theology

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A Word to the Elect

Published July 31, 2017 by Dawn

“The man of God said, “I cannot turn back and go with you, nor can I eat bread or drink water with you in this place. I have been told by the word of the Lord: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water there or return by the way you came.’

“The old prophet answered, ‘I too am a prophet, as you are. And an angel said to me by the word of the Lord: ‘Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.’ (But he was lying to him.)

“So the man of God returned with him and ate and drank at his house.

“While they were sitting at the table, the word of the Lord came to the old prophet who had brought him back. He cried out to the man of God who had come from Judah, ‘This is what the Lord says: ‘You have defied the word of the Lord and have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. You came back and ate bread and drank water in the place where he told you not to eat or drink. Therefore, your body will not be buried in the tomb of your ancestors.’

“When the man of God had finished eating and drinking, the prophet who had brought him back saddled his donkey for him. As he went on his way, a lion met him on the road and killed him, and his body was left lying on the road, with both the donkey and the lion beside it” (1 Kings 13:16-24).

The younger prophet had received a word from the Lord, was confident it was God, and shared it with Jeroboam, the one it was sent to. He fulfilled his duty to God, and when the King (Jeroboam) invited him to stick around for dinner, the faithful prophet declined. He knew that God had told him not to eat and drink there, and because he had just pronounced a judgment on Jeroboam, probably didn’t feel very comfortable staying much longer anyway. He took off without a backward glance. But then, an older man, known to also be a man of God, invited him to turn back and come sup with him. The prophet first stuck to his convictions. He knew God’s directions to not turn back or eat or drink there. But the elder prophet was more persuasive and because the younger trusted his leadership, he turned back. It was obvious disobedience to what God had spoken to him, but he trusted that the older prophet had received a true word and trusted the man. He turned back for dinner.

In the middle of the meal, the older prophet shares a true word from God: a word of rebuke and impending destruction. The younger man’s trust was misplaced in a lie and for that, he was going to reap the wrath of God.

It happened then, and still happens now. People of God have a hard time trusting their own discernment. They receive one thing from the Word of God, and another from a man of God, and refusing to trust the Spirit of God within themselves, they willfully trust in a lie. This is very evident in the church’s adulterous acceptance of New Age theology, calling itself “Reformed”, whereby the church has grabbed onto man’s understanding instead of seeking God through His word. Why? I have a hunch:

  • Reading the Bible takes time many of us refuse to give to God.
  • Understanding the Bible is hard to do, unless you allow the Holy Spirit to minister through it.
  • We’ve lost all respect for authority and most people don’t want to be taught; they just want to pretend they know it all already
  • The church is more comfortable putting together a program and sticking to it than getting together for prayer and leaving God to plan His own “thing”
  • People trust other people’s interpretations of scripture because they don’t want to spend time reading the Bible.
  • We expect our elders to be in touch with God, and feel freed from the responsibility to know God for ourselves because we have placed our trust in men.

In order to not be in error, we first must commit to our personal walk with the Lord. We cannot know God through others. We never will. We will know them, and we will know their walk with God, but we will not know God. We can be led to Him, but if we aren’t willing to take up that cross and begin a personal walk with the Lord, we are in danger of error.

Secondly, while the texts of others can certainly lead us to truth, relying solely on the wisdom of others and disregarding personal prayer and devotion will most certainly always lead us into some error. There is no man who is 100% correct about God. Everything we hear, we should always take back to the word of God and search it out like the Bereans in the book of Acts (17:11). They were considered more righteous because they didn’t take the apostles at their word, but searched the scriptures daily to make sure that what they heard was in fact true, according to the word of God.

We also must spend time with God. In His word and in prayer. We cannot hear or heed the voice of God if we are unfamiliar with it. How can we trust that what we hear is God if His voice is that of a stranger? No, we must spend personal time (devote personal time) to our Lord, tucked away in a secret place and listening intently to what He is speaking through His word and in our prayer time. God is not often silent; we are just often not listening!

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:1-2). We have much to fear, church, if we are not students of the Word and stewards devoted to prayer. These people inhabit the pulpits. They teach on TV. They have a form of godliness, but deny His power and instead work in their own. They interpret scripture to cater to the feelings of their congregants or the tide of money flowing through the church. Many have heard God in the past, and are capable of hearing Him still, but instead minister lies to a vulnerable populace. How do we avoid the snare? We must remain guarded; girded with truth, listening with ears that hear the Spirit of God, and willing to admit wrongness so that God may be proved right (Romans 3:4, for clarity on this).

“For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24). I tremble at the thought. May studying the Word of God and prayer become the passionate pursuit of my heart! May it be yours as well, friend.

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The Message of Me

Published July 18, 2016 by Dawn

I was worshiping this morning, finally emerging from a dark cloud that had been over me for a little over a week. I’ve been joyless. This morning, while worshiping, the Holy Spirit revealed to me that the present message in the church is stealing the joy out of God’s people and making them ineffective. What message? The Message of Me.

The message that it’s all about us. That it’s all about favor and prosperity and reaping. The message that with enough of this and enough of that, we will be truly happy and our lives will be a testimony to how awesome God thinks we are. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, doesn’t it? That’s because it is.

We have become shipwrecked in our faith, church, because we are living in a fallen world listening to a doctrine that encourages us to exalt ourselves and selfishly pray that God exalts us too. God, give me this and that. I’ve earned it. Shouldn’t my life look like I’m living for you? Don’t you care that I prosper? Prosper me!

I’m not pointing fingers. I’ve been listening and taking this message to heart for a really long time. I am about to take my new car on a very long roadtrip down to Florida for my first family vacation! God is prospering us, and for this I prayed. I don’t dispute Jeremiah 29:11 because I like it, and I like when God gives favor to His people.

But I’m also lacking joy most of the time.

The Holy Spirit said to me, “How can you say ‘He must increase, and I must decrease’ if you are always asking God to make much of you? To exult your present circumstances. You have it backwards.”

We have no lasting joy or peace, church, because we expect our circumstances to be indicative of how God feels about us. Bad day? “God, did I do something wrong?” Bad week? “God, what did I do? Just tell me!” Bad month? “God, please! I love you! I’m sorry! Whatever it was, I’m so sorry!!” Bad year or years? “God. Hates. Me.”

Let me tell you something true: God loves you. You will, like Paul, know both plenty and want, and in both of these times, God will still love you. He is crazy about you. He loves you so much that, before you were conceived and had done neither right nor wrong, He sent Jesus to redeem you back to Himself because He loves you. We live in a fallen, war-torn world and every day that we live, Satan is attacking us and accusing us before our Father. Read Zechariah 3, when Satan accused Joshua before the Lord. Joshua was guilty by all accounts, but Jesus stood and said, “The Lord rebuke you! … Is he not a branch plucked from the fire?”

God loves you. Your circumstances merely reflect the living here. The days of plenty remind us of God’s goodness and the days of want remind us who our source is and where our hope lies. This is truth worth rejoicing! Neither height nor depth, present nor future, angels nor demons, life nor death … nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of Christ. We have to know this, church, because perilous times have come and are coming still. They will touch us. Not because God hates us, but because we are His and darkness must reign a bit. We must find joy in something more solid and enduring than our circumstances. Throw any other Gospel out the window. It’s trash, and the Bible says that such doctrine will lead you astray.