Why Does God Allow False Teachers To Prosper?

Why does God allow false teachers to prosper and exist? Why do they appear to succeed? Why are they so popular and how are they capable of attracting so many members and followers even though they teach false doctrines?
In Matthew 24:11, Jesus warned that in the last days “many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.”
Therefore Jesus is saying that in the last days, many false prophets will exist and they will become very popular among people. In addition, they will deceive many people because of their popularity.
So the keyword in this particular scripture is the word “many”. Therefore Christ is highlighting the magnitude of the false teacher problem. Many wolves in sheep’s clothing will arise and they will deceive and mislead multitudes of people because they will command a cult following and even a celebrity status due to the lure of their false teachings and their charismatic personality.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 says: For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

Some few examples of some popular but false teachings which are propagated by many false teachers are the following: the prosperity gospel, seed-faith teachings, hyper-grace / antinomianism, spiritual covering doctrines and word of faith theology.
Through scripture twisting, combined with the wisdom and deceptive articulation of men, these and other false teachings have become so popular within many religious groups to the extent that people “will not endure sound teaching” from the Bible.
Some of the above false doctrines such as the “prosperity gospel” and “seed-faith teachings” have been the reason for the material wealth of many false teachers around the world.
Therefore according to 2 Timothy 4:3-4, there will exist multitudes of people who will volitionally desire to follow false teachers because such false teachers will preach to them exactly what they want to hear. The false teachers will elevate and encourage the carnal desires of their followers.

However, why doesn’t God stop false teachers? Why does God allow them to rise in numbers and why does He allow them to deceive so many people throughout the world? Why does God allow false teachers to become popular and rich, and to seemingly or outwardly appear to “prosper”, whilst the truth of His word and His true gospel appears to become less and less popular?

If God allows false teachers in the world it’s because of 3 major reasons:

 

1. FALSE TEACHERS ARE AN EXPRESSION OF THE CARNALITY OF PEOPLE’S HEARTS AND THEY REFLECT HOW SPIRITUALLY DECEIVED THE WORLD HAS BECOME.
2 Timothy 3:1-9 talks about the state of the condition of man in the last days. For example, man will be arrogant, abusive, unholy, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God and they will have “the appearance of godliness but denying it’s power”.
Therefore when people have itching ears according to 2 Timothy 4:3-4, they will look for teachers who are willing to tickle their ears all for personal gain.
When people are amazed by signs and wonders, they will look for false teachers who are willing to razzle and dazzle them with false miracles all for personal gain. Matthew 24:24 says: For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
When people are motivated by the love of money and not the love of God, they will follow the charlatan or prosperity teachers who will promise them health and wealth for the price of a “seed” or money.
Therefore as people’s hearts become more carnal, it gives room for false teachers to grow and give the mirage of being capable of meeting the spiritual needs of their followers through the implementation of their false doctrines.
Therefore false teachers exist because they meet the carnal desires of carnal people. At the same time, the false teacher has his own carnal needs met through his deceived followers in the form of money, power, recognition and adoration from men.

2. FALSE TEACHERS ARE A TEST FROM GOD TO SEE WHETHER WE REALLY LOVE HIM AND IF WE ARE SPIRITUALLY MATURE.
In Deuteronomy 13:1-3 God reveals that He allows false prophets to exist because God is testing us to see if we love Him with all our heart and with all our soul.
Deuteronomy 13:1-3 says: “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”
According to Deuteronomy 13:1-3, not everything that comes out of the mouth of a false teacher / prophet is 100% false. There might be many things spoken or preached by false teachers which might actually be true. However, spiritual deception always consists of a mixture of both truth and lies. Therefore deception is never obvious unless it is seen through the lenses of God’s word and through a relationship with the one and only true God.
Deuteronomy 13:1-3 reveals that a false prophet may dream or even speak things that may actually come to pass. However the motive of this false prophet is not that you may follow the true God, but the deception of many false teachers is to lead you into following false gods.
In Acts 16:16-18 there was a slave girl who had a spirit of divination who followed Paul and Silas and she cried out that “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.”
However, whilst this slave girl had divined the truth about Paul and Silas, it was the source of this slave girl’s message that bothered Paul. The slave girl’s message was not sourced from God but the message was coming through a demon or spirit of divination and so Paul cast out the demon of divination that was in her.
The people who followed and listened to this slave girl were not listening to a prophet of God but they were receiving counsel from a demon or false god.
This spirit of divination also brought money or material wealth to the owners of this slave girl. This is why Paul and Silas were then arrested after the owners realized that they could no longer make money from the slave girl since the spirit of divination was cast out.
Therefore we are also commanded to test the spirits because of the existence of false prophets (1 John 4:1).
It’s important to understand that the purpose of every human being is to follow and obey God. We are to follow God and not man. We are to follow God and not false gods. When we love God with our heart and soul, it will be very difficult for any false teacher / prophet to mislead us.
Many people around the world have the appearance of godliness but yet they love and follow man and false gods rather than the one true God.

3. FALSE TEACHERS ARE GOD’S JUDGMENT ON A WORLD THAT HAS REJECTED THE TRUTH OF GOD’S WORD AS WELL AS REJECTING A GENUINE RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.
In 2 Timothy 3:7-8 Paul speaks of those who are “always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith.”
In 1 Timothy 6:20-21 Paul urges Timothy to “avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge”, for by professing it some have swerved from the faith.”
The unfortunate thing is that we currently live in a world where the truth is no longer relevant to many people. For many people, the truth no longer matters. To many, the truth is no longer absolute. Instead the truth has become subjective or relative according to many who have been deceived.
Some people would rather trade the truth for knowledge. However, knowledge is simply information that can be either true or false. In other words, not all knowledge is correct. Not all knowledge is truth. Not all knowledge should be obeyed.
False teachers give knowledge but they do not give truth. False teachers excite their followers with their deceptive and well-packaged version of knowledge but that knowledge does not bring the followers closer to a genuine relationship with Christ and nor does it make the followers more like Christ.
Therefore it’s necessary that people seek the truth because the truth will set us free. Such truth is found in Jesus Christ by seeking a genuine relationship with God and through the authentic studying and interpretation of God’s word (2 Timothy 2:15).
2 Corinthians 11:4 says: For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.
Therefore we must be committed to seeking the true Christ, the true Gospel and to receiving the true Spirit of God in order to avoid being deceived.

Ultimately false teachers are part of God’s method of warning us about the spiritual state of humanity. False teachers are God’s judgment on a people who choose to follow the doctrines of men and of false gods rather than the one and only true God. Therefore the more false prophets there are, the more it reflects the carnality of mankind even in relation to spiritual issues.
False teachers and prophets exist and in many cases appear to prosper or succeed because of followers who are willing to listen and obey their demonic teachings.

 

HOW WILL GOD JUDGE FALSE TEACHERS?
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 says the following about the demise of false teachers: For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

In Matthew 23:15, Jesus said the following to the Pharisees: Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

Jude 11-13 says the following about the future of the false teacher: Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion. These are blemishes on your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, looking after themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.

It is absolute evil when a person claims to be a “man of God” but deliberately and intentionally uses the Bible in order to deceive and mislead people for his own personal gain.
It is an expression of lawlessness, rebellion and enmity against God when false teachers lead people astray by intentionally twisting the scriptures and denying the deity of Jesus Christ through their teachings and in their actions.
The Christian faith is not a game. The Christian faith is not a business. The Christian faith is not a means to control and manipulate others. Christianity is a lifestyle and a relationship with God through Christ Jesus. The death of Christ on the cross for the sins of the world is not something to take lightly.
False teachers however do not view Christianity as a relationship with God. They think very little about the finished work of Christ on the cross. They view Christianity as a means of their personal gain such as making money, manipulating people as well as receiving recognition, power and adoration of men.
If false teachers were truly Christians, then they would be filled with a reverential fear of God and they would understand the gravity of deceiving people for personal gain.
The unfortunate case however is that false teachers are deceitful workmen. Whether they know it or not, their works of deception express that they are agents of the devil. They are themselves deceived and they are deceiving others.
Many false teachers command tens of thousands of followers. Some command millions of followers all over the world. The gravity of misleading, deceiving and spiritually abusing thousands of people is a great problem and it is something that God takes very seriously.

Jesus said the following in Matthew 7:21-23: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”

From Matthew 7:21-23 we can learn that something tragic will happen on Judgment Day.
There are some people who will think they were going to enter heaven but only to discover that they will be going to hell.
These people are the religious hypocrites. These people include the false teachers because they claim to have prophesied, cast out demons and do many mighty works in the name of Christ.
However, Jesus’ response gives the true reason why these people are going to hell as Christ responds to them by saying: “And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”

Jesus reveals 2 very important things about these religious but hell-bound people

1. Jesus did not know them. The word “knew” is the Greek word [Ginosko] which depicts a personal and intimate relationship. These people had knowledge about Christ but they didn’t have an intimate relationship with Christ. If they had an intimate relationship with Christ then they would have had reverential fear of God which would have made the realized the gravity of their lawlessness.
2. Jesus calls these people “workers of lawlessness”. This means that these people were deliberately rebellious against God even though they were religious. They practiced evil without remorse or repentance and they loved to do it because they were personally gaining.

Similarly Jesus rebukes the Pharisees in Matthew 23. Outwardly the Pharisees were respected religious leaders. They outwardly appeared to be righteous and even successful men. Despite their false teachings, the Pharisees had power, wealth and spiritual influence over their followers. However Jesus exposed the deception of the Pharisees and revealed their true nature to the people.
Jesus also warned them of their fate; that hell awaits false teachers if they don’t repent.

 

Understanding Salvation

[by Lantz Manomano]

What is salvation and how can we understand what it means to be saved? Can you earn your own salvation by your personal effort to be a good person? Is your personal character and attributes adequate for you to please God so that you enter heaven?

I’m going to take the opportunity to talk about understanding salvation by first giving this illustration below:

Imagine that you’re a person who is just trying to live a decent and honest life. You earn an income at your workplace but you find the financial aspect of your life to be challenging because you live in a difficult economy. Even though you have been working honestly and so hard for your employer, you believe that he has not been seeing all the good work that you’ve been doing for the company.
So then one day you get tempted to steal or embezzle a large amount of money from your employer who later discovers that you’ve been stealing from him. Your employer takes you to court and then you’re locked up. However, according to the law, the only way you can be set free from jail is to pay every cent you stole from your employer plus a massive fine you’ve been charged the state.
The problem is you can’t pay the fine or even the money you stole because you don’t have the capacity to pay such a large amount of money. Your own effort to pay for your debt is fruitless.
Then your father who is a loving and gracious man decides to pay for your fine and all that the debt that you owe without any conditions or prerequisite that you should pay him back. So even though you’re guilty according to the law, your father loves you too much to see you remain in jail.
So after your father pays your full debt, he writes you a note stating that you have been redeemed and you are free to live a purposeful life.
Therefore as a son, you cannot claim that you got out of jail by your own effort or strength. It was through the payment and work of your father that you were set free or saved.
The glory for your salvation as a son does not go to you but all the glory goes to the one who paid your debt and set you free.

So in relation to Christianity, salvation is when Christ redeems you from facing spiritual death and into eternal life. We are all guilty and have fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23).
Spiritual death is when we are dead to the things of God and we are His enemies because we have not accepted Christ Jesus who offers us the free gift of eternal life. Christ Jesus gave His life for ours so that we could receive His life and pass from death to life (John 5:24).
Eternal life is experiencing everlasting life with God which begins from the very moment we put our trust in Christ for the exchanged life that came through the cross.
Salvation is for everyone but it’s not forced upon a person. Salvation is a freewill choice and so one has to make a decision of whether he/she desires to be saved or not.

WHAT WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT SALVATION
1. It is for all mankind (John 3:16)
2. We are purchased by the blood of Jesus (Acts 20:28)
3. There’s no other name that saves than that of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12)
4. It’s not worked for so no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-10)
5. It is free of blood line, will of the flesh and will of man but is being born of God unto His will (John 1:13)
6. It is the evidence that Jesus is alive and how it testifies of that He is the Resurrection and the Life
7. Jesus bore our sins for us in exchange of His righteousness to us (1 Peter 2:24)
8. Jesus death satisfied God’s wrath and His sacrifice was once and for all (1 Thessalonians 5:9)
9. Salvation introduces a better covenant (Hebrews 8:6-12)
10. When we go back to the man whose bail has been paid for, he would want to know the person who would have given him another run at life. He would want to know the nature of this person, and would want to display towards this person. In other words there is a response that comes with salvation.

WHAT DOES SALVATION MEAN FOR THE CHRISTIAN?
1. That Jesus is the lamb who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29)
2. Not only has Christ taken away our sins but He has also forgiven us our sins.
3. That one has come to the end of self and realised that they need a Saviour (Acts 4:12)
4. It means that one no longer live for themselves or for man but live for Christ (Colossians 3:17,24)
5. One is a new creation and the old things have passed away meaning that God has chosen to forget how one used to live and is looking at a new man born of God (2 Corinthians 5:17)
6. One has been called from darkness into Christ’s marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9)
7. One starts growing in the grace knowledge of one who saved him (2 Peter 3:18)
8. With Life comes a grateful heart (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
9. One becomes a courier of good news that actually saves (Romans 1:16)
10. Salvation is the beginning of experiencing God’s never ending LOVE (John 3:16)

Salvation is the beginning of an amazing relationship with an awesome God who loves us dearly. We are delivered from fear but we are not shielded from the trials and tribulations of these times. Instead we rejoice in them knowing that Christ has overcome the world for us. We now never walk alone because we have the Holy Spirit to guide, teach us and remind us of what Christ has done for us so that we know who to live for. We should never take salvation for granted whether you’re a new or mature believer because it was Christ’s life for ours and we celebrate life now because of salvation. Be blessed and like the word says: Today choose between life and death – though I’d rather you choose LIFE

 

DO YOU WANT TO BE A CHRISTIAN or A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST???

1. ACKNOWLEDGE: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
This means that we have all broken God’s laws and God’s 10 Commandments like those mentioned in Exodus 20:1-17. For example, if you have told a lie; if you have stolen something; if you have lusted after somebody or if you have coveted. This means you are guilty of breaking at least one or more of God’s 10 Commandments. Breaking God’s commandments makes us sinners. The fact that we are sinners who have broken God’s law means that we are accountable to God who is the Lawgiver. Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death BUT the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”
You must acknowledge that you are a sinner who has broken God’s commandments and that you therefore need Jesus in your life.

2. REPENT: “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3), “Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19)
Repenting means: to change your mind; a sincere turning away, in heart, mind and action;
Therefore God wants you to repent of sinful values and of sinful living. God wants you to decide to
follow Him and to make Jesus the Lord of your life.

3. CONFESSION: “If we confess our sins. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)
God is a forgiving God. God will forgive any sin that you have done because Jesus died for ALL your sins and to set you free from the bondage of all types of sin in your life.

4. BELIEVE: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
You must believe that ONLY Jesus can save you and restore your relationship with God. You must believe that Jesus is the ONLY way by which you can have everlasting life and escape from eternal separation from God. You must believe that Jesus died on the cross for you and resurrected from the grave.
“He came to His own, and His own did not receive him, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:11-12)
By faith, You must receive Jesus as Your Lord & Savior and therefore; you become a child of God; you become born again; you become a Christian; you restore your broken relationship with God

Why Not Make Your Eternal Decision NOW?

We become born again Christians by GRACE through FAITH or TOTAL TRUST in Jesus Christ as our Lord & Savior (Galatians 3:26) & (Ephesians 2:8,9). Salvation is a FREE gift received through FAITH in Christ.

PLEASE NOTE: You can choose to pray in your own words. This prayer is a sample prayer and it is only an EXPRESSION of your faith, belief & trust in Jesus. Salvation is by GRACE through FAITH or BELIEVING in Christ Jesus as your Lord & Saviour.

“Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your love. I thank You that You died on the cross for me and resurrected so that I may have life through You.
I confess Lord that I have sinned against You and today I ask You to forgive me of all of my sins, past present and future.
Today I repent and have decided to follow you. Thank you for forgiving all my sins.
From this moment, come into my life Lord Jesus & take full control of my life. I want to follow You Jesus and I want to follow Your ways. Save me and from today, make me the person You want me to be.
I receive You Lord Jesus right now by faith. I trust You as my Lord and Savior – Amen”

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Why Did God Allow The Coronavirus To Exist?

The existence of pandemic diseases such as the Coronavirus (known as COVID-19) or any other deadly sickness can bring us to a situation in life where we have many questions about God and life in general.
For example, we may ask: Why would a loving and merciful God allow a deadly disease like the Coronavirus to spread and kill so many people? Is God punishing humanity by allowing the Coronavirus to exist? If God exists, why would He allow an outbreak such as the Coronavirus to kill innocent people?

To understand or even attempt to answer these kind of questions, we must have knowledge and understanding of 3 primary things which are:
1. What is the origin of sickness and disease in our world?
2. Does God use plagues and disease to punish people?
3. Can God use sickness and disease for His own glory and for man’s redemption?

What Is The Origin of Sickness and Disease In Our World?
When God created the earth and the entire universe in Genesis chapter 1 and 2, we learn that everything that God created was perfectly made without any defect or abnormality. There was a time when the earth itself inclusive of mankind and every creature and plant was perfect and without disease or any kind of imperfection.
Man consisting of both Adam and Eve was perfectly made and had perfect communion with God and with nature. Why? Because sin had not yet entered the world.
Therefore the origin of every sickness or disease that we have in the world is because of the fact that sin entered into the world because of Adam and Eve who disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-24).

Romans 5:12 says the following of Adam – “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned”
As a result, there is no human being who is immune to the power nor the effects of sin, such as disease and sickness.
Therefore death, sickness, disease and all kinds of natural disasters exist because of the existence of sin in humanity and on the earth (Genesis 3:14-19).
Sin itself can be compared to a disease that has been methodically destroying the earth and humanity from the time it entered the world.
Therefore the Coronavirus or any other disease or sickness is a grim reminder that we live in an imperfect and sinful world. Diseases such as the Coronavirus which bring fear and death are consequences of living in a fallen world which is under the curse of sin.

 

Does God Use Plagues and Diseases To Discipline or Punish People?
First it is very important to note that we should not assume or presume that every person who is suffering from a sickness is being punished or disciplined by God. It would be false to think so. Even the best of us can fall sick, not because we are being punished by God, but because we have aging and imperfect physical bodies since we live in a fallen world. Therefore irrespective of our spiritual, moral, social or physical status – we are all subject to illness and sickness. Nobody is immune to disease or sickness.

However, in the Bible there are several occasions where God used plagues and diseases to punish or discipline people. For example, God used plagues on Egypt to force Pharaoh to free the Israelites from slavery and bondage (Exodus 9:1-10; Exodus 15:26).
In Leviticus 26:21,25 God warns that if people disobey Him, then He will bring upon them pestilences and diseases.
It is also important to note that God also has the power to heal and remove diseases and sicknesses. Therefore God controls who should live and who should die as a result of a sickness or disease. When God sent the plagues to Egypt, God allowed the diseases and plagues to affect only the Egyptians whilst protecting the Israelites from being contaminated or infected. This reveals that God is in complete control of all things and that nothing good or bad happens without God’s knowledge or sovereign will.
When Miriam opposed Moses, God brought leprosy on Miriam’s skin so that it became “white as snow”. However later He mercifully removed the leprosy from her skin (Numbers 12:1-16).
In the New Testament we see that Jesus Christ was able to heal every disease and sickness therefore confirming that God is able to miraculously heal anyone of any kind of illness should He choose to do so (Luke 7:22).
Therefore God is the ultimate Healer and He is able to heal anyone according to His sovereign will.

 

Can God Use Sickness & Disease For His Glory and For Man’s Redemption?
Indeed whilst God may use sickness and disease to discipline or punish, God is also able to use sickness in order to bring our spiritual focus on Him and on the need to repent.
Sickness or disease can remind us of just how fragile life can be and that life on earth is temporary.
During a time of sickness we may ask ourselves some pertinent questions about the meaning and purpose of life and if we are living a life that would be pleasing to God.
Therefore God can use disease and pandemics such as the Coronavirus to bring us into a state of humility and repentance. God can use sickness to change our perspective about life so that we turn to God instead of the temporary things of life.
The Bible says that it is appointed for man to die once and then comes judgment (Hebrews 9:27).
The Bible says that everyday our bodies are wasting away simply because we live in a fallen world. However, our focus should be on the spiritual things of God rather than on the physical life (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
Therefore we will all physically die one day. Some of us may die in our old age. Some may die because of illness. Some may die due to an accident or natural disaster; Others may get killed. However, physical death awaits all of us.
The important thing is to know where your relationship with God stands right now.
Do you have a relationship with God? Do you know what Jesus Christ did for you on the cross?
Do you know that all your sins, past present and future can be forgiven if you believe and by faith accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour?
Do you know that Jesus Christ was our substitute who bore all our sins, iniquities and sickness on the Cross so that we may have eternal life? (Matthew 8:14-17; Isaiah 53:4-6).

Do you know that whilst our life on earth is temporary, there is eternal life that awaits them who accept Jesus Christ?
For the born again Christian, death is a transition from temporary life in a fallen world to eternal life with God.
Therefore deadly pandemics such as the Coronavirus must bring us to the realization that our current earthly life is temporary and that ultimately we must seek God and find our comfort and assurance of salvation in Christ alone.
Where do you stand with God? Will you be with God when you die? Are you a born again Christian?

2 Corinthians 4:16-18So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

 

DO YOU WANT TO BE A CHRISTIAN or A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST???

1. ACKNOWLEDGE: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
This means that we have all broken God’s laws and God’s 10 Commandments like those mentioned in Exodus 20:1-17. For example, if you have told a lie; if you have stolen something; if you have lusted after somebody or if you have coveted. This means you are guilty of breaking at least one or more of God’s 10 Commandments. Breaking God’s commandments makes us sinners. The fact that we are sinners who have broken God’s law means that we are accountable to God who is the Lawgiver. Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death BUT the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”
You must acknowledge that you are a sinner who has broken God’s commandments and that you therefore need Jesus in your life.

2. REPENT: “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3), “Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19)
Repenting means: to change your mind; a sincere turning away, in heart, mind and action;
Therefore God wants you to repent of sinful values and of sinful living. God wants you to decide to
follow Him and to make Jesus the Lord of your life.

3. CONFESSION: “If we confess our sins. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)
God is a forgiving God. God will forgive any sin that you have done because Jesus died for ALL your sins and to set you free from the bondage of all types of sin in your life.

4. BELIEVE: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
You must believe that ONLY Jesus can save you and restore your relationship with God. You must believe that Jesus is the ONLY way by which you can have everlasting life and escape from eternal separation from God. You must believe that Jesus died on the cross for you and resurrected from the grave.
“He came to His own, and His own did not receive him, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:11-12)
By faith, You must receive Jesus as Your Lord & Savior and therefore; you become a child of God; you become born again; you become a Christian; you restore your broken relationship with God

 

Why Not Make Your Eternal Decision NOW?

We become born again Christians by GRACE through FAITH or TOTAL TRUST in Jesus Christ as our Lord & Savior (Galatians 3:26) & (Ephesians 2:8,9). Salvation is a FREE gift received through FAITH in Christ.

PLEASE NOTE: You can choose to pray in your own words. This prayer is a sample prayer and it is only an EXPRESSION of your faith, belief & trust in Jesus. Salvation is by GRACE through FAITH or BELIEVING in Christ Jesus as your Lord & Saviour.

“Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your love. I thank You that You died on the cross for me and resurrected so that I may have life through You.
I confess Lord that I have sinned against You and today I ask You to forgive me of all of my sins, past present and future.
Today I repent and have decided to follow you. Thank you for forgiving all my sins.
From this moment, come into my life Lord Jesus & take full control of my life. I want to follow You Jesus and I want to follow Your ways. Save me and from today, make me the person You want me to be.
I receive You Lord Jesus right now by faith. I trust You as my Lord and Savior – Amen”

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What is the Gift of Speaking in Tongues?

The issue of speaking in tongues has been a controversial issue for many years depending on which religious denomination that one belongs to. However, it is important to study and discover what the Bible contextually says about the definition and gift of speaking in tongues.

The word translated “tongues” in both Acts chapter 2 and 1 Corinthians chapter 14 is {glossa} which means “language.” It is the word from which we get our modern English word “glossary.”
The word {glossa} refers specifically to a human language or an understandable language.
Therefore speaking in tongues was the ability to speak in a language the speaker does not know, in order to communicate God’s word to someone who does speak that language.
So from the example of Acts 2:1-12, the gift of tongues is supernaturally speaking in a language a person does not know in order to minister God’s word to someone who does speak that language.
So a Christian who did not learn how to speak French can be supernaturally gifted by the Holy Spirit to minister in the French language for the benefit of the French people who are with him.

1 Corinthians 14:22 says: Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers. [Emphasis Added]

According to 1 Corinthians 14:22, the gift of tongues is a sign primarily for unbelievers (who speak a different language) so that the gospel may be communicated by the power of the Holy Spirit.
An example that speaking in tongues was primarily for unbelievers is found in Acts 2:1-12 where the gift of tongues first occurred. In Acts 2 at Pentecost, Christ’s disciples (who were Jews) spoke in other languages which they had never learnt in order to communicate God’s word to the many foreigners who were present.

Acts 2:1-13When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

The Bible does not refer to speaking in tongues as a secret language of angels nor as incoherent speech. But it refers to one speaking in a known human language that is ordinarily spoken by humans from different nations. The Greek interpretation through out the New Testament refers to tongues being a known human language.

In order to avoid confusion and deception, the Scriptures are also clear that whenever a person speaks in tongues, then there is to be verifiable interpretation of the tongues. Therefore the gift of speaking in tongues and the interpretation cannot be separated from each other (1 Corinthians 14:9-13; 23, 27).
1 Corinthians 14:27 says: If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret.
The interpretation of tongues would happen through somebody who naturally understood the language being spoken by the tongues-speaker as was in the case in Acts 2:1-13 where foreigners recognized that Christ’s disciples were speaking their foreign languages.
Alternatively the Holy Spirit would give the gift of interpretation to people so that they would supernaturally interpret what the tongues-speaker was saying for the benefit of everyone.

In conclusion, the gift of speaking in tongues is a supernatural gift which is given by the Holy Spirit. However, the scriptures identify this gift of tongues as being limited to speaking known human languages and not “angelic” languages or any type of incoherent speech which cannot be interpreted.
The Bible is also clear that whenever a person or people speak in tongues, then there must be verifiable interpretation of the tongues which are being spoken in order to avoid confusion and deception.

 

The Voice of Truth

[Article by Lantz Manomano]

What is the voice of truth? It is only by reading and understanding the Bible that we can know the truth about life. Therefore the voice of truth is the word of God.
However every single day we hear many voices from the time we wake up to the time we go to sleep. These voices usually shape our perception about life and they may also determine our destiny in life.
Which voice are you listening to? Can you distinguish the different voices that speak into your life? Are these voices good or are they bad? How do we differentiate between the voice of God and the other voices that speak to us?
There are many voices but there is one true voice that overcomes all other voices and this is the voice that we should all want to know. Therefore we want to look at some of the many voices that we may encounter on a daily basis and see if we can relate to at least one of them or all of them.

 

THE MANY VOICES versus THE VOICE OF TRUTH

1- The Voice of Fear: this voice always speaks when we want to progress in life. This voice speaks when we are afraid to face someone or a situation. This also the voice that fears the unknown. It sets a limitation on the strides towards progress and forces one to stay in a comfort zone.
Deuteronomy 31:6 says: Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you
The voice of truth, which is the word of God however says fear not nor be afraid of them and the reason for not to fear is because God will go with you and He will not fail nor forsake you.

2- The Voice of Condemnation: this is the voice that prefers that we live in guilt and depression rather than in the freedom Christ has given us. This voice consistently reminds us of our past sins and failures even though we have been forgiven by God. This voice may also try to make us doubt God and the assurance of our salvation in Christ because it always speaks when we slip up so that we doubt God’s love and forgiveness in our lives.
However the voice of truth reminds us that Christ came to give us life and that whoever believes in Him is not condemned but comes to the light so that his deeds may be made manifest.
John 3:16-17 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
Romans 8:1 says: There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

3 – The Voice of Self-Deception: this is the voice where one is able to deceive himself. This is the voice in which one believes his own lies. We corrupt ourselves inwardly. This voice hates the truth and therefore seeks to cover up or avoid the consequences of one’s actions. This voice creates a false reality about one’s life or about a specific situation. When we believe the voice of self-deception, we do not see life or our circumstances as we truly should. 2 Timothy 3:8 speaks of men who oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith.
John 3:19-20 says: And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
However, the voice of truth which is God’s word reveals that we must seek the truth because the truth will set us free (John 8:32).

4 – The Voice of Worldly Reasoning: This is one of the most dangerous voices because it always wants to water down the Word of God. This is the voice that views the Word of God as foolishness because it is based on worldly wisdom. This voice looks at the natural and not the spiritual. Therefore worldly reasoning opposes faith in God. This voice is also based on the philosophy, culture and traditions of man rather than God.
The voice of worldly reasoning looks at outward appearances and speaks only from a worldly understanding. For example atheists pride themselves in using reason and not faith. Worldly reasoning therefore trusts in the wisdom and philosophy of men rather than the wisdom of God.
So the voice of worldly reasoning deprives people from knowing God and from living by faith.
1 Corinthians 1:18-22 says: For the word of the cross is folly 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, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” 20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.
The voice of truth says that the just shall live by faith (Romans 1:17) and that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6)

5 – The Voice of False Doctrines: 2 Timothy 4:4 says that many people “will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into many myths”.
Therefore the voice of false doctrines leads us astray from listening to the truth of God’s word.
The voice of false doctrines makes us follow false teachers who are both deceived and are deceiving others. This voice also deceives us into following false signs and wonders.
Matthew 24:24-25 says: For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand
It is therefore a subtle but dangerous voice that shows outward results but whose source is not from God but is from satan.
The voice of truth however says that we shall recognize false teachers by their fruits (Matthew 7:15-20).
2 Timothy 2:15 says: Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

These are some of the voices that we face daily and we constantly have to take a stand in order to overcome these voices as they compete against the one true voice which is the voice of God. Do you ever experience any of these voices? How do you respond to these voices when they present themselves? It takes time to learn of these voices and we need to differentiate the voice of truth from all these other voices.

 

HOW TO DISTINGUISH THE VOICE OF TRUTH FROM THE OTHER VOICES?
In John 10:27-28 Jesus said: My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

Earlier on Jesus said the following in John 10:4-5: “When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”

It is a tiring thing when we listen to many voices at the same time. It causes confusion and indecision. Therefore there is only one voice that matters, and that is the voice of God.
We therefore must be able to differentiate between the voice of truth and the other voices that compete for our attention.

So below are some of the ways we can get to know the voice of truth:

1. Studying the Word of God: the Word of God separates the voice of truth from any other voice that does not glorify God. As we study the Word of God we develop an ear of the voice of truth which always speaks after all the other voices, that still small voice that is supported by the Word of God (Psalms 1:1-3).

2. By Yielding to the Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit is our Teacher and Guide who teaches us all things and He guides us into all truth. By doing so we are able to differentiate truth from any other voice that does not portrait truth at all. Yielding and trusting the Holy Spirit brings peace when many voices speak because we will be trusting not in ourselves but we will be trusting in the word of God by the guidance of His Spirit (John 14:26, John 16:13.)

3. By Diligently Seeking God: God rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6) and this can be done by deliberately putting God first and seeking Him and His righteousness and hearing His voice when He says trust me for today and I will take care of tomorrow when it comes (Mathew 6:34).

4. Renewing Our Minds: this is so that we have to prove what is good, acceptable and the perfect will of God (Romans 12:2). We have to put away the voices that are not good, acceptable and not the perfect will of God and instead meditate and obey God’s word.

 

THE ADVANTAGES OF THE VOICE OF TRUTH
• It sets us free from being slaves to any other voice that does not speak truth.
• It leads us to have confidence in the Lord and not to depend in ourselves
• The voice of truth is found in the Word of God, so the Word of God is where we hear the voice of God.
• The spirit of guilt and fear is lifted every time we allow the voice of truth to lead us
• When we yield to the voice of truth, our paths are made straight
• As the voice truth becomes the dominant voice in our lives, Christ can be glorified through the transformation of our lives.

Final word, God is good and does not leave us unequipped but He equips us through His word.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 
The Holy Spirit who is our great teacher and also through our brothers and sisters in Christ who are there to remind us of God’s voice and point us to Christ.
The voice of truth speaks of life and redeems us from eternal death and carries us through trials and tribulations. It teaches us to pray, seek and to glory and boast in the Lord.
Many voices will come but there is only one voice that overcomes and that stands forever and this is the voice of Truth.
Be blessed and continue to shine for the Lord and also for those who question God’s existence please pray for God to show up and reveal Himself in your life.

 

Do Apostles Exist Today?

For several decades there has been a growing movement which has been promoting the concept and teaching that God has been restoring the office of apostle and prophet within the church. This particular movement is known as the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).
Therefore in many churches today throughout the world, one will notice that there is a growing number of leaders who claim to hold both the title and the office of “apostle” or “prophet”. As such these leaders will claim to possess the same authority, the same power and the same ministry of apostleship as Biblical apostles such as Peter, Paul, John, James and any of the other apostles whom Jesus Christ personally hand-picked or selected.

However, do apostles still exist today? What does the Bible say are the qualifications of an apostle? Does the Bible support the existence of the office of apostle centuries after the canon of scripture has been completed? Do the people who claim to be apostles today have the same power, authority and ministry functions as the 12 apostles whom Jesus selected?

It’s important to note that the teaching through the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement that God is restoring back the office of apostle and prophet is unbiblical and therefore a false teaching.
Therefore people should be cautious to avoid being deceived and led astray by the NAR movement and some of their other teachings.

Below let’s have a look at the reasons why there are no true apostles today and why the office of apostle and prophet ceased to exist at least 2000 years ago.

 

WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS OF AN APOSTLE?
The word apostle means “sent ones” or one who is sent on a mission. The Bible teaches us that to be an apostle of Jesus Christ one had to meet a specific criteria or qualifications to become an apostle. From Luke 6:13 we learn that from among Christ’s many disciples, Jesus chose only 12 people to have the special designation of becoming an apostle. Later in Scripture after Judas’ betrayal, people like Matthias and Paul were also selected to be apostles.

According to Scripture the criteria for being an apostle are the following:
1. An apostle had to have physically seen the Lord and been an eyewitness of Christ’s resurrection (Acts 1:22; 22:14; 1 Corinthians 9:1).
2. A true apostle had to be someone who followed Jesus during His entire earthly ministry beginning from Jesus’ baptism to Jesus’ ascension into Heaven (Acts 1:22)
3. A true apostle had to be someone who was personally selected and hand-picked by Jesus Christ Himself (Luke 6:13)
4. An apostle had the God-given authority and inspiration by the Holy Spirit to write Scripture
5. An apostle performed verifiable signs, miracles and wonders which proved that they were apostles who were specifically selected by Jesus (2 Corinthians 12:12)

Many of the people who claim to be apostles today do not meet the criteria or qualifications mentioned above.

 

THE WORK OF THE APOSTLES AS THE FOUNDATION OF THE CHURCH
The work or mission of the apostles was unique and foundational for the universal Church of God.
Ephesians 2:20 says that the Church or the body of Christ was “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets”. What does this mean? This foundation refers to our Christian beliefs and doctrine. Our entire Christian doctrine is based in part on the work and writings of the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament apostles who spoke for God and whom God used in order to write and complete the entire canon of scripture (the Bible) that we read today.
The entire scripture from the Old Testament to the New Testament all point to the Messiah, Jesus Christ who is the chief cornerstone of the Church.
Therefore the foundation of the Church was built upon the unique mission and purpose that God had given both His prophets from the Old Testament and the few apostles He commissioned in the New Testament with Jesus Christ being the central message.

Therefore the Bible with all its 66 books would not exist without the writings and work of the prophets and apostles. So prophets and apostles represented God in a unique way in that they would speak and write for God, by the inspiration and authority of the Holy Spirit, thereby setting the foundation for the Church which is the Christian / Biblical doctrines and beliefs.

None of the people who claim to be “apostles” or “prophets” today can claim to write scriptures under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit nor can they claim to have physically seen the resurrected Jesus.
Within the pages of God’s word from Genesis to Revelations, God has said all that He wants to say to mankind. Therefore any so-called new revelations or new prophecies from anyone claiming to be an apostle or prophet should be scrutinized and judged through the lenses of God’s scriptures.
Revelations 22:18-19 pronounces a curse on anyone who attempts to add or subtract the contents of God’s word.

 

WHO or WHAT ARE FALSE APOSTLES?
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 says: For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
Anyone who claims to hold the office of an apostle can be described as a false apostle. To be a true apostle one has to meet most of the 5 criteria or qualifications mentioned above.
Therefore none of the men today who claim to be apostles meet any of the 5 qualifications.
The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement is therefore a false movement because one of their primary beliefs that God is restoring the office of prophet and apostle is unbiblical and misleading.
The hidden agenda of these types of movements is rooted in man’s sinful desire to lord over, control or have unbiblical power and authority over others. It is a narcissistic agenda.
Most people who claim to be apostles are “super apostles” who claim to have equal or surpassing authority than Christ’s apostles who are mentioned in the Bible. The NAR movement and other false apostles also claim that they themselves are the “foundation” of the Church. These false apostles also claim to sit at the top of the “church hierarchy” and therefore believe that whatever they teach or prophesy or declare cannot be challenged by anyone because of their ministry of “apostleship”.
However, the office of apostle and prophet ceased almost 2000 years ago because the canon of scripture is complete. The foundation of the Church is already built with Jesus Christ as its chief cornerstone. It is not man who will build the church but it is Jesus Christ who will build His Church.
We must therefore be careful to avoid being misled by anyone claiming to be an apostle or prophet or by any teachings that are linked to the NAR movement.

 

How to Leave and Recover From A Cult

Nobody ever wakes up one morning and says to themselves “Today I want to join a cult”.
Very few people have been lured into a cult with the immediate understanding that the religious group that they have joined was in fact a cult.
Examples of some well-known cults that claim to be Christian include the Jehovah’s Witnesses’, the Mormons, the Moonies, Christian Science, Scientologists and many other groups that teach shepherding or spiritual covering doctrines, antinomianism, legalism, prosperity gospel and word of faith theology.

It’s important to understand that many cults can become spiritually and mentally destructive because they rewire the brains of their members through using mind control or brainwashing techniques.
Therefore deception and manipulation techniques are essential tactics that are used by most cults in order to both control their members and to achieve their overall objective.

For more information and perspective regarding the definition of a cult and how the majority of them operate please (read: What is a Cult? The Characteristics of a Cult) and also (read: 12 Characteristics of a Cult Leader)

However, what does a person do when he has discovered that he has joined a cult and has been in such a group for several years?
For many cult members, leaving a cult can be one of the most difficult things to do. Most religious cults have a tendency to put their members into spiritual, emotional, physical and mental bondage. This bondage can make it very difficult for a member to leave the group even if the member is aware that the group is controlling or abusive.
The more that a member has invested his time into the group, the more difficult it might become for that particular member to leave.

I’ve often spoken to cult members who would be aware of the unethical, abusive and extremely controlling nature of their group but yet the members would remain loyal to the group for various irrational or insensible reasons.
The control and bondage in a cultic system can be so strong that the thought of leaving a cult may inject fear and guilt in many members even if they are aware that the group is abusive and Biblically unorthodox.
The cultic system is also designed to create physical, mental, financial and spiritual dependency. Therefore such dependencies create the perception in the mind of the members whereby they incorrectly believe that they cannot “survive” or become “whole” if they were to leave the group.
The various cultic mind control techniques such as the Us vs Them mentality, the love bombing, the overwhelming service, the isolation of members and the authoritarian leadership all work together as a system in order to control the mind & life of the member so that the member remains in bondage to the group even if the member understands the abusive nature of the group

The factors that may prevent a member from leaving an abusive cult may be the following:
1. The member is fearful of the abusive repercussions or harassment from the group or its leadership if the member leaves
2. The member is so indoctrinated by the group’s false teachings that he is afraid of integrating or assimilating back into society or into a new religious group which may have differing doctrines
3. Even though the member may know about the abusive aspects of the cult, the member might be enjoying various benefits of being part of the group, such as a title or position of power, money, or recognition within the group
4. The member may lack an outside support system to help him to leave the cult due to being isolated from friends and family who are non-members.

 

HOW DO PEOPLE GET OUT OF RELIGIOUS CULTS?
Different members will leave a cult in different ways and for different reasons. There are 5 different ways that a member usually leaves a cult. I call them “The 5 Rs”

1. The Researcher
This is a person who joins a cult but has no idea that he has joined a deceptive or a high control group. Over a period of time, he observes some red flags eg. false teachings; a culture of sexual immorality within the group or from the cult leader; hypocrisy, mind control and brainwashing techniques. Perhaps he notices that within the group there are also abnormal expectations, standards and behavoiurs that are not in sync with normal society or even Scripture itself.
This person then decides to research about the group or he stumbles upon information which basically explains the red flags that he has been observing within the group. The information might be specific to the history of the group and its cultic behavior or the information may generally explain, verify or confirm the false doctrines and cultic system happening within the group. Based on the confirming information, the Researcher eventually leaves the group.

2. The Rebel
This is the person with an independent mind and exercises critical thinking. However within the group he is viewed as a rebel for having an independent mind even though his critical thinking is normal and legitimate.
This person might not be initially aware that he has joined a cult but will have this gut feeling and inner sense that there is something wrong with the group’s methods, the group dynamics and even the teachings.
This person simply does not agree with the cultic system or specific controlling and manipulative techniques of the system and is not afraid to express his thoughts and criticisms. He sees hypocrisy and repression and he is not afraid to point it out. He also questions the doctrines and methods of the group.
He may also become apathetic. Eventually the Rebel leaves because he would rather exit the group than conform to the controlling and manipulative system of the group.

3. The Rescued
This is the person who exits the group after receiving counselling and information about the true nature and hidden beliefs of the group. Perhaps an ex-member, a friend, a counsellor or a genuine Christian who is not part of the group informs and educates the member about the cult and its deceptive behavior and methods. The veil of deception is removed and the person accepts the information and through the support and encouragement of non-members is eventually able to leave the group.
The Rescued is also someone who may have had a desire to leave the cult but however was too fearful or afraid of leaving the group because of bondage or the backlash of being harassed for leaving. The Rescued then seeks outside assistance and support in order to exit the group.
The Rescued is somebody who is usually open-minded and is sincerely searching for spiritual truth even though he may be currently under the spell or deception of the cult. Therefore the Rescued’s open-mindedness and his sincere search for spiritual or Biblical truth enables him to objectively accept truthful information that exposes the cult he has joined.

4. The Ravaged
This is the person who has been burnt out, abused, or victimized either by the leadership or by the cultic system itself. The person becomes traumatized by the system and exploited to the extent that he is unable to function within the group. The person is abused spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally or financially to the point that one day he wakes up and decides that he no longer wants to be part of the group. Perhaps this person has been cheated of his hard earned money by the cult. Perhaps the person was sexually exploited by the cult leader whilst in the group. Perhaps he has lost his job or loved ones because of the group. He may realize that the group has been placing him in bondage and deceiving him all along, and this then motivates him to leave.

5. The Rejected
This is the person who has been marked, shunned and ex-communicated for various reasons. He has been removed from the group and is no longer wanted as a member. The Rejected is either perceived as:
• too rebellious to control or manipulate within the cult;
• corruptive / toxic to other indoctrinated members,
• a threat to leadership or to the cultic system;
• utterly useless to the agenda or the group.
Cult members may also be told to avoid communicating or fellowshipping in any form with a marked person.

 

HOW TO LEAVE A RELIGIOUS CULT
It is very important to realize the following when leaving a cult: You do not need permission from the group to leave. Do not be afraid to leave. If you have decided to leave the group – then simply leave and don’t look back. Exercise your God given freewill and LEAVE and NEVER LOOK BACK.
Generally cults do not let people go very easily. With a cult, there is no legitimate reason to leave and former followers are always considered wrong in leaving.
The cultic system is designed to put its members in mental bondage and to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation should any member decide to oppose the culture or beliefs of the group.

If as a member you decide that you want to leave a cult, here are several practical ways that you can leave:

1. Find Outside Assistance or Support
Most cults tend to isolate their members from friends or family members who are not part of the group. Isolation of members makes it easier for the cult leaders to control their members’ lives.
It’s therefore important to seek the help, support and encouragement of people who are not part of the cult in order to help you with your transition and departure out of the group.
Non-members are able to provide a sense of confidence and clarity and also emotional, spiritual and psychological support. They will also help remove the dependency syndrome on the group that was created in you during your time with them.
Depending on the destructive nature of the cult, outside assistance and support can include family, friends, counselors, doctors, lawyers, police or a genuine Christian church or whoever is appropriate to help you exit and recover from the deception, trauma, abuse or confusion caused by group.

2. Receive Counselling
At times it may be necessary to receive counselling in order to help you deal with any trauma or abuse you may have experienced in the group. It is always important to receive counselling from anyone who has no direct association with the group in order to get a clear and objective understanding of your experience and circumstance. Therefore find someone to talk to who is objective and is not part of the group.
It is therefore necessary to gradually deal with the wrong belief systems and abusive encounters during your time in the group. Counselling or talking to someone outside the group gives you a better perspective.

3. Avoid or Minimize Contact With The Group
When you have left the group, you are likely to be contacted by the members in an effort to charm you or sweet-talk you into returning back to the group. Remember that cults always have a problem with letting go because of their culture of placing their members under bondage. Therefore they will use love-bombing and charm offensive techniques to draw you back into bondage. Some cults may even harass you vindictively for leaving them.
Therefore when you have left the group, you have no obligation to take their phone calls or to invite them into your home especially if they have been deceptive and destructive. Remember to leave and don’t look back.

 

WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THE BIBLE?
Cults are a counterfeit of the true Christian church. Whilst the true church of God provides freedom in Christ, a cult will produce legalism and spiritual bondage.
All cults that claim to be Christian will proclaim a false gospel and a different Jesus (or a false concept of Christ). However the true church of God proclaims the true gospel and glorifies the Biblical Christ.
Cults mostly have authoritarian and abusive leaders and false teachers, whilst the church of God encourages leaders who are servants and do not lord over others (Matthew 20:25-26).
Cults teach doctrines of demons because they are ultimately inspired by demonic spirits, whilst the church of God is directed by the Holy Spirit through whom all Scripture is inspired.

It is important to realize that every day there is a spiritual battle between good and evil. According to the Bible, we do not fight against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces of darkness (Ephesians 6:12).
Satan himself has people who “disguise themselves as servants of righteousness” but yet they are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Acts 20:28-31Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 says the following about false teachers “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.”

In Galatians 1:6-10, Paul says the following: “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. 10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

2 Corinthians 11:4 says: For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.

Jude 4 says: For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

2 John 1:10If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them.

2 Peter 2:1-3But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.

Matthew 7:15-16Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?

Matthew 24:23-25“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs & wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand”

1 John 4:1Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

Philippians 3:18-19For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame — who set their mind on earthly things.

 

 

 

Discovering God’s Will Through The Bible

How can you discover God’s will for your life? How can you understand the will of God for specific areas or circumstances in your life?
The truth is, the will of God can only be found in one place – the Bible.
The Bible is where we discover God’s thoughts, God’s principles and God’s plans for mankind. Without Scripture to guide us, we can become spiritually lost. Therefore knowing God’s will through the scriptures will help us to avoid confusion and deception from entering our daily lives.

Below are some Bible verses which can help us to understand and know God’s will for different areas of our life:

1. It is God’s will for us to give Him thanks in every circumstance of our life including tests and trials.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
James 1:2-4 – Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

2. It is God’s will to give us wisdom in all areas of our life.
James 1:5 – If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
Ephesians 5:15-17 – Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

3. It is God’s will for us to be just; to love mercy and kindness; and to be humble.
Micah 6:8 – He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

4. It is the will of God that we abstain from all forms of sexual immorality.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 – For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor,

5. It is the will of God that we deny ourselves to follow Christ daily.
Luke 9:23 – And He said to all, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”
Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

6. It is God’s will for people to repent and be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth
2 Peter 3:9 – The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
1 Timothy 2:3-4 – This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

7. It is God’s will to equip us to do His good purposes and for good works
Ephesians 2:10 – For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Hebrews 13:20-21 – Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen

8. It is God’s will for us to pray according to His plans and purposes.
James 4:15 – Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
1 John 5:14-15 – And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.
Matthew 6:10 – Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

9. It is God’s will that we put our total trust and faith in Him in all areas of our life.
Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 – “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. 8 He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

10. It is God’s will to spiritually cleanse us and to forgive us of all our sins
1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

11. It is the will of God for you to glorify Him alone
Colossians 3:23-24 – Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
1 Corinthians 10:31 – So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

12. It is the will of God that we bear good fruit and live according to the Holy Spirit and not according to the flesh or sinful nature
Galatians 5:16-26 – But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

13. It is the will of God that we study His word and share it with the world
Psalms 1:1-2 – Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
Mark 16:15 – And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

14. It is the will of God that we love God and love others
Matthew 22:37-40 – And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

These are just but a few Bible verses which help us to understand God’s will for various areas of our life.
Therefore the more we read and study God’s word, the more God will reveal to us His will through the Scriptures and by the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

10 Ideas For Your New Year’s Resolutions

With every new year that arrives, many of us will plan and formulate a variety of new year’s resolutions.
The new year always gives us a sense of a new start; new opportunities and they help us to reflect on past successes and past mistakes and what we can do in the next 12 months of the year in order to make our life a bit more better.
Therefore setting goals is good because it gives us a sense of purpose and direction in life.
However if our destiny or purpose in life is to be meaningful then we need to learn to plan and create the right goals for our life.
It is not only the goals that are temporary in nature that are important, but also it is important to set spiritual goals because spiritual goals are the ones that create a strong foundation for our daily living throughout the year.

Below are 10 Ideas For Your New Year’s Resolutions

1. SPEND MORE TIME READING & STUDYING GOD’S WORD
How much time do you spend reading and studying God’s word by yourself? Are you the type of person who enjoys to be spiritually spoon-fed by others or do you take the time to study God’s word alone? It is imperative to our personal spiritual growth for us to learn to spend more time studying and meditating on God’s word by having our own personal Bible study time.

Psalm 1:1-3 says: Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

According to Psalm 1:1-3 there are benefits to studying God’s word in that we are constantly refreshed, encouraged and experience spiritual growth through the meditation and study of His word. Whatever we do prospers in the Lord because we have God’s wisdom when we obey His word.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 says: All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

RESOLUTION # 1: Let it be your new year’s resolution that you spend more personal time both studying and meditating on God’s word.

 

2. SPEND MORE TIME WITH GOD IN PRAYER
How much time do you spend with God in prayer? How often are you distracted by the details of life so that it has led you to spend less time with God in prayer? Do you pray for other people as often as you pray for yourself? Do you pray more for material things instead of praying for the things of God which are spiritual and intangible?
Changing the way we pray is important. We need to pray with the mind of seeking God’s will and not our own will. In addition to praying for our own needs, we also need to develop a culture of praying about the things that concern God.
1 John 5:14-15 says: And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.

RESOLUTION # 2: Let your new year’s resolution be to spend more time communicating with God and praying according to His will.

 

3. LET CHRIST INCREASE WHILE YOU DECREASE
John the Baptist once famously said that Christ must increase while he must decrease (John 3:30).
Galatians 2:20 says: I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

The whole purpose of the Christian life is that it is Jesus Christ who should be in total control of our individual life. Our salvation is found in Jesus Christ alone and therefore only He can take full Lordship over our life.

RESOLUTION # 3: Let your new year’s resolution be to reveal more of the nature and character of Jesus Christ in your daily life.

 

4. SHARE THE WORD OF GOD TO OTHERS
How often do you share the gospel to other people? How often do you share His word?
Remember that sharing God’s word has not been exclusively reserved for a pastor or a church leader.
Every Christian person belongs to the priesthood of believers. Therefore every Christian believer is a minister of the gospel and the word of God.

Mark 16:15 says: And He said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”

RESOLUTION # 4: Let your new year’s resolution be to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and to encourage and teach other people the word of God with the aim that people may intimately know Christ.

 

5. PUT ON THE FULL ARMOUR OF GOD
Life is full of challenges, trials, temptations and all kinds of spiritual warfare. Therefore the new year will always bring its own share of problems and issues.
However, we must always be ready and prepared in Christ for the battles that come our way.

Ephesians 6:10-18 says: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

RESOLUTION # 5: Let your new year’s resolution be to put on the full armour of God

 

6. RESPOND WITH LOVE IN EVERY SITUATION
We are living in the last days and Jesus warned that in the end times the love of many will grow cold. In other words, many people no longer have a culture of love, empathy or compassion. Instead a culture and conduct of individualism, self-centeredness and narcissism are on the rise.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says: Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends…

RESOLUTION # 6: Let your new year’s resolution be to act and respond in love in every situation in life – even to people you may not always get along with.

 

7. SEEK THE THINGS ABOVE & NOT ON THE EARTH
Tomorrow is not promised to anyone. The solemn reality is that no one can predict the day or the hour of their death. We can all die at anytime.
Therefore what is the real focus of our daily life? Is it mostly to focus on worldly and earthly pursuits? Do we live simply to make money and acquire as much material possessions as we can? Or is there more to life than the pursuit of the things that we will one day leave behind when we die?

2 Corinthians 4:18 says: As we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Colossians 3:1-2 says: If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

RESOLUTION # 7: Let your new year’s resolution be to pursue that which matters to God the most.

 

8. BE THANKFUL IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES
How thankful are you? Do you always count your blessings? Are you thankful for the small things in life?
Even when we face various tests and trials, God sometimes allows them to develop our character and to lead us into a place where we depend upon Him alone.
It is also the revealed will of God that we be thankful in every situation in life.

James 1:2-4 says: Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says: Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

RESOLUTION # 8: Let your new year’s resolution be to have an attitude of gratitude in every circumstance.

 

9. DEFEND THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
We live in a world where apostasy and heresy is on the rise. Jesus Himself warned that there will be a rise in false prophets and false teachings (Matthew 7:15-23; Matthew 24:24).
Therefore it has become necessary that we become cautious and alert in order to avoid spiritual deception from creeping into our life.
It has become necessary more than ever that we test the spirits and that we have the attitude of the Bereans in Acts 17 who studied the word of God and verified whatever was preached.
Every Christian believer must be prepared to stand for the truth and expose evil and deception even at the cost of being persecuted.

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

Ephesians 5:11-13 says: Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible,

RESOLUTION # 9: Let your new year’s resolution be to boldly speak the truth in love and expose spiritual deception when it comes your way

 

10. ALWAYS GIVE GLORY TO GOD ALONE
The Christian believer’s life does not belong himself. It belongs to God. We do not live to glorify ourselves but we live in order to glorify God in whatever we do.

Colossians 3:17 says: And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him

Colossians 3:23-24 says: Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

RESOLUTION # 10: Let your new year’s resolution be to give honour, praise and glory to God alone because He alone deserves it.

May the good Lord bless you and guide you and give you wisdom throughout the entire year.

 

Who Does God Really Love?

[Article by Lantz Manomano]—

In life we all experience different problems and tragedies that may lead us to question both the love of God and sometimes even the existence of God.
Perhaps tragic situations, the worsening state of the world and even or our daily personal challenges can bring us to a place where we have a variety of questions about God’s love.

Due to the different experiences that we face, we may have thoughts and questions about God’s love such as these:
“If God is so loving, why does He allow me to have so many problems in my life?”
“Why does it feel as if God loves other people more than me?”
“Why does it seem as if God blesses other people and I always feel cursed?”
“If God is so loving, why does He allow bad things to happen to good / innocent people?”
“If God exists, why did He not stop the evil and tragedies in my life?”
“If God exists, why do I not feel the love of God in my life?”

So does God love only a specific kind of people? Do we have to earn God’s love? If God exists, why is His love not so evident in some people’s lives?
There are some people who say you have to do good in order to receive or earn God’s love.
Others just come to the conclusion that there is no God because of the tragic situations that they experience and witness in life.
In some scenario’s those who have come to know of God’s love and experience, make it seem as if God’s love is reserved for only them alone.
However, what does the Bible really teach about God’s love?

 

IS GOD’S LOVE FOR ALL PEOPLE, OR IS IT RESERVED FOR A SPECIFIC PEOPLE?
Genesis 1:26-27 states that God created man in His image and after His likeness, so whether one is a believer or non-believer everyone on earth has been created in God’s image and after His likeness.
Being made in the image of God means that we have certain qualities and virtues that are similar to God. Therefore, since we are made after His likeness, then just like God we have the capacity to express various aspects of God’s nature such as love, compassion, empathy, grief, faithfulness, patience and so many other attributes. Being made in God’s image also means that we have the capacity to hate. For example, we have the capacity to hate evil or any kind of wickedness or sin.

Before the fall of man or the entrance of sin, Adam and Eve were made perfect and having been made perfectly in God’s image, they could perfectly express the nature and character of God in their life because sin had not yet entered into humanity. Both Adam and Eve could perfectly receive and express the love of God because they had a perfect and unaltered relationship with God.
However this perfection did not last long as Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s word and that’s when man fell short of God’s glory (Genesis 3:1-24). One of the first things that Adam and Eve did after they sinned against God was to hide from Him. Their love of God turned into fear and guilt and shame.
When Adam sinned, humanity’s once perfect image became flawed and altered because sin now reigns in man. For example, we do not love perfectly; our ability to express compassion is flawed; we no longer live truthfully or faithfully and we cannot please God perfectly by our own strength or personal effort. Furthermore our perception of the true character and nature of God is imperfect – all because of sin that reigns in the world.

Romans 3:23 says: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
From Romans 3:23 we discover that it’s not a specific people that fell short of God’s glory but it says that ALL have sinned and therefore EVERYONE is guilty of disobeying God’s commandments.
The fact that we have sinned against God means that we all deserve God’s wrath and judgment.
However God is love and one of His attributes is that He is gracious and slow to anger.
Therefore instead of having His wrath on us, Jesus Christ took the penalty on our behalf in order to save us from eternal damnation and to reconcile us to God (John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:18).
John 3:16 says: For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

1 John 2:2 states that He did not only die for the believer but also for the world (everyone). Just by looking into these few verses one can see that God’s love is not reserved for a specific people but it is for all. Why then believe that God’s love is for a specific people?
Hosea 4:6 states my people are destroyed because of lack of knowledge. If one has no idea that God loves them and has forgiven them they’ll die believing that their wrongs/sins are greater than Christ’s sacrifice for us, which is the devil’s lie.

Psalm 145:8-9 says: The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 The Lord is good to all, and His mercy is over all that He has made.

 

DOES ONE HAVE TO WORK FOR GOD’S LOVE?
God’s love is a free gift to all mankind through Christ’s death and resurrection. Through His grace God gives us the free gift of eternal life because of the payment Jesus made on our behalf on the cross.
Unfortunately, many believe that we have to earn God’s love or to work for it. However Ephesians 2:8-10 speaks of God’s love and grace and it shows that it’s God who has done all the work of salvation and it is not of our effort lest we should boast before God.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

According to 1 John 4:7-8, love is of God and one is able to receive this love once they know and have a personal relationship with God.
1 John 4:7-8 says: Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

People spend all their lives trying to gain God’s love through works and deeds whilst the Lord is saying just believe in what I have done for you through Christ and to allow God to love them and lead them into a place of true love.

 

SHOULD SUFFERING PREVENT US FROM BELIEVING IN GOD’S EXISTENCE?
Psalms 14:1 states that a fool says in his heart there is no God. We live in a fallen world. We live in very evil times. People are increasingly corrupt and there are many trials and tribulations that we face in the world. However the challenges and trials in our life must not prevent us from believing in God’s existence.
A human father does not hide his children from life’s experiences but helps and guides his children through the course & challenges of life. He also picks them up and teaches them not to lose hope and to make wise choices. Same with God. In 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT) it says: The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

The Lord sees us in this fallen world and He teaches us how to stay strong and guides us on the right path to take. Even though we struggle with different kinds of trials, His love for us remains and He will not leave us nor forsake us and He will one day deliver us. That’s God’s love for us until He restores everything to the perfection He created it to be.

God has given every man freewill or the ability to make their own choices. During these times people make freewill choices. Some choices lead to life and others lead to tragedies and suffering.
In moments of confusion and tragedy people question God’s love and God’s existence because of the pain they will be going through. They say if God loves them, why does He allow them to go through such bad experiences.
One thing we forget is that God allows us to exercise our freewill and because of this the Lord does not control us just as one would control a machine or a robot. However in every situation in our life, both good and bad, we must yield to Christ’s Lordship because He is more than willing to lead and direct our footsteps.

Unfortunately man loves leading his own life until something goes wrong and then he blames God for the consequences of his own choices.
Proverbs 14:12 says: There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.

God never promised that life will always be a smooth sail. However God promises that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Our job is to believe in Him; to trust Him and to remember He is always ready to guide us. In every situation in our life we must totally depend on God for purpose and direction even when we don’t understand the reasons for our pain and suffering.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Sometimes we tend to place our trust in people or in the things that we can touch or see. However believers are called to trust in God whom we cannot physically see or touch.
Jeremiah 17:5 states that cursed is the man that trusts man and depart from the fear of the Lord,

The irony of atheism is that an atheist tends to blame God for all the problems in the world, whilst believing that this same God does not exist. The truth is God is not at fault for all the problems in the world. Instead sin exists because of the fall of man and his own sinful nature. Man has been given freewill and instead of choosing to do good, he chooses to do evil which eventually leads to kinds of problems and trials not only for himself, but also for others.
Jeremiah 17:9 states how the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked.

However God loves all atheists despite their reasons for not believing in Him. Jesus Christ died for all people – including atheists. God loves everyone and wants all men to be saved (1 Timothy 2:3-6).
God is not far if an atheist repents and has a change of heart. God will not force Himself on them but will allow them to choose to love Him on their own.
It is God’s goodness that leads one to repentance. Repentance involves turning from unbelief, self-reliance to turning to belief in God and relying on Him.
Romans 5:8 says: But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
The difference between one who experiences God’s love and one who doesn’t is in receiving the gift of God, which came through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for us (John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 1:18).

In conclusion, God’s greatest expression of His love for all mankind was through His Son Jesus Christ whom He sent to pay for the sins of mankind. Sin separates us from God, however God reconciled us to Himself when Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sins on the cross. In John 15:13 Jesus said this Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
Jesus Christ laid down His life for the entire world. He paid the debt of sin for every human being because He loves every person no matter how wicked that person has been in the past and no matter what bad situation you might be going through right now.
Our job is simply to freely receive the love of God and to believe in what Christ did for us on the cross and by faith we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour so that He may reign in our daily life.


Food for thought

Does God really love me?
How can I experience God’s Love?
Do I lead myself or Is God leading me?

 

DO YOU WANT TO BE A CHRISTIAN or A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST???

1. ACKNOWLEDGE: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
This means that we have all broken God’s laws and God’s 10 Commandments like those mentioned in Exodus 20:1-17. For example, if you have told a lie; if you have stolen something; if you have lusted after somebody or if you have coveted. This means you are guilty of breaking at least one or more of God’s 10 Commandments. Breaking God’s commandments makes us sinners. The fact that we are sinners who have broken God’s law means that we are accountable to God who is the Lawgiver. Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death BUT the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”
You must acknowledge that you are a sinner who has broken God’s commandments and that you therefore need Jesus in your life.

2. REPENT: “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3), “Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19)
Repenting means: to change your mind; a sincere turning away, in heart, mind and action;
Therefore God wants you to repent of sinful values and of sinful living. God wants you to decide to
follow Him and to make Jesus the Lord of your life.

3. CONFESSION: “If we confess our sins. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)
God is a forgiving God. God will forgive any sin that you have done because Jesus died for ALL your sins and to set you free from the bondage of all types of sin in your life.

4. BELIEVE: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
You must believe that ONLY Jesus can save you and restore your relationship with God. You must believe that Jesus is the ONLY way by which you can have everlasting life and escape from eternal separation from God. You must believe that Jesus died on the cross for you and resurrected from the grave.
“He came to His own, and His own did not receive him, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:11-12)
By faith, You must receive Jesus as Your Lord & Savior and therefore; you become a child of God; you become born again; you become a Christian; you restore your broken relationship with God

Why Not Make Your Eternal Decision NOW?

We become born again Christians by GRACE through FAITH or TOTAL TRUST in Jesus Christ as our Lord & Savior (Galatians 3:26) & (Ephesians 2:8,9). Salvation is a FREE gift received through FAITH in Christ.

PLEASE NOTE: You can choose to pray in your own words. This prayer is a sample prayer and it is only an EXPRESSION of your faith, belief & trust in Jesus. Salvation is by GRACE through FAITH or BELIEVING in Christ Jesus as your Lord & Saviour.

“Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your love. I thank You that You died on the cross for me and resurrected so that I may have life through You.
I confess Lord that I have sinned against You and today I ask You to forgive me of all of my sins, past present and future.
Today I repent and have decided to follow you. Thank you for forgiving all my sins.
From this moment, come into my life Lord Jesus & take full control of my life. I want to follow You Jesus and I want to follow Your ways. Save me and from today, make me the person You want me to be.
I receive You Lord Jesus right now by faith. I trust You as my Lord and Savior – Amen”

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