Tag Archives: NKJV

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

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 ~
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“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 ~
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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

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)

Truth or Lie?

Image Credit: facebook.com/StopPlayingChurch

For a long time, the Lord has been speaking to my heart about the importance of His Word. Did you know that God created the heavens and the earth by speaking them into existence? In fact, in Genesis 1, there are 16 references to God speaking creation into existence. (Genesis 1:3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 29)

The book of John refers to Jesus as the Word:

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. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
(John 1:1-4 NKJV)

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 NKJV)

The bible is unlike any other book that has ever been written, because while other books contain the words of mere mortal men, the bible is God breathed.

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16 NIV)

Image Credit: http://olivyaz.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-word-of-god-is-living-and-active.html

While other books, letters, blogs and posts written by men and women like you and me, may entertain us or even inspire us, there is no real power in those words. However, the bible has the power to judge us. While we may often fool others or ourselves about who we are, the bible, which is the word of God, exposes us for who and what we really are.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
(Hebrews 4:12 NKJV)

 For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are.
(Hebrews 4:12 NLT)

Because scripture is inspired by God (or God-breathed), it is holy, and we must treat it with respect. Scripture warns us in several places that we must not add to or take away from the word of God.

5 Every word of God proves true. He defends all who come to Him for protection. 6 Do not add to His words, or He may rebuke you, and you will be found a liar.
(Proverbs 30:5-6 NLT)

Do not add to or subtract from these commands I am giving you from the LORD your God. Just obey them.
(Deuteronomy 4:2 NLT)

18 And I solemnly declare to everyone who hears the prophetic words of this book: If anyone adds anything to what is written here, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book. 19 And if anyone removes any of the words of this prophetic book, God will remove that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book.
(Revelation 22:18-19 NLT)

Image Credit: http://missionventureministries.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/revelation-22-vs-18-19.jpg

The Word of God is vital to our well-being. Jesus made it clear when Satan tempted Him in the wilderness that we don’t live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Therefore, it is extremely important for us to know the word of God for ourselves. Otherwise, we’ll believe all sorts of doctrines that go against the will of God.

It is because people are ignorant about what the bible truly says, that they allow men like Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Adolph Hitler, Jim Jones, David Koresh and Fred Phelps to lead them. It is because they are ignorant about what the Word of God truly says that people are duped into giving millions of dollars that many can ill afford to give, to televangelists who spend the money on their own lavish lifestyles, rather than God’s ministry. They give to these “ministries” because the leaders often quote scriptures out of context, and the men and women who follow these leaders believe what their favorite “ministers” say, without ever bothering to see for themselves if they were truly quoting scripture, and if so, were they quoting the scriptures the proper context?

For this reason, the Lord has led me to share the Word of God with my readers, so that you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. In this category – Truth or Lie? – I will present the scriptures to you in their proper context, and help you to discover whether some of the things we  have been taught in the church are indeed the truth or a lie. Sometimes people teach lies, not because they intentionally want to deceive you, but because this is what they have been taught. As I’ve studied the scriptures over the years, I’ve discovered that some things that I have taught in the past were not true, because of my own ignorance.

Image Credit: http://bethlehemlutheranferrin.org/Bible-Classes.php

This is why I encourage you to read the scriptures for yourself as you read the studies I will be presenting in this category. Check things out, to make sure that what I present to you is the truth, and not some strange doctrine that I’ve dreamed up myself, or not merely someone else’s teaching. If my words do not line up with what the scriptures say, then it isn’t the scriptures that are wrong. It is me. For this reason, I encourage you to do as the Apostle Paul instructed Timothy to do:

Work hard so God can approve you. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.
(2 Timothy 2:15 NLT)

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Words of Jesus – “Not Everyone Who Says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ Shall Enter The Kingdom of Heaven…” Part 2

“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. 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?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ 

(Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV)

How well do you know God? I’m not talking about how much you know about Him. There are many people who know a whole lot of Scriptures, but they don’t know God.

Image Credit: http://www.thebiblechristian.com/?p=7874

Just because you read a book about someone doesn’t mean that you know him/her. Because you read something written by an author does not mean that you actually know him/her. Many of you who read my posts do not know me, even though what I’ve written has come straight from my heart and reveals much about me; while others who read my posts have come to know me very well. How is it that you all read the same words that I have written, and perhaps even follow my blog, and yet, only a few know me?

Image Credit: http://thepastorssnack.blogspot.com/2010/09/intimacy-with-god-part-4.html

The answer has to do with relationship and intimacy. Some, who have read my words, respond to me, the author of those words. They talk to me, via their comments, and I respond to them. As we begin responding to one another, we come to know and love one another. We become intimate. As we become intimate with one another, both listening and hearing what the other is saying, we begin to see one another’s heart, and as we open up to one another, we come to love one another.

We also learn to see the flaws that each of us have, because we are still human after all, but those flaws do not change our love for one another. If anything, when we see the sin in our brothers and sisters, we hurt and we ache for our brothers and sisters, crying out for their release from the sin, which like a cancer, can destroy them. The knowledge of the sin in our brothers’ or sisters’ lives does not cause us to love them any less; rather it causes us to love them all the more, while we hate that sin which is destroying them, and wage war against it…

In this same way, many who read and study the Word of God do not know Him, because they fail to respond to Him, the Author of those words. Now some may admire and respect His Word, and may know more about His words than others, but they have missed the most important thing. You see, although they admire those words, they have failed to respond to the Author of those words. Rather than taking the time to respond to Him, and listen to His response to them, they just admire Him from afar.

Some people believe the words that He has written, and they apply them to their lives, just as some have admired Socrates and live by his words…

True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.

Socrates

Others admire Ghandi and live by his words…

A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.

Ghandi

Still others admire Plato and live by his words…

Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.

Plato

While people may admire these philosophers and live by what they say, the people do not actually know them. In the same way, while many people know Jesus and admire Him, many even try to live according to the Ten Commandments, this does not mean that they actually know Him personally, and intimacy is the very foundation of Christianity. This is why Jesus said:

“Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to Me as ‘Lord,’ but they still won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey My Father in heaven. On judgment day many will tell Me, ‘Lord, Lord, we prophesied in Your name and cast out demons in Your name and performed many miracles in Your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized.’

(Matthew 7:21-23 NLT)

Image Credit: http://myjesuslovesme.wordpress.com/page/4/

So, what does Jesus mean when He says we must obey His Father in heaven? How do we know if we really do know Jesus? He makes it plain for us in His word:

 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.

(John 15:10-14 NKJV)

Do you see that? If we obey Jesus’ commandments, we will abide in His love… By this we will know that we are saved… So what does He command us to do?

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

(John 15:12 NKJV)

What is the greatest command that God gave us… the one that all of the Law and the prophets is based on?

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

(Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV)

Do you know the Lord Jesus Christ, my friends? Do you love Him with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength? Do you love your neighbor as yourself?

I didn’t ask you if you love church, or the bible, or TBN or the God Channel. I asked if you love Jesus… Do you love Him first and best? Remember, the greatest command is to Love God.

Image Credit: http://friarphillip.blogspot.com/2011/08/august-19-hinge.html

How about your neighbor? You know who I mean… Do you love your lazy co-worker who leaves you to pick up after him? Do you love your nosy neighbor who all the time sticks her nose into your business? Do you love your neighbor who says he loves you to your face, then stabs you in the back when you’re not looking? Do you love your neighbor, who is also your enemy? Remember… Jesus tells us to love one another as He loved us…

Do you know how wide and how long, how high and how deep His love for you really is? Let me remind you… While you and I were still sinners, doing the things that pleased ourselves, without a thought of Christ, He loved us. When you and I turned our backs on Him and rejected Him, Jesus still loved us. When you and I stumble and fall, Jesus still loves us. When we denied Him, He loved us still… In all of the sins we committed against Him, He not only kept on loving us, He forgave us! Not only did He forgive us… He picked us up and cleaned up our mess…

Now, I’ll ask you again, do you love God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost? Do you love your neighbor the same way Jesus loves us?

If your answer to either of those questions is no, then you, my friend truly don’t know Christ, and if you don’t know Him, you don’t know the Father… And if you don’t know them, then when Jesus returns, it doesn’t matter how many good deeds you’ve done, He will say to you, I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized.” (Matthew 7:23b NLT)

It’s up to you, my beloved readers and followers… Do you want to know the Author of these 66 books we call the bible? Respond to Him. Develop a relationship with Him by talking to Him and listening to Him, as He speaks to you through His Word. My prayer for each one who reads these words of mine is that when Jesus returns, He will look at you and say, “Come here, My beloved. I’m so glad we’ve come to know one another, and that you did everything I authorized you to do!”

Hide and Seek

 I love those who love Me, And those who seek Me diligently will find Me. (Proverbs 8:17 NKJV)

Photo Credit: http://www.heartlight.org/gallery/1721.html

I was reading a  post today from someone who is seeking spirituality. This person’s cries really touched my heart, and though I responded personally to this person, it made me think of the many others, who are seeking, and what a distorted picture of Christ we give people. I’m not sure where this post will take me, but the Spirit is stirred up within me, and I need to share what He is speaking.

Who was it that said you have to go to church in order to find God? Do you know that I’ve never read that in the bible? Since when does a person have to go to a church in order to find God? Here’s what God says:

 I love those who love Me, And those who seek Me diligently will find Me. (Proverbs 8:17 NKJV)

In order to find God, we have to diligently seek Him. That’s not the only place where God says that:

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13 NKJV)

Photo Credit: staceynicole.com

Does that say anything about coming to church to find God? Does it say anything about following a bunch of rules and regulations to find God?

Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be obedient to the laws of God and man, because there would be utter chaos if we did not. What I am saying is that you will not find God by obeying all of these rules and laws. If you really want to find God, you must diligently seek Him with all your heart.

Do you want to find God?

Diligently seek Him… This is how diligent is defined in dictionary.com

  1. constant in effort to accomplish something; attentive and persistent in doing anything: a diligent student.
  2. done or pursued with persevering attention; painstaking: a diligent search of the files.

A lot of people say they want to know God, but they never really look for Him. They don’t make much effort. You see, in order to seek God diligently, you have to put forth some effort. You have to be constant in your effort to find Him. You must be attentive and persistent in seeking Him. You must pursue Him with persevering attention. You must be painstaking in your effort to find Him. 

Photo Credit: http://www.prwatch.org/spin/2010/08/9395/playing-hide-and-seek-oil

Do you remember playing hide and seek as children? There were some children who were “It” and their job was to seek those who hid from them. I used to get irritated with the one’s who were “It,” and after glancing around a little bit, and putting forth very little effort, would just give up and quit — right in the middle of the game! They didn’t even try to find the hiders. If they were “It,” then they would quit. They said they wanted to play hide and seek, but it quickly became apparent, that they only wanted to play if they didn’t have to be “It,” or if they didn’t have to look too hard to find the hiders.

That’s how many people are about God. They say they want to find Him, but they don’t really look for Him. They’re not willing to put forth any effort. They’re not willing to let go of some of their own ideas about finding Him. They’re not willing to let go of their own opinions about how things should be. They’re not willing to look at the bible. They’re not willing to actually live out what the bible says… They don’t really want to know God — they may say they do, but their actions say that they only want to know Him if they don’t have to be “It.”

Photo Credit: http://ivyleagueinsecurities.com/2009/12/hide-seek/

There were other kids that played hide and seek with passion. Do you remember? These were the ones who left no stones unturned when they were “It.” They would search and search, taking note of the smallest of clues… the rustling of leaves… the slight movement from the midst of a bush… the sound of a giggle coming from behind a tree… They were diligent in their pursuit of the hiders, and they usually found them before they could return to “base.”

In spiritual terms, these are the people who seek God with all their heart. They read the scriptures to find clues about Him. They do what the scriptures say, in order to try the words and see if God is truly in them. They talk to God and listen for His voice. They keep looking and looking, leaving no stone unturned, because they must find Him. These are the people who diligently seek God and find Him.

Photo Credit: http://preparednotscared.blogspot.com/2010/04/family-activity-indoor-hide-and-seek.html

Often, when the children would play hide and seek, there were those who would try to “help” the person who was “It.” Oh, you know the ones I mean… the ones who would say they saw so and so run that way, when it wasn’t true, sending you off on a wild goose chase. Or they would tell you their opinions… “If I was ‘It,’ I would count faster… or I would do it this way… Those people weren’t really there to help “It.” They were there to make “It’s” job harder.

Sadly, this is true spiritually as well. There will always be those who try to “help” you, by telling you, “Girl, you need to go to church.” Or some might say, “Boy, he needs to find religion.” Then there are those who tell you that you have to say the sinner’s prayer (the bible does’t say anything about that) to find God… They tell you that you can’t wear that short skirt if you want to find God… You can’t have tattoos if you want to find God… If I was you, I would start living right… You better stop cursing… You’ll never change… And that’s just the people in the church, who can distract you from seeking and finding God!

Photo Credit: http://www.heartlight.org/gallery/888.html

Then, there are those of different faiths, agnostics and atheists… They also do their part in muddying the waters, making it harder to find God by offering their opinions… Where was God when this happened…? If there really is a God, then why…? There are many ways to find God… Christians are intolerant… Christians are too rigid… I have the right to live my life the way I want to live it, without some religion telling me what’s right and what’s wrong…

My friend, do you really want to find God? Do you really want to know the truth? Jesus said:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 NLT)

Photo Credit: http://www.heartlight.org/gallery/1793.html

Do you want to know the truth? Go to Jesus. Do you want to know what way to go? Go to Jesus. Do you want to have abundant everlasting life? Go to Jesus. Do you want to find God the Father? Go to Jesus.

My friends, my heart’s desire is that you would know the truth, and that you would not be fooled by the lies that people sometimes knowingly, and sometimes unknowingly tell you. If you want to find God, seek Him and go through Jesus. If you go to Jesus, He said:

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

My friends, I want to encourage you to seek God while He may still be found. My prayer for each one of you is this:

Father, in Jesus’ name, I pray that You will draw each person you lead to read this post, to diligently seek You with all their hearts. I pray, Father, that You would give them a hunger and thirst for You and for righteousness. Lord, I pray that You would reveal to them how deeply You love them. In Jesus’ name, I pray that each man, woman and child who reads this post would come to understand how long, and how wide; how high and how deep Your love for them is. I pray, Lord, that You would give them understanding hearts, and that they would truly understand how much You care for them.

Lord, I pray that You would give these people supernatural wisdom, so that they would not be confused by what “church people” say… so that they would not be confused by what people of other religions say… so that they would not be confused by what people of no religion say… and so they would not be confused by their own opinions of right and wrong… Father, you are not the author of confusion, so I pray that You would speak to the hearts of each person reading this post, and they would come to know and understand You, and Your will…

Father, give each person a heart that diligently seeks You, in Jesus’ name, amen.

May the Lord bless each and every one of you!

Love,
Cheryl