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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Is Money The Root of All Evil?

For the love of money Balaam desired to curse Israel in return for a handsome payment from Balak. But when God refused both for Balaam to curse Israel and therefore earn the treasure, Balaam later devised a deceptive plan to get Israel to disobey God and worship idols so that he could still earn his payment from Balak (Revelations 2:14; Numbers 22-23; 2 Peter 2:15-16).

For the love of money Elisha’s servant Gehazi lied and secretly obtained the payment which Elisha himself refused from Naaman after Naaman had been cured of his leprosy (2 Kings 5:1-27).

For the love of money Judas would not only occasionally steal from the treasury of Jesus’ ministry, but he also betrayed Christ because of money which was paid to him by the chief priests and elders (Matthew 26:47-50; Matthew 27:3-8).

So we notice just from these few examples that the love of money can cause people to do many strange and wicked things.
For example, in our present day, people around the world have been known to sell their souls to the devil in order to obtain fame and money. Some will sexually sell or prostitute their bodies – all for the love of money. Even to this day, many people are sold as modern-day slaves – all for the love of money.
People will kill for it. Some will die for it. Others will betray friends and family because of it.

Ironically, in many societies and economies, man-made poverty exists among many people because of the love of money. How? When the rich and powerful exploit the poor and the desperate in order to gain more material wealth. In the end the rich get richer and poor become poorer.

Furthermore, many cults and false teachers exist because of the love of money and therefore millions of people over many years have been deceived or spiritually abused because of it.

1 Timothy 6:10 says “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs”. [Emphasis Added]

In 2 Timothy 3:2 it says that in the last days people will be “lovers of money”.

The love of money breeds dishonesty, corruption, greed and a lack of integrity within the human heart. The love of money according to 1 Timothy 6:10 can create a craving that eventually leads to wickedness, deception and self-destruction.
In Psalms 37:16 it says “Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked”.

 

What Did Jesus Teach About Money?
Throughout the ministry of Jesus Christ, it is certain that Jesus had a very consistent message and view when it came to the issue of money.
1. Jesus did not encourage the love nor the craving pursuit of money. For example Jesus said that we cannot love God and money (Matthew 6:24).
2. Jesus viewed money and earthly treasure as temporary and not a priority that is to be sought after. For example Jesus told us not to seek after treasure on earth where moth and rust destroy but rather to seek after heavenly pursuits (Matthew 6:19-21).
3. Jesus understood that money was a false god to many people. For example, the rich young man who claimed to follow all the commandments of God exposed himself as being idolatrous. He loved money more than Christ because he refused to let go of his wealth in order to follow Jesus (Matthew 19:16-22).
4. Jesus taught that life does not consist in the abundance of things or possessions (Luke 12:15).
5. Jesus said that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven (Matthew 19:23-24).

Therefore we will notice that even Jesus’ views and teachings on the issue of money strongly differs with the false prosperity gospel doctrines or teachings of many false teachers.
According to 1 Timothy 6:10 the love of money has caused many people to wander from the true faith or from true, sound Biblical doctrine.
For example, the love of money within the church alone, has created many false gospels / doctrines such as the prosperity gospel, seed faith teachings and word of faith teachings which have led many people astray.
It is because of such wickedness and many more that Scripture tells us that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.

 

How Can We Measure or Discern The Love of Money
Money itself is not evil. However according to 1 Timothy 6:10 it is the love or craving of it that opens doors to all kinds of evil. The love of money is measured by what we are willing to do for it. For example:
a) Are we willing to cheat, deceive or forsake godly and Biblical principles in pursuit of it?
b) Are we willing to sacrifice our integrity and relationships to obtain it?
c) Are we content with what we have or have we fallen into the trap of consistently craving for it?
d) Are we motivated by a spirit of greed and do we insatiably desire it even when it is not really necessary?
e) Do we feel self-confident and secure when we have it, as opposed to when we don’t have money?
f) Do I consistently compare my material and financial situation with others? And am I motivated by jealousy or covetousness to pursue money?

Money itself should only function as a worldly tool that is meant to serve us. We need it in order to transact for goods and services. However we should be careful to avoid falling into the trap or snare where we become slaves to it and we live in order to pursue it rather than to pursue the things of God. We must also not fall into the trap of believing the accumulation of money will satisfy our every human need and desire.
Ecclesiastes 5:10 (ESV) says “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity”
Hebrews 13:5-6 (ESV)
says that “we should keep ourselves away from the love of money because God will never leave us or forsake us”.

Ultimately it is God whom we must trust to provide for our needs. Philippians 4:19 says that God will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Our true satisfaction in life is found in Jesus Christ through having a relationship with Him. Christ alone is our satisfaction and our true Source of all that is good for life.
No matter our current financial situation, we must look to God as our true and only Source for all that we need so that we may avoid the love of money.

Who Are You Living For?

[Article by Lantz Manomano] —

Some Parallels Between Marriage & Our Relationship With God
Marriage is the best portrait or parallel of the Christian life or our walk with God. For example, the moment a man and a woman exchange vows and submit to each other it means they no longer live for themselves but they also live for each other.
The husband no longer makes decisions for himself alone, but his daily life and decision-making is ultimately done with his wife and children in mind.
Likewise the wife no longer lives for herself alone. Instead every decision she makes is made with her husband and children in mind.
Every marriage relationship requires love, faithfulness and commitment to one another. This love, faithfulness and commitment is not forced on the husband or wife, but it is a freewill choice where both spouses put away any selfish or individualistic desires but instead they create a common vision that will make them accomplish their God ordained purpose in life.
In Genesis 2:24 it says “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
This scripture speaks of a husband and wife becoming united in their life, values and purpose. They no longer act separately but they act as one flesh or a united team with a common purpose in the Lord.
During their marriage it is important for a couple to develop and mature pertaining to how they handle daily activities and challenges including any relationship issues which may arise. This is why learning to tolerate, communicate and forgive each other is also essential in a marriage.

We learn from the Bible that God sometimes uses marriage to illustrate or parallel the relationship between Himself and His people.
In Ephesians 5:21-32 the relationship between Jesus Christ and His Church is likened to a marriage.
Christ is the Groom and the Church is the bride.

Ephesians 5:22-32 says: Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

So the moment one trusts in the Lord’s death and resurrection and His Lordship over their lives is the moment we join the Church of Jesus Christ. We become married to Christ. We die to self and we live for Christ alone (Galatians 2:20).
Christ’s death and resurrection reflects His commitment to the world and God’s desire to for all to come to repentance and be reconciled to God. The Christian relationship, just like marriage is not forced on anyone. Instead we willingly choose to experience the love and Lordship of our Saviour. The Christian relationship requires us to renew our thinking and align our minds with that of Christ. In simpler terms we now live for Him and He has become our life (Colossians 3:1-4).

In a marriage when the two parties live for each other they value their relationship because there is a new understanding of how to live life with and for someone else. This is the similar case with one’s relationship with Christ. It can only be valuable when one fully understands that at some point we were walking dead in our trespasses (Ephesians 2:1-3) but because of the commitment of Christ and our response to His proposal to us, we have passed from death to life (John 5:24).
It’s like a person who was on a life support and recovers to full health; they appreciate life more and due to that experience they have a new perspective towards how they live their life.

 

How Can We Live For God?
There are many, many examples that can guide us as to how we can live for God. In this article we will focus on one of those examples which is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 says: We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

The Word of God is our guide on how we can please God and live effectively for Him. So it is wise to use the Word of God to guide us.
(verse 12-13) – God has appointed leaders who labor in the Word of God in order to equip us for the His work. Therefore we are to respect them and remember them always for the work they do. So whenever we serve others, we are also serving the Lord as long as we do it all for the glory of God.
(verse 14-16) – In the Christian walk there are new believers or those who are not mature in the faith. The mature believers should always be available to help those who are young in the faith as well as those who are fainthearted or weak.
(verse 15) – Being patient to all and rendering no evil to anyone is something to be understood. We are being instructed to be patient with all mankind and never to take vengeance whether on anyone. Christ died for all and we are to treat each other with respect. So as Christians we are to exercise God’s will better since we have come to know truth.
We are to pursue what is good. With God, goodness will follow us all the days of our lives because God will not withhold anything good from us. So as we pursue His goodness we also not to withhold anything good from anyone.
(verse 16) – Rejoice always means that we find our joy in the Lord regardless of our circumstances. Therefore even through problems and challenges we must trust in God and find joy and peace in Him just as we would under good circumstances. James 1:2 goes on to say “count it all joy when you face trials”. In a fallen world we will face challenges but we will go through them knowing we have God who works all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). So when we rejoice we are rejoicing in the fact that God is with us and He will one day deliver us. We also rejoice that when our faith is tested it produces patience, and when patience has its perfect work it makes one perfect lacking nothing because of the trust in the Lord.
(verse 17-18) – Pray without ceasing means we are not to tire in praying as it is our method of communication with our heavenly Father. Through prayer we are in constant fellowship and make our personal requests known, as well as praying for others and their salvation. As we pray we also give thanksgiving for all things as we know we have a loving God who cares and guides us in all things. As we do this we will be walking in the will of God. In other words this is us living for our risen King.
(verse 19-22) – Living for God also includes being led by the Holy Spirit as He is our teacher who is to guide us into all truth (John 16:12-15). We are not to despise prophecies but we are required to test all things whether they be of the Spirit of God. Testing all things means that we are to determine if Christ is exalted and whether or not there are good fruits. For example the Bible teaches us that we will know false prophets by their fruits and we will know their false teachings according to whether Jesus Christ is accurately and Biblically portrayed (1 John 4:1 and Matthew 7:15-16). We also are to hold fast to what is good based on God’s standards and not by man’s standards. Furthermore we should abstain from all kinds of evil behaviour.

The Importance of Knowing Who You Live For
When you are married you need to know you have started a new thing and that you would have branched out from the family you grew up with. You do not neglect your old family but because of your marriage and your relationship with your spouse, your focus and priority shift to your spouse and your kids (Genesis 2:24).
Same thing with a believer’s life. When you give your life to Christ the old goes away and you have a new direction in life as a result of your marriage to Christ. Your focus shifts from your old life, to your new life in Christ.
In Christ you are a new creation who learns to live according to Christ’s standards by placing Christ first on a daily basis.

 

Conclusion
Ultimately our goal in life is to live for Christ and to seek to please Him alone.

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.

In your personal life, take the time to ponder about these questions and issues below:
• Do you live to please God or to please men?
• How you live determines who or what you put first in your life. Who or what comes first in your life?
• Do you believe in God and do you really understand what it means to be saved or accept Jesus Christ as Lord & Saviour?
• How often do you complain in your life? How often are you thankful even during challenges?
• How often do you fellowship with God and put God first in your day to day life?
• Do you believe all kinds of philosophies or do you test every thought and worldy idea through the lens of the Scriptures?

 

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”

Have you accepted & believed in Jesus Christ as a result of reading this article and would like to know more about what to do next? If so please acknowledge by clicking the “I Have Accepted Jesus Christ” button below

Uncovering The “Covering Doctrine”

[Article by Cheryl McGrath] —

“I hope you will be patient with me as I keep on talking like a fool. Please bear with me. I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. For I promised you as a pure bride to one husband, Christ. But I fear that somehow you will be led away from your pure and simple devotion to Christ, just as Eve was deceived by the serpent. You seem to believe whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach about a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed.” ( 2 Corinthians 11:1-4 NLT)

In this two-part edition of “Bread for the Bride,” I am inviting you to take a journey to freedom. Freedom, though, rarely comes without a cost, so be prepared for a few bumps and bruises along the way! My fervent prayer is that by the time you reach the end you will at the least be stirred to do some personal exploring of the scriptures, and at the most some long-held religiously-based mindsets will be shattered beyond hope of repair.

Firstly, though, let me share a little personal history in order to establish the fact that the teaching I offer you in this article has not been arrived at hastily, presumptuously, or with lack of experience in what is commonly known as “the church”. For almost my entire life I have been “churched”. Born to a Catholic-Italian father and an Anglican-Australian mother, anyone might have guessed there would be a few pot-holes along my spiritual path! I do remember at a very early age being taken by an uncle to a Catholic Mass, where the sheer majestic atmosphere of the church overwhelmed me. He must be some God! I thought. Later, I was introduced to Sunday School at a nearby Baptist Church by yet another conscientious relative, where the most important thing I learned was that God loved me. Good start! In my first year in high school a friend and her mother shared the gospel. As a result, alone in my bedroom, I experienced a life-changing revelation of Christ on the Cross. I was born again! Several years were then spent attending a local Anglican church with my friend. After some time I was allowed to teach the kindergarten Sunday School class, but was still forbidden to take communion because I had never undergone infant baptism. (That scenario had been too stressful for my Catholic father and Protestant mother!)

In my early twenties, through the encouragement of the same friend, I was baptized in the Holy Spirit. My husband and I started attending a little Assemblies of God church, where to my great delight I heard for the first time about the gifts and anointing of the Spirit. There followed nearly twenty years in that denomination, and during those years, I was certain that I would spend the rest of my life there. God had other plans, however, and after a series of deep family crises which my church preferred not to know about, my husband and I found ourselves fellowshipping briefly at a Uniting Church (Methodist to American readers). Perhaps “fellowshipping” is not the right word. “Attending” might be more appropriate, as fellowship did not appear to be an offer. From there the journey through “churchianity” continued, when a Congregational Pastor friend who’d been Spirit-filled invited us along to his church. Alas, the pastor wanted the Spirit, but the congregation didn’t, so we, as well as the pastor, found ourselves being offered the left boot of fellowship! A major geographical move found our family churchless again, so off we went to find our new “spiritual home” among the local Pentecostals, trying several different flavours, but somehow we knew we weren’t fitting. God came to the rescue again, directing us to a Baptist church with a charismatic pastor, but with the clear message this was to be for “a season only”. This would prove interesting! (Lord, isn’t this where I started???) We spent three years of relative peace there, before He suddenly said “the season’s up.” That was four years ago. These days we fellowship in a house church community. I know this is the place of fellowship the Lord has for me at this time, but I also know that He alone is my spiritual home. It took a lot of years and a long journey for me to discover that truth.

Of course, there are many details I’ve omitted, some not so pleasant, to make this history as brief as possible. My purpose in relating these facts is not to imply any kind of pretentious credentials, or to elevate one type of worship expression above another. My desire is only to establish the fact that there IS a denominational history, and a fairly extensive one, from which I draw upon in addressing this issue of “spiritual covering”.

You see, in a number of the denominations I’ve been involved in, including at leadership level, a “doctrine of covering” was taught and accepted. And for many, many years, I never questioned this teaching. After all, everyone believed it; the leadership upheld it, so it must be right, right? It is only as the Holy Spirit has impressed me to study the scriptures more deeply on this teaching that I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that He never originated it! In His infinite grace, He chose to wait patiently for a time when the Spirit of Truth would become dearer to me than the traditions of men.

The teaching on “covering” goes like this. Everyone needs to be accountable to someone who is spiritually his or her superior. This someone may be your cell group leader, the head of a church department or your senior pastor etc. In turn, these leaders receive covering from someone further up the line, for instance a denominational leader or a “recognized” apostle. The necessity for this covering is based on the belief that believers need to be safeguarded from falling into error and/or sin. So covering is provided by those who are more spiritual than we to protect us from such error. At the top of this pyramid of covering there is quite often a well-known and recognized “name” but the chances of meeting or having any kind of relationship with that person if you are at the bottom of the pyramid are fairly slim. Currently, there are several networks offering this kind of covering to those in some form of church leadership or ministry, more often than not for an annual fee. The annual fee usually provides for the running of the network, and conferences where you can fellowship with others under your particular brand of covering. You may also be denied entrance from one of these networks because you don’t have the appropriate credentials.

One of the strange things about this “covering” teaching is that rarely is anyone asked about their spiritual covering, until they step outside their particular church, denomination or network. However, the minute a believer shows signs of having something important to share with the wider Body of Christ, suddenly all and sundry are interested primarily in that one important question: “Who are you covered by? ” It all sounds pretty reasonable except for one problem – it’s not found in scripture. In fact, the early church was taught to rely on the inner anointing to discern the spiritual source of potential ministers. (1 John 2:20; 1 John 4:1)

So, where did this idea originate that believers need to be “covered” in order to serve God and minister within Christ’s Body? Are you, like many others, living your Christian life under the shadow of this fear that without “covering” you dare not minister, preach, pray or do a myriad of other things you’re called to do by the Spirit of God, because you will somehow be ministering without protection?

The purpose of this article is to shed some light on this issue based on scriptural truth. To begin with, though, we need to understand that this need to be covered by a perceived spiritual authority, and the scriptural instruction to submit ourselves to God’s delegated authorities, are NOT necessarily one and the same thing. Furthermore, New Testament authority as demonstrated by Jesus and the first apostles, is servanthood-authority, upholding, strengthening, reinforcing and overseeing the Body from beneath, not domineering, controlling and ruling from above. Therefore, it is vital in examining this issue that we begin from a correct understanding of Biblical submission and Biblical authority.

“LET THIS MIND BE IN YOU”

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil. 2:5-8)

The current mindset we carry in much of the church concerning submission is quite unrelated to the submission taught and demonstrated by Jesus and the early apostles. There is a desperate need to return to the same mind that was in Christ Jesus. The scripture tells us that though He was equal with the Father, Jesus CHOSE to submit Himself, He CHOSE to humble Himself, He CHOSE to obey. This is the key to Biblical submission, and the model laid down for us by both the Father and the Son. Submission is firstly a choice; a choice that can only ever be made by the giver. Biblical submission can never be demanded or forced. That kind of relationship is subservience, not submission. Jesus chose to subject Himself to the Father, but the Father “so loved the world that He GAVE His only begotten Son.” Sacrificial giving and sacrificial submission are married to each other. In the Spirit, you cannot have one without the other. If you try, you will invariably end up with control, dependence and abuse rather than humility, interdependence and grace.

The New Testament concept of submission, or subjection, is one of a totally voluntary attitude of giving, of yielding one’s preference and deferring to another. In this way, Jesus as a child was subject to His parents, yet the scriptures record that He did not even consult them when He was “about His Father’s business.” (Luke 2:49,51)

“IT SHALL NOT BE SO AMONG YOU”

“Obey your spiritual leaders and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they know they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this joyfully and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.” (Hebrews 13:17, NLT)

“But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all.” (Mark 10:42-44)

“Jesus got them together to settle things down. “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around,” he said, “and when people get a little power how quickly it goes to their heads.” (Mark 10:42 The Message)

There is no question that the scriptures instruct each one of us to submit to God’s delegated authority. It is the understanding and the application of that authority we often stumble over. The Bible records that Jesus taught the twelve this Kingdom authority as they walked along the road to Jerusalem. His face had been set toward the Cross, and it is certain He was keenly aware of the short time He had left with them. Perhaps He was conversing with His Father about what were the most important lessons He could impart to them during the time that was left. We know that He heard them disputing over who among them was the best “leadership material”. Perhaps Peter, having not long before witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration, thought that gave him special status. Perhaps James and John felt they were more likely candidates for rulership than impetuous Peter. Shortly before, they had asked Jesus to give them special places of honour in His Kingdom. Whatever had started their dispute, Jesus certainly knew how to end it! “Whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave…..” (Matt. 20:27).

The Lord was speaking to a group of people who had grown up under the rule of the Roman Empire. The Romans exercised their authority through forced subjection and harsh cruelty. In fact, the literal translation of the words Jesus used in reference to Roman rule mean “to be under the power of” and “to be subdued.” Despite having witnessed Jesus using a very different kind of authority and power, the disciples had not yet understood exactly what He would require of them. The Romans were, in the political sense, their masters. Yet here was Jesus stating that to exercise the authority He was going to invest in them they would need to become slaves to one another, and not masters. One might safely assume these weren’t words any of them particularly wanted to hear that day!

Kingdom authority has nothing to do with titles, positions, educational qualifications or reputation. Kingdom authority is granted by the Lord according to the measure with which He can trust us to wield it with humility. The greatest authority in the kingdom is reserved for His bondslaves.

WHAT ABOUT ACCOUNTABILITY?

In today’s church system we have confused the word “covering” with the need for accountability. Consequently many are holding themselves accountable to people with title and position, regardless of whether or not they are developing an ongoing transparent relationship with that person. In the Kingdom, it is not possible to be truly accountable to those with whom we are not actively growing in relationship. How can I be trusted to call you to account righteously if I don’t love you in Christ? How can you love me with Christ-like love and not call me to account?

Paul was able to correct the Corinthians because he had true relationship with them. He had travailed over them, nurtured them, wept for them and rejoiced with them. Therefore he was able to reprove them, for their edification and not for their destruction. (2 Corinthians 13:10)

When we turn to the scriptures for guidance on this issue of accountability, a startling fact confronts us. The News Testament mentions accountability ONLY in terms of the believer towards God. The scripture teaches that we will give accountability TO GOD ALONE in the following areas:
• stewardship (Luke 16:2)
• ourselves (Rom. 14:12)
• fruit (Phil 4:17)
• what we do in the flesh (1 Pet. 4:5)
• leaders shall give account for the souls they watch over (Heb. 13:17)
What then, DO the scriptures teach about how believers, as members of the corporate Body of Christ, are to relate to one another?
“… all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5)
In Galatians Chapter Two we read of a journey Paul took to Jerusalem. He states that he went up “by revelation”, that is, at the instigation of the Holy Spirit, in order to confirm that the gospel he had been preaching was approved by the eldership of the Jerusalem church. He goes on to state that “those who seemed to be something, whatever they were, it makes no difference to me,” had nothing to add to his teachings. He further adds that when James, Cephas (Peter) and John perceived the grace God had shown him, he was given the “right hand of fellowship.”

At the instigation of the Holy Spirit, Paul had subjected himself to the Jerusalem eldership, including Peter, for the purpose of accountability. One may safely assume that Peter, having spent around three years day and night with Jesus, and highly regarded by the early believers, held very great authority in the church. Paul, however did not ask Peter to cover him. Instead, he did not hesitate in calling Peter to account when Peter was later swayed to go back on his word by the fear of men (Gal. 2:11-14). Bear in mind this is the same Peter who stated “We ought to obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)

These men understood the nature of relationship through the Holy Spirit; ALL of you be submissive to one another, ALL of you be clothed with humility. Each of us is accountable to one another, whatever our function in the Body, whether apostles, teachers, deacons or helpers. This is the church Christ is building.

To say that we are demonstrating accountability to a person or group of people we may briefly rub shoulders with at a meeting once or twice a week, or perhaps once or twice a year, is ludicrous. True accountability is about how we express Christ in us – our lifestyle, our character and our integrity in families, jobs and church community. This cannot be measured outside Godly relationships, and without a humble willingness to be in subjection one to another. Each one of us needs to seek out and submit ourselves to those in the Body the Lord has placed close to us to provide that accountability, regardless of their position, title or function. Each one of us needs to be willing, in humility and service, to provide that same accountability base for others in the Body. This applies to leadership equally as it does to the newest, most inexperienced member of the Christian community.

Sadly, what we see today in so much of the church, is a frenzied jockeying for position under the supposedly protective umbrella of some ministry name or reputation, in order to prove ourselves “covered”. “Who covers you? ” has become one of the most frequently asked questions among Christians, and too often it is the deciding factor in assessing a ministry’s integrity or otherwise. Consequently, an unsatisfactory answer to that question in some church circles can label you “outside the camp” and almost certainly not to be trusted. Christians are judging each other’s worth and relationship with God on this issue of covering, and using it to justify self-righteousness and spiritual elitism.

In Part Two of this study we will talk about what is at the root of this distorted doctrine, and the clear choices that lie before us in order to be free from it.

UNCOVERING THE COVERING DOCTRINE
PART TWO

“…..then the LORD will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering.” ( Isaiah 4:5)

“He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” Ps. 91:4

IT’S ABOUT HIS NAME

“Now it happened on one of those days, as He taught the people in the temple and preached the gospel, that the chief priests and the scribes, together with the elders, confronted Him and spoke to Him, saying, “Tell us, by what authority are You doing these things? Or who is he who gave You this authority?” (Luke 20:1-2)

As we see from this portion of scripture, the question “who covers you? ” is not new. The chief priests, scribes and elders were not simply asking Jesus where His supernatural power came from. More than that, they wanted a NAME. “Who is he? ‘ Come on, tell us Jesus, who is the scribe, who is the rabbi, who is the prophet who covers you? And no more of that over-spiritualized talk about your Father. We want the name of the person who said you could do these things!”

The apostle Paul confronted a similar problem in the Corinthian church.

“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Cor. 1:10-13)

The Lord is jealous over us concerning His Name. We were bought and paid for by His Blood, and His Name is the only Name by which we are to identify ourselves. When believers choose to find their identity in another name other than His, the Spirit is grieved and His Name is dishonoured.

IT’S ABOUT THE FLESH

“Don’t ever let anyone call you `Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are on the same level as brothers and sisters. And don’t address anyone here on earth as `Father,’ for only God in heaven is your spiritual Father. And don’t let anyone call you `Master,’ for there is only one master, the Messiah. The greatest among you must be a servant. “ (Matthew 23:8-11, NLT)

The Corinthians were apparently separating into factions according to whom they considered was the most authoritative teacher. They were following after men, and for that reason Paul took issue with them. Further in his letter he goes on to challenge them by describing this kind of mindset as carnal and fleshly rather than spiritual:

“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?” (1 Cor. 3:1-4)

Finally, he instructs them:
“Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come–all are yours. And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” (1 Cor. 3:21-23)

The Corinthians had become so obsessed with the attributes of certain teachers they were idolizing them. They wanted to regard particular individuals as their “master”, “father”, or “teacher”, but Paul wanted them to understand that in doing so they were falling short of their full inheritance in Christ. He wanted them to see that all of these teachers, belonged to them as servant-ministers, and not the other way around.

IT’S ABOUT A SUBSTITUTE KING

At the heart of the Corinthians’ idolatry was the age-old desire for a ruler, a king. The flesh would much rather fear man than fear God. The flesh would much rather submit to the control of law than submit to the freedom of the Spirit. This principle is seen throughout scripture.

Afraid they would die, the Israelites begged Moses to be God’s messenger to them, rather than hear His Voice for themselves.

“Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” ( Exodus 20:18-19)

God desired for the people to hear Him for themselves, but they refused. Effectively, the Israelites were elevating Moses as their mediator. The entire nation had been called as a kingdom of priests, but their preference was to be ruled by one man. (Exodus 19:1-9)

Many years later, when the prophet Samuel officiated as Israel’s judge, Israel’s carnal desire for a man-king surfaced again.

“Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day–with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods–so they are doing to you also. Now therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behaviour of the king who will reign over them.” So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who asked him for a king. And he said, “This will be the behaviour of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you in that day.

Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, “No, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he repeated them in the hearing of the Lord. So the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed their voice, and make them a king.” (1 Samuel 8:4-22)

The key to Israel’s demand for a human king, rather than the direct reign of Yahweh over them, was “that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” They wanted a name and a face that could “go out before” them. They wanted someone visible they could show the other nations. They wanted a symbol, a token leader who could take responsibility for how they would live and conduct their lives. They wanted someone with a reputation they could identify with. They wanted to be like the world. They wanted human “covering.”

You see, friends, there is a place for governmental leadership, there is a place for accountability within the Body, there is a place for submission to legitimate God-delegated authority. All these are valid and in order, but only insofar as they are not permitted to substitute for the direct rule of God in our lives. And only insofar as they are not sought out as a counterfeit for the sovereignty and rulership of the Holy Spirit within each believer.

IT’S OF A DIFFERENT SPIRIT

“You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.” (Ezekiel 28:14)

Many Bible scholars agree that God’s rebuke to the “king of Tyre” recorded in Ezekiel 28:1-19 is prophetically addressed to Satan. In it, we find that originally this fallen angel was called the “anointed cherub who covers”. Some scholars believe he was especially anointed to cover the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies. In the Presence of God, he walked back and forth in the midst of the fiery stones. The passage states that when iniquity was found in him he was cast out of God’s holy mountain, and removed from the midst of the fiery stones.

This Hebrew word “to cover” means “to hedge, fence about, shut in, block, overshadow, screen, stop the approach, shut off, cover” ( H. “cakak” Strongs 05526 ). It is a word than can be used either in relation to defense or oppression.

Beloved, Satan still desires to walk back and forth in the midst of God’s living, fiery stones. He still desires to be the covering cherub on God’s holy mountain, but the covering he offers is oppressive, designed purely to hinder believers and rob them of the freedom and full potential that is ours through Christ.

The doctrine of covering is an old lie with a new name. It is fundamental to the maintenance of a false hierarchical religious system controlling many Christians in this day. Without the power of this erroneous mindset, it is even doubtful that some sections of the “church” could survive.

“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit — just as you were called to one hope when you were called — one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is OVER ALL and THROUGH ALL and IN ALL. (Ephesians 4:3-6)

The scriptures plainly state that it is God alone who is OVER all. Only God can cover His people, and only the Holy Spirit can unite them. The most disturbing aspect about the covering teaching is that it subtly encourages believers to look to men and women rather than develop their own deep relationship with God through the Holy Spirit. It upholds a man-made church built on hierarchy rather than a spiritual temple built through the unity of the Spirit. It promotes a class system of rulership by title, human appointment and personality, and devalues the priesthood of every believer. It negates leadership by the Holy Spirit and discourages believers from hearing the direction of the Spirit for themselves. It is a doctrine of demons being used to deceive and bind countless believers.

Now, about that freedom we were talking about at the beginning of this article! Don’t, repeat DON’T, use your newfound liberty as a license for rebellion against authority. If you have been trapped in this covering doctrine be wise in how you appropriate your freedom. There are many, many humble and faithful men and women overseeing and serving the Body of Christ with humility and devotion, and it may well be that whoever has been “covering” you is one of them. If you are blessed enough to be aligned with a servant-leader who demonstrates true Biblical authority, honour them, support them, and submit to them. But don’t expect them to cover you – that’s not theirs to give.

False doctrines are mindsets and beliefs that can only be cast down by the Spirit and the Word together. And ultimately, our walk in the Spirit is not the responsibility of leadership; it is our own responsibility. It is time for each one of us to choose – do we want the rulership of kings, or do we want the rulership of THE King?

Finally, let me leave you with these thoughts:
1) Who covered Philip when He went down to Samaria and started a revival? (The apostles heard about it and sent Peter and John down to check it out!) (Acts 8:4-8)

2) Who covered Philip when the angel of the Lord directed him to the Gaza desert? (Acts 8:26-40) (There’s no record of the Ethiopian eunuch asking him for his “covering” credentials!)

3) Who covered Ananias when he was sent to pray for Saul? (He went to pray for a known enemy of the church and didn’t even get permission!) (Acts 9:10-18)

4) Who covered Apollos when he taught boldly in the synagogue, even though he had not yet received the full gospel? (Acts 18:24-25)

5) And who covered Aquilla and Priscilla when they took Apollos under their wing to instruct him further? (Acts 18:26)

6) Who covered Agabus when he traveled down from Judea to deliver a prophetic word to Paul? (Acts 21:10)
The answer is the same in each instance: The Holy Spirit covered, protected, led, and enabled. He is the only covering we need. The real question is this: is He the only covering we want?

“IT SHALL NOT BE SO AMONG YOU.”

This article has been reproduced by Inspired Walk with the permission of Cheryl McGrath

©Copyright Cheryl McGrath, Bread for the Bride Blogsite. Permission is granted to reproduce any of my original posts in emails, blogsites and internet forums, unaltered, and providing this copyright notice is included. To permanently display an article on any static website please contact me for permission.

Is Christianity A White Man’s Religion?

Why is there hostility towards Christianity by many people of color and why is it frequently viewed as the white man’s religion?
Is Christianity really a white man’s religion? Was Christianity really founded by the white race and did they use religion to exploit people of color for their own personal gain?

Christianity has always had a complicated history simply because both the religion and the Bible itself has been exploited and misinterpreted for centuries.
Even satan attempted to twist scripture from the Bible in order to tempt, deceive and exploit Jesus Christ (Matthew 4:5-7).
Misinterpreting and twisting the meanings of scripture in the Bible can be very dangerous and it can give rise to extremism and cultic practices. For centuries many false prophets, cultic groups and false doctrines have arisen as a result of people exploiting and misinterpreting the Bible.
Therefore historically many people and various people groups have become abusers and persecutors supposedly in the name of Christianity. Throughout history and even in this present day, many people have been subjected to extremist behavior and abuse by deceived people professing to be Christians or under the banner of Christianity.
Jesus once told His disciples the following “… Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. 3 And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor Me. 4 But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you” (John 16:2-4)

Therefore it is important to acknowledge that many people over the centuries have done many despicable and wicked things whilst professing Christianity or whilst twisting the Bible.
For centuries, many people have falsely used the banner of Christianity in order to deceive, abuse and perform wicked acts against others.

However neither Christianity nor the Bible is the real problem – but instead for centuries it has been man’s misinterpretation or twisting of scripture which has opened the doors to exploitation, extremism and the abuse of others, supposedly in the name of Christianity.
The Bible itself with its principles and commandments has never been the real problem – but rather it is the sinful nature of man which has been the root cause of many issues that we have in this world.

So Why Has Christianity Been Perceived As The White Man’s Religion?

1. Christianity and the Bible was used by (not all but various) Europeans as one of the methods to psychologically exploit and colonize various nations, particularly in Africa
2. Christianity and the Bible was used by white salve owners to justify slavery and racism particularly in the United States. For example even to this day, many who are part of extremist groups such as the KKK (Ku Klux Klan) are racists and yet claim or profess to be Christians.
3. In recent centuries, many missionaries who brought the Christian religion to such continents as Africa were individuals who were predominantly white or Caucasian.
4. The suffering and exploitation of slaves and many victims of colonialism at the hands of their white colonial masters exposed the spiritual and ethical hypocrisy of the white man during colonialism and the slave trade era. Such behavior undermined the authenticity and truthfulness of Christianity.

 

The Real Historical Roots of Christianity
To understand the real roots of Christianity and whether or not it is a “white man’s religion”, we must first understand the definition of Christianity and what it really means to be called a Christian.
Christianity is not just a religion. Instead it is a relationship with God the Creator which has been made possible by Jesus Christ. Man is sinful and his sins spiritually separate him from God (Romans 3:23). Christianity exists because of the love of God for sinful man such that He sent His only begotten Son to pay the debt of sin that mankind cannot pay (John 3:16).
Man is destined for eternal punishment because of sin and therefore he needs eternal forgiveness and he also needs a Saviour.
Therefore man can only find forgiveness of sins and be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ alone by believing and receiving Him as Lord and Saviour (John 1:12).
Jesus Christ is the only Saviour and Mediator between God and man and nobody can find salvation or have an eternal relationship with God without Jesus Christ (John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:5).
Christianity therefore exists because of God’s desire to have an eternal relationship with man through Jesus Christ who became man’s substitute for sin by dying on the cross and resurrecting on the third day.
Jesus Christ is the Founder of Christianity and His Church (Matthew 16:18). It is Christ alone who is building His Church and He alone is the Author and Finisher of our Christian faith (Hebrews 12:2). Christianity therefore begins and ends with Jesus Christ.

When the Church age began at Pentecost, there were Africans, Asians and people from other parts of the world who were present and who responded to the gospel of Christ (Acts 2:10).
In Acts 8:26-38, Phillip shared the gospel to an African or Ethiopian official who believed in Christ as Saviour.
Therefore Africans as well as Asians and people from many parts of the world were part of the early church many centuries before the existence of the transatlantic slave trade.

In the Old Testament, in Numbers 12:1, Mirriam and Aaron apparently objected to Moses marrying a Cushite woman. A Cushite was a black person of African origin. However, even though Mirriam objected, God did not object to the interracial marriage.

The first Christians were Jewish or Semitic and therefore had dark brown skin. They were not white or Caucasian.

Therefore regardless of the slave trade or colonial history, Christianity was not founded by the white man and neither is it a white man’s religion.
The Bible states that all mankind are equal and made in God’s image regardless of skin colour or background (Genesis 1:27).
It is not known what skin colour Adam and Eve were when they were created by God. The reason? Because it didn’t matter whether they were white, brown, black, yellow etc.
What mattered is that God made all people of different skin colour in His image.

 

Christianity Is NOT The Problem – But It Is The Corrupt Nature of Mankind
Christianity in itself is not the problem and neither is the Bible the problem. The law of God is perfect and holy.
The problem is that man is sinful and corrupt and he falls short of God’s glory (Romans 3:10; Romans 3:23).
Therefore because man is sinful, then this means that man is capable of exploiting even God’s word for his own selfish and personal gain by deliberately twisting or misinterpreting the scriptures.
In 1 Timothy 1:8-11 it says: Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 in accordance with the glorious gospel of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

Therefore whether historically or presently, when man uses the Bible to exploit and abuse others, it is not because Christianity or the Bible is not true – but it is because man is corrupt and his heart can be desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9).
So whilst God’s law is good, one must use it lawfully or properly. However man can be lawless and therefore he is capable of doing many wicked things including whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine.

Therefore Christianity was not created for one group or race. The problem of sin exists in people of every race. Therefore every person regardless of color or race is in need of God’s forgiveness.
Christianity exists because there is a Saviour who came to earth to save people of ALL races. Jesus Christ died on the cross for the entire world so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

 

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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9 Dangers of False Doctrines & Teachings

The Bible warns us that spiritual deception will increase in the last days in preparation for the eventual arrival of the antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2:1-11).
Jesus Himself warned people of the inevitability that many false teachers will arise who will propagate false doctrines and perform false signs and miracles (Matthew 24:24-25), (Matthew 7:15).
False doctrines have a dangerous and life altering effect on people. When you accept false doctrine it can be likened to accepting a disease in your life. The disease infects you and it begins to methodically and slowly weaken and destroy your body if the disease is not removed.
In the same way, false doctrines subtly infect the spiritual life of a person and are methodically capable of leading to a person’s spiritual destruction. Such examples of false teachings that are popular in this age are the prosperity gospel, spiritual covering / shepherding doctrines, seed-faith teachings, antinomianism / hyper-grace, the word of faith teachings and many more.
False doctrines not only affect an individual, but false doctrines can affect entire generations and masses of people at the same time.

 

THE DANGERS OF FALSE DOCTRINES / TEACHINGS

The consequences or dangers of false doctrines are as follows:

1. False Doctrines Cause Followers to Submit to Spiritually Blind Leaders
False teachers are themselves both deceived and blind. They are deceived and in the process they are deceiving others.
Jesus spoke of the blind leading the blind in Matthew 15:14 by saying “Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit”.
Therefore both the false teacher and his followers will fall into the same pit. Jesus is thereby warning that false doctrines are capable of leading both the false teacher and his followers to destruction in hell.

2. False Doctrines Cause Followers to Obey the Teachings of Men Instead of the Doctrines of God
False doctrines will always oppose the word of God and cause people to disobey God’s values and principles.
Matthew 15:1-3 says Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?
Therefore you will discover that various religious groups, cults or false teachers might put their own group traditions & beliefs above the authority of the scriptures.

3. False Doctrines Create Hypocrisy and a Counterfeit Christianity
When followers who profess to be Christians have a culture of disobedience against the word of God because of their false doctrines, this type of culture ultimately leads to hypocrisy.
Jesus says the following to the Pharisees in Matthew 15:7-9 : “You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'”
The Pharisees were hypocritical teachers who only honored God with their words. However by their actions, the false teachers considered their own doctrines & traditions as being better than God’s commandments through their lifestyle and conduct. They reflected their hypocrisy by twisting scriptures and coercing their followers into obeying the traditions of men rather than God (Matthew 15:3-7).

4. False Doctrines Lead to People Becoming Followers of Men Instead of Followers of God
People who obey false doctrines are ultimately followers of men and not followers of Christ. Victims of false doctrines and teachings tend to have more of an adoration of men or their leaders rather than Jesus Christ.
Acts 5:29 says: But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”
Acts 20:29-30 says: I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.

By using deceptive teachings or deceptive words, false teachers ultimately encourage their followers to be loyal to them above their loyalty towards God or towards His word.
We learn in Matthew 15:1-9 that Jesus exposes the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and some of their false teachings. Jesus also exposes the fact that the Pharisees were not teaching their followers to obey the scriptures but they were teaching their followers to obey their own personal man-made traditions and twisted interpretations of the scriptures.
Hence blind men were leading blind men instead of blind men following God.
Colossians 2:8 says that we should be cautious about receiving philosophies of men and evil spirits – or any principles which oppose the teachings of Christ.

5. False Doctrines Lead to Spiritual Bondage and Legalism
Galatians 2:4-5 says Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery— to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.
The Christian life is not meant to bring people into a life of spiritual bondage but instead when you are in Christ you are set free from bondage and you have liberty in Christ.
Galatians was written by the apostle Paul because the churches of that region were facing a theological crisis pertaining to the gospel. The essential truth of justification by faith rather than by human works was being denied by the Judaizers. The Judaizers were legalistic Jews who falsely taught that salvation was by human works or obeying the Mosaic law rather than by faith alone in Christ.
Paul therefore wrote Galatians in order to set the record straight that salvation is a free gift received by grace through faith in Christ alone and not by our own works or human effort (Galatians 2:21).
We therefore consistently see through many of the epistles which Paul wrote that false gospels and doctrines were being spread during Paul’s lifetime & ministry. Therefore in many of his epistles, Paul himself had to consistently correct and warn his readers pertaining to the existence and rise of false teachings.

6. False Doctrines Lead to Devotion to the Teachings of Demons
1 Timothy 4:1-2 says Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared,
The Bible is clear that we do not fight against flesh and blood, but against evil forces of darkness (Ephesians 6:12). Therefore it’s important to understand that false doctrines are teachings which have been inspired by demonic spirits who ultimately report to Satan.
In other words, every false doctrine or false gospel that opposes the scriptures – especially the essential Christian doctrines is most certainly demonically inspired.
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.
Why does 1 John 4:1 link the testing of spirits to the existence of false prophets? It’s because false prophets and false teachers are mostly inspired by demonic spirits whether these teachers are aware of it or not. Therefore their false teachings are also inspired by evil spirits.
The Bible itself and all its scriptures was inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16) and God used men. Therefore the devil himself will inspire false teachings to oppose God’s word and he will use men whose consciences are seared to spread false doctrines.

7. False Doctrines Create A Counterfeit Christ or a False Concept of the Biblical God
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.
False doctrines are able to create a different Jesus than the actual Jesus that is mentioned in the Bible. For example there are false doctrines that deny the deity of Jesus Christ. These doctrines claim that Jesus is not God and that Jesus was only a man. There are also some false doctrines where Jesus is not seen as the ultimate Mediator between God and man. These doctrines have false teachers and cult leaders who claim that it is they who either mediate or co-mediate on behalf of their followers before God. Yet the Bible is clear in many verses of scripture that Jesus is God and that Jesus is the only Mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5).
There are also false doctrines that falsely teach that God exists to give you any material possession that you can desire because Christ died for such a purpose. Other false doctrines teach that you can buy or earn the favour, the gifts and the blessings of God with money or by the amount of money that you donate or “seed”.
These kind of doctrines and many others do not speak of the Biblical Jesus or the God of the Bible. These false doctrines speak of another Jesus. Therefore while false teachers may read from the Bible and mention the name “Jesus” in their teachings, their false teachings do not represent the true Biblical character and nature of Jesus Christ. Hence false teachers will present a different Jesus by misinterpreting and twisting the actual meaning and context of various Scriptures.
Popular false doctrines and teachings that are taught today such as the prosperity gospel, spiritual covering / shepherding doctrines, seed-faith teachings, antinomianism / hyper-grace, the word of faith teachings and many more, all create a false concept of Jesus Christ and the true character of God. They propagate a false gospel and another Jesus instead of the Biblical Christ.
These false doctrines and others tend to diminish and distort the authentic nature and character of Christ.
Therefore following a counterfeit Jesus results in counterfeit Christians which then results in a counterfeit Christianity.
Jesus said “not everyone who says “Lord! Lord!” will enter the kingdom of Heaven.” When we read Matthew 7:21-23 we learn the tragedy that there are those who presume they will enter heaven but they will end up in hell simply because they lived hypocritical lives. They lived a counterfeit Christianity.

8. False Doctrines Encourage Sin, Pride and Rebellion
False doctrines do not lead people to Christ nor do they lead to authentic Christian living. Instead false teachings will energize the flesh and encourage the desire to sin or rebel. False doctrines will also encourage a spirit of pride and arrogance rather than Christ-like humility.
2 Timothy 2:16-18 says that false teachings not only lead to “empty chatter” but it also leads to ungodliness and is capable of spreading like a disease.
When you read Titus 1:10-11 it says that false teaching leads to
a) Rebellion or insubordination against God
b) Empty talk or mischievous conversations
c) Deceptive or manipulative behavior
d) Upsetting or division of families
In verse 11 it says that the motive of some of these false teachers is that “they teach for shameful gain what they ought not to teach”.
This means that false teachers teach false doctrines for their own personal gain even if they know that they are sinning and rebelling against God.
The result of continuous rebellion is that false doctrines eventually leads to both false teachers and their followers having a seared conscience.
1 Timothy 4:1-2 connects false doctrines to having a seared conscience because of people devoting themselves to teachings of demons.

9. False Doctrines Give False Teachers Abusive Control Over Their Followers
This happens especially within religious cults or groups that exhibit high control behaviour. False teachers and cult leaders tend to twist scriptures to enable themselves to intimately control, manipulate and spiritually abuse their deceived followers.
1 Peter 5:3 says that the church leader should not lord over or be domineering towards his followers but he should be an example to the flock.
In Matthew 20:25-28 Jesus gives His disciples the template for Christian leadership. He basically mentions that Christian leadership is when:
1. the leader becomes the servant
2. the leader serves the flock and not himself
3. the leader imitates Christ’s leadership style
Another name for Christ’s leadership style is Servant Leadership.
However false teachers will teach false doctrines that cause their followers to fear them, idolize them and follow them without exercising any critical spiritual thinking.
Many false teachers have caused divorces, separated families, sexually abused members and destroyed lives because of the application of false doctrines upon blind followers.

 

Conclusion
The Bible consistently warns believers to beware of false prophets and false doctrines. They key to avoid being deceived is to seek a sincere relationship with God and to imitate the example of the Bereans who studied and verified the scriptures for themselves irrespective of who preached it (Acts 17:11). For example, even though Paul was an apostle of Christ, the Bereans would fact-check Paul’s message by going back to the Scriptures to see if what Paul had preached was really true.
In this age of deception, this is the kind of Christian that is needed: a Christian who tests the spirits and diligently studies and rightly interprets the word of God. It is necessary that as we grow in our walk with God that we avoid a culture of being spiritually spoon-fed, but instead we grow into a culture of personally studying and obeying God’s word (2 Timothy 2:15-19).
False teachings and doctrines lead people to hell rather than to eternal life with Christ. They encourage idolatry by creating a false concept of the true nature of God so that people are deceived into worshiping a false god and a false christ. It is therefore necessary that the truth be preached and the deception exposed because the spiritual lives of people are at stake.

 

 

The Purpose of The Gospel of Christ

[by Lantz Manomano] — 

What is the gospel and what purpose or impact should the gospel of Christ have in our lives? Do people in general really understand what it is or what the word of God actually says about the gospel?

What is the Gospel?
1 Corinthians 15:1-4Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you— unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures

The gospel simply means the good news of Jesus Christ. The definition of the gospel of Jesus Christ is found in 1 Corinthian 15:1-4.
In a world where many false gospels and false doctrines exist, the authentic message and definition of the gospel may become distorted and irrelevant – but let’s examine 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 in order to reveal what this particular scripture tells us about what the authentic good news or gospel of Jesus Christ comprises of:
Verse 3, the gospel message consists of the death of Christ for our sins,
Verse 4, the gospel message consists of His burial and resurrection on the third day
We needed Christ to take our place because He took up human form (Galatians 4:4) in order to fulfill the law and satisfy God’s wrath as it could only be satisfied with One who knew no sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). His death and resurrection is good news because we know He is not dead and therefore we serve a living God. We also know He has overcome death and so that everyone who believes in Christ as Lord and Saviour has passed from death to life (John 5:24).

I hope by now you have an understanding of the gospel.
So let’s look into what the gospel does and its importance according to the scriptures:
• According to Romans 1:16, the gospel is the power unto salvation to everyone that believes in the good news of our Lord. The gospel message with its purpose and impact brings us to a realization that we need Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour.
• According to 1 Corinthians 1:18, the gospel or good news is foolishness to those perishing. In other words, the gospel message and its impact in our lives is deemed to be irrelevant and foolish by those people who reject it and by people who will eventually perish in hell.

How Does The Gospel Free Us?
The gospel is the first step to freedom because it results into a relationship from which we learn about the love of God and how God has ultimately given us freedom from the power of the enemy through our relationship with Jesus Christ.
The gospel helps us to understand the heart of God in relation to His desire to see all of mankind repenting. God desires that all of mankind should hear the gospel and be saved. Without accepting the gospel of Christ, we cannot have a genuine relationship with God.
Our relationship with God grows through our obedience and understanding of the Word of God and the gospel or good news of Christ helps us understand the heart of God.

The gospel also exposes the devil’s schemes and lies that have been spread through religious acts hiding in the name of Christ.

The good news frees us from:
• Blindness of the mind (2 Corinthians 4:4)
• Blindness of the heart (Ephesians 4:18)
• Blindness of the eyes (1 John 2:11, Mathew 6:23)
• The gospel free us from lies or spiritual deception (John 8:32, 44)
• Frees us from the world and worldly culture (John 17:9,14-17)
• Frees us from darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9)
• Frees us from self or living for ourselves and into living for Christ (Galatians 2:20)
• Frees us from the traditions or philosophies of men (Mark 7:8)
These are just few examples of how we have been freed by the gospel.

Is the Gospel for a Specific People?
Did Jesus die only for a specific people? Did Christ come to save only a specific nation like Israel?
Many people will make a variety of excuses of not wanting to receive or accept the gospel of Jesus Christ.
For example, some people might claim that the gospel is a “white man’s religion”; Others may believe in their culture or tradition above the word of God; Others may simply be people who love their sinful lifestyle so much that they reject the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
However the gospel reveals the grace and mercy of God so that if people are to reject it, they will ultimately have no excuse because to reject the gospel means to also reject the grace and mercy of God. Jesus Christ died for the entire world (John 3:16) and not just for a specific race or tribe. We are all sinners (Romans 3:23) and therefore everyone needs saving.

Mathew 24:14 says: And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come.

Luke 24:47 says: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem

The scriptures are on point and leave no room for confusion, instead God demonstrates that the Gospel message is for everyone. So please open your heart to God’s goodness if you have not done so already.

What Does the Gospel Reveal?
The gospel reveals the heart of God and of man, so there are things that do come with the gospel. Let’s list some of the things:
(1 Thessalonians 1:5) – it’s not in word only but also in power, Holy Spirit and much assurance
(1 Thessalonians 1:8-10), there is not only freedom when we repent and accept the gospel, but there is also judgment and wrath for those who reject or disobey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Philippians 1:27), there’s unity in gospel that is one spirit and one mind for the faith of the gospel
(2 Corinthians 4:3-4) It is hidden to those who are lost because their minds are blinded by satan who is the god of this world.
(Acts 5:41) Suffering for the good news of Jesus Christ
(Luke 21:12) Persecutions leading to trials and prison time

These are things that show that God wants all men saved. At the same time we find that many men will resist the good news because they can’t surrender to Christ’s Lordship. Persecution and suffering will come but Christ’s glory is revealed in us through our obedience to the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray we may pursue a relationship with Christ and be taught of His good news and experience the power and joy that comes with the gospel. Be blessed.

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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