Thursday, July 7, 2011

It’s all about ……….Me or Jesus?

“They want to look for nothing but the chance to commit adultery; their appetite for sin is never satisfied.   They lead weak people into a trap. Their hearts are trained to be greedy.  They are under God's curse!  They have left the straight path and have lost their way; they have followed the path taken by Balaam son of Beor, who loved the money he would get for doing wrong….”   II Peter 2:14-15 GNT

A false prophet can be anyone who claims to be speaking for God, but whose message is contrary to God.

False prophets will not convict people of sin, for they themselves do not feel convicted.   While true prophets speak according to God’s Word, false prophets speak “candy-coated” messages to make themselves more poplar.   They will tell people what they want to hear.

A true prophet expresses the will of God with words.  Sometimes signs, wonders and prophesy are involved but the most important part is the message.   A true prophet points people to God and shows people their sin.

Many false prophets simply point people to themselves.  Their covetousness manifest itself in a desire for power, influence, control, recognition, prestige…..all the while trying to promote themselves as meek, humble, pure in heart and mourning over their ungodly weaknesses.

A true prophet does not draw attention to themselves but to God.  If a prophet or teacher spends a great deal of time talking about themselves or their family, it is a good indication just who his/her god is.                                                                                    

Prophets are false when they fail to express God’s will accurately and they fail because they are not in a true relationship with God.   The fruit of their lives and the meaning behind their words will indicate the source of their teaching.

“I promise you that on the Day of Judgment, everyone will have to account for every careless word they have spoken.   On that day they will be told that they are either innocent or guilty because of the things they have said.”   Matt. 12:36-37 CEV

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Measuring Rod is God’s Word

“Prophets or interpreters of dreams may promise a miracle or a wonder, in order to lead you to worship and serve gods that you have not worshiped before.  Even if what they promise comes true, do not pay any attention to them.  The Lord your God is using them to test you, to see if you love the Lord with all your heart.   Follow the Lord and honor him; obey him and keep his commands; worship him and be faithful to him.”    Deut. 13:1-4   GNT

Obeying God’s voice and keeping His commandments is a regular theme with God’s prophets.   They always have God’s Word as the foundation of their message.

When the OT prophets were sent to warn or inform Israel and Judah, they always pointed out the grievous ways in which the people had transgressed God’s law.

God gives us a standard by which to measure the words of a prophet: the law and testimony………His Word.   If the prophet’s message contradicts what is already established as God’s Word, it is evidence that he/she lacks spiritual understanding.  If his/her words to not line up with God’s Word he/she is not speaking the truth.

A true prophet upholds the Word of God, while false prophets avoid moral teaching and instead preach a message that is ‘candy-coated’ so it will appeal to the masses.

God’s Word is offensive to the natural mind (Rom. 8:7), and sadly it is quite common for God’s prophets to be killed, while the false prophets enjoy widespread popularity and support.

Popularity is NOT a good measurement of God’s pleasure with a leader!

Large churches, as amazing as they might seem, are not accurate indicators of God’s involvement or blessing.

“The time is coming when people won't listen to good teaching.   Instead, they will look for teachers who will please them by telling them only what they are itching to hear.   They will turn from the truth and eagerly listen to senseless stories.”            II Timothy 4:3-4  CEV

False Teachers

“Such people are false apostles and dishonest workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ.    And no wonder! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.    It is no great surprise then that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness……”    II Cor. 11:13-15  CEB

The Apostle Paul warned speaking about men who wanted the Corinthian Christians to return to believing and observing a type of Judaism in their Christian walk.        (II Cor. 11:13-15)

This passage in II Cor. 11 shows that these false teachers are normally those who look righteous and good in appearance.   They even appear as “ministers of righteousness” by teaching messages that are socially and religiously acceptable to most ordinary people.

Remember that Jesus Himself also taught that at the end of the age, many people would arise who would be saying that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, but even though they did this, they would be great deceivers.

Jesus told His disciples in Matt 24: 4-5, “….take heed that no man deceive you.   For many shall come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ; and shall deceive many.’”

He went on to warn us about false prophets who state they are followers of Christ and claim to be advocating the basic principles of Christianity.

“Not everyone who calls me their Lord will get into the kingdom of heaven.   Only the ones who obey my Father in heaven will get in.   On the day of judgment many will call me their Lord.  They will say, "We preached in your name, and in your name we forced out demons and worked many miracles."   But I will tell them, "I will have nothing to do with you! Get out of my sight, you evil people!"”   Matt. 7:21-23 CEV

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Let No One Deceive You

“Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other.  Don't be impressed with charisma; look for character.  Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say.   A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.”   Matt.  7:15-20   Message Bible

Most Christians are prone not to categorize the “false prophets” of this world with the stigma of the title.

They more often than not wish to stress what biblical leaders have in common and/or what they like about those who do not adhere to the teachings of the Scriptures.   By doing this without discernment they unwittingly support the very teachings that the “false prophets” are trying to disseminate.

We must be aware of this matter because Jesus said to expect a many “false prophets” who will arise to charm people with their acts and teachings.

We need to be cognizant of the signs that God has given to His people that can classify teachers of God’s Word into the criterion of “true” or “false”.

The Apostle John considered that people were inspired by various spirits…..whether good or bad.   The Spirit of God is always whole-some and pure, but when teachings come from angelic spirits, John told us to test the various spirits because many false prophets have gone out into the world inspired by evil spirits. (I Jn 4:1)

It must be understood that evil spirits, including Satan himself, do not often look bad in their external appearance or in their social and religious teachings.

We are told in Scripture that there were numerous people teaching doctrines about Jesus and even looking so good on the outside that they could fool people into thinking that they were the very Apostles of Jesus and yet they were instruments of Satan.

The Apostle Paul warned people in no uncertain manner to be aware of their tactics because these false prophets normally look good and righteous on the surface.

We all know that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

“No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”  II Cor. 11:14

Monday, July 4, 2011

Prophet: True or False? Part II

“My dear friends, don't believe everything you hear.  Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you.  Not everyone who talks about God comes from God.  There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world.”   I John 4:1  Message Bible

Frequently, the words a prophet spoke on God’s behalf were, in fact, foretelling what would happen later.   However, the prophet’s essential role was to speak for God, regardless of whether he predicted the future or not.

A prophet expresses the will of God in words and sometimes he/she uses signs to back up what he/she says and to demonstrate God’s power behind it.

In a similar way, a false prophet also may not be in the business of foretelling the future.  A false prophet is simply someone who speaks for another but falsely.

False prophets either speak for the wrong god or they claim to have heard from the true God but do not accurately represent Him or His words.   At the very least, they speak out of their own fleshly heart, but more likely, the “god” they are speaking for is really Satan.

The real issue about prophets is whether or not one who claims to be representing God and speaking for Him is doing so accurately or falsely.   A prophet may accurately predict an event or demonstrate supernatural power, but if he/she is leading people away from the true worship of God, he/she is a false prophet.

The prophet is called to see future events in the light of the righteousness or wickedness of the people to whom God made everlasting covenants.   Their main work is to urge people to live righteously and godly according to biblical principles.

The prophet’s secondary work was to warn of events to come in view of the attitude of the people concerning the will of God, and to pray and make supplication for the people and for God to be merciful.

Do you see why we need true prophets and why we are called to pray?

“Surely the Lord God will do nothing without revealing His secret to His servants the prophets.”   Amos 3:7  Amp. Bible

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Prophet: True or False?

“Dear friends, don't believe everyone who claims to have the Spirit of God.   Test them all to find out if they really do come from God.   Many false prophets have already gone out into the world….”    I John 4:1   CEV

Since the beginning of time the world has almost always held true prophets to be insane.

Most church leaders will generally find true prophets about as welcome as mosquitoes at a BBQ.

One of the main problems with the church today is a misunderstanding of what a true prophet is and how great is the need for true prophets in the church in these last days before Jesus comes.

Every true church of Jesus Christ will welcome the gift of a true prophet.  It seems everyone knows that there are true prophets and false prophets.  However living in these perilous days it is amazing that there is little to no teaching in the church on how to recognize true or false prophets.

The time of end is prophesied to be full of deceptions and the elect will not be totally immune to having the wool pulled over their eyes.  (Matt. 24: 11, 24, Mark 13:22)

It will take careful evaluation and the gift of discernment to see through the fa├žade and to recognize Satan’s servants (false prophets) for what they are, rather than what they appear to be. (II Cor. 11:14-15)

Few details are given about false prophets. However, if we understand the patterns and motivations that the Bible reveals about this class of people called “false prophets” we will be better equipped to recognize the general traits of the time of end false prophets.   

The Bible also, describes false prophets and Jesus specifically warns of false prophets that affect church members.

The way the term “prophet” is commonly used, there is a misconception that its basic definition is “someone who foretells the future”, but this definition is too limited.

“Prophet” is better defined as “one who speaks for another”.  A true prophet, then, is a person who speaks for God, delivering a message that God has ordained him/her to give.

The question is: “How do we tell the difference between a true prophet and a false prophet?”

“Be on your guard against false prophets; they come to you looking like sheep on the outside, but on the inside they are really like wild wolves.  You will know them by what they do. Thorn bushes do not bear grapes, and briers do not bear figs.   A healthy tree bears good fruit, but a poor tree bears bad fruit.   A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a poor tree cannot bear good fruit.   And any tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown in the fire.   So then, you will know the false prophets by what they do.”   Matt. 7:15-20  GNT

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Emotions Rule?

“So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.   Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. 

Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.   Instead, fix your attention on God.  You'll be changed from the inside out.   Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”    Romans 12:1-2 MSG Bible

The usual image of a saintly Christian is one who has disintegrated his/her emotions, but it is better to visualize them as one who has harnessed their emotions.

The Bible tells us to crucify the ‘flesh’ not the emotions. (Gal. 5:24)    On the other hand, unless emotions are controlled, they may run from sensuality to depression.

The biblical sequence is clear; ‘my’ emotions are to be controlled by my disposition of ‘mind’ and my disposition must be controlled by my will.   When Paul said, “Let this mind be in you...” (Phil. 2:5) he was not speaking of Jesus’ brain, but His way of thinking, His disposition.

If Christ is alive in me, it follows that His way of thinking is alive in me, therefore, all I need to do is to turn my will over to Him and consequently His disposition begins to appear in my life.

If allowed to run free, our emotions can lead us into danger.  That is because emotions do not make moral choices.  Unless, our emotions are disciplined---- prevented from going too far--- we can expect trouble.   When emotions control us we can become double minded and unstable in all our ways.

A true Christian is not emotionless, nor are they unemotional, they have simply learned when to let their emotions run and how far.   If we do not rule our emotions they will rule us.

Whenever fear, love, hate, lust, prejudice, selfishness, jealousy or any other emotion dominate us, we become a neurotic.

Our victory lies in forcibly denying our emotions any preeminence by an act of the will.   We must continue to put our emotions into the hands of God so that we are totally surrendered to Him.  

Allow Him to totally control your life, including your emotional side.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”    Gal. 5:22-24  NIV

Friday, July 1, 2011

First Love or Second Best?

“….what I want is not your possessions, but you…..”   II Cor. 12:14  NIV

The priest of Malachi’s day were content to lay stale, moldy bread on the altar of God. (Mal. 1:7)

We must remember that as the sacrifice is, so is our heart.

We must never afford God the privilege of the ‘second best’.  

It is always easy to judge our service to God… it more or less what I would do for myself?

To be an exemplary servant we must emulate Paul’s attitude, “I do not seek what is yours, but you….”  (II Cor. 12:14 KJV)

The moment we let our eyes waver from the man to his possessions we are in danger of choosing second best.   Gehazi’s action should warn and frighten us…he loved Naaman’s possessions more than Naaman himself and his need for healing.  (II Kings 5:20-27)

Is my love for God a ‘first fruit’?

Is it an offering of the ‘first born’?

Does He come first or do I give Him what’s left over?

Do I spend time with Him or do I apologize for being too busy or too tired, promising to catch Him tomorrow?

I must learn that the condition of whatever I offer God is indicative of how much I value Him.

Is He stale, moldy or sickly to me?  If so, that is how I will return His service.

We should be encouraged by God’s word to Abraham: “You have not withheld your son, your only son (from Me).” (Gen. 22:16)

God wants from us an offering that by its nature shows Him how much we love Him.   If He is our all in all, then we will put NO price on our offering, as He did not when He gave His Son for each one of us and in doing so, He showed us the best sacrifice forever.

We must be watchful of the quality of service we give to God.

“Train me, God, to walk straight;
then I'll follow your true path.
Put me together, one heart and mind;
then, undivided, I'll worship in joyful fear.
From the bottom of my heart I thank you, dear Lord;
I've never kept secret what you're up to.”   Psalms 86:11-12  Message Bible