Category Archives: False Teachers

Once Saved, Always Saved?

A friend of mine, Tammy Wallace Desantiago, posted the following question this morning on Facebook, while I was in the midst of writing something else.  After reading and replying to this question, I felt the Spirit leading me to address this issue more fully in a post.  Here is the question Tammy asked:

What is your thought on once saved always saved??
Not just your opinion but what is your scripture to cause you to stand firm on that belief?

In Matthew 13, Jesus tells us a parable about a farmer who sows seed into his field…

“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”  (Matthew 13:3-9  NLT)

Jesus explained this parable to His disciples as follows:

18 “Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds:19 The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. 20 The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 21 But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. 22 The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. 23 The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”  (Matthew 13:18-23 NLT)

The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingom but don’t understand it, and so the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts.  We all know people like this.  These people have never tasted and seen the goodness of God.  They are not, and have not ever been saved.  That’s easy enough for us to understand.

The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom, and they immediately receive it joyfully.  But because their roots are shallow, and not deep, they fall away, as soon as there are troubles in their lives, or if they are persecuted for Christ’s sake.  Now, some might say that these people were never “really” saved, but that isn’t what Jesus said.  He said these people hear the message and immediately receive it joyfully.  The problem isn’t non-belief.  There was no question of their salvation.  The problem is that their roots aren’t deep enough… So what does that mean?

The problem with these people is that their faith is weak.  There are so many trials and tribulations in this world that we live in,  and it is so easy to be overcome by them.  However, if we are rooted in Christ’s love, we can withstand those adversities in our lives, and become stronger.  However, if our roots are too shallow, we will be devastated by the heartaches that come against us, and we will lose what little faith we had.  I believe that is why the Apostle Paul prayed the following prayer for the believers at Ephesus, and it is why I pray this prayer for my loved ones, new believers, and myself as well:

14 This is the reason I kneel in the presence of the Father 15 from whom all the family in heaven and on earth receives its name. 16 I’m asking God to give you a gift from the wealth of His glory. I pray that He would give you inner strength and power through His Spirit. 17 Then Christ will live in you through faith. I also pray that love may be the ground into which you sink your roots and on which you have your foundation18 This way, with all of God’s people you will be able to understand how wide, long, high, and deep His love is. 19 You will know Christ’s love, which goes far beyond any knowledge. I am praying this so that you may be completely filled with God.

20 Glory belongs to God, whose power is at work in us. By this power He can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine21 Glory belongs to God in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time and eternity! Amen.  (Ephesians 3:14-21 GW)

The soil in the next part of the parable was full of thorns, which represent those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly, the message is crowded out by the worries of life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced.  Those of you, who preach a prosperity gospel, and those who are supposedly “working for God,” though all the while, you are seeking your own wealth, whilst lining your pockets, be warned!  

24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.

25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.

34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”  (Matthew 6:24-34 NLT)

These people hear the word and they believe it, but somewhere along the way, other things get in the way.  They worry about making ends meet… about paying the bills… about what they will eat… about how they will eat…  what they will wear… and on and on.  These people worry… a lot.  These people need more… more money… more power… more respect… What they have just isn’t enough…  And sadly, for these people, God just isn’t enough.  It wasn’t that they weren’t saved.  It’s just that Jesus isn’t enough for them, and so they turn away to other things…

Then, there are those who hear the word, and the soil of their heart is good, so their roots go down deep.  The faith of these people is strong, but they don’t take it for granted. Daily, these people work out their faith, seeking God in everything.  These people allow God to complete the good work He has begun in them, but, they, too, are faced with choices everyday.  Will I continue to follow Christ?  Or will I go my own way?  The deeper your roots go, the easier it is  to make the right choice, but the choice is still yours to make, and there are some, who have that close, intimate relationship with Christ, and after many years of following Him faithfully, have chosen to walk away from Him…

Do you doubt this?  Do you still believe that once you are saved, you are always saved?  How would you explain this scripture, then?

For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened—those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come— and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing Him to the cross once again and holding Him up to public shame.  (Hebrews 6:4-6  NLT)

One who was once enlightened (i.e. – someone who has “seen the light” or been saturated {imbued} with saving knowledge), who has experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit (who only dwells in those who are saved), can indeed turn away from God.  It’s heartbreaking, but don’t fool yourselves by thinking or believing, “Well, they weren’t really saved to begin with.”  According to this scripture, those who are, in fact, saved, can turn away from God, because everyone, including believers, can choose to accept or reject Him.

Once Saved Always Saved

Beloved reader, don’t be fooled by the false doctrine of “Once Saved, Always Saved.”  This word may not sit well with many of you, but it is kinder to speak the truth, though it is painful, rather than be silent, allowing you to continue believing a lie that is straight from the pit of hell, and watch you die.

I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when He comes to set up His Kingdom: Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.

For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths(2 Timothy 4:1-4  NLT)

Beloved reader, don’t be fooled into thinking that once you are saved, you are always saved.  If you believe this, what is to stop you from living in sin, just as the rest of the world does?  You are a slave to whomever or whatever you serve.  If you live your life seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, you are a slave of God.  However, if you believe that salvation allows you to live sinfully, you are a slave to sin, not Christ, and your Father is not God, but the Satan, the father of lies, whom you have chosen to believe instead.

Don’t be deceived.  We all have a choice.  Therefore, I leave you with the same choice Moses gave to Israel:

11 “This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you, and it is not beyond your reach. 12 It is not kept in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven and bring it down so we can hear it and obey?’ 13 It is not kept beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear it and obey?’ 14 No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it.

15 “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. 16 For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep His commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in His ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.

17 “But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, 18 then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy.

19 Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! 20 You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying Him, and committing yourself firmly to Him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”  (Deuteronomy 30:11-20  NLT)

© 2019
Cheryl A. Showers

Are You Salty Enough?

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.”  (Matthew 5:13 NLT)

Can pure salt (sodium chloride) lose its flavor?  The answer to that question is no. However, take note of the question I asked.  I asked if pure salt could lose its flavor, and the answer is that in its purest form, it cannot.

However, in ancient times, before and when Jesus walked the earth, the salt collected was not always in its purest form. Indeed, many times it was contaminated with other minerals, and full of impurities.  Therefore, when eating of this contaminated salt, the partakers of that salt may have tasted the minerals and other contaminants, which would have given the salt an “off” flavor.

Also, salt is water soluble.  Therefore, in a humid climate, salt that has been exposed to condensation and water could be dissolved, leaving only whatever contaminants were mixed in with the salt, again, causing the salt to lose its flavor.

Dead-Sea-Israel

In Jesus’ area, salt would have been obtained from salt marshes nearby, or from the Dead Sea, and these would have been full of the contaminants I’m talking about.  For in those days, we didn’t have the factories or the ability to extract other unwanted chemicals from the salt.  Therefore, it wasn’t uncommon for someone’s salt to be flavorless or to taste “off.”

Indeed, it was fairly common, and when that happened, people would throw the useless salt out into the road, where it would be trampled into the ground.  It’s important to note that the unwanted salt was not thrown into the field or someone’s yard, otherwise, it could kill someone’s crops.  Therefore, it was safer, to throw it onto the roadways, where nothing was planted, and where it would be crushed by people and animals into the ground.

Now, armed with this knowledge, what could Jesus have meant, when He said, “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.”  (Matthew 5:13 NLT)

In what ways could a man or woman of God, the salt of the earth, lose his/her flavor?  One way that we could lose our flavor and become like useless salt, is if the Word within us is watered down or diluted.  For instance, there are many preachers, teachers, evangelists and prophets, who preach a watered down version of God’s word.

They refuse to speak of sin and the need for repentance, because they don’t want to offend anyone.  Some don’t believe the devil and his demons really exist.  Some believe in psychology and psychiatry, yet turn a blind eye to demonic possession and oppression.  Their gospel is so watered down that it is entirely flavorless.  Is it really any wonder that so many want nothing to do with the church?  After all, how is this any different than living in the world?  These people have lost their saltiness, and as Jesus said, they should be cast out.  Yet, instead, many of us embrace them!

Then, there are those who, like the salt that we discussed earlier, are filled with many impurities.  They sow seeds of discord among believers.  We all know some of them.  The Apostle Paul described these people in 2 Timothy 3:

You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!

These flavorless preachers, teachers and prophets include many teachings that are the antithesis of scripture.  You’ve seen it.  There are so-called clergy, who believe and teach that homosexuality is of God.  They not only condone it, they even practice it and encourage others to do so!

Beloved reader, how many televangelists have you seen, who couldn’t care less about your souls? All they want is more money and power.  You’ve seen the preachers, the deacons, the elders in the church, who have no love for Jesus.  They are in these positions for the power and prestige it brings them.  You’ve seen the Sunday School teachers and youth leaders, who, though some may love youth and children, care more about making sure youth and children have fun, rather than being concerned about their relationship with Christ, not to mention those who are there as predators, and seek their own pleasure by destroying our children and youth.  You’ve also seen people in the church, who are content where they are, as long as they aren’t forced to confront their own sin.

Whether these people are flavorless because of impurities or watered down versions of the gospel, if they don’t repent and change, they will be cast out and trampled, just as Jesus said.  Beloved reader, if any of this describes you, I urge you to repent before it is too late!  Jesus makes it very clear that we are to be the salt of the earth.  We are to bring a good and rich flavor to this decaying world.

Have you ever eaten a cake that has no salt?  It is one of the most disgusting things you’ve ever tasted, because even sweet things need the savory flavor of salt.  Otherwise, it just tastes like something rotten.  If we only believe, teach and preach the scriptures that say God is love, but refuse to believe, teach and preach those scriptures that show He is also a just God, who will avenge injustice, it is like eating a sickening sweet cake that has no salt.  It is disgusting.

How can we expect our children to do what is good and right, if we don’t teach them the pure, incorrupt truth?  How can we expect anyone to do what is right and good, if we don’t show them?  As a wise person once said, we, Christians, are the only bible most of the world will ever see.  If we have lost our flavor, they will simply taste and see what it is in everyone who is without Christ… unbelief… hatred… bitterness… envy… strife… adultery…  Don’t you want others to come and do as David did in Psalm 34:8?

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

Beloved reader, have you lost your flavor?  If so, I urge you to repent.  Seek the Lord, while He may be found.  He is not only a just God, but also a merciful One.

Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.
(Isaiah 1:18 NKJV)

Cast away any flavorless, worldly teachings you have been exposed to.  Seek the Truth of God’s Word, so that you may be able to walk in His power and strength.  I urge you brothers and sisters in Christ, do not become like flavorless salt, lest you be cast away and trampled.

© 2019
Cheryl A. Showers

What’s Wrong With a Little Yeast???

33 Jesus also used this illustration: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.”

Matthew 13:33  NLT

In the scriptures, yeast, or leaven as it is called in some versions, represents sin or evil, either by false teachers, or sin itself.  In this study, we’re going to talk about sin, in the context of this parable…

rotten potato

Have you ever bought a bag of potatoes, and had one of the potatoes go bad?  Within a few days, if that bad potato isn’t removed right away, the whole bag will rot, ruining all of the potatoes, and the stench permeates the air.  The same is true for sin, which is why Paul rebuked the Corinthian church, in his first letter to them.  At the time, there was a man in the church, engaging in sexual immorality, and Paul confronted the church for not only allowing this sin to continue in the church, but for boasting about it…

Your boasting about this is terrible. Don’t you realize that this sin is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old “yeast” by removing this wicked person from among you. Then you will be like a fresh batch of dough made without yeast, which is what you really are. Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us. So let us celebrate the festival, not with the old bread of wickedness and evil, but with the new bread of sincerity and truth.

1 Corinthians 5:6-8  NLT

The same is true for any sin in our lives.  It starts out as a seemingly insignificant thing, but it grows at an alarming rate, often destroying not only person engaged in the sin, but many others as well.  A good example of this is Adam and Eve…

When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, I’m sure they never fully  comprehended the devastation that would follow.  Indeed, they probably didn’t even understand the full scope of how sin and death would soon ravage, not just them, but the entire earth.  I’m certain it never occurred to either of them that their relationship would be harmed, when they determined to eat the fruit God had warned them not to eat.  Yet, let’s look at what happened  as a result of their sin…

The very first relationship that was harmed by Adam and Eve’s determination to sin, was their relationship with God, Who came to walk with them in the cool of the day…

When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

10 He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.”

Genesis 3:8-10  NLT

Until that time, the man and woman had walked in the Garden of Eden naked and unashamed, but when they ate of the fruit, they immediately felt shame.  In their shame, they hid from the God who created them, loved them, breathed His life-giving breath into them, and walked and talked with them.  That one, seemingly insignificant sin (eating the forbidden fruit), destroyed their relationship with their Creator.  Could it be that it wasn’t the act of eating the fruit, but the decision to disobey God’s command, that destroyed their relationship with Him?

When they disobeyed God, their own relationship was also spoiled.  It would never be the same again… 

11 “Who told you that you were naked?” the Lord God asked. “Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?”

12 The man replied, “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.”

Genesis 3:11-12  NLT

Rather than simply answering, “Yes,” to God’s question, Adam immediately threw Eve under the bus, turning against this woman that he had recently rejoiced in, blaming her for his sin…

23 “At last!” the man exclaimed.

“This one is bone from my bone,
    and flesh from my flesh!
She will be called ‘woman,’
    because she was taken from ‘man.’”

Now, just one sin damaged a relationship that had been perfect up until then.  How could Eve look at Adam the same way?  Imagine how betrayed she must have felt.  Hadn’t Adam been right there with her, when she sinned against God?  Had she twisted his arm?  Why had he turned against her?

Additionally, not only was their relationship with God and themselves damaged, so too, was their relationship with God’s creation…

13 Then the Lord God asked the woman, “What have you done?”

“The serpent deceived me,” she replied. “That’s why I ate it.”

14 Then the Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this, you are cursed
    more than all animals, domestic and wild.
    You will crawl on your belly,
    groveling in the dust as long as you live.
15 And I will cause hostility between you and the
woman,

      and between your offspring and her offspring.
He will strike your head,
    and you will strike His heel.

Genesis 3:13-15  NLT

Now, not only were their relationships damaged, but that one sin damaged the entire animal kingdom.  No more would the serpent walk.  It would now crawl on its belly.  Instead of walking in peace with mankind, there would now be enmity between the woman and the serpent… 

No longer, would there be only joy in childbearing.  Because of their sin against God, Eve, and every one of her daughters thereafter, would labor and experience pain in childbearing, some even to the death.  Surely, Adam and Eve never thought of this, when they disobeyed God’s command…

16 To the woman He said,
“I will greatly multiply
Your pain in childbirth,
In pain you will bring forth children;
Yet your desire will be for your husband,
And he will rule over you.”

I love how The Voice translates this verse.  I think it reveals how devastating the consequences of Eve’s sin was to womankind, and the relationships of man and woman as well…

16     (to the woman) As a consequence of your actions,
        I will increase your suffering—the pain of childbirth
    And the sorrow of bringing forth the next generation.
    You will desire your husband; but rather than a companion, He will be the dominant partner.

Genesis 3:16 VOICE

How many women, since Eve’s day, have longed for a better relationship with their husbands?  How many have sought and failed to find the perfect husband, to love them unconditionally, really listen to them, understand them and treat them as an equal partner?  How many women, throughout the world, must bow to their husband’s every desire, no matter how egregious?  How many women have been and continue to be beaten, abused and mistreated, as a direct result of Adam and Eve’s sin against God?  I’m certain that neither of them foresaw the devastating results of their one “little” sin. 

Don’t misunderstand me.  I don’t believe that all of the evil that has fallen on the earth is the result of God’s punishment against mankind.  To be sure, they were punished, but I believe God was also describing the consequences that their sin had set in motion.  Indeed, even those words didn’t share the full scope of what would soon take place, not only in their lives, but in the lives of every other human, who would follow.  When we sin, we have no idea how many people or how many generations will be effected by our sin

17 And to the man He said,

“Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree
    whose fruit I commanded you not to eat,
the ground is cursed because of you.
    All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.
18 It will grow thorns and thistles for you,
    though you will eat of its grains.
19 By the sweat of your brow
    will you have food to eat
until you return to the ground
    from which you were made.
For you were made from dust,
    and to dust you will return.”

Because of Adam’s choice, man would have to labor and sweat, to produce crops to eat.  This would be no easy task for him, because now the ground was cursed.  No longer would all of the soil be fertile.  Now, man would have to plow and dig, hoe and weed to produce a crop.  Eventually, locusts and grasshoppers would destroy crops, as well as floods and famines and other disasters.  Man would have to fight the elements in order to provide food for his family, until the day he died.  Then, he would return to the dust from whence he had come, and all of this, because he had chosen to eat the forbidden fruit.

Then, after clothing Adam and Eve with animal skins, they were banished from the Garden of Eden.  No longer would they walk with God and talk with Him in the cool of the evening.  No longer would they have access to the tree of life.  Now, their lives would be filled with pain and toil, simply because they had chosen to eat the forbidden fruit…

I’m sure they never dreamed that their beloved son Cain, would kill his younger brother Abel, as a result of their sin.  They never imagined that Cain’s descendants would be given to the same violence as Cain.  They had no way of knowing that all of their descendants, except for Noah and his family would one day be wiped from the face of the earth, because their wickedness was so great.  Because of one “little” sin, all of these things and more happened.

Look around our world today.  Homosexuals are marrying one another, and brazenly displaying their sins publicly.  Children rebel openly against their parents.  Lies, murder, adultery, idolatry and all sorts of evil abound, as the love of mankind waxes cold, because of one little sin.

This is why Jesus and Paul compared sin to yeast.  Only a little bit will spread through all of the dough.  Do you have any sin in your life?  Perhaps it’s just a “little” sin, but that “little” sin can have devastating consequences, and who knows how many people and generations will be effected by it.

14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Hebrews 4:14-16  NLT

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

1 John 1:8-9  NLT

Despite mankind’s rebellion against Him, God hasn’t left us without hope.  When He punished Adam and Eve and told them the consequences of their actions, He also made a promise…

15 And I will cause hostility between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and her offspring.
He will strike your head,
    and you will strike his heel.

Genesis 3:15  NLT

You see, because of the disobedience of one man, every generation thereafter, has suffered the consequences of his rebellion.  Every single one of us has been born into sin.  We all have a sinful nature, because of Adam and Eve’s one “little” sin.  Yet, God, in His mercy, has given us the hope for redemption.  He has made a way for us to walk with Him, and talk with Him, and to have everlasting life…

18 Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. 19 Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.

Romans 5:18-19  NLT

38 Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.”

Acts 2:38-39  NLT

If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. 11 As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in Him will never be disgraced.” 12 Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on Him. 13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Romans 10:9-13  NLT

Beloved, today is the day of salvation.  Don’t let sin destroy your life and the lives of who knows how many other people.  Repent, and call on the name of the Lord, and you will be saved.

© 2016
Cheryl A. Showers

When Birds Come to Nest in Your Branches

31 Here is another illustration Jesus used: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”

Matthew 13:31-32  NLT

What is the Kingdom of Heaven?  Some say that the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God are two different things, but, if you examine scriptures, Jesus spoke of them interchangeably…

30 Jesus said, “How can I describe the Kingdom of God? What story should I use to illustrate it? 31 It is like a mustard seed planted in the ground. It is the smallest of all seeds, 32 but it becomes the largest of all garden plants; it grows long branches, and birds can make nests in its shade.”

Mark 4:30-31  NLT

18 Then Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? How can I illustrate it? 19 It is like a tiny mustard seed that a man planted in a garden; it grows and becomes a tree, and the birds make nests in its branches.”

Luke 13:18-19  NLT

So, again, where or what is the Kingdom of God?  How do we find it? 

Egypt-Christians-AP

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

“What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”

Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”

John 3:3-8  NLT

The first thing we need to understand about the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven, is that only those who are born again will be able to see and enter it.  He also tells us that the Kingdom belongs to those who are poor in spirit…

“Blessed [spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired] are the poor in spirit [those devoid of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever].”

Matthew 5:3  AMP

Jesus makes it clear in this verse that the poor in spirit (those devoid of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant) have the kingdom of heaven…  He doesn’t say that the kingdom will be theirs, using the future tense.  He spoke in the present tense, meaning this is already so.

Therefore, since Jesus tells us that we must be poor in spirit to receive the kingdom of heaven, and that we must also be born again, in order to even see it or enter it, we must be poor in spirit in order to be born again.  For it is when I was poor in spirit, that I recognized my absolute need for a Savior.  Because I am poor in spirit, I know that apart from Jesus, I can do nothing.  I needed and I still need Jesus, and in order to be a part of His kingdom, I needed to be reborn.  I was already born of water from my mother’s womb, so now, I needed to be born of the Spirit.

“Blessed [forgiven, refreshed by God’s grace] are those who mourn [over their sins and repent], for they will be comforted [when the burden of sin is lifted].”

Matthew 5:4  AMP

It is because I was (and still am) poor in spirit, that I began to mourn (repent) of my sins, and I cried out to Jesus to forgive me and save me.  In that instance, He heard the cries of my heart, and I was born again.  He had not only forgiven my sins, He had also cleansed me from all unrighteousness.  I was no longer the same.  I had been transformed, not because of my goodness, but because of His mercy and goodness.  Immediately, I became a part of the Kingdom of God, because His Holy Spirit came to dwell within me.  For, His temple is not in a building made by human hands.  According to His word, His temple is now within my body…

19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20  NASB

The kingdom of heaven is here on earth, among His children, who have been born of His Spirit.  When two or more of us gather together in His name, He is here, in the midst of us.  If you have been born again, you are a part of His kingdom, and you can see it…

So, what is this kingdom like???

mustard-seed

31 Here is another illustration Jesus used: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”

Matthew 13:31-32  NLT

Remember, in His other parables, Jesus said that the seed represents God’s word, and the crop that grows from it represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word, and produce a large harvest…

23 The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”

Matthew 13:23  NLT

Mustard Tree

Therefore, the tiny little mustard seed represents the word of God, planted into the hearts of man.  Then, that tiny little seed grew into an enormous tree, which represents the growth of the church.  Think about it, on the day of Pentecost, there were only about one hundred and twenty (see Acts 1:15) Christ followers, but after the Holy Spirit blew in, settling on them in the upper room, they rushed out into the streets, rejoicing.  Before the day was over, three thousand more believers had been added to their number (see Acts 2:41)!  Everyday after that, more and more believers joined them, as the church continued to grow enormously (see Acts 2:46-47).  Within a short time, the number of believers grew to five thousand (see Acts 4:4)As people were healed and witnessed many miracles, signs and wonders, crowds of men and women began to believe (see Acts 5:14)!  Indeed, as God’s message spread, the number of believers greatly increased.  Even some of the priests became believers (see Acts 6:7).

The church grew amazingly fast, and amazingly large.  Just look at how many people claim the Christian faith today.  In fact, as that mustard seed grew into a huge tree, birds came and made nests in it… Do you remember that the birds represented the evil one, snatching the word away  from the believers in the first parable we talked about in Sowing Seeds Begins with  Prayer?

Whenever scripture speaks to us in parables, they don’t change.  For instance, leaven (yeast) always represents sin.  The seeds in these stories, represents God’s word.  Likewise, the birds represent the evil one.  Whenever the word of God goes out, the enemy seeks to destroy it or snatch it away.  In this case, we see that the enemy has built nests within the church.  So, what does this mean?

In the parable we discussed yesterday, in The Wheat and the Weeds Know the Truth, we saw that the weeds, which were planted by the evil one, grew up right alongside of the wheat (true believers).  Likewise, today, we see the true believers (the church) represented by the mustard tree, and nesting within its branches, are the birds (those sent by the evil one, to snatch the word of God away from the believers).  Do you wonder if this is even possible?  Look at this warning from Jesus…

24 For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. 25 See, I have warned you about this ahead of time.

Matthew 24:24-25  NLT

There are deceivers in the church, right now.  They are in the pulpits, on committees, and in the pews.  Some may seem righteous, but their hearts are black.  Therefore, it is vital that you know the Truth, and the only way to know Truth is by having a close relationship with Jesus.  Talk to Him and study His word.

16 Rejoice always; 17pray without ceasing; 18in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  NASB

31 Jesus said to the people who believed in Him, “You are truly My disciples if you remain faithful to My teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:31-32 NLT

15 “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. 16 You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 19 So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20 Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.

Matthew 7:15-20  NLT

Beloved reader, if you walk in close obedience to Jesus, you will not be fooled by the birds in the tree.  Even if you are momentarily fooled, God will open your eyes to the truth, and when He does, you  must proclaim the truth of God’s word to others, so that they will not be fooled.  I’m not telling you to kill the birds, because the Lord will remove them, when the time is right.  I’m telling you to speak the truth in love and walk in truth. 

15 But speaking the truth in love [in all things—both our speech and our lives expressing His truth], let us grow up in all things into Him [following His example] who is the Head—Christ.

Ephesians 4:15  AMP

15 Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15 AMP

If you will do this, beloved, you need have no fear of the birds (enemies of God’s word) in the church (followers of Christ).

© 2016
Cheryl A. Showers

The Wheat and the Weeds – Know the Truth

24 Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. 25 But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. 26 When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew.

27 “The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’

28 “‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed.

“‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked.

29 “‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’”

Matthew 13:24-30  NLT

Let’s examine this parable and discover its meaning…

24 Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field.

Matthew 13:24  NLT

We learned yesterday, from Sowing Seeds Begins with Prayer, that the good seed that was planted, represents the word of God that was planted in the hearts of people…

1 In the beginning the Word already existed.
    The Word was with God,
    and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through Him,
    and nothing was created except through Him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,
    and His life brought light to everyone.

John 1:1-4  NLT

Jesus told him, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.

John 14:6  NLT

Jesus is the word of God.  He is the living, and the spoken word of God.  Every scripture that has ever been inspired or God breathed, points us to Jesus.  And Jesus made it clear that He is the only Way to God.  He made it clear that He is the Truth, and that He is Life.  Those who hear this and understand this, represent the good seed that the farmer spread onto the ground…

Let’s look at a portion of the prayer that Jesus prayed for those representing the good seed, on the night before He was crucified…

13 “Now I am coming to You. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with My joy. 14 I have given them Your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I’m not asking You to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do. 17 Make them holy by Your truth; teach them Your word, which is truth. 18 Just as You sent Me into the world, I am sending them into the world. 19 And I give Myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by Your truth…”

John 17:13-19  NLT

This is such an important passage for the good seed.  Do you see what Jesus said?  He gave us God’s word.  He gave us Himself.  When we become the good seed, by hearing and believing God’s word, He makes us holy. 

Jesus knew that He would be crucified the next day, and so He asked the Father to make us holy by His truth.  Do you remember who Jesus said the Truth is?  God’s word, Jesus, is Truth.  We become holy, good seed, by God’s Truth – Jesus…

weeds and wheat

25 But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. 26 When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew.

Matthew 13:25-26  NLT

Who is the enemy of God?  We all know that the devil is God’s enemy, but did you know that the devil isn’t God’s only enemy?

1 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrongyou want only what will give you pleasure.

You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit He has placed within us should be faithful to Him.

James 4:1-5  NLT

42 Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on My own, but He sent Me. 43 Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear Me! 44 For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe Me! 46 Which of you can truthfully accuse Me of sin? And since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe Me? 47 Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.”

John 8:42-47  NLT

The weeds that were planted among the wheat or the good seed, weren’t just the devil.  It included religious leaders, and people who call themselves men and women of God, though they really hate the truth.  Paul even warned Timothy about this…

You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!

2 Timothy 3:1-5  NLT

Beloved, Jesus didn’t tell these parables just because He liked telling good stories.  He was telling them to prepare His people then and now, and to warn them.  Today, in the church, (I’m not talking about  the various buildings, where people attend services.  I’m talking about the people themselves, who claim to be Christ followers.) there are many false beliefs and practices, which have sprung up over the last two thousand years, since Christ’s death and resurrection.  Some false beliefs and ideas came from merging true Christianity with pagan practices.  Others came from people trying to make Christianity more appealing to the masses, by ignoring obedience, and making Christianity more worldly.  Still other false practices and beliefs came from the very pit of hell, in order to deceive the people of God. 

Because of this, we have men and women in the pulpit, preaching lies to their congregations.  Some deliberately deceive their followers, while others unwittingly do so, as they repeat the lies that they have been taught, ignorant of the truth themselves.  That is why it is vital for each person to pray to the Almighty in Jesus’ name, asking Him to reveal the Truth to them.  Also, when you read a book by a Christian author, or a post, such as this one, pray and seek the truth in the scriptures for yourself.  I’m human, and though I don’t want to mislead anyone, I do make mistakes.  See if what I’m telling you lines up with the word of God.  Likewise, whenever you read something by any Christian author, see if it lines up with God’s word.  Beloved reader, you don’t want to be mislead, because God isn’t going to separate the weeds (the deceivers) from the wheat (true Christ followers), until the last day…

27 “The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’

28 “‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed.

“‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked.

29 “‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’”

Matthew 13:27-30  NLT

The deceivers and the deceived continue grow along with the lovers and believers of the truth.  Therefore, pray, study and read God’s holy scriptures, for in them, you will find the truth…

16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17  NLT

© 2016
Cheryl A. Showers

Creflo Dollar’s Plea for More Dollars

Some people may contradict our teaching, but these are the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. These teachings promote a godly life. Anyone who teaches something different is arrogant and lacks understanding. Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words. This stirs up arguments ending in jealousy, division, slander, and evil suspicions.These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy.

~ 1 Timothy 6:3-5  NLT ~

TBN Logo

I absolutely refuse to watch TBN and many of the other “Christian” television stations.  Does this shock you?  At first, I thought there was something wrong with me, because many other believers love televangelists like Creflo Dollar, Jesse Duplantis, Benny Hinn, T.D. Jakes, Paula White, Joyce Meyer and so many others.  Therefore, something has to be wrong with me, right?

However, as I searched the scriptures and compared the gospel preached by these people, to the Gospel of Christ, I discovered that they were preaching a false gospel.  Not only that, but in addition to deceiving many good men and women who are seeking the truth, these false teachers and false prophets also fleece their followers.  

These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy.

~ 1 Timothy 6:5  NLT ~

These men and women make the proud and boastful claim that they need your money in order to save a lost and dying world.  However, when Jesus walked this earth as a man, He touched the hearts of a lost and dying world, without pilfering anyone for money.  Furthermore, when the apostles went to Jerusalem, Judea, and the uttermost parts of the world, they did so without begging for money. Indeed, the gospel was shared by many of them, as they fled from persecution. Not only that, the Apostle Paul, who traveled through many countries, sharing the gospel to a lost and dying world, was careful not to be a financial burden on the people that he served…

Preaching for Money Church

17 If I were doing this on my own initiative, I would deserve payment. But I have no choice, for God has given me this sacred trust. 18 What then is my pay? It is the opportunity to preach the Good News without charging anyone. That’s why I never demand my rights when I preach the Good News.

~ 1 Corinthians 9:17-18  NLT ~

12 When I was with you, I certainly gave you proof that I am an apostle. For I patiently did many signs and wonders and miracles among you. 13 The only thing I failed to do, which I do in the other churches, was to become a financial burden to you. Please forgive me for this wrong!

14 Now I am coming to you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you. I don’t want what you have—I want you. After all, children don’t provide for their parents. Rather, parents provide for their children. 15 I will gladly spend myself and all I have for you, even though it seems that the more I love you, the less you love me.

~ 2 Corinthians 12:12-15  NLT ~

Don’t you remember, dear brothers and sisters, how hard we worked among you? Night and day we toiled to earn a living so that we would not be a burden to any of you as we preached God’s Good News to you.

~ 1 Thessalonians 2:9  NLT ~

You see, Paul wasn’t interested in how much money he could get out of believers; he wanted to win their hearts.  Paul truly sought to save a lost and dying world.  Today’s televangelists, evangelists, teachers and various other ministries could learn from his example.  For though many of these ministries claim they want to seek and save the lost, their lifestyles paint a different picture.  

Let’s look at Creflo Dollar, whose website, on Friday, March 13. 2015, announced a new project entitled, Project G650. 

According to this video, the ministry’s current jet is over 30 years old and is now out of service.  Therefore, they now need a new one, which will cost $65 million dollars.  Really???  He and his ministry team aren’t able to fly commercial flights, like the rest of us???

In doing research on Dollar’s life and ministry, I discovered that his church began in the Kathleen Mitchell Elementary School cafeteria in 1986, to a congregation of eight.  In the years following that, his ministry began to grow, and eventually moved to a chapel.  Around this time, Creflo Dollar began preaching on the radio, and he began having four services on Sundays.  The church continued to grow, from the tithes, offerings and donations they received from parishoners and people around the world, and World Changers Church International (WCCI) eventually built moved into the World Dome, a sanctuary that seats 8500 people, located in College Park, GA.  This $18 million dollar church was built from the donations of many men and women, with no bank financing.  WCCI also has a church in New York as well.

The ministry isn’t all that has prospered since its humble beginning; Creflo and wife, Taffi Dollar have also prospered.  Though he has refused to disclose his salary for many years, it is estimated that Mr. and Mrs. Dollar’s net worth is $27 million dollars, much of which has come from the tithes and donations of many men and women like you and me.  

When giving to a ministry, I want to be a good steward. I want to know that my offerings are going to help the needy, widows and orphans, as well as the disabled.  I want to know that the money is being used wisely, according to God’s will, and not the will of a greedy man.  I would be very angry to think that I have given money to bring the gospel of Christ to those who have never heard Jesus’ name, and to help those who in need of food, money and shelter, according to God’s will, only to find it has been used to line the pastors’ pockets.  

Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful.

~ 1 Corinthians 4:2  NLT ~

Heal the sick, bring the dead back to life, heal those who suffer from dreaded skin diseases, and drive out demons. You have received without paying, so give without being paid.

~ Matthew 10:8  GNT ~

Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!

~ Matthew 10:8  NLT ~

Pardon me, but I have to ask, how much of the money that is donated to the ministry, for the salvation of souls and to help those in need, is actually going to the needy?  Dollar and his wife not only have a net worth of $27 million dollars, as I stated earlier, but he also owns two Rolls Royces, a $1 million dollar home in Atlanta, and a $2.5 million dollar home in Manhattan.

Creflo Dollar Mansion

With all of this wealth, I find it very brazen for Dollar to ask 200,000 members to donate $300 so that he can get a new jet!  After all, his wealth has come from the donations of many people who have a net worth of little or nothing, because he preaches a false prosperity message and claims that if his congregants will give at least ten percent of their income, they too will prosper.  Frankly, with his wealth, Dollar can either purchase his own jet, or he can do as the rest of us do, and fly the friendly skies on a commercial airline!

Minister Creflo Dollar Attempts to Raise $65 Million to Purchase Private Jet
Minister Creflo Dollar Attempts to Raise $65 Million to Purchase Private Jet

Beloved reader, true ministry begins with you and me, not with some preacher, who is more interested in what you can give him, instead of how he can help you.  Do you want to reach a lost and dying world with the gospel?  Then share the Good News with your neighbors, your coworkers, and the people you see on a day to day basis.  Pray for them.  Love them.  Talk to them about Jesus, not about your church.  This is how souls are won, not by sending your hard earned money to a charlatan who preaches a false gospel.

Finally, since I have shared my concerns about Creflo Dollar and his ministries and net worth, I would be remiss if I did not address one other scandal that was in the news in 2012.  On June 8, 2012, Creflo Dollar was arrested for Simple Battery Family Violence and Cruelty to Children for allegedly throwing his fifteen year old daughter on the ground, choking her, punching her and hitting her with a shoe.  The girl’s nineteen year old sister witnessed the alleged assault and told the same story her sister did, when questioned.  Below is his daughter’s 911 call.

Dollar told a different story, stating that he and his daughter were arguing over a party that he said she couldn’t attend because of her bad grades.  He stated that after entering the kitchen and asking why she was upset, his daughter was disrespectful to him, and he tried to restrain her.  After restraining her, he said that she began hitting him, and he wrestled her to the floor and spanked her.  Below is a copy of the actual police report for Creflo Dollar’s arrest:

Fayette County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Report –
Creflo Dollar

On the Sunday following his arrest, Creflo Dollar spoke to his congregation, and listeners all over the world, about his arrest.  Below is the video of his address.  

Now, here is the issue I have with Mr. Dollar’s address…  Firstly, I want to address the congregation’s response, when Dollar entered the pulpit.  I was greatly disturbed by the standing ovation and the cheers and whistles that arose in support of him.  With absolutely no evidence of his guilt or innocence, the congregation loudly cheered this man, who had been accused of abusing his daughter.  The congregation gave no thought for the troubled teen.  Now, please understand, when I refer to Dollar’s fifteen year old daughter as a troubled teen, I am in no way implying her guilt or innocence in telling the truth.  Either way, this was a traumatic event, and anyone would be troubled by what allegedly happened.  On the other hand, if she did indeed lie, as Dollar’s statements implied, she would still be considered troubled, for contriving a lie.  In their loud cheers for her father, who was potentially her abuser, the congregation made it clear that she and her feelings were unimportant.  

Secondly, I want to address the following statement by Creflo Dollar, by sharing his own words from this address… “I will never put any fault on my children as Jesus would never put any fault on me. I love her with all of my heart. Amen?”  That statement, sounds as though it comes from a benevolent and loving father, doesn’t it?  However, in keeping it in context with this very same address to his congregation, and all, throughout the world, who view this statement, I have to ask, who, then, if not his daughters, is he faulting?  Certainly not himself!

  • “As everyone knows, raising children in our culture of disrespect, is a challenge and a responsibility for all of us who are parents.”
    • Isn’t this just another way of saying that his daughter was disrespectful, and in so doing, isn’t he putting the fault on her, something he said he would never do”?
  • “The truth is, she was not choked.  She was not punched.  There were not any scratches on her neck, but the only thing on her neck was a prior skin abrasion from eczema.  Anything else is an exaggeration and sensationalism.”
    • It was his daughter who called 911 and also reported to the deputy that she had been choked and punched.  Therefore, isn’t this just another way of saying his daughter exaggerated and resorted to sensationalism (another way for calling her a liar)?  Again, wasn’t this something he said he would never do”?
  • “I mean, I can’t imagine. If I punched my kid, (emphasizes by punching open palm) I would hurt her.  If I choked my kid, you would see visible signs on her neck.  But to come and take a picture of a mark that’s been there for ten years, and not have enough intelligence to at least ask the parent what it is, is appalling.”
    • Let’s remember that Creflo Dollar had been accused, by his fifteen year old daughter of choking and attacking her.  Don’t you think the officer asked the girl what the mark was from?  Why would he ask the alleged perpetrator of a crime how she got the mark?  How likely would he be to tell the truth?  I wonder, how likely was he telling the truth in this statement? Also, let’s not forget that her nineteen year old sister corroborated her statement.
  • “Again, I would never approach one of my children to inflict bodily harm.  I love my children enough to establish proper boundaries and help them make right choices.”
    • Again, he is implying that his daughters are lying about what happened. I do believe that he was trying to establish proper boundaries and help them make right choices, but I also believe that it is entirely possible he lost his self-control in the heat of the moment, and threw his daughter to the floor, choking, hitting, and punching her.
  • “I will never put any fault on my children as Jesus would never put any fault on me. I love her with all of my heart. Amen?”
    • His entire statement has one goal… to deflect the blame off himself, by placing the blame onto his daughter.
  • “I want to say this very emphatically: I should have never  been arrested.  Never!  And when the facts of this come out, you will be appalled.”
    • Again, though he doesn’t actually say the words, his statement implies that his daughter lied about his assault on her.
  • “You’ve got to understand something.  It’s not as much against me as it is against this message of grace.  The devil knows in order to discredit the message, you have to first of all discredit the messenger…”
    • Here, Dollar implied that his daughter was used by the devil.
  • “… I want to close and I’ll have nothing else to say about this.  I want to close in the book of Psalms, chapter thirty-five, and it’ll describe to you, what is going on.  Verse eleven, Psalms thirty-five…

11 Malicious witnesses testify against me.  They accuse me of crimes I know nothing about.  12 They repay me evil for good.  I am sick with despair.  13 Yet when they were ill, I grieved for them.  I denied myself by fasting for them, but my prayers returned unanswered.  14 I was sad, as though they were my friends or family, as if I were grieving for my own mother.  15 But they are glad now that I am in trouble; they gleefully join together against me.  I am attacked by people I don’t even know; they slander me constantly.  16 They mock me and call me names; they snarl at me.

17 How long, O Lord, will you look on and do nothing?  Rescue me from their fierce attacks.  Protect my life from these lions!  18 Then I will thank you in front of the great assembly.  I will praise you before all the people. 19 Don’t let my treacherous enemies rejoice over my defeat.  Don’t let those who hate me without cause gloat over my sorrow.  20 They don’t talk of peace; they plot against innocent people who mind their own business. 21 They shout, “Aha!  Aha!  With our own eyes we saw him do it!”

22 O Lord, you know all about this.  Do not stay silent.  Do not abandon me now, O Lord.  23 Wake up! Rise to my defense!  Take up my case, my God and my Lord. 24 Declare me not guilty, O Lord my God, for you give justice.  Don’t let my enemies laugh about me in my troubles.  25 Don’t let them say, “Look, we got what we wanted!  Now we will eat him alive!”

26 May those who rejoice at my troubles be humiliated and disgraced.  May those who triumph over me be covered with shame and dishonor.  27 But give great joy to those who came to my defense.  Let them continually say, “Great is the Lordwho delights in blessing his servant with peace!”  28 Then I will proclaim your justice, and I will praise you all day long.  (Psalm 35:11-28  NLT)

Creflo Dollar continued, as though this next passage was a part of Psalm 35, but it wasn’t….

10 Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you; give justice to those with honest hearts.  11 Don’t let the proud trample me or the wicked push me around. 12 Look! Those who do evil have fallen!  They are thrown down, never to rise again.  (Psalm 36:10-12  NLT)

Now, as you read the scripture above, imagine that you are Dollar’s fifteen and nineteen year old daughters, who signed a witness statement against him.  Certainly the pastor’s word, this “man of God” carries more weight than a disrespectful fifteen year old and her nineteen year old sister, who are both indirectly referred to as “malicious witnesses” accusing him of crimes he knows nothing about.  After all, he has always taken care of them, even when they were sick, and he’s fasted and prayed for them, and look how they have repaid evil for his good.  See how gleefully they have joined together attacking him?  Because of their behavior, they have caused people he doesn’t even know to slander him… 

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever had a pastor preach a message against you personally, but I have.  I pray this has never happened to you, because there is nothing more painful than to have the word of God aimed as a weapon of destruction against you.  It doesn’t matter whether you are truly in the wrong or not.  It is painful to be exposed, and know that there are others who are listening to the sermon, who also know that the pastor is using you as an example.  God’s word is not intended to be taken out of context to condemn or destroy someone else.  As you read the scripture in the way Mr. Dollar presents it, he is the victim of a terrible injustice.  

Finally, after praying for God’s intervention, just as David prayed against those who treated him injustly, Dollar curses his attackers (in this case, his fifteen year old and nineteen year old daughters, who called the police and signed the report against him) asking God to humiliate and disgrace them, and cover them with shame and dishonor.  Regardless of who was speaking the truth, or who was lying, how do you think Dollar’s daughters felt as they listened to their father’s speech that morning?  Do you think they were drawn to God?  Or did they feel shamed and humiliated by Him?

The assault charges against Mr. Dollar were eventually dropped in January, 2013, in exchange for him attending a pre-trial intervention program, which included him attending an anger management program.  In addition, Dollar had to pay $1,072 dollars in fees and court costs.

There are many reasons to be wary of this man’s teachings.  His sermons usually revolve around a prosperity message with money and personal wealth as the focus.  It’s the kind of message that people want to hear; the kind of message that makes them happy, but is it true?

For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.

~ 2 Timothy 4:3-4  NLT ~

Study_to_Show_Thyself_Approved

This is why I strongly urge you, beloved reader, to seek God’s face.  Study His word for yourselves.  When someone preaches or writes a post (including me), read the scriptures to see if what this person is preaching or teaching lines up with what God says.  Then, if it doesn’t, find someone who speaks truth, while you continue to study God’s word.

Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.

~ 1 John 4:1  NLT ~

15 Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.

~ 2 Timothy 2:15  AMP ~

Finally, beloved reader, pay attention to the way leaders conduct themselves, when preaching, and when they’re not in front of a group.  What does he/she like to talk about most frequently?  If the person talks mostly about money, that’s because this is what is most important in his/her heart.  How does he/she treat his/her followers?  Does this person like to serve, or does he/she expect to be served?  For a true leader will lovingly and joyfully serve his/her followers, expecting nothing in return. 

Abundance of the Heart

18 But whatever comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this is what makes a man unclean and defiles [him].

~ Matthew 15:18  AMP ~

12 So then, whatever you desire that others would do to and for you, even so do also to and for them, for this is (sums up) the Law and the Prophets.

~ Matthew 7:12  AMP ~

43 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many.

~ Mark 10:43-45  NLT ~

The scriptures above are the qualifications of a true leader, given to us by the King of all other kings, and the Lord of every lord.  If the minister you have been following does not meet these qualifications, prayerfully seek one who does.  This person should be willing to give to his/her followers, not to take.  In light of this, where does Creflo Dollar fall in the spectrum?  You decide.

© 2015
Cheryl A. Showers

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Who Are You Worshiping For?

My daughter sent me the following video clip of Victoria Osteen, exhorting her congregation, a few days ago, and as I watched it, I couldn’t help but feel sickened and uneasy in the pit of my stomach. In the clip, Mrs. Osteen gave the congregation at Lakewood Church, and the television audience, reasons to worship God, that left me both shocked and disgusted as I watched. Like someone who witnesses a terrible crime or accident, I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen, nor could I stop myself from listening to every word that she spoke, in stunned silence.

I’ve already written about Joel Osteen, and the false gospel  he preaches and teaches (see bulleted links below).

Yet, although I’ve researched Joel Osteen’s false gospel, I never gave much thought about his wife, Victoria, and her beliefs and teachings, until I watched this video clip (see below).

I concur with Bill Cosby’s statement tacked on at the end of Victoria Osteen’s exhortation. For that truly is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard coming out of a minister’s mouth. Indeed, after listening to Mrs. Osteen’s heretic urging and teaching in this video, I feel compelled to address the things she said from a biblical standpoint.

“So I just want to encourage every one of us to realize, when we obey God, we’re not doin’ it for God. I mean that’s one way to look at it. We’re doin’ it for ourself, because God takes pleasure when we’re happy. That’s the thing that gives Him the greatest joy this morning.

“So I want you to know this morning, just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doin’ it for God, really. You’re doin’ it for yourself, because that’s what makes God happy. Amen?”

Victoria OsteenWhen Mrs. Osteen stated that when we obey God, we’re not doing it for Him, but for ourselves, I was shocked and disgusted by how narcissistic her exhortation was. Let’s be clear about this, the Lord, our God is a jealous God, and though He loves us with an everlasting love, He is God and we worship Him because He alone is worthy of worship…

“You must not have any other god but Me.”  ~ Exodus 20:3  NLT ~

“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject Me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love Me and obey My commands.  ~ Exodus 20:4-6  NLT ~

By suggesting that we worship for ourselves, Victoria Osteen is inviting her followers to be as prideful and self-serving as Satan was when he tried to exalt himself over God. Those who do as Mrs. Osteen suggested, are setting themselves up as gods or idols, and God makes Himself very clear about the dangers of idol worship. Whenever anyone chooses to exalt himself above God, he/she will earn His wrath, just as Lucifer did. Further, just as Lucifer was brought low for his pride, so will all, who exalt themselves above God, be brought low.

12 “How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son            of the morning! You have been thrown down to the            earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world.
13   For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to heaven and          set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the          mountain of the gods far away in the north.
14 I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the                 Most High.’
15 Instead, you will be brought down to the place of the         dead, down to its lowest depths.  ~ Isaiah 14:12-15            NLT ~

17 Your heart was filled with pride because of all your            beauty. Your wisdom was corrupted by your love of            splendor. So I threw you to the ground and exposed            you to the curious gaze of kings. ~ Ezekiel 28:17  NLT        ~

"Cut Down - The Pride of Nebuchadnezzar" by: Slavujac
“Cut Down – The Pride of Nebuchadnezzar”
by: Slavujac

Don’t be deceived! Those who dare to exalt themselves above the Lord will be brought low, if not in this lifetime, then certainly when they come to the judgement seat of Christ. A good example of this can be found in Daniel 4, when King Nebuchadnezzar exalted himself above God by not acknowledging that all of his accomplishments were a result of God’s goodness to him. Instead, Nebuchadnezzar bragged that his accomplishments were a result of his own doing, crediting himself, rather than God. As a result, King Nebuchadnezzar was brought very low. (Click the link to Daniel 4, above, to read the whole story.)

Mrs. Osteen also claimed that God wants us to be happy, and that He takes pleasure in our happiness. Now, while that sounds really nice, it isn’t true. The fact is that mankind is often very happy when he is sinning, and this most certainly does NOT please God.

24 It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward. ~ Hebrews 11:24-25  NLT ~

The fact is that by encouraging people to worship to please themselves instead of God, Mrs. Osteen is aiding Satan, who comes to steal, kill and destroy, by robbing and cheating people out of the blessings that could be theirs. Not only that, but those who refuse to worship the Lord in spirit and truth will be punished. Let’s examine the consequences of choosing not to worship God for His name’s sake…

Take delight in the Lordand He will give you your heart’s desires. ~ Psalm 37:4  NLT ~

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! ~ Philippians 4:4  NASB ~

47 If you do not serve the Lord your God with joy and enthusiasm for the abundant benefits you have received, 48 you will serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you. You will be left hungry, thirsty, naked, and lacking in everything. The Lord will put an iron yoke on your neck, oppressing you harshly until He has destroyed you. ~Deuteronomy 28:47-48  NLT ~

The consequences for not worshiping and obeying the Lord in spirit and in truth are serious. That is why it is vital for every believer to study and know God’s word, for it is easy to be led astray. Let’s see what the scriptures say about how we should worship and obey the Lord…

12 Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him

14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. 16 Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. 17 But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy. 18 Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy. ~ Philippians 2:12-18  NLT ~

Beloved readers, as we examine the scriptures, do you see where it tells us to worship to please ourselves? In each of the scriptures above, we are commanded to delight ourselves in the Lord, or to rejoice in the LordNOT in ourselves. In fact, Paul tells us to obey God with deep reverence and fear. There’s certainly no room to be self-centered in that command. Then, as we worship and obey Him with deep reverence and fear, God will reward us by giving us the desire to do what pleases Him. Again, it says NOTHING about worshiping to please ourselves. Our goal is to do what pleases God.

Image Credit: Pinterest - Carmen Woodie
Image Credit:
Pinterest – Carmen Woodie

Beloved readers, please do not get tangled in the false teachings and false doctrines of mankind. Instead, seek your answers from God’s word. The following scripture is my heartfelt prayer for each person who reads this post…

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. ~ Romans 12:1-2  NLT ~

Beloved readers, God is worthy of our worship. All too often, we sometimes confuse ourselves or others by trying to make worship more appealing to the masses. We confuse people into believing that worship is singing hymns, or “Praise and Worship” music, but that is not what worship is.

Worship is declaring God’s “worth.” We can declare God’s worth in many ways. One way to worship God is through obedience. The first time that “worship” is mentioned in the bible is when God commanded Abraham to take his son, Isaac, up the mountain, to offer him as a sacrifice to Him, in Genesis 22:

“Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told the servants. “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.”

Image Credit: christianslikeme.net
Image Credit:
christianslikeme.net

The Lord had asked Abraham to sacrifice his precious son, whom he had long waited for, and offer him as a burnt sacrifice. Now, here’s one thing I’m certain of, this act of worship did not make Abraham happy. In fact, I feel certain that this was the hardest thing Abraham had ever had to do. Now, if Abraham had been listening to Victoria Osteen, he might have sung a “worship” song that made him happy, rationalizing that since he was happy with his choice of worship, then God must be happy too.

Now, just think about this for a minute. If Abraham had done as Mrs. Osteen suggested, he would not have heard the angel of the Lord… he would not have seen the ram in the bushes and sacrificed it to God… he would not have proved that he truly did fear and revere the Lord… he may not have become the father of many nations… God’s Son, Jesus, may not have come from his bloodline…

Beloved readers, in closing, I leave you with these scriptures about worship. I urge you to worship the Lord according to His word, NOT Victoria Osteen’s word…

24 “For God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.” ~ John 4:24  NLT ~

Come, let us worship and bow down.
    Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker… ~ Psalm 95:6  NLT ~

Jesus replied, “The Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only Him.'” ~ Luke 4:8  NLT ~

28 Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping Him with holy fear and awe. 29 For our God is a devouring fire. ~ Hebrews 12:28-29  NLT ~

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers