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Posts Tagged ‘truth’

rejection

The Bible teaches that God adds the members to his body as it pleases him. (Acts 2:47)  Today’s modern practice of adding and excommunicating members is unbibical and wrong. No man can pluck us out of Christ’s hands. Only our decision to forsake Christ and pursue sin can denote us from this glorious salvation. Some churches will agree, yet still openly request membership of you. Others are still more subtle about it. The will preach fervently against modern day membership practices, yet they still have their personal ways of “adding” and “subtracting” you from the kingdom of God in the eyes of their particular congregation, if you do not submit to their “rules” and ways of living. If you do not honor their king that reigns behind their pulpit, they will denounce you. They will pull your name from off their “phone and address” role. They will warn members to not associate with you. You will not be counted as “saved” among them. And so by their actions, they will attempt to “open and shut” the doors to the kingdom of heaven in your behalf.

Be warned! And don’t be intimidated! Know who you belong to! Know that Christ too, suffered without the gate. Know that he said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” It matters not what men say or do to you. What matters, is your relationship with the LORD JESUS CHRIST! AMEN!!!

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chains

Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?

(Isaiah 58:6)

Someone recently told me that it takes the average person that leaves a cult five years to clear themselves of its fears and distortions. That makes a lot of sense when one has been in something that they have embraced as the epitome of truth and right.  In this day of so much confusion and so much calling from every direction, it behooves us to pay attention to the warning signs and above all, to pray and seek God and ask him to be our light. Don’t allow anyone or anything to destroy that mustard seed of faith God put into your heart. Treasure it. Water it. An above all guard it.

Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
(Proverbs 4:23)

University of California at Berkeley (19 Characteristics)

Recruitment

1. Deception – Group identity and/or true motives are not revealed. The group leaders tell members to withhold truth from outsiders.

2. Emotional Leverage/Love Bombing – Instant friendship, extreme helpfulness, generosity and acceptance…Group recruiters “lovingly” will not take “no” for an answer-invitations impossible to refuse without feeling guilty and/or ungrateful. “Love”, “generosity”, “encouragement” are used to lower defenses and create an ever increasing sense of obligation, debt and guilt.

3. Exploit Personal Crisis – They use an existing crisis as a means of getting you to participate. They exploit vulnerability arising from:

  • Broken relationships
  • Death in the family
  • Loss of job
  • Move to new location
  • Loneliness/depression
  • Guilt/shame
  • Stress/fear

4. Crisis Creation – They employ tactics designed to create or deepen confusion, fear, guilt or doubt. i.e. “you aren’t serving God the way He intended.” Questions areas of faith never before examined or explored and attack other faiths specifically.

5. All The Answers – Provide simple answers to the confusion they, themselves, create. Support these answers with material produced or “approved” by the group.

Programming

1. Intense Study – Focus is on group doctrine and writings. Bible, if used at all, is referred to one verse at time to “prove” group teachings.

2. Opposer Warnings – Recruiters are told that “Satan” will cause relatives and friend to say bad things about the group to try to “steal them away from God.” Recruits soon believes group members, alone, are truthful/trustworthy.

3. Guilt and Fear – Group dwells on members’ “sinful nature” (many use public confession). Guilt and fear arising from “failing God” are magnified to manipulate new member.

4. Schedule Control & Fatigue – Study and service become mandatory. New member becomes too busy to question. Family, friends, jobs and hobbies are squeezed out, further isolating the new member.

5. Attack Independent Thought – Critical thinking is discouraged as prideful and sinful, blind acceptance encouraged.

6. Divine Commission – Leader(s) claim new revelation from God, within past 200 years, in which all but their group are rejected by God. They, alone, speak for God.

7. Absolutism – They insist on total, unquestioning obedience and submission to the group, both actions AND thoughts. Group “love” and acceptance becomes dependent upon obedience and submission. Unconditional love…isn’t.

8. Totalism – “Us against them” thinking. Strengthens group identity. Everyone outside of group lumped under one label.

Retention

1. Motive Questioning- When sound evidence against the group is presented, members are taught to question the motivation of the presenter. The verifiable (sound documentation) is ignored because of doubts over the unverifiable (presenter’s motives). See Opposer Warnings (#2 above).

2. Information Control – Group controls what convert may read or hear. They discourage (forbid) contact with ex-members or anything critical of the group. May say it is the same as pornography making it not only sinful and dangerous but shameful as well. Ex-members become feared and avoidance of them becomes a “survival issue.”

3. Isolation, Separation & Alienation – Group becomes substitute family. Members encouraged to drop worldly (non-members) friends. May be told to change jobs, quit school, give up sports, hobbies, etc.

4. Coercion – Disobedience, including even minor disagreement with group doctrine, may result in expulsion and shunning.

5. Phobias – The idea is planted that anyone who leaves goes into a life of depravity and sin, loses their sanity, dies, or will have children die, etc. Constant rumors of bad things happening to people who leave. No one ever leaves for “legitimate reasons.”

6. Striving for the Unreachable – Group membership and service are essential for salvation…”Work your way into God’s favor.” NO matter what you do, it is never enough.

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female,for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. . . So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. . . Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may have zeal for them. . . It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. . .  You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. . . You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? 8 That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. . .  For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. . .

(Study and pray over Galatians for a more in-depth understanding of these scriptures)

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Remember who you belong to

This morning I attended our neighborhood church service and the minister brought the thought that when ever you attend a court of law, you have both the one who stands for you and those who stand to oppose you. And so it is in the heavenly.  But when we are saved, Christ stands for us. We now have royal blood coursing through us and the Bible tells us in Romans 8:31, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? [33]  Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies;” If the king of all kings, and Lord of all Lords is standing on my behalf, who can stand against me? [34]  who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.” 

Again the Bible says in Romans 14:4 “Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”

The popular saying goes, “You can please all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can not please all of the people all of the time.”

So I would like to encourage you this morning by reminding you who you belong to when you belong to Christ.

“[F]or through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household,   having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:18-22

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reason

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD .  .  .

Isaiah 1:18

Yesterday in my Psychology class we were discussing nonscientific sources of data- information that has no sound basis to build on or to make concrete decisions or come to absolute conclusions upon. There were three sources that were mentioned:

  1. Method of Tenacity– holding firmly onto something such as a superstition or belief even though it has been proven to be inaccurate or untrue. This sort of tenacity is strong in family traditions and religious sects.
  2. Method of intuition– believing something is true just because you have a “feeling.”
  3. Method of authority– Getting information from an “expert.”

The third reason particularly caught my attention because of the reasons he brought to light about why this is not a secure source of scientific data. The reasons he gave caused me to think about authority figures in dogmatic church systems. First he said authorities can be biased. Second, authorities may reflect personal opinions. Third, authorities may not have the necessary credentials; They may not truly be an expert in the particular field that you are seeking help in. Just because they are an “authority” does not mean they know everything and can help with every situation. And the fourth really stuck out to me;  People may accept what authorities say without evidence.  Wow! How true that last statement is! How powerful! How careful we must be.

When we look back on history, do we not see untold, catastrophic and horrific atrocities that have been done by multitudes of people that were swayed by those in “authority”- just accepting what they said about others without evidence? And we still see it going on today. Men and women in authority are very accountable for how they sway the people. They will give an account for souls that have been wrongly vilified in the minds of people.

With every passing year we see knowledge abounding. Christ said it would be so in the last days. Christ gave us his word and his Spirit to guide us. He told us;

But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.  Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.  Matt. 23: 8-10

When we cease to seek Christ for ourselves each day and to listen for Gods still small voice within our heart, we will do one of two things; we will either go back to sinful ways or we will default to religious practices. We will go to church and simply “obey all the commands of those in authority,” believing that is our proof of salvation.  But our true connection will be gone and we will fall into a spiritual slumber.

One night I was driving home from a friends house. It was very late, past midnight, and I was following my husband who had come later in his truck. I was so tired I was not paying attention. I trusted my husbands lead and blindly followed him down the roads. suddenly I was jerked out of my sleepy stupor by several vehicle headlights coming straight towards me. My husband had made a left turn right into oncoming traffic and I blindly followed him into it. Luckily I was able to jump the island to the right side of the road and we made it out safely. But I never forgot how God spoke to my heart that night:

“Remember Liz, don’t ever just follow anybody blindly. Stay awake. Listen to my Holy Spirit. Follow me. I am the LORD!”

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So many have so much to say about God. They think they understand what he has to say, what he is doing, who he accepts and doesn’t accept. They, sit in the temple of God, and believe that they are as God. But God says, “My ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts.”

in a box

 

Is God in your box?

Open the lid and see-

What is your box made of?

What is it’s personality?

Many say, “God teaches through our creed!

You will learn about God when you practice our deed.”

But up on the Mount the crowds sat at his feet-

and learned about life and his sermons were sweet.

Is God in your box?

Open up the lid and look

What is in your box

tell me what book?

Many say, “God is not looking

God does not see

He does not care if I’m bound or I’m free.”

But on the cross Jesus saw the thief by his side

the thief, though condemned

The Lord heard when he cried.

Is God in a box?

What box have you created?

Where you put what you love-

and discard what you’ve hated?

Many look down on the helpless and weak

Then go inside their box for the God whom they seek.

But Jesus is with the broken and fallen;

The little lost lamb is the one he is callin’

 

Is God inside your box?

Is he hidden in there?

Does he sit there and wait

for your dutiful prayer?

Many say God is so Holy and pure;

He cannot be near all those sinners they’re sure!

But Jesus is loving a horrible harlot,

and he washes her white, though her sins were like scarlet

Is God in your box?

Do not touch me, you say;

It would not be proper

to do things that way!

But Jesus is sitting

while gentle hands, loving kisses

washes his feet with her tears

she reminisces

of all of the sins he so patiently bore

knowing that she will be his evermore.

Is God in your box?

No he’s not there at all!

He is too big for our boxes,

they are way too small!

He walks in the earth, going to and fro

seeking the the lost, the broken, the low

He is everywhere looking,

that one heart might hear

He is not in a box but to All very near!

~Written By Elizabeth A. Van Cleve

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If you judge people

Years ago a visiting minister to our congregation would not sing along with us several of the songs from our hymn book because they were written by what he believed were false christians, though why he set himself up to be their judge I have yet to understand. However, I remember our pastor later mentioning the absurdity of that kind of thinking, and well it was. The songs were very edifying and godly.
Yet its strikes me funny that we see this type of thing going on amongst us all the time in other ways. I see perfectly good sound and edifying articles posted on face book that hardly anyone hits the “like” button on and I know it is because of “WHO” wrote the article rather than anything to do with the “content” of the aritcle. The people are already judged and condemned and so is anything they have to offer. How sad. It reminds me of the parable that Jesus told:

And he spoke this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others:  Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself; “God I thank you that I am not like other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and I give tithes of all that I possess.”
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, “God be merciful to me a sinner.”
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other. For every one that exalts himself, shall be humbled and he that humbles himself shall be exalted.  Luke 18:9-14

Many people said of Jesus that he had a devil. But others said, “Can the devil open the eyes of the blind?”

Jesus said, if you are going to judge, at least judge righteous judgement. If what you read is good, it is good. Give God glory. Be thankful for the vessel that was utilized to bring forth a good word in due season. God has even used a donkey to bring a message to a man once. If we refuse a message because of the vessel it is delivered in, even though the messsage is perfectly sound, we are a respector of persons and God says if we have respect of persons we are sinning.

If we are claiming to be living a “sin-free” life, then we should not be having respect of persons. Respect of persons is holding someone up so high that they are almost God-like- unreproachable.

You can gossip all you want about the person who “left your congregation” but woe to the one who says anything about the mighty one in holy robes who stands behind the pulpit. That is respector of persons! That is not right and God will bring judgment upon that.

People are people. Gossip and slander is wrong no matter who it is about. And if someone has left your “congregation” if you are the true body of Christ, your burden would be to see that person reconciled with the body. But cutting them off and treating them as if they are no longer part of your family is not right. That is pushing them further away and sealing them out permanently because you are not showing love but rather wounding them so deeply they will never be able to trust you again. Even God said to his back slidden church, “I am married to you.” (Jeremiah 3:14)

Our message and burden to every soul should always be reconciliation. But reconciliation never comes through the pompous, proud religous minded groups. They either lock you in to a religious system or lock you out because you wont bow to their written or unwritten creeds. Jesus would not be locked in and so was locked out.

Lets stay free! Free from sin, free from Pharisee thinking, free from religious pride, free to love souls so we can truly help them be reconciled to God and/or his body!

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Stop trusting in man

Sometimes this takes a long time to really learn. God is very clear in his word that we are not to place our trust in men. We can believe men, when they are bringing forth good fruits in their lives, but our trust needs to be solely in God. When we do that, we will never just blindly follow any man, but will ever look to God first.

We are not in the Old Testament dispensation anymore- we have no high priest that acts as the mouth piece of God in our lives. We have Christ in our hearts, reigning and ruling. He will witness to us what to follow and what to wait on.

There will always be leadership in all walks of life that is to be respected; but we individually are the temple of God- we are priests over our own temple. We will give an account to God for our own lives before God. To set up men as Gods mouth piece over your life is to set up a popish old testament system.

Thank God we can have godly counselors and leaders to guide us, but Christ is ever our head. King David had counselors, but ultimately he made the decision and answered to God alone. The counselors were a safety net about him, but God gave him reasoning and a mind to think and pray and seek and weigh things out.

When Christ’s law is written on our hearts and we allow him to rule our lives, our fruit will be holy. Holiness is simply the absence of sin.

Trust God. Put your trust in Him alone. Ultimately you will be able to trust all situations, for God will be the ruling factor in it all.

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Dead Sea Salt Formations

Dead Sea Salt Formations

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Matthew 5:13

During the age when Jesus was depicting his people as the “salt of the earth” the salt that was widely utilized was taken from the Dead Sea. Its most common purpose was to salt dung that was then rendered usable to burn as fuel in the earthen ovens outside their homes. This salt was differnt from the table salt we use today, which cannot lose its flavour. This salt had to be kept dry and free from earth, or it would be changed into a powdery substance that was no longer usable. At that time people tossed garbage out into the streets (garbage was probably very scarce) and hence we have the analogy that the salt is no longer good for anything but to be tossed out into the streets where men trod every day.

The Jews reffered to the law as “salt and the light.” Salt was considered a purifying agent and a metaphor for wisdom. It is noteworthy that Jesus follows this statement about salt and light with;

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5: 17-20

He then enters into what is known as “The Sermon on the Mount” with a well known Old Testament Law- and then defines its “fullness” of meaning. The whole sermon expands on what the people had been taught out of the law.

In light of this study, it stands to reason that the Christian is to be careful to maintian the purity of the word of God in their daily living. Also, if the Christian begins to mix that way with the ways of the world and its varied philosophies, that Christian’s message will become good for nothing. We cannot explain away the authority of the Word of God. It is the Word of Life.

We must be the salt of the earth, by living the truth out in our lives and not compromising what we know God’s word says to appease the mulititudes of Bible critics and naysayers. The law of God is to be written on our hearts and lived out in our lives.  (Hebrews 10:16) The ways of God must be preserved. We are the salt of the earth, the preserver of this way of life. To say that its okay to live any way we choose and to be accepted of God is to water down the message of God and become a useless Christian.

I repeat the words of Christ, “except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

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A common error in Christian discipleship, is the focus on getting a message to the world that says, “Cross on over to my side of the field. I am having more fun and enjoying a better life.” Although, that may be true, that was not the message Jesus sent us to take to the world. The message of Christ to the world is:

REPENT, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Matthew 3:2

Repent? Yes, turn away from sin- quit lying, stealing, cursing, sleeping around, fighting, hating, REPENT! Because the Kingdom on heaven is near- and if you don’t repent, you will not enter in. Its a serious message and it takes faithful men and women to carry it out.

In times past, and in some parts of our world, it was/is a serious thing to be called a Christian. It could cost you your very life and the lives of your children. It could mean prison, torture, being a social outcast. Those who made that decision did not take it lightly. To REPENT- means to QUIT, once and for all- the life of sin- to turn to Christ for atonement and for the infilling of his Holy Spirit, that we would have POWER, to live HOLY!

The true message of Christianity? It has never changed- Read your Bible- from the Old Testament throughout the New, God is calling people everywhere to REPENT!

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People have ears for many different things. What one has ears for, is what one it attuned to, or pays attention to. Christ is looking for souls that have ears to hear the Word of God.

“And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land. And he taught them many things by parables…And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Mark 4: 1, 2, 9

Jesus did not present the gospel to this multitude of people, in a super easy format. Instead, he told a parable. A parable is a story with a moral or a principal being taught. It needs to be deciphered. Why did Jesus teach in parables?

“And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.” Mark 4: 10-12

Jesus was not just excluding some, because he said in verse 9 “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Those that really had ears to hear, or, in other words, those that truly had a heart to understand the will of God were the ones that he said, “unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God.” They had ears to hear, which is shown by them coming to Jesus and asking what the lesson meant.

Jesus told us, “Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you…” and then God says in Jeremiah 29: 13 “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” These disciples came to Jesus and asked; they wanted to understand, and Jesus explained. They desired to hear and they acclimated their ears to hear the pure words of Jesus.

When you are looking for God with an honest and true heart as in the parable above, you will have ears to hear- you will be attuned to the things of God.

But many people, oh so very many people, are not attuned to the word of God- which is Jesus Christ. They have other things that are more interesting to them; Things that their hearts desire. And so, they only tune in to what they like and they tune back out when it doesn’t fit their personal religion or agenda for life. They are not seeking God with all their heart.

Some came to Jesus questioning His teachings, but not because they believed in him, or sincerely wanted to understand. They simply wanted to argue and disprove his words and undermine his authority.

And is that not how it still is today? People have ears, but they will not listen to the truth. They tune it out, and attune themselves to something else. They find other religions, or even create their own religion and call it Christian; But they are not following Christ, they are following their own heart. Many are fighting today to discredit the Lord Jesus Christ. Many are trying to lump him in with all the other religions of the world. But it will never happen.

If we want to really know the Lord Jesus Christ, and truly understand the truth, we need to begin with our heart. We need to bring our heart to God and ask Him, by the power of the cross of Christ, to cleanse it and to give us a new heart. Only then will we be enabled to acclimate our ears to God and His Son Jesus Christ. Our ears need to be opened to His truth.
“lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.” -or unless at anytime they should turn from sin- repent; Then their sins would be forgiven; Then they will be able to hear.

Too many just have ears for what they want to hear; If it doesn’t fit into their repertoire of what is acceptable, they just ignore it or discredit it.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4

They don’t want the truth, or sound doctrine; They have “itching ears.” They are wanting to hear something alright- they are interested in hearing the newest philosophy or fable; they want to feel “enlightened” but only if it makes them feel good- they itch for someone to tell them what they want to hear- and turn to other Gods and lies, allowing themselves to be deceived. What a sad picture. How careful we must be.

The wisest man that ever lived became wise because he had ears to hear the word of God and a heart towards the one and only true God. King Solomon began with the truth, but, ended with a lost soul because he let the influence of the world around him turn away his ears from the truth and he turned to the many fables and false beliefs of the world.

Jesus said, “blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” Luke 11:28

Its not enough to just hear something. Putting it into practice, is what differentiates the one that has ears to hear and the one who does not.

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