Category Archives: Truth or Lie?

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

Not Just an Animal

Today, I feel, I must write about the unbelievable choice to deny the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would ensure that babies born alive after being aborted, would be cared for, hospitalized and afforded the opportunity to live, by the U.S. Senate this past Monday.  The final vote count on this act was 53 in favor of the bill, and 44 opposed.  How could there be any opposition to this bill?  Don’t we live in a land that is supposed to guarantee that all men are created equal?  That we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights?  That among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?  Don’t we elect our senators and congressmen and women to protect these rights?

I won’t lie.  I HATE abortion.  I believe that it is infanticide within the womb, and that one day, we, as a country, will have to answer to Almighty God for this sin.  However, that is not what this article is about.  The purpose of this article is to decry infanticide outside of the womb!

Once a child is born alive, no matter the circumstances or his/her birth, or his/her condition when born, that child has as much right to live, as any other child that is born.  The penalty for destroying a bald eagle egg is between $10,000 and $250,000, depending on what state you live in, and up to 5 years of imprisonment.  Yet, the very people we elected to serve and protect us, refused to pass a law that would penalize doctors for killing and/or refusing to care for a child born alive after an abortion!  Does anyone else see the depravity in this?  Is anyone else outraged by this radical decision?

Children are not animals to be euthanized when they are sickly or too much trouble for their parents or physicians.  They are human beings, created in the image of God, who are supposed to be protected under the U.S. Constitution.  Who gives anyone the right to decide whose life has value, and whose life isn’t worth living?  Doctors don’t have that right, and neither do parents.

Beloved readers, you and I are the ones who have elected our current representatives into office, and I will be honest with you.  I am just as angry with our Republican senators as I am with the Democrat senators, who voted against this bill.  If ever a bill should have been passed unanimously, it was this one.  However, the bill did not pass the senate because of its arcane voting rules, which demand a 2/3 majority to pass.  Our senators have been more than willing to bypass this arcane rule, using the “nuclear” option, when voting for justices and other things that are important for the country, however, in this instance, they have shrugged their shoulders and looked helpless, claiming outrage at the outcome of this bill, while doing nothing more than posturing.  Meanwhile, the other side has done a victory dance over the failure of this bill.

Beloved readers, I ask you, is this not one of those instances when the “nuclear” option should be invoked?  If our senators were truly as outraged as they proclaim, would they not use this option immediately?  Beloved reader, are you as outraged by this bill’s failure to be passed as I am?  Think and pray about this very carefully, because you will be  held accountable by God for your choice.  If you are outraged, then you must act.  Contact your U.S. Senators and urge them to vote in favor of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, and, if necessary, to enact the “nuclear” option.  Also, contact your U.S. Congress Representatives, and urge them to vote in favor of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, as well.  If your senator or representative refuses, remember this, and do not re-elect him/her when he/she runs for office again.  To do nothing, is to condone this wickedness.

Remember, beloved reader, babies are a gift from God.  They are not animals to be put to sleep when they are no longer convenient or healthy.

© 2019
Cheryl A. Showers

P.S. – If you are unsure of what to say to your senators and congressmen/women, here is the letter that I have sent to my representatives.  Please feel free to copy it fully or in part, but please act today!

Dear (Insert Senator’s name or Congressperson’s name),

I am writing to urge you and your colleagues to bring the Born-Alive Survivors Protection Act to the floor to be voted on once again, this time, using the “nuclear” option to pass this bill. Surely, the Senate’s arcane rules regarding a 2/3 majority should be overruled in this instance, when protecting a child born alive, from infanticide!

As a member of the Senate, you have sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution, and to protect your citizens from murder and injustice. I appreciate that you voted in favor of this bill, but it is not enough. We, the citizens of this country need you and your colleagues to bring this bill to the floor once again, and to pass it into law as soon as possible, lest our country slide further down the slippery slope into infanticide than we have already descended. Your opponents, the democrats, have made no secret of their agenda, and if you fail to act now, our country is in danger of losing all the rights that we hold so dearly.

Thank you in advance for your prompt action on this matter, and please remember, that time is of the essence!

Sincerely,
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

America’s Immigration Problem from a Biblical Perspective

In late autumn, in the month of Kislev, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes’ reign, I was at the fortress of Susa. Hanani, one of my brothers, came to visit me with some other men who had just arrived from Judah. I asked them about the Jews who had returned there from captivity and about how things were going in Jerusalem.

They said to me, “Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.”

Nehemiah 1:1-3  NLT

Wailing Wall of Jerusalem

In my last post, I promised to address the United States’ Illegal Immigration problem from a biblical perspective, and one of the first things that I want to note is that Jerusalem, God’s holy city is and has been surrounded by a great wall, for many centuries.  In fact, when the Jewish refugees returned to their ancient home, after being captives of first Babylon, then Persia for seventy years, they returned to find their city in tatters.  Walls were torn down and burned.  Why was this wall so important to Jerusalem, and can we draw any parallels between their wall and the United States’ determination to build a wall today?

When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.

Nehemiah 1:4  NLT

As you well know, there has been a lot of outcry in the U.S. regarding the building of a wall along our borders.  On the one hand, we have people crying, “Build that wall!” while on the other hand, we have people equally outraged crying out against it.  As I was preparing to write this post about illegal immigration from a bibilcal perspective, the Lord placed Nehemiah on my heart.  Therefore, as I share his story with you, we will compare Jerusalem’s need for their wall to be restored, and our own nation’s cry for a wall.

Early the following spring, in the month of Nisan, during the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes’ reign, I was serving the king his wine. I had never before appeared sad in his presence. So the king asked me, “Why are you looking so sad? You don’t look sick to me. You must be deeply troubled.”

Then I was terrified, but I replied, “Long live the king! How can I not be sad? For the city where my ancestors are buried is in ruins, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.”

The king asked, “Well, how can I help you?”

With a prayer to the God of heaven, I replied, “If it please the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried.”

The king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked, “How long will you be gone? When will you return?” After I told him how long I would be gone, the king agreed to my request.

Nehemiah 2:1-6  NLT

After much mourning, praying and fasting about the sad state of his homeland and its broken wall, the king of Persia, whom Nehemiah served as a cup-bearer, inquired about his obvious heartache.  Nehemiah then told the king about his concern for Jerusalem, and his brothers and sisters, and the king immediately asked, “Well, how can I help you?”  Obviously Nehemiah had favor with both God and King Artaxerxes.  

The walls of Jerusalem were originally built to protect its inhabitants, including the Judean king, and the holy Temple of God, from the attacks of their enemies.  The walls were built and rebuilt to keep Jerusalem’s enemies out…

After praying to the Lord, Nehemiah asked King Artaxerxes to send him to Jerusalem, so that he could rebuild that once great city on a hill, the land of his fathers, and the king agreed to do so, giving Nehemiah a letter to Asaph, the manager of his forest, instructing him to give Nehemiah the lumber he needed to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, its gates, the Temple gates, and a house for Nehemiah.  King Artaxerxes also sent letters to the governors of the province west of the Euphrates River, instructing them to allow Nehemiah to pass safely through their land so he could rebuild the city of Jerusalem.  The king also sent horsemen and army officers along to protect Nehemiah.  (see Nehemiah 2:7-9).

11 So I arrived in Jerusalem. Three days later, 12 I slipped out during the night, taking only a few others with me. I had not told anyone about the plans God had put in my heart for Jerusalem. We took no pack animals with us except the donkey I was riding. 13 After dark I went out through the Valley Gate, past the Jackal’s Well, and over to the Dung Gate to inspect the broken walls and burned gates. 14 Then I went to the Fountain Gate and to the King’s Pool, but my donkey couldn’t get through the rubble. 15 So, though it was still dark, I went up the Kidron Valley instead, inspecting the wall before I turned back and entered again at the Valley Gate.

16 The city officials did not know I had been out there or what I was doing, for I had not yet said anything to anyone about my plans. I had not yet spoken to the Jewish leaders—the priests, the nobles, the officials, or anyone else in the administration. 17 But now I said to them, “You know very well what trouble we are in. Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire. Let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and end this disgrace!” 18 Then I told them about how the gracious hand of God had been on me, and about my conversation with the king.

They replied at once, “Yes, let’s rebuild the wall!” So they began the good work.

Nehemiah 2:11-18  NLT

walls
Rebuilding Jerusalem’s Walls

As I read the response of Jerusalem’s city officials, priests, nobles and members of the administration, I immediately drew a parallel to the response of many of our nation’s citizens cry for Donald Trump to, “Build that wall!”  Like those Jewish refugees from so long ago, our nation’s citizens are weary of the terrorism and hatred that is taking place within and without our nation’s borders.

Please bear with me as I attempt to speak for those United States’ citizens who love our great nation, and who, contrary to the accusations of many more liberal people within the nation, are neither bigoted, racist, hate-filled xenophobes, homophobes, or any of the other epithets aimed at them.  The men and women of this nation, who are crying out for our immigration laws to be obeyed, are simply men and women who care about this nation’s citizens and its children.  Those who want that wall built, do not want it built to keep good, law-abiding immigrants out, but to keep those out, who have no respect for the law.  We have not cried out for new immigration laws, but for those laws that have already been written, to be enforced.  There are some who accuse the people who believe this way of being inhumane.  Some even accuse Christians of not being “good Christians” because they hold these beliefs.  I disagree.

Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished.For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.

Romans 13:1-5  NLT

According to scripture,  a “good Christian” obeys the law of the land, providing that law does not cause us to disobey God.  Enforcing our nation’s immigration laws does not cause people to disobey God.  Furthermore, I would submit that many, who are promoting sanctuary cities, and encouraging people to disobey federal immigration laws, are not being humane, but anarchists.  Indeed, when we look at the actions of those who accused President Trump of being a demagogue, who stirred up violence in his campaign, we soon discover that it is many of these people, who are in fact, demagogues.  They have attempted to preempt free speech, by leading violent riots against anyone who does not support their views, on many college campuses across the country.  It is many of these people, rather than the ones supporting adherence to the nation’s immigration laws, who are engaging in anarchy.

anarchy

 [an-er-kee]
noun
1.  a state of society without government or law.
2.  political and social disorder due to the absence of governmental control:

The death of the king was followed by a year of anarchy.
3.  anarchism (def 1).
4.  lack of obedience to an authority; insubordination:

the anarchy of his rebellious teenage years.
5.  confusion and disorder:
               Intellectual and moral anarchy followed his loss of faith.

It was impossible to find the book I was looking for in the anarchy of his bookshelves.

Legal immigrants and refugees have been, and always will be welcome to settle into our country.  However, those enter into our country illegally, already demonstrate a lack of respect for the laws of our land.  It is utterly wrong to reward those who illegally enter this country, demonstrating their contempt for our laws, while other immigrants, who choose to come to this country legally, must wait for years sometimes.  Further, how is it logical or reasonable to expect the taxpayers of this nation to support illegal immigrants with free healthcare, no taxes, food benefits, and other aid, while many legal citizens are often unable to obtain the help they need???

Is it reasonable to welcome people that we know nothing about, people who may be terrorists and criminals, into this nation?  Absolutely not!  Those who claim that welcoming everyone into our land is humane are wrong.  It is not humane to our own citizens, who may become prey to terrorists and criminals, simply because some people wanted to feel good about themselves by letting anyone and everyone enter our country.

Laws are put into place for the good of the citizens of that land.  Immigration laws protect a nation’s citizens.  Look at how quickly  and horribly radical Islamic terrorism has invaded Europe, since those countries within the European Union have no borders.

A border wall between the United States and Mexico, another nation, is not the same as the Berlin wall, which separated brothers and sisters from the same country (indeed the same city!).  Just as Jerusalem’s walls were necessary and approved of by God, to protect Judea’s sovereignty, so too, is it necessary to protect the sovereignty of the U.S.A., and if that means building a wall, I feel certain the Lord would approve.


Footnotes:

© 2017
Cheryl A. Showers

America’s Immigration Problem

As I watched the preceding interview the other night, I grew more and more outraged.  Have we, the people of the United States totally lost all reason?  Have we lost the ability to judge between right and wrong?  What is wrong with deporting criminal illegal immigrants?  

The attorney defending Henry Sanchez Milian, the rape suspect in this interview, is callous, as he lays out his plan to accuse the victim, a fourteen year old girl, of falsely accusing the perpetrators of raping her.  Instead, he cold-bloodedly states, the girl had consensual sex with these men.  Would anyone with an ounce of sense actually believe that a fourteen year old girl would want to have sex with two men in the boy’s bathroom, during school hours?

Do you want to know what is equally disturbing?  Since that interview, where is the outcry from enraged feminists jumping to the defense of this poor little girl?  Wouldn’t you think that ALL women would be infuriated, knowing that this attorney intends to place the VICTIM on trial, in the place of the perpetrators?   

Montgomery County Superintendent Dr. Jack Smith

Yet, instead of an outcry against this heinous act, and the abominable plans of the defense attorney to attack the young victim, people defend these two young criminals’ right to be here in this country.  In fact, the school superintendent of Rockville, MD was actually offended by the many parents, who were upset with his school district for having these two men in the same class as fourteen year old children.  He even went so far as to threaten the parents in an email, “While I know this tragic incident has become part of a national political debate, I want to remind community members that the lives of real students have been forever affected.  While many have chosen to engage civilly in the conversation, far too many have crossed the line with racist, xenophobic calls and emails.  MCPS is working with law enforcement to identify those who are making threats toward our students and schools. This behavior will not be tolerated in our community.”

Has he lost his mind?  Should parents not be concerned?  A child was raped in one of his schools by not one, but two illegal immigrants, one of whom was a legal adult, at the age of eighteen, and the other, who lacked being an adult by months.  Perhaps Dr. Smith would better serve the public by protecting the lives of innocent children, rather than lecturing their concerned parents and accusing them of being racists and xenophobes, and threatening them for voicing their opinions.  After all, the first amendment still stands!

Then, in Martha MacCallum’s interview, the seventeen year old perpetrator’s attorneys blamed President Trump’s vitriol for people’s disgust with his client and the other perpetrator.  Really?  Does it not seem logical that people are angry because these two criminals broke the law by illegally entering this country, and then they broke it once again, by raping a little girl?  

Why is it so hard to understand that we are a sovereign nation of legal immigrants?  Immigrants are welcome to enter our country legally.  There are many legal immigrants who now live in this great land of ours, and they love our nation, and our nation loves them.  They are here because they chose to obey our nation’s immigration laws, just as our forefathers did.  Like every other sovereign nation, we welcome those immigrants who want to obey our laws.

However, those who choose to enter this country illegally are not welcome, because by doing so, they are breaking the law of the land.  Can this country sustain all of the illegal immigrants who sneak into it?  Should this country provide all of the rights and privileges that are afforded to our citizens and the legal immigrants and refugees that enter it?  Does this sovereign nation not have the right to decides who  enters into this land???  Let’s look at it another way…

Suppose someone broke into your home, and you caught him and called the police. When the police arrived at your home, they removed the intruder and took him away.  A few days later, when you returned home from work, you discover your young daughter lying on the bathroom floor, weeping and crying out for you.  Sobbing, she tells you that the intruder from the other night broke into your home and raped her.  

Outraged, you once again phone the police, and when they arrive at your home, you ask, “Why did you set that intruder free?  He raped my child.”

“I’m sorry this happened,” the officer replies, “but really, he had just as much right to come into this house as you do.  Although he wasn’t born in this home and this family, doesn’t he have a right to live in a nice home?”

“Indeed he doesn’t,” you reply.  “This is MY home, and MY family!  I have a right to lock my doors and protect my family from ALL aliens who do not belong here.  Furthermore, my daughter would never have been raped, if you had locked that criminal up, when you caught him the other night!”

“Sir, I’m sorry your daughter was hurt, but this man’s illegal entry into your home has nothing to do with her rape.  Lots of women and girls are raped in many different places.  Don’t be racist or xenophobic by not allowing anyone who wants to come into your home to enter, just because your daughter got raped this one time.”

Does this scenario seem reasonable?  Of course not!  It’s ridiculous – and yet, so are the many arguments and accusations being thrown at those who are against illegal immigration.  I’ve written this post from a logical perspective, yet I’ve heard many liberals accuse people who believe this way of being inhumane, and even unchristian.  Therefore, in my next post, I’ll address this issue from a biblical stance…

© 2017
Cheryl A. Showers

Fight the Good Fight

Fight

by Ben Huberman

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. Not sure how to participate?


What does it mean to fight, and is there ever a good reason to fight?  Is there anything worth fighting for?  Or against?

There are several different definitions for the word fight, in dictionary.com.  However, for the sake of this post, I will use the following definition:


verb (used without object), fought, fighting.

7.

to engage in battle or in single combat; attempt to defend oneself against or to subdue, defeat, or destroy an adversary.

8.

to contend in any manner; strive vigorously for or against something:

He fought bravely against despair.
verb (used with object), fought, fighting.

9.

to contend with in battle or combat; war against:

England fought Germany.

10.

to contend with or against in any manner:

We are currently living in a time, when many of the values that we hold dear in our hearts, are being turned upside down, and those of us, who call ourselves Christians, are expected to accept these changes silently.  If we don’t, we run the risk of being labeled “intolerant,” “homophobes,” “bigots,” “haters,” or worse.  So, we’re left with a question, “Do we strive and fight against these changes that seem to be inevitable, no matter what we do?  Or do we meekly accept the changes that grieve our very souls, in order to keep the peace?”

Fought the Good Fight
I’ve thought and prayed long and hard about these things, and, no matter what the world thinks of me, in the end, I have to be true, not to myself, but to the God and Creator of the universe, the One whom I serve, and love with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength.  When I am at the end of life, here on earth, as we know it now, and I meet with my Father, face to face, I want to be able to look at Him and say, the same words that the Apostle Paul said at the end of his life…

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.


So, what things are worth fighting for?  Certainly the lives of those, who are unable to care for or defend themselves, specifically unborn children.  Although, those who have been pro-choice have tried, for years, to claim that life begins only after a baby is born and takes his/her first breath, ultrasound and many other tests that are done routinely, prove otherwise.

Those of us who are pro-life, know that the instant the sperm fertilizes the egg, life begins, because in order to grow, something must be alive.  We know this from a physical standpoint, when at 12 weeks, we are  first able to hear the heartbeat of that unborn baby, and we know this from a spiritual standpoint, because scripture tells us of this fact…

 


13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body

    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in Your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.

Psalm 139:13-16 NLT

The Lord gave me this message:

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.
    Before you were born I set you apart
    and appointed you as My prophet to the nations.”

Jeremiah 1:4-5 NLT


Psalm 139-16

According to  the word of God, we live before we are even born, because He already knows us, even then.  Now, whether someone shares my spiritual beliefs or not, is beside the point, because I believe this with all my  heart, and because I believe this, I must fight for the life of every unborn child.  An unborn baby is  not merely a parasite, he/she is a living human.  Therefore, according to the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Regardless of whether you agree with me or not, the fact is, that abortion is the murder of an unborn baby.   Whenever someone snuffs out the life of the unborn child, you are stealing the very rights that every man, woman and child has been endowed with.  With every life that has been taken by means of abortion, you are taking the place of their Creator, and saying that their life is not as important as the mother’s life.  With each abortion, that is performed in this country that guarantees these rights, the child is denied the right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

These are the very things our forefathers believed were worth fighting for.  Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness are God-given rights (They are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…), NOT man-made rights.  Therefore, mankind DOES NOT have the right to take away someone else’s rights, whether those of grown men and women, those of little children and infants, or those of babies, who have yet to draw their first breath, while they grow in the safety of their mothers’ wombs.

As a follower of Christ, I must fight the good fight for these precious children, who are unable to speak for themselves…  Jesus made His love for children very clear, and He also made it clear that those who harm children have a heavy price to pay…

About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”

Jesus called a little child to Him and put the child among them. Then He said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on My behalf is welcoming Me. But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in Me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Matthew 18:1-5 NLT

Beloved readers, when I think of the millions of abortions that have been performed in the United States, since Roe vs. Wade in 1973, my heart breaks, because for every single one of those millions of unborn babies who was not welcomed into this world, millions of mothers, fathers, nurses and doctors were not only denying the children their right to live, they were also telling Jesus that He was not welcome in their lives either.

So we come back to the word fight.  Are there things worth fighting for?  Absolutely.  It is certainly worth fighting for the life of every unborn child, who has yet to draw his/her first breath.  Is there anything worth fighting against?  Again, the answer is absolutely.  Until we draw our  final breath, we must fight against evil, no matter what form it takes.

We must fight against the evil of racism, whether it comes in the form of white men hating black, hispanics or other ethnic groups, or whether black men hate white men.  For, no matter what form it comes in, racism is ugly, and those who hate others because of their skin  tone, also hate the God and Creator, who created ALL MANKIND in His image.

We must fight against the evil of sin, in every form, because it, like cancer, kills.  Until we draw our last breath, we must fight against hatred, bitterness, cruelty, and anger.

We must fight against anything that is detrimental to the family, as God created it to be.  For, in order to truly create a family, there needs to be a father (a man), and a mother (a woman).  Since the beginning of time, this has been the only way for a child to be conceived.  Without a man’s sperm, and the woman’s egg joining, mankind will cease to exist, and the fact remains that no matter how man has tried to alter this fact, both a man’s sperm, and a woman’s egg are still required to create life, and it will always be this way, no matter how man may try to alter or procreate in other ways.

Perhaps many of you  are now calling me intolerant, because I say that homosexuality and lesbianism are abhorrent to creation, because no matter what attempts they may make to change this, it cannot be done.  Lesbian women still need man’s sperm cells in order to procreate, and homosexual men still need women’s eggs and their uterus, in order for procreation to occur.  I didn’t design it this way, God our Creator did.  In fact, the Apostle Paul felt that homosexuality was a battle worth fighting over, more than 2 thousand years ago…

24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator Himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.

28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, He abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. 31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. 32 They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.

Romans 1:24-32  NLT

Now, more than 2 thousand years later, this is still a fight worth fighting.  Numerous children are being led astray by the lies the homosexual community spouts as they try to convince the public that homosexuality and lesbianism are normal, and should be accepted by all.  Yet, the fact remains that this lifestyle is not, nor has it ever been normal or right.  Those who choose to maintain this lifestyle choice do so, in rebellion to God, our Creator.

Ephesians 6-12

I’m sure that there are some, who are very angry and offended by what I have written here, but I don’t write these words to stir up strife.  Let me be very clear to all who question my motives, I do not hate homosexuals and lesbiansIndeed, I love them, for they are men and women, just like those of us who do not participate in that lifestyle.

My children have done many things that I didn’t like, when they were growing up.  Indeed, the truth is, that I hated some of the things they did, but I never once hated my children.  I never once stopped loving them.  The same holds true with those who call themselves gay.  Although I hate the homosexual acts they commit, and though I abhor many of the things they say, I don’t hate them.

Perhaps some of you reading, think me intolerant, and you’re absolutely correct.  As I have stated all along, in this post, there are some things that are worth fighting for, and some things worth fighting against.  Homosexuality, lesbianism, transgenderism, beastiality, pedophilia and other sexually deviant practices are sin against one’s own body, and against the bodies of others, and should not be tolerated, much less encouraged, under any circumstance, and while I have breath, I will speak out against such practices, and I will write against them, because such lifestyles are unhealthy and deadly.

More importantly, I fight against these things, regardless of the consequences, because these practices are against God’s will, and when I stand before my maker one day, I want to be able to say these words to my Lord and Savior:

As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.

2 Timothy 4:6-7 NLT

© 2016
Cheryl A. Showers

Obedience – How Important is it Really???

Many believers are under the misconception that because we are saved by grace, obedience is no longer necessary.  In fact, there are some who consider grace to be a license to sin.  So, in response to these prevailing attitudes, I have a question…  How important is obedience, really?

love-is-obedience

22 But Samuel replied,

“What is more pleasing to the Lord:
    your burnt offerings and sacrifices
    or your obedience to His voice?
Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice,
    and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.
23 Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft,
    and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols.
So because you have rejected the command of the Lord, He has rejected you as king.”

1 Samuel 15:22-23 NLT

Yes, this is an Old Testament reference, but let’s not forget this fact; the New Testament God we serve, is the same God who was in the Old Testament, and He hasn’t changed…

I am the Lord, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed. Ever since the days of your ancestors, you have scorned My decrees and failed to obey them. Now return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

Malachi 3:6-7 NLT

22 It was now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication. 23 He was in the Temple, walking through the section known as Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The people surrounded Him and asked, “How long are You going to keep us in suspense? If You are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

25 Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe Me. The proof is the work I do in My Father’s name. 26 But you don’t believe Me because you are not My sheep. 27 My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from Me, 29 for my Father has given them to Me, and He is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are One.

John 10:22-30 NLT

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Hebrews 13:8 NLT

17 Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.

James 1:17 NLT

You see, beloved friends, whether we lived in Old Testament times, New Testament times, or in the hereafter, God remains the same.  Therefore, since God found obedience pleasing in Old Testament times, and since He hasn’t changed, then we can infer that God still finds obedience pleasing and that He always will.  Furthermore, when we rebel against God by disobeying Him, then we have committed a sin as bad as the sin of witchcraft.  And though we are saved by grace, through faith, (Praise God!), God still commands and desires our obedience.

john-14-15-free-bible-verse-desktop-wallpapers

Moreover, because Jesus and God the Father are One, then His commands are God’s commands, just as God’s commands are His.  So, when we read Jesus’ words, we can also deduce that His words are God’s words, and it is the Lord who tells us:

15 If you love Me, obey My commandments.

John 14:15 NLT

Do you love Him?  Then, you MUST obey His commandments.  We don’t obey His commandments in order to be saved, because we know that we are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus…

God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

Ephesians 2:8-9 NLT

Therefore, we respond to God with love, as a result of His wonderful gift of salvation to us, and if we love Him, then we will obey His commandments.  What’s more, obedience is so important to Jesus, that He spoke to His disciples about it the night before He died…

15 If you love Me, obey My commandments.

John 14:15 NLT

I’ll ask you again.  Do you love Jesus???  Let’s see what He says about love and obedience…

“I have loved you even as the Father has loved Me. Remain in My love. 10 When you obey My commandments, you remain in My love, just as I obey My Father’s commandments and remain in His love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with My joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is My commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are My friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are My friends, since I have told you everything the Father told Me. 16 You didn’t choose Me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using My name. 17 This is My command: Love each other.

John 15:9-17 NLT

john-1423_5561_1024x768

The scriptures are very clear.  Obedience is absolutely necessary, if we love God.  It’s not an option; it’s a requirement, not for salvation, but for remaining in God’s love.  Think about it.  If Jesus’ whole life was lived in obedience to God, then how can we even begin to think that we are exempt from obedience?  Again, make no mistake, we must obey God, if we call ourselves His children…

46 So why do you keep calling Me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? 47 I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to Me, listens to My teaching, and then follows it. 48 It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. 49 But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.

Luke 6:46-49 NLT

21 “Not everyone who calls out to Me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to Me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in Your name and cast out demons in Your name and performed many miracles in Your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from Me, you who break God’s laws.

Matthew 7:21-23 NLT

Beloved friends, it doesn’t matter how eloquent a preacher is, if he doesn’t live in obedience to God, it means nothing.  It doesn’t matter how much you talk about the love of God, if you don’t obey Him, you simply don’t love Him, and if you don’t love Him and obey Him, then how can you remain in His love?  Do I sound harsh?  These aren’t my words, or my interpretation of the scriptures.  This is what Jesus said…

15 If you love Me, obey My commandments.

John 14:15 NLT

21 Those who accept My commandments and obey them are the ones who love Me. And because they love Me, My Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal Myself to each of them.

John 14:21 NLT

“I have loved you even as the Father has loved Me. Remain in My love. 10 When you obey My commandments, you remain in My love, just as I obey My Father’s commandments and remain in His love.

John 15:9-10 NLT

Beloved, here is the truth.  If you have been saved by God’s grace, you can’t help but respond to Him in love, and the out-flowing of that love is the desire to please the One who loved us, while we were still lost in sin.  When you truly love Christ, it isn’t a sacrifice to give up on our old ways.  What becomes of utmost importance to us, is the yearning to live a life that brings glory and honor to Him, and disobedience no longer has any place in our lives.

Does this mean that we will never mess up again?  Of course not!  As long as we walk in this body of flesh, there will be times when we sin and fall short of God’s glory.  The difference between one who lives a life of obedience for Christ, and fails from time to time, and one who refuses to live a life of obedience, is that the one will fall, repent, and cry out to God for mercy and help, while the other will justify his/her sin.

As you can see, beloved reader, obedience is not an option.  It is vital to the life all who truly love Christ.  So, let’s examine our own hearts and ask ourselves, “Do I really love Jesus?  Does my love show in my obedience to His word?”  Please join me in praying this prayer that David prayed…

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;

    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
    and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Psalm 139:23-24 NLT

© 2016
Cheryl A. Showers

Duggar’s 19 Kids and Counting Canceled: My Response to the Revelation of Child Molestation Committed by Josh Duggar & His Family’s Response to the Revelation

Josh Duggar

“Twelve years ago, as a young teenager I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends. I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life. I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption.”  (Josh Duggar – May 21, 2015)


If you live in the U.S., and you have access to newspapers, magazines, the internet or television, then by now, you’ve no doubt heard about Josh Duggar’s shocking statement, in response to allegations of child molestation.  Many people have commented and weighed in on this subject, with some valid points and some foolish ones.  This is an extremely difficult situation, for the victims of Duggar’s actions, first and foremost.  It is also extremely difficult for his parents, the siblings who weren’t molested, as well as Josh’s wife and children.  Many people have already cast judgment on Josh Duggar and his parents, and while I can’t judge the Duggar’s hearts, what can be judged is their behavior at the time Josh molested five different girls, and their behavior now.  In judging their behavior, let us remember that it is the responsibility of Christians, to help our brothers and sisters in Christ, when they fall into sin…


Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.  (Galatians 6:1  NLT)

20 “If righteous people turn away from their righteous behavior and ignore the obstacles I put in their way, they will die. And if you do not warn them, they will die in their sins. None of their righteous acts will be remembered, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 21 But if you warn righteous people not to sin and they listen to you and do not sin, they will live, and you will have saved yourself, too.”  (Ezekiel 3:20-21  NLT)


As a former victim of child molestation, I feel compelled to share my thoughts on this indredibly painful topic.  First, I’d like to address the announcement that Josh made.  One thing that jumps out to me in his account is the fact that Josh appears to tiptoe around the subject.  While he comes across as sounding regretful and repentant, there is a part of me that questions Josh’s sincerity.  If you glance at Josh’s statement, he seems to address the issue, but read it again.

Never once does Josh confess his sin, which is all over the tabloids.  Not once, does Josh admit to molesting anyone or committing incest, not to mention pedophilia.  Instead, he merely says, “I acted inexcusably…”  A teenager acting inexcusably could be guilty of any number of offenses, ranging from minor ones to major ones.  Perhaps, you think I’m being too picky, and that Josh’s disclosure of his “inexcusable actions” is enough.  However, the fact is that he hasn’t said enough.  In his statement to the press, Josh never really confessed to the crimes of molestation, pedophilia and incest that he allegedly committed.  Is it necessary for him to say the words?  Absolutely.  Just as an alcoholic needs to confess that he/she is an alcoholic, so too, a pedophile and a child molester must admit that he/she is a pedophile and a child molester.


If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  (1 John 1:9  NASB)


According to scripture, we must confess our sins in order to be forgiven.  According to dictionary.com, the definition of confess is:


verb (used with object)

  1. to acknowledge oavow (a fault, crime, misdeed, weakness, etc.) by way of revelation.
  2. to own or admit as true:
    I must confess that I haven’t read the book.
  3. to declare or acknowledge (one’s sins)especially to God or a priest in order to obtain absolution.
  4. (of a priest) to hear the confession of (a person).
  5. to acknowledge one’s belief or faith in; declare adherence to.
  6. to reveal by circumstances.
  verb (used without object)
  1. to make a confession; plead guilty; own:  to confess to a crime.
  2. to make a confession of sins, especially to a priest.
  3. (of a priest) to hear confession.

According to the above definition, when Josh Duggar gave his press report, he did not confess to, or own the crime he committed.  He only admitted to acting inexcusably.  Many of us have acted inexcusably, but our inexcusable actions did not include child molestation or incest.  Josh Duggar needs to own and confess what he has done, without hiding behind words that are meant to minimize the crime, so that it doesn’t sound as bad as it is.

Another thing that greatly disturbed me when I read Josh’s statement was this comment:


“… I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life…” (Josh Duggar – May 21, 2015)


Perhaps you’re wondering how I could possibly find this statement disturbing, but I urge you to read his entire statement, and take note on whom he focused.  Josh understood that if he continued down that road, he would end up ruining his life.  He’s absolutely right.  He may well have ruined his life with those actions, but what about the lives of his victims?

Regardless of whether he continued on that path, he certainly, at the very least, damaged the lives of his victims.  And who, besides God and Josh, truly knows how many other victims there were?  We do know that Josh’s actions have already harmed the lives of at least five, not including the rest of his brothers and sisters, his parents, his wife, and the babysitter and her family, as well.

I also found it terribly disturbing that in their interview on  The Kelly Files,  Mr. and Mrs. Duggar repeatedly minimized the seriousness of their son’s crime against his victims, two of whom were their own daughters!

duggars_kelly


J.B. Duggar:  “… And the girls, we talked to them, and they didn’t know that anything had happened because they were asleep…”

Kelly:  “Like when you went to bed at night during that time frame, were you scared?  Were you worried?  You know, he’s 14, he’s having this problem.  What’s going to happen when we go to sleep?”

J.B. Duggar:  “Right.  Nothing ever happened like that again in the girls’ bedrooms after that.”

Kelly:  “Ok.”

J.B. Duggar: “Ok.  So, we had safeguards that protected them from that.  But there was another incident where — two different incidents where the girls were, like, laying on the couch, and it was — he had touched, like, over the couch and actually touched their breast while they were asleep.  And so –“

M. Duggar:  “Over their clothes.”

J.B. Duggar:  “– over their clothes. And so it was a very difficult situation. But as we talked to other parents and different ones since then, a lot of families have said that they’ve had similar things happen in their families. And so — I mean, this is, for us, of course, this is public shame that our son did this back 12, 13 years ago…”

J.B. Duggar:  “… All of theseagain, this was not rape or anything like that, this was like touching somebody over their clothes. There were a couple incidents where he touched them under their clothes, but it was like a few seconds and then he came to us and was crying and told us what happened, and it was after that third time he came to us is where we really felt like, you know what?…”

Kelly:  “And we’ll going to get to that in one second. The subsequent incidents after the first one involved daughters who were awake, at least a couple of them?”

J. B. DUGGAR:  “There was a couple, yes. And they didn’t really understand, though, what happened.

Kelly:  “Yes. What –“

M. Duggar:  “It was more his heart, his intent. He knew that it was wrong. But in theirs they weren’t even aware. They were like, you know, it wasn’t — to them they didn’t probably even understand that it was an improper touch.”

Kelly:  “I know that the ultimate one before you really got help involved a very young daughter, and I’ll avoid the age because I don’t want to identify anyone specifically, but a single digit. I mean, what was that like for you to hear? You know, one, you must have thought for some time this is a pubescent boy, I don’t know what he’s going through, but he’s testing. But when it moves to a young daughter –“

J. B. Duggar:  “Right. At that point, that’s when we pulled him out of the house and we said, he can’t be here. And so, we pulled him out and then, he went through working with that man –“

Kelly:  “Yes. He goes through counseling.”

J. B. Duggar:  “Yes.”

Kelly:  “And then when he was done with the counseling, this is not like a licensed therapist, it’s somebody, a Christian-based –“

J. B. Duggar:  “Christian based. But I’ll tell you why.”

Kelly:  “Treatment facility…”


Kelly:  “… I’m asking you more as the father of your girls than as the father of Josh. You know, it must have been very hard to look at your little one and know the behavior had been ongoing, as difficult as your position was.”

J. B. Duggar: “Right. I was so thankful, though, that Josh came and told us. And our girls, even though this was a very bad situation, as we’ve talked to other families who have had, you know, other things happen, a lot of their stories were even worse…


To read the entire transcript of the Duggar’s interview, please click this link:

kelly_duggar_060415

The repeated minimization of Josh Duggar’s criminal actions against his sisters is disturbing.  In much the same way that King David, of Old Testament times, ignored the brutal assault that his son, Amnon, committed against his half-sister, Tamar, the Duggar’s also appear to ignore and minimize the traumatizing effects of their son, Josh’s, sexual assault against their daughters.  Indeed, protecting and defending their son’s reputation seems to be more important to them, than acknowledging the seriousness of the crime committed against their daughters.

As a matter of fact, the following statement, made by J.B. Duggar, shows just how out of touch with reality they are…


J.B. DUGGAR: I think you actually said pedophile, and a pedophile is an adult that preys on children. Josh was actually 14 and just turned 15 when he did what he did, and I think the legal definition was 16 and up for being an adult preying on a child. So he was a child preying on a child.

KELLY: You do not view Josh as a pedophile?

J.B. DUGGAR: No.


Just to clarify, Wikipedia provides this definition of pedophilia:

Pedophilia or paedophilia is psychiatric disorder in which an adult or older adolescent experiences a primary or exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children, generally age 11 years or younger.[1][2] As a medical diagnosis, specific criteria for the disorder extend the cut-off point for prepubescence to age 13.[1] A person who is diagnosed with pedophilia must be at least 16 years of age, but adolescents must be at least five years older than the prepubescent child for the attraction to be diagnosed as pedophilia.[1][2]


While it may be true that Josh committed these crimes when he was between the ages of fourteen and fifteen, at least one of the children was more than five years younger than he was.  Furthermore, what difference does one year or two make in a situation like this?  Let’s remember that Josh molested one of his sister’s, who was under ten years old.

The Duggar’s appeared to be more concerned about the release of Josh’s records, than the crimes he had committed against his sisters.  Quite frankly, this whole situation is troubling to me, though many Duggar’s fans claim that they are being unfairly attacked because of their Christianity.  I’m a Christian, and I find both Josh’s actions and their response to his actions terribly troublesome.

I believe the Duggars mishandled this situation from the very beginning.  Josh Duggar should be on the sexual predators list, just like all others who commit the same crimes.  Also, because of the nature of his crimes, he should never be left alone with children, who are unable to protect themselves.

Perhaps you think I’m being too hard on Josh Duggar and his family, but I would suggest that they did not then, and still have not taken this situation seriously enough.  I love the Lord, and I’m not questioning their faith in God, but consider this… 

Suppose there was a really nice young man at your church, who taught Sunday School, or worked in the nursery, and his background was just like Josh Duggar’s?  Would you, as a parent, feel comfortable leaving your children in the care of this man, who says he is a Christian, and he’s turned his life around, or would you remove your child from his class?  Knowing this person’s background, I believe that any parent who left their children in the care of someone who had committed incest and pedophelia, would be grossly negligent.  

Even if this person had totally turned his life around and given his heart to the Lord, I would not leave my child alone with him, because even after we are saved, we still struggle with temptation, and though I pray Josh has truly changed, to risk a child’s well being, when only God truly knows his heart would be a sin.  You see, up until very recently, this was something that was hidden in the dark, and it wasn’t Josh who brought it into the light.  He was content to leave it in the darkness, and because God hasn’t revealed whether or not it is now safe for Josh to be alone with children, I reiterate that it would be sinful and grossly negligent to leave a child alone with him.

19-kids-and-counting

Because of this scandal, TLC has now cancelled the Duggar’s hit television series, 19 Kids and Countingand I believe it was the right decision.  While I understand that many Christians love the Duggar’s show, and they see a double standard here, believing that this cancellation is an attack on Christianity, again, I disagree.  Should the Duggar’s be held to a lesser accountability than other television stars, who have fallen in disgrace due to their sins?  Should they be allowed to continue to air their show, when Bill Cosby, for instance, who has been accused of drugging and raping numerous women over the years, has had his syndicated series’ cancelled?  I would have to say no.  

Friends, let us remember that we, as followers of Christ, are held to a higher degree of accountability than the world is, and although we may have sinned and committed crimes before our salvation, we are not exempt from the consequences of those sins and crimes, just because we are born again.  Accepting Christ as our Savior does not give us a “Get out of Jail Free” card.  What we receive instead, is a much greater gift, instead.  For, when we are saved and delivered from our sins, we receive eternal life, and a “Get out of Hell Free” card.

I won’t deny that this scandal tripped many triggers in me, due to my past.  However, I’m not condemning Josh Duggar or his parents.  I truly do pray that he has turned his life around with help from the Lord.  I also pray that Mr. and Mrs. Duggar will stop minimizing the incest and molestation committed by Josh against their children and their babysitter, and face the true scope of their son’s sin, and the harm that was done to the victims, so that all of them can truly heal from their pain.  

As for my fellow believers, let us all agree to pray for deliverance and healing for everyone who was involved in this crime, both the victims, their families, and the perpetrator and his family. 

© 2015
Cheryl A. Showers

We Need a REAL Hero

caitlyn_bruce_jenner

Am I the only one who is tired of hearing what a hero Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner is for having the courage to have transgender surgery?  In this country, which prides itself on its tolerance, I’m sure that many will be offended by this post, and that some may even accuse me of being intolerant.  However, before you accuse me of intolerance, allow me to confess that I am indeed intolerant, as are my accusers.  Those who are offended and accuse me of being intolerant are intolerant of my intolerance, while I am indeed intolerant of sin, which steals, kills and destroys mankind.

How, pray tell, can Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner be called a hero, for undergoing a surgery and transformation that has won him/her more fame and fortune than he had before having this procedure?  Jenner’s transformation was for purely selfish reasons, to fulfill his own sinful desires, not to rescue or help other human beings.  Jenner never allowed his children’s feelings about this transformation to stop him from doing so, because this was what he desired, and that was more important to him than anything else.  Indeed, Jenner is the antithesis of what a hero really is, according to dictionary.com

  1. a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.
  2. a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal:
    He was a local hero when he saved the drowning child.

Self-serving deeds are not and have never been heroic, no matter what Hollywood or the media may say.  Most certainly, sin is not, nor has it ever been heroic.  Perhaps people have forgotten what true heroism is, and that’s why they call people such as Jenner and other movie and television stars, as well as professional sports men and women heroes, even though in reality, most haven’t done anything heroic, unless you call earning exhorbitant wages for jobs that don’t even require a full year’s work heroic.

Shall I tell you what a true hero is?  You need look no further than our men and women in uniform, who selflessly serve their country (you and me), for relatively low wages, considering their lives are at stake, all for the sake of the freedom that you and I enjoy.  Do you still wonder what a real hero is?  Then look no farther than the men and women in our cities, states, towns and counties, who selflessly enforce the law, so that you and I can live safely.

Heroes are the lifeguards at the pools and the beaches, who save countless lives, because that’s just how they roll.  Let’s not forget the men and women who provide medical services in order to keep us healthy and well.  Also, let’s not forget about the paramedics and EMT’s, who race to rescue people’s lives on a regular basis.

Are you still unsure about what a hero is?  Look at the many volunteer firemen and women all across this great nation, who at the sound of the siren, leave whatever they are doing, in order to run to the firehall, and try to put the fire out.  These men and women risk their lives in order to rescue people who may be trapped in a fire, and also to save their homes.  All of this is done selflessly, not for their own benefit, but for yours and mine.

Still confused?  Take a look at all of the fathers and mothers, who struggle to make their marriage work, not just for their own sake, but also for the sake of their children.  Look at the daddies and mommies, who work hard to provide for and care for their children’s needs.  Look at the many parents who would rather do without, in order to ensure their children have what they need.

There are many more examples of heroes, but let me leave you with just one more.  He was born with nothing, and raised by His mother and a man who wasn’t really His father.  Yet, He didn’t complain about it.  In fact, He went out of His way to be obedient to both His mother and His stepfather.  When He grew up, He hung out with alcoholics, prostitutes and derelects, and taught them a better way to live.  He was a radical, known as the Son of Man and the Son of God.

He was despised and rejected by many, and most people thought it was His own fault.  It never occured to them that He suffered for their sake.  They didn’t know that the sins of all mankind were put on Him, and that He was bruised for our transgressions and chastised for our iniquities.  He never told a lie, never stole anything, and never cheated or hated anyone.  Instead, He spoke truth and life, He gave His life for all of mankind, and He loved each and every person He ever met, with an all-consuming, never ending love.  He paid the price for the sins of all mankind, including Caitlyn/Bruce Jenner, so that all who believed in Him could live.  The price for sin is death, and so, He was tortured mercilessly and died a most painful death on a cross, after being whipped with a cat-o’-nine tails.  Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man was and is the ultimate hero, because He gave Himself entirely, so that we might live.  He is a hero, because He loved us and died for us, when we were His enemies and still lost in our sins.

He is MY hero, because He saved ME.

When you put Caitlyn/Bruce Jenner beside the heroes I listed, you quickly realize that he/she is most certainly NOT a hero in any way, shape or form.  No pun intended.

© 2015
Cheryl A. Showers

God Dreams and Spiritual Warfare

Last night, I had two different dreams, yet both had the same theme.  The dreams were what I call “God Dreams,” because both dreams were scripture filled, and they dealt with spiritual warfare.  I wasn’t sure if the first dream really was from the Lord or not, because it dealt with a friend, and usually, when I have a “God Dream,” I KNOW it is from the Lord.  Yet even though I didn’t know for sure if it was a “God Dream,” I felt a strong compulsion to share it with my friend in writing right away, before I forgot it.  I felt very strongly in my spirit that my friend was in danger and needed to be warned of this danger.

Image Credit: tituslive.com
Image Credit:
tituslive.com

In the second dream, Abraham, Isaac and Israel were there, as were many others, including me, and we were all joined in an angelic battle against evil.  I felt the darkness all around me, as many, who I thought were friends, who were saved, turned out to be evil.  I remember battling against the evil, and many good people were killed.  Even some of the angelic beings, who loved and served the Lord were killed.  Yet, even so, it was during these battles that I witnessed many miracles, as the dead were raised, and some who were wounded, were instantly healed.

One thing I remember during this dream, which, like all dreams, seemed so real at the time, even though there was evil and darkness all around, I had no fear.  Now, you should know that I do not consider myself to be a brave or courageous person.  I DON’T like pain, and though I love the Lord with all of my heart, I am in no hurry to die.  Yet, I waged war against evil in that dream, and I was fearless.  Were there times when I was afraid?  Yes, the war that was taking place was very real, and there were times when my heart would pound a little harder, but the Spirit of the Lord was upon me, and I knew, and heard it said in my dream, over and over, “The battle is the Lord’s.”

I won’t share my other dream with you, because that wasn’t meant to be shared with anyone but her.  However, suffice it to say that she, too, was in the midst of a spiritual battle.

Image Credit: Tales From A Mother
Image Credit:
Tales From A Mother

I’ve thought of these dreams off and on all day, today, and I feel such an urgency within.  Friends, I truly believe those dreams were meant to remind me, and now you, as I share this with you, that we are living in very dark times.  We are living in a time and place that calls good evil, and evil good.  We are living with those who call right wrong, and wrong right.  We live among those who call the darkness light, and the light darkness, and there are too many, who call themselves children of the Lord, who don’t know the difference.

What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.  (Isaiah 5:20  NLT)

Beloved reader, heed my warning.  The time is upon us, when there are false teachers, false prophets and even apostates teaching false doctrine, and many are falling for it, because they do not KNOW the Lord.  Oh, many know of Him, but they do not truly KNOW Him, because they don’t want to know Him.

He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the sons of Israel.  (Psalm 103:7  NASB)

What about you?  Do you know God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ?  Or do you simply know of Him?  Do you know His ways?  Or do you just know about the things that He’s done?

God calls Himself our husband.  Jesus is the bridegroom, and we are the bride.  I’ve been married for thirty-four years to the same man, and you know what?  I KNOW him.  I KNOW his ways.  My husband doesn’t have to say a word to me, and with just one glance, I KNOW what he is thinking.  We KNOW each other so well, that we finish one another’s sentences.  I know what makes my husband smile, and I know what makes him angry.  I know what makes my husband happy, and I know what hurts him.  When my husband hurts, something within me hurts too, because I KNOW him so well, and I love him.

That’s the kind of relationship that God wants with each one of us.  He wants to reveal His character, His intimate ways to us, not just His mighty acts.  He wants us to feel His joy when a soul is saved, and He wants us to feel His pain, when someone is lost.  He wants us to love what He loves, and to hate what He hates.  Yet, sadly, most people will never know Him that well.

Instead, most will settle for a “prophetic word” from someone who may be nothing more than a glorified fortune-teller, wrongly called a prophet in the church.  People like those prophets who prophesy “entrepreneurship” or “money in your future.”  They like when people tickle their ears, and they believe what they want to believe.  What about you?  Do my words offend you?  Beloved, I don’t want any false prophets tickling my ears.  I want to know God so well, that when someone lies, I know it deep within my being.  I want the truth, not a lie that gives me false hope.

I want to hope for what is real, and I don’t need someone to prophesy over me, because I KNOW the Lord, and HE talks to me.  Does He talk to you?  Or are you so busy listening to what your pastor says, that you can’t hear God?  Pastors are meant to help us draw closer to God, NOT to take His place.

Do you know what His word says?  Or do you only know what you’ve been taught that the word says?  Beloved, I urge you to talk with God, listen to God, and read His word, so that you can begin to know Him and His ways.  Don’t simply read what I write, or what some other author writes, or what some evangelist or worse yet, some televangelist says.  We are ALL human.  We ALL sin and fall short of the glory of God.  We ALL get it wrong sometimes.  SOME get it wrong ALL of the time, and if you don’t know God, you won’t know the difference.  Someone could be “ministering” to you now, and because you don’t really know God, he/she could be leading you straight to hell.  And understand this, my friend, YOU will be held accountable if you don’t know God, because God has given every one of us ample opportunity to know Him.

For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.  (2 Corinthians 5:10  NLT)

Beloved reader, the dreams I had last night are a warning.  Let he who has an ear hear that warning.  The days are getting darker and darker, and there is a war taking place in the spiritual realm that most don’t even know of.  That war is being waged for your soul and your spirit, and if you don’t know God, you don’t stand a chance.  Do I sound melodramatic?  Yes!  I know I do, because it is THAT serious.  Therefore, I will close with the words Moses spoke to the children of Israel before he died.  And I pray with all my heart, that you would heed these words and choose life!

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 30:15-20  NLT)

© 2015
Cheryl A. Showers

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The Evil All Around Us

The evil all around us permeates the atmosphere, invading homes, neighborhoods, cities, towns, municipalities, states, regions and nations with fear and angst, deception and theft, as well as hatred and murder.  From racist cops to criminals and terrorists, including many others in between, evil is all around us.  How did this evil get here, and who is responsible for it? 

While most people like to believe that mankind is basically good, with only a few who are capable of evil, I subscribe to another, less popular viewpoint.  It is my belief that since Adam and Eve partook of the fruit, forbidden to them by God Almighty, the Creator of mankind, everyone birthed thereafter, was born with a sinful nature, which makes each one of us susceptible to evil.  Indeed, as the knowledge of man increases, so does his capacity for evil, and it is the sin, into which we are all born, that destines us to death. 

Image Credit: nymphschampions.wicki.com
Image Credit:
nymphschampions.wicki.com

Many, who don’t ascribe to my views often pose this question to those who believe as I do, “If all of mankind is truly born into sin, then how can there be any good people?  The answer to that question is that the Creator of all humanity has given everyone a free will, which enables them to choose whether to succumb to their sinful nature, or choose to do good.  Furthermore, He gave people (who, because of their sinful nature, were all condemned to die once, and after that, receive judgment), the option to receive the free gift of salvation and redemption, if they would simply choose to have faith in Him and His Son, Jesus.  However, as simple as that sounds, our humanity rebels against the notion that our salvation rests on something as simple as having faith in the One who created us.

When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. 
(Romans 5:12  NLT) 

Adam’s single act of disobedience to God’s command led to the first murder, which, incidentally, was also the first death, when his and Eve’s firstborn son, Cain, killed his younger brother, Abel, in a jealous rage.  I’m certain, that when Adam and Eve partook of the fruit, in an act of rebellion against their Creator, they never dreamed that this single act of disobedience would lead to the devastating loss of not just one, but two sons.  For when Cain slew his brother, Abel, not only was Abel lost to them, but Cain was as well, for the Lord punished him by cursing the ground he walked on, forbidding it to yield crops to him.  He also banished Cain from the land, and condemned him to walk the land as a homeless wanderer.  From Cain’s vicious and murderous attack on Abel, man grew more and more sinful, and more and more violent.  If Adam’s one act of disobedience could have such devastating effects, that have continued to grow more and more horrible, with each generation that followed, how do we effect the world and the people around us, when we reject our Creator and His commands?

Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins. 
(Ecclesiastes 7:20  ESV)  

Image Credit: truth459.blogspot.com
Image Credit:
truth459.blogspot.com

Because each of us is born with a sinful nature, sin is instinctual to us.  Children need to be taught what good is, and how to do it.  Yet, no one has ever had to teach a child how to sin, because that comes naturally to us.  Have you ever noticed that when a child begins to crawl around and walk, discovering the world around him, he immediately begins discovering the many dangers around him?  Though we try to baby proof our homes, there is always some danger that the toddler discovers, that causes our hearts to pound in fear for him.  It is during this time, that we begin to tell the little one, “No,” and the child quickly learns what “No” means.  However, although that child knows that it is wrong to touch certain objects or to go to certain places within (or sometimes even outside) of the home, for some reason, the child seems to gravitate towards those things.  Did you ever wonder why that is?  It is because that baby, just like every other baby born after Adam ate the forbidden fruit, is born with a sinful nature, and it is the responsibility of the parents and those who are involved in that child’s life to teach him what is good, and how to do good.

Though all of us have different weaknesses, every one of us has been guilty of some wrongdoing, and no one had to instruct us on how to do the wrong thing.  Indeed, no one even needs to tell us that it is wrong.  For just as we are all born with a sinful nature, we are also born with the knowledge of right and wrong, because God, in His infinite mercy, has written His law on the hearts of mankind, so that no one can truly say, “I didn’t know my actions were wrong.”  In fact, that very law that is written on our hearts not only checks our actions, but even our very thoughts, so that we also feel guilty, when we are simply thinking about those things that are wrong.

14 Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know His law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. 15 They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.
(Romans 2:14-15  NLT)

“If this is true,” some may ask, “then why do so many people commit such heinous crimes, without feeling any guilt?”  The answer to this question is very simple, yet very profound.  For although we may feel guilty when we first commit a sin, the more we engage in that or other sins, the less guilty we will feel about it, until, eventually, our conscience is seared. 

12 Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters.  Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God.  13 You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.
(Hebrews 3:12-13  NLT)

This is true for all sins, no matter how big or small they may seem to be.  For God does not measure the size of a sin to determine one’s guilt or innocence.  God hates ALL sin, because sin is deadly.  It’s like cancer, killing and destroying every cell within us, until we, like every man, woman and child, since Adam sinned against God, finally die.  For those, whose hearts are hardened against God when they die, there will be no other chance for redemption.  Those, who choose to believe in their Creator, and His Son, Jesus, will receive eternal life, though their earthly bodies have died.

Yet, in spite of God’s great mercy and compassion on mankind, the overwhelming majority of mankind will choose to reject their Creator, choosing, instead, to follow their own sinful nature.  Although God has written His law on the hearts of humanity, they will still choose to go to hell, rather than heaven.  Indeed, despite the knowledge that is written on every heart, they will still choose to ignore that knowledge and follow the road to destruction.  They even make jokes about it, saying, “Well, if I go to hell, I won’t be alone.  All of my friends will be right there with me.” 

13 “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate.  The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.  14 But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” 
(Matthew 7:13-14  NLT)

When I look at the world we live in today, it both saddens and sickens me to see how much evil has increased since I was a child.  When I was a child, there were the occasional fights in school, talking too much in class and chewing gum.  Most crimes were limited to big cities, which were far away, and though we had bomb drills, and lived during the Cold War, we had no fear, for who would ever be foolhardy enough to dare attacking us on American soil?

12 Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. 
(Matthew 24:12  NLT)  

Now, I am fifty-four years old, and in today’s world, children and their parents fear they might not come home from school, alive, each day.  We now live in a world, where children plot and kill their parents, and where not only fathers, but also mothers, murder, abuse and molest their own children.  There are also police, who are corrupted by power, and use it to commit violence and homicides against both innocent citizens and unarmed criminals, thereby violating their duty to protect and defend.  Though they have made an oath to heal to the best of their ability, and to do no harm, doctors and nurses murder the very patients they have sworn to care for.  Yes, things like this have been happening since Adam’s rebellion, yet it is becoming more and more prevalent, and the crimes that people commit against one another are becoming more and more heinous.

Image Credit: openwalls.com
Image Credit:
openwalls.com

As we look at the evil all around us, and perhaps even within us, it would be easy to lose heart.  Yet, the very God who created us, also loves us with an unfathomable love, and He knew, long before He created the heavens and the earth, that Adam would sin against Him, thereby ushering sin into His beautiful creation.  Therefore, because sin is so deadly, God had a plan worked out for the redemption of mankind, who was created in His image, even as He breathed life into Adam and Eve.

For the penalty for sin is death, and because sin is so deadly, there are no exceptions.  Whether you eat a forbidden fruit, or whether you destroy the life of another human being, the requirement for the atonement of sin is the death of the sinner, for the sins he has committed.  Yet, despite the evil all around us, God’s love for mankind was so great that He made a way to redeem the life of man…

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” 
(John 3:16  NLT)  

God knew the depths to which the depravity of man would sink, still, even so, His love for us was so great, that He was willing to sacrifice His only Son, so that we could live.  He knew that Nero would be born, and that he would commit terrible, torturous atrocities against those who followed Christ.  He knew that Adolf Hitler would one day, destroy the lives of untold millions, and in the process, slay six million Jewish men, women and children.  God knew that Osama bin Ladin would rise up and kill thousands, in the name of his false god, Allah, as he spewed out violence and hatred.  God also knows that one day the antichrist will rise up against Christ and His people, torturing and killing countless men, women and children.  Still, God chose to give the life of His one and only Son, so that you and I could live and be with Him in eternity.  And don’t think that Christ had no say in the matter, for He made it very clear that His love, is so great, that He laid His life down for us willingly…

17 “The Father loves Me because I sacrifice My life so I may take it back again.  18 No one can take My life from Me.  I sacrifice it voluntarily.  For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again.  For this is what My Father has commanded.” 
(John 10:17-18  NLT) 

Yes, it is true that we live in a world with evil all around us, yet we don’t have to be discouraged or afraid.  For Jesus has told us in His word that as long as we live here on earth, there will be pain and tribulation, but we mustn’t fear, for He has overcome the world.  In fact, the word of God also tells us something else that many Christians in the western hemisphere have chosen to ignore…

12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.  13 Instead, be very glad – for these trials make you partners with Christ in His suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing His glory when it is revealed to all the world.

14 If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you.  15 If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs.  16 But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian.  Praise God for the privilege of being called by His name!  17 For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household.  And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News?  18 And also, “If the righteous are barely saved, what will happen to godless sinners?” 

19 So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for He will never fail you.
(1 Peter 4:12-19  NLT)

Sadly, not only do these “leaders of the church” ignore this passage, they also accuse those who suffer of having weak faith, causing believers to doubt their own faith in God, sometimes even causing them to turn away from the Lord, because they feel hopeless.  Those so called “leaders,” who make these false claims that someone’s suffering is their own fault, because a true child of God would claim healing and walk in it, will be held accountable for every false statement they have made in the name of God.  Indeed, the blood of every man, woman and child they have caused to stumble and turn away from God, will be on their hands.  For those who do these things, causing emotional pain and spiritual death, are just as evil as those who cause physical harm to another human being, and God will hold them accountable for every sin they committed in the name of Jesus.

As I stated earlier, there is evil all around us.  The spirit of evil dwells in the hearts and souls of many men and women, and it also exists in Satan and his demons.  Even so, when the enemies of our souls attack us, remember this, and take hope; though the evil all around us can steal our bodies and our minds, those who belong to Christ, should have no fear, for the evil cannot touch our spirits, which belong to Christ, and will one day arise from the grave in triumphant victory, clothed in our heavenly bodies.  Therefore, when you read of evil in the news, or watch it on the television, fear not!  For if God is for us, who can be against us?

It’s Not a Black Thing or a White Thing – It’s a Jesus Thing

The following is a letter that I posted on Facebook this morning, and I believe it’s important enough to post here as well, for it is vital to the life of our church and nation:

Greetings to ALL My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

To each and every man, woman and child, who has surrendered themselves to God in Christ Jesus our Lord, out of a heart filled with love and gratitude to our Savior, who willingly paid the penalty of death for your sins and for mine, I greet you in the name of Jesus.  I’m writing this letter to you because my heart is filled with love and grief for the church, and for this beautiful nation that God has blessed us with.  I have always felt honored and blessed to live in this great nation, which was founded on the principles that…

… all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness… (Declaration of Independence)


I believe with all my heart that this is true, not because the Declaration of Independence says so, but because the bible tells me so…

26 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.  28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female.  For you are all one in Christ Jesus.  29 And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.  (Galatians 3:26-29  NLT)

Beloved readers, do you understand what this means? It means that once you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you become a child of God and a joint heir with Jesus, Himself!  It doesn’t matter whether you are rich or poor, a servant or a king, black or white or any other shade in between, you are a child of God, who loves each of His children equally.  It doesn’t matter whether you are very intelligent, or whether you have a learning disability, your Daddy (Abba/Father) loves you just as much as He loves His other children.  It doesn’t matter if your parents loved you more or less than your siblings, because God is your Father now, and He is just.  He loves you just as much as He loves me.  He loves you just as much as He loved King David, the Apostle Paul, Peter, James and John.  Do you understand?

If you understand this, you need to understand something else.  When you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and you become God’s child, you also gain some new siblings, who are also children of God.  Do you know what this means?  It means that you have brothers and sisters from every race and culture, and because they are your siblings, you have to love them, no matter what, because Daddy loves them, and if Daddy thinks they’re worthy of His love, don’t you think they’re worthy of yours too?

Now, I’ve told you that I’m writing this letter because my heart is filled with love and grief for the church, and for our wonderful nation, and I’ve established a very good case for why we should love ALL of our brothers and sisters in the Lord, so now, I’m going to take this love thing a step further, before I share my grief with you.  Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord, not only are we supposed to love our brothers and sisters, but according to the bible, we’re supposed to love our enemies too…

43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”  (Matthew 5:43-48  NLT)

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”  (John 3:16  NLT)

After reading these words of Jesus, it is very clear that God expects us to love each other AND our enemies. There is no wiggle room, no way to escape this.  And, beloved reader, please allow me to make this perfectly clear, for it is of the utmost importance that you understand.  Jesus isn’t saying, “Try to love your enemies.”  He isn’t saying, “Love good people.”  Jesus is COMMANDING us to LOVE our enemies.  Do you still need more evidence?

9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved Me. Remain in My love. 10 When you obey My commandments, you remain in My love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in His love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with My joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is My commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  (John 15:9-13  NLT)

14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  (Matthew 6:14-15  NLT)

Do you want to be forgiven?  Then forgive ALL who hurt you.  Do you want to remain in God’s love?  Then love ALL mankind.

This brings me to the reason for my grief.  We are all aware of the deep rooted racial anger that exists in our country.  It is like a dark plague that is killing the church and this once great nation.  You may ask why I say it is killing the church, and I will tell you, but first, I will remind you of my love for each and every one of you, my beloved readers, friends and enemies.  Some may read what I am saying and take offense, and I can live with that. However, one of the things that truly grieves me is that some of my brothers and sisters in the Lord may take offense, and it is this very thing that is killing the church.

Let’s talk about what is going on in our country, not as black or white people, but as Jesus’ people, okay?  You see, when we became children of God, we took on HIS identity.  I am no longer defined by my race or ethnicity, and neither are you, brothers and sisters.  I am now called “Christian,” and when I interact with people of the world, I want them to see Christ in me, not the white in me.  Also, when I look at my brothers and sisters of different races, I don’t see the color or lack of color in them, I look to see the same Jesus, who lives in me, in them too.  When I see the Christ in you, my beloved brothers and sisters, how can I help but love you?

Not only that, but when I look at those who don’t know Christ, it isn’t their color that I care about, it’s their heart.  My heart is filled with love for those who don’t know Christ, because I know the One who could set them free from their anger and bitterness against people of different races.  I grew up in a racist household, and I know firsthand that racism breeds bitterness, and that terrible root of bitterness chokes the life out of every other relationship the bitter person has.

Church, the reason I’m grieving is because WE are supposed to be different from the world.  WE are the ones who are supposed to be setting the examples for the world, and yet, how many of us have found ourselves caught up in the anger that is all around us?  How many of us are part of the problem, instead of trying to be part of the solution?  What if God’s people united as ONE, just as Jesus prayed we would be, and what if we humbled ourselves and prayed, and turned from our wicked ways?  And what if we joined together, seeking God’s face, and asking Him to bring unity and love to our land?  I believe God would hear our cry and He would heal our land.  Do you know why?  Because the bible says so.

14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.  (2 Chronicles 7:14  NKJV)

But sadly, something is preventing us from uniting and praying together, and do you know what that something is?  This may be offensive to you, but the words I write are written in love.  My heart’s desire is for God to heal our land, and in order for this to happen, we must humble ourselves, but PRIDE is preventing this from happening.  You see, there are some among us, who are proud of our race.

Now, I have to be honest with you, and if it offends you, I encourage you to study God’s word, and pray about it.  You see, there are some white people who are proud of their lack of pigment.  There are also some black people who are very proud of their dark pigment.  Now, here’s where I stand on the matter.  I’m white, but I’m neither proud nor ashamed of it.  I didn’t choose to be white.  In fact, I had nothing to do with it, because long before He laid the foundations of the earth, God had determined that I would be a white woman.  He’s the One who carefully formed me, and knitted me together in my mother’s womb, and for reasons that only He knows, He didn’t bless me with as much melanin as some of my darker brothers and sisters.  That’s okay.  I don’t feel slighted.  In fact, in the whole scheme of eternity, my lack of melanin, and someone else’s abundance of melanin is really unimportant.  After all, the current tent that I dwell in is only temporary, and at nearly fifty-four years old, it’s starting to break down.  In fact, one day in the not so distant future, it will finally wear out, and my spirit will leave this body.  At some point in time that only God knows, I will eventually receive an eternal body (my forever body), which will never wear out and die, so why should I care about the color of my current flesh?

Indeed, people of God, why should any of us care about our skin tone?  You don’t have to tell me the answer to my next question, but it is something you need to pray and talk to our Father about it.  Do you have white pride?  Do you have black pride?  Are you prideful of your race?  If so, you need to lay that pride aside and humble yourself and pray for forgiveness. You do know that Lucifer was cast down out of heaven, because he was proud of the body God had given him, right?  Do you think that God likes racial pride?  Think again.  If you want something to boast about, children of God, boast about this:

30 God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made Him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; He made us pure and holy, and He freed us from sin. 31 Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.”  (1 Corinthians 1:30-31  NLT)

14 As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. 15 It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. 16 May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God.  (Galatians 6:14-16  NLT)

Beloved children of God, it’s time for us to stop allowing our flesh to control our thoughts and our attitudes.  It’s time for us to stop taking sides in the current trouble our nation faces.  The fact is that there are good white cops, and there are bad white cops. There are good black cops, and there are bad black cops.  There are good black men, who have been the innocent victims of bad white cops, and vice versa.  However, there are also dangerous and criminal black men, who have attacked good white cops, and been shot in self-defense, and vice versa.  So, what can we, as children of the Most High God, do to bring peace and righteousness to our land???

We can start by repenting of any pride that we may be clinging to.  We can unite as One church in this battle for peace in our land – no more “white” churches or “black” churches.  Let us come together as One people, not to preach or shout or argue about why “I” am right and “You” are wrong. Instead, let us come together as the sons and daughters of God, and let us humble ourselves, as Jesus did…

1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from His love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.  3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.


You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.  6 Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.  When He appeared in human form, 8 He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

9 Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  (Philippians 2:1-11  NLT)

My beloved brothers and sisters, do you want to heal our land and bring about a true and lasting peace?  Or, do you want to hold on to your bitterness and anger? Do you want to prove that you are right, holding fast to your pride?  Or do you want to surrender it to Christ and join together with ALL of your brothers and sisters, humbling ourselves and praying?  Do you want people to see the black or white in you?  Or do you want them to see the Christ in you?  Are you willing to risk offending friends and family for the sake of the cross?  Or are you ashamed of this gospel of peace?

Shall we teach our children to respect law enforcement officers and pray God removes the bad ones?  Or should we teach them to rebel against the law? Shall we love our friends and hate our enemies? Or shall we love our enemies, with no regard to race, and bless them, as Jesus commanded?  The choice is yours.  Shall we choose a time to unite and come together to humble ourselves and pray and seek God’s face?  Or will we hold on to our bitterness and malice towards another race, refusing to forgive?  The choice is yours.  If you want to meet and join together, please leave a comment, and we can figure out where and when to join together and cry out to Jesus for our children, our law enforcement officers and our land.

In closing, I’d like to share the priestly blessing with each one of you.  For not only are we children of God, but we are also a royal priesthood…

24 “The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
26 The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.” 

In the blessed name of Jesus, I remain,

Your Sister Cheryl

© 2015
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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A Lie By Any Other Name Is Still A Lie

16 There are six things the Lord hates — no, seven things He detests: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, 18 a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, 19 a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family.

~ Proverbs 6:16-19  NLT ~

Is it me, or does it seem that lying has reached epic proportions?  Think about it…  Politicians (including the President), whom we vote into office, lie so much and so often, that we’ve come to expect it from them.  Indeed, it has become the norm, and most people are seldom even shocked or angered when a politician is caught in a lie.  And what about lawyers, who are supposed to be teachers and keepers of the law?  Most are quick to lie, especially if it means winning their case.  And what do we do, when we discover that someone has told yet another lie? Many  just make jokes about it…

18 Just as damaging as a madman shooting a deadly weapon 19 is someone who lies to a friend and then says, “I was only joking.

~ Proverbs 26:18-19  NLT ~

Let’s look at Brian Williams, NBC’s anchorman, who claimed that while he was in Iraq in 2003, his helicopter was shot at and hit by ground fire. However, this wasn’t true…

An honest witness does not lie; a false witness breathes lies.

~ Proverbs 14:5  NLT ~

Many people were outraged, when Stars and Stripes published the truth, as reported by U.S. soldiers, who were actually involved in the incident, Williams claimed to have been a part of, and according to them, his helicopter was an hour behind the ones that were shot at.  After being caught in his lie, Brian offered the following apology…

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 1:9  NLT ~

I’m troubled by the fact that Williams didn’t apologize for lying or misleading the public.  He merely apologized for making a mistake. Below is the definition for the noun, mistake according to dictionary.com

  1. An error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment, caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, insufficient knowledge, etc.
  2. A misunderstanding or misconception.

A mistake is unintentional, but he deliberately lied, and not just once either, though his apology seemed to imply that.  The truth is that he has told this repeatedly over the years, on NBC’s Nightly News, in books, in print, and also in the above interview with David Letterman.  With each telling of the story, it has evolved over the years, and Williams’ personal involvement in the shooting has grown from zero to hero, His apology seems very insincere too, because he never accepts responsibility for lying.  Instead, after being caught in his lie, Mr. Williams confessed that he “made a mistake in recalling the events of twelve years ago…”

Now, as you might imagine, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly had something to say about Mr. Williams’ lie, near the end of one of his segments.  Unfortunately, O’Reilly’s statement makes it sound as though ‘t Williams’ lie wasn’t a problem, but the fact that he got caught in his lie…

“He knows what he did was wrong, a lot of people exaggerate their life experience, and he did and he got caught.” 

Of course, Bill O’Reilly has also been called out on several occasions recently, by former coworkers at CBS, who say that his claim of having been in the “war zone” during the Falklands war between the United Kingdom and Argentina in the 1980’s, is false.  In fact, NO American journalists ever reached the war zone in the Falkland Islands and other territories in the Southern Atlantic Ocean, during the conflict.  The difference between Mr. O’Reilly and Brian Williams, is that O’Reilly chose to attack those who called him out for lying, admitting to no wrong doing.

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.”

~ Matthew 7:1-2  NLT ~

Within just a few days of the aforementioned scandals, we learned about yet another scandal, this time from one of the members of the President’s cabinet.  While on CBS Evening News, recently, when a homeless veteran told V.A. Secretary, Robert McDonald, that he had been in the Special Services unit of the armed forces, McDonald replied, “Special forces? What years? I was in special forces.”  Sadly, that turned out to be a lie…

McDonald’s lie was discovered and reported within days of Brian Williams’ scandal, and like Williams, Mr. McDonald publicly apologized…  Furthermore, just as Brian Williams’ apology seemed insincere to me, Robert McDonald’s apology also seemed phony.  For, just as Williams did not confess and apologize for lying, neither did McDonald, who claimed he had “incorrectly stated that I had been in Special Forces.  That was inaccurate and I apologize to anyone that was offended by my misstatement.”   According to this apology, McDonald was just trying to connect with the homeless man and while doing so,  he misstated his military history.  Really??? Give me a break!

In the midst of all these lies, the media is having a hey day, as they gather around the liars like vultures, ready to feast on the road kill.  Meanwhile, the military and its veterans are outraged over the lies, and rightly so.  The general public is also incensed over the lies, and I have to admit, I was too.  Then, I started thinking…

How many of us have lied and justified or excused ourselves for doing so?

“It’s just a little white lie…”

“I only told a small fib…”

“I exaggerated about what happened…”

“I misspoke…”

Have you ever lied to your spouse or your parents about how much money you’ve spent on something or where you’ve been?  Have you lied to your boss about why you really called out?  Did you ever tell someone to say you weren’t home, so you wouldn’t have to talk to the person at the door, or answer the phone?

Have you tried to justify your lie, because you wouldn’t need to lie if that person didn’t always over-react to situations? Or perhaps you’ve excused yourself, because one little lie never hurt anyone…  Maybe you’ve even told yourself it doesn’t really matter, because no one will ever find out about it anyway…

17 For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.

~ Luke 8:17   NASB ~

Many of us become completely outraged, when someone lies to us.  It also makes many of us furious, when someone like Brian Williams, Bill O’Reilly or Robert McDonald lies.  After all, someone in their position should be credible, right?

Lying Tongue

As a child, I lied constantly.  It’s true that I was abused as a child, and many times I lied for survival, but that doesn’t justify it or excuse it.  In fact, the more I lied, the easier it got, and the lies grew.  I lied so much, that I was often able to convince even myself that a lie was true.  I lied to survive, and I lied about things that didn’t  even matter.  You see, when you tell one lie, you become enslaved to it, because one lie leads to another, then another, and so on.

I  wish I could tell you that when I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior, one summer, somewhere between the ages of eleven and fourteen, I stopped lying, but that wouldn’t be true.  I will say that I tried really hard to stop lying, because I knew it was sinful, but lying was a stronghold in my life, and the harder I tried to stop lying, the harder it was to quit.

During my teenage years, I fell away from the Lord.  I still believed in Him, but I was also filled with doubts about Him.  You see, someone, who habitually lies, usually has a deceiving spirit within him/her, and not only does that spirit lead him/her to be deceptive; it also succeeds in deceiving the deceiver.  So, basically, I was a liar who found it easier to believe lies rather than the truth… 

I was around fifteen years old, when I stopped walking with the Lord, and for the next ten years, I chose to go my own way.  I am so grateful that during the time I walked away from God, He never left me.  When I lied, He continued to convict me of my sin.  When I cussed and told dirty jokes, He was still there, reminding me that my behavior was sinful.  When I was twenty-five years old, my son was three, and my daughter was a little over one, and I decided it was time to take my children to Sunday School, because they needed Jesus.  I didn’t realize that I needed Jesus just as much or more than they did, but God knew. He also knew that before my children could know Him, I needed to know Him.

I hadn’t been bringing the children to Sunday School for very long, when I was asked to start teaching Sunday School.  Now, in order to teach Sunday School, you have to prepare for it, and the way to prepare for it is to pray and read and study the bible.  As I began to study the bible more and more, I realized how much I needed Jesus back into my life.  Meanwhile, though I struggled to stop, I continued to lie, and since I’d rededicated my life to Christ, I was racked with guilt.  

I hated lying by now, but I just couldn’t stop it, because I lived in fear.  Looking back over my life, I understand that the biggest stronghold in my life, which led me to lie, was fear.  When I was younger, I lied because I was afraid of losing my parents’ love, as they beat me and cursed me.  As an adult, I lied because I was afraid of losing my  husband’s love.

lying tongue 2

I remember fasting one Saturday, and going to church to be alone with the Lord, praying and preparing for my Sunday School class.  As I was praying, the Lord pressed me to tell my husband about a secret I’d been keeping from him, but I was afraid he would leave me, so, I refused.  I lived in such fear of losing his love, that I didn’t tell him, when some of our bills increased beyond what we were able to pay.  Though he never abused me, I’d grown up in an abusive household, and I was terrified of losing him and being forced to live with my parents again.  The Lord kept leading me to tell my husband about this, but I was afraid to trust Him, so I continued to refuse.

Then, a few days later, after a medical procedure, which left my husband feeling very sick, he began to talk about how much he loved me, and what a great wife I was.  I told him to stop saying that, because I wasn’t a great wife.  I told him I wasn’t even a good wife, but he just looked at me with love in his eyes and said I was a wonderful wife, and he loved me very much.  Guilt and shame overwhelmed me, and I confessed everything to my husband, just as God had commanded me to do.  After confessing my deception to my him, my husband looked at me through his eyes of love and told me not to worry.  Together, we would take care of things.

After that day, I was no longer bound by fear and deception.  Does that mean that I haven’t failed since then?  No, I’ve lied since then, but I’m quick to confess and repent of my sins, and here’s the funny thing.  I don’t lie now, because that sin no longer binds me.  God set me free from fear that day, and I’m no longer afraid to tell the truth.

32 “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

~ John 8:32  NLT ~

What about you, beloved reader?  Before you get angry with those who lie and try to deceive us, have you examined your own heart?  Are you free from deception?  If so, praise God, and instead of being angry at people like Brian Williams, Bill O’Reilly or Robert McDonald, pray for them, and ask God to set them free from their fear of the truth, in Jesus name!

If you still continue to lie to people, especially those you love,  ask God to deliver you from fear and deception, in Jesus’ name.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

~ 2 Timothy 1:7  NLT ~

© 2015
Cheryl A. Showers

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Sweet Little Lies

Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,
And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom. ~ Psalm 51:6  NASB ~

Image Credit: Written Reality
Image Credit:
Written Reality

We live in a sinful world filled with deception and governed by the father of lies. We’re taught from a young age to hide our feelings, and put on a happy face, no matter what is going on inside of us. Those who have been raised in an abusive family are taught from a young age to deny and hide the truth, using any means of deception necessary to protect the abuser(s). We’re even taught that it’s better to tell a “little white lie” than to hurt someone. Even Fleetwood Mac alluded to “sweet little lies,” in their 1987 hit song, “Little Lies,” but are lies really sweet?

How do you trust someone who lies to you, when lies are the polar opposite of the truth. As a matter of fact, scripture makes it very clear where both lies and the truth come from…

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 ~

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.” ~ John 8:44  NLT ~

How do you feel? Do you think it’s okay to tell little white lies? What makes a lie white? If some lies are white, are other lies black? Where do you draw the line?

According to the bible, Satan is a liar and the father of lies. Also according to scripture, Jesus said that He is the Truth. Please note that nowhere in the bible do the scriptures imply a difference in types of lies (i.e. – white lies or black lies). Indeed, the scriptures make it very clear that not only is the devil a liar, he is the father of all lies. Wow. Just think about that for a minute. If the devil (God’s enemy) is truly the father of all lies, then there is no such thing as white lies. Furthermore, the scripture says that when the devil lies, it is consistent with his character.

So, keeping this in mind, what do the scriptures say about God’s character???

God is not a man, so He does not lie.
He is not human, so He does not change His mind.
Has He ever spoken and failed to act?
Has He ever promised and not carried it through?
~ Numbers 23:19  NLT ~

29 And He who is the Glory of Israel will not lie, nor will He change His mind, for He is not human that He should change His mind!”  ~ 1 Samuel 15:29  NLT ~

This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began. ~ Titus 1:2  NLT ~

18 So God has given both His promise and His oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. ~ Hebrews 6:18  NLT ~

According to Hebrews 6:18, it is impossible for God to lie, just as there is no truth in the devil. Therefore, when we become a child of God, Jesus, who is the Truth, dwells in our hearts, and if He dwells within our hearts, then how can we participate in any lie? Yet, sadly, so many people, Christians included, are confused about this, because they have bought into the lies the world has repeated to them, rather than seeking the truth from their Father.

Image Credit: God Follower Blog
Image Credit:
God Follower Blog

Think about it this way, God’s Holy Spirit lives in the hearts of all of His children, who are believers in Jesus Christ. Now, if I am walking in the Spirit, I will not even utter a white lie, because it is impossible for God to lie, and when I walk in the Spirit, I am walking in obedience to God. However, if I choose to share a sweet little lie, for a good reason, then, I am walking in my flesh, and it is sin.

Who is truly a good friend, one who lies and tells you what you want to hear, or someone who tells you the truth, even though it may be painful to hear? Do you want to confide in someone who promises to keep your confidence, but tells you sweet little lies or the one who always speaks the truth?

Finally, beloved readers, consider this. Lies do not lead to freedom. Indeed, they bind us in a tangled web…

Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive! ~ Sir Walter Scott ~

Do you truly want to be free and walk in complete liberty? Then seek and speak only the truth beloved friend. Don’t be a slave to someone else’s lies, or worse yet, your own!

32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ~ John 8:32  NLT ~

Finally beloved reader, I leave you with this warning from Revelation…

“But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” ~ Revelation 21:8  NLT ~

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Churchianity vs. Christianity (Part 2)

45 Then, with the crowds listening, He turned to His disciples and said, 46 “Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces. And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets. 47 Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be severely punished.” 

While Jesus was in the Temple, He watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. 2 Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins.

3 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. 4 For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”

Luke 20:45-47 & Luke 21:1-4 — NLT ~

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Image Credit:
maninthemaze.com

The other day, we started looking at this scripture passage, and we saw Jesus’ warning for His disciples to be careful of the teachers of religious law (scribes and Pharisees). Then He went on to list some of the things they were guilty of doing, such as parading around in flowing robes to gain attention and respect. 

45 Then, with the crowds listening, He turned to His disciples and said, 46 “Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces. And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets.”

Luke 20:45-46 — NLT ~

It’s funny. I never noticed this before, until my daughter-in-law and I were discussing this scripture passage… The very things that Jesus condemned in this passage are practiced in nearly every church here in the United States. I can’t speak for foreign churches, as I haven’t visited any foreign churches other than some in Haiti, when I was there on a mission trip, but from what I’ve seen in movies, I’d venture to say that they too, are operated in the same way.

Image Credit: Mike Dubose
Image Credit:
Mike Dubose

How many ministers dress in elaborate flowing robes when they preach, rather than dressing as everyone else in the congregation? And think about this, how many pastors, evangelists and televangelists sit up in the front of their sanctuaries, in special, throne-like chairs, rather than in the same pews the rest of the congregation sits on? Did you notice that this was one of the things that Jesus condemned the teachers of religious law for, stating, “And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets.”

Image Credit: St. Landry Catholic Church
Image Credit:
St. Landry Catholic Church

I can’t help but notice that the “messengers, pastors, prophets and evangelists,” who bring the word are given seats of honor in nearly every church that I’ve ever been in, how about you? And not only that, again, in nearly every church that I’ve been a part of, whenever there is a banquet or dinner, the pastor and his/her entourage are given seats at the head table. I’ve also noticed that all too often, while the other guests at the banquet must get up and fix their own plates, someone usually prepares the plates and serves them to the pastor, and his/her guests before everyone else is allowed to serve themselves. Don’t you find it ironic that the very actions Jesus found the religious leaders of His day guilty of, are the same ones practiced today, by Christian leaders, who claim to represent Him?

But that isn’t the only sin that has carried over into today’s church. Let’s examine the rest of this passage…

Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be severely punished.” 

While Jesus was in the Temple, He watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins.

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”

~ Luke 20:47 & Luke 21:1-4 — NLT ~

Image Credit: Kathy Howard
Image Credit:
Kathy Howard

Now, I know that most of you have heard this passage of scripture preached many times, as this poor widow is extolled for the great sacrifice she made for the Lord. The truth is, that’s how I’ve always heard it preached too, and I believed that the Lord was commanding us to give our all, like this poor widow. How about you? But then, my daughter-in-law shared some information with me that changed how I viewed this passage, and the sad thing is, that I could have understood this myself, if I had read this portion of scripture in its original context, as I teach others to do.

Image Credit: growingtogether.cc
Image Credit:
growingtogether.cc

Just to refresh your memory, the other day, I told you that the book of Luke was originally written as a letter or a report to a man named Theophilus, and when Luke wrote the letter, it did not have any chapters or verses. Therefore, there wasn’t the separation that we now see between Luke 20 and Luke 21. So, armed with this knowledge, let’s examine this passage as it was originally written, without stopping between chapters and verses.

After cautioning His disciples to beware of the religious leaders, who sought special treatment, and dressed to be noticed, Jesus then pointed out another, even more heinous sin that they were guilty of. For these religious leaders shamelessly cheated poor widows out of their property, while pretending to be pious by praying long prayers in public. The Lord has a special love for widows and orphans, and He hates to see them cheated…

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

~ James 1:27 — NLT ~

Cursed is anyone who denies justice to foreigners, orphans, or widows. And all the people will reply, “Amen.”

~ Deuteronomy 27:19 — NLT ~

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Image Credit:
Bless India!

You can see the love God has for widows and orphans, and yet Jesus makes it clear that the religious leaders of that day took advantage of them, often forcing them to lose their property. So, how did they force them to lose their property? With their long and flowery prayers, the scribes tricked those who were poor and needy into giving all they had to the Temple treasury, leaving them destitute.

Sadly, this practice continues in the church today, as pastors, prophets, evangelists and televangelists, continue to trick the poor and needy into giving their all to the ministry. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say that if you want your prayers answered, you must first “sow a seed.” Or else they make the claim that if you don’t give sacrificially to their ministry, you are robbing God. I’ve heard them say that how much or how little you give to their ministry is a reflection of your relationship with God. I’ve heard some encourage their congregations to borrow money or pay their tithes and offerings with a credit card, and it makes me sick! I’ve even heard some say that you will “lose your blessing” or even be cursed if you don’t give sacrificially to their ministry, and I ask you, how are these religious leaders any different than the religious leaders, whose very same practices Jesus condemned?

Image Credit: Bless India!
Image Credit:
Bless India!

As for the poor widow who gave her all in her offering of the temple tax, do you really think Jesus was commending her actions, so that others would do the same? Or is it possible that as He was cautioning His disciples to beware of the religious leaders, He looked across the way, and saw this real life example of one of the widows, who was being robbed of her property, and pointed her out to them? How many poor and needy people do you know, who faithfully send money they can’t afford to the ministries of famous televangelists, who spend the money on their own lavish lifestyles, while they themselves, don’t even have enough to make ends meet? 

How many people have taken money from the mouths of their own family, in the hopes that they can earn God’s favor by giving sacrificially? And how many have given their children’s inheritance to the church, because they were afraid of angering God? How many have lived and died with nothing, because the church duped them into doing as this widow did, while its coffers are full and running over? Do you really think this pleases God?

And do you really think we can earn His favor if we just give enough money to the church? Do you really believe that you, His beloved child will lose His favor and perhaps even be cursed if you don’t obey the commands of religious leaders to give to their ministries?

Beloved, don’t you know that just as we can’t earn salvation, neither can we earn God’s favor. If you are a child of God, you have His favor simply because you are His child, and He loves you. Look at these words that Jesus spoke…

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

~ Matthew 7:7-11 — NKJV ~

Am I saying that God does not want us to give? Of course not! What I am saying is that you must stop listening to men and ask God what He wants you to give, and to whom He wants you to give. And when you give, give cheerfully, because God has shown you what to give and to whom. Do not give because you are being pressured to do so by religious leaders. Instead, wait on the Lord and let Him direct your giving. And do not give because you want to earn God’s favor, or because you are afraid of losing His favor, because you can’t earn His favor with money or anything else. If you are a disciple of Christ, you have His favor simply because you are His child.

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Churchianity vs. Christianity (Part 1)

45 Then, with the crowds listening, He turned to His disciples and said, 46 “Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces. And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets. 47 Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be severely punished.” 

While Jesus was in the Temple, He watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. 2 Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins.

3 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. 4 For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”

~ Luke 20:45-47 & Luke 21:1-4 — NLT ~

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Image Credit:
Layoutsparks.com

Warning! Many readers may find the following post offensive as it goes against much of what many of us have been taught to believe. I make no apologies for this post, as I am staying true to the Word of God. And though it goes against what most of us have learned in the church, it is truth, and therefore, it must be shared.

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 ~

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Image Credit:
revivalorriots.org

So, my friends, are you ready for some truth? Did you know that there is such a thing as “churchianity”, and that “churchianity” is much different than Christianity? Did you know that according to Wickepedia’s “Religion in the United States”, 73%-80% of Americans claim to be Christian? Now, I don’t like to be a harbinger of bad news, but the fact is that although many claim to be Christians, the truth is that there are fewer Christians than non-Christians — but don’t take my word for it. Look at what Jesus… Messiah… Son of God… the Christ… founder of Christianity, had to say about the subject.

13 “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. 14 But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”

~ Matthew 7:13-14 — NLT ~

21 “Not everyone who calls out to Me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of My Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to Me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in Your name and cast out demons in Your name and performed many miracles in Your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from Me, you who break God’s laws.’

~ Matthew 7:21-23 — NLT ~

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Image Credit:
vimeopro.com

So, beloved readers, as you can see from these scriptures, many who claim to be Christians don’t even know Jesus, and this includes many in the church. Now, armed with this knowledge, you have to begin to wonder, how much of what we have been taught to believe is what Jesus taught, and how much of it is simply the teachings of those who cast out demons in His name and perform miracles in His name, but in reality, they never even knew Him?  And how can we — you and I — know the difference?

It starts in your heart. Do you know Jesus? I don’t mean do you know Him like you know President Obama, meaning that you know about Him or that you might recognize Him if you saw Him on the street. I mean — do you know Him?

Let me explain it this way… In April, my husband and I will celebrate our 33rd wedding anniversary. I’ve lived intimately with that man for so long now that I know him inside and out. Yes, there are times when his response to something will surprise me, but for the most part, I know what he thinks about different subjects without him saying a word. I know what makes him angry and exactly what buttons to push if I want to get a rise out of him. I know how to make him smile, and I know how to make him laugh out loud. Sometimes, when he looks at me from across the room, though he doesn’t even say a word, I hear him saying, “I love you, Sweetie.” You see, after 33 years of intimacy, I know my husband.

intimacy-with-God-300x255This is how God longs for us to know Him. It is how He longs for us to know His only Son, Jesus, and how He wants us to know His Spirit. The only way we can know Him like this is to spend time with Him, by talking to Him, and by being still in His presence and waiting, listening for Him to speak to us. The only way we can know Him is to read His word, because though He spoke those words thousands of years ago, to many different writers, His word is living and active, and it still speaks to us today.

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

~ Hebrews 4:12 — NLT ~

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Image Credit:
disciplemakingleaders.com

Are we good so far? I haven’t said anything too offensive yet, have I? You see, before I can get to the meat of this subject, I had to lay the foundation first. For a large number of people in the church and out of it have deluded themselves into believing that being a Christian is nothing more than membership into the “right” church. Sadly, for most, church has become nothing more than being a part of the right club… Just as you have the Lion’s Club, the Moose Lodge, the Elk’s Lodge, the VFW, the Exchange Club, the Masonic Lodge and so many more exclusive clubs, so you also have your choice of the Methodist Church, the Baptist Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Pentecostal Church, the Holiness Church, the Apostolic Church, the Church of the Brethren, the Church of Christ, the Berean Church, the Roman Catholic Church and so many other churches to choose from.

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Image Credit:
lawgospelaction.wordpress.com

And, just as the various clubs have different bylaws to follow, so also, the different churches have different rules and regulations for their members to follow…. For instance, some baptize by sprinkling water on the member, some baptize by pouring water on the member and others baptize by immersion. Some claim that you cannot be saved unless you are baptized, while others claim that baptism is merely an outward symbol of an inward change and that salvation can be had with our without baptism.

Some churches believe that when partaking of communion, you must only use unleavened bread, while others believe that only wafers will do, and still others believe that a whole loaf of bread should be passed around. Still other churches believe that you should only drink wine when taking communion, while others believe that to drink wine is sinful and only grape juice will do.

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Image Credit:
barrywallace.wordpress.com

There are some churches that believe that when you partake in communion, it is symbolic of the body and blood of Jesus that was shed for us on the Cross, while there are still other churches who believe that the bread and the wine actually become the body and blood of Christ when you partake of it.

So, my question is, with so many differing rules and regulations, which is right and which is wrong, and how can I know the difference? Am I practicing Christianity? Or am I practicing churchianity? Let’s begin by looking at the following scripture passage.

45 Then, with the crowds listening, He turned to His disciples and said, 46 “Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces. And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets. 47 Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be severely punished.”

While Jesus was in the Temple, He watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. 2 Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins.

3 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. 4 For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”

~ Luke 20:45-47 & 21:1-4 — NLT ~

Let’s begin to look at this passage bit by bit, starting at the beginning. The first thing to note is who was speaking, what they were talking about, when this happened, and where this took place…

One day as Jesus was teaching the people and preaching the Good News in the Temple, the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders came up to Him.

~ Luke 20:1 — NLT ~

Who was speaking — Jesus 
What was He talking about — He was teaching the people and preaching the Good News 
When did this happen — One day 
Where did this take place — In the Temple

Now, one important thing to notice is that the passage I am writing about, as well as everything else that happened in both chapters, is that it all took place on this “One day“. Right before Jesus warned the people to beware of these teachers of religious law, they had already tried to trap Him several times. I encourage you to read both Luke 20 and Luke 21 in their entirety, to get a clear picture of what was going on, when Jesus spoke to the people.  Also, as you read these 2 chapters, keep in mind that when Luke wrote this book, he wrote it as a personal account to a man named Theolophilus, and there were no chapters and verses when he wrote it. Therefore, Luke 20 and Luke 21  both flowed together as a part of what happened “One day“.

With this in mind, we see Jesus addressing the people after the priests and the elders had come, challenging His authority, followed by the teachers of religious law (scribes and Pharisees) and their spies, who tried to trap Him into saying something against the Roman government so they could have Him arrested, then followed by the Sadducees (who did not believe in the resurrection of the dead), who tried to ensnare Jesus with a question about the resurrection. Boldly addressing each one of their attempted ruses, Jesus displayed both His wisdom and His authority, as He turned His focus on His disciples, warning them.

46 “Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces. And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets. 47 Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be severely punished.”

~ Luke 20:46-47 — NLT ~

Jesus warned His disciples to watch out for the teachers of religious law. Back then, the teachers of religious law were the priests and elders, the scribes, the Pharisees and the Saducees. Today, it could mean pastors, priests, bishops, elders, prophets, evangelists and televangelists, cardinals, popes and many other religious leaders. And how can you recognize those leaders that Jesus is talking about? He made it real easy for us to recognize them. They are the ones who like to parade around in flowing robes and receive respectful greetings when they walk in the marketplace.

Think about some of those who love to preach in their flowing, lavish robes. Oh, they claim that they are their “priestly garments,” and that it is biblical, but is it really? (I warned you that I was going to offend some people and challenge your beliefs.) Only the levitical priests were ordered by God to wear specific robes, and those robes were not man made designs, but according to God’s pattern. “But,” you might say, “These robes show my office… my calling… my status… I am a royal priest…” Perhaps, but isn’t the same true of every Christian?

 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light.

~ 1 Peter 2:9 — NLT ~

I’ve been told that I need to purchase a robe, so that when I preach the Word of God, I will look the part. Really? When Jesus, the Son of God preached the Good News, He didn’t have a special robe to wear. In fact, as we see here, He even spoke out against it. So I ask you, are those who wear these robes and demand that others wear them as well practicing Christianity or “churchianity”?

Before you get too angry with me, please note that I’m not saying that some of these people aren’t genuine Christians. Many are, but they, like all of us, have been misled about many things in the church. It’s time for Christians to wake up and begin practicing Christianity as Jesus taught us, and not the “churchianity” that the church has taught so many of us.

10 Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. 11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. 12 It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. 13 But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, 14 for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said,

“Awake, O sleeper,
    rise up from the dead,
    and Christ will give you light.”

~ Ephesians 5:10-14 — NLT ~

So,  we see Jesus warning His disciples not to parade around in flowing robes like the scribes and Pharisees, so they can receive resectful greetings from people in the marketplace. How many preachers, evangelists and televangelists revel in the respectful adoration they receive from their followers, who dare not call them by name, but are instead required to address them as “Pastor… Prophet… Evangelist… Minister…?” 

Far too many times, I’ve seen various ministers followed by an entourage of servants, expecting them to carry their bibles for them, as well as water and something to wipe the sweat from their brow. Some even expect their servants — er – followers — to wipe the sweat for them. How is it that Christ’s ministers, who are called to be Christlike, expect others to serve them, when Jesus came to serve others? Doesn’t anyone else see something wrong with this picture? Look at Jesus’ instruction to His disciples…

42 So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 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 10:42-45 — NLT ~

Now, my friends, if this was Jesus command to His disciples over 2000 years ago, and if He is the same, yesterday, today and forever, has this command changed? Of course not. Jesus calls us to serve, not to be served. He doesn’t want us dressing up in flowing robes, or the finest clothes,  so that people will admire our finery, as we lord it over them and preach. He doesn’t want us preaching to draw attention to ourselves, rather, all focus should be on God. And understand this, God isn’t impressed by our flowery language, flashy robes and the things that impress people. He looks at our heart, and it is the love and passion for Him and for His word that draws Him to us.

Therefore, beloved readers, let’s ask ourselves, are we practicing Christianity or “churchianity”? Do you love Jesus with all your heart, soul, mind and strength? Or do you love the attention you get when you stand before people, preaching and/or prophesying? Do you serve others? Or do you expect others to serve you? Do you follow Christ? Or do you follow those who walk around in their ostentacious robes, seeking the adulation of others? Do you follow those who expect you to serve them?

Beloved reader, I urge you to pray about the things that I’ve shared with you, and more importantly, see what God’s word says about them. Then, we’ll continue with part 2 of this series – Churchianity vs. Christianity.

© 2014
Cheryl Showers

Daily Prompt: Truth or Dare

Daily Prompt: Truth or Dare

by michelle w.

Is it possible to be too honest, or is honesty always the best policy?

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Image Credit:
http://www.jamesaltucher.com

What a world we live in! Does anyone seriously think this question  is worthy of consideration? Is there anyone who would rather live a lie, and consider that the best choice? Since this  is the question posed by today’s Daily Prompt, let’s ponder this together…

Let’s just start with the small stuff, and work our way up from there. When I get dressed to go somewhere, since he’s the only one I live with, and since I value his opinion, and since I trust him to be completely honest with me, I often go to my husband and ask, “How does this look?” or “How do I look?” Now, because I value his opinion, when I ask my husband this question, I expect an honest answer from him. If something looks ridiculous on me, I trust that he will point it out to me, thus saving me the embarrassment of going somewhere dressed inappropriately for the occassion. 

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Image Credit:
icannascheezburger.com

Because I’m his wife, and a reflection of him, when I ask my husband if he thinks I’m dressed appropriately for an occassion, I trust that he will be honest with me, because he does not want me to be hurt by appearing somewhere looking foolish. Sometimes, when he gives me a negative response to what I’m wearing, it hurts my feelings, but I do understand that though we are married and have become one, we are also still two individuals with two different opinions, and our taste varies. The thing is, when my husband looks at me and says, “Honey, you look good,” I know I can take that to the bank, because he doesn’t lie to me.

So, what do you think? Are there times when honesty is not the best policy?

Some people claim that it’s kinder to tell a white lie to someone than to hurt them with the truth. But I can’t agree with that. To convince someone to believe in a lie is to set them up for failure. If I ask my husband how I look in a certain outfit, I’m asking him to tell me the truth. If he lies to me about little things, how do I know if he will be honest about other, bigger things?

Image Credit: financefox.ca/35-money-lies-people-tell-regularly/
Image Credit:
financefox.ca/35-money-lies-people-tell-regularly/

If someone is consistently honest in both little and big things, then I feel I can trust them in all things. However, if someone candycoats the truth, or avoids telling me the truth, for fear of hurting me, then I have to wonder if this is a person I can really trust…

Let’s break this down… What is a lie? According to dictionary.com, a lie is:

noun
  1. a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood. Synonyms: prevarication, falsification. Antonyms: truth.
  2. something intended or serving to convey a false impression; imposture: His flashy car was a lie that deceived no one.
  3. an inaccurate or false statement; a falsehood.
  4. the charge or accusation of telling a lie: He flung the lie back at his accusers.
verb (used without object), lied, ly·ing.
  1. to speak falsely or utter untruth knowingly, as with intent to deceive. Synonyms: prevaricate, fib.
  2. to express what is false; convey a false impression.

According to Jesus, lies originated with Satan, who is the father and inventor of lies, and those who lie, are the devil’s children…

You belong to your father, Satan, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. From the start he was a murderer, and he has never stood by the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he is speaking in character; because he is a liar — indeed, the inventor of the lie!

~ John 8:44 — CJB ~

Furthermore, those who live a life of lies, live in bondage. The only way for a person to be truly free is to walk in the truth. If you don’t know the truth, you are bound — enslaved — by lies. Prior to telling the Jews who refused to follow Him that they belonged to their father, Satan, Jesus (Yeshua) said this about the truth…

31 So Yeshua said to the Judeans who had trusted Him, “If you obey what I say, then you are really My talmidim {disciples}, 32 you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 

33 They answered, “We are the seed of Avraham and have never been slaves to anyone; so what do you mean by saying, ‘You will be set free’?” 

34 Yeshua answered them, “Yes, indeed! I tell you that everyone who practices sin is a slave of sin. 35 Now a slave does not remain with a family forever, but a son does remain with it forever. 36 So if the Son frees you, you will really be free! 37 I know you are the seed of Avraham. Yet you are out to kill Me, because what I am saying makes no headway in you. 38 I say what My Father has shown Me; you do what your father has told you!”

~ John 8:31-38 — CJB ~

Is it better to enslave a person in lies or to set him/her free with the truth? The truth isn’t popular in this day and age. It’s much more comfortable for people to be politically correct… But that doesn’t make lying the right thing to do. No matter how you color it, a lie is a lie, whether it is black or white, and all lies are spawned by the father of lies, the devil himself, because the truth isn’t in him. 

Jesus, on the other hand, speaks nothing but the truth, because He is truth…

Yeshua said, “I AM the Way — and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.”

~ John 14:6 — CJB ~

Because I serve the living God, I choose to live in truth, rather than be enslaved by lies. Though speaking and living in truth may be offensive to some, there is life in the truth. Wouldn’t you rather have someone speak the truth to you in love, rather than to look you in the eye and lie to you? Though the truth is sometimes painful, there is health and freedom in it… But though a lie might feel good for a time, there is danger from living and believing a lie, and most certainly, bondage comes from lies… 
© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Joyce Meyer – Anointed Woman of God or Heretic? (Part 1)

Image Credit: Zachery Oliver
Image Credit:
Zachery Oliver

I love the Lord, and I love His word. In fact, I’m very passionate about Him, His word, and His people. His word is life, therefore, it is of utmost importance that we know His word and not twist it or alter it in any way. Otherwise, we run the risk of leading many people astray.

Teach me Your decrees, O Lord; I will keep them to the end.

~ Psalm 119:33 — NLT ~

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Image Credit:
ubdavid.org

This scripture is a promise to the Lord, that if He will teach me His decrees, I will keep them to the end. Now, it’s important that I share with you what keep means in this scripture, because it means much more than I ever realized until I studied it.

The Hebrew word for keep is natsar (pronounced nä-tsār’), which means:

I. to guard, watch, watch over, keep

A. to watch, guard, keep
B. to preserve, guard from dangers
C. to keep, observe, guard with fidelity
D. to guard, keep secret
E. to be kept close, be blockaded
F. watchman (participle)

~ Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon Blue Letter Bible ~

Image Credit: jesuscultureawakening.blogspot.com
Image Credit:
jesuscultureawakening.blogspot.com

When I look at Psalm 119:33 in this context, I realize that I have made a commitment to my heavenly Father to not only keep His word by obeying it, but that I will also keep watch over His word and guard it with fidelity, to preserve it from those who would twist it and try to altar its true meaning. I don’t claim to be a great prophet or even a great woman of God, but when I see someone misusing the word of God, or claiming lies in His name, a fire burns within me, and I must speak out and warn the people who follow false doctrines or false teachers.

I don’t like writing negative things about other people, especially those who claim to be brothers and sisters in Christ, however, I feel that the Lord has called me to be a watchman on the wall. It isn’t a job I asked for, but ever since I read the following passage in Ezekiel, many years ago, I have felt compelled to warn people from sinning against the Lord, and from following false doctrine and false teachers.

16 After seven days the Lord gave me a message. He said, 17 “Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for Israel. Whenever you receive a message from me, warn people immediately. 18 If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under the penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 19 If you warn them and they refuse to repent and keep on sinning, they will die in their sins. But you will have saved yourself because you obeyed me.

20 “If righteous people turn away from their righteous behavior and ignore the obstacles I put in their way, they will die. And if you do not warn them, they will die in their sins. None of their righteous acts will be remembered, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 21 But if you warn righteous people not to sin and they listen to you and do not sin, they will live, and you will have saved yourself, too.”

~ Ezekiel 3:16-21 — NLT ~

Image Credit: jacobcherians.blogspot.com
Image Credit:
jacobcherians.blogspot.com

Now I fully understand that these words were spoken to Ezekiel, commanding him to warn the people of Israel to repent, however, those words spoken to him by God also apply today. There are still people sinning and in danger of burning in hell for eternity, and if I know the truth, and fail to warn them, or if I fail to speak out against those who are leading others astray, doesn’t that make me as guilty as the false teachers are? Therefore, as distasteful as it may seem to some, I must speak out against false teachings and false teachers!

English: Author: myroslava (Myroslava Luzina, ...
English: Author: myroslava (Myroslava Luzina, Kyiv, Ukraine). Source: own camera. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For this reason, I must cry out to you, my beloved readers, against Joyce Meyer and the false doctrines she teaches. Yes, I’m well aware that there are many of you who love her and admire her, and on the surface, it seems like her teachings are good for people. But don’t be fooled, my friends, because many of her teachings are unbiblical, and if you follow her teachings, they could lead you straight to hell.

I realize that I’ve made some pretty strong claims, therefore, please allow me to share some of the false doctrines that I know of, followed up with Scripture, so that you can make an informed decision about whether to continue to follow Joyce Meyer or not. Remember, my friends, to study the Word of God, for it is vital to your relationship with Him, and it will help you to discern the truth from lies…

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

~ 2 Timothy 2:15 — KJV ~

I’ll leave my concerns about money for another post. For this post, I’m just going to dive right in to expose several false doctrines taught by Joyce Meyer, and the best place to begin are right at the foundations of our faith… What follows is a soundbite of Joyce Meyer sharing some of the blasphemous heresy that she tries to pass as Christian doctrine…

Jesus Became Sin and Ceased to be the Son of God

Just to ensure that you indeed heard what you thought was said, I’ve included a written quote of what Joyce Meyer stated below…

“He could have helped Himself up until the point where He said I commend My spirit into Your hands, at that point He couldn’t do nothing for Himself anymore. He had become sin, He was no longer the Son of God. He was sin.”

Image Credit: samuelatgilgal.wordpress.com
Image Credit:
samuelatgilgal.wordpress.com

Excuse me? How could she make such a preposterous claim that Jesus was no longer the Son of God? Jesus was the Son of God in the beginning. He was the Son of God when He walked on earth. He was the Son of God when He died. He is the Son of God today, more than 2000 years after He died on the cross and was resurrected, and He will always be the Son of God throughout all eternity… Indeed, according to Scripture, Jesus is God, and God always has been and always will be.

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.

~ John 1:1-2 ~

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

~ Hebrews 13:8 ~

1 Lord, through all the generations
You have been our home!
2 Before the mountains were born,
before You gave birth to the earth and the world,
from beginning to end, You are God.

~ Psalm 90:1-2 ~

Image Credit: souldelights.com
Image Credit:
souldelights.com

Unfortunately, that is not the end to the heresy espoused by Joyce Meyer. Let’s see what other views of Jesus’ death on the cross she has… In her 1991 book entitled “The Most Important Decision You’ll Ever Make”, second printing, May 1993, Joyce Meyer made the following claim…

He became our sacrifice and died on the cross. He did not stay dead. He was in the grave three days. During that time he entered hell, where you and I deserve to go (legally) because of our sin. He paid the price there.

~ page 35 ~

Here’s the thing — if you don’t already know the whole truth, this sounds right. Jesus did become our sacrifice, and He did die on the cross. Jesus was in the grave for three days, and during that time, He did go to hell. And none of us could argue the fact that we all deserve to go to hell because of our sin. Sounds good so far, right?

There’s only one problem with what Joyce stated in her book, but it’s a major problem. In fact, this one statement she made is grounds for calling her a heretic. You see, Joyce Meyer claimed that Jesus paid the price for our sin in hell, and not on the cross! That is absolute heresy, and totally goes against scripture.

But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When He was hung on the cross, He took upon Himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”

~ Galatians 3:13 ~

He personally carried our sins in His body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By His wounds you are healed.

~ 1 Peter 2:24 ~

Do you understand this? Christ paid for your sins and my sins on the cross, NOT in hell! There are numerous scriptures that show that Jesus paid for our sins on the cross, but the words of Jesus on the cross say it all.

After Yeshua had taken the wine, He said, “It is accomplished!” And, letting His head droop, He delivered up His spirit.

~ John 19:30 ~

I realize that this version of this scripture may not be as familiar to people as the King James version, where Jesus said“It is finished,” however, I love how the Complete Jewish Bible says, “It is accomplished!” 

I think it’s important to understand exactly what Jesus meant when He said, “It is finished (accomplished).” Therefore, I would like to share the Greek word, teleō (pronounced te-le’-ō), for finished, that was used in this scripture. 

I. to bring to a close, to finish, to end

A. passed, finished

II. to perform, execute, complete, fulfil, (so that the thing done corresponds to what has been said, the order, command etc.)

A. with special reference to the subject matter, to carry out the contents of a command

B. with reference also to the form, to do just as commanded, and generally involving the notion of time, to perform the last act which completes a process, to accomplish, fulfil

III. to pay

A. of tribute

Just look at the meaning of teleō, particularly number II. When Jesus said that it is finished, He was saying that He had completed and fulfilled the command that He had been given, and now it was accomplished. What Jesus accomplished on the cross was enough, and nothing more was required to save us. He was the Lamb without spot or blemish, who was sacrificed as the atonement for our sins. With His blood sacrifice on that cross, He completed His mission.

My friends, there is so much more that I want to share with you about this topic. There is more that you need to know about this heretic. For those who follow Joyce Meyer’s ministry, I urge you to pray about what I have shared with you, and please come back and read my next post about Joyce Meyer. 

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

The Gospel of Martyrdom vs the Gospel of success- Micheal Brown

Brothers and Sisters, the Lord has led me to write about false teachers, prophets and doctrines, and this post by Michael Brown is well worth reading as it deals with false doctrine. Please read it and be blessed!

A Call To The Remnant

The Gospel of Martyrdom vs. the Gospel of Success by Micheal Brown

Stephen stood before the Sanhedrin. The appointed Jewish leadership confronted this anointed Jewish believer. They glared; he glowed. They were enraged; he was enraptured. Their faces were contorted with anger; his was like the countenance of an angel. “Men and brothers,” he said, “listen to me.”

He rehearsed the history of Israel, from Abraham to Moses to David, the faithfulness of God in spite of the unfaithfulness of the people. But Stephen was not there that day merely to recite the lessons of history. He was there to be a witness, and as a faithful witness he spoke. His words turned to piercing rebuke:

You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those…

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Joel Osteen – True or False Gospel? (Part 2)

English: Joel Osteen at Lakewood Church, Houst...
English: Joel Osteen at Lakewood Church, Houston, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Greetings beloved readers! As promised, I am continuing the series on false teachers. Specifically, this post is a continuation of my post on Joel Osteen. In my first post on him, {Joel Osteen – True or False Gospel? (Part 1)}, I focused on Larry King’s interview with him. In this post, I want to focus on other statements and teachings by Joel Osteen, so you can see that his interview with Larry King wasn’t just a fluke or a one time thing.

In an interview with Michelle A. Vu, Christian Post in April 2012, Osteen was asked if he considered himself a preacher of the prosperity message, and if it was heresy. His response, along with my thoughts on his response follows:

Osteen: You know, I don’t consider myself a … I don’t really know what the prosperity gospel is. The way I define it is that I believe God wants you to prosper in your health, in your family, in your relationships, in your business, and in your career. So I do … if that is the prosperity gospel, then I do believe that.

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Image Credit:
oprah.com

This sounds so good and positive, and yes, the Lord cares about our health, our relationships and our families. I’m also certain He cares about our business and careers, though not necessarily in the way that Mr. Osteen implies. What concerns the Lord first and foremost is whether we bring glory to Him. Have we repented and been born again? Do we love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength?

Bring all who claim Me as their God,
for I have made them for My glory.
It was I who created them.

~ Isaiah 43:7 ~

As you can see from this scripture, we were created for God’s glory. As I think about that, my heart and my mind goes immediately to the man who was born blind, and later healed by Jesus…

As Jesus was walking along, He saw a man who had been blind from birth. 2 “Rabbi,” His disciples asked Him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”

3 “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.”

~ John 9:1-3 ~

Image Credit: bible-daily.org
Image Credit:
bible-daily.org

Why was this man born blind? According to Jesus, he was born blind so that the power of God could be seen in him. Just think about it. This man was born blind, and throughout his childhood and into his adulthood, he remained blind. Imagine how difficult and trying his childhood must have been. Imagine how difficult his adulthood must have been. How would a blind man find work in that day and age? What kind of career could he hope for? And yet, it was God’s will that he remain blind for all of those years, until he met Jesus. It was God’s will for Jesus to restore his sight, so that God’s power working through Jesus would be revealed in him. It seems to me that God was more interested in showing His power in this man than in any career or business venture the man could have been involved in…

I don’t believe we are supposed to go through life defeated and not having enough money to pay our bills or send our kids to college. So you know, when I hear some of that, I think that is not who I am, he doesn’t know me or what I teach. Because he is saying God doesn’t believe that… there is no demand, I don’t think I’d put it like that but I always talk about God rewards obedience. When you follow His way, the Bible says that His blessings will chase you down and overtake you.

Image Credit: flickr.com
Image Credit:
flickr.com

This sounds really nice, especially to someone who is struggling financially, with no job, no income, and mounting bills. But is it true? If God wanted everyone to have enough money to pay their bills and send their kids to college, then why are there so many poor people? And why did Jesus say this?

“You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have Me.”

~ Matthew 26:11 ~

No one was more obedient than Jesus, and yet He was homeless…

But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay His head.”

~ Luke 9:58 ~

Image Credit: ImageShack.us
Image Credit:
ImageShack.us

Jesus never sinned, and yet He was never rewarded with money or a career. Instead, His obedience led Him to Golgotha, where He was beaten, mocked, spit on and nailed to the cross, where He died. All of His disciples, except for John were martyred. And all of them, though they were obedient to the Lord, were tortured an suffered much. None of the apostles were blessed with lots of money and a good career, and certainly none of them, except for possibly Paul, went to college, nor did their children. So why should we expect the Lord to bless us financially, when we certainly haven’t suffered for the sake of the gospel?

Image Credit: examiner.com
Image Credit:
examiner.com

Just this year, Osteen joined forces with Oprah Winfrey, (who denies the truth of the Gospel), in a televised class entitled, “I Am: Life is How You See It”. I have a problem with this on several different levels.

First of all, if Osteen truly is a man of God — if he truly is a servant of Christ, then why would he team up with Winfrey, who spouts New Age rhetoric?

14 Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? 15 What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever?

2 Corinthians 6:14-15~ ~

The other problem I have with Osteen and Winfrey’s class is the title of it… I Am is the name of God..

13 Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”

14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” 15 Moreover God said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.’

~ Exodus 3:13-15 ~

Image Credit: oprah.com
Image Credit:
oprah.com

For a pastor, who claims to be a Christian to join forces with a New Age leader, to minister to the spiritual needs of people is outrageous. Further, to entitle their class, “I Am” is blasphemous. Anytime a Christian ministers to the spiritual needs of people, he/she should point the way to salvation through Christ, but how can he do this when his co-leader is teaching New Age principles? Furthermore, the I Am that Oprah and Joel are pointing people to is themselves, not the Lord. Just look at this exchange between Joel, Oprah and a man named Saul, who has problems trusting people since his father committed suicide.

Oprah Winfrey, “I would say to you, can you trust yourself? Would you say that?”

Saul, “I am unable to trust because I feel that.”

Oprah Winfrey, “Okay I would say to you and I have, I am no pastor at all. But I would say to you can you trust yourself? Would you say that too pastor?”

Joel Osteen, “Absolutely!”

Oprah Winfrey, “Can you trust yourself? I mean you may be afraid of what somebody else is going to do. But can you trust yourself? Do you trust yourself enough to know that if somebody harms you, if somebody is not going to be advantageous to you, then you can make a decision to move out of that relationship, can you trust yourself enough to do that?”

Saul, “I think so.”

Oprah Winfrey, “You think so, alright I love that.”

Joel Osteen, “That is good. I think that is perfect. Right, well I think…..”

Oprah Winfrey, “What I am’s can he start today? What I am’s can he start?”

Joel Osteen, “I am not fearful. I am confident. I am excited about my future. I think Saul you have to realize that you know God will bring the right people across your path, part of that healing is being open to say, “Okay God I was hurt before and I couldn’t trust, but God I am going to be open enough, vulnerable enough to trust that you are bringing the right people across my path and like Oprah said you will feel that His Spirit in here the still small voice when something is not right. But you have got to know God has right people in your future and… You know don’t let one bad break ruin the rest of your life. It doesn’t have to you, you can move forward.”

Image Credit: oprah.com
Image Credit:
oprah.com

Did you notice that throughout this whole exchange, Jesus Christ was not mentioned once — not even one time! I wouldn’t expect Oprah or “Saul” to acknowledge Him, but Joel Osteen claims to be a Christian pastor. Therefore, it is shocking for him not to mention Jesus even once. Further, for a pastor to agree with a New Age teacher, and encourage someone to trust himself, rather than to trust Jesus, totally goes against scripture…

The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?

~ Jeremiah 17:9 ~

Why would a pastor, knowing that the human heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, encourage someone to trust in himself, especially, when scripture commands us to:

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

~ Proverbs 3:5-6 ~

Also, how can Joel Osteen promise that “God will bring the right people across your path”, when he has no knowledge of whether Saul has asked Jesus Christ to be his Lord and Savior? How can he presume that Saul “will feel that His Spirit is here the still small voice when something is not right”, without knowing if Saul is a born-again Christian or not?

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

~ Colossians 2:8 ~

17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.

~ Romans 16:17-18 ~

In my last post and this one, I’ve shared several valid reasons that explain why Joel Osteen is a false teacher. I realize that he has many fans, and that these words may not be popular with everyone, however, I stand firmly on every word I’ve written and shared with you. Beloved readers, the choice is yours. Will you follow a false teacher, who refuses to honor Christ? Or will you choose to follow Christ? I leave you with one final scripture, which sums things up perfectly, and describes those who choose to follow Joel Osteen, after being informed of his false teachings…

1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires,because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

~ 2 Timothy 4:1-5 ~

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Joel Osteen – True or False Gospel? (Part 1)

ה He

Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, And I shall keep it to the end.

Psalm 119:33 — NKJV ~

Image Credit: sodahead.com
Image Credit:
sodahead.com

He has a sweet, gentle demeanor as he speaks, always careful to avoid causing offense to anyone, which can be quite refreshing in this day and age, where most people seem to go out of their way to offend people. His message is always positive, gentle and filled with hope, Who wouldn’t love hearing the positive words he speaks?

“Choosing to be positive and having a grateful attitude is going to determine how you’re going to live your life.”

~ Joel Osteen ~

“Why don’t you start believing that no matter what you have or haven’t done, that your best days are still out in front of you.”

~ Joel Osteen ~

Image Credit: news.softpedia.com
Image Credit:
news.softpedia.com

From all that I’ve read or seen, Joel Osteen seems like a nice, likable man, with a nice, positive message. He has the love and admiration of many, many Christians. Indeed, I would venture to say that Joel Osteen is loved and admired by many who don’t claim to be Christians, and frankly, that is one of the problems I have with him.

Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

~ James 4:4 — NKJV ~

Now, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that in order to be a good Christian, you must hate non-Christians, because Jesus demonstrated His love for non-Christians by suffering, bleeding and dying for their sins, and He calls for His followers to be willing to suffer for the sake of the gospel as well. However, just as the world hated Jesus and the gospel message He preached, so they will hate His followers for preaching that same gospel message.

ה He

Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, And I shall keep it to the end.

Psalm 119:33 — NKJV ~

Joel_Osteen
Joel_Osteen (Photo credit: My American Odyssey)

As I stated in my last post (ה He (Behold!) Show Me Your Ways), the Hebrew word for “keep” in this scripture is natsarwhich means to watch over, guard, keep and preserve from dangers. Because I love the word of God, and because the Lord has called me to preach and teach His word, He has also given me a charge to preserve the integrity of His word. Therefore, whenever I hear someone preach a gospel different from the Gospel of Christ, the spirit within me arises, and I must share the truth and speak out against false teachers, for the lives of men, women and children are at stake.

It is vitally important that false teachers and false doctrines be revealed, because no one can be set free by believing a lie. As  a matter of fact, the only thing that can set a person free is the truth…

“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

~  John 8:32 ~

Therefore, let’s take a close look at Joel Osteen and determine whether the gospel he preaches is the Gospel of Christ, or a false gospel. Let’s start things off by looking at his infamous interview with Larry King…

Joel and Victoria Osteen on Larry King Live
Joel and Victoria Osteen on Larry King Live

KING: Is — have you always believed?

OSTEEN: I have always believed. I grew up, you know, my parents were a good Christian people. They showed us love in the home. My parents were the same in the pulpit as they were at home. I think that’s where a lot of preachers’ kids get off base sometimes. Because they don’t see the same things at both places. But I’ve always believed. I saw it through my parents. And I just grew up believing.

The problem I have with this statement, is that a person can’t be saved or born again based on his/her parents’ faith. Osteen states that he’s always believed, and I guess I could say the same thing. From the time I was a little girl, I believed that Jesus is God’s Son. However, there is so much more to it than that. You see, there came a point in my life, as a preteen, when I realized that I was a sinner, and no matter how hard I tried to be good, I just couldn’t do it on my own. While my grandmother’s faith saved her, it didn’t have the power to save me. 

You see, there came a point where I realized that apart from Christ, I was utterly lost. I realized that I needed a Savior, just as every man, woman and child does, and I cried out to Him, repenting and asking Him to forgive me for my sins, and to save me. Joel Osteen had the opportunity to share the testimony of his salvation with Larry King and the millions of viewers who watched him that night, and Osteen had no testimony of his own to share. 

Joel Osteen on Larry King Live
Joel Osteen on Larry King Live

KING: But you’re not fire and brimstone, right? You’re not pound the decks and hell and dam nation?

OSTEEN: No. That’s not me. It’s never been me. I’ve always been an encourager at heart. And when I took over from my father he came from the Southern Baptist background and back 40, 50 years ago there was a lot more of that. But, you know, I just — I don’t believe in that. I don’t believe — maybe it was for a time. But I don’t have it in my heart to condemn people. I’m there to encourage them. I see myself more as a coach, as a motivator to help them experience the life God has for us.

Osteen’s statements here cause a righteous anger to rise up in me. This man is supposed to be preaching the Gospel of Christ, and he doesn’t believe in fire and brimstone or hell and damnation? There is no one more loving or compassionate than Jesus, and He spoke of eternal condemnation on several occasions. Therefore, by stating that he does not believe in hell fire and damnation, he is saying that he doesn’t believe in what Jesus spoke. 

44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

~ Matthew 25:44-46 ~

KING: But don’t you think if people don’t believe as you believe, they’re somehow condemned?

OSTEEN: You know, I think that happens in our society. But I try not to do that. I tell people all the time, preached a couple Sundays about it. I’m for everybody. You may not agree with me, but to me it’s not my job to try to straighten everybody out. The Gospel called the good news. My message is a message of hope, that’s God’s for you. You can live a good life no matter what’s happened to you. And so I don’t know. I know there is condemnation but I don’t feel that’s my place.

How can one presume to be a preacher or a teacher of the Gospel, if they refuse to preach or teach the Gospel in its entirety? Further, by stating that he is for everybody, Osteen implies that God isn’t, or at the very least, that he is more compassionate than God. However, it is important to remember that the Good News is a positive message of hope for sinners, those who are lost… If there is no hell, why would people need a Savior? Further, if Joel Osteen was as compassionate as he claims to be, he would realize that it is his place, just as it is the place of every born again Christian, to warn the lost that they are in danger of condemnation if they do not repent and cry out to Jesus!

KING: You’ve been criticized for that, haven’t you?

OSTEEN: I have. I have. Because I don’t know.

KING: Good news guy, right?

OSTEEN: Yeah. But you know what? It’s just in me. I search my heart and I think, God, is this what I’m supposed to do? I made a decision when my father died, you know what? I’m going to be who I feel like I’m supposed to be. And if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. Not the end of the world if I’m not the pastor …

~ Joel Osteen and Larry King on Larry King Live,         June 20, 2005 ~

Joel Osteen  "Your Best Life Now"
Joel Osteen
“Your Best Life Now”

This exchange really disturbs me. Mr. Osteen stated that he made a decision to be who he feels like he’s supposed to be when his father died. To become a pastor, one must be called by God to become one. It is not merely a decision man makes according to his own will.

Furthermore, when a man or woman answers the call of God to preach the Gospel, we are called to preach the whole Gospel message, not just those parts which are appealing to us. As a matter of fact, by omitting the part of the Gospel about judgment and condemnation and refusing to preach it, Joel Osteen condemns himself. For if someone is truly called by God to preach the Gospel and to be a pastor, he/she would not consider it a job to straighten out the wrong beliefs of others. Rather, the need to rescue others from the fiery pits of hell, would burn within that person!

You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.

~ Deuteronomy 4:2~

18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

~ Revelation 22:18-19 ~

"Hell Picture" http://digital-art-gallery.com/picture/13415
“Hell Picture”
http://digital-art-gallery.com/picture/13415

Clearly, Joel Osteen omits all references to hell from his gospel, speaking only about those things that he deems encouraging and “good news”. Therefore, by omitting part of the Gospel, he opens himself to condemnation. By preaching another message, other than the message Jesus taught, Osteen not only condemns those who believe his false teaching, he also condemns himself…

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

~ Matthew 7:21-23 ~

Let’s look at some other things Larry King questioned Joel Osteen about, and look at his response to those questions…

KING: Is it hard to lead a Christian life?

OSTEEN: I don’t think it’s that hard. To me it’s fun. We have joy and happiness. Our family — I don’t feel like that at all. I’m not trying to follow a set of rules and stuff. I’m just living my life.

Again, I take issue with Mr. Osteen’s reply to Larry King’s question about whether it’s hard to lead a Christian life. Scripture does not tell us that being a Christian is fun and easy…

23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. 25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? 26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.”

~ Luke 9:23-26 ~

Does Jesus’ description above look fun or easy? Of course not! Beware of the leaven of false teachers.

KING: But you have rules, don’t you?

OSTEEN: We do have rules. But the main rule to me is to honor God with your life. To life a life of integrity. Not be selfish. You know, help others. But that’s really the essence of the Christian faith.

I find it ironic that Pastor Osteen says the main rule is to honor God with his life and to live a life of integrity, not being selfish. He also stated that the essence of the Christian faith is to help others. What I find ironic about this statement is that Pastor Osteen is unwilling to help people by sharing the full Gospel with them, in an effort to save them from eternal torment. Instead, he merely shares those things that make them feel good for now, but offers no saving grace…

KING: That we live in deeds?

OSTEEN: I don’t know. What do you mean by that?

KING: Because we’ve had ministers on who said, your record don’t count. You either believe in Christ or you don’t. If you believe in Christ, you are, you are going to heaven. And if you don’t no matter what you’ve done in your life, you ain’t.

OSTEEN: Yeah, I don’t know. There’s probably a balance between. I believe you have to know Christ. But I think that if you know Christ, if you’re a believer in God, you’re going to have some good works. I think it’s a cop-out to say I’m a Christian but I don’t ever do anything …

KING: What if you’re Jewish or Muslim, you don’t accept Christ at all?

OSTEEN: You know, I’m very careful about saying who would and wouldn’t go to heaven. I don’t know …

KING: If you believe you have to believe in Christ? They’re wrong, aren’t they?

OSTEEN: Well, I don’t know if I believe they’re wrong. I believe here’s what the Bible teaches and from the Christian faith this is what I believe. But I just think that only God with judge a person’s heart. I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don’t know all about their religion. But I know they love God. And I don’t know. I’ve seen their sincerity. So I don’t know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a relationship with Jesus.

Joel Osteen and Larry King on Larry King Live,         June 20, 2005 ~

Image Credit: thegospelcoalition.org
Image Credit:
thegospelcoalition.org

Joel Osteen doesn’t know if those who have not been born again are wrong? Does he or does he not believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God? He claims to preach a message of hope, and yet, the hope he offers is a false hope. He claims to live a life of integrity, and yet he preaches a false gospel, and has no qualms about leading countless numbers to hell with his gospel of lies! If he truly cared about people as he claims to do, he would speak the truth to them, so that they would have the opportunity to choose life, rather than preaching a false gospel of tolerance.

Beloved readers, I’ve shown you several reasons why I believe that Joel Osteen is a false teacher. Please join me later this week, when I follow up with further proof of why Joel Osteen is a false teacher.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Rick Warren – Shepherd or Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing?

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

~ Matthew 7:15-20 — NKJV ~

English: Rick Warren speaks at the 2006 TED co...
English: Rick Warren speaks at the 2006 TED conference. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I received a message from a brother in the Lord, whose opinion I respect very much, and he had some questions about my latest post, in which I called Rick Warren a false teacher. After reading his comment, I wanted to further expound on the reasons why I feel that Rick Warren is a teacher of false doctrine. Therefore, in this post, I will further share with you the reasons why I believe that Rick Warren is a false teacher. Then, after reading this post and my previous post, if anyone still questions this, I urge you to pray and compare what I’ve shared with scripture so you can see what kind of fruit Mr. Warren bears. Then you can judge for yourself if Rick Warren is a false teacher or an anointed man of God.

“Did you know that God smiles when you be you. Some people have the misguided idea that God only gets excited when you’re doing “spiritual things” like going to church or helping the poor or confessing or doing something like that.

The bottom line is that God gets pleasure watching you be you. Why? He made you. And when you do what you were made to do He says ‘That’s my boy!’, ‘That’s my girl!’

You’re using the talent and ability that I gave you… So my advice to you is look at what is in your hand, your identity, your influence, your income, and say its not about me, its about making the world a better place.”

~ Rick Warren,
TED Conference, 2006 ~

Pastor Rick Warren at Saddleback Church.
Pastor Rick Warren at Saddleback Church. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 2006, Rick Warren was invited to speak at the TED Conference, which is made up of nonbelievers and deep thinkers of the world. Given this incredible opportunity to speak for twenty minutes to those who do not know Jesus Christ, you would think that a minister of God would share the gospel with the crowd, but instead, Rick Warren chose to talk about “A Life of Purpose,”

For more than twenty minutes, Warren spoke about our purpose in life and what pleases God, and what he said sounds like a good thing. According to Warren, we please God just by being ourselves. Doesn’t that sound good? According to Rick Warren, when I use the talents and the abilities that God gave me to make the world a better place, and say that it’s not about me, God is pleased. Doesn’t it sound pleasing to your ears? While this sounds good and nice, it is not what God’s Word says…

8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

~ Romans 8:8 — NKJV ~

6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

~ Hebrews 11:6 — NKJV ~

Pastor Rick Warren at Saddleback Church.
Pastor Rick Warren at Saddleback Church. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to the bible, if someone is in his/her flesh, that person cannot please God, no matter what they use their talents and abilities for. Also, according to Hebrews 11:6, without faith, no matter how you use your gifts and talents, you cannot please God. This is another example of false teaching from Rick Warren.

Further, in his statement above, Pastor Warren implied that our purpose is to make the world  better place. Again, this is not now, nor has it ever been mankind’s purpose to make the world a better place.

“Everyone who is called by My name,
Whom I have created for My glory;
I have formed him, yes, I have made him.”

~ Isaiah 43:7 — NKJV ~

According to the scripture above, the Lord created mankind for His glory… and no matter what anyone else says, this is our purpose in life — to live for the glory of God.

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

~ 1 Corinthians 10:31 — NKJV ~

Image Credit: InspirationalChristianQuotes.net
Image Credit:
InspirationalChristianQuotes.net

To tell someone that God gets pleasure simply from watching you be you is to do people a great disservice. We were all created for the glory of God, and in everything we do, we must do it to the glory of God.

Therefore, if we fail to glorify God and if we have no faith, no matter how well we use our gifts and talents, it is impossible for us to please God, despite what Rick Warren says. In fact, by failing to present the gospel of salvation to this group of people, and for teaching the people at the TED conference a lie, Rick Warren failed to please God…

Now, some might say that most of the things taught by Warren are good things, and that there is “some” truth in what he says, however, even the smallest error can be disastrous to the lives of men, women and children. It is extremely important that we remember that only the truth will set us free from the bonds of sin, death and destruction…

31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

~ John 8:31-32 — NKJV ~

Now, let us not only remember that it is the truth that sets us free, let us also remember what the Apostle Paul said about the leaven of sin…

6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven,  nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

~ 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 — NKJV ~

Even though some of what Pastor Rick Warren teaches seems harmless, and in some instances, even good, because it is peppered (or leavened) with untruths, it spoils his whole message. Just as one bad potato can ruin the whole bushel of potatoes, one bad erroneous doctrine can ruin the whole gospel that is preached, so that it is no longer the untainted Gospel of Truth, but a false doctrine taught by a false prophet…

In March, 2013, when the Roman Catholic church was seeking their new pope, Warren tweeted a call for the church to fast and pray for the cardinals who were seeking a new pope.

“Join me today in fasting and prayer for the 115 Cardinals seeking God’s Will in a new leader.”

~ Rick Warren ~

I realize that I may anger some people, however, I must speak the truth. Whoever said that it is God’s will for His church to have a pope? The call for us to fast and pray for the cardinals’ choice of a new pope, who is worshiped within the Catholic community, is nothing less than heresy.

“I’m very concerned because what this does is it confuses the average evangelical. Right now, the Body of Christ doesn’t know whether to evangelize Roman Catholics or to join hands with them to go out and evangelize the world, [and] it’s because of people like Rick Warren who either don’t know how exclusive the Gospel of grace is, or he’s not aware of the false and fatal Gospel of the Roman Catholic religion.”

~ Mike Gendron of Proclaiminng the Gospel Ministries and former Roman Catholic ~

Further, on the Piers Morgan Show in November, 2012, Warren responded to a question about whether a person could be born homosexual…

“I think the jury is still out on that. It wouldn’t bother me if there was a ‘gay gene’ found, because here’s what we know about life: I have all kinds of natural feelings in my life, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that I should act on every feeling. … I do not believe that attraction is a sin, but I do believe that some actions are sin.”

~ Rick Warren ~

I have a problem with this statement, because it flies in the face against the teachings of Jesus, who taught us this powerful lesson…

27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you;  for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.”

~ Matthew 5:27-30 — NKJV ~

Mr. Warren says that there is nothing wrong with being attracted, that the problem arises when you  act on your desires, but this is not what Jesus taught us. Jesus said that whoever looks at someone with lust in their eyes has already committed sin. This same scripture can be applied to those who have either heterosexual and/or homosexual desires for someone they are not married to. To lust after anyone is sin — period.

Further, check out his response in an interview with Marc Lamont Hill, Huffington Post, when Warren was asked whether or not homosexuals go to hell.

“No, not because they’re gay,” he said. “We go to Hell because we choose to reject the grace of God.”

When Hill asked what happens to a homosexual that accepts Jesus, Warren responded enthusiastically.

“He’s going to Heaven!” he declared. “Without a doubt.”

Now, let’s see what the word of God says about the subject…

9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 

~ 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 — NKJV ~

Now, let’s be clear about this, my friends, lest anyone should lose hope. Although He hates sin, God loves the sinner, and it is not His will that anyone should perish. That is why it is so necessary for teachers to teach sound doctrine. Can the homosexual man or woman be saved? Hallelujah – yes they can! Can they continue in their sinful lifestyle and still be saved? No. Repentance is required.

Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.

~ Acts 8:22 — NKJV ~

Sadly, in his teachings, Pastor Warren neglects to warn people of their need for repentance. Simply believing is not enough to save a person, for faith without works is dead…

19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?

~ James 2:19-20 — NKJV ~

My beloved brothers and sisters, I have included several examples and reasons why I believe Rick Warren is a false teacher. Also, below, I’ve included some related articles about the subject. Please read the examples and the scriptures I’ve listed, so that you can make an informed decision.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Who Feeds You?

Image Credit: http://ilovejesus.ws/images/seekthetruth1.jpgImage Credit:http://ilovejesus.ws/images/seekthetruth1.jpg

1 Then this message came to me from the Lord: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds, the leaders of Israel. Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord: ‘What sorrow awaits you shepherds who feed yourselves instead of your flocks. Shouldn’t shepherds feed their sheep? 3 You drink the milk, wear the wool, and butcher the best animals, but you let your flocks starve. 4 You have not taken care of the weak. You have not tended the sick or bound up the injured. You have not gone looking for those who have wandered away and are lost. Instead, you have ruled them with harshness and cruelty. 5 So My sheep have been scattered without a shepherd, and they are easy prey for any wild animal. 6 They have wandered through all the mountains and all the hills, across the face of the earth, yet no one has gone to search for them.

7 “Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8 ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Sovereign Lord, ‘you abandoned My flock and left them to be attacked by every wild animal. And though you were My shepherds, you didn’t search for My sheep when they were lost. You took care of yourselves and left the sheep to starve.’ 9 Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord. 10 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘I now consider these shepherds My enemies, and I will hold them responsible for what has happened to My flock. I will take away their right to feed the flock, and I will stop them from feeding themselves. I will rescue My flock from their mouths; the sheep will no longer be their prey.'”

~ Ezekiel 34;1-10 — NLT ~

Image Credit: http://njministries.org
Image Credit:
http://njministries.org

Who feeds you? In Old Testament times, the Levitical Priesthood and the prophets nourished the people, teaching them the Law, and how to live by the Law. Sadly and all too often, the priests and the prophets walked their own way, instead of following after the Lord, and they sought their own prosperity, rather than tending the “sheep” the Lord had sent them to minister to. When this happened, the people, like sheep who had gone astray, would wander away… away from their faith in God… away from God’s law… away from doing what was right… And though the priests and the prophets were tasked to be the shepherds of God’s flocks, they couldn’t be bothered with chasing after His lost “sheep,” because they were too consumed with their own desires, as the scripture above describes.

image Credit: http://www.thirdoptionmen.org
image Credit:
http://www.thirdoptionmen.org

Let’s fast forward to the New Testament, and we can see that sadly, things were much the same as during Old Testament times. During Jesus’ time, the Scribes and Pharisees deceived many with their false teachings, as outwardly, they appeared to be righteous, but inwardly, their hearts were filled with sin…

27 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. 28 Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.

~ Matthew 23:27-28 — NLT ~

Image Credit: http://biblicalproof.wordpress.com
Image Credit:
http://biblicalproof.wordpress.com

Beloved, even now, more than two thousand years after Jesus walked the earth as the Son of Man, there are false teachers in the church, who seek to devour the sheep, rather than feeding them…

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”

~ Matthew 7:15-20 — NKJV ~

My beloved readers, there are false teachers within the church today, some of whom are very popular among Christians, and even in the world, but they teach a false and unbiblical doctrine. Who is it that is feeding you, my friends?

1 But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered. 3 In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction will not be delayed.

~ 2 Peter 2:1-3 — NLT ~

Many of today’s false teachers say some really nice things, that sound really good to those who are ignorant of what scripture really says… Today, I will focus on one of those false teachers, and in the next few posts, I will deal with other false teachers and false prophets. Some of those who are false prophets may surprise you, but I urge you to keep this scripture, written by the Apostle Paul in mind as you read this post and the next few posts that follow…

13 These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve.

~ 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 — NLT ~

Image Credit: John Blake
Image Credit:
John Blake

The first false teacher that I would like to make you aware of is Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Orange County, California. Rick Warren is also the renowned author of “The Purpose Driven Life,” and gave the invocation at President Obama’s inauguration. What follows are some examples of the false teachings espoused by Warren. Some of these examples may seem minor or even harmless. Indeed, they may even sound good, but as a teacher of the bible, we are responsible for teaching scriptures accurately, in the correct context. This is sound doctrine… Also, as teachers, we are held to a higher level of accountability than others are…

Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.

~ James 3:1 — NLT ~

Firstly, on page 68 of “The Purpose Driven Life,” Warren used the following quote to prove his belief that good Christians should be open to new ideas…

The intelligent man is always open to new ideas. In fact, he looks for them.

~ Proverbs 18:15 — The Living Bible ~

Image Credit: SMSCS.com
Image Credit:
SMSCS.com

Now, while this is a direct quote from The Living Bible, it is important to understand that The Living Bible is not a translation of the Bible — it is a paraphrase, and when studying the Bible, one should use a BIble translation, not a paraphrase such as The Living Bible and The Message. In  order for us to understand what this scripture truly says, let’s look at several translations of this scripture, to see if this is truly a correct paraphrase…

Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge.

~ Proverbs 18:15 — NLT ~

The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.

~ Proverbs 18:15– NKJV ~

The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge,  for the ears of the wise seek it out.

~ Proverbs 18:15 — NIV ~

The mind of the prudent acquires knowledge,
And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.

~ Proverbs 18:15 — NASB ~

As you can see from reading the different translations, the intelligent person is always ready to learn (acquire knowledge). It says nothing about being open to new ideas… In fact, Proverbs even instructs us on how to gain knowledge, and this instruction says nothing about being open to new ideas…

Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

~ Proverbs 1:7 — NLT ~

Image Credit: eewc.com
Image Credit:
eewc.com

From these scriptures, you can see that the mind of the prudent acquires knowledge, which has nothing to do with being open to new ideas. In fact, in order to gain true knowledge, one must fear the Lord. This is not a new idea, but one that has been spoken repeatedly, throughout scripture, and this most definitely goes against Mr. Warren’s teaching. Again, perhaps this seems like a small thing, but remember, it is the little foxes that spoil the vine…

On page 76 of The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren cites The Living Bible again…

The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who are wise, who want to please God.

~ Psalm 14:2 — TLB ~

In this instance, Warren presents only part of the truth, for the Lord does indeed look down from heaven on all mankind, but what he doesn’t include is the next verse, which completes the statement…

2 The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.
3 They have all turned aside, They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one.

~ Psalm 14:2-3 — NKJV ~

Image Credit: The Orthodox Church
Image Credit:
The Orthodox Church

The problem with Rick Warren choosing not to include both verses in his teaching is that by not including both scriptures, he is taking the first verse out of context, as it leaves the complete thought unsaid. Not only is the complete message of this scripture left unsaid, but when Warren speaks of coming to Christ, he never mentions repentance. In  fact, rather than proclaiming the gospel of faith, in direct opposition to New Testament teaching, Warren promotes a gospel of deeds…

“I’m looking for a second reformation. The first reformation of the church 500 years ago was about beliefs.  This one is going to be about behavior.  The first one was about creeds.  This one is going to be about deeds.  It is not going to be about what does the church believe, but about what is the church doing.”

~ Rick Warren in an interview with David Kuo
beliefnet.com — “Rick Warren’s Second Reformation” ~

Image Credit: Zachery Oliver
Image Credit:
Zachery Oliver

On the surface, that sounds good, it is important for us to live out our faith, and faith without works is dead, but Warren never really addresses the necessity of faith in Jesus Christ, repentance from sin, being born again, nor of salvation from sin…

Beloved readers, in response to mankind’s age old question, “What must we do to be saved?” we must be ever vigilant and careful to give them the correct answer in its entirety, as Peter did, when he addressed the people of Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost…

38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

~ Acts 2:38-39 — NKJV ~

Beloved, let us also remember that while the Lord created us for good works, so that we should walk in them, it is not the good works that save us…

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

~ Ephesians 2:8-9 — NKJV ~

Friends, I feel that it’s really important to show you Rick Warren’s quote once again, in light of the scriptures, so that you can see the error in his teaching. As a matter of fact, as you read this again, I pray that you will see not only is his teaching wrong, but that you will also see that it directly contradicts scripture. Therefore, no matter how nice he appears, Rick Warren is a false teacher. Beware, my brothers and sisters.

“I’m looking for a second reformation. The first reformation of the church 500 years ago was about beliefs.  This one is going to be about behavior.  The first one was about creeds.  This one is going to be about deeds.  It is not going to be about what does the church believe, but about what is the church doing.”

~ Rick Warren in an interview with David Kuo
beliefnet.com — “Rick Warren’s Second Reformation” ~

My friends, Rick Warren’s doctrine is terribly flawed. Yes, it is important for the church to do good works and to do what is right, but more importantly, the church must have faith.

6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

~ Hebrews 11:6 — NKJV ~

Beloved, it was impossible for Israel to live by the Law, and their good deeds could not save them. Now, if their good deeds could not save the Jews, what makes Rick Warren think anyone else’s good deeds can save them? And more importantly, why is he preaching a different doctrine than that which has been taught in the scriptures since the time of Christ?

6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

~ Galatians 1:6-9 — NKJV ~

15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

~ Galatians 2:15-16 — NKJV ~

My friends, just as Peter was instructed to feed Jesus’ sheep, so every minister of God is called to feed His sheep with love and sound doctrine. And if we see another person feeding Christ’s sheep the poison of another doctrine, we are called to expose the false doctrine, lest the poison of false doctrine harm or even kill the Lord’s sheep…

Therefore, my beloved readers, I must ask you, who is feeding you? If that person is Rick Warren, or a doctrine of works, turn away from that leader and beware of false teachers…

Please join me again, as I continue to examine some of the false teachers of today. I realize that this may not be a popular subject, and that perhaps some of the leaders you look up to may be exposed in this series, but it is necessary to address these issues for the sake of the Lord’s beloved people…

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

To Tithe or Not To Tithe? (Part 5)

Greetings to My Beloved Readers,

Thank you so much for your patience in waiting for me to continue with the tithing series, To Tithe or Not To Tithe?, while I was temporarily out of commission. Thanks also to everyone who has been praying for me. I truly appreciate your prayers, more than you know…

Image Credit:http://usafreemoney.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/bag_of_money_wallpaper-other.jpg
Image Credit:http://usafreemoney.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/bag_of_money_wallpaper-other.jpg

And now, let’s continue with the fifth part of the series, To Tithe or Not To Tithe?. In the last few posts, we’ve compared Old Testament teachings about tithing to New Testament teaching. Now, let’s take a look at the early church to see if they tithed. Let’s also see where their money went, and how they got it…

“It is admitted universally that the payment of tithes or the tenth of possessions, for sacred purposes, did not find a place within the Christian Church during the age covered by the apostles and their immediate successors.”

Hastings Dictionary of the Apostolic Church ~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“The Christian Church depended at first on voluntary gifts from its members.”

~ Encyclopedia Britannica ~
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44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 

~ Acts 2:44-45 — NLT ~
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Image Credit: http://usafreemoney.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/bag_of_money_wallpaper-other.jpg
Image Credit:
http://usafreemoney.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/
bag_of_money_wallpaper-other.jpg

As you can see from the scripture above, and from the references above, the early church did not tithe. Instead, all of the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. Now take note of who shared… All of the believers shared… This included apostles, pastors, prophets, teachers and evangelists, as well as everyone else…

Next, let’s look at what they shared… And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. ~ Acts 2:44 — NLT ~ Wow. Just think about this. All of the believers shared everything they had. Obviously, there would have been no apostles, pastors, prophets, teachers and evangelists who were independently wealthy from the tithes and offerings they received from other believers, because they would have shared everything they had. There would have been no worshipers or Christian musicians who charged people to see them and listen to their music, because it all would have been for the glory of God.

Finally, it’s important for us to see who the early church shared everything they had with… They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. ~ Acts 2:45 — NLT ~ The early church shared with those in need. Money was not collected to pay ministers, but to give to those who were in need.

“The New Testament nowhere explicitly requires tithing to maintain a ministry or a place of assembly.”

Bruce M. Metzger and Michael D. Coogan,Oxford Companion to the Bible ~
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Image Credit: http://www.taringa.net/posts/imagenes/12339622/Catedrales-mas-asombrosas.html
Image Credit:
http://www.taringa.net/posts/imagenes/12339622/Catedrales-mas-asombrosas.html

As you can see, giving in the early church differs greatly from the church today, who gives first to pay for clergy, buildings, maintenance, heat and air conditioning for the buildings, utilities, administrative staff and administrative costs, and a portion goes to whatever denomination the church members belong to. It is only after this and so many other expenses are met, that the money taken in is shared with those in need, and then, it is often given very selectively, after those in need meet certain criteria. I can’t help but wonder what Jesus or the early apostles would think of the giving of tithes, which are given to support many pastors, evangelists and televangelists, who never even come in contact with those who are in need?

“The silence of the N.T. writers, particularly Paul, regarding the present validity of the tithe can be explained only on the ground that the dispensation of grace has no more place for a law of tithing than it has for a law on circumcision.”

Baker’s Dictionary, 1960 ~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

2 Corinthians 9 encourages the Corinthian believers, and us as well, to give to those who are in need. It is not a command to tithe to any church, but to give to those who are in need. It also encourages believers to determine in their hearts how much to give, and not to give reluctantly or in response to pressure. It does not command us to tithe our income…

In fact, after studying the subject, I’ve come to the conclusion that tithing is part of the Old Covenant, which was fulfilled by Jesus. Further, Old Testament tithing never included the people’s income – rather, they tithed their produce and their meat. Finally, we must remember that we are no longer under the law, therefore, if we tithe, we are placing ourselves under the law…

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.

~ Galatians 5:1 — NLT ~

I’d like to share one final thought about tithing and giving. The Lord wants us to give to the poor, orphans and widows. He wants us to give with a cheerful heart, not under compulsion. What if we listened to Holy Spirit as the early church did, and gave accordingly, not limiting ourselves to a 10% tithe? The early church shared freely of everything they had. If they had  nothing to give, they felt no shame for it. The early church didn’t need a lot of money to share the gospel with their coworkers, families, friends and acquaintances. 

My friends, I urge you to prayerfully consider what you’ve read in this series, and give according to what Holy Spirit leads you to give. Don’t limit yourselves by tithing to a place of worship. Instead, let Holy Spirit lead you to give to those in need, according to the will of God. 

Related Articles:

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

To Tithe or Not To Tithe? Update

Greetings Friends,

Please forgive me for taking so long with my next post. Since returning home from my trip out of town, I’ve been under the weather, and with medication changes, unable to focus. Please keep me in your  prayers. I will be continuing this series and seeing it through its completion, so I ask for your continued patience.

May the Lord bless you!

Love,
Cheryl

To Tithe or Not To Tithe? (Part 4)

8 “Will a man rob God?
Yet you have robbed Me!
But you say,
‘In what way have we robbed You?’
In tithes and offerings.
9 You are cursed with a curse,
For you have robbed Me,
Even this whole nation.
10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.

Malachi 3:8-10 — NKJV ~

Image Credit: http://slaveoftheword.blogspot.com/ 2013/05/old-testament- tithing-passages- response.html
Image Credit:
http://slaveoftheword.blogspot.com/
2013/05/old-testament-
tithing-passages-
response.html

I’m really enjoying this study, and I don’t mind confessing that I’m learning as we go along too. I have also tithed for most of my walk with Christ, (at least since I seriously started serving Him), and until I complete this study, I will reserve my final judgment on tithing. What I am discovering is that many of the things I’ve always believed or been taught to believe about tithing were based not on what the scriptures say, but on the teachings of the church. Also, please understand that I am not telling anyone that they should not give as the Lord leads you to give, and until we complete this study, I’m not even telling you to stop tithing, especially if you feel that it is sinful not to tithe. 

The purpose of this study is for us to discover what the word of God truly says regarding tithing in the church. Please let me be very clear about one thing before we continue with our study, because several people have expressed concern that I might be encouraging you not to tithe. I am encouraging you to join me in this study of God’s word, and after we have completed the study, if you choose to continue tithing or to stop tithing, I encourage you to do so based on what the bible says, NOT because I told you to do so. Now that I’ve cleared that up, let’s continue our bible study with Malachi 3:10…

10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.

Malachi 3:10 — NKJV ~

Image Credit: http://www.templesanjose.org/ JudaismInfo/faq/temple wall.htm
Image Credit:
http://www.templesanjose.org/
JudaismInfo/faq/temple
wall.htm

In Malachi 3:10, the Lord instructs the Levite priests to, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house…” 

In our previous studies, we learned that tithes were seeds and fruit, and herds and flocks. We also learned that 10% of these tithes were given to the Levite priests, who were dedicated to a life of service to the Lord and His temple, and had no land of their own, in order to provide food for them and their families. Therefore, in order to ensure that the Lord’s priests would always have enough to eat, the Lord instituted the tithe. This information is important, because it explains why it was important that there be food in God’s house.

Now look at the first part of that scripture again, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house…” What was the storehouse, and where was it? (2 Chronicles 31)

  • The storehouse was where the tithes and offerings were kept until they were distributed to the priests.
  • The storehouse was located within the temple. 

There are several reasons why this scripture does not apply to Christians… 

  • Firstly, as I shared with you before, tithes were never cash or credit…
    • Tithes were for a sacrifice to God, and food for the Levite priests.
      • The priests served the Lord in the temple, offering sacrifices, playing music, mediating to God for the sins of the people, etc.
      • Because their lives were dedicated to the Lord, and they had no land of their own, 10% of the tithes were given to the Levite priests for food for them and their families.
      • After Christ was crucified, there was no longer a need for the priests to serve in the temple, because Jesus became our High Priest.
  • The temple was destroyed in 70 AD, and has not been rebuilt.
    • Therefore, there is no longer any storehouse.
    • Further, since Christ was crucified, He became the final sacrifice, and there is no longer a need to present tithes and offerings to the Lord to be sacrificed… In fact, it was never our sacrifices that the Lord desired…
      • You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings.
        Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand—
        you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings.
         ~ Psalm 40:6 
      • I want you to show love,
        not offer sacrifices.
        I want you to know me
        more than I want burnt offerings. 
        ~
        Hosea 6:6
    • Levite priests are no longer necessary, there is no longer a need to collect tithes to feed them.
    • Since the temple was destroyed, there is no longer a storehouse for the tithes to be brought to.
Image Credit: http://blog.adw.org/ wp-content/uploads/ Faces_of_Christ.jpg
Image Credit:
http://blog.adw.org/
wp-content/uploads/
Faces_of_Christ.jpg

Now, some claim that the storehouse we are now supposed to bring our tithes and offerings (cash and credit, no longer food, although scripture makes no mention of this change) to, is the church. However, according to the scriptures, the church is not the building or the place where we worship…

  • 22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. ~ Ephesians 1:22-23 — NKJV ~

According to the scriptures, Christians are the church. We are the body of Christ, not the building that we go to worship at. If I am in my home, then my home houses the church, but it is not the church. If I am in my car or Walmart, then they house the church, but they are not the church. When I go to my place of worship on Sundays, as soon as the men and women of God show up, that is where the church is, but as soon as we leave that building, although it may be dedicated to God, it is not the church. 

Not only that, but the bible tells us in several different places that not only are we (all Christians) the church, but we are also the temple of the Holy Spirit.

  • Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself… 1 Corinthians 6:19 — NLT ~
  • 19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. ~ Ephesians 2:19-22 — NKJV ~

So, the tithes and offerings were brought to the storehouse for the purpose of sacrificing to God, and feeding the Levite priests. There is no longer any need to do either, because Jesus was the sacrifice for our sins once and for all. Further, consider this…

  • you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. ~ 1 Peter 2:5 — NIV ~
      • 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. ~ Romans 12:1 — NLT ~
  • But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. ~ 1 Peter 2:9 — NIV ~

The tithes and offerings were taken to the temple and given to the priests. If all Christians are the church and temple of the Holy Spirit, and if we are also a holy and royal priesthood, then it’s important to know this fact. The Levite priests were not required to tithe, because a portion of the tithes were to feed them. 

Therefore, since we are a royal priesthood, and the temple of God’s Holy Spirit, are we bound by the law to tithe? Also, let us not forget that the Lord doesn’t desire sacrifices, and the sacrifice that is required of all believers is for us to offer our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, which is pleasing to the Lord. Brothers and sisters, this is truly the way to worship God. As I study the scriptures, which tells us that we are not bound by the law, why would God command His people to obey this law? And would He change the terms, requiring priests to pay tithes now, and changing the food offerings to cash or credit offerings? And to whom and where would God’s holy priesthood present tithes?

I urge you to prayerfully study the scriptures, asking the Lord to reveal the truth to you through His word. I also encourage you to join me for To Tithe or Not To Tithe (Part 5)when we will continue our study.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

To Tithe or Not To Tithe? (Part 3)

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Image Credit:
http://thepropheticbooksofbible.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/tithe.gif

Welcome to the third part of To Tithe or Not To Tithe?, and thank you for your patience in waiting for part 3. I just left my daughter’s home in GA and headed for home yesterday, and was unable to finish this post during my last few days there. However, I’m home now, and hopefully, Lord willing, I will be able to continue on this series more regularly. If you’re just starting this series, please be sure to check out the following posts first…

In part two of this series, I said that we would be studying Malachi 3:8-10…

8 “Will a man rob God?
Yet you have robbed Me!
But you say,
‘In what way have we robbed You?’
In tithes and offerings.
9 You are cursed with a curse,
For you have robbed Me,
Even this whole nation.
10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.

Malachi 3:8-10 — NKJV ~

In part two of this series, we began the study with verse 8…

8 “Will a man rob God?
Yet you have robbed Me!
But you say,
‘In what way have we robbed You?’
In tithes and offerings.

Malachi 3:8 — NKJV ~

In verse 8 we learned:

  • The Lord spoke these words these words to warn the Levite priests who had turned away from Him, and were not treating the sacrifices they were to make to Him seriously, to repent and obey the Law.
  • The Lord did not require monetary tithes and offerings.
    • He required a tithe of seeds and fruit
    • He required a tithe of herds and flocks
  • When Jesus was crucified on the cross, as a sacrifice to pay for the sins of man, there was no longer any need for sacrifice in the Temple…Since there is no longer any need for sacrifices to be made, there is no longer any need for priests to offer sacrifices, approach God on our behalf, or mediate for our sins, for Christ is our High Priest…
    • For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus — 1 Timothy 2:5 (NKJV)
    • 14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. — Hebrews 4:14-16 (NKJV)
Image Credit: http://www.tithing.com/wp-content/ uploads/2012/02/tithing-on-trial.jpg

Now, we’ll continue the study, with verse 9 of the passage…

9 You are cursed with a curse,
For you have robbed Me,
Even this whole nation.

I have heard this message directed at Christians, and have sat under pastors who have said that not only are people cheating themselves out of a blessing for not bringing our tithes to the storehouse, but they are also bringing God’s curse on themselves. However, as we learned in To Tithe or Not To Tithe? (Part 2)this specific message was never intended for Christians. The Lord spoke this message to warn the Levite priests who had turned away from Him, and were not treating the sacrifices they were to make to Him seriously, to repent and obey the Law. Further, we also learned that the tithe was not 10% of one’s income. It was not cash or credit. The tithe was seeds and fruit, and herds and flocks, which the people were giving. 

  • Therefore, the Lord was telling the Levite priests that they were cursed with a curse. (Remember, they were still under the Law)

For those who would imply that this law applies to Christians, and if we as Christians do not give 10% of our income, we will be “cursed with a curse”, please consider this:

13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

~ Galatians 3:13-14 — NKJV ~

Brothers and sisters, this post is short and sweet, because I really want you to focus on these verses from Galatians 3. When someone speaks a curse over you for not tithing or for not living by the law, remember that Christ set us free from the curse of the law, and whom the Son sets free is free indeed!

Please be sure to join me for the next post in our study of To Tithe or Not To Tithe?, when we will continue this study, focusing on verse 10.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

To Tithe or Not To Tithe? (Part 2)

8 “Will a man rob God?
Yet you have robbed Me!
But you say,
‘In what way have we robbed You?’
In tithes and offerings.
9 You are cursed with a curse,
For you have robbed Me,
Even this whole nation.
10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.

~ Malachi 3:8-10 — NKJV ~

Image Credit: http://media.salemwebnetwork.com/worshiphousemedia/ resource/images/main/s/mo/pow/ss/tithesandoffering.jpg
Image Credit:
http://media.salemwebnetwork.com/worshiphousemedia/
resource/images/main/s/mo/pow/ss/tithesandoffering.jpg

First of all, let me state very clearly, I love the Lord, and I don’t want to rob Him. I don’t want to sin against God. I want to love Him and serve Him, and be a blessing to Him. My heart’s desire is to be a woman after God’s own heart. I want to know Him and understand His word. I want to be all that God has called me to be, and I want to walk in the liberty that He has given me…

Therefore, let’s begin To Tithe or Not To Tithe? (Part 2) by looking at verse eight of Malachi 3…

8 “Will a man rob God?
Yet you have robbed Me!
But you say,
‘In what way have we robbed You?’
In tithes and offerings.

~ Malachi 3:8 — NKJV ~

Image Credit: http://cdn1.tillhecomes.org/wp-content/ uploads/2012/01/Malachi-3.jpg
Image Credit:
http://cdn1.tillhecomes.org/wp-content/
uploads/2012/01/Malachi-3.jpg

One of the first rules when studying scripture is to discover who, what, when, where and why. Therefore, let’s start first with who…

  • Who was speaking in this passage?
    • God was speaking
  • To whom was God speaking?
    • To find out who God was speaking to, I had to go back to the beginning of Malachi, where I discovered that God was speaking to the priests, not the people, who had brought their tithes, and it was the priests who failed to distribute them according to the Law.
  • What was God saying?
    • He accused the priests of robbing Him in tithes and offerings.
    • The priests were not presenting the tithes and offerings to the Lord as they should, instead, keeping the best of the tithes and offerings for themselves, while offering the Lord blind, sick and lame sacrifices.
  • When did God speak these words?
    • Malachi was written some time between 440 and 400 B.C.
  • Where did God speak these words?
    • The word of the Lord came to Israel.
  • Why did God speak these words?
    • He spoke these words to warn the priests who had turned away from Him and were not treating the sacrifices they were to make to Him seriously, to repent and obey the Law.

When studying the scriptures, after determining the 5 W’s, we also need to see if these scriptures apply to us (Christian believers) today… Therefore, at this point, it’s really important for us to understand what the tithes and offerings that the Lord was talking about, were. Just so everyone is on the same page, let’s look up the Law’s tithe requirement…

  • Leviticus 27:30-33 (NKJV) — 30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s. It is holy to the Lord. 31 If a man wants at all to redeem any of his tithes, he shall add one-fifth to it. 32 And concerning the tithe of the herd or the flock, of whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the Lord. 33 He shall not inquire whether it is good or bad, nor shall he exchange it; and if he exchanges it at all, then both it and the one exchanged for it shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.
  • We see here that the tithe was food, both from the fruit of the land and from animals
    • The Lord did not require monetary tithes and offerings
    • The tithes and offerings required were food, which was given to the priests, who were to offer a tithe of what they received to the Lord.
    • The rest of the tithes and offerings were given to the priests, who owned no land to grow or raise their own food, because their lives were dedicated to the Lord.
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Does the Lord still require these tithes and offerings, as required by the Law? Of course not! For Christ paid all of our debts once and for all…

11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

15 But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, 16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days,” says the Lord: “I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” 17 then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

~ Hebrews 10:11-18 — NKJV ~

When Christ died on the cross, there was no longer any need for sacrifices, because He paid for the sins of mankind once and for all. Therefore…

  • There is no longer any need for priests to offer sacrifices, approach God on our behalf, or mediate for our sins, for Christ is our High Priest…
    • For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus — 1 Timothy 2:5 (NKJV)
    • 14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. — Hebrews 4:14-16 (NKJV)

My beloved Messianic readers, if you have given your life to Christ, you are a new creation, and you are no longer bound by the Law. Beloved Gentile believers, you have never been bound by the Law, and you shouldn’t allow anyone to deceive you into giving your freedom away…

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.

2 Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3 I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses. 4 For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.

5 But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us. 6 For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.

~ Galatians 5:1-6 — NLT ~

My beloved readers, I do not want to influence anyone, nor do I want to tell you what to do or believe. However, there are those who try to shame and coerce the people of God into giving money to their ministries by misusing  the Word of God, and my desire is that the men and women of God will read and study His word so they will know what God’s will for His people truly is.

Therefore, I encourage you to pray about what you are reading here, and seek God’s face. Also, please don’t misunderstand what you are reading or what I am saying. As you read this  series, please be sure you hold this scripture close to your heart as you pray…

You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”

~ 2 Corinthians 9:7 — NLT ~

 Thank you for reading, my friends, and please, be sure to join me for To Tithe or Not To Tithe (Part 3), when we continue our study of Malachi 3:8-10…

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

To Tithe or Not To Tithe? (Part 1)

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I’ve been studying the scriptures and seeking answers about tithing. I know what the church’s stance on tithing is, and I know what non-church goers think about tithing, but frankly, I’m not interested in opinions. I want to know what God says about tithing, because I want to walk in obedience to Him in all areas of my life, because I truly do love Him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. I also feel the Spirit leading me to share my findings with others who want to walk in obedience to the Lord.

I began my study by looking at some of the various scriptures we hear in church, urging us to tithe, and it soon became evident to me, that this was not something that could be answered in one  post. For this reason, I decided to do a series on this subject, so that we could do an in-depth study of God’s word and determine His will for us. After deciding to do a series on To Tithe or Not To Tithe?, I decided to start with one of the scriptures that I’ve heard used most frequently by pastors, evangelists and televangelists, when urging their congregations to tithe…

~ Luke 6:38 — NKJV ~

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Well, that seems pretty clear, doesn’t it? These are the words of Jesus, which means that it applies to His followers, therefore, we should all obey His words, if we want to receive the promised blessing… But wait!

It’s always important to study scriptures in their context, so that we can truly understand what the Lord’s will for us is. Therefore, let’s look at this scripture a little closer, in its context…

32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

37 “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.

39 And He spoke a parable to them: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher. 41 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? 42 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.”

~ Luke 6:32-42 — NKJV ~

Did you see any mention of tithes and offerings in that passage of scripture? I didn’t. Please allow me to share with you what I did see in this passage of scripture…

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In Luke 6:32-36, Jesus is instructing people to love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return. He also instructs us to be merciful just like our heavenly Father is merciful. He also tells us that if we will do those things, our reward will be great, but He makes no mention of tithes in those verses, does He?

Now, let’s look at Luke 6:37-38, and see what Jesus tells us… In verse 37, Jesus tells us not to judge or condemn anyone, so you won’t be judged or condemned. He also tells us to forgive, and we will be forgiven. Then, in verse 38, He tells us to give, and it will be given back to us, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

In Luke 6:39-42, Jesus tells us that the blind cannot lead the blind, and the disciple cannot be above his teacher. Then, He continues speaking about judging others, and tells us that before we judge someone else, we must first examine ourselves and rid ourselves of the plank (sin) from our own eye, before trying to remove the speck (sin) from our brother’s eye.

Did you see anything at all about tithes and offerings in this passage of scripture?

“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

Luke 6:38 — NKJV ~

When you put this scripture into context, we discover that Jesus is instructing us to give mercy and forgiveness and it will be given to us, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, it will be put into our bosom. For with the same measure that we use, it will be measured back to us…

Also, just to verify that we are interpreting this passage correctly, let’s look at Matthew’s account of this passage of scripture.

1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

~ Matthew 7:1-5 — NKJV ~

Again, you can see clearly that Jesus was not talking about tithes and offerings in this passage. He was talking about showing your brother mercy and forgiveness, rather than measuring out judgment and condemnation against him.

Beloved readers, it is important for you to know God’s word for yourself, so that you will know what God’s will for you is. Jesus was commanding us to be merciful and forgiving when He spoke the words above. He was not commanding us to give money in this instance, nor was He promising to reward us with money. Therefore, if you give tithes and offerings expecting to receive back what you have given, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you,” you could be very disappointed.

Please be sure to join me in this study of God’s word on tithing for Christians, so that we can understand what the Lord is truly commanding us to do. I look forward to sharing more with you in To Tithe or Not To Tithe? (Part 2)

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers