Hiding In The Trees?

grove of trees

“And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”

Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”

Genesis 3: 8-9 NASB

Is God, The Father, asking that of you today?

“Where are you?”

Maybe instead of meeting Him today for life giving fellowship and encouragement, you are trying to hide from Him.

Maybe you messed up again and, instead of acknowledging the sin and repenting,  you have run to the grove of  “busyness trees” in your life and are trying to hide from His presence.

You have failed again and how can you face Him?  So you are hiding from Him.

BUT HE, in His faithfulness to YOU,  His child, comes seeking you.

He asks, “Where are you?”.

In His wisdom He knows already where His little lamb has run off to.

So we need to give up our “fig leaf” and “shame of failure” and agree with Him on what we have done, (that is what repentance is) and ask for forgiveness which He will gladly extend.

Be restored to that life -giving, joyous, edifying, fellowship.

Remember, the Lord Jesus told His disciples,

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you….       John 15: 16

He chose us.  We did not find Him.  He found us….sin and all.

So He is asking “Where are you?”

Not for His sake. For our sake.  We need to be honest about where we are in our Christian walk.

He stands ready to forgive, love, strengthen, encourage and make us wiser in our pilgrimage to His House.

Just flee to Him.

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession, for we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin, let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.”         Hebrews 4:14-16  NASB

Carl

China Churches Protest Government Crackdown

chinese-church-destroyed

The Golden Lampstand Church in Shanxi Province was destroyed in January 2018, by Chinese paramilitary police officers. (Photo: China Aid)
“Religious freedom in China has really reached to the worst level that has not been seen since the beginning of the Cultural Revolution by Chairman Mao [Zedong] in the 1960s,” says Bob Fu, a former house church pastor in China. Fu came to the U.S. to found China Aid to warn of the growing persecution in China.
The picture that is shaping up is a highly controlled society with a personality cult. The control follows the pattern of other Marxist/Socialist/Communist countries, present and past.
President Xi Jinping is the personality behind the cult. In the last 10 years, he has systemically restructured the government to put himself in permanent charge.
Control is escalating by using modern technology. Cameras are installed in churches to record who attends. It is now a crime not to watch state television.
As in Russia, the excuse for the crackdown is to “eliminate extremism.” Detention camps have recently been constructed holding up to a million Uyghur Muslims in the western province of Xinjiang. Since the Christians, especially members of the unregistered “house” churches, are also considered “extremists” by the communist government, they are included in the government “elimination” efforts.
Churches are now being forced to hang pictures of Xi beside crucifixes and sing communist anthems during service. In some places, children under 18 are forbidden to attend church and Bible camps are being closed. Bibles and other “illegal promotional materials” are being confiscated and burned.
Authorities in some provinces are taking a harder line than others but the government has passed regulations directing the nation-wide shift toward less freedom. The emphasis is on forcing everyone to submit to the Communist Party and “Chinese” culture. And all rivals must be eliminated, including Christians. “Party members who have religious belief should have [be given] strengthened thought education,” according to new government regulations released in February.
Some brave pastors have tried to resist. The persecution has become worse since new government regulations were published. At least 250 Chinese pastors have signed a public statement against the regulations. It closed with: “For the sake of the gospel, we are prepared to bear all losses, —even the loss of our freedom and our lives.”
This stand could be costly. Witness the invasion of one church in Henan province: 50 officials stormed the service, beat the worshippers and confiscated most of the church property. One grabbed the microphone from the pastor, read a document declaring the church “illegitimate” and demanded the pastor sign it. He refused and was taken away.
Some of the women attempted to video the attack and were beaten and kicked and their cell phones confiscated before they were taken into custody. Anyone who attempted to protect them was also beaten.
“For the first time, people throughout China are saying ‘NO!’ to what the Communist party wants—control. Control over what they can do, what they can believe, where they can go, what they can say. It’s yet another sign something is beginning to take shape here in China, the call for democracy! The call for freedom!” says Christopher Gregory of China Missions.
Decades ago the people of China chose Communism’s hollow dream instead of the Bible. Now, millions there have discovered the truth and are willing to die for it —and some may have to.
The same war is being fought in almost every other country in the world. Satan’s time is short and he is outraged. America is an oasis in this battlefield, but for how long? Handing out a gospel tract can get you killed in some parts of the world.
Many have shed their blood to buy and protect our freedom. Are we grateful enough to exercise that freedom and just hand someone a tract?

From — Chick Publishers

Red China Rewriting Bible, Churches Must Sing Communist Anthems

(Please pray for our brothers and sisters in communist China. Carl)

China Aid Founder Rev. Bob Fu – who led a house church in China before immigrating to the United States in 1997 to form his watchdog organization of China’s persecuted Church – warned U.S. Congress of the Chinese government’s aggressive move during a House hearing Thursday, divulging details about the plan administered by leading state-sanctioned Chinese denominations geared to “Sincize” Christianity nationwide.

“Religious freedom in China has really reached to the worst level that has not been seen since the beginning of the Cultural Revolution by Chairman Mao [Zedong] in the 1960s,” Fu explained….

He said the state-sanctioned Protestant bodies are “retranslating” the Old Testament in their plan to Sinicize Christianity, while crafting new commentary for the New Testament to give socialist ideals and Chinese culture a more divine feel.

“The plan made it clear that ‘Sinicization of Christianity’ means to change ‘Christianity in China’ into ‘Chinese Christianity,'” Fu made clear. “[The plan] emphasized that ‘the heart and soul of Christianity’s Sinicization is to Sincize the Christian theology,’ – and even proposing to ‘re-translate the Bible or re-write biblical commentaries.'”

Giving an example of the latest outline of the plan, Fu explained that the summary consists of the Old Testament mixed with some Buddhist scripture and Confucian teachings – along with the newly devised New Testament commentary.

“Authorities in China have tightened their grip on the country’s churches by ordering that children are to be banned from joining religious groups,” the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail report. “The ban also prohibits children from attending religious sermons and other activities in several provinces across the country.”

An all-out ban on youth attending services at more than 100 churches was reported this month in just one province alone.

“Earlier this month, over one hundred churches in Wenzhou – China’s Zhejiang province – reportedly received a notice from government officials informing them that young people will be banned from entering churches, according to a report,” the Daily Mail’s Sophie Williams recounted. “Minors are also reportedly banned from participating in religious activities. Members of the church were told not to participate in religious activities, and churches were not allowed to organize a youth summer camp.”

(Haverluck, “China rewriting Bible, churches must sing communist anthems,” OneNewsNow Online, 9/29/18).

Berean Call

Prospects Appear Dim For Religious Freedom in Cuba

The Rev. Carlos Lamelas knows first-hand the diabolical nature of attempts by Cuban authorities to cripple Christianity on the Communist isle.

Refusing to allow government interference in the internal affairs of his congregation, Lamelas was charged with “human trafficking” (allegedly helping Christians to flee the island). He spent four months in jail and endured years of unjust treatment before leaving Cuba as a political refugee in 2011.

Like many pastors, Lamelas initially ran afoul of the government simply for effectively proclaiming Christ.

“When a religious leader attracts a popular following, the G-2 [State Security] mobilizes a team of psychologists to do a psychiatric evaluation and determine if he can be coerced,” Lamelas said. “They will launch a campaign to gather incriminating evidence against him, dispatch young women who try to seduce him or peddlers to offer him black market goods In other words, they are going to entice him to commit some legal or moral offense.”

If a leader is impervious to such duplicity, he said, then arrest on false charges awaits him.

“The only step a church leader can take is simply to be faultless,” he said. “Unfortunately, there are very few who have managed to stand firm and maintain purity against so much pressure.”

Pressure from the international Christian community persuaded Cuban authorities to release Lamelas and eventually drop the false charges against him, but many Christians have not fared so well. One Christian aid and advocacy group found a sharp increase in violations of religious freedom by the administration of Raul Castro in 2012.

U.K.-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) counted 120 religious rights violations on the island last year, compared with 30 in 2011. Hundreds of people were affected, with some cases involving entire churches and denominations.

https://morningstarnews.org/2013/01/prospects-appear-dim-for-religious-freedom-in-cuba/

Berean Call

Christian: Are You Paying Attention?

A good friend of mine shared this quote by the famous preacher Charles Spurgeon. I wanted to share it with you because if the saints of God ever needed to be discerning, it is now! Satan is very busy….in Christendom deceiving those who call themselves Christian.

The Lord warned His disciples that many false prophets will come and DECEIVE MANY, also that many would come in His name and DECEIVE MANY.  This “many” does not just refer to human beings coming in His name, but also evil spirits.  Through certain prayer practices, meditation, yoga, etc. they will come and identify themselves as “Jesus” or the “Christ” to the naïve or deceived, spewing heresy as they work their counterfeit.

The Lord also warned that “wolves” would come in sheep’s clothing and DEVOUR THE FLOCK, that satan would appear as an angel of light to DECEIVE MANY.

Through the biblical writings of the early Apostles He warned us not to be “asleep” in the “light”.  Don’t be wooed into spiritual “sleep” by the things of the world and the love of the world.

Be paying attention to yourself, your conduct, your spiritual disciplines and what the people, who are spiritually feeding you, are saying and doing, as well as who you are fellowshipping with.

Peter told us “sufficient is the time, that you have run around with your old running mates”.  Now is the time to get serious about the things of Faith and following our Lord, not our old worldly ways.

Are you paying attention? Much is at stake.

May God the Father richly bless each one of you!

Carl

“See To It That No One Misleads You”

“…and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

“And Jesus answered and said to them , “See to it that no one misleads you,

For many will come in My name, saying, I am the Christ, and will mislead many.”

Matthew 24: 3-5

After Jesus and the disciples left the temple in Jerusalem and came to rest on the Mount of Olives,  His disciples asked Him privately what would be the sign of His coming and the end of the age.   The first recorded words out of the Lord’s mouth is a warning about deception, “See to it that no one misleads you.” (NASB) or, as the Expanded Translation states, “Be constantly seeing to it that no one leads you astray.” (Wuest)

The means by which the “being lead astray” is accomplished is, “For many will come in My name, saying, I am the Christ, and will mislead many.”  

There have been many down through the centuries who have claimed to be gods.  Many of the Roman Emperors claimed to be god and there were and still are many pagan gods in different cultures.  Early church history tell us that even Simon, The Magician, found in Acts ——–  who faked his conversion to get the power of the Holy Spirit, would later proclaim himself to be a god.

But here the Lord speaks specifically about deceivers coming  in His name, false “Christ”, false “Jesus”.

We normally think of a deceiver as a human being.

But as we see the deception being fostered on Christians today, we realize that many are being deceived by evil spirits declaring they are “Jesus” or the “Christ”.  This has always been the case with occultists, but now many Christians are falling prey to this deception.

A perfect example of this is Jesus Calling by  Sarah Young, which is an account of what “Jesus” has told her arranged in a daily devotional format. The problem is that it is a false ‘Jesus’.  I strongly recommend you read 10 Scriptural Reasons Jesus Calling is a Dangerous Book by Warren B. Smith to see how a false “Jesus” and a false “Christ” can deceive a person. Mr. Smith, a former member of the New Age movement, writes:

In 2004, in one of her rare, carefully staged interviews, Sarah Young was asked by the Christian Broadcasting Network “How did you learn to ‘dialogue’ with God?” She answered that it was from reading the book, God Calling:
My journey began with a devotional book (God Calling) written in the 1930s by two women who practiced waiting in God’s Presence, writing the messages they received as they “listened.”4 (parenthesis hers)
Also, in the original introduction to Jesus Calling that stood from 2004-2013, Young specifically praised, God Calling, as “a treasure to me.” 5 However, The Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs published by Christian publisher Harvest House, describes, God Calling, as a channeled New Age book that was spiritually dictated by a deceptive spirit pretending to be the real Jesus Christ. 6 In their lengthy Encyclopedia chapter on channeling and spiritual dictation, Christian authors/apologists John Weldon and John Ankerberg explain that channeling is a form of New Age “mediumship” which the Bible clearly defines as a “forbidden” practice (Deuteronomy 18:9-12).7 Under a subheading titled “Impersonations of Christianity,” the authors describe, God Calling, as a New Age book “replete with denials of biblical teaching” 8 that “subtly encourages psychic development and spiritistic inspiration under the guise of Christ’s personal guidance . . . and often misinterprets Scripture.”9

Click here to finish Mr. Smith’s 10 Reasons.

Don’t open your mind up to a false ‘Jesus’ or a false ‘Christ’ through contemplative prayer, yoga, or eastern forms of meditation. And do not follow Christian people or lost people who have.

God’s blessings and protection on your life and your family.

Carl

Harvard Study – Benefits of Church Attendance and Prayer

“A study by Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that kids and teens who attend church at least once a week were happier as “20-somethings” than people who did not attend services.

Youth who prayed every day experienced similar benefits, according to the study, with both groups having lower risks of substance abuse and depression as adults, and being more likely to volunteer.

More than 5,000 subjects were followed from eight to 14 years.

“These findings are important for both our understanding of health and understanding of parenting practices,” said study author Ying Chen. “Many children are raised religiously, and our study shows that this can powerfully affect their health behaviors, mental health, and overall happiness and well-being.”

Baptist Message

As a parent of four grown children, I whole heartily agree with the findings of this study. Keep them in Church under good Bible teaching. It will prove to be a great blessing to them ALL their lives.

God bless you!

Carl