Tag Archives: Jesu

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.

Image Credit:
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

Go Away And Leave Us Alone!

28When Jesus arrived on the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gadarenes, two men who were possessed by demons met Him. They lived in a cemetery and were so violent that no one could go through that area. 

29They began screaming at Him, “Why are You interfering with us, Son of God? Have You come here to torture us before God’s appointed time?” 30There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding in the distance. 31So the demons begged, “If you cast us out, send us into that herd of pigs.”

32“All right, go!” Jesus commanded them. So the demons came out of the men and entered t he pigs, and the whole herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.

33The herdsmen fled to the nearby town, telling everyone what happened to the demon-possessed men. 34Then the entire town came out to meet Jesus, but they begged Him to go away and leave them alone.

~ Matthew 8:28-33 — NLT ~

Image Credit: http://www.multipleworlds.net/Gadarene_Deliverance.html
Image Credit:
http://www.multipleworlds.net/Gadarene_Deliverance.html

This is one of the  most mind-blowing, confusing portions of scripture there is for me. Just think about this… Two violent, demon-possessed men were the first ones to move forward and greet Jesus. These two men lived in a cemetery, where the townspeople avoided them, because they were so violent and dangerous.

Now imagine how terrible life must have been for these two men… Although they were demon-possessed, surely, they experienced moments of sanity, where they longed to be delivered and set free from the demons that tormented and tortured them. Was it during one of these brief moments of sanity that  the two men learned of Jesus’ arrival and sought Him out? Only the Lord knows. When they approached Him, did they plan to ask Him to set them free? After reading this story in the book of Mark, I think it’s very possible that at least one of the men wanted to be set free…

1 Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. 2 And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 who had his dwelling among  the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in places; neither could anyone tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting  himself with stones.

6 When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. 7 And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.”

~ Mark 5:1-7 — NKJV ~

Do you see what the man did? Look at Mark 5:6…

When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him.

~ Mark 5:6 — NKJV ~

Image Credit: pastormarkwood.blogspot.com
Image Credit:
pastormarkwood.blogspot.com

The demon-possessed man ran up to Jesus and worshiped Him! Now think about this — Jesus healed many demon-possessed men and women, but none of the others ran towards Him to worship Him, except for this man. Therefore, it is entirely possible that at least one of the two demon-possessed men, who lived in that cemetery, tried to escape the demons that tormented  him and his friend day and night, so that he might be set free. And hallelujah, Jesus not only set him free, but the other man as well!

30 There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding in the distance. 31 So the demons begged, “If you cast us out, send us into that herd of pigs.”

32 “All right, go!” Jesus commanded them. So the demons came out of the men and entered the pigs, and the whole herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.

~ Matthew 8:30-32 — NLT ~

Image Credit: biblegraphics.com
Image Credit:
biblegraphics.com

Matthew wrote about two demon-possessed men, while both Mark and Luke only mentioned one, in their versions of the story. Although Mark and Luke only refer to one of the demon-possessed men, it does not mean that there weren’t two men. It only means that Mark and Luke only referred to one of the men for some reason not known to us.

Nonetheless, at Jesus’ command, the demons left the men and entered a herd of pigs, and sent them plunging down the steep hillside, where they drowned in the water.

Image Credit: James Tissot
Image Credit:
James Tissot

Now, there were some herdsmen nearby, who witnessed the whole thing. I wonder what they were thinking when they saw Jesus cast the demons out of the two men. Did they rejoice at the marvelous miracle that had just taken place before them, as the lives of two men were restored? Or were they frightened and angry over the death of the pigs?

When the townspeople came and saw the two men, who had formerly been so vile and dangerous, now clothed and in their right minds, talking with Jesus, did they delight in the fact that these former pariahs were now model citizens? Were they overjoyed that their people would no longer live in fear of the two demon-possessed men escaping their chains and possibly harming someone? Their response blows my mind. 

Sadly, the citizens of the town seemed more upset about the death of the pigs than the deliverance of the demonized men. Friends, think of this — what if the King of Glory came to your town and set the homeless, schizophrenic free, sending the demons that tormented him into the town’s stray cats, who end up plunging themselves to their death? Would you delight in the homeless schizophrenic’s new found freedom? Or would you be outraged that the Lord sent the demons into the town’s stray cats, who then plunged to their death? Would you welcome this King of Glory into your town, inviting Him to stay, or would you respond as the townspeople responded when the two demonized men were set free, and beg Jesus to please leave and go away?

I have to be honest with you — I find it shocking that the people asked Jesus to leave their town, after He delivered the two dangerous men, changing them from violent criminals to gentle men. Were the people really more concerned for the swine than for the two men, not to mention their citizens and tourists? Now, examine your hearts, my friends, how would you respond? Would you ask Jesus to stay forever? Or would you ask Him to go away and leave you alone???

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Christ is the Head

Christ is also the head of the church, which is His body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So He is first in everything.

~ Colossians 1:18 NLT ~

Image Credit: http://raptureintheairnow.com/forums/topic/he-is-the-image-of-the-invisible-god/
Image Credit:
http://raptureintheairnow.com/forums/topic/he-is-the-image-of-the-invisible-god/

Don’t you just love the Word of God? There is power in God’s word. There is healing in His word. There is life in the Word of God and there is deliverance. As you read and study the Word of God, you will also find that there is freedom in it. Therefore, I want to share some things the Lord has revealed to me about freedom, and it all begins with the scripture above…

Christ is also the head of the church, which is His body… I know that those of you who have been Christians for awhile have heard this repeated over and over, but I wonder… does everyone truly understand what this means to us? Do those people who go from church to church, following different leaders, because they need to “be fed”, truly understand what it means to have Christ as the head of the church? Do those ministers who bottle or spoon feed their congregations on various doctrines, understand what it means for Christ to be the head of the church? Do their congregations understand? Does anyone understand that Christ is the head of the church, and what this means to them in this day and time, when ministers, evangelists and televangelists grow filthy rich from tithes, offerings and gifts from their followers, who grow poorer as they give money that they don’t even have, because their leaders encourage them to pledge, borrow and give money to their ministries “by faith”?

Image Credit: http://pattycakesgreetingsfromtheheart.blogspot.com/
Image Credit:
http://pattycakesgreetingsfromtheheart.blogspot.com/

12 Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. 13 He said to them“The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”

~ Matthew 21:12-13 — NLT ~

Maybe this will offend some of you, but as I look around at the billion dollar business that Christianity is in America today, I wonder, what would Jesus think of it? Would He approve of men and women selling their products in His name? Would He approve the constant begging that takes place in “Share-a-thons”? Would He give His stamp of approval to those ministers who will not minister at smaller venues unless they are guaranteed to receive a certain amount of money? Would He approve of those who will not minister for free? Would Jesus be pleased with those ministers who have become wealthy by telling people that if they will just “sew a seed into their ministry”, God will answer their prayers? Or would He respond to those ministers the same way He responded to the moneychangers? “… My Temple will be called a house of prayer, but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”

Sculpture-of-Homeless-Jesus-Sleeping-on-Bench-is-Rejected-by-Churches
“Jesus the Homeless” sculpture
by: Timothy Schmalz

57 As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

58 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 9:57-58 — NLT ~

How would Jesus respond to the ministers and televangelists in America today, as He watches them grow richer and richer, while their followers grow poorer and poorer? How do you think Almighty God feels as today’s most popular ministers buy enormous mansions, and church buildings that are each more opulent than the other, while countless men and women remain poor and unsaved, with no one to minister to them? How do you think Jesus feels, as He watches men and women who are supposed to be ministering the gospel and seeking and saving the lost, instead, seeking fancy expensive cars and private jets for their own personal comfort? How does it feel to the Son of Man, knowing that while He, the KING of kings and LORD of lords, had no place to lay His head, many of America’s “ministers” have not just one home, but as many as two or more luxurious homes, paid for with money donated to their ministries?

One of Paul Crouch's 13 mansions...
One of Paul Crouch’s 13 mansions…

“If you have been healed or saved or blessed through TBN and have not contributed to (the) station, you are robbing God and will lose your reward in heaven.” ~ Paul Crouch

Christ is also the head of the church, which is His body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So He is first in everything. Christ is the head of the church, not Paul and Jan Crouch, not John Hagee, not Kenneth Copeland, not Joyce Meyers or Paula White, or Fred Price, or Creflo Dollar or Jesse DuPlantis or T.D. Jakes or any other televangelist. Not even your pastor is the head of the church, for there can only be one head, and scrpiture clearly states that Christ is the head of the church. Therefore, when we hear or read a statement made by one of these leaders in the church, we must measure it against God’s standard — His Word… Let’s examine Paul Crouch’s statement above, and see how it measures up to God’s word…

16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from abovecoming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

~ James 1:16-17 NIV  ~

Beloved readers, the statement above, made by Paul Crouch is wrong for many reasons. First of all, it is wrong, because he implies that your healing, salvation or blessing came through TBN, but scripture clearly states that every good and perfect gift is from above. If you were saved, healed or blessed while watching TBN, praise the Lord, for it is God the Father, through Christ, the head of the church, who chose to save, heal or bless you at that time. I have been privileged to lead several people to Christ, but it was He who saved them, not me, and they owe me and my ministry nothing more than to love me. Even in the Old Testament, when the prophet, Elisha, healed Naaman from leprosy (2 Kings 5), he refused to accept any gifts or payment for healing Naaman, and I’ve never read a single scripture where Jesus or the apostles accepted gifts or payment for healing, blessing or saving anyone, and they certainly never demanded payment, so why would any other follower of Christ expect this?

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. 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 ~

Beloved readers, what is God’s will for His church? To understand His will for us, look at the scripture passage above, particularly the parts that are underlined. Does God say His will for us is to give to TBN? Of course not! Jesus’ command for His followers over 2,000 years ago, is the same as His command for us today. He commands His followers to love one another, as He loves us. If I love my brothers and sisters in Christ, just as He loves me, will He remove my reward because I choose not to give to TBN? That just doesn’t add up to His word…

God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 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 ~

My beloved friends, our good works can’t earn us anything. As a matter of fact, scripture says that our good works are like filthy rags. Therefore, do you honestly believe that giving some money to TBN or any other ministry will earn you any points or rewards? Of course not. The only two commands the Lord gives us is to love the Lord our God with all of our hearts, souls, minds and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.. If we will just obey these two commandments, everything else will  fall into place, and He will give us wisdom and discernment so that we will know how He wants us to spend our money, and which ministries and/or people to give to, as well as how much to give.

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 ~

Finally, take careful note of the scripture above… God’s word tells us not to give reluctantly, because He wants us to give cheerfully, to whomever He sends our way. Now, take note of the 2nd sentence in the verse above… don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressureAll too  often, “Share-a-Thons” or “Praise-a-Thons” are nothing more than intense pressure tactics designed to coerce viewers into giving as much money as possible to give as much money as possible to a ministry. We are not to give in response to pressure. Therefore, before giving to any ministry, listen to Holy Spirit. He will direct you in your giving, and He will provide for each ministry that He supports…

Remember, my beloved readers, Christ is the head of the church, and we are His body. As I said before, Jesus is the only head. There is no other head besides Jesus, not your pastor, and not any other religious leader, because anything with two heads or more is a monster, and not worthy of worship…

Christ is also the head of the church, which is His body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So He is first in everything.

Colossians 1:18 NLT ~

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Inside Israel – Of things old and new – AND FAMILY NEWS – 7 July 2013

Image Credit: Jerusalem Shots
Image Credit:
Jerusalem Shots

Greetings Beloved Readers,

I know that I usually try to post letters from our sister in Israel on Saturdays, however, I didn’t get this one until today, therefore, I am posting it a day later than usual. As always, I encourage you to pray for Israel and our sister who resides there while you read this letter, remembering that Jesus loved Jerusalem so much that He wept over her. And now, without further ado, here is the letter from our sister in Jerusalem…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Shalom, dear Brothers and Sisters,

 
May He be glorified and blessed, and may you be blessed.  Although I write that in almost every letter, I never write it lightly…I pray it!
 
Summer activity seems to overtake many of us suddenly and I know that some of you will not find time to read this.  There is some personal news at the end of the letter though, particularly for those of you who know us.  I am so glad that The Lord is the same, yesterday, today and forever and that HE isn’t suddenly ‘caught up’ in summer activity…OR in problems or illness for that matter.  That’s so comforting! 
 
As I went from the shuk to prayer meeting yesterday morning before going to work, my eyes suddenly ‘flashed back’ to earlier ‘first impressions’ and I was able to observe with ‘new eyes’ again and some of the wonders of life here that I saw at the beginning of this part of my path. Perhaps it is because we are about to celebrate our 19th year since making aliyah (immigrating).  We became Israeli citizens on the 18th of July, but we left Alaska on 4th of July (the tickets were cheaper then as people tend not to fly on that day) which was sort of symbolic I guess.  We were totally clueless as to the new life that lay ahead.  I had never been here before, and my husband had come once on a short ‘tourist trip’. We didn’t know aleph from bet, (the Hebrew alpha bet) had no idea where we would live or what we would do.  The map that I had looked at was the map in the back of my Bible (yes…before computers!) We literally sold and gave away everything that we owned, burned all of our bridges, and at the not-so-young age of 48+ left all that we knew for what we didn’t know because we believed (correctly thank God!) that it was HIM Who was telling us to do this.  We were slightly acquainted with ONE person here and she found us temporary board in a room of someone’s apartment.  That is how our walk here began.  Shell shock!
 
So, 19 years later, my routines have become somewhat set, and it was a blessing to suddenly see again as if it were my first time.  Friday morning, it is my ‘habit’ to go to Intercessors for Israel 6:30am prayer meetings for a half hour before going on to work. This week, memories flooded me. I remembered my ‘wonder’ at the buses, where the radio blared and the people talked and sang and ate. Since I take the 6am bus on Fridays I had been deeply moved by the fact that the state run radio stations began  (they go off at midnight and on at 6am) with the words of ‘the smah’…the prayer most important in Judaism…the words from Deut 6:4-9
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
These words are to Judaism what The Lord’s prayer or sometimes the 23rd Psalm are to Christianity, so it would be as if your radio stations would begin each day with those Words in the morning reminding the country Who we look to first above all.  It blessed me to listen and to pray as the sunrise was casting its first rays above the mountains round about Jerusalem.  Sadly, about the time that the train started service, the broadcasting system put an end to this practice that had been in place since we first got radio here.  None the less, the assortment on the 6am bus is almost always the same, so we greet one another as one reads the newspaper and another the book of Psalms and a third eats perhaps a yogurt or cucumber, tomato and pita…typical Israeli breakfasts on the run.  On Friday I get off at the shuk to buy a challa (shabat bread) and some fruit and vegetables as everything in the city will close before sundown until after the shabat following sundown on Saturday.  At 6am very few stands are open, but there are enough for me to get what I need and then run down Jaffa Road to prayer meeting.  As I leave the shuk I watch the Friday morning ritual of the street sweepers.  Do all cities still have street sweepers?  Ours take their job very seriously and really do it well.  I am always impressed by them as it is not what you would call the most desirable job and yet I never sense these people feeling sorry for themselves or angry or see them slacking at work.  I pass the area from which they are ‘sent out’ with broom and equipment and enjoy listening to the ‘pep talk’ that they receive from their ‘commander’ who reminds them that they are cleaning the streets of Jerusalem and that they should do it proudly. They run off slapping each other on the back and ready to begin.  Why does this catch my eye? As one who is ‘always cleaning house again and again and again’…I sometimes loose both my joy and energy in the midst of the task.  My task is so small compared with what faces these sweepers who work in the shuk; it is non stop mess and garbage and they keep at it with an energy, encouraging one another, that really speaks to me.  If they can do this monotonous job day after day, it challenges me to do mine for Yeshua with joy and for His glory. It is their level of obvious contentment that teaches me in this day ahead of me…it challenges me to plumb the depths of the command that The Lord gives me to ‘be content in ALL things’ as I read in so many verses (here are two but then there is Heb 13:5,  and so very many others.  You know them I’m sure:
Phil 4:11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
1 Tim 6:6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certainwe can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
So…as I walk past the ‘challenge of the street sweepers’ I come again to the ifi morning prayer meeting as I have since this particular Fri. morning group began so many years back, to pray in small groups for particular situations in our country and surrounding ones.  All too soon it was off to work for me, but my ‘fresh look’ at the street sweepers kept my eyes awake.  I remembered my amusement at the lack of Western ‘political correctness’ and how everyone talks to strangers all of the time.  That brought to my memory the reminder of the becoming aware that in this land of the Book and the Law…the laws are NOT ‘rigid’ as they are in the West…they are not black and white…they…hum…’float’ (for want of a better word.  It took me awhile to understand this. Here is an example:  In America if I took a letter to the post office, they would weigh it and tell me EXACTLY how much postage it needed.  If they were wrong, I would get the letter back marked ‘insufficient postage’.  Here, oh yes, there are charts, charges and regulations…but I might well walk up to the post office lady and she might say ‘9 shekels’ and I might say ‘Oh no!  I only have 7.5’ and…depending upon who she is, she might say ‘zeh lo mishonay!’ (It doesn’t matter) and either put 7.5 postage on it or take the shekel and a half our of her change purse. We don’t HAVE ‘insufficient postage’ stamps here.  Period.  Then there is ‘making a scene’. Again, a man approaches a window at the post office (we do LOTS of transactions at our post offices: they are banks, we pay bills there, we submit forms there and various other tasks) and the teller says ‘You are missing a signature’.  You can expect excitement!  ‘WHAT?!? They TOLD me that THIS is what I need!!  I CAN’T POSSIBLY come back!  My kid needs this for school TODAY!’  Sometimes fights ensue…but SOMETIMES we hear things like ‘You can’t? He really needs it today?  Ok.’ Stamp stamp stamp – and the customer walks away smiling. You can REASON with the clerks.  You can also cry.  I found that out the hard way.  As a new immigrant I cried A LOT! Suddenly I became ‘they made somebody’s mother cry!’ and others in line would rush up with water or a chair – it must have been quite humorous to watch from afar (although it never felt funny at the time).  So what is this: manipulation?  Mercy? Sloppiness? Protexia?  Probably a combination of all three to a different degree, but it was culturally different to me.  It was no longer black and white, but there were many ‘grey’ areas and this was helpful to learn as I realize that I will never fully understand the ‘ways of the system’. (although I have been told that NO ONE really understands it)

 
It is fun to remember some of these early impressions and lessons, particularly as planes fly over.  You all know that the situation here increases in intensity daily.  The sudden eruption of Egypt again – our neighbor to the south- has led to great instability in the vast Sinai region and once again de-stabilized our border.  To the North of us the Syrians continue to kill one another and our hospitals receive wounded for their border area nearly daily as word of mouth travels and families in the south bring their loved ones to the border asking for mercy.  Again our ‘peace’ process is gaining momentum so there are (again) bomb scares daily as that seems to be the ‘natural fruit’ of the ‘peace process’ (and the foreign governments do not seem to see the irony of this).  In other words, life continues as usual.
 
PERSONAL NEWS
 
I was deeply blessed by a dear sister last weekend.  She works for a volunteer organization and they are blessed with an apartment right on the beach in Netanya that they allow their workers to use periodically for a time of retreat and refreshing.  She had reserved it for last weekend and INVITED ME AND ANOTHER SISTER TO JOIN HER!  Oh what joy to have a change of scenery and intensity and to share the sweetest of fellowship in Him!  I have rarely received such a cup of cold water and I am happy to report that I have been so graciously refreshed and doused in Love!  I had to come home early as I have had an infection and am allergic to just about all antibiotics, so needed to receive 5 days of slowly administered antibiotic by infusion, spending 2 hours daily in a nurses station after work.  I was well prepared with His GRACE to go through this, for which I am so thankful. 
 
Some have been asking how things are going with our Granddaughter.  She is scheduled to arrive on 29th July and we are SOOOO excited!  She is a tender 6 years old and has had her suitcase packed for 6 weeks already!  I guess she takes after her ‘Savtalai’ (Grandmother) as I have been getting stuff for her ‘room’ for atleast that long! Thank you so much for your prayers!
 
But for those of you who know us…our situation…have followed our family, some of you for more then 35 years(!) we do have news;  Our youngest daughter, who was married just a year ago, is expecting their first child!  She was told (as I was) that she could never have children and they are THRILLED!  Ofcourse, she has had MANY physical and emotional problems and they are still NOT (yet) walking with The Lord… they are poorer then church mice BUT happier then larks…and, yes, I ask for prayer for them!  They live in Minnesota USA and the Baby is due in early Jan.  No…they have no car…no insurance…she is high risk pregnancy and is NOT feeling well…BUT…She IS a child of promise and HE IS ON THE THRONE! So I will BLESS them and pray and I wanted to share our joy with you! 
 
There are some of you whom I SHOULD have told personally and I do beg your forgiveness as my computer is acting up and trying to write has been a challenge. 
 
MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND KEEP YOU AND MAKE HIS FACE TO SHINE UPON YOU FOR HIS GLORY!  May we be discerning and sensitive to His direction for this most narrow of seasons in which we life. 
Lovingly, your sis
ani b’derek

Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays!

Image Credit: http://gracepieces.com/
Image Credit:
http://gracepieces.com/

Seek Ye First The Kingdom Of God

kingdom of God

Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves. We are
His people and the sheep  of His pasture. (Psalm 100:3 NKJV)
I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
(John 11:25 NKJV)
Not by might not by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6 NKJV)
Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the
Son and the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19 NLT)
Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is
taught in the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7:12 NLT)
Order my steps in Thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.
(Psalm 119:133 KJV)
May the words of my moth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing  to You, O Lord, my
Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14 NLT)

Share the Love – July 2013

PrintHallelujah! I really look forward to Sharing the Love with one of my fellow bloggers each month, but I have to tell you, July 1 came really fast. I’ve known who the Lord wants me to showcase for a while, but life has a way of slipping in and throwing us off course. I’m really struggling with pain today, and your prayers are deeply appreciated. 🙂

In the meantime, I’m really excited to introduce July’s featured blog and author to some, and to present her to others, so without further ado, (drumroll please), I present CHRISTian ~ poetry by deborah annDeborah is truly a woman with a heart for Jesus, and her love for Him is evident in every poem that she writes, not for her own glory, but for His. I know this blesses the Lord, and I’m certain that’s why He wanted me to Share the Love with her. Continue reading Share the Love – July 2013