From Famine in the Land

By Rick Becker  25 January 2018

In order to make the gospel more palatable, many are resorting to crafty means in order to attract the lost.  One of the means employed is going “under cover” at various events.  This new breed of revivalists and evangelists don’t rely on the gospel, but so called “encounters with God.”  Words of knowledge and healings are utilized in order to win the lost. This covert evangelism involves:
• an absence of the gospel
• using terminology that does not offend
• supposed supernatural encounters
• cards, colours and stones to facilitate messages from God
..In other words – “another gospel”

A host of articles have recently exposed the unbiblical evangelistic tools and shenanigans of Bethel and Christalignment.  Going undercover at psychic fairs and the use of “destiny cards” to offer readings, or as they would argue – words of knowledge, are part of their evangelistic strategy.
In stark contrast to the methodology of Christalignment and Bethel School Of Supernatural Ministry Students, the Apostle Paul refused to disguise the truth:

“Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.   But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.  But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing“  2 Corinthians 4:1-3

Clandestine operations were probably employed by the false teachers in Corinth.  Paul was making it clear that the gospel does not need to be disguised or tampered with in order to be effective.

John Gill commentary: “not walking in craftiness; they used no sly and artful methods to please men, to gain applause from them, or make merchandise of them; they did not lie in wait to deceive, watching an opportunity to work upon credulous and incautious minds; they did not, by good words and fair speeches, deceive the hearts of the simple; nor put on different forms, or make different appearances, in order to suit themselves to the different tempers and tastes of men, as did the false apostles: not handling the word of God deceitfully. They did not corrupt it with human doctrines, or mix and blend it with philosophy, and vain deceit; they did not wrest the Scriptures to serve any carnal or worldly purpose; nor did they accommodate them to the lusts and passions of men; or conceal any part of truth“

Those who tamper with God’s word or employ deceit when presenting it are doing so in order to please man or gratify themselves in some manner: “But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict.  For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.  For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness.  Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others”  2 Thess 2:2-6

Bethel came out in defense of Christalignment (not surprising since Theresa Dedmon of Bethel came up with the brand “Destiny Cards”)    In their statement, they made this point: “The Hodges are attempting to contextualize the Gospel and bring people to the realization that God is looking for them and loves them no matter where they are – just like the apostle Paul often did. In Acts 17:22-34, Paul spoke to a group of religious people who didn’t yet know God and lived in a city full of altars, idols, and various religions. In that moment, Paul referred to a single altar in their city that had an inscription to the “unknown god,” and he used this familiar object (something they understood and valued) as a starting point to connect them with the God of all creation. He wasn’t worried that they would get a wrong idea (like that God is merely one of many gods or that idols are appropriate) because he would soon be introducing them to the true God.”

When contextualizing leads to compromise, the gospel is polluted.  In Acts 17 Paul did not attempt to blend in with the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers; in fact the reason he was taken to the Areopagus was because his message was different : “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection”  Notice that Paul was not ashamed to name Jesus, whereas the new breed of crafty evangelists prefer terms such as spirit of creation, high spirit, Christ spirit etc.  Paul’s reference to the “unknown god” cannot be compared to going undercover and changing biblical terminology in an attempt to smuggle Jesus in at a later stage.

The irony is that Bethel and Theresa Dedmon use this passage to justify Christalignment’s  contextualization of the Gospel – which includes the use of Destiny Cards.  Dedmon writes: “Destiny Cards” are not tarot cards.  They do, however, have a similar look that attracts people who are searching for a “reading”.  There is no way one can justify creating something that looks similar to a demonic tool in order to “attract” people searching for a “reading.”
Dedmon gets it dead wrong once again when she writes in the same article: “Jesus always spoke in parables that communicated the message in creative ways in which people could relate and receive.”  Parables and Destiny Cards are not comparable.  Jesus did not use parables in order for people to relate and receive; in fact most could not relate and never received anything.  Paul put it this way:  But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing”  2 Corinthians 4:3

 

Finish article HERE 

Following Jesus Christ

44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Acts 2:44-47

34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. Hebrews 10:34-35

I have absolutely zero interest in macro economic policy. I am neither a capitalists, nor a socialist, nor a…

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Brace yourself for a wild ride while we take a break from the life of Abraham and take a look at a season in life of Lot. Today, we will look at the situation the evening two angels stay in Sodom under the roof of Lot.

From

A Narrow-Minded Woman

“For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:14)

Two Angels in Sodom

The two angels left Abraham’s hospitality and are now entering Sodom. The Lord promised Abraham that if there were just ten righteous men in the city, He would spare them.

This story of Sodom is tragic and heartbreaking. However, what is even more shocking is the behavior of Lot. It is difficult for us to understand how Lot can act the way he does and yet still be characterized as a righteous man in 2 Peter 2:7.

Brace yourself for a wild ride while we take a break from the life of Abraham and take a look at a season in the life of Lot.

Lot Offers Hospitality to the Angels

The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth and said, “My lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way.” They said, “No; we will spend the night in the town square.” But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house. And he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. (Genesis 19:1-3)

Let us start by recalling how Lot ended up in Sodom. Lot is Abraham’s nephew and for many years he lived with Abraham. However, their servants began quarreling over grazing land so Abraham and Lot decided to separatein order to keep the peace between them. Abraham gave Lot the choice of land and he chose the more fertile land that was near Sodom. At some point, it seems Lot must have moved into the city itself rather than living in the wilderness.

Later, Sodom was attacked by other nations and he and his family were taken captive. Abraham gathered an army and rescued Lot and his family. However, rather than deciding that would be a good time to find a new home, Lot returned to Sodom.

This brings us to the passage today. 

Finish Article HERE 

I have been searching for articles with research on the early Corinthian Church. The background of the paganism that the Corinthians had been involved with is very enlightening. It helps explain Paul’s instruction in 1 Corinthians.

 

Tongues and the Mystery Religions of Corinth
by H. Wayne House
Of all the controversial subjects discussed in Christian circles,
probably few have received more attention than the subject
of glossolalia. Though the material written on this subject is
enormous, much confusion pervades the issue. Since the Corinthian
assembly gave undue preeminence to “speaking in
tongues,” it is only to be expected that a person seeking to understand
the Corinthian phenomenon should desire to know the
reason for this stress. This article seeks to demonstrate that
some of the Corinthian Christians brought aspects of their
pagan background into their worship and theology. These false
perspectives and practices were characteristic of the contemporary
religious setting in Corinth from which they had been converted.
This article also seeks to show that the Apostle Paul, in
order to rid the church at Corinth of these ideas, used various
means of argumentation to combat these practices, even using
some of their terminology for the purpose of argument.
Statement of the Problem
It is not a new thought that pagan forces were hard at work
in the church at Corinth, but their identity and to what degree
they influenced that congregation, is a matter of debate. Scholars
of the History of Religions school earlier in this century
believed that Christians, including those at Corinth, were
affected by the Hellenistic mystery religions.1
On the other hand Tongues and the Mystery Religions of Corinth 135
Schmithals and others have posited Gnostic influence in the
church at Corinth.2
Religious ecstasy, particularly glossolalia, is found in the
mystery religions or the religion of Apollo, rather than in Gnosticism
as Bultmann and others have argued. Some of the characteristics
of Gnosticism were already present in the generad religious
attitudes in the first century A.D.; but since Gnosticism
was a later Christian heresy,3 it would be anachronistic to see
Gnosticism in Corinth. Whatever the cause, the church in this
hub of pagan perversity was in grave trouble; the church
abounded in nonbiblical and immoral practices.

 

Finish entire article HERE 

 

Conclusion:

Corinth was experience-oriented and self-oriented. Mystery
religions and other pagan cults were in great abundance, from
which cults many of the members at the Corinthian church
received their initial religious instruction. After being converted
they had failed to free themselves from pagan attitudes and they
confused the true work of the Spirit of God with the former
pneumatic and ecstatic experiences of the pagan religions, espe-
cially the Dionysian mystery or the religion of Apollo. By careful
and delicate argumentation Paul sought to help these believers
recognize their errors and operate all the χαρίσματα (gifts of the
Spirit) not just the πνευματικά (tongues). Also he desired that
they perform the χαρίσματα for the edification of the body of
Christ, not self.

 

Another interesting link

 

http://www.piney.com/TonguesIndex.html

 

 

Michelle Lesley

Saul was a lousy king. There are just no two ways about it. He was a crudmuffin.

In 1 Samuel 10, Saul gets his first instruction as king. God didn’t ask him to go out and perform some fantabulous deed of derring do, He told Saul to go to Gilgal and wait seven days for Samuel to arrive and tell him what to do. Just…wait. That was it.

But Saul started getting nervous. He didn’t wait. He acted. He unlawfully took matters into his own hands and offered the burnt offerings and peace offerings.

In 1 Samuel 15, God told Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekites. Everything. Every living creature and all their stuff. All means all.

Strike number two for Saul- he destroyed all the worthless stuff and all the people, but he saved the king and all the valuable stuff.

Here’s the interesting part…

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Great Article. Give it a read. Love Michelle Lesley

Michelle Lesley

The way people think, the way we react to environmental stimuli, the way we relate to one another, the way our backgrounds and experiences shape the way we view and interact with the world absolutely fascinates me. It’s probably what led me to pursue degrees in psychology and counseling as well as every sociology, anthropology, criminology, and every other social science -ology elective I could get my hands on when I was in college. What makes people tick? Why does the human mind perceive things the way it does? Why is it that two people can witness the exact same event and come away with two completely different interpretations of it?

Those human-centered constructs and sciences can be helpful when it comes to studying observable behavior, but that’s exactly where their helpfulness ends – at the line of observable human behavior. Statistical psychology can perform a longitudinal study on people who…

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Why is the book of Enoch not in the Bible? NOTES

by Allen Gosser

https://bibleman1971.wixsite.com/biblemansplace/list-of-subjects
Is it Scripture?

Is this the Holy-Spirit inspired word of God? This is where we can pretty confidently say “no”. If it were Scripture, we would expect it to be free of false doctrine. What we find instead is that false doctrine is one of the most prevalent themes in the book!
Taking a cursory look at the text up through Chapter 59, At the following false doctrines. (I may be off on one here or there, but it should be sufficient to get my point across.)

1:1 Implies restoration during tribulation – not congruent with scriptures.
1:8 In conflict with the doctrine that peace was made at the cross. Also, in the last days tribulation will increase for the righteous – this “verse” seems to dispute that.
2:2-3 Appears to contradict 2 Pet 3:3-7
5:4 Is an admonition to some unknown party – this is very irregular relative to the scriptures (i.e. authentic ancient writings by God-fearing Jews)
6:3 Semjaza seems to be listed as the leader of the angels, which is not scriptural
6:3,8 None of these angels are mentioned in the Bible
8:1 Azazel isn’t even listed in 6:8 as one of the angels that fornicated with women
8:3 Araqiel and Shamsiel aren’t listed in 6:8 either
10:2 Enoch allegedly wrote about Noah, even though the Bible teaches that Enoch was taken up to heaven years before Noah was born.
10:4-6,12 Implies angels can be bound & hid in holes under rocks. This is contrary to scripture.
10:8 Ascribes all the sin of the fallen angels to one named Azazel – not scriptural.
10:15-11:2 Seems to imply that permanent restoration took place after the flood – clearly not true. It seems the true author of this book confused scriptures pertaining to the future restoration.
13:5-6,14:4-5,7 Implies fallen angels can’t talk to God – this contradicts Job. Also implies that angels were repentant, but weren’t received back by God – very strange doctrine.
14 Gives a very strange description of Heaven that conflicts with many scriptures
15:8-10 Very strange doctrine about “evil spirits” proceeding from unredeemable giants
17-18,21,23 Gives a very strange description of the earth & universe which is clearly not true. Also alludes to the ancient model of astronomy that held that there were 7 stars (the closest planets) which burned like the sun (they don’t.)
19:3 Discredits all other prophecy about the consumation of the ages.
20 Lists strange angels not in scripture, and incorrectly assigns the roles of Michael (the warrior) and Gabriel (the messenger)
21:7-10 Seems to contradict Biblical descriptions of the present & final judgement places for the fallen angels
22 Contradicts the Biblical descriptions of past, present & future dwelling places for the righteous who die
32:2-6 Seems to imply the Garden of Eden was still in existance after the Flood
33:1-2 Says Heaven rests on a foundation that is at the Eastern edge of the earth
33:3 He claims he counted the stars & individually mapped them, which is impossible scripturally (& scientifically)
34 Says the winds come out of a “portal” at the Northern edge of the earth
36:3 Says the stars come out of portals at the Eastern edge of the earth & move West
38:5-6 Contradicts Daniel & other prophecies about the Mellinial Reign
39:1-2 Very strange implications here about the “seed” of angels dwelling with men at the end… this contradicts the scriptures
40:7 Talks about the “Satans” – plural, different than the Bible, who gives that name to only one fallen angel. Also, implies Satan can’t stand in God’s presence, contrary to Job.
40:9 Once again mixes up the roles of the 2 Archangels & adds more names in. Michael’s role in scripture is related to conquoring nations & fighting spiritual wars, while Gabriel’s relates to bringing messages & visions to people.
41:1-2 Says the Kingdom of God is divided – it’s not & can’t be scripturally. Also describes sinners being repelled from a mansion, which is also not scriptural, unless you look at a parable Jesus told, which was not intended to be literal.
41:4-5 Says the sun, moon, winds, etc. are stored in chambers & released at appointed times.
41:6-7 Implies the sun & moon move opposite of each other
43:1-3,44 Very weird model of the nature of stars & lightning
47:4 Says God requires the blood of the saints… very strange
51:1 Says Sheol & Hell will give back to the earth, which isn’t scriptural – also Hell is a NT term, not OT
51:2 Disputes the Biblical doctrine that we are chosen. (We don’t have to wait until Christ’s return to be chosen.) This isn’t scriptural.
General: Seems to imply Enoch came back down to earth after being taken up to Heaven, which is not scriptural.

Summary

I think Paul’s words are very pertinent here:
As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith. But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.

——————————————————————————————————–

1. the Old and New Testaments — all 66 books — are inspired by God. Additionally, the apostles recognized these books as inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21 2 Timothy 3:16). All others, including the book of Enoch, were rejected as not having been inspired by the Holy Spirit.
2. The book of Enoch is not in harmony with the rest of Scripture. Here are some examples:
a. The story of angels having sex with women contradicts Jesus’ saying in Matthew 22:30: “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven” (Mat 22:30 NKJV). This means angels are not sexual beings.
b. Eighteen of these angels are listed by name in Enoch 6:3, 8; their leader is Semyaz. Not one of these names appears in the Bible. The giants they produce were 450 feet tall (Enoch 7:2). “These [giants] consumed the produce of all the people until the people detested feeding them. So the giants turned against [the people] in order to eat them” (7:3, 4). This is rather fanciful and against Scripture.
c. In Enoch 10:4, 5, “The Lord said to Raphael [a good angel] ‘Bind Azaz’el [an evil angel] hand and foot [and] throw him into the darkness!’ And he made a hole in the desert which was in Duda’el and cast him there; he threw on top of him rugged and sharp rocks.” According to Enoch, you can bind angels by throwing them into a hole in the desert.
d. In chapter 13, Enoch intercedes for Azaz’el.
e. In Enoch 15:9 evil spirits came out of the bodies of the giants.
“Many more fanciful and weird stories are contained in the book,” These are some reasons why it was never considered as inspired by the Holy Spirit.”

————————————————————–
The biblical book of Jude quotes from the Book of Enoch in verses 14-15, “Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: ‘See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.’” But this does not mean the Book of Enoch is inspired by God and should be in the Bible.

Jude’s quote is not the only quote in the Bible from a non-biblical source. The Apostle Paul quotes Epimenides in Titus 1:12 but that does not mean we should give any additional authority to Epimenides’ writings. The same is true with Jude, verses 14-15. Jude quoting from the book of Enoch does not indicate the entire Book of Enoch is inspired, or even true. All it means is that particular verse is true. It is interesting to note that no scholars believe the Book of Enoch to have truly been written by the Enoch in the Bible. Enoch was seven generations from Adam, prior to the Flood (Genesis 5:1-24). Evidently, though, this was genuinely something that Enoch prophesied – or the Bible would not attribute it to him, “Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men…” (Jude 14). This saying of Enoch was evidently handed down by tradition, and eventually recorded in the Book of Enoch.

We should treat the Book of Enoch (and the other books like it) in the same manner we do the other Apocryphal writings. Some of what the Apocrypha says is true and correct, but at the same time, much of it is false and historically inaccurate. If you read these books, you have to treat them as interesting but fallible historical documents, not as the inspired, authoritative Word of God.

——————————————————————–
The Bible, as we have it today, consists of sixty-six books. The fact that these books belong as Holy Scripture is confirmed by the testimony of Jesus Christ.
First, with regard to the Old Testament we have the testimony of Jesus to the existing books. He confirmed the accepted three-fold division of our canonical books.
These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me (Luke 24:44).
The Promise of Jesus
As far as the New Testament is concerned, we have the promise of Jesus.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you (John 14:26).
Though we do not have His guarantee after the fact, we have this promise that a New Testament would be given. Thus, we have Jesus “pre-authenticating” the New Testament.
Nature of God
Another reason we can be assured the correct books in the Bible is the nature of God. It has been estimated there are a quintillion stars in the universe and the Bible says God calls them by their names. If God is able to do this, He certainly is able to preserve intact His Word for the benefit of mankind.
Conclusion
Since we have the testimony of Jesus that God preserved the Old Testament for His people, we can also be assured that God took the same care in preserving the New Testament books. When the evidence is examined, we find it consistent and credible.

Michelle Lesley

Berna Deene’s Testimony II

(You may remember Berna Deene’s previous Testimony Tuesday story. Here, she  graciously shares with us another instance of God working in her life.)

Background….Brand new born again babe in Christ Jesus. In August 2011 I walked into a church with very few members. Only about twelve. I made thirteen. Only four men counting the pastor. The rest all women. I didn’t know much of anything but I was hungry and on fire for our Lord. I read my Bible daily and studied hermeneutics in depth.

One year later, I was asked to be Sunday School Superintendent. When asked, I said, “No, definitely not!”. “Why?” they asked. I told them it is not biblical.

A few weeks later during elections at church I was nominated for the position, and like a split personality I said yes (the devil and/or our flesh gets in when we least…

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Michelle Lesley

Think back to your childhood. Remember the story, The Emperor’s New Clothes?

Once upon an time, there lived an emperor. One day two swindlers came to his palace and told him they could weave cloth for his royal robes that was magical: to those who were foolish or unfit for their jobs, it would appear invisible. Only the wise and worthy would be able to see this fine fabric. The emperor hastily agreed to pay the “weavers” an exorbitant amount of money to make him such an amazing garment, thinking he would use it to weed out anyone unfit for royal service.

The weavers set about pretending to weave. From time to time, the emperor sent various folk to check on the progress the weavers were making, and – though in reality, none of them could see the non-existent fabric – all reported back that the garments were coming…

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I continue to study and warn about The New Apostolic Reformation. It is infiltrating Christianity. I was shocked to read an EBook written by Susan Rowan of Bible Study Fellowship called “The Gospel Changes Everything”  that was filled with 7 Mountain Mandate terminology. (Chapter 6)

https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/bsfinternational/The-Gospel-Changes-Everything-2.pdf

Please read  the following by C.H. Fisher  from TRUTHKEEPERS 

Historically, Israel has long been hated for what she is, was, and will become. That ages-old satanic spirit of hatred is surfacing again, fomenting anti-Semitism via Replacement Theology (Supercessionism). It is not only evident via Replacement Theology in liturgical dominations, but has seeped deeply into Evangelicalism. It is alarming because Replacement Theology (RT) has historically been the single most powerful provocateur of anti-Semitism.

RT posits the claim that the New Testament covenant replaces the Abrahamic covenant, and that the Church has replaced Israel as God’s chosen people.[1]Thus, the Church is now “Israel” in the plan, purpose, and promises of God. The promises that God made to Israel are spiritualized and every mention of Israel in the New Testament after Pentecost refers to the Church.[2] Further, RT included beliefs based primarily on the notion that the Abrahamic Covenant no longer applies that promises Israel eternal ownership of land in Canaan (Genesis 17:7-8). Thus, because the Covenant no longer applies, Israel is just as any other nation and her only hope is in the Church.[3]

I could write about all of those manifestations of anti-Semitism, but there are numerous very well written books exposing those errors. In my research I found an anti-Semitic threat to Israel that is greater than all the others combined. In the last couple of decades a different type of anti-Semitism has manifested. It is anti-Semitism that is not easily discerned or detected, but glides silently along in a rapidly growing Movement. Obscured in the folds of Dominion Theology, this new type of anti-Semitism is thriving in the most heretical faction of Christianity, the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).

The NAR’s potential to do harm to Israel is far greater than the threat of anti-Semitism from alleged Jewish deicide, the anti-Semitism of the Arab nations, and anti-Semitism that stems from Replacement Theology.

Finish article HERE 

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