You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Spiritual Life’ category.

When Did the Gift of Tongues Cease?

by Pastor Dennis Kiszonas

No one was more “charismatic” than the Apostle Paul. He wrote to the Corinthian church that “they came behind no other church” when it came to the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 1:7)—no church had more of the gifts of the Holy Spirit than the Corinthian church, yet Paul says that he spoke in tongues more than all of them (1 Cor. 14:18)!

No one was more charismatic than Paul, yet the Lord revealed to him that those sign gifts were going to cease:

“whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away” (1 Cor. 13:8). 1

Here Paul writes of the gift of tongues, the gift of prophecy and the gift of knowledge (see 1 Cor. 13:1-2) and states that the Lord Jesus had revealed to him (1 Cor. 11:23; 15:3; Gal. 1:11,12) that a time was coming when these sign gifts were going to cease to operate.

The question has always been: when? When would these gifts cease?

This study focuses on that question—when did the sign gifts cease?

Arranging Paul’s letters in the order that he wrote them

We begin by setting up a time line of Paul’s ministry. Paul was saved in Acts 9 when the Lord appeared to him on the road to Damascus. Paul would go on to write 13 letters in the New Testament—from the Letter to the Romans to the Letter to Philemon. When we remember that Paul is the subject of at least half of the Book of Acts, we realize that half of the 27 books in the New Testament are either about him (The Book of Acts) or were written by him (13 letters).

Paul’s letters are arranged in our Bible by two principles: The letters to the churches are put first—nine letters from Romans to 2 Thessalonians, then the four letters written to individuals—from 1 Timothy to Philemon.

The letters are also arranged by length—Romans is longest and is first, then the Corinthian letters, then Galatians, etc. Longer letters are first, shorter ones later.

But to understand when the sign gifts ceased, we need to read Paul’s letters in the order that he wrote them. When we arrange the letters in the order that they were written, all becomes clear!

Paul’s Letters in the order that he wrote them:

The first 6 of Paul’s letters can be fit into the Book of Acts—we can read Acts and then read Paul’s letters and we can see where Paul was when he wrote these letters.

THE LETTER TO THE GALATIANS IS FIRST

In Acts 13,14 Paul and Barnabas went on their first apostolic journey which took them into Galatia—cities like Antioch, Lystra, Derbe, etc. Soon after Paul returned from this journey he wrote the letter to the Galatians (see Galatians 1:6 where Paul writes to the Galatians and says, you are “so quickly turned.”). Galatians was written soon after Paul returned from that first journey—soon after Acts 14:27. That makes Galatians the earliest of Paul’s letters.

1 AND 2 THESSALONIANS

The next letters Paul wrote are the two letters to the Thessalonians. In Acts 17, Paul, on his second apostolic journey, came to Thessalonica and preached there. Many were saved, but Paul was driven out of town. Paul continued on to Corinth where he wrote the two letters to the Thessalonians. Timothy’s return from Macedonia mentioned in Acts 18:5 is also reported in 1 Thessalonians 3:6. And in 2 Thessalonians 2:5 Paul reminds the Thessalonians of his teaching, as if it had not been very long since he had been with them. So the writing of 1 and 2 Thessalonians can be placed into Acts 18 during Paul’s ministry in Corinth, and that makes them the second and third letters that Paul wrote.

1 AND 2 CORINTHIANS

The next two letters that Paul wrote are the two letters to the Corinthians. In Acts 18 Paul spent a year and a half ministering in Corinth—see Acts 18:11. He later returned to his home base at Antioch (Acts 18:22), and later in his third apostolic journey he arrived in Ephesus (his ministry in Ephesus extends all the way through Acts 19—a period of more than two years, see verse 10). It is here in Ephesus during Acts 19 that Paul wrote 1 Corinthians—see I Corinthians 16:19. Shortly after that Paul traveled to Macedonia (see Acts 20:1 and 2 Cor. 2:13) and that is where he wrote the second letter to the Corinthians.

ROMANS

In Acts 20:2,3 Paul arrived in “Greece,” i.e. in Corinth again, and spent three months there enjoying the hospitality of a believer named Gaius (mentioned in 1 Cor. 1:14). In Gaius’s home, in Corinth, Paul wrote the letter to the Romans (see Rom. 16:23).

This is the last letter written during the Book of Acts. In Acts 21:33 Paul was arrested in Jerusalem, and would spend the next 5 years in prison, right through the end of the Book of Acts.

So, to sum up what we have seen so far, from Acts 9 through Acts 28 we read of the earlier ministry of the Apostle Paul and find that during these years he wrote 6 of his 13 letters. The order of these first six books is:

Galatians—end of Acts 14
1 Thessalonians—Acts 18
2 Thessalonians—Acts 18
1 Corinthians—Acts 19
2 Corinthians—Acts 20
Romans—Acts 20
In Acts 21 Paul was arrested and remained a prisoner through to Acts 28, and beyond.

THE PRISON EPISTLES—EPHESIANS, COLOSSIANS, PHILEMON, AND PHILIPPIANS

Shortly after the end of the Book of Acts, while he was still a prisoner, now in Rome, Paul wrote four letters—the “prison epistles”: Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon and Philippians. In each of these letters he writes of his “chains”—see Ephesians 6:20, Colossians 4:18, Philemon 13 and Philippians 1:13.

THE PASTORAL EPISTLES—THE LETTERS TO TITUS, FIRST AND SECOND TIMOTHY

Paul was released from this imprisonment and continued his ministry for a few years, perhaps 3 years. During this time he wrote the three letters known as the “Pastoral Epistles,” because these letters were written to Paul’s co-workers—Pastor Timothy and Titus. Finally at the end of his life he is again in prison. This time he anticipates being beheaded for the Lord and writes the last letter, Second Timothy.

Summary:

We have surveyed the 13 letters written by the Apostle Paul, arranging them in the order in which Paul wrote them:

During the Book of Acts—6 letters:

1. Galatians

2. & 3. The Thessalonian letters

4. & 5. The Corinthian letters

6. Romans

Then after the Book of Acts ends—7 more letters:

The 4 Prison Epistles:

7. Ephesians

8. Colossians

9. Philemon

10. Philippians

Then the 3 Pastoral Epistles:

11. Titus

12. 1 Timothy

13. 2 Timothy

Now let’s read the letters in the order Paul wrote them

Finish Article HERE

Women’s Issues.

If you are struggling with some area in your life please feel free to contact me by email. I will come along side of you with support that is scripture based.

I came out of a life of addiction, drunkenness, promiscuity, and bulimia.  Today I live in total dependency in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who forgives and set me free.

Spiritual oppression can also occur from drug use (recreational or prescription), eastern meditation (TM or Yoga), hyper-charismatic experiences, spiritism, channeling, or any dabbling in the occult.  God’s truth shines a way out of these dark paths.

There is a way to overcome these difficulties. 2 Timothy 1:7 says “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power,  of love and self-discipline.”

It is my desire that I can give you hope and encouragement based on the truth from God’s Word.

Kim Olsen

kimmerlee1953@gmail.com

Emails will be held in confidentiality.

 

 

Favorite Scriptures #4 – God chose the weak and the foolish things of the world to shame the strong and the wise. ( 1 Corinthians 1:17 – 2:5)

The Way of the World…And the Way of God

 From Following  Jesus Christ.

http://followingjesuschrist3.com/2014/10/17/favorite-scripture-4-god-chose-the-weak-and-the-foolish-to-shame-the-strong-and-the-wise-1-corinthians-117-25/

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” 1 Corinthians 1: 27-29

No scripture quite annihilates the patterns of this world – and sadly modern Christianity – as powerfully and as comprehensively as 1 Corinthians 1:17 – 2:5. In that passage, which I will quote in full below, Paul expounds, in clear and incisive language, on how exactly God chose and chooses to influence this world. It is a direct indictment of every earthly institution – including the modern church. He does not use the rich, the eloquent, the beautiful and the powerful. Instead, God chooses the weak and the foolish and the broken. He chooses empty things and lonely things, and things that are not to nullify the things that are so that no one…may boast before him.

17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel– not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” 20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength. 26 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” 

Chapter 2

When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

 The world, including, in very large part, our churches and Christian organizations, send us the message that we are to admire and follow the lead of successful businessmen, “Christian” politicians, the talented, the athletic, the wealthy and the beautiful. We are taught, in word and by example, to uphold those with obvious temporal gifts, and leaders are chosen accordingly. Why do we do this when it is contrary to everything we see in the scriptures? The Apostle John tells us “flesh gives birth to flesh and spirit to spirit.” (John 3:6). Yet time and time again, we as believers choose the temporal, the flesh, over the spiritual, when it comes to those we follow and admire.

Jesus was born to teenage parents…in a barn. He spent most of his life performing manual labor as a carpenter. Isaiah 53 makes it clear that he was not physically attractive so that people would not be drawn to his outward appearance – but to his spirit. During his time of ministry Jesus said that, even foxes and birds have holes and dens in which to live, yet He had no place to rest his head. The Living God did not even have a place to call home in while on this earth. The Apostle Paul, among others, followed this example and traveled the known world on foot and by cargo ship, seeking, not to gain wealth or temporal power but only to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, so that perhaps, some might be saved…for Paul was looking to an eternal kingdom, to the heavenly Jerusalem, to the city of the living God. (Hebrews 12:22).

Jesus chose his disciples from among the uneducated and the despised. He chose fishermen and a tax collector to become the preeminent leaders in the kingdom of God. He chose men who were nothing in this world, to sit in judgment over the twelve tribes of Israel at the end of the age. Why didn’t Jesus choose successful merchants, political leaders – or even priests and military officers to be his disciples? Because such men were already full – full of pretense, and power, wealth and the admiration of men – just like the wealthy and the powerful today.

Jesus makes it abundantly clear that it is difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven…very difficult. Why? Because their reputations and hopes are built on worldly achievements that have earned them, temporarily, financial security, the respect of men, and earthly power. Flesh truly does give birth to more flesh, and absent great brokenness and great humility, wealth and power are very difficult fates to escape.

In my experience I have rarely, if ever, seen a successful businessman or an influential person in the temporal sense, truly become a disciple of Christ – counting everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus our Lord, for whose sake Paul gladly lost all things. (Philippians 3:7-14) I have seen such men engage in church meetings and Bible studies, building friendships and gaining knowledge – and even tipping a little of the pride and wealth out of their full cup. But typically it seems that the purpose of this activity is to have better relationships with family, learn new principles of leadership and gain new friends – and even business partners – rather to than to learn what it means to fall face down in humility and repentance before the consuming fire who is the Living God.

Even in our churches, it is the beautiful and the hip who take center stage leading worship and often preaching. The deacon and elder boards are filled with successful businessmen who contribute financially to the church and thus, have more control than any man deserves…not because of their character in Jesus Christ, but because of money and standing in the community. The eloquent and the clever speak and teach…yet Paul came in weakness and fear and with much trembling so that his message and his teaching would not rest on his wisdom…but on God’s power. Unfortunately, the western church may have gained much of the world by embracing its culture and methods…but it has also perhaps, forfeited its soul. May we not do the same.

 

Find Article HERE

 From Stand Up for the Truth

Suffering for Truth: When churches force members to leave

Have you ever gone to church leadership because of some alarming things being taught in your church?

As the Great Falling Away continues in our beloved church communities, it seems that even those who once were thought “solid” are not immune to the yeast of false teachings and rogue leadership bent on silencing concerns.  It may have happened to you.

A friend of mine allowed me to re-publish her testimony on our site, and it’s one that might stir a lot of emotions for many of you. What happened to her and her family is very sad, but what her family is doing now serves as a tale and a trend you are going to be hearing a lot more about in the year ahead.

Family

Suffering for the Truth     By Jenna Guerette           (Originally published at Truth or Trend)

Ever since I was a child, I always found it important to stand up for the truth.  I’m talking about the truth that is only found in Scripture.  My childhood church turned emergent during the 1990’s.  I noted that something was wrong right away.  My family had held on there for years because of our friendships that we had there.  We knew that if we left we would lose them.  (Sounds like great friends eh?)  I was only taught Arminian doctrine.
Eventually, there was a complete exodus of most of the members of this church.  The next church my family attended went emergent and word of faith.  I didn’t know these terms back then.  I just knew something was wrong.  During my time at this church, I got married and had my daughter.  My parents and siblings continued to attend along with us.  One Sunday the pastor of the church announced that any who disagreed with the direction of the church could find their way to the nearest exit.  He said that he was leading the congregation south and we were welcome to head north.  Not surprisingly, we left that church.
My husband and I were left extremely discouraged.  We decided to try a church that a family friend had recommended.  Once we attended there, it was like a breath of fresh air.  The pastor preached from God’s Word.  He spoke out against Rick Warren, The Secret, Oprah, and The Shack.  He taught us about the errors of the Emergent Church , mysticism, and contemplative prayer.  For the first time in my life I felt like I belonged to a church family.  My husband, my parents, and I got involved in the church.  Our pastor introduced us to “The Way of the Master.”  My husband began an evangelism ministry that was fully supported by our church.  He and a number of other men went to the “Ambassador’s Academy.”  Every Friday night they would go out and share the gospel.  This ministry was thriving.  We had friends, ministries we loved, and the truth from the pulpit.  Life was great!
After being at the church for a number of years, things began to change.  Our pastor became cold and distant.  He took a six month sabbatical and wrote a book.  His wife (who called me frequently) became inaccessible.  The church had an elders’ board.  This was a unelected board.  The men on the board simply appointed new elders.  The head elder was always one of two men.  No others on the board would ever have this position. Our pastor became known as a “teaching elder.”
Strange things began happening.  The evangelism ministry was called into question.  The elders wanted the open-air preaching to stop.  Apparently, there were some complaints from our community about this ministry.  The men in the ministry were adhering to all the laws and bylaws for our community.  This was just persecution.  An executive decision was made by the elders to dissolve the evangelism ministry.  The people in the ministry could still go out and witness but they could not use the church’s name when witnessing.  They were to be completely separate from the church.
Around this time, a group named “Life Action Ministries” came to our church.  Prior to them coming, they sent a promoter.  It was kind of like what the circus would do in the old days.  Believe me, this was no less of a circus.  One of the men that came, spoke in detail about an adulterous affair he had had while on a business trip.  He credited “Life Action Ministries” with reviving him.  The whole thing was carefully scripted to elicit emotion from the congregation.  I knew that something was wrong with this ministry.
When their team visited our church eight weeks later, I was astounded.  They used every method of Charles Finney to manipulate the congregation.  They also endorsed Keswick Theology.  They believed that each Christian had to reach a crisis moment in their life.  At this point of crisis, they could achieve a second blessing or filling of the Holy Spirit.  The main speaker admitted that he had these revivals down to a “science.”  He took many verses out of context in order to achieve his goals.  Microphones were set up at the front of the church so that people could go and confess their sins openly to the congregation.  People were told to write down their idols on Styrofoam cups.  They were then to come to the front of the church and crush these cups with their feet.
A cursory look at the website of “Life Action Ministries” revealed that they had no problem with mysticism.  They had numerous books for sale.  Including those by Henry Blackaby, Priscilla Shirer, Jim Cymbala, Gary Thomas, and Mark Batterson.   They also quoted Catholic mystics such as Henri Nouwen and Brother Lawrence.  Here is a link to their beliefs – http://www.lifeactionministries.ca/about/.  Through two visits to my church they raked in about $62,000.  This ministry has long tentacles.  They are involved in the SBC, Moody, and The True Woman Movement.
This ministry received a cult-like following at my church.
The women in my church decided to attend a True Woman Conference in 2012.  As I looked at the list of speakers, I became alarmed.  Priscilla Shirer was one of the speakers.  I’ve already outlined the problems with this woman in a previous blog post.  I contacted the True Woman organization regarding my concerns with this speaker.  I was told that this conference wasn’t for a woman like me.  I also brought my concerns to my pastor ( teaching elder) and the head elder.  They weren’t going to stop the women from attending but they would go over what mysticism was with them.  They appeared annoyed that I’d brought this to their attention.
Unfortunately, I soon learned that the women in my church were reading “Jesus Calling” and “1000 Gifts.”  I discovered that the church library had books by Henry Blackaby and Richard Foster.  I became alarmed.  I brought my concerns to my pastor.  I was told that he and the elders couldn’t police the church.  They had too many strings on their violin to deal with it.  If I kept bringing disunity to the church then I would find myself in a home church.   I also tried to ask questions about Tim Keller and John Piper.  Both of these men do not believe in a literal six day creation.  They were constantly being quoted by our assistant pastor.  I wanted some clarification about what to do with this errant belief.  My pastor – teaching elder- told me to have grace for this error.  He also hoped that I would have grace if he ever “fell.” My husband, family, and I were puzzled by these words.  My Mom and I had used Facebook to try to warn the women of the church about Priscilla Shirer and to bring attention to these mystical books.  We soon found out that this was unappreciated.
On St. Patrick’s Day 2013 my family was kicked out of our church.  My husband and I were not present that day.  My husband had to work and I was home with our son who was sick.  My husband had been trying for 8 months to be able to meet with the elders board regarding the evangelism ministry.  They were still against open air preaching and my husband wanted them to show him from Scripture where it was wrong.  Instead the elders used a back door approach to get rid of us.  They decided to kick my parents out.  Three elders surrounded my parents.  My daughter and brother were present.  They did this in a back pew at the end of a service so that everyone could see it.  They told my parents that they were no longer welcome to worship with them.
One elder expressed that his wife would miss my children.  The elders didn’t like us warning the flock on Facebook.  Facebook wasn’t to be used as an outreach or for evangelism.  They were also appalled that my Mom had shared a sermon by John MacArthur about the seven year tribulation.  Our pastor – teaching elder- had his own, very original thoughts regarding the end times.  We were to accept these and no other teachings.  Also, the head elder expressed three times that he had no problem with lectio divina, contemplative prayer, and mysticism.  He also expressed that the church was going with “Life Action Ministries.”  He acted aggressively towards my parents.  He yelled at them saying, “Do you think you’re smarter than me?”  Our pastor – teaching elder- was out in the hallway.  He was waiting for their report.  Finally, the horrible interview ended.  These elders had the audacity to end it in a prayer about unity.  They mumbled something about an official meeting where my parents could plead their case.  Unfortunately, they neglected to give the time and place.  As of this writing, my parents have heard nothing from any elder or leader from our former church.
We were absolutely stunned.  I walked around like I was in a fog.  My husband was working 14 hr. days, 7 days a week.  I received 2 calls from the youth pastor of the church.  Each one, I let go to the answering machine.  I was in shock.  I sat down to write a letter.  I put nine hours into it.  Everything I said was backed up with proof.  My husband and I sent it to our elders and a few selected friends.  The only letter we received back from the elders was one full of personal attacks.  What we said was true but our tone was critical.  We were also told that we were responsible for the loss of numerous friendships for our children.  I was stunned.
The next Sunday, a congregational meeting was held.  They stated that my family hadn’t been kicked out.  Bits of my letter were read out of context.  A man who had eaten numerous dinners in our home, slandered my Mom and myself in front of the church.  A trusted friend told me what happened at this meeting.  All in all, the meeting was a complete snow job.  It was my family’s word against the elders.  The elders were anointed by God.  How could they be wrong?
Since this horrible event, we have tried another church in our community. At this church, we were frozen out.  Apparently, they had heard our story from the elders at our former church.  They made sure to make us feel unwelcome.  We also experienced errant teaching while we were there.   Finally, we couldn’t handle their unkindness towards us any longer.  So we decided to start a home church.
Another couple who had also been kicked out of our former church began joining us.  They were dismissed for Facebook infractions as well.  Each Sunday we meet in our home to sing and listen to a sermon podcast.  We also share in communion.  It has been a time of growth.  We have learned so much about doctrine.  We’d never been taught doctrine at all.  We were always told that it was divisive.  Finally, we understand doctrine.
I’m hoping that through sharing this that I can get over the trauma.  Perhaps some of you have experienced this type of abuse.  That is all I can call it – abuse.
Romans 8:18 ” For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

OBSERVATIONS

One Christian’s Thoughts on the Christmas Season

by Jeremiah Jameson

A few observations about this Christmas season, the time of the year when Americans are most likely to honor with their lips–if only for a moment or two–Jesus Christ. Some thoughts about a time known as Christmas in a country known as the United States of America.

“Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
Matthew 15:7-9

1- A popular saying at this time of the year among Americans who wish to wear the label of “Christian” is: “Jesus is the reason for the season.” This writer has perhaps seen this slogan more in 2014 than in all of the previous Christmas seasons together.

“Jesus is the reason for the season.”

Yet those who proclaim this motto seem to do it most frequently while out shopping for gifts, waiting in line or after some particularly-egregious tale of excessive spending.

“Yes, I probably shouldn’t have spent all that money on that 85-inch HD TV, but you know, you only live once.  And we all know Jesus is the reason for the season, so…”

Jesus is on their lips, but their actions and preparations speak something else: Santa Claus, eating and drinking, Black Friday shopping sprees

For a holiday season which is claimed to be centered on Jesus Christ, Our Saviour sure gets very little attention.

Finish at link:

https://endtimesprophecyreport.wordpress.com/2014/12/23/christmas-2014-christmas-in-america/

Spurgeon,

Few men love service. Man prefers to be his own master, to do as he pleases according to “his own sweet will” and, like the winds, to be under no control whatever. But he who spurns the counsel of God, despises His Law and tramples on His commands, commits an act of suicide to his own liberty! Those who act thus, while they seek to be free, become the truest slaves, for, when they give a loose rein to their lusts, they find them like wild horses dragging them irresistibly along. Passions indulged turn into habits—and those habits hold them fast in their iron grip and they cease to be free any longer. He is the freeman who serves God and not the man who scorns the yoke of Jesus. He is the freeman whose shoulders bear the yoke of Christ. But he who refuses to serve Him is a slave. He who will not obey Jesus, obeys a tyrant master called Satan, or worse still, himself, for, after all, the greatest tyrant to a man is his own sinful self! There is no slavery harder to endure than the despotism of evil habits when they have grown strong upon a man and fixed their chains upon his neck. The service of Jesus is perfect liberty—those who wear the collar of Jesus find it to be a royal badge which makes them far more honorable than would the Order of the Garter, or the Bath. There is nothing that can so exalt a man as to make him a servant of Jesus! And the man who bends his neck willingly to serve Him, manifests the greatest wisdom.

What is it to serve Jesus? The text says, “If anyone serve Me, him My Father will honor.” Well, we can serve Him in the faith that we hold, in the sufferings we endure and very much in the acts we perform.

First, we can serve Him in the faith that we hold. This is true service. I believe certain Doctrines of God because God says they are true—and the only authority I have for their truth is the Word of God. I receive such-and-such Doctrines, not because I can prove them to be compatible with reason—not because my judgment accepts them—but because God says they are true! Now this is one of the best services we can render to God—to submit ourselves to Him in our belief of what He has revealed and ask Him to fix His Truths in our hearts and make us obey them. There are some who have an idea that doctrinal belief is nothing, but I tell you again, one of the highest services we can render to God is to fully believe in the Doctrines of His Word. So far from doctrinal error being a thing of no moment, it is a great sin because the Word of God is plain—and he who does not, by searching, discover the Truth—sins against God in the proportion in which he errs from His Word. But he who manfully proclaims the whole Truth of God and he who heartily receives it, alike, obey God and perform one of the highest services that can be rendered to the Most High!

Secondly, we honor Him, also, when we suffer for His name’s sake. When, with patience, we bear the fires of persecution. When, with calmness and resignation, we listen to the lies and calumnies that fly abroad. When we continue in well-doing though all manner of evil is said against us on account of our devotion to Jesus, then we serve Him and God is thereby honored and glorified. Our Lord Jesus bids us, in that day, rejoice and leap for joy, for great is our reward in Heaven, for so persecuted they the Prophets who were before us. And, moreover, when our suffering does not spring from our enemies, but when God, Himself, lays us on the bed of affliction, we honor Him when, worn with pain and tossed from side to side, we are calm and patient under the sickness and say—

“Father, I wait Your daily will—
You shall divide my portion still.
Grant me on earth what seems to You best,
Till death and Heaven reveal the rest”

The patient bearing of poverty is a service to God. The calm endurance of pain is honoring the Father—submission to His will in all the proceedings of His Providence is the very essence of devotion.

Thirdly, we can serve God in the outward acts we perform. And that is the highest form of service. Indeed, if we do not serve God thus, we do not really serve Him at all. “If anyone serve Me, him My Father will honor,” says Christ. And, in proportion as a Christian man serves God in his outward life and conversation, shall he receive honor of God. There are two or three ways of doing that. Some may serve God by the performance of ecclesiastical duties, as they are called. Others, by the more private duties of religion. But others, and more frequently, by the acts of daily life. Those who preach the Gospel from love to God and for His Glory, serve Him, and shall be honored in their labor. The deacon who toils for the Church of God is serving Him, and shall be blessed in what he does. The Sunday school teacher serves God. And each of you who have been preaching in the open air, or have, in smaller places of worship, been testifying to the Truth of God and now have come here to take the rest which all tired soldiers need—each of you who have been engaged in humbler work, teaching a little class, or giving away a tract—you have each and all, in some measure, served God!

But if you have not served God in this way, today, you can serve God tomorrow in your shop, or in your family. The servant can honor God even when she sets the things out for the daily meal and when she clears them away. The nurse can serve God when, with tender hands, she binds up the wounds of the distressed and suffering. And the merchant, also, when he makes honesty the law of his dealings and afterwards, with a liberal hand, dispenses some of his goods to feed the poor. Do not think it is necessary to be a clergyman and wear a gown in order to serve God—you may serve Him behind the counter, at the plow, or driving your horses! Whatever your hand finds to do may be done to the Glory of God! Common actions reveal the essence of true piety. Those things which we call common, God does not think so. When they are done with a right motive and in a right spirit, they become as great, in God’s sight, as the sermons of the minister who preaches to the largest audience! And I take it that there will be people before the Throne of God, who, for acts which they have done in private, will be stationed nearer to the Savior than some of those who occupied very high positions in the Church! They went foremost in the day of battle and received great applause from men, yet, God knows that they were not one-half so faithful to their Savior as the poorest cottager, or the meanest peasant who, for the good of souls, and the Glory of God, bent his knees before the Lord in earnest and believing supplication.

– C.H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)
taken from: The Christian’s Service and Honor, Sermon No. 2651, Delivered at New Park Street Chapel, Southwark on a Lord’s Day Evening in the Autumn of 1857.

Going against God “just for fun”

By Marsha West

Today we’re hearing a lot about Spiritism or Spiritualism, not to be confused with spiritual or spirituality, as in “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual,” or “I’m into spirituality.” The term Spiritism has replaced what was once called animism and other religious practices involving the invocation of spiritual beings.

Some religions meld Spiritualism with Christianity. For example, a blend of Christian and African folk beliefs that originated in Brazil is now practiced in the U.S. Spiritualism is much the same as Spiritism only it has adopted Christian rites and prayers. People visiting Spiritualistic services can be misled into thinking they’re Christian churches. The problem is Christianity cannot be melded with any other religion or practice.

One of the major tenets of Spiritism is reincarnation. The classic form of reincarnation originated in India in the 9th century BC. Reincarnation has become a hot topic in our post-modern culture.

There are a whole host of beliefs about reincarnation. The most widely touted belief is that upon death one’s spirit exits the body in search of another body to inhabit. Believing in reincarnation gives hope for continuing one’s existence in further lives to work off one’s karma. Karma is broadly defined as the consequences of one’s actions.

Ask professing Christians as they flow through the doors of a Sunday worship service if they believe in reincarnation, some will give you a cavalier “Yes,” as if it’s no big deal for believers to mix Christianity with mystical beliefs. However,

Finish article HERE

 

HAUNTED SOULS
From Meditation into Hallucinations

StAnthony

St. Anthony

By Pastor Larry DeBruyn

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert.
Your adversary, the devil,
prowls around like a roaring lion,
seeking someone to devour.”
(Emphasis Added, 1 Peter 5:8, NASB)


As borrowed from the eastern mystical religions, meditative or contemplative spirituality-the operation of which involves engaging in ascetic practices and retreating into solitude (getting alone with God) and silence (remaining quiet before God)-has emerged among evangelical Christians as a popular way to experience God’s love and receive revelations from Him, for intimacy breeds communication.[1]Interestingly, this discovery among evangelicals about how to find “spirituality” now parallels the “mindfulness” revolution taking place in secular society.
 

By shucking their ever-present cell phones, tabloids, I-pods and other distractions, increasing numbers of people from all walks of life-athletes, educators, corporate execs and workers, politicians, government workers and members of the military-attempt to “de-stress” their lives by attending “mindfulness” retreats where under the direction of spiritual tutors, they learn to meditate with the hope that will discover “a new consciousness” to help them cope with life.[2] To promote “mindfully” working, playing, parenting, test taking, and even going to war, the practice of meditation is rising in America. Based on the increase of its popularity over the last decade, it’s estimated that in the near future more than 27 million American adults will engage in meditation.[3] To cope, they contemplate.

But amidst the rising popularity of this mindfulness revolution, a dark secret lurks in the background. One advocate of “Christian” contemplation, the Quaker Richard Foster, recommends meditation as a means for developing a deeper spirituality. But as to its practice, he also issues a disclaimer (Mark this quotation.):

I also want to give a word of precaution. In the silent contemplation of God we are entering deeply into the spiritual realm, and there is such a thing as supernatural guidance that is not divine guidance . . . there are various orders of spiritual beings, and some of them are definitely not in cooperation with God and his way![4]

Though a significant majority of non-Christian meditators report benefits derived from the activity, some indicate that the exercise does not invariably promote psychological wellness.[5]

 

So it would be well for any would-be meditators, Christian or otherwise, to consider what could happen to their minds if they engage the practice. Meditation can go mad. Examples where this has happened, both modern and ancient, are known. We begin with reports from a rehab center which focuses on helping people restore the soundness of mind they possessed before they began to meditate.

Madame Guyon: Catholic, Mystic, Apostate

Fundamental Baptist Information Service
P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061,
866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org

David Cloud
First Published March 21, 2001 & Updated June 9, 2004

Used By Permission

The writings of Madame Guyon (1648-1717) are very popular today in evangelical, charismatic, and ecumenical circles. Guyon was a Roman Catholic who had visions and other mystical experiences and wrote about them in her published works.

Guyon wanted to enter a convent when she was a girl but her parents would not allow it and arranged her marriage to a 37-year-old man when she was only 15. It was an unhappy marriage and she turned increasingly to her mystical experiences and a search for “union with God.”

After he husband died in 1676, she gave herself wholly to her mystical pursuits. She joined a group of ascetic Quietist Catholics led by a Barnabite monk named Francios La Combe. She toured parts of France, Switzerland, and Italy for five years with La Combe, from 1681-86. La Combe taught that meditation of God requires a passive (quiet) state of contemplation that goes beyond the level of the conscious thinking process.

Guyon claimed that she went through a series of spiritual states through her mystical experiences. The first, which she called “union of the powers,” lasted eight years. During this time, she felt drawn to God alone and drawn away from people. The second state, which she called “mystical death,” lasted seven years, during which she had a feeling of detachment from God and was plagued with deep mental depression and thoughts of hell and judgment. She frequently had dark, weird dreams, which she considered a form of revelation. In the third state, which she called “the apostolic state,” she claimed that she was absorbed into and united with God. During this time, she preached, but she did not preach the gospel; she preached mystical experiences.

As she fasted to the extreme and often went without sleep, her mystical experiences increased. She experienced what she thought was union with the essence of God. She had mental delusions or demonic visitations such as envisioning “horrible faces in blueish light.” She went into trances, which would leave her unable to speak for days. During some trances, she wrote things that she believed were inspired (Guyon, An Autobiography, p. 321-324). She claimed that she and La Combe could communicate with one another for hours without speaking verbally. She believed she could speak in the language of angels.

In 1688, Madame Guyon was arrested on heresy charges and imprisoned in a convent for several months. In December 1695, she was again imprisoned, this time for seven years. Released in March 1703, she spent the final 15 years of her life on the estate of her son-in-law.

Her work on prayer, “A Short and Very Easy Method of Prayer,” was first published in 1685.

THE POPULARITY OF GUYON’S WRITINGS

After her death, Madame Guyon’s works were published by a Dutch Protestant pastor named Poiret. In the 1700s, her books were popular among some Lutherans, Methodists, and Moravians.

For many decades, Moody Press has published an edition of Madam Guyon’s Autobiography. It contains no disclaimer of Guyon’s spiritual and doctrinal errors. In fact, the introduction states, “We offer no word of apology for publishing the autobiography of Madame Guyon, those expressions of devotion to her church, that found vent in her writings.”

At its online web site, Campus Crusade compares Madame Guyon’s Autobiography with John Bunyon’s Pilgrim’s Progress and recommends it without reservation.

On visits to evangelical colleges and seminaries, I have noticed that Madame Guyon’s works are featured prominently in the bookstores and are used in courses on spirituality.

Madame Guyon was included in the book Women Used of God by Ed Reese. The Joyful Woman magazine ran a half-page ad for the book in the September-October 1994 issue. The book contains brief biographies of 50 “Women Leaders of the Christian Cause” and is described as “Ideal for young people (especially girls) looking for role models.” In addition to Guyon, these “role models” include radical Pentecostal female preachers Kathryn Kuhlman and Aimee Semple McPherson.

THE ERRORS OF MADAME GUYON

There are some correct and helpful insights in Madame Guyon’s writings, but taken as a whole they are unscriptural and dangerous. Following are some of the errors:

1. SHE EMPHASIZED THE SURRENDER OF HERSELF TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH WITHOUT RESERVATION.

Madam Guyon spoke of her goal as “perfect obedience to the will of the Lord, submission to the church” (Guyon, Autobiography). She was referring, of course, to the Catholic Church.

2. SHE FOCUSED ON HAVING AN EXPERIENCE OF GOD RATHER THAN KNOWING HIM BY FAITH THROUGH THE BIBLE.

This is the essence of mysticism. To the contrary, though, the Lord Jesus exalted faith over sight and experience (Jn. 20:29). Paul said “we walk by faith not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). And faith only comes from the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). It does not come from within or from experiences. Madame Guyon was not Bible centered in her Christian walk, and that is a grave and fatal error.

 

Finish Article HERE

Garage Sale God Whispers, Twice Dead, and the Name of Jesus Ignored

http://www.donotbesurprised.com/2014/07/garage-sale-god-whispers-twice-dead-and.html
At times it can be easy to forget the depth of deception that exists among professing Christians. Those of us who are blessed to be in churches where the Word is proclaimed without compromise can forget what it was like to be starving for truth and spiritual meat. Yes, we see many concerning things on the Internet and lament and decry theses deceptions. Perhaps we even speak out against them on social media. But Twitter, Facebook and blogs are not real, tangible life and it is not until ‘real life’ is standing and talking to you in your driveway that you remember just how active is the Great Deceiver.Last month, this ‘real life’ confronted me in my driveway as I engaged several individuals in conversation during the neighborhood garage sale. There were a few ‘Christian themed’ items in our sale and this inevitably invited conversation. I live in a fairly religious-minded area, so folks usually are open to at least talking about God. The name of Jesus, however, doesn’t fall from their lips so easily. And of course, the big mystery always is—to which God are they referring?One of these interesting encounters was with a gentleman who clearly was caught up in charismaticism. I do not recall exactly how the conversation started, but at one point he declared, “Well, God just told me to leave my church.”Okay. “So, what do you mean that ‘God told you to leave your church’? Were there things going on there that didn’t line up with Scripture? Is that how you knew it was time to leave?” Of course, I already suspected the answer to the question, but did not want to presume.

He answered,

Click HERE to finish article.
June 2017
S M T W T F S
« May    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930  

Archives

a

Blog Stats

  • 1,392,994 hits

Donations

I do not ask or want donations for this free blog. God supplies all I need to share His Word and His Way of Salvation. Revelation 21:6 says, "..I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. "