Ask The Chaplain

Ask The Chaplain

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Are You Being Pimped?

If Your Church Does This.......You May be Gettin Pimped!

1. Manipulating people into financial giving by quoting un-Biblical
formulas i.e. if you give a certain amount of money, you will receive
a 100 fold (highest possible) blessing.
2. Money lines i.e. people are placed into lines in front of the
church based on the amount of money they gave ($25, $50, $100) and
certain blessings are pronounced on these individuals with of course
the highest monetary givers receiving the largest "blessing".

3. The sale of items to accomplish a particular need in your life
i.e. various colored cloths to place under pillows bringing about
such things as mates for marriage, healing, financial gain, etc. The
sale of "holy water" that has either been specially prayed over or it
comes from some type of Holy Land water source (River Jordan) and if
you bathe it in or drink it, it will bring healing for any type of
disease. The sale of prayer cloths such as was used in the Book of
Acts in which anything or anyone you lay this cloth on will perform
what you ordain it to perform.

4. Forced words of a so-called prophetic nature whereby people are
provoked to "prophesy" because a church leader will strongly imply
God has something to say to his people. If no one speaks up, the
people are made to feel guilty and unspiritual so someone will speak
a word, obviously not from God because when God speaks, life-changing
events occur. In these cases, the words are spoken but people are
inattentive with looks of bewilderment and confusion. The same
provocation is used to induce "speaking in tongues". In this case
people in the church are either praying or speaking in tongues
supernaturally to God, or for something to occur in the spiritual
realm, however again, there are no changes that have taken place.
Again, when God is present, nothing can remain the same.
5. Manipulating the Scriptures by holding God responsible for every
Word spoken in the Bible to come true (promises) in every Christians
life regardless of the circumstances; also included is the
famous "Name it and Claim it" practice where people are strongly
urged to go out beyond their reaches and claim such things as
spouses, jobs, cars, houses, etc. The justification used is from the
Bible stating that, "You can have what you say"; "if we ask anything
in the name of Jesus it will be given to us", etc. Clearly the Name
of Jesus is being strongly manipulated and used as some type of
magical chant that as long as we are claiming things by merely
stating His name, it most assuredly will become ours and we most
assuredly Must receive whatever we ask. Truly we know that God is
Lord and Lord over His Word, that which He speaks and has spoken, is
not Lord over Him.

My observation of these occurrences did not just take place on a few
occasions, but was considered a regular part of church services that
occurred frequently. I know peoples lives that have been ruined as a
result of believing and participating in these practices. I could
state additional examples but I wanted to share enough in hopes of
your ability to share in my concern and grief over this plight. Many
Christians believe these incidences are a normal part of church
services, and cannot and do not discern the elements of witchcraft
that are involved. Many times in church services of this nature, the
preacher appears more of a magician practicing and inducing magical
occurrences than preaching the Word of God.

I am not opposed to claiming the promises of God because all of His
promises are true. However, many times and I have seen it so many
times in my years of ministry, where people are provoked to claim
things just for the asking that may not be within God's Will for
their lives or in His timing or not at all ever meant to occur in
their lives. All of us were not meant to be rich but in some
teachings that is not what is taught. It is taught that we were all
meant to be rich and this is not meaning from a spiritual standpoint
but material. People who have less were led to believe they were
living beneath the promises of God if they did not have a certain
standard of living. People were urged to go beyond their natural
means to seek things much beyond what they could ever afford without
being given any spiritual instruction or counsel. People were urged
to write checks of faith believing money was going to supernaturally
appear in their checking accounts and so many people would write
these checks and guess what? money came from heaven to be poured
in these accounts but instead, these people had placed themselves in
a position of "Insufficient Funds" which is a punishable crime
whereby even on my department where I am a police lieutenant, many
are arrested for this type charge. Seldom would the people be urged
to pray about these matters in seeking God's Will for these things.
Emphasis on these "things" with a monetary value were placed much
more than emphasis on spiritual matters that would bring us closer to
God such as seeking first the Kingdom of God and it's Righteousness.

I have seen people take the Scriptures, "We can have what we
say"..."Whatsoever we ask in Jesus Name He will do it"...etc. and
claim personally motivated things for their lives that fill the lust
of the flesh, lust of the eye, and pride of life. Rarely quoted in
these type settings is the Scripture, "You have not because you ask
not because when you ask it is with a selfish motive". So the other
Scriptures are taken and by verbalizing the Name of Jesus (i.e. I
claim this house in Jesus Name) we use His name like He has to obey
this type of request only because we asked for the thing in His name.
Leaders urge people to seek after these things stirring up passions
and lusts for things without even taking the spiritual temperatures
of the people. In other words, how can we think we can ask these
things of Jesus when we are not even walking after the Spirit or not
seeking first the Kingdom of God - or not presenting ourselves as
Holy Sacrifices or not living as the Temple of God - or just not
walking with God as we should. We have gotten so brain washed to
desire things that most of the desires of the heart in so many
Christians are the things of this world such as material things or
power (which are not wrong of themselves - I like nice things - I
have a police department job of power and a army reserve job of power
so whether or not I like it - I have much power with these jobs)
rather than spiritual things such as working towards an intimate
relationship with God.

An example, I have been in several very large popular television
churches where the preacher makes specific note of his Gold
Presidential Rolex Watch (approx. $20-30 thousand dollars) where it
was said that they told God to give it to them because they were the
King's kids and should have the best. What does that do for those
sitting on the pews who are wearing Timex watches or less? Another
example, a dear friend of mine claimed for herself an expensive house
and got in the house. She had put her life long savings as a down
payment on the house and had made large monthly payments on the
house. In less than a year she was laid off of her well-paying job -
lost the house because it was re-possessed. She went to a church
where the teaching was highly "pumped up", "Our Father owns cattle
and lands and is rich so that makes us rich...Go and claim your

Also people get in bondage with themselves when they sit under this
teaching having lower paying jobs - live in not so rich houses - use
public transportation etc. I have counseled people who are depressed
because they cannot figure out why God is not blessing them in this
way; what is wrong with them?; why is God keeping them at this
place?; why are they being punished? is a hard thing to counsel
these issues in people when they have developed a mind-set that they
should have these things and since they do not, something has to be
wrong with them. As I said, I believe and apply the promises of God
to my life every second of every day because if I could not rely on
what He said, my life may as well be over and done with. Yet I
embrace the Scripture that "He is a Rewarder of those who diligently
seek Him"...not things but Him and His rewards are whatever, however,
and whenever He chooses to bestow on us. As long as "things" are
always dangling before us, it will always be difficult to see God in
the midst of it all to want and desire Him in the way that we should.
In these last and final days, we cannot afford to place anything or
desire anything more than we do God and He will not honor it if we do
nor will He be a part of it. He is the one that said we will not have
any other gods before Him and we have made these things gods. I hope
that some understanding of what my intent is on this thoughts page
have gone forth...since I put this page up just a short time ago,
many have written who have been in that type of bondage or who have
been "turned off" from that type of teaching which they realize is a
perversion of The Word, and not the way God intended it to be taken.

With all the efforts underway to expose and educate occult practices
such as witchcraft to the Body of Christ, I would be remiss if I did
not share the type of "church" witchcraft with you that I have been a
victim of as well as counseling and helping many others who too have
been devastated as a result. As much as an advocate that I am for
exposing occult practices and witchcraft by educating Christians,
clearly I see that we need to first begin the education right in the
Houses of God for what good does it do us to be well versed in occult
practices outside of the church, and then enter into a church where
the practices, although disguised by perversion of Scriptures, are
very much alive and well.

Chaplain Stevens

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Why was Martin Luther so Important?

When Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses on the door of the church, he did so not to create a denomination, as some believe. Martin Luther wanted to correct anti-biblical practices being promoted in the church. The main theme revolved around the practice of “selling indulgences”. What the church was doing was convincing people that they could “pay” their family members out of purgatory. The church did this primarily to finance the Popes greed and desire to finance the Cistene Chapel in Rome. Now we Protestants read this stuff in Church History books and we gasp, yet how many of us “enlightened” Spirit-filled Protestants that know of Bishops, Pastors, and Preachers in our Protestant churches that “sell blessings” today.

We have condemned Catholics for centuries, yet we have the same skeletons in our closets. From Reverend Ike, Robert Tildon, or to the pastor in the storefront in the inner city, we too have been guilty of “selling blessings”. Every Protestant denomination (and non-denomination) has had it share of “Greedy Popes”. I really admired Martin Luther’s guts, but where are the Martin Luther’s of today? When Oral Roberts said he would die unless he got 80 million dollars in donations, where was the outrage from Christians? Of course the world ridiculed his nonsense, but there was no moral outrage from any Christian leaders. Why? Well I’ll tell you why! It is a very lonely position when you stand on the truth of scripture. We are quick to condemn Catholics trust in traditions and church doctrine, but we are equally guilty! How often have you seen and heard things done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in your church, but in your gut (spirit) you knew it was against the Bible? And why didn’t you say something is the more disturbing question.

Jim Jones was able to take hundreds of lives in Guyana because someone refused to listen to their gut (spirit). I firmly believe in supporting the local church and helping pastors, I want to make that clear. However there is a real epidemic of spiritually stupid “saints” that don’t study their Bibles and try every spirit by the Spirit. We were given the ability to discern so we WON’T end up giving our money to crooks and drinking poison Kool-Aid! Many of today’s most prominent preachers would be labeled heretics hundreds of years ago because MOST clergymen were devout Theologians and serious students of scripture. Today ordination papers and licenses are given to anyone that say’s they are called to preach. I agree that being Spirit-filled and called is the first priority of being a preacher, but ALSO there has to be training…SERIOUS TRAINING! A lack of understanding of just the basic Bible doctrines of the faith can lead to the types of abuses I am talking about. Martin Luther was able to stand up to the lies of Rome because he was filled with the knowledge of the truth. I am a Pentecostal preacher, I believe in the Charismatic Gifts of the Spirit, but that doesn’t negate the fact that we must have a scholarly approach to the scriptures and its teachings.

I have heard PREACHERS say stupid things like, “I don’t know the Bible that well but I am filled-with the Holy Ghost and fire!” This person is a prime candidate for deception and a good whipping from the devil! The Bible say’s in 1st Timothy 4:4 “In the last days some shall DEPART from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits and DOCTRINES of devils.” The Devil will fill your head with HIS doctrine (teaching) if your head isn’t filled with sound Bible doctrine. Martin Luther unlike other priest actually studied the Bible for truth and not to support a man made lie. We must as individual believers have reformer’s courage to stand up to the church when it strays from the truth of scripture. I know it sounds crazy to say stand up AGAINST the church, I am of course talking about organized denominational/non-denominational institutions that profess to be of Jesus Christ, yet stray away from the truth of Jesus Christ. I have seen enough heresy in the church in the last 25 years of my life to make ones head spin and the majority of it went unchallenged.

We allow “preachers” to say anything in our pulpits and we say AMEN! We are afraid to be attacked for standing up for the truth. In 1980 I was stationed at Kunsan Air Base in South Korea. While there I heard a Baptist preacher (Who was also a Freemason) tell a group in Bible study that “all roads lead to Rome” meaning every religion can get you to heaven. I was a new believer, but I knew this was wrong! I challenged him, because NO ONE else would say a word. He was a popular preacher and I was a new convert so you can imagine whose side everyone lined up on. My point is this, when you hear false preaching or teaching SAY SOMETHING! The Apostle Paul was the new kid on the block (Read Galatians) yet he challenged and corrected the Chief Apostle Peter for treating the Gentile believers wrong.

Ministers are NOT infallible, only the Word of God is! No matter how popular or how powerful a preacher is, they are NOT above reproach!

But we will continue to devote ourselves steadfastly to prayer and the ministry of the Word. (Acts 6:4 Amp)

This is one of the key verses in the Bible to help a novice minister be a successful tool for the Master. Preaching has nothing to do with popularity, titles, or position. The successful minister is the one that realizes that sharing God’s Word is a divine call and privilege that can’t be done in one’s own strength.

The Apostles took this charge so seriously that they knew total devotion to prayer and study was paramount. A preacher that doesn’t devote his life to prayer and study is a potential false prophet. Satan loves preachers that say “I’m to busy to study” or “I don’t think preachers need formal Bible training.”

The gospel preacher must devote his (or her) life to purity of doctrine. Paul warned Timothy to avoid fables and old wives tales. It’s very easy for preachers to get involved in the “flavor of the month” teachings. In last 20 years we have been bombarded with the “faith” message, “prosperity gospel”, “Spiritual Warfare”, and “Prophecy”. Every one is an “Apostle” or “Bishop”; no one is simply a Gospel preacher. Don’t get caught up in trends and hype. Be lead by the Holy Ghost and walk in your calling. I have been preaching 23 years. I have done the work of an evangelist, and served in pastoral capacities, but I am called to teach. My anointing is that of a teacher. It would be foolish to try and be anything else. I live to study and teach the Word of God. We need more “Martin Luther’s” in the church today. Too much of our teaching today is unbalanced. We have churches teaching crazy things like you have to speak in tongues to be saved, Christians should never get sick, or you can only be saved in MY church! Wake up saints and speak out against false teaching! There are churches that teach everyone has a demon, yes some people need demons cast out! However some problems are not demon powered but human error! Teaching the truth can solve more problems in the church than by casting out a “demon”.

(Note: I am not picking on any particular denomination, there is enough heresy in every Protestant denomination)

Chaplain Stevens

So what's so bad about pornography?

"What is so bad about pornography?" Overall, porn affects every viewer negatively, regardless of religious belief, creed, gender or age. Here is my list of reasons that explain why.

1) Pornography feeds lust of the eyes and lust of the flesh, which are never satisfied. It leaves the viewer craving more and more in order to achieve the same "sexual high." It easily enslaves people to their own cravings and opens the door to other forms of evil, like anger, abuse, violence, hatred, lying, envy, compulsiveness and selfishness. The power behind porn is revealed when the porn addict tries to stop their habit - it is virtually impossible without help.

2) Pornography sexualizes the viewer's mindset. It warps and perverts their perspective such that sex is unnaturally elevated in their thoughts. Porn's images are stamped into viewer's brain with the aid of hormones released during sexual arousal. Even if a person decides to stop looking at porn, the past images can remain for years or even a lifetime.

3) Pornography promotes destructive practices and can lead to progressive addiction. For example, porn sites routinely link viewers to depictions of every type of sexual perversion imaginable, such as child porn, homosexuality, bestiality, necrophilia (sexual interest in corpses), masochism (pleasure from abuse or suffering), rape and sadism (gratification from inflicting physical or mental pain on others). The viewer's exposure to such themes naturally increases the likelihood that they may attempt to act out what they've viewed. This can lead to sexual crimes, a la the late Ted Bundy and Gary Ridgway (The Green River Killer).

4) Pornography intensifies an individual's drive to serve oneself, rather than serve others. For example, masturbation, which typically accompanies looking at pornography reinforces a self-centered sexual orientation (i.e. lust), which can detract from a person's ability to give and receive love.

5) Pornography addiction can lead to debt. The convenience of credit card transactions on the internet encourages covert spending without limit. Additionally, pornographers flood common internet areas with enticing banner ads ("teasers") and spam email, which bait potential viewers with free porn. Once lured by the free porn to the site, the viewers must then pay to see more.

6) By viewing and/or purchasing porn, viewers are supporting the porn industry and facilitating its growth. By viewing porn, the viewer is also contributing to the sexual exploitation of whoever or whatever is in the images he or she is viewing.

7) Looking at porn can damage the viewer's family relationships, not to mention increasing the chance of his or her spouse and children finding the material. Porn may also inspire the viewer to explore incest, which is a common porn theme. Other things porn may inspire in the viewer (which could in turn affect the family) include sexual frustration, lying, abuse, affairs, debt, violent behavior and irrational thinking. (see Testimonials on how porn destroys lives)

8) Looking at porn at work could damage the viewer's reputation, decrease his or her productivity and lead to job loss. It could also inspire unhealthy and/or inappropriate relationships with co-workers.

9) Looking at porn can damage the viewer's current or future marriage sex life. Porn viewers may find that it's difficult to enjoy true intimacy with their spouse when they're fantasizing about somebody else! Additionally, porn builds an unrealistic perception of sexual relations. Porn sex is a portrayal or an act made for the viewer's enjoyment. It takes what God intended as a private expression of love between a husband and wife and prostitutes it for entertainment. When a person has been looking at sexual pictures of other people for entertainment, he or she will have a downgraded value of sex. This in turn will detract from their appreciation and value of sex with their spouse.

10) Looking at porn will increase the viewer's tendency to lie, because he or she will have a natural desire to keep it secret to avoid criticism, embarrassment, shame and/or having to surrender their habit.

11) Looking at porn can lead a person into masturbation addiction.

12) Looking at porn brings serious spiritual consequences (see consequences page). For example, it opens the doorway to spiritual oppression and confusion in the viewer's life. The power behind pornography is inherently evil. It seeks to control and dominate the viewer's life, while allowing other forms of evil to gain influence in that person. Once a person starts looking at the porn, their eyes become the gateway for the evil power to enter them. As it gains influence, the evil can numb the viewer's ability discern right and wrong. As traditional moral values are blurred, confusion sets in.

13) Looking at porn helps you start to believe the lies it promotes. Examples lies include:

Sexual freedom = happiness
Perverted sex (homosexual sex, incest, BDSM, etc) is more enjoyable than "normal" heterosexual sex
There are no consequences to sexual promiscuity
Sexual expression is a right, not a God-given or God-defined gift
You can live a healthy life with the porn images floating around in your mind
Porn doesn't harm anyone
Sex is something to be done primarily for self gratification
The porn stars are the happiest people on earth
Adults can view porn without any lasting side effects
Porn will help your sex life
Porn is just a harmless thing that everybody looks at

Friday, December 12, 2008

What are Demons?

Demons are evil spirits that are part of a highly organized satanic kingdom on earth and in the heavenlies. This kingdom is ruled by Satan and has a specific hierarchy of power (Ephesians 6:12, Ephesians 2:2; Matthew 12:24-27). The definition of the Greek word for demon, daimonion (Strong's #1140) gives us more clues about what a demon is:

the divine power, deity, divinity
a spirit, a being inferior to God, superior to men
evil spirits are the messengers and ministers of the devil
Origin: There are two theories about demonic origin that I'd like to highlight. Both theories hold that demons are created beings who rebelled against God:

Fallen angels: Satan, formerly Lucifer, was the “covering” cherub of the throne of God (Ezekiel 28:14-16). When he sinned by pride, he persuaded a third of the angels to rebel against God (Revelation 12:4). Satan and his angels were cast out of heaven to earth (Isaiah 14:12, Ezekiel 28:16-17, Luke 10:18). This theory proposes that demons are the “fallen angels.”
Disembodied spirits: Isaiah 14:12,16,17,20 suggests that Satan was the leader of a race of beings prior to Adam. Ultimately this race was destroyed by God with a worldwide flood, explaining the condition of the earth in Genesis 1:2 (dark and covered with water). This theory proposes that demons are the disembodied spirits of the pre-adamic race.
Regardless of their origin, the fact is that demons exist today just as during Jesus' ministry. The Bible gives us much guidance on how to deal with them under the authority of Jesus Christ.

Characteristics of Demons:

The demons that we encounter on earth seem to prefer to inhabit bodies (Revelation 18:2, Matthew 12:43-44, Mark 5:12).
Communal: Demons often live and work together. Jesus explained that when re-inhabiting a former host person, a demon will take seven spirits more wicked than himself and reoccupy the person (Matthew 12:43-45). Examples of communal demons are found in Mark 16:9 (Mary's seven demons) and Mark 5:9 (man with a legion of demons).
Demons have intellect and will (Matthew 12:43-45; Mark 5:6-13)
Demons vary in level of wickedness (Matthew 12:43-45; Mark 5:6-13)
Vary in power level and endurance: they require rest (Matthew 12:43-44; Mark 5:6-13); some are only routed through prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:21, Mark 9:29)
Recognize that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and those operating in his authority (Mark 1:24-26; Mark 5:10-13; Acts 19:15)
Capabilities of Demons

Can travel (Matthew 12:43-45)
Can cause sickness, disease, fever, physical abnormalities, mental torment, alterations of voice
Can fight with God's angels (Daniel 10:13,20; Revelation 12:7)
Can influence human events (Revelation 16:13-14)
Can speak through a person’s voice and see through their eyes (Acts 19:15)
Can affect the "state" of their host person (Matthew 12:43-45) ranging from total possession (Mark 5:2-8) to periodic influence (Mark 9:17-18). They are able to influence the emotions, thoughts and actions of their host toward destruction. Examples include the Gerasene demoniac cutting himself in Mark 5:5 and the boy who was being thrown into the fire in Mark 9:22.
Can invigorate people with extraordinary strength (Acts 19:16)
Can deceive people and draw people away from the truth, enticing them by their own desires (2 Chronicles 18:20-22, Luke 4:1-13, James 1:14 inferred, Acts 5:3)
Why do demons access humans?

To fulfill their master’s mission: Satan, also known as Beelzebub, is the ruler of all demons (Luke 11:15-20; Matthew 12:24-27). Satan’s mission is to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). Likewise, demons will try to steal, kill and destroy whatever they can ( Luke 11:17-18). They will also attempt to take people captive by deception to do the Satan's will (2 Timothy 2:25-26).
They desire a body: Bodies apparently offer demons rest and/or shelter. Jesus explained that after being cast out of a body, an unclean spirit goes through dry places seeking rest and finds none. It tries to return to the person it left (Luke 11:24-26; Matthew 12:43-45).
God allows them to for judgment purposes: Saul's tormenting spirit (1 Samuel 16:14); lying spirit & Ahab (2 Chronicles 18:19-22); Jehoram's fatal illness (2 Chronicles 21:12-15)
To oppose God's plans and purposes: Demons are often sent to try to block or thwart God's servants. This can manifest in many ways including depression, sickness, confusion, temptation, doubt, etc. The purpose is usually to weaken faith (2 Timothy 1:5-9), since faith is the key ingredient for fighting spiritual warfare.
How do demons access humans?

Our sin gives them "legal" right to enter: Sin gives demons footholds in us for oppression. Jesus told the sick man, “Go and sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you” (John 5:5-14). Bible examples of other sin footholds for demons: 1 Samuel 15:22; 1 Samuel 16:14; Luke 22:3-6; Acts 5:2; 1 Timothy 6:9-10; Numbers 5:18-30.
Curses from sin (1 Samuel 14:24; Numbers 5:18-28; Genesis 9:24-25; 2 Samuel 6:20-23): Our sin can bring curses upon us and our descendants. Demons are empowered to work according to these curses. For example, patterns of sexual sin like divorce or adultery can often be traced down through family histories.
Trauma: Spirits of fear can access us during traumatic events. Since faith acts a shield, fear (faith's opposite) weakens the shield when we doubt God will protect us. This leaves us vulnerable to a spirit of fear. One of Satan's principal objects is to take people into bondage to fear (Romans 8:15; Hebrews 2:14-15).
Violated oaths (Numbers 5:18-28; Matthew 5:33-37; James 5:12): If we break an oath that we have taken, we can bring a curse on ourselves, giving evil spirits right of entry to execute the curse on us.
Idle words/word curses (James 3:6,8; Mathew 12:35-37; 2 Timothy 2:16-17): Our words can be used powerfully for good or evil. They can be used to edify or destroy a person. Idle words can enact a curse on ourselves or those we've spoken to. Examples of idle words: "This job will be the death of me," "You'll never amount to anything in life," "I hope he rots in hell," "I'm bound to get cancer since it's in my family history." When a curse is spoken, demons are empowered to work according to what was said.
Satanic assignment: The Bible mentions instances where Satan asked for God's permission to oppress people (Job 2:1-7; Luke 22:31). If granted permission, Satan may assign his forces to work evil against a person.
Judgment: In some cases God may allow demons to afflict a person when they have failed to receive "the love of the truth" and/or have delighted in evil. 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 describes this situation where God sends a powerful delusion on rebellious people so that they will believe the devil's lies. "Lying spirits" are the typical demons specializing in deception that may gain entry in this case.
Broken spiritual covering/being delivered to Satan: This can occur when a person leaves or is expelled from the body of Christ. When a church "delivers" a person to Satan, they withdraw fellowship and spiritual covering from the person in hopes that the person will repent from his sin and return to God (1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Timothy 1:20). Once out of fellowship, the person is vulnerable to demonic attack targeting the flesh.
Broken faith: Since faith is our shield in spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:16), any lack of faith could make us vulnerable to attack. With a weakened shield, Satan's darts may wound us, giving demons a foothold. Doubt is a common tool Satan uses to destroy faith and breed confusion (James 1:6-8).

How Does a Man Stop Lusting?

There are many principles revealed in the Bible for destroying lust. It’s usually not as simple as, "just don’t do it." The main principle is that through Jesus Christ, we gain supernatural power to put lust to death. With that in mind, I've listed 10 points on destroying lust below. I encourage you to study each one and consider how you can apply it in your life. For further study, I recommend taking our online course Freedom Journey.

1. Confess, repent from and renounce your sin of lust to God

2. Make no provision to fulfill lust: "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts." (Romans 13:14 NKJV)

3. Walk by the Spirit: "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16 NKJV)

4. Put lust to death by the power of the Holy Spirit: "For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live." (Romans 8:13 NKJV) (see also Colossians 3:5)

5. Reckon yourself with Jesus - alive to God and dead to sin: "Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." (Galatians 5:24 NIV) (also Colossians 3.5 and Romans 6)

6. Flee youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace: "Now flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart." (2 Timothy 2:22 NIV)

7. Deny lust and live righteously: "11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:11-13 NKJV)

8. Invest your time, energy and efforts in God’s will, not in lust: "1 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God." (1 Peter 4:1-2 NKJV)
9. Apply the truth to the lies: (John 8:31-32, Psalm 51:6); see truth and lies about sex sin

10. Submit to God, resist the devil, draw near to God: "7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." (James 4:7-10 NKJV)

Biblical Illiteracy

I have heard PREACHERS say stupid things like, “I don’t know the Bible that well but I am filled-with the Holy Ghost and fire!” This person is a prime candidate for deception and a good whipping from the devil! The Bible say’s in I 1st Timothy 4:4 “In the last days some shall DEPART from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits and DOCTRINES of devils.” The Devil will fill your head with HIS doctrine (teaching) if your head isn’t already filled with sound Bible doctrine. Martin Luther unlike other priest actually studied the Bible for truth and not to support a man made lie. We must as individual believers have reformer’s courage to stand up to the church when it strays from the truth of scripture. I know it sounds crazy to say stand up AGAINST the church, I am of course talking about organized denominational/non-denominational institutions that profess to be of Jesus Christ, yet stray away from the truth of Jesus Christ. I have seen enough heresy in the church in the last 25 years of my life to make ones head spin and the majority of it went unchallenged.

We allow “preachers” to say anything in our pulpits and we say AMEN! We are afraid to be attacked for standing up for the truth. In 1980 I was stationed at Kunsan Air Base in South Korea. While there I heard a Baptist preacher (Who was also a Freemason) tell a group in Bible study that “all roads lead to Rome” meaning every religion can get you to heaven. I was a new believer, but I knew this was wrong! I challenged him, because NO ONE else would say a word. He was a popular preacher and I was a new convert so you can imagine whose side everyone lined up on. My point is this, when you hear false preaching or teaching SAY SOMETHING! The Apostle Paul was the new kid on the block (Read Galatians) yet he challenged and corrected the Chief Apostle Peter for treating the Gentile believers wrong.

Ministers are NOT infallible, only the Word of God is! No matter how popular or how powerful a preacher is, they are NOT above reproach!

But we will continue to devote ourselves steadfastly to prayer and the ministry of the Word. (Acts 6:4 Amp)

This is one of the key verses in the Bible to help a novice minister be a successful tool for the Master. Preaching has nothing to do with popularity, titles, or position. The successful minister is the one that realizes that sharing God’s Word is a divine call and privilege that can’t be done in one’s own strength.

The Apostles took this charge so seriously that they knew total devotion to prayer and study was paramount. A preacher that doesn’t devote his life to prayer and study is a potential false prophet. Satan loves preachers that say “I’m too busy to study” or “I don’t think preachers need formal Bible training.”

The gospel preacher must devote his (or her) life to purity of doctrine. Paul warned Timothy to avoid fables and old wives tales. It’s very easy for preachers to get involved in the “flavor of the month” teachings. In last 20 years we have been bombarded with the “faith” message, “prosperity gospel”, “Spiritual Warfare”, and “Prophecy”. Every one is an “Apostle” or “Bishop”; no one is simply a Gospel preacher. Don’t get caught up in trends and hype. Be lead by the Holy Ghost and walk in your calling. I have been preaching 23 years. I have done the work of an evangelist, and served in pastoral capacities, but I am called to teach. My anointing is that of a teacher. It would be foolish to try and be anything else. I live to study and teach the Word of God. We need more “Martin Luther’s” in the church today. Too much of our teaching today is unbalanced. We have churches teaching crazy things like you have to speak in tongues to be saved, Christians should never get sick, or you can only be saved in MY church! Wake up saints and speak out against false teaching! There are churches that teach everyone has a demon, yes some people need demons cast out! However some problems are not demon powered but human error! Teaching the truth can solve more problems in the church than by casting out a “demon”.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Do Humans Become Angels in Heaven?

No, angels are not glorified human beings. Matthew 22:30 explains that they do not marry or reproduce like humans, and Hebrews 12:22-23 says that when we get to the heavenly Jerusalem, we will be met by “myriads of angels” and “the spirits of righteous men made perfect”—two separate groups.
Angels are a company or association, not a race descended from a common ancestor (Luke 20:34-36). We are called “sons of men,” but angels are never called “sons of angels.”

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Jesus Pre-Existence in Genesis

One of man’s great dilemmas has been the need for a savior. When Adam and Eve were cast out of the presence of Yahweh, they started the ball rolling for the estrangement of God and man. God as always, had a plan for the redemption of mankind. The concept of a savior was birthed in Genesis 3:15. 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. The Lord lets us know that Satan (the serpent) will suffer defeat at the hands of a deliverer who will be born of a woman of unknown origin. It was clearly understood from God’s early dealings with sinful man that it would take a blood sacrifice to atone for man’s sin. Adam and Eve tried to “cover” their sin with fig leaves. God killed animals and cover their nakedness with skin. Cain the son of Adam made the same mistake his parents made, he tried to appease God with the wrong type of offering. God even tried to point Cain in the right direction by telling him his actions were wrong, and his offering would be accepted had he done it right. Cain decided to let envy get the best of him and murder his brother. The devil starting with Abel has been trying to destroy the righteous seed every since. The Lord allowed another to replace Abel. (Seth)

The concept of a Messiah is the primary focus of the Old Testament. The theme of deliverance flows through the Bible like a powerful river. The “river” of deliverance began in Genesis. The messiah would suffer at the hands of the serpent but the serpent would be destroyed. When Eve gave birth to her first son she was excited because she thought he was this deliverer already. Eve however would not have the honor of birthing the Messiah. This would take a virgin (Isaiah 7:14 and Luke 1:35) because the seed would be provided by the Lord God of Israel.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Today's Sermon

I Samuel 22:1 "David therefore
departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his
brethren and all his father's house heard [it], they went down thither
to him."

This cave was a natural hiding place for David. It was large
enough to safely house a few hundred people. There were many caves in
this area. This was not the largest, but it was large enough to give
them safe haven from their enemies. It appears that, his father and
his brethren came to the aid of David. David's father was aware that
David had been anointed king by Samuel. The brethren, here, would have
included all of David's close relatives.

• Caves are cold, dark, and depressing
• David although anointed King, was running from Saul
• His best ally Jonathan could no longer help him
• His dreams seem distant
• God’s Promises seemed hollow

I Samuel 22:2 "And every one [that was] in distress, and every
one that [was] in debt, and every one [that was] discontented,
gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and
there were with him about four hundred men."

• God sent David help (Not Godly men)
• These men would later become Mighty Men of Valor
• Saul had an army but David had God and 400 men looking for a second chance

Saul had been a hard king. He had brought extra pain on some of
the people. Saul was not a king that thought of justice for all the
people. He was a self-willed individual. He did not concern himself
with the hardships of others, as long as he was comfortable. The
Israelites had insisted on having a king like their neighbors, and
that is just what they got. He was not just a strong military leader,
he was a dictator at home. These who have come to be with David are
thinking of a revolt against Saul. They are dissatisfied with him as
king. These 400 men were nothing compared to the army that Saul had,
but with the LORD with them, they felt they could win.

I Samuel 22:3 "And David went thence to Mizpeh of Moab: and he
said unto the king of Moab, Let my father and my mother, I pray thee,
come forth, [and be] with you, till I know what God will do for me."

• David took care of his responsibilities even in the midst of trouble
• The Enemy always goes after what you love the most
• David although discouraged waited on a Word from God

David was aware that Saul would show no mercy to his father and
mother. He sends them to safety in Moab. They will stay with the king
of Moab, until the battle between the forces of Saul and the forces of
David have decided who will rule. David knows that his fate is in the
hands of God.

I Samuel 22:4 "And he brought them before the king of Moab: and
they dwelt with him all the while that David was in the hold."

The hold, in this instance, is speaking of the cave where David
is headquartered with his men. He, probably, changed locations
occasionally, to keep Saul from finding out where he was.

I Samuel 22:5 "And the prophet Gad said unto David, Abide not in
the hold; depart, and get thee into the land of Judah. Then David
departed, and came into the forest of Hareth."

• God sent a Prophet, God always gives us direction we must be patient and wait on His direction, as soon as David got the Word…He acted on it!
• God told David to leave the Cave (Depression/Discouragement/Despair)
• He said go to Judah (Praise)Judah was also where David would rule, God wants us to act like Kings and Queens

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Why Churches Die

“America has thousands of churches! There are some in Cathedrals, Small Chapels, Storefronts, Private Homes and Warehouses. Some of these churches are denominational and some are not, some are traditional and some are very unique, and finally some are growing and unfortunately MANY are DYING! There are a lot of churches, ministries, and Christian Centers that are on life support spiritually. Why? I believe the question is on the hearts and minds of many Pastors and church members, and the answer is available…BUT can we handle the TRUTH?

The truth is something most Christians avoid like the plague! Why? I think we (Christians) would rather blame the devil for things that are really our fault and responsibility. Is the devil our enemy? Of course he is! But WE reap what WE sow. The church preaches a lot about sowing and reaping, especially when it comes to money and wealth. If you read the verses in Malachi about tithes, read carefully! It wasn’t the people God was rebuking, IT WAS THE PRIEST! But many churches lay this on the members and yet they don’t practice what they preach. Tithes in the Old Testament were not JUST for the priest! The Levites, The Strangers (homeless), The Widows, and the Fatherless ALL benefited from the tithe.

Local churches are supposed to make an impact on the communities they are in by GIVING back, (Matt. 5:14-16) Sinners should have to even confess and admit that the Church in their community makes a difference in the neighborhood! I want to give you ten answers to the QUESTION! “Why is my church dying!” Hold on to your hat’s the answers may shake up your traditional thinking…and make you THINK!” It is not a sin to think outside of the box of tradition…it is a sin to stay ineffective.

There is nothing wrong with having a storefront church! But if after 20 years your storefront church still has the same 12 members, you need to padlock the door and admit your church is dead! Saints should beget saints, we were saved to lead others to salvation in Jesus Christ! My prayer is that this small book will make you mad enough to do something!

Friday, October 31, 2008

A New Reformation is Needed

I’ll get right to the point! Every since Martin Luther received the revelation from God that salvation was a free gift from God, that came through grace and faith…there has been a chasm between the Catholic and the Protestant. As an ordained Protestant minister I know all of the doctrinal problems involved in Catholicism. I have studied church history in college and on my spare time, I know about all of the church councils through the ages and the anti-biblical decisions they made, I know Peter wasn’t the first pope. I know praying to Mary is not scriptural or right. I know we can confess our sins to the Lord directly and not a priest. I know that a wafer and wine isn’t actually Jesus when I take communion.

I also know that if Martin Luther and some of the other reformers could see where the Protestant movement has gone, I think they would be ashamed and disgusted. If the Apostle Paul could see the confusion and apostasy in the church both Catholic and Protestant he would scream. Why? The Protestant church has become the very thing it despised. I have spent 23 years in the Air Force and have traveled all over the world. I have worshipped in nearly every church imaginable; (including Catholic) these are some reasons and observations as to why I feel there needs to be a second reformation. First the observations: While Catholicism has its problems let’s look at the history and flaws in Protestantism.

First Protestantism has many different groups: Fundamentalist, Evangelicals, Charismatic, Pentecostals, Holiness, Oneness (Jesus Only), and The Word Faith groups. This fragmenting of Protestantism is the first problem in itself. Fundamentalist say they believe in the Bible literally yet most reject the gifts of the Spirit, The Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and healing for today. They trust Scofield’s teaching more than they trust the Bible itself. While in Bible College I heard teachers and students a like quote Scofield like he was The Apostle Paul. Evangelicals say they believe in fulfilling the Great Commission yet many Evangelical churches are selectively racist; America has driven segregation out of almost every place except their churches. Martin Luther King said Sunday morning is the most segregated time of the week. Both white and black churches are guilty of this. However I must say America’s history is silent concerning the Protestant churches silence through 300 years of slavery and annihilation of Native Americans. The Charismatic movement on a positive note brought praise and worship back to it’s rightful place in the Body of Christ, yet they also ushered in a propensity to place trust “new revelations” that don’t always line up with scripture. I believe in the gifts of the Spirit and the gift of prophecy, but these utterance gifts MUST line up with scripture! According to New Testament examples of prophecy, most prophecies are warnings or words of encouragement; NOT insight on how to be a millionaire. In many Charismatic churches, everyone has a “word from God”; this has caused many a problem in the lives of the saints of God.

I am from the category called Pentecostal, oh yeah we have problems as well. Pentecostals stress the need to be Spirit-filled, which I agree with, yet they over emphasize speaking in tongues; the key issue is the need to be Spirit-filled! I believe in the gifts of the Spirit, I pray in tongues myself…But! Speaking in tongues don’t confirm a person’s holiness or spirituality. (There are 8 other spiritual gifts!) Show me a Christian that shares Christ (Acts 1:8) and shares love (ICor.13) and I’ll show you a Spirit-filled saint. Holiness churches tell people they must dress a certain way to be saved, look sour and not have any fun, holiness is important and all believers must live separated lives, BUT! Holiness is a way of life that can only occur after the New Birth. Wearing long dresses and black suits in the summer DON”T MAKE YOU HOLY! The Word/Faith movement has done some positive things in encouraging people to study the Word, yet the enemy duped some of them into preaching prosperity as the Gospel and not salvation and a hunger for spiritual blessing versus the material. The other problem with the faith camp is the false teaching of believers never having problems and “divine healing” or the denial of sickness in the life of a believer.

I believe in healing and have received healing myself, but Christians are not exempt from getting sick. (Kenneth Hagin Sr.; Fred Price and his wife; and R.W. Shambach have all preached divine healing and have all been severely ill recently) Remember when Jesus encountered a man born blind, his disciples asked the question, “Who sinned him or his parents?” Jesus said, “Neither”. Paul’s dear friend Epaphroditis was sick nigh unto death, but Paul said God had mercy on him. Saved people can and do get sick! The Lord can also heal us as well. Our faith will be tested one way or another, why should we be any different than Abraham, Joseph, Job, or Daniel; their faith was tested greatly on many occasions. It was because of their faith they endured hard times and persecutions. The Oneness or Apostolic camp believes in Jesus only and denies the Trinity. They also over emphasize the act of baptism. Salvation comes through the avenue of GRACE through FAITH! They believe baptism saves yet the Bible is clear, belief MUST precede baptism or it is an empty act. (Read Philip and Eunuch in Book of Acts) What is my point? The bottom line is Jesus died for our sins and we must preach this to a lost and dying world. I went to a revival 5 years ago (A world famous evangelist was there); he preached before at least 3,000 people and talked about prosperity and healing for 2 hours. He called for a prayer line and never mentioned salvation through grace and faith. What does it profit a man to have prosperity and divine health and not eternal life and a close walk with Jesus.

There is a need for unity amongst believers; this is difficult because each of the groups I mentioned has its good points and strengths, yet they are all flawed in some way. The Word of God has no flaws, and this is where we must meet. I was raised in the Baptist church, I went to a Lutheran School (middle school), I have had fellowship with different groups within the military chapel system, and I worked with foreign missionaries in Korea for 2 years. I helped start the first Church of God in Christ in Korea. During Operation Desert Storm I lead 2 Muslims to Christ with an Assembly of God brother and an apostolic brother. (This was not easy…but it happened) I have preached in Honduras, Turkey, and Somalia. Now why am I sharing all of this? Everywhere I went God teamed me up with people from nearly every group I mentioned…AND IT WORKED! It worked because in the military we didn’t have the luxury of always finding Christians just like you. My first assignment overseas I was teamed up with a Southern Baptist Caucasian brother. He was from Forsythe County, Georgia. This is one of the most racist areas in America, yet we worked together like brothers.

The demonic walls of separation in the Protestant church MUST come down. How can we preach to the Catholic about the mote in his eye, while we the Protestants have a beam in our own? The saints of God must gather at the foot of the cross of Jesus. The Word of God must be all of our training manuals. Salvation by grace through faith is what caused Martin Luther to start the first reformation; we have departed from this in a great way. The doctrine of salvation through grace and faith has to be the preeminent prime directive for the church. Paul said it best in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation, to the Jew first and to the Gentile.” We must rally around the Gospel of Christ as our anthem and battle cry. Paul also said, “Woe unto me if I preach not the Gospel.” What is the Gospel? It isn’t politics, it isn’t prosperity, and it isn’t divine healing or speaking in tongues. These things have their place but they cannot replace the simplicity of the Gospel. Jesus came to save the world! Salvation is a free gift that is for all that desire it. This is what Martin Luther nearly died to protect. Paul did die to protect this doctrine! All of the disciples died for this message of hope in Christ. Let us not stain their memory by dividing over things that don’t impact salvation.

Salvation of the soul is the main issue, what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul. Eternity is a long time, Insuring people spend it with the Lord is more important than insuring they have wealth! What do you think can help usher in the Second Reformation?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Daily Sermon

"Be gracious to me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Thy compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me. 4 Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned, And done what is evil in Thy sight, So that Thou art justified when Thou dost speak, And blameless when Thou dost judge. 5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. 6 Behold, Thou dost desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part Thou wilt make me know wisdom. 7 Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which Thou hast broken rejoice. 9 Hide Thy face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me away from Thy presence, And do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, And sustain me with a willing spirit. 13 Then I will teach transgressors Thy ways, And sinners will be converted to Thee. 14 Deliver me from bloodguiltness, O God, Thou God of my salvation; Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Thy righteousness. 15 O Lord, open my lips, That my mouth may declare Thy praise. 16 For Thou dost not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; Thou art not pleased with burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.18 By Thy favor do good to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then Thou wilt delight in righteous sacrifices, In burnt offering and whole burnt offering; Then young bulls will be offered on Thine altar.

Being king must have gone to David's head. He may have thought himself above even the Law of God. He set aside all his morals, scruples, and ethics to follow the way of his selfish desire. He looked with lust on Bathsheba as she bathed; he had her brought to his palace and engaged in an adulterous alliance with her. Then when she told him she was pregnant, he tried to cover his sin by having her husband Uriah brought home from battle for some R&R. Uriah refused the luxury of sleeping at home so David had him abandoned in the front lines of battle where he was slain.
This was no sin of impulse. David wasn't just caught up in circumstances beyond his control. He planned and plotted to carry out his sin and he put great effort into concealing it. This Psalm reveals David's folly and restoration. It is the Psalm of the changed heart.
David's story could be told and retold under a hundred different scenarios. Maybe this Psalm relates your own story. This morning let me relate a situation that parallels and illustrates the universal process of spiritual recovery.
When he was just 19, Al Johnson had joined two other men in robbing a Kansas bank. The case was closed after the two other criminals were killed in an auto crash and were mistakenly identified by bank officials as the robbers. Al felt sure he would never be caught. He married a Christian girl and even pretended to be a Christian. She knew nothing of his past crime. Then someone sent him a tract in the mail entitled, "God's Plan of Salvation." Reading it, he noticed the Bible verse that said, "whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." The realization struck that salvation was for him. He could be forgiven and his conscience set free. The guilt of his crime accused him, the cowardice of hiding his crime shamed him. He realized his guilt and hated it. That is the first step in having a changed heart. David took it, and so must we. What is the first step to a changed heart?

CONTRITION: V17: "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise"
David spoke of a broken and contrite heart. The word for "contrite" means
To be bowed down with the awareness of our spiritual bankruptcy.
That our inner spirit is crushed with a sense of its guilt.
That we have a genuine and deep sorrow for our rebellion against God and a determined desire to do differently.
A contrite heart
Does not seek to rationalize or explain or excuse or defend or justify sin.
Does not try to fool God or others or self. It recognizes that God demands truth and honesty.
Does not mean merely feeling bad or remorseful about sin!
Does not seek to blame circumstances or other people or God for our own failure.
Remember Adam saying, "The woman YOU gave me handed me the fruit and I ate it. Eve pointed to the serpent and said, "He deceived me and I ate." He blamed God and Eve, she blamed the serpent.
Can't you just hear David doing something like that? Blaming God or blaming Bathsheba: "Lord, if you hadn't made me king I wouldn't have been walking on the palace roof in the first place. And besides, did you see what she wasn't wearing?"
Maybe we do the same thing: "Well, Lord, if you were married to this jerk, you'd cheat too!" Or "It's not my fault, the boss is so cheap I have to steal from the company to survive!" Or, "If I didn't have such terrible neighbors, I wouldn't lose my temper as much!"
A contrite heart recognizes that sin is:
A spiritual crime since it is a violation of God's laws.
An offense against all that is decent and moral and right.
Rebellion, disobedience, and stubbornness of heart.
When we become aware of our sins, iniquities and transgressions, and are contrite, we need to know that
God isn't interested in empty apologies.
God doesn't want cheap promises or resolutions.
God cares nothing for our efforts to balance evil with a little more good.
God desires a broken and contrite heart which is the true sacrifice of one who determines to turn from sin, to forsake sin, and to abandon it.
Al Johnson became convicted of sin, was contrite, humbled his heart and decided to truly forsake his sin and to follow Jesus Christ. When he did, his life changed. He stopped a lifelong habit of lying and cheating. And after much thought and prayer he confessed his crime. His confession made television newscasts and newspaper headlines. Honest acknowledgment of sin is an essential in our own lives, too, and it was another step in David's reclamation. What is the next step in having a changed heart?

CONFESSION: verses 3, 4: "For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me. 4 Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned, And done what is evil in Thy sight, So that Thou art justified when Thou dost speak, And blameless when Thou dost judge."
There are two sides to his confession:
He confessed to himself: "I know, I am acquainted with, I recognize my sin! I cannot deny it or escape it or forget it. The memory haunts me, the devil accuses me, the sin taunts me, and it is always before me."
He confessed to God: "Against You only have I sinned."
Along with his admission of guilt is a confession of God's correctness and justice in judging him for his sin. David makes no plea for indulgent lenience or permissiveness, no claim that God is being too hard on him, no appeal for a light sentence. Simply put, it is, "I am wrong, you are right!"
Genuine confession demands:
A right estimate of sin. It is not a mistake, or a slip, or mischief.
A right attitude to sin. A loathing, a disgust, a disapproval.
A right conduct with regard to sin. A forsaking of and a determined renunciation of sin.
This brings us to the cross of Christ.
At the cross, we do not hide our sins, but confess them and trust the Savior to wipe them away.
Solomon said, "He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion." Proverbs 28:13. To confess demands the honesty of:
It was Isaiah who said, "Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, ..." Isaiah 6:5.
It was Peter who fell at Jesus' feet and said, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!" Luke 5:8.
The publican smote his breast and prayed, "God, be merciful to me, the sinner!" Luke 18:13.
Paul who declared "It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all." 1 Timothy 1:15.
Al Johnson, convicted of sin, converted to Christ, went and tried to make things right with the state by confessing his crime. As it turned out, under a Kansas statute of limitations, he was set free. There was no penalty that could legally attach to him for his crime. David experienced something even better than that. And there is something even better for the Christian. There is forgiveness, justification, salvation. Let's consider, then, the last step in having a changed heart:

CLEANSING: verses 7, 9, 10: "Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. . .9 Hide Thy face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me."
David recognized the filth and grime of his sin and wanted to be cleansed of it.
He said, "Purge me, purify me, wash me." The words he uses imply a thorough scrubbing. One pictures an old time mother with her child at the sink scrubbing him until his skin literally shines and squeaks.
He said, "Blot out my iniquities." It is the image of erasure where a mark is totally obliterated, wiped away and removed.
He said, "Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me." David knew the inclination of one's heart to evil.
He knew that "every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Genesis 6:5.
He knew that "The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick." Jeremiah 17:9.
It was not David's desire, nor God's intent, to gloss over or to wink at or to indulge sin. Sin had to go.
It is not while we indulge, or excuse, or conceal sin, but when we have experienced God's cleansing that we can know the joy of His salvation.
Sometimes we have door-to-door salesmen trying to sell us some "Miracle Cleaner" that will remove everything from berry stains to tattoos. Never works! But God has a cleanser that never fails: "the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin." 1 John 1:7. All sin, all times, all people, always.
In a sense, the statute of limitations had cleansed all Al of punishment. Yet, although he was beyond the scope of law to punish him, he still chose to repay his share of the stolen funds to the bank. In time he became the manager of a service station, the father of three admiring children, and an outstanding Christian layman. But he didn't do that alone. David couldn't do it alone.
Someone once said, "Man cannot cope with guilt alone. I don't care how many worship services you attend or good deeds you do, your goodness is insufficient. You can't be good enough to deserve forgiveness. ... No one. Not you, not me, not anyone. Quit trying to quench your own guilt. You can't do it. There's no way. ... I don't care how bad you are. You can't be bad enough to forget it. And I don't care how good you are. You can't be good enough to overcome it. You need a Savior." And, for those who come to Jesus Christ in contrition and confession, He is that savior. Will you come to Him? Will you ask Him to cleanse your heart? Will you allow Him to transform your life? Will you experience the salvation He, and He only, can provide? This is the moment to decide as you ask Him to change your heart.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Salvation Part II

Salvation is being saved from the righteous judgment of God upon the sinner.

A lot of people think that salvation means being saved from yourself or the devil. But that is not accurate. All who have sinned against God are under the judgment of God. This judgment is known as damnation where God condemns to eternal hell all those who have offended Him by breaking His Law.

This does not mean that God is unfair. It shows that God is holy. God must punish the sinner. But, He has provided a way of escape so that people will not face His righteous judgment. This means that God is both holy and loving. He must manifest each quality equally. So, being saved from the wrath of God is called salvation.

Salvation is found in Jesus, and only in Jesus, who is God in flesh (John 1:1,14), and who died for our sins and rose from the dead. 1 Cor. 15:1-4 says...

"Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,"
This is how salvation works: All of us have sinned against God and deserve judgment. But Jesus never sinned (1 Pet. 2:22). He lived the Law of God perfectly. In this He has a perfectly righteous standing before God. When the corrupt Jewish leaders forced Rome's hand into crucifying Jesus, God used this crucifixion as the means to place the sins of the world upon Jesus (1 Pet. 2:24; 1 John 2:2). This is when Jesus became sin on our behalf. 2 Cor. 5:21 says,

"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
The crucifixion became the place where Jesus bore our sins in His body and suffered in our place. "But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed," (Isaiah 53:5). Remember, no sinner could please God perfectly and no sinner could offer a perfect sacrifice to God. Only God in flesh, Jesus, could do that.

So, since there is nothing we can do that is righteous before God (Isaiah 64:6 says our righteous deeds are filthy rags), then we cannot please an infinitely holy and righteous God by anything we do. But, Jesus who is perfectly righteous before God the Father, died in our place. What we could not do, He did.

If you want to escape the righteous judgment of God, then you need to trust in the sacrifice of God. You need to be made right before God, by God. This righteousness of Christ is given to you if you accept him, trust in Him, and believe in what Jesus did. This is why the Bible says that we are saved by grace through faith. "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God," (Eph. 2:8).

When you trust in what Christ has done on the cross, and in no works of your own (since they aren't good enough anyway), then the righteousness of Christ is given to you -- even as your sins were "given" to Jesus. Its like a trade. He gets your sin. You get His righteousness.

Once you have trusted in what Christ has done, then you possess eternal life and you will never face the judgment of God.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand," (John 10:27-28).

Saturday, October 18, 2008

How Do People Get Saved?

"Salvation belongs to the Lord" (Psalm 3:8).

When someone appeals to God and seeks forgiveness in Jesus, his sins are removed, he is cleansed, his relationship with God is restored, and he is made a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17). All of this is the work of God, not man.
The Bible has a phrase that describes the non-Christian. It is 'natural man'. In 1 Cor. 2:14 Paul says, "But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised."
Our human condition can be compared to a drop of poison in a glass of water: all the water is poisoned but it is not as bad as it could be. The water is incapable of being good. We, too, are incapable of really being good.
When Jesus' disciples asked Him who can be saved, He replied, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" (Matt. 19:26). That is why salvation rests in God alone by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9).
About now you are probably wondering what this has to do with witnessing. Why do you need to know all this? I am glad you asked. It is helpful to know because you must realize it is God who saves people. Specifically, it is the Holy Spirit who convicts the sinner of sin -- not you. "And He [the Holy Spirit], when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment" (John 16:8).
Remember, the gospel is preached after sin is made known. Because the sinner cannot come to God on his own, he must be convicted of his sin, and thus be made aware of his need for salvation. The conviction of sin is beyond our control. It is the work of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8).
Prayer is essential in witnessing
It is, then, vital that you pray and request God to convict as well as save. Prayer is an essential part of witnessing. When you witness you must pray. Then you are free to spread the gospel as effectively as you want and to trust God to give the increase (1 Cor. 3:6-7). Ask Him to send the Holy Spirit; ask Him to convict the world of sin. The work of the Holy Spirit is essential in salvation.
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit works in two types of people during witnessing: the saved and the unsaved. In the saved, He dwells within (Rom. 8:11), teaches (John 14:26), anoints (1 John 2:27), guides (John 16:13), and sanctifies (1 Pet. 1:2). Without the Holy Spirit we would be like ships without rudders, unable to live as Christians and certainly unable to witness effectively.
In the unsaved, He convicts of sin (John 14:8). Sinners come to Jesus to have their sins cleansed. They do this after they discover their guilt before God. This too is the work of the Holy Spirit.
Since the natural man is separated from God because of his sin (Isaiah 59:2), the Holy Spirit uses the Scriptures (that you quote) to convict him of his sinfulness, convince him of his need for salvation, and convert him through the Word. When a natural man (or woman) is aware of his sinful condition then the gospel message of deliverance from sin is preached and becomes effectual.
Sin does two things: it offends God and it kills man. How? It offends God because it is His law we break. It kills us because of the nature of Law. Have you ever heard of a law without a punishment? A law without a punishment is only a slogan. Since God is just and laws have punishments, then God must punish the lawbreaker. But that is not the end of the story. God is also merciful and gracious. His justice fell upon Himself -- on the cross. His mercy falls upon us -- by grace through faith.
Justice, Mercy, and Grace
Imbedded in the relationship of Law and Gospel are the concepts of justice, mercy, and grace. One of the best ways you can show the difference between them is to use illustrations that show their differences and relationships. For example, Justice is getting what we deserve. Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is getting what we don't deserve.
Let's suppose you have a bicycle and I want it. So, one night I sneak over to your house and steal it. You catch me and I go to jail. (Jail would be where I "pay" for my crime of breaking the law.) The penalty is met and that is justice. I get what I deserve.
Let's change it a little. I sneak over to your house and steal your bike. You catch me. But you don't send me to jail. Instead, you tell me to forget about it. The penalty, jail, is not met. That is mercy. I did not get what I deserved.
One more change. I sneak over to your house and steal your bike. You catch me. You don't send me to jail. In fact, you give me the bike plus a hundred dollars. That is grace. The penalty is met (by you paying the 'damages') and I was given what I did not deserve (the bike and money).
Justice, which demands payment, does not meet the requirement of mercy, which seeks forgiveness. Mercy does not meet the requirement of justice. Grace meets both.
The Lamp Analogy
Let's say I am at your house or apartment with my wife. We are talking about church and in my zeal I accidentally knock over your lamp. Now, this lamp is special. A dear friend gave it to you and it has great sentimental value, and besides, you need a light in your room. After a moment or two you realize that the damage is done and decide to forgive. You say to me, "That is alright, Matt. I forgive you for breaking the lamp, but give me ten dollars."
Is asking for ten dollars after you've just forgiven me, true forgiveness? Certainly not! When God forgives our sins, He says He will remember them no more (Jer. 31:34). Forgive and forget are similar in spelling and similar in meaning. If you forgive me can you demand payment from the one forgiven? No, because a forgiven debt does not exist.
Let's say that instead of asking me for ten dollars you turn to my wife and say, "Matt broke my lamp. You give me ten dollars for it."
I ask you again. Is that true forgiveness? No. You are simply transferring the debt to someone who was not involved in the original offense.
But, we have a problem. The lamp needs to be replaced. In true forgiveness, then, who pays for its replacement? (Think about this a bit before you go on to read the answer.) Who pays? You do! You're the only one left. Remember, if you've forgiven me the debt, how can you demand payment?
Now, who was my offense against? You. Who forgives? You do. Who pays? You do.
When we sin, who do we sin against? God. Who forgives? God. Who pays? God! Did you get that? God pays! How does He do that? Simple. 2000 years ago on a hill outside the city of Jerusalem He bore our sins in His body and died on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24). He took our punishment: "Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried... He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him..." (Isaiah 53:4-5).
God is just. God is merciful. God is gracious. In the justice of God, He took our place. In the mercy of God we don't get punished. In the grace of God, He gives us eternal life.
Even though we are unworthy of salvation, even though we are unworthy of God's love, even though we are unworthy of mercy, even though we are worthy of wrath, God saved us. He did so not because of who we are, but because of who He is, not because of what we do, but because of what He did. God is love (1 John 4:16). God is holy (1 Peter 1:16). God is good (Psalm 34:8). We could never fathom the depths of His purity and kindness (Rom. 11:33). We could never, through our own efforts, attain Him. There is only one thing left for us. We must worship Him, love Him, and serve Him. He alone is worthy. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

How Do We Get Men to Go To Church?

1. Realize that men ARE different than women, men are problem solvers
and oriented to action, keep men active. Give them discipleship
training and make them ACTIVE in ministry. That doesn't mean they have
to be PREACHERS, but active! Maybe in food distribution, helping
fatherless boys, or hospital visitation. Don't expect men to be as emotional as WOMEN. Just because a man doesn't cry and shout in Church doesn't mean he isn't SAVED or doesn't love Jesus.

2. Men ARE always going to be sports lovers so don't FIGHT that, Men are competetive by nature,embrace it use it in ministry. Take a busload to a ballgame, watch
Monday Night Football AT CHURCH and have prayer at HALFTIME! Give altar calls at Basketball tournaments at the local playground.

3. Don't be afraid to lead men with strong opinions (real men HAVE
opinions). David had a group of mighty men...not wimps. These men saved David on the Battlefield in his old age too. STOP making MEN kiss your butts, train men to love Jesus first and his family second.

4. Make them LEADERS in church, if they fail at something..SO WHAT, you learn best on the job, A man that does NOTHING is a failure! Men need to be challenged! Sitting in the pews doing nothing will make a man bored. When they reach a level of maturity make them Deacons, not just brothers holding the collection plates...but REAL Deacons having an ACTIVE role in ministry. When I was a Deacon I went to the hospitals and gave communion to the sick, I preached on streetcorners, and I ran the food bank at my church.

Wake Up's time to get the men back to church!

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Waste...By Watchman Nee

by Watchman Nee

Reading: (Mark 14:3-9 NAS) "And while He was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper, and reclining at the table, there came a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard; and she broke the vial and poured it over His head. But some were indignantly remarking to one another, "Why has this perfume been wasted? "For this perfume might have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor." And they were scolding her. But Jesus said, "Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me. "For the poor you always have with you, and whenever you wish, you can do them good; but you do not always have Me. "She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. "And truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, that also which this woman has done shall be spoken of in memory of her.""

The Lord has ordained that the story of Mary anointing Him with the costly ointment should always accompany the preaching of the gospel. We know the story well. Judging by the story in connection with her brother's resurrection, we know that the family was not an especially wealthy one. The sisters had to work in the house themselves, and one of them, Mary, had an alabaster box with three hundred pence worth of ointment in it, and with a stroke she broke it and poured the whole of that costly nard upon the head of the Lord. According to human reasoning it was altogether too much, even for the Lord. That is why Judas took the lead with the other disciples in thinking that Mary was wasting something (John 12:4-5).

Now we come to the word which the Lord wants to emphasize at this time, the word waste. What is waste? Waste simply means giving too much. If a shilling will do and you give a pound, it is waste. If two ounces will do and you give a kilogram, it is a waste. A waste means that you give something too much for something too little. A waste means that the one who is receiving the something is not worth so much. Yet we are dealing here with something the Lord said was to go out with the gospel, wherever the gospel should be preached. With the preaching of the gospel the Lord is out to have a result that corresponds with Mary's action here: that is, for people to come out and "waste" themselves on Him. That is what He is after.

Now we must look at the question from two angles, that of Judas, and that of the other disciple. They all thought it to be a waste. To Judas, who had never called our Lord the Lord, everything that was poured upon Him was waste. Even water would have been waste. To the world, the service of the Lord, and our giving of ourselves to Him is pure waste. "Such and such a man would have made good in the world if he were not a Christian," is a sentiment that is frequently expressed. For anyone with natural talents to be a Christian, to serve the Lord, is deemed to be pure waste.

So thought Judas, "We could manage better with the money; we could give it to charity; we could do some social service, we could help people in a more practical way. Why pour it down at the feet of Jesus? As to yourself, can you not find a better employment of your life?" That is what Judas was thinking, and that is what the world is thinking. It is too much to give yourself to the Lord! But no! When once our eyes have been opened to the worth of the Lord, nothing is too good for Him.

But it is upon the reaction of the other disciples that I want most to dwell; for they affect us more than does Judas. We do not mind very much what the world is saying, but we do mind what those other disciples are saying who ought to have understood, yet did not. We mark that they said the same thing as Judas; and not only so, but they were moved to indignation, saying, "To what purpose is this waste...?"

Now here is the whole question of waste, and of what the Lord is after. Today, even amongst Christians, there can be found much of that spirit that wants to give as little as possible to the Lord, and yet to get as much as possible from Him. The prevailing thought today is of being used, as though that were the one thing that mattered. That my little rubber band should be stretched to the very limit seems all important. But this is not the Lord's mind. The Lord wants us to be used, yes; but what He is after is that we pour all we have, ourselves, to Him, and if that be all, that is enough. It is not a question of whether the poor have been helped or not, but of whether the Lord has been satisfied. The question is not one of working for Him, my friends, but of service to Him, of ministering to the Lord. That is what He is after; that I should give Him my all, even though people should say, 'You are doing nothing!' My service to the Lord is to please Him. There is many a meeting we might take, many a convention at which we might speak, many a campaign in which we might share, but this is not the first consideration. That my usefulness should be brought to the full is not what the Lord is after, but His concern is rather with my position at His feet and my anointing of His head. What I have as an alabaster box, the most precious thing, my whole life. I give it all up to the Lord. It seems as if it is a waste, but that is what He is after.

May I tell you something? One thing some of us have come to learn is that in the divine service the principle of "waste" is the principle of power, whereas the principle of "usefulness" is the very principle of scattering. The real usefulness in the hand of the Lord is "waste." The more you think you could do, the more you employ your gifts to the very limit--and perhaps beyond the limit--that you will find to be the principle of the world, and not the principle of the Lord. I knew a sister in the Lord, now in His presence, who was very greatly used of Him. But my first concern about her was that she did not seem to be being used. Every time I said to myself. Why did she not get out and take some meetings, get somewhere, do something? It was a waste to live in a small village without anything happening. Sometimes when I went to see her, I almost shouted at her: "No one knows the Lord as you do. You know the Book in a most living way. Do you not see the need all around you? Why don't you do something? It is a waste of time, a waste of energy, a waste of money, a waste of everything, just sitting here and doing nothing!" But she was the one who he lped me most of all., The highest thing is not just to be moving about. I do not mean to say that we are going to do nothing, but the first thing is the Lord Himself, not the work. That is what He is after.

So the Lord said, "Why trouble ye her? She has wrought a good work as to Me. The poor you will always have, but you cannot always have Me." The whole point is, What am I going to do to the Lord today? Did those other women who came with their spices to the tomb succeed in anointing the Lord's body? No! He was risen. Only one succeeded, Mary, who anointed Him beforehand. It seems as if man will say I am wasting my time--but Lord, nothing is too good for Thee! He is worthy to be served. He is worthy for me just to be His prisoner. He is worthy for me just to live for Him. Let others say what they will. Have our eyes been opened to see that working for the poor, working for the benefit of the world, working for the eternal welfare of the sinner, as things in themselves, are not to be compared with the work we do to the Lord, with our being just for Him. What is your estimate of the Lord?

Then the Lord said, "She hath done what she could." It means that Mary had given her all. That was all she could do, no more; and she did it. The Lord will not be satisfied with anything less. The whole point is a life really laid down at the feet of the Lord, and that in view of His death, His burial; that is, in view of a future day. Then it was His burial, now it is His crowning day that is in view. He will be acclaimed by all in that day, but how precious, far more precious to Him it is that we should anoint Him now; not with any material oil, but with that which is deepest and, maybe, hard for us to break. The Lord get anointing from us today!

Further, the Lord said, "Wherever the gospel shall be preached, this story shall be told." Why? Because the gospel is meant to produce this. The gospel is not primarily for the satisfaction of sinners. The gospel is preached that everything may be to the satisfaction of the Son of God. Not to sinners first of all, though, praise God, sinners will be satisfied. But supremely it is Christ who must find satisfaction through its preaching.

Once more let me repeat. The whole question for us is simply this: It seems that I am giving too much for too little. That is waste. Others appear to far better advantage than I, though they have given up none of the things that I have. As for me, I seem to meet with all the difficulties. Continual trial and suffering is what comes my way. Now, am I not wasting my time? If I consecrate myself enough for the blessing, but not enough for the trouble; if I consecrate myself enough for the Lord to use me, but not enough for the Lord to shut me up, it will be all right! Are we not found thinking thus at times? But the principle of waste is that which satisfies the heart of the Lord Jesus. You can get something for yourself out of your consecration, but often real satisfaction can only come to the heart of your Lord when you seem to be "wasting" yourself on the Lord, giving too much and getting nothing back for yourself.

O friends, what are we after? Are we after mere usefulness, as those disciples were? They wanted to make every penny of that three hundred pence go to its full length. They wanted to be used themselves. If only we can please Him, surely that should be enough.

Now the breaking of the alabaster box and the anointing of the Lord filled the house with the odor, with the sweetest odor. Everyone could smell it. Whenever you meet someone who has really suffered; been limited, gone through things for the Lord, willing to be imprisoned by the Lord, just being satisfied with Him and nothing else, immediately you scent the fragrance. There is a savor of the Lord. Something has been crushed, something has been broken, and there is a resulting odor of sweetness. The odor which filled the house that day still fills the Church; Mary's fragrance never passes away.

Friends, we cannot produce impressions of God upon others, impart the sense of the presence of God, without the breaking of everything, even the most precious things, at the feet of the Lord Jesus. The Lord would have us here, not first of all to preach or to do work for Him, but to create hunger in others. No true work will begin in any life apart from a sense of need. We cannot inject that into others, we cannot drive people to be hungry for God. Such hunger can be created only by those whose lives convey vital impressions of Him.

Oh, to be wasted! It is a blessed thing to be wasted for the Lord. So many of us who have been prominent in the Christian world know nothing of this. Many of us have been used to the full--have been used, I would say, too much--but we do know what it means to be wasted on God. We like to be always "on the go": the Lord would sometimes prefer to have us in prison. We think in terms of apostolic journeys: God dares to put His greatest ambassadors in chains. "But thanks be unto God, which always leadeth us in triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest through us the savor of his knowledge in every place" (2 Corinthians 2:14).

Watchman Nee

Friday, October 3, 2008


1. False Teachings on FAITH

FALSE: "Hyper-faith" or "word-faith" teachings, which seem to promise that believers can "name it and claim it," or speak their desires into existence (similar to meta-physical teachings). Attributing power to words as if they were "containers" of faith, with power in and of themselves. Also called "positive thinking" or "possibility thinking" in the milder (though still unbiblical) sense. Sometimes this teaching on the power of the spoken word becomes more like that of occultism.

TRUE: God answers our prayers and petitions according to His will. God is not obligated to do our will, but as we seek Him with our whole heart, He gives us His desires so that our heart is aligned with His, and answers our prayers accordingly, in His time.

2. False Teachings on CHRIST

FALSE: Teachings which undermine the deity of Jesus Christ or alter the biblical doctrines regarding the nature and character of Christ, the Holy Spirit, God the Father, or the doctrine of the Trinity.

TRUE: Jesus Christ came to this earth as God in the flesh. He is the second person of the Trinity and was not created, but "always was" from the beginning. There is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

3. False Teachings on MAN

FALSE: Teachings which elevate Christians to god-like status, such as "little gods," some even teaching that since "the fall," God is limited by man in what He can do on earth. This is typical from those in the "faith healing movement."

TRUE: Man was created in the "image of God," a "little lower than the angels." Once redeemed through Christ, man is indwelt and empowered by the Holy Spirit to do God's will. We are servants of God, called to serve His purposes and not our own. God is sovereign and omnipotent, and man is simply a created being, whose only power comes from above.

4. False Teachings on PROSPERITY

FALSE: Prosperity teachings which claim (erroneously) that not only was Jesus wealthy on earth, but that God desires all believers to be wealthy - and that prosperity, in health and wealth, is guaranteed in the covenant of salvation.

TRUE: God desires for us to have "abundant life" in Christ, living in the power of the Holy Spirit and experiencing the fruits of the Spirit. But oftentimes God's will may include such things as suffering, infirmities, sickness, trials, tribulation, persecution, or even martyrdom as Scripture and history so clearly testify. Jesus lived on earth without even a "place to lay His head," and Scripture teaches that His lifestyle was far from the wealthy lifestyle some have erroneously taught Christ lived. This lie originates in an effort by such teachers to not only justify their own indulgent lifestyles, but also to promote their popular prosperity teachings and increase giving to their ministries from those who are seeking the promised health and wealth, especially since the two are often tied together in a not-so-subtle method of deception. Christ calls us not to seek after worldly riches, but instead to store up our treasures in Heaven and to give our lives as "living sacrifices." As we seek first to serve His Kingdom, and of course, work as God's Word commands, we can be assured that He will provide our needs.

5. False Teachings on HEALING

FALSE: Teachings which claim that God's will is always to heal all sickness, disease, and infirmity, and that Christ's death guarantees that believers should live without these ailments if only they have enough faith, meet certain other conditions, or even give financially to a ministry or teacher so God will "see their faith" and "give them their miracle."

TRUE: God does heal and can perform miracles as He pleases. He has not, however, removed us from the sin-cursed world in which we live or redeemed our bodies from the curse of sin and death - as He has redeemed our spirits. Christ bore our sickness and infirmities, and He has absolute power to heal and restore at will, but even in His will, believers still suffer pain, sickness, calamity, infirmity and even still in some countries today, martyrdom. He chooses to heal some and not others in His sovereignty and for His own glory. Even so-called "faith-healers" and their families get sick, suffer diseases and infirmities, and eventually die. Not until Heaven will we receive new everlastingly-perfect bodies. Until then we should pray for healing (and follow biblical direction regarding healing), seek medical treatments, live wisely and strive for good health trusting that God is sovereign and knowing that nothing can harm us unless He allows it. And no man or women on earth has the right, Scripturally or otherwise, to even imply that by giving financially to any ministry or teacher, God will look favourably upon them and grant their healing or miracle.

6. False Teachings on GIVING

FALSE: Teachings or statements made regarding fund-raising, tithing, and financial giving which are expressed as promises or guarantees (supposedly but erroneously based on the Word of God) that by giving financially, a person will become debt free, will receive a miracle (financial or otherwise), will be blessed by a certain multiplied amount within a certain period of time, or will benefit in any other way that even sounds like a "new" or "special blessing" other than what God has already told us in His Word. These statements are made even more ludicrous and discrediting to God and Christianity as a whole when promoted as if these "special offers," supposedly from God, were for a certain number of people calling in or giving a certain amount on a certain day to a certain teacher or ministry like a cheap, hard selling advertisement.

TRUE: God asks us to give to His Church and His work with a cheerful heart, and not under compulsion. God blesses those who give to further His Kingdom, and has expressed in His Word that He desires for His people to give a tithe of at least ten percent of their income, plus additional offerings, to support their local church and other ministries. But God does not make "special offers" for certain numbers of people giving certain amounts on certain days to certain ministries. In fact, God looks at the heart, and much more importantly than a certain amount, God looks at the amount of one's gift in proportion to the amount of one's wealth or income, and not as is often shamefully presented, especially on television as if it were today's special for God's special blessing.