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MARCIA’S STORY: A STRANGE BUT TRUE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY

Spirit guides, meditation, astrology, the “higher Self,” raising the kundalini, developing psychic abilities, praying to gurus, astral travel, numerology, Tarot cards, contacting the dead, hanging out with witches, Sufis, followers of Muktananda, Rajneesh, Sai Baba, Maharaji, — all these and more were part of my journey. How did I get on this path?

The beginnings

I grew up with an agnostic father and a mother who was raised going to church. My sister and I had to attend church, because my mother thought that was the right thing to do, although she did not always go. Due to my father’s job in the Foreign Service, we moved around a lot, so we ended up in different churches located overseas and in the Washington, DC, area. Eventually, I became serious about religion. In high school, I had the idea that being good would please God and get me into heaven. But reading about other religions and meeting those who believed differently made me wonder. Maybe there was more to it than what I had — some knowledge of God and Jesus which was mostly superficial. I wanted something deeper, more experiential. I was also rejecting the idea of hell and was disillusioned with Christians. Christianity seemed defined by sermons, going to Sunday School, and doing good works. How boring! I was missing out on something! Also, I never fit in during my high school years. Being someone who wrote poetry, being in an alcoholic home, having no real roots all combined to make me feel different and unlike other people. I started my journey at the end of high school.

That journey continued through college where I had paranormal experiences, made friends with someone who said she saw auras, and attended spiritualist meetings where the ministers received messages from the dead. One bright sunny Florida afternoon, as I rested on my bed fully awake with eyes partly closed, I felt myself floating. I opened my eyes and was stunned to see my body on the bed below me as I hovered near the ceiling. I thought I had died. The shock slammed me back into my body in an almost painful way. This was my first out-of-body experience and I had no idea what it was or that it even had a name. I told no one about it.

The journey stretched into the 70’s when I visited psychics and an astrologer, and did a lot of reading on the paranormal, and about Hindu and Buddhist beliefs. I remember reading a book on Vedanta (sect of Hinduism) each morning in the cafeteria of the building where I worked. I started to see connections in my life with the colors of the chakras, the seven psychic centers of energy in the body according to Hindu beliefs. This and other experiences pushed me into an active plunge into the alluring worlds of the paranormal and Eastern beliefs.

Into the fire

In an Inner Light Consciousness class, I was introduced to my “spiritual master” during a guided visualization. This guide, a spirit being, looked kind and wise. I felt his presence with me and sometimes saw him in dreams and meditations until 1990. I also had unpleasant, scary and weird experiences and visitations, once seeing a tall hooded figure in dark robes looking at my body in the bed as I hovered out-of-body nearby. Although extremely frightened by this apparition, I rationalized it by telling myself that I was being tested. Another time, as I was out-of-body, I not only saw my body on the bed, but also saw a double of myself floating across from me. I had spontaneous out-of-body experiences that sometimes kept me from sleeping and that were also often very eerie. But to me, the paranormal was spiritual, and spiritual was good.

Another reason I accepted the scary stuff was my attitude. I liked to think I was tough and nothing could frighten me away. So I would think, “Go ahead, scare me. I can take it!” I had a lot of anger and defiance in me which probably came from dealing with an alcoholic parent. This angry defiance proved useful to me in many ways. It helped me get through a lot of painful situations, and it was going to help me deal with the bizarre experiences I would face. But anger and defiance over a long period of time easily turn into cynicism. I did become cynical although it was usually hidden, even from myself, behind a desire to help people. This defiant cynicism was my defense, as in “No one is going to stop me doing what I want; nothing can scare me away; and don’t try to impress me.” Later, after many occult experiences, the cynicism was deeper. I knew a lot of people had not done what I had, and I thought most people were wimps and satisfied with superficial lives, not searching deeply as I was. But this was my defense against getting hurt or feeling helpless.

I also learned to meditate, do psychic healing, analyze dreams, and chant. It was mystical and magical. When I first started to do Eastern meditation, I felt an incredible peace. I felt that I was fading away and merging with something greater. It seemed I was literally one with the universe, and the teaching that we are all connected to one force seemed true. After all, I believed that truth was in experience, and here my experience was confirming that belief. At last, I thought, I was connecting to that spiritual realm. Later, my studies took me on many paths — Tibetan, Hindu and Zen meditation and philosophy, spirit contact, numerology, psychic development, past life regression. Reincarnation seemed to answer questions and I experienced what I thought were memories of past lives. However, it was sad to think that my next life might not be so great so if I did not learn lessons from this or previous lives. But why dwell on that?

Finally, it seemed I was on the edge of a hidden wisdom, a truth higher than the everyday superficial thinking around me. Books by Edgar Cayce, Ruth Montgomery, Chogyam Trungpa (Tibetan Buddhism), Annie Besant (Theosophy), Hanz Holzer (ghosts), and Ram Dass (Hinduism/New Age), and titles like Seth Speaks, The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra, The Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, and Autobiography of a Yogi by Yogananda began to fill my shelves, along with books on astrology, tarot cards, numerology, and other occult teachings. My spiritual progress seemed assured, especially since I was having so many paranormal experiences. The natural result was that I felt I was an “insider” in the spiritual realm.

Unanswered questions

Over the years, my psychic experiences escalated. I studied astrology and took a 7-hour exam on astrology in Atlanta, Georgia, administered by the City but formulated and graded by an astrology board, in order to qualify for the business license. Passing the test, I started practicing astrology, and eventually I taught astrology, gave public talks, wrote for astrological and New Age journals, and sat on the board of astrology examiners that gave and graded the exams, becoming chairman of that board. I became president of the Metropolitan Atlanta Astrological Society in June, 1989. My Halloween birthday and astrological skills made me popular with witches and others.

I noticed that while doing chart readings for clients, I would “tune in” to the chart in a paranormal way, during which I felt an energy connecting my mind to the chart, and felt guided through the chart. It often seemed that I was being fed information or led to specific things to say about the client. After so many years of Eastern meditation techniques, I was slipping without effort into an altered state of consciousness while doing astrology. I gave credit to my “past lives” as an astrologer and spiritual counselor, to the help of spirit guides, and to astrology itself. In those years, the only source of such information could be good since I did not believe in evil.

Yet, with all the knowledge and experience I had acquired, what were the answers? Since I came to believe there was only ignorance, not evil, stories of vicious cruelty and murder made me uncomfortable. Though I believed I would be coming back after my death, where would I go in between and for how long? Some taught that we would go somewhere that was like a school, then choose our next life. Others taught that we go somewhere to be spiritually purified – how, it was not explained – then our next life would be chosen for us. By whom? That was not explained. We were supposed to just trust the process.

There was also the disquieting teaching that whatever thought was in my mind at the moment of death would determine the after-death experience for some time. Better not have a bad thought for too long! Better not fall asleep with fearful images! This was scary to contemplate — but that contemplation was itself a negative thought! I would often soothe myself by meditating or chanting something — maybe the “Hare Krishna” chant I had taught myself, or repeating a Tibetan Buddhist mantra like “Om Mani Padme Om.”

I sought peace in Zen Buddhism. Trying to detach myself from all desire involved a meditation that allows thoughts, fears, or desires to come up and then not to respond to them. This was to be applied to life outside meditation as well. For someone like myself, carrying a lot of emotional pain from my past and my present, this was appealing. But though detachment sounded good in all the books, there was a price to pay. The detachment seemed contrived and unnatural. Seeing “the emptiness” behind my surroundings, another sign of spiritual acumen, struck me as nihilistic and depressing. Maybe if I had pursued these practices more devoutly, I might have gradually replaced my natural reactions and feelings with non-feeling. But is it human to be non-feeling, to accept every thought, action, and emotion without judgment?

Being taught to be natural and “holistic” on one hand, but then learning to let go of my natural reactions on the other, seemed a contradiction. Of course, rational analysis like this was discouraged, even attacked. Therefore, contradictions could and should be accepted. If it didn’t make sense, so much the better. The idea was to transcend the rational mind which was a barrier between me and enlightenment. Although I failed in achieving detachment, I clung to the paradoxical teachings of Zen, reading books with Zen tales, and continuing the meditation. I noticed that the peace I had felt with my initial meditations had decreased, causing me to meditate more in an attempt to re-capture that elusive peace.

I also learned that the nature of occult and New Age thinking is that there is no one answer. There is no one single truth, and there is no one reality. Truth is based on your experience, so it changes and can differ from person to person. If there are multi-levels of reality and there is no absolute truth, then there must be many contradicting truths and realities. In the abstract, this was fascinating food for thought, and led to being comfortable with whatever truth I wanted. But on the practical level, what difference did truth make if one finally discovered it? Or how did we know if there really was such a thing? And if not, what did anything that anyone believed matter anyway? These teachings gave answers that only raised more questions.

Death and love

We are just drops in the ocean, I learned, and the goal is to eventually, after many lifetimes, rejoin the cosmic oneness that some call God. This God-force was what we came from and was our final destiny. So that meant my identity, memories, talents, and personality would be swallowed whole into the cosmic One. Where would I be? The disturbing answer was that I would no longer be. Death became an absorbing but uneasy topic for me.

The best way to help others and stay true to your path, I heard and read over and over, was to work on yourself and love yourself. Although talk of “love” was common and was taught to be the basis for everything, it also seemed that some used the “law of love” as a way to justify whatever they were doing. So, if your husband was not your spiritual match, then “real love” allowed you to leave him or find another with whom you had a true bond. After all, this was a “law” of the universe: the law of love. But this love was not defined. It was just sort of out there – a love force that pervaded the universe. There was no personal being to love me; there was this energy coming from the cosmic One and that was it. Could a force care?

Despite the meditations, trying to live in “the now,” and the talk of love, I continued to have frightening experiences. One of the worst was waking up to see an older woman staring at me from the bottom of the bed. I knew she was not flesh and blood, but a spirit. She did not speak, but I heard her in my mind say to me, “I am here to take over your body.” Too scared to speak, I said in my mind, “No! No!” This seemed to go on for a long time, although I have no idea how long it really was. Finally, she simply faded away. I was left trembling, perspiring, and my heart racing. By the way, I was not doing drugs.

The compulsion

An unexplained compulsion to go to a church gripped me in the spring and summer of 1990. Since I hated Christianity, churches and Christians by now, this made me angry. I first ignored this compulsion, then resisted it, and then, after struggling against it for awhile, I decided to give in, hoping that it would go away. It was probably from one of my former lives as a priest or monk, I reasoned.

In the opening minutes of a service in a large church in downtown Atlanta, I felt a love I had never known wash down over and through me, so powerfully that I started crying. I knew this love was from God, not from the music, the people, or the place. That love was the real thing. Coming from an alcoholic home, I was starving for that love. I returned the following Sunday, not to have another experience, but so that I could be where that love had happened to me.

After several weeks, I began to feel unclean about astrology although no one in this open-minded church said anything about it. All I knew was that it was somehow separating me from this God of love. I then got the impression that God did not like astrology and wanted me to give it up. Give up my life’s work? Give up my identity and purpose? Outside of my son, nothing was more important to me than astrology. But I felt I had no choice; it was so clear to me that God did not like astrology. Not even believing what I was doing, I decided to give up astrology in late 1990. At the time, I was chairperson of the curriculum committee, a member of other committees at the astrological society, and scheduled to teach an upcoming class. I had to find another teacher. I had to tell clients who called I was no longer an astrologer. (I did give a talk in February, 1991, after bad advice from a pastor and not liking what I was doing but not strong enough to get out of it. It took over a year for full comprehension of what I had been involved in to sink in.) Now what happens? Thinking I should read the Bible, I started reading in Matthew, the first book of the New Testament. Reading the Bible put me in touch with something pure, but I didn’t know what it was. Although I had read the Bible before while growing up and had quoted from it for astrological articles, this time it was different. I felt as though I was being cleaned from the inside out as I read it.

As real as it gets

This person Jesus fascinated me. It was as though I was learning about Him for the first time. One evening while reading part of the 8th chapter of Matthew, right before Christmas of 1990, I saw who Jesus really is. On the boat with His disciples, a terrible storm arose. The disciples were afraid and woke Jesus up, telling Him that they were going to perish. Jesus stopped the storm in its tracks! How? He did not visualize calm waters, He did not perform sorcery. He rebuked the winds and the sea, and they obeyed him. That means He has authority over nature. I was separated from God by everything I had done in my past — I had lived my whole life based on my will, a will that had rejected and defied God and His word. I realized that the only way to be forgiven, the only way to be reconciled with God, was through Jesus, the God-man who suffered and died for me out of a great and unconditional love. I realized Jesus is the Savior, He is the Son of God and God the Son. I understood for the first time why Jesus died on the cross. In those several minutes sitting on my bed with the Bible, I knew that the truth and the answer to all my questions were one and the same: Jesus Christ. What a simple but awesome truth! And so I gave myself to Christ and knew I belonged to Him from that moment on. Several months later, I found out that a young Christian man at the part-time job where I worked had been praying for me with a fellowship group at his church during 1990.

Jesus was different from the masters I had studied. He was more real than the spirit guides, the Ascended Masters, the Higher Self — all those airy, elusive things that gave no evidence of their existence — because He came to earth in flesh and He hungered, thirsted, felt pain and sorrow. He did not give a message that denied the dirt and dust of life, but He sat with the outcasts, the prostitutes, and the hated tax collectors yet remained sinless. He was as real as it gets. Though fully man, Jesus was fully God incarnate, equal to God in nature but setting aside that glory (not deity) to be among suffering men and women. Jesus Christ willingly was tortured, laid down His life and died an agonizing death to pay for our sins. He bodily rose on the third day, conquering death, so that we can have eternal life with God. No sorcerer, no spiritual master, no Buddha, no shaman, no witch, no psychic has conquered death, but all still lie cold in their graves. But Jesus has power over death and is living today.

Truth and satisfaction

Spiritually, I had been in a grave with the buddhas and the sorcerers and the seekers of wisdom who had rejected the truth of Christ. The complicated and intricate studies that had enthralled me, the endless layers of truths and realities I had pursued, the constant effort to evolve, the paranormal experiences, the need to believe in one’s own goodness at all costs, were all a maze and a trap. The truth was simple enough for a child because the truth is a Person. Jesus did not teach the way or say He had a way. He said that He is the way — not a way, but THE way.

Many people want to know if I had to wage spiritual warfare after trusting Christ. Well, a few months later, as I was about to go forward in a church to publicly proclaim faith in Christ, I got incredibly ill. When I went home, I got sicker. I felt an angry presence in the room and I thought it was my spirit guide. I basically told him I belonged to Christ and there was nothing he could do about it, that even if I died, it was too late. “You lose,” I said. I was addressing Satan, although I was really talking to my spirit guide. I do not believe in doing this now; I do not address demons nor Satan. They have already been spoken to and defeated by Christ. I prefer to speak to the ruler of the universe, Jesus Christ. I do not want to give demons any attention at all. Yes, I have had a few strange attacks that could be construed as demonic. But I do not like to focus on them. My focus is on the One who is worthy of attention: Jesus Christ, who has power over all rulers and principalities, in both the physical and spiritual realms.

What is the biggest difference between my former life and my life in Christ? That I am happier, that life is easier? Not at all. The difference is that I am spiritually satisfied. There is more to learn and much room to grow, but the learning and growth spring from Christ as the foundation, not from a search outside Him. The search has ended; the thirst has been quenched; the hunger within has been filled.

(You will find Marcia’s story with more detail in Chapter 10 of The Unexpected Journey (Zondervan) by Thom S. Rainer. This book contains the firsthand accounts of 12 people who came to faith in Christ from other spiritual beliefs and told their stories to Dr. Rainer. This book is sold on Amazon’s site and also on the CBD site at www.christianbook.com, and can also be found in or ordered by bookstores).

Jesus speaks

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” – John 14:6.“But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” – John 4:14“I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” – John 6:35“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.'” – Matthew 28:18

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” – Revelation 3:20

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Here is Marcia Montenegro’s site

CANA Christian Answers for the New Age.

http://christiananswersforthenewage.org/AboutCANA_Background.html

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The Bible teaches that all Christians should grow in spiritual discernment.

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
– Hebrews 5:12-14 NASB

Paul told the Thessalonians:
Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 NASB

While he encouraged the Thessalonians not to discount or dismiss the Holy Spirit – by despising that which was being taught as coming from God (prophecy) – Paul instructed them to test everything.

In other words, if someone preaches or teaches something that he or she claims was inspired by God, we are not to despise it – which would result in quenching the Holy Spirit.
However, we are to carefully examine that which is being taught.

Earlier, Luke called the people of Berea – where Paul and Silas had been sent to preach – “more noble-minded that those in Thessalonica,” because
they received the word with great eagerness, examining [anakrino] the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men.
– Acts 17:11-12 NASB

Thus the Bereans did not quench the Spirit, but rather tested what was being taught, using Scripture as their guide.

How to grow in spiritual discernment

The only way to grow in spiritual discernment is
a) by relying on the guidance of the Holy Spirit who indwells every true Christian, and
b) by stuyding God’s Word, the Bible.

These two go hand-in-hand:

The Holy Spirit

One can not expect someone who has just accepted Jesus Christ as his savior to have a full, working knowledge of Biblical theology. The Bible indicates that people come to Jesus because the Holy Spirit draws them and they respond to His invitation.

When someone accepts Jesus Christ, he becomes regenerated (born again – a new person, spiritually). Among other things, he receives the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which puts him at a great advantage over non-Christians. Paul puts it like this:
11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
12 We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.
13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.
14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
15 The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment:
16 For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct. – 1 Corinthians 2:11-16

The Bible

The Bible provides the standard against which all teachings must be tested:
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
– 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NASB

Hand-in-hand

This reliance both on the guidance of the Holy Spirit and on God’s Written Word should keep Christians focused on God.

If Christians were to rely only on their ability to listen to the Holy Spirit, they would leave themselves open to all manner of private teachings and interpretations – without any rules by which to rest such revelations.

At the same time, it they were to rely only on their own ability to interpret and apply the Scriptures, they would leave no room for God’s guidance in revealing to them the riches of his Word.

As Christians our focus should always be on the living God, with whom we have an interactive relationship.

Relying on the discernment of others

No Christian is an island. There is much to be learned from one another, as we share the wisdom and insights God has revealed to us from His Word, by His Holy Spirit.

Sadly, though, many Christians leave the responsibility for discernment almost completely up to others. Their guidance comes primarily from televangelists, authors (and, more often than not, their ghost writers), their pastors, or their favorite websites.

That’s like being spoon-fed by someone else – marking one as an infant, rather than as a mature Christian:
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
– Hebrews 5:12-14 NASB

By all means, let’s learn from one another – eagerly receiving the word, while also examining everything carefully.

Discernment as a spiritual gift

Christians who believe that the Spiritual Gifts are still available today, see the gift of “distinguishing between spirits” (discerning whether they are human, from God, or demonic), to be a special form of discernment (revealed, instead of learned):
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
– 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, NASB

This article taken from Apologetics Index

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What is it, that is so compelling to people looking for God, that they are drawn to the new age mysticism cloaked in Christian terminology?

I can surmise by my own experience. I came back to the Lord about 5 years ago and found that the churches have changed drastically.  I remember as a young girl, clutching my bible in Sunday school and then listening to the congregation leaf through the pages of their bibles searching for the scripture the pastor was preaching about. But hey…we don’t need to bring our bibles anymore.  Everything we need to know is printed right on the bulletin.  How does one know that the truth is being taught when bibles are no longer required at services?  What a dangerous situation this presents to the congregation.

Does anyone remember the days when followers of Christ lived lives of holy surrender to his will, and let the filling of the Holy Spirit guide, comfort, strengthen, and convict them? It is no wonder that there are people starving and thirsting for God because he is no longer found in many churches.

So what is being presented today? What is the New Age gospel? What is the new mysticism that is being promoted in many churches today?  Those who who no longer attend church are finding their search for God in the bookstores. Unfortunately, the New Age section and the Religion section are now being blended together.

I went to the Blue Letter Bible and searched for the word “mystery” in the KJV version and came up with 22 verses in the New Testament.

Many of these verses have Paul explaining the mystery being revealed of the Gentiles being included in the Kingdom of God, and there is the mystery of the changing of our bodies from mortal to immortal at the rapture, and then the mysteries of the end-times in Revelation.

I would like to start by focusing first on:

Ephesians 1:9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

What is the mystery of his will? Verses 8-10 is a wonderful passage that is telling us that we need His wisdom and understanding to know His will.  How is it given?  The believer is given the gift of the Holy Spirit. The gifts we receive are spiritual wisdom and discernment.  To those who do not walk in the Holy Spirit these are hard concepts to grasp.Wisdom to know what God’s will is for you and His will for the universe is given those who are in Christ.

How about:

Colossians 1:26-27  Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: to whom God would make known what is glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

Verse 27 is relating again to the Gentiles, but take a close look at this “But now is made manifest to his saints”.  What does this mean? It means that there is “NO BIG SECRET” to be revealed only to a few or the elite.  The problem of Gnosticism is again being addressed here.  There is no secret knowledge because God is making himself known to those who are in Him.  There is no secret way to discover God’s will, there are no secrets that can be obtained outside of his Word. The truth of God’s word is available for all to discover if they are truly seeking Him. The mystery is an open secret, but the  truths remain impossible mysteries for those who are unbelievers.

This is why many are seeking alternate methods to find God.  They cannot  relate to the truth of the Bible, so one then has to find spirituality by other means.  There are other methods easily available to those who seeking an easier way to God other than repentance and total committment to turning away from sin.  People like their sin. They like thought processes that downplay its eternal significance. Using mysticism itself as a method to locate God is dangerous.  The are two spirit worlds. If you are looking outside of the Bible and its precious word to find God…you will instead find the counterfeit.  The counterfeit spirit downplays sin and minimizes it. Doesn’t this sound like the seeker friendly churches we are seeing today?

Let’s go on to:

Ephesians 3: 3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery

Ephesians 3:4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ

Ephesians 3:9  And to make all men see that what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

 Here Paul tells how the church is made one in Christ and explains that this was not previously revealed. God gave this revelation to Paul. This mystery was hidden in the past, and now is revealed by Paul to all. This message was also prophesied in the Old Testament even though the prophets did not understand the mystery was to include Jew and Gentiles alike. The church is a glorious example of faith in Jesus Christ as we await His second coming. As time goes on, the church will become more hated and ridiculed for not conforming to the world and its universal religious system being implemented today. This system is found in the form of seeking the “secret knowledge”. How this appeals to our pride, that we have found some secret knowledge available only to a few. The truth is that the knowledge of God is actually open and available to all believers.

Oh how Satan lies…the lies never change.  You can be as God. You can find God within. You are God.

Why do people search for truth within themselves? There is nothing good in us and our hearts are corrupt.

Romans 7:18  For i know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth not good thing:

How is it that those involved in the contemplative prayer movement can condone the thought of “going within” to find Jesus? If we go “within”, we will find instead that our fleshy desires produce nothing good.

Let me ask you..are you so steeped in the Word of God that you would recognize a counterfeit gospel?  If someone said to you…come join our group we have found a new way to Jesus, would you be wary of this approach?  What about methods of worship or prayer..if someone said to you..pray the word Jesus over and over again till your mind becomes a blank… would you do it?

Many of these methods offer a mystical way to Jesus…One has to remember that there will be false prophets and false spirits posing as Jesus.

I Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

We can know without controversy, there is no doubt, we all can know and understand, that godliness comes from Jesus Christ who came to us in the flesh, whose power came from the Holy Spirit is now at the right hand of God. Only through Jesus can we find godliness. We have no righteousness of our own.

So is this a mystery to you? We will never know all the mysteries of God or the universe while we are here on this earth, but we can know what God has revealed to us in His Word, and through the leadings of the Holy Spirit. We all have a purpose here on this earth. God will reveal to you the mystery of His will to you.  It takes prayer, reading His Word daily, and a giving up of what it is that WE want to do. By taking up the cross daily and relenting our will to His, the mystery of God, is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.

Pray daily for discernment, wisdom and that the Lord will keep you alert to the sheep in wolves clothing and hidden in His deep truths of the faith.

 

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http://www.letusreason.org/Default.htm 

Mike Oppenheimer of:

Let Us Reason Ministries

MY TESTIMONY                         

I was brought up Jewish, went to Shabbat quite faithfully each Friday and celebrated the holydays at the temple and with family. Our family like many others, gathered together on the high holy days in observance. I attended Hebrew school twice a week and learned the language and eventually was Bar Mitzvahed and confirmed. While attending classes I asked a lot of questions about God the Rabbi could not answer. Though I continued each year, mainly to please my parents, I became less interested in the traditional religion of my parents and feeling hindered in my spiritual development, leaped head first into my own brand of freestyle spirituality after graduation.

By my own search in reading and attending lectures and gatherings I got involved in the New Age Movement, became a vegetarian and for 15 years practiced yoga and meditation. I ended up using psychedelic drugs for a time (LSD, mescaline etc.), as part of my regular religious observances and smoking “pakalolo” (pot) became part of my normal lifestyle. During these times I also experimented with various religions and the occult. I felt they each contained some part of the truth of the one “true” religion, just as Rosicrucianism teaches all religions are petals on the same flower.

I studied about the Ancient Masters of the East, learning about Buddhism and Zen I picked up on a number of the practices. I had a number of spiritual experiences which at the time I was sure were from God and leading me to a greater knowledge of myself and Him. I discovered and believed in the Ascended Masters that were guiding our world into a greater evolutionary path. I was involved with UFO’s and channeled messages. I was sure I was on the right spiritual path because of the various signs things just fell into place. At the same time I also read the Bible (even the New Testament), not denying my Jewish roots. I began reading over 50 books a year, having an insatiable spiritual appetite, but God was working on my exit out of this spiritual bondage.

I had also started to surf before beginning my spiritual pilgrimage. I fell in love with the sport and began traveling, surfing and entering contests. Surfing became my livelihood after I learned to shape surfboards for a living. I became the NY champion for a number of years and eventually the eastern surfing champion for two years. Hawaii proved to be an irresistible attraction due to its fantastic surf. I moved permanently to Hawaii with my girlfriend Kathy in the mid 70’s. This gave me more freedom to pursue both my first love of surfing and my freelance spirituality. We thought we were becoming enlightened. Reading books about the Ascended Masters involvement and “learning” about Earth’s past history on Lemuria and Atlantis. We desired to become servants of the New age movement, convinced that if we all united we could usher in an age of spiritual cooperation and enlightenment that so many were talking about. After nine years my searching came to a head when my girlfriend Kathy and I started to pursue our spiritual hunger more seriously and became involved in the “I Am Movement” (the Saint Germaine Society of the Ballard’s). Through calling on angels and powers unknown to us and by “decreeing” and using the Violet Consuming Flame to eradicate past life karma, we were learning to become active in the New Age Movement. At the time, Kathy was practicing affirmations, mantras, studying herbology, polarity therapy, kinesiology and learning about the supposed spiritual energies of the body. She also was a manager of a health store on the Island of Oahu.

At the same time, the Lord started moving ahead with His rescue plan and during one week we had two friends over who had recently became Christians. One was also a surfer that I knew from New York. We talked about end-time events for hours. Since I was familiar with, as I had been reading the Bible for years, and was especially fascinated about the end of the age. (At that time we both thought Christians were very narrow minded about their view of the Bible, God and the world. Kathy and I used to laugh about how the New Age was coming in without Christians even being aware of it, and were still trying to live in the old traditions and were not going to be part of it). Later that week my friends invited us to a seminar that just so happened to be on the New Age Movement with speakers Dave Hunt, Johanna Michaelson and Hal Lindsey. Talk about timing! It was also during that same week that I heard an audible voice say, “I am the Lord your God, you shall not want.” I recognized this was from Psalm 23 from my Jewish upbringing and had never experienced anything like it. Inside I knew this was the God I was searching for but still did not know. It was only later I would understand why this voice was outside and not from inside me.

I attended the Christian conference on Bible prophecy and the New Age Movement that week while Kathy stayed home doing her New Age affirmations. She wasn’t feeling well that day and unknowingly had really been going through a spiritual battle all that week. At the conference, I was shocked to hear the other side of the story. The information I heard seemed incredible. The speakers knew all about the occult techniques Kathy and I were following and practicing, and about the New Age Movement’s master plans. I spoke to Dave Hunt briefly during a break and he answered a number of important questions. One was why Jesus said, “why you have forsaken me?” Though I was reading the Bible all these years I could not understand the gospel contained in it. I was blinded by the viewpoints ingrained from the New Age influences. I was also challenged by Dave on the occult practices in which I was personally involved practicing. He was aware of the “I am societies” practices. One question he asked was, “If you’re God did you create the universe? I had never thought this through. If I’m trying to become god through all these New Age techniques, how could this be possible, when God was always all knowing and all powerful (according to the Scriptures and what I had heard through their speaking that night). It was through this question that a chain of events led to the Lord really ministering the truth to my heart and mind. When the conference resumed Johanna spoke and I was relating to a lot she had experienced, especially in regards to the Ascended Master “Jesus”. Then she spoke about another Jesus – the true Jesus of the Bible, which came as a total shock. I never thought there could be false Jesus’ parading around as the real one. They were only Jesus by name but not the One who is God come in the flesh. It all made sense. When she prayed my heart was pierced, I knew I had heard the truth, but the question was; what would I do about it?

All the way home I wrestled with the realization that I had wasted the past 15 years believing and doing the wrong things. (Prior to this I thought Christians were very narrow minded but now I had to reconsider that I was too open-minded and had bought into a lie.) I asked my friends who took me to the meeting numerous questions that were running through my mind. Being new Christians, they could answer only a few of them. They just kept saying to me, “we know the Bible is God’s Word and Jesus is the truth.”

Kathy was waiting up for me when I got home. It was late and she was actually scared that I would come home a Christian from the meeting! As I came in a peace came in the house and on her, as I sat her down and shared about how the Christians viewed the last days and how it wasn’t anything like what we were being taught in the New Age Movement. It was then that the Holy Spirit revealed to Kathy that not only were we following the wrong Jesus (2 Cor.11:4), but that we were worshiping Satan, and that he is a real being. Then the fear of God fell upon us and for the first time we got down on our knees and prayed to the true living God to forgive us for the occult beliefs we had been deceived into practicing. The Lord got the last laugh, but it was a pleasant one of victory.

The next morning we both went to a Christian church and the pastor got to the pulpit and said that he was told to change the sermon. He spoke on sin, Satan and Jesus Christ, we thought our friends had tipped him off but it was the Lord. We heard the gospel explained and dedicated our lives to the Lord, repenting and asking Christ to forgive us. Thank the Lord He intervened. We were saved together in the year 1986. It was later that week I found out that it was on the 20th anniversary of my confirmation day when God spoke that previous week to me Psalm 23. The last thing I read in front of the congregation in the temple 20 years before had been Proverbs 4:1-2 “Hear my children, the instruction of a Father, and give attention to know understanding. For I have given you good doctrine, forsake not my law.” Unfortunately, I did forsake His Law, for 20 years- but God brought me and my soon-to-be wife back. Five weeks after our spiritual birth Kathy and I were married and today have a 15 year old son who has been learning and become very interested in the debate of creation versus evolution among other interests.

Immediately, I began to study the Bible and learn apologetics in order to give answers to those who ask why we believe in Christ and why Jesus is God in the flesh. Since 1988 I have continued teaching on the cults and aberrant world views including how the cults deny grace and opt for works to be accepted by God. These include the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, and also the occult (New Age world view) which is now very present inside the Church.

By the grace of God I have had the privilege to have taught at Hope Chapels, Calvary Chapels, Church of Christ, Youth With A Mission, United Methodist Church, Grace Brethren, Assembly of God and various other Hawaii congregations. I have also had the opportunity to share in small group studies around the Island and have been involved in a number of debates. The Lord has currently provided us with the opportunity to host a TV program and had live call-in broadcast called “Let Us Reason” on a local Christian station as well as featured on several other live radio broadcasts in Hawaii. I am currently a missionary for Witness Inc., the world’s largest counter cult ministry reaching out to Jehovah’s Witnesses.

In 1994 Let Us Reason Ministries was founded as an up-to-date apologetic resource center to instill both confidence and a desire to lead others to Christ. This is done by helping equip believers with both Biblical, and logical answers for their Christian faith. I have learned many things along the way that need to be passed on to others to encourage as well as equip them in their witnessing. It’s my hope that this ministry will be able to prompt believers to personally meet and evangelize people who are in cults and false religions as well as discern and call attention to false doctrine within the Church.

Mike Oppenheimer

 

(used with permission from Let us Reason)

 

 

Here is another testimony that you might like to read.

kim

https://kimolsen.wordpress.com/2007/12/25/a-testimony-of-a-former-new-ager/

and another

https://kimolsen.wordpress.com/2007/09/13/the-toronto-deception-by-former-tacf-pastor-paul-gowdy/

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        “Earnestly contend for the faith….pulling them out of the fire.”

Jude was the half-brother of Jesus. It is interesting that he refers to himself as “the servant of Jesus Christ, brother to James” and does not tell of his relationship to Jesus. He may have done this to give God the glory and not to attract attention to himself.

He wanted to write about salvation, but it was apparent that he felt it was necessary to write a different letter to the believers. This is a letter of warning for false teachers and false doctrines that are entering the church.

1. “Jude the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them, that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ , and called:”

Who was Jude writing to? “…them, that are sanctified by God”, “Called.” This letter written by Jude is to Christians or the believers. It is always helpful to know who the books of the Bible are addressed. So this book written by Jude, is a warning to the flock.

Jude is probably best known for this verse.

3. “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”

I would like to point out aspects of this verse and how it applied to us today.

“Earnestly contend for the faith.”

Let me rephrase this verse using terms from the dictionary. Seriously assert for the faith. Zealously struggle with those who oppose the faith. Sincerely maintain the faith. Speak forth the truth. Even though I like, speak forth the truth, the words struggle and maintain are just as relevant. “Struggle” because as time goes on there will be more and more opposition and “maintain” because it means to retain or keep the gospel as it is in it’s original form.

All these statements set forth what we are to do, but are we? Are we studying the Word daily with prayer so that we could recognize deception if we saw it? “…which was once delivered unto the saints.”

The truth was delivered once. It is not to be changed, altered or configured to one’s owns desires. “…unto the saints.” Who are the saints? Ephesians 1:1 “…the faithful in Christ Jesus.”

4. “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” “Crept in unawares?”

Remember this is the church, the believers, Jude is talking to. Men have c r e p t in u n a w a r e s . This is an alarming statement. It should make you look behind you to see who is crouching, getting ready to pounce. But the reality is that we are not always acknowledging the false teaching, because we are UNAWARE. Yes, we are unaware of all who are ungodly, condemned, denying God and Jesus, and turning God’s grace into immorality. How disconcerting… that there are those who have slipped in among us and we have not noticed.

Jude is warning us. You would think by their description we would recognize them. This would indicate another warning. If we cannot recognize these men…are we like them?

Look at this phrase…”denying the only Lord God.” How many are today saying that there are many paths to God? With the explosion of Eastern religion in the West, we will hearing this more and more. Contemplatives using eastern style meditation also are leaning toward this denial of Jesus Christ as the only way and the downplay of sin.What is implied is that these men know of God’s grace, yet….they use this grace as an excuse or pardon for sin. Also note the tense of this verse. It applies to all time. But these men are destined for condemnation and Jude gives examples.

5. “I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.”

Jude is saying that we should know why the Israelites were destroyed. Do you remember the story of how God led the Israelites with pillars of smoke and fire, fed them manna from heaven, parted the Red Sea, yet they still “believed not”? They did not endure to the end because of a lack of faith.Then Jude gives two more examples of punishment and judgment. The fallen angels are being held for judgment day and similarly Sodom and Gomorrah experienced the: 7. “vengeance of eternal fire.”

These ungodly men will experience a punishment similar to Sodom and Gomorrah.

6. “Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignitaries.” This is a startling description of these godless men, yet it says that we can be unaware they are among us. How can this be? Let’s look a few possibilities.

I have read some pretty strange words from those in the prophetic movement. Before I continue…my personal view should be made known. I believe the prophetic movement to be mostly false. I have read many of the prophecies and most are the same predictions over and over again. Many I believe are channelers and are not hearing from God. They are not discerning the spirits. Their methods of contact with the spirit world, mirror the occult practices that have been used for centuries. This divination is detestable to the Lord. Deut 18:12. Nevertheless, I do believe there are some believers who have been given dreams and visions. There has also been many downfalls and scandals concerning those who are involved in false ministries. Look at the countless who have sadly fallen due to sexual sin. There is a correlation between sexual sin and those who defile the flesh. Let it be said that much of it is due to ungodliness and those who give themselves over to other forces besides the Holy Spirit.

“Despise dominion and speak evil of dignitaries”.

My bible parallels over to 2 Peter 2:10 “But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government.” Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries.

Dominionism which is an end-time deception, involves two main situations. There are those who want to reconstruct the apostolic ministries of disciples and apostles, which is called the 5-fold ministry and then there is the idea that Christians need to dominate the earth and “take it back”. Those are who trying to create a new apostolic order in our churches are usually self-appointed apostles. They want to be in charge. They are rejecting God’s authority and those who are now ministering to the churches they want to take over. This was demonstrated recently by a young man who is involved with a deluded ministry. He wrote a book stating one has to ask permission of the church, to leave the congregation. What? Why should anyone in the church have this kind of control over the congregation? They shouldn’t but that is what is being put forth and implemented today. Any church that has this kind of power is a cult.

The time is here that the ungodly of this world are being called godly. We can see that the Dalai Lama was greeted with honor this year by President Bush. Would this same honor be bestowed to a Christian minister? The time is upon us that godly men will be labeled intolerant and that they are denying peace to our world. The fact that the bible says that Jesus Christ is the only way will become ridiculous to the “spiritualists” of the world. This is already happening. The narrow path to Jesus Christ is now being labeled as narrow-minded. Those who are “narrow-minded” will not accept the unity of religions and will be the fundamental outcasts. Those who will not accept the many roads to God will be the minority of the future. It is unfortunate but the future is already here.

If we jump up to Jude 10 we will find this of the godless men among us: “But these speak evil of those things which they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.”

What does “which they know naturally”, mean? Back to 2 Peter 2:12-13 “But these as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the thinks that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption. And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceiving while they feast with you.”

“How ironical that when men should claim to be knowledgeable, they should actually be ignorant; when they think themselves superior to the common man they should actually be on the same level as animals, and be corrupted by the very practices in which they seek liberty and self-expression.” (Green)

Many today profess to have special knowledge and prophesy falsely. One can prophecy from the soul instead of from God. Here, one who may be full of pride, purports to tell another what God’s will is.  2 Peter 1:21 says, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Does God speak to us directly? Yes, I believe He does. We can know his leading, and we should know His voice. His Still Small Voice. The Holy Spirit will guide us. But the rule is the Word of God. Those who go by what men say will be open to deception.

11. “Woe unto them! For they have gone the way of Cain…of Balaam…of Korah.” 12. “These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit witherith, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots:”

The false prophets are doomed because they have not the faith of Abel who offered his first fruits, but have murder in their hearts, the greed of Balaam, and the desire to be in charge like Korah (Cor-e) who wanted to replace Moses, but was swallowed up by the earth. Hatred, greed and rebellion . This was the downfall of these men. Do not follow anyone who resembles them. for they want to take you with them. Korah was destroyed as well as his followers, so look for godly and biblical teachers.Verse 12 does not refer to spots (blemishes) as angels but as sinful men. These spots partake of the agape feast which is meant to edify all. Instead the false leader feeds only himself instead of tending to the flock. These men are also like clouds without water, for they bring nothing to drench the crops and have nothing to drink for those who thirst.

These trees, or men, are “twice dead”. This is probably a reference to physical and spiritual death. 

13. “Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.”

Those involved in the prophetic movement constantly give words about disasters, raging seas and tsunamis. But I bet they do not know that false prophets are called “raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame:” Isaiah 57:20 says: “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.”

The wandering stars, may be as a shooting star which briefly lights up the sky and then fizzles out for good. What good is a wandering star? One cannot navigate by it, or be assured where it will be at any given time. These stars ultimately will see darkness forever.

Verses 14-15 speak of judgment. Jude is still talking about “them”, as Enoch prophesied, “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon all..” Four times the word ungodly is used. “..and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches (harsh words) which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

What are the characteristics of these false teachers? Jude 16: “These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration [2296] because of advantage.”

Again we can refer back to the Israelites as they grumbled and complained while wandering in the desert. God was not pleased, and obviously He is not pleased with these ungodly teachers. Teachers walking after their own lusts, are pleased with their position and the recognition they receive. Great swelling words.

Have you read some of the prophetic words out there? God must have left out huge portions of the Bible because I don’t have a clue what these “words” really mean. Many words, come from those who have “special knowledge”.  Again I believe in leadings from the Lord but one should stick to the written word.

You want to be deceived? Get on the “prophetic ministry” train, and ride through the tunnel of doom. The Greek word [2296] thaumazo also means to marvel or awe. So these men caused quite a stir in their audience. Don’t we see this today? Look at how many are marveling at the signs and wonders that false teachers are producing today. These teachers are using biblical phrases and teachings among the false manifestations. Many are not questioning where their power lies, instead desiring it for themselves.

Jude 17 “But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles our Lord Jesus Christ.”

These men were foretold by the apostles. This should be nothing new to us and so we should presently be expecting and discerning them.

1 Timothy 4:1 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;” Acts 20:29 “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter among you, not sparing the flock.”

Grievous wolves? Matthew 7:15 “Beware of the false prophets which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

There are the wolves again. One description is ravening and one is grievous.Strong’s defines ravening [727] as ravenous, rapacious, robbing.Grievous [926] is violent, cruel, unsparing.Now the wolves [3074] are cruel greedy destructive men.

False prophet [5578] one who, acting the part of a divinely inspired prophet, utters falsehoods under the name of divine prophecies.So among us, the church, we have ravenous, rapacious, robbing, violent, cruel, unsparing, cruel and greedy men, who are acting the part of a divinely inspired prophets, uttering lies as divine prophecies. And we have difficulty separating these men from the true believers!

Jude 18 “How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.”

You know….. I am really sick of these guys but I must continue.

Jude 19 “These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.”

There are many today who are asking “Where is this God of yours?” One might expect this of the secular world…but leaders in the church? Yes, they are asking this if only to themselves. That is why there are those who are seeking to build a kingdom here on earth. Those who truly have “no spirit”, believe they do have a special mission here on earth to sate their passions of the things that are forbidden to them.The word sensual [5591] relates to the natural, governed by the breath, like the animal world, something in common with the brutes.In this verse “they who separate” [592] are the ones making divisions and disjoining the church. I wonder what spirit these men do have….?

So far, these verses have given us a thorough view of what these men are like and their ungodly ways.So now comes verses 20-25   What are we to do about these men?

Out of the next six verses, four tell us how to keep and present ourselves and the other two, how to deal with the ungodly men.

Jude 20-21 “But ye beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

So first before we do anything we are to take a look at ourselves first. Are we building ourselves up in our faith? Are we seeking holiness? It is at this point that we can compare our lives with the lives of the false teachers. The Holy Spirit bears witness to us that we are children of God and that others who also walk in this spirit are members with us in the spiritual family of God, the church. If we walk this path following Jesus Christ, we know the direction and boundaries. Straying from this path happens to Christians, but there is a difference between stumbling, and getting up and going on.

Following Jesus Christ is the only way to contentment for those who love and desire Him only. We discover that it is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that we truly glorify God, and desire to grow in holiness to please Him and live a life set apart. How do we know that the Holy Spirit lives within us? We grieve over our sin. The Holy Spirit convicts us. We may still struggle with sin but we want to overcome it.

Pray for strength. Are you in Christ? Do you desire to grow in holiness? Have you set yourself apart from the world and its enticements? Are you actually pursuing this path or just meandering? We are to keep our eye on God.

Titus 2:13 “Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;”

Jude 22-23 “And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”

At first reading, I thought that making a difference, would be a result of my compassion, but this is not necessarily so.

Strong’s concordance says [1252] making a difference is:

“To separate, make a distinction, to try, decide, to learn, to withdraw from.”

So to make a difference is to discern these men and make a determination about them. Jude offers two solutions here.

The first is to make a distinction about them but to also have compassion, but we are to separate from these men. Here is where many fail. They do not know scripture and do not know how separate these men’s lies from biblical truths. Then there are those who know scripture but decide they prefer satan’s lies. Lies that satisfy the flesh.

God has called many out of deceit. God has pulled them out of apostasy, lukewarmness, and indifference. So we must have mercy and compassion on those who are stumbling but we must not follow them.

And others we are to “save with fear”.

[5401] save with fear. Dread or Terror.

We are to pull or snatch others from the fire. We are save or rescue them, hating the spotted garment. And why would we do this? Because those who walk with the Lord and have the Holy Spirit hate sin.

Okay….so who are those that we are to have compassion on yet stay separate and who are those that we are to pull out of the fire?

Are we to separate from the false prophets and snatch those who are listening to them? Hopefully, we are building ourselves up by praying in the Holy Spirit because we will need wisdom and discernment on how to approach others who are in error.

Are you in a situation with God, that you know you will never slip out of His hand? I mean you KNOW! Do you know that a life without Christ is impossible? A mediocre life in Christianity is no longer good enough for the regenerate. Do you know that your life is not in your hands anymore because you have given it back to your creator? Those who truly know Jesus Christ live every moment for the glory of His name.

One thing we do know is this:

Jude 24-25 “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.”

Thanks be to Jude who tells us we are to contend for the faith, and by its truths, snatch others from the fire.

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I just wanted to provide a place for everyone to make prayer requests.  We all have someone dear to us that needs the mercy of the Lord, or we may need some prayer for ourselves when we are discouraged from Satan’s attacks. We must expect oppostion from the enemy and prayer gets us through this.  All that I ask is that when leave a prayer request make sure you pray for those who have left their own requests. 

Be as specific as you like but keep it short. Make sure that anything you say about a friend or family member would not be embarrased by your request.

We have the Word of God to guide and teach us but prayer is how we communicate with the Lord which enhances our relationship with Him.

This article is from CONTENDER MINISTRIES.  I was impressed by the Rast’s, who give us a great example of how to respond to the New Age Movement with a biblical response.

 
New Agers are the real Christians

It is people like you who are actually the anti-christ….the ‘so-called’ Christians like yourself who condemn and ridicule the new agers (or any other religion) like you do. You, like the Pharisees at the time of Christ cannot see beyond your own limited world-view. Christ was able to see the divinity in man….the wonderous power that man owns (the holy spirit) He was telling the Jewish people of this ….and they called him a blasphermer. He died telling us all that God lives inside of each and everyone of us…not just some of us…as you the Anti-Christ would like us to believe!You like to divide us…..with your judgemental, narrow-minded rhetoric, placing hatred and fear of other religions into the innocent minds of children and adults. You place New Agers and eastern philosophies in the seat of evil and yourself in the seat of God.. You point fingers at anyone you consider to be a sinner….judging their conduct as good or evil….. exactly what Christ said NOT to do. (don’t judge another, lest you be judged yourself)the power of evil (satan) lives and thrives in the division you try sooo hard to create…and you know that. The division between Christian and what you term “new age” is only in the minds of people like yourself, and other radical christians. Satan grabs hold you …in your fear of the new age, in your judgemental accusations, and in your hate and anger toward us. We (new agers) never point fingers at others because we know that all religions are in the pursuit of the same God, and eventually, through the wonderful process of self-realization (yoga, meditation, prayer, kind acts, forgiveness), we will find God because that was Christ’s ‘Way”…. that was Christ’s teaching to us!! We know that God lives in each one of us…even people like you. God doesn’t see religions, colors, sex or any other kind of groups like you do.You say we call ourselves ‘divine’…but the truth is that we are all part of God…who is divine .. thereby we have that holy spirit within each of us. However the power of this spirit is only available when it is combined with others who also have this glorious realization…. because it is in the unity of our spirits that there is power.The new age is here to stay, and unlike you and other ‘so-called’ Christians (not the Christian Jesus was) , we belive that it will be GOODNESS that prevails, not guided by intolerance and conformity to man-made religious dogma, but by tolerance for all people (love, acceptance, support) , intelligence and kindness. Your ‘Way’ toward tomorrow is paved with fear and anger. Christ spoke of Wolves in Sheeps clothing, and after reading your article on the New Age influence …. I see what he meant. You try to appear as though you were on Christ’s side, but I can see clearly that you are part of Satan’s handiwork.

I hope this letter helps you to find peace and re-directs you on your search for God. Open your heart and your mind (as Jesus tried to get the Pharisees and all people to do)…and you will find tha Jesus was right when He said “even greater things than this can you do …if you only had faith as big as a mustard seed”!!! Don’t fight the glory of this new age, when Christ’s truths will be made evident to all.

Sincerely,
Diane


CONTENDER MINISTRIES RESPONSE:

Greetings Diane, and thank you for contacting us at Contender Ministries. There seems to be a lot of anger/frustration in your message to us, but I’d like to reply to your views and interpretations of Christ’s teachings, as opposed to the name-calling.

You say that we are all divine. You contend that the Holy Spirit is a “power that man owns,” and that He dwells in all of us, as we are all part of God. You attempted to back this assertion by saying that Christ taught of the divinity of man, yet you included no scripture reference from the gospels as evidence of your claims. I have read the gospels, and in fact re-read them today before responding to your email. I can tell you conclusively that Jesus never taught that man was divine. The cornerstone of New Age doctrine has no basis in the gospels, or anywhere else in the Bible for that matter. In fact, Jesus taught quite a different theology than that which you espouse.

In Luke 18:19, Jesus said, “No one is good – except God alone.” That certainly seems to belie any claim to the divinity of man. Only God alone is good. To make any claim to divinity is to exalt our own nature, which is inherently sinful (Romans 3:23). Jesus said, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted,” (Luke 18:14). Anyone who exalts him or herself by claiming divinity will eventually learn a lesson in humility.

In John 14:16, and again in chapter 16, Jesus talks of the Holy Spirit that will remain after Jesus is taken back to God the Father. In these verses, Jesus is speaking to His disciples. He tells them that the Holy Spirit will act as Counselor to His followers. He will convict sinners of their actions. He will reside in the hearts of the followers of Christ. In no way do any of these passages indicate that the Holy Spirit will reside in the hearts of all men. The Holy Spirit does not reside in the heart of unrepentant sinners. However, if such a sinner accepts the gift of eternal life offered through Jesus Christ, and is cleansed of his sins, then he truly can receive the Holy Spirit.

You said we judge people. We do not. We recognize that only Jesus will judge men, on behalf of God the Father (John 5:22,27). A question you should ask yourself is this: If all men are divine, and all are a part of God, then what need would there be for a judge? God does not judge himself, so we cannot be parts of God. If all men are divine, there would be no need for judgment. There is a Judge though, and there will be a judgment.

Why is a judgment needed? Because the truth of the gospels is that there is a path to Heaven, and not all men are on that path. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus also taught us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son,” (John 3:16-18). Do all men believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and the only path to salvation? Unfortunately, the answer is “no.” In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus said, “For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Jesus is the small gate, and his teachings are the narrow road. You said we were “narrow-minded,” and in light of the previous verses I would have to agree. But truth is not relative, and it does not change to suit the desires of each person. Truth is inherently a narrow path. Since not all men accept that Jesus is the Messiah and the Savior of mankind, there is a need for a judgment, and Jesus will be that judge.

Jesus will be the judge of men, but we at Contender Ministries are following scriptural instructions to judge doctrines, beliefs, and theologies. We must judge them so we are not deceived by the false prophets Jesus said we would encounter (Matthew 7:15, 24:11, 24:24, Mark 13:22). As Christians, we must stand in judgment of teachings that are not in accordance with the gospel of Jesus Christ. At Contender Ministries, we expose these teachings. We do not presume to judge the followers of the false teachings, but we expose those teachings so that others might be warned, and come to salvation through Jesus Christ before they stand before Him to receive their judgment.

You said that we were the antichrist. There are actually two different versions of antichrist mentioned in the Bible. On one hand, you have Antichrist with a capital “A,” spoken of in the book of Revelation as well as Old Testament prophecy. He will be the great deceiver that will defile the temple in Israel and become possessed by Satan himself. There are also antichrists with a lowercase “a.” John defines these as follows: “Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist – he denies the Father and the Son,” (1 John 2:22). We believe that Jesus is the Christ, and we believe in the Father and the Son. Therefore, your characterization of us as the antichrist is inaccurate.

You said our “Way toward tomorrow is paved with fear and anger.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Our way, the only way (John 14:6), is Jesus Christ. We are angry at no one, and we go on without fear. In an age where Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world (as Jesus predicted), we endure suffering for Him, because our salvation with Him for all eternity is secured. He paid the price for us, and we accepted His free gift of salvation.

The belief in the divinity of man is a lie. It is, in fact, the original lie that Satan used. He convinced Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit with the lure that if she did so she would “be like God.” Satan has used this lie throughout history to deceive many. The New Age has bought into this lie. You said the New Age is here to stay. I happen to agree with you – to a point. I believe that the New Age will thrive until Jesus Christ returns to defeat the Antichrist and establish His Kingdom on earth. We urge you to resist this lie of Satan. We urge you to recognize that, like the rest of us, you have a sinful (rather than divine) nature. We implore you to turn to the one true and living God, and seek forgiveness for your sins. If you do so, God has promised to cleanse you of your sins. May God reveal Himself to you, and may you turn to Him. Then, may God bless you in your new life.

In Christ,

Ben and Jennifer Rast
Contender Ministries

                           

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                  About Charles Spurgeon             spurgn02.gif
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-92) was England’s best-known preacher for most of the second half of the nineteenth century. In 1854, just four years after his conversion, Spurgeon, then only 20, became pastor of London’s famed New Park Street Church (formerly pastored by the famous Baptist theologian John Gill). The congregation quickly outgrew their building, moved to Exeter Hall, then to Surrey Music Hall. In these venues Spurgeon frequently preached to audiences numbering more than 10,000—all in the days before electronic amplification. In 1861 the congregation moved permanently to the newly constructed Metropolitan Tabernacle.
    Spurgeon’s printed works are voluminous, and those provided here are only a sampling of his best-known works, including his magnum opus, The Treasury of David. Nearly all of Spurgeon’s printed works are still in print and available from Pilgrim Publications, PO Box 66, Pasadena, TX 77501.
  

Always hungry for the Word, I have been enjoying the many quotes that people have been using from C. H. Spurgeon. I decided to take a look at a Spurgeon site and start reading some of his sermons.

It is like…wow…the truth…unadulterated messages from the Word itself.  Oh, how spirit-filled this man was…you can read and hear it in his words. The words come tumbling out of his mouth as they are truly spoken from the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit filled words. How wonderful!…how….rare!

Seeing, example after example of false prophets, spouting new age ideas, ministering false gospels, I needed to read Spurgeon to assure myself that I knew the truth when it was being truly administered.  Someone who knew scripture, who wasn’t turning it into pretzels, with circular reasoning, or snipping off part of a verse off with scissors and  pounding it into an ill-fitting jigsaw puzzle of apostasy.

Here Spurgeon speaks of what is expected of the true mininsters of God and about repentance. Here is the link to this sermon, but below are a few timely quotes: 

From the Sermon: Apostolic Exhortation.

“Accursed let him be that takes away from the gospel of Jesus Christ that he may win popular applause, or who bates his breath and smoothes his tongue that he may please the unholy throng. Such a man may have for a moment the approbation of fools, but, as the Lord his God liveth, he shall be set as a target for the arrows of vengeance in the day when the Lord cometh to judge the nations. Peter, then, boldly and earnestly preached the gospel—preached the Christ of the gospel—preached it personally and directly at the crowd who were gathered around him.”

“Oh! blessed readiness of a soul on fire with the Spirit, Lord, grant it to us evermore.”

“The object of the Christian minister should always be to withdraw attention from himself to his subject, so that it should not be said, “How well he spake!” but, “Upon what weighty matters he treated!” They are priests of Baal, who, with their gaudy dresses, and their pretensions to a mysterious power, would have you look to themselves as the channels of grace, as though by their priestcraft, if not by their holiness, they could work miracles; but they are true messengers of God who continually say, “Look not on us as though we could do anything: the whole power to bless you lies in Jesus Christ, and in the gospel of his salvation.”

“Go on, my dear brethren, preaching the gospel boldly, and be not afraid of the result, for, however little may be your strength, and though your eloquence may be as nought, yet God has promised to make his gospel the power to save, and so it shall be down to the world’s end.”

“We are not come to tell you that you must reform a little, and mend your ways in some degree: except you put your trust in Christ, forsake your old way of life, and become new creatures in Christ Jesus, you must perish. This—nothing short of this—is the gospel requirement. No church-going, no chapel-going, will save you; no bowing of the knee, no outward form of worship, no pretensions and professions to godliness- ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and if ye do not this, neither shall your sins be blotted out. Thus much, then, on the first point: the apostle commanded men to repent and be converted.”

“When our Lord Jesus Christ was nailed to the tree by sinners, sin only did then literally and openly what all sin really does in a spiritual sense. Do you understand me? Those offendings of yours which you have thought so little of, have been really a stabbing at the Deity. Will you not repent, if it be so? While you thought your sins to be mere trifles, light things to be laughed at, you would not repent; but now I have shown you (and I think your conscience will bear me out) that every sin is really an attempt to thrust God out of the world, that every sin is saying, “Let there be no God.” Oh! then there is cause enough to repent of it.”

Oh Lord, I pray that those who are involved in false ministries will have their eyes opened to the truth. I pray that false teachers will see the result of their rotting fruit, and repent of their sin.   Amen.

January 2008
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