Category: Emergent


A Palette of Pageantry

Church EventWhy do we get so excited about the outward business and activity of the visible church yet often have so little thought or joy concerning the Lord’s eternal work within the inner man?

In the unseen heart and mind the Lord continues transforming and renewing the broken and weak into His victorious and sanctified saints. He mysteriously and gloriously plants His Eternal Word into all who are willing, breathes His breath within, and by His power, the Seed grows and grows, producing eternal fruit to both nourish that very person and those hungry and weary travelers he meets along the way.

Much of this amazing work takes place in the unseen realm, only becoming visible over periods of time. This is the godly life made known in and through true believers! This is what Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, called the mystery of godliness, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27

This is truly the marvelous work of the invisible God, yet instead of joyfully walking by faith, we too often choose to walk by sight; becoming enamored with the outward accouterments and pomp now calling itself the (post)modern church.

Sadly, many have traded the desire to marvel and rejoice over the inward work of the Holy Spirit for a palette filled with the pleasantries of outward pageantry. Instead, let us return to the old paths. Let us truly taste and see that the Lord is good! (Jeremiah 6:16; Psalm 34:8)Bible Light Bulb Image

“Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that you love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and abides forever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower thereof falls away: but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” 1 Peter 1:22-25

Advertisements

Gungor_I Am Mountain“I recently had the best meal of my life, an eight-course Japanese/sushi thing…and just the balance of the plates they’d bring and how they handled each of the flavors after the next to build to something, it was amazing.”

“That’s how I wanted to approach this record. To have a palate cleanser when its needed, something easy to go down, a breath for a second when things get too dark or heavy.” ~Michael Gungor, I Am Mountain, Bio (http://gungormusic.com/bio/)

Michael Gungor has definitely made some waves over the last year regarding his allegorical view of certain sections of Scripture. Although this is clearly a dangerous deception in need of correction, I can’t help but wonder why so little was said four years ago when he posted a three part reflection on his spiritual journey into all things contemplative.

One thing that’s fair to say is that Michael is not a hypocrite, at least on this. Unlike so many others involved in today’s “Christian” ministry scenes, he sure isn’t trying to appear biblically conservative, while secretly exploring mystical “Christianity”. His thoughts even four years ago were posted right on his website for all to read. Yet many churches, including what we might consider solid, line by line and verse by verse churches, either through ignorance or self-denial continued opening their doors to him month after month and year after year.

The few who said anything during that time were typically marginalized or worse, vilified, or simply ignored. After all, those choosing to speak up are often told not to say anything ‘negatively’ against what some so-called leaders label “moves of the Spirit”. A proper teacher of God’s Word, however, will never use this shabby excuse as a cloak to hide behind. No one is above being lovingly and truthfully corrected regardless of his/her popularity, personality, or charismatic presence.

The way to keep the unity of the Spirit is not found in turning a blind eye, but rather in exposing the darkness that is frankly running rampant in this modern or rather post-modern church era. We are reminded in Ephesians 5:11, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [expose] them.” Nowhere in Scripture are we told to be tolerant of evil actions or evil doctrines. Contrary to the spirit of this age, tolerance does not pave the road to biblical unity, but instead is the bridge to the wide road leading many to destruction. Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit reminds us, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which you have learned; and avoid them.” Romans 16:11 [Emphasis mine]

LightInDarknessLight will never divide the light. Truth will never divide the truth. In reality, division is caused when darkness and deception are embraced and promoted by the saints, allowing devilish doctrines to be injected into the body of Christ infecting many and causing many to become unsuspecting carriers. They have then become transporters, whether knowingly or unknowingly, to a wide variety of deadly strains of false doctrine.

In the world, of course, it’s just the opposite. The world is already full of darkness and deception, so the light of God’s Word will definitely divide as the Lord shines into the darkness. “And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” John 1:5  

May we always be wide awake and alert in the times in which we live. May we never slumber or sleep, knowing the Morning Star is soon returning. “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts…” 1 Peter 1:19

“You are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.” 1 Thessalonians 5:5-8.

As the saying goes, it’s darkest just before the dawn. We might believe reaching this world and sadly much of the professing church is a futile attempt, however, nothing could be further from the truth. With God all things are possible. We are not seeking a revival or reformation, but rather the salvation of the Lord. We look up for our hope and look around to fields for our labor.  We choose to take His yoke upon us as we faithfully and joyfully serve Jesus, letting His true light work in and through us, knowing with confidence that He who is in us is greater than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

May Jesus’ words truly encourage us! “These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Here are a couple excerpts from a Lighthouse Trails article posted back in 2011:

Michael Gungor [gives] detailed information on how to practice contemplative meditation in a three part article.

He explains to his readers that he went on a “spiritual pilgrimage” in September 2010…”The first week was a week of silence and meditation at a spiritual retreat that I found by googling ‘best spiritual retreats in the world.'” He said that he went on this pilgrimage because he was “on the brink” and “didn’t really know what [he] believed in.” Gungor began his journey with a trip to the Vatican where he heard the Pope speak: “Not a bad way to start out my spiritual journey. Made me want to be Catholic actually.” After this, Gungor caught a flight to Assisi and on the flight he “listened to a couple Rob Bell sermons on [his] iPod.” Gungor explains that the retreat was “a cross religious retreat, so they had statues of Mary in the room next to a Buddha next to a Hindu something or other.”

In part 2 Gungor [does] what most emerging figures do – he de-emphasizes beliefs and doctrine, calling evangelism a “pyramid scheme” and says in many ways he agrees with the “new atheists.” He says he doesn’t  “believe in the old guy in the sky,” talking about God, adding: To me, God is the basic Reality of the universe. God is what is. That’s how Moses wrote that God introduced Himself, isn’t it? “I am that I am.” God is. Whatever is, that is God.

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=6717

The World or the Word: TRUST

Why would I need the Wonderful Counselor? There are thousands of trained psychologists I could go to.

Why would I need to trust the Lord to grow the church? I’ve got marketing and business degrees and have literally hundreds of books and conferences to choose from on the subject.

Why would I need to trust the Lord to be my Great Provider?  I can play the investment market with the best of them.

Why would I want the joy of the Lord? Every time I buy something, I’m filled with plenty of happiness.

Why would I ask the Lord for His Wisdom?  After all, I’ve got 24/7 access to Google.

Why spend time studying God’s Word for myself?  All my favorite preachers are just one click away.heart-in-bible

“But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all Your works.”Psalm 73:28

“You that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: He is their help and their shield.” Psalm 115:11

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.” Proverbs 3:5-7

 “The fear of man brings a snare: but whoso puts his trust in the LORD shall be safe.” Proverbs 29:25

OldRuggedCross_B&WMost will readily acknowledge that people lie, and we might even admit we too are prone to talebearing from time to time, yet somehow there’s this strange belief within each of us that says our feelings will never lie. But nothing could be further from the truth. Feelings lie more than any of us probably care to admit. 

How many times have we heard, “Go with your heart”, “Trust your gut”, “Let your heart lead you”, etc.? Yet, God’s Word very clearly reminds us that our hearts are far from trustworthy. They are self-centered, deceitfully wicked, and naturally bent toward getting what they want. Jeremiah 17:9.

Feelings are far from objective. They are fickle and focused on keeping all the attention on themselves. As Christians, we often struggle against our natural emotions. Many times we have a godly desire to faithfully follow the Lord, yet find ourselves having to push our natural emotions out of the way. One author correctly compared feelings to a room full of crying babies. If you were to continually hold them, the babies would be satisfied, but at the end of the day you would be completely tired out and the babies would’ve only learned that crying will get them the attention they desire. Sure there are appropriate times to hold a baby, but just like  parents must train their little ones, so too we must learn to train our fleshly feelings. If we spend our entire lives holding or indulging our feelings, we’ll become nothing less than a helpless, hopeless slave to them.

Praise the Lord we do not have to rely on the world’s methods to do the training! Instead, we have the eternal and magnificent power of the Holy Spirit and the marvelously sufficient Word of God!  Jesus desires all His children be sanctified (set apart) by the truth of God’s living and active Word.(Psalm 119:9John 17:17)  He has not left us as orphans to figure it out on our own. He has graciously given us His Holy Spirit to daily and powerfully transform us into His image. (John 14:18-26;2 Corinthians 3:18)  First, we must be honest and admit that our fleshly feelings don’t always tell the truth, that they only have their best interest in mind.  Then we must continually capture our thoughts (and emotions), nailing them to the cross of Christ, knowing only Jesus can cleanse us, oftentimes even from our foolish feelings.  (Matthew 16:24;2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

The world spends literally billions of dollars a year to produce in people certain emotional connections to it’s philosophies, methods, and products.  Why?  Because it knows very well that once we’ve attached an emotion to an idea or product, we’ll have a very difficult time letting go.  Oh, how true this is!  May we let the Lord Jesus Christ break these attachments, allowing us to finally enjoy the freedom and liberty we have in Christ!  Freedom from the flesh! Freedom from Satan! Freedom from Sin! Freedom to keep in step with Jesus, knowing soon we’ll be able to see Him face to face, with only godly feelings flowing from Heaven’s throne, filling our hearts and minds! What a glorious day that will be!!!

Until that day, may we say like Paul, “I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

“The LORD knows the thoughts of man, that they are vanity. Blessed is the man whom You chasten, O LORD, and teach out of Your law…” Psalms 94:11-12

“O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walks to direct his steps.” Jeremiah 10:23

“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Christ; if so be that you have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Ephesians 4:17-24

“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Corinthians 3:17

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:36

eagle-nebula[1]The closer we get to Jesus’ return, the more the discussion continues migrating to outer space. The more errors that continue being exposed from evolutionary philosophies focused on planet earth, i.e. geology, genetics, etc., the more the argument gets launched deep into space.

In all the arguments and discussions involving the so-called final frontier, aliens seem to be the new missing link. The problem, however, is that even if aliens were real, they could never bring salvation to the sinful soul. They could never solve the issue of evil. They would simply serve as one more missionary field to be evangelized.

“You are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and My servant whom I have chosen: that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He: before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside Me there is no Savior.” Isaiah 43:10-11

Below is an insightful and biblical Q&A regarding extraterrestrials from Dave Hunt (The Berean Call).
———————————————————————————————————————————————————————
Question: What’s your view of extraterrestrials?

Answer: “There are many biblical reasons for not accepting the idea of intelligent life beyond earth other than angels and demons.”

“First of all, it would be impossible for morally responsible humanoids anywhere in the universe to keep from sin. If they had the genuine right of choice, it must inevitably have been used to disobey God. Thus they would require salvation.”

“Secondly, Jesus Christ is the only Savior, and His death is the one and only perfect sacrifice for sins ever offered in the universe (Hb 9:23-28;10:12-14). If there are morally free agents on other planets, they would have to believe in Christ for salvation.”

“Thirdly, God has gone to great lengths to give us an historically verifiable record of His Son’s death and resurrection at the hands of eyewitnesses and this message is contained in a Bible which can be verified in many ways by the inhabitants of earth (geographically, archaeologically, etc.) and which would not be available to ETIs. It would seem both unfair and a violation of God’s way of dealing with mankind for beings elsewhere in space to be required to believe in a Savior who was crucified on a distant planet.”

“Fourthly, the Bible seems to indicate that this earth is the only such place in the universe. When Satan is cast out of heaven, he comes to earth; it is on this planet that the battle will be fought resulting in Satan’s defeat and imprisonment in the abyss; it is on this earth that Christ will reign for 1,000 years while Satan is locked up; it is to this planet that Satan will return when he is released; and it is on this planet that Satan will meet his final defeat and his eternal doom will be sealed.”

“Finally, if life happened by chance on this earth and evolved upward, then it could seemingly happen elsewhere in the universe. But if, as we believe, human life resulted from a purposeful act of God, and if sin is inevitable for such beings, and if the human soul is the prize for which Satan and God do battle, then it hardly makes sense to have this same process repeated on countless other planets throughout the cosmos.” ~Dave Hunt

 

Additional Resources: 

Eternity is Not a Movie

kids-watching-tvAs a child, I remember watching movies with my parents, often waiting for the moment my dad would call out some part that made no sense to him.  “Why would that person really do that?” or “There’s no way that person could still be alive after falling that far!” and other like phrases were regularly interjected into the storyline courtesy of my dad’s critical mind.  His comments were not very helpful and definitely became a distraction throughout our family film nights.  A loving, but slightly irritated “Shhh…” was a common addition at the end of each remark.

When viewing a movie, it’s hopefully obvious to most that the scenes in the script often times don’t happen in real life. That, of course, is the point of many storylines. But to my dad, it was almost like a game to see if he could catch things that didn’t make sense.  In reality, does it really matter in a fictional story if a person makes an unrealistic choice to further the plot line?  To my dad it sure did, however to most people, probably not.  And although movies can be very powerful vehicles for teaching false beliefs, for a writer to have a character make a few illogical decisions that add a little extra drama or to move the storyline along is nothing more than what happens in a make believe story written by men.

I can’t help but wonder if there are those within the church who view those willing to point out the error running rampant throughout today’s professing Christianity the same way.  I wonder if many see those moved to lovingly warn and teach the truth of God’s Word as distractions from the unfolding story of today’s ecumenical enigma calling itself Christianity? Too often, I believe those willing to thoughtfully and biblically point out the dangers coming into the church are thought of somewhat like the peanut gallery, like movie critics talking about things that don’t quite matter. But is that really the case? There’s literally a plotline penned by the enemy for this dark and dying world and sadly many Christians are playing a part in the story.

The enemy of our souls desires to see the entire world reject the True and Living God, however those who are born again are kept by the power of God and are sealed by the Holy Spirit as a deposit guaranteeing their entrance into the Kingdom of God.  (2 Corinthians 1:22, 2 Corinthians 5:5, Ephesians 1:141 Peter 1:5) So what is an enemy to do with those who he cannot keep from eternal life?  The answer is simple- make them as ineffective as possible. Confusion and subterfuge are both starring roles in his script.

One of Satan’s many seductive strategies in keeping saints sedentary is promoting a plotline of Scripture synthesized with his own diabolical doctrines. The title might be something like “New and Improved Christianity-Joining Hands with the World”. Thankfully, some within the body of Christ do see the last days plan for an integrated and seductive move to ecumenism and are greatly saddened to watch some who are even part of the true body of Christ seeking after the enemy’s goals. For those who have become seduced by Satan’s synthesized storyline, it’s as if those warning the saints are simply viewed as antagonists interrupting their comfortable entertainment. May we instead return to the old paths, to the Word of God alone! May we diligently seek to understand the true direction of this world and the post-modern church.

When a person has been truly born again by the Spirit of God, passing from death to life through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, a new “story” is brought to light, one revealing a very real contrast between the True and Living God and the god of this world. In the script revealed in Scripture, one role that repeatedly enters the scene is the watchman always willing to warn when danger approaches. (Psalm 127:1, Isaiah 21:6, Ezekiel 3:17, Ezekiel 33:2,6,7)  The watchman should not be “cast” by only a select few. In fact, the heart of a watchman should, at some degree, be within every believer. After all, same Spirit of the Lord that came upon the watchmen of the Old Testament is the same Holy Spirit indwelling all New Testament saints. The Spirit Himself is the Spirit of Truth, and Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit without measure, often warned those around Him, especially those claiming to be the religious rulers.

Rather than being viewed as an annoying critic, always pointing out incidentals and nitpicking at gnats, the role of warning the flock is one that is central throughout Scripture. To love the truth of God’s Word means we are going to hate evil, lovingly exposing the doctrines and practices that have the potential to cause the body to remain anemic, unable to grow and be strong in the Lord.  In Ephesians 5, the Holy Spirit through Paul writes, “[H]ave no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” Eph. 5:11. Again in Colossians 1 it says, “[Jesus] we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” Colossians 1:28.IMG_12017981708482 May we never allow the spirit of the age, the prince of the power of the air, to dissuade us from the high calling we have in Christ Jesus!

Although we all have different roles within the body of Christ, we are all called to grow in every area. Sure, some may have the gift of helps, but we are all called to be helpful. Some are given the gift of evangelism, however we are all called to share the good news of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Do we not even train our children to recognize the signs of danger?  Why? So we can teach them to be nitpicky and critical of everything around them?  No. We teach them to understand the signs so they remain safe and healthy and can continue growing with a mind that can think critically, as well as carefully and discerningly navigate the world around them. We should always desire to allow the Holy Spirit to teach them how to utilize God’s Word, the Bible, as their compass, no matter where they go.  To do otherwise is really to hate a child, and so it is within the body of Christ.

Sometimes a script’s blunders and illogical actions may very well detract from a movie’s overall enjoyment level, however in the end the actions and characters are simply penned by writers. And although we must be on guard against many of today’s movie messages, regardless of what happens to the characters themselves, they are simply that, characters in a movie.  Even if someone pretends to get shot and die, that actor is not really dead.  At the end of the day, he will go home and live his life.  Here lies the difference between simply critiquing a movie and being a loving watchman in the Spirit!  In real life, men have eternal souls. We will all live forever! Eternity is not a fictional story written by some man, rather the truth revealed to every heart and written by the God who created the universe in six short days some 6,000 years ago.  How important is it that we be sure to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth both to those within and without the body of Christ? I would argue it is vitally important!  It’s not a matter of whether or not mankind will remain forever, but where we will spend eternity that is at stake.

There is nothing critical or nitpicky in lovingly warning and teaching those around us according to the whole counsel of God. Having a watchman’s heart is a crucial role to play, especially in the confusing times in which we live. May we all be willing to speak the truth in love, knowing our redemption draws near, knowing that this life is much more than a movie. May we never forget that eternity is the destiny of all who step onto this world’s stage. “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24

What is Biblical Discernment?

Bible Light Bulb ImageUnfortunately there are those within today’s Christianity who consider discernment as almost a “dirty word”. Often, discernment discussions are viewed as problem-causing and sometimes seen as divisive within a body of believers. It’s ironic, however, that whether we go to the doctor for a prognosis of a persistent problem or to the mechanic for an unfamiliar sound under the hood, one of the top requirements should be to find a professional with a high level of discernment. A good doctor is a discerning doctor. A qualified mechanic is one that can quickly and accurately discern and diagnose the problem at hand. Why then is it when it comes to the things of eternal life, the things that will endure forever, discernment is often not even on the radar?

Discernment is invaluable in the earthly sense. How much more so in the heavenly? It is this Christian’s conviction that it’s only to the enemy’s benefit that biblical discernment is rarely embraced or even correctly discussed within many churches. Sadly this leaves the flock vulnerable to every wind of doctrine, causing them to be tossed to and fro as they attempt to safely sail through the tempests of this world.

Generally speaking, what is discernment? 

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines discernment as “the ability to see and understand people, things, or situations clearly and intelligently.” In our generation, both Christians and non-Christians alike are being sold the incorrect idea that our “heart”, that is to say our feelings are our most crucial guide and rarely lead us astray. Many today have allowed the intellect to be governed by feelings, instead of the other way around. Contrarily, a discerning heart and mind will take into account ones feeling, but these feelings have been carefully trained through the intellect, not one’s previous emotional highs and lows. The mind, even within many Christian circles is not essential today, rather how one feels is key. Even meditating on God’s Word has been popularly redefined to embrace eastern non-thinking meditative practices instead of the biblical concept of careful consideration concerning God’s Word. Sadly, once emotions take center stage, true discernment becomes crippled, unable to navigate the soul.

Biblically speaking, what is discernment? 

The King James Version (KJV) often translates discernment as taste, judgment,understanding, reason, knowledge, and wisdom. The Greek use in Philippians 1:9 is aisthēsis and is translated “perception, not only by the senses but by the intellect”. The word “discern” is used 15 times in the KJV Bible. Discernment is used 4 times in the New King Javmes Version (NKJV) Bible and the word “discerning” is used 7 times in the NKJV. The KJV often uses the words knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and judgment in place of the NKJV’s use of the word discernment.

Regardless of whether the actual word “discernment” is used, the idea that Christians should be careful thinkers, desiring the understanding and wisdom of God to safely navigate one’s walk as well as rescue others, is prevalent throughout Scripture. “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding” Proverbs 4:7.

Spiritually speaking, what is discernment? 

Spiritual discernment comes exclusively from the Holy Spirit of God, the Spirit of Truth, as born again believers humbly study and obey God’s Word. When the Lord Jesus enters the forgiven sinner, He illuminates our understanding and renews our minds, giving us a new heart now pumping with the power and love of Christ. Much like a seasoned ship’s captain’s dependence upon his compass, Biblical discernment is crucial to navigating the dark waters of this world.

 

The spiritual senses that are directly connected to discernment, i.e. Godly wisdom, understanding, knowledge, faith, etc. actually need continual exercise so we can safely grow in the direction of the Son. If, instead of choosing to walk (exercise) by faith, we embrace walking by sight, our fleshly senses will grow strong, causing our spiritual eyes to dim and our ears to grow dull. We must daily choose to walk in the Spirit, abiding in Christ, not the god of this world.What are Born Again Believers Called to Discern? Here are a few examples repeated throughout Scripture-

  • The righteous and the wicked, as well as those who serve God and those who don’t: “Then shall you return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serves God and him that serves him not” Malachi 3:18.
  • Good and evil: “But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” Hebrews 5:14.
  • The holy and the profane, the unclean and the clean: “And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean” Ezekiel 44:23.

Isn’t it obvious? 

How hard is it to tell the difference between good and evil? Well, if it were that simple, why has the Lord put so many warnings and exhortations in His Word, warnings to be on guard and exercise our senses in order to discern these things? It isn’t always that obvious to discern truth from error. After all, any good lie is mixed with much truth and the more truth a lie has, the more difficult it becomes to separate the two. Godly discernment is necessary especially in the times in which we live. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

Improving Our Spiritual Palates: 

“How sweet are Your words to my taste” Psalm 119:103. When talking about a top chef or food critic one thing is for sure, he must have a discerning palate. It is rightly said the number one tool for any chef is not his cutlery set, but his palate. This heightened sense of taste and texture is usually a trait he was born with and then later mixed with years of training and development. The same is true for the Christian.Psalm 34:8 instructs us,”O taste and see that the LORD is good.” We are to hunger and thirst for righteousness, not this unrighteous world. Job asked his so-called counseling friends, “Is there injustice on my tongue? Cannot my taste discern the unsavory?” Job 6:30.

The Gift of Discernment: 

God gives His body many gifts for the edification of the saints, to keep us pure and clean so His light can brightly shine forth in this dark and dying world. Some have taught that there is no gift of discernment revealed in the pages of Scripture, however I would argue that 1 Corinthians 12:10 tells a rather different story.

In 1 Corinthians, Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, reveals the role of spiritual gifts within the church. In the first part of verse 10 he says, “to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits.” Paul was very clear that false doctrines never have their origin in the hearts or minds of men, but rather originate from the devils. (1 Timothy 4:1) “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” 1John 4:1. The gift of discerning spirits is simply the spiritual wisdom and understanding to separate the truth from error, acknowledging the truth is from the Spirit of God and all lies, whether in word or in false signs and wonders are from the enemy of our souls. As with all the gifts, the gift of discernment is crucial to the body of Christ.

Note of warning- Just as in all gifts from the Lord, there is a danger in taking what God has given in the Spirit and using it in the flesh. The church at Corinth is a perfect example. 

God Gets the Glory! 

Discernment is the spiritually given ability to divide truth from error, to both see and help illuminate the many layers of lies that are spoon fed to the body of Christ. Being spiritually discerning means keeping in step with the Spirit both in word and in deed. No Christian, washed in the blood of the Lamb can claim that he has the ability to attain or grow in discernment apart from the mind and power of Christ.

God gives as He sees fit, not based on our worthiness, but according to His will. Just as the gift of healing, tongues, etc. are abused in the flesh, so it is with the gift of discernment. Some are quick to speak the truth, but are devoid of God’s mercy and love. Discernment by very definition assists the teacher to understand when, how, and where it is best to speak and act. Much more could be said on this. See below for a few excellent related articles.

The Discerning King: 

So often Christians will hold to the promise that our Heavenly Father has made us kings and priests, yet often we misunderstand the promise. We are not called to be kings who make our own rules, foolishly going where even angels fear to tread. Instead, let us consider one of the key roles of any good king. It’s the major duty of every king throughout time to lovingly protect his people both through having a good military and laws that benefit the people. To do both, the king must be discerning. Consider 2 Samuel 14:17, “Then your handmaid said, The word of my lord the king shall now be comfortable: for as an angel of God, so is my lord the king to discern good and bad: therefore the LORD thy God will be with you.”

King Solomon, honestly doubting his ability to correctly discern the Israelite people, prayed for gift of wisdom and discernment to rightly divide between good and evil. (1 Kings 3:9-10) His selfless desire was to receive from God the wisdom, judgment, and discernment for the edification of the people. If one of the key characteristics to an earthly king is discernment, how much greater for those who are spiritual kings entrusted with the eternal Word of God?”

Discernment and Understanding: 

To truly understanding something we must plumb the depths of its meaning and functionality. Understanding someone means taking time to listen and observe that person. Discernment both helps us reach the goal and itself grows as we patiently and persistently pursue understanding. When I consider discernment I can’t help but think of law enforcement. Detectives must discern truth from lies, dealing with many “professional” liars. They must learn to detect their lies by understanding the difference between someone telling the truth and someone spewing out lies.

Biblically speaking, our greatest goal as Christians might arguably be to first and foremost grow in our understanding of Jesus Christ. 1 John 5:20 reminds us, “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.” In Jeremiah 9:24, the Lord says, “Let him that glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD…”

If understanding the Lord is our most important goal, then discernment should play a central role. God’s Word, illuminated by the Spirit of God, should produce discernment in every believer. This “spiritual sword” of discernment then helps us understand aright by teaching us how to divide truth from lies, good from evil, the holy from the profane, and the sheep in wolves clothing from the sheep speaking the truth. May we never forget that discernment and understanding are inextricably linked.

Discernment and Truth: 

Another area worth briefly examining is that of truth and discernment. In 2 Thessalonians it says that all those who have not received the love of the truth will receive a strong delusion to believe a lie. I’ve often wondered why some within the church seem so sorely lacking in discernment. Granted, as mentioned above, discernment is a gift from the Lord, however as with all gifts, every believer should desire to grow in each area of their Christian walk. Just because some have the gift of helps doesn’t mean the rest should not be helpful. Just because some are specifically given the gift of giving does not excuse the rest of the saints from being generous with their time and money. The same is true for the gift of discernment. We all should desire to abound in the knowledge and discernment of our Lord Jesus, both for our own sanctification and for the edification of the entire body.

So why is this area of Christianity so lacking today? Perhaps for the simple reason that the love for the truth has grown cold. May we never forget that although God’s love is amazing and His grace unmerited, Jesus teaches that it is His truth found exclusively in God’s Word that sets men free. (John 8:31-32) His truth not only sets us free, but it also sanctifies us day by day. (John 17:17)

Embracing God’s truth is essential if we are to grow in the knowledge and understanding of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Even earthly speaking, facts/created truth is essential for growing in knowledge of God’s creation. Could you imagine if when students entered fourth grade math, they started their year by being taught that nothing is true? How much could a student who embraced this lie actually learn? After all, if nothing is true then it doesn’t matter how she solves the problems presented before her. If the entire world actually lived this lie out consistently, we would most likely destroy ourselves in a day.

Without truth there is no thinking, and without thinking there is really no ability to discern anything. In fact, without truth, there is really no need to discern anything because nothing would be real. I personally believe that one’s level of spiritual discernment will be directly proportionate to his love for God’s truth.

“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9-14

Abounding in Discernment: 


Finally, let’s not simply grow in some areas of our faith. Let’s abound in every area! So often we desire to grow in mercy and grace. However, as good as this is, may we never neglect our growth in biblical discernment. Without love all things are useless, but without discernment all things meaningless. “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ…” Phil 1:9-10 (NKJV).May we carefully consider our own hunger and thirst for God and His righteousness. May we sincerely taste and see that God is good, once and for all turning from the lusts and pride of this world. May we realize with a renewed mind and transformed heart that our citizenship is truly in Heaven. Be patient. The joy of the Lord is our strength. Abound more and more in knowledge and discernment, knowing our redemption draws nigh. Allow God to be the One who fights your battles. Give Him all the glory and seek His face continually. His transforming power to testify of His glorious Gospel will only come as we make Him our wholehearted pursuit both now and forever! Amen!  (Originally written for Once Lost Ministries’ Apologetics/ Q&A section: http://www.once-lost.com/ggapologetics/q-a-s/what-is-biblical-discernment)
A Few Discernment Articles for Further Study: 

acquire-the-fireSadly, there is a very real spiritual battle that many are too happy to gloss right over. Many Christian parents and teachers earnestly desire to see their children interested in the things of the Lord, but sometimes feel like they don’t have the right tools to keep their interest once children have reached a certain age. So the search begins.  It’s at this point that priorities shift in the criteria for resources and church fellowships that are sought after.  “We need a church and materials that will hold my child’s interest, ones that he will really like.”  Of course this isn’t in and of itself completely bad, but there is definitely more to the story.

If a young teenager has only been lightly trained in his understanding of God’s Word, what kind of youth group will he most likely be drawn to?  As parents of young children, we don’t turn and say to our children, “What would you prefer to eat first, dessert or the main meal?”  No, we hopefully train our children to understand that there are priorities in eating.  First we eat our main course, including the vegetables, then go from there.  Although, perhaps a simple example, the same can be said for training our children in their activities with the Lord.

When looking for a church, our first priority ought always be to pray for the Lord’s leading.  Then there should be an honest desire to find a fellowship that has a strong emphasis on teaching the Word of God in such a way that promotes discernment, building the youth’s understanding of the Lord Jesus Christ.  If this is done correctly, the rest should really work itself out.  Even if it means missing out on church once and a while, parents should also stop in to visit their children’s Sunday school and/or youth group meetings on a semi-regular basis.  Also, keep an open communication with your children and their teachers to see what they’re really learning from week to week. After all, you’re to ones the Lord has made most responsible for training your family. Don’t pass that privilege off to someone else!  Lastly, pray some more!  Never forget there is a very real battle to influence the hearts and minds of this upcoming generation.  Children are much easier to influence and once they are trained, it is difficult (albeit not impossible) to retrain them later.

While millions of young people around the world are staying busy week by week being entertained “in the name of Jesus”, there is a very real push to rewrite the messages they are hearing.  Regardless of what many of them profess, too many Sunday schools and youth groups rely much more on some company’s curriculum or training materials than the Word of God.  This is why it is important to know what your children are learning.  Many so-called Christian curriculum companies understand the money that can be made on selling their products to a large audience, so naturally in order to continue increasing their sales base, the message will have to appeal to as many as possible. And ever deeper than this, there is a very real desire to creatively and carefully move this generation off the firm foundation of the Word of God to the shifting sands of this world’s ecumenical doctrines.

We would be fools to believe the church is immune to the direction this world is headed.  It really is up to every parent and Godly teacher to become informed, exercising Christ-centered discernment in training the youth of today!  Below is a short, but very insightful article which gives a little background of one such group.  Youth Specialties has been around for 40 years and is involved in publishing books, organizing youth training and music events and camps around the world, as well as developing youth curriculum for churches and youth groups. Please take a few minutes to prayerfully read over this article.

Article:   SHAPING THE MINDS OF YOUTH   by Roger Oakland

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4

“And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. ” 1 John 5:20-21

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

“Then the little children were brought to [Jesus] that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:13-14

bible-verses-about-love“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

The Origin: I wonder how many of us when asked to describe what Jesus looks like would immediately describe a man with long hair in a white robe, wearing sandals and walking the dusty roads of Galilee?  If this is the first idea that comes to mind, then we should ask ourselves where these kinds of images have originated from.  The Word itself says very little about what Jesus looked like. Obviously there are certain things we can deduce, but over all, the Bible spends almost no time explaining Jesus’ appearance, i.e. His height, exact hair color, etc. Clearly, we get most of our images of Jesus from the images made by men, not the Word.  

A Couple of Questions: If we take away every image, static or animated, would our understanding of Jesus be deficient? On the other hand, if we take away God’s Word, how deficient would we be?  Although many claim the images of Jesus are helpful in building one’s understanding, may we never forget the disciples saw Him face to face for over three years and constantly struggled with their understanding of Jesus. Only after Jesus was raised from the dead and opened their understanding could they begin to “see” Him according to the Scriptures.  “Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures…” Luke 24:45.

A Limited Perspective: It’s been accurately said that whatever way an artist depicts “Jesus” will only limit the viewer’s overall understanding.  For example, if someone paints a strong Jesus, the viewer will focus on only one aspect of the glorious Savior.  The same is true for the many other “Jesus” portraits, i.e. crying Jesus, weak Jesus, compassionate Jesus, etc.  At best, an image will provide a shallow, limited perspective of just how great God really is.  At worst, it will seductively lead people away from the truth altogether, encouraging the viewer to seek more images and less of the Word.  This, although not always intentional, is a tragic result nonetheless!  

Lest We Forget: Jesus no longer even looks like He did when He walked as a man some 2,000 years ago. After He rose from the grave, He had a different appearance altogether. To take it even further, let’s carefully consider how Jesus was described in the Book of Revelation, the glorified Jesus who John saw and fell down as dead.  The most accurate understanding of the eternal, glorified Jesus is found in the heavenly perspective, not what He looked like two millennia ago. “And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire; and His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters. And He had in His right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shines in His strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last, I am He that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Revelation 1:13-18  Keeping in mind many of these are character descriptions, they still reveal Jesus in His awesome, glorified, and eternal state. Interestingly, the Scriptures speak much more in depth concerning Jesus’ appearance in Heaven than while He ministered in His earthly tent. 

The BIG “Picture”: The Apostle Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, gives every believer a wonderful hope, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12   There is much more to Jesus than meets “the eye”. We are so willing to picture Jesus as a man, which He fully is, but may we never forget He is also fully God and is coming back very soon in the clouds to call His children to their eternal home in the heavens! Jesus is called the Word, not the image, of God for a very important reason.  If we want our understanding to grow, we must go to His Word!  So until He returns, may we continually remain in Him, seeking to understand and know Jesus Christ by carefully studying and obeying His glorious and eternal Word!

“Sanctify them through Thy truth: The word is truth.” John 17:17

“The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding unto the simple.” Psalm 119:130

“And we know that the Son of God is come, and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” 1 John 5:20-21 

False “Son of God”

Is the Son of God represented in the new “Son of God” film really the true Son of God? “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” Matthew 24:4-5

May the Lord give us His wisdom and understanding in the dark days in which we live! “For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth comethknowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6

Son of God FalseThe image on the left is Sananda. He is frequently channeled by new agers and he is a real spirit. He is the Jesus that the Lightworkers are promoting.

The production company that made the “Son of God” movie is called Lightworkers Media. If you pray to receive the Lightworkers’ Jesus at the end of “Son of God,” this is the guy who will answer your prayer.

The link below is to just one chapter in “The New Scriptures,” written by him through one of many mediums who channel him. As you can see, he adds to scripture, promotes the love of Self (with a capital S) before the love of God or others, and derides “all the major religions.” He says, “It is time to put an end to the self-loathing and despair which has been taught by all the major religions in some form.” This is what he will lead you to believe if you accept him into your heart.

He says, “There is no vengeance, no punishment nor any threat of disapproval or any other dark judgment in God’s Love. This is the mythology of the past, and it is a misunderstanding of what God feels toward his/her children.” He strips God of His holiness and even attempts to prime us for goddess worship.

He states, “I AM Love because I am God, just as you are.” Never mind what Jesus said in John 8:23. “And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.”

He urges us to use our own “God” power. “All can manifest the Dream of their Hearts if they only have Faith in their own power.”

He teaches reincarnation, “This is what you have lived and died for in many past lifetimes, Dear Ones,” using references from the Bible. “You are indeed at the threshold of the Promised Land.”

He then reveals, clearly, his teaching that you are God. “It is in turn fueled by the Love of your Higher Self, God.” (This is a teaching directly from satan. Isaiah 14:14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.)

I channeled Sananda when I was a Lightworker. And he was one of the spirits who tried to torture me after I renounced occultism and turned to Jesus.

This is the Jesus Lightworkers believe in. And this is the Jesus they want YOU to believe in. You can be sure that a movie about Jesus is going to contain subtle depictions of Sananda.

Sananda is not Jesus. He is a demon. And the movie, “Son of God” was produced by people who serve that demon.

One website that features this exact picture of Sananda:
http://homolkova.cz/indexsananda.html?page=struct&way=17-mistri%2F81-sananda%2Findex.xml&p=sananda

Here is the production company that made the movie “Son of God.”http://www.lightworkersmedia.com/

Here is Roma Downey’s Facebook page, listing Lightworkers Media as her production company: https://www.facebook.com/Roma.Downey/info

Also, if you check my comments below this picture you will see that I am not the only ex-occultist turned Christian who remembers this picture of Sananda.

Can God use a movie like this to spread the gospel? Of course He can. He can use psychics too. He used me to encourage my clients to read the Bible before I closed my business and gave my life to Him.

But this doesn’t mean we should start promoting psychics or that I should go back into business. Matthew 7:18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

The enemy is defeated by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimonies. Not by movies made by people who hate Christianity.

Roma Downey on OM Times magazine:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152307092914603&set=a.10150096177304603.305916.716534602&type=1&relevant_count=1

The purpose and mission of Lightworkers:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152307092914603&set=a.10150096177304603.305916.716534602&type=1&relevant_count=1

Roma Downey’s partnership with TV psychic Jonathan Edward:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152306653819603&set=a.10150096177304603.305916.716534602&type=1&relevant_count=1

Roma and Della’s spiritual beliefs: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152307655774603&set=a.10150096177304603.305916.716534602&type=3&src=https%3A%2F%2Fscontent-a-sjc.xx.fbcdn.net%2Fhphotos-ash3%2Ft1%2F1897742_10152307655774603_1248598305_n.jpg&size=385%2C423

Roma’s inspiration from Lightworker text, “The New Scriptures”:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152308850749603&set=a.10150096177304603.305916.716534602&type=1&relevant_count=1
Note by Pennie De Witt, former Lightworker and occultist of 26 years.

%d bloggers like this: