'Be anxious for nothing..." ~Philippians 4:6

Friday, August 25, 2017


I like the Message bible translation of Job 28:12-19:

“But where, oh where, will they find Wisdom? Where does Insight hide? Mortals don’t have a clue, haven’t the slightest idea where to look. Earth’s depths say, ‘It’s not here’; ocean deeps echo, ‘Never heard of it.’ It can’t be bought with the finest gold; no amount of silver can get it. Even famous Ophir gold can’t buy it, not even diamonds and sapphires. Neither gold, nor emeralds are comparable; extravagant jewelry can’t touch it. Pearl necklaces and ruby bracelets—why bother? None of this is even a down payment on Wisdom! Pile gold and African diamonds as high as you will, they can’t hold a candle to Wisdom."

We need wisdom today to discern truth-- whether from well-meaning improvisation or outright lies.

James 1:5 says “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

Proverbs 8:12 says, “I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion.”

Proverbs 9:10 says “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

So many people fail to take God’s inspired word seriously. The Bible says “Make fun of wisdom, and you will never find it. But if you have understanding, knowledge comes easily.”

There’s nothing like the current political climate to send Americans to their knees, back to church, and back to the Word of God.  Curious and anxious people all over the world want and seek truth. They seek teachers, professors, experts, scholars, and spiritual types to help them make sense out of life. And many people take advantage of the vulnerability and gullibility of truth seekers. So many people are overrun with messages from conferences, workshops, weekly studies and convocations that they can begin their own religious libraries.  If something sounds good, and aligns with what they want to think or believe, many people are sold, drink the Kool-aid, repeat whatever the heard as fact (just because someone famous said it), and don’t even bother to see if what they heard lines up with the word of God. 
2 Timothy 4:3offers a sobering look at today's spiritual climate. 
"...For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear."

A clear indication of the validity of any religious experience or exercise isn’t whether you cried, ran, shouted, foamed at the mouth, hit the floor, spoke in tongues, or plunked down a heave offering while a preacher was speaking. The validity and authenticity of a religious experience lies in the manner in which it affects your view of the Word of God. Does it draw you to it, or cause you to doubt, question, add, subtract, water it down or abandon it altogether?
When you hear a sermon, speech, teaching, song, poem, or affirmation, does it confirm the Word of God, or cause you to smirk and scratch your head? 

People have said it forever (just like they've said "absent from the body, present with the Lord" and "God helps those who help themselves") but The Bible does not say "try the spirit by the spirit". This is not an emotional test. It is not a denominational test. It is not a superficial test based on fashion or form. It is not a man-made test based on opinion or philosophies. We don’t have the capacity or authority to create this kind of test. That’s God’s domain. It’s HIS word that provides all of the criteria we need to know whether what we hear and experience is of God. All we have to ask is  “What does the Word say?” 
In the often used passage about tithing, Micah 3:10, God himself says “prove me”. In other words, test me, conduct an experiment if you will—do your part, carry out your duties, and see if I will not faithfully reward your adherence to my Word! God isn’t afraid, or offended! It's not a game or a trick. He is confident about the truth of what he says! He’s not worried about his people verifying what he says! He knows it’s right! He wants us to be right and wise concerning his promises! 

Matthew 13:54 tells us that when Jesus began teaching the people in the synagogue in his own home town, they were amazed. Some even asked, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?”  Had they recognized who he was; had they received him as the Messiah, they wouldn’t have had to ask. His very existence; the trajectory of his life fulfilled the Law that they all were taught and knew, and yet they still were skeptical of him and rejected him!

How do we behave when we have religious experiences, hear people expound on the word of God, or hear people introduce new ideas and doctrines? Do we know enough of the Word ourselves to discern whether a speaker, and his or her words echo the heart of God?  When we are lonely, weak, disappointed, anxious, afraid, desperate, troubled, or confused, it is easy to be emotionally moved by a fiery sermon, a personal testimony, or seeming miracle, but just like the local news we hear, we have an obligation to fact check what we hear before we apply it to our lives, adopt it as truth, or share it. 
Everyone cannot pray for you, lay hands on you, or speak into your life. It is imperative that you know the word of God for yourself! It's wonderful when others pray for you, but why do you discount the effectiveness of your own prayer? God is available to you, too. He wants to hear you from you, too! 

The Bible says “All Scripture is God-breathed; is given by inspiration of God and is useful, is profitable for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work.” These days with technology, even if you can't read, you can still hear the word of God. Even if you have difficulty with the language of the King James Version of the Bible, there are translations in practically every known language. 

Proverbs admonishes us to “Make our ears attentive to wisdom, Incline our hearts to understanding”.
“How CAN we hear without a preacher and how CAN he preach except he be sent? By whom? By God! Unfortunately, many see the pulpit as a side gig, are NOT led by the Holy spirit, send themselves, mishandle the Word of God, and deceive many!
The Lord himself told the prophet Jeremiah,"The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds”.
How can people who are eager for the word of God be protected? What recourse do they have? Do not believe everyone who claims to speak with the authority of God!
Matthew 7:15 says, “Beware of false prophets”!
1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 says “Do not treat prophecies with contempt, but test all things. Hold fast to what is good.”
Fact checking; searching for yourself doesn’t mean you don’t love or have confidence in your leader! It means you are obedient to the word of God!

Galatians 3:4 says, “Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing? It is not yet a total loss, but it certainly will be if you keep this up!”
And what was IT? Trying to be redeemed by anything other than the blood of the Lamb. Putting your faith in anything other than the finished work of Christ on Calvary. Expecting to be blessed by diluting or modifying the Word of God.
Anyone who preaches anything contrary to the word of God while calling him or herself a servant of God is in error. 1 John 4:1-2 is clear—“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. By this you will know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.” 

Jeremiah warned the people of his day, "For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is greedy for gain, And from the prophet even to the priest Everyone deals falsely”. 

I can’t say it enough, you have to pray for wisdom and understanding and cultivate a relationship with God for yourself! Leadership, and mentoring are great concepts, but never check your brain at the door. Know who and what you are emulating, parroting, or following. Never be afraid to question, to read and study and search. The Word of God is your measuring stick. It is your proof. It is your primary source.

Any religious teaching that is birthed without regard for the Word of God should be viewed as shady. Not a single discerning believer, who actually studies the Word, will receive shady, opportunistic, manipulative fluff as Gospel! It doesn’t matter how much you were moved by what you heard, or how "good" service was! Sometimes we are fed empty foolishness and fanfare as opposed to substance and truth, and go away thinking we’ve “had church”. What did you HEAR? Cliches and catchy rhyming phrases? Unintelligible hooping and hollering? Public dissing and targeting of people in the congregation couched in a sermon? Empty promises? Pleas for cash wrapped up in oppressive, scary mandates, predictions, and regulations because somebody forgot to pay the church electric bill? WHAT DID YOU HEAR? Was it THE Bible? Unless you can identify book, chapter and verse, consider whatever you heard a nice fairy tale, and put it on the shelf with the rest of the fiction.  You might as well have skipped "church" and gone to the movies.

There is nothing new under the Sun!

Watch out for puffed up, title-driven people who equate themselves and their credentials with the apostles and leaders of the early church. Watch out for people who spew self-chosen ideals, rules, and doctrines that sound great, but don’t emanate from God. Ignorance of the Word is one thing. That can be fixed. People can be taught. Outright, purposeful mangling of the Word for one’s own selfish or ambitious purposes is another. THE only way to deal with a con, liar or someone who mishandles the word of God is from a distance! Don’t argue or debate, or get frustrated with them. Don’t waste your time or energy trying to sway him or her. When someone is bent on lying, they can’t serve you anything other than deception and confusion. You can pray that they get their minds right, but don’t let them influence yours. It’s not like there’s only two Bibles in the world and they're under lock, chain and key. Bibles are EVERYWHERE! READ!!!!!! Ask for wisdom! READ FOR YOURSELF!!! Your soul is at stake, and anyone who misleads people using the Word of God should be very afraid!
Jesus said, “If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples. Then you will KNOW the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
The Spirit of Truth seals the promises of God within the hearts of believers, helps us conform to the image of Christ, indwells believers—literally takes up residence,  intercedes on our behalf, it leads, reveals, commands, guides, directs, appoints,  communicates, testifies, and doesn’t speak of itself. It doesn’t embellish! Even THE Spirit defers to, and speaks ONLY the unadulterated, unvarnished, un-fooled-around-with will and way of God. 

It is imperative that those who profess to speak for God do the same.
Be wise.
Stick to the script.


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