OUR PRESENT SUFFERINGS
By Rick Becker

Suffering – it’s never pleasant, and we do our best to avoid all forms of it, but suffering is inescapable in this fallen world. The biblical view is that believers should expect sufferings, not simply because they live in this fallen world, but because God uses various forms of afflictions to discipline us, test our faith, and cause us to have an eternal perspective. As a result of false teaching, many have the view that all suffering is a sign of deficiency at our end of the equation. What should be seen as a privilege (suffering that God permits us to endure) is seen as a curse. Suffering that God permits his children to endure, is not harmful, but beneficial. “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.”
Psalm 119:67

Finish HERE 

Possessing the Treasure

In these last days it seems that what is up is down and what is down is up. The dynamic, forward moving evangelical part of the visible Church is quickly moving into a form of Christianity that seems oh so right to people. It seeks to offend no one. Many “evangelicals” have openly embraced union with the Roman Catholic church implying that the Protestant Reformation was a mistake. The focus of this form of Christianity is never on the Gospel. Instead it is on feeding the poor or world peace and always seeking to be friends of the world. Then there is the Social Justice Movement with its roots in Marxism and is often called “WOKE.” This form of Christianity is an attempt to divide Christians up into groups of victims who are seeking justice with those in Orthodoxy as the culprits behind all their problems. However, even though what…

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From “More Books and Things …”

While wondering what the difference is between a heresy hunter and a watchman on the wall, I decided to find examples of hunters and watchmen in the Bible. (I use blueletterbible.org to search and study, with KJV, ESV or NASB versions).

Bible Examples of a Hunter:

I’m guessing that hunting became the thing to do shortly after the flood, when animals turned wild as God put the fear and dread of man in every beast of the earth, and gave every moving thing for meat (Genesis 9). There are only a few verses here and there about hunting, like “the slothful man (who) roasteth not that which he took in hunting” (Pro 12:27), and a parent’s counsel to a son to deliver himself from “the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler” (Proverbs 6:5). As for hunters, I could only find the names of two in the Bible.

And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. Genesis 10: 8-9

Nimrod, great grandson of Noah, was the very first hunter mentioned in the Bible, and we all know what he turned out to be. His name means ‘rebel’, and that is what he was. Nimrod built the tower of Babel and eventually founded Babylon, later used by God to judge his rebellious people, the spirit of which still lives on.

And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison Gen 25:27-28

Esau’s hunting and savory venison got him into a stew. It’s why he lost his birthright.

To simplify, according to the above verses, a hunter could be mighty or cunning. His hand was also something to be delivered from. The lazy hunter ate his steak raw. Even a mighty hunter before God can rebel against Him. One can become so focused on the hunt that one misses out on a blessing.

Bible Examples of a Watchman:

There are a few more watchmen mentioned in the Bible than hunters.

Finish  HERE 

A good review of this book.

The Earnest Layman

Warren Smith’s Deceived On Purpose was a book I purchased from Good Fight Ministries alongside the important rockumentary They Sold Their Souls For Rock And Roll. This book analyzes the new-age implications of the purpose-driven church. Because I spent a little over a decade in a church that was basically in that purpose-driven movement, I wanted to give this book a read. In this review, I note some of the many highlights found in this book.

It is important to know that Warren Smith and his wife came out of the New Age movement in 1984 (p. 7). In his book, Smith “offers a ‘balance’ to the largely predominant one-sided acclaim” that false teacher Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life has mainly received up until and perhaps beyond 2004 (the year Smith’s book was released; p. 9). Smith also makes an important point that because “Rick Warren’s book is…

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Are there modern day Apostles?
By Amir Tsarfati
May 25, 2020

“Those new apostles that show up every morning nowadays and call themselves apostles. We better be very, very careful in how we say that and about who. These are the Apostles appointed by God through the Holy Spirit that’s why the Bible says that the church is built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets and Jesus is the chief cornerstone built on top. And that’s why these Apostles wrote the Bible. I mean modern days apostles can they write the Bible? Can they change the Bible? No. Now I don’t underestimate the role of an apostle when it comes to being sent, that’s a different story. But if someone thinks that he is a new version of the Apostles of the first century, that is wrong.”

Bible Bite: Modern Day Prophets?
We live in an age where there is an overabundance of claimants to the office of apostle or prophet. Most, if not all, claim to speak through direct revelation from God, making their statements equal to the written Word of God.

Sadly, some of them gain huge followings in spite of the fact that the Bible makes no mention of such a group being called and anointed and empowered by God in the last days (or at any time during church history, for that matter).

Jesus warned of the rise of such people in the last days who use His name to validate their ministries.

Mark 13:21-23
“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, He is there!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand.

Remember the word christ means “anointed”. Therefore, what Jesus said was that false claims of being anointed by God and false prophets would arise in the last days (according to the context of Mark 13).

Revelation 2:1-3
“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.

Remember, this is Jesus talking to His church in the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2 & 3. He commends the church at Ephesus for testing those who claim to be apostles, and Jesus Himself refers to them as liars.

Are the followers of those who claim to be apostles doing the same today and testing those who make that claim? It appears that they are not, for the criteria of being an apostle in the same sense as, Peter, James, John and Paul is clearly laid out in scripture.

Acts 1:21-22
“Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”

This was the criteria for joining the eleven apostles, and later, Paul would be the exception to the rule as recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:

1 Corinthians 15:8
Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.

Paul lists having to see Jesus in resurrected form as criteria for apostleship. Thus, according to the biblical requirements, any claimant to the office of an apostle must have seen Jesus in His resurrected form or have been with Jesus throughout His earthly ministry. This is the case from the time of John the Baptist through Jesus’ ascension to heaven. Obviously, none of those who claim to be apostles today meets the latter criteria.

That means they must have seen the resurrected Lord, which would require a trip to heaven on their part or a trip to earth on Jesus’ part. Neither of which is true, yet the modern-day apostles claim to have made such a trip. We also know when Jesus comes again, He’s coming for the church to meet us all in the air, and then with the church to destroy His enemies and rule the earth in righteousness from Jerusalem.

There is no New Apostolic Reformation because there are no new apostles in the sense of the first-century apostles. These ministered with Jesus and wrote most of the New Testament.

We do need to recognize that the word apostle means “sent one”. There are millions of “sent ones” today and that would include all of us who have been commissioned by Jesus to “Go to the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15) The group who claims to be handpicked by God to lead the church in the last days, however, does not simply claim to be “sent ones”. They don’t claim to speak from God’s Word, but rather, the words they speak, they claim, are God’s word.

Romans 16:17-18
Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.

This group is to be avoided as are those who claim to be prophets in the Old Testament sense. We also need to recognize the difference between the gift of prophecy and the office of the prophet. Men like Elijah, Isaiah and Ezekiel, who spoke on God’s behalf to the people and were used to foretell future events, are a thing of the past.

Matthew 11:13
For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.

Jesus said John the Baptist was the last of the Old Testament prophets, Hebrews adds this:

Hebrews 1:1-2a
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son.

The New Testament “gift” of prophecy is distinct from the Old Testament prophets in that the word means “to speak by divine inspiration”. Old Testament prophets spoke through direct revelation. To speak by divine inspiration is to be anointed by the Holy Spirit as you speak the word of God, not reveal the future by direct revelation from God. Words of knowledge via the Holy Spirit can certainly include information pertaining to an individual’s future. However, there are no direct revelations from God that relate to directing or informing the whole world about future events or new information concerning God’s plan and will.

2 Peter 1:2-3
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.

Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Zechariah and the other Old Testament prophets, along with the apostle John, have given us all things we need to know about the future. The New Testament epistles have told us all we need to know about living for God in the present.

1 John 2:18-21
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.

These groups that are rising up and making false claims about positions of power, anointing and appointing from God remind us the end of all things is at hand. Jesus said not to “believe them” or “go after” (meaning follow) those who make such false claims at the time of the end (Luke 21:8).

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus.

Bible Teaching: A Prophet Like Moses

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Yesterday’s Prophecy, Today’s News

Source HERE
by Timothy P. Carney

| March 27, 2020 02:11 PM
You simply knew this opinion piece was going to come out sooner or later.

The argument appeared in any Twitter thread that touched on religion and the coronavirus: Mike Pence put in charge of the coronavirus task force? He’s anti-science! Will he try to pray it away?! A Christian kindergarten teacher dies of the virus? I guess the prayers didn’t work!

It showed up in second-rate left-of-center media such as Salon.com. (“Is the Christian right now in charge of public health,” they ask, because “Redfield and Birx are both evangelical Christians”?)

Through this lens, a certain portion of the Left gets to see our current crisis in the most self-congratulatory way. Blaming anti-science evangelicals for this all satisfies the vanity and ideological appetites of a certain type of liberal.

Simply hating evangelicals isn’t good enough. No, it’s far better to look down on them as self-deluded, anti-science rubes (because certain liberals really love science) who offer up prayers instead of scientifically proven scientific solutions!

And now this trope has bubbled to the very top, to the opinion pages of the New York Times

“The Road to Coronavirus Hell Was Paved by Evangelicals,” a New York Times article tells us in the headline.

The piece is by Katherine Stewart, an author whose recent book fits in a broad category of paranoid literature that is basically the Left’s version of the “Sharia law is coming” conspiracy theory. Hers is about the 1000th book in the past 20 years to warn that America is about to become a theocracy.

“Trump’s response to the pandemic has been haunted by the science denialism of his ultraconservative religious allies,” the subheadline reads.

“Science Denialism!”

“Ultraconservative religious!”

Perfect catchphrases!

But the giveaway is the weasel phrase there: “haunted by.” She’s trying to imply causality that she knows she cannot assert.

Finish HERE

Michelle Lesley

Originally published June 19, 20159 still sins

I do it all the time, Mother, and I’ve decided something-
it’s not a sin.

I heard this line several years ago on a popular sitcom, spoken by an adult daughter to her Christian mother about a behavior the Bible unambiguously calls a sin. I mean, it’s right smack dab in the middle of the Big 10; “thou shalt not” and everything.

It’s one thing to say, “I know it’s a sin, but I don’t care. I’m going to do it anyway,” but how depraved is the world when they think they – in God’s place – are the ones who get to define what sin is? And what’s even worse is that the church has begun to adopt this audacious depravity as well, whether approving of sin by fiat or by simply ignoring God’s word and letting sin slide without rebuke.

When it comes…

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By Rick Becker  

FAMINE IN THE LAND

Scripture warns us that in the last days some will depart from the faith, and be deceived by evil spirits and teachings of demons. Those who teach false doctrines are not on the fringes of christianity, they are in the center in the form of the Evangelical Industrial Complex.  Bethel, Hillsong and other NAR “churches” have infested the visible church like gangrene.  Those who are saved from this deception, try to warn their friends and family still caught up in the quagmire of celebrity teachers and false doctrines.  When we warn them of the precarious position they are in, they usually resort to arguments we are all familiar with. This post deals with some of those questions.

Do you know them personally ?

It is not necessary to know figures such as Brian Houston or Bill Johnson personally to test their teachings.  Those of us who come out of these churches know what it takes to work your way up the hierarchical structure in order to “get to know them personally.”  Have they taken the time to get to know the people whose faith has been shipwrecked due to their teachings?  Do they care that their sponsored posts reach millions of naive and biblically illiterate people?  Not content with shepherding their own congregations,  these hirelings spread their doctrines with impunity.  They are not contributing to the body of Christ, but building their own empire.

Their teachings are in print, on social media, in the public domain and therefore open to public scrutiny.  It is their teachings we examine and compare to the word of God – as instructed in scripture.  If the apostle Paul’s teachings were compared to scripture, why give modern day apostles a pass?
“Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so”
Acts 17:11

 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1-2

Have you approached them directly ?

 

Finish article HERE

Not long ago I was visiting a neighborhood church by invitation. Their pastor had retired and they had a temporary pastor filling in. I noticed that more than a few times he had mentioned that he used to have a female boss at a secular job and that he had been comfortable with it. Later he mentioned he went to Fuller Seminary and was glad for it. Zip, up goes a major flag. The next alarm that went off was when he said that the Holy Spirit was neutral and could be identified as female. I looked around the room and no one reacted. Never went back.

While it is true that the word “spirit” in Greek is identified as a “neuter noun” there is no way one should identify the Holy Spirit as female.

GotQuestions says on the subject, “So, while the Holy Spirit is neither male nor female in His essence, He is properly referred to in the masculine by virtue of His relation to creation and biblical revelation. There is absolutely no biblical basis for viewing the Holy Spirit as the “female” member of the Trinity.”

The Word Like Fire

[Reader, the video has been removed by Bethesda NW. Anticipating this, a copy has been saved and the video will soon be restored.  Transcriptions in the article below]

The unclean spirit behind the goddess of The Shack, the novel written by Paul Young, is still at work. It seems more than coincidental that Bethesda NW, a Bethel Redding sister church,* uses Young’s hellish interpretation of El Shaddai; and just like in the novel, the Holy Spirit has also been feminized, addressed in the service as “Mama Ghost.”

Paul Young, author of The Shack, would be proud:

“El Shaddai, the double breasted one.” (Tisha Straup, Bethesda NW sermon on 5/26/19)

“Do you need healing from a Mother? Only comes from El Shaddai.” (Bethesda NW worship leader on 5/12/19)

The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to…

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Great article

The Word Like Fire

In The Way of the Heart, Henri Nouwen explains contemplative prayer:

The quiet repetition of a single word can help us descend with the mind into the heart. …a word or sentence repeated frequently can help us to concentrate, to move to the center, to create an inner stillness and thus listen to the voice of God. (pg.81)

But Henri Nouwen was not hearing the “voice of God.” Contemplative prayer is essentially the same as Eastern or New Age meditation, and will take you into sweet deception. It will alter or addle your theology.

It is wrong to promote a practitioner of contemplative prayer. Henri Nouwen’s particular universalist understanding of God is the result of his contemplative practices; and yet his books continue to be recommended by seminaries and celebrity Christians alike.

Francis Chan and Mike Bickle, for instance, speaking before thousands, asked the audience to vow not to…

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