrontation or Jim making him step down. The real issue is deception that is infiltrating the church. I have said this before, the greater deception isn’t the stunts. Yes, they’re unnecessary and evil. But it is false teachings, new age practices, and control sneaking into doctrines, and preaching. Some even elevate experiences and the prophetic above scripture. More on this later.

 Here are quotes from two pastors:

“We have chosen to use mass entertainment and carnal needs to try to draw people to the gospel. We’re really reaping what we've sown. We are bringing the world into the church and then wondering why worldly things are happening. We are bringing in compromise when we are using carnal means…” (Jeremiah J.)

 “Another pastor friend put it this way, “When you begin to use gimmicks to get people into the church each gimmick must be bigger and grander than the one before. Before you know it, you're spending more money on gimmicks than evangelism and going down a dangerous path of worldliness... just to get people in the building.”

The major missing element at this event was repentance. It is also missing from many churches these days. True awakening and revival come are birthed where there has been sincere, heartfelt breaking and repentance before the Lord.

 OK, back to the deception concern. Let’s look at a couple of scriptural warnings.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. (Galatians 6:7 NKJV)

 One who practices deceit shall not dwell within my house; One who speaks lies shall not maintain his position before me. (Psalm 101:7 NASB)

 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. (2Timothy 3:1-5 NIV)

You might say where is God's love in all of this? God is love. He wants to set us free of all bondage, hurt and deception in our lives. It is because of His love that He doesn't want us to remain as we are. He wants us to become more like him. You know, be holy as H is holy. (1 Peter 1:15,16 NKJV) Check out Romans 2:4 (NASB) - Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and restraint and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

It all boils down the to this… it is time for the Church to wake up, to get back to being holy without fear of people being offended. We must rise up to be the God’s remnant in the land.

Lastly, if you would like to hear this presented in a way that is probably better than what I just said, watch a podcast by Pastors Mike Signorelli and Jeremiah Johnson. It might sound harsh at first but hear them out. They cover more than just the conference event. Jeremiah’s audio gets glitched a few times, just hang on to hear the powerful quote from the late David Wilkerson that he shares. Mike suggested that Jeremiah do a stand-alone video about the quote. We’ll see. I love you … Let’s become the “Bride with combat boots on.” Loving others enough to fight for the truth, fight to see the manifest presence of God in our lives and churches.

Here is the link:  https://www.youtube.com/live/HgLp5pi6ktk?si=HDy6ptRCf4X28TDH

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Thinking About Easter

 This year Easter, better known as Resurrection Day, happens to fall on the same day as my Spiritual birthday or “Rebirthday.” This made me caused me to think about some of the difficult seasons I have walked through and overcome by God’s grace.

With all that happened just before the crucifixion of Jesus and afterwards, the disciples and other followers experienced a wide range of emotions. As we look at these feelings, they had let’s see how we can apply some principles to our life today. Our main text is Luke 24:1-4 but we’ll be looking throughout the whole chapter. It reads, “1 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. 5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 "He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee...” 


Confusion: Luke 24:1-4  

     In the original Greek language, the word “perplexed” means “to be left wanting, to be embarrassed, to be in doubt, not to know which way to turn.” Imagine the thoughts they must have had swarming around in their minds. Could this really be?  What if it isn’t, where is his body? Thankfully, Jesus isn’t bothered by our questions. He doesn’t condemn us for having questions. He would rather us ask the questions than ignore him.  


Fear / Sadness: Luke 24:17 & Luke 24:5 –  

     What were they afraid of? I think they wondered if they had been duped by Jesus. Was He really who He said he was? Did He fool us? They fear for their lives wondering if they would be arrested, even killed also because of their association with Jesus. Think about it, Peter denied Jesus  You might say, “Well I would never deny the Lord. But have you ever had an opportunity to speak up for him and didn’t because you were afraid of being embarrassed?


JOY: Luke 24:30-32  

     Think about this – right in the middle of their sadness Jesus was right there and they didn’t even know it… until He opened their eyes. Once we recognize that Jesus is revealing Himself to us and we acknowledge Him, great joy comes into our lives. I don’t know about you, but before Jesus was in my life I had no joy, no hope... just negative thoughts and feeling down all the time. As believers joy should be a mark of our lives. That’s not to say we never have tough times but that we don’t have to allow the tough times to steal our peace and joy. 


Doubt: Luke 24:9-11 & 35-38 

     Ever have someone tell you something and you’re like “yeah right…” And then later you found it to be so? I can only imagine the doubts that must have flooded their minds when things happened as they did. After hearing testimonies, they wondered; “Is it true that He’s risen?” Just like us, they didn’t remember the promises He had given. How many times do we go through a trial, and we forget about earlier trials that God brought us through? Doubt… we all experience it at times.   


Adoration: 47"and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48"And you are witnesses of these things. 49 "Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high." 50And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them.51Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.52And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 5 and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.” Luke 24:47,48 51-53 (Emphasis added) 


This is the heart of the Easter Story – WORSHIP – We’re to worship Jesus as King of Kings & Lord of Lords…. He is risen indeed! According to verses 47 & 48, once we have received Jesus into our lives it gives a sense of mission. We’re now to be his witnesses telling other of the hope found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. And in our mission, we’re to preach verse 47 – “repentance and remission of sins.”  You see my friend; one cannot experience the joy and worship of the Lord until they first have repented of their sin and surrendered their life to Jesus Christ. Does that mean life is problem free after salvation? Not at all! But we now have the Lord to walk with us through those difficult times. 


I would like to close with a quote from a pastor (Tom Lovorn) that was used in a recent sermon I read. “With hope, you can claim the Holy Spirit's guidance and power. And, with a mission, you will have a reason for being where you are. You'll be purpose-driven to win your world for Jesus. Your whole image - the way you dress, talk, and walk; your attitude and outlook; your reaction to people and things – everything about you will be different. When people ask you, "What happened to you?" You can answer, "Easter happened, that's what!" 


Until next time, let’s rejoice that we have a risen Savior! Happy Resurrection Day!







Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Real Obedience

Have you ever found yourself in one of those seasons when you’ve got situations going on that you just cannot figure out why God is allowing it? You find yourself saying things like: “I'm doing all the right things. I'm reading my Bible, praying, attending church, have even fasted a time or two. Why does there seem to be so much spiritual warfare in my life? Why is my prayer not being answered?” Ah, the million-dollar question. I’ve encountered this conversation with several people in the past month.

You might say, “I even repented of sin.” Hmmm… that leads to other questions. Put your steel-toe shoes on… “What is the open door to the battle?”

There are two categories of sin mentioned in the bible. Sins of commission and omission.

Commission - the willful act of doing something that violates God’s commands in Scripture, i.e., stealing, anger, fornication.

Omission - involves not doing what is right or failing to do as instructed.

Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” (James 4:17 NLT)

For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10 NLT)

Also, check out the Parable of the Two Sons in Matthew 21:28-31

Let's focus on that second word Omission. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to show us if there is something that He has instructed us to do or not do that we have yet to comply with. This is often a big open door to spiritual warfare in our lives. It might be something like - stop listening to secular music, or quit smoking, or end a particular relationship, or stop reading horoscopes. It's not always about stopping something either. Sometimes there are things God instructs us to begin to do. For example – forgive that person, start attending a Bible study, witness to that person at work, take that college class. That's just a few possibilities.

When we say that God has spoken to us to do something, then attempt to sound spiritual when share that with others, but then don't do it we set ourselves up to be a target for the enemy. Especially in the mind. The thought battle can become very intense. When we willfully do or don't do something as instructed by God that is an indicator that it is an idol in our life.

Remember the definition of the word idol – A common definition is anything/anyone that we didn't more important than God. bible teacher John Piper describes it as “anything that we come to rely on for some blessing, or help, or guidance in the place of a wholehearted reliance on the true and living God.”

“Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” (1 Corinthians 10:14 NKJV)

“Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.” (I John 5:21 NLT)

Sadly, I have seen John Piper's definition lived out in people's lives when I see them trying to get things “fixed” in their life by relying on external things instead of the Word of God and the power Holy Spirit by God's grace. Grace is not the freedom to sin (do what we want) it is what empowers us to not sin.

Closing, let's try to roll this into one simple statement. Being disobedient or having sin in our life is not always about what we call the “big sins” like murder, adultery, stealing, etc. Sometimes it all boils down to simply doing or not doing what Jesus has required of us. Is it always easy? No. But will it be worthwhile overall? Absolutely!

If this is where you're struggling, walking out a personal command of the Lord, talk to a trusted strong believer about it. Ask them to pray with you, then step out and do it. Remember one of my favorite quotes – “Obedience doesn't require understanding.”

Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is,
And walk in it;
Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ (Jeremiah 6:16

 Until next time… Keep growing in grace!


Friday, February 23, 2024

Encounters With God

Praise God for once again another Holy Spirit encounter. You may remember two weeks ago as I was getting ready to go to bed, I decided to watch “just one more” video on my TV. God spoke to my heart in a powerful way through that video. On Wednesday night this week it happened again where I “just happened” to come across a video to watch. This video was a live presentation, not previously recorded, so it’s even more significant that the Holy Spirit led me to it right at that moment.

It's amazing sometimes how the Holy Spirit will move to confirm things for us. I had been praying about what to teach at a woman's conference that will be happening on April 6th. This live video confirmed things in such a way that I was having my own Hallelujah party in my living room. You will be hearing more about another portion of this video in the next week or so.

Now, last night I was already in bed when the Holy Spirit got my attention. He led me to remember a dream that Evangelist Steve Hill had in 2012. In 2013 he wrote about the dream in a powerful book titled “Spiritual Avalanche.”  Last night when the Holy Spirit reminded me about the dream, I googled his name to see if I could find it. I didn't find the actual written version of it, but I did find an immensely powerful dramatized 8-minute video where he talks about the dream. Below I have posted the link to the video.

As I watched the video, I was so overcome by the Holy Spirit, especially the last couple minutes of it. After it ended, tearfully, I sat there in awe of how timely of a word it is for the days we are living in right now. I find it interesting that the Lord led me to this because in two weeks on March 9 it will be the ten-year anniversary date of when Steve Hill passed away. “The number 10 is often associated with completeness and divine order.” (biblewithus.com)

At that point I was a little bit too wound up to think about going back to sleep. I decided to start re-reading a book that I plan to read as part of my preparation for speaking at the upcoming woman's conference. Within minutes I'm sitting there with tears coming out my eyes, saying “ohh, ahh” repeatedly, and praying that the Lord keep teaching me to be even more discerning and sensitive to His voice, as well as what teachings/ministries I allow myself to be exposed to.

Lastly, friends we must be living in a that we realize this is not a time to play games with God or His people. Let's get serious more than ever to stand for truth, to reach people what's the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ and his Kingdom! Are you ready to jump in? The shift is coming.

In closing here are three scriptures to meditate on. Again, the link to the 8-minute video is below.

Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” (Joel 2:12 NKJV)

“This is what the Lord says: “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’ (Jeremiah 6:16 NLT)

21Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Matt. 7:21-23 NKJV)


What Is the Real Deception?

Many of us have seen all the videos and posts on Facebook and YouTube about Mark Driscoll confronting Jim Lindell at the Stronger Men...