Easy, Easy, Easy

“It is an easy thing to be godly from the teeth outward.”

Preceeding quote is from Matthew Henry’s (1710 AD) comments describing false teachers in Romans 16:18. 

One godly characteristic the false teachers exhibited was “Christian” speech. From the teeth outward they appeared godly. In other words, they used Christian lingo and profess to be Christian but inwardly, in their heart, they are ravenous wolves sent by satan to mislead the true born again Christians. They use their oratory skills and cunning to lead Christians astray. The scripture says

“… and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.” (Romans 16:18)

The Lord Jesus warned about these people:

“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. [16] You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? [17] So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. [18] A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. [19] Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. [20] So then, you will know them by their fruits. …. (Matthew 7: 15-20)

Don’t be “unsuspecting” but be a fruit inspector. The Lord Jesus is telling you and me that by examining the fruit of their lives you can recognize the ravenous wolves despite their Christian words, mannerisms, associations, and their smooth and flattering speech.

In another blog we will discuss some of the fruit you should look for.

THEREFORE, “Gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit” (I Peter 1:13) and “be on alert, your adversary, the devil, prowls about…seeking someone to devour” (I Peter 5:8).

Carl

Knock, Knock! Who’s There? That Is The Question In Yoga, Meditation, Mindfulness and Contemplative Prayer.

Some Christians today, in their desire to have a closer walk with the Lord or for some health reason,  have turned to meditative practices rooted in eastern mysticism such as Yoga, Mindfulness, Meditation, Contemplative Prayer, etc. The goal being to reach a passive state of “silence” or “stillness” where all mental thoughts cease and the ‘Lord’ can be heard.  While it is noble to want a closer walk with the Lord Jesus, a person must be careful how he goes about seeking this intimacy, because a sincere motive is no protection from deception.

In Watchman Nee’s 1927 book, The Spiritual Man, he discusses how we can discern if the Lord Jesus or evil spirits are communicating with us. Following are some quotes from the section entitled, The Mind A Battlefield, where he compares the different mental conditions through which the Holy Spirit works versus the mental conditions through which evil spirits work.

At the end of his comments, we have quotes from Quaker Richard J. Foster, an advocate of these practices, and a former Yanamamo witchdoctor.

I hope you find the material enlightening.  Thank you for your time.

Carl

“God creates man with a mind to be used —“he who hears the word and understands it” (Matt. 13:23). God desires man to understand His Word  with the intellect, from whence the emotion, will and spirit are reached.”

“In their desire to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit many of the Lord’s people feel they do not need to measure, investigate, and judge by the light of the Bible all thoughts which seemingly come from God. “

“The passivity of the mind is due to a misconception of the meaning of consecration and obedience to the Holy Spirit. Many take for granted that the thoughts in their head hinder their walk. They do not perceive that it is a brain which ceases to function or which functions chaotically that hinders spiritual life, whereas, one which functions properly is not only profitable but also essential. Such a mind as this can alone cooperate with God.”

Let us pursue one step further this matter of passivity as a condition for the operation of evil spirits. We are aware of one class of people who especially relish communicating with these spirits. People usually do not hanker to be demon possessed, but this special class craves to be so possessed. These are the soothsayers, the augurs, the mediums, the necromancers. By accurately observing the cause of their possession we may come to understand the principle of demon possession. These people tell us that in order to be possessed by what they call gods (who actually are demons) their will must present no resistance whatsoever but be favorably disposed to accept whatever comes upon their bodies. To render their will completely passive their mind must first to be reduced to blankness. A blank brain produces a passive will. These two elements are the basic requisites for demon possession. Hence a necromancer who is waiting for his “god” to come to him lets down his hair and shakes his head for a continued period until it is dizzy and his mind completely out of action. As the latter is turning blank his will naturally becomes immobile. At this point his mouth begins to move unconsciously, his body gradually trembles, and before long his “god” descends upon him. This is one way of becoming possessed. Although there may be others, the principle for the spiritist is the same: to achieve passivity of will through a perfectly blank mind; for all spiritist agree that when spirits or demons alight upon them their heads can no longer think and their wills can no longer act. They are unpossessed until this state of an empty mind and an inert will is reached.

Today’s (1927) so-called scientific hypnotism and religious yogi, which enable people to possess the powers of telepathy, healing, and transforming, are in reality founded upon these two principles. Using the argument that certain methods can be beneficial to mankind, those of this class who perform such techniques as focusing one’s attention, sitting silently, contemplating and meditating, are actually employing these devices to reduce their mind to a blank condition and their will to passivity so as to invite supernatural spirits or demons to supply them with many wonderful experiences. Our purpose here is not to inquire whether or not these people realize they are inviting evil spirits to come; we merely wish to observe that they are fulfilling the requirements for demon possession. The consequence is grave; perhaps later they shall awaken to the fact that what they have welcomed are indeed evil spirits.

Our intention here is not a full treatment of this subject. We simply wish to acquaint the Lord’s children with the principles behind the practice of the black arts: which are a blank and passive mind and will. Evil spirits are overjoyed should these conditions be present, as they can immediately commence to do their dark work.

It is well for every Christian to always bear in mind the one basic and crucially important distinction between the working of evil spirits and that of the Holy Spirit: the Latter works when man fulfills His working conditions, while the former work when man fulfills their working conditions. If man, even though he may appear to be seeking the Holy Spirit, meets the requirements for evil spirits to operate, God’s Spirit will never operate. The wicked spirits wait tirelessly for the opportunity to act. Should anyone be incompetent to distinguish what is truly of God from what is a counterfeit, he need only ask himself one question: what kind of condition was he in when first he experienced such phenomena? If he had fulfilled the prerequisites for the Holy Spirit’s activity, it must have been from God; but had he met the necessary conditions for evil spirits to work, then what he encountered must have been the evil spirit. We do not reject every supernatural phenomenon; what we simply and earnestly desire to do is to separate what is of God from what is of Satan.

The basic distinction between the operating requirements of the Holy Spirit and the wicked spirits can be summarized as follows:

  1. All supernatural revelations, visions or other strange occurrences which require the total cessation of the function of the mind, or are obtained only after it has ceased working, are not of God.
  2. All visions which arise from the Holy Spirit are conferred when the believer’s mind is fully active. It necessitates the active engagement of the various functions of the mind to apprehend these visions. The endeavors of evil spirits follow exactly the opposite course.
  3. All which flows from God agrees with God’s nature and the Bible.”

The Spiritual Man – Watchman Nee  ( Part Eight – The Mind A Battlefield – selections from pages 21-27.  Emphasis- mine.)

In addition to what Nee said the dangers of a blank mind and passive will, the Quaker Richard J. Foster, an advocate of “Christian” contemplation, expresses his concerns about who is speaking in the “silence” when he says

“I also want to give a word of precaution. In the silent contemplation of God we are entering deeply into the spiritual realm, and there is such a thing as supernatural guidance that is not divine guidance…there are various orders of spiritual beings, and some of them are definitely not in cooperation with God and his way!  (Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home)

In other words, there are other dangerous spirits in this “silence” that can do you harm. Shame on Foster for encouraging innocent people to expose themselves to such danger. In the, Be Still, DVD he offers advice about how to discern who might be communicating in the “silence” or “stillness”:

“Learning to distinguish the voice of God….from just human voices within us…comes in much the same way that we learn any other voice. Satan pushes and condemns. God draws and encourages. And we know the difference.”

He admits to a chorus of voices that might speak in the “solitude” and “silence”: God, satan, or even other human voices. To show how naïve Foster is, in telling people how to discern God’s voice from satan’s, listen to what the former witchdoctor has to say about what he experienced while in the “silence” and focusing.

Chief Shoefoot, a Yanamamo shaman or witchdoctor, in the DVD, I’ll Never Go Back – A Shaman’s Story, describes the multitude of spiritual beings (demons) that are in this “deep spiritual realm” that Foster encourages people to go into, with blank minds and passive wills.   The Chief begins by relating his initiation into shamanism. How he, after having drugs blown up his nose, was told by the head witchdoctor to sit in “silence” and “focus” only on him (the witchdoctor). Then the “good” and “bad” spirits materialized, a vast mass swirling around the teacher, beautifully attired in tropical bird feathers,  and certain “good” ones entered his chest where, he said,  they built their houses and invited other “good” spirts.  There were other “bad” spirits that were not to be accepted since they caused jealously, murder, etc.

These evil “good” spirits brought bondage,  eventually causing him to think  he was losing his mind. He said the spirits were “deceivers and loved to deceive.” It was at this point that he met a missionary who helped him understand why God sent his Son to earth. He was born again and delivered from all of the evil spirits.  To the anthropologist’s argument that these primitive tribes should be left alone, Chief Shoefoot says he never wants to go back to living a life dominated by the forces of darkness.

In conclusion, Watchman Nee shares that a blank mind and passive will are a welcome mat for evil spirits to enter a person, that the voice one hears in this “silent” state, which is the goal of all eastern mysticism meditation, is NOT God’s but deceiving, evil spirits.  Even the advocates of these practices, like Richard J. Foster, admit that a person is exposing themselves to deception by these evil beings when in this state.  Finally, the  error of Foster’s advice on how to discern God’s voice  from satan is revealed by Chief Shoefoot’s testimony.  From this once professional witchdoctor we see that there are “good” spirits that do good things and “bad” spirits that  do evil things.  So in this meditative state you can have a wide range of feelings, from being “drawn and encouraged” to being “pushed and condemned” depending on the evil spirit.  Feelings are a dangerous yardstick for WHO you are hearing in this mentally blank and passive state.

He said these spirits were beautiful in appearance but that they all deceive and love to deceive.

If you are a Christian or a non-Christian who is involved or considering trying these eastern meditation methods, I strongly suggest you stop these practices or never get started. God never asked you to seek Him in such a way that exposes you to demonic possession. Use your mind to meditate on His Word found in the Bible and let the truths therein bring practical righteousness to your daily walk and overflowing joy into your life.

The Lord Jesus said He came so that you could have abundant life.  Don’t settle for a counterfeit.

“Now to Him is able to keep you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy,

To the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen     (Jude 24 -25)

Carl

Choose Your Bible Teachers Wisely

“It is better to be divided by truth than to be united in error. It is better to speak the truth that hurts, and then heals, than falsehood that comforts and then kills. Let me tell you something, friend, it is not love, and it is not friendship, if we fail to declare the whole counsel of God. It is better to be hated for telling the truth, than to be loved for telling a lie….”

Adrian Rogers

Today if you share the whole counsel of God as expressed by the Holy Spirit in the Bible, you are defined as being negative or even a corrupter of the good news. It is believed by some that you should only share about the positive things in scripture: grace, love, “the mystery”, peace, security and a beautiful future.

Today, through the emergent church and others, Christianity is being redefined and losing its scriptural moorings. The word of God is being cherry picked to make it fit into contemporary culture. Eventually, the subjective experiences of Christian mysticism will replace the objective truths of scripture, leading to the rejection of orthodox doctrines that have strengthened believers for centuries.

To help us understand how God intended the Truth to be shared, we will look at Acts 20: 17-38, Luke’s account of Paul praying with the Ephesian elders on his way to Jerusalem. From his discourse we can discern what he had previously shared with these Gentile and Jewish believers:

  • He “did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable…” (verse 20)
  • He “solemnly testified to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
  • He says his ministry was “…to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.”
  • He says that he is “…innocent of the blood of all men for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel [or purpose] of God.”
  • He warned these “overseers” to “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock…” because “after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock…”
  • He specifically warned these church elders that “from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.”
  • He tells them “Therefore be on the alert…”
  • He tells them “…remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.”
  • In closing, Paul “…commended you to God and to the word of His grace which is able to build you up and give you the inheritance…”
  • He taught them through his example of hard work to help the weak and “remember the words of the Lord Jesus….’It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”

As you can see from an overview of this text that Paul shared what would be termed today “negative” truth with this church. Following are some observations that can be drawn from Paul’s statements:

  1. The parameter he used for sharing was, is it profitable to them. His first priority was their spiritual well being, not their subjective feelings, nor his reputation, financial status or social status.
  2. There were serious, eternal issues at stake; therefore, he testified solemnly of the way to salvation and to the gospel of the grace of God. There was no showmanship or frivolous handling of the truths of God but there were tears as he admonished [instructed and warned] each one.
  3. These were serious matters that Paul would be held accountable to Jesus Christ for; therefore, he shared with them the whole counsel of God so he would be innocent of the blood of all men. He shared the positive, the negative and everything in-between.
  4. We Christians do not like to be warned that we could be deceived. Yet, Paul stressed to these church leaders that there were savage wolves, people activated by the devil, who would destroy church people’s lives and that some of them, the elders, were these very savage wolves. Not a very positive statement. He did not build up their self-worth, positive image, or encourage them. He told them a hard truth.
  5. He told them to remember the words of Lord Jesus about giving; thereby, pointing to the ultimate authority of knowledge.

Therefore, dear Reader, if you are in a church that does not give you the whole counsel of God, the positive, the negative and everything in-between, I advise you to get up, grab your Bible, and run out the door. If they are just tickling your ears and giving you what your flesh or the contemporary culture wants you to hear, you’re in, or headed for great deception. Find yourself a pastor who loves the sheep enough to tell them the truth, even when it is not popular, and fears the Lord instead of man. A pastor who loves you more than he loves money and popularity.

Why should you do this?

Because the savage wolves are still here! And they still want to lead you astray and devour you and your love ones.

Peter said in 2 Peter 2:1, as there were false prophets before the Lord Jesus came the first time, there would also be false teachers among the New Testament believers, who would secretly introduce destructive heresies alongside of biblical truths. They would use the Holy Scripture to camaflouge their lies.

This is why the Lord Jesus gave certain offices to His Church that would produce a certain Result:

….gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, [12] for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; [13] until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. [14] As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;

Ephesians 4:11-14

These men mentioned in verse 14 above, are savage wolves. By the preaching and teaching of the whole counsel of God, the Church is protected from these destructive, demonized people, whose goal is to destroy. If you have ever watched a wild animal attack and devour another wild animal, you know how powerful this analogy is. No mercy, no stopping until the victim’s life is snuffed out. We once had a hawk knock a wood duck out the sky and they fell in front of our dinning room window. Watching the hawk kill the duck was a sobering reminder of the life and death struggle in the physical world and the spiritual world.

Therefore, choose your spiritual teachers very wisely, including the spiritual books you read. Do some research and find out what the author believes before you expose yourself to their teaching.

Remember what Adrian Rogers said at the beginning of this post.

“It is better to be divided by truth than to be united in error. It is better to speak the truth that hurts, and then heals, than falsehood that comforts and then kills.

“Falsehood” is what savage wolves give unsuspecting hearts (Romans 16:18) to ensnare them. “Therefore be alert…”

May you be growing into the “measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ“. Thank you for your time.

Carl

INDIA – No. 10 on Open Doors’ World’s Watch List

10.Unprecedented Christian Persecution in India

In the world’s second most populous country, Christians saw unprecedented persecution on numerous fronts from both the State and general Hindu society. For the first time, India enters the top 10 on the World Watch List, jumping one spot from No. 11 in 2017. Home to more than a billion people, even an incremental rise in persecution yields an exponential impact. Since the current ruling party took power in 2014, Hindu extremists have fueled a crackdown on Christian house churches and have attacked believers with impunity—believing that to be Indian is to be Hindu. So any other faith is viewed as non-Indian. In rural areas, Christians were told that one church would be closed down every week because they have been “destroying” local tradition and culture by “luring” others to convert to Christianity. And it is common for Christians to be cut off from local water supplies and be denied access to government-subsidized groceries. In India, saying “yes” to Jesus has become a risky decision that costs you and your family greatly.

To read more about these countries and the remaining 40 countries on Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List, click here to see the list and download the full report. To help you pray with these believers, Open Doors has a mobile prayer app that alerts you to prayer requests from believers. Learn more about it and sign up to get regular updates delivered to your phone.  Share Your Comment

Dear Reader: thank you for your time reading these important posts concerning persecution of our brothers and sisters in the Lord.  Let us remember them in prayer and support them financially and physically were we can. God bless your obedience to Him. Carl

No. 8 and 9

8. Believers in Yemen Especially Vulnerable in Civil War and Famine

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An ongoing civil war in Yemen has created one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent memory, making an already difficult nation for Christians to live in even harder. The chaos of war has enabled radical groups to take control over some regions of Yemen, and they have increased persecution of Christians. Even private worship is risky in some parts of the country. Christians are suffering from the general humanitarian crisis in the country, but Yemeni Christians are additionally vulnerable since emergency relief is mostly distributed through Islamic organizations and local mosques, which are allegedly discriminating against all who are not considered to be pious Muslims. Converts to Christianity from Islam face additional persecution from family and society. In Yemen, the small church is composed mostly of Yemeni Christians with a Muslim background who must live their faith in secret. They face persecution from the authorities (including detention and interrogation), their families, and radical Islamic groups who threaten converts with death if they don’t denounce Christ and re-convert.


9. IRAN: Illegal to convert, illegal to preach

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In this gateway to the Middle East, Christians are forbidden from sharing their faith with non-Christians. Therefore, church services in Persian, the national language, are not allowed. Converts from Islam undergo persecution from the government; if they attend an underground house church, they face the constant threat of arrest. Iranian society is governed by Islamic law, which means the rights and job possibilities for Christians are heavily restricted. The government sees them as an attempt by Western countries to undermine Islam and the Islamic regime of Iran. Leaders of groups of Christian converts have been arrested, prosecuted and have received long prison sentences for “crimes against the national security.” In December, to crack down on Christians sharing their faith, Iranian police arrested 100 Christians in one week, making a blatant statement to both Christians and Muslims. Iran is also infamous for its prisons and inhumane treatment of Christians in places like Evin Prison where well-known house church pastor Yousef Nardarkhani is serving a 10-year sentence.

Dear Reader: Let us remember our brothers and sisters in prayer as they suffer in Yemen and Iran; especially those imprisoned for their faith. May the Holy Spirit fill them with boldness and confidence in Christ, as they live as sheep among wolves. May grace upon grace be upon them.

Thank you for your time spent educating yourself on the state of the Body of Christ in the earth.

Carl

Sudan and Eritrea: 6 & 7 In The Top 10 Persecutors of Christians

6.Christian Converts in Sudan Targeted for Persecution

Sudan has been ruled as an Islamic state by the authoritarian government of President al-Bashir since 1989. Under his charge, the country offers limited rights for religious minorities and places heavy restrictions on freedom of speech or press. The last year has been difficult for Christians in many ways. There have been arrests; many churches have been demolished and others are on an official list awaiting demolition. And many Christians are attacked indiscriminately in areas like the Nuba Mountains where there is an ongoing conflict between government forces and rebel groups. Christian converts from Islam are especially targeted for persecution. So to keep from being discovered, converts will often refrain from raising their children as Christians because this might attract the attention of the government and community leaders (since children might inadvertently reveal their parents’ faith).

7.Christians Imprisoned in Shipping Containers in Eritrea

Since 1993, President Afwerki has overseen an authoritarian brutal regime that rests on massive human rights violations. During the 2019 World Watch List reporting period, government security forces conducted many house-to-house raids and imprisoned hundreds of Christians in inhumane conditions, including small shipping containers in scorching heat. Protestants, in particular, face serious problems in accessing community resources, especially social services provided by the State. Christians from non-traditional church groups, such as evangelicals, face the harshest persecution. In 2018, Eritrea embraced an end to hostility with both Ethiopia and Somalia. How that agreement will play out for the situation of Christians remains to be seen. This extreme pressure and state-sanctioned violence are forcing some Christians to flee Eritrea–often called “Africa’s North Korea”–and seek asylum.

Dear Reader: please pray for these precious people who are suffering for believing in and following Jesus Christ. That is their only “crime”! May grace upon grace be upon them.

Carl