Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Lies Religious Tradition Taught Us: Your Worst Life Now!

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.                 2 Timothy 3:5 KJV 

13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” Mark 7:13 NKJV

 We've been in an ongoing study examining the lies religious tradition has taught us. Concepts taught in such a way that it almost seems blasphemous to dare and question it. Ideas spoke of for so long they've become strongholds in the minds of so many. 

 In this study, we've exposed the lies that God is the author of sickness and disease. That He is the sender of disaster and storms. The One causing evil to come about so that good may come. That poverty and lack are His best for you. That the Spirit of God and Faith in God are powerless today to change things. We even saw the truth of spiritual warfare.

 In our last study, we allayed the lie that God is a mean and angry tyrant. Today, I felt impressed to share the Good News of God's Goodness in our daily life. The Goodness of God for the life that now is. Religion has lied to us. They've told us there is no promise for the life that now is. 

 That all we can look forward to in this life is despair, desolation, dismalness, and finally death. There is no promise of triumphant victory in this life. All you can have is suffering and more suffering and then some more until your final breath leaves your body. 

 Pastor Joel Osteen wrote an amazing book that simply shared how to have victory in this life. He titled it your best life now. Traditional religious-minded Christians went into a frenzy because of this book. They maligned Lakewood Church and Joel for years afterward. Yet, Joel and Lakewood's influence and favor have increased more and more. So many lives have been impacted because of this ministry, and it keeps increasing and expanding.

 With the publication of this book, religion has worked overtime to preach with fervor, something I feel impressed to call your worst life now. Joel gave seven points of receiving our best life now. I've found seven words that sum up the traditional religious outlook of life. Despair, desolation, dismalness, distress, dejection, despondency, and dispiritedness. 

 Religion longs for the return of Jesus to rescue them from this terrible existence. Or they look forward to death so they can be free from this miserable life. So let's look briefly at the seven points Joel made.


  • Enlarge your vision; to enlarge your vision simply means to believe God can do great things in your life. Small, limited thinking will cause people to believe that there is nothing more for them in this life. If you never look to increase your skills, knowledge, and experience you never grow but stagnate. Dream bigger. Think bigger. Believe bigger.
  • Develop a healthy self-image; a healthy self-image is not an ego-driven prideful outlook. An unhealthy self-image is why some struggle with depression, eating disorders and some sadly even take their own life. We should have a healthy self-image, we are born of God and made Righteous New Creations in Him.
  • Understand the power of our thoughts and words; wrong thinking and wrong speaking is clearly a detriment in living a victorious life. Jesus spoke of the power of our words. Throughout Scripture, we are encouraged to think good thoughts and speak the right words. 
  • Let go of the past; not letting things go, holding onto grudges and harboring unforgiveness for past transgressions only disrupts our life and hinders our growth in maturity.
  • Finding strength through adversity; we know God is not, will not and never will ordain destruction or pain and suffering. Yet in this fallen world we may experience hard times. It's what we do in the hard places where strength develops. The adversity in and of itself doesn't bring strength it's what we do with God's Word and Spirit within that brings strength.
  • Live to give; being a blessing and going out of our way to help others is living life in light of the Savior. We are blessed already because of Him and when we know we are blessed and favored we can with that supply share it with others. Bringing encouragement to others, being there for loved ones, supporting kingdom ministry work is living the abundant life because it's not just about us. It's no longer living for ourselves only.
  • Choose to be happy; We can choose to be angry, bitter or downcast. Or we can realize the greater One lives within. He is greater than anything we face. We can have joy no matter what. 

 We see these points of living our best life now. Not so extreme are they? What does God say about this life?
For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. 1 Timothy 4:8-9 NKJV

Seeing these points I wonder what is wrong with living this life in this manner? Traditional religion, you don't want believers to think big? You want them to have limits? You sure don't have this sentiment when taking up offerings for building programs, outreaches, and missions. 

 It seems religion wants believers to have a low self-image. They preach how unworthy we are. How much of a sinner we are. How we fail to measure up. 

 Traditional religion has never believed in the power of our words. They disagree with what God said about their situation. They believe adversity in and of itself is what strengthens you. If this is so why aren't the war-torn, famine ravaged nations filled with spiritual giants? Mostly, we find these lands are populated with those who worship many gods and follow false religions. 

 Some would say what about the believers in those lands? If God wants our best life now, why are these believers suffering misery and death? The answer is this, in a fallen world, evil leadership abounds. What the solution is for believers to know their authority and pray for their lands, and perhaps find deliverance by getting out of those lands if possible. What other believers need to do is live to give. We give, being a blessing sending relief and aid to those hurting in these lands. 

 Traditional religion is not invested in your happiness. They say God is not interested in your happiness. He is only interested in your character development. Yet Jesus' first miracle was to satisfy the physical desire of attendees of a wedding feast. God tells us in the Psalms, that happy is the people whose God is the Lord. Wherever Jesus went He brought rejoicing and celebration and joy at the manifested Goodness and love of God. 

 Is there promise for the life that now is? Is the Christian experience only designed for struggle, setbacks, and suffering? Or is it rather, in this fallen world, with all its tribulations, we can still find joy and experience overcoming victory because He is with us? That no matter what comes we can have victory and peace? Could it be His favor and love and goodness can overtake us and bring us to places of victory and overcoming adversity? The answer is yes and amen in Him!

 In summation, don't accept the lies of the enemy. He is the greater One, and the greater One lives within us. He has given us promise for this life as well as the one to come. He has purchased our complete redemption. We can walk in victory, with our head held high no matter what because He holds our life in His hands and He is always good!
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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Lies Religious Tradition Taught Us: God is a mean and angry God

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.                 2 Timothy 3:5 KJV 

13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” Mark 7:13 NKJV

 We've been in a series of study examining the lies religious tradition has taught the Body of Christ. Concepts taught with such conviction that it almost seems blasphemous to dare question them. Ideas taught for so long they've become strongholds in the minds of many believers. 

 So far we've dismantled the lies that God is the author of sickness and the creator of storms and disasters. That He creates evil for good to come about. That He wants us poor and poverty-stricken for His glory. That He is no longer moving in signs and Gifts and the miraculous. In our last study, we allayed the lie that Faith is powerless and ineffective in this day and age.

 Today, it seemed good to tackle another lie. The idea, the concept that God is this big mean, angry, raging god who must be appeased by his people. It seems many believe God is angry and therefore many shrink back from Him. Is God this angry, rage-filled, deity pouring wrath upon the Earth?

 Religious leaders and their disciples will see a calamity, such as fires, floods, storms or tsunamis and quickly assign blame at God's feet. That God in His anger is punishing people, cities, and nations for their great sins. They see God as angry and this becomes the motivation for service and what we do for God. 

 God is a Good and loving Father. He is Love. He is just. He is Holy. He is the sovereign One, that is the only God and creator. Though He has anger, He is Love. His perfect Love calms our souls and casts out fear. His great Love and Mercy and Grace causes condemnation to lose its effectiveness and fall away from us. His Grace silences the accusations of the enemy. This is who God is.

 The truth is God is Love. Yes, He has anger but He is not a bitter tyrant awaiting the moment He can pour out wrath. He has anger but He is not looking to punish people the moment they fail. He has anger but He is not mean, and unapproachable. 

What makes God angry?

Let's look at God's anger. Let's see what God's Word declares.
Mark's gospel sheds some light on His anger. What makes God angry at this moment? He was angered at the hardness of the religious leader's hearts. We have a man who has a crippling ailment. Yet the religious aren't moved by compassion on his plight, no they're only interest is that their traditions are honored and kept. 

 This angered Jesus. What did Jesus do with this anger? Did He go beat up the religious leaders? Did He pour plagues on them? No, He took that anger and channeled it for good and brought healing to the man. 

 Do we all not have anger? Of course, we do. Aren't we told to have self-control? Aren't we told to be angry and sin not? We should give God a holy break! He knows how to control anger. God is all-knowing and all-powerful. He doesn't allow anger to determine or dictate His words, His thoughts or deeds.

 Let's see some things God hates. Proverbs 6 gives us some insight. What do we see here? God hates division, strife, spreading lies and pride. What is Solomon saying? God is opposed to the opposition of Love. When people gossip, slander, spread lies, sow discord that is sowing seeds of discouragement, and division. This is contrary to love. 

 He also adds another category. Murder of innocent ones, hearts that devise wicked, or twisted, imaginations. Feet that are swift to do evil. This is speaking of actually harming others and it opposes the love of God. You can't love your neighbor if you're trying to kill them. 

 What else makes God angry? Again look at Mark's gospel, chapter 16. Here we see Jesus rebuke His disciples for their unbelief. Look how God describes unbelief.
12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; Hebrews 3:12 NKJV

God calls unbelief evil. Why? Because in essence, unbelief says God I know you said you are good, you said you are love, you declared you'd do this for me, but I am not persuaded by your words and deeds. I reject what you're saying is true for me. Unbelief slanders and tarnishes God's name and character. It sets itself in opposition to God.

 So we see what actually makes God angry. Things that oppose His love, injustice, trying to harm others, and unbelief. So let's see what doesn't anger God. 

In Luke's gospel, we see an amazingly powerful event transpire. I know this is a long passage. Really read and study it. I love how the Word keeps reminding us that this woman was a sinner. The man is a religious leader. Take note of two distinct approaches to Jesus. 

 The religious leader never offered Jesus water to wash His feet. He didn't greet Him with a kiss. He didn't anoint Jesus' head. Yet this lowly sinner, who knew she was, in fact, a sinner, washed Jesus' feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. She kissed His feet. She anointed His head. 

 The religious leader looked at the woman with contempt. He questioned with an accusative mindset the validity of Jesus' ministry as a prophet. Yet Jesus saw her through the eyes of God's Love and great Grace. He used this opportunity to reveal the Grace of God to the sinner and to the religious.

 What is amazing is Jesus' response to this woman. This woman was a sinner, and yet she sought Jesus out. Why? She knew she was a sinner in need of a Savior. So what was so amazing is that it is exactly who Jesus was to her. 

 Jesus received her. Take note Jesus didn't bring condemnation to her. He didn't cast judgment on her. He didn't berate her for her many sins. What did Jesus do?
48 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50 Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” Luke 7:48-50 NKJV
 The sinner's great sin didn't bring out anger and wrath from Jesus. Her sins didn't cause Jesus to back away from her. He received her with love and mercy. What angered God was the proud religious leaders who refused to see their own need for a Savior.

 God's Love and mercy is the motive for all we do. We give, serve, love others, and grow in relationship with God because of His great love and faithfulness toward us. We don't worship and serve God because we are trying to appease His angry side. He loves us and accepts us unconditionally and because of His faithfulness and love and acceptance and approval, we are faithful and walk in love and freely serve others.                                                                                          
  In summation, God is not a bitter angry tyrant. He is not awaiting the moment someone fails so he can pour out wrath. He is Love. God has anger but His anger is a drop in the bucket in comparison to His exceeding Love. We can approach Him knowing He isn't mad at us. 

Image by Henryk Niestrój from Pixabay 

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Lies Religious Tradition Taught Us: Faith can't change things

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 2 Timothy 3:5 KJV 

13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” Mark 7:13 NKJV

 We've been in an extended study examining the lies religious tradition has taught. For years and years, the traditional religious-minded have taught concepts and ideas that have been ingrained in our thinking. Concepts taught in such a way to dare question them seems almost blasphemous. Ideas spoke of for so long they've formed literal strongholds in the minds of many in the Body of Christ.

 So far we've addressed lies such as God is the author of sickness and disease. That God is the one causing, creating or allowing evil circumstances or situations to occur so as to bring some good out of it. We've looked at the lies attributed to God's power and the manifestation and giftings of the Spirit. 

 In our last study, we examined the lies surrounding the concepts of spiritual warfare. Today, it seemed good to address the lies about receiving from God, about standing in Faith for what He provided freely and what His will is for our lives. Before we begin let me share a statement made in an earlier study, this will help us gain more insight as to where we are headed.

  "For years and years now, the Church in the West has worked overtime to de-supernaturalize Christianity. They've worked tirelessly to teach Christians that Faith is powerless and ineffective to change events or circumstances. That the Spirit has ceased from leading His people through dreams, visions, the inward witness and the still small voice within our heart. That physical healing and wholeness are only found in a physician's hands and no such promise from God exists for healing and wholeness. That financial well being is only found in hard work and bank loans and never from the hand of God, through blessing."

 The de-supernaturalization of the Christian Faith has been an ongoing work of the enemy, using God's people who've been blinded in their minds to God's Goodness and great power. To some believers and ministers and seminary professors, Faith is merely a euphemism to our "religion". What faith are you? Buddhist, Hindi, Shinto, Christian...? That is not what Biblical Faith is at all.

 Now Faith is...
Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. Hebrews 11:1 AMPC

 Faith is the assurance, the title deed. Faith gives substance to hope. Yet traditional religion seeks to convey Faith as something as powerless and ineffective. It is impotent until the sovereignty of God, that is His mysterious, elusive, hidden will is somehow made known. Faith, they believe, cannot change or alter circumstances. 

 Received a negative report from your doctor? Got bad news concerning a loved one? Experiencing a tough time financially? Hey God is sovereign they say. You can't change anything. You can only trust that God, who is in control of every circumstance, has somehow allowed this event or created this event to better you or strengthen you or cause your character to develop. 

 Certainly, you can't put your trust in Christ, and with the God kind of Faith believe for healing and actually see it manifest. Surely you can't exercise Faith on behalf of a loved one and see them turn and get back on the right track. Obviously, you can't trust God in tough financial situations, and actually have Faith that financial supply will come in, that favor will work on your behalf and see needs actually met in your life. 

 This is where many in the Body of Christ reside. The idea that God can't actually change things. Their faith rests in the idea that God is allowing or creating the bad times to better them and therefore never resisting them and daring to believe God for a better situation. 

 This is what religious tradition says, but what does God say?
Now the just shall live by faith...Hebrews 10:38a

 The Word declares in 5 passages the Just shall live by Faith. Who are the just? The Just are those declared Righteous. When you received Jesus as Savior He made you Righteous, He declared you Righteous. Therefore, you and I are to live by Faith, and to live by Faith isn't hard or some struggle. Living by Faith simply means we live by taking God at His Word. 

 Living by Faith is simply living like we believe what God said about us. That we act like what He said is actually true. When He declared us Righteous, we agree with Him and act like it's true. Therefore when shame, guilt, and condemnation rear its head with its accusation we stand firm in who God said we are. When He said He didn't give us a Spirit of fear, we believe Him. We, therefore, don't receive fear. When lack, infirmity and sickness and disease appear, we act like the Finished Work is true. We look to the Cross and live.

 In closing this study, let's look at some people in the Word, who actually did what I am talking about. Look at Mark 5 with me. I want you to see what transpired here. This woman had long suffered a physical ailment. Take note of what she did not say.

 "I have this long occurring issue of blood. But God is sovereign, if it has come upon me, God must have allowed it. If God wants this removed it will happen in His timing. I just need to wait on Him. This infirmity is building my character."

 What did this woman say and do? She disregarded the Mosiac Law. She went out in public, got into a throng of people. She said continually if I may touch His garment I shall be made whole. Jesus took note when power left His body. He knew someone touched Him not just with a physical touch, but with the touch of the Faith that takes!

 She reached out and took her healing. This is walking by Faith. She didn't wait, she didn't reason that it must be the sovereign will of God that she was sick. She also didn't wait to see if it was God's will to heal her or not. She saw Jesus minister life and knew He was the express image of God, Jesus was God's will in demonstration.

 Look at blind Bartimaeus in Mark 10. He cried out for the mercy of healing. He didn't wait for some sovereign sign that God wanted his sight restored. He didn't reason that God made him blind, therefore it was for a purpose and he should be content to stay blind. No Bartimaeus shook off that beggar's coat and received by Faith his sight. 

 In summation, you can walk by Faith. You can live by Faith. Your Faith can, in fact, change things. Faith doesn't ignore facts and circumstances. Faith changes contrary facts and circumstances. Facts and circumstances that are contrary to the Finished Work of Christ. Faith doesn't stand idly by and timidly receive everything the enemy brings its way without resistance. Faith takes God at His Word and what He accomplished in the Finished Work and boldly receives all God procured for us. It's not Faith in our faith, but Faith in His Faith and Finished Work.

 We can walk and live by Faith. We don't have to be victims of circumstances. We don't have to be captives of the religious traditions of men. We don't have to accept all situations as the sovereign will of God. This is a fallen world. We can resist the enemy and he will flee from us, the Righteous. We are the victorious, overcoming, triumphant Body of Christ. Don't let religion, tradition or the enemy convince you otherwise. 
image by Geralt from Pixabay 

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Lies Religious Tradition Taught us: Spiritual Warfare

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.                 2 Timothy 3:5 KJV 

13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” Mark 7:13 NKJV


We've been in an extended study examining the lies religious traditions of men have taught the Body of Christ. Concepts taught with such conviction by leaders it would almost seem blasphemous to dare question it. Ideas and views taught for so long they have formed strongholds in the minds of many.

 So far we've addressed concepts like God is the author of sickness and disease, that He is the bringer of destruction through disasters. That He creates evil so good may come about. That poverty is a blessing. That God's power has weakened and waned in this day and age. 

 Today, it seemed good to address an issue that has created so much division and also created chaos and extremes in many quarters of the Body of Christ. The idea of spiritual warfare. That is extremes and traditions born from wrong ideas about spiritual warfare.

 The truth of Scripture is that there is spiritual warfare;
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 NKJV

 We see here that we are in a heavenly fight. We are engaged in battle with a spiritual enemy. However, we have the truth on our side. God tells us when we resist the enemy, he will flee. God informs us that Jesus was manifest to destroy the works of the enemy. The enemy has been defeated by the Finished Work of Christ! 

 So we are not implying there is no such thing as spiritual warfare but we want to expose the traditions surrounding spiritual warfare. The idea that the enemy is so strong and the Church so weak. That the world is all going to hell and only a tiny number of folk will go to Heaven. That the enemy is the watchdog of Father God. 

 First, we have seen there is spiritual warfare. Ok, but where is the battleground? For so long many thought it was lands, cities, and nations. No, the Word reveals the battle is in the mind. I won't deny the concept that the Word seems to allude to that demons can be set at geographical regions but those enemies are simply there afflicting the minds of the peoples there. To see victory, a change of mind, a mind renewal is needed.

 When the truth is proclaimed, minds are renewed and eyes are opened and strongholds come tumbling down. So that leads us to dethrone another myth. That is the idea the Church is so weak and the enemy so strong.

 As we've shared the enemy has been defeated. He has been brought low. The only reason the enemy seems so much more powerful is too often the Church has not risen up and dared to take its place! We are the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are the victorious, overcoming, triumphant and more than a conqueror Church! When we stand in our God-given authority, the enemy scatters and flees in terror.

 Some think the enemy isn't yet defeated. That's why warfare is such a struggle. They are fighting and resisting trying to attain victory. They are the ones seeing demons behind every tree and fearful of the world around them. Jesus defeated the enemy soundly! Our assignment is to occupy till He comes. That means we are to enforce and demonstrate this total defeat of the enemy.

 Allow me to quell quickly another myth. This idea that the devil is now merely God's lackey. That the enemy is now God's watchdog. God isn't waiting for you to foul up so He can sic the devil on you. God corrects through the instruction of the Word. He isn't using the enemy to torment or teach you.

 Now for this giant myth. That the world and all its darkness is so evil that it is winning and taking ground and that there is a remnant Church. This is the speech of an exclusionary gospel. Now before universalists and inclusionists think I am saying the Gospel means all are saved, I am not. 

 I am saying, the talk of a remnant Church is exclusionary to other believers not the unsaved. It speaks of works and a performance-based relationship with God. It's saying, in this dark and fallen world, we are the only sincere and true believers in you Jesus. What makes you more sincere than say someone else? Well, I don't do this or that. So it's all about their work and doing and not King Jesus' Finished Work.

 As believers in Jesus, the Spirit will correct and instruct us and lead us to drop bad habits, unprofitable behavior, and lead us away from sin. But until these things fully manifest themselves in our outward behavior, it doesn't mean we are on the outside looking in. That we lose out in intimacy with God. That Father God is saying, you can't sit in my lap till you clean up your act. The Father seeks relationship, not perfection.

 The World system is a lost and fleshly driven system of thinking. It is influenced by the evil one. No one can doubt this. They are deceived. This is why they redefine God's definition of the family, of men and women and urge others to kill infants in the womb. As dark as they are they're not out of Heaven's reach. This also means Hell will not overpopulate Heaven.

 Jesus wouldn't pay such a high price only to lose most of the world's people. Heaven is too numerous to number. Jesus wins! We just need to share God's, unfailing love with all.

 If we want to wage true spiritual warfare, then renew your mind to who you are in Christ Jesus. Keep feeding on the truth that you are the Righteousness of God in Christ. That you are loved by God. Then take this message to all the World. Proclaiming to the world that they are loved by God unconditionally and that He isn't mad at them or holding their sins against them, demonstrates the enemy's defeat. It changes hearts and minds and opens them to receive the Good News of Jesus and New Life in Him.

 In summation, Jesus defeated the enemy. We have the victory. God loves us unconditionally. When we know who we are and whose we are triumphant victory becomes a reality in our lives. 
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