Tag Archive: Ephesians 5


Halloween-Shining with Consistency

Halloween-Family-Night

“Consistency is Key”— This phrase may be short, but it’s tremendously important and one we’ve all probably heard and maybe even said. As a parent and a teacher, I’ve seen first hand just how true it is; and as a born again believer, even more so. Consistency truly is a crucial key.

When considering the challenges of being a parent, it’s often not a lack of knowledge, but a lack of consistency that causes the most long-term issues. As parents, we tend to say one thing to our children but then do another. Or we see an area that needs improvement in their lives and then introduce a new pattern to help hold them accountable, only to find ourselves not sticking with it for very long.

Although there is an endless depth to our Creator and Savior, and although He works in ways that are far above our own, one thing can be said with certainty. The Lord’s consistency is just that, consistent. He is consistently faithful. He is consistently loving. He is consistently just. He is consistently full of mercy and grace. He is consistently true. And praise God for that! How difficult would it be to try to understand and know, let alone serve and follow, an inconsistent King?

Fellowship with the Lord— One of our major roles as Christian parents is to carefully, correctly, and consistently point our children to the true and living God and His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. To do this well, we need to be consistently in the Word, continuously praying on our heart’s knees, keeping fellowship with other believers, and consistently keeping our eyes on Jesus as He daily directs our steps. We also desperately need a love for the truth of God’s Word and Godly discernment to help our children see both the truth of God and the lies of the devil. God’s Word is crystal clear. “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices” 2 Corinthians 2:11. Lest we forget, an important part of holding to the truth of God’s Word is not being ignorant of the enemy’s lies.

Shining the Truth— We cannot change the hearts and minds of our children, at least not in relation to the eternal and permanent sanctification spoken of by the Lord in the Scriptures. Jesus’ prayer to His Heavenly Father, “Sanctify them by Your Word. Your word is truth” John 17:17. And we should be elated that we can’t! We can, however, set up consistent patterns that will help direct the next generation to the only One who can.

It is true that we will all make mistakes and struggle maintaining steadfast, Godly patterns of obedience. That is why we must first take seriously our own responsibility to personally and daily abide in Christ. (John 15:1-5) From there we must seek to demonstrate clear and consistent devotion to the only One who could justly redeem us from our sin. If we are to shine the light of Christ to help illumine our children’s steps, we must seek to shine with consistency.

No fellowship with the works of darkness— As a child, growing up in an unbelieving home, I can remember always looking forward to Halloween. I never turned down the chance to dress in ghoulish garb, embracing all things macobre. One year I even won a community award for wearing the most gross costume. Even at a very young age, I knew quite well what Halloween represented. While some may not understand the depth of occultism involved, the world readily recognizes the generalized celebration of death and darkness we call Halloween. During the month of October, millions of homes, stores, restaurants, and schools all across the world morph into a cauldron of darkness, fear, and death.

Confusion or Consistency— As mentioned before, born again believers should desire to be clear and consistent in all we say and do, both for our own growth and the spiritual growth of our children. Being consistent in our daily walk with Jesus not only involves the things we do, but also the things we choose not to do. Arguably, one such activity that continues to cause tremendous confusion is Halloween. How utterly confusing it must be for children to be told on Sundays and Wednesdays that sin brought death, Satan is a liar and a murderer, and that we should avoid corruption, deception, and witchcraft, only to then be turned around to celebrate the most dark and deceptive night of the year! Even if we dress our children as angels, they are annually being led from scary house to scarier house and for what purpose? An overflowing bucket of candy? Let’s celebrate all thing wicked for a bucket of candy. What a confusing and deceptive message indeed!

Unlike the deceptive inconsistency found in the human heart, God’s Word is clear, shining bright on the issue of embracing/fellowshipping with the darkness. During the Halloween season, and throughout each year, may we choose to carefully and humbly examine our own hearts and minds, desiring to shine God’s truth and love with complete consistency, both for the sake of our own walk and the footsteps of our children!

“For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” 1 Corinthians 14:8

“Of old have You laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They shall perish, but You shall endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt You change them, and they shall be changed: but You are the same, and Your years shall have no end. The children of Your servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before You.” Psalm 102:25-28

“For you were sometimes darkness, but now are you light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Ephesians 5:8-11

Advertisements

Jeremiah 29:11 was Cherrie’s and my marriage life verse. It held us through many twists and turns, reminding us to always keep our eyes on Jesus! Hebrews 12:2. For those believing couples struggling through their marriages, please don’t give into the fleshly pride which daily plagues our hearts and minds. Humble wedding rings and bible-noqHyourselves, preferring one another above your own desires. Romans 12:9-10, James 4:10. Submit to the Lord, not your feelings. James 4:8. Draw near to God! James 4:7.  Keep your eyes on Jesus. Hebrews 12:2. Pray that the Lord will give you His eyes and heart toward your spouse. John 13:34. Be slow to speak and quick to listen. James 1:19. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. Ephesians 4:26. Love one another as Christ has loved you. John 13:34. Let Jesus be the Head.  Colossians 1:18. Be a minister to your spouse. 1 Timothy 4:6. Work harder at your marriage than your job! Colossians 3:23-24. God’s mercies are new every morning. Lamentations 3:22-23. So should it be with us. Be merciful, slow to anger, letting the peace of God rule your heart. Proverbs 14:29, Colossians 3:15. Let the Lord’s Light examine you and examine yourself. Psalm 26:2, 2 Corinthians 13:5. Take the log out of your eye so you can lovingly remove the speck in your spouse’s. Luke 6:42.

Think of this… If you got a call right now that your spouse was being held hostage, would you be filled with a desire to pray and lovingly rescue him/her?  Remember that love. Remember we are all broken sinners saved by the grace of Jesus Christ alone. Ephesians 2:8-9, 1 Timothy 1:15-16. Be tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32. Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:1-2. Then when the burdens get heavy, remember to let Jesus bear them. Look at Him and learn of Him. His yoke is easy and His burden light. Matthew 11:30. Do not worry, instead seek first the Kingdom of God. Matthew 6:23.

Remember, we don’t live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4, Luke 4:4. Just as we should sit together over dinner, so sit together over the Word. Feast regularly and consistently on God’s Word both independently and as a couple. Psalm 34:8. Let Jesus be in the midst. Matthew 18:20. Let the Holy Spirit, not worldly methodologies or psychologies and philosophies be your teacher. 1 John 2:27. Let Jesus be the One who renews and transforms you and your marriage.  Romans 12:2, Titus 3:4-7.

Earnestly pray for one another (even when you don’t feel like it) and pray together. James 5:16. It’s hard to be mad at someone you pray for and pray with. Pray, pray, and then pray some more!!! Romans 8:261 Thessalonians 5:17. Remember, your marriage is a microcosm of Jesus and His bride, the church. Ephesians 5:25-33. Just as He has nurtured and bound together born again believers around the world for centuries, so must He be the One who knits you as one. Ephesians 4:16, Colossians 2:2-3.

Stick with it. Don’t grow weary in doing well. Galatians 6:9, 2 Thessalonians 3:13. Don’t believe the lies of this world, of self, or the enemy of our souls. John 8:44. He only seeks to kill, steal and destroy. His pleasure is in tearing down, not building up. Jesus came so we could have abundant spiritual life in Him. John 10:10, John 15.

Hang tight to Jesus and again, never stop praying for one another. Romans 8:26, 1 Thessalonians 5:25, James 5:16. You are not stuck when you’re abiding in Christ.  Trust in Him!  2 Samuel 22:31, Psalm 18:2. Let Jesus be your comfort, not your spouse. Psalm 119:76, Isaiah 12:1, Acts 9:31, Romans 15:4.  Let Jesus be the One who brings fulfillment. 1 Corinthians 15:28.  Remember, Jesus came to save, not destroy.  Luke 9:56, John 10:10. Let Him do His marvelous work. Let patience have her perfect work. James 1:4. Be bold. Speak the truth, but always in love. Ephesians 4:15. Cast your cares upon Him, for He cares for you! Psalm 55:22, 1 Peter 5:7. Don’t lose heart. 2 Corinthians 4:16. Jesus has overcome the world!  John 16:33, 1 John 5:4.

“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:12-17

Entertainment-ChristianityWhen considering wolves in sheep’s clothing, we might envision some slick-haired salesman lugging his box of snake oil from house to house. Yet too often nothing could be further from the truth.  There are many warnings from Scripture admonishing the saints to pay careful attention as we traverse through this planet’s deadly terrain. We are instructed not to believe every spirit, but to test the spirits (Jeremiah 29:9; Matthew 7:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1) indicating that the enemy of our souls is very good at keeping up appearances.  Sometimes it’s not only difficult to detect a false teaching or teacher, but often it’s even more difficult to come to grips with the notion that an inspiring, talented, enthusiastic young adult might actually be used as a mouthpiece of Satan.

Granted, we should use godly wisdom in discerning whether a person leading others in the enemy’s lies is simply misguided or really out to deceive and destroy. The times in which we live are most definitely filled with muddied waters. God’s Word clearly indicates there are a growing number that are not only deceiving, but also being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:13)  There are those who actually believe they are doing God’s business (John 16:2) when, in fact, it is the god of this world they are serving. This brief article will not deal too much with the latter, but instead will hopefully serve as a warning and an encouragement in examining one very defined avenue of lies presented by one specific person.

Let it also be said that in today’s lukewarm Christian climate, there is a powerful embrace and strong misunderstanding regarding the “live and let live” philosophy pervading every facet of our earthly existence. Instead of being the new and improved super highway it’s cracked up to be, this broad road of tolerance is in actuality paved with the blood of the saints.  Over the years, many have given their lives for the Gospel’s sake and yet today, there are whole segments of professing Christianity unwilling to take a stand on the exclusivity of eternal life found in Jesus Christ. They are however all too ready and willing to embrace a vast array of wickedness and deceptive darkness in order to display their friendship with the world; all in the name of tolerance (and enlightenment).

Jesus, however, had a much different proclamation regarding the fellowship of darkness and light.  His prayer to the Father was that we would be in the world, but not of it. John 17:15. We’re also reminded that “friendship with the world is enmity (hatred) toward God.” James 4:4. How can there be true fellowship between light and darkness? Yes, we should be friendly, but never friends with this world and it’s dark philosophies and practices. How can light embrace the darkness and still call itself light?

It was stated above that it’s sometimes most difficult to come to grips with the fact that certain personalities might actually be leading others in a false direction.  Any good salesman knows that one of his most powerful tools is his own personality.  Not to say there’s anything necessarily wrong with working on having a pleasant personality, but we all know there are certain dispositions in which people tend to gravitate.  Someone peddling falsehood with an unlikable attitude might be easily dismissed, even exposed.  But someone who comes across genuine, someone energetic and interesting to listen to, perhaps even musically or artistically talented might be much more difficult to detect and even harder to speak out against.

Society has always been a lover and worshipper of man’s wisdom, strength, and wealth. Unfortunately, much of today’s Christianity is not much different.  We prop up certain actors, pastors, and speakers on billboards, Christian magazine covers, TV segments, and in bookstores. They are looked up to as our heroes and heroines, giving them the seats of honor within our hearts and minds, forgetting it is God alone that deserves all the glory, honor, and praise.  Some of these people are given full and free access to the pulpit, allowing the sheep to be fleeced and fed worldly manna over and over, causing them to grow anemic and impotent against this world and its destructive methods. Instead of reminding the sheep of the hope we have in Heaven, too often these false teachings encourage listeners to grow their roots deep into this planet, letting go of their heavenly hopes. Of course this is not true of all those on the “stage” today, but one thing is for sure, Christians are not immune from the power of personalities.

As saints, we are set apart for the service of our King, not those who set themselves up as earthly authorities.  Sadly, too many churches have started much in part because of one person’s magnetic personality.  As believers, we are not to sit idly by in our labor of love unto the Lord, nor are we to sit in silence, quietly giving approval to falsehood proclaimed to the masses.  Are we not called by God to expose the works of darkness?  Ephesians 5:11. Are we not called to reprove, correct, and exhort with all longsuffering?  2 Timothy 4:2  This world is daily peddling its false doctrines to the church and we too often just politely smile. Over time the church has become an unwitting participant in receiving and assisting in the circulation of their snake oil.  May we diligently ask the Lord to remove our dull hearing and blind eyes and instead give us careful, discerning hearts and minds to detect those things that are sometimes difficult to see and hear.  May we ask the Lord to give us a love for the truth, a love for Jesus Christ!  May we desire to earnestly feast on His Word, spiritually fasting from this world!

The world lines up to have its flesh entertained, loving pleasure more that God, and sadly God’s people too often love to have it so.  Church meetings have not remained a time for the saints to gather and proclaim the glory of God, but rather a place we go once a week to be entertained.  We might as well sell soda and popcorn at the doorways.  We go to our movie theaters and concerts on Friday nights and then expect the same show on Sunday mornings.

Above were mentioned some of the positions lifted up in today’s Christian world, but one was intentionally omitted. It is arguably one of the most powerful positions in the Christian world today.  It is the title of “Worship Leader”. This person, perhaps even more than the pastor, has the power to “prime” and direct the audience week after week.  This article is not meant to address the many facets of worship, however suffice it to say that music is an extremely powerful tool, one that can easily access the soul, often bypassing logic and reason.  Perhaps more than any other medium, music is the vehicle most often chosen to drive an audience in a particular direction.  If you disagree, try watching any cinematic masterpiece with the sound off.  You cannot go to just about any retail restaurant or popular clothing store without being bombarded with music.  And not only is it a powerful main character in the world of entertainment and marketing, but it’s also a tremendous tool in promoting false doctrine and seductive spiritual counterfeits around the world.

Some musicians propped up and circulated by today’s “Christian” platforms and pulpits are at best novices in the faith, puffed up through the adoration and accolades of men, while others are truly false teachers masquerading as angels of light.  Sadly, due to their talent and strong stage presence countless thousands within the body of Christ have found themselves distracted and directed by the darkness derived from the spirit of this world.  What is perhaps most troubling is the readiness by which so many musicians and worship leaders are received and promoted regardless of their lifestyles, doctrines, and associations.  Mature pastors and elders within the body should know better, however too often they are the ones promoting and even hosting concerts and conferences that help sow the seeds of this world’s teachings of tolerance, fleshly faith, and false unity.

It’s bad enough to be peddling snake oil, selling some worthless, yet benign elixir to the masses.  How much worse to be packaging and promoting a product that not only doesn’t work, but in all actuality is poisonous to all who partake?  The remainder of this article will examine one such peddler, yet it is not the intent here to examine his motives but rather the facts at hand.  As with any persuasive and positive personality, it will perhaps become easy for readers to misunderstand the intent behind the remainder of the article.  There is no desire to malign on a personal level nor is there any desire to disparage this musician’s character or perceived intent; however there is clearly a destructive message being sold to the masses, often to the most vulnerable, the youth within the visible church at large.  The person in question is musician and evangelist, Matt Maher.

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

Matt has been propped up and promoted around the world as a Christian singer and songwriter and is currently touring cross country with the several well known groups in “The Rock and Worship Road Tour”.  Matt hasmattmaher both written songs for himself, as well as for several within the Christian community.  Perhaps one of his most recognizable songs is “Your Grace is Enough” which was released a few years ago and quickly accepted within Christians circles around the world.

Matt has written songs for well-recognized Christian musicians such as Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin (i.e. I Will Rise), Philips, Craig, and Dean, and Bethany Dillon. Regardless of their mixed doctrinal beliefs, especially concerning eschatology (end times); all of these artists are some of the most instrumental in producing today’s worship music. They are embraced by churches around the world.  Needless to say, they have many avenues already paved, readily accessing the hearts and minds of listeners across the globe.  How easy it is for a false teaching or teacher to hop aboard, sharing lies that will lead listeners astray?

Although Matt Mahar is a talented musician with a warm and humble persona, although he is warmly embraced and promote by the well known performers such as Chris Tomlin and Third Day’s Mac Powell, he is far from a follower of the true Jesus Christ.  But please don’t take this writer’s opinion for it.  Here are just a few facts from recent years.

First consider Matt’s own words. He admittedly considers himself much more than just a talented worship leader. He sees himself as a music missionary. He was recently quoted to say, “It’s funny but more and more I see myself as an apologist and as an evangelist.  Songs are my tool.” From the same article, Matt was quoted to say, “I would love for them to not be thinking about me but to be thinking about God.  My hope is that they would have an encounter with God.  I hope it isn’t about the person writing and singing the song.  My hope is that the music would just whisk them away to a holy place.  That is my heart more than anything.” (Full interview link below)

On the surface that might sound biblical, but is he really referring to the Christian God? It is important to examine what else He has said and done.  Matt has not only given interviews for magazines and websites, but he’s also done many performances for a variety of venues. He has played and spoken at many Roman Catholic events including such prestigious gatherings as the World Youth Day.  Readers may or may not know that Matt has never claimed to be a Bible believing, born again Christian. He is Roman Catholic, through and through.

He does not try to, in any way, shape, or form, hide his love for the Roman Catholic church and its many false doctrines.  In one of his popular Roman Catholic songs entitled “The End and The Beginning”, he wrote, “If everything that the Roman Catholic Church taught were true what difference would it make in our lives? We believe that in every single Mass, through the power of the Holy Spirit, that the bread and the wine are transformed into the Flesh and the Blood of Jesus. Transubstantiation – Heaven kisses earth. We become a living tabernacle. So wisdom, be attentive. Steady my shaken mind. Let this be my reality. More than just bread and wine…”  This alone should be enough to convince anyone that Matt is at best a professing Christian. In reality, he is a devoted practicing Roman Catholic.

Even though this article is not meant to focus on the false gospel of Rome, it is important to at least point out the glaring difference between the true Gospel of Jesus and the false gospel of Rome. According to Rome’s official doctrines, anyone who believes he is saved by grace alone through faith alone is accursed, that is damned to hell.  (Council of Trent, Canon 12- “If any one shall say that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in the divine mercy pardoning sins for Christ’s sake, or that it is that confidence alone by which we are justified . . . let him be accursed.”) In order for someone to enter Rome’s heaven, he must not, as the Bible teaches, simply place his faith in the full, free, and finished work of Jesus. (Romans 3:20-28). Instead he is taught that sin is removed little by little, week after week through a series of rituals such as partaking of the Eucharist, reciting rote prayers, etc. Below are several You Tube links of Matt Mahar and his connections to Roman Catholicism, along with a couple other links as well.

Sadly, Matt has been warmly embraced by all variety of well-known Christian artists such as Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Mac Powell, and Philips, Craig, and Dean. Currently Matt is touring with several artists in “The Rock and Worship Road Show”, singing, speaking, and ministering to literally hundreds of thousands across the country. Some of the other artists on the tour include David Crowder, Jamie Grace, and Mercy Me. (Incidentally, the “Road Show” will be performing in Phoenix on March 22nd.)  Matt also recently made a guest appearance for Third Day’s concert at the Beacon Theater in New York City on March 3rd.

There are those in the Christian music world, such as Dan Haseltine from Jars of Clay, that don’t want to be held accountable for doctrinal errors they share, believing musicians should not be looked up to as teachers. This is dangerous enough. How much worse when an unbeliever dressed in wooly clothes sincerely sees himself as an evangelist and his music simply as his tool?  The question must be lovingly asked, of what does Matt considers himself an evangelist?  He clearly understands and supports Roman Catholicism. He clearly believes in the unbiblical idea that Eucharist has the power to cleanse partakers of their sins.  He most definitely embraces and encourages the practice of Rome’s false gospel to millions of youth and adults alike.  He has made no effort to hide any of this and yet, thanks to assistance of the Christian music world, his message and evangelistic crusade now have full access to the hearts and minds of tens of thousands within the true body of Christ.  How tragic!  Which is worse, the person openly promoting his false gospel or those claiming to know the true Gospel who hand him the keys to the front door?

So what are we to do? As far as I can see, there are three choices.  First, we could embrace Roman Catholicism and all of its false religious teachings, supporting it and saying nothing to all those who are being led astray.  Or we could choose to agree that Rome’s gospel is false, but still support the songs of artists such as Matt Mahar because they at least sound “Christian”.  The challenges in this article to identify the dangers of personality probably most apply to those who lean toward this second option.  Too often those who privately understand the falsehood of Rome’s gospel, will still support and even promote artists such as Matt Mahar because their music sounds so “Christian” and they seem so religious and sincere.

May we never forget when Rome speaks of God’s grace it has a completely unbiblical definition for it.  When Matt sings “Your grace is enough”, the Roman Catholic will inject his own traditional definition for grace, not the biblical one.  Rome teaches grace, but in order to enjoy and apply God’s grace, one MUST go to the Roman Catholic church time after time, partaking of its rituals and religious traditions such as the Eucharist.  Unfortunately, we too often make the mistake of assuming others have the same definitions as us. It is always important we listen carefully to what people are actually saying in order to discern truth from error, weighing everything against God’s Word.

Our third choice is one that many may find most difficult.  In Ephesians 5, Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit reminds us, “For you were sometimes darkness, but now are you light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.  And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Ephesians 5:8-11.  Not only are we instructed not to participate in those activities that promote false doctrines, we are also to lovingly, yet truthfully expose them.  This is the avenue that will often cause the most controversy. Darkness does not enjoy the light, nor do lies embrace the complete truth.  Of course, it goes without says that we are to always speak the truth in love, with the Lord’s peace and joy in our hearts, knowing it is His Word, not ours, that effectually works in the hearts and minds of broken and contrite men.

May this article both serve to instruct and encourage true saints to continue fighting the good fight of faith, never growing weary in doing well.  Remember, it is the Lord who goes before and behind. May we never lose sight of Him, having the sole intention of pointing everyone to Jesus Christ, and Him alone.  That might mean exposing and correcting from time to time. That might mean naming names once and a while. It might mean not going along with the popular Christian crowd, but in the end what could be greater than knowing we have chosen to make Jesus our one and only treasure now and forever?

“Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God…For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” 2 Corinthians 4:1-7 

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in Heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you see Him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:3-9

Matt Mahar Interview Article:  http://www.religionnews.com/2013/05/17/catholic-rocker-matt-maher-finds-cross-over-appeal-among-evangelicals/

More on Roman Catholicism: http://www.once-lost.com/ggapologetics/catholicism

More on Worship: https://unityinthetruth.com/2010/10/03/as-we-worship/

You Tube Videos: Matt Mahar, Roman Catholicism, and the New Evangelicalism

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eX5BeXkNZU LI http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3rjEmPxcLI http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ky0g_9dyhbU https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIgGHA27nG4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYR_sZRv_c4

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

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

%d bloggers like this: