Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How Do You Know It Was God?

A friend recently asked me: "How do you know you heard from God? How do you know it was not an imposter?"

That is such a good question. I decided to ask that same question in a Facebook group. So many people in this particular group have had visual and audible experiences with Jesus and also demonic spirit manifestations. So I decided to ask them how they knew which spirit was which. Certainly demonic manifestations can be obvious, but not always.

We do know that Satan appears as an angel of light. He is not (the light) and he is not (the angel of light), but he appears (as) an angel of light. 

So we can expect Satan to appear as light, to appear as a good thing, and not as something we can easily recognize. It is our pride that makes us feel secure and believe we would (just know) because we have such discerning abilities.

Satan deceives and he is the master of deception. If he reveals himself as darkness, where is the deception? But Satan appears as a light, he gives us a false confidence, a false comfort, a mimicking of the holy things of God. He convinces people he is God and that they are on the right path. Many will even perform miracles in "god's name" but Jesus will say in that day, "Depart from me; I never knew you you." Matthew 7:23

 The Bible tells us to test every spirit to see where it is from. We are admonished to NOT believe every spirit.

So, how can we know the spirit that manifests itself to us is from God?

Is it the really good and comforting feeling we get from this spirit? The feeling that says "this is all good, listen to this person or me for that matter? That "knowing" feeling, where you "just know."

Is it because we feel special and loved possibly for the first time? Is it because we see a glow or aura that we believe this is a sign or confirmation from God?

So many times too we hear people making statements such as, "I prayed about this and this is what I think or how I am going to respond" as if to imply that their actions or words are from God when even a small amount of understanding of scripture would make it obvious that God was not in their actions or words.  If we will be judged for every idle word how much will we be judged for implying we are speaking or acting for God when we are actually being self serving and acting from our carnal nature?

We may think that good and evil seem simple enough to discern, but Satan is the deceiver. Satan has a veil over the mind of unbelievers; it is only through Christ this veil is removed and there are many who believe they are saved yet the veil (of Satan) is coving their eyes and ears. They believed a lie from the deceiver who most likely appeared "as an angel of light."

The Wide Gate
It is an easy way. It doesn't require any repentance or confession of sin, and certainly no turning from sin. You don't even have to see or pass by the blood of Jesus.

The Narrow Gate
"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14"For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:13-14

We need to know the word of God and recognize ANY no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential we may think it is... If it deviates from scripture, it is a lie and it is major! Back away from that spirit. It is NOT from God! It is the tiny lie (twisting of truth) we need to look out for, not the obvious lie.

Let's look at what the word of God says regarding these spirits:

Test all things; hold fast what is good.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 

Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 1 Corinthians 14:29

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Isaiah 8:19-20 

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, …
Matthew 7:15

17 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Acts 17:11

13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15

"You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17"So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.… Matthew 7:16-17

The Works of the Flesh
Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders,[d] drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The Fruit of the Spirit
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

When You have Been Marginalized

It is difficult to comprehend the effects that being marginalized can have on someone until it has happened to them. To be treated as if you are of no consequence and have no matter or purpose can be quite devastating. We all have a sense of needing to belong somewhere; and when we have been shoved off or possibly never allowed onto this foundation it can really make us question if we even have value or worth. It will certainly make us feel alone, isolated, and unwanted. 

It is so important that we have our foundation in Christ; and trust in Him for our worth and purpose. We need to surrender completely to Christ in our pain and allow Him to do the work in our lives that this pain is surely working to bring about. This most certainly allows for a dying to self which allows for a renewing of our minds through Christ. "Yet not I, but Christ Who lives in me." Galatians 2:20

I want to go all the way with God. I want to be completely sold out to Him. I want the "Yet not I, but Christ Who lives in me" scripture to be me.

How can I do that? 

There is so much of me that needs to die; so much flesh and worldly thoughts and beliefs. So much doubt and unbelief. So much judging of others. And in the death of my sins/self replace my thoughts with His thoughts (whatever is godly and pure and true etc). I need to allow His Word to become alive in me. I need to walk in the Truth with my eyes focused on Jesus and not on my circumstances.

Now is a time of trial and testing; but I think I recognize my need for this. I have been praying fervently to be completely surrendered to Christ. I've prayed that when I stand before God I don't want to see a vision of God's glorious plan he had prepared for my life if only I would have surrendered and trusted Him. 

But, I want to hear Him say, with open arms: "I know you well! You have followed me diligently and have believed on ALL that I have said without doubting! You have been such a joy to me! I love you. Come here to me!"

I really do want Him to say that to me. And surely this is possible. Surely this is something He desires to say to all of us, right? Would He have created a perfect plan for us to walk in victory if he didn't desire and know we could achieve His plan? We know that He is working in us to desire to do His will; and we know that it is Him doing it and not us, right? Because if it was about me I wouldn't bother to try. But it is not me; it is Him working in me. I just need to take all my idols one by one and renounce them. I need to repent. I need to accept this complete dying to self without doubting God's most gracious provision for me to be a new creation in Him.

"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." 2 Corinthians 5:17

I need to surrender and renounce the old self and be completely clothed in the new clothes Christ has for me. And I need to do this without doubting and through faith that my Heavenly Father really loves me and has glorious plans for me. Plans far better than I can imagine. I know that in my earthly frame I cannot understand the beauty that comes from suffering. But I have seen the effects. God does work righteousness through our suffering.

Monday, February 17, 2014

It's a Choice

When I think of my choices and my uncertainty when I don't know what to do, I think of Moses seeing 3-4 millions Egyptians coming towards him and his people, and 2.5 million Israelites looking at him like "What have you gotten us into?" 

Did he doubt? Did he think perhaps he wasn't listening and didn't hear from God completely? Was he reviewing all his past actions and thinking what he should have done differently?

We are not given any reason to believe he doubted. In fact, it seems like when the people came complaining to him saying Moses should have left them alone in Egypt, that they would have been better off serving the Egyptians, and now they would surely die in the wilderness, Moses received an immediate word from God regarding Pharaoh and his army. "Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:13

We have such a contrast between the faith of Moses and that of his followers. They saw the same miracles Moses saw, so that couldn't be it. What makes the difference. Why do some stand in faith and others right next to them fall into doubt and unbelief?

I think I know the answer.

Doubt and unbelief are sin. They are no different than any other sins. Doubt and unbelief are a choice. Moses chose to believe God.

"Choose this day whom you will serve." Joshua 24:15

"You cannot serve two masters." Matthew 6:24 

Exodus 33:13 gives us a glimpse of Moses humanity. Moses asked God to show him His plan; he wanted to avoid the uncertainty, the unknown. But God said no. He said "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Our Love is Increasing

I believe God would use more people to bring healing and nurturing to a hurting damaged world if He could just find them. But so often we harden our hearts and go our own ways with little regard to God's commandments. It was after all, His design that the world would recognize Christians by their love. Yet it seems hard for those in the body of Christ to find loving and nurturing people even in the "church." We may go on Sundays but do we pick and choose who we will love? Do we love one another? Do we forgive others their wrongs against us?

2 Thessalonians 1:3 says " We must always thank God for you, brothers and sisters this is only right, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love that everyone of you has for each other is increasing."

I am repenting of my lack of love. I know that true Love comes only from God...for God is Love. I cannot judge others for their lack of love because I also stand condemned. But now I repent. And though it seems impossible that God could even use me as a vessel of Love, I know that He has called me to be that vessel. He has called us all to be that vessel. God does not command us to do something that we cannot do. We may not be capable of being a vessel of Love. But with Christ IN us, as surrendered vessels, we will be vessels who do His good will. Because it is God who completes the good work He began. It is Him doing it, not us. He is faithful; He will do it. Let us surrender ourselves to Him today, completely. Let us not quench  the Holy Spirit.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Do Not Consume One Another

Do Not Consume One Another
I heard this woman on the radio taking about her pet peeve and she said she was a grammar nazi. Actually, it sounded more like she was bragging about it and attempting to justify this. 

As I listened to her I thought this sounds like pride!

I began to think about my deduction and I wondered if we all had pet peeves like that and if perhaps I had a pet peeve? I asked myself what my pet peeve might be? And I immediately and also quite pridefully said my pet peeve is people who answer a question before hearing it and people who don't really listen, but answer a different question than was asked. Then these two scriptures came to my mind: 

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
Luke 6:31 

"But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another."  Galatians 5:15 (ESV)

It seems to be taking me so long to learn some of this stuff. But God is breaking down my walls of denial, unbelief, and self righteousness.

It seems like in my life there have always been an enormous amount of people knocking me down. I almost never made it back up the last time. But God has been showing me how to lean on Him and fall on Him. He has also been showing me I can trust Him. My faith has increased greatly. But still, there seems to be so many people who want to knock me down. I have to ask myself the question.....

"Am I one of those people who knocks others down? Do I bite and devour others?" 

I so much want to say that I never do that and I never have. But I can't say that. 

While I firmly believe we are to recognize sin when we see it, (Sin is a terrible thing. If we can't recognize sin, how can we help a brother or sister who has become tangled up in sin be set free?) I think the point is, when we recognize sin what do we do with that knowledge? 

For starters, I think it depends on our relationship to the person. But we should certainly pray for wisdom and guidance from our Heavenly Father. Perhaps that is as far as He would have us take it. But if He does direct us to go to the person, then we need to approach them in a spirit of meekness and fear least we also fall prey. 

I think when He says we are not to judge, He means like we are not to have the attitude of "Thank God I am not like that person!" Or "I would never do that!" 

"Watch out that you are not consumed by one another." 

This seemed  to explain everything. I was consuming others and being consumed by others! I would even judge them for consuming me, but I would justify my consuming others.

Christians destroying Christians! Oh my! This really is as bad as it sounds. 

Lord help us love one another. Help us to "not return evil for evil or insult for insult, but give a blessing instead." 1 Peter 3:9 

I have such a long way to go. But thankfully, God IS God and he is faithful to complete the good work He began. 

"Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass." 
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6

Thank God we have hope in Christ!!! Amen.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Only Him to Lean On

I was feeling sorry for myself because I realized as always it seems, I am alone. Who stands with me? Who understand? Who believes in me? Yes, true pity, potty, party. Ever been there? :)

Then I think about Jesus; in times past, I have told myself that He at least had a good foundation. His parents loved Him. They took care of Him. Anyway, I would tell myself that with a good foundation I think one can do most anything in life. Later he had His disciples. True one was bad, but the others loved Him and were faithful. What have I? Sure most of what I don't have is my fault, but not all. Some things I think God Himself has deprived me from for the purpose of teaching me to lean on Him. My lack is actually an answer to prayer. I do want to know Him and walk with Him. He helps me in my endeavor by eliminating my people idol and crutches. When I look around and see only Him walking beside me how can I get lost?

But today I had an interesting thought. Did Jesus ever really have anyone He could share His heart with? Was there ever anyone who understood Him? Could it be that His only true communication was with His Heavenly Father? Did He perhaps recognize His need to walk in the spirit rather than the flesh to get His needs met? Is that not what we are all called to do once we have been born again? We are now made anew in Christ. It is nice when we can share are hearts and dreams with others. But many times that cannot be.  

I say I want to walk with God. That I want true fellowship with Him, yet I continually seek to be understood by man. Is my purpose to be understood or to understand? Perhaps God has called me to listen and hear His people and not seek to speak and be heard.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

He Made Every Provision

He Made Every Provision
You know He didn't have to do any of it. He could have just made us angels or let everyone choose if they wanted to go with Him or with Satan, but He had a much better plan for us than that. He wanted us to be His children, joint heirs with Jesus and live with Him in heaven forever and ever as members of His kingdom. (He wants us to know Him; He loves us.) He spared nothing for us, but made every provision, even to the point of offering his own son- and Jesus Himself, willingly laid down His life to be the final Passover sacrificial lamb for our sins.

I was listening to an apologetic debate between a Christian theologian and a man who used to be a "minister" debating "the existence of God." You know I don't recall anywhere reading that Paul or any other person in the Bible actually tried to convince an atheist that God exists. Though the Bible does specifically address this. But it seemed like everyone already understood there was a god of some sort.

"…because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.…" Romans 1:19-21

I personally would no longer attempt to convince someone of God's existence. God already did that and they rejected Him. I cannot presume to do a better job of convincing them He exists if they choose not to see His evidence. What I would attempt though is to point out their rebellion. Because I perceive rebellion is the root of their unbelief. And unbelief is a sin that God does not take lightly. We are responsible for our unbelief (rebellion) and we will answer to God for it.

In the debate where Dan Barker and John Mark Reynolds debated the existence of God, Dan Barker asserted that almost all Christians are nicer than Jesus and that he himself is nicer than Jesus.

I think it is pretty obvious that He doesn't know Jesus and never did. He claimed that he had the same type of spiritual experiences with "Jesus" that we did. Apparently Dan doesn't realize that Satan also likes to go by the name of Jesus and is ready to slip in there with anyone who will receive him. Satan is not only a liar but a thief.

"My sheep hear my voice and will not follow another." And also, "they went out from us because they were never really with us." John 10:26
1 John 2:19

Dan also told us how he really loved his "Jesus." Like this was some kind of proof that he understood what being a Christian was all about. I used to really love the Tooth Fairy. I mean I really really loved the Tooth Fairy. But once I realized the Tooth Fairy wasn't real, I was able to walk away. I just lost a false belief system. I didn't lose Jesus and neither did Dan. Dan lost a lie that he had embraced and loved and counted as the truth.

You know Satan also has plans for our lives and it appears that Satan had big plans for Dan's life. But does Dan want the Truth or is he happy with his deception? Dan is doing the will of his father (Satan) whether he means to or not. He is encouraging and heralding the lost onto a more sure footed road to damnation.

Dan Barker and John Mark Reynolds debated the existence of God. 
What Do You Believe? Does God Exist?

Dan Barker- Co- president, "Freedom From Religion Foundation" Also known for his advocacy of atheism and rationalism
Criticism of religion.

John Mark Reynolds from Houston Baptist University.