Say What?

In the past there were false prophets among God’s people. It is the same now. You will have some false teachers in your group. They will teach things that are wrong—ideas that will cause people to be lost. And they will teach in a way that will be hard for you to see that they are wrong. They will even refuse to follow the Master who bought their freedom. And so they will quickly destroy themselves.
~2 Peter 2:1-2 (ERV)

     Just in case no one has noticed, there's a lot going on in the world now, and it's happening all at once at a very high level of intensity. We see more because of the large amounts of information that can be seen and heard and passed along quickly, 24 hours a day. The media controls a lot of what we learn so it's not always easy to know what is true and what isn't. The older people used to say "Believe half of what you see, and none of what you hear" and there is some wisdom to that saying when it's taken in the right context.

     The one place that we should always be able to get accurate information is when we go to church to hear God's Word. Even though pastors and ministers are not perfect, what they say should always be found in the Bible and not made up. Nothing is supposed to be added to their message from outside beliefs, and definitely nothing should ever be taken away. The church is supposed to be a safe place where we can worship Christ in a pure environment, pure -- meaning that no one makes mistakes or doesn't sin, but the purity that comes from worship in spirit and truth according to John 4:24:

For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.
~John 4:24 (NLT)

     We need to worship God in a place where we will not be lied to, manipulated or have mind games played on us. The only way to know if a preacher or church is telling the truth is to know what the Word says for ourselves. We need to listen to everything they say with an open mind (thinking), an open heart (reflecting), and an open spirit (discerning). I once heard that when bank tellers are being trained to recognize counterfeit bills, they learn what real currency looks and feels like, so when the fake bills are passed they will immediately reject them. It shouldn't be any different when it comes to any type of ministry. We should be so familiar with what the Bible says that when someone speaks something that is foreign, we don't listen to it. It doesn't require a degree in theology to know a lie when we hear it. It's not necessary to have a title or be a church leader to discern when something is wrong with what a person is saying or to be able to see that his or her actions don't agree with what they are promoting from the pulpit.

Pattern yourselves after me [follow my example], as I imitate and follow Christ (the Messiah).
1 Cor 11:1 (AMP)

     God is not calling us to be judgmental, but He does require us to discern when something or someone is leading us in the wrong direction and not to follow them. A wise pastor once said: "If there ever comes a time when you no longer see the fruits of righteousness in my life, please leave this church!" Anytime you see a minister mixing other beliefs with God's Word in the pulpit, or promoting activities on TV that should only go on in private, saying one thing and doing another, paying off millions of dollars to keep themselves out of court or promoting selfishness, worldliness and greed, it's time to take a long hard look and determine if what they are doing is bringing you closer to Christ or closer to Them....because as men and women of God there should be no contradiction between what they say to you, and what they do. 

Do not let anyone fool you. For the Lord will not come again until many people turn away from God. Then the leader of those who break the law will come. He is the man of sin.  He works against and puts himself above every kind of god that is worshiped. He will take his seat in the house of God and say that he himself is God. ~2 Thess. 2:3-4 (NLV)

     It's challenging when we see "great" preachers that we admire become part of the world system that they are called to pull others out of, but we are living in a time where the Word says that people will be deceived and will cause many to fall after them. I hope and pray that none of us will be in that following. Let's remain watchful and prayerful!

      Please enjoy this video from the P4CM Dancers reminding us to "Stand Out"!


What Jesus Really Cares About...

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn't love others, I would be nothing.  If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
~1 Cor. 13:1-3 (NLT)

     That picture might offend some people...but in reality Christ spoke often about how we as Christians are to treat others, and although He wants us to know His word, He really wants us to do what we read and quote. A lot of us are very good at speaking, confessing, decreeing and declaring, but when it comes to relating to other people, a lot of that word we are saying gets lost somewhere in between the pages of the book and our hearts. I'm sure we have all experienced bad treatment at the hands of people who profess to be saved, and we have probably given out some of that same bad treatment either in response to what we received from them, or just because we forgot what mirror we had been looking at ourselves in:

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.  For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.
~ James 1:22-24 (NLT) 

     Regardless of who we are, what our gifts and talents may be, how many people are in our ministry or what we have been called to do, the most important thing is to love others and treat people the way we want to be treated. Sometimes it's the simple things that we neglect to do, that hold doors closed for us and open the door for the enemy to come in and do whatever he wants to do. From the front door to the pulpit, we all need to be loving and kind towards those we come in contact with if we want to please God. We are in the last days, and God is going to judge what we do, without regards for title, age, job description, resume, degree, or income. We will all be judged individually by the same word!

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.  If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.  If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.  But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." ~ Matt. 5:43-48 (NLT)
    My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others? For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes.  If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well,  doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives? Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him?  But you dishonor the poor! Isn’t it the rich who oppress you and drag you into court?  Aren’t they the ones who slander Jesus Christ, whose noble name you bear? Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law. ~ James 2:1-9 (NLT)
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.~ John 13:34 (NLT)
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
1 Cor. 13:13 (NLT)

     I believe that all of us can find ourselves somewhere in this message, whether we have been on the giving or receiving end of less than loving treatment. But...if you are reading this blog, you have been given the chance to do better and make amends, because it's never too late to get a new start in our walk with Christ!