Worried about false teachers?

Many people in the church seem to be concerned about false teaching/teachers, etc.  So I did a quick bible study on the word “beware” in the NT, and it’s pretty revealing. The most mentions of the word “beware” are in the NKJV, and the extreme majority of the warning is to beware of “Pharisees and Sadducee’s and Scribes” (The nonspiritual, ultra-religious leaders). It’s because they are hell-bent on trying to force their unspiritual, deeply studied, ultra-religious, restrictions on people who don’t have the spiritual discernment to realize that these leaders are not of Christ’s Spirit and are simply trying to control them via their vast doctrinal knowledge & speaking skills so that their targets feel shamed & feared into following their particular view of pleasing God.

As Solomon said, there’s nothing new under the sun. Same junk is happening all through the church today.

Follow Christ and study the word by the Spirit folks, and you won’t come under false teaching. But the carnal brain can be convinced of many ungodly things.

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Teenagers!

After parenting 6 teens for the last 8 years, and also having 14 more years to go to parent another 3 into adulthood, I’ve learned there are 2 major things that cause a truckload of teen-drama.

  1. Brain development – As puberty cranks-up and their bodies and brains go into hyper growth mode, one area of the brain begins to rapidly mature, and another waits a few years.  The Amygdala is the area controls immediate reactions and aggressive behaviors, and begins to develop rapidly during puberty.  The Frontal Cortex is the area controls reason, logic, self-control, wisdom, etc. This part doesn’t start to develop until a few years later; and in males, may not be fully developed until they’re 25 years old. As I’m sure you can imagine, this imbalance leads to a lot of impulsive and risky behaviors that horrify parents, like speeding, fighting, risk-taking, etc.
  2. Dating – As teens go through puberty and their bodies begin to “bloom”, something on the inside wakes up too, and it’s powerful.  They become subconsciously aware of the reality that there’s someone outside of themselves and their immediate family that is required to “make them whole”, and they immediately begin trying to stuff other teenagers into that “hole”.  The problem is that “hole” is actually meant to be filled by a relationship with Jesus instead of another human, and He’s the only one big enough to fill it.  Since a human can never fill the place of God, but the longing to have that “hole” filled is so strong, all kinds of drama erupts in a short order, because a human can never love us with the fullness that God can.  And since they’re not “feeling the love”, they either go through lots of break-ups trying to find that “right person”, or they get into ugly and hurtful drama trying to control each other.

So, the message to my teens has been “Even though it feels like I’m trying to control you, I’m really just functioning as your frontal lobe until yours is developed enough to govern you to the point that you won’t do irreparable damage to yourself or someone else”.  And “Don’t date.  Spend your time an energy with friends of the same gender, having fun, gaining vision for your future, and get to know Jesus.  Once you’ve matured to the point that you’re ready for marriage, then have some healthy dating relationships, and avoid all the drama”.  They certainly haven’t followed this advice perfectly, but the seed was planted, and helped them to make better decisions once they experienced some of the foolishness of going their own way.

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The Power of Beholding

I’ve meditating on the principle of “beholding”. Simply put, the principle is that we become what we behold.

(Beholding meaning more than just looking at something occasionally. Beholding is more along the lines of habitually gazing intently [pondering deeply] at something, so as to soak it up into your being)

So, if we become what we habitually behold, then:

* If we behold worldly TV, movies, sports, etc; then we become spiritually weak, selfish, & carnal believers.

* If we behold evil like porn & violent movies, etc; then we become depraved, deceitful, and dangerous.

* If we behold the law of God as requirements for being right with Him, then we become judgmental, self-righteous, demanding, rude, overbearing, graceless, legalists.

* But praise Jesus, when we behold Him, we become grace-filled, loving, kind, truthful, bold, wise, disciplined, etc.

Let’s behold the awesomeness of our Lord Jesus!

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
‭‭II Corinthians‬ ‭3:18‬ ‭NKJV‬

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A Battle Hymn by Charles Spureon

Forth to the battle rides our King, He climbs His conquering car;
He fits His arrows to the string, And hurls His bolts afar.
Convictions pierce the stoutest hearts, They smart, they bleed, they die;
Slain by Immanuel’s well-aimed darts, In helpless heaps they lie.

Behold, He bares his two-edged sword, And deals almighty blows;
His all-revealing, killing Word ‘Twixt joints and marrow goes.
Who can resist Him in the fight? He cuts through coats of mail;
Before the terror of His might The hearts of rebels fail.

Anon, arrayed in robes of grace He rides the trampled plain,
With pity beaming in His face, And mercy in His train.
Mighty to save He now appears, Mighty to raise the dead,
Mighty to stanch the bleeding wound, And lift the fallen head.

Victor alike in love and arms, Myriads around Him bend;
Each captive owns His matchless charms, Each foe becomes His friend.
They crown Him on the battle-field, They press to kiss His feet;
Their hands, their hearts, their all they yield: His conquest is complete.

None love Him more than those He slew; His love their hate has slain;
Henceforth their souls are all on fire To spread His gentle reign.

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Reality Check – Killing sacred cows

Bible study, prayer, going to church, accountability groups, singing praises, book studies, witnessing, giving, serving, and on-and-on.
 
All good things? Perhaps. But the “good” part of the tree of knowledge was still death. So, all these things can be death? Yep, for sure. Practically all religions have these same “good” things in their “to do lists”. The pharisees were masters of the scriptures and strict religious practices, but they chose their “good” over the Life that was before them, and also hung Life on a cross in order to protect their “good” religiousness.
 
So could it be wrong to encourage bros “to do” these things, when they’re seeking advice or counsel? Yes, it could be wrong, bcs just doing these good things could actually lead to death.
 
Jesus said “eat my flesh and drink my blood”, and that “rivers of living water will flow from those that drink of Him”. And that *knowing* (a deeply intimate word) IS eternal life. He also said that many folks who “do” a lot of things “in His name” will hear “away from me, I never *knew* you”.
 
So if we do all these “good” things, and encourage others to as well, for the sake of amassing spiritual/biblical knowledge and refining our religious practices so as to appear more holy than everyone around us, then we are destined for weeping and gnashing of teeth.
 
It feels good to be able to tell another brother what he should be doing. But is it really leading to Life to just constantly advise bros to read their bibles and pray? Probably not. If doing those things really worked, then there we be a whole lot more victory in the camp, and way less problems & struggles.
 
I pray we all learn how to give each other Christ. Christ is the difference. He is life, victory, healing, wisdom, inspiration, transformation, deliverance…everything. Those “good” things can perhaps serve as plates on which to serve/eat Christ, but if He’s not the substance of food on the plate, then the nourishment is actually death instead of life.
 
And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the *preeminence*. [Col 1:18 NKJV]
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Responding to trials

God’s plan for each of us includes premeditated & strategically designed trials. Pits, prisons, enslavement, mistreatment, betrayal, slander, theft, abuse, wilderness seasons, loneliness, service-to-the-ungodly, and on and on. The key is turning from trying to get out of them, and learning to respond to them in faith & the Spirit. In this, we are transformed from depressed whiners and complainers into overcomers.

God’s not raising spoiled brats, but mighty sons to send as ambassadors into the world to take dominion in Jesus’ name and for His glory.

[Jas 1:2-4 NKJV] 2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have [its] perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

[1Pe 1:6-7 NKJV] 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, [being] much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,

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Problem Solving: wrench or flow?

Problem solving: a wrench or a flow.

Many times, we prefer to reach for a “wrench” when we “need to ‘fix’ something”. The wrench makes us feel in-control, and gain a sense of accomplishment, if it works. Even though the wrench-fix may just be a temporary fix. And wrenches can be good tools for small fixes. But for really big problems, I think we need a flow.

Years ago the Lord gave me a vision of His version fixing big problems. I saw a river that hadn’t seen any rain in a very long time. It was flowing, but quite shallow; and there was a lot of exposed banks. Lodged all in the banks were dead tree trunks, rocks, all kinds of trash & debris; and even some big stuff like chunks of barns and old cars. The amount of junk lodged in the banks was overwhelming. Wrenching each huge thing out one-by-one would be a lifetime endeavor, even with a crew to help.

But then the rains came, and a flash-flood overwhelmed the river. The soil in the banks loosened up, and the debris became less and less stuck, and eventually just washed downstream by the dump-truck load.

So, the lesson to me was when I’m facing big problems, to resist the urge to reach for the wrench, and fast and pray until the big rain-of-His-Spirit
comes.

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